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earth, and so garbed he went into his library and shut the door. And then, he tells us, for four hours he lived amid the scenes that his books called up before him. He found in books an Aladdin's lamp that transported him to past times, that revealed the secrets of nature, that showed him what

men had accomplished. Through history, he re-created the past. He could call on the wisest of men for counsel, and he forgot during these hours his weariness and pain.

This story of the great Italian has been paralleled many times. There was once a boy in a frontier cabin who had no such experience as this man passed through centuries ago, but who was eager to know all that could be learned about life. His days were long and hard, but he was dreaming of things to come. At night by the light of the pine logs blazing in the fireplace, this boy read and studied. Books were hard to get; sometimes he tramped for miles to borrow one that he had heard a distant farmer possessed. Thus Lincoln found the second of the joys of reading, the stored-up wisdom of the race that he appropriated against the day when he was to be not merely a student of history but a maker of history as well.

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THE SONG OF THE LARK

The third joy of reading is that through books our eyes are opened to the beauty of the world in which we live. There is a famous painting called "The Song of the Lark." A peasant girl is on her way to work in the fields, sickle in hand, in early morning. She has stopped to listen to the flood of melody that pours from the sky above her, and is trying in vain to see the bird which is singing the glorious song. Her dull, unexpressive face is lighted up for the moment in the presence of a beauty that she feels but does not comprehend. So the painter interprets

for us the effect of beauty upon even a dull intelligence. But the poet translates the song into beautiful language, and we read and are happy.

Thousands of people pass unthinkingly by a field filled with the common daisies. They know the name of the flower; they may even say, or think, that the flowers make a pretty sight. But a poor young poet plows one up on his farm and tells us of his sympathy for the little flower he has destroyed; tells us, too, how the fate of the daisy suggests to him his own fate, so that all who read the poem by Robert Burns no longer see in the daisy a common flower, but see instead a symbol of beauty.

Bird-song and flower, the west wind as it drives the dead leaves before it or hurries the clouds across the sky or piles up in great masses the waters of the sea; the mountain that rises stark and stern above the plain, the ocean over which men's ships pass in safety or into whose depths they plunge to their grave-all these things the poet helps us to see and to feel. So once more our Aladdin's lamp brings us into scenes of enchantment, multiplies our lives, opens our eyes to things that the fairy-folk know right well, but which are forbidden to mortal eye and ear until the spell has worked its will.

These, then, are the three joys of reading: First, to be able to travel at will in any country and in any period of time and to taste the salt of adventure; to hear the great stories that the human race has garnered through centuries of living; to know earth's heroes and to become a part of the company that surrounds them. Second, to enter into the inheritance of wisdom that has come down from ancient times or that animates those who are the builders of our present world. "Histories make men wise," said one of the wisest of men, by which he meant that history records the experience of men in their attempts to make the world a place where people may dwell together in safety, and that as men reflect on this experience they become wiser. And poets and prose writers, too, have told in books what they have thought to be the meaning of life. They are like the wise old hermits, dwelling in little cabins by the edge of the enchanted forest, who told Sir Galahad or Sir Gawain or Sir Lancelot about the perils of the for

est and how to win their way to the enchanted castle where dwelt the Queen.

And the third joy of reading is that which brings us knowledge of this enchanted world. For it is a world of wonder in which we live as truly as that fairy world which so delighted you when Mother told you stories or when you read your fairy books. The journey of Captain Scott in search of the South Pole was as thrilling as the voyage of Sinbad. Those brave men who made the first flight in an airplane across the ocean the other day were as venturesome as Columbus, and their journey was as wonderful as that journey in 1492. But Captain Scott did not leave his comfortable and safe life at home merely to seek adventure. It was an expedition planned in order that he might bring back exact information about parts of the earth where men had never been before. And the flight across the Atlantic was just one more step in the development of a new form of transportation. So science contributes in many ways to our happiness and safety. What men do to develop the resources of the earth, what they do to conquer disease, the inventions and discoveries that give us greater power than if we possessed the open sesame of our fairy stories these also you learn about in your reading.

The book to which you are here introduced is planned in such a way as to help you find these three joys of reading. It is a big generous book, filled with good things. It is an Aladdin's lamp. Take it to your favorite big chair or to your favorite corner and test it. Do you wish to get into the Enchanted Forest? The very first selections, about animals and birds and growing things, take you there where you will find friends old and new. Do you wish to go on a long journey back to King Arthur's time and meet the knights of the Round Table? The power is yours for the asking. Or if you prefer songs and stories of the sea, here is a ballad that has been sung for centuries, or you may have ballads about battles in the war that ended the other day. And no one knew the secrets of the Enchanted Forest better than William Shakespeare-here are two stories that he loved.

At some other time your book will take you back to the days of Wallace and Bruce, or will bring before you some of the things

England has done for Freedom, or will show you what Americans of the old time did and thought when they were building their free land for you to dwell in and to protect. And, last of all, there are stories of life in our America-old legends and stories that will make you smile, and stories of workers and their work. When you have finished the last section you will be happier and a better citizen, ready to do your share every chance you get.

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One word more. You know that, in order to work enchantment, people have had to do certain things. There was the fern-seed, you know, or the charm like "open sesame," or you have to rub the wonderful lamp. Now to use this book rightly, you must not think of it as a lesson book, containing tasks. If you do that, it will be no Aladdin's lamp at all but just a dull old smoky lamp that would not even guide you to the cellar. You must do these things: First, get that chair or that corner and make yourself comfortable. Second, look at the program. What is that? Why, the "Table of Contents," of course. You must know where you are going and what you are to see. In this book everything is arranged in such a way as to help the charm to work. Third, you will find little questions and studies every now and then, and a glossary, guide-posts so that you will not lose your way. And, last of all, you are to try to see the book as a whole and not as a sort of scrapbook about all sorts of things. For it all deals, in one way or another, with the Enchanted Forest and the Castle of Life.

PART I

STORIES AND POEMS OF NATURE

"Go forth, under the open sky, and list

To Nature's teachings."

-William Cullen Bryant.

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