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1. The greatest story-teller of our country is Nathaniel Hawthorne. While he was a young man he wrote a great many stories for girls and boys.
2. Not many people read them, at that time. Sixty or seventy years ago, there were not as many books as now and not as many people to read them.
3. But one day, when he was a grown man, with a boy and girls of his own, he printed a long story for grown people. This book was called “The Scarlet Letter.” It made Hawthorne famous. Everybody who read stories at all read this one.
4. After several years he wrote several other grown-up books that were read everywhere. All but one were stories of our own country.
5. But he did not stop writing for girls and boys because he had gained so many readers among grown people. His fame caused people to read his stories for children.
6. They were good enough to have been read all the time. And, from this time on, they have been read in all parts of the world. There is good reason.
When we think of the many kinds of stories he told, the great number of them, and the charm of them, we cannot think of any other writer who did
7. His book of “ Twice Told Tales” tells stories of every-day life, of how girls and boys meet trouble. You see how the good ones get their reward and the bad ones are punished. 8. Then there
the “Grandfather's Chair” books. They tell true stories of the
early days of our country. The great deeds of the great men of our early history are here written.
9. The books called “True Stories from History” give accounts of the lives of some of the great men of old times.
10. At last, there are the “Wonder Books for Girls and Boys." In some ways
the stories told here are like fairy stories. They tell of strange things and strange people.
11. These stories are very old and very well known. They were first told thousands of years ago by people who lived on the other side of the world. They were first told in a language unlike ours and since have been told in a great many languages.
12. Hawthorne tells these stories over again in our own language, for our own girls and boys. This story about little people and giants is from one of these old stories.
13. It comes from the second “Wonder Book." It is told here in the thorne told it; but it is not in his words.
Before long, you can read all of these stories in Hawthorne's own words. For those who love good stories that will be a happy day.
14. In a hot, far-away country, there lived a race of little people or pygmies. They were so small that you could easily have carried one of them to school in your pocket. The children in the second grade were not as big as your little finger.
15. They were very small, but there were millions of them. Their chief city was very odd indeed. If you had stepped in one of their streets you would have filled it
from side to side. Their houses were about as big as a bird cage.
16. Their public square was hardly as large as a marble ring. If you had thrown a quilt from your bed over the tops of their houses, no doubt you would have made them think the whole sky was falling.
17. These little people had a friend and
brother named Antaus. He was a great giant and was as big as the pygmies were little. He was so tall that a pygmy could not see up as high as his head. He carried a pine tree for a walking cane.
18. He had but one eye, but that was as big as a wagon-wheel, and was set in the middle of his forehead. One day he came along when the pygmy army was marching out to fight the cranes. He was looking ahead and did not see the army at his feet. He stepped right in the midst of it and crushed about fifty of their bravest soldiers.
19. He repaid them for this sad accident by scaring the cranes nearly to death with his walking cane. The cranes flew this way and that as long as they could fly at all. After that there was peace in the land for many years.
20. Antæus was a true friend and did many kind things for them.
On calm days he would breathe over the kingdom and set all the wind-mills to turning and all the ships