+ ~ -
 
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
 
Report an Error
Go!
 
Go!
 
TOC
 

becomes covered on the instant with warts and
hairs, which remain there until its confidence is
entirely restored."

The Ocean World (which contains prettier
portraits than those of calmars and cuttle-fish)
has afforded us several agreeable and instructive
hours. It is a book compiled to a large
extent from La Terre et les Mers of M. Figuier,
but the larger portion is a free translation of
that author's latest work, La Vie et les MĹ“urs
des Animaux. The seaside season is fast
approaching, and we cordially welcome a new
seaside book. Its value will be increased, in a
second edition, by the correction of several
obvious errata and mistranslations. The work
(which is richly illustrated by four hundred
and twenty-seven excellent engravings), together
with a few others treating of similar
subjects, will enable the holiday-maker to pass a
rainy day at the seaside not only pleasantly but
profitably.

GOODMAN MISERY.

PETER and Paul met in a village on a certain
day, when the rain was falling in torrents.
They were wet to the skin. They were both in
quest of a lodging for the night, but could find
none. A rich manone Richardhad turned
them from his gates, bidding them remember
that his house was not a public wine-shop,
when a poor woman, who was washing linen in
a brook, took pity on them and led them to her
neighbour, the Goodman Misery. How much
more considerate was the poor washerwoman
than Richard with his closed gates; for, having
bethought herself on the way that old Misery
would probably have naught wherewith to
break the fast and slake the thirst of his guests,
she provided herself with some cooked fish, a
big loaf, and a pitcher of Susa wine. Peter and
Paul ate with a will. The hungry man tastes
the sweetest viands. But sad was the case
when the meal was at an end. Goodman
Misery was so poor he had no bed to offer them,
save the straw upon which he usually rested his
own aching limbs. The two travellers were,
however, too considerate to accept it. They
elected to sit up, and, by way of passing the
time, suggested that Misery should tell his
story to them. The Goodman consented, for
it was a short and not a very eventful one.
The most he had to tell, was, that a thief had
stripped his pear-tree, the fruit of which was
nearly all he had to depend upon for his wretched
living. He would have gladly shared the fruit
with them, had he not suffered this cruel
robbery.

Touched by his distress, Peter and Paul
told Goodman Misery that they would pray to
Heaven for him. And one of them considerately
added, if he, Goodman Misery, had any particular
desire would he mention it?

The Goodman desired no more from the Lord
than that any man who might climb his pear-
tree should be fixed in it, and immovable, until
he, Goodman Misery, willed that he should
descend from it.

On the very day which saw the retreating
figures of Peter and Paul, while Misery was
gone to fetch a pitcher of water, the same thief
who had stolen his finest pears returned to the
tree. Goodman Misery, having set down his
pitcher, perceived the rascal immovable amid
the branches.

"Rascal, I have got you, have I?" Misery
shouted; and then, aside and in a low voice to
himself: "Heaven! Who, then, were my guests
last night? This time you will need to be in
no hurry to pick my pears; but let me tell you
that you will pay a heavy price for them in the
torments you will have to endure at my hands.
To begin with, all the town shall see you in your
present plight. Then I will light a roaring
fire under my tree, and smoke and dry you like
a Mayence ham."

Goodman Misery having departed in quest of
firewood to smoke and dry the thief like a
Mayence ham, the culprit cried lustily until he
attracted two of the Goodman's neighbours.
Yielding to the prayers of the thief, these two
honest folk climbed the tree to rescue their
fellow-creature, whereupon they discovered that
they too were fixed to the branches. The three
had been left in company just seventeen hours
and a half when Goodman Misery returned with
a bag of bread and a goodly faggot upon his
head. He was terrified to find three men
settled in his pear-tree.

"Come, come," he cried; "the fair will be
a good one with so many customers. And pray
what did you two new-comers want here?
Couldn't you ask me for a few pears, and not
come in my absence to steal them?"

"We are no thieves," they replied. "We
are charitable neighbours, who came to help a
man whose lamentations smote us to the heart.
When we want pears, we buy them in the
market; there are plenty without yours."

"If what you say be true," said Misery,
"you want nothing in my tree, and may come
down as soon as you please; the punishment is
for thieves only." Whereupon the two neighbours
found themselves free, and quickly
regained the ground; but the thief continued
fixed to the branches in a pitiable condition
after his long imprisonment; and the neighbours
stood astonished at the power of the Goodman.
They begged hard that Misery would take pity
even on the thief, who had endured torture for
many hours. The rascal prayed hard also,
crying, "I'll pay any sum, but, in the name of
God, let me come down. I am enduring
tortures!"

At this word Misery permitted himself to be
mollified. He told the thief, in releasing him,
that he would forget his crime and forgive it.
To show that he had a generous heart, and that
self had never dictated any of the actions of his
life, he would make him a present of the fruit
he had stolen. He would be released from
bondage in the tree, on the condition that
he would take an oath never to climb it again,