Do You Like My Cat?

I like my cat, I like him well,
As all the house may see
I like him for himself, and not
Because the cat likes me.

He counts his only work in life,
To flourish and be fat;
And this he does with all his might;—
Of course, I like my cat.

His eyes shine out beneath his brows,
As eyes have rarely shone;
His beauty is the grandest thing
That ever cat put on.

He wears a paw of wondrous bulk,
With secret claws to match,
And puts a charm in all its play,
The pat, the box, the scratch.

I have not heard how cats are made
Within their furry veil,
But rather fancy Tippo’s thoughts
Lie chiefly in his tail.

For while in every other part
His portly person sleeps,
That bushy tail, with steady wave,
A ceaseless vigil keeps.

The Swan and The Drake

Slowly, in majestic silence,
Sailed a Swan upon a lake;
Round about him, never quiet,
Swam a noisy quacking Drake.

“Swan,” exclaimed the latter, halting,
“I can scarcely comprehend
Why I never hear you talking:
Are you really dumb, my friend?”

Said the Swan, by way of answer:
“I have wondered, when you make
Such a shocking, senseless clatter,
Whether you are deaf, Sir Drake!”

Better, like the Swan, remain in
Silence grave and dignified,
Than keep, drake-like, ever prating,
While your listeners deride.

Puppies and Turtoise

A sight most strange and wonderful
Three little puppies saw—
A creature out of shell of horn
Popped out a head and claw.

They jumped and barked, and barked again,
And stared with open eyes;
The sight of such a strange shaped thing
So filled them with surprise.

They wondered at its smooth, brown shell,
Its skin both brown and green;
And thought it was the strangest siht
They ever yet had seen.

They would have tried to bite and scratch
This funny looking thing;
But now they thought it might have hid
A sharp and biting sting.

JACK AND HIS MAGIC AIDS by Cyrus MacMillan

a boy and a cow near a beautiful house

There was once a poor widow who had but one child, a son, Jack by name. Her husband had left her money when he died, but in a few years it was all used up. Jack was a silly fellow; he was always doing stupid things and was of no help to his mother, although his father had said that some day he would do great deeds. Soon the widow became very poor. She lived on a large farm rented from a greedy landlord who lived in the town near by. The rent had to be paid once a year, and when pay day was drawing near, she found she had no money to give the landlord. She had several fine cows, so she thought she would sell one and get money to pay her rent.

One morning she sent Jack off to market with the finest cow she had. As Jack drove the cow along, he passed a house standing in the forest near the road. A man sitting on the steps called to him. “Where are you going with the cow?” he asked. “I am driving her to market to sell her,” answered Jack. The man asked him to come in and rest a while, and Jack tied the cow to a tree and went in. Then the man said, “You must give the cow to me.” But Jack answered, “I cannot give her to you; I will sell her to you, for my mother needs the money.” The man asked Jack to have something to eat, and placed before him on the table a plateful of food. Jack ate heartily, but the food did not grow less. He ate and ate and could not stop. Soon he became so full that he was almost bursting, but the food had grown no smaller, and he could not stop eating, although he tried very hard. He called to the man to take away the food. But the man answered, “If you will give me your cow, I will take away the plate; if not, you may eat away.” So Jack agreed to give him the cow, for he was afraid he would burst from overeating, and in return for the cow the man gave him the dish of magical food. Then he went back home.

When he reached home, his mother asked him for the money from the sale of the cow. But he told her he had been robbed of the cow by the man in the forest. She scolded him, and called him many harsh names, and took the broom to beat him. But when she took hold of him, he placed a little of the magical food in her mouth, and his mother, charmed with the taste, at once asked for more. He gave her the dish, and just as he had done at the man’s house, she ate and ate until she too was almost bursting, but she could not stop. When she pleaded with him to take the food away, he said, “I will take it away if you will not beat me,” and she agreed.

The next morning his mother sent Jack off to market with another cow. He passed the same house as on the previous day, and the same man was again sitting on the steps. The man asked him for the cow, but Jack, remembering what had happened the day before, hurried on without reply. Then the man took off the belt he was wearing and threw it down in the middle of the road. At once the belt leaped around both Jack and the cow, tying both tightly together. The man said he would let them free if Jack would give him the cow. But Jack refused. Then the belt began to tighten slowly; it got tighter and tighter, pressing Jack to the cow until he could hardly draw his breath. At last, when he could stand it no longer, he agreed to give up the cow, and the man set him free. In return Jack received the magic belt. When he reached home, his mother again asked him for the money from the sale of the cow. When he told her that he had again been robbed, she was more angry than before; she called him harsh names again, and rushed at him saying she would kill him. But Jack unclasped his magic belt, threw it on the floor, and at once it leaped around his mother, tying her hand and foot. As the belt became tighter and tighter, his mother began to gasp for breath, and cried out to be set free. But Jack said, “I will untie you, if you promise not to beat me.” So his mother, almost smothered, agreed. Then he untied her, and she kept her promise.

As the rent-day was near at hand, his mother resolved to try once more to sell a cow, and the next morning Jack was again sent to market driving the third cow. As he passed the same house by the side of the forest road, the man who had already taken two cows from him sat on the steps. He asked Jack to give him the cow he was driving, just as he had done before. But in answer, Jack picked up a large stone and threw it in anger at the man’s head. The man dodged the stone, and took from his pocket a small flute and began to play it. In spite of his efforts to keep still, Jack began to dance. The cow joined in the jig, and both danced and danced up and down the road and could not stop. They danced until Jack was tired out, but he could not stop, although he tried hard. He pleaded with the man to stop playing the flute. The man said, “I will stop if you will give me your cow.” But Jack had already lost two cows and he refused. “Then dance away,” said the man, and Jack danced until he was almost dropping. Finally he agreed to give up the cow. The dance was stopped, and in return for the cow, Jack received the magic flute.

When he reached home and told his mother that he had been robbed a third time, her rage knew no bounds. She said she would surely kill him this time, but as she sprang upon him, he began to play his flute. His mother began to dance, and when she ordered him to stop playing, he said, “I will stop if you promise not to beat me.” At first she refused, but as she danced until she was very tired, she finally agreed, and Jack escaped punishment. He found too that by playing another tune, he could call with his flute a great swarm of wasps which could not be seen by anyone but himself and which would obey all his commands.

The next day was the rent-day, and there was no money to pay the landlord. The widow was troubled, but Jack said, “I will pay him; be not troubled.” Soon the landlord and his servant drove up to the widow’s house. When they entered the house, the widow hid herself, for she did not want to meet the cruel landlord without her rent. But Jack met them and politely gave them seats. Then he offered them food after their long drive, and placed before them the dish of magical meat. And they ate and ate, just as Jack and his mother had done, and could not stop. At last they were almost bursting with the food, which grew no less on the dish, and they pleaded with Jack to take the dish away. Jack replied, “I will take it away if you will give up the farm to my mother, for we have paid you more rent than the farm is worth.” Finally the landlord, fearing he would burst, agreed. Jack removed the food, and the landlord returned to the town, leaving the farm to Jack and his mother.

Jack soon left the farm and all upon it to his mother, and started out to make his own fortune, taking with him his magic dish, belt and flute. He travelled far, and came at last to a town where a great man lived who had one beautiful daughter. She had many suitors, but she said that she would marry the man who could make her laugh three times. Jack resolved to make the trial, and went to the man’s house. He was an awkward, ugly fellow, and the girl looked on him, with great disgust, but she consented to let him make the trial. First Jack produced his magical dish, and offered it to the girl. She tasted the food and liked it so well that she ate more. She ate and ate as all who had eaten from it had done before her, until she cried out to have it taken away. But Jack would take it away on one condition—she must first laugh. Finally, when she too was almost bursting, she agreed, but she said to herself, “He will not make me laugh a second time.”

As soon as Jack had taken away the dish, the girl and her servants rushed upon him to punish him. But he threw down his magic belt, and at once they were all bound together in a heap, tied from head to foot. They begged to be untied. “I will untie you,” said Jack to the girl, “if you will laugh.” At first the girl refused, but as the belt slowly tightened, and she could stand it no longer, she agreed, and laughed feebly. Then Jack let them go.

No sooner were they set free than they rushed at Jack again to punish him. But he began to play on his flute, and at once the whole company began to dance. When they grew tired, they tried to stop, but they could not. They begged him to stop playing, but he replied, “I will stop when the girl laughs.” For a long time she refused, but when she became so weary of the dance that she could scarcely stand up she agreed, and laughed the third time.

Before Jack could claim her, her father heard what had happened, and he ordered Jack to be brought before him. When he saw such an ugly fellow, he too was disgusted, and said that Jack must be secretly put to death. So poor Jack was seized unexpectedly before he could use his magic aids and thrown into a cage of wild beasts. But when the beasts rushed upon him to eat him up he threw down his magic belt, and they were all tied up in a heap, while Jack escaped from the cage.

Meanwhile a very rich man had won the hand of the man’s daughter. On the day of the wedding Jack went again to the man’s house and waited. Just as the wedding ceremony was to begin, Jack went in; he sat behind a door in the corner and played a soft tune on his magic flute and called up a great swarm of wasps. The wasps could not be seen by any eyes but Jack’s, but they swarmed into the room. Jack told them to sting the rich man waiting at the altar to be the girl’s husband. At once the man, feeling them stinging, but unable to see anything, began to jump and scream like a madman. The people looked on in terror, believing that he had become suddenly crazy. The man jumped and yelled and slapped himself, until the girl declared that she would not marry a madman, and her father led her away and the people went out in great disorder. As the girl’s father went out, he saw Jack sitting behind the door. He was surprised to see that he had escaped from the wild beasts’ cage, for he believed that the beasts had eaten him up. He knew too that in some mysterious way Jack had been the cause of the uproar. Then the servants brought him word that the beasts in the cage were all tied up, and could not be set free. The man then knew that Jack had great power, so he sent for him and said, “You are a very wonderful man; you have won my daughter.” So with great joy and splendour the wedding took place. Jack built a great house, and when the girl’s father died, he received all his lands, and he lived happy ever afterwards with his bride, because of the magic dish and belt and flute he had taken in exchange for his cows.

THE GOAT AND THE HAM by Nevill Forbes

Once upon a time there lived a man and his wife, and they had a goat and a ram.

a gost and a ram

And one day the man said to his wife: “Look here, let’s get rid of the ram and the goat; why, they only keep eating our corn, and don’t help to feed us at all!”

So he told them: “Be off, goat and ram, and don’t dare to show yourselves at my gate ever again.”

So the goat and the ram made themselves a bag, and went off. And they went on and on, when suddenly they saw a wolf’s head lying in the middle of the field.

And they picked up the head, put it in their bag, and went on again. And they went on and on, when suddenly they saw a fire burning, and they said: “Let’s go and spend the night there, lest the wolves should eat us.”

But when they got there, lo and behold! it was the wolves themselves who were cooking their porridge, and so they said: “Good evening, young fellows, and good appetite to you!” And the wolves answered: “Good evening, Mr. Goat and Mr. Ram! We’re just boiling our porridge, come and have some, and then we’ll eat you both up.” At this the goat took fright, while as for the ram, his legs had been shaking with fear for some time. Then the goat began to think, and he thought and thought and at last he said: “Come now, Mr. Ram, let’s have a look at that wolf’s head you’ve got in your sack!” And the ram took out the wolf’s head, when the goat said: “No, not that one. Let’s have the other bigger one!” And again the ram gave him the same head, but he said: “No, not that one either! let’s have the largest of all!”

And the wolves looked, and thought the ram had a whole sackful of wolves’ heads, and each one of them said to himself: “Well, these are nice guests to have! I’d better hop off!” And first one said aloud to the others: “I like your company all right, brothers, but somehow, the porridge doesn’t seem to be boiling very well. I’ll just run and fetch some sticks to throw on the fire.” And as he went off, he thought to himself: “You and your company be bothered!”—and never came back.

Then the second wolf kept thinking how he could get away, and he said: “It seems very funny, our brother went to fetch the wood, but he hasn’t brought the wood, and hasn’t come back himself. I’ll just go and help him!”

So off he went too, and never came back. And the third wolf was left sitting there, and at last he said: “I must really go and hurry them up. What are they dawdling all this time for!” And as soon as he was gone, he set off running and never so much as looked back.

And at that the ram and the goat were delighted. They ate up all the porridge and then ran away themselves.

Meanwhile the wolves had all three met, and they said: “Look here, why were we three frightened of the goat and the ram? They’re no stronger than we, after all! Let’s go and do them in!”

But when they came back to the fire, there was not so much as a trace of them left. Then the wolves set off in pursuit, and at last they saw them, where they had climbed up a tree, the goat on an upper and the ram on a lower branch. So the eldest wolf lay down under the tree, and began to show his teeth, looking up at them, and waiting for them to climb down. And the ram, who was trembling all over from fright, suddenly fell down right on top of the wolf, and at the same minute the goat shouted out from up above: “There, that’s the one! get me the largest of all!” And the wolf was terrified, because he thought the ram had jumped down after him, and you should just have seen him run! And the other two followed after.

THE COCK AND THE BEAN by Valery Carrick

the-cock-and-the-bean
A cock was scratching one day in the earth under the wall of a cottage when he found a bean.


He tried to swallow it, and choked himself. He choked himself and stretched himself out, and there he lay, and couldn’t even breathe.


And his mistress saw him, ran up to him, and asked: “Mr. Cock, what makes you lie there like that, so that you can’t breathe?”

“I’ve choked myself with a bean,” he answered. “Go and ask the cow for some butter.”

And his mistress came to the cow and said: “Mrs. Cow, give me some butter! My cock is lying there and can’t even breathe, he has choked himself with a bean.”


And the cow answered: “Go and ask the hay-makers for some hay.”[Pg 4]


And she came to the hay-makers and said: “Hay-makers, give me some hay! The hay’s for the cow who will give me some butter, and the butter’s for my cock who is lying there and can’t breathe, he’s choked himself with a bean.” And the hay-makers answered: “Go and ask the oven to give you some loaves.”


And she came to the oven and said: “Oven, oven, give me some loaves! The loaves are for the hay-makers, who will give me some hay, the hay’s for the cow, who will give me some butter, and the butter’s for my cock who is lying there and can’t breathe, he’s choked himself with a bean.”

And the oven answered: “Go and ask the wood-cutters for some wood.”


And she came to the wood cutters and said: “Give me some wood! The wood’s for the oven, who will give me some loaves, the loaves are for the hay-cutters, who will give me some hay, the hay’s for the cow, who will give me some butter, the butter’s for my cock who is lying there and can’t breathe, he’s choked himself with a bean.”

And they answered: “Go and ask the smith for an axe, we’ve nothing to cut the wood with.”


So she came to the smith and said: “Smith, smith, give me an axe! The axe is for the wood-cutters, who will give me some wood, the wood’s for the oven, who will give me some loaves, the loaves are for the hay-makers, who will give me some hay, the hay’s for the cow, who will give me some butter, and the butter’s for my cock who is lying there and can’t breathe, he’s choked himself with a bean.” And he answered: “Go into the forest and burn me some charcoal.”


So she went into the forest, gathered a bundle of sticks, and burned some charcoal. Then she took the charcoal to the smith, and he gave her an axe. She went with the axe to the wood-cutters, and the wood-cutters gave her some wood. The wood she took to the oven, and the oven gave her some loaves.[Pg 9]


She took the loaves to the hay-makers, and the hay-makers gave her some hay. The hay she took to the cow, who gave her some butter. She brought the butter to the cock, and the cock gulped it down and swallowed the bean.


Then he jumped up merrily and started singing “Cock-a-doodle-doo! I was sitting under the wall, plaiting shoes, when I lost my awl, but I found a little coin, and I bought a little scarf, and gave it to a pretty girl.”


And that’s all about it.

Donkey

donkey

This patient and useful animal is supposed to have come at first from the East, where it still continues to be of a greater size and of a much better appearance. They were as valuable there in former ages as horses; great men and judges rode on asses. The ass is very fond of its foal, and can be attached to its master if kindly treated. Its milk is thought very good for consumptive people. It is very sure-footed, and strong, and able to carry heavy burdens. Continue reading