Ada M. (Ada Maria) Skinner.

The topaz story book : stories and legends of autumn, Hallowe'en, and Thanksgiving online

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Stories and Legends of

Autumn, Halloween, and Thanksgiving





Editors of "The Emerald Story Book" "Merry Tales'
"Nursery Tales from Many Lands' 1



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Copyright, 1917, by

Fifth Edition, 1928

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Nature stories, legends, and poems appeal
to the young reader's interest in various ways.
Some of them suggest or reveal certain facts
which stimulate a spirit of investigation and
attract the child's attention to the beauty and
mystery of the world. Others serve an ex-
cellent purpose by quickening his sense of

Seedtime and harvest have always been sea-
sons of absorbing interest and have furnished
the story- teller with rieh : themes. The selec-
tions in "The Emerald Stoiy Book" empha-
size the hope and premise of the spring; the
stories, legends, and poems in this volume,
"The Topaz 'Story Book," express the joy and
blessing which attend the harvest-time when
the fields are rich in golden grain and the or-
chard boughs bend low with mellow fruit


"The year's work is done. She walks in gor-
geous apparel, looking upon her long labour
and her serene eye saith, 'It is good.'

The editors' thanks are due to the follow-
ing authors and publishers for the use of valu-
able material in this book:

To Dr. Carl S. Patton of the First Congre-
gational Church, Columbus, Ohio, for per-
mission to include his story, "The Pretending
Woodchuck"; to Frances Jenkins Olcott for
"The Green Corn Dance," retold from "The
Journal of American Folk-Lore," published
by Houghton, Mifflin Company; to Ernest
Thompson Seton and the Century Company
for "How the Chestnut Burrs Became"; to
Dr. J. Dynelly Prince for permission to retell
the legend of "Nipon" from "Kuloskap the
Master"; to Thcmas Nelson and Sons for
"Weeds," by Carl Ewald ; to William Herbert
Carruth for the selection from "Each In His
Own Tongue"; to -Josephine K. Dodge for
two poems by Mary Mapes Dodge; to A.
Flanagan Company for "Golden-rod and
Purple Aster," from "Nature Myths and
Stories," by Flora J. Cooke; to J. B. Lippin-


cott Company for "The Willow and the Bam-
boo," from "Myths and Legends of the Flow-
ers and Trees," by Chas. M. Skinner; to
Bobbs, Merrill Company for the selection
by James Whitcomb Riley; to Lothrop,
Lee, and Shepard Company for "The Pump-
kin Giant," from "The Pot of Gold," by
Mary Wilkins Freeman; to Raymond Mac-
donald Alden for "Lost: The Summer";
to the Youth's Companion for "A Turkey
for the Stuffing," by Katherine Grace Hul-
bert, and "The News," by Persis Gardi-
ner; to John S. P. Alcott for "Queen Aster,"
by Louisa M. Alcott; to G. P. Putnam's Sons
for two poems from "Red Apples and Silver
Bells," by Hamish Henry; to Francis Cur-
tis and St. Nicholas for "The Debut of
Daniel Webster," by Isabel Gordon Curtis;
to Emma F. Bush and Mothers' Magazine
for "The Little Pumpkin"; to Phila Butler
Bowman and Mothers' Magazine for "The
Queer Little Baker Man"; to the Inde-
pendent for "The Crown of the Year," by
Celia Thaxter; to Ginn and Company for
"Winter's Herald," from Andrew's "The


Story of My Four Friends" ; to Frederick A.
Stokes Company for "Lady White and Lady
Yellow," from "Myths and Legends of Ja-
pan"; to the State Museum, Albany, New
York, for permission to reprint the legend
"O-na-tah, Spirit of the Corn," published in
the Museum Bulletin; to Houghton, Mifflin
Company for "The Sickle Moon," by Abbie
Farwell Brown; "Autumn Among the Birds"
and "Autumn Fashions" by Edith M. Thomas,
"The Nutcrackers of Nutcracker Lodge" by
Harriet Beecher Stowe, and "The Three Gol-
den Apples" by Nathaniel Hawthorne; and
to Duffield and Company for "The Story of
the Opal" by Ann de Morgan.





Each in His Own Tongue (selection)

William Herbert Carruth 2

Nipon and the King of the Northland (Algonquin Leg-
end) Retold from Leland and Prince

Eleanor L. Skinner 3
Prince Autumn (Translated from the Danish by Alex-

andre Teixeira de Mattos) Carl Ewald 12

The Scarf of the Lady (adapted) (Translated from the

French by Hermine de Nagy) 24

The Sickle Moon (Tyrolean harvest legend)

Abbie Farwell Brown 30

Winter's Herald Jane Andrews 35

Jack Frost (poem) 42

The Pumpkin Giant Mary Wilkins Freeman 44

Lady White and Lady Yellow (Japanese Legend)

Frederick Hadland Davis 62

The Shet-up Posy Ann Trumbull Slosson 66

The Gay Little King Mary Stewart 73

The Story of the Opal Ann de Morgan 83

Selection Celia Thaxter 97

Lost: The Summer (poem)

Raymond Macdonald Alden 98

By the Wayside (poem) William Cullen Bryant 99

The King's Candles (German legend)

Eleanor L. Skinner 100

A Legend of the Golden-Rod Frances Weld Danielson 106

Golden-Rod (poem) Anna E. Skinner 109

The Little Weed. no



Golden-Rod and Purple Aster (adapted)

Flora J. Cooke 112

Wild Asters (poem) 115

Silver-rod Edith M. Thomas 116

Pimpernel, the Shepherd's Clock (poem) 118

A Legend of the Gentian (Hungarian) ..Ada M. Skinner 119

Queen Aster Louisa M. Alcott 121

The Weeds Carl Ewald 134

Autumn Fires (poem) Robert Louis Stevenson 144



To An Autumn Leaf (poem) 146

Why the Autumn Leaves Are Red (Indian legend)

Retold and adapted by Eleanor Newcomb Partridge 147

The Anxious Leaf Henry Ward Beecher 154

How the Chestnut Burrs Became

Ernest Thompson-Seton 156

The Merry Wind (poem) Mary Mapes Dodge 158

Autumn Among the Birds Edith M. Thomas 159

The Kind Old Oak Selected 163

The Tree (poem) Bjdrnstjerne Bjornson 165

Coming and Going Henry Ward Beecher 166

A Legend of the Willow Tree (Japanese) 170

Autumn Fashions (poem) Edith M. Thomas 173

Pomona's Best Gift (Old English Song) 175

Pomona (Greek myth retold from Ovid)

Ada M. Skinner 176

In the Orchard (poem) George Weatherby 180

Johnny Appleseed Josephine Scribner Gates 181

Red Apple (poem) Hamish Hendry 185

The Three Golden Apples Nathaniel Hawthorne 186

October: Orchard of the Year Selected 211

November 212


The Pretending Woodchuck Dr. Carl S. Patton 215

Mrs. Bunny's Dinner Party Anna E. Skinner 228

The Nutcrackers of Nutcracker Lodge (adapted)

Harriet Beecher Stowe 234

Bushy's Bravery Ada M. Skinner 243

Nut Gatherers (poem) Hamish Hendry 248




When the Frost is' on the Pumpkin

James Whitcomb Riley 250
Origin of Indian Corn (Indian legend)

Eleanor L. Skinner 251

Song of Hiawatha Henry W. Longfellow 254

O-na-tah, the Spirit of the Corn Fields

Harriet Converse 255

Mondamin (poem) Henry W. Longfellow 258

The Discontented Pumpkin Ada M. Skinner 259

Bob White (poem ) George Cooper 263

The Little Pumpkin Emma Florence Bush 265

Autumn (poem) Edmund Spenser 270


The News (poem) Persis Gardiner 272

How There Came To Be a Katy-did Patten Beard 273

Old Dame Cricket (poem) 276

Miss Katy-did and Miss Cricket ( adapted )

Harriet Beecher Stowe 277

The Cricket (poem) William Cowper 284


Shadow March (poem) Robert Louis Stevenson 286

Twinkling Feet's Hallowe'en (adapted from a Cornwall

legend) Eleanor L. Skinner 287

Jack-o'-Lantern (poem) 298

The Elfin Knight (old ballad retold)

Eleanor L. Skinner 299
The Courteous Prince (Scotch legend)

Eleanor L. Skinner 307

Jack-o'-Lantern Song 314


Selection Henry Van Dyke 318

The Queer Little Baker Man Phila Butler Bowman 319

A Turkey for the Stuffing Katherine Grace Hulbert 327

Pumpkin Pie (poem) Mary Mapes Dodge 333



Mrs. November's Party Agnes Carr 335

The Debut of Dan'l Webster Isabel Gordon Curtis 345

The Green Corn Dance Frances Jenkins Olcott 365

Thanksgiving (poem) Amelie E. Barr 373

The Two Alms, or The Thanksgiving Day Gift (Trans-
lated and adapted from the French)

Eleanor L. Skinner 375

Thanksgiving Psalm Bible 380

The Crown of the Year (poem) Celia Thaxter 381



A haze on the far horizon,

The infinite, tender sky,
The rich, ripe tint of the cornfields,

And the wild geese sailing high;
And, all over upland and lowland

The charm of the golden- rod,

Some of us call it Autumn,

And others call it God.




THE Summer Queen whom the Indians called
Nipon lived in the land of sunshine where
the life-giving beams of the mighty Sun shone
all the year round on the blossoming meadows
and green forests. The maiden's wigwam
faced the sunrise. It was covered with a vine
which hung thick with bell-shaped blossoms.

The fair queen's trailing green robe was
woven from delicate fern leaves and embroid-
ered with richly coloured blossoms. She wore
a coronet of flowers and her long dusky braids
were entwined with sprays of fragrant honey-
suckle. Her moccasins were fashioned from
water-lily leaves.

Nipon was very busy in her paradise of
flowers. Every day she wandered through the
green forests where she spoke words of en-


couragement and praise to the great trees, or
she glided over the meadows and helped the
flower buds to unfold into perfect blossoms.

Sometimes the maiden's grandmother,
whose name was K'me-wan, the Rain, came
from afar to visit the land of Sunshine. The
Summer Queen always welcomed her and
listened carefully to the words of warning
which K'me-wan solemnly gave before leav-

"Nipon, my child, heed what I say. In
thy wanderings never go to the Northland
where dwells Poon, the Winter King. He is
thy deadliest foe and is waiting to destroy
thee. This grim old Winter King hates the
fair beauty of the Summer Queen. He will
cause thy green garments to wither and fade
and thy bright hair to turn white like his own
frost. All thy youth and strength he will
change to age and weakness."

The Summer Maiden promised to heed her
grandmother's warning, and for a long time
she did not look in the direction of the North-
land. But one day when she sat in front of
her sun-bathed wigwam a strange longing


crept into her heart a longing to look at the
frozen Northland where Poon the Winter
King reigned. Slowly she turned her eyes in
the forbidden direction and there she saw a
wonderful vision. The far-away Northland
was flooded with sunshine. She could see the
broad, shining lakes, the white mountain peaks
touched with rosy mists, and the winding riv-
ers gleaming with light.

"It is the most beautiful land I have ever
seen," said Nipon.

She rose slowly and stood for some time
looking at the enchanting beauty of the scene
before her. Then she said, "My heart is
filled with a strange longing. I shall go to
visit the Northland, the Land of Poon, King of

"My daughter, remember K'me-wan's
warning," whispered a voice and Nipon knew
that her grandmother was speaking. "Go not
to the Northland where death awaits thee.
Abide in the land of Sunshine."

"I can not choose," said Nipon. "I must
go to the Northland."

"Heed my warning! Heed my warning!"


whispered the faint voice of K'me-wan, the

"I can not choose," repeated the Summer
Queen. "I must go to the Northland."

In her delicate robe of leaves and her coro-
net of flowers Nipon left the Land of Sunshine
and began her long journey northward. For
many moons she traveled keeping her eyes
fixed on the dazzling beauty of the frost king's

One day she noticed that the shining moun-
tains, lakes, and rivers in the land of Poon
moved onward before her. She stopped for
a moment to consider the marvel and again a
faint voice whispered, "Turn back, my child!
Destruction awaits thee in the land of King
Winter. Heed the warning of K'me-wan."

But the willful Summer Queen closed her
ears to the pleading voice and proceeded on
her journey. The beautiful vision no longer
seemed to move away from her. Surely be-
fore long she would win her heart's desire, she
would reach the beautiful land of Poon.

Suddenly fear seized the Summer Queen,
r for she felt that the sunshine was gradually


fading away. A chill wind from the distant
mountain rent her frail garments and with
sinking heart she saw the leaves of her robe
were turning yellow, the blossoms were fad-
ing and dying. A cruel wind blew and tore
to pieces her coronet of flowers. Then she
noticed that her dusky braids were turning
white as the frost.

"K'me-wan's warning!" she cried. "How I
wish I had heeded K'me-wan's warning! The
Frost King is cruel. He will destroy me! O
K'me-wan, help me! Save me from destruc-

Soon after Nipon left for the Northland
her grandmother knew what had happened,
for from her Skyland she saw that no smoke
rose from the Summer Queen's wigwam.
K'me-wan hastened to the land of Sunshine.
There she saw that the blossoms on the
queen's wigwam were beginning to wither, the
ground was strewn with fallen petals, and the
leaves of the vine had lost their shining green

"A grey mist covers the face of the sun and
a change is gradually creeping over this beau-


tiful land," cried K'me-wan. "I'll send my
gentlest showers to refresh the woods and

But the Rain-rnother failed to bring back
the colour to the Summer Queen's island.

"The trees and flowers need warmth as well
as moisture," sighed K'me-wan. "The leaves
of the forest are beginning to turn orange,
crimson, and brown. Every day there are
fewer flowers in the meadows and along the
banks of the brook. A great change is creep-
ing over the land of Sunshine."

And as she sat in Nipon's wigwam, grieving,
she heard the Summer Queen's cry of agony.
She heard Nipon call out, "O K'me-wan!
Save me from destruction."

"I'll send my bravest warriors to do battle
with Poon," declared K'me-wan, standing and
looking toward the Northland. "He shall
match his strength with mine!"

Quickly she called together her strong war-
riors, South-wind, West-wind, and Warm-

"Go to the Northland, my warriors," she
commanded. "Use all your power to rescue


Nipon from Poon, the Winter King. Fly to
the Northland !"

K'me-wan's wind warriors fled like light-
ning to the land'of Poon. But the crafty Win-
ter King was not taken by surprise. The
mighty North-wind, the biting East-wind, and
the Frost-spirit, his strong chieftains, he held
in readiness to do battle for possession of the
Summer Queen. And when K'me-wan's war-
riors drew near the Northland, Poon gave his

"Fly to meet our foes, my warriors! They
come from the land of Sunshine! Vanquish

And as he spoke his chieftains saw that
Poon's stalwart figure was growing gaunt and
thin, and great drops of sweat were dropping
from his brow.

At Winter King's command his giants flew
to match their strength with K'me-wan's war-

But the Snowflakes and Hailstones led by
the Frost-spirit weakened and fell before
Warm-breeze and his followers, the Rain-
drops. The cold wind warriors of the North


shook and roared as they matched strength
with the mightier giants from the land of
Sunshine. Then, as K'me-wan's warriors
pressed nearer and nearer to the Northland,
Poon the Winter King weakened and cried out
in agony, "Set Nipon free or I shall perish.
My warriors are vanquished by the chieftains
of the land of Sunshine! Free the Summer
Queen and end this strife!"

At this command from Poon, his giant war-
riors grew silent and fled back to the North-
land, leaving K'me-wan's chieftains in pos-
session of Nipon. Gently they led the weary
Summer Queen back toward her own land.
They travelled for many moons before the
beams of the great sun were warm enough to
restore her beauty.

Only once on her journey back to her own
land did Nipon stop. It was when she reached
a place enveloped in grey mists and dark
clouds where the wild lightning leaped and
flashed. The wind blew and the showers fell
continually in this land of K'me-wan.
Through the clouds and rain Nipon traveled
until she reached the wigwam of the ancient


"Forgive me, K'me-wan," said the Summer
Queen humbly.

"My child, thou hast well nigh killed me,"
moaned K'me-wan faintly. "Thy disobedi-
ence has brought great suffering in my cher-
ished island. My giant warriors conquered
or Poon with his cruel ice scepter would have
reigned king over all. Never again can I ven-
ture on such a struggle."

"Never again shall I disobey thee," de-
clared Nipon, the Summer Queen.

"Hasten back to the land of Sunshine," said
K'me-wan, rising. "There thou art sadly
needed, for the leaves have changed their color
and the blossoms are almost gone. Hasten
back and give them new life, my daughter."

Then Nipon bade farewell to the Rain-
mother and departed for the land of Sunshine.
As she drew near her heart was filled with a
wonderful joy and peace.

"Welcome, Nipon," laughed the warm sun-

"Welcome, Nipon," sang the gentle breezes.

"Welcome, our life-giving Summer Queen,"
nodded the forest trees.



ON the top of the hills in the West stood the
Prince of Autumn and surveyed the land with
his serious eyes.

His hair and beard were dashed with gray
and there were wrinkles on his forehead. But
he was good to look at, still and straight and
strong. His splendid cloak gleamed red and
green and brown and yellow and flapped in
the wind. In his hand he held a horn.

He smiled sadly and stood awhile and lis-
tened to the fighting and the singing and the
cries. Then he raised his head, put the horn
to his mouth and blew a lusty flourish:

Summer goes his all-prospering way,

Autumn's horn is calling.
Heather dresses the brown hill-clay,

Winds whip crackling across the bay,
Leaves in the grove keep falling.

Copyright, 1913, by Dodd, Mead & Company.



All the trees of the forest shook from root
to top, themselves not knowing why. All the
birds fell silent together. The stag in the
glade raised his antlers in surprise and lis-
tened. The poppy's scarlet petals flew before
the wind.

But high on the mountains and on the bare
hills and low down in the bog, the heather
burst forth and blazed purple and glorious in
the sun. And the bees flew from the faded
flowers of the meadow and hid themselves in
the heather-fields.

But Autumn put his horn to his mouth again
and blew:

Autumn lords it with banners bright

Of garish leaves held o'er him,
Quelling Summer's eternal fight,
Heralding Winter, wild and white,

While the blithe little birds flee before him.

The Prince of Summer stopped where he
stood in the valley and raised his eyes to the
hills in the West. And the Prince of Autumn
took the horn from his mouth and bowed low
before him.


"Welcome!" said Summer.

He took a step towards him and no more,
as befits one who is the greater. But the
Prince of Autumn came down over the hills
and again bowed low.

They walked through the valley hand in
hand. And so radiant was Summer that,
wherever they passed, none was aware of Au-
tumn's presence. The notes of his horn died
aw r ay in the air; and one and all recovered
from the shudder that had passed over them.
The trees and birds and flowers came to them-
selves again and whispered and sang and
fought. The river flowed, the rushes mur-
mured, the bees continued their summer orgy
in the heather.

But, wherever the princes stopped on their
progress through the valley, it came about that
the foliage turned yellow on the side where
Autumn was. A little leaf fell from its stalk
and fluttered away and dropped at his feet.
The nightingale ceased singing, though it was
eventide; the cuckoo was silent and flapped
restlessly through the woods; the stork
stretched himself in his nest and looked to-


ward the South. But the princes took no heed.

"Welcome," said Summer again. "Do you
remember your promise?"

"I remember," answered Autumn.

Then the Prince of Summer stopped and
looked out over the kingdom where the noise
was gradually subsiding.

"Do you hear them?" he asked. "Now do
you take them into your gentle keeping."

"I shall bring your produce home," said
Autumn. "I shall watch carefully over them
that dream, I shall cover up lovingly them
that are to sleep in the mould. I will warn
them thrice of Winter's coming."

"It is well," said Summer.

They walked in silence for a time, while
night came forth.

"The honeysuckle's petals fell when you
blew your horn," said Summer. "Some of my
children will die at the moment when I leave
the valley. But the nightingale and the
cuckoo and the stork I shall take with me."

Again the two princes walked in silence. It
was quite still, only the owls hooted in the old


"You must send my birds after me," said

"I shall not forget," replied Autumn.

Then the Prince of Summer raised his hand
in farewell and bade Autumn take possession
of the kingdom.

"I shall go tonight," he said. "And none
will know save you. My splendour will linger
in the valley for a while. And by-the-by,
when I am far away and my reign is forgot-
ten, the memory of me will revive once more
with the sun and the pleasant days."

Then he strode away in the night. But
from the high tree-top came the stork on his
long wings; and the cuckoo fluttered out of
the tall woods ; and the nightingale flew from
the thicket with her full-grown young.

The air was filled with the soft murmurings
of wings.

Autumn's dominion had indeed begun on
the night when Summer went away, with a
yellow leaf here and a brown leaf there, but
none had noticed it. Now it went at a quicker
pace; and as time wore on, there came even
more colours and greater splendour.


The lime trees turned bright yellow and the
beech bronze, but the elder-tree even blacker
than it had been. The bell-flower rang with
white bells, where it used to ring with blue,
and the chestnut tree blessed all the world with
its five yellow fingers. The mountain ash shed
its leaves that all might admire its pretty ber-
ries; the wild rose nodded with a hundred
hips; the Virginia creeper broke over the
hedge in blazing flames.

Then Autumn put his horn to his mouth
and blew :

The loveliest things of Autumn's pack

In his motley coffers lay;
Red mountain-berries
Hips sweet as cherries,
Sloes blue and black

He hung upon every spray.

And blackbird and thrush chattered blithely
in the copsewood, which gleamed with ber-
ries, and a thousand sparrows kept them com-
pany. The wind ran from one to the other and
puffed and panted to add to the fun. High up
in the sky, the sun looked gently down upon it


And the Prince of Autumn nodded content-
edly and let his motley cloak flap in the wind.

"I am the least important of the four sea-
sons and am scarcely lord in my own land," he
said. "I serve two jealous masters and have
to please them both. But my power extends
so far that I can give you a few glad days."

Then he put his horn to his mouth and blew :

To the valley revellers hie!

They are clad in autumnal fancy dresses,
They are weary of green and faded tresses,

Summer has vanished, Winter is nigh

Hey fol de rol day for Autumn!

But, the night after this happened, there was
tremendous disturbance up on the mountain
peaks, where the eternal snows had lain both
in Spring's time and Summer's. It sounded
like a storm approaching. The trees grew
frightened, the crows were silent, the wind
held its breath. Prince Autumn bent forward
and listened:

"Is that the worst you can do?" shouted a
hoarse voice through the darkness.


Autumn raised his head and looked straight

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Online LibraryAda M. (Ada Maria) SkinnerThe topaz story book : stories and legends of autumn, Hallowe'en, and Thanksgiving → online text (page 1 of 14)