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- Story Hour Readers Book Three - 4/20 -


and nuts.

"If you have sharp eyes," added the grandmother, "you will find hollow places in the trees, where the squirrels hide their acorns and nuts."

THE SWIFT RUNNER

In the olden times, the animals were fond of sports. They often held contests, with prizes for those that won.

Once a prize was offered for the animal who could prove himself the swiftest runner.

The reward was to be a pair of great antlers. Each animal was to carry the antlers on his head, while running the race. The animal that should win, would have the antlers for his own.

A path through the woods was chosen for the race course. There were many bushes and brambles along the way.

All the animals gathered at the place of meeting. They chose Black Bear to be judge of the race. It was decided that the rabbit and the deer alone should try for the prize.

"They are the best runners. None of the rest of us could hope to win," said the other animals.

White Rabbit was given the first chance.

"I am willing to try for the prize," White Rabbit said, "but I would like first to look over the ground where I am to run."

So White Rabbit disappeared in the woods. He was gone so long that Red Fox was sent to look for him.

Red Fox found the rabbit hard at work, cutting off twigs to clear a path along which to run.

Red Fox went back and told the other animals what White Rabbit was doing.

Pretty soon White Rabbit came out of the woods. He was all ready to put on the antlers and begin the race for the great prize.

"Oh, no!" said Judge Bear. "We cannot allow you to enter the great race. You are too fond of gnawing twigs. You may keep on gnawing twigs instead of trying for the prize."

So little White Rabbit was not allowed to run for the prize.

Red Fox placed the horns upon the head of the deer and said, "It is your turn to try to win the race."

Then the animals gave three loud cheers and told the deer to do his best.

The deer ran swiftly along the woodland path. He carried the antlers so skillfully that they were not once caught in the bushes.

When the deer returned to the place of meeting, Judge Bear proclaimed him winner of the race.

As Black Bear gave the prize to the deer, he said, "Henceforth you shall wear the antlers on your head. You shall always be called the Swift Runner."

BROTHER RABBIT

One autumn day in the long ago, Eagle Eye, the great Indian chief, was very sad.

All summer long there had been no rain. The prairie grass was crisp and brown. The little streams were dry.

The animals, finding neither water nor green grass, had gone to the mountains many miles away. The Indians of the plains had no food to eat.

"I will go and search for the place where the animals have gone, so that I may tell my hunters and save the lives of my people," said Eagle Eye.

So, carrying his canoe to the river, Eagle Eye paddled up the stream for many days and nights. He watched to see if any of the animals came to the river to drink, but there was not even a squirrel.

One night the clouds hung low in the sky.

"There will be snow before morning," said Eagle Eye.

Then the great chief hauled his canoe up the river bank. He made a shelter with branches of trees. Here he slept through the night.

In the morning, the ground was covered with snow.

"The Great Spirit is kind," said Eagle Eye. "Now I shall see the footprints of some of the animals, and I can follow them."

Soon he found the footprints of deer that had been to the river to drink. Eagle Eye followed the footprints for many miles. At last he found where the animals lived.

Eagle Eye marked some trees, so that he might find the place again.

Then he started to return to the river bank where he had left his canoe.

Snow had fallen, and everything was white. Eagle Eye could not find the canoe.

"I am lost!" cried Eagle Eye. "If only there were some way of finding my canoe!"

Just then he saw a rabbit peering out from behind the stump of a tree.

"O Brother Rabbit!" called Eagle Eye. "How glad I am to see you! I am lost. I cannot find the river bank."

"Let me lead the way," Brother Rabbit replied. "If you will watch my dark fur against the snow, you can easily follow close behind me."

So Brother Rabbit hopped along, and Eagle Eye, watching the dark fur against the snow, followed close behind.

At last they reached the river bank, and there they found Eagle Eye's canoe.

Eagle Eye pushed the canoe into the water and stepped in.

Before he paddled away he said, "You have saved my life, Brother Rabbit. Hereafter your brown fur shall be white when the cold winter comes. Then no one will see your body against the snow, and you will always be safe."

The rabbit turned pure white.

He looked like a ball of snow beside the bushes.

Then Eagle Eye smiled.

"Your enemies will have a long chase after this," he said, "before they will find Brother Rabbit!"

After many days, Eagle Eye reached his home once more.

The chief told his people that he had followed the footprints of deer, and had found where the animals lived.

The Indians went with Eagle Eye after the deer, and soon they had plenty of food.

QUEEN MAB

A little fairy comes at night, Her eyes are blue, her hair is brown, With silver spots upon her wings, And from the moon she flutters down.

She has a little silver wand, And when a good child goes to bed, She waves her hand from right to left, And makes a circle round its head.

And then it dreams of pleasant things-- Of fountains filled with fairy fish, And trees that bear delicious fruit, And bow their branches at a wish.

Of arbors filled with dainty scents From lovely flowers that never fade; Bright flies that glitter in the sun, And glowworms shining in the shade.

And talking birds with gifted tongues, For singing songs and telling tales, And pretty dwarfs to show the way Through fairy hills and fairy dales.

But when a bad child goes to bed, From left to right she weaves her rings, And then it dreams all through the night Of only ugly, horrid things!

Then lions come with glaring eyes, And tigers growl, a dreadful noise, And ogres draw their cruel knives, To shed the blood of girls and boys.

Then stormy waves rush on to drown, Or raging flames come scorching round, Fierce dragons hover in the air,


Story Hour Readers Book Three - 4/20

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