Kate Douglas Smith Wiggin.

Tales of laughter : a third fairy book online

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woman grumbled and complained as much as she could, he
was just as persistent as ever, and went on begging and pray-
ing like a starved dog, until at last she gave in, and he got
permission to lie on the floor for the night.

That was very kind, he thought, and he thanked her for it.

" Better on the floor without sleep, than suffer cold in the
forest deep," he said ; for he was a merry fellow, this tramp,
and was always ready with a rhyme.

When he came into the room he could see that the woman
was not so badly off as she had pretended ; but she was a
greedy and stingy woman of the worst sort, and was always
complaining and grumbling.

He now made himself very agreeable, of course, and asked
her in his most insinuating manner for something to eat.

" Where am I to get it from ? " said the woman. " I
haven't tasted a morsel myself the whole day."

But the tramp was a cunning fellow, he was.

" Poor old granny, you must be starving," he said. " Well,
well, I suppose I shall have to ask you to have something
with me, then ? "

" Have something with you ! " said the woman. " You don't
look as if you could ask any one to have anything! What
have you got to offer one, I should like to know ? "

" He who far and wide does roam sees many things not
known at home; and he who many things has seen has wits
about him and senses keen," said the tramp. " Better dead
than lose one's head ! Lend me a pot, granny ! "

The old woman now became very inquisitive, as you may
guess, and so she let him have a pot.

He filled it with water and put it on the fire, and then he
blew with all his might till the fire was burning fiercely all
round it. Then he took a four-inch nail from his pocket,
turned it three times in his hand, and put it into the pot.

The woman stared with all her might.

" What's this going to be? " she asked.

" Nail broth," said the tramp, and began to stir the water
with the porridge-stick.



" Nail broth ? " asked the woman.

"Yes, nail broth/' said the tramp.

The old woman had seen and heard a good deal in her time,
but that anybody could have made broth with a nail, well,
she had never heard the like before.

" That's something for poor people to know," she said,
" and I should like to learn how to make it."

" That which is not worth having will always go a-beg-
ging," said the tramp, but if she wanted to learn how to make
it she had only to watch him, he said, and went on stirring
the broth.

The old woman squatted on the ground, her hands clasping
her knees, and her eyes following his hand as he stirred the

" This generally makes good broth," he said ; " but this time
it will very likely be rather thin, for I have been making
broth the whole week with the same nail. If one only had
a handful of sifted oatmeal to put in, that would make
it all right," he said. " But what one has to go without,
it's no use thinking more about," and so he stirred the broth

" Well, I think I have a scrap of flour somewhere," said
the old woman, and went out to fetch some, and it was both
good and fine.

The tramp began putting the flour into the broth, and went
on stirring, while the woman sat staring now at him and then
at the pot until her eyes nearly burst their sockets.

" This broth would be good enough for company," he said,
putting in one handful of flour after another. " If I had only
a bit of salted beef and a few potatoes to put in, it would be
fit for gentlefolks, however particular they might be," he said.
" But what one has to go without, it's no use thinking more

When the old woman really began to think it over, she
thought she had some potatoes, and perhaps a bit of beef as
well; and these she gave the tramp, who went on stirring,
while she sat and stared as hard as ever.



" This will be grand enough for the best in the land," he

" Well, I never ! " said the woman ; " and just fancy all
with a nail ! "

He was really a wonderful man, that tramp! He could do
more than drink a sup and turn the tankard up, he could.

"If one had only a little barley and a drop of milk, we
could ask the king himself to have some of it," he said ; " for
this is what he has every blessed evening that I know, for I
have been in service under the king's cook," he said.

" Dear me ! Ask the king to have some ! Well, I never ! "
exclaimed the woman, slapping her knees. She was quite awe-
struck at the tramp and his grand connections.

" But what one has to go without, it's no use thinking more
about," said the tramp.

And then she remembered she had a little barley; and as
for milk, well, she wasn't quite out of that, she said, for her
best cow had just calved. And then she went to fetch both
the one and the other.

The tramp went on stirring, and the woman sat staring,
one moment at him and the next at the pot.

Then all at once the tramp took out the nail.

" Now it's ready, and now we'll have a real good feast," he
said. " But to this kind of soup the king and the queen al-
ways take a dram or two, and one sandwich at least. And
then they always have a cloth on the table when they eat," he
said. " But what one has to go without, it's no use thinking
more about."

But by this time the old woman herself had begun to feel
quite grand and fine, I can tell you ; and if that was all that was
wanted to make it just as the king had it, she thought it would
be nice to have it exactly the same way for once, and play
at being king and queen with the tramp. She went straight
to a cupboard and brought out the brandy bottle, dram glasses,
butter and cheese, smoked beef and veal, until at last the table
looked as if it were decked out for company.

Never in her life had the old woman had such a grand


feast, and never had she tasted such broth, and just fancy,
made only with a nail !

She was in such a good and merry humor at having learned
such an economical way of making broth that she did not
know how to make enough of the tramp who had taught her
such a useful thing.

So they ate and drank, and drank and ate, until they be-
came both tired and sleepy.

The tramp was now going to lie down on the floor. But
that would never do, thought the old woman; no, that was
impossible. " Such a grand person must have a bed to lie in,"
she said.

He did not need much pressing. " It's just like the sweet
Christmas time," he said, " and a nicer woman I never came
across. Ah, well! Happy are they who meet with such
good people," said he ; and he lay down on the bed and went

And next morning, when he woke, the first thing he got
was coffee and a dram.

When he was going, the old woman gave him a bright dol-
lar piece.

" And thanks, many thanks, for what you have taught me,"
she said. " Now I shall live in comfort, since I have learned
how to make broth with a nail."

" Well, it isn't very difficult if one only has something good
to add to it," said the tramp as he went his way.

The woman stood at the door staring after him.

" Such people don't grow on every bush," she said.





ftate ^ougiaj


[HE problem of children's reading is
one of the greatest with which parents
and teachers are confronted. It is the
purpose of this series to provide the
very best literature in every field for the use of
children and young people of all ages, poetry,
fairy lore, fables, nursery rhymes, short entertaining
stories, etc., etc. To accomplish this purpose the
editors have spared no trouble and the publishers
no expense, to the end that this series may take
its place permanently in the home and in the
school library /superseding all others less com-
plete and less carefully selected with reference
to the mental and spiritual needs and the simple
aesthetic tastes of children. A full description
of the five volumes already published will be
found on the following pages.


" The Crimson Classics"



|HIS volume is absolutely unique in scope and
conception. It is a collection of all the best
nursery rhymes, nonsense verses, guessing
games, lullabies and slumber songs for the
delectation of the very littlest readers, just as
THE POSY RING was designed for children a little older,
and GOLDEN NUMBERS for their brothers and sisters who
are beginning to grow up and to prepare for school and
college. The editors have, as in the case of the former
volumes in the series, gone through the entire field of
available material, and drawn upon many sources that are
remote or inaccessible for the general reader. In this way
they have been able to recover many a veritable little
masterpiece of nursery lore, as well as to bring together
all the old favorites from Mother Goose and other collec-
tions in a form at once compact and comprehensive.
Teachers of kindergartens everywhere, as well as mothers
with children to entertain at home, will welcome this little
book and keep it on the most convenient shelf of the
nursery bookcase. " Every home, large or small, poor or
rich,' 1 writes Mrs. Wiggin in her delightful INTRODUCTION
TO THE MOTHER in PINAFORE PALACE ; and, she adds later,
" no greater love for a task nor happiness in doing it, no
more ardent wish to please a child or meet a mother's
need, ever went into a book than has been brought into
this volume. 1 '



" The Crimson Classics"



IS volume, a companion to " The Faiiy
Ring," completes that volume and makes,
with it, the most exhaustive collection of fairy
lore available for young readers. The editors,
with their unerring gift for selection which in
itself amounts to genius, have gathered those stories which
have in them the greatest degree of that glamour which, in
the language of Keats, opens "magic casements" on the
world of Fairyland. These stories are for the most part
longer and more elaborate than those in the preceding
volume and are designed for slightly older readers.


1SIGNED by its editors to be the standard
fairy book for children. The educational
value of the fairy story cannot be denied in
its healthy stimulation of the child's imagin-
ative powers. Here the collections of Grimm,
Andersen, Joseph Jacobs, Laboulaye, Perrault, and Dasent
have yielded their richest stores, but the editors have not
confined themselves to these better-known sources. They
have gone far afield, read and examined all existing books of
fairy literature, sifting all the material till they have made
a generous selection which is inclusive of the very best
that has ever been written.

" Can hardly fail to prove the most popular anthology of its kind
ever published." Boston. Herald.

Each volume beautifully printed and bound; about 450 pages
Gilt top ; postpaid, $1.50


te The Crimson Classics "



[HE best anthology of English verse ever
prepared for young people from the ages of
12 to 17. It is composed entirely of the
finest examples of English poetical literature,
selected with special reference to the re-
quirements of young people of the grammar and high
school age.

" The book will charm the child for the moment ; it will educate
his tastes without awakening the suspicion that he is at school, and
it will enrich his memory for all time to come." Outlook.

With an introduction by Kate Douglas Wiggin, and interleaves.
Cloth, 500 pages; postpaid, $2.17; net, $2.00



COMPANION volume to "Golden Num-
bers," suitable for children from the ages of
7 to 12. The compilers have drawn largely
on the works of Longfellow, Stevenson,
Lewis Carroll, Eugene Field, Mary Mapes
Dodge and James Whitcomb Riley. Every poem will give
delight to the child, and also to the mother who would
read them to the little ones.

"Into its pages have been gathered the cream of poetry for chil-
dren." Boston Transcript.

Printed invery large Readable type. Cloth, postpaid, $1.37; net, $1.25


Online LibraryKate Douglas Smith WigginTales of laughter : a third fairy book → online text (page 31 of 31)