|The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, by Lyman Frank Baum and illustrated by Mary Cowles Clark (Indianapolis: Bowen-. Merrill, 1902.|
Mary Cowles Clark (1871-1950) was born in Syracuse, New York, studied with the Art Students League, and spent her summers in Siasconset, in a cottage on Sankaty Road. She illustrated several books, including Frank Baum's The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus. Nantucket Art Colony
These inages however may not be in the public domain in countries that figure copyright from the date of death of the artist (post mortem auctoris), in this case 1950, and that most commonly runs for a period of 50 to 70 years from that date. If your use will be outside the United States please check your local law.
|THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF SANTA CLAUS CHAPTER FIRST. HAVE you heard of the great Forest of Burzee?|
Nurse used to sing of it when I was a child. She sang of the big tree-. trunks, standing close together, with their roots intertwining below the earth and their branches intertwining above it; of their rough coating of bark and queer, gnarled limbs; of the bushy foliage that roofed the entire forest, save where the sunbeams found a path through which to touch the ground in little spots and to cast weird and curious shadows over the mosses, the ljchens and the drifts of dried leaves.
The Forest of Burzee is mighty and grand and awesome to those who steal beneath its
shade. Coming from the sunlit meadows into its mazes it seems at first gloomy, then pleasant, and afterward filled with never-ending delights. For hundreds of years it has flourished in all its magnificence, the silence of its inclosure unbroken
save by the chirp of busy chipmunks, the growl of wild beasts and the songs of birds.
Yet Burzee has its inhabitants—for all this. Nature peopled it in the beginning with Fairies, Knooks, Ryls and Nymphs. As long as the Forest stands it will be a home, a refuge and a playground to these sweet immortals, who revel undisturbed in its depths. Civilization has never yet reached Burzee. Will it ever, I wonder?
Once so long ago our great-grandfathers could scarcely have heard it mentioned, there lived within the great Forest of Burzee a wood-nymph named Necile. She was closely related to the mighty Queen Zurline, and her home was beneath the shade of a wide-spreading oak.
Once every year, on Budding Day, when the trees put forth their new buds, Necile held the Golden Chalice of Ak to the lips of the Queen, who drank therefrom to the prosperity of the Forest. So you see she was a nymph of some importance, and, moreover, it is said she was highly regarded because of her beauty and grace.
When she was created she could not have told; Queen Zurline could not have told; the great Ak himself could not have told. It was long ago when the world was new and nymphs were needed to guard the forests and to minister to the wants of the young trees. Then, on some day not remembered, Necile sprang into being; radiant, lovely, straight and slim as the sapling she was created to guard.
Her hair was the color that lines a chestnut-bur; her eyes were blue in the sunlight and purple in the shade; her cheeks bloomed with the faint pink that edges the clouds at suns¿t; her lips were full red, pouting and sweet.
For costume she adopted oak--leaf green; all the wood--nymphs dress in that color and know no other so desirable. Her dainty feet were sandal-clad, while her head remained bare of covering other than her silken tresses. Necile's duties were few and simple. She kept hurtful weeds from growing beneath her trees and sapping the earth - food required by her charges.
She frightened away the Gadgols, who took evil delight in flying against the tree--trunks and wounding them so that they drooped and died from the poisonous contact. In dry seasons she carried water from the brooks and pools and moistened the roots of her thirsty dependents.
That was in the beginning. The weeds had now learned to avoid the forests where wood-nymphs dwelt; the loathsome Gadgols no longer dared come nigh; the trees had become old and sturdy and could bear the drought better than when fresh--sprouted.
So Necile's duties were lessened, and time grew laggard, while succeeding years became more tiresome and un-eventful than the nymph's joyous spirit loved. Truly the forest--dwellers did not lack amusement. Each full moon they danced in the Royal Circle of the Queen.
There were also the Feast of Nuts, the Jubilee of Autumn Tintings, the solemn ceremony of Leaf Shedding and the revelry of Budding Day. But these periods of enjoyment were far apart, and left many weary hours between.
That a wood--nymph should grow discontented was not thought of by Necile's sisters. It came upon her only after many years of brooding.
You may download a Public Domain copy of The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus complete with all illustrations in PDF format here The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by Lyman Frank Baum