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The Story Hour   By: (1859-1934)

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First Page:

Juliet Sutherland, Charles Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team

THE STORY HOUR

A BOOK FOR THE HOME AND THE KINDERGARTEN

BY

KATE DOUGLAS WIGGIN

AND

NORA A. SMITH

Therefore ear and heart open to the genuine story teller, as flowers open to the spring sun and the May rain. FRIEDRICH FROEBEL

CONTENTS.

INTRODUCTION. Kate Douglas Wiggin

PREFACE. Kate Douglas Wiggin and Nora A. Smith

THE ORIOLE'S NEST. Kate Douglas Wiggin

DICKY SMILY'S BIRTHDAY. Kate Douglas Wiggin

AQUA; OR, THE WATER BABY. Kate Douglas Wiggin

MOUFFLOU. Adapted from Ouida by Nora A. Smith

BENJY IN BEASTLAND. Adapted from Mrs. Ewing by Kate Douglas Wiggin and Nora A. Smith

THE PORCELAIN STOVE. Adapted from Ouida by Kate Douglas Wiggin

THE BABES IN THE WOOD. E. S. Smith

THE STORY OF CHRISTMAS. Nora A. Smith

THE FIRST THANKSGIVING DAY. Nora A. Smith

LITTLE GEORGE WASHINGTON. Part I. Nora A. Smith

GREAT GEORGE WASHINGTON. Part II. Nora A. Smith

THE MAPLE LEAF AND THE VIOLET. Nora A. Smith

MRS. CHINCHILLA. Kate Douglas Wiggin

A STORY OF THE FOREST. Nora A. Smith

PICCOLA. Nora A. Smith

THE CHILD AND THE WORLD. Kate Douglas Wiggin

WHEN I WAS A LITTLE GIRL. Kate Douglas Wiggin

FROEBEL'S BIRTHDAY. Nora A. Smith

INTRODUCTION.

Story telling, like letter writing, is going out of fashion. There are no modern Scheherezades, and the Sultans nowadays have to be amused in a different fashion. But, for that matter, a hundred poetic pastimes of leisure have fled before the relentless Hurry Demon who governs this prosaic nineteenth century. The Wandering Minstrel is gone, and the Troubadour, and the Court of Love, and the King's Fool, and the Round Table, and with them the Story Teller.

"Come, tell us a story!" It is the familiar plea of childhood. Unhappy he who has not been assailed with it again and again. Thrice miserable she who can be consigned to worse than oblivion by the scathing criticism, "She doesn't know any stories!" and thrice blessed she who is recognized at a glance as a person likely to be full to the brim of them.

There are few preliminaries and no formalities when the Person with a Story is found. The motherly little sister stands by the side of her chair, two or three of the smaller fry perch on the arms, and the baby climbs up into her lap (such a person always has a capacious lap), and folds his fat hands placidly. Then there is a deep sigh of blissful expectation and an expressive silence, which means, "Now we are ready, please; and if you would be kind enough to begin it with 'Once upon a time,' we should be much obliged; though of course we understand that all the stories in the world can't commence that way, delightful as it would be."

The Person with a Story smiles obligingly (at least it is to be hoped that she does), and retires into a little corner of her brain, to rummage there for something just fitted to the occasion. That same little corner is densely populated, if she is a lover of children. In it are all sorts of heroic dogs, wonderful monkeys, intelligent cats, naughty kittens; virtues masquerading seductively as fairies, and vices hiding in imps; birds agreeing and disagreeing in their little nests, and inevitable small boys in the act of robbing them; busy bees laying up their winter stores, and idle butterflies disgracefully neglecting to do the same; and then a troop of lost children, disobedient children, and lazy, industrious, generous, or heedless ones, waiting to furnish the thrilling climaxes. The Story Teller selects a hero or heroine out of this motley crowd, all longing to be introduced to Bright Eye, Fine Ear, Kind Heart, and Sweet Lips, and speedily the drama opens.

Did Rachel ever have such an audience? I trow not. Rachel never had tiny hands snuggling into hers in "the very best part of the story," nor was she near enough her hearers to mark the thousand shades of expression that chased each other across their faces, supposing they had any expression, which is doubtful... Continue reading book >>




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