STORIES OF GREAT AMERICANS FOR LITTLE AMERICANS
AUTHOR OF "TRUE STORIES OF AMERICAN LIFE AND ADVENTURE"
"A FIRST BOOK IN AMERICAN HISTORY" AND "A HISTORY
OF THE UNITED STATES AND ITS PEOPLE FOR
THE USE OF SCHOOLS"
The primary aim of this book is to furnish the little learner reading
matter that will excite his attention and give him pleasure, and thus
make lighter the difficult task of learning to read. The ruggedness of
this task has often been increased by the use of disconnected
sentences, or lessons as dry and uninteresting as finger exercises on
the piano. It is a sign of promise that the demand for reading matter
of interest to the child has come from teachers. I have endeavored to
meet this requirement in the following stories.
As far as possible the words chosen have been such as are not
difficult to the little reader, either from their length or their
unfamiliarity. The sentences and paragraphs are short. Learning to
read is like climbing a steep hill, and it is a great relief to the
panting child to find frequent breathing places.
It is one of the purposes of these stories to make the mind of the
pupil familiar with some of the leading figures in the history of our
country by means of personal anecdote. Some of the stories are those
that every American child ought to know, because they have become a
kind of national folklore. Such, for example, are "Putnam and the
Wolf" and the story of "Franklin's Whistle." I have thought it
important to present as great a variety of subjects as possible, so
that the pupil may learn something not only of great warriors and
patriots, but also of great statesmen. The exploits of discoverers,
the triumphs of American inventors, and the achievements of men of
letters and men of science, find place in these stories. All the
narratives are historical, or at least no stories have been told for
true that are deemed fictitious. Every means which the writer's
literary experience could suggest has been used to make the stories
engaging, in the hope that the interest of the narrative may prove a
sufficient spur to exertion on the part of the pupil, and that this
little book will make green and pleasant a pathway that has so often
been dry and laborious. It will surely serve to excite an early
interest in our national history by giving some of the great
personages of that history a place among the heroes that impress the
susceptible imagination of a child. It is thus that biographical and
historical incidents acquire something of the vitality of folk tales.
The illustrations that accompany the text have been planned with
special reference to the awakening of the child's attention. To keep
the mind alert and at its best is more than half the battle in
teaching. The publishers and the author of this little book believe
that in laying the foundation of a child's education the best work is
none too good.
The larger words have been divided by hyphens when a separation into
syllables is likely to help the learner. The use of the hyphen has
been regulated entirely with a view to its utility. After a word not
too difficult has been made familiar by its repeated occurrence, the
hyphens are omitted.
The First Governor in Boston
Marquette in Iowa
William Penn and the Indians
One Little Bag of Rice
The Story of a Wise Woman
Franklin his own Teacher
How Franklin found out Things
Franklin asks the Sunshine something
Franklin and the Kite
Too much for the Whistle
John Stark and the Indians
A Great Good Man
Putnam and the Wolf
Washington and his Hatchet
How Benny West learned to be a Painter
Washington's Christmas Gift
How Washington got out of a Trap
Washington's Last Battle
Clark and his Men
Daniel Boone and his Grapevine Swing
Daniel Boone's Daughter and her Friends
Decatur and the Pirates
Stories about Jefferson
A Long Journey
Captain Clark's Burning Glass
The First Steamboat
Washington Irving as a Boy
Don't give up the Ship
The Star-spangled Banner
How Audubon came to know about Birds
Audubon in the Wild Woods
Hunting a Panther
Some Boys who became Authors
Daniel Webster and his Brother
Webster and the Poor Woman
The India-rubber Man
Doctor Kane in the Frozen Sea
A Dinner on the Ice
Doctor Kane gets out of the Frozen Sea
Longfellow as a Boy
Kit Carson and the Bears
Horace Greeley as a Boy
Horace Greeley learning to Print
A Wonderful Woman
The Author of "Little Women"
A Song from the Suds
STORIES OF GREAT AMERICANS.
[Illustration: THE FIRST GOVERNOR IN BOSTON]
Before the white people came, there were no houses in this country but
the little huts of the In-di-ans. The In-di-an houses were made of
bark, or mats, or skins, spread over poles.
Some people came to one part of the country. Others started
set-tle-ments in other places. When more people came, some of these
set-tle-ments grew into towns. The woods were cut down. Farms were
planted. Roads were made. But it took many years for the country to
fill with people.
The first white people that came to live in the woods where Boston is
now, settled there a long time ago. They had a gov-ern-or over them.
He was a good man, and did much for the people. His name was John
The first thing the people had to do was to cut down the trees. After
that they could plant corn. But at first they could not raise
any-thing to eat. They had brought flour and oat-meal from England.
But they found that it was not enough to last till they could raise
corn on their new ground.
Win-throp sent a ship to get more food for them. The ship was gone a
long time. The people ate up all their food. They were hungry. They
went to the sea-shore, and found clams and mussels. They were glad to
get these to eat.
At last they set a day for every-body to fast and pray for food. The
gov-ern-or had a little flour left. Nearly all of this was made into
bread, and put into the oven to bake. He did not know when he would
get any more.
Soon after this a poor man came along. His flour was all gone. His
bread had all been eaten up. His family were hungry. The gov-ern-or
gave the poor man the very last flour that he had in the barrel.
Just then a ship was seen. It sailed up toward Boston. It was loaded
with food for all the people.
The time for the fast day came. But there was now plenty of food. The
fast day was turned into a thanks-giving day.
One day a man sent a very cross letter to Gov-ern-or Win-throp.
Win-throp sent it back to him. He said, "I cannot keep a letter that
might make me angry." Then the man that had written the cross letter
wrote to Win-throp, "By con-quer-ing yourself, you have
MARQUETTE IN IOWA.
The first white men to go into the middle of our country were
French-men. The French had settled in Can-a-da. They sent
mis-sion-a-ries to preach to the Indians in the West. They also sent
traders to buy furs from the Indians.
The French-men heard the Indians talk about a great river in the West.
But no French-man had ever gone far enough to see the Mis-sis-sip-pi.
Mar-quette was a priest. Jo-li-et was a trader. These two men were
sent to find the great river that the Indians talked about.
They trav-eled in two birch canoes. They took five men to paddle the
canoes. They took some smoked meat to eat on the way. They also took
some Indian corn. They had trinkets to trade to the Indians.
Hatchets, and beads, and bits of cloth were the money they used to pay
the Indians for what they wanted.
The friendly Indians in Wis-con-sin tried to per-suade them not to go.
They told them that the Indians on the great river would kill them.
The friendly Indians also told them that there was a demon in one part
of the river. They said that this demon roared so loud that he could
be heard a long way off. They said that the demon would draw the
trav-el-ers down into the water. Then they told about great monsters
that ate up men and their canoes.
But Mar-quette and the men with him thought they would risk the
journey. They would not turn back for fear of the demon or
The two little canoes went down the Wis-con-sin River. After some days
they came to the Mis-sis-sip-pi. More than a hundred years before, the
Spaniards had seen the lower part of this river. But no white man had
ever seen this part of the great river. Mar-quette did not know that
any white man had ever seen any part of the Mis-sis-sip-pi.
The two little canoes now turned their bows down the river. Some-times
they saw great herds of buf-fa-loes. Some of these came to the bank of
the river to look at the men in the canoes. They had long, shaggy
manes, which hung down over their eyes.
For two weeks the trav-el-ers paddled down the river. In all this time
they did not see any Indians. After they had gone hundreds of miles in
this way, they came to a place where they saw tracks in the mud. It
was in what is now the State of I-o-wa.
Mar-quette and Jo-li-et left the men in their canoes, and followed the
tracks. After walking two hours, they came to an Indian village. The
Frenchmen came near enough to hear the Indians talking. The Indians
did not see them.
Jo-li-et and Mar-quette did not know whether the Indians would kill
them or not. They said a short prayer. Then they stood out in full
view, and gave a loud shout.
The Indians came out of their tents like bees. They stared at the
strangers. Then four Indians came toward them. These Indians carried a
peace pipe. They held this up toward the sun. This meant that they
The Indians now offered the peace pipe to the French-men. The
French-men took it, and smoked with the Indians. This was the Indian
way of saying, "We are friends."
[Illustration: Marquette and Joliet]
Mar-quette asked the Indians what tribe they belonged to.
They told him that they were of the tribe called the Il-li-nois.
They took Jo-li-et and Mar-quette into their village. They came to the
door of a large wig-wam. A chief stood in the door. He shaded his eyes
with both hands, as if the sun were shining in his face. Then he made
a little speech.
He said, "French-men, how bright the sun shines when you come to see
us! We are all waiting for you. You shall now come into our houses
The Il-li-nois Indians made a feast for their new friends. First they
had mush of corn meal, with fat meat in it. One of the Indians fed the
Frenchmen as though they were babies. He put mush into their mouths
with a large spoon.
Then came some fish. The Indian that fed the vis-it-ors picked out the
bones with his fingers. Then he put the pieces of fish into their
mouths. After they had some roasted dog. The French-men did not like
this. Last, they were fed with buf-fa-lo meat.
The next morning six hundred Indians went to the canoes to tell the
Frenchmen good-by. They gave Mar-quette a young Indian slave. And they
gave him a peace pipe to carry with him.
When Mar-quette and his men left the Il-li-nois, they went on down the
river. The friendly Il-li-nois had told them that the Indians they
would see were bad, and that they would kill any one who came into
The Frenchmen had heard before this that there were demons and
monsters in the river. One day they saw some high rocks with pictures
painted on them. The ugly pictures made them think of these monsters.
They were painted in red, black, and green colors. They were pictures
of two Indian demons or gods.
Each one of these monsters was about the size of a calf. They had
horns as long as those of a deer. Their eyes were red. Their faces
were like a man's, but they were ugly and frightful. They had beards
like a tiger's. Their bodies were covered with scales like those on a
fish. Their long tails were wound round their bodies, and over their
heads, and down between their legs. The end of each tail was like that
of a fish.
The Indians prayed to these ugly gods when they passed in their
canoes. Even Mar-quette and his men were a little frightened when they
saw such pictures in a place so lonely. The Frenchmen went down the
river about twelve hundred miles. Some-times the Indians tried to kill
them, but by showing the peace pipe they made friends. At last they
turned back. Jo-li-et went to Can-a-da. Mar-quette preached to the
Indians in the West till he died.
WILLIAM PENN AND THE INDIANS.
The King of England gave all the land in Penn-syl-va-ni-a to William
Penn. The King made Penn a kind of king over Penn-syl-va-ni-a. Penn
could make the laws of this new country. But he let the people make
their own laws.
Penn wanted to be friendly with the Indians. He paid them for all the
land his people wanted to live on. Before he went to Penn-syl-va-ni-a
he wrote a letter to the Indians. He told them in this letter that he
would not let any of his people do any harm to the Indians. He said he
would punish any-body that did any wrong to an Indian. This letter was
read to the Indians in their own lan-guage.
Soon after this Penn got into a ship and sailed from England. He
sailed to Penn-syl-va-ni-a. When he came there, he sent word to the
tribes of Indians to come to meet him.
The Indians met under a great elm tree on the bank of the river.
Indians like to hold their solemn meetings out of doors. They sit on
the ground. They say that the earth is the Indian's mother.
When Penn came to the place of meeting, he found the woods full of
Indians. As far as he could see, there were crowds of Indians. Penn's
friends were few. They had no guns.
Penn had a bright blue sash round his waist. One of the Indian chiefs,
who was the great chief, put on a kind of cap or crown. In the middle
of this was a small horn. The head chief wore this only at such great
meetings as this one.
When the great chief had put on his horn, all the other chiefs and
great men of the Indians put down their guns. Then they sat down in
front of Penn in the form of a half-moon. Then the great chief told
Penn that the Indians were ready to hear what he had to say.
Penn had a large paper in which he had written all the things that he
and his friends had promised to the Indians. He had written all the
promises that the Indians were to make to the white people. This was
to make them friends. When Penn had read this to them, it was
explained to them in their own lan-guage. Penn told them that they
might stay in the country that they had sold to the white people. The
land would belong to both the Indians and the white people.
Then Penn laid the large paper down on the ground. That was to show
them, he said, that the ground was to belong to the Indians and the
white people to-geth-er.
He said that there might be quarrels between some of the white people
and some of the Indians. But they would settle any quarrels without
fighting. When-ever there should be a quarrel, the Indians were to
pick out six Indians. The white people should also pick out six of
their men. These were to meet, and settle the quarrel.
Penn said, "I will not call you my children, because fathers
some-times whip their children. I will not call you brothers, because
brothers sometimes fall out. But I will call you the same person as
the white people. We are the two parts of the same body."
The Indians could not write. But they had their way of putting down
things that they wished to have re-mem-bered. They gave Penn a belt of
shell beads. These beads are called wam-pum. Some wam-pum is white.
Some is purple.
They made this belt for Penn of white beads. In the middle of the belt
they made a picture of purple beads. It is a picture of a white man
and an Indian. They have hold of each other's hands. When they gave
this belt to Penn, they said, "We will live with William Penn and his
children as long as the sun and moon shall last."
[Illustration: Penn jumping with the Indians.]
Penn took up the great paper from the ground. He handed it to the
great chief that wore the horn on his head. He told the Indians to
keep it and hand it to their children's children, that they might know
what he had said. Then he gave them many presents of such things as
they liked. They gave Penn a name in their own language. They named
him "O-nas." That was their word for a feather. As the white people
used a pen made out of a quill or feather, they called a pen "o-nas."
That is why they called William Penn "Brother O-nas."
Penn sometimes went to see the Indians. He talked to them, and gave
them friendly advice. Once he saw some of them jumping. They were
trying to see who could jump the farthest.
Penn had been a very active boy. He knew how to jump very well. He
went to the place where the Indians were jumping. He jumped farther
than any of them.
When the great gov-ern-or took part in their sport, the Indians were
pleased. They loved Brother O-nas more than ever.
ONE LITTLE BAG OF RICE
The first white people that came to this country hardly knew how to
get their living here. They did not know what would grow best in
Many of the white people learned to hunt. All the land was covered
with trees. In the woods were many animals whose flesh was good to
eat. There were deer, and bears, and great shaggy buf-fa-loes. There
were rabbits and squirrels. And there were many kinds of birds. The
hunters shot wild ducks, wild turkeys, wild geese, and pigeons. The
people also caught many fishes out of the rivers.
Then there were animals with fur on their backs. The people killed
these and sold their skins. In this way many made their living.
Other people spent their time in cutting down the trees. They sawed
the trees into timbers and boards. Some of it they split into staves
to make barrels. They sent the staves and other sorts of timber to
other countries to be sold. In South Car-o-li-na men made tar and
pitch out of the pine trees.
But there was a wise man in South Car-o-li-na. He was one of those men
that find out better ways of doing. His name was Thomas Smith.
Thomas Smith had once lived in a large island thousands of miles away
from South Car-o-li-na. In that island he had seen the people raising
rice. He saw that it was planted in wet ground. He said that he would
like to try it in South Car-o-li-na. But he could not get any seed
rice to plant. The rice that people eat is not fit to sow.
One day a ship came to Charles-ton, where Thomas Smith lived. It had
been driven there by storms. The ship came from the large island
where Smith had seen rice grow. The captain of this ship was an old
friend of Smith.
The two old friends met once more. Thomas Smith told the captain that
he wanted some rice for seed. The captain called the cook of his ship,
and asked him if he had any. The cook had one little bag of seed rice.
The captain gave this to his friend.
There was some wet ground at the back of Smith's garden. In this wet
ground he sowed some of the rice. It grew finely.
He gathered a good deal of rice in his garden that year. He gave part
of this to his friends. They all sowed it. The next year there was a
great deal of rice.
After a while the wet land in South Car-o-li-na was turned to rice
fields. Every year many thousands of barrels of rice were sent away
to be sold.
All this came from one little bag of rice and one wise man.
[Illustration: Rice Plant.]
THE STORY OF A WISE WOMAN.
You have read how Thomas Smith first raised rice in Car-o-li-na. After
his death there lived in South Car-o-li-na a wise young woman. She
showed the people how to raise another plant. Her name was
The father of Miss Lucas did not live in Car-o-li-na. He was
gov-ern-or of one of the islands of the West Indies. Miss Lucas was
fond of trying new things. She often got seeds from her father. These
she planted in South Carolina.
Her father sent her some seeds of the in-di-go plant. She sowed some
of these in March. But there came a frost. The in-di-go plant cannot
stand frost. Her plants all died.
But Miss Lucas did not give up. She sowed some more seeds in April.
These grew very well until a cut-worm found them. The worm wished to
try new things, too. So he ate off the in-di-go plants.
But Miss Lucas was one of the people who try, try again. She had lost
her indigo plants twice. Once more she sowed some of the seed. This
time the plants grew very well.
Miss Lucas wrote to her father about it. He sent her a man who knew
how to get the indigo out of the plant.
The man tried not to show Miss Lucas how to make the indigo. He did
not wish the people in South Carolina to learn how to make it. He was
afraid his own people would not get so much for their indigo.
So he would not explain just how it ought to be done. He spoiled the
indigo on purpose.
But Miss Lucas watched him closely. She found out how the indigo ought
to be made. Some of her father's land in South Carolina was now
planted with the indigo plants.
[Illustration: Indigo Plant.]
Then Miss Lucas was married. She became Mrs. Pinck-ney. Her father
gave her all the indigo growing on his land in South Carolina. It was
all saved for seed. Some of the seed Mrs. Pinck-ney gave to her
friends. Some of it her husband sowed. It all grew, and was made into
that blue dye that we call indigo. When it is used in washing clothes,
it is called bluing.
In a few years, more than a million pounds of indigo were made in
South Carolina every year. Many people got rich by it. And it was all
because Miss Lucas did not give up.
FRANKLIN HIS OWN TEACHER.
Few people ever knew so many things as Franklin. Men said, "How did he
ever learn so many things?" For he had been a poor boy who had to work
for a living. He could not go to school at all after he was ten
His father made soap and candles. Little Ben Frank-lin had to cut
wicks for the candles. He also filled the candle molds. And he sold
soap and candles, and ran on errands. But when he was not at work he
spent his time in reading good books. What little money he got he used
to buy books with.
He read the old story of "Pil-grim's Prog-ress," and liked it so well
that he bought all the other stories by the same man. But as he wanted
more books, and had not money to buy them, he sold all of these
books. The next he bought were some little his-to-ry books. These were
made to sell very cheap, and they were sold by peddlers. He managed to
buy forty or fifty of these little books of his-to-ry.
Another way that he had of learning was by seeing things with his own
eyes. His father took him to see car-pen-ters at work with their saws
and planes. He also saw masons laying bricks. And he went to see men
making brass and copper kettles. And he saw a man with a turning lathe
making the round legs of chairs. Other men were at work making knives.
Some things people learn out of books, and some things they have to
see for them-selves.
As he was fond of books, Ben's father thought that it would be a good
plan to send him to learn to print them. So the boy went to work in
his brother's printing office. Here he passed his spare time in
reading. He borrowed some books out of the stores where books were
sold. He would sit up a great part of the night sometimes to read one
of these books. He wished to return it when the book-store opened in
the morning. One man who had many books lent to Ben such of his books
as he wanted.
It was part of the bargain that Ben's brother should pay his board.
The boy offered to board himself if his brother would give him half
what it cost to pay for his board.
[Illustration: Franklin at Study.]
His brother was glad to do this, and Ben saved part of the money and
bought books with it. He was a healthy boy, and it did not hurt him
to live mostly on bread and butter. Sometimes he bought a little pie
or a handful of raisins.
Long before he was a man, people said, "How much the boy knows!" This
He did not waste his time.
He read good books.
He saw things for himself.
HOW FRANKLIN FOUND OUT THINGS.
Frank-lin thought that ants know how to tell things to one another. He
thought that they talk by some kind of signs. When an ant has found a
dead fly too big for him to drag away, he will run off and get some
other ant to help him. Frank-lin thought that ants have some way of
telling other ants that there is work to do.
One day he found some ants eating mo-las-ses out of a little jar in a
closet. He shook them out. Then he tied a string to the jar, and hung
it on a nail in the ceiling. But he had not got all the ants out of
the jar. One little ant liked sweet things so well that he staid in
the jar, and kept on eating like a greedy boy.
[Illustration: Ants talking (magnified)]
At last when this greedy ant had eaten all that he could, he started
to go home. Frank-lin saw him climb over the rim of the jar. Then the
ant ran down the outside of the jar. But when he got to the bottom, he
did not find any shelf there. He went all round the jar. There was no
way to get down to the floor. The ant ran this way and that way, but
he could not get down.
[Illustration: An Ants Feeler (magnified)]
At last the greedy ant thought he would see if he could go up. He
climbed up the string to the ceiling. Then he went down the wall. He
came to his own hole at last, no doubt.
After a while he got hungry again, perhaps. He thought about that jar
of sweets at the end of a string. Then perhaps he told the other ants.
Maybe he let them know that there was a string by which they could get
down to the jar.
In about half an hour after the ant had gone up the string, Franklin
saw a swarm of ants going down the string. They marched in a line, one
after another. Soon there were two lines of ants on the string. The
ants in one line were going down to get at the sweet food. The ants in
the other line were marching up the other side of the string to go
home. Do you think that the greedy ant told the other ants about
And did he tell them that there was a string by which an ant could get
And did he tell it by speaking, or by signs that he made with his
If you watch two ants when they meet, you will see that they touch
their feelers together, as if they said "Good-morning!"
[Illustration: FRANKLIN ASKS THE SUNSHINE SOMETHING.]
One day Franklin was eating dinner at the house of a friend. The lady
of the house, when she poured out the coffee, found that it was
She said, "I am sorry that the coffee is cold. It is because the
servant forgot to scour the coffee-pot. Coffee gets cold more quickly
when the coffee-pot is not bright."
This set Franklin to thinking. He thought that a black or dull thing
would cool more quickly than a white or bright one. That made him
think that a black thing would take in heat more quickly than a
He wanted to find out if this were true or not. There was no-body who
knew, so there was no-body to ask. But Franklin thought that he would
ask the sunshine. Maybe the sunshine would tell him whether a black
thing would heat more quickly than a white thing.
But how could he ask the sunshine?
There was snow on the ground. Franklin spread a white cloth on the
snow. Then he spread a black cloth on the snow near the white one.
When he came to look at them, he saw that the snow under the black
cloth melted away much sooner than that under the white cloth.
That is the way that the sunshine told him that black would take in
heat more quickly than white. After he had found this out, many people
got white hats to wear in the summer time. A white hat is cooler than
a black one.
Some time when there is snow on the ground, you can take a white and a
black cloth and ask the sunshine the same question.
FRANKLIN AND THE KITE.
When Franklin wanted to know whether the ants could talk or not, he
asked the ants, and they told him. When he wanted to know some-thing
else, he asked the sunshine about it, as you have read in another
story. That is the way that Franklin came to know so many things. He
knew how to ask questions of every-thing.
Once he asked the light-ning a question. And the light-ning gave him
Before the time of Franklin, people did not know what light-ning was.
They did not know what made the thunder. Franklin thought much about
it. At last he proved what it was. He asked the lightning a question,
and made it tell what it was. To tell you this story, I shall have
to use one big word. Maybe it is too big for some of my little friends
that will read this book. Let us divide it into parts. Then you will
not be afraid of it. The big word is e-lec-tric-i-ty.
Those of you who live in towns have seen the streets lighted by
e-lec-tric-i-ty. But in Franklin's time there were no such lights.
People knew very little about this strange thing with a big name.
But Franklin found out many things about it that nobody had ever known
before. He began to think that the little sparks he got from
e-lec-tric-i-ty were small flashes of lightning. He thought that the
little cracking sound of these sparks was a kind of baby thunder.
So he thought that he would try to catch a little bit of lightning.
Perhaps he could put it into one of the little bottles used to hold
e-lec-tric-i-ty. Then if it behaved like e-lec-tric-i-ty, he would
know what it was. But catching lightning is not easy. How do you think
he did it?
First he made a kite. It was not a kite just like a boy's kite. He
wanted a kite that would fly when it rained. Rain would spoil a paper
kite in a minute. So Franklin used a silk hand-ker-chief to cover his
kite, instead of paper.
[Illustration: Franklin's Discovery.]
He put a little sharp-pointed wire at the top of his kite. This was
a kind of lightning rod to draw the lightning into the kite. His kite
string was a common hemp string. To this he tied a key, because
lightning will follow metal. The end of the string that he held in his
hand was a silk ribbon, which was tied to the hemp string of the kite.
E-lec-tric-ity will not follow silk.
One night when there was a storm coming, he went out with his son.
They stood under a cow shed, and he sent his kite up in the air.
After a while he held his knuckle to the key. A tiny spark flashed
between the key and his knuckle. It was a little flash of lightning.
Then he took his little bottle fixed to hold e-lec-tric-i-ty. He
filled it with the e-lec-tric-i-ty that came from the key. He carried
home a bottle of lightning. So he found out what made it thunder
After that he used to bring the lightning into his house on rods and
wires. He made the lightning ring bells and do many other
When Franklin was an old man, he wrote a cu-ri-ous letter. In that
letter he told a story. It was about some-thing that happened to him
when he was a boy.
Here is the story put into verses, so that you will re-member it
better. Some day you can read the story as Franklin told it himself.
You will hear people say, "He paid too much for the whistle." The
saying came from this story.
TOO MUCH FOR THE WHISTLE
As Ben with pennies in his pocket
Went strolling down the street,
"Toot-toot! toot-toot!" there came a whistle
From a boy he chanced to meet,
Whistling fit to burst his buttons,
Blowing hard and stepping high.
Then Benny said, "I'll buy your whistle;"
But "Toot! toot-toot!" was the reply.
But Benny counted out his pennies,
The whistling boy began to smile;
With one last toot he gave the whistle
To Ben, and took his penny pile.
Now homeward goes the whistling Benny,
As proud as any foolish boy,
And in his pockets not a penny,
But in his mouth a noisy toy.
"Ah, Benny, Benny!" cries his mother,
"I cannot stand your ugly noise."
"Stop, Benny, Benny!" says his father,
"I cannot talk, you drown my voice."
At last the whistling boy re-mem-bers
How much his money might have bought
"Too many pennies for a whistle,"
Is little Benny's ugly thought.
Too many pennies for a whistle
Is what we all pay, you and I,
Just for a little foolish pleasure
Pay a price that's quite too high.
JOHN STARK AND THE INDIANS.
John Stark was a famous gen-er-al in the Rev-o-lu-tion. But this
story is not about the Rev-o-lu-tion. It is about Stark before he
became a soldier.
When he was a young man, Stark went into the woods. His brother and
two other young men were with him. They lived in a camp. It was far
away from any houses.
The young men set traps for animals in many places. They wanted to
catch the animals that have fur on them. They wanted to get the
skins to sell.
The Indians were at war with the white people. One day the young men
saw the tracks of Indians. Then they knew that it was not safe for
them to stay in the woods any longer. They began to get ready to
John Stark went out to bring in the traps set for animals. The Indians
found him, and made him a pris-on-er. They asked him where his
Stark did not wish his friends to be taken. So he pointed the wrong
way. He took the Indians a long way from the other young men.
But John Stark's friends did not know that he was a pris-on-er. When
he did not come back, they thought that he had lost his way. They
fired their guns to let him know where they were.
When the Indians heard the guns, they knew where the other hunters
were. They went down to the river, and waited for them. When one of
the men came down, they caught him.
Then John Stark's brother and the other man came down the river in a
boat. The Indians told Stark to call them. They wanted them to come
over where the Indians were. Then they could take them.
John knew that the Indians were cruel. He knew that if he did not do
what they told him to, they might kill him. But he wished to save his
brother. He called to his brother to row for the other shore.
When they turned toward the other shore, the Indians fired at them.
But Stark knocked up two of their guns. They did not hit the white
men. Then some of the other Indians fired. Stark knocked up their guns
also. But the man that was with his brother was killed.
John now called to his brother, "Run! for all the Indians' guns are
His brother got away. The Indians were very angry with John. They did
not kill him. But they gave him a good beating. These Indians were
from Can-a-da. They took their pris-on-ers to their own village. When
they were coming home, they shouted to let the people know that they
[Illustration: Stark running the Gauntlet]
The young Indian war-ri-ors stood in two rows in the village. Each
prisoner had to run between these two rows of Indians. As he passed,
every one of the Indians hit him as hard as he could with a stick, or
a club, or a stone.
The young man who was with Stark was badly hurt in running between
these lines. But John Stark knew the Indians. He knew that they liked
a brave man.
When it came his turn to run, he snatched a club from one of the
Indians. With this club he fought his way down the lines. He hit hard,
now on this side, and now on that. The young Indians got out of his
way. The old Indians who were looking on sat and laughed at the
others. They said that Stark was a brave man.
One day the Indians gave him a hoe and told him to hoe corn. He knew
that the Indian war-ri-ors would not work. They think it a shame for a
man to work. Their work is left for slaves and women. So Stark
pre-tend-ed that he did not know how to hoe. He dug up the corn
instead of the weeds. Then he threw the hoe into the river. He said,
"That is work for slaves and women."
Then the Indians were pleased with him. They called him the young
After a while some white men paid the Indians a hundred and three
dollars to let Stark go home. They charged more for him than for the
other man, because they thought that he must be a young chief. Stark
went hunting again. He had to get some furs to pay back the money the
men had paid the Indians for him. He took good care that the Indians
should not catch him again.
He af-ter-wards became a great fighter against the Indians. He had
learned their ways while he was among them. He knew better how to
fight them than almost any-body else.
In the Rev-o-lu-tion he was a gen-er-al. He fought the British at
Ben-ning-ton, and won a great vic-to-ry.
A GREAT GOOD MAN.
Some men are great soldiers. Some are great law-makers. Some men write
great books. Some men make great in-ven-tions. Some men are
Now you are going to read about a man that was great in none of these
things. He was not a soldier. He was not a great speaker. He was
never rich. He was a poor school-teacher. He never held any office.
And yet he was a great man. He was great for his goodness.
He was born in France. But most of his life was passed in
Phil-a-del-phi-a before the Rev-o-lu-tion.
He was twenty-five years old when he became a school-teacher. He
thought that he could do more good in teaching than in any other way.
School-masters in his time were not like our teachers. Children were
treated like little animals. In old times the school-master was a
little king. He walked and talked as if he knew every-thing. He wanted
all the children to be afraid of him.
But Ben-e-zet was not that kind of man. He was very gentle. He treated
the children more kindly than their fathers and mothers did. Nobody in
this country had ever seen a teacher like him.
He built a play-room for the children of his school. He used to take
them to this room during school time for a little a-muse-ment. He
man-aged each child as he found best. Some he could persuade to be
good. Some he shamed into being good. But this was very dif-fer-ent
from the cruel beatings that other teachers of that time gave
Of course the children came to love him very much. After they grew to
be men and women, they kept their love for the good little
schoolmaster. As long as they lived they listened to his advice.
There were no good school-books in his time. He wrote some little
books to make learning easier to his pupils. He taught them many
things not in their books. He taught them to be kind to brutes, and
gentle with one another. He taught them to be noble. He made them
despise every kind of meanness.
He was a great teacher. That is better than being a great soldier.
Ben-e-zet was a good man in many ways. He was the friend of all poor
people. Once he found a poor man suf-fer-ing with cold for want of a
coat. He took off his own coat in the street and put it on the poor
man, and then went home in his shirt sleeves.
In those days negroes were stolen from Af-ri-ca to be sold into
A-mer-i-ca. Ben-e-zet wrote little books against this wrong. He sent
these books over all the world almost. He also tried to persuade the
white men of his own country to be honest and kind with the Indians.
Great men in other countries were pleased with his books. They wrote
him letters. When any of them came to this country, they went to see
him. They wanted to see a man that was good to everybody. His house
was a plain one. But great men liked to sit at the table of the good
There was war between the English and French at that time. Can-a-da
belonged to the French. Our country belonged to the English. There was
a country called A-ca-di-a. It was a part of what is now No-va
Sco-ti-a. The people of A-ca-di-a were French.
[Illustration: Departure of the Acadians]
The English took the A-ca-di-ans away from their homes. They sent them
to various places. Many families were divided. The poor A-ca-di-ans
lost their homes and all that they had.
Many hundreds of these people were sent to Phil-a-del-phi-a. Benezet
became their friend. As he was born in France, he could speak their
lan-guage. He got a large house built for some of them to stay in. He
got food and clothing for them. He helped them to get work, and did
them good in many other ways.
One day Benezet's wife came to him with a troubled face. She said,
"There have been thieves in the house. Two of my blankets have
"Never mind, my dear," said Benezet, "I gave them to some of the poor
One old Acadian was afraid of Benezet. He did not see why Benezet
should take so much trouble for other people. He thought that Benezet
was only trying to get a chance to sell the Acadians for slaves. When
Benezet heard this, he had a good laugh.
Many years after this the Rev-o-lu-tion broke out. It brought trouble
to many people. Benezet helped as many as he could.
After a while the British army took Phil-a-del-phi-a. They sent their
soldiers to stay in the houses of the people. The people had to take
care of the soldiers. This was very hard for the poor people.
One day Benezet saw a poor woman. Her face showed that she was in
"Friend, what is the matter?" Benezet said to her. She told him that
six soldiers of the British army had been sent to stay in her house.
She was a washer-woman. But while the soldiers filled up the house she
could not do any washing. She and her children were in want.
Benezet went right away to see the gen-er-al that was in command of
the soldiers. The good man was in such a hurry that he forgot to get a
pass. The soldiers at the gen-er-al's door would not let him go in.
At last some one told the gen-er-al that a queer-looking fellow wanted
to see him.
"Let him come up," said the general.
The odd little man came in. He told the general all about the troubles
of the poor washer-woman. The general sent word that the soldiers must
not stay any longer in her house.
The general liked the kind little man. He told him to come to see him
again. He told the soldiers at his door to let Benezet come in
when-ever he wished to.
Soon after the Rev-o-lu-tion was over, Benezet was taken ill. When the
people of Phil-a-del-phi-a heard that he was ill, they gathered in
crowds about his house. Every-body loved him. Every-body wanted to
know whether he was better or not. At last the doctors said he could
not get well. Then the people wished to see the good man once more.
The doors were opened. The rooms and halls of his house were filled
with people coming to say good-bye to Benezet, and going away again.
When he was buried, it seemed as if all Phil-a-del-phi-a had come to
his fu-ner-al. The rich and the poor, the black and the white, crowded
the streets. The city had never seen so great a fu-ner-al.
In the company was an A-mer-i-can general. He said, "I would rather be
An-tho-ny Benezet in that coffin than General Wash-ing-ton in all
PUTNAM AND THE WOLF.
Putnam was a brave soldier. He fought many battles against the
Indians. After that he became a general in the Revolution. But this is
a story of his battle with a wolf. It took place when he was a young
man, before he was a soldier.
Putnam lived in Con-nect-i-cut. In the woods there were still a few
wolves. One old wolf came to Putnam's neigh-bor-hood every winter. She
always brought a family of young wolves with her.
The hunters would always kill the young wolves. But they could not
find the old mother wolf. She knew how to keep out of the way.
The farmers tried to catch her in their traps. But she was too
cunning. She had had one good lesson when she was young. She had put
the toes of one foot into a steel trap. The trap had snipped them off.
After that she was more careful.
One winter night she went out to get some meat. She came to Putnam's
flock of sheep and goats. She killed some of them. She found it
There were no dogs about. The poor sheep had nobody to protect them.
So the old wolf kept on killing. One sheep was enough for her supper.
But she killed the rest just for sport. She killed seventy sheep and
goats that night.
Putnam and his friends set out to find the old sheep killer. There
were six men of them. They agreed that two of them should hunt for her
at a time. Then another two should begin as soon as the first two
should stop. So she would be hunted day and night.
The hunters found her track in the snow. There could be no mistake
about it. The track made by one of her feet was shorter than those
made by the other feet. That was because one of her feet had been
caught in a trap.
The hunters found that the old wolf had gone a long way off. Perhaps
she felt guilty. She must have thought that she would be hunted. She
had trotted away for a whole night.
Then she turned and went back again. She was getting hungry by this
time. She wanted some more sheep.
The men followed her tracks back again. The dogs drove her into a
hole. It was not far from Putnam's house.
All the farmers came to help catch her. They sent the dogs into the
cave where the wolf was. But the wolf bit the dogs, and drove them
Then the men put a pile of straw in the mouth of the cave. They set
the straw on fire. It filled the cave with smoke. But Mrs. Wolf did
not come out.
Then they burned brim-stone in the cave. It must have made the wolf
sneeze. But the cave was deep. She went as far in as she could, and
staid there. She thought that the smell of brimstone was not so bad as
the dogs and men who wanted to kill her.
Putnam wanted to send his negro into the cave to drive out the wolf.
But the negro thought that he would rather stay out.
Then Putnam said that he would go in himself. He tied a rope to his
legs. Then he got some pieces of birch-bark. He set fire to these. He
knew that wild animals do not like to face a fire.
He got down on his hands and knees. He held the blazing bark in his
hand. He crawled through the small hole into the cave. There was not
room for him to stand up.
At first the cave went downward into the ground. Then it was level a
little way. Then it went upward. At the very back of this part of the
cave was the wolf. Putnam crawled up until he could see the
When the wolf saw the fire, she gave a sudden growl. Putnam jerked the
rope that was tied to his leg. The men outside thought that the wolf
had caught him. They pulled on the other end of the rope.
The men pulled as fast as they could. When they had drawn Putnam out,
his clothes were torn. He was badly scratched by the rocks.
He now got his gun. He held it in one hand. He held the burning
birch-bark in the other. He crawled into the cave again.
When the wolf saw him coming again, she was very angry. She snapped
her teeth. She got ready to spring on him. She meant to kill him as
she had killed his sheep. Putnam fired at her head. As soon as his
gun went off, he jerked the rope. His friends pulled him out.
He waited awhile for the smoke of his gun to clear up. Then he went in
once more. He wanted to see if the wolf was dead.
He found her lying down. He tapped her nose with his birch-bark. She
did not move. He took hold of her. Then he jerked the rope.
This time the men saw him come out, bringing the dead wolf. Now the
sheep would have some peace.
WASHINGTON AND HIS HATCHET
It was Ar-bor Day in the Mos-sy Hill School, Johnny Little-john had to
speak a piece that had some-thing to do with trees. He thought it
would be a good plan to say some-thing about the little cherry tree
that Washington spoiled with his hatch-et, when he was a little boy.
This is what he said:
He had a hatch-et—little George—
A hatch-et bright and new,
And sharp enough to cut a stick—
A little stick—in two.
He hacked and whacked and whacked and hacked,
This sturd-y little man;
He hacked a log and hacked a fence,
As round about he ran.
He hacked his father's cher-ry tree
And made an ug-ly spot;
The bark was soft, the hatch-et sharp,
And little George forgot.
You know the rest. The father frowned
And asked the rea-son why;
You know the good old story runs
He could not tell a lie.
The boy that chopped that cher-ry tree
Soon grew to be a youth;
At work and books he hacked away,
And still he told the truth:
The youth became a fa-mous man,
Above six feet in height,
And when he had good work to do
He hacked with all his might.
He fought the ar-mies that the king
Had sent across the sea;
He bat-tled up and down the land
To set his country free.
For seven long years he, hacked and whacked
With all his might and main
Until the Brit-ish sailed away
And did not come again.
HOW BENNY WEST LEARNED TO BE A PAINTER.
In old times there lived in Penn-syl-va-ni-a a little
fellow whose name was Ben-ja-min West. He
lived in a long stone house.
[Illustration: Painting Baby's Portrait]
He had never seen a picture. The country was new, and there were not many
pictures in it. Benny's father was a Friend or Quaker. The Friends of
that day did not think that pictures were useful things to make or to
have. Before he was seven years old, this little boy began to draw
pictures. One day he was watching the cradle of his sister's child.
The baby smiled. Benny was so pleased with her beauty, that he made a
picture of her in red and black ink. The picture of the baby pleased
his mother when she saw it. That was very pleasant to the boy.
He made other pictures. At school he used to draw with a pen before he
could write. He made pictures of birds and of animals. Sometimes he
would draw flowers.
[Illustration: Flower and Fruit of the Poke-Berry.]
He liked to draw so well, that sometimes he forgot to do his work. His
father sent him to work in the field one day. The father went out to
see how well he was doing his work. Benny was no-where to be found. At
last his father saw him sitting under a large poke-weed. He was making
pictures. He had squeezed the juice out of some poke-berries. The
juice of poke-berries is deep red. With this the boy had made his
pictures. When the father looked at them, he was surprised. There were
portraits of every member of the family. His father knew
Up to this time Benny had no paints nor any brushes. The Indians had
not all gone away from that neigh-bor-hood. The Indians paint their
faces with red and yellow colors. These colors they make them-selves.
Sometimes they prepare them from the juice of some plant. Sometimes
they get them by finding red or yellow earth. Some of the Indians can
make rough pictures with these colors.
The Indians near the house of Benny's father must have liked the boy.
They showed him how to make red and yellow colors for himself. He got
some of his mother's indigo to make blue. He now had red, yellow, and
blue. By mixing these three, the other colors that he wanted could
But he had no brush to paint with. He took some long hairs from the
cat's tail. Of these he made his brushes. He used so many of the cat's
hairs, that her tail began to look bare. Everybody in the house began
to wonder what was the matter with pussy's tail. At last Benny told
where he got his brushes.
[Illustration: Making a Paint Brush.]
A cousin of Benny's came from the city on a visit. He saw some of the
boy's drawings. When he went home, he sent Benny a box of paints. With
the paints were some brushes. And there was some canvas such as
pictures are painted on. And that was not all. There were in the box
six beautiful en-grav-ings.
The little painter now felt himself rich. He was so happy that he
could hardly sleep at all. At night he put the box that held his
treasures on a chair by his bed. As soon as daylight came, he carried
the precious box to the garret. The garret of the long stone house was
his stu-di-o. Here he worked away all day long. He did not go to
school at all. Perhaps he forgot that there was any school. Perhaps
the little artist could not tear himself away from his work.
But the schoolmaster missed him. He came to ask if Benny was ill. The
mother was vexed when she found that he had staid away from school.
She went to look for the naughty boy. After a while she found the
little truant. He was hard at work in his garret. She saw what he
had been doing. He had not copied any of his new en-grav-ings. He had
made up a new picture by taking one person out of one en-grav-ing, and
another out of another. He had copied these so that they made a
picture that he had thought of for himself.
His mother could not find it in her heart to punish him. She was too
much pleased with the picture he was making. This picture was not
finished. But his mother would not let him finish it. She was afraid
he would spoil it if he did anything more on it.
The good people called Friends did not like the making of pictures, as
I said. But they thought that Benny West had a talent that he ought to
use. So he went to Phil-a-del-phi-a to study his art. After a while he
sailed away to It-a-ly to see the pictures that great artists
At last he settled in England. The King of England was at that time
the king of this country too. The king liked West's pictures. West
became the king's painter. He came to be the most famous painter
He liked to remember his boyish work. He liked to remember the time
when he was a little Quaker boy making his paints of poke-juice and
WASHINGTON'S CHRISTMAS GIFT.
Washington was fighting to set this country free. But the army that
the King of England sent to fight him was stronger than Washington's
army. Washington was beaten and driven out of Brook-lyn. Then he had
to leave New York. After that, he marched away into New Jersey to save
his army from being taken. At last he crossed the Del-a-ware River.
Here he was safe for a while.
Some of the Hes-sian soldiers that the king had hired to fight against
the Americans came to Trenton. Trenton is on the Del-a-ware River.
Washington and his men were on the other side of the Del-a-ware River
from the Hes-sians. Washington's men were dis-cour-aged. They had been
driven back all the way from Brook-lyn. It was winter, and they had no
warm houses to stay in. They had not even warm clothes. They were
dressed in old clothes that people had given them. Some of them were
bare-footed in this cold weather.
The Hes-sians and other soldiers of the king were waiting for the
river to freeze over. Then they would march across on the ice. They
meant to fight Washington once more, and break up his army. But
Washington was thinking about something too.
He was waiting for Christmas. He knew that the Hessian soldiers on the
other side of the river would eat and drink a great deal on
[Illustration: Marching to Trenton.]
The afternoon of Christmas came. The Hessians were singing and
drinking in Trenton. But Washington was marching up the river bank.
Some of his bare-foot men left blood marks on the snow as
The men and cannons were put into flat boats. These boats were pushed
across the river with poles. There were many great pieces of ice in
the river. But all night long the flat boats were pushed across and
then back again for more men. It was three o'clock on the morning
after Christmas when the last Americans crossed the river. It was
hailing and snowing, and it was very cold. Two or three of the
soldiers were frozen to death.
It was eight o'clock in the morning when Washington got to Trenton.
The Hessians were sleeping soundly. The sound of the American drums
waked them. They jumped out of their beds. They ran into the streets.
They tried to fight the Americans.
But it was too late. Washington had already taken their cannons. His
men were firing these at the Hessians. The Hessians ran into the
fields to get away. But the Americans caught them.
The battle was soon over. Washington had taken nine hundred prisoners.
This was called the battle of Trenton. It gave great joy to all the
Americans. It was Washington's Christmas gift to the country.
HOW WASHINGTON GOT OUT OF A TRAP.
After the battle of Trenton, Washington went back across the Delaware
River. He had not men enough to fight the whole British army.
But the Americans were glad when they heard that he had beaten the
Hessians. They sent him more soldiers. Then he went back across the
river to Trenton again.
There was a British general named Corn-wal-lis. He marched to Trenton.
He fought against Washington. Corn-wal-lis had more men than
Washington had. Night came, and they could not see to fight. There was
a little creek between the two armies.
Washington had not boats enough to carry his men across the river.
Corn-wal-lis was sure to beat him if they should fight a battle the
Cornwallis said, "I will catch the fox in the morning."
He called Washington a fox. He thought he had him in a trap.
Cornwallis sent for some more soldiers to come from Prince-ton in the
morning. He wanted them to help him catch the fox.
But foxes sometimes get out of traps.
When it was dark, Washington had all his camp fires lighted. He put
men to digging where the British could hear them. He made Cornwallis
think that he was throwing up banks of earth and getting ready to
fight in the morning.
But Washington did not stay in Trenton. He did not wish to be caught
like a fox in a trap. He could not get across the river. But he knew a
road that went round the place where Cornwallis and his army were. He
took that road and got behind the British army.
It was just like John waiting to catch James. James is in the house.
John is waiting at the front door to catch James when he comes out.
But James slips out by the back way. John hears him call "Hello!"
James has gone round behind him and got away.
Washington went out of Trenton in the darkness. You might say that he
marched out by the back door. He left Cornwallis watching the front
door. The Americans went away quietly. They left a few men to keep up
the fires, and make a noise like digging. Before morning these
slipped away too.
When morning came, Cornwallis went to catch his fox. But the fox was
not there. He looked for the Americans. There was the place where
they had been digging. Their camp fires were still burning. But where
had they gone?
Cornwallis thought that Washington had crossed the river by some
means. But soon he heard guns firing away back toward Princeton. He
thought that it must be thunder. But he found that it was a battle.
Then he knew that Washington had gone to Princeton.
Washington had marched all night. When he got to Princeton, he met the
British coming out to go to Trenton. They were going to help
Cornwallis to catch Washington. But Washington had come to Princeton
to catch them. He had a hard fight with the British at Princeton. But
at last he beat them.
When Cornwallis knew that the Americans had gone to Princeton, he
hurried there to help his men. But it was too late. Washington had
beaten the British at Princeton, and had gone on into the hills, where
he was safe.
The fox had got out of the trap.
WASHINGTON'S LAST BATTLE.
Washington had been fighting for seven years to drive the British
soldiers out of this country. But there were still two strong British
armies in America.
One of these armies was in New York. It had been there for years. The
other army was far away at Yorktown in Virginia. The British general
at Yorktown was Cornwallis. You have read how Washington got away from
him at Trenton.
The King of France had sent ships and soldiers to help the Americans.
But still Washington had not enough men to take New York from the
British. Yet he went on getting ready to attack the British in New
York. He had ovens built to bake bread for his men. He bought hay for
his horses. He had roads built to draw his cannons on.
He knew that the British in New York would hear about what he was
doing. He wanted them to think that he meant to come to New York and
fight them. When the British heard what the Americans were doing, they
got ready for the coming of Washington and the French. All at once
they found that Washington had gone. He and his men had marched away.
The French soldiers that had come to help him had gone with him.
Nobody knew what it meant. Washington's own men did not know where
they were going. They went from New Jersey into Penn-syl-va-ni-a. Then
they marched across Penn-syl-va-ni-a. Then they went into Mary-land.
They marched across that State, and then they went into Vir-gin-i-a.
By this time everybody could tell where Washington was going. People
could see that he was going straight to York-town. They knew that
Washington was going to fight his old enemy at York-town.
But he had kept his secret long enough. The British in New York could
not send help to Cornwallis. It was too late. The French ships sailed
to Vir-gin-i-a, and shut up Yorktown on the side of the sea.
Washington's men shut it up on the side of the land. They built great
banks of earth round it. On these banks of earth they put cannons.
The British could not get away. They fought bravely. But the Americans
and French came closer and closer.
Then the British tried to fight their way out. But they were driven
back. Then Cornwallis tried to get his men across the river. He
wanted to get out by the back door, as Washington had done. But the
Americans on the other side of the river drove them back again.
Washington had now caught Cornwallis in a trap.
The Americans fired red-hot cannon balls into Yorktown. These set the
houses on fire. At last Cornwallis had to give up. The British marched
out and laid down their guns and swords.
The British army in New York could not fight the Americans by itself.
So the British gave it up. Then there was peace after the long war.
The British pulled down the British flag and sailed away. The country
was free at last.
General Mar-i-on was one of the best fighters in the Revolution. He
was a homely little man. He was also a very good man. Another general
said, "Mar-i-on is good all over."
The American army had been beaten in South Car-o-li-na. Mar-i-on was
sent there to keep the British from taking the whole country.
Marion got to-geth-er a little army. His men had nothing but rough
clothes to wear. They had no guns but the old ones they had used to
shoot wild ducks and deer with.
Marion's men wanted swords. There were no swords to be had. But Marion
sent men to take the long saws out of the saw mills. These were taken
to black-smiths. The black-smiths cut the saws into pieces. These
pieces they hammered out into long, sharp swords.
Marion had not so many men as the British. He had no cannon. He could
not build forts. He could not stay long in one place, for fear the
British should come with a strong army and take him. He and his men
hid in the dark woods. Sometimes he changed his hiding place suddenly.
Even his own friends had hard work to find him.
From the dark woods he would come out suddenly. He would attack some
party of British soldiers. When the battle was over, he would go back
to the woods again.
When the British sent a strong army to catch him, he could not be
found. But soon he would be fighting the British in some new place. He
was always playing hide and seek.
The British called him the Swamp Fox. That was because he was so hard
to catch. They could not conquer the country until they could catch
Marion. And they never could catch the Swamp Fox. At one time Marion
came out of the woods to take a little British fort. This fort was on
the top of a high mound. It was one of the mounds built a long time
ago by the Indians.
Marion put his men all round the fort, so that the men in the fort
could not get out to get water. He thought that they would have to
give up. But the men in the fort dug a well inside the fort. Then
Marion had to think of another plan.
Marion's men went to the woods and cut down stout poles. They got a
great many poles. When night came, they laid a row of poles along-side
one another on the ground. Then they laid another row across these.
Then they laid another row on top of the last ones, and across the
other way again.
[Illustration: Marion's Tower.]
They laid a great many rows of poles one on top of another. They
crossed them this way and that. As the night went on, the pile grew
higher. Still they handed poles to top of the pile.
Before morning came, they had built a kind of tower. It was higher
than the Indian mound.
As soon as it was light, the men on Marion's tower began to shoot. The
British looked out. They saw a great tower with men on it. The men
could shoot down into the fort. The British could not stand it. They
had to give up. They were taken prisoners.
CLARK AND HIS MEN.
At the time of the Revolution there were but few people living on the
north side of the O-hi-o River. But there were many Indians there.
These Indians killed a great many white people in Ken-tuck-y.
The Indians were sent by British officers to do this killing. There
was a British fort at Vincennes in what is now In-di-an-a. There was
another British fort or post at Kas-kas-ki-a in what is now the State
George Rogers Clark was an American colonel. He wanted to stop the
murder of the settlers by the Indians. He thought that he could do it
by taking the British posts.
He had three hundred men. They went down the O-hi-o River in boats.
They landed near the mouth of the O-hi-o River. Then they marched a
hundred and thirty miles to Kas-kas-ki-a.
Kas-kas-ki-a was far away from the Americans. The people there did not
think that the Americans would come so far to attack them. When Clark
got there, they were all asleep. He marched in and took the town
before they waked up.
The people living in Kaskaskia were French. By treating them well,
Clark made them all friendly to the Americans.
When the British at Vin-cennes heard that Clark had taken Kaskaskia,
they thought that they would take it back again. But it was winter.
All the streams were full of water. They could not march till spring.
Then they would gather the Indians to help them, and take Clark
and his men.
But Clark thought that he would not wait to be taken. He thought that
he would just go and take the British. If he could manage to get to
Vin-cennes in the winter, he would not be expected.
Clark started with a hundred and seventy men. The country was nearly
all covered with water. The men were in the wet almost all the time.
Clark had hard work to keep his men cheerful. He did everything he
could to amuse them.
They had to wade through deep rivers. The water was icy cold. But
Clark made a joke of it. He kept them laughing whenever he could.
At one place the men refused to go through the freezing water. Clark
could not per-suade them to cross the river. He called to him a tall
sol-dier. He was the very tallest man in Clark's little army. Clark
said to him, "Take the little drummer boy on your shoulders."
The little drummer was soon seated high on the shoulders of the tall
man. "Now go ahead!" said Clark.
The soldier marched into the water. The little drummer beat a march on
his drum. Clark cried out, "Forward!" Then he plunged into the water
after the tall soldier. All the men went in after him. They were soon
safe on the other side.
At another river the little drummer was floated over on the top of his
drum. At last the men drew near to Vin-cennes. They could hear the
morning and evening gun in the British fort. But the worst of the way
was yet to pass. The Wa-bash River had risen over its banks. The water
was five miles wide. The men marched from one high ground to another
through the cold water. They caught an Indian with a canoe. In this
they got across the main river. But there was more water to cross. The
men were so hungry that some of them fell down in the water. They had
to be carried out.
Clark's men got frightened at last, and then they had no heart to go
any farther. But Clark remembered what the Indians did when they went
to war. He took a little gun-powder in his hand. He poured water on
it. Then he rubbed it on his face. It made his face black.
With his face blackened like an Indian's, he gave an Indian war-whoop.
The men followed him again.
The men were tired and hungry. But they soon reached dry ground. They
were now in sight of the fort. Clark marched his little army round and
round in such a way as to make it seem that he had many men with him.
He wrote a fierce letter to the British com-mand-er. He behaved like a
general with a large army.
After some fighting, the British com-mand-er gave up. Clark's little
army took the British fort. This brave action saved to our country the
land that lies between the Ohio River and the Lakes. It stopped the
sending of Indians to kill the settlers in the West.
DANIEL BOONE AND HIS GRAPEVINE SWING.
Daniel Boone was the first settler of Ken-tuck-y. He knew all about
living in the woods. He knew how to hunt the wild animals. He knew how
to fight Indians, and how to get away from them.
Nearly all the men that came with him to Kentucky the first time were
killed. One was eaten by wolves. Some of them were killed by Indians.
Some of them went into the woods and never came back. Nobody knows
what killed them.
Only Boone and his brother were left alive. They needed some powder
and some bullets. They wanted some horses. Boone's brother went back
across the mountains to get these things. Boone staid in his little
cabin all alone.
Boone could hear the wolves howl near his cabin at night. He heard the
panthers scream in the woods. But he did not mind being left all alone
in these dark forests. The Indians came to his cabin when he was
away. He did not want to see these vis-it-ors. He did not dare to
sleep in his cabin all the time. Sometimes he slept under a rocky
cliff. Sometimes he slept in a cane-brake. A cane-brake is a large
patch of growing canes such as fishing rods are made of.
Once a mother bear tried to kill him. He fired his gun at her, but the
bullet did not kill her. The bear ran at him. He held his long knife
out in his hand. The bear ran against it and was killed.
He made long journeys alone in the woods. One day he looked back
through the trees and saw four Indians. They were fol-low-ing Boone's
tracks. They did not see him. He turned this way and that. But the
Indians still fol-lowed his tracks.
He went over a little hill. Here he found a wild grape-vine. It was a
very long vine, reaching to the top of a high tree. There are many
such vines in the Southern woods. Children cut such vines off near the
roots. Then they use them for swings.
Boone had swung on grape-vines when he was a boy. He now thought of a
way to break his tracks. He cut the wild grape-vine off near the root.
Then he took hold of it. He sprang out into the air with all his
might. The great swing carried him far out as it swung. Then he let
go. He fell to the ground, and then he ran away in a dif-fer-ent
di-rec-tion from that in which he had been going.
When the Indians came to the place, they could not find his tracks.
They could not tell which way he had gone. He got to his cabin
Boone had now been alone for many months. His brother did not get back
at the time he had set for coming. Boone thought that his brother
might have been killed. Boone had not tasted anything but meat since
he left home. He had to get his food by shooting animals in the woods.
By this time he had hardly any powder or bullets left.
[Illustration: Boone on the Grapevine Swing]
One evening he sat by his cabin. He heard some one coming. He thought
that it might be Indians. He heard the steps of horses. He looked
through the trees. He saw his brother riding on one horse, and leading
another. The other horse was loaded with powder and bullets and
clothes, and other things that Boone needed.
DANIEL BOONE'S DAUGHTER AND HER FRIENDS.
Daniel Boone and his brother picked out a good place in Ken-tuck-y to
settle. Then they went home to North Car-o-li-na. They took with them
such things as were cu-ri-ous and val-u-a-ble. These were the skins of
animals they had killed, and no doubt some of the heads and tails.
Boone was restless. He had seen Kentucky and he did not wish to settle
down to the life of North Carolina.
In two years Boone sold his farm in North Carolina and set out for
Kentucky. He took with him his wife and children and two brothers.
Some of their neighbors went with them. They trav-eled by pack train.
All their goods were packed on horses.
When they reached the place on the Kentucky River that Boone had
chosen for a home they built a fort of log houses. These cabins all
stood round a square. The backs of the houses were outward. There was
no door or window in the back of a house. The outer walls were thus
shut up. They made the place a fort. The houses at the four corners
were a little taller and stronger than the others. There were gates
leading into the fort. These gates were kept shut at night.
In the evening the people danced and amused themselves in the square.
Indians could not creep up and attack them.
When the men went out to feed the horses and cows they carried their
guns. They walked softly and turned their eyes quickly from point to
point to see if Indians were hiding near. They held their guns so they
could shoot quickly.
The women and children had to stay very near the fort so they could
run in if an Indian came in sight.
Daniel Boone had a daughter named Je-mi-ma. She was about fourteen
years old. She had two friends named Frances and Betsey Cal-lo-way.
Frances Galloway was about the same age as Jemima.
One summer afternoon these three girls went out of the fort. They went
to the river and got into a canoe. It was not far from the fort. They
felt safe. They laughed and talked and splashed the water with
The cur-rent carried them slowly near the other shore. They could
still see the fort. They did not think of danger.
Trees and bushes grew thick down to the edge of the river. Five
strong Indians were hiding in the bushes.
One Indian crept care-ful-ly through the bushes. He made no more noise
than a snake. When he got to the edge of the water he put out his long
arm and caught hold of the rope that hung down from the canoe. In a
moment he had turned the boat around and drawn it out of sight
from the fort. The girls screamed when they saw the Indian. Their
friends heard them but could not cross the river to help them. The
girls had taken the only canoe.
Boone and Cal-lo-way were both gone from the fort. They got home too
late to start that day. No sleep came to their eyes while they waited
for light to travel by.
As soon as there was a glim-mer of light they and a party of their
friends set out. It was in July and they could start early.
They crossed the river and easily found the Indians' tracks where they
started. The brush was broken down there.
The Indians were cun-ning. They did not keep close together after they
set out. Each Indian walked by himself through the tall canes. Three
of the Indians took the captives.
Boone and his friends tried in vain to follow them. Sometimes they
would find a track but it would soon be lost in the thick canes.
Boone's party gave up trying to find their path. They noticed which
way the Indians were going. Then they walked as fast as they could the
same way for thirty miles. They thought the Indians would grow
careless about their tracks after traveling so far.
They turned so as to cross the path they thought the Indians had
taken. They looked carefully at the ground and at the bushes to see if
any one had gone by.
Before long they found the Indians' tracks in a buffalo path.
Buffaloes and other animals go often to lick salt from the rocks round
salt springs. They beat down the brush and make great roads. These
roads run to the salt springs. The hunters call them streets.
The Indians took one of these roads after they got far from the fort.
They could travel more easily in it. They did not take pains to hide
As fast as their feet could carry them, Boone and his friends traveled
along the trail. When they had gone about ten miles they saw
The Indians had stopped to rest and to eat. It was very warm and
they had put off their moc-ca-sins and laid down their arms. They were
kindling a fire to cook by.
In a moment the Indians saw the white men. Boone and Galloway were
afraid the Indians would kill the girls.
Four of the white men shot at the Indians. Then all rushed at them.
The Indians ran away as fast as they could. They did not stop to pick
up their guns or knives or hatchets. They had no time to put on their
The poor worn-out girls were soon safe in their fathers' arms.
Back to Boones-bor-ough they went, not minding their tired feet. When
they got to the fort there was great joy to see them alive.
I do not believe they ever played in the water again.
DECATUR AND THE PIRATES.
Nearly a hundred years have passed since the ship "Phil-a-del-phi-a"
was burned. But the brave sailors who did it will never be
The people of Trip-o-li in Af-ri-ca were pirates. They took the ships
of other nations at sea. They made slaves of their prisoners. The
friends of these slaves sometimes sent money to buy their freedom.
Some countries paid money to these pirates to let their ships go safe.
Our country had trouble with the pirates. This trouble brought on a
war. Our ships were sent to fight against Trip-o-li.
One of the ships fighting against the pirates was called the
"Phil-a-del-phi-a." One day she was chasing a ship of Trip-o-li. The
"Phil-a-del-phi-a" ran on the rocks. The sailors could not get her
off. The pirates came and fought her as she lay on the rocks. They
took her men prisoners. Then they went to work to get her off. After a
long time they got her into deep water. They took her to Tripoli. Our
ships could not go there after her, because there were so many great
cannons on the shore near the ship.
The pirates got the "Philadelphia" ready to go to sea. They loaded her
cannons. They meant to slip out past our ships of war. Then they would
take a great many smaller American ships.
But the Americans laid a plan to burn the "Philadelphia." It was a
very dan-ger-ous thing to try to do. The pirates had ships of war near
the "Philadelphia." They had great guns on the shore. There was no way
to do it in the day-time. It could only be done by stealing into the
Bay of Tripoli at night.
The Americans had taken a little vessel from the pirates. She was of
the kind that is called a ketch. She had sails. She also had long
oars. When there was no wind to sail with, the sailors could row her
with the oars.
This little ketch was sent one night to burn the "Philadelphia." The
captain of this boat was Ste-phen De-ca-tur. He was a young man, and
De-ca-tur made his men lie down, so that the pirates would not know
how many men he had on his ketch. Only about ten men were in sight.
The rest were lying hidden on the boat.
They came near to the "Philadelphia." It was about ten o'clock at
night. The pirates called to them. The pilot of the ketch told them
that he was from Mal-ta. He told them that he had come to sell things
to the people of Tripoli. He said that the ketch had lost her anchor.
He asked them to let him tie her to the big ship till morning.
The pirates sent out a rope to them. But when the ketch came nearer,
the pirates saw that they had been fooled. They cried out, "Americans,
Then the Americans lying down took hold of the rope and pulled with
all their might, and drew the ketch close to the ship. They were so
close, that the ship's cannons were over their heads. The pirates
could not fire at them.
The men who had been lying still now rose up. There were eighty of
them. In a minute they were scram-bling up the sides of the big ship.
Some went in one way, some another. They did not shoot. They fought
with swords and pikes, or short spears.
Soon they drove the pirates to one side of the ship. Then they could
hear the pirates jumping over into the water. In a few minutes the
pirates had all gone.
But the Americans could not stay long. They must burn the ship before
the pirates on the shore should find out what they were doing.
They had brought a lot of kin-dling on the ketch. They built fires in
all parts of the ship. The fire ran so fast, that some of the men had
trouble to get off the ship.
When the Americans got back on the ketch, they could not untie the
rope that held the ketch to the ship. The big ship was bursting into
flames. The ketch would soon take fire.
They took swords and hacked the big rope in two. Then they pushed hard
to get away from the fire. The ketch began to move. The sailors took
the large oars and rowed. They were soon safe from the fire.
All this they had done without any noise. But, now that they had got
away, they looked back. The fire was shooting up toward the sky. The
men stopped rowing, and they gave three cheers. They were so glad,
that they could not help it.
By this time the pirates on shore had waked up. They began to fire
great cannon balls at the little ketch. One of the balls went through
her sails. Ah! how the sailors rowed!
The whole sky was now lighted up by the fire. The pirates' cannons
were thundering. The cannon balls were splashing the water all round
the ketch. But the Americans got away. At last they were safe in their
STORIES ABOUT JEFFERSON.
Thomas Jef-fer-son was one of the great men of the Revolution. He was
not a soldier. He was not a great speaker. But he was a great thinker.
And he was a great writer.
He wrote a paper that was the very beginning of the United States. It
was a paper that said that we would be free from England, and be a
coun-try by our-selves. We call that paper the Dec-la-ra-tion of
When he was a boy, Jef-fer-son was fond of boyish plays. But when he
was tired of play, he took up a book. It pleased him to learn things.
From the time when he was a boy he never sat down to rest without
At school he learned what other boys did. But the dif-fer-ence between
him and most other boys was this: he did not stop with knowing just
what the other boys knew. Most boys want to learn what other boys
learn. Most girls would like to know what their school-mates know. But
Jef-fer-son wanted to know a great deal more.
As a young man, Jefferson knew Latin and Greek. He also knew French
and Span-ish and I-tal-ian.
He did not talk to show off what he knew. He tried to learn what other
people knew. When he talked to a wagon maker, he asked him about such
things as a wagon maker knows most about. He would sometimes ask how a
wagon maker would go to work to make a wheel.
When Jefferson talked to a learn-ed man, he asked him about those
things that this man knew most about. When he talked with Indians, he
got them to tell him about their lan-guage. That is the way he came
to know so much about so many things. Whenever anybody told him
anything worth while, he wrote it down as soon as he could.
One day Jefferson was trav-el-ing. He went on horse-back. That was a
common way of trav-el-ing at that time. He stopped at a country
tavern. At this tavern he talked with a stranger who was
After a while Jefferson rode away. Then the stranger said to the
land-lord, "Who is that man? He knew so much about law, that I was
sure he was a lawyer. But when we talked about med-i-cine, he knew so
much about that, that I thought he must be a doctor. And after a while
he seemed to know so much about re-li-gion, that I was sure he was a
min-is-ter. Who is he?"
The stranger was very much surprised to hear that the man he had
talked with was Thomas Jefferson.
Jefferson was a very polite man. One day his grand-son was riding with
him. They met a negro. The negro lifted his cap and bowed. Jefferson
bowed to the negro. But his grand-son did not think it worth while
Then Jefferson said to his grand-son, "Do not let a poor negro be more
of a gen-tle-man than you are." In the Dec-la-ra-tion of
In-de-pend-ence, Jefferson wrote these words: "All men are created
equal." He also said that the poor man had the same right as the rich
man to live, and to be free, and to try to make himself happy.
A LONG JOURNEY.
A long time ago, when Thomas Jefferson was Pres-i-dent, most of the
people in this country lived in the East. Nobody knew anything about
the Far West. The only people that lived there were Indians. Many of
these Indians had never seen a white man.
[Illustration: An Elk]
The Pres-i-dent sent men to travel into this wild part of the country.
He told them to go up to the upper end of the Mis-sou-ri River. Then
they were to go across the Rocky Mountains. They were to keep on till
they got to the Pa-cif-ic O-cean. Then they were to come back again.
They were to find out the best way to get through the mountains. And
they were to find out what kind of people the Indians in that country
were. They were also to tell about the animals.
There were two captains of this company. Their names were Lewis and
Clark. There were forty-five men in the party.
They were gone two years and four months. For most of that time they
did not see any white men but their own party. They did not hear a
word from home for more than two years.
They got their food mostly by hunting. They killed a great many
buf-fa-loes and elks and deer. They also shot wild geese and other
large birds. Sometimes they had nothing but fish to eat. Sometimes
they had to eat wolves. When they had no other meat, they were glad to
buy dogs from the Indians and eat them. Sometimes they ate horses.
They became fond of the meat of dogs and horses.
When they were very hungry, they had to live on roots if they could
get them. Some of the Indians made a kind of bread out of roots. The
white men bought this when they could not get meat. But there were
days when they did not have anything to eat.
They were very friendly with the Indians. One day some of the men went
to make a visit to an Indian village. The Indians gave them
something to eat.
In the Indian wig-wam where they were, there was a head of a dead
buffalo. When dinner was over, the Indians filled a bowl full of meat.
They set this down in front of the head. Then they said to the head,
[Illustration: Feeding the Spirit of the Buffalo.]
The Indians believed, that, if they treated this buffalo head
politely, the live buffaloes would come to their hunting ground. Then
they would have plenty of meat. They think the spirit of the buffalo
is a kind of a god. They are very careful to please this god.
CAPTAIN CLARK'S BURNING GLASS.
The Indians among whom Captain Clark and Captain Lewis traveled had
many strange ways of doing things. They had nothing like our matches
for making fire. One tribe of Indians had this way of lighting a fire.
An Indian would lay down a dry stick. He would rub this stick with the
end of another stick. After a while this rubbing would make something
like saw-dust on the stick that was lying down. The Indian would keep
on rubbing till the wood grew hot. Then the fine wood dust would
smoke. Then it would burn. The Indian would put a little kin-dling
wood on it. Soon he would have a large fire.
In that time the white people had not yet found out how to make
matches. They lighted a fire by striking a piece of flint against a
piece of steel. This would make a spark of fire. By letting this spark
fall on something that would burn easily, they started a fire.
White men had another way of lighting a fire when the sun was shining.
They used what was called a burning glass. This was a round piece of
glass. It was thick in the middle, and thin at the edge. When you held
up a burning glass in the sun, it drew the sun's heat so as to make a
little hot spot. If you put paper under this spot of hot sunshine, it
would burn. Men could light the to-bac-co in their pipes with one of
Captain Clark had something funny happen to him on account of his
burning glass. He had walked ahead of the rest of his men. He sat down
on a rock. There were some Indians on the other side of the river.
They did not see the captain. Captain Clark saw a large bird called a
crane flying over his head. He raised his gun and shot it.
The Indians on the other side of the river had never seen a white man
in their lives. They had never heard a gun. They used bows and arrows.
They heard the sound of Clark's gun. They looked up and saw the large
bird falling from the sky. It fell close to where Captain Clark sat.
Just as it fell they caught sight of Captain Clark sitting on the
rocks. They thought they had seen him fall out of the sky. They
thought that the sound of his gun was a sound like thunder that was
made when he came down.
The Indians all ran away as fast as they could. They went into their
wig-warns and closed them.
Captain Clark wished to be friendly with them. So he got a canoe and
paddled to the other side of the river. He came to the Indian houses.
He found the flaps which they use for doors shut. He opened one of
them and went in. The Indians were sitting down, and they were all
crying and trembling.
Among the Indians the sign of peace is to smoke to-geth-er. Captain
Clark held out his pipe to them. That was to say, "I am your friend."
He shook hands with them and gave some of them presents. Then they
were not so much afraid.
[Illustration: Lighting a Pipe with a Burning Glass.]
He wished to light his pipe for them to smoke. So he took out his
burning glass. He held it in the sun. He held his pipe under it. The
sunshine was drawn together into a bright little spot on the tobacco.
Soon the pipe began to smoke.
Then he held out his pipe for the Indians to smoke with him. That is
their way of making friends. But none of the Indians would touch the
pipe. They thought that he had brought fire down from heaven to light
his pipe. They were now sure that he fell down from the sky. They were
more afraid of him than ever.
At last Captain Clark's Indian man came. He told the other Indians
that the white man did not come out of the sky. Then they smoked the
pipe, and were not afraid.
Robert Fulton was the man who set steam-boats to running on the
rivers. Other men had made such boats before. But Fulton made the
first good one.
When he was a boy, he lived in the town of Lan-cas-ter in
Penn-syl-van-ia. Many guns were made in Lancaster. The men who made
these guns put little pictures on them. That was to make them sell to
the hunters who liked a gun with pictures. Little Robert Fulton could
draw very well for a boy. He made some pretty little drawings. These
the gun makers put on their guns.
Fulton went to the gun shops a great deal. He liked to see how things
were made. He tried to make a small air gun for himself.
He was always trying to make things. He got some quick-sil-ver. He was
trying to do something with it. But he would not tell what he wanted
to do. So the gun-smiths called him Quick-sil-ver Bob.
He was so much in-ter-est-ed in such things, that he sometimes
neg-lect-ed his lessons. He said that his head was so full of new
notions, that he had not much room left for school learning.
One morning he came to school late.
"What makes you so late?" asked the teacher.
"I went to one of the shops to make myself a lead pencil," said little
Bob. "Here it is. It is the best one I ever had."
The teacher tried it, and found it very good. Lead pencils in that day
were made of a long piece of lead sharpened at the end.
Quick-sil-ver Bob was a very odd little boy. He said many cu-ri-ous
things. Once the teacher punished him for not getting his lessons. He
rapped Robert on the knuckles with a fer-ule. Robert did not like this
any more than any other boy would.
"Sir," said the boy, "I came here to have something beaten into my
head, not into my knuckles."
In that day people used to light candles and stand them in the window
on the Fourth of July. These candles in every window lighted up the
whole town. But one year candles were scarce and high. The city asked
the people not to light up their windows on the Fourth.
Bob did not like to miss the fun of his Fourth of July. He went to
work to make something like rockets or Roman candles. It was a very
dan-ger-ous business for a boy.
"What are you doing, Bob?" some one asked him.
"The city does not want us to burn our candles on the Fourth," he
said. "I am going to shoot mine into the air."
He used to go fishing with a boy named Chris Gumpf. The father of
Chris went with them. They fished from a flat boat. The two boys had
to push the boat to the fishing place with poles.
"I am tired of poling that boat," said Robert to Chris one day when
they came home.
So he set to work to think out a plan to move the boat in an easier
way than by poles. He whittled out the model of a tiny paddle wheel.
Then he went to work with Chris Gumpf, and they made a larger paddle
wheel. This they set up in the fishing boat. The wheel was turned by
the boys with a crank. They did not use the poles any more.
THE FIRST STEAMBOAT.
The first good steam-boat was built in New York. She was built by
Robert Fulton. Her name was "Clermont." When the people saw her, they
laughed. They said that such a boat would never go. For thousands of
years boat-men had made their boats go by using sails and oars. People
had never seen any such boat as this. It seemed foolish to believe
that a boat could be pushed along by steam.
The time came for Fulton to start his boat. A crowd of people were
standing on the shore. The black smoke was coming out of the
smoke-stack. The people were laughing at the boat. They were sure that
it would not go. At last the boat's wheels began to turn round. Then
the boat began to move. There were no oars. There were no sails. But
still the boat kept moving. Faster and faster she went. All the people
now saw that she could go by steam. They did not laugh any more. They
began to cheer.
[Illustration: Seeing the First Steam boat]
The little steam-boat ran up to Al-ba-ny. The people who lived on the
river did not know what to make of it. They had never heard of a
steam-boat. They could not see what made the boat go.
There were many sailing vessels on the river. Fulton's boat passed
some of these in the night. The sailors were afraid when they saw
the fire and smoke. The sound of the steam seemed dreadful to them.
Some of them went down-stairs in their ships for fear. Some of them
went ashore. Perhaps they thought it was a living animal that would
eat them up.
But soon there were steam-boats on all the large rivers.
WASHINGTON IRVING AS A BOY.
The Revolution was about over. Americans were very happy. Their
country was to be free.
At this time a little boy was born in New York. His family was named
Ir-ving. What should this little boy be named?
His mother said, "Washington's work is done. Let us name the baby
Washington." So he was called Washington Ir-ving.
When this baby grew to be a little boy, he was one day walking with
his nurse. The nurse was a Scotch girl. She saw General Washington go
into a shop. She led the little boy into the shop also.
The nurse said to General Washington, "Please, your Honor, here is a
bairn that is named for you."
"Bairn" is a Scotch word for child. Washington put his hand on the
little boy's head and gave him his blessing. When Irving became an
author, he wrote a life of Washington.
Little Irving was a merry, playful boy. He was full of mischief.
Sometimes he would climb out of a window to the roof of his father's
house. From this he would go to roofs of other houses. Then the little
rascal would drop a pebble down a neighbor's chimney. Then he would
hurry back and get into the window again. He would wonder what the
people thought when the pebble came rattling down their chimney. Of
course he was punished when his tricks were found out. But he was a
favorite with his teacher. With all his faults, he would not tell a
lie. The teacher called the little fellow "General."
[Illustration: Irving in Mischief.]
In those days naughty school-boys were whipped. Irving could not
bear to see another boy suffer. When a boy was to be whipped, the
girls were sent out. Irving always asked the schoolmaster to let him
go out with the girls.
Like other boys, Irving was fond of stories. He liked to read about
Sind-bad the Sailor, and Rob-in-son Cru-soe. But most of all he liked
to read about other countries. He had twenty small volumes called "The
World Dis-played." They told about the people and countries of the
world. Irving read these little books a great deal.
One day the schoolmaster caught him reading in school. The master
slipped behind him and grabbed the book. Then he told Irving to stay
Irving expected a pun-ish-ment. But the master told him he was pleased
to find that he liked to read such good books. He told him not to read
them in school.
Reading about other countries made Irving wish to see them. He thought
he would like to travel. Like other wild boys, he thought of running
away. He wanted to go to sea.
But he knew that sailors had to eat salt pork. He did not like salt
pork. He thought he would learn to like it. When he got a chance, he
ate pork. And sometimes he would sleep all night on the floor. He
wanted to get used to a hard bed.
But the more he ate pork, the more he disliked it. And the more he
slept on the floor, the more he liked a good bed. So he gave up his
foolish notion of being a sailor boy.
Some day you will read Irving's "Sketch Book." You will find some
famous stories in it. There is the story of Rip Van Win-kle, who slept
twenty years. And there is the funny story of the Head-less Horse-man.
When you read these a-mus-ing stories, you will remember the playful
boy who became a great author.
[Illustration: Rip Van Winkle wakes up]
DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP.
Fred was talking to his sister one day. He said,—
"Alice, what makes people say, 'Don't give up the ship'?"
Alice said, "I don't know. That's what the teacher said to me
yes-ter-day when I thought that I could not get my lesson."
"Yes," said Fred, "and that's what father said to me. I told him I
never could learn to write well." He only said, "You must not give up
the ship, my boy."
"I haven't any ship to give up," said Alice.
"And what has a ship to do with my writing?" said Fred.
"There must be some story about a ship," Alice said.
"Maybe grand-father would know," said Fred. "Let's ask him."
They found their grand-father writing in the next room. They did not
wish to disturb him. They turned to leave the room.
But grand-father looked up just then. He smiled, and laid down his
"Did you want something?" he asked. "We wanted to ask you a
question," said Alice. "We want to know why people say, 'Don't give up
"We thought maybe there is a story to it," said Fred.
"Yes, there is," said their grandfather. "And I know a little rhyme
that tells the story."
"Could you say it to us?" asked Alice.
"Yes, if I can think of it. Let me see. How does it begin?"
Grandfather leaned his head back in the chair. He shut his eyes for a
moment. He was trying to remember.
"Oh, now I remember it!" he said.
Then he said to them these little verses:—
When I was but a boy,
I heard the people tell
How gallant Captain Law-rence
So bravely fought and fell.
The ships lay close together,
I heard the people say,
And many guns were roaring
Upon that battle day.
A grape-shot struck the captain,
He laid him down to die:
They say the smoke of powder
Made dark the sea and sky.
The sailors heard a whisper
Upon the captain's lip:
The last command of Law-rence
Was, "Don't give up the ship."
And ever since that battle
The people like to tell
How gallant Captain Lawrence
So bravely fought and fell.
When disappointment happens,
And fear your heart annoys,
Be brave, like Captain Lawrence—
And don't give up, my boys!
THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER.
Everybody in the United States has heard the song about the
star-span-gled banner. Nearly everybody has sung it. It was written by
Francis Scott Key.
Key was a young lawyer. In the War of 1812 he fought with the
American army. The British landed soldiers in Mary-land. At
Bla-dens-burg they fought and beat the Americans. Key was in this
battle on the American side.
After the battle the British army took Washington, and burned the
public buildings. Key had a friend who was taken prisoner by the
British. He was on one of the British ships. Key went to the ships
with a flag of truce. A flag of truce is a white flag. It is carried
in war when one side sends a message to the other.
When Key got to the British ships, they were sailing to Bal-ti-more.
They were going to try to take Bal-ti-more. The British com-mand-er
would not let Key go back. He was afraid that he would let the
Americans know where the ships were going.
Key was kept a kind of prisoner while the ships attacked Bal-ti-more.
The ships tried to take the city by firing at it from the water. The
British army tried to take the city on the land side.
The ships did their worst firing at night. They tried to take the
little fort near the city.
Key could see the battle. He watched the little fort. He was afraid
that the men in it would give up. He was afraid that the fort would be
broken down by the cannon balls.
The British fired bomb-shells and rockets at the fort. When these
burst, they made a light. By this light Key could see that the little
fort was still standing. He could see the flag still waving over it.
He tells this in his song in these words:—
"And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there."
But after many hours of fighting the British became dis-cour-aged.
They found that they could not take the city. The ships almost
ceased to fire.
Key did not know whether the fort had been knocked down or not. He
could not see whether the flag was still flying or not. He thought
that the Americans might have given up. He felt what he wrote in
"Oh! say, does that star-span-gled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?"
When the break of day came, Key looked toward the fort. It was still
standing. There was a flag flying over it. It grew lighter. He could
see that it was the American flag. His feelings are told in two lines
of the song:—
"Tis the star spangled banner, oh, long may it wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!"
Key was full of joy. He took an old letter from his pocket. The back
of this letter had no writing on it. Here he wrote the song about the
The British com-mand-er now let Key go ashore. When he got to
Baltimore, he wrote out his song. He gave it to a friend. This friend
took it to a printing office. But the printers had all turned
soldiers. They had all gone to defend the city.
There was one boy left in the office. He knew how to print. He took
the verses and printed them on a broad sheet of paper.
The printed song was soon in the hands of the soldiers around
Baltimore. It was sung in the streets. It was sung in the
the-a-ters. It traveled all over the country. Everybody learned to
"Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just;
And this be our motto—'In God is our trust'—
And the star-span-gled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave."
HOW AUDUBON CAME TO KNOW ABOUT BIRDS.
John James Au-du-bon knew more about the birds of this country than
any man had ever known before. He was born in the State of
Lou-is-i-a-na. His father took him to France when he was a boy. He
went to school in France.
The little John James was fond of stud-y-ing about wild animals. But
most of all he wished to know about birds. Seeing that the boy liked
such things, his father took pains to get birds and flowers for him.
While he was yet a boy at school, he began to gather birds and other
animals for himself. He learned to skin and stuff them. But his
stuffed birds did not please him. Their feathers did not look bright,
like those of live birds. He wanted living birds to study.
His father told him that he could not keep so many birds alive. To
please the boy he got him a book with pictures in it. Looking at these
pictures made John James wish to draw. He thought that he could make
pictures that would look like the live birds.
But when he tried to paint a picture of a bird, it looked worse than
his stuffed birds. The birds he drew were not much like real birds. He
called them a "family of cripples." As often as his birthday came
round, he made a bon-fire of his bad pictures. Then he would begin
All this time he was learning to draw birds. But he was not willing to
make pictures that were not just like the real birds. So when he grew
to be a man he went to a great French painter whose name was David.
David taught him to draw and paint things as they are.
Then he came back to this country, and lived awhile in Pennsylvania.
Here his chief study was the wild creatures of the woods.
He gathered many eggs of birds. He made pictures of these eggs. He did
not take birds' eggs to break up the nests. He was not cruel. He took
only what he needed to study.
He would make two little holes in each egg. Then he would shake the
egg, or stir it up with a little stick or straw, or a long pin. This
would break up the inside of the egg. Then he would blow into one of
the holes. That would blow the inside of the egg out through the
These egg shells he strung together by running strings through the
holes. He hung these strings of egg shells all over the walls of his
room. On the man-tel-piece he put the stuffed skins of squirrels,
raccoons, o-pos-sums, and other small animals. On the shelves his
friends could see frogs, snakes, and other animals.
He married a young lady, and brought her to live in this mu-se-um with
his dead snakes, frogs, and strings of birds' eggs. She liked what he
did, and was sure that he would come to be a great man.
He made up his mind to write a great book about American birds. He
meant to tell all about the birds in one book. Then in another book he
would print pictures of the birds, just as large as the birds
them-selves. He meant to have them look just like the birds.
To do this he must travel many thousands of miles. He must live for
years almost all of the time in the woods. He would have to find and
shoot the birds, in order to make pictures of them. And he must see
how the birds lived, and how they built their nests, so that he could
tell all about them. It would take a great deal of work and trouble.
But he was not afraid of trouble.
That was many years ago. Much of our country was then covered with
great trees. Au-du-bon sometimes went in a boat down a lone-some
river. Sometimes he rode on horse-back. Often he had to travel on foot
through woods where there were no roads. Many a time he had to sleep
out of doors.
He lost his money and became poor. Sometimes he had to paint portraits
to get money to live on. Once he turned dancing master for a while.
But he did not give up his great idea. He still studied birds, and
worked to make his books about American birds. His wife went to
teaching to help make a living.
After years of hard work, he made paintings of nearly a thousand
birds. That was almost enough for his books. But, while he was
traveling, two large rats got into the box in which he kept his
pictures. They cut up all his paintings with their teeth, and made a
nest of the pieces. This almost broke his heart for a while. For many
nights he could not sleep, because he had lost all his work.
But he did not give up. After some days he took his gun, and went into
the woods. He said to himself, "I will begin over again. I can make
better paintings than those that the rats spoiled." But it took him
four long years and a half to find the birds, and make the
He was so careful to have his drawings just like the birds, that he
would measure them in every way. Thus he made his pictures just the
size of the birds themselves.
At last the great books were printed. In this country, in France, and
in England, people praised the won-der-ful books. They knew that
Au-du-bon was indeed a great man.
AUDUBON IN THE WILD WOODS.
When Au-du-bon was making his great book about birds, he had to live
much in the woods. Sometimes he lived among the Indians. He once saw
an Indian go into a hollow tree. There was a bear in the tree. The
Indian had a knife in his hand. He fought with the bear in the tree,
and killed it.
Au-du-bon could shoot very well. A friend of his one day threw up his
cap in the air. He told Au-du-bon to shoot at it. When the cap came
down, it had a hole in it.
But the hunters who lived in the woods could shoot better. They would
light a candle. Then one of the hunters would take his gun, and go a
hundred steps away from the candle. He would then shoot at the candle.
He would shoot so as to snuff it. He would not put out the candle. He
would only cut off a bit of the wick with the bullet. But he would
leave the candle burning.
[Illustration: Snuffing the Candle.]
Once Audubon came near being killed by some robbers. He stopped at a
cabin where lived an old white woman. He found a young Indian in the
house. The Indian had hurt himself with an arrow. He had come to the
house to spend the night.
The old woman saw Audubon's fine gold watch. She asked him to let her
look at it. He put it into her hands for a minute. Then the Indian
passed by Audubon, and pinched him two or three times. That was to let
him know that the woman was bad, and that she might rob him.
Audubon went and lay down with his hand on his gun. After a while two
men came in. They were the sons of the old woman. Then the old woman
sharpened a large knife. She told the young men to kill the Indian
first, and then to kill Audubon and take his watch. She thought that
Audubon was asleep. But he drew up his gun ready to fire.
Just then two hunters came to the cabin. Audubon told them what the
robbers were going to do. They took the old woman and her sons, and
tied their hands and feet. The Indian, though he was in pain from his
hurt, danced for joy when he saw that the robbers were caught. The
woman and her sons were afterward punished.
HUNTING A PANTHER.
Audubon was traveling in the woods in Mis-sis-sip-pi. He found the
little cabin of a settler. He staid there for the night. The settler
told him that there was a panther in the swamp near his house. A
panther is a very large and fierce animal. It is large enough to kill
a man. This was a very bad panther. It had killed some of the
Audubon said, "Let us hunt this panther, and kill it."
So the settler sent out for his neigh-bors to come and help kill the
panther. Five men came. Audubon and the settler made seven. They were
all on horse-back.
When they came to the edge of the swamp, each man went a dif-fer-ent
way. They each took their dogs with them to find the track of the wild
beast. All of the hunters carried horns. Who-ever should find the
track first was to blow his horn to let the others know.
In about two hours after they had started, they heard the sound of a
horn. It told them that the track had been found. Every man now went
toward the sound of the horn. Soon all the yelping dogs were
fol-low-ing the track of the fierce panther. The panther was running
into the swamp farther and farther.
I suppose that the panther thought that there were too many dogs and
men for him to fight. All the hunters came after the dogs. They held
their guns ready to shoot if the panther should make up his mind to
After a while the sound of the dogs' voices changed. The hunters knew
from this that the panther had stopped running, and gone up into
At last the men came to the place where the dogs were. They were all
barking round a tree. Far up in the tree was the dan-ger-ous beast.
The hunters came up care-ful-ly. One of them fired. The bullet hit the
panther, but did not kill him.
The panther sprang to the ground, and ran off again. The dogs ran
after. The men got on their horses, and rode after.
But the horses were tired, and the men had to get down, and follow the
dogs on foot.
The hunters now had to wade through little ponds of water. Sometimes
they had to climb over fallen trees. Their clothes were badly torn by
the bushes. After two hours more, they came to a place where the
panther had again gone up into a tree.
This time three of the hunters shot at him. The fierce panther came
tumbling to the ground. But he was still able to fight. The men fought
the savage beast on all sides. At last they killed him. Then they gave
his skin to the settler. They wanted him to know that his en-e-my
SOME BOYS WHO BECAME AUTHORS.
Wil-liam Cul-len Bry-ant was the first great poet in this country. He
was a small man. When he was a baby, his head was too big for his
body. His father used to send the baby to be dipped in a cold spring
every day. The father thought that putting his head into cold water
would keep it from growing.
Bry-ant knew his letters before he was a year and a half old. He began
to write rhymes when he was a very little fellow. He wanted to be a
poet. He used to pray that he might be a poet. His father printed some
verses of his when he was only ten years old.
Bry-ant wrote many fine poems. Here are some lines of his about the
bird we call a bob-o-link:—
Rob-ert of Lin-coln is gayly dressed,
Wearing a bright black wedding coat,
White are his shoulders and white his crest.
Hear him call in his merry note:
Spink, spank, spink;
Look, what a nice new coat is mine,
Sure there was never a bird so fine.
Chee, chee, chee.
Haw-thorne was one of our greatest writers of stories. He was a pretty
boy with golden curls. He was fond of all the great poets, and he read
Shake-speare and Mil-ton and many other poets as soon as he was old
enough to un-der-stand them.
Haw-thorne grew up a very hand-some young fellow. One day he was
walking in the woods. He met an old gypsy woman. She had never seen
anybody so fine-looking.
"Are you a man, or an angel?" she asked him.
Some of Haw-thorne's best books are written for girls and boys. One of
these is called "The Won-der Book." Another of his books for young
people is "Tan-gle-wood Tales."
* * * * *
Pres-cott wrote beautiful his-to-ries. When Pres-cott was a boy, a
school-mate threw a crust of bread at him. It hit him in the eye. He
became almost blind.
He had to do his writing with a machine. This machine was made for the
use of the blind. There were no type-writ-ers in those days.
It was hard work to write his-to-ry without good eyes. But Pres-cott
did not give up. He had a man to read to him. It took him ten years to
write his first book.
When Prescott had finished his book, he was afraid to print it. But
his father said, "The man who writes a book, and is afraid to print
it, is a cow-ard."
Then Prescott printed his book. Everybody praised it. When you are
older, you will like to read his his-to-ries.
Doctor Holmes, the poet, was a boy full of fancies. He lived in an old
house. Soldiers had staid in the house at the time of the Revolution.
The floor of one room was all battered by the butts of the
Little Ol-i-ver Holmes used to think he could hear soldiers in the
house. He thought he could hear their spurs rattling in the dark
passages. Sometimes he thought he could hear their swords clanking.
The little boy was afraid of a sign that hung over the sidewalk. It
was a great, big, wooden hand. It was the sign of a place where gloves
were made. This big hand swung in the air. Little Ol-i-ver Holmes had
to walk under it on his way to school. He thought the great fingers
would grab him some day. Then he thought he would never get home
again. He even thought that his other pair of shoes would be put away
till his little brother grew big enough to wear them.
But the big wooden hand never caught him.
Here are some verses that Doctor Holmes wrote about a very old man:—
"My grand-mam-ma has said—
Poor old lady, she is dead
That he had a Roman nose,
And his cheek was like a rose
In the snow.
"But now his nose is thin,
And it rests upon his chin
Like a staff;
And a crook is in his back,
And a mel-an-chol-y crack
In his laugh.
"I know it is a sin
For me to sit and grin
At him here;
But the old three-cor-nered hat,
And the breeches, and all that,
Are so queer!
"And if I should live to be
The last leaf upon the tree
In the spring,
Let them smile, as I do now,
At the old for-sak-en bough
Where I cling."
DANIEL WEBSTER AND HIS BROTHER.
Dan-iel Web-ster was a great states-man. As a little boy he was called
"Little Black Dan." When he grew larger, he was thin and
sickly-looking. But he had large, dark eyes. People called him
He was very fond of his brother E-ze-ki-el. E-ze-ki-el was a little
older than Dan-iel. Both the boys had fine minds. They wanted to go to
college. But their father was poor.
Dan-iel had not much strength for work on the farm. So little "All
Eyes" was sent to school, and then to college. E-ze-ki-el staid at
home, and worked on the farm.
While Daniel was at school, he was unhappy to think that Ezekiel could
not go to college also. He went home on a visit. He talked to Ezekiel
about going to college. The brothers talked about it all night. The
next day Daniel talked to his father about it. The father said he was
too poor to send both of his sons to college. He said he would lose
all his little property if he tried to send Ezekiel to college. But he
said, that, if their mother and sisters were willing to be poor, he
would send the other son to college.
So the mother and sisters were asked. It seemed hard to risk the loss
of all they had. It seemed hard not to give Ezekiel a chance. They all
shed tears over it.
The boys promised to take care of their mother and sisters if the
property should be lost. Then they all agreed that Ezekiel should go
to college too.
Daniel taught school while he was studying. That helped to pay the
expenses. After Daniel was through his studies in college, he taught a
school in order to help his brother. When his school closed, he went
home. On his way he went round to the college to see his brother.
Finding that Ezekiel needed money, he gave him a hundred dollars. He
kept but three dollars to get home with.
The father's property was not sold. The two boys helped the family.
Daniel soon began to make money as a lawyer. He knew that his father
was in debt. He went home to see him. He said, "Father, I am going
to pay your debts."
The father said, "You cannot do it, Daniel. You have not money
"I can do it," said Daniel; "and I will do it before Monday evening."
When Monday evening came round, the father's debts were all paid.
When Daniel became a famous man, it made Ezekiel very happy. But
Ezekiel died first. When Daniel Web-ster made his greatest speech, all
the people praised him.
But Web-ster said, "I wish that my poor brother had lived to this
time. It would have made him very happy."
WEBSTER AND THE POOR WOMAN.
When Daniel Webster was a young lawyer, he was going home one night.
There was snow on the ground. It was very cold. It was late, and there
was nobody to be seen.
But after a while he saw a poor woman. She was ahead of him. He
wondered what had brought her out on so cold a night.
Sometimes she stopped and looked around. Then she would stand and
listen. Then she would go on again. [Illustration: Webster and the
Webster kept out of her sight. But he watched her. After looking
around, she turned down the street in which Webster lived. She stopped
in front of Webster's house. She looked around and listened.
Webster had put down some loose boards to walk on. They reached from
the gate to the door of his house. After standing still a minute, the
woman took one of the boards, and went off quickly.
Webster followed her. But he kept out of her sight. She went to a
distant part of the town. She went into a poor little house.
Webster went home without saying anything to the woman. He knew that
she had stolen the board for fire-wood.
The next day the poor woman got a present It was a nice load of wood.
Can you guess who sent it to her?
THE INDIA-RUBBER MAN.
Many years ago a strange-looking man was sometimes seen in the streets
of New York. His cap was made of In-di-a rubber. So was his coat. He
wore a rubber waist-coat. Even his cravat was of In-di-a rubber. He
wore rubber shoes in dry weather. People called this man "The
His name was Charles Good-year. He was very poor. He was trying to
find out how to make India rubber useful.
India-rubber trees grow in South America. The juice of these trees is
something like milk or cream. By drying this juice, India rubber
The Indians in Bra-zil have no glass to make bottles with. A long time
ago they learned to make bottles out of rubber. More than a hundred
years ago some of these rubber bottles were brought to this country.
The people in this country had never seen India rubber before. They
thought the bottles made out of it by the Indians very cu-ri-ous.
In this country, rubber was used only to rub out pencil marks. That is
why we call it rubber. People in South America learned to make a kind
of heavy shoe out of it. But these shoes were hard to make. They cost
a great deal when they were sold in this country.
Men tried to make rubber shoes in this country. They got the rubber
from Bra-zil. Rubber shoes made in this country were cheaper than
those brought from South America. But they were not good. They would
freeze till they were as hard as stones in winter. That was not the
worst of it. In summer they would melt. Goodyear was trying to find
out a way to make rubber better. He wanted to get it so that it would
not melt in summer. He wanted to get a rubber that would not get hard
in cold weather. The first rubber coats that were made were so hard in
cold weather, that they would stand alone, and look like a man.
Goodyear wanted to try his rubber. That is why he wore a rubber coat
and a rubber waist-coat and a rubber cravat. That is why he wore a
rubber cap and rubber shoes when it was not raining. He made paper out
of rubber, and wrote a book on it. He had a door-plate made of it. He
even carried a cane made of India rubber. It is no wonder people
called him the India-rubber man.
He was very poor. Sometimes he had to borrow money to buy rubber with.
Sometimes his friends gave him money to keep his family from starving.
Sometimes there was no wood and no coal in the house in cold weather.
But Goodyear kept on trying. He thought that he was just going to find
out. Years went by, and still he kept on trying.
One day he was mixing some rubber with sulphur. It slipped out of his
hand. It fell on the hot stove. But it did not melt. Goodyear was
happy at last. That night it was cold. Goodyear took the burned
piece of rubber out of doors, and nailed it to the kitchen door. When
morning came, he went and got it. It had not frozen.
He was now sure that he was on the right track. But he had to find out
how to mix and heat his rubber and sulphur. He was too poor to buy
rubber to try with. Nobody would lend him any more money. His family
had to live by the help of his friends. He had already sold almost
everything that he had. Now he had to sell his children's school-books
to get money to buy rubber with.
At last his rubber goods were made and sold. Poor men who had to stand
in the rain could now keep themselves dry. People could walk in the
wet with dry feet. A great many people are alive who would have died
if they had not been kept dry by India rubber.
You may count up, if you can, how many useful things are made of
rubber. We owe them all to one man. People laughed at Goodyear once.
But at last they praised him. To be "The India-rubber man" was
something to be proud of.
DOCTOR KANE IN THE FROZEN SEA.
Kane was a doctor in one of the war ships of the United States. He had
sailed about the world a great deal.
When he heard that ships were to be sent into the icy seas of the
north, he asked to be sent along. He went the first time as a doctor.
Then he wanted to find out more about the frozen ocean. So he went
again as captain of a ship. His ship was called the "Advance."
Kane sailed into the icy seas. His ship was driven far into the ice by
a fu-ri-ous storm. She was crowded by ice-bergs. At one time she was
lifted clear out of the water. The ship seemed ready to fall over on
her side. But the ice let her down again. Then she was squeezed till
the men thought that she would be crushed like an egg shell At last
the storm stopped. Then came the awful cold. The ship was frozen into
the ice. The ice never let go of her. She was farther north than any
ship had ever been before. But she was so fast in the ice that she
never could get away.
In that part of the world it is night nearly all winter. For months
there was no sun at all. Daylight came again. It was now summer, but
it did not get warm. Doctor Kane took sleds, and went about on the ice
to see what he could see. The sleds were drawn by large dogs. But
nearly all of the dogs died in the long winter night.
[Illustration: A Dog Sled]
Doctor Kane thought that the ice would melt. He wanted to get the ship
out. But the ice did not melt at all.
At last the summer passed away. Another awful winter came. The sun did
not rise any more. It was dark for months and months. The men were
ill. Some of them died. They were much dis-cour-aged. But Kane kept
up his heart, and did the best he could.
At last the least little streak of light could be seen. It got a
little lighter each day. But the sick men down in the cabin of the
ship could not see the light.
Doctor Kane said to himself, "If my poor men could see this sunlight,
it would cheer them up. It might save their lives." But they were too
ill to get out where they could see the sun. It would be many days
before the sun would shine into the cabin of the ship. The men might
die before that time.
So Doctor Kane took some looking glasses up to the deck or top of the
ship. He fixed one of these so it would catch the light of the sun.
Then he fixed another so that the first one would throw the light on
this one. The last one would throw the sunlight down into the cabin
where the sick men were.
One day the poor fellows were ready to give up. Then the sun fell on
the looking glasses, and flashed down into the cabin. It was the first
daylight the sick men had seen for months. The long winter night was
over. Think how happy they were!
A DINNER ON THE ICE.
After two winters of cold and darkness, Doctor Kane made up his mind
to leave the ship fast in the ice. He wanted to get to a place in
Green-land where there were people living. Then he might find some way
of getting home again.
The men started out, drawing the boats on sleds. Whenever they came to
open water, they put the boats into the water, and took the sleds in
the boats. When they came to the ice again, they had to draw out their
boats, and carry them on the sleds. At first they could travel only
about a mile a day.
It was a hard journey. Some of the men were ill. These had to be drawn
on the sleds by the rest. They had not enough food. At one time they
rested three days in a kind of cave. Here they found many birds' eggs.
These made very good food for them. At another place they staid a
week. They staid just to eat the eggs of the wild birds.
After they left this place, they were hungry. The men grew thinner and
thinner. It seemed that they must die for want of food. But one day
they saw a large seal. He was floating on a piece of ice. The hungry
men thought, "What a fine din-ner he would make for us!" If they
could get the seal, they would not die of hunger.
Every one of the poor fellows trembled for fear the seal would wake
up. A man named Pe-ter-sen took a gun, and got ready to shoot. The men
rowed the boat toward the seal. They rowed slowly and quietly. But the
seal waked up. He raised his head. The men thought that he would jump
off into the water. Then they might all die for want of food.
Doctor Kane made a motion to Pe-ter-sen. That was to tell him to shoot
quickly. But Peter-sen did not shoot. He was so much afraid that the
seal would get away, that he could not shoot. The seal now raised
himself a little more. He was getting ready to jump into the water.
Just then Petersen fired. The seal fell dead on the ice.
[Illustration: A Seal]
The men were wild with joy. They rowed the boats with all their might.
When they got to the seal, they dragged it farther away from the
water. They were so happy, that they danced on the ice. Some of them
laughed. Some were so glad, that they cried. [Illustration: Shooting
Then they took their knives and began to cut up the seal. They had no
fire on the ice, and they were too hungry to think of lighting one. So
they ate the meat of the seal without waiting to cook it.
DOCTOR KANE GETS OUT OF THE FROZEN SEA.
After they got the seal, Doctor Kane and his men traveled on.
Sometimes they were on the ice. Sometimes they were in the boats. The
men were so weak, that they could hardly row the boats. They were so
hungry, that they could not sleep well at night.
One day they were rowing, when they heard a sound. It came to them
across the water. It did not sound like the cry of sea birds. It
sounded like people's voices.
"Listen!" Doctor Kane said to Pe-ter-sen.
Petersen spoke the same language as the people of Greenland. He
listened. The sound came again. Pe-ter-sen was so glad, that he could
hardly speak. He told Kane in a half whisper, that it was the voice of
some one speaking his own language. It was some Greenland men in
The next day they got to a Greenland town. Then they got into a little
ship going to England. They knew that they could get home from
England. But the ship stopped at another Green-land town. While they
were there, a steamer was seen. It came nearer. They could see the
stars and stripes flying from her mast. It was an American steamer
sent to find Doctor Kane.
Doctor Kane and his men were full of joy. They pushed their little
boat into the water once more. This little boat was called the
"Faith." It had carried Kane and his men hundreds of miles in
Once more the men took their oars, and rowed. This time they rowed
with all their might. They held up the little flag that they had
carried farther north than anybody had ever been before. They rowed
straight to the steamer.
In the bow of the boat was a little man with a tattered red shirt. He
could see that the captain of the boat was looking at him through a
The captain shouted to the little man, "Is that Doctor Kane?"
The little man in the red shirt shouted back, "Yes!"
Doctor Kane and his men had been gone more than two years. People had
begun to think that they had all died. This steamer had been sent to
find out what had become of them. When the men on the steamer heard
that this little man in the red shirt was Doctor Kane himself, they
sent up cheer after cheer. In a few minutes more, Doctor Kane and
his men were on the steamer. They were now safe among friends. They
were sailing away toward their homes.
LONGFELLOW AS A BOY.
[Illustration: Longfellow and the Bird]
Long-fel-low was a noble boy. He always wanted to do right. He could
not bear to see one person do any wrong to another.
He was very tender-hearted. One day he took a gun and went shooting.
He killed a robin. Then he felt sorry for the robin He came home with
tears in his eyes. He was so grieved, that he never went
He liked to read Irving's "Sketch Book." Its strange stories about
Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Win-kle pleased his fancy.
When he was thirteen he wrote a poem. It was about Love-well's fight
with the Indians. He sent his verses to a news-paper. He wondered if
the ed-i-tor would print them. He could not think of anything else. He
walked up and down in front of the printing office. He thought that
his poem might be in the printer's hands.
When the paper came out, there was his poem. It was signed "Henry."
Long-fel-low read it. He thought it a good poem.
But a judge who did not know whose poem it was talked about it that
evening. He said to young Long-fel-low, "Did you see that poem in the
paper? It was stiff. And all taken from other poets, too."
This made Henry Long-fel-low feel bad. But he kept on trying. After
many years, he became a famous poet.
For more than fifty years, young people have liked to read his poem
called "A Psalm of Life." Here are three stanzas of it:—
"Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sub-lime,
And, de-part-ing, leave behind us
Foot-prints on the sands of time,—
"Foot-prints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and ship-wrecked brother,
Seeing, may take heart again.
"Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still a-chiev-ing, still pur-su-ing,
Learn to labor and to wait."
KIT CARSON AND THE BEARS.
Great men of one kind are known only in new countries like ours. These
men dis-cov-er new regions. They know how to manage the Indians. They
show other people how to live in a wild country.
One of the most famous of such men was Kit Car-son. He knew all about
the wild animals. He was a great hunter. He learned the languages of
the Indians. The Indians liked him. He was a great guide. He showed
soldiers and settlers how to travel where they wished to go.
Once he was marching through the wild country with other men. Evening
came. He left the others, and went to shoot something to eat. It was
the only way to get meat for supper. When he had gone about a mile,
he saw the tracks of some elks. He followed these tracks. He came in
sight of the elks. They were eating grass on a hill, as cows do.
Kit Car-son crept up behind some bushes. But elks are very timid
animals. Before the hunter got very near, they began to run away. So
Carson fired at one of them as it was running. The elk fell dead.
But just at that moment he heard a roar. He turned to see what made
this ugly noise. Two huge bears were running toward him. They wanted
some meat for supper, too.
Kit Carson's gun was empty. He threw it down. Then he ran as fast as
he could. He wanted to find a tree.
Just as the bears were about to seize him, he got to a tree. He caught
hold of a limb. He swung himself up into the tree. The bears just
missed getting him.
But bears know how to climb trees. Carson knew that they would soon be
after him. He pulled out his knife, and began to cut off a limb. He
wanted to make a club.
A bear is much larger and stronger than a man. He cannot be killed
with a club. But every bear has one tender spot. It is his nose. He
does not like to be hit on the nose. A sharp blow on the nose hurts
him a great deal.
Kit Carson got his club cut just in time. The bears were coming after
him. Kit got up into the very top of the tree. He drew up his feet,
and made himself as small as he could.
When the bears came near, one of them reached for Kit. Whack! went the
stick on the end of his nose. The bear drew back, and whined
First one bear tried to get him, and then the other. But which-ever
one tried, Kit was ready. The bear was sure to get his nose hurt.
The bears grew tired, and rested awhile. But they kept up their
screeching and roaring. When their noses felt better, they tried
again. And then they tried again. But every time they came away with
sore noses. At last they both tried at once. But Carson pounded
faster than ever. One of the bears cried like a baby. The tears ran
out of his eyes. It hurt his feelings to have his nose treated in
this rude way.
After a long time one of the bears got tired. He went away. After
awhile the other went away too. Kit Carson staid in the tree a long
time. Then he came down. The first thing he did was to get his gun. He
loaded it. But the bears did not come back. They were too busy
HORACE GREELEY AS A BOY.
Hor-ace Gree-ley was the son of a poor farmer. He was always fond of
books. He learned to read almost as soon as he could talk. He could
read easy books when he was three years old. When he was four, he
could read any book that he could get.
He went to an old-fashioned school. Twice a day all the children stood
up to spell. They were in two classes. Little Hor-ace was in the class
with the grown-up young people. He was the best speller in the class.
It was funny to see the little midget at the head of this class of
older people. But he was only a little boy in his feelings. If he
missed a word, he would cry. The one that spelled a word that he
missed would have a right to take the head of the class. Sometimes
when he missed, the big boys would not take the head. They did not
like to make the little fellow cry. He was the pet of all the school.
People in that day were fond of spelling. They used to hold meetings
at night to spell. They called these "spelling schools."
At a spelling school two captains were picked out. These chose their
spellers. Then they tried to see which side could beat the other
Little Hor-ace was always chosen first. The side that got him got the
best speller in the school. Sometimes the little fellow would go to
sleep. When it came his turn to spell, some-body would wake him up. He
would rub his eyes, and spell the word. He would spell it right, too.
When he was four or five years old, he would lie under a tree, and
read. He would lie there, and forget all about his dinner or his
supper. He would not move until some-body stumbled over him or
People had not found out how to burn ker-o-sene oil in lamps then.
They used candles. But poor people like the Gree-leys could not afford
to burn many candles. Hor-ace gathered pine knots to read by
[Illustration: Greeley Reading]
He would light a pine knot Then he would throw it on top of the large
log at the back of the fire. This would make a bright flick-er-ing
Horace would lay all the books he wanted on the hearth. Then he would
lie down by them. His head was toward the fire. His feet were drawn up
out of the way.
The first thing that he did was to study all his lessons for the next
day. Then he would read other books. He never seemed to know when
anybody came or went. He kept on with his reading. His father did
not want him to read too late. He was afraid that he would hurt his
eyes. And he wanted to have him get up early in the morning to help
with the work. So when nine o'clock came, he would call, "Horace,
Horace, Horace!" But it took many callings to rouse him.
When he got to bed, he would say his lessons over to his brother. He
would tell his brother what he had been reading. But his brother would
fall asleep while Horace was talking.
Horace liked to read better than he liked to work. But when he had a
task to do, he did it faith-ful-ly. His brother would say, "Let us go
fishing." But Horace would answer, "Let us get our work done first."
Horace Gree-ley's father grew poorer and poorer. When Horace was ten
years old, his land was sold. The family were now very poor. They
moved from New Hamp-shire. They settled in Ver-mont. They lived in a
poor little cabin.
Horace had to work hard like all the rest of the family. But he
borrowed all the books he could get. Sometimes he walked seven miles
to borrow a book.
A rich man who lived near the Greeleys used to lend books to Horace.
Horace had grown tall. His hair was white. He was poorly dressed. He
was a strange-looking boy. One day he went to the house of the rich
man to borrow books. Some one said to the owner of the house, "Do you
lend books to such a fellow as that?"
But the gen-tle-man said, "That boy will be a great man some day."
This made all the com-pa-ny laugh. It seemed funny that anybody should
think of this poor boy becoming a great man. But it came true. The
poor white-headed boy came to be a great man.
Horace Greeley learned all that he could learn in the country schools.
When he was thirteen, one teacher said to his father,—
"Mr. Greeley, Horace knows more than I do. It is not of any use to
send him to school any more."
HORACE GREELEY LEARNING TO PRINT.
Horace Greeley had always wanted to be a printer. He liked books and
papers. He thought it would be a fine thing to learn to make them.
One day he heard that the news-paper at East Poult-ney wanted a boy to
learn the printer's trade. He walked many long miles to see about it.
He went to see Mr. Bliss. Mr. Bliss was one of the owners of the
paper. Horace found him working in his garden. Mr. Bliss looked up.
He saw a big boy coming toward him. The boy had on a white felt hat
with a narrow brim. It looked like a half-peck measure. His hair was
white. His trousers were too short for him. All his clothes were
coarse and poor. He was such a strange-looking boy, that Mr. Bliss
wanted to laugh.
"I heard that you wanted a boy," Horace said.
"Do you want to learn to print?" Mr. Bliss said.
"Yes," said Horace.
"But a printer ought to know a good many things," said Mr. Bliss.
"Have you been to school much?"
"No," said Horace. "I have not had much chance at school. But I have
"What have you read?" asked Mr. Bliss.
"Well, I have read some his-to-ry, and some travels, and a little of
Mr. Bliss had ex-am-ined a great many schoolteachers. He liked to
puzzle teachers with hard questions. He thought he would try Horace
with these. But the gawky boy answered them all. This tow-headed boy
seemed to know everything.
Mr. Bliss took a piece of paper from his pocket. He wrote on it,
"Guess we'd better try him."
He gave this paper to Horace, and told him to take it to the printing
office. Horace, with his little white hat and strange ways, went into
the printing office. The boys in the office laughed at him. But the
foreman said he would try him.
That night the boys in the office said to Mr. Bliss, "You are not
going to take that tow head, are you?"
Mr. Bliss said, "There is something in that tow-head. You boys will
find it out soon."
[Illustration: Greeley setting Type]
A few days after this, Horace came to East Poult-ney to begin his
work. He carried a little bundle of clothes tied up in a
The fore-man showed him how to begin. From that time he did not once
look around. All day he worked at his type. He learned more in a day
than some boys do in a month.
Day after day he worked, and said nothing. The other boys joked him.
But he did not seem to hear them. He only kept on at his work. They
threw type at him. But he did not look up.
The largest boy in the office thought he could find a way to tease
him. One day he said that Horace's hair was too white. He went and got
the ink ball. He stained Horace's hair black in four places. This ink
stain would not wash out. But Horace did not once look up.
After that, the boys did not try to tease him any more. They all liked
the good-hearted Horace. And everybody in the town wondered that the
boy knew so much.
Horace's father had moved away to Penn-syl-va-ni-a. Horace sent him
all the money he could spare. He soon became a good printer. He
started a paper of his own. He became a famous news-paper man.
A WONDERFUL WOMAN.
Little Dor-o-thy Dix was poor. Her father did not know how to make a
living. Her mother did not know how to bring up her children.
The father moved from place to place. Sometimes he printed little
tracts to do good. But he let his own children grow up poor
Dor-o-thy wanted to learn. She wanted to become a teacher. She wanted
to get money to send her little brothers to school.
Dor-o-thy was a girl of strong will and temper. When she was twelve
years old, she left her wretched home. She went to her grand-mother.
Her grand-mother Dix lived in a large house in Boston. She sent
Dorothy to school.
Dorothy learned fast. But she wanted to make money. She wanted to help
her brothers. When she was fourteen, she taught a school. She tried to
make herself look like a woman. She made her dresses longer.
She soon went back to her grand-mother. She went to school again. Then
she taught school. She soon had a school in her grandmother's house.
It was a very good school. Many girls were sent to her school. Miss
Dix was often ill. But when she was well enough, she worked away. She
was able to send her brothers to school until they grew up.
Besides helping her brothers, she wanted to help other poor children.
She started a school for poor children in her grandmother's barn.
After a while she left off teaching. She was not well. She had made
all the money she needed.
But she was not idle. She went one day to teach some poor women in an
alms-house. Then she went to see the place where the crazy people were
kept. These insane people had no fire in the coldest weather.
Miss Dix tried to get the man-a-gers to put up a stove in the room.
But they would not do it. Then she went to the court. She told the
judge about it. The judge said that the insane people ought to have a
fire. He made the man-a-gers put up a stove in the place where they
Then Miss Dix went to other towns. She wanted to see how the insane
people were treated. Some of them were shut up in dark, damp cells.
One young man was chained up with an iron collar about his neck.
Miss Dix got new laws made about the insane. She per-suad-ed the
States to build large houses for keeping the insane. She spent most of
her life at this work. The Civil War broke out. There were many sick
and wounded soldiers to be taken care of.
All of the nurses in the hos-pi-tals were put under Miss Dix. She
worked at this as long as the war lasted. Then she spent the rest of
her life doing all that she could for insane people.
THE AUTHOR OF "LITTLE WOMEN."
Lou-i-sa Al-cott was a wild little girl. When she was very little, she
would run away from home. She liked to play with beggar children.
One day she wandered so far away from her home, she could not find the
way back again. It was growing dark. The little girl's feet were
tired. She sat down on a door-step. A big dog was lying on the step.
He wagged his tail. That was his way of saying, "I am glad to
Little Lou-i-sa grew sleepy. She laid her head on the curly head of
the big dog. Then she fell asleep.
Lou-i-sa's father and mother could not find her. They sent out the
town crier to look for her.
The town crier went along the street. As he went, he rang his bell.
Every now and then he would tell that a little girl was lost. At
last the man with the bell came to the place where Louisa was asleep.
He rang his bell. That waked her up. She heard him call out in a
"Lost, lost! a little girl six years old. She wore a pink frock, a
white hat, and new green shoes."
When the crier had said that, he heard a small voice coming out of the
darkness. It said, "Why, dat's me." The crier went to the voice, and
found Louisa sitting by the big dog on the door-step. The next day she
was tied to the sofa to punish her for running away.
She and her sisters learned to sew well. Louisa set up as a doll's
dress-maker. She was then twelve years old. She hung out a little
sign. She put some pretty dresses in the window to show how well
she could do.
Other girls liked the little dresses that she made. They came to her
to get dresses made for their dolls. They liked the little doll's hats
she made better than all. Louisa chased the chickens to get soft
feathers for these hats.
She turned the old fairy tales into little plays. The children played
these plays in the barn.
One of these plays was Jack and the Bean-stalk. A squash vine was put
up in the barn. This was the bean-stalk. When it was cut down, the
boy who played giant would come tumbling out of the hay-loft.
Louisa found it hard to be good and o-be-di-ent. She wrote some verses
about being good. She was fourteen years old when she wrote them. Here
A little kingdom I possess
Where thoughts and feelings dwell,
And very hard I find the task
Of gov-ern-ing it well.
For passion tempts and troubles me,
A wayward will misleads,
And sel-fish-ness its shadow casts
On all my words and deeds.
I do not ask for any crown
But that which all may win,
Nor seek to conquer any world
Except the one within.
The Al-cott family were very poor. Louisa
made up her mind to do something to make money
when she got big. She did not like
being so very poor.
One day she was sitting on a cart-wheel thinking. She was thinking how
poor her father was. There was a crow up in the air over her head. The
crow was cawing. There was nobody to tell her thoughts to but the
crow. She shook her fist at the big bird, and said,—
"I will do something by and by. Don't care what. I'll teach, sew, act,
write, do anything to help the family. And I'll be rich and famous
before I die. See if I don't."
The crow did not make any answer. But Louisa kept thinking about the
work she was going to do. The other children got work to do that made
money. But Louisa was left at home to do housework. She had to do the
washing. She made a little song about it. Here are some of the verses
of this song:—
A SONG FROM THE SUDS.
Queen of my tub, I merrily sing,
While the white foam rises high,
And stur-di-ly wash and rinse and wring,
And fasten the clothes to dry;
Then out in the free fresh air they swing,
Under the sunny sky.
I am glad a task to me is given,
To labor at day by day;
For it brings me health and strength and hope,
And I cheer-ful-ly learn to say,
"Head you may think, Heart you may feel,
But Hand you shall work alway."
Louisa grew to be a woman at last. She went to nurse soldiers in the
war. She wrote books. When she wrote the book called "Little Women,"
all the young people were de-light-ed. What she had said to the crow
came true at last. She became famous. She had money enough to make the