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English pages for children. English pages for everyone.

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English pages for children. English pages for everyone.

Babs Bell (Bishop) Hajdusiewicz and her books

Bestselling author Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz, Ms.Ed. is the author of more than 100 books and 350 poems for children, including: Dont Go Out in Your Underwear!; Phonics through Poetry: Teaching Phonemic Awareness Using Poetry; MORE Phonics through Poetry: Teaching Phonemic Awareness Using Poetry; Rhythm & Rhyme Reader Series; Questions and Answers Series; Jacks and More Jacks, Words! Words! Words!; Words and More Words. She is also author of Steppingstone Stories Series; Peaceful Me and Sometimes I Feel Happy, Sometimes I Feel Sad; three Poetry Works! collections for early childhood through intermediate grades; middle-grades biography Mary Carter Smith: African-American Storyteller; and the Dainty Dinosaur Series.

Hajdusiewicz stars in the Wright Group staff-development video Developing Oral Language and Phonemic Awareness through Rhythm and Rhyme. She has written numerous children's stories, articles for teachers and parents, and has contributed to and edited many elementary textbooks.

An educator for 40 years, Hajdusiewicz taught early childhood, elementary, and special education at all levels, served school districts in Indiana and Michigan as director of special education, and taught graduate and undergraduate education courses at Eastern Michigan and Cleveland State Universities. She founded Booking the Future: Reader to Reader, a community-involvement literacy program that placed books in the hands and homes of more than 16,000 four, five, and six year olds, and Pee Wee Poetry, a language development program for children aged two through nine. Hajdusiewicz is a frequent conference keynoter for educators and parents and a popular visiting author in schools across the country and abroad.

Specialties: Poetry for kids; humor; parenting for literacy; school staff development; author of numerous classroom materials; emphasis on phonemic awareness before phonics instruction; building love of learning from infancy onward

(Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz , . 100 350 . , , , . . .)



It's an old Middleton family recipe.
16 Hosting Rules Kate Middleton Never Breaks
Prince Philip to retire from public duties at age of 96
Quotes about Life




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The gift of the magi
by O.Henry


ONE DOLLAR AND EIGHTY-SEVEN CENTS. THAT WAS ALL. AND SIXTY CENTS of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.
There was clearly nothing left to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.

While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the look-out for the mendicancy squad.
In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name "Mr. James Dillingham Young."

The "Dillingham" had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, the letters of "Dillingham" looked blurred, as though they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D.

But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called "Jim" and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good.

Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a grey cat walking a grey fence in a grey backyard. To-morrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present.
She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn't go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim.

Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling--something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honour of being owned by Jim.

There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier-glass in an $8 Bat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art.

Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. Her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its colour within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length.

Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim's gold watch that had been his father's and his grandfather's. The other was Della's hair.

Had the Queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out of the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty's jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.

So now Della's beautiful hair fell about her, rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her.

And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.

On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she cluttered out of the door and down the stairs to the street.

Where she stopped the sign read: "Mme Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds." One Eight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the "Sofronie."
"Will you buy my hair?" asked Della.
"I buy hair," said Madame. "Take yer hat off and let's have a sight at the looks of it."
Down rippled the brown cascade.
"Twenty dollars," said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand.
"Give it to me quick" said Della.
"Is that your ship out there?" asked the Kid.

Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim's present.
She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out.

It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation--as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch.

As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim's. It was like him. Quietness and value--the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 78 cents.

With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain.

When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task dear friends--a mammoth task.
Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically.

"If Jim doesn't kill me," she said to herself, "before he takes a second look at me, he'll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do--oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty-seven cents?"

At 7 o'clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops.
Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment.

She had a habit of saying little silent prayers about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: "Please, God, make him think I am still pretty."

The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two--and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was with out gloves.

Jim stepped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her.

It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.

Della wriggled off the table and went for him.
"Jim, darling," she cried, "don't look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold it because I couldn't have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It'll grow out again--you won't mind, will you?
I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say 'Merry Christmas!' Jim, and let's be happy. You don't know what a nice-what a beautiful, nice gift I've got for you."
"You've cut off your hair?" asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet, even after the hardest mental labour.
"Cut it off and sold it," said Della. "Don't you like me just as well, anyhow? I'm me without my hair, ain't I?"
Jim looked about the room curiously.
"You say your hair is gone?" he said, with an air almost of idiocy.
"You needn't look for it," said Della. "It's sold, I tell you--sold and gone, too. It's Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered," she went on with a sudden serious sweetness, "but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?"
Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year--what is the difference?
A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. I his dark assertion will be illuminated later on.
Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.
"Don't make any mistake, Dell," he said, "about me. I don't think there's anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you'll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first."
White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.
For there lay The Combs--the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped for long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise-shell, with jewelled rims--just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair.

They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.
But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: "My hair grows so fast, Jim!"
And then Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, "Oh, oh!"
Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.
"Isn't it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You'll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it."

Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled.

"Dell," said he, "let's put our Christmas presents away and keep 'em a while. They're too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy Your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on."

The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men-who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication.
And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house.

But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.



Those hours, that with gentle work did frame
The lovely gaze where every eye doth dwell,
Will play the tyrants to the very same
And that unfair which fairly doth excel:

For never-resting time leads summer on
To hideous winter and confounds him there;
Sap cheque'd with frost and lusty leaves quite gone,
Beauty o'ersnow'd and bareness every where:

Then, were not summer's distillation left,
A liquid prisoner pent in walls of glass,
Beauty's effect with beauty were bereft,
Nor it nor no remembrance what it was:

But flowers distill'd though they with winter meet,
Leese but their show; their substance still lives sweet.




Russian Christmas -

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- portmanteau words. , portmanteau, , . " " ( ), . , - (). , , .

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Absotively, airtorial, brunch, cablegram, cameracature, cheeriodical, chortle, cigaroot, crocogator, dumbfound, guesstimate, infancipate, newtopia, Oxbridge, smog, twinight, windoor, wordfacturer.

(smog, dumbfound, cablegram, Oxbridge). , , . , "" , " portmanteau":

Absotively = absolutely + positively;
airtorial = air + editorial;
brunch = breakfast + lunch;
cablegram = cable + telegram;
cameracature = camera + caricature;
cheeriodical = cheer + periodical;
chortle = chuckle + snort;
cigaroot = cigarette + cheroot;
crocogator = crocodile + alligator;
dumbfound = dumb + confound;
guesstimate = guess + estimate;
infancipate = infant + anticipate;
newtopia = new + utopia;
Oxbridge = Oxford + Cambridge;
smog = smoke + fog;
twinight = twilight + night;
windoor = window + door;
wordfacturer = word + manufacturer.

, , . , . (basketball, rainfall), (megamall, hypertext); , , , , .




Church of the Savior on Blood, St. Petersburg

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood (Khram Spasa na Krovi) is one of the main Russian Orthodox cathedrals of St. Petersburg.
The church is also variously known as the Church of Our Savior on Blood and the Church of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, its official name. The "blood" of the common name refers to that of Tsar Alexander II, who was killed on that site on March 13, 1881, as well as that of the crucified Jesus.

History of the Church of the Savior on Blood

Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907.

Funding was provided by the Royal family with the support of many private investors. The church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million.
In the aftermath of the Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s.

During World War II, the church was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of "Savior on Potatoes." It suffered significant damage during the Siege of Leningrad and after the war, it was used as a warehouse for a nearby opera theatre.
In July 1970, management of the church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the cathedral were ploughed back into restoring the church.

It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been resanctified and does not function as a full-time place of worship. The church is now one of the main tourist attractions of St. Petersburg.

What to See at the Church of the Savior on Blood

The church is prominently situated along the Griboedov Canal. The section of street where the assassination took place was enclosed within the walls of the church, and part of the canal filled to allow the street to pass around the building.
Architecturally, the church is out of place in St. Petersburg. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood is more in line with medieval Russian architecture. It intentionally resembles the famous St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.
The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day - including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel - but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known. An elaborate shrine was constructed on the exact place of Alexander's death, garnished with topaz, lazurite and other semi-precious stones.


The church contains over 7,500 square meters of mosaics - according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The intricately detailed mosaics depict biblical scenes and figures, with fine patterned borders setting off each picture.




Learn to make these adorable pom pom friends.

Please share the video and follow me on social media..Let me know what awesome DIY tutorials you would like to see.

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DIY Pom Pom Animals

How to make pom pom animals for Easter!

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- Learn How To Make a String Yarn Thread Egg - Easter Eggs Craft for Kids for Spring Tutorial

Donna Wolfe from Naztazia http://naztazia.com shows you how to make an egg out of string and glue for Easter, Spring, or any time of the year. You can use regular string, twine, crochet thread, yarn, or embroidery floss to make these eggs.

This is a fun project for kids of all ages!

Be sure to use the PAUSE button, then rewind or fast forward if a part goes too fast or too slow for you.

You can also Pin photos from this tutorial while visiting the Naztazia website http://naztazia.com

Music written and performed by Donna Wolfe.

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History:Soviet Union, Navy, Saint-Petersburg


The Russian Cruiser Aurora secured in the Neva River at St Petersburg.
It was from this ship by firing a shot into the Winter Palace
that the start of the October 1917 revolution was signalled.

The ship's bell on board the Russian cruiser Aurora



This year, Simon is in fourth grade and Grace is in first grade, and I find myself asking them every day after school, So how was school today?

And every day I get an answer like fine or good, which doesnt tell me a whole lot.


Or at least get a full sentence. So the other night, I sat down and made a list of more engaging questions to ask about school. They arent perfect, but I do at least get complete sentences, and some have led to some interesting conversations... and hilarious answers... and some insights into how my kids think and feel about school.

25 Ways to Ask Your Kids So How Was School Today? Without Asking Them So How Was School Today?

1. What was the best thing that happened at school today? (What was the worst thing that happened at school today?)

2. Tell me something that made you laugh today.

3. If you could choose, who would you like to sit by in class? (Who would you NOT want to sit by in class? Why?)

4. Where is the coolest place at the school?

5. Tell me a weird word that you heard today. (Or something weird that someone said.)

6. If I called your teacher tonight, what would she tell me about you?

7. How did you help somebody today?

8. How did somebody help you today?

9. Tell me one thing that you learned today.

10. When were you the happiest today?

11. When were you bored today?

12. If an alien spaceship came to your class and beamed someone up, who would you want them to take?

13. Who would you like to play with at recess that youve never played with before?

14. Tell me something good that happened today.

15. What word did your teacher say most today?

16. What do you think you should do/learn more of at school?

17. What do you think you should do/learn less of at school?

18. Who in your class do you think you could be nicer to?

19. Where do you play the most at recess?

20. Who is the funniest person in your class? Why is he/she so funny?

21. What was your favorite part of lunch?

22. If you got to be the teacher tomorrow, what would you do?

23. Is there anyone in your class who needs a time-out?

24. If you could switch seats with anyone in the class, who would you trade with? Why?

25. Tell me about three different times you used your pencil today at school.


So far, my favorite answers have come from questions 12, 15 and 21. Questions like the alien one give kids a non-threatening way to say who they would rather not have in their class, and open the door for you to have a discussion to ask why, potentially uncovering issues you didnt know about before.

And the answers we get are sometimes really surprising. When I asked question 3, I discovered that one of my children didnt want to sit by a best friend in class anymore not out of a desire to be mean or bully, but in the hope theyd get the chance to work with other people.

As my kids get older, I know I am going to have to work harder and harder to stay engaged with them but I know its going to be worth the work.



28 Ways to Ask Your Teens How Was School Today? Without Asking Them How Was School Today?

Last week, I posted 25 ways to ask your kids So how was school today? without asking them So how was school today? and the questions came from a list that I made to ask my own children, who are in elementary school.

But naturally, all of those questions are geared toward elementary-school-aged kids, and I started to consider... if I think its hard for me to get school stories from my 10-year-old boy now, what is it going to be like five years from now?!

And then I remembered that I know what its going to be like. I taught either junior high or high school for almost a decade, and I get that communication with that age group is an art. BUT when you get dialogue, engaged dialogue, with a teen, its never disappointing. Its guaranteed to be interesting; sometimes it can be very enlightening; and its ALWAYS worth the work. ALWAYS.

So tonight, my husband (who also teaches high school) and I sat down and made a list of 28 ways to ask your teens How was school today? without asking them How was school today?, in an effort to get some sort of engaged, interesting dialogue... even if it only lasts in that brief time when theyre not texting friends.

28 Ways To Ask Your Teens How Was School Today? Without Asking Them How Was School Today?

1. Where in the school do you hang out the most? (Like a particular hall, classroom, parking lot, etc.) Where in the school do you never hang out?

2. What would your school be better with? What would your school be better without?

3. If you were a teacher, what class would you teach? Which class would be the worst to teach? Why?

4. What was the coolest (saddest, funniest, scariest) thing that you saw today?

5. Tell me one thing that you learned today.

6. If your day at school today was a movie, what movie would it be?

7. Besides walking to their next classes, what else do people do in the halls in between classes?

8. Who do you think you could be nicer to?

9. Which is your easiest class? Which is your hardest class? OR Which class are you learning the most in? Which class are you learning the least in?

10. If they played music in the halls at school, what would everyone want them to play over the loudspeaker?

11. If you could read minds, which teachers mind would you read? Which classmates mind would you read? Whose mind would you NOT want to read?

12. If today had a theme song, what would it be?

13. Which class has your favorite group of students in it? Which class has the worst group of students?

14. What do you think you should do more of at school? What do you think you should do less of?

15. What are the top three (or five) things that you hear people say in the halls?

16. What do you think the most important part of school is?

17. Tell me one question that you had today, even if it wasnt answered... actually, especially if it wasnt answered...

18. Which class has the most cute boys/girls in it?

19. If an alien spaceship landed at your school, who would you like them to beam aboard and take back to their home planet?

20. Who did you help today? Who helped you today?

21. If you could be invisible for the day at school, what would you do?

22. What part of the day do you look forward to? What part of the day do you dread?

23. What would you change about school lunch?

24. Which classmate is most likely to be arrested, made president, become a millionaire, be in movies, let loose a flock of wild chickens in the library, etc.?

25. If you had to go to only one class every day, which class would it be?

26. Tell me one thing you read at school today.

27. If your day at school was an emoticon, which one would it be?

28. What do you think your teachers talked about in the faculty room today after school?


NOTE: I dont have teenagers of my own, but Ive worked with my fair share of them and one thing that Ive found is that when you want them to open up, just sitting them down and asking questions isnt really effective. BUT, if you, say, trap them in the car... and talk to them while you are driving... and they dont have to make eye contact... they are more willing to offer up more information or ask more questions.

This also happens while you are working with them on things like making dinner, folding laundry, rearranging furniture, etc. You can casually talk and ask questions without making them feel like you are grilling them.

When I taught school, sometimes I would make up work project jobs to do with students who I was worried about, just so that we could have some heart-to-hearts while scrubbing desks or cleaning out closets. It sounds lame, but Im telling you, it works.

Good luck with those teens, and happy conversing!



Ray Bradbury

The April Witch


   Into the air, over the valleys, under the stars, above a river, a pond, a road, flew Cecy. Invisible as new spring winds, fresh as the breath of clover rising from twilight fields, she flew. She soared in doves as soft as white ermine, stopped in trees and lived in blossoms, showering away in petals when the breeze blew. She perched in a limegreen frog, cool as mint by a shining pool. She trotted in a brambly dog and barked to hear echoes from the sides of distant barns. She lived in new April grasses, in sweet clear liquids rising from the musky earth.
   It's spring, thought Cecy. I'll be in every living thing in the world tonight.
   Now she inhabited neat crickets on the tar-pool roads, now prickled in dew on an iron gate. Hers was an adapt-ably quick mind flowing unseen upon Illinois winds on this one evening of her life when she was just seventeen.
   I want to be in love, she said.
   She had said it at supper. And her parents had widened their eyes and stiffened back in their chairs. Patience, had been their advice. Remember, you're remarkable. Our whole family is odd and remarkable. We can't mix or marry with ordinary folk. We'd lose our magical powers if we did. You wouldn't want to lose your ability to 'travel' by magic, would you? Then be careful. Be careful!
   But in her high bedroom, Cecy had touched perfume to her throat and stretched out, trembling and apprehensive, on her four-poster, as a moon the colour of milk rose over Illinois country, turning rivers to cream and roads to platinum.
   Yes, she sighed. I'm one of an odd family. We sleep days and fly nights like black kites on the wind. If we want, we can sleep in moles through the winter, in the warm earth. I can live in anything at all a pebble, a crocus, or a praying mantis. I can leave my plain, bony body behind and send my mind far out for adventure. Now!
   The wind whipped her away over fields and meadows.
   She saw the warm spring lights of cottages and farms glowing with twilight colours.
   If I can't be in love, myself, because I'm plain and odd, then I'll be in love through someone else, she thought.
   Outside a farmhouse in the spring night a dark-haired girl, no more than nineteen, drew up water from a deep stone well. She was singing.
   Cecy fell a green leaf- into the well. She lay in the tender moss of the well, gazing up through dark coolness. Now she quickened in a fluttering, invisible amoeba. Now in a water droplet! At last, within a cold cup, she felt herself lifted to the girl's warm lips. There was a soft night sound of drinking.
   Cey looked out from the girl's eyes.
   She entered into the dark head and gazed from the shining eyes at the hands pulling the rough rope. She listened through the shell ears to this girl's world. She smelled a particular universe through these delicate nostrils, felt this special heart beating, beating. Felt this strange tongue move with singing.
   Does she know I'm here? thought Cecy.
   The girl gasped. She stared into the night meadows.
   Who's there?
   No answer.
   Only the wind, whispered Cecy.
   Only the wind. The girl laughed at herself, but shivered.
   It was a good body, this girl's body. It held bones of finest slender ivory hidden and roundly fleshed. This brain was like a pink tea rose, hung in darkness, and there was cider-wine in this mouth. The lips lay firm on the white, white teeth and the brows arched neatly at the world, and the hair blew soft and fine on her milky neck. The pores knit small and close. The nose tilted at the moon and the cheeks glowed like small fires. The body drifted with feather-balances from one motion to another and seemed always singing to itself. Being in this body, this head, was like basking in a hearth fire, living in the purr of a sleeping cat, stirring in warm creek waters that flowed by night to the sea.
   I'll like it here, thought Cecy.
   What? asked the girl, as if she'd heard a voice.
   What's your name? asked Cecy carefully.
   Ann Leary. The girl twitched. Now why should I say that out loud?
   Ann, Ann, whispered Cecy. Ann, you're going to be in love.
   As if to answer this, a great roar sprang from the road, a clatter and a ring of wheels on gravel. A tall man drove up in a rig, holding the reins high with his monstrous arms, his smile glowing across the yard.
   Is that you, Tom?
   Who else? Leaping from the rig, he tied the reins to the fence.
   I'm not speaking to you! Ann whirled, the bucket in her hands slopping.
   No! cried Cecy.
   Ann froze. She looked at the hills and the first spring stars. She stared at the man named Tom. Cecy made her drop the bucket.
   Look what you've done!
   Tom ran up.
   Look what you made me do!
   He wiped her shoes with a kerchief, laughing.
   Get away! She kicked at his hands, but he laughed again, and gazing down on him from miles away, Cecy saw the turn of his head, the size of his skull, the flare of his nose, the shine of his eye, the girth of his shoulder, and the hard strength of his hands doing this delicate thing with the handkerchief. Peering down from the secret attic of this lovely head, Cecy yanked a hidden copper ventriloquist's wire and the pretty mouth popped wide: Thank you!
   Oh, so you have manners? The smell of leather on his hands, the smell of the horse rose from his clothes into the tender nostrils, and Cecy, far, far away over night meadows and flowered fields, stirred as with some dream in her bed.
   Not for you, no! said Ann.
   Hush, speak gently, said Cecy. She moved Ann's fingers out toward Tom's head. Ann snatched them back.
   I've gone mad!
   You have. He nodded, smiling but bewildered. Were you going to touch me then?
   I don't know. Oh, go away! Her cheeks glowed with pink charcoals.
   Why don't you run? I'm not stopping you. Tom got up. Have you changed your mind? Will you go to the dance with me tonight? It's special. Tell you why later.
   No, said Ann.
   Yes! cried Cecy. I've never danced. I want to dance. I've never worn a long gown, all rustly. I want that. I want to dance all night. I've never known what it's like to be in a woman, dancing; Father and Mother would never permit it. Dogs, cats, locusts, leaves, everything else in the world at one time or another I've known, but never a woman in the spring, never on a night like this. Oh, please we must go to that dance!
   She spread her thought like the fingers of a hand within a new glove.
   Yes, said Ann Leary, I'll go. I don't know why, but I'll go to the dance with you tonight, Tom.
   Now inside, quick! cried Cecy. You must wash, tell your folks, get your gown ready, out with the iron, into your room!
   Mother, said Ann, I've changed my mind!

   The rig was galloping off down the pike, the rooms of the farmhouse jumped to life, water was boiling for a bath, the coal stove was heating an iron to press the gown, the mother was rushing about with a fringe of hairpins in her mouth. What's come over you, Ann? You don't like Tom!
   That's true. Ann stopped amidst the great fever.
   But it's spring! thought Cecy.
   It's spring, said Ann.
   And it's a fine night for dancing, thought Cecy.
    for dancing, murmured Ann, Leary.
   Then she was in the tub and the soap creaming on her white seal shoulders, small nests of soap beneath her arms, and the flesh of her warm breasts moving in her hands and Cecy moving the mouth, making the smile, keeping the actions going. There must be no pause, no hesitation, or the entire pantomime might fall in ruins! Ann Leary must be kept moving, doing, acting, wash here, soap there, now out! Rub with a towel! Now perfume and powder!
   You! Ann caught herself in the mirror, all whiteness and pinkness like lilies and carnations. Who are you tonight?
   I'm a girl seventeen. Cecy gazed from her violet eyes. You can't see me. Do you know I'm here?
   Ann Leary shook her head. I've rented my body to an April witch, for sure.
   Close, very close! laughed Cecy. Now, on with your dressing.
   The luxury of feeling good clothes move over an ample body! And then the halloo outside.
   Ann, Tom's back!
   Tell him to wait. Ann sat down suddenly. Tell him I'm not going to that dance.
   What? said her mother, in the door.
   Cecy snapped back into attention. It had been a fatal relaxing, a fatal moment of leaving Ann's body for only an instant. She had heard the distant sound of horses' hoofs and the rig rambling through moonlit spring country. For a second she thought, I'll go find Tom and sit in his head and see what it's like to be in a man of twenty-two on a night like this. And so she had started quickly across a heather field, but now, like a bird to a cage, flew back and rustled and beat about in Ann Leary's head.
   Tell him to go away!
   Ann! Cecy settled down and spread her thoughts.
   But Ann had the bit in her mouth now. No, no, I hate him!
   I shouldn't have left even for a moment. Cecy poured her mind into the hands of the young girl, into the heart, into the head, softly, softly. Stand up, she thought.
   Ann stood.
   Put on your coat!
   Ann put on her coat.
   Now, march!
   No! thought Ann Leary.
   Ann, said her mother, don't keep Tom waiting another minute. You get on out there now and no nonsense. What's come over you?
   Nothing, Mother. Good night. We'll be home late.
   Ann and Cecy ran together into the spring evening.

   A room full of softly dancing pigeons ruffling their quiet, trailing feathers, a room full of peacocks, a room full of rainbow eyes and lights. And in the center of it, around, around, around, danced Ann Leary.
   Oh, it is a fine evening, said Cecy.
   Oh, it's a fine evening, said Ann.
   You're odd, said Tom.
   The music whirled them in dimness, in rivers of song, they floated, they bobbed, they sank down, they arose for air, they gasped, they clutched each other like drowning people and whirled on again, in fan motions, in whispers and sighs, to Beautiful Ohio.
   Cecy hummed. Ann's lips parted and the music came out.
   Yes, I'm odd, said Cecy.
   You're not the same, said Tom.
   No, not tonight.
   You're not the Ann Leary I knew.
   No, not at all, at all, whispered Cecy, miles and miles away. No, not at all, said the moved lips.
   I've the funniest feeling, said Tom.
   About what?
   About you. He held her back and danced her and looked into her glowing face, watching for something. Your eyes, he said, I can't figure it.
   Do you see me? asked Cecy.
   Part of you's here, Ann, and part of you's not. Tom turned her carefully, his face uneasy.
   Why did you come with me?
   I didn't want to come, said Ann.
   Why, then?
   Something made me.
   I don't know. Ann's voice was faintly hysterical.
   Now, now, hush, hush, whispered Cecy. Hush, that's it. Around, around.
   They whispered and rustled and rose and fell away in the dark room, with the music moving and turning them.
   But you did come to the dance, said Tom.
   I did, said Cecy.
   Here. And he danced her lightly out an open door and walked her quietly away from the hall and the music and the people.
   They climbed up and sat together in the rig.
   Ann, he said, taking her hands, trembling. Ann. But the way he said the name it was as if it wasn't her name. He kept glancing into her pale face, and now her eyes were open again. I used to love you, you know that, he said.
   I know.
   But you've always been fickle and I didn't want to be hurt.
   It's just as well, we're very young, said Ann.
   No, I mean to say, I'm sorry, said Cecy.
   What do you mean? Tom dropped her hands and stiffened.
   The night was warm and the smell of the earth shimmered up all about them where they sat, and the fresh trees breathed one leaf against another in a shaking and rustling.
   I don't know, said Ann.
   Oh, but I know, said Cecy. You're tall and you're the finest-looking man in all the world. This is a good evening; this is an evening I'll always remember, being with you. She put out the alien cold hand to find his reluctant hand again and bring it back, and warm it and hold it very tight.
   But, said Tom, blinking, tonight you're here, you're there. One minute one way, the next minute another. I wanted to take you to the dance tonight for old times' sake. I meant nothing by it when I first asked you. And then, when we were standing at the well, I knew something had changed, really changed, about you. You were different. There was something new and soft, something He groped for a word. I don't know, I can't say. The way you looked. Something about your voice. And I know I'm in love with you again.
   No, said Cecy. With me, with we.
   And I'm afraid of being in love with you, he said. You'll hurt me again.
   I might, said Ann.
   No, no, I'd love you with all my heart! thought Cecy. Ann, say it to him, say it for me. Say you'd love him with all your heart.
   Ann said nothing.
   Tom moved quietly closer and put his hand up to hold her chin. I'm going away. I've got a job a hundred miles from here. Will you miss me?
   Yes, said Ann and Cecy.
   May I kiss you good-bye, then?
   Yes, said Cecy before anyone else could speak.
   He placed his lips to the strange mouth. He kissed the strange mouth and he was trembling.
   Ann sat like a white statue.
   Ann! said Cecy. Move your arms, hold him!
   She sat like a carved wooden doll in the moonlight.
   Again he kissed her lips.
   I do love you, whispered Cecy. I'm here, it's me you saw in her eyes it's me, and I love you if she never will.
   He moved away and seemed like a man who had run a long distance. He sat beside her. I don't know what's happening. For a moment there
   Yes? asked Cecy.
   For a moment I thought― He put his hands to his eyes. Never mind. Shall I take you home now?
   Please, said Ann Leary.
   He clucked to the horse, snapped the reins tiredly, and drove the rig away. They rode in the rustle and slap and motion of the moonlit rig in the still early, only eleven o'clock spring night, with the shining meadows and sweet fields of clover gliding by.
   And Cecy, looking at the fields and meadows, thought, 'It would be worth it, it would be worth everything to be with him from this night on.' And she heard her parents' voices again, faintly, Be careful. You wouldn't want to lose your magical powers, would you married to a mere mortal? Be careful. You wouldn't want that.
   Yes, yes, thought Cecy, even that I'd give up, here and now, if he would have me. I wouldn't need to roam the spring nights then, I wouldn't need to live in birds and dogs and cats and foxes, I'd need only to be with him. Only him. Only him.
   The road passed under, whispering.
   Tom, said Ann at last.
   What? He stared coldly at the road, the horse, the trees, the sky, the stars.
   If you're ever, in years to come, at any time, in Green Town, Illinois, a few miles from here, will you do me a favour?
   Will you do me the favour of stopping and seeing a friend of mine? Ann Leary said this haltingly, awkwardly.
   She's a good friend. I've told her of you. I'll give you her address. Just a moment. When the rig stopped at her farm she drew forth a pencil and paper from her small purse and wrote in the moonlight, pressing the paper to her knee. There it is. Can you read it?
   He glanced at the paper and nodded bewilderedly.
   Cecy Elliott, 12 Willow Street, Green Town, Illinois, he said.
   Will you visit her someday? asked Ann.
   Someday, he said.
   What has this to do with us? he cried savagely. What do I want with names and papers? He crumpled the paper into a tight ball and shoved it in his coat.
   Oh, please promise! begged Cecy.
    promise said Ann.
   All right, all right, now let me be! he shouted.
   I'm tired, thought Cecy. I can't stay I have to go home. I'm weakening. I've only the power to stay a few hours out like this in the night, travelling, travelling. But before I go
    before I go, said Ann.
   She kissed Tom on the lips.
   This is me kissing you, said Cecy.
   Tom held her off and looked at Ann Leary and looked deep, deep inside. He said nothing, but his face began to relax slowly, very slowly, and the lines vanished away, and his mouth softened from its hardness, and he looked deep again into the moonlit face held here before him.
   Then he put her off the rig and without so much as a good night was driving swiftly down the road.
   Cecy let go.
   Ann Leary, crying out, released from prison, it seemed, raced up the moonlit path to her house and slammed the door.
   Cecy lingered for only a little while. In the eyes of a cricket she saw the spring night world. In the eyes of a frog she sat for a lonely moment by a pool. In the eyes of a night bird she looked down from a tall, moon-haunted elm and saw the light go out in two farmhouses, one here, one a mile away. She thought of herself and her family, and her strange power, and the fact that no one in the family could ever marry any one of the people in this vast world out here beyond the hills.
   Tom? Her weakening mind flew in a night bird under the trees and over deep fields of wild mustard. Have you still got the paper, Tom? Will you come by someday, some year, sometime, to see me? Will you know me then? Will you look in my face and remember then where it was you saw me last and know that you love me as I love you, with all my heart for all time?
   She paused in the cool night air, a million miles from towns and people, above farms and continents and rivers and hills. Tom? Softly.
   Tom was asleep. It was deep night; his clothes were hung on chairs or folded neatly over the end of the bed. And in one silent, carefully upflung hand upon the white pillow, by his head, was a small piece of paper with writing on it. Slowly, slowly, a fraction of an inch at a time, his fingers closed down upon and held it tightly. And he did not even stir or notice when a blackbird, faintly, wondrously, beat softly for a moment against the clear moon crystals of the windowpane, then, fluttering quietly, stopped and flew away toward the east, over the sleeping earth.



A Piece of Soap

Norman Gortsby was sitting on a bench hidden behind the bushes in Hyde Park. It was a warm May evening. The sun had already set and it was rather dark, but he could still make out the faces of the people who were walking past him and hear the sound of their voices. He was a philosopher, and liked sitting in the Park watching people whom he didnt know. While he was wondering who they were and where they were going, a young man came up to the bench, gave a quick look at him and threw himself down by his side. The newcomer was well-dressed and looked like a gentleman. His face was sad and he sighed deeply.
You dont seem to be in a very good mood, said Norman. The young man was silent. He only looked at Norman again and there was an expression in his eyes that Norman didnt like.
I really dont know how it all happened. he began at last, but Ive done the silliest thing that Ive ever done in my life. He spoke in a low voice, almost in a whisper.
Yes said Norman coldly.
I came to London this afternoon, the young man went on. I had a meal at the hotel, sent a letter to my people, giving them the address and then went out to buy a piece of soap. They are supposed to give you soap at the hotel but its always so bad that I decided to buy some for myself. I bought it, had a drink at a bar, and looked at the shops. When I wanted to go back to the hotel, I suddenly realized that I didnt remember its name or even what street it was in. Of course I can write to my people for the address, but they wont get my letter till tomorrow. The only shilling I had on me when I came out was spent on the soap and the drink and here I am with two pence in my pocket and nowhere to go for the night.
There was a pause after he told the story.
Im afraid you dont believe me, he added.
Why not? said Norman. I did the same thing once in a foreign capital. So I can understand you very well.
Im glad you do, the young man said with a pleasant smile. And now I must go. I hope by the time it gets quite dark Ill have found a man wholl believe me like you did, and will agree to lend me some money.
Of course, said Norman slowly. The weak point of your story is that you cant produce the soap.
The young man put his hand into his pocket and suddenly got up.
Ive lost it, he said angrily.
Its too much to lose a hotel and a piece of soap on the same day, said Norman.
But the young man did not hear him. He was running away.
It was a good idea to ask him about the soap, and so simple, Norman thought as he rose to go. But at that moment he noticed a small packet lying by the side of the bench. It could be nothing but a piece of soap, and it had evidently fallen out of the young mans coat pocket when he threw himself down on the bench. Turning red, Norman picked it up.
I just cant allow him to go away like this, he thought, and started running after the young man.
Stop! cried Norman when he saw him at the Park gate. The young man obeyed.
Heres your piece of soap, Norman said. I found it under the bench. Dont lose it again, its been a good friend to you. And heres a pound, if it can help you.
Thanks, said the young man, and quickly put the money into his pocket.
Heres my card with my address, continued Norman. You can return the money any day this week.
The young man thanked him again and quickly went away.
Its a good lesson to me, Norman thought, and went back to the Park. When he was passing the bench where the little drama had taken place, he saw an old gentleman looking for something.
Have you lost anything, sir? Norman asked.
Yes, sir, a piece of soap.



Whats the Miracles Cost?

Tess was eight years old. One day she heard that her Mom and Dad were talking about her little brother, Andrew. All she knew was that he was very ill and they were completely out of money. They were moving to an apartment complex the following month because Daddy didnt have the money for the doctor bills and the house. Only a very costly surgery could save him now and there was no-one to loan them the money. She heard Daddy say to her tearful Mother, Only a miracle can save him now.

Tess went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jar from the closet. She poured all the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes. She carefully put the coins back in the jar and she slipped out the back door and made her way to Rexalls Drug Store.

She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention but he was talking to another man. Tess twisted her feet to make a noise. Nothing. She cleared her throat with a disgusting sound. No good. Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter. That did it!

And what do you want? the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice. Im talking to my brother from Chicago.  I havent seen him in ages, he said without waiting for a reply to his question.

Well, I want to talk to you about my brother, Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone. Hes really, really sick and I want to buy a miracle.

I beg your pardon? said the pharmacist.

His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?

We dont sell miracles here, little girl. Im sorry but I cant help you, the pharmacist said.

Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isnt enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs.

The pharmacists brother was a well dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, What kind of a miracle does you brother need?

I dont know, Tess replied. There were tears in her eyes. I just know hes really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my Daddy cant pay for it, so I want to use my money.

How much do you have? asked the man from Chicago.

One dollar and eleven cents, Tess answered. And its all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to.

Well, what a coincidence, smiled the man. A dollar and eleven cents the exact price of a miracle for little brothers. He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he took her hand and said, Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Lets see if I have the kind of miracle you need.

That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specializing in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed without charge and it wasnt long until Andrew was home again and doing well. Mom and Dad were happily talking about this event. That surgery, her mom whispered, was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost.

Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost one dollar and eleven cents plus the faith of a little child.



Mistaken Identity

by Mark Twain

Years ago I arrived one day at Salamanca, New York, where I was to change trains and take the sleeper. There were crowds of people on the platform, and they were all trying to get into the long sleeper train which was already packed. I asked the young man in the booking-office if I could have a sleeping-berth and he answered: No. I went off and asked another local official if I could have some poor little corner somewhere in a sleeping-car, but he interrupted me angrily saying, No, you cant, every corner is full. Now, dont bother me any more, and he turned his back and walked off. I felt so hurt that I said to my companion, If these people knew who I was, they1 But my companion stopped me there, Dont talk such nonsense, well have to put up with this, he said, If they knew who you were, do you think it would help you to get a vacant seat1 in a train which has no vacant seats in it?
This did not improve my condition at all, but just then I noticed that the porter of a sleeping-car had his eye on me. I saw the expression of his face suddenly change. He whispered to the uniformed conductor, pointing to me, and I realized I was being talked about. Then the conductor came forward, his face all politeness.
Can I be of any service to you? he asked. Do you want a place in a sleeping-car?
Yes, I said, Ill be grateful to you if you can give me a place, anything will do.
We have nothing left except the big family compartment, he continued, with two berths and a couple of armchairs in it, but it is entirely at your disposal. Here, Tom, take these suitcases aboard!
Then he touched his hat, and we moved along.3 I was eager to say a few words to my companion, but I changed my mind. The porter made us comfortable in the compartment, and then said, with many bows and smiles:
Now, is there anything you want, sir? Because you can have just anything you want.
Can I have some hot water? I asked.
Yes, sir, Ill get it myself.
Good! Now, that lamp is hung too high above the berth. Can I have a better lamp fixed just at the head of my bed below the luggage rack, so that I can read comfortably?
Yes, sir. The lamp you want is just being fixed in the next compartment. Ill get it from there and fix it here. Itll burn all night. Yes, sir, you can ask for anything you want, the whole railroad will be turned inside out to please you. And he disappeared.
I smiled at my companion, and said:
Well, what do you say now? Didnt their attitude change the moment they understood I was Mark Twain? You see the result, dont you? My companion did not answer. So I added, Dont you like the way you are being served? And all for the same fare.
As I was saying this, the porters smiling face appeared in the doorway and this speech followed:
Oh, sir, I recognized you the minute I set my eyes on you. I told the conductor so.
Is that so, my boy? I said handing him a good tip. Who am I?
Mr McCleilan, Mayor of New York, he said and disappeared again.



Little White Dog

There was an old woman who had no family still living. Her only friend was a little white dog who went everywhere with her with one exception. The dog loved the fireplace in winter, and after the old woman went to bed he would sometimes go and lie in front of the warm coals. Usually though, the dog slept at the very edge of the bed on a throw rug.

The woman wouldnt allow the dog on the bed with her, but if she became frightened or had a nightmare, she would put her hand down to the little white dog and he would lick it reassuringly.

One night the woman was reading her newspaper just before going to sleep. She shivered and pulled the comforter up around her as she read that a mental patient had wandered off from a nearby hospital. No one knew if the patient was dangerous of not; he was a suspect in the murders of several women who had lived alone.

The woman turned out the lights and tried to sleep, but she was frightened, and tossed and turned fitfully. Finally, she reached down to where the little white dog slept. Sure enough, a warm, wet tongue began to lick her hand. The woman felt reassured and safe, and left her hand dangling off the bed as she turned and settled in comfortably. She opened her eyes for a moment and looked through the open door into the living room.

There in front of the fireplace, sat her little white dog, gazing at the coals and wagging his tail.

Down beside the bed, something was still licking her hand.



A Service of Love

by O. Henry

Joe Larrabee dreamed of becoming a great artist. Even when he was six, people in the little western town where he lived used to say, Joe has great talent, he will become a famous artist. At twenty, he left his home town and went to New York. He had his dreams but very little money.

Delia had her dreams too. She played the piano so well in the little southern village where she lived that her family said, She must finish her musical training in New York. With great difficulty they collected enough money to send her north to finish.

Joe and Delia got acquainted at a friends house where some art and music students had gathered to discuss art, music and the newest plays. They fell in love with each other, and in a short time they married.

Mr. and Mrs. Larrabee began their married life in a little room. But they were happy, for they had their Art, and they had each other. Joe was painting in, he class of the great Magister. Mr. Magister got a lot of money for his pictures and he took a lot of money for his lessons. Delia was taking piano lessons from the great Rosenstock, and he was taking a lot of money from Delia.

The two young dreamers were very, very happy while their money lasted. But it didnt last very long. Soon, they didnt have enough to pay for their lessons and eat three times a day. When one loves ones Art, no service seems too hard. So Delia decided she must stop taking lessons and give lessons herself. She began to look for pupils. One evening, she came home very excited, with shining eyes.

Joe, dear, she announced happily, Ive got a pupil. General Pinkney I mean his daughter, Clementina. Hes very rich, and they have a wonderful house. Shes so beautiful she dresses in white; and shes so nice and pleasant! Im going to give her three lessons a week; and just think, Joe! Five dollars a lesson. Now, dear, dont look so worried, and lets have supper. Ive bought some very nice fish.

But Joe refused to listen to her. Thats all right for you, Dellie, but all wrong for me, he protested. Do you suppose Im going to let you work while I continue to study Art? No! Never! I can get a job as a mechanic or clean windows. Ill get some kind of work.

Delia threw her arms around him. Joe, dear, you mustnt think of leaving Mr. Magister and your Art. I am not giving up music. The lessons wont interfere with my music. While I teach, I learn, and I can go back to Rosenstock when I get a few more pupils.

All right, said Joe. But giving lessons isnt Art.

When one loves ones Art, no service seems too hard, said Delia.

During the next week, Mr. and Mrs. Larrabee had breakfast very early. Joe was painting some pictures in Central Park, and he needed the morning light especially, he said. Time flies when you love Art, and it was usually seven oclock in the evening when Joe returned home. At the end of the week, Delia, very proud but a little tired, put fifteen dollars on the table. Sometimes, she said, Clementina is a very dif f icult pupil. And she always wears white. Im tired of seeing the same colour.

And then Joe, with the manner of Monte Cristo, pulled eighteen dollars out of his pocket and put it on the table too. I sold one of my pictures to a man from Washington, he said. And now, he wants a picture of the East River to take with him to Washington.

Im so glad you havent given up your Art, dear, Delia said. You are sure to win! Thirty-three dollars! We have never had so much money to spend.

The next Saturday evening, Joe came home first. He put his money on the table and then washed what seemed to look like a lot of paint from his hands. Half an hour later, Delia arrived. There was a big bandage on her right hand. Dellie, dear, what has happened? What is the matter with your hand? Joe asked.

Delia laughed, but not very happily. Clementina, she explained, asked me to have lunch with her and the General af ter our lesson. Shes not very strong, you know, and when she was giving me some tea, her hand shook and she spilled a lot of very hot water over my hand. But General Pinkney bandaged my hand himself. They were both so sorry. Oh, Joe, did you sell another picture? She had seen the money on the table.

Yes, said Joe. To the man from Washington. What time this afternoon did you burn your hand, Dellie?

Five oclock, I think, said Delia. The iron the water was very hot. And Clementina cried, and General Pinkney

Joe put his arms round Delia. Where are you working, Dellie? Tell me, he asked in a serious voice.

Delia was about to say something, but-suddenly tears appeared in her eyes and she began to cry. I couldnt get any pupils, she said. And I didnt want you to stop taking lessons, so I got a job ironing shirts in the big laundry on Twenty-Fourth Street. This afternoon, I burned my hand with a hot iron. Dont be angry with me, Joe. I did it for your Art. And now, you have painted those pictures for the rrian from Washington

He isnt from Washington, said Joe slowly.

It makes no difference where he is from, said Delia. How clever you are, Joe! How did you guess that I wasnt giving music lessons?

I guessed, Joe said, because about five oclock this afternoon, I sent some oil up to the ironing-room. They said a girl had burned her hand. You see, dear, I work as a mechanic in that same laundry on Twenty-Fourth Street.

And the man from Washington?

Yes, dear, Joe said. The man from Washington and General Pinkney are both creations of the same art, but you cannot call it painting or music. And they both began to laugh.

You know, dear, Joe said. When one loves ones Art, no service seems

But Delia stopped him with her hand on his mouth. No, she said, just when one loves.




by Chris Rose

Alberto took one look at his new neighbours and knew that his life was going to get more difficult. He watched them arrive in their big, noisy car and watched them get out.  There they were, two of them, as big and as noisy as their car, and smelly and stupid as well.

Terrible! he thought. How am I going to put up with them? He went to tell Mimi. Mimi was the friend he lived with.
Have you seen the new neighbours? he asked her.
No she said. Who are they?
Two of them. The ones we dont like. Big and noisy and stupid and smelly. Just like they always are.
Oh, no said Mimi. How awful! Still, I suppose we can just ignore them.
I suppose youre right agreed Alberto. Well just have to ignore them.

For a few days, then, Alberto and Mimi tried to ignore their new neighbours. When the neighbours went out for a walk, Alberto and Mimi didnt say hello to them. When the neighbours were in their garden, Alberto and Mimi went inside. This was ok for a few days, but, perhaps inevitably, things didnt stay this way

One day Alberto woke up from his sleep to find one of the neighbours in his garden.  Mimi! he shouted.  Have you seen this!? Hes in our garden!!!! Look!
How terrible said Mimi. Lets call our staff and make sure they get rid of him immediately!

Mimi went off to call their staff. Two minutes later Alberto and Mimis head of staff was out in the garden trying to get rid of the unwelcome neighbour. Go on! he shouted. Get out of here!  Go home! The neighbour didnt say anything, but gave Alberto and Mimis head of staff a dirty look, then he went back into his garden. Alberto and Mimi felt better, and then asked their head of staff to prepare their lunch for them.

However, it wasnt enough. Over the next few days Alberto and Mimi often found one or other or both of their new neighbours walking around their own garden. It was terrible. To show how they felt, Alberto and Mimi went into their neighbours garden, at night, when the neighbours were inside, and broke all the flowers.

The next morning one of the neighbours came to talk to Alberto.

Hey! he said. Hey you! Alberto ignored him, but he continued talking. You came into our garden last night and broke all the flowers! Alberto didnt say anything, but gave his neighbour a dirty look. Now Im in trouble! continued his neighbour. They think I did it!
Who are they? asked Alberto.
My owners, of course replied the neighbour.
Owners !!??? said Alberto. You have owners?
Course we do said his neighbour. Dont you?
Oh no replied Alberto. We have staff.

Alberto went to tell Mimi that the neighbours didnt have staff, but they had owners.

Thats not a surprise said Mimi. That explains everything. Thats why theyre so noisy and smelly and stupid. We need to make their owners become staff.

The next day, Alberto and Mimi were actually very friendly with their new neighbours.  They tried to explain how to make their owners become staff.

Listen said Alberto to them. Its very easy. First, understand that the house is your house, not theirs
And second said Mimi, make sure that you are always clean.
Make sure they give you food whenever you want!
Sit on the newspaper while they are reading it!
Sleep as much as possible on their beds!
And finally, try not to bark, but to miaow instead.

But it was no good. The neighbours just didnt understand. After a week, they gave up.

Its no good said Mimi. Theyll never understand dogs have owners, cats have staff.



All Summer in a Day

by Ray Bradbury





Do the scientists really know? Will it happen today, will it?

Look, look; see for yourself!

The children pressed to each other like so many roses, so many weeds, intermixed, peering out for a look at the hidden sun.

It rained.

It had been raining for seven years; thousands upon thousands of days compounded and filled from one end to the other with rain, with the drum and gush of water, with the sweet crystal fall of showers and the concussion of storms so heavy they were tidal waves come over the islands. A thousand forests had been crushed under the rain and grown up a thousand times to be crushed again. And this was the way life was forever on the planet Venus, and this was the school room of the children of the rocket men and women who had come to a raining world to set up civilization and live out their lives.

Its stopping, its stopping!

Yes, yes!

Margot stood apart from them, from these children who could ever remember a time when there wasnt rain and rain and rain. They were all nine years old, and if there had been a day, seven years ago, when the sun came out for an hour and showed its face to the stunned world, they could not recall. Sometimes, at night, she heard them stir, in remembrance, and she knew they were dreaming and remembering gold or a yellow crayon or a coin large enough to buy the world with. She knew they thought they remembered a warmness, like a blushing in the face, in the body, in the arms and legs and trembling hands. But then they always awoke to the tatting drum, the endless shaking down of clear bead necklaces upon the roof, the walk, the gardens, the forests, and their dreams were gone.

All day yesterday they had read in class about the sun. About how like a lemon it was, and how hot. And they had written small stories or essays or poems about it:

I think the sun is a flower,
That blooms for just one hour.

That was Margots poem, read in a quiet voice in the still classroom while the rain was falling outside.

Aw, you didnt write that! protested one of the boys.

I did, said Margot. I did.

William! said the teacher.

But that was yesterday. Now the rain was slackening, and the children were crushed in the great thick windows.

Wheres teacher?

Shell be back.

Shed better hurry, well miss it!

They turned on themselves, like a feverish wheel, all tumbling spokes. Margot stood alone. She was a very frail girl who looked as if she had been lost in the rain for years and the rain had washed out the blue from her eyes and the red from her mouth and the yellow from her hair. She was an old photograph dusted from an album, whitened away, and if she spoke at all her voice would be a ghost. Now she stood, separate, staring at the rain and the loud wet world beyond the huge glass.

Whatre you looking at? said William.

Margot said nothing.

Speak when youre spoken to.

He gave her a shove. But she did not move; rather she let herself be moved only by him and nothing else. They edged away from her, they would not look at her. She felt them go away. And this was because she would play no games with them in the echoing tunnels of the underground city. If they tagged her and ran, she stood blinking after them and did not follow. When the class sang songs about happiness and life and games her lips barely moved. Only when they sang about the sun and the summer did her lips move as she watched the drenched windows. And then, of course, the biggest crime of all was that she had come here only five years ago from Earth, and she remembered the sun and the way the sun was and the sky was when she was four in Ohio. And they, they had been on Venus all their lives, and they had been only two years old when last the sun came out and had long since forgotten the color and heat of it and the way it really was.

But Margot remembered.

Its like a penny, she said once, eyes closed.

No its not! the children cried.

Its like a fire, she said, in the stove.

Youre lying, you dont remember! cried the children.

But she remembered and stood quietly apart from all of them and watched the patterning windows. And once, a month ago, she had refused to shower in the school shower rooms, had clutched her hands to her ears and over her head, screaming the water mustnt touch her head. So after that, dimly, dimly, she sensed it, she was different and they knew her difference and kept away. There was talk that her father and mother were taking her back to Earth next year; it seemed vital to her that they do so, though it would mean the loss of thousands of dollars to her family. And so, the children hated her for all these reasons of big and little consequence. They hated her pale snow face, her waiting silence, her thinness, and her possible future.

Get away! The boy gave her another push. Whatre you waiting for?

Then, for the first time, she turned and looked at him. And what she was waiting for was in her eyes.

Well, dont wait around here! cried the boy savagely. You wont see nothing!

Her lips moved.

Nothing! he cried. It was all a joke, wasnt it? He turned to the other children. Nothings happening today. Is it?

They all blinked at him and then, understanding, laughed and shook their heads.

Nothing, nothing!

Oh, but, Margot whispered, her eyes helpless. But this is the day, the scientists predict, they say, they know, the sun

All a joke! said the boy, and seized her roughly. Hey, everyone, lets put her in a closet before the teacher comes!

No, said Margot, falling back.

They surged about her, caught her up and bore her, protesting, and then pleading, and then crying, back into a tunnel, a room, a closet, where they slammed and locked the door. They stood looking at the door and saw it tremble from her beating and throwing herself against it. They heard her muffled cries. Then, smiling, the turned and went out and back down the tunnel, just as the teacher arrived.

Ready, children? She glanced at her watch.

Yes! said everyone.

Are we all here?


The rain slacked still more.

They crowded to the huge door.

The rain stopped.

It was as if, in the midst of a film concerning an avalanche, a tornado, a hurricane, a volcanic eruption, something had, first, gone wrong with the sound apparatus, thus muffling and finally cutting off all noise, all of the blasts and repercussions and thunders, and then, second, ripped the film from the projector and inserted in its place a beautiful tropical slide which did not move or tremor. The world ground to a standstill. The silence was so immense and unbelievable that you felt your ears had been stuffed or you had lost your hearing altogether. The children put their hands to their ears. They stood apart. The door slid back and the smell of the silent, waiting world came in to them.

The sun came out.

It was the color of flaming bronze and it was very large. And the sky around it was a blazing blue tile color. And the jungle burned with sunlight as the children, released from their spell, rushed out, yelling into the springtime.

Now, dont go too far, called the teacher after them. Youve only two hours, you know. You wouldnt want to get caught out!

But they were running and turning their faces up to the sky and feeling the sun on their cheeks like a warm iron; they were taking off their jackets and letting the sun burn their arms.

Oh, its better than the sun lamps, isnt it?

Much, much better!

They stopped running and stood in the great jungle that covered Venus, that grew and never stopped growing, tumultuously, even as you watched it. It was a nest of octopi, clustering up great arms of fleshlike weed, wavering, flowering in this brief spring. It was the color of rubber and ash, this jungle, from the many years without sun. It was the color of stones and white cheeses and ink, and it was the color of the moon.

The children lay out, laughing, on the jungle mattress, and heard it sigh and squeak under them resilient and alive. They ran among the trees, they slipped and fell, they pushed each other, they played hide-and-seek and tag, but most of all they squinted at the sun until the tears ran down their faces; they put their hands up to that yellowness and that amazing blueness and they breathed of the fresh, fresh air and listened and listened to the silence which suspended them in a blessed sea of no sound and no motion. They looked at everything and savored everything. Then, wildly, like animals escaped from their caves, they ran and ran in shouting circles. They ran for an hour and did not stop running.

And then -

In the midst of their running one of the girls wailed.

Everyone stopped.

The girl, standing in the open, held out her hand.

Oh, look, look, she said, trembling.

They came slowly to look at her opened palm.

In the center of it, cupped and huge, was a single raindrop. She began to cry, looking at it. They glanced quietly at the sun.

Oh. Oh.

A few cold drops fell on their noses and their cheeks and their mouths. The sun faded behind a stir of mist. A wind blew cold around them. They turned and started to walk back toward the underground house, their hands at their sides, their smiles vanishing away.

A boom of thunder startled them and like leaves before a new hurricane, they tumbled upon each other and ran. Lightning struck ten miles away, five miles away, a mile, a half mile. The sky darkened into midnight in a flash.

They stood in the doorway of the underground for a moment until it was raining hard. Then they closed the door and heard the gigantic sound of the rain falling in tons and avalanches, everywhere and forever.

Will it be seven more years?

Yes. Seven.

Then one of them gave a little cry.



Shes still in the closet where we locked her.


They stood as if someone had driven them, like so many stakes, into the floor. They looked at each other and then looked away. They glanced out at the world that was raining now and raining and raining steadily. They could not meet each others glances. Their faces were solemn and pale. They looked at their hands and feet, their faces down.


One of the girls said, Well?

No one moved.

Go on, whispered the girl.

They walked slowly down the hall in the sound of cold rain. They turned through the doorway to the room in the sound of the storm and thunder, lightning on their faces, blue and terrible. They walked over to the closet door slowly and stood by it.

Behind the closet door was only silence.

They unlocked the door, even more slowly, and let Margot out.


. . 12.04.17
. . . . , . 07.02.18

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