Page images
PDF
EPUB

the young man after him. “You are still in danger," he said; “for your brothers, not being sure of your death, have placed watchers about the wood to kill you if they see you."

Presently the king's son saw a poor man sitting under a tree, begging. “Change clothes with him, whispered the fox, and then ran away.

The man was very ready to make the exchange, and then the younger brother took his way as a poor beggar across the fields, till he came to the courtyard of his father's castle. No one recognized him, so he went on still closer to the windows, and asked for alms. In a moment the bird in the cage began to sing, the horse in the stable ate his corn, and the beautiful young maiden ceased to weep.

“What is the meaning of this?” asked the king, in wonder.

Then said the maiden, “I cannot tell why, but I have been so sad, and now I feel quite happy. It is as if my real bridegroom had returned.”

At length she determined to tell the king all that had occurred, although the other brothers had threatened to kill her if she betrayed them.

The king upon this ordered every one in the castle to appear before him, and among them came the poor man in ragged clothes. The princess recognized him immediately, and fell on his neck and wept for joy to find him alive. The king also recognized his youngest son after he had thrown off his disguise. Then the brothers were brought to justice and punished, while the youngest married the beautiful princess, and was named as the king's successor.

We must now hear what became of the poor fox.

[graphic][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

Not long after, the king's son met him and the fox said, “You have everything that you can wish for in the world, but to my misfortunes there appears no end, although you have the power of setting me free;" and once more he begged so earnestly to be shot dead, and to have his head and feet cut off, that the king's son at last, with sorrow, consented. What was his surprise as soon as he had finished the painful task to see a fine, tall young man stand up in the place of the fox, who was no other than the brother of the beautiful princess, whom the king's son had at last set free from the enchantment that lay upon him.

After this nothing ever happened to interfere with their happiness and good fortune.

LADY BUTTON-EYES*

By EUGENE FIELD

W HEN the busy day is done

VV And my weary little one
Rocketh gently to and fro;
When the night winds softly blow,
And the crickets in the glen
Chirp and chirp and chirp again;
When upon the haunted green
Fairies dance around their queen-
Then from yonder misty skies
Cometh Lady Button-Eyes.

Through the murk and mist and gloam
To our quiet, cozy home,
Where to singing, sweet and low,
Rocks a cradle to and fro;
Where the clock's dull monotone
Telleth of the day that's done;
Where the moonbeams hover o'er
Playthings sleeping on the floor-
Where my weary wee one lies
Cometh Lady Button-Eyes.

Tellete the clock to and fra

Cometh like a fleeting ghost
From some distant eerie coast;
Never footfall can you hear
As that spirit fareth near-
Never whisper, never word

* From “Love Songs of Childhood.” Copyright, 1894, by Eugene Field; published by Charles Scribner's Sons.

From that shadow-queen is heard.
In ethereal raiment dight,
From the realm of fay and sprite
In the depth of yonder skies
Cometh Lady Button-Eyes.

Layeth she her hands upon
My dear weary little one,
And those white hands overspread
Like a veil the curly head,
Seem to fondle and caress
Every little silken tress;
Then she smooths the eyelids down
Over those two eyes of brown-
In such soothing, tender wise
Cometh Lady Button-Eyes.

Dearest, feel upon your brow
That caressing magic now;
For the crickets in the glen
Chirp and chirp and chirp again,
While upon the haunted green
Fairies dance around their queen,
And the moonbeams hover o’er
Playthings sleeping on the floor-
Hush, my sweet! from yonder skies
Cometh Lady Button-Eyes!

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

THE WONDERFUL GIFTS

Adapted by Anna McCALEB BOS

IP in cold, northern Europe lived a

people who were known as the Norsemen. They believed that there were many gods, all of them very powerful and very wise, and most of them very good. However, there was one god,

named Loki, who was full of mischief, and who was always getting himself and the other gods into trouble.

Thor, the great, good-natured thunder-god, was very proud of his strength and of the way people loved him; but most of all, he was proud of his wife, Sif, and of her beautiful hair. He would never let her twist her hair up into a knot-she always wore it loose or braided into one great golden-yellow braid, so that he could see it all at once.

One day when Thor was away from his palace, managing a thunderstorm, Sif lay down to take a nap. Her hair fell down over the side of the couch and attracted the notice of Loki, who was sneaking past looking into all the windows. Very quietly he stole into the room, very quietly he drew out a sharp knife and cut off all of Sif's golden hair. Then he stole out again, chuckling to himself. When Sif wakened and sat up, her head felt strange and light; and when she put up her hand to find out what was wrong, she discovered that her head was all soft and downy, just like a little chicken. She cried and

« PreviousContinue »