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Famous Stories

Sir Humphrey Gilbert
More than three hundred years ago there lived in England a ...

The Ungrateful Guest
Among the soldiers of King Philip there was a poor man who ...

The Endless Tale
In the Far East there was a great king who had no work to d...

Arnold Winkelried
A great army was marching into Swit-zer-land. If it should ...

Androclus And The Lion
In Rome there was once a poor slave whose name was An'dro-c...

Picciola
Many years ago there was a poor gentleman shut up in one of...

The Sons Of William The Conqueror
There was once a great king of England who was called Wil-l...

The Inchcape Rock
In the North Sea there is a great rock called the Inch-cape...

King Alfred And The Beggar
At one time the Danes drove King Alfred from his kingdom, a...

A Laconic Answer
Many miles beyond Rome there was a famous country which we ...

Other Wise Men Of Gotham
One day, news was brought to Gotham that the king was comin...

Mignon
Here is the story of Mignon as I remember having read it in...

Julius Caesar
Nearly two thousand years ago there lived in Rome a man who...

How Napoleon Crossed The Alps
About a hundred years ago there lived a great gen-er-al who...

Cornelia's Jewels
It was a bright morning in the old city of Rome many hundre...

The Bell Of Atri
A-tri is the name of a little town in It-a-ly. It is a very...

The Black Douglas
In Scotland, in the time of King Robert Bruce, there lived ...

Whittington And His Cat
The City There was once a little boy whose name was Rich...

The Kingdoms
There was once a king of Prussia whose name was Frederick W...

Socrates And His House
There once lived in Greece a very wise man whose name was S...



CASABIANCA








There was a great battle at sea. One could hear nothing but the roar
of the big guns. The air was filled with black smoke. The water was
strewn with broken masts and pieces of timber which the cannon balls
had knocked from the ships. Many men had been killed, and many more
had been wounded.

The flag-ship had taken fire. The flames were breaking out from below.
The deck was all ablaze. The men who were left alive made haste to
launch a small boat. They leaped into it, and rowed swiftly away. Any
other place was safer now than on board of that burning ship. There
was powder in the hold.

But the captain's son, young Ca-sa-bi-an'ca, still stood upon the
deck. The flames were almost all around him now; but he would not stir
from his post. His father had bidden him stand there, and he had been
taught always to obey. He trusted in his father's word, and be-lieved
that when the right time came he would tell him to go.

He saw the men leap into the boat. He heard them call to him to come.
He shook his head.

"When father bids me, I will go," he said.

And now the flames were leaping up the masts. The sails were all
ablaze. The fire blew hot upon his cheek. It scorched his hair. It was
before him, behind him, all around him.

"O father!" he cried, "may I not go now? The men have all left the
ship. Is it not time that we too should leave it?"

He did not know that his father was lying in the burning cabin below,
that a cannon ball had struck him dead at the very be-gin-ning of the
fight. He listened to hear his answer.

"Speak louder, father!" he cried. "I cannot hear what you say."

Above the roaring of the flames, above the crashing of the falling
spars, above the booming of the guns, he fancied that his father's
voice came faintly to him through the scorching air.

"I am here, father! Speak once again!" he gasped.

But what is that?

A great flash of light fills the air; clouds of smoke shoot quickly
upward to the sky; and--

"Boom!"

Oh, what a ter-rif-ic sound! Louder than thunder, louder than the roar
of all the guns! The air quivers; the sea itself trembles; the sky is
black.

The blazing ship is seen no more.

There was powder in the hold!

* * * * *

A long time ago a lady, whose name was Mrs. Hemans, wrote a poem about
this brave boy Ca-sa-bi-an-ca. It is not a very well written poem, and
yet everybody has read it, and thousands of people have learned it by
heart. I doubt not but that some day you too will read it. It begins
in this way:--

"The boy stood on the burning deck
Whence all but him had fled;
The flame that lit the battle's wreck
Shone round him o'er the dead.

"Yet beautiful and bright he stood,
As born to rule the storm--
A creature of heroic blood,
A proud though childlike form."





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Previous: WHITTINGTON AND HIS CAT



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