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from PUCK of POOK’s HILL

by RUDYARD KIPLING (illustrated)

PUCK’S SONG and ON THE GREAT WALL

POPH-Cover-A5

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Puck’s Song

 

See you the dimpled track that runs,

All hollow through the wheat?

O that was where they hauled the guns

That smote King Philip’s fleet.

See you our little mill that clacks,

So busy by the brook?

She has ground her corn and paid her tax

Ever since Domesday Book.

See you our stilly woods of oak,

And the dread ditch beside?

O that was where the Saxons broke,

On the day that Harold died.

See you the windy levels spread

About the gates of Rye?

O that was where the Northmen fled,

When Alfred’s ships came by.

See you our pastures wide and lone,

Where the red oxen browse?

O there was a City thronged and known,

Ere London boasted a house.

And see you, after rain, the trace

Of mound and ditch and wall?

O that was a Legion’s camping-place,

When Cæsar sailed from Gaul.

And see you marks that show and fade,

Like shadows on the Downs?

O they are the lines the Flint Men made,

To guard their wondrous towns.

Trackway and Camp and City lost,

Salt Marsh where now is corn;

Old Wars, old Peace, old Arts that cease,

And so was England born!

She is not any common Earth,

Water or wood or air,

But Merlin’s Isle of Gramarye,

Where you and I will fare.

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On the Great Wall

 

When I left Rome for Lalage’s sake

By the Legions’ Road to Rimini,

She vowed her heart was mine to take

With me and my shield to Rimini—

(Till the Eagles flew from Rimini!)

And I’ve tramped Britain and I’ve tramped Gaul

And the Pontic shore where the snow-flakes fall

As white as the neck of Lalage—

As cold as the heart of Lalage!

And I’ve lost Britain and I’ve lost Gaul

(the voice seemed very cheerful about it),

And I’ve lost Rome, and worst of all,

I’ve lost Lalage!

 

They were standing by the gate to Far Wood when they heard this song. Without a word they hurried to their private gap and wriggled through the hedge almost atop of a jay that was feeding from Puck’s hand.

 

‘Gently!’ said Puck. ‘What are you looking for?’

 

‘Parnesius, of course,’ Dan answered. ‘We’ve only just remembered yesterday. It isn’t fair.’

 

Puck chuckled as he rose. ‘I’m sorry, but children who spend the afternoon with me and a Roman Centurion need a little settling dose of Magic before they go to tea with their governess. Ohé, Parnesius!’ he called.

 

‘Here, Faun!’ came the answer from ‘Volaterrae.’ They could see the shimmer of bronze armour in the beech crotch, and the friendly flash of the great shield uplifted.

 

‘I have driven out the Britons.’ Parnesius laughed like a boy. ‘I occupy their high forts. But Rome is merciful! You may come up.’ And up they three all scrambled.

 

‘What was the song you were singing just now?’ said Una, as soon as she had settled herself.

 

‘That? Oh, Rimini. It’s one of the tunes that are always being born somewhere in the Empire. They run like a pestilence for six months or a year, till another one pleases the Legions, and then they march to that.’

 

‘Tell them about the marching, Parnesius. Few people nowadays walk from end to end of this country,’ said Puck.

 

‘The greater their loss. I know nothing better than the Long March when your feet are hardened. You begin after the mists have risen, and you end, perhaps, an hour after sundown.’

 

‘And what do you have to eat?’ Dan asked, promptly.

 

‘Fat bacon, beans, and bread, and whatever wine happens to be in the rest-houses. But soldiers are born grumblers. Their very first day out, my men complained of our water-ground British corn. They said it wasn’t so filling as the rough stuff that is ground in the Roman ox-mills. However, they had to fetch and eat it.’

 

‘Fetch it? Where from?’ said Una.

 

‘From that newly-invented water-mill below the Forge.’

 

‘That’s Forge Mill—our Mill!’ Una looked at Puck.

 

‘Yes; yours,’ Puck put in. ‘How old did you think it was?’

 

‘I don’t know. Didn’t Sir Richard Dalyngridge talk about it?’

 

‘He did, and it was old in his day,’ Puck answered. ‘Hundreds of years old.’

 

‘It was new in mine,’ said Parnesius. ‘My men looked at the flour in their helmets as though it had been a nest of adders. They did it to try my patience. But I—addressed them, and we became friends.

There’s where you meet hunters and trappers‘There’s where you meet hunters, and trappers for the Circuses, prodding along chained bears and muzzled wolves.’

 

To tell the truth, they taught me the Roman Step. You see, I’d only served with quick-marching Auxiliaries. A Legion’s pace is altogether different. It is a long, slow stride, that never varies from sunrise to sunset. “Rome’s Race—Rome’s Pace,” as the proverb says. Twenty-four miles in eight hours, neither more nor less. Head and spear up, shield on your back, cuirass-collar open one hand’s breadth—and that’s how you take the Eagles through Britain.’

 

‘And did you meet any adventures?’ said Dan.

 

‘There are no adventures South the Wall,’ said Parnesius. ‘The worst thing that happened me was having to appear before a magistrate up North, where a wandering philosopher had jeered at the Eagles. I was able to show that the old man had deliberately blocked our road, and the magistrate told him, out of his own Book, I believe, that, whatever his God might be, he should pay proper respect to Cæsar.’

 

‘What did you do?’ said Dan.

 

‘Went on. Why should I care for such things, my business being to reach my station? It took me twenty days.

 

‘Of course, the farther North you go the emptier are the roads. At last you fetch clear of the forests and climb bare hills, where wolves howl in the ruins of our cities that have been. No more pretty girls; no more jolly magistrates who knew your Father when he was young, and invite you to stay with them; no news at the temples and way-stations except bad news of wild beasts. There’s where you meet hunters, and trappers for the Circuses, prodding along chained bears and muzzled wolves. Your pony shies at them, and your men laugh.

 

‘The houses change from gardened villas to shut forts with watch-towers of grey stone, and great stone-walled sheepfolds, guarded by armed Britons of the North Shore. In the naked hills beyond the naked houses, where the shadows of the clouds play like cavalry charging, you see puffs of black smoke from the mines. The hard road goes on and on—and the wind sings through your helmet-plume—past altars to Legions and Generals forgotten, and broken statues of Gods and Heroes, and thousands of graves where the mountain foxes and hares peep at you. Red-hot in summer, freezing in winter, is that big, purple heather country of broken stone.

 

‘Just when you think you are at the world’s end, you see a smoke from East to West as far as the eye can turn, and then, under it, also as far as the eye can stretch, houses and temples, shops and theatres, barracks, and granaries, trickling along like dice behind—always behind—one long, low, rising and falling, and hiding and showing line of towers. And that is the Wall!’

 

That is the Wall
And that is the Wall!

 

‘Ah!’ said the children, taking breath.

 

‘You may well,’ said Parnesius. ‘Old men who have followed the Eagles since boyhood say nothing in the Empire is more wonderful than first sight of the Wall!’

 

‘Is it just a Wall? Like the one round the kitchen-garden?’ said Dan.

 

‘No, no! It is the Wall. Along the top are towers with guard-houses, small towers, between. Even on the narrowest part of it three men with shields can walk abreast from guard-house to guard-house. A little curtain wall, no higher than a man’s neck, runs along the top of the thick wall, so that from a distance you see the helmets of the sentries sliding back and forth like beads. Thirty feet high is the Wall, and on the Picts’ side, the North, is a ditch, strewn with blades of old swords and spear-heads set in wood, and tyres of wheels joined by chains. The Little People come there to steal iron for their arrow-heads.

 

‘But the Wall itself is not more wonderful than the town behind it. Long ago there were great ramparts and ditches on the South side, and no one was allowed to build there. Now the ramparts are partly pulled down and built over, from end to end of the Wall; making a thin town eighty miles long. Think of it! One roaring, rioting, cockfighting, wolf-baiting, horse-racing town, from Ituna on the West to Segedunum on the cold eastern beach! On one side heather, woods and ruins where Picts hide, and on the other, a vast town—long like a snake, and wicked like a snake. Yes, a snake basking beside a warm wall!

 

‘My Cohort, I was told, lay at Hunno, where the Great North Road runs through the Wall into the Province of Valentia.’ Parnesius laughed scornfully. ‘The Province of Valentia! We followed the road, therefore, into Hunno town, and stood astonished. The place was a fair—a fair of peoples from every corner of the Empire. Some were racing horses: some sat in wine-shops: some watched dogs baiting bears, and many gathered in a ditch to see cocks fight. A boy not much older than myself, but I could see he was an Officer, reined up before me and asked what I wanted.

 

‘“My station,” I said, and showed him my shield.’ Parnesius held up his broad shield with its three X’s like letters on a beer-cask.

 

‘“Lucky omen!” said he. “Your Cohort’s the next tower to us, but they’re all at the cock-fight. This is a happy place. Come and wet the Eagles.” He meant to offer me a drink.

 

‘“When I’ve handed over my men,” I said. I felt angry and ashamed.

 

‘“Oh, you’ll soon outgrow that sort of nonsense,” he answered. “But don’t let me interfere with your hopes. Go on to the Statue of Roma Dea. You can’t miss it. The main road into Valentia!” and he laughed and rode off. I could see the Statue not a quarter of a mile away, and there I went. At some time or other the Great North Road ran under it into Valentia; but the far end had been blocked up because of the Picts, and on the plaster a man had scratched, “Finish!” It was like marching into a cave. We grounded spears together, my little thirty, and it echoed in the barrel of the arch, but none came. There was a door at one side painted with our number. We prowled in, and I found a cook asleep, and ordered him to give us food. Then I climbed to the top of the Wall, and looked out over the Pict country, and I—thought,’ said Parnesius. ‘The bricked-up arch with “Finish!” on the plaster was what shook me, for I was not much more than a boy.’

 

‘What a shame!’ said Una. ‘But did you feel happy after you’d had a good——’ Dan stopped her with a nudge.

 

‘Happy?’ said Parnesius. ‘When the men of the Cohort I was to command came back unhelmeted from the cock-fight, their birds under their arms, and asked me who I was? No, I was not happy; but I made my new Cohort unhappy too…. I wrote my Mother I was happy, but, oh, my friends’—he stretched arms over bare knees—‘I would not wish my worst enemy to suffer as I suffered through my first months on the Wall. Remember this: among the officers was scarcely one, except myself (and I thought I had lost the favour of Maximus, my General), scarcely one who had not done something of wrong or folly. Either he had killed a man, or taken money, or insulted the magistrates, or blasphemed the Gods, and so had been sent to the Wall as a hiding-place from shame or fear. And the men were as the officers. Remember, also, that the Wall was manned by every breed and race in the Empire. No two towers spoke the same tongue, or worshipped the same Gods. In one thing only we were all equal. No matter what arms we had used before we came to the Wall, on the Wall we were all archers, like the Scythians. The Pict cannot run away from the arrow, or crawl under it. He is a bowman himself. He knows!’

 

‘I suppose you were fighting Picts all the time,’ said Dan.

 

‘Picts seldom fight. I never saw a fighting Pict for half a year. The tame Picts told us they had all gone North.’

 

‘What is a tame Pict?’ said Dan.

 

‘A Pict—there were many such—who speaks a few words of our tongue, and slips across the Wall to sell ponies and wolf-hounds. Without a horse and a dog, and a friend, man would perish. The Gods gave me all three, and there is no gift like friendship. Remember this’—Parnesius turned to Dan—‘when you become a young man. For your fate will turn on the first true friend you make.’

 

‘He means,’ said Puck, grinning, ‘that if you try to make yourself a decent chap when you’re young, you’ll make rather decent friends when you grow up. If you’re a beast, you’ll have beastly friends. Listen to the Pious Parnesius on Friendship!’

 

‘I am not pious,’ Parnesius answered, ‘but I know what goodness means; and my friend, though he was without hope, was ten thousand times better than I. Stop laughing, Faun!’

 

‘Oh Youth Eternal and All-believing,’ cried Puck, as he rocked on the branch above. ‘Tell them about your Pertinax.’

 

‘He was that friend the Gods sent me—the boy who spoke to me when I first came. Little older than myself, commanding the Augusta Victoria Cohort on the tower next to us and the Numidians. In virtue he was far my superior.’

 

‘Then why was he on the Wall?’ Una asked, quickly. ‘They’d all done something bad. You said so yourself.’

 

‘He was the nephew, his Father had died, of a great rich man in Gaul who was not always kind to his Mother. When Pertinax grew up, he discovered this, and so his uncle shipped him off, by trickery and force, to the Wall. We came to know each other at a ceremony in our Temple—in the dark. It was the Bull Killing,’ Parnesius explained to Puck.

 

I see,’ said Puck, and turned to the children. ‘That’s something you wouldn’t quite understand. Parnesius means he met Pertinax in church.’

 

‘Yes—in the Cave we first met, and we were both raised to the Degree of Gryphons together.’ Parnesius lifted his hand towards his neck for an instant. ‘He had been on the Wall two years, and knew the Picts well. He taught me first how to take Heather.’

 

‘What’s that?’ said Dan.

 

‘Going out hunting in the Pict country with a tame Pict. You are quite safe so long as you are his guest, and wear a sprig of heather where it can be seen. If you went alone you would surely be killed, if you were not smothered first in the bogs. Only the Picts know their way about those black and hidden bogs. Old Allo, the one-eyed, withered little Pict from whom we bought our ponies, was our special friend. At first we went only to escape from the terrible town, and to talk together about our homes. Then he showed us how to hunt wolves and those great red deer with horns like Jewish candlesticks. The Roman-born officers rather looked down on us for doing this, but we preferred the heather to their amusements. Believe me,’ Parnesius turned again to Dan, ‘a boy is safe from all things that really harm when he is astride a pony or after a deer. Do you remember, O Faun,’ he turned to Puck, ‘the little altar I built to the Sylvan Pan by the pine-forest beyond the brook?’

 

‘Which? The stone one with the line from Xenophon?’ said Puck, in quite a new voice.

 

‘No. What do I know of Xenophon? That was Pertinax—after he had shot his first mountain-hare with an arrow—by chance! Mine I made of round pebbles in memory of my first bear. It took me one happy day to build.’ Parnesius faced the children quickly.

 

‘And that was how we lived on the Wall for two years—a little scuffling with the Picts, and a great deal of hunting with old Allo in the Pict country. He called us his children sometimes, and we were fond of him and his barbarians, though we never let them paint us Pict fashion. The marks endure till you die.’

 

‘How’s it done?’ said Dan. ‘Anything like tattooing?’

 

‘They prick the skin till the blood runs, and rub in coloured juices. Allo was painted blue, green, and red from his forehead to his ankles. He said it was part of his religion. He told us about his religion (Pertinax was always interested in such things), and as we came to know him well, he told us what was happening in Britain behind the Wall. Many things took place behind us in those days. And, by the Light of the Sun,’ said Parnesius, earnestly, ‘there was not much that those little people did not know! He told me when Maximus crossed over to Gaul, after he had made himself Emperor of Britain, and what troops and emigrants he had taken with him. We did not get the news on the Wall till fifteen days later. He told me what troops Maximus was taking out of Britain every month to help him to conquer Gaul; and I always found the numbers as he said. Wonderful! And I tell another strange thing!’

 

He jointed his hands across his knees, and leaned his head on the curve of the shield behind him.

 

‘Late in the summer, when the first frosts begin and the Picts kill their bees, we three rode out after wolf with some new hounds. Rutilianus, our General, had given us ten days’ leave, and we had pushed beyond the Second Wall—beyond the Province of Valentia—into the higher hills, where there are not even any of Rome’s old ruins. We killed a she-wolf before noon, and while Allo was skinning her he looked up and said to me, “When you are Captain of the Wall, my child, you won’t be able to do this anymore!”

 

‘I might as well have been made Prefect of Lower Gaul, so I laughed and said, “Wait till I am Captain.” “No, don’t wait,” said Allo. “Take my advice and go home—both of you.” “We have no homes,” said Pertinax. “You know that as well as we do. We’re finished men—thumbs down against both of us. Only men without hope would risk their necks on your ponies.” The old man laughed one of those short Pict laughs—like a fox barking on a frosty night. “I’m fond of you two,” he said. “Besides, I’ve taught you what little you know about hunting. Take my advice and go home.”

 

‘“We can’t,” I said. “I’m out of favour with my General, for one thing; and for another, Pertinax has an uncle.”

 

‘“I don’t know about his uncle,” said Allo, “but the trouble with you, Parnesius, is that your General thinks well of you.”

 

‘“Roma Dea!” said Pertinax, sitting up. “What can you guess what Maximus thinks, you old horse-coper?”

 

‘Just then (you know how near the brutes creep when one is eating?) a great dog-wolf jumped out behind us, and away our rested hounds tore after him, with us at their tails. He ran us far out of any country we’d ever heard of, straight as an arrow till sunset, towards the sunset. We came at last to long capes stretching into winding waters, and on a grey beach below us we saw ships drawn up. Forty-seven we counted—not Roman galleys but the raven-winged ships from the North where Rome does not rule. Men moved in the ships, and the sun flashed on their helmets—winged helmets of the red-haired men from the North where Rome does not rule. We watched, and we counted, and we wondered; for though we had heard rumours concerning these Winged Hats, as the Picts called them, never before had we looked upon them.

 

‘“Come away! Come away!” said Allo. “My Heather won’t protect you here. We shall all be killed!” His legs trembled like his voice. Back we went—back across the heather under the moon, till it was nearly morning, and our poor beasts stumbled on some ruins.

 

‘When we woke, very stiff and cold, Allo was mixing the meal and water. One does not light fires in the Pict country except near a village. The little men are always signalling to each other with smokes, and a strange smoke brings them out buzzing like bees. They can sting, too!

 

‘“What we saw last night was a trading-station,” said Allo. “Nothing but a trading-station.”

 

‘“I do not like lies on an empty stomach,” said Pertinax. “I suppose” (he had eyes like an eagle’s), “I suppose that is a trading-station also?” He pointed to a smoke far off on a hill-top, ascending in what we call the Pict’s Call:—Puff—double-puff: double-puff—puff! They make it by raising and dropping a wet hide on a fire.

 

‘“No,” said Allo, pushing the platter back into the bag. “That is for you and me. Your fate is fixed. Come.”

 

‘We came. When one takes Heather, one must obey one’s Pict—but that wretched smoke was twenty miles distant, well over on the east coast, and the day was as hot as a bath.

 

‘“Whatever happens,” said Allo, while our ponies grunted along, “I want you to remember me.”

 

‘“I shall not forget,” said Pertinax. “You have cheated me out of my breakfast.”

 

‘“What is a handful of crushed oats to a Roman?” he said. Then he laughed his laugh that was not a laugh. “What would you do if you were a handful of oats being crushed between the upper and lower stones of a mill?”

 

‘“I’m Pertinax, not a riddle-guesser,” said Pertinax.

 

‘“You’re a fool,” said Allo. “Your Gods and my Gods are threatened by strange Gods, and all you can do is to laugh.”

 

‘“Threatened men live long,” I said.

 

‘“I pray the Gods that may be true,” he said. “But I ask you again not to forget me.”

 

‘We climbed the last hot hill and looked out on the eastern sea, three or four miles off. There was a small sailing-galley of the North Gaul pattern at anchor, her landing-plank down and her sail half up; and below us, alone in a hollow, holding his pony, sat Maximus, Emperor of Britain! He was dressed like a hunter, and he leaned on his little stick; but I knew that back as far as I could see it, and I told Pertinax.

 

‘“You’re madder than Allo!” he said. “It must be the sun!”

 

‘Maximus never stirred till we stood before him. Then he looked me up and down, and said: “Hungry again? It seems to be my destiny to feed you whenever we meet. I have food here. Allo shall cook it.”

 

‘“No,” said Allo. “A Prince in his own land does not wait on wandering Emperors. I feed my two children without asking your leave.” He began to blow up the ashes.

 

‘“I was wrong,” said Pertinax. “We are all mad. Speak up, O Madman called Emperor!”

 

‘Maximus smiled his terrible tight-lipped smile, but two years on the Wall do not make a man afraid of mere looks. So I was not afraid.

 

‘“I meant you, Parnesius, to live and die an Officer of the Wall,” said Maximus. “But it seems from these,” he fumbled in his breast, “you can think as well as draw.” He pulled out a roll of letters I had written to my people, full of drawings of Picts, and bears, and men I had met on the Wall. Mother and my sister always liked my pictures.

 

‘He handed me one that I had called “Maximus’s Soldiers.” It showed a row of fat wine-skins, and our old Doctor of the Hunno hospital snuffing at them. Each time that Maximus had taken troops out of Britain to help him to conquer Gaul, he used to send the garrisons more wine—to keep them quiet, I suppose. On the Wall, we always called a wine-skin a “Maximus.” Oh, yes; and I had drawn them in Imperial helmets!

 

‘“Not long since,” he went on, “men’s names were sent up to Cæsar for smaller jokes than this.”

 

‘“True, Cæsar,” said Pertinax; “but you forget that was before I, your friend’s friend, became such a good spear-thrower.”

 

‘He did not actually point his hunting spear at Maximus, but balanced it on his palm—so!

 

‘“I was speaking of time past,” said Maximus, never fluttering an eyelid. “Nowadays one is only too pleased to find boys who can think for themselves, and their friends.” He nodded at Pertinax. “Your Father lent me the letters, Parnesius, so you run no risk from me.”

 

‘“None whatever,” said Pertinax, and rubbed the spear-point on his sleeve.

 

‘“I have been forced to reduce the garrisons in Britain, because I need troops in Gaul. Now I come to take troops from the Wall itself,” said he.

 

‘“I wish you joy of us,” said Pertinax. “We’re the last sweepings of the Empire—the men without hope. Myself, I’d sooner trust condemned criminals.”

 

‘“You think so?” he said, quite seriously. “But it will only be till I win Gaul. One must always risk one’s life, or one’s soul, or one’s peace—or some little thing.”

 

‘Allo passed round the fire with the sizzling deer’s meat. He served us two first.

 

‘“Ah!” said Maximus, waiting his turn. “I perceive you are in your own country. Well, you deserve it. They tell me you have quite a following among the Picts, Parnesius.”

 

‘“I have hunted with them,” I said. “Maybe I have a few friends among the Heather.”

 

‘“He is the only armoured man of you all who understands us,” said Allo, and he began a long speech about our virtues, and how we had saved one of his grandchildren from a wolf the year before.’

 

‘Had you?’ said Una.

 

‘Yes; but that was neither here nor there. The little green man orated like a—like Cicero. He made us out to be magnificent fellows. Maximus never took his eyes off our faces.

 

‘“Enough,” he said. “I have heard Allo on you. I wish to hear you on the Picts.”

 

‘I told him as much as I knew, and Pertinax helped me out. There is never harm in a Pict if you but take the trouble to find out what he wants. Their real grievance against us came from our burning their heather. The whole garrison of the Wall moved out twice a year, and solemnly burned the heather for ten miles North. Rutilianus, our General, called it clearing the country. The Picts, of course, scampered away, and all we did was to destroy their bee-bloom in the summer, and ruin their sheep-food in the spring.

 

‘“True, quite true,” said Allo. “How can we make our holy heather-wine, if you burn our bee-pasture?”

 

‘We talked long, Maximus asking keen questions that showed he knew much and had thought more about the Picts. He said presently to me: “If I gave you the old Province of Valentia to govern, could you keep the Picts contented till I won Gaul? Stand away, so that you do not see Allo’s face; and speak your own thoughts.”

 

‘“No,” I said. “You cannot re-make that Province. The Picts have been free too long.”

 

‘“Leave them their village councils, and let them furnish their own soldiers,” he said. “You, I am sure, would hold the reins very lightly.”

 

‘“Even then, no,” I said. “At least not now. They have been too oppressed by us to trust anything with a Roman name for years and years.”

 

‘I heard old Allo behind me mutter: “Good child!”

 

‘“Then what do you recommend,” said Maximus, “to keep the North quiet till I win Gaul?”

 

‘“Leave the Picts alone,” I said. “Stop the heather-burning at once, and—they are improvident little animals—send them a shipload or two of corn now and then.”

 

‘“Their own men must distribute it—not some cheating Greek accountant,” said Pertinax.

 

‘“Yes, and allow them to come to our hospitals when they are sick,” I said.

 

‘“Surely they would die first,” said Maximus.

 

‘“Not if Parnesius brought them in,” said Allo. “I could show you twenty wolf-bitten, bear-clawed Picts within twenty miles of here. But Parnesius must stay with them in Hospital, else they would go mad with fear.”

 

‘“I see,” said Maximus. “Like everything else in the world, it is one man’s work. You, I think, are that one man.”

 

‘“Pertinax and I are one,” I said.

 

‘“As you please, so long as you work. Now, Allo, you know that I mean your people no harm. Leave us to talk together,” said Maximus.

 

‘“No need!” said Allo. “I am the corn between the upper and lower millstones. I must know what the lower millstone means to do. These boys have spoken the truth as far as they know it. I, a Prince, will tell you the rest. I am troubled about the Men of the North.” He squatted like a hare in the heather, and looked over his shoulder.

 

‘“I also,” said Maximus, “or I should not be here.”

 

‘“Listen,” said Allo. “Long and long ago the Winged Hats”—he meant the Northmen—“came to our beaches and said, ‘Rome falls! Push her down!’ We fought you. You sent men. We were beaten. After that we said to the Winged Hats, ‘You are liars! Make our men alive that Rome killed, and we will believe you.’ They went away ashamed. Now they come back bold, and they tell the old tale, which we begin to believe—that Rome falls!”

 

‘“Give me three years’ peace on the Wall,” cried Maximus, “and I will show you and all the ravens how they lie!”

 

‘“Ah, I wish it too! I wish to save what is left of the corn from the millstones. But you shoot us Picts when we come to borrow a little iron from the Iron Ditch; you burn our heather, which is all our crop; you trouble us with your great catapults. Then you hide behind the Wall, and scorch us with Greek fire. How can I keep my young men from listening to the Winged Hats—in winter especially, when we are hungry? My young men will say, ‘Rome can neither fight nor rule. She is taking her men out of Britain. The Winged Hats will help us to push down the Wall. Let us show them the secret roads across the bogs.’ Do I want that? No!” He spat like an adder. “I would keep the secrets of my people though I were burned alive. My two children here have spoken truth. Leave us Picts alone. Comfort us, and cherish us, and feed us from far off—with the hand behind your back. Parnesius understands us. Let him have rule on the Wall, and I will hold my young men quiet for”—he ticked it off on his fingers—“one year easily: the next year not so easily: the third year, perhaps! See, I give you three years. If then you do not show us that Rome is strong in men and terrible in arms, the Winged Hats, I tell you, will sweep down the Wall from either sea till they meet in the middle, and you will go. I shall not grieve over that, but well I know tribe never helps tribe except for one price. We Picts will go too. The Winged Hats will grind us to this!” He tossed a handful of dust in the air.

 

‘“Oh, Roma Dea!” said Maximus, half aloud. “It is always one man’s work—always and everywhere!”

 

‘“And one man’s life,” said Allo. “You are Emperor, but not a God. You may die.”

 

‘“I have thought of that, too,” said he. “Very good. If this wind holds, I shall be at the East end of the Wall by morning. To-morrow, then, I shall see you two when I inspect; and I will make you Captains of the Wall for this work.”

 

‘“One instant, Cæsar,” said Pertinax. “All men have their price. I am not bought yet.”

 

‘“Do you also begin to bargain so early?” said Maximus. “Well?”

 

‘“Give me justice against my uncle Icenus, the Duumvir of Divio in Gaul,” he said.

 

‘“Only a life? I thought it would be money or an office. Certainly you shall have him. Write his name on these tablets—on the red side; the other is for the living!” And Maximus held out his tablets.

 

‘“He is of no use to me dead,” said Pertinax. “My mother is a widow. I am far off. I am not sure he pays her all her dowry.”

 

‘“No matter. My arm is reasonably long. We will look through your uncle’s accounts in due time. Now, farewell till to-morrow, O Captains of the Wall!”

 

‘We saw him grow small across the heather as he walked to the galley. There were Picts, scores, each side of him, hidden behind stones. He never looked left or right. He sailed away Southerly, full spread before the evening breeze, and when we had watched him out to sea, we were silent. We understood Earth bred few men like to this man.

 

‘Presently Allo brought the ponies and held them for us to mount—a thing he had never done before.

 

‘“Wait awhile,” said Pertinax, and he made a little altar of cut turf, and strewed heather-bloom atop, and laid upon it a letter from a girl in Gaul.

 

‘“What do you do, O my friend?” I said.

 

‘“I sacrifice to my dead youth,” he answered, and, when the flames had consumed the letter, he ground them out with his heel. Then we rode back to that Wall of which we were to be Captains.’

 

Parnesius stopped. The children sat still, not even asking if that were all the tale. Puck beckoned, and pointed the way out of the wood. ‘Sorry,’ he whispered, ‘but you must go now.’

 

‘We haven’t made him angry, have we?’ said Una. ‘He looks so far off, and—and—thinky.’

 

‘Bless your heart, no. Wait till to-morrow. It won’t be long. Remember, you’ve been playing “Lays of Ancient Rome.”’

 

And as soon as they had scrambled through their gap, where Oak, Ash and Thorn grow, that was all they remembered.

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POPH-Cover-A5

From: PUCK OF POOK’s HILL by RUDYARD KIPLING (illustrated)

ISBN: 9788835367420

To download this book CLICK HERE>> http://bit.ly/2vUVAnO

 

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KEYWORDS/TAGS: Puck of Pook’s hill, fantasy fiction, folklore, myths, legends, magic, children’s stories, fables, children’s fiction, juvenile fiction, young adult fiction, storyteller, Ælueva, Aelueva, Amal, Aquila, Aquila, arrow, Ash, Baron’s, Beacon, Borkum, Britain, brook, Bury, Cæsar, Caesar, Castle, children, Christian, Cohort, coin, crusader, Dallington, Dan, Devil, Duke, Elias, Emperor, Empire, England, Fairy Ring, Faun, Fulke, Gaul, Gilbert, Gods, gold, Great, heart, Hobden, horses, Hugh, Jehan, King, kiss, knight, Manor House, Marsh, Master, Maximus, Mithras, Norman, Normandy, North, novice, palace, parchment, Parnesius, Pater, people of the hills, Pertinax, Pevensey, Pharisees, Pict, ponies, Prince, Princess, Puck, Richard, Roman, Rome, Santlache, Saxon, sea, Sebastian, secrets, serpentine, shield, ship, South, Stavanger, sword, Theodosius, Thorkild, Thorn, tower, Una, velvet, Victrix, violets, Volaterrae, Weland’s sword, whales, white-ash, Whitgift, Winged Hats, Witta, woods, Xenophon, tree song, young men, harp song, dane women, joyous venture, old men, runes, centurion of the thirtieth, 30th, british-roman, great wall, hal o’ the draft, smugglers’ song, bee boy, dymchurch flit, three-part, fifth river, treasure, law, children’s song,

 

A Beautiful Sight

From The Little Green Goblin by James Ball Naylor.

 

dropcap-LLittle Bob Taylor was mad, discouraged, and thoroughly miserable. Things had gone wrong—as things have the perverse habit of doing with mischievous, fun-loving boys of ten—and he was disgruntled, disgusted. The school year drawing to a close had been one of dreary drudgery; at least that was the retrospective view he took of it. And warm, sunshiny weather had come—the season for outdoor sports and vagrant rambles—and the end was not yet. Still he was a galley slave in the gilded barge of modern education; and open and desperate rebellion was in his heart.

One lesson was not disposed of before another intrusively presented itself, and tasks at home multiplied with a fecundity rivaling that of the evils of Pandora’s box. Yes, Bob was all out of sorts. School was a bore; tasks at home were a botheration, and life was a frank failure. He knew it; and what he knew he knew.

He had come from school on this particular day in an irritable, surly mood, to find that the lawn needed mowing, that the flower-beds needed weeding,—and just when he desired to steal away upon the wooded hillside back of the house and make buckeye whistles! He had demurred, grumbled and growled, and his father had rebuked him. Then he had complained of a headache, and his mother had given him a pill—a pill! think of it—and sent him off to bed.

Bob was out of sorts

Bob was out of sorts with himself

So here he was, tossing upon his own little bed in his own little room at the back of the house. It was twilight. The window was open, and the sweet fragrance of the honeysuckle flowers floated in to him. Birds were chirping and twittering as they settled themselves to rest among the sheltering boughs of the wild cherry tree just without, and the sounds of laughter and song came from the rooms beneath, where the other members of the family were making merry. Bob was hurt, grieved. Was there such a thing as justice in the whole world? He doubted it! And he wriggled and squirmed from one side of the bed to the other, kicked the footboard and dug his fists into the pillows—burning with anger and consuming with self-pity. At last the gathering storm of his contending emotions culminated in a downpour of tears, and weeping, he fell asleep.

“Hello! Hello, Bob! Hello, Bob Taylor!”

Bob popped up in bed, threw off the light coverings and stared about him. A broad band of moonlight streamed in at the open window, making the room almost as light as day. Not a sound was to be heard. The youngster peered into the shadowy corners and out into the black hallway, straining his ears. The clock down stairs struck ten deliberate, measured strokes.

“I thought I heard somebody calling me,” the lad muttered; “I must have been dreaming.”

He dropped back upon his pillows and closed his eyes.

“Hello, Bob!”

The boy again sprang to a sitting posture, as quick as a jack-in-a-box, his eyes and mouth wide open. He was startled, a little frightened.

“Hel—hello yourself!” he quavered.

“I’m helloing you,” the voice replied. “I’ve no need to hello myself; I’m awake.”

Bob looked all around, but could not locate the speaker.

“I’m awake, too,” he muttered; “at least I guess I am.”

“Yes, you’re awake all right enough now,” the voice said; “but I nearly yelled a lung loose getting you awake.”

“Well, where are you?” the boy cried.

A hoarse, rasping chuckle was the answer, apparently coming from the open window. Bob turned his eyes in that direction and blinked and stared, and blinked again; for there upon the sill, distinctly visible in the streaming white moonlight, stood the oddest, most grotesque figure the boy had ever beheld. Was it a dwarfed and deformed bit of humanity, or a gigantic frog masquerading in the garb of a man? Bob could not tell; so he ventured the very natural query:

“What are you?”

“I’m a goblin,” his nocturnal visitor made reply, in a harsh strident, parrot-like voice.

“A goblin?” Bob questioned.

“Yes.”

“Well, what’s a goblin?”

“Don’t you know?” in evident surprise.

“No.”

“Why, boy—boy! Your education has been sadly amiss.”

“I know it,” Bob replied with unction, his school grievances returning in full force to his mind. “But what is a goblin? Anything like a gobbler?”

“Stuff!” his visitor exclaimed in a tone of deep disgust. “Anything like a gobbler! Bob, you ought to be ashamed. Do I look anything like a turkey?”

“No, you look like a frog,” the boy laughed.

“Shut up!” the goblin croaked.

“I won’t!” snapped the boy.

“Look here!” cried the goblin. “Surely you know what goblins are. You’ve read of ’em—you’ve seen their pictures in books, haven’t you?”

“I think I have,” Bob said reflectively, “but I don’t know just what they are.”

“You know what a man is, don’t you?” the goblin queried.

“Of course.”

“Well, what is a man?”

“Huh?” the lad cried sharply.

“What is a man?”

“Why, a man’s a—a—a man,” Bob answered, lamely.

“Good—very good;” the goblin chuckled, interlocking his slim fingers over his protuberant abdomen and rocking himself to and fro upon his slender legs. “I see your schooling’s done you some good. Yes, a man’s a man, and a goblin’s a goblin. Understand? It’s all as clear as muddy water, when you think it over. Hey?”

“You explain things just like my teacher does,” the boy muttered peevishly.

“How’s that?” the goblin inquired, seating himself upon the sill and drawing his knees up to his chin.

“Why, when we ask him a question, he asks us one in return; and when we answer it, he tangles us all up and leaves us that way.”

“Does he?” the goblin grinned.

“Yes, he does,” sullenly.

“He must be a good teacher.”

“He is good—good for nothing,” snappishly.

The goblin hugged his slim shanks and laughed silently. He was a diminutive fellow, not more than a foot in height. His head was large; his body was pursy. A pair of big, waggling ears, a broad, flat nose, two small, pop eyes and a wide mouth made up his features. His dress consisted of a brimless, peaked cap, cutaway coat, long waistcoat, tight fitting trousers and a pair of tiny shoes—all of a vivid green color. His was indeed an uncouth and queer figure!

“Say!” Bob cried, suddenly.

“Huh?” the goblin ejaculated, throwing back his head and nimbly scratching his chin with the toe of his shoe.

“What are you called?”

“Sometimes I’m called the Little Green Goblin of Goblinville.”

“Oh!”

“Yes.”

“But what’s your name?”

“Fitz.”

“Fitz?”

“Yes.”

“Fitz what?”

“Fitz Mee.”

“Fits you?” laughed Bob. “I guess it does.”

“No!” rasped the goblin. “Not Fitz Hugh; Fitz Mee.”

“That’s what I said,” giggled the boy, “fits you.”

“I know you did; but I didn’t. I said Fitz Mee.”

“I can’t see the difference,” said Bob, with a puzzled shake of the head.

“Oh, you can’t!” sneered the goblin.

“No, I can’t!”—bristling pugnaciously.

“Huh!”—contemptuously—“I say my name is Fitz Mee; you say it is Fitz Hugh; and you can’t see the difference, hey?”

“Oh, that’s what you mean—that your name is Fitz Mee,” grinned Bob.

“Of course it’s what I mean,” the goblin muttered gratingly; “it’s what I said; and a goblin always says what he means and means what he says.”

“Where’s your home?” the boy ventured to inquire.

“In Goblinville,” was the crisp reply.

“Goblinville?”

“Yes; the capital of Goblinland.”

“And where’s that?”

“A long distance east or a long distance west.”

“Well, which?”

“Either or both.”

“Oh, that can’t be!” Bob cried.

“It can’t?”

“Why, no.”

“Why can’t it?”

“The place can’t be east and west both—from here.”

“But it can, and it is,” the goblin insisted.

“Is that so?”—in profound wonder.

“Yes; it’s on the opposite side of the globe.”

“Oh, I see.”

The goblin nodded, batting his pop eyes.

“Well, what are you doing here?” Bob pursued.

“Talking to you,” grinned the goblin.

“I know that,” the lad grumbled irritably. “But what brought you here?”

“A balloon.”

“Oh, pshaw! What did you come here for?”

“For you.”

“For me?”

“Yes; you don’t like to live in this country, and I’ve come to take you to a better one.”

“To Goblinland?”

“Yes.”

“Is that a better country than this—for boys?”

“Yes, indeed.”

“In what way is it better?” Bob demanded, shrewdly. “Tell me about it.”

“Well,” the goblin went on to explain, unclasping his hands and stretching his slender legs full length upon the window-sill, “in your country a boy isn’t permitted to do what pleases him, but is compelled to do what pleases others. Isn’t that so?”

“Yes, it is,” the lad muttered.

“But in our land,” the goblin continued, “a boy isn’t permitted to do what pleases others, but is compelled to do what pleases himself.”

“Oh!” ejaculated Bob, surprised and pleased. “That’s great. I’d like to live in Goblinland.”

“Of course you would,” said the goblin, placing a finger alongside of his flat nose and winking a pop eye. “Your parents and your teacher don’t know how to treat you—don’t appreciate you; they don’t understand boys. You’d better come along with me.”

“I’ve a notion to,” Bob replied thoughtfully. Then, abruptly: “But how did you find out about me, that I was dissatisfied with things here?”

“Oh, we know everything that’s going on,” the goblin grinned; “we get wireless telephone messages from all over the world. Whenever anybody says anything—or thinks anything, even—we learn of it; and if they’re in trouble some one of us good little goblins sets off to help them.”

“Why, how good of you!” Bob murmured, in sincere admiration. “You chaps are a bully lot!”

“Yes, indeed,” the goblin giggled; “we’re a good-hearted lot—we are. Oh, you’ll just love and worship us when you learn all about us!”

And the little green sprite almost choked with some suppressed emotion.

“I’m going with you,” the boy said, with sudden decision. “Will your balloon carry two, though?”

“We can manage that,” said the goblin. “Come here to the window and take a squint at my aërial vehicle.”

Bob crawled to the foot of the bed and peeped out the window. There hung the goblin’s balloon, anchored to the window-sill by means of a rope and hook. The bag looked like a big fat feather bed and the car resembled a large Willow clothes-basket. The boy was surprised, and not a little disappointed.

“And you came here in that thing?” he asked, unable to conceal the contempt he felt for the primitive and clumsy-looking contraption.

“Of course I did,” Fitz Mee made answer.

“And how did you get from the basket to the window here?”

“Slid down the anchor-rope.”

“Oh!” Bob gave an understanding nod. “And you’re going to climb the rope, when you go?”

“Yes; can you climb it?”

“Why, I—I could climb it,” Bob replied, slowly shaking his head; “but I’m not going to.”

“You’re not?” cried the goblin.

“No.”

“Why?”

“I’m not going to risk my life in any such a balloon as that. It looks like an old feather bed.”

“It is a feather bed,” Fitz answered, complacently.

In my land a boy is compelled to do what pleases himself

“WHAT!” exclaimed Fitz Mee

“What!”

The goblin nodded sagely.

“Whee!” the lad whistled. “You don’t mean what you say, do you? You mean it’s a bed tick filled with gas, don’t you?”

“I mean just what I say,” Fitz Mee replied, positively. “That balloon bag is a feather bed.”

“But a feather bed won’t float in the air,” Bob objected.

“Won’t it?” leered the goblin.

“No.”

“How do you know? Did you ever try one to see?”

“N—o.”

“Well, one feather, a downy feather, will fly in the air, and carry its own weight and a little more, won’t it?”

“Yes,” the lad admitted, wondering what the goblin was driving at.

“Then won’t thousands of feathers confined in a bag fly higher and lift more than one feather alone will?”

“No,” positively.

“Tut—tut!” snapped the goblin. “You don’t know anything of the law of physics, it appears. Won’t a thousand volumes of gas confined in a bag fly higher and lift more than one volume unconfined will?”

“Why, of course,” irritably.

“Well!”—triumphantly,—“don’t the same law apply to feathers? Say!”

“I—I don’t know,” Bob stammered, puzzled but unconvinced.

“To be sure it does,” the goblin continued, smoothly. “I know; I’ve tried it. And you can see for yourself that my balloon’s a success.”

“Yes, but it wouldn’t carry me,” Bob objected; “I’m too heavy.”

“I’ll have to shrink you,” Fitz Mee said quietly.

Shrink me?” drawing back in alarm bordering on consternation.

“Yes; it won’t hurt you.”

“How—how’re you going to do it?”

“I’ll show you.”

The goblin got upon his feet, took a small bottle from his waistcoat pocket and deliberately unscrewed the top and shook out a tiny tablet.

“There,” he said, “take that.”

“Uk-uh!” grunted Bob, compressing his lips and shaking his head. “I don’t like to take pills.”

“This isn’t a pill,” Fitz explained, “it’s a tablet.”

“It’s all the same,” the boy declared obstinately.

“Won’t you take it?”

“No.”

“Then you can’t go with me.”

“I can’t?”

The goblin shook his head.

“Isn’t there some other way you can—can shrink me?”

Again Fitz Mee silently shook his head.

“W-e-ll,” Bob said slowly and reluctantly, “I’ll take it. But, say?”

“Well?”

“What’ll it do to me—just make me smaller?”

“That’s all.”

“How small will it make me?”

“About my size,” grinned the goblin.

“Oo—h!” ejaculated Bob. “And will it make me as—as ugly as you are?” in grave concern.

The goblin clapped his hands over his stomach, wriggled this way and that and laughed till the tears ran down his fat cheeks.

“Oh—ho!” he gasped at last. “So you think me ugly, do you?”

“Yes, I do,” the lad admitted candidly, a little nettled.

“Well, that’s funny,” gurgled the goblin; “for that’s what I think of you. So you see the matter of looks is a matter of taste.”

“Huh!” Bob snorted contemptuously. “But will that tablet change my looks? That’s what I want to know.”

“No, it won’t,” was the reassuring reply.

“And will I always be small—like you?”

“Look here!” Fitz Mee croaked hoarsely. “If you’re going with me, stop asking fool questions and take this tablet.”

“Give it to me,” Bob muttered, in sheer desperation.

And he snatched the tablet and swallowed it.

Immediately he shrunk to the size of the goblin.

“My!” he cried. “It feels funny to be so little and light.”

He sprang from the bed to the window-sill, and anticly danced a jig in his night garment.

“Get into your clothes,” the goblin commanded, “and let’s be off.”

Bob nimbly leaped to the floor, tore off his night-robe and caught up his trousers. Then he paused, a look of comical consternation upon his apple face.

“What’s the matter?” giggled the goblin.

“Why—why,” the boy gasped, his mouth wide open, “my clothes are all a mile too big for me!”

Fitz Mee threw himself prone upon his stomach, pummeled and kicked the window-sill, and laughed uproariously.

=======

Just why were his clothes to large, and what happened next you may ask? Well you will have to download the Little Green Goblin to find out for yourself.

The Little Green Goblin by James Ball Naylor – the 12 adventures of Bob and the Little Green Goblin.

ISBN: 9788835375777

DOWNLOAD LINK: https://bit.ly/33XA2Uk

10% of the publisher’s profits are donated to charity.
Yesterday’s books for today’s Charities.

===============

KEYWORDS/TAGS: The Little Green Goblin, childrens fantasy, folklore, fairy tale, fable, action, adventure, young adult, young people, readers, bibliophile, Midnight Visit, Storm, Danger, Giant, Lost, Desert, Magnetize, magnetise, Spring, Encounter, Wireless Message, Headquarters, strange lands, aeronaut, aëronaut, air-tank, anchor, Arabs, balloon, beast, binoculars, Bob, bottom, boy-giant, camels, chemist, children, companion, comrade, country, croaked, desire, devils, ejaculated, electric, Epilepsy, factories, feather-bed, feathers, Fitz, goblin, Goblinland, Goblinville, gob-tabs, gold, lad, laugh, laughed, leopard, lion, lips, little, locker, magic, mayor, medicine, Mee, moonlight, mountain, needle, nuggets, oasis, ocean, officer, palace, parrot, pop, Portuguese, Roberty, Boberty, sheik, south, sprite, Taylor, thumb-screw, thunder, wild,

One nice, warm sunny day, when it was too hot to stay inside the den among the rocks, the nice bears were all out in front, lying in the shade of the woods.

“Oh, my! How hot it is!” cried Dido, and he opened his mouth wide, and let his red tongue hang out, for animals, such as dogs and bears, cool themselves off that way. You must have seen your dog, when he had run fast, after a cat, perhaps, open his mouth and breathe fast, with his tongue hanging out.

“Let’s go swimming in the lake again!” cried Dido to his brothers.

“All right,” agreed Gruffo.

“We’ll all go,” said Mr. Bear. “Come along.”

So off through the woods walked the family of bears toward the cool, blue lake, high up in the mountains. Dido could hardly wait to get there, and as soon as he saw, through the trees, the sparkle of the water he began to run. He ran so fast that he stumbled over a stone, and fell down.

“Oh, Dido!” called his mother. “You must be more careful. You must not go so fast. Something will happen to you some day if you do not look where you are going.”

“I didn’t hurt myself that time, anyhow,” answered Dido, as he got up, and jumped into the lake. There he swam about, as did the father and mother bear, and the other two cubs. Dido splashed his brothers every time he came near them, but they did not mind, for he was such a cute little fellow and he meant no harm. Besides, it was so warm that the more water they had on them the better Gruffo and Muffo liked it.

“It makes me hungry to go in swimming,” said Mrs. Bear. “I am going off in the woods to look for some berries.”

“I’m coming, too,” said Dido. “For I am hungry myself.”

Soon Mrs. Bear found a bush on which were growing some big red berries. These she pulled off with her forepaws, which were, to her, almost like our hands are to us, and the mother bear filled her mouth with the fruit. Dido did the same, and soon he was not as hungry as he had been. Then along came Mr. Bear, with Gruffo and Muffo, and they, too, ate the red berries off the bushes.

All at once Mr. Bear stopped eating, and, lifting his nose up in the air, sniffed very hard two or three times.

“What is the matter?” asked Mrs. Bear quickly.

“I think I smell a man,” answered the papa bear. “See if you can smell anything.”

Mrs. Bear lifted her nose up in the air and she, also, sniffed. Bears, you know, as do most wild animals, use their noses as much as they do their eyes to tell when there is danger. And to wild animals a man, nearly always, means danger. If you were out in the woods, and could not see any one, you could not tell, just by smelling the air, whether some person was near you or not—that is, unless they had a lot of perfume on them, and then, if the wind was blowing toward you, why you might smell that.

But bears have much better noses for smelling than have we, and they can smell a man in the woods even if he has no cologne on him.

“Sniff! Sniff!” went Mr. Bear.

“Sniff! Sniff!” went Mrs. Bear.

“Yes, I can surely smell a man,” the papa bear said in a low voice. “It is the first time I have known them to come around here.”

“And so can I smell a man,” added Mrs. Bear. “We had better get away from here.”

Then the bears ran off through the woods to their den. For though big bears are very strong and can fight well, they would much rather run away from a man than fight him, unless they find they cannot get away. For when a man goes into the woods where there are bears he nearly always has a gun with him, and while bears know they are stronger than a man they also know that a gun is stronger than a dozen bears.

When Dido, with his brothers and father and mother, got back to the den in the rocks, the little bear cub saw that his father was worried about something. Mr. Bear walked up and down in front of the pile of rocks, sniffing the air, and looking on all sides.

“What is the matter, Papa?” asked Dido, in bear talk, of course.

“It’s that man I smelled in the woods,” said Mr. Bear. “I fear he may find our den.”

“Well, what if he does?” asked Dido.

“Then it would not be safe for us to stay here,” answered Mrs. Bear. “If men are coming into our woods it is time for us to go away.”

“What! go away from our nice den?” asked Gruffo. For though the den was only a hole in the rocks, with a pile of leaves in one corner for a bed, still, to the bears, it was as much a home as your house is to you.

“Yes, it would not be safe to stay while men are around,” said Mr. Bear. “That is the first time I have ever smelled them in our woods. Though a friend of mine, Mr. Lion, who lives farther down the mountain, said he has often seen men near his cave. Once some men on elephants chased him, but he got away.”

“Have you ever seen a man?” asked Dido of his father.

“Oh, yes, often, but always afar off. And the men did not see me.”

“What does a man look like?” asked Dido, for he had never seen any, though he had heard of them.

“A man is a queer creature,” said Mr. Bear. “He walks up on his hind feet, as we do sometimes, but when he walks on his four feet he can only go slowly, like a baby. Even you could run away from a man on his four feet, Dido.”

“How queer!” said the little bear.

“But don’t try it,” said Mrs. Bear quickly. “Keep away from men, Dido, for they might shoot you with one of their guns.”

“What else is a man like?” the little bear asked.

“Well, he has a skin that he can take off and put on again,” said Mr. Bear.

“Oh, how very funny!” cried Dido. “Take off his skin? I should think it would hurt!”

“It doesn’t seem to,” said the papa bear. “I don’t understand how they do it, but they do.”

Of course what Mr. Bear thought was skin was a man’s clothes, which he takes off and puts on again. But though bears are very wise and smart in their own way, they don’t know much about men, except to be afraid of them.

“I do not like it that men are coming up in our woods,” said Mr. Bear. “It means danger. So be careful, Dido, and you, too, Gruffo and Muffo, that you do not go too far away. Perhaps the man has come up here to set a trap to catch us.”

“What is a trap?” asked Dido.

“It is something dangerous, to catch bears,” his mother told him. “Some traps are made of iron, and they have sharp teeth in them that catch bears by the leg and hurt very much. Other traps are like a big box, made of logs. If you go in one of these box traps the door will shut and you can not get out.”

“What happens then?” asked Dido.

“Then the man comes and gets you.”

“And what does he do with you?” the little bear cub wanted to know.

“That I cannot say,” answered Mrs. Bear. “Perhaps your father knows.”

Mr. Bear shook his head.

“All I know,” he answered, “is that the man takes you away if he finds you in his trap. But where he takes you I do not know, for I was never caught, and I hope I never will be.”

“I hope so, too,” said Dido, and he sniffed the air to see if he could smell the man, but he could not.

For a number of days after that the bears did not go far from their den in the rocks. They were afraid the man might shoot them.

But, after a while, all the berries and sweet roots close by had been eaten, and the bears had to go farther off. Besides, they wanted some fish, and they must go to the lake or river to catch them. So after Mr. Bear had carefully sniffed the air, and had not smelled the man-smell, the bears started off through the woods again to get something to eat.

Dido ran here and there, sometimes on ahead and again he would stay behind, slipping up back of his brothers to tickle them. Oh, but Dido was a jolly little bear, always looking for fun.

The bears found some more red berries, and a few blue ones, and some sweet roots, and they also caught some fish, which made a good dinner for them. Then they went swimming in the lake again before going back to their den.

In the afternoon, when Gruffo was asleep in the shade, Dido went softly up to him, and poured a paw full of water in his brother’s ear.

“Wuff! Ouch! What’s that? Is it raining?” cried Gruffo, suddenly waking up. Then he saw that Dido had played the trick on him, and he ran after the little bear. But Dido climbed up a tree to get away, and he did it in such a funny way, his little short tail going around like a Fourth of July pinwheel, that Gruffo had to sit down and laugh.

“Oh, you are such a funny cut-up bear!” he said, laughing harder than ever, and when a bear laughs he can’t very well climb a tree.

“Come on down, I won’t do anything to you,” said Gruffo, after a while, so Dido came down. Then he turned somersaults on a pile of soft leaves. Next he stood on his hind legs, and began striking at a swinging branch of a tree with his front paws, as you have seen a kitten play with a cord of a window curtain.

Dido climed a tree to escape
But Dido climbed up a tree to get away.

 “Dido is getting to be a real cute little cub,” said Mrs. Bear.

Then, all of a sudden, Dido struck at the tree branch, but he did not hit it and he fell over backward.

“Look out!” cried Mr. Bear. “You’ll hurt yourself, Dido.”

“I didn’t hurt myself that time,” said the little bear, “for I fell on some soft, green moss.”

“Well, there will not always be moss for you to fall on,” his mother said. “So look out.”

One day, when Mr. Bear came back from a long trip in the woods, he brought some wild honey in his paws. And oh! how good it tasted to Dido and Gruffo and Muffo!

“Show me where the bee-tree is, Papa,” begged Dido. “I want to get some more honey.”

“It is too far away,” answered the papa bear. “Besides, I saw a man in the woods as I was getting the honey out of a hollow tree. It would not be safe for you to go near it when men are around.”

But the honey tasted so good to Dido that the little bear cub made up his mind that he simply must have more.

“I know what I’ll do,” he said to himself. “When none of the others are watching me I am going off by myself in the woods and look for a bee-tree to get some honey. I don’t believe there’s any danger.”

So about a week after this, one day, Dido saw his two brothers asleep outside the den. Mr. Bear had gone off to the lake, perhaps to catch some fish, and Mrs. Bear was in the den, stirring up the leaves that made the bed, so it would be softer to lie on.

“Now’s my chance,” thought Dido, in the way bears have of thinking. “I’ll just slip off in the woods by myself, and find a honey-tree. I’ll bring some honey home, too,” said Dido, for he was not a selfish little bear.

Walking softly, so as not to awaken his brothers, and so his mother, making the leaf-bed in the den, would not know what he was doing, away slipped Dido to the woods.

He shuffled along, now and then finding some red berries to eat, or a bit of sweet root, and every little while he would lift his nose up in the air, as he had seen his father do, and sniff to see if he could smell a man-smell.

“But I don’t smell any,” said Dido. “I guess it’s all right.”

Then, all at once, he felt a little wind blowing toward him, and on the breeze came the nicest smell.

“Oh, it’s honey!” cried Dido. “It’s honey! I have found the honey-tree! Oh, how glad I am!”

He hurried on through the woods, coming nearer and nearer to the honey smell all the while, until, after a bit, he saw in among the trees something square, like a box, made of little logs piled together. And inside the thing like a box was a pile of honey. Dido could see it and smell it. But he did not rush up in a great hurry.

“That doesn’t look like the honey-tree father told about,” the little bear cub thought. “He said he had to climb a tree. This honey is low down. Still it is honey, so this must be a honey-tree, and if it is low down so much the better for me. I will not have to climb.”

Dido sniffed the air again. He wanted to see if there was a man-smell about. But all he could smell was the honey.

“Oh, I guess it’s all right,” said the bear cub. “I’m so hungry for that honey I can’t wait! Here I go!”

Dido fairly ran into the box and began to eat the honey on the floor of it. But, no sooner had he taken a bite, than suddenly a queer thing happened.

Bang! went something behind Dido, and when he looked around he saw that the box was shut tight. A sliding door had fallen down and poor Dido was a prisoner……

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From: “Dido the Dancing Bear”

ISBN: 9788835390220

DOWNLOAD LINK: https://bit.ly/2xmFe8a

STUDY OF AN OLD MAN (MILAN)

STUDY OF AN OLD MAN (Milan)
from the ebook THE DRAWINGS OF LEONARDO DA VINCI
49 pen and ink sketches and studies by the Master

 

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Once you have purchased this most excellent product from our Store, be sure to visit our ebook store for the full set of all 49 pen and ink sketches. Click this link for THE DRAWINGS OF LEONARDO DA VINCI ebook at https://store.streetlib.com/en/illustrated-by-leonardo-da-vinci/the-drawings-of-leonardo-da-vinci-49-pen-and-ink-sketches-and-studies-by-the-master/

 

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THE HEAD OF CHRIST (BRERA GALLERY, MILAN)

THE HEAD OF CHRIST
in the Brera Gallery, Milan from the ebook THE DRAWINGS OF LEONARDO DA VINCI
49 pen and ink sketches and studies by the Master

 

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Once you have purchased this most excellent product from our Store, be sure to visit our ebook store for the full set of all 49 pen and ink sketches. Click this link for THE DRAWINGS OF LEONARDO DA VINCI ebook at https://store.streetlib.com/en/illustrated-by-leonardo-da-vinci/the-drawings-of-leonardo-da-vinci-49-pen-and-ink-sketches-and-studies-by-the-master/

 

Hashtags: #LeonardodaVinci, #leonardo, #penandink, #drawings, #illustrations, #sketches, #studies, #portrait, #IsabellaDeste, #OldMan, #Draperies, #KneelingFigures, #Bacchus, #Head, #Battle, #Horsemen, #Monsters, #Woman, #Seated, #Ground, #ChildKneeling, #Youth, #onhorseback, #EquestrianStatue, #FrancescoSforza, #Virginmary, #StAnne, #Infant, #Children, #Combat, #Madonna, #HolyFamily, #LastSupper, #Courtyard, #CannonFoundry, #Apostle, #Background, #Adoration, #Magi, #Landscape, #Tree, #Caricatures, #StJohnTheBaptist, #Christ, #Angel, #Hands, #Dragon, #Fighting, #Lion, #Portrait, #Animals, #SixHeads, #Bust, #Woman, #Cartoon, #Drapery, #Figure, #Knight, #Armour, #Leda, #StPhilip, #Girl, #Satyr

PORTRAIT OF ISABELLA D'ESTE (LOUVRE)

PORTRAIT OF ISABELLA D’ESTE (in the LOUVRE)
from the ebook THE DRAWINGS OF LEONARDO DA VINCI
49 pen and ink sketches and studies by the Master

 

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Once you have purchased this most excellent product from our Store, be sure to visit our ebook store for the full set of all 49 pen and ink sketches. Click this link for THE DRAWINGS OF LEONARDO DA VINCI ebook at https://store.streetlib.com/en/illustrated-by-leonardo-da-vinci/the-drawings-of-leonardo-da-vinci-49-pen-and-ink-sketches-and-studies-by-the-master/

 

Hashtags: #LeonardodaVinci, #leonardo, #penandink, #drawings, #illustrations, #sketches, #studies, #portrait, #IsabellaDeste, #OldMan, #Draperies, #KneelingFigures, #Bacchus, #Head, #Battle, #Horsemen, #Monsters, #Woman, #Seated, #Ground, #ChildKneeling, #Youth, #onhorseback, #EquestrianStatue, #FrancescoSforza, #Virginmary, #StAnne, #Infant, #Children, #Combat, #Madonna, #HolyFamily, #LastSupper, #Courtyard, #CannonFoundry, #Apostle, #Background, #Adoration, #Magi, #Landscape, #Tree, #Caricatures, #StJohnTheBaptist, #Christ, #Angel, #Hands, #Dragon, #Fighting, #Lion, #Portrait, #Animals, #SixHeads, #Bust, #Woman, #Cartoon, #Drapery, #Figure, #Knight, #Armour, #Leda, #StPhilip, #Girl, #Satyr

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THE DIGGERS – The Australians in France during WWI

Patrick MacGill

In this small ebook, are but nine chapters which give an Australian perspective of their time spent on the Western Front in France.
The imperishable deeds of the Commonwealth’s glorious soldiers, least of all the Australians, or Diggers, have carved for themselves a deep niche in the topmost towers of the Temple of the Immortals. The story of the valour of the Diggers will live throughout the ages, and future generations of Australians will speak of them as we do of all the heroic figures of antiquity. Their valour has covered Australia with a lustre that shines throughout the world, so that her name, which in 1914 was little known, by 1918 had become a household word in the mouths of all the peoples of the earth.

The Great War made Australia—a young community without traditions—a nation, acutely and proudly conscious of its nationality. Upon that day some hundred years gone, when in the grey of early dawn the first Australian soldier leapt upon an unknown shore and in the face of a murderous fire scaled the heights of Gaba Tepe—a feat of arms almost unparalleled in the history of war—the young Australian Community put on the toga of nationhood, and in one stride entered on a footing equal to any other nation in the family of free nations of the earth. Gallipoli—scene of that most glorious attempt which though falling short of the promised success, lost nothing of its greatness—thy name is and forever will be held sacred to all!

When Gallipoli had been given up as a forlorn hope, the soldiers of the Commonwealth were relocated to Europe’s Western Front, when in the Spring of 1918 the great German offensive pressed back and by force of numbers broke through the sorely tried British line, the Australian divisions were hurried down from the North and rushed up to stem the German armies.

The story of the battles fought by the Australians before Amiens is amongst the most thrilling in the history of this great world conflict. Here the fate of civilization was decided. The great German army, marching along the road in column of route, like the armies of Napoleon a hundred years before,  reached the crest of high land overlooking Amiens, and with but a few miles between them and the key to Paris, were held up by a veritable handful of Australians, later reinforced as the rest of the Divisions came to hand. It was the turning of the tide; the fighting raged around Villers-Bretonneux, but the car of the German Juggernaut rolled forward no more. An impassable barrier had been set up beyond which the enemy could not pass. But the young soldiers of Australia, not satisfied with arresting his onward march, began to force the Hun back; at first slowly, and then faster and faster, until in the great offensive of August 8, when along with four Divisions of Canadians and two British, they swept him back in headlong rout, nor gave him pause until breaking through the vaunted Hindenburg line they stood victorious at Beaurevoir.

The deeds of these brave men will remain forever fresh in the minds of the Commonwealth and Allied nations. Australia has reason to be proud of her war effort; she has done great things; but she has paid a great price. That a small community of just five million recruited and sent 330,000 men twelve thousand miles across the seas, is a great thing. The number dead—57,000—with total casualties—289,723—show how great the price Australia paid for Liberty.

Indeed, it was the “new” colonies of South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Canada which paid a heavy price in war dead. But it would only be another 21 years before they would be asked to pay yet again.

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TOLD IN THE COFFEE HOUSE

29 Turkish and Islamic Folk Tales

Herein are 29 of the most notable Turkish and Islamic stories recorded and translated by Adler in partnership with Allan Ramsay.

Herein you will find stories like:
HOW THE HODJA SAVED ALLAH
THE HANOUM AND THE UNJUST CADI
HOW COBBLER AHMET BECAME THE CHIEF ASTROLOGER
THE WISE SON OF ALI PASHA
THE MERCIFUL KHAN
KING KARA-KUSH OF BITHYNIA
WE KNOW NOT WHAT THE DAWN MAY BRING FORTH
THE EFFECTS OF RAKI
and many, many more.

You are invited to download these 29 stories in ebook form for only US$1.99

Link: https://store.streetlib.com/en/anon-e-mouse/told-in-the-coffee-house-29-turkish-and-islamic-folk-tales/

 

It must be noted that while Turkish folklore is entertaining and is guaranteed to give rise to a smile, a chuckle or even laughter, the stories do have a gravity of their own and will impart a wisdom only found in Eastern lands.

During the course of a number of visits to Istanbul, Cyrus Adler* became interested in the tales that were being told in the coffee houses of the city, and many they were.

Turkish Coffee Houses have an intimacy which encourages the sharing of stories. They usually consist of a little more than rooms, with walls made of small panes of glass. The furniture consists of a tripod with a contrivance for holding the kettle, and a fire to keep the coffee boiling. A carpeted bench traverses the entire length of the room. This is occupied by turbaned Turks, their legs folded under them, smoking hookahs or chibouks, and sipping coffee. A few will be engaged in a game of backgammon, but the majority enter into conversation, at first only in syllables, which gradually gives rise to a general discussion. Finally, some sage of the neighborhood comes in, and the company appeals to him to settle the point at issue. This he usually does by telling a story to illustrate his opinion. Some of the stories told on these occasions are adaptations of those already known in Arabic and Persian literature, but the Turkish mind gives them a new setting and a peculiar philosophy. They are characteristic of the habits, customs, and methods of thought of the people, and for this reason seem worthy of preservation.

Most of the stories have been collected by Mr. Allan Ramsay, who, by a long residence in Constantinople, has had special, and many, opportunities for learning to know the modern Turk.
Cyrus Adler (1863 – 1940) was an American educator, Jewish religious leader and scholar.
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KEYWORDS/TAGS: fairy tales, folklore, myths, legends, children’s stories, children’s stories, bygone era, fairydom, fairy land, classic stories, children’s bedtime stories, fables, Adventures, Turkey, Turkish, coffee house, one, man, Ahmet, Pasha, Jew, wife, Hodja, money, Hadji, Dervish, piasters, father, Cadi, gold, Halid, Allah, Sultan, Ben, Hussein, woman, house, devil, Moïse, horse, Vizier, Grand, Imam, Armenian, thousand, Hanoum, husband, Effendi, Chief, Majesty, olives, judges, slave, Turk, Patriarch, Palace, children, friend, goose, Stamboul, Brother, Alas, God, spokesman, Paradise, priest, monkey, smith, Ali, box, people, twelve, Jesus, Khan, astrologer, Janissary, Governor, begger, Hassan, beadle, faith, death, stranger, necklace, blessing, judgment, desire, master, thief, peace, hands, birds, sword, Forty, heart, dream, true, arm, 25, twenty-five, Astrologer, Detective, statement, pleasure, justice, village, farrier, funeral, punish, tailor, spirit, Egypt, baker, alone, Osman, Porte, child, third, blood, short, Avram, youth, possessions, Mohammed, history, journey, despair, Chepdji, window, evil, rose, Wise, wisdom, conversation, disappear, apprentice, protest, Mustapha, steward Scutari, towers, prison, garden, Bekri, Abdul, raki, Janissaries, thirty-nine, horseshoes, Inshallah, Dervish, gunsmith, Chacham, turban, Konak, Agha, thunderstruck, flute-player, gentlemen, medjidies, Chapkin, baker

A fantastic tale of the demon-haunted forests of 13th C. Germany. In the Dale of the Dragon, or Der Tal des Drachen, lives a young man named Jerome, the hero of our story. In the surrounding forest lives the witch Martha and her twin ravens which speak of Satan, who even makes an appearance to tempt Jerome to the dark side of life.

But what is a haunted forest if it doesn’t have robber barons and outlaws, and what would our story be without Agnes the maiden, who is, of course, in distress. Who is the mysterious Saint of the Dragon’s Dale – a powerful, mysterious figure with a dark secret. Will he ride in to save the day, or will he be too late.

To find the answers to these, and any other questions you may have, download this little book and find out for yourself.

Format: ebook – Kindle.Mobi, ePub, PDF
Download link: https://folklore-fairy-tales-myths-legends-and-other-stories.stores.streetlib.com/en/william-s-davis/the-saint-of-the-dragons-dale-medieval-action-and-adventure/

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June’s sales figures are now in. Halfway through the month we saw how the Football world cup had taken some of the focus off Hawaii, but a late rally saw Hawaiian & Polynesian themed folktale reassert themselves.

Our top four bestselling books for June were:

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JUST SO STORIES – 12 illustrated Children’s Stories of how things came to be

ISBN: 9788828325000

Link: https://folklore-fairy-tales-myths-legends-and-other-stories.stores.streetlib.com/en/rudyard-kipling/just-so-stories-12-illustrated-childrens-stories-of-how-things-came-to-be/

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MAORI FOLKLORE – 23 Maori Myths and Legends

ISBN: 9788822806758

Link: https://folklore-fairy-tales-myths-legends-and-other-stories.stores.streetlib.com/en/sir-george-grey/maori-folklore-or-the-ancient-traditional-history-of-the-new-zealanders/

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OLD PETER’S RUSSIAN TALES – 20 illustrated Russian Children’s Stories

ISBN: 9788827560990

Link: https://folklore-fairy-tales-myths-legends-and-other-stories.stores.streetlib.com/en/anon-e-mouse/old-peters-russian-tales-20-illustrated-russian-childrens-stories/

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HAWAIIAN FOLK TALES – 34 Hawaiian folk and fairy tales

ISBN: 9788822801876

Link: https://folklore-fairy-tales-myths-legends-and-other-stories.stores.streetlib.com/en/anon-e-mouse/hawaiian-folk-tales-34-hawaiian-folk-and-fairy-tales/

 

Old Indian Legends, Wonderwings and Other Fairy Stories, Wonder Tales from Baltic Wizards and The Norwegian Book of Fairy Tales did their best to out-perform each other to take fifth spot.

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