The boy grieves ; and studies that he may match in
himself the accomplishments which Virginia is gain-
ing in Europe. At last the ship is heralded which
speeds her back. In a frenzy of delight Paul sees the
great ship sweep down toward the shore.
TWO FRENCH FRIENDS. 143
But clouds threaten ; a wild swift storm bursts over
the beautiful island ; there is gloom and wreck ; and a
fair, lifeless form is stranded on the sands.
Poor Virginia ! Poor Paul !
Then two graves, with the name of the story over
them. And the birds sing, and the tropical flowers
bloom as before.
This is all there is of it.
Do you not wonder that so slender a tale could take
any hold upon a people who were ingulfed in the ter-
rors of that mad revolution ? Why was it ?
Partly, I think, because the dainty and tender tone of
the story-teller offered such strange contrast to the
fierce wrangle of daily talk ; partly also, because in the
breaking down of all the old society laws and habits of
living in France, it was a relief to catch this sweet
glimpse of the progress of an innocent life and inno-
cent love albeit of children under purely natural
It is worth your reading, were it only that you may see
what tender and exaggerated sentiment was relished by
this strange people, at a time when they were cutting
off heads in the public square, by hundreds.
It is specially worth reading in its French dress, for
its choice and simple and limpid language.
The Siberian Wanderer.
We come now to talk of the other book of which I
spoke. It is by Madame Cottin, and is called " Eliza-
beth ; or, The Exiles of Siberia."
Siberia, you know, is a country of great wastes, where
144 ABOUT OLD STORY-TELLERS.
snows lie fearfully deep in winter, and winds howl across
the bleak, vast levels ; and wolves abound. It is under
the dominion of Russia; and to this pitiless country the
emperor of Russia was wont to send prisoners of state
in close exile where their names were unknown, and
all communication would be cut off ; and where they
would live as if dead.
Well, Elizabeth was the daughter of such a prisoner ;
who, with his wife, lived in a lonely habitation in the
midst of this dreary region. She grows up in this deso-
late solitude, knowing only those tender parents, and
their gnawing grief. She knows nothing of their crime,
or exile, or judge, or real name. But as she ripens into
girlhood the parents cannot withhold their confidence ;
and she comes to know of their old, and cherished, and
luxurious home on the Polish plains, which is every
day in their memory.
From this time forth the loving daughter has but one
controlling thought ; and that is, how she may restore
these sorrowful parents to their home, and to the world.
It is a child's purpose ; and opposed to it is the pur-
pose of the Autocrat of all the Russias. But then,
courage and persistence are noble things, and they win
more triumphs than you could believe. They will win
them over school lessons, and bad habits, and bad tem-
per, just as surely as they win them in the battles of
So, upon the desolate plains of Siberia the fair young
girl plots and plots. How could this frail creature
set about the undoing of an imperial edict, and the res-
toration of father and mother to life and happiness once
more ? Over and over she pondered in the solemn
TWO FRENCH FRIENDS. 145
quietude of those wintry Siberian nights, upon all the
ways which might avail to gain her purpose. At last
came the resolve and a very bold one it was to
make the journey on foot, from their place of exile to
the Russian capital ; never doubting in the fulness of
her faith that if she could once gain a hearing from
the emperor, she could win his favor, and put an end to
her father's exile.
Ah ! what could she know of the depth of state crimes,
or of the bitterness of royal hate, or of that weary march
of over two thousand miles across all the breadth of
She had not the courage to tell of this resolution to
her parents ; but kept it ever uppermost in her thoughts
as months and years rolled on, and she gained strength ;
while the dear lives she most cherished were wasting
with grief and toil in the wintry solitudes.
One friend she made her confidant : this was the son
of the governor of Tobolsk, who, in his hunting expedi-
tions, had come unawares upon the retired cabin of her
father, and thereafter repeated twice or thrice his visit.
He was charmed by her beauty and tenderness, and
would have spoken of love ; but she had no place in her
heart for that. Always uppermost in her thought was
the weary walk to be accomplished, and the pardon to
The young hunter could not aid her ; for intercourse
with the exiled family was forbidden, and he had
already been summoned away and ordered to regions
At last, after years of waiting, Elizabeth being now
eighteen, an old priest came that way who was jour-
146 ABOUT OLD STORY-TELLERS.
neying to the west It seemed her golden opportunity.
She declared now, for the first time, her purpose to
her parents. They expostulated and reasoned with her.
The long way was a drear one ; monarchs were remorse-
less ; they had grown old in exile, and could bear it to
But the tender girl was more unshaken and steadfast
than they. She bade them a tearful adieu, and with
the old priest by her side, turned her steps toward the
Russian capital. Very toilsome it was, and day followed
day, and week week, with wearisome walking ; and be-
fore the journey was half done the old priest sickened
and died she nursing him and closing his eyes for
his last sleep in a cabin by the way.
But still she had no thought of turning back, but
wearily and painfully pressed on. Week followed week,
and still long roads lay before her. It will make your
hearts ache to read the story of her toil, of her bleed-
ing feet, of her encounters with rude plunderers,
her struggles with storm and snow and cliff. There
were great stretches of silent forest; there were broad
rivers to cross ; there were gloomy ravines to pass
through ; and her strength was failing, and she had been
robbed of her money, and the winter was coming on ;
and there was no messenger or mail to tell her of the
dear ones she had left in the little cabin of the exile.
But through all, her courage never once failed ; and at
last it rejoiced her heart to see in the blazing sun-
light, on the edge of the Muscovite plains, the great
shining domes of the palace of Moscow.
Here she was a stranger in a great city ; and the
wilderness of the streets was full of more terrors and
TWO FRENCH FRIENDS.
more dangers for her than the wilderness of the vast for-
ests she had crossed in safety. Her very frailty, how-
ever, with her earnestness and her appealing look, won
upon passers-by ; and well-wishers befriended her, and
heard her story with amazement. And her story spread,
and made other well-wishers aid, until at last she came
to the feet of the emperor.
They knew all of them the tale she had to tell ;
and the eyes of all pleaded with her so strongly, that
her request was granted, and the father set free.
Of course the story glides on very pleasantly after
this. She has a government coach to carry her back
148 ABOUT OLD STORY-TELLERS.
over that long stretch of foot-travel ; she finds her
parents yet alive ; she somehow has encountered again
that stray son of the governor of Tobolsk ; and I believe
they were married, and all lived happily ever after.
It is not much of a love story however, except of
parental love, which, after all, is one of the purest
kinds of love.
Madame Cottin, who wrote the story, lived, as I said,
in the days of the French Revolution, and was married
in the year 1790, when she was only seventeen years
old. Her husband was very much older, and a rich
banker. I doubt if she loved him greatly ; there are
some things in other books of hers (for she published a
great many) which make me think so very strongly.
Still I believe she was an honest woman, and struggled
to do her duty. I do not think Madame Cottin's other
works are to be commended, or that any one reads them
very much nowadays. " Elizabeth " the book of
which I have given you the story was printed in the
time of the First Napoleon (1806), and had an immense
success. There is hardly a language of Europe in
which it is not to be found printed now.
It is a good story. What devotion! so rare so
true so tender !
Read it for this, if nothing else ; and cherish the
memory ever in your young hearts.
It is as good a sermon on the fifth commandment
as you will ever hear ; and remember that it was
preached by a Frenchwoman, who lived in Paris
through the reign of blood.
The Grimm brothers.
NOT Giant Grim who lives in the " Pilgrim's Prog-
ress." Oh, no ! it is not that sort of person at all,
about whom I am to tell you, but of two brothers, who
were born in Germany, one at Hanau and the other
at Cassel, only a little time before the outbreak of
that French Revolution of which I have told you
within the last few pages.
There were, indeed, five brothers Grimm of this fam-
ily ; but we have concern now only with two, Jacob
and William, who lived much together, and worked
together with a tender friendliness that is rare, even
between brothers. Their youth was full of hardships
The father died so early that they had only boyish
remembrances of him ; and the good mother of whom
Jacob speaks most tenderly was left with so small a
property, that she could with difficulty give them the
commonest schooling. But pluck and industry, with
occasional aid from a good aunt, helped them through.
150 ABOUT OLD STORY-TELLERS.
You must have heard of Cassel ; or, if you have ever
been in Germany, the chances are that you have seen
it, and the palace and gardens of Wilhelmshohe.
You will remember, perhaps, that Louis Napoleon
was sent here after the victory of Sedan. There could
hardly have been a more delightful prison where
he had the liberty of the grounds, and a great throng
of servants at his command. Every traveller delights
in wandering under the embowered walks of the palace
grounds. There are trees and flowers of all climates
there ; there are statues and grottoes ; there is a foun-
tain which, when in full blast, throws its water a hun-
dred and ninety feet into the air being the highest
fountain in the world. Then there is a vast flight of
stone steps, over which the water sometimes comes
bounding down in torrents ; and these steps lead up to
the colossal Hercules, whose figure crowns the hill, and
looks all abroad upon gardens, and mountains, and town.
But even better worth seeing than this, or than the mu-
seums stocked with rare and curious things, is the view
of the lovely valley, which you get from the public
square of Cassel.
In the middle of this square stands the statue of the
Elector Frederic II. Yet he was not a man who de-
served a statue. He indeed brought together the beau-
tiful objects in the museum, and adorned the town by
lavish expenditure. This would have been very well,
if the moneys had come to him fairly. But how do you
suppose he won his vast wealth, of which the traces
are around one everywhere at Cassel ? Only by selling
the lives of his people.
You will remember, that in any story of the Ameri-
FAIRY REALM. 15 1
can Revolution which you may have read, there is fre-
quent mention of the "Hessians" who fought for
George of England.
Well, these " Hessians," or hired soldiers, were the
subjects of the Elector Frederic II., of Hesse-Cassel, in
Germany. They were snatched from their homes and
families, more than twenty-two thousand of them,
between the years 1776 and 1784, and compelled to
fight over seas, the Elector receiving for their hire
more than twelve millions of dollars ; and this was a
sum in that day which would be equal to twenty mil-
If the brothers Grimm had been of good age in the
time of the Elector Frederic, they might have died,
very likely, on the battle-fields of New Jersey.
But why have I gone over seas to the shadows of
Wilhelmshohe to find these Grimm brothers ? Did
they ever invent good stories ? No. Jacob, indeed,
told the story of his life ; but there is no invention in
it, no fairies in it. He says,
u My father was too early taken from us ; and I still
see in spirit the black coffin, the bearers with the yel-
low lemons and the rosemary in their hands, pass
slowly before the window.
"We children were brought up in the strict Calvin-
istic Church : it was rather the effect of practice and
example, than of much talk. The Lutherans of our
little town I used to regard as strangers, with whom I
must not be thoroughly familiar ; and of the Catholics,
who were always to be recognized by their gayer
dress, I had a strange sort of dread. And I still feel
as if I could not be thoroughly devout anywhere but in
152 ABOUT OLD STORY-TELLERS.
the church fitted up with the simplicity of the reformed
faith ; so strongly does all belief attach to the first
impressions of childhood.
" Love of country was deeply impressed upon our
hearts, I know not how, for of that, too, little was said ;
but there was nothing in our parents' lives or conversa-
tion which could suggest any other thought : we held
our prince for the best in the world, our country for
the most favored of all countries."
And yet this was only a very few years after that
cruel sale of so many Hessian soldiers to be slaughtered
in battle ; and Jacob Grimm was born in the very year
1785 in which Frederic II. died.
But why do I talk of the Grimms ? Only because
these two brothers, of whom I have spoken, gathered
together, from old libraries, and peasants' talk, and
search in every quarter through years of inquiry
a most famous collection of old nursery tales, fairy
legends, and household stories.
And you would be surprised, if .you were to read
them through (which I cannot advise), to find how
many of our old English stories, which we always
thought must have had their beginning in England,
were known still earlier, and gave joy and terror to
young people ages ago, before ever the present Eng-
lish language was known. Thus " Goody Two Shoes,"
and "Cinderella," and "Jack the Giant-Killer," and
" Little Red Riding Hood," have all had their run
among the young folks of older countries centuries
before such books were printed by " good Mr. New-
bery," in St. Paul's Churchyard, in London. There are
elves and giants, and good spirits and bad spirits, and
talking birds, and singing beasts, doing all manner of
wondrous things, in these books of the Grimm brothers.
But you must not think, that, because the brothers
Grimm were hunting after child's stories so toilsomely,
they were men of no learning. They were, in fact,
most wise and studious men, and are known among
scholars as the authors of very valuable works relating
to the German language, to which they devoted years of
labor. A son of William the younger brother was
asked one day, by a playmate, about his father's " fairy
stories." The boy was indignant, and on getting home,
said, " Surely, surely, papa, you never can have writ-
ten such rubbish. "
And is it rubbish ?
I suppose it must be said begging young readers
who still love Tom Thumb, and Bo-peep, to pardon me
154 ABOUT OLD STORY-TELLERS.
that it is in one sense rubbish; just as you count
dolls and Noah's arks rubbish, when you have outgrown
such toys. But what if you could make a collection of
all the best dolls and toys and games which have
amused the children of six centuries past? Do you
not think it would tell you a great deal you would like
to know about the art, the skill, the material resources,
and the home life of the people who lived so long ago ?
And so these .stories however much nonsense may
be in them throw light upon the language and the
domestic habits and the tastes of bygone nations ; and
they show how some strange traditions have held place
from age to age ; and how certain old stories of elves,
or giants, or fairies, or goblins have kept life in them,
when great schemes of philosophy that grew up beside
them have died, and gone out of remembrance.
For such reasons these studious German brothers
gave great care and labor to that collection of house-
hold stories, into the pages of which you shall now take
a peep with me.
The Gold Bird.
A king had a garden where golden apples grew ; but,
as they became ripe, one of them was stolen every
night. The king was angry ; and the gardener set
his sons to watch turn by turn. The oldest, on his
night, fell asleep ; the second also fell asleep when his
turn came ; but the youngest son found that a gold bird
stole them, and he fired upon it with his bow (of course
there were no shot-guns), and cut away a golden feather
from the robber.
FAIRY REALM. 155
This was shown to the king, who found it so beauti-
ful that he said he must have the bird.
Then the gardener sent his sons in search of the bird,
turn by turn, again. The oldest set off, and met a fox ;
and the fox said to him (for foxes could talk, and cats
could paint pictures, in that time), " You are after the
Golden Bird I know: when you have walked all day
you will come to two inns one on either side of the
road ; go into the poorest one, and you will fare best in
But the boy did not like the squat, small inn, where
he had been advised to go, but, entering the other, had
a jolly time there, and forgot the bird, and forgot his
home, and all at home forgot him.
Then the second son set off ; and he met the fox, and
did not like his talk, and shot an arrow at him. He
chose the best-looking inn, and had a jolly time; and he
forgot the bird, and the king forgot him, and he forgot
Then the youngest son went on the search, though the
gardener was much afraid that harm would come to him
too. This son met the fox, but he listened patiently
to Renard ; and, as he was tired, the fox gave him a
seat upon his tail (as you see in the picture, which was
made from one of George Cruikshank's famous designs) ;
and away he went, with his hair whistling in the wind.
Of course he minded the fox, and stopped at the
humble-looking inn : he was not proud like the others.
In the morning the fox met him, and told him he must
go all day till he came to a castle, in the courts of
which castle the soldiers would be all asleep ; he must
not wake them, but go through the corridors of the
156 ABOUT OLD STORY-TELLERS.
castle till he came to a room where the gold bird would
be found sitting in a wooden cage. " But," said the
fox, " you will see a golden cage beside the wooden one :
do not put the bird in that, or harm will come."
Then the young fellow sat again upon the fox's tail,
and was whisked away till the morning was gone, and
the noon, and the sun had set.
Then, sure enough, he saw the high walls of the
castle ; and he found the soldiers snoring, and the gold
bird in the wooden cage, and the stolen apples of gold
beside it. But the golden cage that stood near by was
very beautiful ; so he thought he would venture to put
the golden bird in that ; the king and all the rest would
like it so much better.
He had no sooner done so than the bird set up a
scream that waked all the soldiers, and the soldiers
waked the guard, and the guard waked the king ; and
they took him prisoner, and would have killed him. But
the master of the castle said, " If he can find the
golden horse and bring it to me, he shall have his
life, and have the golden bird."
So the young fellow set off : the fox met him, and I
dare say gave him a brushing for not having followed
his advice ; however, he took him upon his tail again in
search of the golden horse. They went so fast, their
hair whistled in the wind. But, for all that, the fox
found breath to tell him he would find the horse in a
certain castle, with the groom snoring beside him. He
must not wake the groom, nor put the golden saddle on
the horse, but an old farm saddle, and then dash away.
Well, he found the castle, and all the rest ; and he
thought as the groom slept so soundly he might take
FAIRY REALM. 1 57
the golden saddle it was such a splendid one! But
no sooner had he put it on the golden horse than the
groom woke, and the guard came, and the poor fellow
was prisoner again.
However, the people of the castle told him if he could
bring " the beautiful princess " there, he might have
horse and saddle both.
So he went out to find "the princess;" and the fox
met him, and I dare say talked sharply to him ; but he set
him on his tail again, and whisked him away so fast
their hair whistled in the wind to another castle,
where the princess lived. The fox told him he must
snatch his chance to kiss the princess, and then she
would follow him ; but he must not permit her to say
adieu to her family. This was a strange order for the
fox to give, but I suppose he knew.
Now, the young fellow was tender-hearted ; and when
he had caught the kiss he could not say No, when
the poor princess asked to take leave of her father
Well, this upset every thing again ; the old king said
he should not have his daughter until he dug away
a great hill by the castle. This seemed impossible :
however, the fox helped him working at night, when
the young fellow was sleeping off the fatigue of the
And after a certain time the hill was gone : the
young gardener got his princess ; and by means of the
princess (and the fox) he got the golden horse ; and by
means of the horse (and the fox) he got the golden bird,
and with them all rode off toward the country of the
king of the golden apples.
158 ABOUT OLD STORY-TELLERS.
But the lazy sons, who went to the wrong inn, and
would not listen to the wise words of the fox, waylaid
him, and beat him, and took his treasures, and threw
him in the river.
But the fox gave him a lift with his bushy tail, and he
came to shore- once more, and went whisking away to
the kingdom of the golden apples. And when his story
was told (I dare say the fox made it up for him), the
lazy, lying brothers were put out of the way, and the
plodding, straightforward, humble brother got his prin-
cess, and his horse, and his bM ; and, having given the
bird.'tothe king, he had the princess for his own, and
lived very charmingly with her. He -did not forget his
good friend the fox, whom he met one day in the wood
shortly after ; and the fox entreated him to cut off his
(the fox's) head and tail.
:' He hesitated a long while ; but, after talking it over
with/ the princess, he did as the fox desired. And what
do" you suppose happened then ? Why, the fox changed
into a man tall and comely, and in a royal purple
suit , and he turned out to be an own brother of the
princess, who had been lost many years before.
I suppose he lived with the married pair, and used to
talk with them of the old days when he was a fox,
just as retired merchants talk of the old days when they
were "in trade."
More Queer Beasts and People.
I cannot tell you of one-half the queer things told in
these books of old German tales, so I must skip about
from page to page. In one, for instance, I catch sight
of a fox tied by his fore-paws to the branches of two
trees. How, pray, did this come about ? The story
says that a wolf, and a fox, and a rabbit, were bent on
learning to play the violin, and begged a musician to
The Three Musicians.
He promised to do so, if they would obey orders.
So, walking through the wood with them, he ordered the
wolf to put his paws in the crack of a tree which he
did ; and was made fast there at his lesson. A little
farther on, he bent down two boughs, and ordered the
fox to place a paw on each, where the musician tied
them fast, and left the fox -to his lesson. A little far-
ther on, he bound the rabbit by a silken string to a tree-
trunk, where he presently, by bouncing about, wound
himself fast to his lesson. I suppose they all com-
menced squeaking and howling, each in his own way
which happens to a great many who commence the
study of music.
ABOUT OLD STORY-TELLERS.
They worried out of their fastenings at last, and came
on fast and furious to attack the musician who had
meantime taught a man that understood what music
meant, and who defended his master, as he should.
The beasts had the worst of it. I don't know what the