Chapter 1COURAGE PERSEVERANCETry, Try Again
'Tis a lesson you should heed,
Try, try again;
If at first you don't succeed,
Try, try again;
Then your courage should appear,
For, if you will persevere,
You will conquer, never fear;
Try, try again.PersevereStick-to-it-iveness has a lot to do with getting the right answers in math, English, history, and life.
The fisher who draws in his net too soon,
Won't have any fish to sell;
The child who shuts up his book too soon,
Won't learn any lessons well.
If you would have your learning stay,
Be patient -- don't learn too fast;
The man who travels a mile each day,
May get round the world at last.It Can Be DoneBrave people think things through and ask, "Is this the best way to do this?" Cowards, on the other hand, always say, "It can't be done."
The man who misses all the fun
Is he who says, "It can't be done."
In solemn pride he stands aloof
And greets each venture with reproof.
Had he the power he'd efface
The history of the human race;
We'd have no radio or motor cars,
No streets lit by electric stars;
No telegraph nor telephone,
We'd linger in the age of stone.
The world would sleep if things were run
By men who say, "It can't be done."The Little Hero of Holland
Adapted from Etta Austin Blaisdell and Mary Frances BlaisdellHere is the true story of a brave heart, one willing to hold on as long as it takes to get the job done.
Holland is a country where much of the land lies below sea level. Only great walls called dikes keep the North Sea from rushing in and flooding the land. For centuries the people of Holland have worked to keep the walls strong so that their country will be safe and dry. Even the little children know the dikes must be watched every moment, and that a hole no larger than your finger can be a very dangerous thing.
Many years ago there lived in Holland a boy named Peter. Peter's father was one of the men who tended the gates in the dikes, called sluices. He opened and closed the sluices so that ships could pass out of Holland's canals into the great sea.
One afternoon in the early fall, when Peter was eight years old, his mother called him from his play. "Come, Peter," she said. "I want you to go across the dike and take these cakes to your friend, the blind man. If you go quickly, and do not stop to play, you will be home again before dark."
The little boy was glad to go on such an errand, and started off with a light heart. He stayed with the poor blind man a little while to tell him about his walk along the dike and about the sun and the flowers and the ships far out at sea. Then he remembered his mother's wish that he should return before dark and, bidding his friend goodbye, he set out for home.
As he walked beside the canal, he noticed how the rains had swollen the waters, and how they beat against the side of the dike, and he thought of his father's gates.
"I am glad they are so strong," he said to himself. "If they gave way what would become of us? These pretty fields would be covered with water. Father always calls them the 'angry waters.' I suppose he thinks they are angry at him for keeping them out so long."
As he walked along he sometimes stopped to pick the pretty blue flowers that grew beside the road, or to listen to the rabbits' soft tread as they rustled through the grass. But oftener he smiled as he thought of his visit to the poor blind man who had so few pleasures and was always so glad to see him.
Suddenly he noticed that the sun was setting, and that it was growing dark. "Mother will be watching for me," he thought, and he began to run toward home.
Just then he heard a noise. It was the sound of trickling water! He stopped and looked down. There was a small hole in the dike, through which a tiny stream was flowing.
Any child in Holland is frightened at the thought of a leak in the dike.
Peter understood the danger at once. If the water ran through a little hole it would soon make a larger one, and the whole country would be flooded. In a moment he saw what he must do. Throwing away his flowers, he climbed down the side of the dike and thrust his finger into the tiny hole.
The flowing of the water was stopped!
"Oho!" he said to himself. "The angry waters must stay back now. I can keep them back with my finger. Holland shall not be drowned while I am here."
This was all very well at first, but it soon grew dark and cold. The little fellow shouted and screamed. "Come here; come here," he called. But no one heard him; no one came to help him.
It grew still colder, and his arm ached, and began to grow stiff and numb. He shouted again, "Will no one come? Mother! Mother!"
But his mother had looked anxiously along the dike road many times since sunset for her little boy, and now she had closed and locked the cottage door, thinking that Peter was spending the night with his blind friend, and that she would scold him in the morning for staying away from home without her permission.
Peter tried to whistle, but his teeth chattered with the cold. He thought of his brother and sister in their warm beds, and of his dear father and mother. "I must not let them be drowned," he thought. "I must stay here until someone comes, if I have to stay all night."
The moon and stars looked down on the child crouching on a stone on the side of the dike. His head was bent, and his eyes were closed, but he was not asleep, for every now and then he rubbed the hand that was holding back the angry sea.
"I'll stand it somehow," he thought. So he stayed there all night keeping the water out.
Early the next morning a man going to work thought he heard a groan as he walked along the top of the dike. Looking over the edge, he saw a child clinging to the side of the great wall.
"What's the matter?" he called. "Are you hurt?"
"I'm keeping the water back!" Peter yelled. "Tell them to come quickly!"
The alarm was spread. People came running with shovels, and the hole was soon mended.
They carried Peter home to his parents, and before long the whole town knew how he had saved their lives that night. To this day, they have never forgotten the brave little hero of Holland.The Tortoise and the Hare
AesopWe win many of life's rewards by learning how to hang in there and work till the very end.
A hare once made fun of a tortoise. "What a slow way you have!" he said. "How you creep along!'
"Do I?" said the tortoise. "Try a race with me and I'll beat you."
"What a boaster you are," said the hare. "But come! I will race with you. Whom shall we ask to mark off the finish line and see that the race is fair?"
"Let us ask the fox," said the tortoise.
The fox was very wise and fair. He showed them where they were to start, and how far they were to run.
The tortoise lost no time. He started out at once and jogged straight on.
The hare leaped along swiftly for a few minutes till he had left the tortoise far behind. He knew he could reach the mark very quickly, so he lay down by the road under a shady tree and took a nap.
By and by he awoke and remembered the race. He sprang up and ran as fast as he could. But when he reached the mark the tortoise was already there!
"Slow and steady wins the race," said the fox.The Stars in the Sky
Adapted from Carolyn Sherwin Bailey, Kate Douglas Wiggin, and Nora Archibald SmithThis old English tale reminds us that the higher we reach, the longer and harder we have to try.
Once upon a time there was a little lass who wanted nothing more than to touch the stars in the sky. On clear, moonless nights she would lean out her bedroom window, gazing up at the thousand tiny lights scattered across the heavens, wondering what it would be like to hold one in her hand.
One warm summer evening, a night when the Milky Way shone more brightly than ever before, she decided she couldn't stand it any longer -- she just had to touch a star or two, no matter what. So she slipped out the window and started off by herself to see if she could reach them.
She walked a long, long time, and then farther still, until she came to a mill wheel, creaking and grinding away.
"Good evening," she said to the mill wheel. "I would like to play with the stars in the sky. Have you seen any near here?"
"Ah, yes," groaned the old mill wheel. "Every night they shine in my face from the surface of this pond until I cannot sleep. Jump in, my lass, and you will find them."
The little girl jumped into the pond and swam around until her arms were so tired she could swim no longer, but she could not find any stars.
"Excuse me," she called to the old mill wheel, "but I don't believe there are any stars here after all!"
"Well, there certainly were before you jumped in and stirred the water up," the mill wheel called back. So she climbed out and dried herself off as best she could, and set out again across the fields.
After a while she sat down to rest in a meadow, and it must have been a fairy meadow, because before she knew it a hundred little fairies came scampering out to dance on the grass.
"Good evening, Little Folk," said the girl. "I'm trying to reach the stars in the sky. Have you seen any near here?"
"Ah, yes," sang the fairies. "They glisten every night among the blades of grass. Come and dance with us, little lass, and you will find as many stars as you like."
So the child danced and danced, she whirled round and round in a ring with the Little Folk, but though the grass gleamed beneath her feet, she never spied a single star. Finally she could dance no longer, and she plopped down inside the ring of fairies.