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Reno Gazette-Journal from Reno, Nevada • Page 18

Reno, Nevada
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High up among the Swiss mountains, where the winters are so long and cold, it seems as if the time of singing birds and blooming flowers will never come, the people tell many stories as they gather around the fire at night Sometimes these tales are of heroes and brave men yho once lived in the Alpine land, sometimes they are traditions handed down from father to son, of fairies and goblins that are said to have haunted the region in the far off days. For the peasants of Switzerland are simple folk, and believe as firmly in these wonder tales as we believe that Columbus discovered America. All through the long snow time they tell them over and over, and sometimes a tourist who loves the land enough to try to make friends with its people, may learn many of them in the course of a summer wandering. And of all the Alpine legends, none is more loved or more believed than that of the Luck Boat of Lake Geneva. "It all happened in the long ago," they say as they tell it, as if fearing you may not believe, "but truly it did happen.

My father learned the story from his father, and so it came to me." This gem of Alpine lakes wwas not always the haunt of tourists as it is today, but always it was beautiful, and in the far off time a strange looking boat was seen often gliding over its blue waves. It was a beautiful craft, with high, pointed sails that shone like gold as they caught the gleams of sunlight and the eight snow-white swans that drew it sang as they glided, their wild song mingling with the strains of an invisible harp that was played by the wind. On the prow of this strange ship a lovely woman stood. Her golden hair floated free, and her cheeks were pink as the wild Alpine roses in the first flush of summer. At her feet sat many a fairy and winged sprite, upon whom she smiled, and scattered flowers with a lavish hand.

A wonderful thing about this fairy ship was that wherever it touched the shore the soil became so rich that it yielded abundantly, and any mortal who was lucky enough to behold its gleaming sails had his every wish come true. But one sad day a steamboat was brought to the lake. It began to plow among the shining waves, and the noise of its puffing and snorting frightened the gentle swans. They glided away. The fairy boat was seen no more, and never again did the music of the wind-played harp sound over the waters.

Now no one ever sees the fairy of the flowing hair, for the Luck Boat vanished forever when the steamer came. But among the peasants are a few old men and women who claim to have seen it in childhood, and remember it well. They have talked abut it so much, and have made so many pictures of it that the Swiss people think they know just how it looked. So on every New Year day the peasants around Lake Geneva send "Luck Cards" to their friends. These contain a picture of the Luck Boat, and are supposed to bring good fortune to whoever receives them, just as a glimpse of the fairy ship of old was said to do.

A Story of thu 01'' Molo. OW Roland Wilberson had not been tn Cherrydale ten days before the boys set him down as a "sissy." And chief among his detractors was no less a personage in the juvenile world of that village than "Bud" Brown. Indeed; it was largely because "Bud" had stamped him as such that the rest of the boys came to that conclusion; for, to put it slang, "whatever Bud said went." But, if the truth be told, neither they nor Bud had seen any evidence that proved Roland that most despised of all things In the world of boyhood a "sissy." Bud had come to this conclusion after one short experience with Roland which, to Bud's way of thinking, was quite enough. To begin with, little Roland was a "new boy in town" for it was only ten days ago that his parents had moved into the big yellow house at the top of the hill beyond the railroad tracks. Add to that the fact that Roland was always spotless in his knickerbockers and shirt-waist with a wide, stiff, embroidered collar and you have additional explanation of Bud's antipathy to the new-comer.

But there was still another reason why Bud thought as he did about the "new boy." And that was the evening, several days after his arrival, when Bud, backed up by four of his admirers, ran into him down by Green's drugstore, on the outside of which they were loafing and watching, with mouths that watered, the people en-Joying ice cream soda within the store. Presently the "new kid," Roland, came along bound, quite evidently, for the inside of the drug-store and the joys of a chocolate, or a strawberry soda or, maybe, a sundae. As Roland passed the crowd of boys, he looked at them in what he meant to be friendly fashion; indeed, he was hoping they would speak to him. His wish was not a vain one, either, for Bud did speak. But, said Bud: "Hey! See anything green?" Roland stopped and looked at Bud In amazement.

"See something green?" repeated Bud. "Well, then lick it up clean!" And the boys roared with glee, with Bud, of course, leading in the jeers. The "new boy" smjled in halfhearted fashion and asked as politely as you please: "What is your name? Mine is "What's my name?" interrupted Bud quickly, eager to show off before the rest of the boys. "My name's Puddin-tn-tane!" And the hoots of derision that went up all but drove to Roland to cover. However, he held his ground and waited until the laughter had almost subsided.

Then he walked straight up to Bud and held out his hand. "I'm new," he said, quite frankly, "but I want to know you boys. Won't you all come in and have an ice cream soda with me?" Bud was just about to make some reply on the order of his former ones; but the mention of soda sort of made him lose the power of speech for a moment. "I've only got a quarter," continued the new boy, "and there are six of us. But we can divide, can't we? Come on, let's go in." The boys needed no further urging; so they all filed In and took their places at the long counter, perched on the long-legged stools before it.

There was no stool for Roland, but he declared that he didn't mind It at all. Then, he laid his quarter on the counter and told the clerk to see what flavors the boys wanted, just as he had seen his father do many times before with grown-folks. There was a great among the boyB in deciding what they wanted; but at last all the orders were In that is, all except Bud's. "Hey, kid," he said with a grin, turning to Roland, "what's your flavor Me and you'll divide. "Oh, chocolate or vanilla or strawberryany will suit me.

Tou pick the ene you like." "All right." declared Bud, with another grin. "I'll take strawberry." Soon five boys were busily engaged In demolishing five glasses of foamy Ice cream soda on the counter before them, while Roland stood quietly by. "Hey, Bud," called out Al Watkins, from down near the end of the line. "Tou goln' to divide with him?" "Um-huh after I get through," replied Bud, from the depths of his out of which already all the ice cream had vanished. Presently, the pink soda disappeared entirely and there was a loud, sucking noise at the end of Bud's straw-showing that the last drop of the previous soda had jtone.

"Now," said Bni, in a Jeering tone.t i'X'i jS n.y "you can have the straw and and you can lick the spoon, kid!" "That's all right," said Roland quietly, though his face did flush for a moment and his eyes "I guess you must have been thirsty" and with that he walked out of the store and left them staring at him in amazement. For nearly a week Roland did not appear. But finally, one day, as Bud and a half-dozen of his henchmen were on their way to the swimmin hole, in the creek, they ran into him, walking quietly along toward his home. "Good morning said Roland. "Hello your own self!" declared Bud belligerently and started to go on past without further notice.

Suddenly he stopped and turned about. There was a mischievous gleam in his eyes. "Say, kid," he asked, "want to go in swimmin' with us? Come along." And he winked slyly at the rest of the boys. "I'd like," answered Roland, "I'm very fond of the water but I guess I'd better not. I've been sick In bed with a cold for nearly a week and "With cold feet, you mean!" sneered Bud.

"You'd screech if you got your toes wet you The new boy stood and looked at him a moment straight in the eye. "Very well," he said. "I'll be glad to go along with you." After a short walk through the fields they came to the creek and the ol' swimmin' hole. Now, while the creek was not wide, the current was very swift in mid-stream. The swimmin' hole was a small inlet or bay, where the bank had been cut out by the wash of the water in the spring floods, and was really a safe spot provided a boy did not venture far enough out to be caught in the current and carried out into deep water.

The boys had secured a thick plank and weighted it down at one end with heavk rocks; the other projected over the water and formed an excellent diving board. Farther down' the stream, just where the inlet ended and the bank curved out again, a huge tree had fallen across the creek, its branches extended far out into the stream and, of course, were either partly or wholly submerged. In a jiffy the boy had their clothes off and were splashing around in the water. That is, all but Roland who seemed to be having some difficulty in loosening his Lord Fauntleroy collar. 'Hey," called Bud as he bobbed to the surface after a dive, "send for your mother to undress you!" But presently Roland, too, was in his "birthday clothes" and, you may be sure, the boys all watched him as he prepared to run out on the springboard and dive.

"Bet he'll break his neck," called out Bud. But, alas, Bud was doomed to disappointment. For Roland ran to the end of the board, bounded high in the air, turned completely over and hit the water feet first a forward "flip-flop," as pretty and clean as you please!" "Gee!" exclaimed no less than five boys. Then Roland came to the surface and struck out. Not "dog-fashion" or even with the slow "breast stroke," but over on his side, bringing one hand out of the water with each stroke and swimming along faster than any of them could.

"Gee some swimmer exclaiiaed the bovs again. It was quite evident the estimate of the "new kid" was changing. That is. all but Bud's But Bud, meanwhile, had disappeared. He wasn't the water nor on the bank, nor on the spring-board, in fact Bud was back in the bushes whither he had disappeared at Roland's second dive carrying with him every one of the articles of clothing that Roland had taken off and laid down, neatly folded, at the foot of a tree.

Bud was busy. too. First he took Roland's underclothes and tied them together; then he tied knots in them in several places, pulling the knots as hard and fast as he could. Then ho picked up the Lord Fauntleroy shirtwaist, tied a knot in it and then tied one of the sleeves to the underwear. To this he fastened Roland's stockings, tying a knot In each of them.

And, to oap the climax, he affixed this string of knotted clothing to Roland's trousers so that the whole might have been likened to a kite with a long, knotted tail. That done, he quietly deposited the clothes at the foot of the tree where the new boy had left them and slipped into the water Even Bud was Impressed with Roland's ability as a swimmer. In fact, so much so that he concluded for, as i probably hive seen by this Urn 5ud was really a coward and a bully at heart tt would be hopeless to try to duck a fellow who could swim like that Moreover, Rolard was making dives and turning "flip-flops" from the spring-board that he himself couldn't do. And. somehow, the rest of the boys seemed to De aware of the fact that Roland was "stumpin" him.

Indeed, they were treating the "now kid" with considerable respect Presently Roland climbed up on the bank and started for his clothes. "Guess I've been in long enough now, fellows," he said. 'Tve got to be careful, you know, because of my cold last week ard "Hey, you kid," yelled Bud, "come on swim out In the middle with me! I dare you to dare you to!" "No," answered Roland. "I've been in long enough. Besides, the current's too swift it's dangerous." "Tou you baby! You coward-" yelled Bud.

'Go on then and put on your dresses only, believe me, you're going to chaw raw beef first!" A howl of delight went up from the. crowd even if Roland had been the prince of all good fellows they would have laughed at that. For what boy can resist the delicious sensation of seeing another boy pulling with his teeth in a wild endeavor to untie the hard knots that have been tied in his clothes! Which act, in the language of boyhood the oountry over, is known as "chawing raw beef." Even Roland himself had to langr and he waved a hand at them in acknowledgment of the fact that tha joke was on him. Then he turned and started for his clothes to "chaw raw beef." But as he turned, Bud called out: "Hey, you sissy, watch me! Watch where I go, you make-believe swimmer, and see if you can do it some day when you haven't got a cold In your feet!" And with that he struck out toward mid-stream slowly and with a sort of sinking sensation in the region his stomach. The boys watched him in silence.

They knew the dangers of the current and they always kept well within the confines of the hole. Bud himself had never ventured out before; but then, you know, from his standpoint his reputation was at stake. Out and out Bud went. Several times he turned and looked back; but they were all watching him, so he kept on. Presently it was noticeable that ho was in the curent, for instead of going straight ahead he was being carried down stream.

"Come back. Bud!" cried one of them. "Come back!" echoed the others. Suddenly Bud threw up his hands and yelled: 'Help! Help! I got a cramp! Help! Help!" Then he disappeared ui.der the water. The boys stood panic-stricken.

They had forgotten all about Roland "chawing raw beef at the foot of the tree. "Help! Help! Help!" they, too, cried. "Bud's drowning! Bud's drowning! Bud's drowning!" Suddenly a slim form, wearing only a shirt, flashed past them. It was Roland, and in his hards he carried the rest of his clothes, still knotted together. Straight for the sunken tree he made the tree, you remember, that had fallen across the creek.

Bud's head appeared again abo'e the surface. His face was distorted by fear and his arms were thrashing about wildly. And down, down down the current was carrying him, nearer and nearer the half -submerged tree. Out on the tree, with the agility of a tight-rope walker, Roland had sped. Swiftly and in perfect coolness he worked his way out to the farthest branch that was not submerged.

Nearer and nearer came Bud to the tree And there, hanging on to a branch with one hand, the other swinging free with the rope he was going to hurl to Bud. hung the "new kid in town, the Bud disappeared for a moment and then praise be came up just before he passed under the over-arching tree. Quick as a flash Roland let fly with the rope. And, true as a die, it flew Into Bud's outstretched, groping hands. He grasped it and hung on as the proverbial drowning man hangs to a straw.

He held to it, and so did Roland to the other end. "Help!" crie. Roland. "Help!" Fellows, help me drag him in!" That cry awoke the boys. They had been standing as though petrified.

Tn a Jiffy they were out on (he tree and pullihg on the rope. Presently they were able reach down and clutch Bud by the arms. Then they dragged him up on the tree and to safety. And the rope? Oh, yes, the rope that the "sissy" ad used was not a row at all. It ANSWERS TO LAST WEEK'S Riddle: A doorknob.

Jumbled Countries 1. Turkey. Bulgaria. 3. Sweden.

4. Spain. Italy. 6. France.

7. Portugal. 5. There is nothing in all the world so important as children, nothing so interesting. If ever you wish to go in for some form of philanthrophy, if ever you wish to be of any real use in the world, do something for children.

David Starr Jordan. BIRD OR BOY. I wonder which I'd rather be, A yellow birdie in a tree Or just a little boy like me? It must be fun to fly and fly, i And touch the clouds as you go by, Up in the middle of the sky. But, oh, the things you have to eat-Just worms and crumbs instead of meat, And never anything that's sweet! I really think I'd rather be An ordinary boy like me, And have my bread and jam for tea, Little Folks. was the string of clothes on which he was to have "chawed raw beef" to the particular eciflcation and joy of Bud! mm Jjtii 'Iff d)ldw Vl'JPn lasq, 'im moa itrjrvti.


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