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Meh Lady (from In Ole Virginia). Thomas Nelson Page.
A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing. The Crow and the Pitcher.
Belling the Cat.
For the teacher to read to the class :
The Wonderful Tar-Baby Story, The Story of the Deluge and How It Came About, Mr. Fox is Again Victimized, Miss Cow Falls a Victim to Mr. Rabbit (from Uncle Remus; His Songs and His Sayings).
Kipling's Rikki-Tikki-Tavi (Jungle Book, I).
CHRISTIAN AND HOPEFUL IN THE DUNGEON 1
John Bunyan (1628–1688), born in a little village of England, was the son of a tinker, and followed his father's trade for several years. When grown, he became a preacher but was arrested for preaching without the sanction of the Episcopal Church, and thrown into prison. During his twelve years of imprisonment, he wrote Pilgrim's Progress, the greatest of all allegories. It is the story of Christian's journey through this life. He has many experiences, such as with Faintheart, Mr. Worldly Wiseman, Giant Despair, and others, but finally reaches his destination, the Celestial City. Bunyan knew the Bible from end to end, and its influence is clearly seen in the simple, direct language of this story. He was finally allowed to return to his preaching, which he continued with the greatest enthusiasm until his death. See also:
Halleck's New English Literature, pp. 228-233.
Now there was, not far from the place where they lay, a castle, called Doubting Castle, the owner whereof was Giant Despair, and it was in his grounds they now were sleeping. Wherefore he, getting up in the morning early, and walking up and down in his fields, caught Christian and Hopeful asleep in his grounds. Then with a grim and surly voice he bid them awake, and asked them whence they were, and what they did in his grounds. They told him they were pilgrims, and that they had lost their way. Then said the giant, “You have this night trespassed on me by trampling in and lying on my grounds, and therefore you must go along
1 From The Pilgrim's Progress (1678).
2 An allegory is a story told with the purpose of teaching a moral lesson. The characters are usually personified qualities.
with me.” So they were forced to go, because he was stronger than they.
Now Giant Despair had a wife, and her name was Diffidence. So when he was gone to bed he told his wife what he had done, to wit, that he had taken a couple of prisoners, and cast them into his dungeon for trespassing on his grounds. Then he asked her also what he had best do further to them. So she asked him what they were, whence they came, and whither they were bound, and he told her. Then she counseled him, that when he arose in the morning he should beat them without mercy. So when he arose, he getteth him a grievous crab-tree cudgel, and goes down into the dungeon to them, and there first falls to rating of them as if they were dogs, although they gave him never a word of distaste. Then he falls upon them, and beats them fearfully, in such sort that they were not able to help themselves, or to turn them upon the floor. This done, he withdraws and leaves them there to condole their misery, and to mourn under their distress : so all that day they spent the time in nothing but sighs and bitter lamentations. The next night, she, talking with her husband further about them, and understanding that they were yet alive, did advise him to counsel them to make away with themselves. So when morning was
come, he goes to them in a surly manner, as before, and perceiving them to be very sore with the stripes that he had given them the day before, he told them that since they were never like to come out of that place, their only way would be forthwith to make an end of themselves, either with knife, halter, or poison. “For why,” said he, “should you choose to live, seeing it is attended with so much bitterness ?” But they desired him to let them go. With that he looked ugly upon them, and rushing to them, had doubtless made an end of them himself, but that he fell into one of his fits (for he sometimes in sunshiny weather fell into fits) and lost for a time the use of his hands; wherefore he withdrew, and left them as before to consider what to do.
Well, towards evening the giant goes down into the dungeon again, to see if his prisoners had taken his counsel. But when he came there he found them alive; and truly, alive was all; for now, what for want of bread and water, and by reason of the wounds they received when he beat them, they could do little but breathe. But I say he found them alive; at which he fell into a grievous rage, and told them that seeing they had disobeyed his counsel, it should be worse with them than if they had never been born.
Now the night being come again, his wife asked the giant concerning the prisoners, and if they had taken his counsel : to which he replied, “They are sturdy rogues; they choose rather to bear all hardships than to make away with themselves.” Then said she, “Take them into the castle yard to-morrow, and show them the bones and skulls of those that thou hast already dispatched, and make them believe, ere a week comes to an end, thou wilt tear them in pieces, as thou hast done their fellows before them.”
So when the morning was come, the giant goes to them again, and takes them into the castle yard, and shows them as his wife had bidden him. “These,” said he, “were pil
grims, as you are, once, and they trespassed on my grounds, as you have done; and when I thought fit I tore them in pieces; and so within ten days I will do you; get you down to your den again.” And with that he beat them all the way thither. They lay therefore all day on Saturday in a lamentable case, as before.
Now, a little before it was day, good Christian, as one half amazed, broke out into this passionate speech : “What a fool,” quoth he, “am I, thus to lie in a stinking dungeon, when I may as well walk at liberty! I have a key in my bosom, called Promise, that will, I am persuaded, open any lock in Doubting Castle.” Then said Hopeful, “That is good news; good brother, pluck it out of thy bosom, and try.”
Then Christian pulled it out of his bosom, and began to try at the dungeon door, whose bolt, as he turned the key, gave back, and the door flew open with ease, and Christian and Hopeful both came out. Then he went to the outward door that leads into the castle yard, and with his key opened that door also. After that he went to the iron gate, for that must be opened too; but that lock went desperately hard, yet the key did open it. Then they thrust open the gate to make their escape with speed; but that gate, as it opened, made such a creaking that it waked Giant Despair, who hastily rising to pursue his prisoners, felt his limbs to fail, for his fits took him again, so that he could by no means go after them. Then they went on, and came to the King's highway, and so were safe, because they were out of his jurisdiction.
STUDY HINTS Study the spelling and meaning of these words: doubt disobey
fly, iew, flown dungeon prisoners
lose, lost, lost grievous desperately choose, chose, chosen counsel lie, lay, lain trespassed