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THE SHEPHERD BOY AND THE WOLVES
N summer time the shepherds used to drive their sheep out into the mountains some distance away from their homes, where the grass was green and tender and the sheep fattened rapidly. But there was always some danger in this, for the wolves hid in the mountains and often came down and carried off the little lambs, and even killed the old sheep themselves. So the shepherds never thought it was safe to leave the flocks alone, and some young lad was always chosen to watch them during the day, while the shepherds worked on the little fields they cultivated near at hand. It wasn't a hard task for the boy unless the wolves came in sight, and then he was so near that by calling loudly he could bring the shepherds to his aid.
One lad they sent out to do this work was a mischievous little chap, who thought it would be great sport to bring the shepherds about him even if no wolf was in sight. Accordingly, he ran up the side of a high rock, shouting at the top of his voice "Wolf! Wolf!" and swinging his arms wildly about.
The shepherds saw and heard him and came running to the spot, where they found nothing but the lively boy, laughing merrily. They reproved him for his mischief and went back to their work.
In a few days they had forgotten all about his prank, and when they saw him again upon the rock, swinging his arms and calling "Wolf! Wolf!" they ran a second time, with their hoes and spades in their hands to beat off the attack. Once more they found that the sheep were perfectly safe, and that no wolves were in sight, and the boy laughed noisily at their surprise. This time they were very angry and scolded the boy roundly for his deception.
More days passed, and nothing happened; but then, as the boy was lying idly in the warm sun, he saw the sheep huddle together in alarm and finally scamper off over the hill with wolves in close pursuit.
Frightened almost out of his wits at the very real danger, the boy climbed again upon the rock, shrieking "Wolf! Wolf!" at the top of his voice, waving his hands, stamping, and swinging his hat as though his very life depended on it.
The shepherds looked up and saw the boy, but returned to their work. They had been twice fooled and were not going to risk the chance again. No matter how loudly the boy called or how much he wept, they continued with their work, paying no further attention to what the lad said, even when he ran to them and assured them that he was telling the truth.
When the sheep did not return that night, the shepherds went out to find them, but though they hunted long and earnestly, they could discover nothing but torn and bleeding bodies, for every sheep had been killed.
Naturally they laid all the blame on the shoulders of the boy.
THE ROCK-A-BY LADY*
By Eugene Field
THE Rock-a-By Lady from Hushaby street
There is one little dream of a beautiful drum—
"Rub-a-dub!" it goeth;
And a trumpet that bloweth!
And dollies peep out of those wee little dreams
With laughter and singing; And boats go a-floating on silvery streams, And the stars peek-a-boo with their own misty
gleams, And up, up, and up, where the Mother Moon beams,
The fairies go winging!
Would you dream all these dreams that are tiny and fleet?
They'll come to you sleeping; So shut the two eyes that are weary, my sweet, For the Rock-a-By Lady from Hushaby street, With poppies that hang from her head to her feet,
Comes stealing; comes creeping.
"From "Love-Songs of Childhood"; Copyright. 18!)4, by Eugene Field; published by Charles Scribner's Sons.
Why do you suppose Field says that poppies hang from the head to the feet of the lady from Hushaby street? .Would it mean just as much to you if he had said roses or daisies instead of poppies? Did you know that people think poppies will put you to sleep, and that from poppy juice they make a medicine that will ease pain and quiet the sufferer?
THE WIND AND THE SUN
A DISPUTE once arose between the Wind and . the Sun, each declaring himself to be the stronger. While they were wrangling about it a traveler in a big cloak came along the road, and they agreed that the one who could get off the traveler's cloak the sooner should be called the stronger.
The Wind began by sending a furious blast that at first nearly tore the cloak away; but the shivering traveler clutched his cloak more tightly and wrapped it about him so closely that the Wind, though he blew his worst, could not get the garment away.
The Sun then drove away the clouds that the Wind had gathered, and gently cast his beams upon the head of the traveler until the man grew weary and faint with the heat. At last he threw his cloak from him and ran hastily into the shade.
This fable teaches us that gentleness often accomplishes more than severity.
THE WOLF AND THE CRANE
A WOLF devoured his prey so ravenously that . a bone stuck in his throat, giving him great pain. He ran howling up and down, and offered to reward handsomely any one who would pull it out.
A Crane, moved by pity as well as by the prospect of the money, undertook the dangerous task. Having removed the bone, he asked for the promised reward.
"Reward!" cried the Wolf; "pray, you greedy fellow, what reward can you possibly require? You have had your head in my mouth, and instead of biting it off I have let you pull it out unharmed. Get away with you, and don't come again within reach of my paw."
By Thomas Dkkker
GOLDEN slumbers kiss your eyes,
Care is heavy, therefore sleep you;