GERTRUDE and Amy had come from town to stay a few weeks with their cousins at the old farmhouse. They had fine times chasing one another through the tall grass in the orchard, or wading knee-deep in the brook that ran through the meadow.

When they were tired of running, they liked best to have grandma come out under the maple trees in the front yard, and tell them stories. This morning grandma could not come; so they went down by the barn to see the chickens and geese and rabbits. After they had fed them, they sat down on an old log. Harry was tooting away on a fife that belonged to Brother George, and the girls sang the tune through with him. The rooster flew up on the fence, and tried to help in the music, and so did the geese. When they hid finished, Amy said, "Cousin Mary, tell us some of the stories grandma has told you; we have never heard them, and they will be all new to us."

"Tell that story about the war," said Harry. So Mary began: "Once, a great many, many years ago, there lived across the ocean a people who tried to serve the Lord. Sometimes the wicked people around them came out to fight them, but the Lord almost always helped his people to get the victory.

"One time their enemies came up, and carried off most all their wheat and corn. Then the Lord sent an angel to tell a man named Gideon to take, an army, and go and fight these wicked people. Gideon was, a good man, and believed the Lord; but he wanted to be sure that the Lord would help him save his people, so he asked him to give him a sign.

"Gideon said, I will put a fleece of wool on the floor, and if the dew falls on the fleece, and the floor stays dry, then I shall know that I ought to go and fight.' In the morning he looked, and saw the floor dry, and the fleece wet; but he didn't feel sure about it then. So he asked the Lord to let the fleece be dry the next night, and the ground wet. And when he got up in the morning, it Was SO.

"Then Gideon took a great army, and went up to battle; but the Lord told him he had too many men, and that he must send a part of them back..

He told him to take the soldiers down to a brook, and to go to battle only with those men who lapped up water like a dog. When the men got through drinking, there were just three hundred who were to go with Gideon.

"This captain sent the rest of the soldiers home, and went to fight with the three hundred. He felt a little afraid to go with so few men; so the Lord told him to go down to the camp of his enemies after dark, and hear what they were talking about, and then he would not be afraid.

"When he got there, he heard one man telling another about a strange dream that he had had.

He said he dreamed that a barley cake tumbled into the camp, and hit a tent, and that tent fell down, and hit another tent, and so they kept doing until all the tents were overturned. Then the other man said, This is nothing but the sword of Gideon.'

"Gideon went back to his own army, and gave each man a trumpet, and a pitcher with a lamp in it; and told them to follow him, and do just as he did.

He told one hundred of them to go on one side of the camp, and a hundred on each of the other two sides. In the middle of the night, Gideon blew on his trumpet, and broke the pitcher that held his lamp; and all his soldiers blew their trumpets, and broke their pitchers, and cried, `The sword of the Lord and of Gideon.'

"Then their enemies were so frightened that they ran every way, and killed each other with their swords.

"So the Lord helped Gideon beat his enemies, and they didn't trouble him nor his people any more for forty years."

Just then the dinner bell rang, and Mary didn't have time to tell any more stories. Gertrude said she thought it was the best story she had ever heard, and that she hoped grandma would tell them some every day while she was there.




W. E. L.