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THE ARGUS, SATURDAY, MAY 1, 1909.
FEW hundred years ago, in a country
called Germany, there was a village
known as Grosshufelten, which was on
a lake. The lake is so small that I have
forgotten its name, and you will not find
the village on any map of the country,
which is still called Germany, unless it is on the
tack, where I didn't look.
The people in this village were greatly annoyed
by a robber ibaron who dwelt on a mountain near
by, and who was in the habit of levying tribute on
them because he didn't like to work. The last
time that he told them they must pay what he
called their annual dues, they refused to do so. The
baron was greatly surprised, as people are usually
surprised when others refuse to do things that they
have been in the habit of doing whether they ought
to or not, and he resolved to punish the villagers.
At first he thought of descending on them with
bis band and burning their houses; but this would
have required effort, so he changed his mind and
called before him two magicians whom he kept to
do things by magic, which he found more easy than
doing them by hand
One of these magicians was a good man who
stayed with the robber only because he was afraid
to go away. The other was a bad man who stayed
for no particular reason
"I am resolved," said the baron, "to kill all the
people in Grosshufelten, because they will not do
what I decree."
, "That seems very natural," said the bad magician.
"I now wish to learn the easiest way of doing it,"
continued the robber.
.' "That, also, seems very natural," said the good
The bad magician suggested a' number of methods,
none of which the baron liked, and he finally told
him that he could take a half-holiday, and he would
consult with the good magician, who worked for
less money, anyhow.
, ."If you are bound to do this thing, the best way
fwill be to do it quickly and painlessly," began the
,"You mean the best way for them," said the rob
ber. "Yes, and for you," answered the magician; "for
then they, will have no chance to conceal their
treasuries, and you can get as many of them as you
"Who will carry the treasures back?" the baron
"You might make the bad magician do that."
The good magician then proposed 2. plan. Lead
ing from the mountain to the lake was a passage
which was subterranean. (That is a rather long
word, but it was a rather long passage.) He sug
gested that through this tunnel he pend some
poisonous gas he had invented, which he usually
used for killing potato-bugs. T.his gas would come
tip through the lake, be blown into the village, and
overcome the people. The good magician did not
like this idea, but he knew it was more humane than
anything . the bad magician . would
thought he might get a chance to warn the villagers
before it was carried out, so that they could escape.
The robber baron was delighted with the scheme,
and, telling the magician to execute it as soon as
Ihe could, he proceeded to take his afternoon nap,
sleeping that kind of sleep which comes to the un
just. ' As soon as the good magician was sure that the
baron was sound asleep, he started the gas down
the passage, and then hurried to warn the villagers.
This happened on Wednesday, the day on which
"the people of Grosshufelten made soap, and when
It arrived he found a number of them on the shore
cf the lake, washing out their soap-ketfles. Jut as
the magician started to warn them of their danger,
the gas began to rise. The water Was rather soapy,
and when the vapor rose it formed an enormous
fcubble that covered half of the lake.
The villagers were greatly astonished, and looked
at the bubble with their mouths open and their
jninds closed. The magician, who made his living
by thinking, Began to consider the matter. In the
first place, he knew that if the robber baron found
that be had warned the people he would be very
angry, and there- wa9 no telling what he would do
there was no telling what he would do when he was
n't angry. In the next place, the wind might blow
the gas away' from the village when 'the bubble
burst. At all events, the magician would have time
to think,' and he might devise some 'plan for saving
the villagers without making the baron angry
While he was considering these things, a youth
named IPa.ns Spratzlebergcr-and-a-few-other-sylla-bles
ran to .the shore with 1hs bow and arrow.
; "What are you going to do with that?" asked the
"I'm going to shoot that big bubble, out there,
and see it burst," said Han.
"Do you" know what will hr.ppen if yrtu do that?"
Inquired the magician. "This town will disappear
from the map."
, Hans, who did n't know that the town was n't on
the map. was much imnrf;"t!. Tric villagers, many
of whom did n't know what a map was, advised him
not to shoot. ''
While they were watching .the bubble the bad
magician, who was taking his half holiday, ap
proached. '"What is that?" he asked. They told him.
"Who blew it?" he added.
" 'When in the course of human events,' " said
Hans, who was very fond of making line speeches.
The bad magician looted at" Harta with interest.
"You are wasting your talents here," he said. "If
you will come with rive 1 will train you so that you
will become an orator- What is your name?" Hans
told him all of it.
"Well," said the bad magician, "if you can remem
ber all of your name, you certainly must have -a
good memory; and that will be an advantage . to
you in your oratory."
I Ians's parents, who now regarded the bubble as
a good ("Wien, did not want to have it destroyed; and
when the other villagers learned that he would prac
tise oratory somewhere else, they decided to let it
remain for a time.; i
The good magician returned 'to 'the' mountain, and
told the robber baron what had taken place. The
baron was far from pleased.
"This is what comes of using so much soap," he
said. When the bad magician arrived with Hans,
the baron was still less pleased. "Any speech-making
that is to be done on this mountain I can
do myself," he declared. "As for you," he added,
turning to the good magician, "you had better go
back to Grosshufelten and tell the villagers what
that bubble is. You can take a crossbow, and if
they are not willing to pay up. burst the bubble.
If they are willing, burst it after they have paid up."
"But what will become of me?" asked the good
"I will think about that to-morrow," said the
When the good magician delivered the baron's
message the villagers were offended. Instead of
offering to pay their annual dues, they seized him
and put him in jail. He was perplexed at this, as
the baron had not told him what to do if such a
thing should happen., However, as his cell window
overlooked the lake and he could see the bubble, he
made the best of things, Jnd ate the : meals they
brought to him.
The-weather was favorable, for bubbles,.-and the
next morning, when the good magician looked out
of his window, the big one was still there. Large
crowds of people were coming from the surround
ing country to look at it, and the villagers were try
ing to charge them two pfennigs apiece. It was
hard to collect the money, however, as the bubble
could be seen from any spot on the shore; so that
afternoon the people decided to fence in the lake.
The next morning a committee of villagers, head
ed by the burgomaster, called on the good magician.
"We are much shocked to find a good, man like
yourself associating with robbers," said the burgo
master. "We had decided to leave you in jail, but
having found a way in which you can help us tb
make money, we will release you." 1
The magician was overcome by their kindness-.
He thanked them, but said he could, not see how
the money would benefit them if the bubble happen
ed to burst.
"We will run that risk," said the burgomaster.
"With that robber baron in the neighborhood, we
are so used to risks that we don't mind them. ..-We
want you to put a magic fence around the lake, as
it will take our people too long to build the one
they began this morning." ' " .
The magician had n't his wand with him, so he
borrowed the burgomaster's cane, waved it a few
times, and a fence appeared around the lake. But
as most of the country folk who lived near by had
already seen the bubble, this fence was of little use.
The burgomaster thought for a while, and suggest
ed that the magician turn the gas in the bubble red.
He did this, and that afternoon some of the villag
ers went out in the country with a banner on which
See he Great Red Bubble of Grosshufelten!
Admission, 4 Pfennigs.
Near-sighted People Half-Price.
This attracted a big crowd, and when the burgo
master thought the people had looked at the bubble
long enough, he made a little speech, in which he told
them that it was filled with poison, and was liable to
burst at any. moment. Then they all ran away. The
next day the magician made the bubble green, the third
day blue ; and as long as the bubble and the colors held
out the people kept coming back.
In the meantime the "robber baron was getting im
patient, not only because Hans was learning oratory,
but because he-heard nothing from Grosshufelten. He
called the bad magician to him and told him that if he
could not suggest some way to bring the villagers to
terms he should be thrown into the bubble. The bad
magician was greatly alarmed at the baron's threat,
and thought as hard as he could, which was not very
hard. At last he suggested that the baron and his band
go to the opposite side of the lake, shoot the bubble,
and allow the gas to float over Grosshufelten. Then,
when the villagers were overcome, they could take
their treasures, which he would transport to the moun
tain by magic The baron thought it would le easier to
By Katharine Pvle.
As James ran along with his spice-cakes,.
" rje looked up, and what should he
- I Beyond a high wall, but a pear-tree
With ripe yellow pears on the tree. V
, ' Thought James, " If I only could reach j
... Maha had one morning been baking '
Some little cakes spicy and sweet.
" May I have somef " said James. " Not -
U present," , J j
Said mama; "you 've had plenty to
at. t. --
. But'maota was called out of the kitchen;
v The cakes looked so tempting aod ,
nice ' .
That James Med his pockets and J
And ran out of doors in a trice.
With cakes they
Then in Utrough the
I wonder, myself,
-, ' J"' .. .
When the cakes had been gathered and )
I The witch-girl looked up at the tree,
'And there, just like James, sat. the
T5-.it James took the cakes from his)
And soon he had scattered them-round;
And the witch-girl went hunting and-'
To gather them up from the ground:
Then the satchel James dressed in hi,
And set his old hat on it straight,
And slid down the tree in a jiffy,
And hurried away to the gate. J
As quiet and still
Out comes thc-old
She says, " I 've a
I 'U take this boy in and
Henceforth he 'U leave
do it all by magic, "but the bad magician, said he was not
clever enough to arrange a spell for that ; besides, there
would be the sport for the baron of shooting the bubble.
The next day, the baron, his band, and the bad magi
cian appeared opposite Grosshufelten, and saw nothing
but a big fence. They were rather disappointed, but
climbed some trees and got a view of the bubble, which
was then chrome-yellow. The baron took a crossbow
and prepared to shoot.
But meanwhile the good magician who was much
pleased at living among honest people had not been
idle. He had devised an enormous bellows, and when
he saw the baron aim his crossbow at the bubble, be
. told the villagers to get ready to blow it ;
The baron fired a bolt which struck the bubble. It
burst, and as the gas rose from it the villagers blew the
bellows with great force, and the vapor floated over
among the trees where the baron was.
So far as I know, this was the last of that robber
baron and his band, and also of the bad magician; but
Hans, who had stayed behind at the mountain, became
a mighty orator.
'But a terrible witch owned this pear
treer ... Out into the garden came she. '
Ho I the crice. "So at last I have
caught youi ,
Thebdy who's been robbing my tree.'
'The wicked witch called out her
- daughter: '
'"Come watch by this pear-tree, she
. tsslri. '-'
C" And I will go fetch out the ladder '
I have laid away In the shed. '
would lasts very ,
gate he went creep-)
bow he could 1 t
.They both began climbing the ladder.
But, rumpteiy -dumplety-dump I
The pears and the satchel came tum
bling ' About them with many a thump: v
(And there they sat rubbing thdr
And staring up into the tree; v
But James has been taught a good les
son, . !
' And henceforth leu greedy will be.
as could be.
witch with the Isd-
plan of my own:
I 'II Bog him:
our trees alone.'
The Pet Alligator.
By ELIZABETH ELLIOT.
T SiiEMS incredible that it was only last
Easter that he came into our lives. It -seems
as if he had always Iain ujjon that
leg, as if for ages of time he had been
" lying there immovable and sphinxlike.
When a friend brought the little alliga
tor to us last Spring from Florida, in a
pasteboard box, with holes in the top of
it, v.e regarded him" as such a frail exotic that we
feared he would not survive Ihe night In such close
confinement. We would remove the cover gingerly,
fsarinfj that on a playful impulse he would spring
out. How Lttle did we know, him! How feebly did
wc 'comprehend the long reflection and well-balanced
deliberation- that characterized his every movement. "
' He spent the night in the bath-tub, and early the next
mornltrj an eafjrr little night-gowned figure hastened"
in to see Lf he was still alive. He was. He still is.
In spite of many hours of ; deceptive rigidity, during
which he has pretended to have passed away, he is
still extant. YlT.cn the next day he was taken with great
care by the tall and. hastily dropped into the galvan
ized iron tub which was henceforth to be his home,
his small owner took the name of the first aquatic. hero
that occurred to her, and informally christened hlra
Since that hour Hobson has led a life of such no--.
broken serenity that beside it the career of the Trappist
monk, under his vow of perpetual silence, may be de
scribed as a glittering round of excitement To lie in
the water with bis head on his log, about once in
twenty-four hours to slowly draw his body up on the.
log, at long intervals secretly to absorb a small por
tion of the raw meat provided for him, two or three
times a week to be dropped by the tail into the bath-tub,
there to swim lazily about for a few minutes while
the water in his tub is changed these incidents form
Hobson's round of life. Though he "scorns delights,"
he cannot be said to "live laborious days," and should
he ever return to his native swamps, no one could say
more truthfully than he, with Canning Knife-Grinder,
"Story? God bless you, I have none to tell, sir."
Social attentions have gradually ceased, he is so
coldly unresponsive. The children- used to gather round
his tub and ascribe various emotions to him, "He like
it when I scratch his back with my hoopstick," or "See,
now he's mad when I tickle his tail." But his pleasure '
and his rage were characterized by such a subtle shade
of difference that the unimaginative grown-up eye could
not distinguish between them. If you teased him long
enough he would eventually slip back into the, water
from his log; at the extreme provocation of a white
string dangled on his nose he has been known once "
or twice to open the wide mouth which almost meets at
the back of his neck and even to emit a faint squeak.
This, we have decided, means rage but this is merely
theoretical. There is, however, a distinct malignancy
of effect when he lowers the skin which covers his pale '
and expressionless eye, though he is quite as apt to do
this when he is supposably pleased at the sight of his
There was a portly and floridly handsome boy who
lived up-stairs, and who much frequented the society
of Hobson and his small and agile owner. Out of a
deep fund of inexperience he gave us many instructions
about Hobson's nature and habits, and surveyed him
in his tub with dauntle.. courage. He "wasn't afraid
of alligators"; when Hobson grew large he "would
take him out of the tub for us," etc. But when famili
arity had bred intrepidity, and the proud proprietor
would take her unattractive pet by the tip of his tail,! '
and display him wreathing himself up toward her com- ;
panion in a stiff curl, the undaunted Boy would always 1 -"
suddenly remember .an. engagement elsewhere andi :
swiftly vanish. .
But in spite of his terror Hobson laid his silent,
spell upon him; and when we were to be away. -for a,
few days the Boy begged to entertain him in his apart-.,,
ment I am compelled to admit 'that the invitation 4
was not very cordially seconded by the Boy's mother, ' '
and that she was even heard to remark that she wished '
he would take the horrid thing away. But New York
ers who live in apartments are known to be inhos-;i
pitable, and Hobson was not sensitive." :
During Hobson's' sojourn with us rnere'are fe!w of ' '
our ifriends who have seen or heard of him without;
giving us some advice on the proper nurture and train
ing of alligators. We have been informed alternately
that we starved and that we. stuffed him, though the
First theorist could suggest no method of forcibly ad
ministering the food when he haughtily ignores it, as
lie does much of the time. One who claims great in-
timacy with alligators tells us the tub should be nearly
full of water all the time; they like plenty of water
to swim in. Another who, like Brer Rabbit, was
"born an' raised" in an alligator swamp, contradicts
this by spying he should not be confined to his tub,
but be allowed to run at large a suggestion which,
if followed, would rid us of visitors as effectually as
if we had a diphtheria sign on the door. Another
authoritative voice is raised to say that Hobson will
soon expire of loneliness; that, like Emerson's Alan,
the adligator "is made of social Earth, Child and
Brother from his birth"; that if there are a hundred
alligators in a swamp the whole number will invariably
be found assembled together; that, in short, like many
fashionable ladies, Hobson "cannot live without so
ciety," and that it is wanton cruelty for us not to pro
vide him with a flock of frolicsome companions. Any
way, our critics say, cherish him while you may, for
you cannot expect to have him long. He may live
through the Summer, but he never could survive a
northern Winter. In spite, however, of all our sins
of omission and commission, throughout the past Win
ter, Hobson has appeared precisely the same as he did
, in the heat of July, when he was boarding with the
janitor during our Summer absence. It is true he has
spent much time in a chair by the radiator, with his
feet, so to speak, to the fire, but let the mercury soar -to
the nineties, this -first cousin to the Sphinx slum
bers unappreciatively on his log; let it drop to those
unsounded depths it reached last Winter, "not a wave
: of trouble rolls across his peaceful breast." .)
In this age of hurried and restless activity this
5 Buddha-like calm is soothing to contemplate. But at
the same time it has a somewhat depressing effect.
I am sure that Caspar-Hauser, or any other prisoner
known to fame, would long ere this have trained Hob- '
son to walk a tight-rope, o say his prayers, or at least
to squeak so marry times for Yes and No. Having had
no training in the methods of teaching, I seem to be
incapable of imparting even these simple accomplish
ments. Worse even than this, in a day when the child
at his mother knee prattles of the frog's ganglia, and
dissects the alimentary canal of the lobster, when the -dullest
can be trained tb penetrate into nature's secrets,
I cannot even guess what subtle intellectual processes -are
eoinar on in Hobscn's brain. When with that
world-weary air he closes his eyts. is he meditating
upon the race-problem as he dreams of some plump -and
careless little nigger fr.!l:nj into the water within
reach of that wide-spreading jaw?. If Mr. Long were
here, or Mr. Thompson-Seton. or even that naturalist
of an earlier day whom I recently heard alluded to as
"Buffoon.'' no doubt he could tell us with precision.
' But, alas ! I do hot know. ,.c.iV
I sit in. the sun and .sew, and Hobson sits beside' mV"
on his log and thinks. And I think of the poets, of the v
voja marKs ine caste ot vere dc Verer; f.f
Abort Ben Ad hem in his "deep dream of peace"; most'4"
or all of.Calvtrley's parrcuquet: - . - .
. ' "I never loved? a fond gazelle, ' ;
1. ! But I had once a parroquet ; . ,.V
How I did nurse,. him if unwell. ' ' ' ' '
.uts imoccue out lingers yet.
JJes green with an enchantinar tuft. .'
He melts me with his small black eye,
He'd look inimitable stuffed. , ;
s And knows it but he will not die."- '