Peter Pan CHAPTER 2: THE SHADOW


Peter Pan

by J.M. Barrie

CHAPTER 2: THE SHADOW

peterpan chapter 2,chapter 2 the shadow, peterpan stories

Mrs. Darling screamed, and, as if in answer to a bell, the door opened, and Nana entered, returned from her evening out. She growled and sprang at the boy, who leapt lightly through the window. Again Mrs. Darling screamed, this time in distress for him, for she thought he was killed, and she ran down into the street to look for his little body, but it was not there; and she looked up, and in the black night she could see nothing but what she thought was a shooting star.

She returned to the nursery, and found Nana with something in her mouth, which proved to be the boy’s shadow. As he leapt at the window Nana had closed it quickly, too late to catch him, but his shadow had not had time to get out; slam went the window and snapped it off.

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Blue Beard – Classic Fairy Tale


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Once upon a time, in the fair land of France, there lived a very powerful lord, the owner of estates, farms and a great splendid castle, and his name was Bluebeard. This wasn’t his real name, it was a nickname, due to the fact he had a long shaggy black beard with glints of blue in it. He was very handsome and charming, but, if the truth be told, there was something about him that made you feel respect, and a little uneasy…

Bluebeard often went away to war, and when he did, he left his wife in charge of the castle. He had had lots of wives, all young, pretty and noble. As bad luck would have it, one after the other, they had all died, and so the noble lord was forever getting married again.

“Sire,” someone would ask now and again, “what did your wives die of?”

“Hah, my friend,” Bluebeard would reply, “one died of smallpox, one of a hidden sickness, another of a high fever, another of a terrible infection… Ah, I’m very unlucky, and they’re unlucky too! They’re all buried in the castle chapel,” he added. Nobody found anything strange about that. Nor did the sweet and beautiful young girl that Bluebeard took as a wife think it strange either.

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The Elephant’s Child – Stories of Rudyard Kipling


Elephant's childIN the High and Far-Off Times the Elephant, O Best Beloved, had no trunk. He had only a blackish, bulgy nose, as big as a boot, that he could wriggle about from side to side; but he could not pick up things with it.

The young elephant hero is full of questions. Why is his tall uncle the giraffe so spotty? Why are the eyes of his broad aunt the Hippopotamus so red? Above all, he wants to know what the crocodile has for dinner. And in the end we learn how the elephant got his trunk.

This masterpiece by the author of the Jungle Books is full of language that evokes Africa – the banks of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees. At times it is almost like a poem by Edward Lear. It is one of our favourite Storynories.

In the Bertie introduction, Tim the Tadpole is full of questions too.

Read by Natasha. The duration is 25 minutes.

 

IN the High and Far-Off Times the Elephant, O Best Beloved, had no trunk. He had only a blackish, bulgy nose, as big as a boot, that he could wriggle about from side to side; but he couldn’t pick up things with it. But there was one Elephant–a new Elephant–an Elephant’s Child–who was full of ‘satiable curtiosity, and that means he asked ever so many questions. And he lived in Africa, and he filled all Africa with his ‘satiable curtiosities. He asked his tall aunt, the Ostrich, why her tail-feathers grew just so, and his tall aunt the Ostrich spanked him with her hard, hard claw. He asked his tall uncle, the Giraffe, what made his skin spotty, and his tall uncle, the Giraffe, spanked him with his hard, hard hoof. And still he was full of ‘satiable curtiosity! He asked his broad aunt, the Hippopotamus, why her eyes were red, and his broad aunt, the Hippopotamus, spanked him with her broad, broad hoof; and he asked his hairy uncle, the Baboon, why melons tasted just so, and his hairy uncle, the Baboon, spanked him with his hairy, hairy paw. And still he was full of ‘satiable curtiosity! He asked questions about everything that he saw, or heard, or felt, or smelt, or touched, and all his uncles and his aunts spanked him. And still he was full of ‘satiable curtiosity!

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One Thousand Dollars (By O. Henry)


One Thousand Dollars (By O. Henry)

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Our story today is called “One Thousand Dollars.” It was written by O. Henry. Here is Steve Ember with the story.

“One thousand dollars,” said the lawyer Tolman, in a severe and serious voice. “And here is the money.”

Young Gillian touched the thin package of fifty-dollar bills and laughed.

“It’s such an unusual amount,” he explained, kindly, to the lawyer. “If it had been ten thousand a man might celebrate with a lot of fireworks. Even fifty dollars would have been less trouble.”

“You heard the reading of your uncle’s will after he died,” continued the lawyer Tolman. “I do not know if you paid much attention to its details. I must remind you of one. You are required to provide us with a report of how you used this one thousand dollars as soon as you have spent it. I trust that you will obey the wishes of your late uncle.”

“You may depend on it,” said the young man respectfully.

Gillian went to his club. He searched for a man he called Old Bryson.

Old Bryson was a calm, anti-social man, about forty years old. He was in a corner reading a book. When he saw Gillian coming near he took a noisy, deep breath, laid down his book and took off his glasses.

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The Darling by Anton Chekhov


jesurajloveOlenka, the daughter of the retired collegiate assessor, Plemyanniakov, was sitting in her back porch, lost in thought. It was hot, the flies were persistent and teasing, and it was pleasant to reflect that it would soon be evening. Dark rainclouds were gathering from the east, and bringing from time to time a breath of moisture in the air.

Kukin, who was the manager of an open-air theatre called the Tivoli, and who lived in the lodge, was standing in the middle of the garden looking at the sky.

“Again!” he observed despairingly. “It’s going to rain again! Rain every day, as though to spite me. I might as well hang myself! It’s ruin! Fearful losses every day.”

He flung up his hands, and went on, addressing Olenka:

“There! that’s the life we lead, Olga Semyonovna. It’s enough to make one cry. One works and does one’s utmost, one wears oneself out, getting no sleep at night, and racks one’s brain what to do for the best. And then what happens? To begin with, one’s public is ignorant, boorish. I give them the very best operetta, a dainty masque, first rate music-hall artists. But do you suppose that’s what they want! They don’t understand anything of that sort. They want a clown; what they ask for is vulgarity. And then look at the weather! Almost every evening it rains. It started on the tenth of May, and it’s kept it up all May and June. It’s simply awful! The public doesn’t come, but I’ve to pay the rent just the same, and pay the artists.”

The next evening the clouds would gather again, and Kukin would say with an hysterical laugh:

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Vanka by Anton Chekhov


Chekhov-Poster-webVANKA ZHUKOV, a boy of nine, who had been for three months apprenticed to Alyahin the shoemaker, was sitting up on Christmas Eve. Waiting till his master and mistress and their workmen had gone to the midnight service, he took out of his master’s cupboard a bottle of ink and a pen with a rusty nib, and, spreading out a crumpled sheet of paper in front of him, began writing. Before forming the first letter he several times looked round fearfully at the door and the windows, stole a glance at the dark ikon, on both sides of which stretched shelves full of lasts, and heaved a broken sigh. The paper lay on the bench while he knelt before it.

“Dear grandfather, Konstantin Makaritch,” he wrote, “I am writing you a letter. I wish you a happy Christmas, and all blessings from God Almighty. I have neither father nor mother, you are the only one left me.”

Vanka raised his eyes to the dark ikon on which the light of his candle was reflected, and vividly recalled his grandfather, Konstantin Makaritch, who was night watchman to a family called Zhivarev. He was a thin but extraordinarily nimble and lively little old man of sixty-five, with an everlastingly laughing face and drunken eyes. By day he slept in the servants’ kitchen, or made jokes with the cooks; at night, wrapped in an ample sheepskin, he walked round the grounds and tapped with his little mallet. Old Kashtanka and Eel, so-called on account of his dark colour and his long body like a weasel’s, followed him with hanging heads. This Eel was exceptionally polite and affectionate, and looked with equal kindness on strangers and his own masters, but had not a very good reputation. Under his politeness and meekness was hidden the most Jesuitical cunning. No one knew better how to creep up on occasion and snap at one’s legs, to slip into the store-room, or steal a hen from a peasant. His hind legs had been nearly pulled off more than once, twice he had been hanged, every week he was thrashed till he was half dead, but he always revived.

At this moment grandfather was, no doubt, standing at the gate, screwing up his eyes at the red windows of the church, stamping with his high felt boots, and joking with the servants. His little mallet was hanging on his belt. He was clasping his hands, shrugging with the cold, and, with an aged chuckle, pinching first the housemaid, then the cook.

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The Romance of a Busy Broker by O. Henry


p101Pitcher, confidential clerk in the office of Harvey Maxwell, broker, allowed a look of mild interest and surprise to visit his usually expressionless countenance when his employer briskly entered at half past nine in company with his young lady stenographer. With a snappy “Good-morning, Pitcher,” Maxwell dashed at his desk as though he were intending to leap over it, and then plunged into the great heap of letters and telegrams waiting there for him.

The young lady had been Maxwell’s stenographer for a year. She was beautiful in a way that was decidedly unstenographic. She forewent the pomp of the alluring pompadour. She wore no chains, bracelets or lockets. She had not the air of being about to accept an invitation to luncheon. Her dress was grey and plain, but it fitted her figure with fidelity and discretion. In her neat black turban hat was the gold-green wing of a macaw. On this morning she was softly and shyly radiant. Her eyes were dreamily bright, her cheeks genuine peachblow, her expression a happy one, tinged with reminiscence.

Pitcher, still mildly curious, noticed a difference in her ways this morning. Instead of going straight into the adjoining room, where her desk was, she lingered, slightly irresolute, in the outer office. Once she moved over by Maxwell’s desk, near enough for him to be aware of her presence.

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The Pimienta Pancakes by O. Henry


ivan8-200While we were rounding up a bunch of the Triangle-O cattle in the Frio bottoms a projecting branch of a dead mesquite caught my wooden stirrup and gave my ankle a wrench that laid me up in camp for a week.

On the third day of my compulsory idleness I crawled out near the grub wagon, and reclined helpless under the conversational fire of Judson Odom, the camp cook. Jud was a monologist by nature, whom Destiny, with customary blundering, had set in a profession wherein he was bereaved, for the greater portion of his time, of an audience.

Therefore, I was manna in the desert of Jud’s obmutescence.

Betimes I was stirred by invalid longings for something to eat that did not come under the caption of “grub.” I had visions of the maternal pantry “deep as first love, and wild with all regret,” and then I asked:

“Jud, can you make pancakes?”

Jud laid down his six-shooter, with which he was preparing to pound an antelope steak, and stood over me in what I felt to be a menacing attitude. He further endorsed my impression that his pose was resentful by fixing upon me with his light blue eyes a look of cold suspicion.

“Say, you,” he said, with candid, though not excessive, choler, “did you mean that straight, or was you trying to throw the gaff into me? Some of the boys been telling you about me and that pancake racket?”

“No, Jud,” I said, sincerely, “I meant it. It seems to me I’d swap my pony and saddle for a stack of buttered brown pancakes with some first crop, open kettle, New Orleans sweetening. Was there a story about pancakes?”

Jud was mollified at once when he saw that I had not been dealing in allusions. He brought some mysterious bags and tin boxes from the grub wagon and set them in the shade of the hackberry where I lay reclined. I watched him as he began to arrange them leisurely and untie their many strings.

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The Voice of the City by O. Henry


12709781421841014104025PicTwenty-five years ago the school children used to chant their lessons. The manner of their delivery was a singsong recitative between the utterance of an Episcopal minister and the drone of a tired sawmill. I mean no disrespect. We must have lumber and sawdust.

I remember one beautiful and instructive little lyric that emanated from the physiology class. The most striking line of it was this:

“The shin-bone is the long-est bone in the hu-man bod-y.”

What an inestimable boon it would have been if all the corporeal and spiritual facts pertaining to man bad thus been tunefully and logically inculcated in our youthful minds! But what we gained in anatomy, music and philosophy was meagre.

The other day I became confused. I needed a ray of light. I turned back to those school days for aid. But in all the nasal harmonies we whined forth from those bard benches I could not recall one that treated of the voice of agglomerated mankind.

In other words, of the composite vocal message of massed humanity.

In other words, of the Voice of a Big City.

Now, the individual voice is not lacking. We can understand the song of the poet, the ripple of the brook, the meaning of the man who wants $5 until next Monday, the inscriptions on the tombs of the Pharaohs, the language of flowers, the “step lively” of the conductor, and the prelude of the milk cans at 4 A. M. Certain large-eared ones even assert that they are wise to the vibrations of the tympanum pro- need by concussion of the air emanating from Mr. H. James. But who can comprehend the meaning of the voice of the city?

I went out for to see.

First, I asked Aurelia. She wore white Swiss and a bat with flowers on it, and ribbons and ends of things fluttered here and there.

“Tell me,” I said, stammeringly, for I have no voice of my own, “what does this big – er – enormous – er – whopping city say? It must have a voice of some kind. Does it ever speak to you? How do you interpret its meaning? It is a tremen- dous mass, but it must have a key:’

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A Blackjack Bargainer by O. Henry


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The most disreputable thing in Yancey Goree’s law office was Goree himself, sprawled in his creakv old arm- chair. The rickety little office, built of red brick, was set flush with the street — the main street of the town of Bethel.

Bethel rested upon the foot-hills of the Blue Ridge. Above it the mountains were piled to the sky. Far below it the turbid Catawba gleamed yellow along its disconsolate valley.

The June day was at its sultriest hour. Bethel dozed in the tepid shade. Trade was not. It was so still that Goree, reclining in his chair, distinctly heard the clicking of the chips in the grand-jury room, where the “court- house gang” was playing poker. From the open back door of the office a well-worn path meandered across the grassy lot to the court-house. The treading out of that path had cost Goree all he ever had — first inheritance of a few thousand dollars, next the old family home, and, latterly the last shreds of his self-respect and manhood. The “gang” had cleaned him out. The broken gambler had turned drunkard and parasite; he had lived to see this day come when the men who had stripped him denied him a seat at the game. His word was no longer to be taken. The daily bouts at cards had arranged itself accordingly, and to him was assigned the ignoble part of the onlooker. The sheriff, the county clerk, a sportive deputy, a gay attorney, and a chalk-faced man hailing “from the valley,” sat at table, and the sheared one was thus tacitly advised to go and grow more wool.

Soon wearying of his ostracism, Goree had departed for his office, muttering to himself as he unsteadily tra- versed the unlucky pathway. After a drink of corn whiskey from a demijohn under the table, he had flung himself into the chair, staring, in a sort of maudlin apathy, out at the mountains immersed in the summer haze. The little white patch he saw away up on the side of Blackjack was Laurel, the village near which he had been born and bred. There, also, was the birthplace of the feud between the Gorees and the Coltranes. Now no direct heir of the Gorees survived except this plucked and singed bird of misfortune. To the Coltranes, also, but one male supporter was left — Colonel Abner Col- trane, a man of substance and standing, a member of the State Legislature, and a contemporary with Goree’s father. The feud had been a typical one of the region; it had left a red record of hate, wrong and slaughter. But Yancey Goree was not thinking of feuds. His befuddled brain was hopelessly attacking the problem of the future maintenance of himself and his favourite follies. Of late, old friends of the family had seen to it that he had whereof to eat and a place to sleep — but whiskey they would not buy for him, and he must have whiskey. His law business was extinct; no case had been intrusted to him in two years. He had been a borrower and a sponge, and it seemed that if he fell no lower it would be from lack of opportunity. One more chance — he was saying to himself — if he had one more stake at the game, he thought he could win; but he had nothing left to sell, and his credit was more than exhausted.

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A Lickpenny Lover by O. Henry


 

 

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There, were 3,000 girls in the Biggest Store. Masie was one of them. She was eighteen and a selleslady in the gents’ gloves. Here she became versed in two varieties of human beings – the kind of gents who buy their gloves in department stores and the kind of women who buy gloves for unfortunate gents. Besides this wide knowledge of the human species, Masie had acquired other information. She had listened to the promulgated wisdom of the 2,999 other girls and had stored it in a brain that was as secretive and wary as that of a Maltese cat. Per- haps nature, foreseeing that she would lack wise counsellors, had mingled the saving ingredient of shrewdness along with her beauty, as she has endowed the silver fox of the priceless fur above the other animals with cunning.

 

For Masie was beautiful. She was a deep-tinted blonde, with the calm poise of a lady who cooks butter cakes in a window. She stood behind her counter in the Biggest Store; and as you closed your band over the tape-line for your glove measure you thought of Hebe; and as you looked again you wondered how she had come by Minerva’s eyes.

 

When the floorwalker was not looking Masie chewed tutti frutti; when he was looking she gazed up as if at the clouds and smiled wistfully.

 

That is the shopgirl smile, and I enjoin you to shun it unless you are well fortified with callosity of the heart, caramels and a congeniality for the capers of Cupid. This smile belonged to Masie’s recreation hours and not to the store; but the

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The Ransom of Red Chief (O.Henry)


by O. Henry

RANSOMOFRE

It looked like a good thing: but wait till I tell you. We were down South, in Alabama–Bill Driscoll and myself-when this kidnapping idea struck us. It was, as Bill afterward expressed it, “during a moment of temporary mental apparition”; but we didn’t find that out till later.

There was a town down there, as flat as a flannel-cake, and called Summit, of course. It contained inhabitants of as undeleterious and self-satisfied a class of peasantry as ever clustered around a Maypole.

Bill and me had a joint capital of about six hundred dollars, and we needed just two thousand dollars more to pull off a fraudulent town-lot scheme in Western Illinois with. We talked it over on the front steps of the hotel. Philoprogenitiveness, says we, is strong in semi-rural communities therefore, and for other reasons, a kidnapping project ought to do better there than in the radius of newspapers that send reporters out in plain clothes to stir up talk about such things. We knew that Summit couldn’t get after us with anything stronger than constables and, maybe, some lackadaisical bloodhounds and a diatribe or two in the Weekly Farmers’ Budget. So, it looked good.

We selected for our victim the only child of a prominent citizen named Ebenezer Dorset. The father was respectable and tight, a mortgage fancier and a stern, upright collection-plate passer and forecloser. The kid was a boy of ten, with bas-relief freckles, and hair the colour of the cover of the magazine you buy at the news-stand when you want to catch a train. Bill and me figured that Ebenezer would melt down for a ransom of two thousand dollars to a cent. But wait till I tell you.

About two miles from Summit was a little mountain, covered with a dense cedar brake. On the rear elevation of this mountain was a cave. There we stored provisions.

One evening after sundown, we drove in a buggy past old Dorset’s house. The kid was in the street, throwing rocks at a kitten on the opposite fence.

“Hey, little boy!” says Bill, “would you like to have a bag of candy and a nice ride?”

The boy catches Bill neatly in the eye with a piece of brick.

“That will cost the old man an extra five hundred dollars,” says Bill, climbing over the wheel.

That boy put up a fight like a welter-weight cinnamon bear; but, at last, we got him down in the bottom of the buggy and drove away. We took him up to the cave, and I hitched the horse in the cedar brake. After dark I drove the buggy to the little village, three miles away, where we had hired it, and walked back to the mountain.

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