| For the Children's Hour|
|by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey|
|A choice collection of stories for the preschool child, carefully selected, adapted, and arranged by two veteran kindergarten teachers. Includes nature stories, holiday stories, fairy tales and fables, as well as stories of home life. Emphasis is placed on fanciful tales for their value in the training of the imagination and on cumulative tales for developing a child's sense of humor and appealing to his instinctive love of rhyme and jingle. Ages 4-7 |
THE LEGEND OF ST. CHRISTOPHER
C. S. B. Adapted from the old legend.
ONCE upon a time there lived a great giant named
Offerus all alone by the banks of a mighty river. He
was so strong that he was able to pull up the forest
trees by the roots, and he was so tall that he could
easily step from one hill to another. He could have
crushed a man with his little finger, but he never hurt
so much as a tiny sparrow, for he was a good giant.
It was a wicked river near which Offerus had built his
hut. It was wide and deep, and it rushed and tumbled
along, ready to break the boats and drown the poor
travelers who wished to cross. But Offerus was
stronger than the river. He took a huge pine tree for
a staff, and whenever it was a dark, stormy night, and
he heard cries of distress from the river, he would
plunge into the water and carry the travelers safely
 to the other side. And he was always ready, and
One night there was a more terrible storm than usual.
The forest trees moaned and sighed, and the river
roared as it beat against the shore. Offerus sat in
his hut, and he heard a tiny voice crying through the
storm: "Offerus, Offerus, come forth and carry me
It did not seem as if any one could be out in such a
wild storm, but the giant heard the small voice again
calling: "Offerus, come forth and carry me across!"
So Offerus took his pine-tree staff and reached for his
lantern which hung upon the wall, and he opened the
door to go out into the night. It was very dark, and
the rain beat into his face so that he could scarcely
see, but he looked up and down, holding his lantern
high above his head, and he came to a little Child, all
drenched with the rain, waiting for him on the bank of
"Offerus, you must carry me over this night," he
So Offerus lifted the little Child in his strong arms,
and took his staff, and waded into the stream thinking
what a light burden he carried.
But the waves rose higher and higher, the waters came
up to his shoulder, and the wind blew fiercely. The
strangest thing of all was this: at every step the
little Child upon his shoulders grew heavier and
heavier, until it seemed to Offerus that he would never
be able to cross the river—he must turn and go back.
But he was brave, as all giants are, and he struggled
on, tottering as he went and staying his steps with his
stout staff; and at last he reached the other side. As
he set down his burden—safely and
gently—  he said: "Child, who art thou? The whole world upon my
shoulders could not have been heavier than thou hast
And the Child looked up and said, softly, as He laid
His little hand in Offerus' great one: "In helping
every poor traveler thou hast been helping me. Blessed
shalt thou be, St. Christopher! This night thou hast
carried over the Christ Child."
Then the Christ Child slipped away into the night and
St. Christopher stood and looked after Him, leaning
upon his staff and thinking of the wonderful thing
which had happened to him.
And the staff suddenly took root in the ground—although
it was the bleak winter season—and it flourished and
sent forth branches and leaves, and it towered over the
other trees in the forest to show to every traveler who
should pass that way the place where St. Christopher
had carried over the little Christ Child.
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