PAUL DENTON lived in the sea. Perhaps you will wonder how that could be. Well, I'll tell you. Along the coast of the State of Maine are a great many small islands.

Only a few of the larger ones are shown on your map. Some of them are not a mile across. They have all manner of curious names given to them. There is Rogue Island, Mistake Island, Burnt Coal Island, Cross Island, Cranberry Island, Saddleback Island, and many others. Now, Paul lived on a little island called Spoon Island, so named because it is shaped some 'like a spoon.’ The island is about two miles long and half a mile wide. Paul's father and mother had come there to live when he was but a baby, because they could get land so cheap; and now, though the boy was ten years old, he had never trod the mainland. Most that they ate they raised on the island; but two or three times a year a boat would bring clothes, and kinds of food they could not raise, to the few families who lived there. The wind blows so hard all the time that no trees can grow there; so they had no wood to burn, but made their fires of peat, a kind of turf found in some low places. When dried, it makes a very good fire, though not so hot a one as wood.

At one end of the island was a little store, a blacksmith shop, and a school-house, and most of the people lived at that end of the island. But Paul's father lived at the other end, where there was only one family besides his own. In the summer the island home was very beautiful, but when the cold winter winds blew over it so fiercely, and howled and beat at the windows of the poor little cottages, it would have seemed very dreary to any one who was not used to living in such a place.

Sometimes in these winter days, when, gather about it close as they would, the peat fire did not keep them warm, Paul's mother used to sigh, and wish they had never come to such a dreary, cold place to live. Paul liked to hear her tell about the pretty home where she used to live when she was a girl; but he loved his own wild home, and would stand for hours by the cottage window, clapping his hands for glee as the great white-capped waves dashed themselves on the shore of the island a few rods away. Paul's father and Mr. Carr, the other man who lived at that end of the island, owned a fishing-boat together, and every few days through the pleasant weather, they would go fishing. They always went several days right along, and got all they could, just before the boats were to come from the mainland; for then they could sell their fish, and get money and clothes for them. They always expected a boat in October; but one year they looked in vain, and it was the middle of November before they heard, from some one who had been ashore, that the boat would be there in a week.

The sky looked so dark and uncertain that Paul's father hardly dared go fishing but one morning dawned so bright and clear that he and Mr. Carr got out their boat and went. In the afternoon it began to cloud up, and soon a heavy storm came on.

Paul and his mother kept close watch, thinking every moment that the boat would come in sight.

But as the night shut in, and no signs of the fishers were seen, Paul and his mother began to be worried, and they went down to Mrs. Carr's, about a quarter of a mile from their house. She, too, was getting very anxious; and finally they made up their minds to all go down on the beach, and see what they could hear. They listened, but there was no sound except the dashing of the waters and the roll of the thunder; and as the flashes of lightning shone over the water for a moment, they could see no signs of a boat.

All at once they saw a bright light on one side of the island. They knew too well what it meant.

"See there," said Paul's mother, pointing to it, "there is the wreckers' light; and they - will surely steer toward it, and be dashed on the rocks." The people on the island well knew that on the rocky side of their coast a band of wreckers had their den, and in stormy weather would put out a false light to lead passing boats onto the rocks. Through the summer they did not have as good a chance to ply their trade, so they would leave the island till the stormy weather of the fall came on. So until they saw their light, the people on the island did not know the wreckers had come back.

"Oh dear! What shall we do?" cried Mrs. Carr, wringing her hands, when they saw the light.

"They will not know it is the wreckers' light, and will be sure to go onto the rocks, for it is so dark they cannot tell which way to steer."

As soon as Paul saw his mother point to the light, he had started for the house, and now came back with a basket of peat and a lantern.

"What are you going to do?" said his mother.

"Make a fire to light father home:"

"Oh, we cannot do it," said she. "We have nothing but peat to make it of; and that will make no blaze; besides, the wind blows so hard and it rains so that we couldn't light it anyway."

But Paul took his lantern, and found some pieces of driftwood down on the beach, and the others helped him carry them to a point, which set out into the sea farther than the rest of the land; and with the peat for kindling, and his mother and Mrs. Carr to keep off the wind with their shawls and dresses while he lighted it, he did finally get a fire. He made it just in front of a tall rock, which helped to keep off the wind.

"There," said Paul's mother, as a flash of lightning shone over the dark waters, "there is a boat, and it is going toward the wreckers' light."

But just then Paul's fire began to blaze up bravely; and as he heard his mother say this, he climbed up on the tall rock with his lantern, and swung it round and round above his head.

When the next flash of lightning came, the women thought the boat had turned, and was coming that way; and at the next they were sure of it. Then they began to shout as loud as they could, and soon they were answered from over the waters.

That was a glad moment for them all when the boat grated on the sands, and the fishers, wet and weary, stood around the fire with their dear ones.

"Well, well, my laddie," said Mr. Carr, "if it hadn't been for your fire, we should sure have gone onto the rocks. We were making straight for 'em when we saw your light."

"Yes," added Paul's father, " the boy has saved us.

And I'm thinking he'll see many false lights before he is as old as I am; God grant that he'll never go to harm by them."

The time came when Paul went ashore to live; and in the after years he was able to give his mother even a prettier home than the one she told him of in his boyhood days. But they never forgot their island home, nor that wild night on the beach.




E. B. G.