| America First|
|by Lawton B. Evans|
|Collection of one hundred action-packed stories, covering the range of American history, from the first visit of Leif the Lucky to the exploits of Sergeant York in World War I. In relating the long, thrilling story of the trials and triumphs of the pioneers and patriots, the author aims to gratify the love of children for the dramatic and picturesque, to satisfy them with stories that are true, and to make them familiar with the great characters in the history of their own country. Ages 8-12 |
LEIF, THE LUCKY
 LEIF was a bold Norseman, and was called "Lucky" because he came safely through so many dangers. He was the bravest
seaman of his race, and the sailors believed that whatever boat carried him would come safely into port, no
matter how fierce the storm.
When voyagers from the far seas brought word to Iceland that fair lands covered with forests lay to the west,
for they had seen them, Leif the Lucky called for thirty-five strong and true men. "Let us sail to this
country, and get wood for our ships, and perhaps gold and silver to sell to the kings of Europe," he said. The
men came forward and the ship set sail in the summer.
They went by way of Greenland, where they stopped for more news of the strange lands, and then sailed
southwest for many days. The first place they saw was a land of ice and mountains. This was probably
Newfoundland. Then they reached a level country covered with trees. This
 was probably Nova Scotia. Still sailing onward, the little ships with their brave crews came to a beautiful
country abounding in trees, grass, and flowers. Here they landed, and carried all their baggage ashore with
them. The place was so beautiful, they resolved to spend the winter there, and at once set about building
houses. This was probably somewhere in Rhode Island.
When the Norsemen had built their houses, Leif said to his men, "Let us explore the land; some of us will stay
to guard the houses, and the rest will find out what there is to see." So they set forth into the interior.
Soon they came upon an abundance of grapevines hanging from trees and covered with luscious fruit. Leif was
delighted, and at once named the country Vinland, or the Land of Vines. So they gathered grapes, and cut wood
for their ships, and built more houses, and settled down to spend the winter in this delightful spot. The cold
came on, but the Norsemen did not mind it, for they had plenty of food and great fires; besides which, they
were accustomed to cold weather.
In the spring they loaded their ships with timber, and sailed for home. Here they narrated their marvelous
story of the new land. Leif offered his ship to his brother, Thorwald, and told him he
 might go and spend a winter in Vinland. So Thorwald fitted himself out and started for the new country, but he
was not as lucky as his brother. He found the homes that had been built by those who had been before him; but
the Indians attacked his party one night, and killed Thorwald with a poisoned arrow. He was buried on the
shore, and his men set sail for home as soon as the weather allowed them to leave.
About eight hundred years after this, a skeleton clothed in armor was found buried in the earth at the head of
Narragansett Bay. No one knew who it was; but we have every reason to believe that it was the remains of the
brave old Norse warrior, Thorwald, or, maybe, of one of his followers. At any rate, the Skeleton in Armor has
been the subject of much romance and poetry, and the traditions of the Norsemen have been handed down to us as
sagas in the writing of the seafaring Icelanders.
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics