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By W. NORMAN BROWN
I. THE BALL OF THREAD
unwind the ball and let us see whether the A POOR old woman who was employed to
core is a cotton-seed or a bean." guard a cotton-field plucked, one day, a few
And of course it was a bean. bolls and spun the cotton into a fine thread,
The ball was restored to its rightful owner; which she wound into a ball.
and every one praised the boy's wisdom. On her way home that evening she passed a lake, and thought she would like to bathe
II. GIVE WHAT YOU WISH her feet. So, placing the ball on the bank, she stepped into the water.
A RICH man, being at the point of death, At this moment another woman passed by. handed over all his wealth to a trusted neighShe picked up the ball, saying: "What bor, asking him to keep it in trust and saying, beautiful thread! Did you spin it?”'
“When my son comes of age, give him what“Yes," answered the old woman.
ever you wish." “May I look at it closely?” asked the other This the neighbor agreed to do, and, after woman, and without waiting for permission, the man died, he took the money home. she started away with it.
When the boy came of age, he went to his “Come back!” cried the old woman. father's friend to claim his fortune. “Bring back my thread!"
“Very well,” said the trustee, "your father "Your thread?” shouted the other. “Not on his death-bed told me to give you whatat all; it is mine."
ever part of his fortune I should wish. This Thus quarreling, they entered the city I promised to do; so take this!" And he where they met a policeman, and he took handed the boy a hundred rupees. them to a judge.
Now this sum was scarcely a thousandth When the judge had heard the case he part of the fortune the rich man had left, said, “You both claim the ball, but neither and indignantly the son refused it. Instead, of you produces any witnesses to support her he rushed to the court to beg justice. claim. Hence, since possession is nine points It happened that at this time the court of the law, I order that the woman who has was presided over by the clever boy Raman. the ball shall keep it.”
To him, therefore, the heir told his tale. Just outside the judgment hall, the wise Raman had the trustee summoned at once young Raman was playing with some other and asked him on what grounds he withheld boys, and he overheard the judge's decision. the fortune from the boy. At once he burst into a loud laugh.
“Your Honor," the man replied, "this “Why do you laugh?" inquired the judge, boy's father on his death-bed handed over
"Because your decision is so stupid,” all his money to me with these words, 'When answered the boy.
my son comes of age, give him whatever you "How then should the case be decided?” wish.' Hence now give him what I wish.” asked the judge, almost wrathfully.
“Ah!" said Raman, after a moment's “Let me show you!” replied Raman. thought, "You are certainly right in wishing called the two women and first questioned to adhere so closely to the dead man's wishes; the one who had the thread in her hand. but I fear you have made a mistake. You “When did you spin this cotton?”'
have not given the boy what you wish; "To-day," she answered boldly.
rather you have given him what you do not “Where did you get the cotton?”
wish. What you wish is the part of the "In the fields outside the city.”
fortune which you are withholding for your“What did you wind the thread on?” self. This it is which the boy's father wanted
"A cotton-seed,” came the reply after a you to give to the boy, and which you, by moment's hesitation.
your own words, agreed to give. Therefore, Raman then turned to the other woman. you shall keep the hundred rupees only for “Did you spin this thread?” he asked. yourself, but the rest you must deliver at “Yes."
once to the boy.” “What did you wind it on?”
Thus was the boy made rich; but the trus“A dried bean," she answered.
tee, on account of his greed and dishonesty, "Now," said Raman, to the bailiff, "just received only the hundred rupees.
KNOW what I'll do," said the Maybe we won't have more than three prize-
“With prizes?” asked the So they flitted over to the tree and found
the Town Crier, who for a fee of four four"Why, of course. One leafed clovers gave out the notice at the
will be the pot of gold at trysting-places of Fairyland, telling all the the end of the rainbow, another will be a residents that on the first of April there would wishing-cap, and the third will be-"
be a Great Spelling-Match at the Grotto "Shoes of in visibility," suggested the Will of the Green Goblin, admission free, with o'-the-Wisp.
prizes for the three best spellers. "No," the Green Goblin objected. “If When the day came, the grotto was filled you won those, you 'd disappear, and then with an excited throng. There was the King where would you be?"
and the Queen, the Princess, and the Lord "But that would make no difference," an High Chancellor. There was the old Witch, swered the Will-o'-the-Wisp; “for no one can the Wizard, the Enchanter, and the youngest find me when they see me; and so if they son of the Woodcutter. There were the can't see me, they can't find me any better Knight, the Squire, the Giant, the Dwarf, than if they could see me could they?" the Sultan, the Genie, the Pirate, the Bandit,
“Now you 're mixing me up," said the the Schoolmaster, and the Teacher of DancGreen Goblin, "and I want to go on with my ing. spelling-match. The third prize will be a The Will-o'-the-Wisp was not there, bewishing-ring. And the fourth prize-I don't cause the match was held at ten o'clock A.M., think I'll have more than three prizes. and the Will-o'-the-Wisp is out only at night.
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But the Green Goblin was so much interested in his other guests that he forgot the Will-o'the-Wisp entirely.
When all were gathered, the refreshments were served by some small elves dressed in the Green Goblin's green livery. Everything was most delicious. There were syllabubs, pistachio nuts, greengages, philoponas, nougatines, nectar and ambrosia, vitamines, doughnuts, and a lot of things with French and Italian names that were most delightful and melted in the mouth before you had time to taste them—together with bonbons and frozen sweets.
But since the Giant went early to the refreshment room, there was not much left for the other guests, and all were glad when the Green Goblin declared it was time for the spelling-match.
So next they all counted out with “Eena, mena, mona, mi,” until their places in the spelling-line were fixed, and then they were arranged in the following order:
ALS First came the Giant, then came the Dwarf and the Enchanter, the King, the Chancellor, the Woodcutter's Son, the Wiz
The Princess began to ard, the Knight, the Princess. After her was the Squire, then the Queen, the Pirate, the Genie, the Schoolmaster, the Teacher of Dancing, the Bandit, and last came the Sultan and the old Witch.
Before the line stood the Green Goblin, "The first word,” announced the Green holding in his paw the list of hard words, Goblin, “is for you, Mr. Giant. So you may ready to give them out as soon as the signal spell jackstraws.” was given. Then an elf blew three blasts on The Giant looked puzzled, and blushed so a trumpet-flower, and the match began. red that a soft pink glow filled the grotto.
"I never heard of such a word as that,” he mumbled, "and I 'll sit down. I can spell mastodon, and mammoth, and pyramid, and glacier, and sierra—but jackstraws I never heard of!" And he sat down.
"Next," said the Green Goblin.
"Jackstraws is easy,” said the Dwarf, with a chuckle; and he spelled it correctly, turned a somersault, and waited for the next.
"Diminutive," said the Green Goblin.
one ever used in my presence. What does it mean?”
"It means very little," said the Green Goblin.
"No matter how little," the Dwarf replied; “let me know what it means."
Here the Bandit burst out laughing, and the Dwarf lost his temper.
"I'm not here to be laughed at,” he cried; The crown was very heavy and leaving his place in the line, he went out in hot weather
from the grotto without saying good-by.
“Next!” said the Green Goblin.
“D-i, di; m-i-n, min; di-min; u-u; diminu; t-i-v-e: diminutive!" said the Enchanter.
"Wrong!” cried the King, waving his scepter.
"No, it 's right," said the Green Goblin.
"How dare you contradict me?'' demanded the King. "Are you not my subject?"
“Not on this subject," answered the Green Goblin.
“Don't be foolish, my dear," broke in the Queen, “or I 'll take you home.
You promised me you 'd behave if I took you—"
“So I did,” the King admitted, and he begged pardon very handsomely, for the Queen was very severe with him on certain subjects.
"It 's lucky for you that the Enchanter was right,” said the Green Goblin; "and now I 'll give you an easy one.
You can spell commutation.'
“There 's no such word,” said the King.
"It 's the name of a railway ticket," said the Green Goblin, very politely.
"I know nothing of railway tickets,” the King replied. "I travel by special train. The Chancellor arranges all that for me. No doubt he can spell it. Try him. I think I 'll resign," and he went out of the line and sat down in a corner, taking off his crown to rest his head, for the crown was very heavy in hot weather.
The Chancellor spelled commutation, but said that when he used the word it meant letting a man out of prison earlier than he ought to come out because he had behaved better than was expected when he was put in.
“Very well," said the Green Goblin, “I'll give you another word. Try this one: ichor. It means
“You need n't tell me," said the Chancellor. “I see you are
"Wrong!" the Green Goblin cried.
“Not at all,” the Chancellor insisted. “I only said, 'I see you are'
“But it is n't spelled i-c-u-r," the Green Goblin insisted, “and so you have missed your turn!”
“You don't understand me," the Chancellor persisted. “I was only about to remark, 'I see you are familiar with mythology.'
"That may be,” spoke up the Woodcutter's Son, “but this is a spelling-match, not a debating club. You said 'i-c-u-r,' and the Green Goblin says that is n't right. The word is ‘ichor.' "
"Well, spell it,” the Green Goblin went on, for it was getting late, and he did n't like to have the match last too long, for he was going to the movies later in the afternoon.
"I can't spell it," the Woodcutter's Son answered cheerfully; "and I don't believe the Green Goblin can spell it either, unless he has it written down before him."
" is for you, Mr. Giant. So you may spell jackstraws"
“Certainly I can,” replied the Green Gob But duty is duty, and the Green Goblin gave lin, and putting the list behind his back he the word in its proper order: spelled it out: "I-c-h-o-r."
"Your Royal Highness will now condescend “But you could n't have spelled it if you to spell for us the word, psychical." had n't seen it," the Woodcutter's Son per “Will you kindly repeat the word?” the sisted.
Princess asked. "I will admit cheerfully," the Green Gob "Psychical," the Green Goblin repeated it. lin rejoined with a smile, "that I can't spell a “Mother, will you hand me my pocket dicword that I never heard of. So let 's go on
tionary?'' said the Princess to the Queen. with the match. Who 's next?”'
“Certainly,” that Royal Lady replied, and “I come next,” remarked the Wizard handed over a daintily bound copy with boldly.
mother-of-pearl covers inlaid with gold fili"The next word is, misspelled," the Green gree. Goblin announced.
"Thank you,” the Princess responded, and “Then it does n't count,” the Wizard ob began to run her taper fingers through the jected. “You can't expect me to spell a
vellum pages. word that is misspelled. If I spell it right, "Here, here!" exclaimed the Schoolmaster, then I'm wrong. If I misspell it, then I 'm “that is n't allowed!” not right. So it is n't fair. I think this “What 's the trouble?” asked the Green match is a swindle, and I'm going home!" Goblin.
“Next!” was the only comment made by "Why, she's looking up the word in the the Green Goblin, and the very courteous dictionary!" Knight raised the visor of his helm and “And why not?” inquired the Pirate. rightly spelled misspelled, and then observed “Is n't that what a dictionary is for? That that he thought Wizards were more familiar is what they tell me.” with spells than this Wizard had shown him "But it 's against the rules!" objected the self.
Schoolmaster. It was the Princess's turn next. The “What rules?"the Green Goblin remarked. Green Goblin greatly admired this beautiful "I am running this spelling-match-not you. and noble young lady, and so did most of the And if her Royal Highness prefers to use a guests. Consequently, he was sorry to see dictionary, I say she is heartily welcome to that the next word was rather hard to spell. it! Long live the Princess!"