Citation
What the dragon fly told the children

Material Information

Title:
What the dragon fly told the children
Creator:
Coursen, Frances Bell
Brooks, Amy ( Illustrator )
Lothrop Publishing Company ( Publisher )
Place of Publication:
Boston
Publisher:
Lothrop Publishing Company
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
146, [2] p. : ill., ports ; 23 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Cousins -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Dragonflies -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Aunts -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Poetry -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Poets -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Storytelling -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Animals -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Insects -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Fantasy literature -- 1896 ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1896
Genre:
Fantasy literature ( rbgenr )
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
United States -- Massachusetts -- Boston
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

General Note:
Includes index.
General Note:
Contains poetry.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Frances Bell Coursen ; illustrated by Amy Brooks.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
026617529 ( ALEPH )
ALG3484 ( NOTIS )
233698021 ( OCLC )

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:


Full Text












pie

2
a
5
3
—Q
o
B



iia











THEY ALL MARCHED AFTER HER THROUGH THE WOODS.”’

See page 78.



WHAT THE DRAGON FLY

TOLD THE CHILDREN

BY
FRANCES BELL COURSEN.

Ldlustrations by Amy Brooks

BOSTON
LOTHROP PUBLISHING COMPANY



COPYRIGHT, 1896,
BY
LOTHROP PUBLISHING COMPANY.

All rights reserved.



TO HER
LITTLE NIECES AND NEPHEWS
FROM
AUNT FRANCES



PINE ENG is

TO THE CHILDREN’S GROWN-UP FRIENDS.





[EARLY all children are poetic.

They live near to the heart of things
in the early spring-tide of life when ‘‘ birds and
buds and they are happy peers.”’

They have also a natural love of rhyme and
rhythm and the melody of verse. Mother Goose
ministers to this need of their natures for the
first two or three years of life; but, immediately

yom t after that, comes, generally, nothing in the way
of poetry. Why should not the God-given instinct be further culti-
vated by reading to them at such an age, selections from the poets,
culling here and there, where in simple, lovely words the great
singers have sung simple, lovely thoughts fit for children’s ears, and
likely to delight their imaginations ? There is, in later years, an
added charm to verses that have associations running back through
a lifetime, even to nursery days.

It would indeed be well to have the names of our greatest poets
familiar household words even to the children. In the belief that
such a thing could be, and should be, and that the children would
enjoy, and be greatly benefited by such reading, this little book of

selected bits from the poets is offered.



PREFACE.

Its design will be happily accomplished if it shall assist children
to an early love for real poetry.

It is not a book to be read through in one or two sittings; any
child would tire of poetry in such quantities as that. It is meant to
lie on the table, ready to be picked up when the children beg
mamma or Auntie to read to them ‘‘just a little bit.” It is hoped,
too, that the older children will love to glance in it, once and again
and often; and that all of them will come to have their favorite
poems and poets, to which they will return with increasing apprecia-
tion and affection.

Though a slight thread of continuous narrative runs through the
book, by which to hold the attention of the youngest readers, itis
only a thread on which to string the poems; the poetry itself is the
bait by which we hope to catch the children.

The bits of decorative illustration scattered through the text will,
itis believed, increase interest by attracting the eye; while the por-
traits of the poets quoted from in the book may result in acquainting
children, early in life, with the faces of those who, later, should be-
come even as familiar friends.

Thanks are due to Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Roberts
Brothers and D. Appleton & Co., for their courtesy in allowing the
use of extracts from their publications. Ey oR:





CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I.

HOW THE CHILDREN CAME TO EDGEHURST

CHAPTER II.

WHERE THE DRAGON FLY FOUND THEM .

CHAPTER III.

UNDER THE OAK-TREES

CHAPTER IV.

AUNTIE’S SONGS ON A RAINY DAY .

CHAPTER V.

THE DRAGON FLY TEACHES THE CHILDREN A NEW GAME

CHAPTER VI.

THE DRAGON FLY’S LONG STORY

CHAPTER VII.

GLADYS HAS A BIRTHDAY

CHAPTER VIII.

PAPA QUOTES POETRY

CHAPTER IX.

A SUNDAY AT EDGEHURST

CHAPTER X.

‘<¢GoOD-BY, MR. DRAGON FLY!”

I2

25

51

69

92

133

139)



WHAT THk DRAGON FEY
LOLD Ihr Call Dini

CISUAQINEIS, Ik,

HOW THE CHILDREN CAME TO EDGEHURST.

NCE upon a time there were six friendly






oy, little cousins:

we

Five of them were girls; so there
was only one boy. Iam sorry there
was not one other boy among them;
because two boys could have had such good
times together ; but there was, really, only one.

Two of the girls were quite big, so that
there were only four truly little ones to whom the dragon
fly told all the wonderful things I am going to tell you.

These six children, although they were cousins, did not
all live together in the same place. Two of them— the
‘ oldest girls —lived on a far-away Western prairie. When
they came East to visit Grandpa and Grandma and Auntie,
they were called “our little prairie flowers” by their fond
relatives. Their real names were Mabel and Edith, and
they were inclined to laugh at that fancy name.

Chester and Edith lived in a large, handsome city. At
9



10 VWAHATE Gils DRAGON, (hye hO-L Dr

Grandpa’s, they called that city “out West ”. but when
Mabel and Edith were at home, they were so much farther
West, they called the city in which Chester and Edith lived
“back East.” Of course, when different people say such
different things about it, I can’t tell you where it really was.

Marion and Gladys lived in a charming country village
not far from Grandpa’s — or “ Bampa’s house,” as they called
it. And “ Bampa’s house,” or Edgehurst, where all these
children came together and saw each other was in the coun-
try, too, not a hundred miles from New York.

Now I must tell you how old the children were. Gladys,
the baby, was two, Marion was four, Edith Number Two, was
just five, and Chester, the only boy, was six. Then, there
were the two Western cousins; Mabel was thirteen, a very
“big girl,” the little ones thought, and she thought so, too;
Edith Number One was ten, but she was quite small for her
age and didn’t look more than eight. Nevertheless, she
generally preferred the company of her sister and her sister's

’

and her own older friends to that of “the babies,” as they
called the four little ones.

One day all the children and all their papas and mam-
mas, came to “ Bampa’s house”; and there they had a big
dinner party.

The table was so long that it reached almost into the
hall. Grandma and Grandpa looked quite far apart as they
sat at either end, with all the uncles and aunts and cousins

between. The children all behaved very well at that party ;



WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 11

they sat still and didn’t say much, and were very happy,
even though they couldn’t understand what the grown-up
people were talking and laughing about.

But they all understood, except perhaps Baby Glay, when
Chester lifted up his voice and made the first remark that
had been heard from the children by the whole company
through all that long dinner.

Grandma was cutting the ice cream “brick’”’; it was yet
a long way from Chester’s turn and the cream was almost
all gone; he didn’t see that one of the maids was bringing
on another form.

“©, there won’t be enough!” he cried in dismay, but
even more in astonishment; for such a thing as “not
enough” had never yet happened at Grandpa’s. Even then,
the children didn’t understand why the grown people laughed.
They seldom did exactly understand just why grown people
laughed.

After the day of the big dinner party, some of the uncles
and aunts went home; but all the children staid through
that whole beautiful summer. In those sunshiny days a
great many wonderful things happened to them, and, of
some of these, I am going to tell you.

But, if it ever happened that the four little children
wanted the same toy at the same instant and quarrelled
over it, 1 am not going to tell about that; I don’t think
quarrelling ever sounds pleasant, do you? And in this
book I want only pleasant things.





THE TABLE UNDER THE TREE.

CEPA A Reale
WHERE THE DRAGON FLY FOUND THEM.

[’ was the morning after the dinner party. The nurses
took Chester, Edith, Marion and Gladys out into the
woods behind the house. There were a number of pretty,
winding paths cut through the underbrush, and these paths

all led to a spot which was cleared, under a spreading tree.
12



WAHAIL JEIGUE IDIRAGOIN, IFILYC WOULID » 18

Around the trunk of the tree a low table had been built ;
for the children were going to have picnics and play store
and do all manner of delightful things around that table.

To begin with, the little girls took their dollies out of
their baby carriages and put them on the table, leaning
them up against the trunk of the tree; then they began to
unpack and set out their china dishes, thinking they would
have a party. But, you see, Chester was a boy and did not
care as much as the girls about dolls’ parties. He thought it
would be much better fun to call the four sides of the table
four counters and play store.

I don’t know how they would have settled the matter
if a wonderful thing had not made them forget all about
what they had been planning. A slender blue dragon fly
came sailing up to the tree on his gauzy wings. Poising in
the air he looked at the four little children with his tiny
bright eyes. He seemed to like them; for he suddenly
began to sing, what they knew to be, when they were grown
up, Amiens’s song in Shakspere’s play of As You Like It:

“ Under the Greenwood tree
Who loves to lie with me,

And tune his merry note
Unto the sweet bird’s throat ?

Come hither, come hither, come hither:
Here shall he see no enemy

But winter and rough weather.”



14 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

The children stopped talking and listened in amazement
all but the baby. She did not think it any more surpris-
ing that a little :



















blue dragon fly
should sing
Shakspere’s
poetry, than
that white and
yellow and pink
and blue flow-
ers (“pitty fol-
lies,” she called
them), should
spring up out
of the brown :
earth at her MY i

Tp Afsees
atta iy
es

Ein
*



a4 2| t
hesriat

ee)





a AMIENS SINGING ‘‘ UNDER THE GREENWOOD TREE,’’ IN SHAKSPERE’S PLAY,



VATA iE 2D) KA GONE sh ye 1eO i: 15

feet; nor half so wonderful as that the great trees should
grow up “so big” and wave their green leaves in the bright,
glorious sunshine far, far up above her head.

“Well,” said the dragon fly when he had finished sing-
ing, “do you like that song?”

“Yes,” said Chester, who, being a boy, of course wasn’t
afraid of anything and certainly not of a tiny dragon fly —
even if it did sing, as dragon flies generally do not; “do
you know any more?”

“ Yes, plenty of them,” said the dragon fly.

“Why, that’s pretty queer,’ Chester went on; for the
little girlies just looked and listened and never said a word.
Usually, they say, girls do most of the talking; but perhaps
not when they are making their first acquaintance with a
talking dragon fly.

“ How do you come to know songs; and why do you sing
to us?” questioned the boy.

“O, Iknow them as I know so many, many things; because
I fly all over the world and see and hear everything. Ising
to you, because, once ’— here the dragon fly wheeled around,
and the shining rainbow colors in his wings glistened in the
sunlight; then he stopped and began to sing again:

“ Piping down the valleys wild,
Piping songs of pleasant glee,
On a cloud I saw a child,
And he, laughing, said to me:



16 VOLATILE Me DIREAG OfNae ny) MO aD,


















“Pipe a song about a lamb!’

So I piped with merry cheer.
‘Piper, pipe that song again ;’

So I piped: he laughed to hear.

“«Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe ;
Sing thy songs of happy cheer !’
So I sang the same again,
While he wept with joy to hear.

«¢ Piper, sit thee down and write

<=> In a book that all may read.’

a So he vanished from my sight,
And I plucked a hollow reed;




“ And I made a rural pen,
And I stained the water clear,

And I wrote my happy songs

Every child may joy to hear.”





WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 17

“A queer old poet named William Blake wrote that song,”
said the dragon fly. “ The children seem to like my songs,”
he continued, “so I go flying about and singing them to good
little boys and girls, like you.”

“Oh! that’s nice,” exclaimed
Edith and Marion together, find-
ing their tongues at last. “Will
you sing us some more, Mr.
Dragon Fly? And will you
come every day and sing to us?”

“Maybe not every day,” an-
swered the dragon fly. “ But
what’s the matter with to-day?”
he asked. “It makes me think
of a verse by a poet called ‘H.



H.’ —her real name was Helen

WILLIAM BLAKE.

Hunt Jackson. Do you know,
I think it just fits to-day.” And the dragon fly sang:

“ Was there ever a day like to-day
So clear, so shining, so tender?

The old cry out; and the children say,

With a laugh aside that’s always the way

With the old in Spring, as long as they stay
They find in it a greater splendor

When the birds fly past, and the chimes ring fast

And the long Spring shadows sweet shadow cast.”



18 VAHAth erly DRAGON OE Yee TOUS.

“There! how do you like that?” asked the dragon fly.
“Tl tell you what; I’ll come and see you again, and maybe
I'll tell you about some of the things I see when I am fly-
ing around the world, if you'll be good.”

“Yes, we did been dood,” said little Edith eagerly, while
Marion smiled and said nothing.

d

“But I can’t stay long to-day,” the dragon. fly said



THE LITTLE NEST-BUILDER.

briskly, fluttering his wings as if he were in a great hurry to

be off.

“O, please sing just one more, good Mr. Dragon Fly,”
came in an imploring chorus of three.
“ Pease sing one more, dood Mitter Dagger F’y,” echoed
the baby.
“Just one, then,’ consented the dragon fly. “Did you
5 / 7
ever think about how many little live things there are in the

woods, besides yourselves ?”





“WAS THERE EVER A DAY LIKE TO-DAY.”







VLIGLATE ANGUS IDR AKGOIN) IPILYE IFOILID) 21

No, the children had never thought about that.

“Well, I do,” he said; “because I can fly up high and
down low and see them all. Don’t you know that up in
these trees there are cunning little nests? They are made
of bits of sticks, and are lined soft, inside, with hairs that
have dropped out of the horses’ tails, or, perhaps, with feath-

ers the chickens have dropped around their yard, or with




iy fy Fy Ne
Ne M/A a (\ i SSS

‘(WHERE THE WILD FLOWERS BLOSSOM.”

7

whatever soft things the mother-bird can find; and, don’t
you know that, after she has sat for weeks on her little
speckled eggs, there will be three, or perhaps five, little
birds in each nest? And—why! look here at the edge of
the bushes in the grass; don’t you see the little wild flowers
blossoming? They’re all alive, though they don’t know as



22 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

much as you do. And didn’t you see the tall white lilies in
the garden, before you came in here? One thing I am
sure you did see — the strawberries tucked away under their
green leaves and getting red and ripe in the strawberry bed?
Here’s a song about them by a poet named Jean Ingelow.
You can all learn it and say it to your auntie when you go
into the house. She’ll like to hear it, I’m sure!

“ OQ, so many, many, many
Little homes above my head !
O, so many, many, many
Dancing blossoms round me spread!

“ OQ, so many, many, many
Lilies bending stately heads !

And so many, many, many
Strawberries ripened on their beds!”

As soon as he had sung this song that was written by
Jean Ingelow, Mr. Dragon Fly flew away; so the children
said it over and over while they went on with their play.
And when they were called into the house to wash their
hands and get ready for dinner, they all rushed up to Auntie
the very first thing, and shouted it out to her. To be
sure the dragon fly was right, and Auntie was very much
pleased.

They told her, too, about William Blake’s poem, and



WeAT. SE DRAGON ELEY SOD. 28

Auntie told them it was in a funny little book printed long
ago, called “Songs of Innocence.” She told them what
a hard time poor Blake had, trying to get his book printed ;

ee ae AS

; tp Pe pA Aceh Bees DES f
heat cain gon gst estat deel LAER,

re saw acnild rN

haliindlngan me « a a

= Les ea song about a. ei
; i ey) pip € (ih Sey Ay : gee
ef Tis a nate = :

HS a

ea dhe wept to

slate

niy happy: songs.
pen jp oka



THE WAY THE PAGE LOOKED IN THE OLD COPY OF BLAKE’S “SONGS
OF INNOCENCE’? THAT AUNTIE FOUND.

and, she said, she thought there was a copy of that little old
book in Grandpa’s house. The children begged her to find



24 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

it; so she hunted until she did and on the other page of this
book you can see the way the page of that looked, on which
was the song that the dragon fly sung.

But, all you little boys and girls who are reading this book
in which I have written down the songs the dragon fly sung
and the stories he told, and all of you whose mammas or
aunties are reading it to you because you are not yet big
enough to read, can learn all of the songs yourselves, and
then you can please papa or anyone else whom you love,
by saying them.







‘0 CHANTICLEER! YOUR CLARION BLOW.”?

(CaCI PINE AR IONE

UNDER THE OAK—TREES.

WIND came up out of the sea
And said, “ O, mists, make room for me.’

It hurried landward far away
Crying, “ Awake! it is the day
It said unto the forests, “ Shout !

Hang all your leafy banners out.”
25

tages

>



26 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

It touched the wood-bird’s folded wing
And said, “ O, bird, awake and sing,”
And o’er the farms, “ O, chanticleer !
Your clarion blow, the day is near.”

But all this that Longfellow tells us, in his poem about
“daybreak,” of course happened before the children were
awake. In their little beds they lay with their eyes shut,
fast asleep; while the mists and the breezes blew over sea
and land, and the leaves on all the trees shook themselves
awake, and the flowers opened, and the birdies lifted their
heads in their little nests and began to chirp and then to
sing, all of them together, and the roosters in the barnyard
crowed aloud, they are what Longfellow called “chanticleer,”
you know, and the sun sailed high up in the blue sky. And,
at last, when the children stretched their little arms up over
their heads and opened their blue eyes and looked out of
the window, the sun was shining and everything was awake.

It didn’t take them long, after that, to climb out of their
cribs and scamper about in bare white feet, till they were
caught up in somebody’s arms and the little feet hidden
away in slippers; then they had their baths and were dressed.

Edith wore a cambric that had gay little flowers all over
it; Marion had a blue-and-white gingham, and Gladys a pink
one. Chester had on just his “play suit.” It doesn’t mat-
ter much about boy’s clothes, you know; they don’t care as
much about them as girls do about their pretty dresses and



WHAT THE DRAGON, FLY Ob Dp. 27

“flower hats” and all that. Why, when Edith was only
three, she was much distressed, once, because her auntie
wished her, on a very warm afternoon, to play around
upstairs for a little while without any dress on.

“Den I'll look like a fwight, won’t I?” she asked with
great, appealing eyes, because she could not bear to forego
the pretty dress. ;

After the dressing, came breakfast ; and, while the chil-
dren were eating their hominy and milk, they were so busy
they quite forgot to wonder what the dragon fly would tell
them that morning.

But when they, and their carts and spades, their dolls
and baby wagons all tumbled down the piazza steps to-
gether, ready for a day of fun, there, the very first thing, was
their lively little friend waiting for them, humming and buz-
zing away over the flowers. He seemed to be singing to
himself ; but he flew straight over the grass to a great shady
spot on the lawn under some oaks, where the children ran
shouting after him.

Under the trees, there, he seemed to be singing this
song, which he afterwards told them was written by an
English poet named Charles Kingsley:

“T cannot tell what you say, green leaves,
I cannot tell what you say;

But I know that there is a spirit in you
And a word in you this day,



28 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.




“T cannot tell what you say,
rosy rocks,
I cannot tell what you say,
But I know that there is a
spirit in you,

And a word in you this day.

“JT cannot tell what you say;
brown streams,
I cannot tell what you say;
But I know that in you a spirit doth live,
And a word doth speak this day.”

“Why! don’t you know what they say, Mr. Dragon Fly?”
asked Edith, much astonished; she supposed, of course, he
knew it all.

“No, I don’t know exactly what it is they are saying;
but I think it sounds like something very pleasant, don’t
you?” he replied, good-naturedly. “ But, see here, do you



VARA aie. DRAG ON RLY. OED: 29

know which of these big trees, right near you, is an oak,
and which is a maple?”

Now

“You don’t! why, you or anybody can know that, even if
you don’t know what the leaves are saying to each other
when they rustle softly in the breeze. See; this darker,
larger leaf, with deep scallops along the edge, belongs to an
oak tree; this light-green one, cut out in three jagged-edged
points, is a maple leaf. Every little girl should know an
oak tree from a maple tree; so take a good look.”

“Yes,” said Edith.

“ Say ‘thank you,’ Edith,” said Chester, who thought it
was very polite in the dragon fly to take the trouble to
explain to them about the leaves of different trees. Then
he asked: “What is that tree over there with a long stem
and leaves growing opposite each other all the way down?”

“That is a black walnut,” explained the dragon fly.
“Next Autumn there will be plenty of nuts on that tree. The
squirrels know it and they will be after them; but I think
they will leave some to fall on the ground for you to pick
up. See; its leaf looks something like those of the locust
trees in the little clump yonder on the edge of the woods.
This tree right here, with a small oval leaf,’ went on the
dragon fly,“ is a beech. It will have little bits of beech-
nuts on it, which the squirrels like, too. Do you see the
leaves have creases that look as if they had been folded up
tight, as you might fold and crease a piece of tissue paper?



30 WHAE HE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

Well, they have been creased. In the Spring, each leaf
was rolled up in a fine wisp and when the sun first
unfolded them they looked very crinkled and creased,
indeed.”

“ How did the sun unfold them?” asked Chester.

“ He didn’t come right down to the tree and do it with
his hands,” laughed the dragon fly; “I don’t suppose he
has any hands; but he shone on them till they felt so warm
and comfortable they just unrolled themselves.”

“Won't you sing us a song, Mr. Dragon Fly?” asked
Marion.

“Yes, my dear; here is a pretty one that you will like,
I think. It is by a man named Thomas Westwood, and
tells about a little girl,’ and the dragon fly repeated this
song-story about Little Bell:

“ Piped the blackbird on the beechwood spray,
‘Pretty maid, slow wandering, this way

What’s your name?’ quoth he.
‘What’s your name? O, stop and straight unfold,
Pretty maid with showery curls of gold.’

‘Little Bell,’ said she.

“ Little Bell sat down beneath the rocks,

Tossed aside her gleaming golden locks,
‘Bonny bird,’ quoth she,

‘Sing me your best song before I go,’



VMAGLATE Ih }@ll ID IS AUG OINS JPIL YE JEOILID). 31

‘Here’s the very finest song I know,
Little Bell, said he;

“ And the blackbird piped — you never heard
Half so gay a song from any bird,
Full of quips and wiles ;
Now so round and rich, now soft and slow;
All for love of that sweet face below,
Dimpled o'er with smiles.



“SING YOUR BEST SONG,’”? QUOTH LITTLE BELL,

“ And the while that bonny bird did pour
His full heart out freely, o’er and o’er
"Neath the morning skies,
In the little childish heart below,
All the sweetness seemed to grow and grow
And shine forth in happy overflow
From the brown, bright eyes.



32

VAHAT THB’ DRAGON “BEY 1hOlk Dr

“ Down the dell she tripped, and, through the glade,
Peeped the squirrel from the hazel shade,
And from out the tree,
Swung and leaped and frolicked, void of fear,
While bold blackbird piped that all might hear —
‘Little Bell!’ piped he.

“Tittle Bell sat down amid the fern,

‘Squirrel, squirrel! to your task return;
Bring me nuts,’ quoth she.

Up, away! the frisky squirrel hies,

Golden woodlights glancing in his eyes,
And adown the tree,

‘Great ripe nuts kissed brown by July sun

In the little iap drop, one by one;
Hark! how blackbird pipes to see the fun —
‘Happy Bell, pipes he.

“ Little Bell looked up and down the glade:
‘Squirrel, squirrel, from the nut tree shade,
Bonny blackbird if you’re not afraid,

Come and share with me!’
Down came squirrel eager for his fare ;
Down came bonny blackbird; I declare,
Little Bell gave each his honest share,

Ah! the merry three!



UAIGALIE Sale (DIS AGO JAIL. IE ONL ID). 33

“And the while those frolic playmates twain,
Piped and frisked from bough to bough again
"Neath the morning skies,
In the little childish heart, below,
All the sweetness seemed to grow, and grow
And shine out in happy overflow
From her brown, bright eyes.

















SESS

car! H
—— ~ OT
po

‘¢ KNELT SWEET BELL TO PRAY.??

“ By her snow-white cot at close of day,

Knelt sweet Bell, with folded palms to pray.
Very calm and clear,

Rose the praying voice to where, unseen,

In blue heaven, an angel shape serene
Paused awhile to hear.



34 WHAT THE DRAGON FEY TOLD.

“*What good child is this?’ the angel said,

‘That with happy heart beside her bed,
Prays so lovingly ?’

Low and soft, oh! very low and soft,

Crooned the blackbird in the orchard croft,
‘ Bell, dear Bell,’ crooned he.

“¢ Whom God’s creatures love, the angel fair

Murmured, ‘ God doth bless with angel’s care ;

Child, thy bed shall be

Folded safe from harm ; love deep and kind |

Shall watch round and leave good gifts behind,
Little Bell, for thee.”

Marion smiled; she liked that story very much. But,
dear me! children always want “ more,” even if you have told
them five hundred stories already; so, of course, they all
instantly asked for “ another one.”

Little Mr. Dragon Fly was most good-natured. At
once, he began to recite again:

“ Heigh ho! daisies and buttercups,
Fair yellow daffodils, stately and tall !
When the wind wakes how they rock in the grasses,
And dance with the cuckoo-birds slender and small!
Here’s two bonny boys and here’s.mother’s own lasses
Eager to gather them all.



VIG AIR. Plate IDIR AG ON IRIL YE IE OILID 35

“ Heigh ho! daisies and buttercups!
Mother shall thread them a daisy chain ;
Sing them a song of the pretty hedge sparrow,
That loved her brown little ones, loved them full fain;
Sing ‘heart thou art wide tho’ the house be but narrow,’
Sing once and sing it again.

“ Heigh ho! daisies and buttercups!
Sweet wagging cowslips, they bend and they bow;
A ship sails afar over warm ocean waters,
And, haply, one, musing, doth stand at her prow;
O, bonny brown sons, and O, sweet little daughters,
Maybe he thinks on you, now.

“ Heigh ho! daisies and buttercups,
Fair yellow daffodils, stately and tall!
A sunshiny world full of laughter and leisure
And fresh hearts unconscious of sorrow and thrall!
Send down on their pleasure, smiles, passing its measure,
God that is over us all!”

“That is by Jean Ingelow, a delightful poetry-maker,”
said the dragon fly, when he had finished. “Now, how
many flowers does that song tell about ?”

“ Two or three,” said Chester.

“More than three,” said the dragon fly. “Let’s count.
How many in the first line?”



36 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY FOLD:

“Daisies and buttercups,” said the children all together,
for they all remembered those dear common flowers that
they knew so well.

“And in the next?” No one could tell, so the dragon
fly had to answer himself.

“One: ‘yellow daffodils’; then the next line has only
‘grasses’: you'll hardly call them
flowers, though grasses do have
flowers. And the next has ‘cuck-
oo-buds —’”

“And the next!” broke in
Chester. “The next has only
the little boys and girls who
wanted to pick them all.”

“The next verse has only the
same flowers over again; but
then it has the little hedge spar-



row, you remember, with her tiny
nest full of brown birdlings, and

JEAN INGELOW.

they all loved each other so much

they didn’t mind if they were packed in tight together, with
hardly room enough to stir.”

“Has the next verse got any new flower in it?” asked

Edith, who couldn’t herself remember whether it had or not.

“ Ves, the ‘sweet wagging cowslips,’ that ‘bend and bow’

in the wind: and then the mother told the children,

you know, about their father who was on a big ship sail-



VHA. ELE DIVA GO Ne wink ia OE Ds 37

ing far away on the ocean, and thinking about his little
boys and girls.

“ And the last verse has the daisies and buttercups over
again, and the ‘daffodils, stately and tall, and a ‘sunshiny
world’ and ‘laughter and
leisure’ and ‘fresh hearts’
and ‘pleasure. And all
those beautiful things made
them think of the good God
who made them all. Did
you ever know of so many
lovely things crowded into

~$
one song!



= aM

After talking it over, in ye
ae way, ‘ies - plndidhaan THE PRETTY HEDGE-SPARROW.
thought they would like to hear the song again; so the
dragon fly repeated it, and you, little readers, may turn back
and read it again, if you like.

“ Now, tell us about where you’ve been,” demanded the
children next.

“Oh! I’ve been everywhere. I am like the fairy — his
name was Ariel; you can read about him in Shakspere’s
play of The Tempest. This is what he said:

“« Where the bee sucks, there suck I;
In a cowslip’s bell I lie;
There I couch when owls do cry.



38 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.




io

On the bat’s back I
do fly

After Summer mer-
rily:

Merrily, merrily shall
I live now,
Under the blossom
that hangs on

“WHERE THE WAVES SPLASH UP.’?

the bough.”

“Do you ever fly to the seashore ?”

“O, yes! And the sea fairies see me coming and call to
me to come and fly with them to where the waterfalls tumble
into the river and the river runs to the sea; where the gales
blow softly as if they were singing carols, and rainbows
hang over the waves and the waves splash up into the
hollow caves and shaliow pools around the great rocks, and
shine in colors as lovely as the rainbows themselves.”

































































































































‘HE HAD SEEN THE LITTLE MERMAIDS AND MERMEN PLAYING,”?







WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. Al

“ Do they? what do they say?”
“ This is what they say. Lord Tennyson put their songs
into words for us:

“ Whither away, whither away, whither away, fly no more,
Whither away from the high green fields and the happy
_ blossoming shore.
Day and night to the billow the fountain calls,
Down shower the gambolling water-falls.
O, hither, come hither, and furl your sails,
Come hither to me and to me
Hither, come hither, and frolic and play ;
We will sing to you all the day,
While merrily, merrily carol the gales
Hither, come hither, and see

“ How the rainbow hangs on the poising wave,
And sweet is the color of cove and cave,
And sweet shall your welcome be ;

We will kiss sweet kisses and speak sweet words ;
O, listen, listen, your eyes shall glisten

With pleasure and love and jubilee.
Who can light on as happy a shore

All the world o’er, all the world o’er?”

This made the children laugh and clap their hands, it
was so full of glee; so the dragon fly, seeing they liked it,
told them how he had hovered back and forth over the sea-



42 VERA Tie DRAG ON RL Yas ROUsD:

green waves and looked down through the shining waters
and had seen the little mermen and mermaids playing above
and beneath them. “Oh!” he cried, growing enthusiastic
over his happy recollections, “it made made me think of
another of Tennyson’s songs, for I felt like singing, almost
in the same words that he used:

“Who would be
A merman bold,
Sitting alone,
Singing alone
Under the sea,
With a crown of gold,
On a throne?

“T would be a merman bold,
I would sit and sing the whole of the day.
But at night I would roam abroad and play
With the mermaids in and out of the rocks,
Dressing their hair with the white sea-flower,
And holding them back by their flowing locks.
I would kiss them often under the sea
And kiss them again, until they kissed me,
Laughingly, laughingly.
And then we would wander away, away,
To the pale-green sea-groves straight and high
Chasing each other merrily.



WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 43

“We would call aloud in the dreamy dells
Call to each other, and whoop and cry
All night merrily, merrily.
They would pelt me with starry spangles and shells,
Laughing and clapping their hands between,
All night merrily, merrily.
Oh! what a happy life were mine,
Under the hollow-hung ocean green.” ’

The dragon fly seemed lost in thought awhile after this,
remembering all the merry times he had enjoyed under the
sea; but, presently, he looked up in the sky, where white
clouds were sailing by, drawing long shadows over the grass
as they passed. That made him think of something else.

“ Now look at those soft, fleecy clouds!” he said; “ just
think of all you would see if you could lie on their downy
masses, as if they were heaped up pillows, and float along
over all the world with them, looking down on all the farms
and gardens, seeing the children at play, rolling hoops or
chasing butterflies; and the men at work in the fields, cut-
ting down the grass, or reaping the grain, and then piling
it upon wagons and drawing it into barns; wouldn’t you
see many things?

“That’s what I do, flying about all over the world.”
Then the dragon fly suddenly remembered a poem, by the
American poet Bryant, about this very thing. He recited
it to the children. It was called “ To a Cloud”:



44 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

“ Beautiful clouds! with folds so soft and fair,
Swimming in the pure, quiet air,

Thy fleeces bathed in sunlight, while below
Thy shadow o’er the vale moves slow,

Where, midst their labor, pause the reaper train
As cool it comes along the grain;

Beautiful cloud! I would I were with thee

In thy calm way o’er land and sea,

To rest on thy unrolling skirts and look

On earth, as on an open book.”

“ Let me tell you of what I saw, once, when I was flying
about,” the dragon fly continued. “I used, often, to see a
little girl sitting on the grass on the edge of a brook. I
learned that her name was Ellie. First, she would take off
her hat and throw that on the grass; then, pretty soon,
she would take off her shoes and stockings, too; and then
she would paddle her bare feet in the water and lift them
out all shining and wet and hold them in her hands and
rock slowly back and forth, and smile to herself. I used
to wonder what the dear little girl was thinking about to
make her smile so happily. I watched her come there to
the brook many a day; and, after paddling awhile, she
always dried her feet, put on her shoes and stockings, and
took up her hat (it hung by its string from her arm almost
as often as it was seen on her head). She walked off a long

way around to her home; and she always stopped at one



WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 45

certain point on the edge of the stream and knelt down and
peered in among the grasses, looking at something. I won-
dered what she was so interested in; for she would shake
back her hair, when it tumbled over her face and into her
eyes; she would lean far over the water’s edge, and push the
grasses away with her little hands, and never give up until

she saw whatever it was she was looking for. So one day,







































































































































THE BEAUTIFUL WHITE SWANS.

after she had peeped into her little grassy corner and had got
up and gone home, I flew down to see what it was she
came to look at, every day. I couldn’t find anything at
first, even though I could fly right over the water and didn’t
have to take care, as Ellie did, not to tumble in. But I
looked closely and saw a little spot where Ellie had
trampled down the grass, kneeling on it so often; and way



46 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

in by a stone, and almost in the brook, I saw — what do you
think ?

oe ate . . . ) x
big, white eggsinit. I couldn't see to count how many ege's



a flat, wide nest, and I could just see one or two

there were, without flying right into the nest; and I didn’t
want to do that for fear its owner might come home and
find me there and be disturbed by it. And who do you
think its owner was? Why, I do believe it was no less a
personage than the beautiful white swan that used to float
up and down the stream, So that was what little Ellie came
far out of her way every day to watch. She kept it a great
secret that she had found the swan’s nest, and never told
anybody at home, but there! she little thought that I knew
it all the time!

“One day, I was flying through a garden and by an open
window, and looking in I saw, lying back in a low chair, a
tiny, delicate lady. She had curls hanging over her face,
like Ellie, and great dark eyes that shone very bright and
looked as if they saw everything, everything. They saw me
quick enough and smiled a little. I thought she would
like to hear about Ellie, so I told it all to her, and she wrote
it out in a poem. You see, she was a great poet. Her
name was Elizabeth Barrett Browning. This is how she put
into verse my story about little Ellie and the swan’s nest:

“ Little Ellie sits alone
’Mid the beeches of a meadow,

By a stream-side on the grass,



WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 47

And the trees are showering down
Doubles of themselves in shadow

On her shining hair and face.

“She has thrown her bonnet by
And her feet she has been dipping
In the shallow water’s flow,
Now she holds them, nakedly,
In her hands all sleek and
dripping,
While she rocketh to and fro.

“Little Ellie sits alone,
And the smile she softly uses
Fills the silence like a speech
While she thinks what shall be
done
And the sweetest pleasure
chooses



For her future within reach. ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING.

“Little Ellie with her smile
Not yet ended, rose up gaily,
Tied the bonnet, donned the shoe,
And went homeward ’round a mile
Just to see as she did daily
What more eges were with the two.”



48 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

When the dragon fly had finished this long story he
looked down and saw that Baby Gladys had fallen asleep, so
he sang, very softly indeed, one of Shakspere’s beautiful lull-
abies. It was the fairies’ chorus in .4 Midsummer Night’s
Dream:



“BABY, WHAT DO THE BLOSSOMS Say ?”?

“ Philomel with melody
Sing in our sweet lullaby
Lulla, lulla lullaby,
Lulla, lulla lullaby,
Never harm, nor spell, nor charm,
Come our lovely lady nigh,
So good-night with lullaby.”

Then he flew away.

That evening after tea, when the children were having
their last romp around the grounds, Auntie came out for
Gladys to take her in to bed, and as she held the tiny hand
and guided her along the gravel path past the flower bor-



VAHAE THE DRAGON BEY OTD: 49

ders, baby’s eyes, dewy and large with sleep, looked so wise,
and baby’s little hand touched the folded blossoms so gently,
. with loving little good-night taps as she passed them, that
Auntie stooped down and asked her almost the same ques-
tions that Mrs. Henshaw put into verse:

“ Baby, what do the blossoms say
Down in the garden walk?

They nod and they bow in the twilight gray,
Pray can you hear them taik?



‘“BABY, WHAT DOES THE ROBIN SAY ?”

They say, ‘O, darling baby bright,
We are going to sleep; good-night, good-night !
For the lullaby breezes have come to sing
How God takes care of everything.
Sleep! sleep !’



50

WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

“ Baby, what does the robin say ?

Do you hear his evening song?
He sits and sings his sunset lay

With a heart all blithe and strong.
He sings, ‘Good-night, my baby dear,
Sleep soft, sleep well, and do not fear,
For somehow I know, as I sit and sing,
That God takes care of everything.

Sleep! sleep!’”





Cre RINE

AUNTIE’S SONGS ON A RAINY DAY.

“t HAT does little birdie say
In her nest at peep of day?
‘Let me fly,’ says little birdie,
‘ Mother, let me fly away.’
‘ Birdie, rest a little longer,
Till the little wings are stronger.’
So she rests a little longer
Then she flies away.

“What does little baby say
In her bed at peep of day?
Baby says like little birdie,
‘Let me rise and fly away.’
51



52 WaltA Ie Se lall) IDRC GOIN IILYE IROULID).

‘ Baby, sleep a little longer,
Till the little limbs are stronger,
If she sleeps a little longer

”

Baby, too, shall fly away.’

So sang Tennyson “In Sea Dreams;” and so sang
Auntie, low and sweet, as the day came in. But that morn-
ing, when the children woke up, it was raining! It was a
great disappointment, to open their eyes and see rain drops
pouring down the windows, instead of seeing sunshine danc-
ing on the walls. Some of the little ones felt almost like
crying and being a little bit cross about it.

You see, they did so want to play outdoors, and see their
dear dragon fly and hear some more of his stories. But cry-
ing about it wouldn’t do any good. It only made it look as
if it were raining inside the house as well as outside, so
Auntie said, when she saw the teardrops almost brimming
over in some of the childish eyes.

“Why, the rain is lovely, too,” she cried, “ though not
quite so lovely as sunshine; just see it come pattering
down and plashing along and making everything so clean
and shiny. I know a song about the rain, almost as pretty
as any one of your dragon fly’s. Maybe he doesn’t know
this one. It was written by our own dear poet Longfellow.
Pll tell it to you, as you can’t go out to find Mr. Dragon Fly
just this minute. Auntie picked out from Longfellow’s
lovely verses “ Rain in Summer: ”



WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 58

“ How beautiful is the rain !
After the dust and heat,
In the broad and fiery street,
In the narrow lane,

How beautiful is the rain!

“ How it clatters along the roofs,

Like the tramp of hoofs!
How it gushes and struggles out 7
From the throat of the overflow-

ing spout !

Across the window pane.

It pours and pours;

And swift and wide,

With a muddy tide,

Like a river down the gutter roars



‘IT POURS AND POURS.”

The rain, the welcome rain!”

“Why, of course we want the rain very much,” Auntie
went on, “to make the peas and the beans grow in the
garden, and to give a good drink of water to the thirsty
flowers. Poor little flowers, how they want it! They like
sunshine and they like rain too. Let me tell you about
Witte sWilnte Wily:

“Little white lily sat by a stone
Drooping and waiting till the sun shone;



54 WATE Ee SDiRAUG ON Eb a. Oe)

Little white lily, sunshine has fed;
Lilly white lily is lifting her head.

“Little white lily said, ‘it is good ’—

Little white lily’s clothing and food;

Little white lly, dressed like a bride,
Shining with whiteness and crownéd beside !

“Little white lily droopeth with pain,
Watching and waiting for the wet rain;
Little white lily holdeth her cup,

Rain is fast falling and filling it up.

“ Little white lily said, ‘Good, again,

When I am thirsty to have the nice rain:
Now I am stronger, now I am cool,

Heat cannot burn me, my veins are so full.’

“ Little white lily smells very sweet,

On her head sunshine, rain at her feet ;
Thanks to the sunshine, thanks to the rain,
Little white lily is happy again.”

But even these charming lines by George Macdonald did
not make the little faces look quite satisfied to have it rain
and spoil their fun, even if it did do little white lily so much
good.





“TITTLE WHITE LILY.’’









WATTLE Web) IDICZUG ONE JBILNE ILOJLID) 57

“Where does the rain come from, Auntie?” asked a
rather fretful little voice.

“Tt comes all the way from the great ocean. The sun
shines on the waves and draws up little thin veils of mist
which really is water; it draws them up, up, clear up to the
sky, as far as Chester used to think he could jump. When
he was a two-year-old baby in white dresses, he used to hold
my hand and jump off the last
step of the piazza and say, ‘ Tettie
dump way up to de ’ky!’ But
this is what we call a digression.
The sun just rolls them all up to-
gether, these gauzy veils, into the
white clouds you saw sailing in the
blue yesterday, and then melts
them down into little raindrops (or
else he stops shining and the cold

air squeezes or condenses the rain-



drops out of the clouds; I believe



that is the way), and then they fall GEORGE MACDONALD.

to the ground and on the leaves

of the trees, and on all the flowers — and won’t they sparkle
and shine by and by when the sun comes out again! The
clouds bring us the rain and we ought to be much obliged to
them forit. This is what a great and beautiful English poet,
named Shelley, makes one of the clouds say in a famous
poem of his called ‘The Cloud: ’



58 WHAT THE DRAGON. FLY TOLD.

“T bring fresh showers for the
thirsting flowers,
From the seas and the streams ;
I bear light shade for the leaves
when laid
In their noon-day dreams.
From my wings are shaken the
dews that waken
The sweet buds every one,
When rocked to rest on their

mother’s breast,



As she dances about the sun.
on ee I wield the flail of the lashing hail,
And whiten the green plains under ;
And then again I dissolve it in rain ;
And laugh as I pass in thunder.”

“Tt laughs pretty loud, sometimes,” said Chester.

“Ves, indeed it does; but not when it is a soft, gray
cloud; it is not until it becomes a black thunder cloud that
it does that,” said Auntie.

“Tell some more, please” the children said; so Auntie
saw she had got herself into the dragon fly’s business, and
must keep right on.

“Well, here’s a lovely little poem, by Mrs. Helen Hunt
Jackson, about April. April is the month that is most like
a child of all the twelve, we say, because like a child it laughs

















































































































































































































































































‘CAND THEN AGAIN I DISSOLVE IT IN RAIN.”









MAIEV TE Tiel DIS AGOINS I@/LY¢ TKOJL ID), 61

one minute and cries the next. Don’t you know how, on a
day in April, the sun will be shining bright, when all of a
sudden, up comes a cloud and down comes a shower. And

then, in another minute, the sun peeps laughing out again
from behind the cloud ?.”








HY
5 Wy

VEN

Mee
A



pe

‘4’ ROYAL ROAD WITH SEALS OF GOLD.”

“Robins call robins in tops of trees,

Doves follow doves with scarlet feet,
Frolicking babies sweeter than these

Crowd green corners where highways meet.

“ Violets stir and arbutus wakes,
Claytonia’s rosy bells unfold,



62 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

Dandelion through the meadow makes

A royal road with seals of gold.

“ Golden and snowy and red the flowers,

Golden and snowy and red in vain;

Robins call robins thro’ sad showers, °
% ?

The white doves, feet are wet with rain.



HELEN HUNT JACKSON,
( HH.)

“For April sobs while these are
glad,

April weeps while these are
gay

Weeps likea tired child who had,

Playing with flowers, lost its

”

“But perhaps you will like
this better,” for the children did
not look quite so appreciative as
Auntie thought they might over

“«H, Hs” charming verses; so,

trotting Gladys up and down on her knees, keeping time to
the rhymes, Auntie caroled this forth in a sing-song manner.
“It is by the famous Scotch poet, Robert Burns,” she said :

“©, Mally’s meek, Mally’s sweet,
Mally’s modest and discreet,



WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 63

Mally’s rare, Mally’s fair,
Mally’s every way complete.

“As I was walking up the street,
A barefit maid I chanced to
meet,
But O, the road was very hard
For that fair maiden’s tender
feet.

“Tt were mair meet that those fine
feet
Were weel laced up in silken

shoon,



And ’twere more fit that she

ROBERT BURNS,

should sit
Within yon chariot, gilt aboon.

“ Her yellow hair, beyond compare

Comes twinkling down her swan-like neck,
And her two eyes, like stars in skies,

Would keep a sinking ship frae wreck.”

The children laughed at that, and asked a dozen ques-
tions at once, as their manner was, and Auntie tried to tell
them, allin the same breath, that “silken shoon ” was Scotch
and meant silk shoes, and that Bobbie Burns, the poet who



64 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

wrote the verses, thought the little maid was so pretty she
ought to have a pair of them to put on her bare feet and
that she ought to have a carriage with a gilt top to ride in,
instead of walking on the hard stones.

“ But did she have it?”

“No, she didn’t.”

“And how could her eyes keep a ship from going down

5
in the water?”

“They couldn’t, any more than two stars could.”

“ Then what made the man say so?”

“@h! to make some poetry! Dear, dear!” cried
Auntie, almost out of breath with trying to answer the
questions of four children at once. ‘“ Now, let me ask you

another of ‘H. H.’s’ questions:

“What did the sparrows do yesterday ?
Nobody knew but the sparrows.

He were too bold who should try to say ;

They have forgotten it all to-day.”

“What dd the sparrows do?” asked all the children in
chorus.

Auntie laughed; “I told you, ‘they have forgotten it all
to-day;’ and I’m sure I never knew, on any day.”

“Well, then, tell another story.”

“Yes, yes; let me think a minute; oh! here’s one, by
Charles Kingsley:



WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 65

“T once had a sweet little doll, dears,
The prettiest doll in the world,
Her cheeks were so red
and so white, dears,
And her hair was so
charmingly curled.
But I lost my poor little
doll, dears, ey
As I played in the heath
one day,
And I cried for her more
than a week, dears,
But I never could find
where she lay.

“JT found my poor little
doll, dears,
As I played in the heath
one day.
They say she is terribly
changed, dears,



For her paint is all

Hist

be ”
washed away, I LOST MY POOR LITTLE DOLL, DEARS.

And her arms trodden off by the cow, dears,
And her hair not the least bit curled ;

Yet for old sake’s sake, she is still, dears,
The prettiest doll in the world.”



66 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

“ That’s a pretty one; tell another, Auntie.”

Auntie drew a long breath. “ Another?” she said.
“Well, here is one by a German poet, named Heinrich
Heine, put into English for us by Mrs. Browning:

“ My child, we were two children,
Small, merry by childhood’s law,

We used to crawl to the hen house
And hide ourselves in the straw.

“ We crowed like cocks, and whenever
The passers near us drew,
Cock-a-doodle !— they thought
‘Twas a real cock that crew



“ The boxes about our courtyard
We carpeted to our mind;

And lived there both together,
Kept house in a noble kind.

“ The neighbor’s old cat often
Came to pay us a visit;

We made her a bow and a curtsy,
Each with a compliment in it.

“ After her health we asked,
Our care and regard to evince;



WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 67

We have made the very same speeches

To many an old cat since.”

“©, Auntie!” said ‘big Edith,’ “ Mabel and I used to
have a play like that with our dolls, in the grove; we had

WILLIAM WORDSWORTH.



lots of box houses — a whole vil-
lage of them.”

“Did you? Tell us about
Titel

“Oh! it would take a long
time to tell about all the things
we did.” :

“Would it? Well, we should
like to hear it, even if it does
make a long story. But, see

there! the sun is coming out:

“The cock is crowing,
The stream is flowing,

The small birds twitter,
The lake doth glitter,
The green field sleeps in the sun.

The oldest and the youngest

Are at work with the strongest.

The cattle are grazing,

Their heads never raising.

There are forty feeding like one.



68 VAL AT: THLE DIAG ON “REY TO ED).

“Like an army defeated
The snow has retreated,
And now doth fare ill
On the top of the bare hill ;
The plough boy is whooping, anon, anon,
There’s joy in the mountains,
There’s life in the fountains,
Small clouds are sailing,
Blue sky prevailing,
The rain is over and gone.”

Gladys slid down from Auntie’s lap, as she finished this
poem — it was written by Wordsworth — and, amid a grand
clapping of hands, all ran for their overshoes and hats and
rushed out on the piazza; for the sun was shining again.
So, Edith’s story was postponed, and Auntie slipped away
to her own room for a little rest.





**COME BACK TO DREAM ON THE RIVER.”’

GEACP A Ey eave
THE DRAGON FLY TEACHES THE CHILDREN A NEW GAME.

66 WEET, sweet, sweet, O, Pan,
Piercing sweet by the river,
The sun on the hill forgot to die,
And the lilies revived, and the dragon fly
Came back to dream on the river.”

The dragon fly met them that day, singing these verses by

Mrs. Browning, to greet them. He was a great rover, he told
69



70 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

them; he flew everywhere, he said, up and down the world,
so that it was not every day that he came where our chil-
dren were playing. Sometimes, they looked for him in vain,
and had to content themselves with their own games without
him. But they were always delighted to see him when he
did come back to them, for he always had something to tell
them ; he knew so many songs, too, and children do love to
hear songs.

“Tl sing you some songs about birds to-day,” he said
to them that morning.

The birds were singing. all around, over their heads,
which made him think of the birds’ songs, I suppose.

“ TH tell one first about the gentle dove,” he said; “how
he sits on a branch and coos lovingly to his little mate while
she sits all the time on the eggs in her nest and keeps them
warm, till the baby doves are hatched out. She gets very
tired sitting still so long, when she would like to stretch her
pretty wings and fly away; but she mustn’t let her eggs get
cold; so she sits there quite still, and only wishes the time
would come when those little birds will be ready to peck
and knock at their shells; then she will help them open a
wide door in their tight little houses and let them out.
Listen! the first story is by Jean Ingelow:

“ Coo, dove, to thy married mate,
She has two warm eggs in her nest;
Tell her the hours are few to wait,



WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 71

E’er life shall dawn on their rest
And thy young shall peck at the shells elate
With a dream of her brooding breast.

“ Coo, dove, for she counts the hours,
Her fair wings ache for flight,

By day the apple has grown in the flowers,
And the moon has grown by the night;

And the white drift settled from hawthorne bowers,
Yet they will not seek the light.

“ T love to peep into all the little nests as I go flying by,
over the trees, and see the mothers sitting patiently there to
keep the eggs warm under their breasts, or else, later on, to
see them flying back and forth with little bugs or bits of
worms in their bills, feeding the little ones that have come,
at last, out of their shells. Sometimes, I fly across the
Atlantic Ocean to the rocky coasts of England and look
into holes in the cliffs up above the high-water mark, but
not too far up for the highest waves to sometimes dash a
little of their salt foam almost into the nests which are there;
and I see birds called sand-martins, because, after they are
hatched, the little ones and the parent birds take their exer-
cise, very naturally, on the sands for awhile; and I can
just see the tops of their tiny black heads; and hear them
chatter about the time when their little ones will all be
hatched, and then how it will soon be time, after that, for



-l
bo

WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

them all to fly away to warmer southern countries, for
winter will be coming.

“ But they would be far away before the first snow fell, in
lovely lands where the hot days end in red sunsets, and the
fireflies come out and flash like little diamonds all through
the night. Here is another song about them, by Jean
Ingelow. Listen to this:

“T passed an island cliff precipitate,

From tiny caves peeped many a sooty poll;
In each, a mother-martin sat elate,

And of the news delivered her small soul.

“ Fantastic chatter! hasty, glad and gay,
Whereof the meaning was not ill to tell:

Gossip, how wags the world with you to-day ?
Gossip, the world wags well, the world wags well.

“ And, hearkening, I was sure their little ones,
Were in the bird talk ; and discourse was made;
Concerning hot sea bights and tropic suns;
For a clear sultriness the tune conveyed.

“ When should the young be fledged and with them hie
Where costly day drops down in crimson light ?—
Fortunate countries of the firefly
Swarm like blue diamonds all the sultry night.



WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 73

“Now come! let us play a bird game! Here is one
made up by the poet Tennyson:

“You be Queen of the wrens;
We'll be birds of a feather;

I'll be King of the Queen of the wrens,
And all in a nest together.”

“Oh! what fun,” and the children jumped up and stood
ready.

“ How do you play it, Mr. Dragon Fly?”

“First, you must count to see who is ‘It. All join
hands in a circle and one stand in the middle.”

“ There aren’t enough,” cried Chester; “Jet’s call Mabel
and Edith.”

The two big girls were on the piazza — Edith swinging
in the hammock and Mabel sitting in a large piazza chair,
doing some fancy work; so little Edith ran after them.
Edith Number Two, we have called her, though she was
really Edith Number Three, for both Ediths were named
after an Aunt Edith who was the real Number One. But
~as Aunt Edith doesn’t come into this story, we will call the
two Ediths who are‘in it, just Number One and Number Two.

“Come, come!” called little Number Two; “the dragon
fly is going to teach us a new game; come and see it.”

So, merely to oblige her, for of course they were much
too big for little children’s plays, the girls came.



74 VLAGUATIE 1EGh3 IDIRAIGOINE JAIL VES JEOULID’.

They all took hold of hands, and they held the dolls in
the circle, too, and Chester being the only “ niece-boy” (as
his sister called him, to distinguish him from all the “ niece-
girls!) was in the middle. Only boyhood among a lot of
little girl cousins has some advantages.

Then the dragon fly began again.

“You be Queen of the wrens ” —and here he had to
stop and explain what kind of a bird a wren is. “It is a
little bit of a bird,” he said; “one of the smallest birds there
is, but a jolly, plucky little fellow notwithstanding ; he hops
about in his dark gray Quaker coat and vest of lightest
gray and a cinnamon brown cap on the top of his lively
little head, which head turns quickly from side to side to
see whatever is going on, and he doesn’t appear to be in the
least afraid of the other bigger birds, even of bold Robin
Redbreast. But now listen, and I will teach you something
new to count by; I found it in Shakspere’s play of Macbeth.

“ Double, double, toil and trouble ;
Fire burn; and caldron bubble.
Black spirits and white,
Red spirits and gray,
Mingle, mingle, mingle,
You that mingle may.
By the pricking of my thumbs
Something wicked this way comes ;
Open locks! whoever knocks.”





QUEEN MABEL AND HER CUURTIERS,







VAHAE THE DRAGON ELEY TOLD: 17

It might seem to some people a little irreverent, to put
the rhymes of the immortal Shakspere to such a simple use
as a counting spell to be rattled off by youngsters, instead
of a spell to provoke solemn discussions among learned
professors in spectacles ; but the children did not in the
least mind using them in play ; so Chester said them after
the dragon fly; and, at each word he spoke, he pointed his
finger to each one, dolls and all, around the circle. When
he came to the last word, “knocks,” his finger was pointing
to Edith Number One.

“ Now,” said the dragon fly, “the one whom the word
‘knocks’ comes to, must start and run around the circle,
and the one who was counting must run after her to see
which can first reach the place she leaves empty; they
must both run around in the same direction; the one that
reaches the space last must be ‘It’ in a game of ‘I spy’ or
tag, or whatever you choose — blind-man’s-buff if you like —
for one round. Then you come back and count over again
in the same way for another ‘It.’ If at the end of a game a
little boy and little girl have not been ‘It’ once — that is,
have not been last in reaching the space in the circle, they
are King and Queen of the wrens; and then they must be
crowned with wreaths of oak leaves or of flowers; and a
scepter put in their hands, made of a long branch of golden
rod or a mullien stalk, or whatever you can find that will
look like a golden, or jewel-tipped scepter. After that, all
the other children must obey their commands for the space



78 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

of ten minutes, and they can hold a game of forfeits and
impose tasks upon those who were ‘It’ the most, or do
whatever else they like. And everybody does whatever he
is told to do, according to the pleasing fiction that ‘ birds in
their little nests agree.’ ”

So they played the game, and Mabel was the only one
who wasn't caught at all. They made her a crown of oak
leaves, pinning them together with little twigs; and she took
a long stick and tied a bunch of red geraniums on the end
of it and put another bunch in the front of her crown, and
then they all marched after her to the woods, Mabel looking
and walking as much like a queen as she could; there they
made a throne for her of a stump with a red shawl spread
down before it, and Queen Mabel held her court and made
her little courtiers do all the funny and ridiculous things she
could think of ; Chester had to turn somersaults, and the lit-
tle girls had to dance jigs, and the dragon fly flew back and
forth over their heads and “laughed to see such fine sport.”

After the play was ended the dragon fly asked them all
to sit down on the stumps, around them. Then he said he
would give them a lecture on birds, and tell them all he
knew about the different kinds and how they built their
nests, and where they lived in Winter and where in Summer,
and what they ate, and all about them.

So they all-sat very still, and the dragon fly began. As
usual, he started with a quotation. It was from “ The Vision
of Sir Launfal,” by our American poet, Lowell.



WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 79
“Ladies and gentlemen,” said the dragon fly:

« The little bird. sits at his door in the sun
A-tilt like a blossom among the leaves
And lets his illumined being o’errun
With the deluge of summer it receives;
His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings
And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings ;
He sings to the wide world and she to her nest.
In the nice ear of Nature, which song is the best 2”

After this introduction, the
dragon fly continued, “I will take
first my friend the little titmouse.
He is one of the few birds: that
isn’t afraid of snow and cold
weather, but will stay up North,
sometimes, even through the Win-
ter. One cold day, I was flying
through the woods when the trees
were all bare of leaves and the
ground was hard and frozen, so



you wouldn’t suppose a little bird

JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL.

could find a bug or a worm to eat

anywhere. (I don’t often fly about in cold days myself, but
I did at that time), when—pop! all of a sudden there
piped, as Ralph Waldo Emerson says:



80 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

“ A tiny voice hard by,

Gay and polite a cheerful cry:

Chic, chic-a-dee-dee! saucy note

Out of sound heart and merry throat,

As if it said, ‘ Good day, good sir!

Fine afternoon, old passenger!

Happy to meet you in these places

Where January brings few faces.’’







RALPH WALDO EMERSON.

o

Then the dragon fly went on
to talk about the great advan-
tages in meeting the hardships
and difficulties of life with cour-
age and cheerfulness after the
example of the cheery titmouse.

But his audience soon grew
restless ; they didn’t really want
to listen to a lecture, even from
the dragon fly. They only
wished to listen to stories, sto-
ries forever.

“Very well, then,” said the
Dragon Fly; “but you won't

know half as much as little Hiawatha did.”
“Who was Hiawatha?” they asked.
“ He was only a little Indian boy. Longfellow told his

story in a celebrated poem. He lived in a tent called a













‘¢yry FRIEND THE LITTLE TITMOUSE.”











WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 83

wigwam, far off in the midst of great woods, but he used to
sit at the door of his father’s tent, and listen and watch and
notice everything that passed in the woods; until he had
found out a great deal about the birds and the bugs and the

animals, just by sitting still and watching them, so patiently.

« At the door on summer evenings

Sat the little Hiawatha ;

Heard the whispering of the pine trees,
Heard the lapping of the waters,



Sounds of music, words of wonder ;
‘Minne-wawa!’ said the pine trees,
‘Mudway-aushka !’ said the water.
Saw the firefly, Wah-wah-taysee,
Flitting through the dusk of evening,
With the twinkle of its candle
Lighting up the brakes and bushes.

«« Wah-wah-taysee, little firefly,
Little flitting, white-fire insect,



84 AGGIE dE IGG IDYR ACHOINE JO ILVE = [MONE ID)

Little, dancing, white-fire creature,
Light me with your little candle,
‘E’er upon my bed I lay me,

E’er in sleep I close my eyelids!’

“Then the little Hiawatha

Learned of every bird its language,
Learned their names and all their secrets,
How they built their nests in Summer,
Where they hid themselves in Winter.

“ Of all beasts he learned their language,
Learned their names and all their secrets,
How the beavers built their lodges,
Where the squirrels hid their acorns,
How the reindeer ran so swiftly,

Why the rabbit was so timid,

Talked with them whene’er he met them,
Called them ‘ Hiawatha’s Brothers.’ ”

“QO, he was ’mart!” remarked little Edith, with utmost
nonchalance, not thinking it worth her while to try at all to
imitate his example. “Please tell another ’tory, Mister
Dragon Fly.”

“Twill tell you about one other poor little bird I saw
once. I was flying around when I happened to see a cage
hung out of a window, and in it was a little wild-wood bird.



WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 85

He wasn’t a canary; canaries have been used to living in
cages so long that maybe they don’t mind it now; it is
to be hoped they don’t. But this
little bird was used to living in
the woods and flying from tree
to tree, rocking on the branches
in the wind, and soaring far up
into the sky, whenever he wanted
to; so I knew he couldn’t be
happy in that cage, where he
could only hop up and down from
one perch to another, and I felt
very sorry for him. Several other



days, when I flew by, I saw him
there; but one day, when I SES CAGE NG TEE END ON.
passed, I looked and saw that the cage was empty. It was
all twined and hung with green leaves, and the door was
open, in hopes that Birdie would fly back, and in it, again,
but he never did. O, no! he was too happy to be free to fly
as he pleased through the bright summer air. Here isa
song about it, written by Mrs. Hemans, a celebrated English
poet:

“ Return, return, my bird ;

I have dressed thy cage with flowers ;
Tis lovely as a violet bank

In the heart of forest bowers.



86 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

“Tam free! I am free! I return no more;

The weary time of the cage is o’er;

Through the rolling clouds I can soar on high;

The sky is around me, the blue, bright sky |



FELICIA DOROTHEA HEMANS.

“The hills lie beneath me,
spread far and clear,

With their glowing heath flow-
ers and bounding deer.

I see the waves flash on the
sunny shore —

Iam free! I am free! I return

no more.

“My home is high amidst rock-
ing trees ;
My kindred things are the star

and the breeze,

And the ‘fount unchecked in its lovely play,

And the odors that wander afar away.”

And when the dragon fly finished that song, he spread

his own four beautiful wings and flew away, too.

That afternoon the children went with their nurses for a

long ramble through the fields. They saw the lambs play-

ing about on the grass; and the cows, too, far over at the
other end of the field; they saw bumble bees and butterflies



WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 87

sucking honey out of the clover blossoms; and they pulled
their hands full of wild flowers and grasses; and Chester
stuffed his pockets full of plenty of other queer things, such
as are treasures to boys. They saw dragon flies, too; but
they thought none of them could have been their dragon fly,
because not one of them stopped to speak to them that
afternoon.

“ Auntie,” said Chester that evening, when his auntie
came to kiss him good- By
night, after he was in
bed, “ did anybody ever
know as much as the
dragon fly said Hiawatha
did?”

“Yes, dear; there

have been men who -




have looked and watched

CONS
e \ 7 5

a NR) SS =

Wy:
| EE

and studied so carefully es
the wonderful things that are all “ya
around us, that they have come to

know more about animals and flow-

ers, and even about the stones and

the dirt, than Hiawatha did. These men who look and look
and watch and study until they learn so much about all these
things are called scientists, or knowers.. Then, there are the
poets, or seers; they see the loveliness of so many, many
things that other people don’t notice, and they love them



88 WHAT THE DRAGON BEY TOLD.

so, because they are so beautiful that they seem to see what
all these lovely things mean, when other people don’t stop
to think whether they mean anything or not. To the
knowers and the seers, the whole world is like a great
picture book spread open before them, full of wonderful
stories and lovely songs of the great things God has done
and the beautiful things He has made. This is what one of
our own poets has written about one of the most famous
scientists. This knower’s name was Louis Agassiz; he was
born in Switzerland, but he lived here in America. When
Agassiz was fifty years old, Longfellow wrote these verses
and sent them to him on his birthday:

“It was fifty years ago
In the pleasant month of May,
In the beautiful Pays de Vaud
A child in its cradle lay.

“ And Nature, the old nurse, took
The child upon her knee,

Saying: ‘Here is a story book
Thy Father has written for thee.’

“ And he wandered away and away
With Nature, the dear old nurse,

Who sang to him, night and day,
The rhymes of the universe.



WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

“ And whenever the way seemed long,
Or his heart began to fail,

She would sing a more wonderful song,
Or tell a more marvellous tale.

“Oh! how I should like to have you watch and notice
things as little Hiawatha did, so that, when you grow to be

a man, you might be either a
scientist, like Agassiz, or a poet,
like Longfellow; or, at least,
know enough and care enough to
read and enjoy what the scientists
and poets write, so that you
would be something of a seer
and a knower; then, you would
not go through God’s wonderful
world all your life with your

eyes tight shut, or as if you were



a blind man. But now I will
repeat another poem, by Mrs.
Hemans and then you must go to sleep:

HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW.

“ Hast thou been in the woods with the honey bee,
Hast thou been with the lamb, in the pastures free,
With the hare through the copses and dingles wild,
With the butterfly over the heath, fair child?

Yes, the light fall of thy bounding feet,



90 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

Hath not startled the wren from her mossy seat,
Yet hast thou ranged the green forest dells,
And brought back a treasure of buds and bells.







alia

iN |

i
iil



i

\
il

“WITH THE BUTTERFLIES.”

“QO, happy child! in thy fawn-like glee,
What is remembrance or thought to thee ?
Yet be thy portion the bliss to look,

With a reverent spirit, through Nature’s book.



VAHAT EB DRAGONS FLY, OED: 91

By fount, by forest, by river’s line,

To trace the paths of a love divine ;

To read its deep meanings, to see and hear
God in earth’s garden — and not to fear !—

“Now good-night, darling!” And, after twenty hugs and
kisses, auntie left the little boy to his sleep.





CHAPTER VI.
THE DRAGON FLY’S LONG STORY.

66 HITHER away, thou little careless rover
With Roger true?
Whither away, across yon bents and clover
Wet, wet with dew ?
‘Roger here! Roger dear,
Roger come!’ he cried.”

So sang the dragon fly, adapting one of Jean Ingelow’s
songs to suit the occasion.

“Having a good time this morning? What are you
after?” he asked, when he had
finished this song, cocking his
pretty little head to one side
and flying after Chester, who
was romping over the lawn
with Grouse, the handsome red
Setter.

“] LIKE THE GRAY-HAIRED ONES.” “QO, nothing!” answered
Chester; “ only picking dandelions. I like the gray-haired
dandelions.” He held up one that had gone to seed, and, to

be sure, the golden locks on the little flower head had all
92





WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD, 93

turned gray with age. “But I’d rather stop and hear
another song, if you will please sing one, Mr. Dragon Fy.
Wouldn’t you, Edith?” for his little sister had skipped
down with her jumping rope and joined them.

“ Sure, never yet was antelope
Could skip so lightly by,

Stand off, or else my skipping-rope
Will hit you in the eye.

How lightly whirls the skipping-rope,
How fairy-like you fly.”

Thus, eying Edith’s jump-rope, he quoted from Tenny-
son; then, in his ever-obliging manner, he immediately
began to sing another of his favorite Jean Ingelow songs:

“ Piping, fluting, bees are humming,
April’s here and Summer's coming,
Don’t forget us when you walk a man with men in pride
and joy,
Think on us in alleys shady, when you step a graceful lady,
For no fairer day have we to hope for, little girl and boy.

“ Laugh and play, O, lisping waters,
Lull our downy sons and daughters,
Come, O, wind, and rock their leafy cradle in thy wander-
ings coy;



94 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

When they wake we'll end the measure
With a wild, sweet cry of pleasure,
And a ‘hey down derry, let’s be merry! little al and
boy | >»)

“Oh! I don’t like that one very much,” said Edith, with
the outspokenness belonging to the age of five.

“Well, my dear, perhaps you will like this better,” said
the dragon fly, anxious to please. “ This is by Jean

Ingelow, too:

“Old Albion sat on a crag of late
And sung out: ‘Ahoy! ahoy!

Long life. to the captain, good luck to the mate,
And this to my sailor boy!

Come over, come home,

Through the salt sea foam

”

My sailor, my sailor boy.’

“ Who is ‘Old Albion,’ asked Chester ; “is ita man ora
woman ?”

“Neither, my child,” said the dragon fly; “it is a personi-
fication.”

“Oh!” said Chester.

“It means ‘Old England,’ ” the dragon fly explained.

“ Did he come home, her sailor boy.” asked Edith.



VA Ae BHE ND RAG ON SEL TOLD: 95



“MY SAILOR, MY SAILOR Boy !”’

“ Well, I don’t know; I never heard whether he did or
not; but Old England’s sons are apt to think of their
mother when they are far away from her, and like to come
back to her when they can. Here is what one of the
noblest of all her sons, Robert Browning, once sang, when

he was away from home:



96 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

“Oh! to be in England

Now that April’s there,

While the chaffinch sings on the
orchard bough

In England now.

And, after April, when May
follows,

And the whitethroat builds, and
all the swallows!

“ And the wise thrush, he sings

each song twice over,



Lest you should think he never

ROBERT RROWNING.

could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And, though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children’s dower.

“But this great poet did not generally sing for children,
I must admit; so you must wait until you are older to read
some more of his grand poems. He did write one, though,
that most of the children know. It is called the Pied Piper
of Hamelin. It’s long; but I don’t think it would tire you,
though my voice might give out before I got through.”

“Tell it to us,” said Chester; so the dragon fly repeated
the queer old story, in Browning’s wonderful verse:



WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 97

“ Hamelin Town’s in Brunswick,
By famous Hanover city ;
The river Weser deep and wide
Washes its walls on the southern side;
A pleasanter spot you never spied ;
But, when begins my ditty,
Almost five hundred years ago,
To see the townsfolk suffer so
From vermin, was a pity.

“ Rats !
They fought the dogs and killed the cats,
And bit the babies in their cradles,
And ate the cheeses out of the vats,
And licked the soup from the cook’s own ladles,
Split open the kegs of salted sprats,
Made nests inside men’s Sunday hats,
And even spoiled the women’s chats,
By drowning their speaking
With shrieking and squeaking
In fifty different sharps and flats.

“ At last the people in a body

To the Town-hall came flocking :
‘Tis clear,’ cried they, ‘our Mayor’s.a noddy:
_ And as for our Corporation — shocking,

To think we buy gowns lined with ermine



98

WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

For dolts that can’t or won't determine
What’s best to rid us of our vermin!
You hope, because you're old and obese,
To find, in the furry civic robe, ease !
Rouse up, Sirs! Give your brains a racking
To find the remedy we’re lacking ;
Or, sure as fate, we'll send you packing !’
At this the Mayor and Corporation
Quaked with a mighty consternation.

“ An hour they sat in council,
At length the Mayor broke silence :
‘For a guilder I'd my ermine gown sell ;
I wish I were a mile hence!
It’s easy to bid one rack one’s brain —
I’m sure my poor head aches again,
I’ve scratched it so, and all in vain.
Oh for a trap, a trap, a trap |,
Just as he said this, what should hap
At the chamber door, but a gentle tap?
‘ Bless us,’ cried the Mayor, ‘what’s that?
Anything like the sound of a rat
Makes my heart go pit-a-pat !

“«Come in!’ the Mayor cried, looking bigger;
And in did come the strangest figure !
His queer long coat from heel to head



Full Text









pie

2
a
5
3
—Q
o
B



iia





THEY ALL MARCHED AFTER HER THROUGH THE WOODS.”’

See page 78.
WHAT THE DRAGON FLY

TOLD THE CHILDREN

BY
FRANCES BELL COURSEN.

Ldlustrations by Amy Brooks

BOSTON
LOTHROP PUBLISHING COMPANY
COPYRIGHT, 1896,
BY
LOTHROP PUBLISHING COMPANY.

All rights reserved.
TO HER
LITTLE NIECES AND NEPHEWS
FROM
AUNT FRANCES
PINE ENG is

TO THE CHILDREN’S GROWN-UP FRIENDS.





[EARLY all children are poetic.

They live near to the heart of things
in the early spring-tide of life when ‘‘ birds and
buds and they are happy peers.”’

They have also a natural love of rhyme and
rhythm and the melody of verse. Mother Goose
ministers to this need of their natures for the
first two or three years of life; but, immediately

yom t after that, comes, generally, nothing in the way
of poetry. Why should not the God-given instinct be further culti-
vated by reading to them at such an age, selections from the poets,
culling here and there, where in simple, lovely words the great
singers have sung simple, lovely thoughts fit for children’s ears, and
likely to delight their imaginations ? There is, in later years, an
added charm to verses that have associations running back through
a lifetime, even to nursery days.

It would indeed be well to have the names of our greatest poets
familiar household words even to the children. In the belief that
such a thing could be, and should be, and that the children would
enjoy, and be greatly benefited by such reading, this little book of

selected bits from the poets is offered.
PREFACE.

Its design will be happily accomplished if it shall assist children
to an early love for real poetry.

It is not a book to be read through in one or two sittings; any
child would tire of poetry in such quantities as that. It is meant to
lie on the table, ready to be picked up when the children beg
mamma or Auntie to read to them ‘‘just a little bit.” It is hoped,
too, that the older children will love to glance in it, once and again
and often; and that all of them will come to have their favorite
poems and poets, to which they will return with increasing apprecia-
tion and affection.

Though a slight thread of continuous narrative runs through the
book, by which to hold the attention of the youngest readers, itis
only a thread on which to string the poems; the poetry itself is the
bait by which we hope to catch the children.

The bits of decorative illustration scattered through the text will,
itis believed, increase interest by attracting the eye; while the por-
traits of the poets quoted from in the book may result in acquainting
children, early in life, with the faces of those who, later, should be-
come even as familiar friends.

Thanks are due to Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Roberts
Brothers and D. Appleton & Co., for their courtesy in allowing the
use of extracts from their publications. Ey oR:


CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I.

HOW THE CHILDREN CAME TO EDGEHURST

CHAPTER II.

WHERE THE DRAGON FLY FOUND THEM .

CHAPTER III.

UNDER THE OAK-TREES

CHAPTER IV.

AUNTIE’S SONGS ON A RAINY DAY .

CHAPTER V.

THE DRAGON FLY TEACHES THE CHILDREN A NEW GAME

CHAPTER VI.

THE DRAGON FLY’S LONG STORY

CHAPTER VII.

GLADYS HAS A BIRTHDAY

CHAPTER VIII.

PAPA QUOTES POETRY

CHAPTER IX.

A SUNDAY AT EDGEHURST

CHAPTER X.

‘<¢GoOD-BY, MR. DRAGON FLY!”

I2

25

51

69

92

133

139)
WHAT THk DRAGON FEY
LOLD Ihr Call Dini

CISUAQINEIS, Ik,

HOW THE CHILDREN CAME TO EDGEHURST.

NCE upon a time there were six friendly






oy, little cousins:

we

Five of them were girls; so there
was only one boy. Iam sorry there
was not one other boy among them;
because two boys could have had such good
times together ; but there was, really, only one.

Two of the girls were quite big, so that
there were only four truly little ones to whom the dragon
fly told all the wonderful things I am going to tell you.

These six children, although they were cousins, did not
all live together in the same place. Two of them— the
‘ oldest girls —lived on a far-away Western prairie. When
they came East to visit Grandpa and Grandma and Auntie,
they were called “our little prairie flowers” by their fond
relatives. Their real names were Mabel and Edith, and
they were inclined to laugh at that fancy name.

Chester and Edith lived in a large, handsome city. At
9
10 VWAHATE Gils DRAGON, (hye hO-L Dr

Grandpa’s, they called that city “out West ”. but when
Mabel and Edith were at home, they were so much farther
West, they called the city in which Chester and Edith lived
“back East.” Of course, when different people say such
different things about it, I can’t tell you where it really was.

Marion and Gladys lived in a charming country village
not far from Grandpa’s — or “ Bampa’s house,” as they called
it. And “ Bampa’s house,” or Edgehurst, where all these
children came together and saw each other was in the coun-
try, too, not a hundred miles from New York.

Now I must tell you how old the children were. Gladys,
the baby, was two, Marion was four, Edith Number Two, was
just five, and Chester, the only boy, was six. Then, there
were the two Western cousins; Mabel was thirteen, a very
“big girl,” the little ones thought, and she thought so, too;
Edith Number One was ten, but she was quite small for her
age and didn’t look more than eight. Nevertheless, she
generally preferred the company of her sister and her sister's

’

and her own older friends to that of “the babies,” as they
called the four little ones.

One day all the children and all their papas and mam-
mas, came to “ Bampa’s house”; and there they had a big
dinner party.

The table was so long that it reached almost into the
hall. Grandma and Grandpa looked quite far apart as they
sat at either end, with all the uncles and aunts and cousins

between. The children all behaved very well at that party ;
WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 11

they sat still and didn’t say much, and were very happy,
even though they couldn’t understand what the grown-up
people were talking and laughing about.

But they all understood, except perhaps Baby Glay, when
Chester lifted up his voice and made the first remark that
had been heard from the children by the whole company
through all that long dinner.

Grandma was cutting the ice cream “brick’”’; it was yet
a long way from Chester’s turn and the cream was almost
all gone; he didn’t see that one of the maids was bringing
on another form.

“©, there won’t be enough!” he cried in dismay, but
even more in astonishment; for such a thing as “not
enough” had never yet happened at Grandpa’s. Even then,
the children didn’t understand why the grown people laughed.
They seldom did exactly understand just why grown people
laughed.

After the day of the big dinner party, some of the uncles
and aunts went home; but all the children staid through
that whole beautiful summer. In those sunshiny days a
great many wonderful things happened to them, and, of
some of these, I am going to tell you.

But, if it ever happened that the four little children
wanted the same toy at the same instant and quarrelled
over it, 1 am not going to tell about that; I don’t think
quarrelling ever sounds pleasant, do you? And in this
book I want only pleasant things.


THE TABLE UNDER THE TREE.

CEPA A Reale
WHERE THE DRAGON FLY FOUND THEM.

[’ was the morning after the dinner party. The nurses
took Chester, Edith, Marion and Gladys out into the
woods behind the house. There were a number of pretty,
winding paths cut through the underbrush, and these paths

all led to a spot which was cleared, under a spreading tree.
12
WAHAIL JEIGUE IDIRAGOIN, IFILYC WOULID » 18

Around the trunk of the tree a low table had been built ;
for the children were going to have picnics and play store
and do all manner of delightful things around that table.

To begin with, the little girls took their dollies out of
their baby carriages and put them on the table, leaning
them up against the trunk of the tree; then they began to
unpack and set out their china dishes, thinking they would
have a party. But, you see, Chester was a boy and did not
care as much as the girls about dolls’ parties. He thought it
would be much better fun to call the four sides of the table
four counters and play store.

I don’t know how they would have settled the matter
if a wonderful thing had not made them forget all about
what they had been planning. A slender blue dragon fly
came sailing up to the tree on his gauzy wings. Poising in
the air he looked at the four little children with his tiny
bright eyes. He seemed to like them; for he suddenly
began to sing, what they knew to be, when they were grown
up, Amiens’s song in Shakspere’s play of As You Like It:

“ Under the Greenwood tree
Who loves to lie with me,

And tune his merry note
Unto the sweet bird’s throat ?

Come hither, come hither, come hither:
Here shall he see no enemy

But winter and rough weather.”
14 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

The children stopped talking and listened in amazement
all but the baby. She did not think it any more surpris-
ing that a little :



















blue dragon fly
should sing
Shakspere’s
poetry, than
that white and
yellow and pink
and blue flow-
ers (“pitty fol-
lies,” she called
them), should
spring up out
of the brown :
earth at her MY i

Tp Afsees
atta iy
es

Ein
*



a4 2| t
hesriat

ee)





a AMIENS SINGING ‘‘ UNDER THE GREENWOOD TREE,’’ IN SHAKSPERE’S PLAY,
VATA iE 2D) KA GONE sh ye 1eO i: 15

feet; nor half so wonderful as that the great trees should
grow up “so big” and wave their green leaves in the bright,
glorious sunshine far, far up above her head.

“Well,” said the dragon fly when he had finished sing-
ing, “do you like that song?”

“Yes,” said Chester, who, being a boy, of course wasn’t
afraid of anything and certainly not of a tiny dragon fly —
even if it did sing, as dragon flies generally do not; “do
you know any more?”

“ Yes, plenty of them,” said the dragon fly.

“Why, that’s pretty queer,’ Chester went on; for the
little girlies just looked and listened and never said a word.
Usually, they say, girls do most of the talking; but perhaps
not when they are making their first acquaintance with a
talking dragon fly.

“ How do you come to know songs; and why do you sing
to us?” questioned the boy.

“O, Iknow them as I know so many, many things; because
I fly all over the world and see and hear everything. Ising
to you, because, once ’— here the dragon fly wheeled around,
and the shining rainbow colors in his wings glistened in the
sunlight; then he stopped and began to sing again:

“ Piping down the valleys wild,
Piping songs of pleasant glee,
On a cloud I saw a child,
And he, laughing, said to me:
16 VOLATILE Me DIREAG OfNae ny) MO aD,


















“Pipe a song about a lamb!’

So I piped with merry cheer.
‘Piper, pipe that song again ;’

So I piped: he laughed to hear.

“«Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe ;
Sing thy songs of happy cheer !’
So I sang the same again,
While he wept with joy to hear.

«¢ Piper, sit thee down and write

<=> In a book that all may read.’

a So he vanished from my sight,
And I plucked a hollow reed;




“ And I made a rural pen,
And I stained the water clear,

And I wrote my happy songs

Every child may joy to hear.”


WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 17

“A queer old poet named William Blake wrote that song,”
said the dragon fly. “ The children seem to like my songs,”
he continued, “so I go flying about and singing them to good
little boys and girls, like you.”

“Oh! that’s nice,” exclaimed
Edith and Marion together, find-
ing their tongues at last. “Will
you sing us some more, Mr.
Dragon Fly? And will you
come every day and sing to us?”

“Maybe not every day,” an-
swered the dragon fly. “ But
what’s the matter with to-day?”
he asked. “It makes me think
of a verse by a poet called ‘H.



H.’ —her real name was Helen

WILLIAM BLAKE.

Hunt Jackson. Do you know,
I think it just fits to-day.” And the dragon fly sang:

“ Was there ever a day like to-day
So clear, so shining, so tender?

The old cry out; and the children say,

With a laugh aside that’s always the way

With the old in Spring, as long as they stay
They find in it a greater splendor

When the birds fly past, and the chimes ring fast

And the long Spring shadows sweet shadow cast.”
18 VAHAth erly DRAGON OE Yee TOUS.

“There! how do you like that?” asked the dragon fly.
“Tl tell you what; I’ll come and see you again, and maybe
I'll tell you about some of the things I see when I am fly-
ing around the world, if you'll be good.”

“Yes, we did been dood,” said little Edith eagerly, while
Marion smiled and said nothing.

d

“But I can’t stay long to-day,” the dragon. fly said



THE LITTLE NEST-BUILDER.

briskly, fluttering his wings as if he were in a great hurry to

be off.

“O, please sing just one more, good Mr. Dragon Fly,”
came in an imploring chorus of three.
“ Pease sing one more, dood Mitter Dagger F’y,” echoed
the baby.
“Just one, then,’ consented the dragon fly. “Did you
5 / 7
ever think about how many little live things there are in the

woods, besides yourselves ?”


“WAS THERE EVER A DAY LIKE TO-DAY.”

VLIGLATE ANGUS IDR AKGOIN) IPILYE IFOILID) 21

No, the children had never thought about that.

“Well, I do,” he said; “because I can fly up high and
down low and see them all. Don’t you know that up in
these trees there are cunning little nests? They are made
of bits of sticks, and are lined soft, inside, with hairs that
have dropped out of the horses’ tails, or, perhaps, with feath-

ers the chickens have dropped around their yard, or with




iy fy Fy Ne
Ne M/A a (\ i SSS

‘(WHERE THE WILD FLOWERS BLOSSOM.”

7

whatever soft things the mother-bird can find; and, don’t
you know that, after she has sat for weeks on her little
speckled eggs, there will be three, or perhaps five, little
birds in each nest? And—why! look here at the edge of
the bushes in the grass; don’t you see the little wild flowers
blossoming? They’re all alive, though they don’t know as
22 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

much as you do. And didn’t you see the tall white lilies in
the garden, before you came in here? One thing I am
sure you did see — the strawberries tucked away under their
green leaves and getting red and ripe in the strawberry bed?
Here’s a song about them by a poet named Jean Ingelow.
You can all learn it and say it to your auntie when you go
into the house. She’ll like to hear it, I’m sure!

“ OQ, so many, many, many
Little homes above my head !
O, so many, many, many
Dancing blossoms round me spread!

“ OQ, so many, many, many
Lilies bending stately heads !

And so many, many, many
Strawberries ripened on their beds!”

As soon as he had sung this song that was written by
Jean Ingelow, Mr. Dragon Fly flew away; so the children
said it over and over while they went on with their play.
And when they were called into the house to wash their
hands and get ready for dinner, they all rushed up to Auntie
the very first thing, and shouted it out to her. To be
sure the dragon fly was right, and Auntie was very much
pleased.

They told her, too, about William Blake’s poem, and
WeAT. SE DRAGON ELEY SOD. 28

Auntie told them it was in a funny little book printed long
ago, called “Songs of Innocence.” She told them what
a hard time poor Blake had, trying to get his book printed ;

ee ae AS

; tp Pe pA Aceh Bees DES f
heat cain gon gst estat deel LAER,

re saw acnild rN

haliindlngan me « a a

= Les ea song about a. ei
; i ey) pip € (ih Sey Ay : gee
ef Tis a nate = :

HS a

ea dhe wept to

slate

niy happy: songs.
pen jp oka



THE WAY THE PAGE LOOKED IN THE OLD COPY OF BLAKE’S “SONGS
OF INNOCENCE’? THAT AUNTIE FOUND.

and, she said, she thought there was a copy of that little old
book in Grandpa’s house. The children begged her to find
24 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

it; so she hunted until she did and on the other page of this
book you can see the way the page of that looked, on which
was the song that the dragon fly sung.

But, all you little boys and girls who are reading this book
in which I have written down the songs the dragon fly sung
and the stories he told, and all of you whose mammas or
aunties are reading it to you because you are not yet big
enough to read, can learn all of the songs yourselves, and
then you can please papa or anyone else whom you love,
by saying them.




‘0 CHANTICLEER! YOUR CLARION BLOW.”?

(CaCI PINE AR IONE

UNDER THE OAK—TREES.

WIND came up out of the sea
And said, “ O, mists, make room for me.’

It hurried landward far away
Crying, “ Awake! it is the day
It said unto the forests, “ Shout !

Hang all your leafy banners out.”
25

tages

>
26 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

It touched the wood-bird’s folded wing
And said, “ O, bird, awake and sing,”
And o’er the farms, “ O, chanticleer !
Your clarion blow, the day is near.”

But all this that Longfellow tells us, in his poem about
“daybreak,” of course happened before the children were
awake. In their little beds they lay with their eyes shut,
fast asleep; while the mists and the breezes blew over sea
and land, and the leaves on all the trees shook themselves
awake, and the flowers opened, and the birdies lifted their
heads in their little nests and began to chirp and then to
sing, all of them together, and the roosters in the barnyard
crowed aloud, they are what Longfellow called “chanticleer,”
you know, and the sun sailed high up in the blue sky. And,
at last, when the children stretched their little arms up over
their heads and opened their blue eyes and looked out of
the window, the sun was shining and everything was awake.

It didn’t take them long, after that, to climb out of their
cribs and scamper about in bare white feet, till they were
caught up in somebody’s arms and the little feet hidden
away in slippers; then they had their baths and were dressed.

Edith wore a cambric that had gay little flowers all over
it; Marion had a blue-and-white gingham, and Gladys a pink
one. Chester had on just his “play suit.” It doesn’t mat-
ter much about boy’s clothes, you know; they don’t care as
much about them as girls do about their pretty dresses and
WHAT THE DRAGON, FLY Ob Dp. 27

“flower hats” and all that. Why, when Edith was only
three, she was much distressed, once, because her auntie
wished her, on a very warm afternoon, to play around
upstairs for a little while without any dress on.

“Den I'll look like a fwight, won’t I?” she asked with
great, appealing eyes, because she could not bear to forego
the pretty dress. ;

After the dressing, came breakfast ; and, while the chil-
dren were eating their hominy and milk, they were so busy
they quite forgot to wonder what the dragon fly would tell
them that morning.

But when they, and their carts and spades, their dolls
and baby wagons all tumbled down the piazza steps to-
gether, ready for a day of fun, there, the very first thing, was
their lively little friend waiting for them, humming and buz-
zing away over the flowers. He seemed to be singing to
himself ; but he flew straight over the grass to a great shady
spot on the lawn under some oaks, where the children ran
shouting after him.

Under the trees, there, he seemed to be singing this
song, which he afterwards told them was written by an
English poet named Charles Kingsley:

“T cannot tell what you say, green leaves,
I cannot tell what you say;

But I know that there is a spirit in you
And a word in you this day,
28 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.




“T cannot tell what you say,
rosy rocks,
I cannot tell what you say,
But I know that there is a
spirit in you,

And a word in you this day.

“JT cannot tell what you say;
brown streams,
I cannot tell what you say;
But I know that in you a spirit doth live,
And a word doth speak this day.”

“Why! don’t you know what they say, Mr. Dragon Fly?”
asked Edith, much astonished; she supposed, of course, he
knew it all.

“No, I don’t know exactly what it is they are saying;
but I think it sounds like something very pleasant, don’t
you?” he replied, good-naturedly. “ But, see here, do you
VARA aie. DRAG ON RLY. OED: 29

know which of these big trees, right near you, is an oak,
and which is a maple?”

Now

“You don’t! why, you or anybody can know that, even if
you don’t know what the leaves are saying to each other
when they rustle softly in the breeze. See; this darker,
larger leaf, with deep scallops along the edge, belongs to an
oak tree; this light-green one, cut out in three jagged-edged
points, is a maple leaf. Every little girl should know an
oak tree from a maple tree; so take a good look.”

“Yes,” said Edith.

“ Say ‘thank you,’ Edith,” said Chester, who thought it
was very polite in the dragon fly to take the trouble to
explain to them about the leaves of different trees. Then
he asked: “What is that tree over there with a long stem
and leaves growing opposite each other all the way down?”

“That is a black walnut,” explained the dragon fly.
“Next Autumn there will be plenty of nuts on that tree. The
squirrels know it and they will be after them; but I think
they will leave some to fall on the ground for you to pick
up. See; its leaf looks something like those of the locust
trees in the little clump yonder on the edge of the woods.
This tree right here, with a small oval leaf,’ went on the
dragon fly,“ is a beech. It will have little bits of beech-
nuts on it, which the squirrels like, too. Do you see the
leaves have creases that look as if they had been folded up
tight, as you might fold and crease a piece of tissue paper?
30 WHAE HE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

Well, they have been creased. In the Spring, each leaf
was rolled up in a fine wisp and when the sun first
unfolded them they looked very crinkled and creased,
indeed.”

“ How did the sun unfold them?” asked Chester.

“ He didn’t come right down to the tree and do it with
his hands,” laughed the dragon fly; “I don’t suppose he
has any hands; but he shone on them till they felt so warm
and comfortable they just unrolled themselves.”

“Won't you sing us a song, Mr. Dragon Fly?” asked
Marion.

“Yes, my dear; here is a pretty one that you will like,
I think. It is by a man named Thomas Westwood, and
tells about a little girl,’ and the dragon fly repeated this
song-story about Little Bell:

“ Piped the blackbird on the beechwood spray,
‘Pretty maid, slow wandering, this way

What’s your name?’ quoth he.
‘What’s your name? O, stop and straight unfold,
Pretty maid with showery curls of gold.’

‘Little Bell,’ said she.

“ Little Bell sat down beneath the rocks,

Tossed aside her gleaming golden locks,
‘Bonny bird,’ quoth she,

‘Sing me your best song before I go,’
VMAGLATE Ih }@ll ID IS AUG OINS JPIL YE JEOILID). 31

‘Here’s the very finest song I know,
Little Bell, said he;

“ And the blackbird piped — you never heard
Half so gay a song from any bird,
Full of quips and wiles ;
Now so round and rich, now soft and slow;
All for love of that sweet face below,
Dimpled o'er with smiles.



“SING YOUR BEST SONG,’”? QUOTH LITTLE BELL,

“ And the while that bonny bird did pour
His full heart out freely, o’er and o’er
"Neath the morning skies,
In the little childish heart below,
All the sweetness seemed to grow and grow
And shine forth in happy overflow
From the brown, bright eyes.
32

VAHAT THB’ DRAGON “BEY 1hOlk Dr

“ Down the dell she tripped, and, through the glade,
Peeped the squirrel from the hazel shade,
And from out the tree,
Swung and leaped and frolicked, void of fear,
While bold blackbird piped that all might hear —
‘Little Bell!’ piped he.

“Tittle Bell sat down amid the fern,

‘Squirrel, squirrel! to your task return;
Bring me nuts,’ quoth she.

Up, away! the frisky squirrel hies,

Golden woodlights glancing in his eyes,
And adown the tree,

‘Great ripe nuts kissed brown by July sun

In the little iap drop, one by one;
Hark! how blackbird pipes to see the fun —
‘Happy Bell, pipes he.

“ Little Bell looked up and down the glade:
‘Squirrel, squirrel, from the nut tree shade,
Bonny blackbird if you’re not afraid,

Come and share with me!’
Down came squirrel eager for his fare ;
Down came bonny blackbird; I declare,
Little Bell gave each his honest share,

Ah! the merry three!
UAIGALIE Sale (DIS AGO JAIL. IE ONL ID). 33

“And the while those frolic playmates twain,
Piped and frisked from bough to bough again
"Neath the morning skies,
In the little childish heart, below,
All the sweetness seemed to grow, and grow
And shine out in happy overflow
From her brown, bright eyes.

















SESS

car! H
—— ~ OT
po

‘¢ KNELT SWEET BELL TO PRAY.??

“ By her snow-white cot at close of day,

Knelt sweet Bell, with folded palms to pray.
Very calm and clear,

Rose the praying voice to where, unseen,

In blue heaven, an angel shape serene
Paused awhile to hear.
34 WHAT THE DRAGON FEY TOLD.

“*What good child is this?’ the angel said,

‘That with happy heart beside her bed,
Prays so lovingly ?’

Low and soft, oh! very low and soft,

Crooned the blackbird in the orchard croft,
‘ Bell, dear Bell,’ crooned he.

“¢ Whom God’s creatures love, the angel fair

Murmured, ‘ God doth bless with angel’s care ;

Child, thy bed shall be

Folded safe from harm ; love deep and kind |

Shall watch round and leave good gifts behind,
Little Bell, for thee.”

Marion smiled; she liked that story very much. But,
dear me! children always want “ more,” even if you have told
them five hundred stories already; so, of course, they all
instantly asked for “ another one.”

Little Mr. Dragon Fly was most good-natured. At
once, he began to recite again:

“ Heigh ho! daisies and buttercups,
Fair yellow daffodils, stately and tall !
When the wind wakes how they rock in the grasses,
And dance with the cuckoo-birds slender and small!
Here’s two bonny boys and here’s.mother’s own lasses
Eager to gather them all.
VIG AIR. Plate IDIR AG ON IRIL YE IE OILID 35

“ Heigh ho! daisies and buttercups!
Mother shall thread them a daisy chain ;
Sing them a song of the pretty hedge sparrow,
That loved her brown little ones, loved them full fain;
Sing ‘heart thou art wide tho’ the house be but narrow,’
Sing once and sing it again.

“ Heigh ho! daisies and buttercups!
Sweet wagging cowslips, they bend and they bow;
A ship sails afar over warm ocean waters,
And, haply, one, musing, doth stand at her prow;
O, bonny brown sons, and O, sweet little daughters,
Maybe he thinks on you, now.

“ Heigh ho! daisies and buttercups,
Fair yellow daffodils, stately and tall!
A sunshiny world full of laughter and leisure
And fresh hearts unconscious of sorrow and thrall!
Send down on their pleasure, smiles, passing its measure,
God that is over us all!”

“That is by Jean Ingelow, a delightful poetry-maker,”
said the dragon fly, when he had finished. “Now, how
many flowers does that song tell about ?”

“ Two or three,” said Chester.

“More than three,” said the dragon fly. “Let’s count.
How many in the first line?”
36 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY FOLD:

“Daisies and buttercups,” said the children all together,
for they all remembered those dear common flowers that
they knew so well.

“And in the next?” No one could tell, so the dragon
fly had to answer himself.

“One: ‘yellow daffodils’; then the next line has only
‘grasses’: you'll hardly call them
flowers, though grasses do have
flowers. And the next has ‘cuck-
oo-buds —’”

“And the next!” broke in
Chester. “The next has only
the little boys and girls who
wanted to pick them all.”

“The next verse has only the
same flowers over again; but
then it has the little hedge spar-



row, you remember, with her tiny
nest full of brown birdlings, and

JEAN INGELOW.

they all loved each other so much

they didn’t mind if they were packed in tight together, with
hardly room enough to stir.”

“Has the next verse got any new flower in it?” asked

Edith, who couldn’t herself remember whether it had or not.

“ Ves, the ‘sweet wagging cowslips,’ that ‘bend and bow’

in the wind: and then the mother told the children,

you know, about their father who was on a big ship sail-
VHA. ELE DIVA GO Ne wink ia OE Ds 37

ing far away on the ocean, and thinking about his little
boys and girls.

“ And the last verse has the daisies and buttercups over
again, and the ‘daffodils, stately and tall, and a ‘sunshiny
world’ and ‘laughter and
leisure’ and ‘fresh hearts’
and ‘pleasure. And all
those beautiful things made
them think of the good God
who made them all. Did
you ever know of so many
lovely things crowded into

~$
one song!



= aM

After talking it over, in ye
ae way, ‘ies - plndidhaan THE PRETTY HEDGE-SPARROW.
thought they would like to hear the song again; so the
dragon fly repeated it, and you, little readers, may turn back
and read it again, if you like.

“ Now, tell us about where you’ve been,” demanded the
children next.

“Oh! I’ve been everywhere. I am like the fairy — his
name was Ariel; you can read about him in Shakspere’s
play of The Tempest. This is what he said:

“« Where the bee sucks, there suck I;
In a cowslip’s bell I lie;
There I couch when owls do cry.
38 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.




io

On the bat’s back I
do fly

After Summer mer-
rily:

Merrily, merrily shall
I live now,
Under the blossom
that hangs on

“WHERE THE WAVES SPLASH UP.’?

the bough.”

“Do you ever fly to the seashore ?”

“O, yes! And the sea fairies see me coming and call to
me to come and fly with them to where the waterfalls tumble
into the river and the river runs to the sea; where the gales
blow softly as if they were singing carols, and rainbows
hang over the waves and the waves splash up into the
hollow caves and shaliow pools around the great rocks, and
shine in colors as lovely as the rainbows themselves.”






























































































































‘HE HAD SEEN THE LITTLE MERMAIDS AND MERMEN PLAYING,”?

WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. Al

“ Do they? what do they say?”
“ This is what they say. Lord Tennyson put their songs
into words for us:

“ Whither away, whither away, whither away, fly no more,
Whither away from the high green fields and the happy
_ blossoming shore.
Day and night to the billow the fountain calls,
Down shower the gambolling water-falls.
O, hither, come hither, and furl your sails,
Come hither to me and to me
Hither, come hither, and frolic and play ;
We will sing to you all the day,
While merrily, merrily carol the gales
Hither, come hither, and see

“ How the rainbow hangs on the poising wave,
And sweet is the color of cove and cave,
And sweet shall your welcome be ;

We will kiss sweet kisses and speak sweet words ;
O, listen, listen, your eyes shall glisten

With pleasure and love and jubilee.
Who can light on as happy a shore

All the world o’er, all the world o’er?”

This made the children laugh and clap their hands, it
was so full of glee; so the dragon fly, seeing they liked it,
told them how he had hovered back and forth over the sea-
42 VERA Tie DRAG ON RL Yas ROUsD:

green waves and looked down through the shining waters
and had seen the little mermen and mermaids playing above
and beneath them. “Oh!” he cried, growing enthusiastic
over his happy recollections, “it made made me think of
another of Tennyson’s songs, for I felt like singing, almost
in the same words that he used:

“Who would be
A merman bold,
Sitting alone,
Singing alone
Under the sea,
With a crown of gold,
On a throne?

“T would be a merman bold,
I would sit and sing the whole of the day.
But at night I would roam abroad and play
With the mermaids in and out of the rocks,
Dressing their hair with the white sea-flower,
And holding them back by their flowing locks.
I would kiss them often under the sea
And kiss them again, until they kissed me,
Laughingly, laughingly.
And then we would wander away, away,
To the pale-green sea-groves straight and high
Chasing each other merrily.
WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 43

“We would call aloud in the dreamy dells
Call to each other, and whoop and cry
All night merrily, merrily.
They would pelt me with starry spangles and shells,
Laughing and clapping their hands between,
All night merrily, merrily.
Oh! what a happy life were mine,
Under the hollow-hung ocean green.” ’

The dragon fly seemed lost in thought awhile after this,
remembering all the merry times he had enjoyed under the
sea; but, presently, he looked up in the sky, where white
clouds were sailing by, drawing long shadows over the grass
as they passed. That made him think of something else.

“ Now look at those soft, fleecy clouds!” he said; “ just
think of all you would see if you could lie on their downy
masses, as if they were heaped up pillows, and float along
over all the world with them, looking down on all the farms
and gardens, seeing the children at play, rolling hoops or
chasing butterflies; and the men at work in the fields, cut-
ting down the grass, or reaping the grain, and then piling
it upon wagons and drawing it into barns; wouldn’t you
see many things?

“That’s what I do, flying about all over the world.”
Then the dragon fly suddenly remembered a poem, by the
American poet Bryant, about this very thing. He recited
it to the children. It was called “ To a Cloud”:
44 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

“ Beautiful clouds! with folds so soft and fair,
Swimming in the pure, quiet air,

Thy fleeces bathed in sunlight, while below
Thy shadow o’er the vale moves slow,

Where, midst their labor, pause the reaper train
As cool it comes along the grain;

Beautiful cloud! I would I were with thee

In thy calm way o’er land and sea,

To rest on thy unrolling skirts and look

On earth, as on an open book.”

“ Let me tell you of what I saw, once, when I was flying
about,” the dragon fly continued. “I used, often, to see a
little girl sitting on the grass on the edge of a brook. I
learned that her name was Ellie. First, she would take off
her hat and throw that on the grass; then, pretty soon,
she would take off her shoes and stockings, too; and then
she would paddle her bare feet in the water and lift them
out all shining and wet and hold them in her hands and
rock slowly back and forth, and smile to herself. I used
to wonder what the dear little girl was thinking about to
make her smile so happily. I watched her come there to
the brook many a day; and, after paddling awhile, she
always dried her feet, put on her shoes and stockings, and
took up her hat (it hung by its string from her arm almost
as often as it was seen on her head). She walked off a long

way around to her home; and she always stopped at one
WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 45

certain point on the edge of the stream and knelt down and
peered in among the grasses, looking at something. I won-
dered what she was so interested in; for she would shake
back her hair, when it tumbled over her face and into her
eyes; she would lean far over the water’s edge, and push the
grasses away with her little hands, and never give up until

she saw whatever it was she was looking for. So one day,







































































































































THE BEAUTIFUL WHITE SWANS.

after she had peeped into her little grassy corner and had got
up and gone home, I flew down to see what it was she
came to look at, every day. I couldn’t find anything at
first, even though I could fly right over the water and didn’t
have to take care, as Ellie did, not to tumble in. But I
looked closely and saw a little spot where Ellie had
trampled down the grass, kneeling on it so often; and way
46 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

in by a stone, and almost in the brook, I saw — what do you
think ?

oe ate . . . ) x
big, white eggsinit. I couldn't see to count how many ege's



a flat, wide nest, and I could just see one or two

there were, without flying right into the nest; and I didn’t
want to do that for fear its owner might come home and
find me there and be disturbed by it. And who do you
think its owner was? Why, I do believe it was no less a
personage than the beautiful white swan that used to float
up and down the stream, So that was what little Ellie came
far out of her way every day to watch. She kept it a great
secret that she had found the swan’s nest, and never told
anybody at home, but there! she little thought that I knew
it all the time!

“One day, I was flying through a garden and by an open
window, and looking in I saw, lying back in a low chair, a
tiny, delicate lady. She had curls hanging over her face,
like Ellie, and great dark eyes that shone very bright and
looked as if they saw everything, everything. They saw me
quick enough and smiled a little. I thought she would
like to hear about Ellie, so I told it all to her, and she wrote
it out in a poem. You see, she was a great poet. Her
name was Elizabeth Barrett Browning. This is how she put
into verse my story about little Ellie and the swan’s nest:

“ Little Ellie sits alone
’Mid the beeches of a meadow,

By a stream-side on the grass,
WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 47

And the trees are showering down
Doubles of themselves in shadow

On her shining hair and face.

“She has thrown her bonnet by
And her feet she has been dipping
In the shallow water’s flow,
Now she holds them, nakedly,
In her hands all sleek and
dripping,
While she rocketh to and fro.

“Little Ellie sits alone,
And the smile she softly uses
Fills the silence like a speech
While she thinks what shall be
done
And the sweetest pleasure
chooses



For her future within reach. ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING.

“Little Ellie with her smile
Not yet ended, rose up gaily,
Tied the bonnet, donned the shoe,
And went homeward ’round a mile
Just to see as she did daily
What more eges were with the two.”
48 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

When the dragon fly had finished this long story he
looked down and saw that Baby Gladys had fallen asleep, so
he sang, very softly indeed, one of Shakspere’s beautiful lull-
abies. It was the fairies’ chorus in .4 Midsummer Night’s
Dream:



“BABY, WHAT DO THE BLOSSOMS Say ?”?

“ Philomel with melody
Sing in our sweet lullaby
Lulla, lulla lullaby,
Lulla, lulla lullaby,
Never harm, nor spell, nor charm,
Come our lovely lady nigh,
So good-night with lullaby.”

Then he flew away.

That evening after tea, when the children were having
their last romp around the grounds, Auntie came out for
Gladys to take her in to bed, and as she held the tiny hand
and guided her along the gravel path past the flower bor-
VAHAE THE DRAGON BEY OTD: 49

ders, baby’s eyes, dewy and large with sleep, looked so wise,
and baby’s little hand touched the folded blossoms so gently,
. with loving little good-night taps as she passed them, that
Auntie stooped down and asked her almost the same ques-
tions that Mrs. Henshaw put into verse:

“ Baby, what do the blossoms say
Down in the garden walk?

They nod and they bow in the twilight gray,
Pray can you hear them taik?



‘“BABY, WHAT DOES THE ROBIN SAY ?”

They say, ‘O, darling baby bright,
We are going to sleep; good-night, good-night !
For the lullaby breezes have come to sing
How God takes care of everything.
Sleep! sleep !’
50

WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

“ Baby, what does the robin say ?

Do you hear his evening song?
He sits and sings his sunset lay

With a heart all blithe and strong.
He sings, ‘Good-night, my baby dear,
Sleep soft, sleep well, and do not fear,
For somehow I know, as I sit and sing,
That God takes care of everything.

Sleep! sleep!’”


Cre RINE

AUNTIE’S SONGS ON A RAINY DAY.

“t HAT does little birdie say
In her nest at peep of day?
‘Let me fly,’ says little birdie,
‘ Mother, let me fly away.’
‘ Birdie, rest a little longer,
Till the little wings are stronger.’
So she rests a little longer
Then she flies away.

“What does little baby say
In her bed at peep of day?
Baby says like little birdie,
‘Let me rise and fly away.’
51
52 WaltA Ie Se lall) IDRC GOIN IILYE IROULID).

‘ Baby, sleep a little longer,
Till the little limbs are stronger,
If she sleeps a little longer

”

Baby, too, shall fly away.’

So sang Tennyson “In Sea Dreams;” and so sang
Auntie, low and sweet, as the day came in. But that morn-
ing, when the children woke up, it was raining! It was a
great disappointment, to open their eyes and see rain drops
pouring down the windows, instead of seeing sunshine danc-
ing on the walls. Some of the little ones felt almost like
crying and being a little bit cross about it.

You see, they did so want to play outdoors, and see their
dear dragon fly and hear some more of his stories. But cry-
ing about it wouldn’t do any good. It only made it look as
if it were raining inside the house as well as outside, so
Auntie said, when she saw the teardrops almost brimming
over in some of the childish eyes.

“Why, the rain is lovely, too,” she cried, “ though not
quite so lovely as sunshine; just see it come pattering
down and plashing along and making everything so clean
and shiny. I know a song about the rain, almost as pretty
as any one of your dragon fly’s. Maybe he doesn’t know
this one. It was written by our own dear poet Longfellow.
Pll tell it to you, as you can’t go out to find Mr. Dragon Fly
just this minute. Auntie picked out from Longfellow’s
lovely verses “ Rain in Summer: ”
WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 58

“ How beautiful is the rain !
After the dust and heat,
In the broad and fiery street,
In the narrow lane,

How beautiful is the rain!

“ How it clatters along the roofs,

Like the tramp of hoofs!
How it gushes and struggles out 7
From the throat of the overflow-

ing spout !

Across the window pane.

It pours and pours;

And swift and wide,

With a muddy tide,

Like a river down the gutter roars



‘IT POURS AND POURS.”

The rain, the welcome rain!”

“Why, of course we want the rain very much,” Auntie
went on, “to make the peas and the beans grow in the
garden, and to give a good drink of water to the thirsty
flowers. Poor little flowers, how they want it! They like
sunshine and they like rain too. Let me tell you about
Witte sWilnte Wily:

“Little white lily sat by a stone
Drooping and waiting till the sun shone;
54 WATE Ee SDiRAUG ON Eb a. Oe)

Little white lily, sunshine has fed;
Lilly white lily is lifting her head.

“Little white lily said, ‘it is good ’—

Little white lily’s clothing and food;

Little white lly, dressed like a bride,
Shining with whiteness and crownéd beside !

“Little white lily droopeth with pain,
Watching and waiting for the wet rain;
Little white lily holdeth her cup,

Rain is fast falling and filling it up.

“ Little white lily said, ‘Good, again,

When I am thirsty to have the nice rain:
Now I am stronger, now I am cool,

Heat cannot burn me, my veins are so full.’

“ Little white lily smells very sweet,

On her head sunshine, rain at her feet ;
Thanks to the sunshine, thanks to the rain,
Little white lily is happy again.”

But even these charming lines by George Macdonald did
not make the little faces look quite satisfied to have it rain
and spoil their fun, even if it did do little white lily so much
good.


“TITTLE WHITE LILY.’’



WATTLE Web) IDICZUG ONE JBILNE ILOJLID) 57

“Where does the rain come from, Auntie?” asked a
rather fretful little voice.

“Tt comes all the way from the great ocean. The sun
shines on the waves and draws up little thin veils of mist
which really is water; it draws them up, up, clear up to the
sky, as far as Chester used to think he could jump. When
he was a two-year-old baby in white dresses, he used to hold
my hand and jump off the last
step of the piazza and say, ‘ Tettie
dump way up to de ’ky!’ But
this is what we call a digression.
The sun just rolls them all up to-
gether, these gauzy veils, into the
white clouds you saw sailing in the
blue yesterday, and then melts
them down into little raindrops (or
else he stops shining and the cold

air squeezes or condenses the rain-



drops out of the clouds; I believe



that is the way), and then they fall GEORGE MACDONALD.

to the ground and on the leaves

of the trees, and on all the flowers — and won’t they sparkle
and shine by and by when the sun comes out again! The
clouds bring us the rain and we ought to be much obliged to
them forit. This is what a great and beautiful English poet,
named Shelley, makes one of the clouds say in a famous
poem of his called ‘The Cloud: ’
58 WHAT THE DRAGON. FLY TOLD.

“T bring fresh showers for the
thirsting flowers,
From the seas and the streams ;
I bear light shade for the leaves
when laid
In their noon-day dreams.
From my wings are shaken the
dews that waken
The sweet buds every one,
When rocked to rest on their

mother’s breast,



As she dances about the sun.
on ee I wield the flail of the lashing hail,
And whiten the green plains under ;
And then again I dissolve it in rain ;
And laugh as I pass in thunder.”

“Tt laughs pretty loud, sometimes,” said Chester.

“Ves, indeed it does; but not when it is a soft, gray
cloud; it is not until it becomes a black thunder cloud that
it does that,” said Auntie.

“Tell some more, please” the children said; so Auntie
saw she had got herself into the dragon fly’s business, and
must keep right on.

“Well, here’s a lovely little poem, by Mrs. Helen Hunt
Jackson, about April. April is the month that is most like
a child of all the twelve, we say, because like a child it laughs














































































































































































































































































‘CAND THEN AGAIN I DISSOLVE IT IN RAIN.”



MAIEV TE Tiel DIS AGOINS I@/LY¢ TKOJL ID), 61

one minute and cries the next. Don’t you know how, on a
day in April, the sun will be shining bright, when all of a
sudden, up comes a cloud and down comes a shower. And

then, in another minute, the sun peeps laughing out again
from behind the cloud ?.”








HY
5 Wy

VEN

Mee
A



pe

‘4’ ROYAL ROAD WITH SEALS OF GOLD.”

“Robins call robins in tops of trees,

Doves follow doves with scarlet feet,
Frolicking babies sweeter than these

Crowd green corners where highways meet.

“ Violets stir and arbutus wakes,
Claytonia’s rosy bells unfold,
62 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

Dandelion through the meadow makes

A royal road with seals of gold.

“ Golden and snowy and red the flowers,

Golden and snowy and red in vain;

Robins call robins thro’ sad showers, °
% ?

The white doves, feet are wet with rain.



HELEN HUNT JACKSON,
( HH.)

“For April sobs while these are
glad,

April weeps while these are
gay

Weeps likea tired child who had,

Playing with flowers, lost its

”

“But perhaps you will like
this better,” for the children did
not look quite so appreciative as
Auntie thought they might over

“«H, Hs” charming verses; so,

trotting Gladys up and down on her knees, keeping time to
the rhymes, Auntie caroled this forth in a sing-song manner.
“It is by the famous Scotch poet, Robert Burns,” she said :

“©, Mally’s meek, Mally’s sweet,
Mally’s modest and discreet,
WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 63

Mally’s rare, Mally’s fair,
Mally’s every way complete.

“As I was walking up the street,
A barefit maid I chanced to
meet,
But O, the road was very hard
For that fair maiden’s tender
feet.

“Tt were mair meet that those fine
feet
Were weel laced up in silken

shoon,



And ’twere more fit that she

ROBERT BURNS,

should sit
Within yon chariot, gilt aboon.

“ Her yellow hair, beyond compare

Comes twinkling down her swan-like neck,
And her two eyes, like stars in skies,

Would keep a sinking ship frae wreck.”

The children laughed at that, and asked a dozen ques-
tions at once, as their manner was, and Auntie tried to tell
them, allin the same breath, that “silken shoon ” was Scotch
and meant silk shoes, and that Bobbie Burns, the poet who
64 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

wrote the verses, thought the little maid was so pretty she
ought to have a pair of them to put on her bare feet and
that she ought to have a carriage with a gilt top to ride in,
instead of walking on the hard stones.

“ But did she have it?”

“No, she didn’t.”

“And how could her eyes keep a ship from going down

5
in the water?”

“They couldn’t, any more than two stars could.”

“ Then what made the man say so?”

“@h! to make some poetry! Dear, dear!” cried
Auntie, almost out of breath with trying to answer the
questions of four children at once. ‘“ Now, let me ask you

another of ‘H. H.’s’ questions:

“What did the sparrows do yesterday ?
Nobody knew but the sparrows.

He were too bold who should try to say ;

They have forgotten it all to-day.”

“What dd the sparrows do?” asked all the children in
chorus.

Auntie laughed; “I told you, ‘they have forgotten it all
to-day;’ and I’m sure I never knew, on any day.”

“Well, then, tell another story.”

“Yes, yes; let me think a minute; oh! here’s one, by
Charles Kingsley:
WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 65

“T once had a sweet little doll, dears,
The prettiest doll in the world,
Her cheeks were so red
and so white, dears,
And her hair was so
charmingly curled.
But I lost my poor little
doll, dears, ey
As I played in the heath
one day,
And I cried for her more
than a week, dears,
But I never could find
where she lay.

“JT found my poor little
doll, dears,
As I played in the heath
one day.
They say she is terribly
changed, dears,



For her paint is all

Hist

be ”
washed away, I LOST MY POOR LITTLE DOLL, DEARS.

And her arms trodden off by the cow, dears,
And her hair not the least bit curled ;

Yet for old sake’s sake, she is still, dears,
The prettiest doll in the world.”
66 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

“ That’s a pretty one; tell another, Auntie.”

Auntie drew a long breath. “ Another?” she said.
“Well, here is one by a German poet, named Heinrich
Heine, put into English for us by Mrs. Browning:

“ My child, we were two children,
Small, merry by childhood’s law,

We used to crawl to the hen house
And hide ourselves in the straw.

“ We crowed like cocks, and whenever
The passers near us drew,
Cock-a-doodle !— they thought
‘Twas a real cock that crew



“ The boxes about our courtyard
We carpeted to our mind;

And lived there both together,
Kept house in a noble kind.

“ The neighbor’s old cat often
Came to pay us a visit;

We made her a bow and a curtsy,
Each with a compliment in it.

“ After her health we asked,
Our care and regard to evince;
WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 67

We have made the very same speeches

To many an old cat since.”

“©, Auntie!” said ‘big Edith,’ “ Mabel and I used to
have a play like that with our dolls, in the grove; we had

WILLIAM WORDSWORTH.



lots of box houses — a whole vil-
lage of them.”

“Did you? Tell us about
Titel

“Oh! it would take a long
time to tell about all the things
we did.” :

“Would it? Well, we should
like to hear it, even if it does
make a long story. But, see

there! the sun is coming out:

“The cock is crowing,
The stream is flowing,

The small birds twitter,
The lake doth glitter,
The green field sleeps in the sun.

The oldest and the youngest

Are at work with the strongest.

The cattle are grazing,

Their heads never raising.

There are forty feeding like one.
68 VAL AT: THLE DIAG ON “REY TO ED).

“Like an army defeated
The snow has retreated,
And now doth fare ill
On the top of the bare hill ;
The plough boy is whooping, anon, anon,
There’s joy in the mountains,
There’s life in the fountains,
Small clouds are sailing,
Blue sky prevailing,
The rain is over and gone.”

Gladys slid down from Auntie’s lap, as she finished this
poem — it was written by Wordsworth — and, amid a grand
clapping of hands, all ran for their overshoes and hats and
rushed out on the piazza; for the sun was shining again.
So, Edith’s story was postponed, and Auntie slipped away
to her own room for a little rest.


**COME BACK TO DREAM ON THE RIVER.”’

GEACP A Ey eave
THE DRAGON FLY TEACHES THE CHILDREN A NEW GAME.

66 WEET, sweet, sweet, O, Pan,
Piercing sweet by the river,
The sun on the hill forgot to die,
And the lilies revived, and the dragon fly
Came back to dream on the river.”

The dragon fly met them that day, singing these verses by

Mrs. Browning, to greet them. He was a great rover, he told
69
70 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

them; he flew everywhere, he said, up and down the world,
so that it was not every day that he came where our chil-
dren were playing. Sometimes, they looked for him in vain,
and had to content themselves with their own games without
him. But they were always delighted to see him when he
did come back to them, for he always had something to tell
them ; he knew so many songs, too, and children do love to
hear songs.

“Tl sing you some songs about birds to-day,” he said
to them that morning.

The birds were singing. all around, over their heads,
which made him think of the birds’ songs, I suppose.

“ TH tell one first about the gentle dove,” he said; “how
he sits on a branch and coos lovingly to his little mate while
she sits all the time on the eggs in her nest and keeps them
warm, till the baby doves are hatched out. She gets very
tired sitting still so long, when she would like to stretch her
pretty wings and fly away; but she mustn’t let her eggs get
cold; so she sits there quite still, and only wishes the time
would come when those little birds will be ready to peck
and knock at their shells; then she will help them open a
wide door in their tight little houses and let them out.
Listen! the first story is by Jean Ingelow:

“ Coo, dove, to thy married mate,
She has two warm eggs in her nest;
Tell her the hours are few to wait,
WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 71

E’er life shall dawn on their rest
And thy young shall peck at the shells elate
With a dream of her brooding breast.

“ Coo, dove, for she counts the hours,
Her fair wings ache for flight,

By day the apple has grown in the flowers,
And the moon has grown by the night;

And the white drift settled from hawthorne bowers,
Yet they will not seek the light.

“ T love to peep into all the little nests as I go flying by,
over the trees, and see the mothers sitting patiently there to
keep the eggs warm under their breasts, or else, later on, to
see them flying back and forth with little bugs or bits of
worms in their bills, feeding the little ones that have come,
at last, out of their shells. Sometimes, I fly across the
Atlantic Ocean to the rocky coasts of England and look
into holes in the cliffs up above the high-water mark, but
not too far up for the highest waves to sometimes dash a
little of their salt foam almost into the nests which are there;
and I see birds called sand-martins, because, after they are
hatched, the little ones and the parent birds take their exer-
cise, very naturally, on the sands for awhile; and I can
just see the tops of their tiny black heads; and hear them
chatter about the time when their little ones will all be
hatched, and then how it will soon be time, after that, for
-l
bo

WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

them all to fly away to warmer southern countries, for
winter will be coming.

“ But they would be far away before the first snow fell, in
lovely lands where the hot days end in red sunsets, and the
fireflies come out and flash like little diamonds all through
the night. Here is another song about them, by Jean
Ingelow. Listen to this:

“T passed an island cliff precipitate,

From tiny caves peeped many a sooty poll;
In each, a mother-martin sat elate,

And of the news delivered her small soul.

“ Fantastic chatter! hasty, glad and gay,
Whereof the meaning was not ill to tell:

Gossip, how wags the world with you to-day ?
Gossip, the world wags well, the world wags well.

“ And, hearkening, I was sure their little ones,
Were in the bird talk ; and discourse was made;
Concerning hot sea bights and tropic suns;
For a clear sultriness the tune conveyed.

“ When should the young be fledged and with them hie
Where costly day drops down in crimson light ?—
Fortunate countries of the firefly
Swarm like blue diamonds all the sultry night.
WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 73

“Now come! let us play a bird game! Here is one
made up by the poet Tennyson:

“You be Queen of the wrens;
We'll be birds of a feather;

I'll be King of the Queen of the wrens,
And all in a nest together.”

“Oh! what fun,” and the children jumped up and stood
ready.

“ How do you play it, Mr. Dragon Fly?”

“First, you must count to see who is ‘It. All join
hands in a circle and one stand in the middle.”

“ There aren’t enough,” cried Chester; “Jet’s call Mabel
and Edith.”

The two big girls were on the piazza — Edith swinging
in the hammock and Mabel sitting in a large piazza chair,
doing some fancy work; so little Edith ran after them.
Edith Number Two, we have called her, though she was
really Edith Number Three, for both Ediths were named
after an Aunt Edith who was the real Number One. But
~as Aunt Edith doesn’t come into this story, we will call the
two Ediths who are‘in it, just Number One and Number Two.

“Come, come!” called little Number Two; “the dragon
fly is going to teach us a new game; come and see it.”

So, merely to oblige her, for of course they were much
too big for little children’s plays, the girls came.
74 VLAGUATIE 1EGh3 IDIRAIGOINE JAIL VES JEOULID’.

They all took hold of hands, and they held the dolls in
the circle, too, and Chester being the only “ niece-boy” (as
his sister called him, to distinguish him from all the “ niece-
girls!) was in the middle. Only boyhood among a lot of
little girl cousins has some advantages.

Then the dragon fly began again.

“You be Queen of the wrens ” —and here he had to
stop and explain what kind of a bird a wren is. “It is a
little bit of a bird,” he said; “one of the smallest birds there
is, but a jolly, plucky little fellow notwithstanding ; he hops
about in his dark gray Quaker coat and vest of lightest
gray and a cinnamon brown cap on the top of his lively
little head, which head turns quickly from side to side to
see whatever is going on, and he doesn’t appear to be in the
least afraid of the other bigger birds, even of bold Robin
Redbreast. But now listen, and I will teach you something
new to count by; I found it in Shakspere’s play of Macbeth.

“ Double, double, toil and trouble ;
Fire burn; and caldron bubble.
Black spirits and white,
Red spirits and gray,
Mingle, mingle, mingle,
You that mingle may.
By the pricking of my thumbs
Something wicked this way comes ;
Open locks! whoever knocks.”


QUEEN MABEL AND HER CUURTIERS,

VAHAE THE DRAGON ELEY TOLD: 17

It might seem to some people a little irreverent, to put
the rhymes of the immortal Shakspere to such a simple use
as a counting spell to be rattled off by youngsters, instead
of a spell to provoke solemn discussions among learned
professors in spectacles ; but the children did not in the
least mind using them in play ; so Chester said them after
the dragon fly; and, at each word he spoke, he pointed his
finger to each one, dolls and all, around the circle. When
he came to the last word, “knocks,” his finger was pointing
to Edith Number One.

“ Now,” said the dragon fly, “the one whom the word
‘knocks’ comes to, must start and run around the circle,
and the one who was counting must run after her to see
which can first reach the place she leaves empty; they
must both run around in the same direction; the one that
reaches the space last must be ‘It’ in a game of ‘I spy’ or
tag, or whatever you choose — blind-man’s-buff if you like —
for one round. Then you come back and count over again
in the same way for another ‘It.’ If at the end of a game a
little boy and little girl have not been ‘It’ once — that is,
have not been last in reaching the space in the circle, they
are King and Queen of the wrens; and then they must be
crowned with wreaths of oak leaves or of flowers; and a
scepter put in their hands, made of a long branch of golden
rod or a mullien stalk, or whatever you can find that will
look like a golden, or jewel-tipped scepter. After that, all
the other children must obey their commands for the space
78 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

of ten minutes, and they can hold a game of forfeits and
impose tasks upon those who were ‘It’ the most, or do
whatever else they like. And everybody does whatever he
is told to do, according to the pleasing fiction that ‘ birds in
their little nests agree.’ ”

So they played the game, and Mabel was the only one
who wasn't caught at all. They made her a crown of oak
leaves, pinning them together with little twigs; and she took
a long stick and tied a bunch of red geraniums on the end
of it and put another bunch in the front of her crown, and
then they all marched after her to the woods, Mabel looking
and walking as much like a queen as she could; there they
made a throne for her of a stump with a red shawl spread
down before it, and Queen Mabel held her court and made
her little courtiers do all the funny and ridiculous things she
could think of ; Chester had to turn somersaults, and the lit-
tle girls had to dance jigs, and the dragon fly flew back and
forth over their heads and “laughed to see such fine sport.”

After the play was ended the dragon fly asked them all
to sit down on the stumps, around them. Then he said he
would give them a lecture on birds, and tell them all he
knew about the different kinds and how they built their
nests, and where they lived in Winter and where in Summer,
and what they ate, and all about them.

So they all-sat very still, and the dragon fly began. As
usual, he started with a quotation. It was from “ The Vision
of Sir Launfal,” by our American poet, Lowell.
WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 79
“Ladies and gentlemen,” said the dragon fly:

« The little bird. sits at his door in the sun
A-tilt like a blossom among the leaves
And lets his illumined being o’errun
With the deluge of summer it receives;
His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings
And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings ;
He sings to the wide world and she to her nest.
In the nice ear of Nature, which song is the best 2”

After this introduction, the
dragon fly continued, “I will take
first my friend the little titmouse.
He is one of the few birds: that
isn’t afraid of snow and cold
weather, but will stay up North,
sometimes, even through the Win-
ter. One cold day, I was flying
through the woods when the trees
were all bare of leaves and the
ground was hard and frozen, so



you wouldn’t suppose a little bird

JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL.

could find a bug or a worm to eat

anywhere. (I don’t often fly about in cold days myself, but
I did at that time), when—pop! all of a sudden there
piped, as Ralph Waldo Emerson says:
80 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

“ A tiny voice hard by,

Gay and polite a cheerful cry:

Chic, chic-a-dee-dee! saucy note

Out of sound heart and merry throat,

As if it said, ‘ Good day, good sir!

Fine afternoon, old passenger!

Happy to meet you in these places

Where January brings few faces.’’







RALPH WALDO EMERSON.

o

Then the dragon fly went on
to talk about the great advan-
tages in meeting the hardships
and difficulties of life with cour-
age and cheerfulness after the
example of the cheery titmouse.

But his audience soon grew
restless ; they didn’t really want
to listen to a lecture, even from
the dragon fly. They only
wished to listen to stories, sto-
ries forever.

“Very well, then,” said the
Dragon Fly; “but you won't

know half as much as little Hiawatha did.”
“Who was Hiawatha?” they asked.
“ He was only a little Indian boy. Longfellow told his

story in a celebrated poem. He lived in a tent called a










‘¢yry FRIEND THE LITTLE TITMOUSE.”





WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 83

wigwam, far off in the midst of great woods, but he used to
sit at the door of his father’s tent, and listen and watch and
notice everything that passed in the woods; until he had
found out a great deal about the birds and the bugs and the

animals, just by sitting still and watching them, so patiently.

« At the door on summer evenings

Sat the little Hiawatha ;

Heard the whispering of the pine trees,
Heard the lapping of the waters,



Sounds of music, words of wonder ;
‘Minne-wawa!’ said the pine trees,
‘Mudway-aushka !’ said the water.
Saw the firefly, Wah-wah-taysee,
Flitting through the dusk of evening,
With the twinkle of its candle
Lighting up the brakes and bushes.

«« Wah-wah-taysee, little firefly,
Little flitting, white-fire insect,
84 AGGIE dE IGG IDYR ACHOINE JO ILVE = [MONE ID)

Little, dancing, white-fire creature,
Light me with your little candle,
‘E’er upon my bed I lay me,

E’er in sleep I close my eyelids!’

“Then the little Hiawatha

Learned of every bird its language,
Learned their names and all their secrets,
How they built their nests in Summer,
Where they hid themselves in Winter.

“ Of all beasts he learned their language,
Learned their names and all their secrets,
How the beavers built their lodges,
Where the squirrels hid their acorns,
How the reindeer ran so swiftly,

Why the rabbit was so timid,

Talked with them whene’er he met them,
Called them ‘ Hiawatha’s Brothers.’ ”

“QO, he was ’mart!” remarked little Edith, with utmost
nonchalance, not thinking it worth her while to try at all to
imitate his example. “Please tell another ’tory, Mister
Dragon Fly.”

“Twill tell you about one other poor little bird I saw
once. I was flying around when I happened to see a cage
hung out of a window, and in it was a little wild-wood bird.
WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 85

He wasn’t a canary; canaries have been used to living in
cages so long that maybe they don’t mind it now; it is
to be hoped they don’t. But this
little bird was used to living in
the woods and flying from tree
to tree, rocking on the branches
in the wind, and soaring far up
into the sky, whenever he wanted
to; so I knew he couldn’t be
happy in that cage, where he
could only hop up and down from
one perch to another, and I felt
very sorry for him. Several other



days, when I flew by, I saw him
there; but one day, when I SES CAGE NG TEE END ON.
passed, I looked and saw that the cage was empty. It was
all twined and hung with green leaves, and the door was
open, in hopes that Birdie would fly back, and in it, again,
but he never did. O, no! he was too happy to be free to fly
as he pleased through the bright summer air. Here isa
song about it, written by Mrs. Hemans, a celebrated English
poet:

“ Return, return, my bird ;

I have dressed thy cage with flowers ;
Tis lovely as a violet bank

In the heart of forest bowers.
86 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

“Tam free! I am free! I return no more;

The weary time of the cage is o’er;

Through the rolling clouds I can soar on high;

The sky is around me, the blue, bright sky |



FELICIA DOROTHEA HEMANS.

“The hills lie beneath me,
spread far and clear,

With their glowing heath flow-
ers and bounding deer.

I see the waves flash on the
sunny shore —

Iam free! I am free! I return

no more.

“My home is high amidst rock-
ing trees ;
My kindred things are the star

and the breeze,

And the ‘fount unchecked in its lovely play,

And the odors that wander afar away.”

And when the dragon fly finished that song, he spread

his own four beautiful wings and flew away, too.

That afternoon the children went with their nurses for a

long ramble through the fields. They saw the lambs play-

ing about on the grass; and the cows, too, far over at the
other end of the field; they saw bumble bees and butterflies
WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 87

sucking honey out of the clover blossoms; and they pulled
their hands full of wild flowers and grasses; and Chester
stuffed his pockets full of plenty of other queer things, such
as are treasures to boys. They saw dragon flies, too; but
they thought none of them could have been their dragon fly,
because not one of them stopped to speak to them that
afternoon.

“ Auntie,” said Chester that evening, when his auntie
came to kiss him good- By
night, after he was in
bed, “ did anybody ever
know as much as the
dragon fly said Hiawatha
did?”

“Yes, dear; there

have been men who -




have looked and watched

CONS
e \ 7 5

a NR) SS =

Wy:
| EE

and studied so carefully es
the wonderful things that are all “ya
around us, that they have come to

know more about animals and flow-

ers, and even about the stones and

the dirt, than Hiawatha did. These men who look and look
and watch and study until they learn so much about all these
things are called scientists, or knowers.. Then, there are the
poets, or seers; they see the loveliness of so many, many
things that other people don’t notice, and they love them
88 WHAT THE DRAGON BEY TOLD.

so, because they are so beautiful that they seem to see what
all these lovely things mean, when other people don’t stop
to think whether they mean anything or not. To the
knowers and the seers, the whole world is like a great
picture book spread open before them, full of wonderful
stories and lovely songs of the great things God has done
and the beautiful things He has made. This is what one of
our own poets has written about one of the most famous
scientists. This knower’s name was Louis Agassiz; he was
born in Switzerland, but he lived here in America. When
Agassiz was fifty years old, Longfellow wrote these verses
and sent them to him on his birthday:

“It was fifty years ago
In the pleasant month of May,
In the beautiful Pays de Vaud
A child in its cradle lay.

“ And Nature, the old nurse, took
The child upon her knee,

Saying: ‘Here is a story book
Thy Father has written for thee.’

“ And he wandered away and away
With Nature, the dear old nurse,

Who sang to him, night and day,
The rhymes of the universe.
WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

“ And whenever the way seemed long,
Or his heart began to fail,

She would sing a more wonderful song,
Or tell a more marvellous tale.

“Oh! how I should like to have you watch and notice
things as little Hiawatha did, so that, when you grow to be

a man, you might be either a
scientist, like Agassiz, or a poet,
like Longfellow; or, at least,
know enough and care enough to
read and enjoy what the scientists
and poets write, so that you
would be something of a seer
and a knower; then, you would
not go through God’s wonderful
world all your life with your

eyes tight shut, or as if you were



a blind man. But now I will
repeat another poem, by Mrs.
Hemans and then you must go to sleep:

HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW.

“ Hast thou been in the woods with the honey bee,
Hast thou been with the lamb, in the pastures free,
With the hare through the copses and dingles wild,
With the butterfly over the heath, fair child?

Yes, the light fall of thy bounding feet,
90 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

Hath not startled the wren from her mossy seat,
Yet hast thou ranged the green forest dells,
And brought back a treasure of buds and bells.







alia

iN |

i
iil



i

\
il

“WITH THE BUTTERFLIES.”

“QO, happy child! in thy fawn-like glee,
What is remembrance or thought to thee ?
Yet be thy portion the bliss to look,

With a reverent spirit, through Nature’s book.
VAHAT EB DRAGONS FLY, OED: 91

By fount, by forest, by river’s line,

To trace the paths of a love divine ;

To read its deep meanings, to see and hear
God in earth’s garden — and not to fear !—

“Now good-night, darling!” And, after twenty hugs and
kisses, auntie left the little boy to his sleep.


CHAPTER VI.
THE DRAGON FLY’S LONG STORY.

66 HITHER away, thou little careless rover
With Roger true?
Whither away, across yon bents and clover
Wet, wet with dew ?
‘Roger here! Roger dear,
Roger come!’ he cried.”

So sang the dragon fly, adapting one of Jean Ingelow’s
songs to suit the occasion.

“Having a good time this morning? What are you
after?” he asked, when he had
finished this song, cocking his
pretty little head to one side
and flying after Chester, who
was romping over the lawn
with Grouse, the handsome red
Setter.

“] LIKE THE GRAY-HAIRED ONES.” “QO, nothing!” answered
Chester; “ only picking dandelions. I like the gray-haired
dandelions.” He held up one that had gone to seed, and, to

be sure, the golden locks on the little flower head had all
92


WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD, 93

turned gray with age. “But I’d rather stop and hear
another song, if you will please sing one, Mr. Dragon Fy.
Wouldn’t you, Edith?” for his little sister had skipped
down with her jumping rope and joined them.

“ Sure, never yet was antelope
Could skip so lightly by,

Stand off, or else my skipping-rope
Will hit you in the eye.

How lightly whirls the skipping-rope,
How fairy-like you fly.”

Thus, eying Edith’s jump-rope, he quoted from Tenny-
son; then, in his ever-obliging manner, he immediately
began to sing another of his favorite Jean Ingelow songs:

“ Piping, fluting, bees are humming,
April’s here and Summer's coming,
Don’t forget us when you walk a man with men in pride
and joy,
Think on us in alleys shady, when you step a graceful lady,
For no fairer day have we to hope for, little girl and boy.

“ Laugh and play, O, lisping waters,
Lull our downy sons and daughters,
Come, O, wind, and rock their leafy cradle in thy wander-
ings coy;
94 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

When they wake we'll end the measure
With a wild, sweet cry of pleasure,
And a ‘hey down derry, let’s be merry! little al and
boy | >»)

“Oh! I don’t like that one very much,” said Edith, with
the outspokenness belonging to the age of five.

“Well, my dear, perhaps you will like this better,” said
the dragon fly, anxious to please. “ This is by Jean

Ingelow, too:

“Old Albion sat on a crag of late
And sung out: ‘Ahoy! ahoy!

Long life. to the captain, good luck to the mate,
And this to my sailor boy!

Come over, come home,

Through the salt sea foam

”

My sailor, my sailor boy.’

“ Who is ‘Old Albion,’ asked Chester ; “is ita man ora
woman ?”

“Neither, my child,” said the dragon fly; “it is a personi-
fication.”

“Oh!” said Chester.

“It means ‘Old England,’ ” the dragon fly explained.

“ Did he come home, her sailor boy.” asked Edith.
VA Ae BHE ND RAG ON SEL TOLD: 95



“MY SAILOR, MY SAILOR Boy !”’

“ Well, I don’t know; I never heard whether he did or
not; but Old England’s sons are apt to think of their
mother when they are far away from her, and like to come
back to her when they can. Here is what one of the
noblest of all her sons, Robert Browning, once sang, when

he was away from home:
96 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

“Oh! to be in England

Now that April’s there,

While the chaffinch sings on the
orchard bough

In England now.

And, after April, when May
follows,

And the whitethroat builds, and
all the swallows!

“ And the wise thrush, he sings

each song twice over,



Lest you should think he never

ROBERT RROWNING.

could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And, though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children’s dower.

“But this great poet did not generally sing for children,
I must admit; so you must wait until you are older to read
some more of his grand poems. He did write one, though,
that most of the children know. It is called the Pied Piper
of Hamelin. It’s long; but I don’t think it would tire you,
though my voice might give out before I got through.”

“Tell it to us,” said Chester; so the dragon fly repeated
the queer old story, in Browning’s wonderful verse:
WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 97

“ Hamelin Town’s in Brunswick,
By famous Hanover city ;
The river Weser deep and wide
Washes its walls on the southern side;
A pleasanter spot you never spied ;
But, when begins my ditty,
Almost five hundred years ago,
To see the townsfolk suffer so
From vermin, was a pity.

“ Rats !
They fought the dogs and killed the cats,
And bit the babies in their cradles,
And ate the cheeses out of the vats,
And licked the soup from the cook’s own ladles,
Split open the kegs of salted sprats,
Made nests inside men’s Sunday hats,
And even spoiled the women’s chats,
By drowning their speaking
With shrieking and squeaking
In fifty different sharps and flats.

“ At last the people in a body

To the Town-hall came flocking :
‘Tis clear,’ cried they, ‘our Mayor’s.a noddy:
_ And as for our Corporation — shocking,

To think we buy gowns lined with ermine
98

WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

For dolts that can’t or won't determine
What’s best to rid us of our vermin!
You hope, because you're old and obese,
To find, in the furry civic robe, ease !
Rouse up, Sirs! Give your brains a racking
To find the remedy we’re lacking ;
Or, sure as fate, we'll send you packing !’
At this the Mayor and Corporation
Quaked with a mighty consternation.

“ An hour they sat in council,
At length the Mayor broke silence :
‘For a guilder I'd my ermine gown sell ;
I wish I were a mile hence!
It’s easy to bid one rack one’s brain —
I’m sure my poor head aches again,
I’ve scratched it so, and all in vain.
Oh for a trap, a trap, a trap |,
Just as he said this, what should hap
At the chamber door, but a gentle tap?
‘ Bless us,’ cried the Mayor, ‘what’s that?
Anything like the sound of a rat
Makes my heart go pit-a-pat !

“«Come in!’ the Mayor cried, looking bigger;
And in did come the strangest figure !
His queer long coat from heel to head


THE PIED PIPER OF HAMELIN.
(After the painting by H. Kaulbach.)



WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 101

Was half of yellow, and half of red ;

And he himself was tall and thin,

With sharp blue eyes each like a pin,
And light loose hair, yet swarthy skin,
No tuft on cheek, nor beard on chin,

But lips where smiles went out and in —
There was no guessing his kith and kin!
And nobody could enough admire

The tall man and his quaint attire :
Quoth one, ‘ It’s as if my great-grand-sire,
Starting up at the trump of Doom’s tone,
Had walked this way from his painted tombstone !’

«“ He advanced to the council table:

And, ‘ Please your honours,’ said he, ‘ I’m able,
By means of a secret charm, to draw

All creatures living beneath the sun,
That creep, or swim, or fly, or run,

After me so as you never saw !

And I chiefly use my charm

On creatures that do people harm,

The mole, the toad, the newt, the viper;
And people call me the Pied Piper.

Yet,’ said he, ‘poor piper as I am,

In Tartary I freed the Cham,

Last June, from his huge swarm of gnats;

I eased in Asia the Nizam
102 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

Of a monstrous brood of vampyre bats:
And as for what your brain bewilders,
If I can rid your town of rats
Will you give a thousand guilders ?’
‘One? fifty thousand!’ was the exclamation
Of the astonished Mayor and Corporation.

“ Into the street the Piper stept,
Smiling first a little smile,
As if he knew what magic slept
In his quiet pipe the while;
Then like a musical adept,
To blow the pipe his lips he wrinkled,
And green and blue his sharp eyes twinkled,
Like a candle flame where salt is sprinkled ;
And ere three shrill notes the pipe had uttered,
You heard as if an army muttered ;
And the muttering grew to a grumbling ;
And the grumbling grew to a mighty rumbling ;
And out of the houses the rats came tumbling —
Great rats, small rats, lean rats, brawny rats,
Brown rats, black rats, gray rats, tawny rats,
Grave old plodders, gay young friskers,
Fathers, mothers, uncles, cousins,
_ Cocking tails, and pricking whiskers,
Families by tens and dozens,
Brothers, sisters, husbands, wives —
WAtAT THE DRAGON FEY ROW D. 103

Followed the Piper for their lives.

From street to street he piped, advancing,
And step for step they followed dancing,
Until they came to the river Weser
Wherein all plunged and perished,

Save one, who stout as Julius Cesar,
Swam across, and lived to carry

(As he, the manuscript he cherished)






“AND THE GRUMBLING GREW TO A MIGHTY
RUMBLING,

AND OUT OF THE HOUSES THE RATS CAME
TUMBLING.”’



To Rat-land home, his commentary,

Which was, ‘ At the first shrill notes of the pipe,
‘I heard a sound as of scraping tripe,

And putting apples wondrous ripe

Into a cider press’s gripe ;

And a moving away of pickle-tub boards,

And a leaving ajar of conserve cupboards,

And a drawing the corks of train-oil-flasks,
104 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

And a breaking the hoops of butter casks ;
And it seemed as if a voice

(Sweeter far than by harp or by psaltery

Is breathed) called out: Oh rats, rejoice!
The world is grown to one vast drysaltery !
So munch on, crunch on, take your nuncheon,
Breakfast, dinner, supper, luncheon !

And just as a bulky sugar puncheon,

All ready staved, like a great sun shone
Glorious, scarce an inch before me,

Just as methought it said,“ Come, bore me!”
— I found the Weser rolling o’er me.’

“You should have heard the Hamelin people
Ringing the bells till they rocked the steeple;
“Go, cried the Mayor, ‘and get long poles!
Poke out the nests, and block up the holes!
Consult with carpenters and builders,

And leave in our town not even a trace

Of the rats!’ When suddenly up the face

Of the Piper perked in the market-place,

With a ‘ First, if you please, my thousand guilders!’
A thousand guilders! The Mayor looked blue,
So did the Corporation too.

For council dinners made rare havock

With Claret, Moselle, Vin-de-Grave, Hock;

And half the money would replenish
WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD, 105

Their cellar’s biggest butt with Rhenish.

To pay this sum to a wandering fellow

With a gypsy coat of red and yellow!

‘ Besides, quoth the Mayor, with a knowing wink,
‘Our business was done at the river’s brink;

We saw with our eyes the vermin sink,

And what’s dead can’t come to life, I think.

So, friend, we’re not the folks to shrink

From the duty of giving you something for drink,
And a matter of money to put in your poke;

But, as for guilders, what we spoke



Of them, as you very well know, was in joke
Beside, our losses have made us thrifty :
A thousand guilders! come, take fifty!’

“The Piper’s face fell, and he cried
‘No trifling! I can’t wait! Beside,
I’ve promised to visit by dinner-time,
Bagdat, and accept the prime

all he’s rich in,



Of the head-cook’s pottage
For having left, in the caliph’s kitchen,

Of a nest of scorpions no survivor.

With him, I proved no bargain-driver ;

With you, don’t think Pll bate a stiver !

And folks who put me in a passion

May find me pipe to another fashion.’

‘How?’ cried the Mayor, ‘d’ye think I'll brook
106 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

Being worse treated than a cook?
Insulted by a lazy ribald

With idle pipe and vesture piebald?

You threaten us, fellow? Do your worst,
Blow your pipe there till you burst.’



, 5 fy (BY a ks
< / a fe lew: Het No VR ‘ hie fr



‘‘oUT CAME THE CHILDREN.”’

Once more he stept into the street,
And to his lips again
Laid his long pipe of smooth, straight cane ;
And ere he blew three notes (such sweet
Soft notes as yet musician’s cunning
Never gave the enraptured air),
There was a rustling that seemed like a bustling, ’
WHAT. TE DRAG ON BEY OlmDe 107

Of merry crowds justling at pitching and hustling,
Small feet were pattering, wooden shoes clattering,
Little hands clapping and little tongues chattering,
And like fowls in a farmyard when barley is scattering
Out came the children running:

All the little boys and girls,

With rosy cheeks and flaxen curls,

And sparkling eyes and teeth like pearls,

Tripping and skipping ran merrily after

The wonderful music with shouting and laughter.

“The Mayor was dumb, and the Council stood
As if they were changed into blocks of wood,
Unable to move a step, or cry

To the children merrily skipping by —

And could only follow with the eye

That joyous crowd at the Piper’s back.

And now the Mayor was on the rack,

And the wretched Council’s bosom’s beat,

As the Piper turned from the High Street

To where the Weser rolled its waters

Right in the way of their sons and daughters !
However he turned from south to west,

And to Koppelberg Hill his steps addressed,
And after him the children pressed ;

Great was the joy in every breast.

‘He never can cross that mighty top;
108 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

He’s forced to let the piping drop,

And we shall see our children stop!’

When, lo! as they reached the mountain’s side,
A wondrous portal opened wide,

As if a cavern was suddenly hollowed ;

And the Piper advanced, and the children followed,
And when all were in to the very last,

The door in the mountain side shut fast.

Did I say, all? No! One was lame,

And could not dance the whole of the way ;
And in after years, if you would blame

His sadness, he was used to say, —

‘Tt’s dull in our town since my playmates left!
I can’t forget that I’m bereft

Of all the pleasant sights they see,

Which the Piper also promised me:

For he led us, he said, to a joyous land,

Joining the town and just at hand, |

Where waters gushed and fruit-trees grew,

And flowers put forth a fairer hue,

And everything was strange and new;

The sparrows were brighter than peacocks here,
And their dogs outran our fallow-deer,

And honey-bees had lost their stings,

And horses were born with eagles’ wings ;

And just as I became assured

My lame foot would be speedily cured,
IGA TE IN GUB DIS ANGHOIN, JBIENC AILOIL ION: 109

The music stopped and I stood still,
And found myself outside the hill,

Left alone, against my will,

To go now limping as before,

And never hear of that country more!’

“ The Mayor sent east, west, north, and south
To offer the Piper by word of mouth,
Wherever it was man’s lot to find him,
Silver and gold to his heart’s content,
If he’d only return the way he went,
And bring the children behind him.
But when they saw ’t was a lost endeavour,
And Piper and dancers were gone for ever,
They made a decree that lawyers never
Should think their records dated duly,
If after the day of the month and year
These words did not as well appear,
‘And so long after what happened here
On the twenty-second of July,
Thirteen hundred and seventy-six ’:
And the better in memory to fix
The place of the children’s last retreat,
They called it, the Pied Piper’s Street —
Where any one playing on pipe or tabor,
Was sure for the future to lose his labour.
Nor suffered they hostelry or tavern
110 WHAT GHE DRAGON “BLY GOLD:

To shock with mirth a street so solemn ;
But opposite the place of the cavern

They wrote the story on a column,
And on the great church window painted
The same, to make the world acquainted
How their children were stolen away;
And there it stands to this very day.
And I must not omit to say
That, in Transylvania, there’s a tribe
Of alien people, that ascribe
The outlandish ways and dress
On which their neighbors lay such stress,
To their fathers and mothers having risen
Out of some subterraneous prison
Into which they were trepanned
Long ago in a mighty band,
Out of Hamelin town in Brunswick land ;—
But how or why, they don’t understand.

So Willy, let you and me be wipers
Of scores out with all men, — especially pipers,
And whether they pipe us free from rats or from mice

If we’ve promised them aught, let us keep our promise.

The dragon fly was almost hoarse when he had finished
this long story. Then he was out of sight.
Sometimes he would disappear in that sudden manner,
WoHAT TIES DIRA GON Iya. OLD. 111
without waiting to say good-by. And how fast he could fly

when he wanted to! I suppose he was going to take a long

flight this morning.

ull

vee i Ai iif

ay ny Dak: i hy
Spee
i

i)
an ee? i Aa aPC Pt Ul aaah

tinea dtl bas rT ves We tu ell


GHA Ra Wald.
GLADYS HAS A BIRTHDAY.

Ob ARK! Hark! the lark at heaven’s gate sings,
And Pheebus ’gins arise,
His steeds to water at those springs,
On chaliced flowers that lies ;
And winking Mary-buds begin
To ope their golden eyes;
With everything that pretty bin:
My lady sweet! arise, arise, arise.”

This was what Auntie sang one morning to little Gladys.
It was one of Shakspere’s songs from his play of Cymde-
fine, and Auntie thought it applied to her little girl.

For it was Gladys’s birthday, and she was three years old.
The birthday came on Midsummer day, a lovely time for a
lovely little fairy-like child to come to her happy home; so
all the folks at Edgehurst felt a spring of joy and thankful-
ness welling up in their hearts, as they looked at the dear little
maid who was the fairy queen of the midsummer festival.

The children were wild with delight over the party that
was to be on the Jawn. How many questions they kept ask-

ing all the morning!
112
AGATE Hit IOI AGO JRILVG. IH OMLIDX 113

Every one was running about, and busy as could be,
getting ready for the feast; so there was no time to answer
questions. Even Mabel and Edith were helping all the time,
and couldn’t stop to play with the little ones. But at last
dinner was over, and they all scampered upstairs to be







‘‘~HEY FORMED IN PROCESSION, TWO AND TWO.”

dressed. The dressing, in spite of all the fidgeting and
running from room to room, and calling to each other, all
of which hindered and made it take longer, was yet accom-
plished long before it was time for “the company,” that is,
the children who had been invited to the party, to arrive.
But, at last, the tall clock in the dining-room struck four,
114 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

and then the French clock on the library mantel, and the little
clocks in the rooms upstairs, and the kitchen clock all began
striking; and the children shouted, “ Four o'clock! it’s four
o'clock !” then a carriage rolled up the drive, and right after
it another one, and the party began. Or, rather, the chil-
dren thought it began a little later, when they formed in
procession, two and two, with little flower-crowned Gladys
at their head, and marched to where the tables were set
under the trees. Well, it was like all the parties you ever
went to. After the important matters of ice cream and so
forth had been duly attended to, the children ran and played
all sorts of pretty games.

“Come unto these yellow
sands,
And then take hands ;
Curt’sied when you have,
and kissed,
The wild waves whist.
Foot it featly here and

there ;



And sweet sprites the bur-
den bear.
Hark! hark!
Bow-wow !
The watch-dogs bark:
Bow-wow!
WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 115

Hark! hark! I hear
The strain of strutting chanticleer

V2

Cry, cock-a-doodle-doo



This is what they sang; Auntie
had taught them the words. The
song is surely full enough of gay,
glad nonsense for children, even
if it were written by the immortal
Shakspere. It was Ariel’s song,
in his play — The Tempest.

For another game, too, they
used some other words of Shaks-
pere’s, from his play of Ze Win-

WILLIAM SHAKSPERE. Zer’s Tale S

“Will you buy any tape,
Or lace for your cape,
My dainty duck, my dear-a?
Any silk, any thread,
Any toys for your head,
Of the new’st and fin’st, fin’st wear-a ?
Come to the peddler ;
Money’s a meddler
That doth utter all men’s wear-a.”

One boy was the peddler, and he had a great pack of
funny things to sell, and there was a great deal of laughing,
116 VIG ANTE TIGL. JDIS AGOIN IBIL YC IF OILIO.

as they danced up to him, and bought, and danced away

again.

“When the dimpled water slippeth,
Full of laughter, on its way,
And her wing the wagtail dippeth,
Running by the brink at play;
When the poplar leaves, a-tremble,
Turn their edges to the light,
And the far-up clouds resemble,
Veils of gauze, most clear and white,
And the sunbeams fall and flatter
Woodland moss and branches brown,
And the glossy finches clatter
Up and down, up and down —

“Why, on such a pleasant day,
Sweet it is to run and play!”

Sang the dragon fly, finishing off Jean Ingelow’s pretty
song with two lines to suit as he flew over the merry party,
who were playing “London Bridge.” He looked down
with a pleased twinkle in his bright little eyes. Just then,
they were all in a line, one after another, marching round
and round, and singing another of the Winter Tale songs :

“Jog on, jog on, the footpath way,
And merrily hent the stile-a;
ESTE



THEY WERE PLAYING *‘ LONDON BRIDGE.”’



WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 119

A merry heart goes all the day,
Your sad tires in a mile-a.”

So, you see, it was a very Shaksperean party, indeed.
But, at last, it was time for the party to end; the sun was
sinking to his bed in the bright clouds in the West; the

>

children began to say “ good-by,” “ good-by;” soon all were
gone but the six who were staying at Edgehurst, and then
they and all their aunts and uncles and papas and mammas

went into the house, pretty well tired by so much fun.

“ Rosy is the West,
Rosy is the South,
Roses are her cheeks

And a rose in her mouth,”

said Papa, quoting from Tennyson’s “ Maud,” as he carried
the little queen of the feast high on his shoulder; for the
dragon fly, or something, had really put everybody into a
very “quotatious mood,” as papa called it.

It was a tired baby that smiled out of sleepy blue eyes
in response; and when papa begged for a kiss, she only
shook her head; so papa went on, quoting Tennyson. to

her:

“ Airy, fairy Lilian,
Flitting, fairy Lilian,
When I ask her if she love me
120 WAGLAIE JEJGUR IDIRAUGOIN, IIL, IOILIDs

Claps her tiny hands above me,
Laughing all she can ;

She’ll not tell me if she love me
Cruel little Lilian.”

“ Dood-night !” said Gladys,
who knew her name wasn’t Lil-
ian, and didn’t suppose papa
could be talking to her. But
she could quote, herself, upon
-occasion. She had a little song |
of her own which went —

“ Hold the right hand up,
Hold the left hand up” —

and so on.



ALFRED TENNYSON. One day, later in the Sum-

mer, she was taken to the sea-

shore; as the steamboat, on its way down the bay, passed

the Statue of Liberty, she suddenly caught sight of the

great uplifted torch, and flashing a merry glance at the

majestic statue, she quoted saucily to it—“ Hold the right

hand up!” But this night she was very sleepy; so she was
carried off to bed, and that ended the birthday.






















) Wii
f wl fi

. ly)

Ly

aH

lL Tee 1 at / si , a3
| oh! 2 Ba iti = eile == = = ee x &

‘THE STARS ARE OUT IN THE SKY,’?
CAE Re Valle

PAPA QUOTES POETRY.



FTER the birthday party the Summer seemed to go

very quickly to our children. They were not often

out-of-doors late enough to see the moon come up or

the

stars shine, but once they were all taken on a long drive

and didn’t reach home till after dark, and papa recited from

his favorite Kingsley as they rode along:

“Watchman, what of the night?
The stars are out in the sky,

And the merry round moon will be rising soon
For us to go sailing by.

“ Watchman, what of the night?
The tide flows in from the sea,
There’s water to float a little cock boat

Will carry such fishers as we.”
121
122 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

For papa really knew almost as much poetry as the dragon
fly did.

“ Now, go‘on, next!” he cried.

So Auntie recited the pretty story that Jean Ingelow
tells of a milkmaid calling home the cows. A little while
before they had seen a girl driving two big white cows
home to the milking, which made her think of it, perhaps.

I oy

Hy

i Uy We
ar



“Cusha! Cusha! Cusha! calling,
E’re the early dews were falling,
Far away I heard her song,
Cusha! Cusha! all along,
Where the reedy Lindis floweth, floweth, floweth,
From the meads where melick groweth,

Faintly came her milking song.

“Cusha! Cusha! Cusha! calling
For the dews will soon be falling,

Leave your meadow grasses mellow, mellow, mellow,
GPA EE ODA G OV ie\a 1k @) lay 123

Quit your cowslip, cowslip yellow,
Come up Whitefoot, come up Lightfoot ;
Quit the stalks of parsley hollow, hollow, hollow, -
Come up, Jetty, rise and follow,
From the clovers lift your head ;
Come up Whitefoot, come up Lightfoot,
Come up, Jetty, rise and follow,
Jetty, to the milking shed.”

Then some one else told
about Annabel Lee, whose
story, Poe, the American poet,
told:

“It was many and many a year
ago,

In a kingdom by the sea,

That a maiden lived, whom you
may know

By the name of Annabel Lee;

And this maiden she lived with



no other thought EDGAR ALLEN POE,

Than to love, and be loved by me.

“i was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we,
Of many far wiser than we.”
124 WitATe, STE DIRAG ONE RE YE ROI):

By this time papa thought it was his turn again; so he
broke out with this, from Jean Ingelow:

“Come out and hear the waters shoot, the owlet hoot, the
owlet hoot,
Yon crescent moon, a golden boat,
Hangs dim behind the tree, O!
The dropping thorn makes white the grass, O, sweetest lass,
O, sweetest lass,
Come out and smell the ricks of hay adown the croft with
me; O22



“YON CRESCENT MOON, A GOLDEN BOAT.”?

“Wouldn’t that be naughty, so late —to go outdoors
after bedtime?” asked dark-eyed little Edith Number Two.
At which, they laughed and quoted no more poetry.

“Can horses go faster than cows?” was Edith’s next
question.

As the horses were going along ata very gentle rate of
speed, this innocent curiosity as to the facts of natural
WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 125

history made the grown people laugh again, for they thought
the remark rather a good joke on the horses. But the
driver touched up the horses with his whip, and soon after
they turned in at the home gates.

By this time, the children had found out that papa could
recite poetry; and, as the dragon fly had made them all very
fond of it, they often asked for “some poetry” after that,
when they found papa lying in the hammock or on the
lounge, and looking as if he hadn’t anything more important
to do than to say it to them.

One funny story he told them, out of an old book, written
hundreds of years ago by a famous English poet, named
Chaucer. It made them all laugh and laugh. It was about
a fox and a rooster. Dan Russel,
the fox, was a sly old fellow and he
wanted to catch chanticleer, the
cock, and eat him up for dinner.
But he never could, because the
cock kept his eyes open and was
too smart and quick to be caught.
So Dan Russel thought if he could
only get the cock to shut his eyes,
he might be able to catch him. So
the fox began to flatter him and tell
him he was a beautiful singer and he
only wished that he would shut his



eyes and sing to him.
126 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

And this is the story, in the queer, old-fashioned English

that is so hard to read until you get used to it:

“ Then Chanticleer stood high upon his toes,

Stretching his neck and held his eyen close,

And ’gan to crowen loudé for the nones.

And Dan Russel, the fox, started up at once

And by the throaté seizéd Chan-
ticleer,

And on his back toward the
wood him bere,”

— And then, said papa, all the

hens made a great fuss, and —

“ The silly widow and her daugh-
tren two

Hearden these hennes cry and
maken woe,

And out at the doors starten
they anon,

And saw the fox toward the



GEOFFREY CHAUCER.

wood is gone,
And bare upon his back the cock’ away.
They crieden out! ‘harrow and wala way!
Aha, the fox!’ and after him they ran,
And eke with stavés many another man;
Ran Colle, our dog, and Talbot and Gerland
And Malkin, with her distaff in her hand,
WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 127

Ran cow and calf and eke the very hogges,
So feared were they for barking of the dogs
And shouting of the men and women eke
They runnen too’? —

— Well, fortune turned —

“ The cock that lay upon the foxe’s back,

In all his dread, unto the fox he spake

And said, ‘ Sir, if that I were as ye

Yet would I say: Now am I come unto the woode’s side,
Maugre your head the cock shall here abide ;
I will eat him in faith and that anon,’

The fox answered, ‘ In faith it shall be done.’
And as he spake the word, all suddenly

The cock brake from his mouth deliverly,
And high upon a tree he flew anon!”

So the cock was as smart as the fox; for, as soon as he
got Dan Fox to open his mouth, he flew away safely out of
reach, and I don’t believe the fox could shut the cock’s eyes
again by his flattery; do you? How the children laughed
and clapped their hands and shouted, when Chanticleer flew
away in the end.

Papa quoted again from Kingsley when the children’s

Jaugh rang out.

“ The merry, merry lark was up and singing
And the hare was out and feeding on the lea
And the merry, merry bells below were ringing

ee pe ee
When my child’s laugh rang through me.
128 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

The little girls were very fond of asong, written by Edgar
Allen Poe, and called “The Bells.” Auntie used to read
it to them from a book full of pictures of bells and of all
the things the bells rang about. It is too long for me to
write it all out for you in this book, but here is a little of it;
so, if you like it, you can ask your mammas to read the rest

of it to you:

“ Hear the sledges, with the bells —
Silver bells —
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
While the stars that over-sprinkle
All the heavens, seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight —
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells —

From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.”

Here, too, is another one that Auntie used to say, when
she found any of the children pouting a little or cross and
not ready to play with the others. It is called “ The Glad-
ness of Nature,” and was written by William Cullen Bryant.


A DANCE OF AUTUMN LEAVES.



ell a Seles IDeA CHONG HEIL e. IMOILID Es 181

“Js this a time to be cloudy and sad,
When our mother nature laughs around;
When even the deep blue heavens look glad,
And gladness breathes from the blossoming ground ?





*€GLADNESS BREATHES FROM THE BLOSSOMING GROUND.”

“ There are notes of joy from the hang-bird and wren,
And the gossip of swallows. thro’ all the sky ;

The ground-squirrel gaily chirps by his den
And the wilding bee hums merrily by.

“ The clouds are at play in the azure space,
And their shadows at play on the bright green vale ;
132 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

And here they stretch to the frolic chase,
And there they roll on the easy gale.

“ There’s a dance of leaves in that aspen bower,
There’s a titter of winds in that beechen tree,

There’s a smile on the fruit and a smile on the flower,
And a laugh from the brook that runs to the sea.

“ And look at the broad-faced sun how he smiles
On the dewy earth that smiles in his way,

On the leaping waters and gay young isles
Ay, look! and he’ll smile thy gloom away.”

All that gladness is enough to make anybody smile and
feel pleasant; don’t you think so?


CIA PARE RS exe

A SUNDAY AT EDGEHURST.

ct H, say not, dream not, heavenly notes

To childish ears are vain;
That the young mind at random floats,
And cannot reach the strain.

‘Dim or unheard, the words may fall,
And yet the heaven-taught mind
May learn the sacred air, and all
The harmony unwind.”

That is what Auntie read to the children one bright
Sunday. It was from a book called Keble’s “Christian
Year,” she told them.

It was a fair, sweet Sunday, and the older children, in-
cluding Chester, had been to church; but the three little
girls were too young to go yet, except on certain rare
occasions.

That afternoon, all the children were gathered around
their auntie, who was reading to them out of the great
“picture Bible.” ‘She read the story of how the wicked
King Herod wanted to kill the little infant Saviour, and how

Joseph and Mary, his mother, took the Holy Child far away
133
134 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

to a land called Egypt, to save his life. There wasa picture
in the book of the Mother and Child and Joseph, resting by
a river bank, under a clear sky, and in the distance were
seen the pyramids and temples of Egypt, and Auntie read
them a description Mrs. Hemans wrote of an old Italian
picture of the same thing, called “ The Repose of the Holy
Family.”

“Under a paim tree by the green old Nile,
Lull’d on his mother’s breast the fair child lies,
With dove-like breathings, and a tender smile
Brooding above the slumber of his eyes ;
While, through the stillness of the burning skies,
Lo! the dread works of Egypt’s buried Kings,
Temple and pyramid, beyond him rise,
Regal and still as everlasting things.
Vain pomps! from Him with that pure flowery cheek,
Soft-shadowed by his Mother’s drooping head,
A new-born spirit, mighty and yet meek,
O’er the whole world like vernal air shall spread !
And bid all earthly grandeurs cast the crown
Before the suffering and the lowly, down.”

After that, she told them of other beautiful pictures of the
Christ Child and his mother. One of them was by a
great painter, named Raphael, and was called the “Sistine
Madonna.” Then Auntie taught the children these pretty


THE SISTINE MADONNA.

(From the famous painting by Raphael in the Dresden Gallery. Painted about 1520.)



Via SUE DRAGON FLY. GOED: 187

verses of Charles Kingsley, and all the children said them
over and over, even baby Glay lisping out the sweet words:
“ Jesus He loves one and all ;
Jesus He loves children small ;
Their souls are waiting round His feet,
On high before His Mercy seat.

“While He wandered here be-
low,

Children small to Him did go;

At His feet they knelt and
prayed ;

On their heads His hands He
laid.

“Came a spirit on them then,
Better than of mighty men;

A spirit faithful, pure and mild,
A spirit fit for King or child.



CHARLES KINGSLEY.

Oh! that spirit give to me,
Jesus, Lord, where’er I be.”

They were just saying it over, all together for the last
time, when in walked Cataline, the great yellow cat, and set-
tled himself comfortably on the rug before the empty fire-
138 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

place; Or rather, he tried to; but Mabel made a dive at him,
and pulled him up into her lap. He was a very knowing
cat, but he was not fond of endearments unexpectedly be-
stowed ; so he turned a stately look upon Mabel and declined
to settle comfortably where she wished him.

{Never mimds let him co;. advised Auntie; “it’s dan-
gerous to be fond of cats; you know you'll be an old maid
if you’re partial to cats and tea.”

“Tm going to be one, anyway,” said Mabel, with deci-
sion, “and I think cats are very interesting. I believe I
always did. Mamma says I surprised her once, when I was
a very little girl, by asking her where the zhznks of cats went
to when they died —oh! you Cataline!””—for he had es-
caped from her arms, and was walking in his usual dignified
and unhurried manner out of the room. Mabel ran after
him, in spite of Auntie’s friendly warning, and that broke
up the quiet little party.

And so, presently, the afternoon drew to a close and it
was the children’s tea-time.


CEVA PsEAR? XS

‘““GOOD-BY, MR. DRAGON FLy!”

66 T is the Autumn breeze

That lightly floating on,
Just skims the weedy leas,
Just stirs the glowing trees,

And is gone.

“O’er shouting children flies
That light October wind
And, kissing cheeks and eyes,
He leaves their merry cries

Far behind.”



WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.

Auntie stood before the house at Edgehurst, reciting to
Edith these verses, by Bryant, on Autumn; for now Autumn
was at hand. With song and play the summer days had
passed away; the breezes began to blow a little chilly, morn-
ing and evening; the children had to wear light sacques and
jackets over their thin dresses, and so they began to think
of the Winter and of the snow that was coming; while their
fathers and mothers began to think it was time for them all
to come home.

Auntie felt sad to have them go. They had brightened
189
140 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

the summer for her, dearly; so, as she stood looking at the
falling leaves and saw the signs of departure, she recalled
the beautiful though sad verses by Shelley and repeated
them for Mabel and Edith as they stood beside her:

“ The warm sun is failing; the bleak wind is wailing ;
The bare boughs are sighing; the pale flowers are dying;
And the Year
On the earth, her death-bed, in shroud of leaves dead,
Is lying.
Come, months, come away ;
From November to May,
In your saddest array
Follow the bier
Of the dead, cold Year,
And like dim shadows watch by her sepulchre.

“ The chill rain is falling; the nipt worm is crawling;
The rivers are swelling; the thunder is knelling
For the Year;
The blithe swallows are flown, and the lizards each gone
To his dwelling ;
Come, months, come away;
Put on white, black, and gray ;
Let your light sisters play —
Ye, follow the bier
Of the dead, cold Year,

And make her grave green with tear on tear.”
WAR TE DRAGON FILZ FOLD: 141

At last, two by two— for, you remember, there were just

two children in each family, the little cousins said good-by
to each otherand to Grandpa, Grandma and Auntie, to Bob,

the horse, and Grouse, the
dog, and Cataline, the cat,
and to dear, beautiful Edge-
hurst, where they had spent
so many happy days, and
where they had heard so
many new and lovely songs
from their strange, merry lit-
tle friend, the blue dragon
fly; and then they went back
to their own homes with their
Auntie
said it made her think of
Longfellow’s

papas and mammas.

poem about the
old house by the
lindens which he
used to visit in
Cambridge.

“The old house
by the lindens

Stood silent in
the shade,














IN THE AUTUMN BREEZE.
142 WiHAT, THE DRAGON “REY TOLD:

And on the gravelled pathway
The light and shadow played.

“T saw the nursery window
Wide open to the air,
But the faces of the children —

They were no longer there.

“ The large Newfoundland house-dog
Was standing by the door;

He looked for his little playmates
Who would return no more.

“ The birds sang on the branches,
With sweet familiar tone,

But the voices of the children
Will be heard in dreams alone.”

And the little blue dragon fly — where is he?

The very last day before the breaking up, he fluttered
around the children as they were saying good-by to their
play-house tree; and he bade them good-by, too, giving them
this sentiment from Byron:

“ Farewell! a word that must be, and hath been —
A sound which makes us linger — yet — farewell.”

He told them, too, how much he had enjoyed the sum-
mer and begged them not to forget his selections and his

songs.
WHAT THE DRAGON

EHoOms said «nes leloveryou
children, very, very much and I

don’t wish you to forget me.

Do you know why I love you?
Because, I feel as Longfellow

must have felt, when he said:

“Ah! what would the world be
to us,
If the children were no more?
We should dread the desert
behind us
Worse than the dark before,”

and that makes me think of
another song about children, writ-
ten by a dear woman-poet and
friend of children, Mary Howitt.
Listen to it; for her poem
called ‘Little Children’
is to be my very last selec-
tion for you:

“ Sporting through the forest wide;

Playing by the waterside;



1438


















Ke Ainy Brooks
144 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

Wandering o’er the heathy fells ;
Down within the woodland dells ;
All among the mountains wild,
Dwelleth many a little child !

“ In the baron’s hall of pride ;

By the poor man’s dull fireside ;
*Mid the mighty, ‘mid the mean,
Little children may be seen,

Like the flowers. that spring up fair,
Bright and countless everywhere !
In the far isles of the main ;

In the desert’s lone domain;

In the savage mountain-glen,
"Mong the tribes of swarthy men ;
Wheresoe’er a foot hath gone;
Wheresoe’er the sun hath shone
On a league of peopled ground,
Little children may be found !

“ Blessing on them! they, in me,
Move a kindly sympathy,

With their wishes, hopes and fears ;
With their laughter and their tears ;
With their wonder so intense,

And their small experience !
WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 145

Little children, not alone

On the wide earth are ye known,
*Mid its labors and its cares,

"Mid its sufferings and its snares ;
Free from sorrow, free from strife,
In the world of love and life,
Where no sinful thing hath trod —
In the presence of your God,
Spotless, blameless, glorified —
Little children, ye abide! ”

With that, the dragon fly flew away; and, after the chil-
dren left Edgehurst, Auntie saw him no more, flying past the
windows, fluttering over the flowers, darting into the woods
and back again over the lawns; his merry voice was no
longer heard in the lovely songs of the great poets of En-
glish speech. So, I think he must have flown away South
to warmer lands, before the Autumn breezes grew too cold
for him; and whether he is singing to other little boys and
girls in that far country, or not, I cannot say.

But I hope the children of Edgehurst and all the little
readers of this book will remember to the end of their lives,
and, often and often, hear in their hearts, the beautiful songs

a noble



the dragon fly sang; and especially this last one
verse, written by that dear, cheery and good man who loved
little children — Charles Kingsley. It was sung, over and
over again, by the dragon fly, on the last day of the chil-
146 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

dren’s visit to Edgehurst. To help you to remember
it, always, we will call it our

EPILOGUE.

“ Be good, dear children, let who will be clever;
Do noble things, not dream them all day long;

And so make life, death, and that vast forever,
One grand, sweet song.”


JUNIOR Ole THURS IE

Under the Greenwood tree

Piping down the valleys wild

Was there ever a day like to-day

O, so many, many, many

A wind came up out of the sea .

I cannot tell what you say, green leaves
Piped the blackbird on the beechwood spray
Heigh ho! daisies and buttercups

Where the bee sucks, there suck I

Whither away, whither away, whither away, fly no more
Who would be a merman bold

Beautiful clouds! with folds so soft and fair
Little Ellie sits alone .

Philomel with melody

Baby, what do the blossoms say .

What does little birdie say?

How beautiful is the rain .

Little white lily sat by a stone :
I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers
Robins call robins in tops of trees

O, Mally’s meek, Mally’s sweet: .

What did the sparrows do yesterday ?
Ionce had a sweet little doll, dears

My child, we were two children .

‘The cock is crowing

Sweet, sweet, sweet, O, Pan

Coo, dove, to thy married mate .

I passéd an island cliff precipitate

You be Queen of the wrens

Double, double, toil and trouble

The little bird sits at his door in the sun

ETNIES:

Author
SHAKSPERE .
BLAKE.
see Eleye
INGELOW
LONGFELLOW
KINGSLEY
WESTWOOD.
INGELOW
SHAKSPERE .
TENNYSON .
TENNYSON .
BRYANT
Mrs. BROWNING
SHAKSPERE .

Mrs. HENSHAW.

TENNYSON .
LONGFELLOW
MACDONALD
SHELLEY

8G sl?
BuRNS

Scat Telling
KINGSLEY

Mrs. BRowNING .

WORDSWORTH
Mrs. BROWNING
INGELOW
INGELOW
TENNYSON .
SHAKSPERE.
LOWELL

Page
INDEX OF FIRST LINES.

A tiny voice hard by . 3 ‘ " é
At the door on summer evenings
Return, return, my birds

It was fifty years ago .

Hast thou been in the woods with the honey bee

Whither away, thou little careless rover
Sure, never yet was antelope

Piping, fluting, bees are humming

Old Albion sat on a crag of late.

Oh! to be in England

Hamelin Town’s in Brunswick . ; .
Hark! Hark! the lark at heaven’s gate sings
Come unto these yellow sands

Will you buy any tape.

When the dimpled water slippeth

Jog on, jog on, the footpath way .

Rosy is the West .

Airy, fairy Lilian ;

Watchman, what of the night ?

Cusha! Cusha! Cusha! calling. , 2

It was many and many a year ago

Come out and hear the waters shoot, the owlet hoot,

the owlet hoot . : :
Then Chanticleer stood high upon his toes
The merry, merry lark was up and singing .
Hear the sledges with the bells .
Is this a time to be cloudy and sad
Oh, say not, dream not, heavenly notes
Under a palm-tree by the green old Nile
Jesus, He loves one and all

It is the Autumn breeze . 3 :

The warm sun is failing ; the bleak wind is wailing

The old house by the lindens

Farewell! a word that must be, and hath been .

Ah! what would the world be to us
Sporting through the forest wide

Be good, dear children, let who will be clever

FEMERSON
LONGFELLOW
Mrs. HEMANS
LONGFELLOW
Mrs. HEMANS
INGELOW .
TENNYSON
INGELOW
INGELOW
BROWNING .
BROWNING .
SHAKSPERE .
SHAKSPERE .
SHAKSPERE .
INGELOW
SHAKSPERE.
TENNYSON .
TENNYSON .
KINGSLEY
INGELOW
Por. 3

INGELOW
CHAUCER
KKINGSLEY
PoE

BRYANT
KEBLE

Mrs. HEMANS
KINGSLEY
BRYANT 2
SHELLEY
LONGFELLOW
BYRON
LONGFELLOW
Mary Howirr
KINGSLEY