Page images

and-alive kind of place as this in which you live! Why, I couldn't possibly live here a week! There is no kind of life; there's no society; there's nothing gay or jolly anywhere to be found.

"You go on from one year's end to another, every day just like the one before it and just like the one that follows it. What you want to do is to come back to the city with me. Come to-night and see what a gay and happy life I lead."

The airs and address of the Town Mouse had made the Country Mouse a little discontented, so as soon as it came dark, the two started off for the city, where they quickly found the home of the Town Mouse, in which, as it happened, a splendid supper had been given and from which the guests had barely departed for home.

It was no trouble at all for the Town Mouse to gather up the whole heap of dainties which she placed on one corner of the handsome red Turkey carpet. The plain little Country Mouse was dazzled by so much splendor; she had never seen such a table as was now before her. There were not half of the meats that she could tell the names of, and not knowing what they were or how they tasted, she sat there wondering where to begin.

Suddenly a door behind them creaked and opened, and the servant came in with a light. The two Mice ran hastily into a corner and hid themselves behind a hassock till everything was quiet again, when they returned to their meal.

The first mouthful had not been swallowed when the door opened suddenly again and in dashed a boy, the son of the master of the house—a noisy, rollicking boy, followed by a fierce little Terrier, that ran straight to the spot where the two friends had just been sitting.

Such a thing was really no great surprise to the Town Mouse, who had learned to run to her hole very quickly on the slightest alarm. She did not realize, however, that the Country Mouse knew nothing about this, and so had not told her where to go. The only place the latter could find was back of a big sofa, and there she waited in awful fear while the Terrier barked and tore around the room, enraged at the scent of the Mice.

After a while, however, the boy skipped out again, the Terrier followed, and the room became quiet. The Town Mouse was out in an instant and ran quickly to the dainties, which still lay undisturbed on the floor, for the dog had eaten his supper before he came in.

"Come, come," said the Town Mouse, "come out; the table is all spread and everything is getting cold! We shan't be disturbed again, or if we are we can run and hide. Come, now; let's eat and be happy!"

"No, no, not for me!" said the Country Mouse. I shall be off as fast as I can. There is too much excitement in this life for me. I'd rather have a crust out there in the country, with peace and quietness, than all the fine things you have here in the midst of such frights and terrors as I've had in the last hour."

What are you? Are you a town mouse or a country mouse? Do you live in the country, where you can see the beautiful blue sky with the white clouds sailing through it, where you can play on the rich green grass and smell the sweet flowers all about you? Or do you live in the dusty, smoky city, with big buildings all around you, where the trees are stunted and the leaves look brown and withered? When you go to school in the morning, do you walk along a neat path in the roadside, among fields rich with growing grain, where you can breathe the pure air and romp in the sunshine? Or do you go to school along hot and dusty pavements, where every time you cross a street you must look sharp and run hard or be caught by an automobile or a street car?

Sometimes the human mice who live in the country when they are children move into the great city and grow old there. They learn to live in the excitement and to like it, but occasionally when they sit at home in the evening they wish they were in the country once more, where the evening breezes brought them the scent of the apple blossoms, and where at day-break the birds wakened them from their quiet, peaceful slumber.


AS I was going to Saint Ives
k. I met a man with seven wives;
Each wife had seven sacks,
Each sack had seven cats,
Each cat had seven kits:
Kits, cats, sacks and wives,
How many were going to Saint Ives?

Can you guess this riddle at once? Which way was the speaker going? Which way were kit, cats, sacks and wives going?

[ocr errors]


Hush! the waves are rolling in,
White with foam, white with foam;

Father toils amid the din;
But baby sleeps at home.

Hush! the winds roar hoarse and deep—
On they come, on they come!

Brother seeks the wandering sheep;
But baby sleeps at home.

Hush! the rain sweeps o'er the knowes,
Where they roam, where they roam;

Sister goes to seek the cows;
But baby sleeps at home.

[ocr errors]

This pretty lullaby has traveled a long way from its home in the Highlands of Scotland, where it was sung in Gaelic to little mountain babies many, many years ago. The sea comes in close to the Highlands, and sometimes runs its long arms up among them, so that fisher folk are numerous, and the sea is the one big thought in their minds.

Father, brother and sister are out in the storm, father toiling with his boat among the waves, brother bringing in the wandering sheep, and sister driving the cows into the sheltered stable. At home mother sits by the cradle and sings the baby to sleep with her soft lullabv.


SLEEP, baby, sleep!
Thy father watches his sheep;
Thy mother is shaking the dreamland tree,
And down comes a little dream on thee.
Sleep, baby, sleep!

Sleep, baby, sleep!

The large stars are the sheep;
The little stars are the lambs, I guess,
And the gentle moon is the shepherdess

Sleep, baby, sleep!

Sleep, baby, sleep!

Our Saviour loves His sheep;
He is the Lamb of God on high,
Who for our sakes came down to die.

Sleep, baby, sleep!

« PreviousContinue »