Books Should Be Free
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

St. Nicholas Magazine for Boys and Girls, Vol. 5, October 1878, No. 12   By:

Book cover

First Page:

[Illustration: THE NOON ENCAMPMENT. [See Violin Village.]]


VOL. V. OCTOBER, 1878. No. 12.

[Copyright, 1878, by Scribner & Co.]


By Edith Hawkins.

On the borders of the Tyrol and the lovely district known as the "Bavarian Highlands," there is a quaint little village called "Mittenwald," which at first sight appears shut in by lofty mountains as by some great and insurmountable barrier. The villagers are a simple, industrious people, chiefly occupied in the manufacture of stringed musical instruments, the drying of which, on fine days, presents a very droll appearance. The gardens seem to have blossomed out in the most eccentric manner; for there, dangling from lines like clothes, hang zithers, guitars, and violins, by hundreds, from the big bass to the little "kit," and the child's toy.

In this valley, one clear morning in August, as the church clock struck five, a lad issued from the arched entrance of one of the pretty gabled houses along the main street. He was not more than twelve years of age, yet an expression of thoughtfulness in his clear, blue eyes, gave and added an older look to his otherwise boyish face. His costume was a gray suit of coarse cloth, trimmed with green; his knees and feet were bare, but he wore knitted leggings of green worsted. A high crowned hat of green felt, adorned with some glossy black cock's feathers, a whip and a small brass horn slung by a cord from his shoulder completed the outfit of the village goatherd. He hastened along by the green bordered brook crossed by planks, over one of which Stephan for that was our hero's name leaped as he came up to the simple wooden fountain, which, as in most Bavarian villages, stood in the middle of the road.

A piece of black bread and a long draught from the fountain was Stephan's breakfast, which being speedily finished, he broke the morning stillness with repeated blasts from the horn, which seemed to awake the valley as by magic; for scarcely had the more distant mountains echoed the summons, than from almost every door way scampered one or more goats. All hurried in the direction of the water tank, where they stood on their hind legs to drink, jostled one another or frisked about in the highest spirits, till fully two hundred were assembled, rendering the street impassable. A peculiar cry from the boy and a sharp crack of the whip were the signals for a general move. Away they skipped helter skelter through the town, along the accustomed road, high up the rocky mountain side. The little animals were hungry, so stopped every now and then to nibble the attractive grassy tufts, long before the allotted feeding ground was reached. There was, however, little fear of losing them, as each wore a tiny bell round the neck, which, tinkling at every movement, warned the boy of the straggler; a call invariably brought it back, though often by a circuitous route, enabling the animal to keep beyond the reach of the whip, which Stephan lashed about with boyish enjoyment.

Noon found the goats encamped under the shade of some tall pine trees, and Stephan Reindel was busily arranging a bunch of bright red cranberries at the side of his hat, when a shot arrested his attention. He jumped up, and with boyish curiosity explored the pine wood; but fearing to go too far on account of his flock, he was returning, when a second shot followed by a sharp cry, convinced him it was some hunter who had driven his game much lower down than was at all usual. The second report had sounded so near that he continued his fruitless search till it was time to go home, when, as usual, he drove his flock back by five o'clock.

Directly they entered the village, each goat trotted off to its own abode, and Stephan to his, where, after eating his supper of black bread and cheese, he sat listlessly watching his mother varnish violins, by which she earned a trifle every week... Continue reading book >>

Book sections

eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book

Popular Genres
More Genres
Paid Books