| Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans|
|by Edward Eggleston|
|Very simply told stories of warriors, statesmen, explorers, scientists, inventors, men and women of letters, and others. Featured are Marquette in Iowa, Penn and the Indians, Thomas Smith and the beginning of rice culture in South Carolina, Franklin and the ants, Putnam and the wolf, and dozens of other stories. Ages 7-9 |
SOME BOYS WHO BECAME AUTHORS
 WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT was the first great poet in this country. He
was a small man. When he was a baby, his head was too big for his
body. His father used to send the baby to be dipped in a cold spring
every day. The father thought that putting his head into cold water
would keep it from growing.
knew his letters before he was a year and a half old. He began
to write rhymes when he was a very little fellow. He wanted to be a
poet. He used to pray that he might be a poet. His father printed some
verses of his when he was only ten years old.
Bry-ant wrote many fine poems. Here are some lines of his about the
bird we call a
"Rob-ert of Lin-coln is gayly dressed,
Wearing a bright black wedding coat,
White are his shoulders and white his crest.
Hear him call in his merry note:
Spink, spank, spink;
Look, what a nice new coat is mine,
Sure there was never a bird so fine.
Chee, chee, chee."
 Hawthorne was one of our greatest writers of stories. He was a pretty
boy with golden curls. He was fond of all the great poets, and he read
Shakespeare and Milton and many other poets as soon as he was old
enough to understand them.
Hawthorne grew up a very handsome young fellow. One day he was
walking in the woods. He met an old gypsy woman. She had never seen
anybody so fine-looking.
"Are you a man, or an angel?" she asked him.
Some of Hawthorne's best books are written for girls and boys. One of
these is called "The Wonder Book." Another of his books for young
people is "Tanglewood Tales."
Prescott wrote beautiful histories. When Prescott was a boy, a
schoolmate threw a crust of bread at him. It hit him in the eye. He
became almost blind.
He had to do his writing with a machine. This machine was made for the
use of the blind. There were no
typewriters in those days.
It was hard work to write history without good eyes. But Prescott did not give up. He had a man to read to him. It took him ten years to
write his first book.
When Prescott had finished his book, he was
 afraid to print it. But
his father said, "The man who writes a book, and is afraid to print
it, is a coward."
Then Prescott printed his book. Everybody praised it. When you are
older, you will like to read his histories.
Doctor Holmes, the poet, was a boy full of fancies. He lived in an old
house. Soldiers had staid in the house at the time of the Revolution.
The floor of one room was all battered by the butts of the
Little Oliver Holmes used to think he could hear soldiers in the
house. He thought he could hear their spurs rattling in the dark
passages. Sometimes he thought he could hear their swords clanking.
The little boy was afraid of a sign that hung over the sidewalk. It
was a great, big, wooden hand. It was the sign of a place where gloves
were made. This big hand swung in the air. Little
 Oliver Holmes had
to walk under it on his way to school. He thought the great fingers
would grab him some day. Then he thought he would never get home
again. He even thought that his other pair of shoes would be put away
till his little brother grew big enough to wear them.
But the big wooden hand never caught him.
Here are some verses that Doctor Holmes wrote about a very old man:—
"My grand-mam-ma has said—
Poor old lady, she is dead
That he had a Roman nose,
And his cheek was like a rose
In the snow.
"But now his nose is thin,
And it rests upon his chin
Like a staff;
And a crook is in his back,
And a mel-an-chol-y crack
In his laugh.
"I know it is a sin
For me to sit and grin
At him here;
But the old three-cor-nered hat,
And the breeches, and all that,
Are so queer!
"And if I should live to be
The last leaf upon the tree
In the spring,
Let them smile, as I do now,
At the old for-sak-en bough
Where I cling."
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