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Hunting a Panther

Audubon as an Older Man

AUDUBON was traveling in the woods inMissis­sippi. He found the little cabin of a settler. He stayed there for the night. The settler told him that there was a panther in the swamp near his house. A panther is a very large and fierce ani­mal. It is large enough to kill a man. This was a very bad panther. It had killed some of the settler’s dogs.

Audubon said, “Let us hunt this panther, and kill it.”

So the settler sent out for his neighbors to come and help kill the panther. Five men came. Au­dubon and the settler made seven. They were all on horseback. When they came to the edge of the swamp, each man went a different way. They each took their dogs with them to find the track of the wild beast All of the hunters carried horns. Whoever should find the track first was to blow his horn to let the others know.

In about two hours after they had started, they heard the sound of a horn. It told them that the track had been found. Every man now went toward the sound of the horn. Soon all the yelping dogs were following the track of the fierce panther. The panther was running into the swamp farther and farther.

I suppose that the panther thought that there were too many dogs and men for him to fight. All the hunters came after the dogs. They held their guns ready to shoot if the panther should make up his mind to fight them.After a while the sound of the dogs’ voices changed. The hunters knew from this that the panther had stopped running, and gone up into a tree. At last the men came to the place where the dogs were. They were all barking round a tree. Far up in the tree was the dangerous beast. The hunters came up carefully. One of them fired. The bullet hit the panther, but did not kill him. The panther sprang to the ground, and ran off again. The dogs ran after. The men got on their horses, and rode after. But the horses were tired, and the men had to get down, and follow the dogs on foot.

The hunters now had to wade through little ponds of water. Sometimes they had to climb over fallen trees. Their clothes were badly torn by the bushes. After two hours more, they came to a place where the panther had again gone up into a tree. This time three of the hunters shot at him. The fierce panther came tumbling to the ground. But he was still able to fight. The men fought the savage beast on all sides. At last they killed him. Then they gave his skin to the settler. They wanted him to know that his enemy was dead.

SOURCE:  Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans                                                      By Samuel Eggleston                                                                                                           American Book Co  1893                                                                                                       Digitized by Google                                                                                                                 Available for free download from Google Books

Tomorrow, Captain Clark’s Burning Glass        Rita Bay

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Boston’s First Governor

BEFORE the white people came, there were no houses in this country but the little huts of the Indians. The Indian houses were made of bark, or mats, or skins, spread over poles.

Gov John Winthrop

Some people came to one part of the country. Others started settlements in other place. When more people came, some of these settlements grew into towns. The woods were cut down. Farms were planted. Roads were made. But it took many years for the country to fill with people.

The first white people that came to live in the woods where Boston is now, settled there a long time ago. They had a governor over them. He was a good man, and did much for the people. His name was John Winthrop.

The first thing the people had to do was to cut down the trees. After that they could plant corn. But at first they could not raise anything to eat. They had brought flour and oatmeal fromEng­land. But they found that it was not enough to last till they could raise corn on their new ground.Winthropsent a ship to get more food for them. The ship was gone a long time. The people ate up all their food. They were hungry. They went to the seashore, and found clams and mussels. They were glad to get these to eat.

Governor Winthrop

At last they set a day for everybody to fast and pray for food. The governor had a little flour left. Nearly all of this was made into bread, and put into the oven to bake. He did not know when he would get any more. Soon after this a poor man came along. His flour was all gone. His bread had all been eaten up. His family was hungry. The governor gave the poor man the very last flour that he had in the barrel. Just then a ship was seen. It sailed up’ toward Boston. It was loaded with food for all the people. The time for the fast day came. But there was now plenty of food. The fast day was turned into a thanks-giving day.

One day a man sent a very cross letter to Gov­ernor Winthrop. Winthrop sent it back to him. He said, ” I cannot keep a letter that might make me angry.” Then the man that had written the cross letter wrote to Winthrop, “By conquering yourself, you have conquered me.”

SOURCE:  Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans                                                      By Samuel Eggleston                                                                                                           American Book Co  1893                                                                                                       Digitized by Google                                                                                                                 Available for free download from Google Books

Tomorrow, The Birdman   Rita Bay

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The Swamp Fox

The picture above is the famous 1876 Courier & Ives print of White’s painting of The Sweet Potato Dinner. The painting commemorated the meeting between Marion and a British officer to negotiate a prisoner exchange. The meal offered the officer was a sweet potato dinner – that was all they had to eat.  General Marion was a hero of the Revolutionary War. His unconventional tactics earned him the name “Swamp Fox.”

General Francis Marion

General Marion was one of the best fighters in the Revolution. He was a homely little man. He was also a very good man. Another general said, “Marion is good all over.” The American army had been beaten in South Carolina. Marion was sent there to keep the British from taking the whole country. Marion got together a little army. His men had nothing but rough clothes to wear. They had no guns but the old ones they had used to shoot wild ducks and deer with.Marion’s men wanted swords. There were no swords to be had. But Marion sent men to take the long saws out of the saw mills. These were taken to blacksmiths. The blacksmiths cut the saws into pieces. These pieces they hammered out into long, sharp swords.

Marion had not so many men as the British. He had no cannon. He could not build forts. He could not stay long in one place, for fear the British should come with a strong army and take him. He and his men hid in the dark woods. Sometimes he changed his hiding place suddenly. Even his own friends had hard work to find him.

From the dark woods he would come out sud­denly. He would attack some party of British soldiers. When the battle was over, he would go back to the woods again. When the British sent a strong army to catch him, he could not be found. But soon he would be fighting the British in some new place. He was always playing hide and seek. The British called him the Swamp Fox. That was because he was so hard to catch. They could not conquer the country until they could catch Marion. And they never could catch the Swamp Fox.

At one time Marion came out of the woods to take a little British fort. This fort was on the top of a high mound. It was one of the mounds built a long time ago by the Indians. Marion put his men all round the fort, so that the men in the fort could not get out to get water. He thought that they would have to give up. But the men in the fort dug a well inside the fort. Then Marion had to think of another plan.

Marion’s men went to the woods and cut down stout poles. They got a great many poles. When night came, they laid a row of poles along-side one another on the ground. Then they laid another row across these. Then they laid another row on top of the last ones, and across the other way again. They laid a great many rows of poles one on top of another. They crossed them this way and that. As Marion’s Tower. The night went on, the pile grew higher. Still they handed poles top of the pile. Before morning came, they had built a kind of tower. It was higher than the Indian mound.  As soon as it was light, the men on Marion’s tower began to shoot. The British looked out. They saw a great tower with men on it. The men could shoot down into the fort. The British could not stand it. They had to give up. They were taken prisoners.

SOURCE:  Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans                                                      By Samuel Eggleston                                                                                                           American Book Co  1893                                                                                                       Digitized by Google                                                                                                                 Available for free download from Google Books

Tomorrow, Another Hero    Rita Bay

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How Washington Escaped A Trap

After the battle of  Trenton, Washington went back across the Delaware River. He had not men enough to fight the whole British army. But the Americans were glad when they heard that he had beaten the Hessians. They sent him more soldiers. Then he went back across the river to Trenton again. There was a British general named Cornwallis. He marched to Trenton. He fought against Wash­ington. Cornwallis had more men than Washington had. Night came, and they could not see to fight. There was a little creek between the two armies. Washington had not boats enough to carry his men across the river. Cornwallis was sure to beat him if they should fight a battle the next morning.

Cornwallis said, “I will catch the fox in the morning.” He called Washington a fox. He thought he had him in a trap. Cornwallis sent for some more soldiers to come from Princeton in the morning. He wanted them to help him catch the fox. But foxes sometimes get out of traps.

When it was dark,Washington had all his camp fires lighted. He put men to digging where the British could hear them. He made Cornwallis think that he was throwing up banks of earth and getting ready to fight in the morning.

But Washington did not stay in Trenton. He did not wish to be caught like a fox in a trap. He could not get across the river. But he knew a road that went round the place where Cornwallis and his army were. He took that road and got behind the British army.

It was just like John waiting to catch James. James is in the house.  John is waiting at the front door to catch James when he comes out. But James slips out by the back way. John hears him call ” Hello ! ” James has gone round behind him and got away.

Washington went out of Trenton in the darkness. You might say that he marched out by the back door. He left Cornwallis watching the front door. The Ameri­cans went away quietly. They left a few men to keep up the fires, and make a noise like digging. Before morning these slipped away too. When morning came, Cornwallis went to catch his fox. But the fox was not there.

He looked for the Americans. There was the place where they had been digging. Their camp fires were still burning. But where had they gone? Cornwallis thought that Washington had crossed the river by some means. But soon he heard guns firing away back toward Princeton. He thought that it must be thunder. But he found that it was a battle. Then he knew that Washington had gone to Princeton.

Washington had marched all night. When he got to Princeton, he met the British coming out to go to Trenton. They were going to help Cornwal­lis to catch Washington. But Washington had come to Princeton to catch them. He had a hard fight with the British at Princeton. But at last he beat them.

When Cornwallis knew that the Americans had gone to Princeton, he hurried there to help his men. But it was too late. Washington had beaten the British at Princeton, and had gone on into the hills, where he was safe.  The fox had got out of the trap.

SOURCE:  Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans                                                      By Samuel Eggleston                                                                                                           American Book Co  1893                                                                                                       Digitized by Google                                                                                                                 Available for free download from Google Books

Tomorrow, Washington’s Last Battle    Rita Bay

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The Anglo-Saxon Hoard

Tales of treasure hoards in England abound and many have been discovered across the country. But none like that of Terry Herbert, the subject of National Geographic’s Lost Gold of the Dark Ages, who in July, 2009 discovered England’s largest trophy hoard ever. The 11 pounds of gold, 3 pounds of silver, and numerous jewels in the Staffordshire Hoard is valued at £3.3 million.

The hoard was located on the old Roman road of Watling Street(now A-5) in Staffordshire in the English Midlands. All of the 1500 artifacts are associated with males—related to warfare (ornamentation from swords, helmets and shields) or religion (crosses).

The 7th century hoard, the only one of Anglo-Saxon origin, appears to be a collection of trophies but whether they were from one battle or many and who buried it or why is unknown. A clue, however, might be found in the Saxon poem Beowulf: ‘One warrior stripped the other, looted Ongentheow’s iron mail-coat, his hard sword-hilt, his helmet too, and carried graith (his stuff) to King Hygelac; he (Hygelac) accepted the prize, promised fairly that reward would come, and kept his word. They let the ground keep that ancestral treasure, gold under gravel, gone to earth, as useless to men now as it ever was.’

The excerpt from Beowulf reveals the practice of Anglo-Saxon offerings of treasure as a sacrifice.  The Celts made similar offerings which have often been associated with water.      Tomorrow, The Norse. Rita Bay

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Ancient Greek Philosophers

The Philosophers' School

Western philosophy is based on the early Greek philosophers, especially Socrates as told by Plato. Socrates was so influential that all Greek philosophy prior to him is called Pre-Socratic. The single most important concept of the pre-Socratic philosophers was the emphasis on reason as opposed to myth. Thales of Miletus was called the first philosopher by Aristotle.  Scientific study  and the study of knowledge were components of philosophy.

Classical Greek Philosophy originated in the 5th century BC centered in Athens which was a center of learning for math, science, and philosophy.  The statesman Pericles supported the philosophers.  The conservatives in Athens, however, did not.  Several were forced to flee after being accused and having their work destroyed.  Socrates was tried and executed by those conservatives. 

Socrates

Socrates introduced philosophy to the public at large.   He introduced the Socratic method which used a question and answer method of discourse to examine various issues. Socrates taught that no one desires what is bad, and so if anyone does something that truly is bad it must be unwillingly or out of ignorance; consequently, all virtue is knowledge. Subsequent philosophical movements were inspired by Socrates or his young associates.

Plato

Plato was an Athenian who was a student of Socrates. Plato, the primary source about Socrates, wrote a series of “dialogues” and letters about Plato. Plato, as the author of The Republic, suggested that there will not be justice in cities unless they are ruled by philosopher kings; those responsible for enforcing the laws are compelled to hold their women, children, and property in common; and the individual is taught to pursue the common good through myths that he called noble laws. 

Aristotle

Aristotle was the last of the classical Greek trio of philosophers. He enrolled in Plato’s Academy.  He left Athensand became the Alexander the Great’s tutor. He later returned to Athensand founded his own school, the Lyceum.  Aristotle disagreed with Plato extensively in general focusing on the importance of empirical and practical concerns. The Romans embraced Greek philosophy around the 2nd century BC and later developed their own schools of philosophy. More about them another day.

Tomorrow, Neolithic Britain: The Henges         Rita Bay

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The Romans & Greeks: Afterlife & Underworld

Hades

Both the Greeks and Romans believed in an afterlife. In Greek mythology, the Greek god Hades was the king of the Underworld, a place where souls live after death. Hermes, the messenger of the gods, transported the dead soul of a person to the banks of the River Styx to Hades (the underworld). Charon, the ferry-man who transported souls across the River Styx.  Part of the burial  was to leave a coin underneath the tongue of the deceased to pay Charon for the trip across the River. Otherwise, the deceased would have a long wait.

Charon Demanding Payment

Once across, the soul would be judged,. The soul would be sent to Elysium, Tartarus, Asphodel Fields, or the Fields of Punishment. Elysium Fields contained green fields, valleys and mountains, where pure souls lived peaceful and contented lives. Tartarus was for the people that blasphemed against the gods or were evil. The Asphodel Fields was a kind of limbo where those whose sins equaled their goodness or were indecisive , were sent. The Fields of Punishment was for sinners. In Tartarus, the truly evil souls or enemies of the gods were punished by being burned in lava, or stretched on racks.

Tomorrow,  Philosophy & Philosophers    Rita Bay

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Mythic Heroes: The Trojan War

The god Ares Fighting

In the story of the Trojan War, Prince Paris of Troy abducted Helen, the wife of the Greek King Menelaus, and returned with her to Troy.  The Greeks attacked Troy which fell after 10 years.  The ancient Greeks believed that the Trojan War was an historical event that had taken place in the 13th or 12th century BC but by modern times Troy was considered a myth.  In the 19th century, however, after extensive research German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann excavated several layers of the ancient city ofTroy. 

Achilles & His Weapons

In Greek stories relating the conquest of Troy, the Greeks took almost ten years to conquer Troy with great loss of life on both sides.  Even the Greek gods took sides during the fighting. The Trojan Hector killed the hero Patroclus who was wearing Achilles armor.  Maddened over his friend’s death, the hero Achilles who thanks to his mother was invulnerable killed the Trojan Hector and drug him around the walls of Troy. Achilles also killed the Trojan Memnon but was  killed himself by Paris who shot an arrow into his heel.

The Trojan Horse

The Trojan Laocoön warned the Trojans about bringing the Trojan horse intoTroy, recommending that they burn it instead.  His advice was the source of the well-known saying, “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.”  He was ignored and the Trojan Horse was brought into Troy.  Later, the Greeks concealed within the Trojan Horse exited by a trapdoor, opened the gates to the Greek army, defeated the Trojans and destroyed the city.  Lacooan and his sons were killed by a serpent for warning of the danger.

Laocoan & His Sons

Tomorrow, Prophecy & Healing  Rita Bay

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The New Wonders of the World: Christ the Redeemer Statue

Christ the Redeemer

Christ the Redeemer is a statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  It is the largest Art Deco statue in the world, the world’s 5th largest statue of Jesus Christ and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. It is 130 feet tall, including the 31 foot pedestal, and 98 feet wide and weighs 635 tons.  The statue is located at the peak of the 2,300 foot Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park which overlooks the city.  The statue is a symbol of Christianity and has become an icon of Rio and Brazil.

Christ the Redeemer

The Christ the Redeemer statue was designed by Heitor da Silva Costa and sculpted by French sculptor Paul Landowski. Construction took nine years (1922 – 1931) and cost the equivalent of US $250,000 ($3,068,097 in 2011  $$). It was sculpted of reinforced concrete and soapstone. The monument was opened on October 12, 1931. It is accessed by a short railway trip or by climbing the 222 steps.

Tomorrow, The Colosseum   Rita Bay

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