Quilting, Farming, Variety

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Antique Book

This tattered little book has been in our family for as long as I can remember. It's been through mouse raids and leaking roof, leaving it in very poor condition. A plaid cloth strip has been sewed onto its spine with twine string. When I learned to print in the first grade I left names and numbers on its pages. Since we didn't have story books of our own it became a prized piece.
I don't know how or when it came to be in our possession; maybe it was a school book that belonged to my mother or father. When I did some research I found that it was published in 1916; they were born in 1914 and 1911, respectively, so it could have been used in their school. The title of the book is The Young and Field Literary Reader, Book Two. I found two copies for sale on eBay this week. (It never ceases to amaze me how many things one will find there.)

The stories in this book usually have a moral to them; the definition of moral being, 'of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior'. Over the years, the first eighteen pages have been lost and some pages have part of the words gnawed off. It includes English fairy tales, fables from Aesop, Hindu fables, a French fairy tale, a Norse folk tale, American Indian legends, Russian fables, old Greek stories, and poems by various writers.
This poem, by Robert Louis Stevenson, is named The Wind,

I saw you toss the kites on high
And blow the birds about the sky,
And all around I heard you pass
Like ladies' skirts across the grass ---
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!

I saw the different things you did,
But always you yourself hid;
I felt you push, I heard you call,
I could not see yourself at all---
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!

O you that are so strong and cold,
O blower, are you young or old?
Are you a beast of field and tree,
Or just a stronger child that me?
O wind, a blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!

Maybe most people would just toss the old book in the trash, but I love it; even if I had a new copy it would stay with me, and I think kids now would benefit from a moral lesson.

1 comment:

  1. I have seen a book like this somewhere, but don't know where. There were a lot of old books, discards no doubt, at the Hagarville School that Mrs. Day let us use when we played school at recess when the weather was bad, so that may be where I saw it. And, I agree with you about morals, except I tend to think it might not only be kids who could use a few lessons on morals.

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