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So thick they died the people cried

"The gods are moved against the land."
The Priest in horror about his altar
To Thor and Odin lifted a hand:

"Help us from famine

And plague and strife!

What would you have of us?

Human life?

Were it our nearest,

Were it our dearest,

(Answer, O answer)

We give you his life 1"

But still the foe man spoiled and burned,

And cattle died, and deer in wood, And bird in air, and fishes turned

And whitened all the rolling flood; And dead men lay all over the way,

Or down in a furrow scathed with flame: And ever and aye the Priesthood moaned Till at last it seemed that an answer came. "The King is happy In child and wife: Take you his dearest, Give us a life!"

The Priest went out bv heath and hill;

The King was huntmg in the wild; They found the mother sitting still;

She cast her arms about the child. The child was only eight summers old,

His beauty still with his years increased, His face was ruddy, his hair was gold, He seemed a victim due to the priest. The priest beheld him, And cried with joy, "The gods have answered: We give them the boy!"

The King returned from out the wild,

He bore but little game in hand; _ .

The mother said " They have taken the child

To spill his blood and heal the land:
The land is sick, the people diseased,

And blight and famine on all the lea:
The holy gods, they must be appeased,
So I pray you tell the truth to me.
They have taken our son,
They will have his life.
Is he your dearest?
Or I, "the wife?"


The King bent low, with hand on brow,

He stayed his arms upon his knee: "O wife, what use to answer now?

For now the Priest has judged for me." The King was shaken with holy fear;

"The gods," he said, " would have chosen well Yet both are near, and both are dear, And which the dearest I cannot tell I" But the Priest was happy, His victim won: "We have his dearest, His only son!"

The rites prepared, the victim bared,

The kmfe uprising toward the blow, To the altar-stone she sprang alone,

"Me, not my darling, no!
He caught her away with a sudden cry;

Suddenly from him brake his wife,
And shrieking "/am his dearest, I—
7am his dearest!" rushed on the knif«.
And the Priest was happy,
"Oh, Father Odin,
We give you a life.
Which was his nearest?
Who was his dearest?
The gods have answered;
We give them the wife!"


"Tis plain to see," said a farmer's wife,
"These boys will make their mark in life;
They were never made to handle a hoe,
And at once to a college ought to go;
There's Fred, he's little better than a fool,
But John and Henry must go to school."

"Well, really, wife," quoth Farmer Brown,
As he sat his mug of cider down,
"Fred does more work in a day for me
Than both his brothers do in three.
Book larnin' will never plant one's corn,
Nor hoe potatoes, sure's you're boru'
Nor mend a rod of broken fence—
For my part, give me common sense."

But his wife was bound the roast to rule,
And John and Henry were sent to school,


While Fred, of course, was left behind
Because his mother said he had no mind.

Five years at school the students spent;
Then into business each one went.
John learned to play the flute and fiddle,
And parted his hair, of course, in the middle;
While his brother looked rather higher than he,
And hung out a sign, " H. Brown, M. D."

Meanwhile, at home, their brother Fred
Had taken a notion into his head;
But he quietly trimmed his apple trees,
And weeded onions and planted peas,
While somehow or other, by hook or crook,
He managed to read full many a book.
Until at last his father said
He was getting " book larnin' " into his head;
"But for all that," added Farmer Brown,
"He's the smartest boy there is in town."

The war broke out, and Captain Fred

A hundred men to battle led,

And when the rebel flag came down,

Went marching home as General Brown.

But he went to work on the farm again,

And planted corn and sowed his grain;

He shingled the barn and mended the fence,

Till people declared he had common sense.

Now, common sense was very rare,
And the State House needed a portion there;
So the " family dunce" moved into town -
The people called him Governor Brown;
And his brothers, who went to the city school,
Came home to live with " mother's fool."

THE OLD WOMAN'S RAILWAY SIGNAL. Eunu Burritt. The most effective working-force in the world in which we live is the law of kindness; for it is the only moral force that operates with the same effect upon mankind, brutekind, and bird-kind. From time immemorial, music has wonderfully affected all beings, reasoning or unreasoning, that have ears to hear. The prettiest idea and simile of ancient literature relates to Orpheus playing his lyre to animals listening in intoxicated silence to its strains. Well, kindness is the music of good-will to men and beasts; and both listen to it with their hearts, instead of their ears; and the hearts of both are affected by it in the same way, if not to the same degree. Volumes might be written, tilled with beautiful illustrations of its effect upon both. The music of kindness has not only power to charm, but even to transform, both the savage breast of man and beast; and on this harp the smallest fingers in the world may play heaven's sweetest tunes on earth.


Some time ago we read of an incident in America that will serve as a good illustration of this beautiful law. It was substantially to this effect: a poor, coarse-featured old woman lived on the line of the Baltimore and Ohio Railway, where it passed through a wild, unpeopled district in Western Virginia. She was a widow, with only one daughter living with her in a log-hut, near a deep, precipitous gorge crossed by the railway bridge. Here she contrived to support herself by raising and selling poultry and eggs, adding berries in their season, and other little articles for the market. She had to make a long, weary walk of many miles to a town where she could sell her basket of produce. The railway passed by her house to this town ; but the ride would cost too much of the profit of her small sales: so she trudged on generally to the market on foot. The conductor, or guard, came finally to notice her traveling by the side of the line, or on the footpath between the rails; and being a goodnatured, benevolent man, he would often give her a ride to and fro without charge. The engine-man and brakeman also were good to the old woman, and felt that they were not wronging the interests of the railway company by giving her these free rides.

And soon an accident occurred that proved they were quite right in this view of the matter. In the wild month of March the rain descended, and the mountains sent down their rolling, roaring torrents of melted snow and ice into this gorge, near the old woman's house. The flood arose with the darkness of the night, until she heard the crash of the railway bridge, as it was swept from its abutments, and dashed its broken timbers against the craggy sides of the

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