| Fifty Famous Stories Retold|
|by James Baldwin|
|Includes fifty legendary tales depicting certain romantic episodes in the lives of well-known heroes and famous men, or in the history of a people. Children naturally take a deep interest in such stories. The reading of them will not only give pleasure but will lay the foundation for broader literary studies, as nearly all are the subjects of frequent allusions in poetry and prose. Ages 6-9 |
THE KING AND HIS HAWK
GENGHIS KHAN was a great king and warrior.
He led his army into China and Persia, and he
conquered many lands. In every country, men told about his daring
deeds; and they said that since Alexander the Great there
had been no king like him.
One morning when he was home from the wars, he rode out
into the woods to have a day's sport. Many of his friends
were with him. They rode out gayly, carrying their bows and
arrows. Behind them came the servants with the hounds.
 It was a merry hunting party. The woods rang with their
shouts and laughter. They expected to carry much game home
in the evening.
On the king's wrist sat his favorite hawk; for in those
days hawks were trained to hunt. At a word
from their masters they would fly
high up into the air, and look around for prey.
If they chanced to see a deer or a rabbit, they would swoop
down upon it swift as any arrow.
All day long Genghis Khan and his huntsmen rode through
the woods. But they did not find as much game as they
Toward evening they started for home. The king had often
ridden through the woods, and he knew all the paths. So
while the rest of the party took the nearest way, he went
by a longer road through a valley between two mountains.
The day had been warm, and the king was very thirsty. His
pet hawk had left his wrist and flown away. It would be
sure to find its way home.
The king rode slowly along. He had once seen a spring of
clear water near this pathway. If he could only find it
now! But the hot days of summer had dried up all the
At last, to his joy, he saw some water
trickling down over
the edge of a rock. He knew that there
 was a spring farther up. In the wet season, a swift stream
of water always poured down here; but now it came only
one drop at a time.
The king leaped from his horse. He took a little silver cup
from his hunting bag. He held it so as to catch the slowly
It took a long time to fill the cup; and the king was so
thirsty that he could hardly wait. At last it was nearly
full. He put the cup to his lips, and was about to drink.
All at once there was a whirring sound in the air, and the
cup was knocked from his hands. The water was all spilled
upon the ground.
The king looked up to see who had done this thing. It was
his pet hawk.
The hawk flew back and forth a few times, and then alighted
among the rocks by the spring.
The king picked up the cup, and again held it to catch
the trickling drops.
This time he did not wait so long. When the cup was half
full, he lifted it toward his mouth. But before it had
touched his lips, the hawk swooped down again, and knocked
it from his hands.
And now the king began to grow angry. He tried again; and
for the third time the hawk kept him from drinking.
The king was now very angry indeed.
 "How do you dare to act so?" he cried. "If I had you in my
hands, I would wring your neck!"
Then he filled the cup again. But before he tried to drink,
he drew his sword.
"Now, Sir Hawk," he said, "this is the last time."
He had hardly spoken, before the hawk swooped down and
knocked the cup from his hand. But the king was looking for
this. With a quick sweep of the sword he struck the bird as
The next moment the poor hawk lay bleeding and dying at its
"That is what you get for your pains," said
But when he looked for his cup he found that it had fallen
between two rocks, where he could not reach it.
"At any rate, I will have a drink from that spring," he
said to himself.
With that he began to climb the steep bank to the place
from which the water trickled. It was hard work, and the
higher he climbed, the thirstier he became.
At last he reached the place. There indeed was a pool of
water; but what was that lying in the pool, and almost
filling it? It was a huge, dead snake of the most
 The king stopped. He forgot his thirst. He thought only of
the poor dead bird lying on the ground below him.
"The hawk saved my life!" he cried; "and how
did I repay him? He was my best friend, and I have killed
 He clambered down the bank. He took the bird up gently,
and laid it in his hunting bag. Then he mounted his horse
and rode swiftly home. He said to himself,—
"I have learned a sad lesson to-day; and that is, never to
do anything in anger."
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