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- The Iron Star - 1/16 -


THE IRON STAR And what It saw on Its Journey through the Ages

From Myth to History

By

JOHN PRESTON TRUE Author of "Scouting for Washington," "Their Club and Ours," "Shoulder Arms," etc.

Illustrated by Lilian Crawford True

PREFACE

This is a wonderful old world of ours, the one we live in. It is wonderful to think how it has grown, day by day, year by year, century by century, and by each step of Time just a little better worth living in. It is like a beautiful fairy story, with the great advantage of being true.

Of course none of us were here when the world began, so we did not see the beginning of it, but some of us have worked the problem backward through the years to find out what the beginning was like; and starting from a good dry spot, if you follow the wanderings of my Iron Star, I believe you will at no time be very far from the truth of the way in which girls and boys and their elders lived in the days now long ago. Will you make the journey with me?

J. P. T.

SEPTEMBER, 1899.

CONTENTS.

SPARK I.

HOW THE STAR CAME INTO THIS WORLD.

SPARK II.

HOW THE STAR AGAIN BEGAN TO TRAVEL.

SPARK III.

HOW THE STAR WAS CARRIED ON THE WARPATH, AND WHAT CAME OF IT.

SPARK IV.

HOW THE STAR WENT TO THE NORTHLAND.

SPARK V.

HOW THE STAR FLEW INTO MANY PIECES AND WHAT CAME OF IT.

SPARK VI.

HOW FRAGMENTS OF THE STAR TRAVELLED TO A FAR COUNTRY.

SPARK VII.

HOW THE STAR HELPED ULF THE SILENT TO WIN A GREAT NAME.

SPARK VIII.

HOW THE IRON STAR VISITED A GREAT KING.

SPARK IX.

HOW THE STAR HELPED TO WIN A THRONE.

SPARK X.

HOW THE STAR SANG A SONG OF FREEDOM TO A CAPTIVE KING.

SPARK XI.

HOW THE STAR WAS PRESENT AT THE GREAT GIFT OF THE BARONS.

SPARK XII.

AND HOW IT WENT HALF ROUND THE EARTH, YET CROSSED AGAIN AT LAST THE TRAIL OF LEIF ERICSSON.

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

THE FALLING OF THE STAR

STONE AGE SPEARS AND POTTERY

KNIVES, FROM THE BRONZE AGE

THE STORIES OF UMPL'S HUNTING

UMPL'S PICTURE-BOOKS

"JARL SIGURD, THRALL AM I, YET A CHIEF'S SON ALSO"

HOW EDITH FAIRHAIR SPUN THE SNOW-WHITE YARN

ULF, THE YOUNG VIKING

THE STATUE OF LEIF ERICSSON

THE HUNTING OF THE BEAR

THE GHOSTS AND WOLVES THEY SAW BEYOND THE FIRE

THE FLAG OF THE WHITE BEAR'S HEAD

WHERE LOUIS FOUND THE ARMOUR OF THE VIKING

THE IRON HAND ON THE MAGNA CHARTA

THE TENT POLE OF THE SARACEN

IN THE CAMP OF THE ARABS

CAPTAIN MYLES STANDISH

SPARK I.

HOW THE STAR CAME INTO THIS WORLD.

To begin with, it all happened a very long time ago,--some say five thousand years, some say ten thousand years, and one wise man says it never happened at all; but even the wise are not wise at all times, and I am inclined to believe that it was in one of those unwise times that the doubt was raised; for I believe it happened, although I am not sure about the date.

One thing is certain: there was a time when Europe was about all forest, where it wasn't water or bare rock. There were no cities, so of course there were no policemen. There were not even kings and queens, although the present kings and queens don't like to be reminded that there ever was a time when the world got along without any. They think it is impolite. Of course, sometimes it is impolite to tell the truth, and then one can only say nothing, or talk of the weather. So any young king or queen who reads this may go back and read it again and skip that line.

Be it as it may, there once lived in that great forest a boy and his sister. Not being able to speak their language I do not know what their names may have meant; but they had names, one sounding like a grunt, the other a hiss. Better call them Umpl and Sptz, which is as near as I can come to it. Of course Sptz was the girl; and they both believed most firmly in hobgoblins, evil spirits, wicked elves, that were ever on the watch for them in the dark; and when they heard the long cre-ak of a tree branch rubbing on another branch in the night as the wind arose, their ears told them that it was a branch, but their fears said it was a goblin, and in the night-time they believed their fears the most. If only they had fire, with its light and warmth, it would be different! So they thought many a day, when the sunlight glinted through the tree trunks and lay in spots upon the moss. Then the dark came down, and still they had no fire.

Does this seem strange? Remember, then, that matches were not made in those days. Sometimes they got fire by striking two bits of stone together. There were men who knew how to make fire by rubbing bits of wood together. Some day you might try that. I can promise you that you will get very warm; but I don't think it will be because of the fire which you make by it unless some one first shows you how, and Umpl and Sptz's father did not happen to be one of the men who knew how. It was thus a great misfortune when one day the fire went out, or, rather, was put out by the roof falling on it. You must know, that if this was before the days of cities, it was also before the days of houses, and our young friends lived in a cave. On the whole, it was a good cave, fairly high inside and small to get into, and not too smoky when the wind was right. When it wasn't they could go outside, or have a smaller fire: and when that ton of rock came down so suddenly on both fire and supper they were not at all surprised. It had happened before; but the father was angry just the same, and said that he would rather it had fallen on Sptz. Girls were not thought so much of in those days as they are now. But there! girls are like queens: they


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