|A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys|
|by Nathaniel Hawthorne|
|Delightful retelling of six Greek myths to a crowd of energetic youngsters by a master storyteller. Includes The Gorgonís Head, The Golden Touch, The Paradise of Children, The Three Golden Apples, and The Miraculous Pitcher. Ages 9-12 |
AS not that a very fine story?" asked Eustace.
"Oh yes, yes!" cried Cowslip, clapping her hands. "And
those funny old women, with only one eye amongst them!
I never heard of anything so strange."
"As to their one tooth, which they shifted about,"
observed Primrose, "there was nothing so very wonderful
in that. I suppose it was a false tooth. But think of
your turning Mercury into Quicksilver, and talking
about his sister! You are too ridiculous!"
"And was she not his sister?" asked Eustace Bright. "If
I had thought of it sooner, I would have described her
as a maiden lady, who kept a pet owl!"
"Well, at any rate," said Primrose, "your story seems
to have driven away the mist."
And, indeed, while the tale was going forward, the
vapors had been quite exhaled from the
land-  scape. A scene was now disclosed which the spectators might
almost fancy as having been created since they had last
looked in the direction where it lay. About half a mile
distant, in the lap of the valley, now appeared a
beautiful lake, which reflected a perfect image of its
own wooded banks, and of the summits of the more
distant hills. It gleamed in glassy tranquillity,
without the trace of a winged breeze on any part of its
bosom. Beyond its farther shore was Monument Mountain,
in a recumbent position, stretching almost across the
valley. Eustace Bright compared it to a huge, headless
sphinx, wrapped in a Persian shawl; and, indeed, so
rich and diversified was the autumnal foliage of its
woods, that the simile of the shawl was by no means too
high-colored for the reality. In the lower ground,
between Tanglewood and the lake, the clumps of trees
and borders of woodland were chiefly golden-leaved or
dusky brown, as having suffered more from frost than
the foliage on the hillsides.
Over all this scene there was a genial sunshine,
intermingled with a slight haze, which made it
unspeakably soft and tender. Oh, what a day of Indian
summer was it going to be! The children snatched their
baskets, and set forth, with hop, skip, and jump, and
all sorts of frisks and gambols; while Cousin Eustace
proved his fitness to preside over the party, by
outdoing all their antics, and performing several new
capers, which none of them could ever hope to imitate.
Behind went a good old dog, whose name was Ben. He was
one of the most respectable and kind-hearted of
 quadrupeds, and probably felt it to be his duty not to
trust the children away from their parents without some
better guardian than this feather-brained Eustace
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