VIEW THE MOBILE VERSION of www.childrenstories.ca Informational Site Network Informational
Privacy
Home - Stories - Categories - Books - Search

Featured Stories

The Little Robber Girl
The Boy Who Cried Wolf

Categories

A FAIRY-TALE

Aesop

ALPHABET RHYMES

AMERICAN INDIAN STORIES

AMUSING ALPHABETS

Animal Sketches And Stories

ANIMAL STORIES

ARBOR DAY

BIRD DAY

Blondine Bonne Biche and Beau Minon

Bohemian Story

BRER RABBIT and HIS NEIGHBORS

CATS

CHINESE MOTHER-GOOSE RHYMES

CHRISTMAS DAY

COLUMBUS DAY

CUSTOM RHYMES

Didactic Stories

Everyday Verses

EVIL SPIRITS

FABLES

FABLES FOR CHILDREN

FABLES FROM INDIA

FATHER PLAYS AND MOTHER PLAYS

FIRST STORIES FOR VERY LITTLE FOLK

For Classes Ii. And Iii.

For Classes Iv. And V.

For Kindergarten And Class I.

FUN FOR VERY LITTLE FOLK

GERMAN

Good Little Henry

HALLOWEEN

Happy Days

INDEPENDENCE DAY

JAPANESE AND OTHER ORIENTAL TALES]

Jean De La Fontaine

King Alexander's Adventures

KINGS AND WARRIORS

LABOR DAY

LAND AND WATER FAIRIES

Lessons From Nature

LINCOLN'S BIRTHDAY

LITTLE STORIES that GROW BIG

Love Lyrics

Lyrics

MAY DAY

MEMORIAL DAY

Modern

MODERN FABLES

MODERN FAIRY TALES

MOTHER GOOSE CONTINUED

MOTHER GOOSE JINGLES

MOTHER GOOSE SONGS AND STORIES

MOTHERS' DAY

Myths And Legends

NATURE SONGS

NEGLECT THE FIRE

NUMBER RHYMES

NURSERY GAMES

NURSERY-SONGS.

NURSEY STORIES

OLD-FASHIONED STORIES

ON POPULAR EDUCATION

OURSON

Perseus

PLACES AND FAMILIES

Poems Of Nature

Polish Story

Popular

PROVERB RHYMES

RESURRECTION DAY (EASTER)

RHYMES CONCERNING "MOTHER"

RIDDLE RHYMES

RIDING SONGS for FATHER'S KNEE

ROMANCES OF THE MIDDLE AGES

SAINT VALENTINE'S DAY

Selections From The Bible

Servian Story

SLEEPY-TIME SONGS AND STORIES

Some Children's Poets

Songs Of Life

STORIES BY FAVORITE AMERICAN WRITERS

STORIES FOR CHILDREN

STORIES for LITTLE BOYS

STORIES FROM BOTANY

STORIES FROM GREAT BRITAIN

STORIES FROM IRELAND

STORIES FROM PHYSICS

STORIES FROM SCANDINAVIA

STORIES FROM ZOOLOGY

STORIES _for_ LITTLE GIRLS

SUPERSITITIONS

THANKSGIVING DAY

The Argonauts

THE CANDLE

THE DAYS OF THE WEEK

THE DECEMBRISTS

The King Of The Golden River; Or, The Black Brothers

The Little Grey Mouse

THE OLD FAIRY TALES

The Princess Rosette

THE THREE HERMITS

THE TWO OLD MEN

Theseus

Traditional

UNCLES AND AUNTS AND OTHER RELATIVES

VERSES ABOUT FAIRIES

WASHINGTON'S BIRTHDAY

WHAT MEN LIVE BY

WHERE LOVE IS, THERE GOD IS ALSO

Little Lasse

from The Lilac Fairy Book





There was once a little boy whose name was Lars, and because he
was so little he was called Little Lasse; he was a brave little
man, for he sailed round the world in a pea-shell boat.

It was summer time, when the pea shells grew long and green in
the garden. Little Lasse crept into the pea bed where the pea
stalks rose high above his cap, and he picked seventeen large
shells, the longest and straightest he could find.

Little Lasse thought, perhaps, that no one saw him; but that was
foolish, for God sees everywhere.

Then the gardener came with his gun over his shoulder, and he
heard something rustling in the pea bed.

'I think that must be a sparrow,' he said. 'Ras! Ras!' but no
sparrows flew out, for Little Lasse had no wings, only two small
legs. 'Wait! I will load my gun and shoot the sparrows,' said the
gardener.

Then Little Lasse was frightened, and crept out on to the path.

'Forgive me, dear gardener!' he said. 'I wanted to get some fine
boats.'

'Well, I will this time,' said the gardener. 'But another time
Little Lasse must ask leave to go and look for boats in the pea
bed.'

'I will,' answered Lasse; and he went off to the shore. Then he
opened the shells with a pin, split them carefully in two, and
broke small little bits of sticks for the rowers' seats. Then he
took the peas which were in the shells and put them in the boats
for cargo. Some of the shells got broken, some remained whole,
and when all were ready Lasse had twelve boats. But they should
not be boats, they should be large warships. He had three liners,
three frigates, three brigs and three schooners. The largest
liner was called Hercules, and the smallest schooner The Flea.
Little Lasse put all the twelve into the water, and they floated
as splendidly and as proudly as any great ships over the waves of
the ocean.

And now the ships must sail round the world. The great island
over there was Asia; that large stone Africa; the little island
America; the small stones were Polynesia; and the shore from
which the ships sailed out was Europe. The whole fleet set off
and sailed far away to other parts of the world. The ships of the
line steered a straight course to Asia, the frigates sailed to
Africa, the brigs to America, and the schooners to Polynesia. But
Little Lasse remained in Europe, and threw small stones out into
the great sea.

Now, there was on the shore of Europe a real boat, father's own,
a beautiful white-painted boat, and Little Lasse got into it.
Father and mother had forbidden this, but Little Lasse forgot. He
thought he should very much like to travel to some other part of
the world.

'I shall row out a little way--only a very little way,' he
thought. The pea-shell boats had travelled so far that they only
looked like little specks on the ocean. 'I shall seize Hercules
on the coast of Asia,' said Lasse, 'and then row home again to
Europe.'

He shook the rope that held the boat, and, strange to say, the
rope became loose. Ditsch, ratsch, a man is a man, and so Little
Lasse manned the boat.

Now he would row--and he could row, for he had rowed so often on
the step sat home, when the steps pretended to be a boat and
father's big stick an oar. But when Little Lasse wanted to row
there were no oars to be found in the boat. The oars were locked
up in the boat-house, and Little Lasse had not noticed that the
boat was empty. It is not so easy as one thinks to row to Asia
without oars.

What could Little Lasse do now? The boat was already some
distance out on the sea, and the wind, which blew from land, was
driving it still further out. Lasse was frightened and began to
cry. But there was no one on the shore to hear him. Only a big
crow perched alone in the birch tree; and the gardener's black
cat sat under the birch tree, waiting to catch the crow. Neither
of them troubled themselves in the least about Little Lasse, who
was drifting out to sea.

Ah! how sorry Little Lasse was now that he had been disobedient
and got into the boat, when father and mother had so often
forbidden him to do so! Now it was too late, he could not get
back to land. Perhaps he would be lost out on the great sea. What
should he do?

When he had shouted until he was tired and no one heard him, he
put his two little hands together and said, 'Good God, do not be
angry with Little Lasse.' And then he went to sleep. For although
it was daylight, old Nukku Matti was sitting on the shores of the
'Land of Nod,' and was fishing for little children with his long
fishing rod. He heard the low words which Little Lasse said to
God, and he immediately drew the boat to himself and laid Little
Lasse to sleep on a bed of rose leaves.

Then Nukku Matti said to one of the Dreams, 'Play with Little
Lasse, so that he does not feel lonesome.'

It was a little dream-boy, so little, so little, that he was less
than Lasse himself; he had blue eyes and fair hair, a red cap
with a silver band, and white coat with pearls on the collar. He
came to Little Lasse and said, 'Would you like to sail round the
world?'

'Yes,' said Lasse in his sleep, 'I should like to.'

'Come, then,' said the dream-boy, 'and let us sail in your pea-
shell boats. You shall sail in Hercules and I shall sail in The
Flea.'

So they sailed away from the 'Land of Nod,' and in a little while
Hercules and The Flea were on the shores of Asia away at the
other end of the world, where the Ice Sea flows through Behring
Straits into the Pacific Ocean. A long way off in the winter mist
they could see the explorer Nordenskiold with his ship Vega
trying to find an opening between the ice. It was so cold, so
cold; the great icebergs glittered strangely, and the huge whales
now lived under the ice, for they could not make a hole through
with their awkward heads. All around on the dreary shore there
was snow and snow as far as the eye could see; little grey men in
shaggy skins moved about, and drove in small sledges through the
snow drifts, but the sledges were drawn by dogs.

'Shall we land here?' asked the dream-boy.

'No,' said Little Lasse. 'I am so afraid that the whales would
swallow us up, and the big dogs bite us. Let us sail instead to
another part of the world.'

'Very well,' said the dream-boy with the red cap and the silver
band; 'it is not far to America'--and at the same moment they
were there.

The sun was shining and it was very warm. Tall palm trees grew in
long rows on the shore and bore coconuts in their top branches.
Men red as copper galloped over the immense green prairies and
shot their arrows at the buffaloes, who turned against them with
their sharp horns. An enormous cobra which had crept up the stem
of a tall palm tree threw itself on to a little llama that was
grazing at the foot. Knaps! it was all over the little llama.

'Shall we land here?' asked the dream-boy.

'No,' said Little Lasse. 'I am so afraid that the buffaloes will
butt us, and the great serpent eat us up. Let us travel to
another part of the world.'

'Very well,' said the dream-boy with the white coat, 'it is only
a little way to Polynesia'--and then they were there.

It was very warm there, as warm as in a hot bath in Finland.
Costly spices grew on the shores: the pepper plant, the cinnamon
tree, ginger, saffron; the coffee plant and the tea plant. Brown
people with long ears and thick lips, and hideously painted
faces, hunted a yellow-spotted tiger among the high bamboos on
the shore, and the tiger turned on them and stuck its claws into
one of the brown men. Then all the others took to flight.

'Shall we land here?' asked the dream-boy.

'No,' said Little Lasse. 'Don't you see the tiger away there by
the pepper plant? Let us travel to another part of the world.'

'We can do so,' said the dream-boy with the blue eyes. 'We are
not far from Africa'--and as he said that they were there.

They anchored at the mouth of a great river where the shores were
as green as the greenest velvet. A little distance from the river
an immense desert stretched away. The air was yellow; the sun
shone so hot, so hot as if it would burn the earth to ashes, and
the people were as black as the blackest jet. They rode across
the desert on tall camels; the lions roared with thirst, and the
great crocodiles with their grey lizard heads and sharp white
teeth gaped up out of the river.

'Shall we land here?' asked the dream-boy.

'No,' said Little Lasse. 'The sun would burn us, and the lions
and the crocodiles would eat us up. Let us travel to another part
of the world.'

'We can travel back to Europe,' said the dream-boy with the fair
hair. And with that they were there.

They came to a shore where it was all so cool and familiar and
friendly. There stood the tall birch tree with its drooping
leaves; at the top sat the old crow, and at its foot crept the
gardener's black cat. Not far away was a house which Little Lasse
had seen before; near the house there was a garden, and in the
garden a pea bed with long pea shells. An old gardener with a
green coat walked about and wondered if the cucumbers were ripe.
Fylax was barking on the steps, and when he saw Little Lasse he
wagged his tail. Old Stina was milking the cows in the farmyard,
and there was a very familiar lady in a check woollen shawl on
her way to the bleaching green to see if the clothes were
bleached. There was, too, a well-known gentleman in a yellow
summer coat, with a long pipe in his mouth; he was going to see
if the reapers had cut the rye. A boy and a girl were running on
the shore and calling out, 'Little Lasse! Come home for bread-
and-butter!'

'Shall we land here?' asked the dream-boy, and he blinked his
blue eyes roguishly.

'Come with me, and I shall ask mother to give you some bread-and-
butter and a glass of milk,' said Little Lasse.

'Wait a little,' said the dream-boy. And now Little Lasse saw
that the kitchen door was open, and from within there was heard a
low, pleasant frizzling, like that which is heard when one whisks
yellow batter with a wooden ladle into a hot frying-pan.

'Perhaps we should sail back to Polynesia now?' said the happy
dream-boy.

'No; they are frying pancakes in Europe just now,' said Little
Lasse; and he wanted to jump ashore, but he could not. The dream-
boy had tied him with a chain of flowers, so that he could not
move. And now all the little dreams came about him, thousands and
thousands of little children, and they made a ring around him and
sang a little song:

The world is very, very wide,
Little Lasse, Lasse,
And though you've sailed beyond the tide,
You can never tell how wide
It is on the other side,
Lasse, Little Lasse.
You have found it cold and hot,
Little Lasse, Lasse;
But in no land is God not,
Lasse, Little Lasse.
Many men live there as here,
But they all to God are dear,
Little Lasse, Lasse.
When His angel is your guide,
Little Lasse, Lasse,
Then no harm can e'er betide,
Even on the other side
Where the wild beasts wander.
But tell us now,
Whene'er you roam,
Do you not find the best is home
Of all the lands you've looked upon,
Lasse, Little Lasse?

When the dreams had sung their song they skipped away, and Nukku
Matti carried Lasse back to the boat. He lay there for a long
time quite still, and he still heard the frying-pan frizzling at
home of the fire, the frizzling was very plain, Little Lasse
heard it quite near him; and so he woke up and rubbed his eyes.

There he lay in the boat, where he had fallen asleep. The wind
had turned, and the boat had drifted out with one wind and
drifted in with another while Little Lasse slept, and what Lasse
thought was frizzling in a frying-pan was the low murmur of the
waves as they washed against the stones on the shore. But he was
not altogether wrong, for the clear blue sea is like a great pan
in which God's sun all day makes cakes for good children.

Little Lasse rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and looked around
him. Everything was the same as before; the crow in the birch
tree, the cat on the grass, and the pea-shell fleet on the shore.
Some of the ships had foundered, and some had drifted back to
land. Hercules had come back with its cargo from Asia, The Flea
had arrived from Polynesia, and the other parts of the world were
just where they were before.

Little Lasse did not know what to think. He had so often been in
that grotto in the 'Land of Nod' and did not know what tricks
dreams can play. But Little Lasse did not trouble his head with
such things; he gathered together his boats and walked up the
shore back to the house.

His brother and sister ran to meet him, and called out from the
distance, 'Where have you been so long, Lasse? Come home and get
some bread-and-butter.' The kitchen door stood open, and inside
was heard a strange frizzling.

The gardener was near the gate, watering the dill and parsley,
the carrots and parsnips.

'Well,' he said, 'where has Little Lasse been so long?'

Little Lasse straightened himself up stiff, and answered: 'I have
sailed round the world in a pea-shell boat.'

'Oh!' said the gardener.

He has forgotten Dreamland. But you have not forgotten it; you
know that it exists. You know the beautiful grotto and the bright
silver walls whose lustre never fades, the sparkling diamonds
which never grow dim, the music which never ceases its low, soft
murmur through the sweet evening twilight. The airy fairy fancies
of happy Dreamland never grow old; they, like the glorious stars
above us, are always young. Perhaps you have caught a glimpse of
their ethereal wings as they flew around your pillow. Perhaps you
have met the same dream-boy with the blue eyes and the fair hair,
the one who wore the red cap with the silver band and the white
coat with pearls on the collar. Perhaps he has taken you to see
all the countries of the world and the peoples, the cold waste
lands and the burning deserts, the many coloured men and the wild
creatures in the sea and in the woods, so that you may earn many
things, but come gladly home again. Yes, who knows? Perhaps you
also have sailed round the wide world once in a pea-shell boat.

From Z. Topelius.





Next: 'moti'

Previous: The Brown Bear Of Norway



Add to del.icio.us Add to Reddit Add to Digg Add to Del.icio.us Add to Google Add to Twitter Add to Stumble Upon
Add to Informational Site Network
Report
Privacy
SHAREADD TO EBOOK



Viewed: 985