“WOLF! Wolf! Wolf!”
Three farmers were walking across a field and looking eagerly for tracks in the soft ground. One carried a gun, one had a pitchfork, and the third had an ax.
“Wolf! Wolf! Wolf!” they cried, as they met another farmer coming over the hill.
“Where? where?” he asked.
“We don’t know,” was the answer, “but we saw her tracks down there by the brook. It’s the same old wolf that has been skulking around here all winter.”
“She killed three of my lambs last night,” said the one whose name was
“She’s killed as many as twenty since the winter began,” said Thomas
“How do you know that it is only one beast that does all this mischief?” asked the fourth farmer, whose name was Israel Putnam.
“Because the tracks are always the same,” answered David Brown. “They show that three toes have been lost from the left forefoot.”
“She’s been caught in a trap some time, I guess,” said Putnam.
“Samuel Stark saw her the other morning,” said Tanner. “He says she was a monster; and she was running straight toward the hills with a little lamb in her mouth. They say she has a family of young wolves up there; and that is why she kills so many lambs.”
“Here are the tracks again,” said Putnam.
They could be seen very plainly, for here the ground was quite muddy. The four men followed them for some distance, and then lost them on the hillside.
“Let us call the neighbors together and have a grand wolf hunt to- morrow,” said Putnam. “We must put an end to this killing of lambs.”
All the other men agreed to this, and they parted.
The next day twenty men and boys came together for the grand wolf hunt.
They tracked the beast to the mouth of a cave, far up on the hills.
They shouted and threw stones into the cave. But the wolf was too wise to show herself. She lay hidden among some rocks, and nothing could make her stir.
“I will fetch her out,” said Israel Putnam.
The opening to the cave was only a narrow hole between two rocks. Putnam stooped down and looked in. It was very dark there, and he could not see anything.
Then he tied a rope around his waist and said to his friends, “Take hold of the other end, boys. When I jerk it, then pull me out as quickly as you can.” He got down on his hands and knees and crawled into the cave. He crawled very slowly and carefully.
At last he saw something in the darkness that looked like two balls of fire. He knew that these were the eyes of the wolf. The wolf gave a low growl and made ready to meet him.
Putnam gave the rope a quick jerk and his friends pulled him out in great haste. They feared that the wolf was upon him; but he wished only to get his gun.
Soon, with the gun in one hand, he crept back into the cave. The wolf saw him. She growled so loudly that the men and boys outside were frightened. But Putnam was not afraid. He raised his gun and fired at the great beast. When his friends heard the gun they pulled the rope quickly and drew him out. It was no fun to be pulled over the sharp stones in that way; but it was better than to be bitten by the wolf. Putnam loaded his gun again. Then he listened. There was not a sound inside of the cave. Perhaps the wolf was waiting to spring upon him. He crept into the cave for the third time. There were no balls of fire to be seen now. No angry growl was heard. The wolf was dead.
Putnam stayed in the cave so long that his friends began to be alarmed. After a while, however, he gave the rope a quick jerk. Men and boys pulled with all their might; and Putnam and the wolf were drawn out together.
This happened when Israel Putnam was a young man. When the Revolutionary War began he was one of the first to hurry to Boston to help the people defend themselves against the British soldiers. He became famous as one of the bravest and best of the generals who fought to make our country free.
In France there once lived a famous man who was known as the Marquis de Lafayette. When he was a little boy his mother called him Gilbert.
Gilbert de Lafayette’s father and grandfather and great-grandfather had all been brave and noble men. He was very proud to think of this, and he wished that he might grow up to be like them.
His home was in the country not far from a great forest. Often, when he was a little lad, he took long walks among the trees with his mother.
“Mother,” he would say, “do not be afraid. I am with you, and I will not let anything hurt you.”
One day word came that a savage wolf had been seen in the forest. Men said that it was a very large wolf and that it had killed some of the farmers’ sheep.
“How I should like to meet that wolf,” said little Gilbert.
He was only seven years old, but now all his thoughts were about the savage beast that was in the forest.
“Shall we take a walk this morning?” asked his mother.
“Oh, yes!” said Gilbert. “Perhaps we may see that wolf among the trees.
But don’t be afraid.”
His mother smiled, for she felt quite sure that there was no danger.
They did not go far into the woods. The mother sat down in the shade of a tree and began to read in a new book which she had bought the day before. The boy played on the grass near by.
The sun was warm. The bees were buzzing among the flowers. The small birds were singing softly. Gilbert looked up from his play and saw that his mother was very deeply interested in her book.
“Now for the wolf!” he said to himself.
He walked quickly, but very quietly, down the pathway into the darker woods. He looked eagerly around, but saw only a squirrel frisking among the trees and a rabbit hopping across the road.
Soon he came to a wilder place. There the bushes were very close together and the pathway came to an end. He pushed the bushes aside and went a little farther. How still everything was!
He could see a green open space just beyond; and then the woods seemed to be thicker and darker. “This is just the place for that wolf,” he thought.
Then, all at once, he heard footsteps. Something was pushing its way through the bushes. It was coming toward him.
“It’s the wolf, I’m sure! It will not see me till it comes very near. Then I will jump out and throw my arms around its neck and choke it to death.”
The animal was coming nearer. He could hear its footsteps. He could hear its heavy breathing. He stood very still and waited.
“It will try to bite me,” he thought. “Perhaps it will scratch me with its sharp claws. But I will be brave. I will not cry out. I will choke it with my strong arms. Then I will drag it out of the bushes and call mamma to come and see it.”
The beast was very close to him now. He could see its shadow as he peeped out through the clusters of leaves. His breath came fast. He planted his feet firmly and made ready to spring.
“How proud mamma will be of her brave boy!”
Ah! there was the wolf! He saw its shaggy head and big round eyes. He leaped from his hiding place and clasped it round its neck.
It did not try to bite or scratch. It did not even growl. But it jumped quickly forward and threw Gilbert upon the ground. Then it ran out into the open space and stopped to gaze at him.
Gilbert was soon on his feet again. He was not hurt at all. He looked at the beast, and—what do you think it was?
It was not a wolf. It was only a pet calf that had come there to browse among the bushes.
The boy felt very much ashamed. He hurried back to the pathway, and then ran to his mother. Tears were in his eyes; but he tried to look brave. “O Gilbert, where have you been?” said his mother.
Then he told her all that had happened. His lips quivered and he began to cry.
“Never mind, my dear,” said his mother. “You were very brave, and it is lucky that the wolf was not there. You faced what you thought was a great danger, and you were not afraid. You are my hero.”
When the American people were fighting to free themselves from the rule of the king of England, the Marquis de Lafayette helped them with men and money. He was the friend of Washington. His name is remembered in our country as that of a brave and noble man.
Two hundred years ago there lived in Boston a little boy whose name was Benjamin Franklin.
On the day that he was seven years old, his mother gave him a few pennies.
He looked at the bright, yellow pieces and said, “What shall I do with these coppers, mother?”
It was the first money that he had ever had.
“You may buy something, if you wish,” said his mother.
“And then will you give me more?” he asked.
His mother shook her head and said: “No, Benjamin. I cannot give you any more. So you must be careful not to spend these foolishly.”
The little fellow ran into the street. He heard the pennies jingle in his pocket. How rich he was!
Boston is now a great city, but at that time it was only a little town.
There were not many stores.
As Benjamin ran down the street, he wondered what he should buy. Should he buy candy? He hardly knew how it tasted. Should he buy a pretty toy? If he had been the only child in the family, things might have been different. But there were fourteen boys and girls older than he, and two little sisters who were younger.
What a big family it was! And the father was a poor man. No wonder the lad had never owned a toy.
He had not gone far when he met a larger boy, who was blowing a whistle.
“I wish I had that whistle,” he said.
The big boy looked at him and blew it again. Oh, what a pretty sound it made!
“I have some pennies,” said Benjamin. He held them in his hand, and showed them to the boy. “You may have them, if you will give me the whistle.” “All of them?”
“Yes, all of them.”
“Well, it’s a bargain,” said the boy; and he gave the whistle to
Benjamin, and took the pennies.
Little Benjamin Franklin was very happy; for he was only seven years old. He ran home as fast as he could, blowing the whistle as he ran.
“See, mother,” he said, “I have bought a whistle.”
“How much did you pay for it?”
“All the pennies you gave me.”
One of his brothers asked to see the whistle.
“Well, well!” he said. “You’ve paid a dear price for this thing. It’s only a penny whistle, and a poor one at that.”
“You might have bought half a dozen such whistles with the money I gave you,” said his mother.
The little boy saw what a mistake he had made. The whistle did not please him any more. He threw it upon the floor and began to cry.
“Never mind, my child,” said his mother, very kindly. “You are only a very little boy, and you will learn a great deal as you grow bigger. The lesson you have learned to-day is never to pay too dear for a whistle.” Benjamin Franklin lived to be a very old man, but he never forgot that lesson.
Every boy and girl should remember the name of Benjamin Franklin. He was a great thinker and a great doer, and with Washington he helped to make our country free. His life was such that no man could ever say, “Ben Franklin has wronged me.”
|“Children, to-morrow I shall expect all of you to write compositions,” said the teacher of Love Lane School. “Then, on Friday those who have done the best may stand up and read their compositions to the school.”|
Some of the children were pleased, and some were not.
“What shall we write about?” they asked.
“You may choose any subject that you like best,” said the teacher.
Some of them thought that “Home” was a good subject. Others liked “School.” One little boy chose “The Horse.” A little girl said she would write about “Summer.”
The next day, every pupil except one had written a composition.
“Henry Longfellow,” said the teacher, “why have you not written?”
“Because I don’t know how,” answered Henry. He was only a child.
“Well,” said the teacher, “you can write words, can you not?”
“Yes, sir,” said the boy.
“After you have written three or four words, you can put them together, can you not?”
“Yes, sir; I think so.”
“Well, then,” said the teacher, “you may take your slate and go out behind the schoolhouse for half an hour. Think of something to write about, and write the word on your slate. Then try to tell what it is, what it is like, what it is good for, and what is done with it. That is the way to write a composition.”
Henry took his slate and went out. Just behind the schoolhouse was Mr.
Finney’s barn. Quite close to the barn was a garden. And in the garden,
Henry saw a turnip.
“Well, I know what that is,” he said to himself; and he wrote the word turnip on his slate. Then he tried to tell what it was like, what it was good for, and what was done with it.
Before the half hour was ended he had written a very neat composition on his slate. He then went into the house, and waited while the teacher read it.
The teacher was surprised and pleased. He said, “Henry Longfellow, you have done very well. Today you may stand up before the school and read what you have written about the turnip.”
Many years after that, some funny little verses about Mr. Finney’s turnip were printed in a newspaper. Some people said that they were what Henry Longfellow wrote on his slate that day at school.
But this was not true. Henry’s composition was not in verse. As soon as it was read to the school, he rubbed it off the slate, and it was forgotten. Perhaps you would like to read those funny verses. Here they are; but you must never, never, NEVER think that Henry Longfellow wrote them.
Mr. Finney had a turnip,
And it grew, and it grew;
It grew behind the barn,
And the turnip did no harm.
And it grew, and it grew,
Till it could grow no taller;
Then Mr. Finney took it up,
And put it in the cellar.
There it lay, there it lay,
Till it began to rot;
Then Susie Finney washed it
And put it in a pot.
She boiled it, and boiled it,
As long as she was able;
Then Mrs. Finney took it,
And put it on the table.
Mr. Finney and his wife
Both sat down to sup;
And they ate, and they ate,
They ate the turnip up.
All the school children in our country have heard of Henry W.
Longfellow. He was the best loved of all our story teller.
One day the caliph, Haroun-al-Raschid, made a great feast. The feast was held in the grandest room of the palace. The walls and ceiling glittered with gold and precious gems. The table was decorated with rare and beautiful plants and flowers.
All the noblest men of Persia and Arabia were there. Many wise men and poets and musicians had also been invited.
In the midst of the feast the caliph called upon the poet, Abul Atayah, and said, “O prince of verse makers, show us thy skill. Describe in verse this glad and glorious feast.”
The poet rose and began: “Live, O caliph and enjoy thyself in the shelter of thy lofty palace.”
“That is a good beginning,” said Raschid. “Let us hear the rest.” The poet went on: “May each morning bring thee some new joy. May each evening see that all thy wishes have been performed.”
“Good! good!” said the caliph, “Go on.”
The poet bowed his head and obeyed: “But when the hour of death comes, O my caliph, then alas! thou wilt learn that all thy delights were but a shadow.”
The caliph’s eyes were filled with tears. Emotion choked him. He covered his face and wept.
Then one of the officers, who was sitting near the poet, cried out: “Stop! The caliph wished you to amuse him with pleasant thoughts, and you have filled his mind with melancholy.”
“Let the poet alone,” said Raschid. “He has seen me in my blindness, and is trying to open my eyes.”
Haroun-al-Raschid (Aaron the Just) was the greatest of all the caliphs of Bagdad. In a wonderful book, called “The Arabian Nights,” there are many interesting stories about him.
Two children, brother and sister, were on their way to school. Both were very small. The boy was only four years old, and the girl was not yet six. “Come, Edward, we must hurry,” said the sister. “We must not be late.” With one hand the little boy clung to his sister’s arm, and with the other he held his primer.
This primer was his only book, and he loved it. It had a bright blue cover, which he was careful not to soil. And in it were some odd little pictures, which he never grew tired of looking at.
Edward could spell nearly all the words in his primer, and he could read quite well.
The school was more than a mile from their home, and the children trotted along as fast as their short legs could carry them.
At a place where two roads crossed, they saw a tall gentleman coming to meet them. He was dressed in black, and had a very pleasant face.
“Oh, Edward, there is Mr. Harris!” whispered the little girl. “Don’t forget your manners.”
They were glad to see Mr. Harris, for he was the minister. They stopped by the side of the road and made their manners. Edward bowed very gracefully, and his sister curtsied.
“Good morning, children!” said the minister; and he kindly shook hands with both.
“I have something here for little Edward,” he said. Then he took from his pocket a sheet of paper on which some verses were written.
“See! It is a little speech that I have written for him. The teacher will soon ask him to speak a piece at school, and I am sure that he can learn this easily and speak it well”
Edward took the paper and thanked the kind minister.
“Mother will help him learn it,” said his sister.
“Yes, I will try to learn it,” said Edward.
“Do so, my child,” said the Minister; “and I hope that when you grow up you will become a wise man and a great orator.”
Then the two children hurried on to school.
The speech was not hard to learn, and Edward soon knew every word of it. When the time came for him to speak, his mother and the minister were both there to hear him.
He spoke so well that everybody was pleased. He pronounced every word plainly, as though he were talking to his schoolmates.
Would you like to read his speech? Here it is:—
Pray, how shall I, a little lad,
In speaking make a figure?
You’re only joking, I’m afraid—
Just wait till I am bigger.
But since you wish to hear my part,
And urge me to begin it,
I’ll strive for praise with all my heart,
Though small the hope to win it.
I’ll tell a tale how Farmer John
A little roan colt bred, sir,
Which every night and every morn
He watered and he fed, sir.
Said Neighbor Joe to Farmer John,
“You surely are a dolt, sir,
To spend such time and care upon
A little useless colt, sir.”
Said Farmer John to Neighbor Joe,
“I bring my little roan up
Not for the good he now can do,
But will do when he’s grown up.”
The moral you can plainly see,
To keep the tale from spoiling,
The little colt you think is me—
I know it by your smiling.
And now, my friends, please to excuse
My lisping and my stammers;
I, for this once, have done my best,
And so—I’ll make my manners.
The little boy’s name was Edward Everett. He grew up to become a famous man and one of our greatest orators.
In Scotland there once lived a poor shepherd whose name was James Hogg. His father and grandfather and great-grandfather had all been shepherds.
It was his business to take care of the sheep which belonged to a rich landholder by the Ettrick Water. Sometimes he had several hundreds of lambs to look after. He drove these to the pastures on the hills and watched them day after day while they fed on the short green grass.
He had a dog which he called Sirrah. This dog helped him watch the sheep. He would drive them from place to place as his master wished. Sometimes he would take care of the whole flock while the shepherd was resting or eating his dinner.
One dark night James Hogg was on the hilltop with a flock of seven hundred lambs. Sirrah was with him. Suddenly a storm came up. There was thunder and lightning; the wind blew hard; the rain poured.
The poor lambs were frightened. The shepherd and his dog could not keep them together. Some of them ran towards the east, some towards the west, and some towards the south.
The shepherd soon lost sight of them in the darkness. With his lighted lantern in his hand, he went up and down the rough hills calling for his lambs.
Two or three other shepherds joined him in the search. All night long they sought for the lambs.
Morning came and still they sought. They looked, as they thought, in every place where the lambs might have taken shelter.
At last James Hogg said, “It’s of no use; all we can do is to go home and tell the master that we have lost his whole flock.”
They had walked a mile or two towards home, when they came to the edge of a narrow and deep ravine. They looked down, and at the bottom they saw some lambs huddled together among the rocks. And there was Sirrah standing guard over them and looking all around for help “These must be the lambs that rushed off towards the south,” said James Hogg.
The men hurried down and soon saw that the flock was a large one.
“I really believe they are all here,” said one.
They counted them and were surprised to find that not one lamb of the great flock of seven hundred was missing.
How had Sirrah managed to get the three scattered divisions together? How had he managed to drive all the frightened little animals into this place of safety?
Nobody could answer these questions. But there was no shepherd in
Scotland that could have done better than Sirrah did that night.
Long afterward James Hogg said, “I never felt so grateful to any creature below the sun as I did to Sirrah that morning.”
When James Hogg was a boy, his parents were too poor to send him to school. By some means, however, he learned to read; and after that he loved nothing so much as a good book.
There were no libraries near him, and it was hard for him to get books. But he was anxious to learn. Whenever he could buy or borrow a volume of prose or verse he carried it with him until he had read it through. While watching his flocks, he spent much of his time in reading. He loved poetry and soon began to write poems of his own. These poems were read and admired by many people.
The name of James Hogg became known all over Scotland. He was often called the Ettrick Shepherd, because he was the keeper of sheep near the Ettrick Water.
Many of his poems are still read and loved by children as well as by grown up men and women. Here is one:—
A BOY’S SONG
Where the pools are bright and deep,
Where the gray trout lies asleep,
Up the river and o’er the lea,
That’s the way for Billy and me.
Where the blackbird sings the latest,
Where the hawthorn blooms the sweetest,
Where the nestlings chirp and flee,
That’s the way for Billy and me.
Where the mowers mow the cleanest,
Where the hay lies thick and greenest,
There to trace the homeward bee,
That’s the way for Billy and me.
Where the hazel bank is steepest,
Where the shadow falls the deepest,
Where the clustering nuts fall free,
That’s the way for Billy and me.
Why the boys should drive away,
Little maidens from their play,
Or love to banter and fight so well,
That’s the thing I never could tell.
But this I know, I love to play
In the meadow, among the hay—
Up the water, and o’er the lea,
That’s the way for Billy and me.
Its been a regular week . Just a bit of sunshine, some work and yes, I’ve been eating a lot of chocolates. And I havent been walking or hitting the gym and have been putting on weight. But you know what , Ive been meeting people. So, I saw this girl, very pretty. I dont really knows who she is, but she seems like she knows what she is wearing, which I guess is more important today.
But I found two things interesting. One, she was always tucking in her stomach when she speaks and was trying very hard to have this faraway , blondy look in her eyes and you could see she was actually uncomfortable with herself and was probably worried about the way she was being perceived by me. But then, she was the center of attraction. She carefully chose what she wanted to say. Her topics could range from the brand names to the local gossip in the film industry. Yet, she was trying very hard not to sound like a bimbo or trashy. She knew how to control her voice, wait for the right pauses and make the laughter. You know what I was thinking , dear diary..that was here was a woman who made drama, a knowledge .
Later i bought her a drink, I stopped her when she was trying to tell me about a rare quality of gene in man that could make them fly. Ok,I just made that up. But her trivia was always like that, something which could be interesting,(ahem!) rare and unusual and often generated oohs and wows from people..but then at the end of day, she acknowledged that it was more of a useful trivia. It didnt really open anybody’s horizon and would be either drowned in the drinks in the party or at the most be shared in another party. But then, I asked her what motivated her to collect these gossips..after all, no quizzer will ask her such questions .
She laughed at me for a moment and asked , ” Havent you heard of conversation currency ? ” she went on to explain how diligently she read and combed the net to find such information that was not in circulation and the rarer and the less credible it is , it worked for her. ” You need to shock people, not just interest her, it opens doors , you know. ” I just heard a door close on me, when a phone rang. It was Dorris on the line..I was surprised dear diary that she called me after 6 years. And then she went on to say ” Hey listen, how are you doing ? I need a help. Am off to a party tonight and I need some trivia, anything..filmy, media, fashion..meeting some people you know..i need a mysterious guy opinion …” i guess she was preparing to go for parties , I wondered as I hung up the call on this newspaper editor.
Well, there were more interesting people that I met but I will tell you later. I have to go to work now and I actually have to prepare – food !
My name is Arash and i am an actor! Its been a regular week . Just a bit of sunshine, some work and yes, I’ve been eating a lot of chocolates and chats. And I haven’t been hitting the gym and have been putting on weight. But you know what , I’ve been meeting people. So, this is my prayer before i go on a stage!
As I stumble through this life,
help me to create more laughter than tears,
dispense more happiness than gloom,
spread more cheer than despair.
Never let me become so indifferent,
that I will fail to see the wonders in the eyes of a child,
or the twinkle in the eyes of the aged.
Never let me forget that my total effort is to cheer people,
make them happy, and forget momentarily,
all the unpleasantness in their lives.
Never let me acquire success to the point that
I discontinue calling on my Creator in the hour of need,
Acknowledging and thanking Him in the hour of plenty.
And in my final moment,
may I hear You whisper:
“When you made My people smile,
you made Me smile.”
|One day in spring four men were riding on horseback along a country road. These men were lawyers, and they were going to the next town to attend court.|
There had been a rain, and the ground was very soft. Water was dripping from the trees, and the grass was wet.
The four lawyers rode along, one behind another; for the pathway was narrow, and the mud on each side of it was deep. They rode slowly, and talked and laughed and were very jolly.
As they were passing through a grove of small trees, they heard a great fluttering over their heads and a feeble chirping in the grass by the roadside.
“Stith! stith! stith!” came from the leafy branches above them.
“Cheep! cheep! cheep!” came from the wet grass.
“What is the matter here?” asked the first lawyer, whose name was Speed. “Oh, it’s only some old robins!” said the second lawyer, whose name was Hardin. “The storm has blown two of the little ones out of the nest. They are too young to fly, and the mother bird is making a great fuss about it.”
“What a pity! They’ll die down there in the grass,” said the third lawyer, whose name I forget.
“Oh, well! They’re nothing but birds,” said Mr. Hardin. “Why should we bother?”
“Yes, why should we?” said Mr. Speed.
The three men, as they passed, looked down and saw the little birds fluttering in the cold, wet grass. They saw the mother robin flying about, and crying to her mate.
Then they rode on, talking and laughing as before. In a few minutes they had forgotten about the birds.
But the fourth lawyer, whose name was Abraham Lincoln, stopped. He got down from his horse and very gently took the little ones up in his big warm hands.
They did not seem frightened, but chirped softly, as if they knew they were safe.
“Never mind, my little fellows,” said Mr. Lincoln “I will put you in your own cozy little bed.”
Then he looked up to find the nest from which they had fallen. It was high, much higher than he could reach.
But Mr. Lincoln could climb. He had climbed many a tree when he was a boy. He put the birds softly, one by one, into their warm little home. Two other baby birds were there, that had not fallen out. All cuddled down together and were very happy.
Soon the three lawyers who had ridden ahead stopped at a spring to give their horses water.
“Where is Lincoln?” asked one.
All were surprised to find that he was not with them.
“Do you remember those birds?” said Mr. Speed. “Very likely he has stopped to take care of them.”
In a few minutes Mr. Lincoln joined them. His shoes were covered with mud; he had torn his coat on the thorny tree.
“Hello, Abraham!” said Mr. Hardin. “Where have you been?”
“I stopped a minute to give those birds to their mother,” he answered.
“Well, we always thought you were a hero,” said Mr. Speed. “Now we know it.”
Then all three of them laughed heartily. They thought it so foolish that a strong man should take so much trouble just for some worthless young birds.
“Gentlemen,” said Mr. Lincoln, “I could not have slept to-night, if I had left those helpless little robins to perish in the wet grass.”
Abraham Lincoln afterwards became very famous as a lawyer and statesman. He was elected president. Next to Washington he was the greatest American.