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Set to the north wind like a sail.

It came to pass, our little lass,
With flattened face against the glass,
And eyes in which the tender dew
Of pity shone, stood gazing through
The narrow space her rosy lips
Had melted from the frost's eclipse:
“Oh, see,” she cried, “the poor blue jays!
What is it that the black crow says?
The squirrel lifts his little legs
Because he has no hands, and begs;
He's asking for my nuts, I know:
May I not feed them on the snow?”

Half lost within her boots, her head
Warm sheltered in her hood of red,
Her plaid skirt close about her drawn,
She floundered down the wintry lawn;
Now struggling through the misty veil
Blown round her by the shrieking gale;
Now sinking in a drift so low
Her scarlet hood could scarcely show
Its dash of color on the snow.

She dropped for bird and beast forlorn
Her little store of nuts and corn,
And thus her timid guests bespoke:
“Come, squirrel, from your hollow oak,-
Come, black old crow,-come, poor blue jay,
Before your supper's blown away!

Don't be afraid, we all are good;
And I'm mamma's Red Riding-Hood!”

0 Thou whose care is over all,
Who heedest even the sparrow's fall,
Keep in the little maiden's breast
The pity which is now its guest!
Let not her cultured years make less
The childhood charm of tenderness,
But let her feel as well as know,
Nor harder with her polish grow!
Unmoved by sentimental grief
That wails along some printed leaf,
But, prompt with kindly word and deed
To own the claims of all who need,
Let the grown woman's self make good
The promise of Red Riding-Hood!

Som'bêr, black; flèck, speck, or streak; crest'ed (krěs'těd), having a tuft of feathers on the head; pois'ing, balancing; a lert' (a lûrt'), ready, lively; plăid, checkered cloth; floun' dēred, moved with difficulty; be spoke', addressed; cult'ured (kůl'), educated, mature; põl'ish, refinement; sẽn ti měn'tal, unreal.


Describe the scene presented in the first paragraph.
What came to pass?

What did “our little lass” think the jays and the crow and the squirrel were doing?

Tell what she did.
Read what she said to her guests.
Why is she called “Red Riding-Hood”?
What does the poet pray that she may keep as she grows older?

Read the two lines that tell how the grown woman may “make good the promise of Red Riding-Hood.”


(Dramatized from the poem by Phæbe Cary) (Assign the parts: Huntsman and Old Crow. Give the Huntsman a pointer to carry for a gun, and a string, with pieces of paper attached, to represent the string of crows. Have the Crow stand on the corner of the teacher's desk, or on a chair.) (Huntsman walks across the front of the room, whistling, and Old Crow

caws from the withered tree.) SCHOOL:

A huntsman bearing his gun afield,

Went whistling merrily;
When he heard the blackest of black crows

Call out from a withered tree.

You are going to kill the thievish birds,

And I would if I were you;
But you must n't touch my family,

Whatever else you do.

I'm only going to kill the birds

That are eating up my crop;
And if your young ones do such things,

Be sure they 'll have to stop.

Oh, my children

Are the best ones ever born;
There is n't one among them all

Would steal a grain of corn.

But how shall I know which ones they are?

Do they resemble you?


Oh, no, they 're the prettiest

And the whitest that ever

flew. (Huntsman walks away, whistling,

and fires his gun by saying Bangmany times in a

short, sharp way.) SCHOOL: So off went the sportsman,

whistling, And off, too, went his gun; And its startling echoes never

ceased Again till the day was done. And the Old Crow sat un

troubled. Cawing away in her nook; For she said: OLD CROW: He 'll never kill my birds, Since I told him how they

look. Now there's the hawk, my

neighbor, She 'll see what she will

see, soon; And that saucy whistling

blackbird May have to change his


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(Huntsman comes home with a string of crows hanging down his back.) SCHOOL:

When, lo! she saw the hunter

Taking his homeward track
With a string of crows as long as his gun,

Hanging down his back.

Alack! Alack!

What in the world have you done?
You promised to spare my pretty birds,

And you 've killed them every one.
HUNTSMAN (looking surprised):

Your birds!

Why, I found them in my corn;
And besides, they are black and ugly

As any that ever were born!”
OLD CROW (in an angry tone):

Get out of my sight, you stupid! SCHOOL:

Said the angriest of crows. OLD CROW:

How good and fair her children are,

There's none but a parent knows. HUNTSMAN:

Ah! I see! I see!

But not as you do, quite. SCHOOL:

It takes a mother to be so blind

She can't tell black from white!

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