Seligor's Castle, fun for all the children of the world. Nowhere Land
SELIGOR'S CASTLE INVITES YOU TO AN ARABIAN WEDDING.
Yunus and the Well of Sweetness
An Arabian Tale
Once upon a time there lived a man called Yunus, who
wanted to get married. He had often seen a pretty girl at the window of his neighbour's
house, and wondered if she were of marriageable age.
He went to his neighbour, and said: "Brother,
have you any objection to me as a son-in-law? I think you have a daughter who would suit
The neighbour answered: "Yes, indeed I have one
girl left who really should be married now. But there is one snag."
"And what is that?" asked Yunus.
"Well, you see, she has got such a very bad
temper that I hate to inflict her upon anyone, least of all such a good friend as
yourself," said the other. "The only thing which must be done before she marries
is almost impossible, I'm afraid. No one would go to all that trouble for my little
Fatima, I'm sure."
"Tell me about it, please," said Yunus,
"and if it is in my power, I will do it."
"I have been told," said the girl's
father, "that three drops of water from the Well of Sweetness will be enough to cure
any woman's bad temper."
"Let me go, then," said Yunus. "Where
is the Well to be found ?"
"The old woman who begs on the steps of the
mosque knows," said the neighbour. "It has to be brought back in a tiny bottle,
which just holds three drops. But my dear Yunus, do not put yourself to so much
"Think nothing of it," replied Yunus
cheerfully, "I shall set off today." He bought a small bottle in the market, and
went off to the old woman who was seated on the mosque steps with a begging bowl in her
"Where is the Well of Sweetness?" asked
Yunus, dropping a coin into the bowl.
"Seven days to the West, and seven days to the
East, there you will find the river. Cross that, and you will come to the country where a
Giant lives. Ask him, he will tell you what you want to know," she said.
Yunus traveled on and at last arrived at the river.
The ferryman rowed him across, and Yunus asked him, "Where does the Giant live?"
"In that direction," the ferryman told
him. "He has a cave in those mountains. But be polite when you speak to him, or he
will hit you with his great club."
It was a long, weary walk, and when he arrived at
the foot of the mountains, Yunus lay down and went to sleep. When he woke, he felt very
warm and comfortable, and thought at first he must be in his own bed at home. But when he
opened his eyes, he saw that he was lying in the palm of a gigantic hand.
"Hah-hah, little mortal, so you have come to
visit me, have you?" said the Giant. "Who are you, and what do you want?"
"Most noble Giant," said Yunus, politely,
"peace be upon you! I have come to ask you where I may find the Well of Sweetness. I
only want three drops to take back to the girl I wish to marry, because she has a very bad
"If you had not replied so courteously,"
said the Giant, "I would have crushed you like a fly! However, since I do not get
many visitors who address me respectfully, I will tell you.
"Here, inside my cave, is a secret passage
guarded by a three-headed dragon. Go along the passage, and when you see the dragon, say
ŒBy leave of Suliman, Son of David (upon whom be peace!), let me pass!' and the
dragon will let you through to the Well."
The Giant then put Yunus down on the ground, and he
entered the cave with beating heart. Sure enough, as he proceeded down the passage which
the Giant showed him, there was a three-headed dragon, breathing fire and lashing a long
green tail. "By leave of Suliman, Son of David (upon whom be peace!), let me
pass!" said Yunus, and the dragon let him continue without doing him any harm.
After a long time there was a shaft of light ahead,
and Yunus saw a beautiful fairy pulling up a bucket of water from a deep well.
"Peace be upon you!" said he, and the
enchanted creature replied in a sweet voice, "Peace to you, mortal; come, I will fill
your bottle for you." She did so, and handed it back to Yunus. He was so delighted,
he kissed the fairy's hand in gratitude, but as he did, she disappeared.
Now he had to go back the way he had come, and it
seemed twice as difficult as it had been before. The sharp stones cut his feet, and his
hands were bruised as he felt his way in the gloomy rock-hewn passage.
At last he reached the fire-breathing dragon, but as
soon as its six blazing eyes looked in his direction he said the magical sentence, and it
allowed him to go past.
He got to the Giant's cave once more, and showed him
the tiny bottle of water.
"Hah-hah, little mortal," said the Giant,
"you have got what you wanted. Now you must work for me for a year and a day, and
then you may go home."
So Yunus served the Giant for a year and a day,
cutting grass for his goats, which were milked every day, and cooking the Giant's evening
meal in a big pot. He washed the dishes, hung the huge shirts out on the bushes to dry,
and kept the fire alight. When a year and a day had gone, the Giant was so pleased with
him that he gave him a bag of gold, and allowed him to go home with the best of goodwill.
Yunus's neighbour came out of his house and said,
"Oh, my dear friend, I am so pleased to see you. Why have you been so long away? Did
you get the water from the Well of Sweetness? We were afraid that something had happened
So Yunus told him all that had occurred, and handed
over the bottle containing the three drops of magic water.
Then he went home to his mother's house, and dressed
himself in his best clothes, ready for the wedding. The Kadi came to perform the ceremony,
and they went together to the neighbour's house.
After the contract had been signed, the bride
appeared, veiled and jeweled, and Yunus felt himself to be the happiest man in the world.
The bride's father gave the signal for the feast to begin, and everyone ate and drank to
their heart's content.
That night Yunus took off his wife's veil, and found
her to be as beautiful as anyone could wish. Her voice, when she spoke, was as sweet and
soft as the cooing of a dove.
"Ah, dear wife," said Yunus, "what
wonders there are in the world, Allah be praised! If I had not gone to get that water from
the Well of Sweetness, I doubt if I would be as happy as I am to hear your voice
"Whatever do you mean, husband?" she
asked. "My voice has always been like this."
"But your father told me that you were so bad
tempered that only three drops of water from the Well of Sweetness would cure you,"
At that the girl threw back her head and laughed.
Yunus demanded to know why she was making such fun of him, and shook her until she
"It was not I who had the bad temper," she
said, "but my dear mother! My father was tormented by her spiteful tongue, and her
rages. He was told by a wise man that a complete change would come over her if only she
could have three drops of the magical water on her tongue. So, he decided that anyone who
asked for me in marriage should go for the water so that my mother would be cured and my
father saved from an early grave!"
Then Yunus laughed too, and was grateful that at
least he would now have a good-tempered mother-in-law. His new wife and he were so happy
together that they never had a cross word the whole of their lives.
NOWHERELAND COMES TO YOU TODAY WITH THIS LOVELY VERSE
THIS IS MY SPECIAL VERSE OF THE MONTH
FOR EVERY CHILD In the gardens of the great,
Roses grow in royal state;
Lilies tall and beautiful
We may see, but must not cull.
But along the hedgerow ways,
Modest violets greet our gaze,
And within the meadows wild
Daisies grow for every child.
There are noble deeds and great
We may never emulate;
Heroes fame that travels wide,
While at home we needs must bide.
But about us, close to view,
There are kind acts we may do;
And in gentle hearts and mild,
Graces grow for every child.
I love this wee verse,
And I am going to place
It on the Home Pages,
Of all four of my web sites.
Jasper turned to the bristly sailor who stood in the center of the deck, expertly coiling a rope in his muscular hands. "Is it true that if you steal a mermaid's girdle, she must grant you a wish?" The sailor shrugged. "'It's possible. I've been up `n' down this spot dozens o' times an' not a hint o' a woman or even halfo' one." "But Square Cut Bay is famed for mermaids throughout the world! Half my reason for taking this route around Calithwain instead of the shorter overland trip was to feast on their beauty with my own eyes. And maybe," Jasper added, nervously licking his lips, "just maybe have a wish granted to me as well." A cluster of sailors who'd apparently been listening in, burst into hearty gales of laughter. Jasper glared at them. "You may think I've no sense, wearing the robes of a scholar instead of your rags or a soldier's armor, but I know what I've read. I'm not big or strong but I'm wise. Calithwain is different; everyone knows magic abounds here. There are ways to steal a mermaid's girdle, and then you can just go about begging for jobs if my wish is to own all the merchant ships in the country." "Or you could wish for the mermaid to marry you," a sailor pointed out. Jasper found himself grinning triumphantly. Finally they were taking him seriously. "Aye, I could. Or court any girl on the land with the treasure I'll win."
"Of course, she'll have a time walkin' up the aisle with her tail flopping about," the sailor finished. Jasper stalked to the rail, staring out into the black, murky ocean. The moon's reflection on the waves gleamed just like a piece of silver. Jasper would be seeing silver pieces that large and more once he found the mermaid he searched for. All of his books said that this was the place. For all he knew, a mermaid might be swimming under the boat even as he stood there. Wouldn't that surprise the men who had moved on to even stupider jokes now, such as how many mermaids it took to light a candle.
The next day, the ship stopped to take on water and supplies at Fisher's Village. Jasper wandered away, after making certain that the ship wouldn't leave until sunrise the next morning. Fascination with mermaids or no, he had a job waiting for him cataloging books in Lotorinum, and couldn't delay it only to search for an elusive and possibly mythical mermaid. As he walked along the pier, thinking thoughts of mermaids and wishes, not to mention the arrogant sailors, he heard a splash off in the distance. Probably a fish. Yet he moved closer to the pier's edge, staring into the mists hard enough to part them and reveal his elusive quarry.
After a moment, Jasper stepped back. It had been a fish after all. He resumed his walk, deciding to stroll into the inn and have some food that hadn't been rotting in a barrel for weeks before consumption. There was another splash now, closer to the pier. But there was hardly any point to straining his eyes looking for another-- A feminine giggle cut through the soft murmur of the waves and Jasper's head dropped like a load of rocks. There, beside the pier, a lovely head bobbed above the level of the water. Soft, green-gold ringlets, blue eyes deep and wide enough to drown in. Her grin seemed warm and amused, lips parted slightly to display even, white teeth. Her skin was a warm, honey brown that glistened damply in the sunlight. All he could see was her head and bare shoulders but Jasper knew, with all his heart and soul, that this was no village maid out for a swim. A living,genuine mermaid floated beside the very pier that he stood on. "Hello," she said, giving him an artful smile that made his heart skip a beat. She was breathtaking, no question of that. Jasper regretted that he looked like a tall, brown-haired beanpole in his old fashioned robes. For a moment, he found himself fantasizing about wishing her to be a human and his wife. But no, mermaids were tricky creatures, and wealth a far more secure choice. Finally he realized that she was waiting for him to answer. He should say something that would show off his incredible knowledge and learning and leave her captivated. Perhaps she'd even choose to wed him without his wasting a wish. "Er, hello." Jasper winced inwardly. Hardly the most original thing he could've chosen to say. Still, the mermaid hadn't left yet. "Come swim with me," she said. "The water's lovely. Just take my hand." Jasper's smile was wholehearted now, for at last he was on familiar ground. Mermaids sometimes tried to drown people, and were far stronger than they looked. If he took that lovely, delicate hand, he would be completely at her mercy. "All right," he said. "Reach up a little higher." The mermaid rose slowly out of the water. She was highenough that he could see her pink clamshell top that clung to her upper body. Below that was her bare stomach, encircled by an intricate webbing of tiny gold and purple seashells, none of them larger than a fingertip. Jasper reached out and lightly took her outstretched hand with one of his own. With his other hand, he reached out lightning fast and snatched away the girdle of shells that hung around her waist. He let go of her and stood, smiling as he held her girdle far out of reach, gleaming in the light. "You owe me a wish." "So I do," she said. The mermaid didn't seem angry with him; she smiled and actually seemed amused. Amazed by his cleverness, he supposed. "And what will you wish for?" she asked. He had pondered the question for months. Years in fact. "I want a pile of gold as tall and wide as I am." Simple, direct, and above all practical. She laughed. The mermaid giggled a bit at first, then finally burst into spasms of laughter, rolling in the water and clutching her perfect, smooth stomach as if it was the funniest thing she'd ever heard. "What? What is it? Can't you grant me that?" Finally, the mermaid finally managed to compose herself. "The question is, why would you want it?" "I'd be rich. And then I could devote myself to studies and travel as I've always wished. I could see all of the magnificent sights that I've read and dreamed of. Like you." She smiled prettily at the compliment. "But you'd have no way to transport it. Would you carry it coin by coin onto the ship? Gold's heavy, you know. Or ask the crew to help and trust them not to steal?" "Well, I-" "If you had any sense, you'd wish for a house filled with gold, and then you'd have somewhere to store it." "That's a good idea. I wish-" "But why just a house? I could build you a palace. Make you a king, even. "You could? Kings can have everything in the world!" "Of course. But then I suppose you wouldn't have much leisure to study. And if you were a king who spent all his time closed away with books, the people would probably revolt." "Oh. I suppose I could wish for wisdom." This last suggestion was a bit halfhearted, and the mermaid seized on his indecision immediately. "But even if you asked to be the wisest person in the world, the next baby born might have more than you. And don't you have enough wisdom already? For instance, I'm sure you're smart enough not to wish for fame." "Fame. You're right, of course. I'd never get anything done if people flocked from miles around just to see me." Jasper scratched his head. He was starting to run out of possibilities. "Perhaps I should choose something unique, like a magic wand." "Carefully now. Magic rarely works in quite the way people expect. And worse, people with magical items generally become overconfident. Magic trinkets have a tendency to fizzle out when they're most needed, leaving you dead, or worse. Jasper could feel the crease in his forehead deepening. "I'm sick of all these games! What would you wish for?" The mermaid beamed; there was no other way to describe it. This was a long distance from her amused giggle or careful smile to trap a man and drag him into the water. For one, perfect moment she actually seemed to glow. It was as if she'd waited her entire life for someone to ask that question. She hesitated, as if trying to come up with the most perfect way to describe the thought echoing in her lovely head. "An indestructible book of stories, that could survive storm and flood, and filled with the most wondrous, magical tales in the history of the world." "What?" "Stories are the most precious thing that people have. A book of such stories is far more valuable than gold, kingdoms, or even wisdom. A person who could share such stories with others would be loved and cherished far more than any mere scholar ever could be. As a wise man of the world, I'm sure you know this in your heart." "You really believe that?" The mermaid nodded silently, face still shining like a ray of sunshine at her description of the perfect wish. "Then that's what I'll take. I wish for the perfect storybook, one that is protected from all damage and contains." "The most wonderful, enchanting tales ever read," the mermaid prompted. "The most wonderful, enchanting tales ever read," he said. "Done!" the mermaid said happily. With a flourish of her hand, a beautiful book appeared in her outstretched palms, covered in gold curlicues and the most cunning little pictures. Its red leather cover was tough and indestructible, yet refracted the sunlight like a living thing. It was as wide as half a table, and must've weighed a great deal. Jasper stretched out his hands for it. The moment he'd made his wish, the girdle has vanished from his hands, leaving them free to accept the immense volume. "Thank you," he told her. "No, thank you!" the mermaid said. With a saucy flick of her shining, green tail, she dived into the sea, and vanished from sight, leaving barely a ripple. Only after she had completely disappeared did Jasper realize that she had never given him the book. He stared disappointedly at his empty hands. His books had told him of mermaids' strength and beauty, but had failed to mention their exceptional cleverness. "Hey, scholar, caught any mermaids yet?" a sailor's voice called from the tavern. Jasper shook his head. "You were right," he said. "They're only a myth." "Oh thank you, Aunt Pearl, it's lovely," cried the little mergirl as she rushed to embrace her favorite relative. The book of magical stories now occupied a place of honor between the most beautiful china doll ever seen and a glittering, bouncing ball that would always return to a person's hand. Other, less useful items such as giant lumps of gold or half-spent potions of invisibility lay piled in the corners. "I'm glad you like it, darling," her Aunt Pearl said. "If we are the ones granting wishes to everyone greedy or lazy enough to steal our girdles instead of finding an honest job, we may as well reap the benefits of it. What a pity only humans can make our wishes for us. I'm just glad they're so easy to fool, all because they want far more than is good for them. I hope you'll remember that." "Yes, Aunt Pearl," the child said dutifully, as she thumbed through the pages of her new storybook. The girl didn't understand how greedy and foolish humans were, of course. But she would someday. Soon enough, she'd be swimming to the surface and tempting mortals with her girdle to bring treasures to some other little merboy or mergirl.
The Spirit of an Akita Dog
I was standing on
a hillside in a field of blowing wheat
And the spirit of my Akita dog appeared suddenly at my feet.
She looked at me
with kind dark eyes an ancient wisdom shining through
And in the essence of her being I saw her love for me, too.
Her mind did
lock upon my heart as I stood there on that day
Then she told me of this story about a place so far away.
I stood upon
that hillside in a field of blowing wheat
And in a twinkling of a second her spirit left my feet.
Her tale put my
heart at ease my fears did fade away She helped me know where she had gone when she left me on that day.
"I live among
God's creatures now in the heavens of your mind
So do not grieve for me, my friend as I am with my kind.
My collar is a
rainbow's hue my leash a shooting star My boundaries are the Milky Way where I sparkle from afar.
There are no
pens or kennels here for I am not confined
But free to roam God's heavens among my Akita kind.
I nap the day on
a snowy cloud gentle breezes rocking me
And dream the dreams of earthlings and how it used to be.
The trees are
full of liver treats and tennis balls abound
Chew bones line the walkways just waiting to be found.
There even is a
ring set up the grass all lush and green
And everyone who gaits around becomes the Best of Breed.
For we're all
winners in this place we have no faults, you see
And God passes out those ribbons to each everyone, even me.
I drink from
waters laced with gold my world a beauty to behold
And wise old dogs do form my pride to amble at my very side.
At night I sleep
in an angel's arms her wings protecting me
And moonbeams dance about us as stardust falls on thee.
You picture me
as I was on earth just before I died
The pain is gone I am whole again filled with Akita pride.
So when your
life on earth is spent and you stand at Heaven's gate
Have no fear of loneliness for here, you know I wait. "
Author Unknown –
Adapted For All Akitas Who Died Too Young
"The Secret Garden". what better to have in "Nowhere Land" Brilliant!
NO-WHERE LAND The Beetle who went on his Travels
THERE was once an Emperor who had a horse shod with gold. He had a golden shoe on each foot, and why was this? He was a beautifulcreature, with slender legs, bright, intelligent eyes, and a mane thathung down over his neck like a veil. He had carried his master through fire and smoke in the battle-field, with the bullets whistling roundhim; he had kicked and bitten, and taken part in the fight, when theenemy advanced; and, with his master on his back, he had dashed overthe fallen foe, and saved the golden crown and the Emperor`s life,which was of more value than the brightest gold. This is the reason ofthe Emperor`s horse wearing golden shoes. A beetle came creeping forth from the stable, where the farrierhad been shoeing the horse. "Great ones, first, of course," said he,"and then the little ones; but size is not always a proof ofgreatness." He stretched out his thin leg as he spoke. "And pray what do you want?" asked the farrier."Golden shoes," replied the beetle. "Why, you must be out of your senses," cried the farrier. Golden shoes for you, indeed!" "Yes, certainly; golden shoes," replied the beetle. "Am I not just as good as that great creature yonder, who is waited upon and brushed,and has food and drink placed before him? And don`t I belong to the royal stables?""But why does the horse have golden shoes?" asked the farrier;"of course you understand the reason?" "Understand! Well, I understand that it is a personal slight to me," cried the beetle. "It is done to annoy me, so I intend to go out into the world and seek my fortune." "Go along with you," said the farrier."You're a rude fellow," cried the beetle, as he walked out of the stable; and then he flew for a short distance, till he foundhimself in a beautiful flower-garden, all fragrant with roses and lavender. The lady-birds, with red and black shells on their backs, and delicate wings, were flying about, and one of them said, "Is it not sweet and lovely here? Oh, how beautiful everything is." "I am accustomed to better things," said the beetle. "Do you call this beautiful? Why, there is not even a dung-heap." Then he went on, and under the shadow of a large haystack he found a caterpillar crawling along. "How beautiful this world is!" said the caterpillar. "The sun is so warm, I quite enjoy it. And soon I shall go to sleep,and die as they call it, but I shall wake up with beautiful wings to fly with, like a butterfly.""How conceited you are!" exclaimed the beetle. "Fly about as a butterfly, indeed! what of that. I have come out of the Emperor`s stable, and no one there, not even the Emperor`s horse, who, in fact, wears my cast-off golden shoes, has any idea of flying, excepting myself. To have wings and fly! why, I can do that already;" and so saying, he spread his wings and flew away. "I don`t want to be disgusted," he said to himself, "and yet I can`t help it." Soon after, he fell down upon an extensive lawn, and for a time pretended to sleep, but at last fell asleep in earnest. Suddenly a heavy shower of rain came falling from the clouds. The beetle woke up with the noise and would have been glad to creep into the earth forshelter, but he could not. He was tumbled over and over with the rain, sometimes swimming on his stomach and sometimes on his back; and asfor flying, that was out of the question. He began to doubt whether he should escape with his life, so he remained, quietly lying where he was. Afte a while the weather cleared up a little, and the beetle was able to rub the water from his eyes, and look about him. He saw something gleaming, and he managed to make his way up to it. It was linen which had been laid to bleach on the grass. He crept into a fold of the damp linen, which certainly was not so comfortable a place to lie in as the warm stable, but there was nothing better, so he remained lying there for a whole day and night, and the rain kept on all the time. Towards morning he crept out of his hiding-place, feeling in a very bad temper with the climate. Two frogs were sitting on the linen, and their bright eyes actually glistened with pleasure."Wonderful weather this," cried one of them, "and so refreshing. This linen holds the water together so beautifully, that my hind legs quiver as if I were going to swim."
"I should like to know," said another, "If the swallow who flies so far in her many journeys to foreign lands, ever met with a betterclimate than this. What delicious moisture! It is as pleasant as lyingin a wet ditch. I am sure any one who does not enjoy this has nolove for his fatherland.""Have you ever been in the Emperor`s stable?" asked the beetle."There the moisture is warm and refreshing; that`s the climate for me,but I could not take it with me on my travels. Is there not even a dunghill here in this garden, where a person of rank, like myself, could take up his abode and feel at home?" But the frogs either did not or would not understand him."I never ask a question twice," said the beetle, after he had asked this one three times, and received no answer. Then he went on a little farther and stumbled against a piece of broken crockery,which certainly ought not to have been lying there. But as it was there, it formed a good shelter against wind and weather to several families of earwigs who dwelt in it. Their requirements were not many, they were very sociable, and full of affection for their children, so much so that each mother considered her own child the most beautiful and clever of them all."Our dear son has engaged himself," said one mother, "dear innocent boy; his greatest ambition is that he may one day creep into a clergyman`s ear. That is avery artless and loveable wish; and being engaged will keep him steady. What happiness for a mother!"
"Our son," said another, "had scarcely crept out of the egg, when he was off on his travels. He is all life and spirits, I expect he will wear out his horns with running. How charming this is for a mother, is it not Mr. Beetle?" for she knew the stranger by his horny coat. "You are both quite right," said he; so they begged him to walk in, that is to come as far as he could under the broken piece of earthenware. "Now you shall also see my little earwigs," said a third and a fourth mother, "they are lovely little things, and highly amusing. They are never ill-behaved, except when they are uncomfortable in their inside, which unfortunately often happens at their age." Thus each mother spoke of her baby, and their babies talked after their own fashion, and made use of the little nippers they have in their tails to nip the beard of the beetle. "They are always busy about something, the little rogues," said the mother, beaming with maternal pride; but the beetle felt it a bore, and he therefore inquired the way to the nearest dung-heap. "That is quite out in the great world, on the other side of the ditch," answered an earwig, "I hope none of my children will ever go so far, it would be the death of me." "But I shall try to get so far," said the beetle, and he walked off without taking any formal leave, which is considered a polite thing to do. When he arrived at the ditch, he met several friends, all them beetles; "We live here," they said, "and we are very comfortable. May we ask you to step down into this rich mud, you must be fatigued after your journey." "Certainly," said the beetle, "I shall be most happy; I have been exposed to the rain, and have had to lie upon linen, and cleanliness is a thing that greatly exhausts me; I have also pains in one of my wings from standing in the draught under a piece of broken crockery. It is really quite refreshing to be with one`s own kindred again." "Perhaps you came from a dung-heap," observed the oldest of them. "No, indeed, I came from a much grander place," replied the beetle; "I came from the emperor`s stable, where I was born, with golden shoes on my feet. I am travelling on a secret embassy, but you must not ask me any questions, for I cannot betray my secret." Then the beetle stepped down into the rich mud, where sat three young-lady beetles, who tittered, because they did not know what to say. "None of them are engaged yet," said their mother, and the beetle maidens tittered again, this time quite in confusion. "I have never seen greater beauties, even in the royal stables," exclaimed the beetle, who was now resting himself. "Don`t spoil my girls," said the mother; "and don`t talk to them, pray, unless you have serious intentions." But of course the beetle`s intentions were serious, and after a while our friend was engaged. The mother gave them her blessing, and all the other beetles cried "hurrah." Immediately after the betrothal came the marriage, for there was no reason to delay. The following day passed very pleasantly, and the next was tolerably comfortable; but on the third it became necessary for him to think of getting food for his wife, and, perhaps, for children. "I have allowed myself to be taken in," said our beetle to himself, "and now there`s nothing to be done but to take them in, in return." No sooner said than done. Away he went, and stayed away all day and all night, and his wife remained behind a forsaken widow. "Oh," said the other beetles, "this fellow that we have received into our family is nothing but a complete vagabond. He has gone away and left his wife a burden upon our hands." "Well, she can be unmarried again, and remain here with my other daughters," said the mother. "Fie on the villain that forsook her!" In the mean time the beetle, who had sailed across the ditch on a cabbage leaf, had been journeying on the other side. In the morning two persons came up to the ditch. When they saw him they took him up and turned him over and over, looking very learned all the time, especially one, who was a boy. "Allah sees the black beetle in the black stone, and the black rock. Is not that written in the Koran?" he asked. Then he translated the beetle`s name into Latin, and said a great deal upon the creature`s nature and history. The second person, who was older and a scholar, proposed to carry the beetle.home, as they wanted just such good specimens as this. Our beetle considered this speech a great insult, so he flew suddenly out of the speaker`s hand. His wings were dry now, so they carried him to a great distance, till at last he reached a hothouse, where a sash of the glass roof was partly open, so he quietly slipped in and buried himself in the warm earth. "It is very comfortable here," he said to himself, and soon after fell asleep. Then he dreamed that the emperor`s horse was dying, and had left him his golden shoes, and also promised that he should have two more. All this was very delightful, and when the beetle woke up he crept forth and looked around him. What a splendid place the hothouse was! At the back, large palm-trees were growing; and the sunlight made the leaves- look quite glossy; and beneath them what a profusion of luxuriant green, and of flowers red like flame, yellow as amber, or white as new-fallen snow! "What a wonderful quantity of plants," cried the beetle; "how good they will taste when they are decayed! This is a capital store-room. There must certainly be some relations of mine living here; I will just see if I can find any one with whom I can associate. I`m proud, certainly; but I`m also proud of being so. Then he prowled about in the earth, and thought what a pleasant dream that was about the dying horse, and the golden shoes he had inherited. Suddenly a hand seized the beetle, and squeezed him, and turned him round and round. The gardener`s little son and his playfellow had come into the hothouse, and, seeing the beetle, wanted to have some fun with him. First, he was wrapped, in a vine-leaf, and put into a warm trousers` pocket. He twisted and turned about with all his might, but he got a good squeeze from the boy`s hand, as a hint for him to keep quiet. Then the boy went quickly towards a lake that lay at the end of the garden. Here the beetle was put into an old broken wooden shoe, in which a little stick had been fastened upright for a mast, and to this mast the beetle was bound with a piece of worsted. Now he was a sailor, and had to sail away. The lake was not very large, but to the beetle it seemed an ocean, and he was so astonished at its size that he fell over on his back, and kicked out his legs.
Then the little ship sailed away; sometimes the current of the water seized it, but whenever it went too far from the shore one of the boys turned up his trousers, and went in after it, and brought it back to land. But at last, just as it went merrily out again, the two boys were called, and so angrily, that they hastened to obey, and ran away as fast as they could from the pond, so that the little ship was left to its fate. It was carried away farther and farther from the shore, till it reached the open sea. This was a terrible prospect for the beetle, for he could not escape in consequence of being bound to the mast. Then a fly came and paid him a visit.
"What beautiful weather," said the fly; "I shall rest here and sun myself. You must have a pleasant time of it." "You speak without knowing the facts," replied the beetle; "don`t you see that I am a prisoner?" "Ah, but I`m not a prisoner," remarked the fly, and away he flew. "Well, now I know the world," said the beetle to himself; "it`s an abominable world; I`m the only respectable person in it. First, they refuse me my golden shoes; then I have to lie on damp linen, and to stand in a draught; and to crown all, they fasten a wife upon me. Then, when I have made a step forward in the world, and found out a comfortable position, just as I could wish it to be, one of these human boys comes and ties me up, and leaves me to the mercy of the wild waves, while the emperor`s favorite horse goes prancing about proudly on his golden shoes. This vexes me more than anything. But it is useless to look for sympathy in this world. My career has been very interesting, but what`s the use of that if nobody knows anything about it? The world does not deserve to be made acquainted with my adventures, for it ought to have given me golden shoes when the emperor`s horse was shod, and I stretched out my feet to be shod, too. If I had received golden shoes I should have been an ornament to the stable; now I am lost to the stable and to the world. It is all over with me." But all was not yet over. A boat, in which were a few young girls, came rowing up. "Look, yonder is an old wooden shoe sailing along," said one of the younger girls."And there`s a poor little creature bound fast in it," said another. The boat now came close to our beetle`s ship, and the young girls fished it out of the water. One of them drew a small pair of scissors from her pocket, and cut the worsted without hurting the beetle, and when she stepped on shore she placed him on the grass. "There," she said, "creep away, or fly, if thou canst. It is a splendid thing to have thy liberty."
Away flew the beetle, straight through the open window of a large building; there he sank down, tired and exhausted, exactly on the mane of the emperor`s favorite horse, who was standing in his stable; and the beetle found himself at home again. For some time he clung to the mane, that he might recover himself. "Well," he said, "here I am, seated on the Emperor`s favorite horse,- sitting upon him as if I were the emperor himself. But what was it the farrier asked me? Ah, I remember now,- that`s a good thought,- he asked me why the golden shoes were given to the horse. The answer is quite clear to me, now. They were given to the horse on my account." And this reflection put the beetle into a good temper. The sun`s rays also came streaming into the stable, and shone upon him, and made the place lively and bright. "Travelling expands the mind very much," said the beetle. "The world is not so bad after all, if you know how to take things as they come.
MATILDA Who told Lies, and was Burned to Death
Matildatold such Dreadful Lies, it made one Gasp and Stretch one's Eyes; Her Aunt who from her Earliest Youth, had kept a Strict Regard for Truth. Attempted to Believe Matilda: the effort very nearly killed her, And would have done so had not She Discovered this Infirmity. For once, towards the Close of Day, Matilda, growing tired of play, And finding she was left alone, went tiptoe to the Telephone And summoned the Immediate Aid of London's Noble Fire-Brigade. Within an hour the Gallant Band were pouring in on every hand, From Putney, Hackney Downs and Bow with Courage high and Hearts aglow They galloped, roaring through the Town, "Matilda's House is Burning Down!" Inspired by British Cheers and Loud Proceeding from the Frenzied Crowd, They ran their ladders through a score of windows on the Ball Room Floor; And took Peculiar Pains to Souse the Pictures up and down the House, Until Matilda's Aunt succeeded In showing them they were not needed; And even then she had to pay to get the men to go away! * * * * * It happened that a few Weeks later her Aunt was off to the Theatre To see that Interesting Play "The Second Mrs Tanqueray" She refused to take her Niece to hear this Entertaining Piece: A Deprivation Just and Wise to punish her for telling Lies. That Night a Fire did break out - you should have heard Matilda shout! You should have heard her Scream and Bawl and throw the window up and call To People passing in the Street - (The Rapidly increasing Heat Encouraging her to obtain their confidence) but all in vain! For every time She shouted "Fire!" they only answered "Little Liar!" And therefore when her Aunt returned, Matilda, and the House, were Burned.
This wee story/poem was written along time ago byHilaire Belloc (1870-1953) he actually wrote it in 1907.
NOW YOU HAVE MET MATILDA. YOU HAVE SEEN WHAT A SILLY GIRL SHE WAS, BUT IT COULD JUST AS EASILY BEEN ANY BOY OR GIRL. I THINK, WHAT WE HAVE ALL SEEN, BY READING THIS LITTLE TALE, IS THAT WE MUST NEVER, EVER PLAY WITH FIRE OF ANY SORT, MATCHES, LIGHTERS, TEA LIGHTS, CANDLES. BEING BURNT TO DEATH IS HORRIBLE, LOSING YOUR HOME AND ALL YOUR TOYS IS TERRIBLE AND EVEN IF YOU SURVIVE, YOU WILL ALWAYS BEAR THE SCARS, NOT NECCESSARILY ON YOUR BODY BUT ALWAYS IN YOUR MIND. WE MUST ALWAYS ASK A GROWN UP IF WE NEED HELP WITH ANYTHING THAT IS DANGEROUS.