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St. Nicholas Magazine for Boys and Girls, Vol. 5, September 1878, No. 11   By:

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[Illustration: SHIPWRECKED. Drawn by J.W. Champney.]


VOL. V. SEPTEMBER, 1878. No. 11.

[Copyright, 1878, by Scribner & Co.]



She filled her shoes with fern seed, This foolish little Nell, And in the summer sunshine Went dancing down the dell. For whoso treads on fern seed, So fairy stories tell, Becomes invisible at once, So potent is its spell. A frog mused by the brook side: "Can you see me!" she cried; He leaped across the water, A flying leap and wide. "Oh, that's because I asked him! I must not speak," she thought, And skipping o'er the meadow The shady wood she sought. The squirrel chattered on the bough, Nor noticed her at all, The birds sang high, the birds sang low, With many a cry and call. The rabbit nibbled in the grass, The snake basked in the sun, The butterflies, like floating flowers, Wavered and gleamed and shone. The spider in his hammock swung, The gay grasshoppers danced; And now and then a cricket sung, And shining beetles glanced. 'Twas all because the pretty child So softly, softly trod, You could not hear a foot fall Upon the yielding sod. But she was filled with such delight This foolish little Nell! And with her fern seed laden shoes, Danced back across the dell. "I'll find my mother now," she thought, "What fun 't will be to call 'Mamma! mamma!' while she can see No little girl at all!" She peeped in through the window, Mamma sat in a dream: About the quiet, sun steeped house All things asleep did seem. She stept across the threshold; So lightly had she crept, The dog upon the mat lay still, And still the kitty slept. Patient beside her mother's knee To try her wondrous spell Waiting she stood, till all at once, Waking, mamma cried "Nell! Where have you been? Why do you gaze At me with such strange eyes?" "But can you see me, mother dear?" Poor Nelly faltering cries. "See you? Why not, my little girl? Why should mamma be blind?" And little Nell unties her shoes, With fairy fern seed lined, And tosses up into the air A little powdery cloud, And frowns upon it as it falls, And murmurs half aloud, "It wasn't true, a word of it, About the magic spell! I never will believe again What fairy stories tell!"



When I was a boy, I lived on the rugged coast of New England. The sea abounded in cod, hake, mackerel, and many other kinds of fish. The mackerel came in "schools" in late summer, and sometimes were very plentiful. One day, my uncle James determined to go after some of these fish, with his son George, and invited me to go with them. We were to start before day break the next morning. I went to bed that night with an impatient heart, and it was a long time before I could go to sleep. After I did get asleep, I dreamed of the whale that swallowed Jonah, and all kinds of fishes, big and little. I was awakened by somebody calling, in a very loud voice, "Robert! Robert!" I jumped out of bed, with my eyes not more than half opened, and fell over the chair on which I had put my clothes. This made me open my eyes, and I soon realized that the voice proceeded from my cousin George, who had come to arouse me for the fishing voyage.

I dressed as quickly as possible, and went downstairs. All was quiet in the house except the old clock ticking in the kitchen. I went out of doors and found the stars still shining. It was half past three o'clock in the morning. There was no sign of daylight, and even the cocks had not begun to crow. In the darkness I espied George, who said, "Come, it is time to start. Father is waiting for you."

We walked across the fields to my uncle's house. Taking each a basket and knife, we began our journey, and soon entered the pine woods... Continue reading book >>

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