Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Quote I Like 6/30/10


Critics hang around and wait for others to make mistakes. But the real doers of the world have no time for criticizing others. They're too busy doing, making mistakes, improving, making progress.

- Wayne Dyer

More about Wayne Dyer

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Lays of Ancient Rome - 30

Horatius at the Bridge
by Thomas B. Macaulay


LVIX

"Oh, Tiber! Father Tiber!
To whom the Romans pray,
A Roman's life, a Roman's arms,
Take thou in charge this day!"
So he spake, and speaking sheathed
The good sword by his side,
And with his harness on his back,
Plunged headlong in the tide.

LX

No sound of joy or sorrow
Was heard from either bank;
But friends and foes in dumb surprise,
With parted lips and straining eyes,
Stood gazing where he sank;
And when above the surges,
They saw his crest appear,
All Rome sent forth a rapturous cry,
And even the ranks of Tuscany
Could scarce forbear to cheer.




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from the great Arab book Thousand and One Nights.

More About This Book


This poem celebrates one of the great heroic legends of history. Horatius saves Rome from the Etruscan invaders in 642 BC. Scottish poet Macaulay published this in 1842.

Illustration: Horatius at the Bridge from the first edition.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of this Series

Friday, June 25, 2010

Halloween Gambit

Get ready to play in a chess tournament this weekend.

Here's a little video to help you get your engine started. (-or to just learn a little more about the game.)





Chess events in your area . . . and visit The Chess Website who created these wonderful videos.

3 Kingdoms - Chapter One - 11

Romance of the Three Kingdoms
by Luo Guanzhong


21 At the time, Zhang Jue's bandit rebel forces numbered one hundred fifty thousand, while Zhi's forces numbered fifty thousand. They were battling it out in Guangzong, still with no clear victor. Zhi discussed the matter with Xuande, saying, "We have the enemy surrounded here, but the two younger brothers Zhang Liang and Zhang Bao are both in Yingchuan, camped out opposite the forces of Huangfu Song and Zhu Jun. You could take your main force, augmented with an extra thousand of my government troops, and advance towards Yingchuan. Once you find out what is going on down there, you could set a date to surround and capture the enemy." Xuande accepted the mission, and marched his troops night and day toward Yingchuan. When they arrived, they found Huangfu Song and Zhu Jun locked in battle against the bandit rebels. The battle was not going well for the bandit rebels, and they had retreated to Changshe, where they had to rely on straw for setting up camp. Song and Jun began to scheme, saying, "The bandit rebels are relying on straw for setting up camp, we should use fire to attack them." They immediately ordered their soldiers to each grab a bundle of straw, and then sneak up on the enemy and ambush them. That night, strong winds began to blow. After the second watch, they all lit their fires in unison. Song and Jun each led a unit of soldiers in an attack. The flames from the bandit rebel stronghold rose high into the sky, and the bandit rebels began to panic. They didn't even take the time to saddle their horses, or don their armor; they just scattered in all four directions. The killing lasted until daybreak, at which time Zhang Liang and Zhang Bao snuck out their surviving forces on whatever escape routes they could find.

22
Cao Cao Suddenly, they saw a bunch of soldiers on horseback, all of them with red banners. When they arrived, they completely blocked the road. At the head was their leader; his height was seven chi, and he had narrow eyes, with a long beard. His official title was Captain of the Cavalry; he was from Qiao Commandery in the Kingdom of Pei. His surname was Cao, his given name was Cao, and his style name was Mengde. Cao's father was Cao Song, whose original surname was Xiahou; because he was the adopted son of Cao Teng, the emperor's personal secretary, he assumed the surname of Cao. Cao Song's son was Cao, whose childhood name was Aman; his other childhood name was Jili. When Cao was little, he liked to go out hunting, and enjoyed singing and dancing; he had tenacity, and was extremely cunning. Cao had an uncle who observed that Cao did not apply himself at all. The uncle was angry at the boy, so he mentioned it to Cao Song. As Song was scolding Cao, Cao suddenly hatched a plan: later on, he saw his uncle coming, and pretended to collapse onto the ground, as if he had suffered a stroke. When his uncle frantically told Song what had happened, Song hurried over to see what was wrong with the boy, but found Cao in perfect health. Song said, "Your uncle said that you had suffered a stroke, are you all better now?" Cao replied, "I never had that illness in the first place; it's because uncle doesn't love me anymore that he lied about me." Song believed the boy's story. Afterwards, even though his uncle would report that Cao had misbehaved, Song would not even listen. Because of this, Cao was able to do whatever he wanted without a care in the world.




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from Lays of Ancient Rome by Macaulay.

More About This Story


This is one of four great novels from China, published when it was the most highly civilization in the world. Map shows China at the time of this story.

Chapter Summary: Three brave men swear an oath of allegiance at the feast in the peach gardens; our heroes' first achievement is the vanquishing of the Yellow Turbans.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of This Series


This translation from Wikipedia. See license CC-BY-SA.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wizard of Oz - Chapter Three - 30

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
by L. Frank Baum


Dorothy reached up both arms and lifted the figure off the pole, for, being stuffed with straw, it was quite light.

"Thank you very much," said the Scarecrow, when he had been set down on the ground. "I feel like a new man."

Dorothy was puzzled at this, for it sounded queer to hear a stuffed man speak, and to see him bow and walk along beside her.

"Who are you?" asked the Scarecrow when he had stretched himself and yawned. "And where are you going?"

"My name is Dorothy," said the girl, "and I am going to the Emerald City, to ask the Great Oz to send me back to Kansas."

"Where is the Emerald City?" he inquired. "And who is Oz?"

"Why, don't you know?" she returned, in surprise.

"No, indeed. I don't know anything. You see, I am stuffed, so I have no brains at all," he answered sadly.

"Oh," said Dorothy, "I'm awfully sorry for you."




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from Romance of the Three Kingdoms the great Chinese novel from the Middle Ages.

The trailer of Judy Garland's breakout movie of 1939; why wasn't the rest of Baum's Oz books made into movies?

Illustrated: cover of the book's first edition in 1900.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of this Series

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Quote I Like 6/23/10


Many people dream of success. To me success can only be achieved through repeated failure and introspection. In fact, success represents the one percent of your work which results only from the 99 percent that is called failure.

- Soichiro Honda

More on Soichiro Honda

Innocents Abroad - Chapter Four - 30

by Mark Twain


Alas! that journals so voluminously begun should come to so lame and impotent a conclusion as most of them did! I doubt if there is a single pilgrim of all that host but can show a hundred fair pages of journal concerning the first twenty days' voyaging in the Quaker City, and I am morally certain that not ten of the party can show twenty pages of journal for the succeeding twenty thousand miles of voyaging! At certain periods it becomes the dearest ambition of a man to keep a faithful record of his performances in a book; and he dashes at this work with an enthusiasm that imposes on him the notion that keeping a journal is the veriest pastime in the world, and the pleasantest. But if he only lives twenty-one days, he will find out that only those rare natures that are made up of pluck, endurance, devotion to duty for duty's sake, and invincible determination may hope to venture upon so tremendous an enterprise as the keeping of a journal and not sustain a shameful defeat.

One of our favorite youths, Jack, a splendid young fellow with a head full of good sense, and a pair of legs that were a wonder to look upon in the way of length and straightness and slimness, used to report progress every morning in the most glowing and spirited way, and say:

"Oh, I'm coming along bully!" (he was a little given to slang in his happier moods.) "I wrote ten pages in my journal last night--and you know I wrote nine the night before and twelve the night before that. Why, it's only fun!"




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.

More About This Book


This travelogue cemented this rising author's reputation when it was published in 1869.

Chapter Summary: The Pilgrims Becoming Domesticated--Pilgrim Life at Sea--"Horse-Billiards"--The "Synagogue"--The Writing School--Jack's "Journal"--The "Q. C. Club"--The Magic Lantern--State Ball on Deck--Mock Trials--Charades--Pilgrim Solemnity--Slow Music--The Executive Officer Delivers an Opinion

Photo: Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) by Matthew Brady Feb. 7, 1871.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of this Series

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Kim - Chapter One - 30

by Rudyard Kipling




The first minutes of the movie; the first pages of the book.




A growl came out of the back of the shop, where a man lay.

'He drove away the bull,' said the woman in an undertone. 'It is good to give to the poor.' She took the bowl and returned it full of hot rice.

'But my yogi is not a cow,' said Kim gravely, making a hole with his fingers in the top of the mound. 'A little curry is good, and a fried cake, and a morsel of conserve would please him, I think.'

'It is a hole as big as thy head,' said the woman fretfully. But she filled it, none the less, with good, steaming vegetable curry, clapped a fried cake atop, and a morsel of clarified butter on the cake, dabbed a lump of sour tamarind conserve at the side; and Kim looked at the load lovingly.

'That is good. When I am in the bazar the bull shall not come to this house. He is a bold beggar-man.'




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain.

More About This Book


Kipling's novel of India and the British empire, published in 1900.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of this Series

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Illiad - Book Two - 30

by Homer


The dream went when it had heard its message, and soon reached
the ships of the Achaeans. It sought Agamemnon son of Atreus and
found him in his tent, wrapped in a profound slumber. It hovered
over his head in the likeness of Nestor, son of Neleus, whom
Agamemnon honoured above all his councillors, and said:--

"You are sleeping, son of Atreus; one who has the welfare of his
host and so much other care upon his shoulders should dock his
sleep. Hear me at once, for I come as a messenger from Jove, who,
though he be not near, yet takes thought for you and pities you.
He bids you get the Achaeans instantly under arms, for you shall
take Troy. There are no longer divided counsels among the gods;
Juno has brought them over to her own mind, and woe betides the
Trojans at the hands of Jove. Remember this, and when you wake
see that it does not escape you."




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from Kim by Rudyard Kipling.

More About This Book


From the earliest days of Ancient Greece, the author(s) of this poem were contemporaries of the writers of the Bible's Old Testament.

Summary of First Book: The quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles--Achilles withdraws from the war, and sends his mother Thetis to ask Jove to help the Trojans--Scene between Jove and Juno on Olympus.

Painting: The Wrath of Achilles by Michael Drolling, 1819.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of This Series

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Fathers Day!

Thousand and One Nights - 30

The Fisherman and the Genie


'O chief of the Afrits,' said the fisherman, 'thou meritest the withdrawal of God's protection from thee for saying this! Why wilt thou kill me and what calls for my death? Did I not deliver thee from the abysses of the sea and bring thee to land and release thee from the vase?' Quoth the Afrit, 'Choose what manner of death thou wilt die and how thou wilt be killed.' 'What is my crime?' asked the fisherman. 'Is this my reward for setting thee free?' The Afrit answered, 'Hear my story, O fisherman!' 'Say on and be brief,' quoth he, 'for my heart is in my mouth.' Then said the Afrit, 'Know, O fisherman, that I was of the schismatic Jinn and rebelled against Solomon son of David (on whom be peace!), I and Sekhr the genie; and he sent his Vizier Asef teen Berkhiya, who took me by force and bound me and carried me, in despite of myself, before Solomon, who invoked God's aid against me and exhorted me to embrace the Faith and submit to his authority: but I refused. Then he sent for this vessel and shut me up in it and stoppered it with lead and sealed it with the Most High Name and commanded the Jinn to take me and throw me into the midst of the sea.




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from The Illiad by Homer.

More About This Book


From the Arab world: these stories date back to the Middle Ages.

Picture: Queen Scheherazade tells her stories to King Shahryār.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of this Series

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Lays of Ancient Rome - 29

Horatius at the Bridge
by Thomas B. Macaulay


LVII

Alone stood brave Horatius,
But constant still in mind;
Thrice thirty thousand foes before,
And the broad flood behind.
"Down with him!" cried false Sextus,
With a smile on his pale face.
"Now yield thee," cried Lars Porsena,
"Now yield thee to our grace."

LVIII

Round turned he, as not deigning
Those craven ranks to see;
Nought spake he to Lars Porsena,
To Sextus nought spake he;
But he saw on Palatinus
The white porch of his home;
And he spake to the noble river
That rolls by the towers of Rome.




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from the great Arab book Thousand and One Nights.

More About This Book


This poem celebrates one of the great heroic legends of history. Horatius saves Rome from the Etruscan invaders in 642 BC. Scottish poet Macaulay published this in 1842.

Illustration: Horatius at the Bridge from the first edition.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of this Series

Friday, June 18, 2010

Pirc Defense

Get ready to play in a chess tournament this weekend.

Here's a little video to help you get your engine started. (-or to just learn a little more about the game.)





Chess events in your area . . . and visit The Chess Website who created these wonderful videos.

3 Kingdoms - Chapter One - 10

Romance of the Three Kingdoms
by Luo Guanzhong


18 The next day, Xuande and Zou Jing led their army forward, with much shouting and banging of gongs. When the bandit rebels engaged them in battle, Xuande led his army in retreat. The bandit rebels seized the opportunity to give chase. They had just crossed over a ridge, when the gongs from Xuande's armies all sounded in unison. The two armies on the left and right came out simultaneously, and Xuande commanded his soldiers to turn around and attack. Having been attacked from three different routes, the bandit rebels suffered a major blow. They were driven all the way to the foot of the city walls of Qingzhou, when Commandery governor Gong Jing led militia troops outside of the city walls to assist in the fighting. The power of the bandit rebels was now greatly diminished, and many of them were slaughtered; the siege of Qingzhou was over. People in later generations wrote a poem in praise of Xuande:

19 He prepared a divinely inspired plan; two tigers must still yield to one dragon.
His exploits were already legendary, despite being new on the scene; it is only natural that he would divide his ding tripod, and share the pieces with the orphaned and the destitute.


20 Gong Jing had finished handing out the rewards for meritorious deeds to all of the troops, so Zou Jing wanted to return. Xuande said, "I recently heard that the palace guard commander Lu Zhi was fighting the bandit rebel leader Zhang Jue in Guangzong. I was a former pupil of Lu Zhi, so I would like to go and help him." Thereupon, Zou Jing returned home with his army; Xuande, Guan and Zhang set out for Guangzong, leading their core cadre of 500 men. They arrived in Lu Zhi's camp, and entered his tent to pay their respects. When they told him their reason for coming, Lu Zhi was overjoyed. He stayed behind with them outside of the tent so that he could listen to their story.




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from Lays of Ancient Rome by Macaulay.

More About This Story


This is one of four great novels from China, published when it was the most highly civilization in the world. Map shows China at the time of this story.

Chapter Summary: Three brave men swear an oath of allegiance at the feast in the peach gardens; our heroes' first achievement is the vanquishing of the Yellow Turbans.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of This Series


This translation from Wikipedia. See license CC-BY-SA.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Wizard of Oz - Chapter Three - 29

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
by L. Frank Baum


While Dorothy was looking earnestly into the queer, painted face of the Scarecrow, she was surprised to see one of the eyes slowly wink at her. She thought she must have been mistaken at first, for none of the scarecrows in Kansas ever wink; but presently the figure nodded its head to her in a friendly way. Then she climbed down from the fence and walked up to it, while Toto ran around the pole and barked.

"Good day," said the Scarecrow, in a rather husky voice.

"Did you speak?" asked the girl, in wonder.

"Certainly," answered the Scarecrow. "How do you do?"

"I'm pretty well, thank you," replied Dorothy politely. "How do you do?"

"I'm not feeling well," said the Scarecrow, with a smile, "for it is very tedious being perched up here night and day to scare away crows."

"Can't you get down?" asked Dorothy.

"No, for this pole is stuck up my back. If you will please take away the pole I shall be greatly obliged to you."




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from Romance of the Three Kingdoms the great Chinese novel from the Middle Ages.

The trailer of Judy Garland's breakout movie of 1939; why wasn't the rest of Baum's Oz books made into movies?

Illustrated: cover of the book's first edition in 1900.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of this Series

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Quote I Like 6/16/10


If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don't have to be pushed. The vision pushes you.


- Steve Jobs


Innocents Abroad - Chapter Four - 29

by Mark Twain


When it rained the passengers had to stay in the house, of course--or at least the cabins--and amuse themselves with games, reading, looking out of the windows at the very familiar billows, and talking gossip.

By 7 o'clock in the evening, dinner was about over; an hour's promenade on the upper deck followed; then the gong sounded and a large majority of the party repaired to the after cabin (upper), a handsome saloon fifty or sixty feet long, for prayers. The unregenerated called this saloon the "Synagogue." The devotions consisted only of two hymns from the Plymouth Collection and a short prayer, and seldom occupied more than fifteen minutes. The hymns were accompanied by parlor-organ music when the sea was smooth enough to allow a performer to sit at the instrument without being lashed to his chair.

After prayers the Synagogue shortly took the semblance of a writing school. The like of that picture was never seen in a ship before. Behind the long dining tables on either side of the saloon, and scattered from one end to the other of the latter, some twenty or thirty gentlemen and ladies sat them down under the swaying lamps and for two or three hours wrote diligently in their journals.




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.

More About This Book


This travelogue cemented this rising author's reputation when it was published in 1869.

Chapter Summary: The Pilgrims Becoming Domesticated--Pilgrim Life at Sea--"Horse-Billiards"--The "Synagogue"--The Writing School--Jack's "Journal"--The "Q. C. Club"--The Magic Lantern--State Ball on Deck--Mock Trials--Charades--Pilgrim Solemnity--Slow Music--The Executive Officer Delivers an Opinion

Photo: Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) by Matthew Brady Feb. 7, 1871.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of this Series

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Kim - Chapter One - 29

by Rudyard Kipling




The first minutes of the movie; the first pages of the book.




'That bowl indeed! That cow-bellied basket! Thou hast as much grace as the holy bull of Shiv. He has taken the best of a basket of onions already, this morn; and forsooth, I must fill thy bowl. He comes here again.'

The huge, mouse-coloured Brahmini bull of the ward was shouldering his way through the many-coloured crowd, a stolen plantain hanging out of his mouth. He headed straight for the shop, well knowing his privileges as a sacred beast, lowered his head, and puffed heavily along the line of baskets ere making his choice. Up flew Kim's hard little heel and caught him on his moist blue nose. He snorted indignantly, and walked away across the tram-rails, his hump quivering with rage.

'See! I have saved more than the bowl will cost thrice over. Now, mother, a little rice and some dried fish atop--yes, and some vegetable curry.'




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain.

More About This Book


Kipling's novel of India and the British empire, published in 1900.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of this Series

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Illiad - Book Two - 29

by Homer


BOOK II

Jove sends a lying dream to Agamemnon, who thereon calls the
chiefs in assembly, and proposes to sound the mind of his
army--In the end they march to fight--Catalogue of the
Achaean and Trojan forces.

Now the other gods and the armed warriors on the plain slept
soundly, but Jove was wakeful, for he was thinking how to do
honour to Achilles, and destroyed much people at the ships of the
Achaeans. In the end he deemed it would be best to send a lying
dream to King Agamemnon; so he called one to him and said to it,
"Lying Dream, go to the ships of the Achaeans, into the tent of
Agamemnon, and say to him word for word as I now bid you. Tell
him to get the Achaeans instantly under arms, for he shall take
Troy. There are no longer divided counsels among the gods; Juno
has brought them to her own mind, and woe betides the Trojans."




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from Kim by Rudyard Kipling.

More About This Book


From the earliest days of Ancient Greece, the author(s) of this poem were contemporaries of the writers of the Bible's Old Testament.

Summary of First Book: The quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles--Achilles withdraws from the war, and sends his mother Thetis to ask Jove to help the Trojans--Scene between Jove and Juno on Olympus.

Painting: The Wrath of Achilles by Michael Drolling, 1819.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of This Series

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Thousand and One Nights - 29

The Fisherman and the Genie


His head was like a dome, his hands like pitchforks, his legs like masts, his mouth like a cavern, his teeth like rocks, his nostrils like trumpets, his eyes like lamps, and he was stern and lowering of aspect. When the fisherman saw the Afrit, he trembled in every limb; his teeth chattered and his spittle dried up and he knew not what to do. When the Afrit saw him, he said, 'There is no god but God, and Solomon is His prophet! O prophet of God, do not kill me, for I will never again disobey thee or cross thee, either in word or deed !' Quoth the fisherman, 'O Marid,[FN#16] thou sayest, "Solomon is the prophet of God." Solomon is dead these eighteen hundred years, and we are now at the end of time. But what is thy history and how comest thou in this vessel?' When the Marid heard this, he said, 'There is no god but God! I have news for thee, O fisherman!' 'What news?' asked he, and the Afrit answered, 'Even that I am about to slay thee without mercy.'




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from The Illiad by Homer.

More About This Book


From the Arab world: these stories date back to the Middle Ages.

Picture: Queen Scheherazade tells her stories to King Shahryār.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of this Series

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Lays of Ancient Rome - 28

Horatius at the Bridge
by Thomas B. Macaulay


LV

But with a crash like thunder
Fell every loosened beam,
And, like a dam, the mighty wreck
Lay right athwart the stream:
And a long shout of triumph
Rose from the walls of Rome,
As to the highest turret-tops
Was splashed the yellow foam.

LVI

And, like a horse unbroken
When first he feels the rein,
The furious river struggled hard,
And tossed his tawny mane,
And burst the curb and bounded,
Rejoicing to be free,
And whirling down, in fierce career,
Battlement, and plank, and pier,
Rushed headlong to the sea.




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from the great Arab book Thousand and One Nights.

More About This Book


This poem celebrates one of the great heroic legends of history. Horatius saves Rome from the Etruscan invaders in 642 BC. Scottish poet Macaulay published this in 1842.

Illustration: Horatius at the Bridge from the first edition.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of this Series

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Albin Counter Gambit

Get ready to play in a chess tournament this weekend.

Here's a little video to help you get your engine started. (-or to just learn a little more about the game.)





Chess events in your area . . . and visit The Chess Website who created these wonderful videos.

3 Kingdoms - Chapter One - 9

Romance of the Three Kingdoms
by Luo Guanzhong


15 Cheng Yuanzhi was furious, so he dispatched Deng Mao, his second in command, to mount an offensive. Zhang Fei raised his 1.8 zhang snake lance, and thrust it straight out, piercing the center of Deng Mao's chest with exact precision, who then doubled over and fell from his horse. Having witnessed Deng Mao's demise, Cheng Yuanzhi whipped his horse into action. Raising his sword above his head with a flourish, he went straight after Zhang Fei. Yunchang swung around his large blade, and rode out on his horse at full gallop. Cheng Yuanzhi was completely taken aback at the sight of this, and was unable to react in time. He was cut in two at the point where Yunchang had raised his blade. People in later generations wrote a poem in praise of the two:

16 The heroes exposed the sharp tips of their weapons this morning, one testing his long lance, the other testing his blade.
They displayed their power as they set out for the first time, and the names of these three will shall be exalted from this day forward.


17 All of the bandit rebels saw that Cheng Yuanzhi had been slain, so they threw away their weapons and fled. Xuande led his army in pursuit. There were so many that surrendered, they could not keep count. Triumphantly, they returned. Liu Yan personally came to welcome them back, and to present the troops with gifts in recognition of their deeds. The next day, an official communique was received from Gong Jing, Commandery governor of Qingzhou. It described how the Yellow Turbans had laid siege to the town, and pleaded for assistance. Liu Yan conferred with Xuande. Xuande told him, "I am willing to go and help them." Liu Yan ordered Zou Jing to lead an army of 5,000 men, and head for Qingzhou, accompanied by Xuande, Guan and Zhang. When the bandit rebels saw that reinforcements had arrived, they divided their forces, and haphazardly mounted an attack. Xuande was hopelessly outnumbered, so he retreated for 30 li, and made camp. Xuande discussed the matter with Guan and Zhang, saying, "The bandit rebels are many, and we are few. The only way we can win is if we take them by surprise." He then gave 1,000 soldiers to Lord Guan, and had him hide out on the left side of a hill. Zhang Fei took 1,000 soldiers, and hid out on the right side of the hill. The signal would be the sounding of the gongs, upon which time they would all meet up in unison.




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from Lays of Ancient Rome by Macaulay.

More About This Story


This is one of four great novels from China, published when it was the most highly civilization in the world. Map shows China at the time of this story.

Chapter Summary: Three brave men swear an oath of allegiance at the feast in the peach gardens; our heroes' first achievement is the vanquishing of the Yellow Turbans.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of This Series


This translation from Wikipedia. See license CC-BY-SA.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Wizard of Oz - Chapter Three - 28

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
by L. Frank Baum


This worried Dorothy a little, but she knew that only the Great Oz could help her get to Kansas again, so she bravely resolved not to turn back.

She bade her friends good-bye, and again started along the road of yellow brick. When she had gone several miles she thought she would stop to rest, and so climbed to the top of the fence beside the road and sat down. There was a great cornfield beyond the fence, and not far away she saw a Scarecrow, placed high on a pole to keep the birds from the ripe corn.

Dorothy leaned her chin upon her hand and gazed thoughtfully at the Scarecrow. Its head was a small sack stuffed with straw, with eyes, nose, and mouth painted on it to represent a face. An old, pointed blue hat, that had belonged to some Munchkin, was perched on his head, and the rest of the figure was a blue suit of clothes, worn and faded, which had also been stuffed with straw. On the feet were some old boots with blue tops, such as every man wore in this country, and the figure was raised above the stalks of corn by means of the pole stuck up its back.




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from Romance of the Three Kingdoms the great Chinese novel from the Middle Ages.

The trailer of Judy Garland's breakout movie of 1939; why wasn't the rest of Baum's Oz books made into movies?

Illustrated: cover of the book's first edition in 1900.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of this Series

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Quote I Like 6/9/10


As we look ahead to the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.


- Bill Gates




Photo (cc) Kjetil Ree.

Innocents Abroad - Chapter Four - 28

by Mark Twain


Some reading was done, and much smoking and sewing, though not by the same parties; there were the monsters of the deep to be looked after and wondered at; strange ships had to be scrutinized through opera-glasses, and sage decisions arrived at concerning them; and more than that, everybody took a personal interest in seeing that the flag was run up and politely dipped three times in response to the salutes of those strangers; in the smoking room there were always parties of gentlemen playing euchre, draughts and dominoes, especially dominoes, that delightfully harmless game; and down on the main deck, "for'rard" --for'rard of the chicken-coops and the cattle--we had what was called "horse billiards." Horse billiards is a fine game. It affords good, active exercise, hilarity, and consuming excitement. It is a mixture of "hop-scotch" and shuffleboard played with a crutch. A large hop-scotch diagram is marked out on the deck with chalk, and each compartment numbered. You stand off three or four steps, with some broad wooden disks before you on the deck, and these you send forward with a vigorous thrust of a long crutch. If a disk stops on a chalk line, it does not count anything. If it stops in division No. 7, it counts 7; in 5, it counts 5, and so on. The game is 100, and four can play at a time. That game would be very simple played on a stationary floor, but with us, to play it well required science. We had to allow for the reeling of the ship to the right or the left. Very often one made calculations for a heel to the right and the ship did not go that way. The consequence was that that disk missed the whole hopscotch plan a yard or two, and then there was humiliation on one side and laughter on the other.




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.

More About This Book


This travelogue cemented this rising author's reputation when it was published in 1869.

Chapter Summary: The Pilgrims Becoming Domesticated--Pilgrim Life at Sea--"Horse-Billiards"--The "Synagogue"--The Writing School--Jack's "Journal"--The "Q. C. Club"--The Magic Lantern--State Ball on Deck--Mock Trials--Charades--Pilgrim Solemnity--Slow Music--The Executive Officer Delivers an Opinion

Photo: Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) by Matthew Brady Feb. 7, 1871.

More information here:
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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Kim - Chapter One - 28

by Rudyard Kipling




The first minutes of the movie; the first pages of the book.




He trotted off to the open shop of a kunjri, a low-caste vegetable-seller, which lay opposite the belt-tramway line down the Motee Bazar. She knew Kim of old.

'Oho, hast thou turned yogi with thy begging-bowl?' she cried.

'Nay.' said Kim proudly. 'There is a new priest in the city--a man such as I have never seen.'

'Old priest--young tiger,' said the woman angrily. 'I am tired of new priests! They settle on our wares like flies. Is the father of my son a well of charity to give to all who ask?'

'No,' said Kim. 'Thy man is rather yagi [bad-tempered] than yogi [a holy man]. But this priest is new. The Sahib in the Wonder House has talked to him like a brother. O my mother, fill me this bowl. He waits.'




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain.

More About This Book


Kipling's novel of India and the British empire, published in 1900.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of this Series

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Illiad - Book One - 28

by Homer


As he spoke, he took a double cup of nectar, and placed it in his
mother's hand. "Cheer up, my dear mother," said he, "and make the
best of it. I love you dearly, and should be very sorry to see
you get a thrashing; however grieved I might be, I could not help,
for there is no standing against Jove. Once before when I was
trying to help you, he caught me by the foot and flung me from
the heavenly threshold. All day long from morn till eve, was I
falling, till at sunset I came to ground in the island of Lemnos,
and there I lay, with very little life left in me, till the
Sintians came and tended me."

Juno smiled at this, and as she smiled she took the cup from her
son's hands. Then Vulcan drew sweet nectar from the mixing-bowl,
and served it round among the gods, going from left to right; and
the blessed gods laughed out a loud applause as they saw him
bustling about the heavenly mansion.

Thus through the livelong day to the going down of the sun they
feasted, and every one had his full share, so that all were
satisfied. Apollo struck his lyre, and the Muses lifted up their
sweet voices, calling and answering one another. But when the
sun's glorious light had faded, they went home to bed, each in
his own abode, which lame Vulcan with his consummate skill had
fashioned for them. So Jove, the Olympian Lord of Thunder, hied
him to the bed in which he always slept; and when he had got on
to it he went to sleep, with Juno of the golden throne by his
side.




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from Kim by Rudyard Kipling.

More About This Book


From the earliest days of Ancient Greece, the author(s) of this poem were contemporaries of the writers of the Bible's Old Testament.

Summary of First Book: The quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles--Achilles withdraws from the war, and sends his mother Thetis to ask Jove to help the Trojans--Scene between Jove and Juno on Olympus.

Painting: The Wrath of Achilles by Michael Drolling, 1819.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of This Series

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Thousand and One Nights - 28

The Fisherman and the Genie


Then he stripped and dived down to the net and strove with it till he brought it to shore, where he opened it and found in it a brazen vessel, full and stoppered with lead, on which was impressed the seal of our lord Solomon, son of David (on whom be peace!). When he saw this, he was glad and said, 'I will sell this in the copper market, for it is worth half a score diners.' Then he shook it and found it heavy and said to himself, 'I wonder what is inside! I will open it and see what is in it, before I sell it.' So he took out a knife and worked at the leaden seal, till he extracted it from the vessel and laid it aside. Then he turned the vase mouth downward and shook it, to turn out its contents; but nothing came out, and he wondered greatly and laid it on the ground. Presently, there issued from it a smoke, which rose up towards the sky and passed over the face of the earth; then gathered itself together and condensed and quivered and became an Afrit, whose head was in the clouds and his feet in the dust.




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from The Illiad by Homer.

More About This Book


From the Arab world: these stories date back to the Middle Ages.

Picture: Queen Scheherazade tells her stories to King Shahryār.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of this Series

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Lays of Ancient Rome - 27

Horatius at the Bridge
by Thomas B. Macaulay


LIII

But meanwhile axe and lever
Have manfully been plied;
And now the bridge hangs tottering
Above the boiling tide.
"Come back, come back, Horatius!"
Loud cried the Fathers all.
"Back, Lartius! back, Herminius!
Back, ere the ruin fall!"

LIV

Back darted Spurius Lartius;
Herminius darted back:
And, as they passed, beneath their feet
They felt the timbers crack.
But when they turned their faces,
And on the farther shore
Saw brave Horatius stand alone,
They would have crossed once more.




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from the great Arab book Thousand and One Nights.

More About This Book


This poem celebrates one of the great heroic legends of history. Horatius saves Rome from the Etruscan invaders in 642 BC. Scottish poet Macaulay published this in 1842.

Illustration: Horatius at the Bridge from the first edition.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of this Series

Friday, June 4, 2010

Sicilian Defense

Get ready to play in a chess tournament this weekend.

Here's a little video to help you get your engine started. (-or to just learn a little more about the game.)





Chess events in your area . . . and visit The Chess Website who created these wonderful videos.

3 Kingdoms - Chapter One - 8

Romance of the Three Kingdoms
by Luo Guanzhong


13 Green Dragon Crescent Blade As they were thinking about what to do, someone reported, "There are two visitors coming toward the estate; there are a bunch of attendants with them, and they are leading a pack of horses." Xuande exclaimed, "The heavens have blessed us!" The three men went out of the compound to receive the visitors. As it turns out, the two visitors were big-time merchants from Zhongshan: one of them named Zhang Shiping, and one of them named Su Shuang. Each year, they traveled north to sell horses, but had to turn back this time because of the bandit rebels. Xuande invited the two of them to come in, and arranged a full banquet in their honor. He then proceeded to explain how he planned to fight the bandit rebels and pacify the citizenry. The two visitors were overjoyed, and wanted to supply fifty good horses for the cause; they also donated 500 taels of gold and silver, and 1000 catties of bintie steel, which was suitable for manufacturing weapons and other implements. Xuande bid farewell to the two visitors, and then ordered a good blacksmith to craft a pair of straight swords for each hip. Yunchang designed the Green Dragon Crescent Blade, also called Frost Blade, which weighed in at 82 catties. Zhang Fei designed a 1.8 zhang lance, the tip of which was refined steel. They were all outfitted with full-body armor. After they had gathered together more than 500 fighting men, they went to see Zou Jing. Zou Jing escorted them on a formal call to Commandery governor Liu Yan. As the three men were finishing with their formal visit, it was observed that the two of them had the same surname. When Xuande mentioned his family lineage, Liu Yan was overjoyed, and thereupon recognized Xuande as his nephew.

14 After not more than a few days, someone reported that the Yellow Turban bandit leader Cheng Yuanzhi was leading an army of 50,000 men, and that they were headed towards Zhuo Commandery. Liu Yan ordered Zou Jing to have Xuande and his two companions lead their force of 500 men; they were to advance on the enemy and destroy them. Xuande and his two companions cheerfully led their troops, advancing all the way to the foot of the Daxing Hills, where they met up with the bandit rebels. The bandit rebels all had disheveled hair, with yellow turbans tightly tied around their foreheads. The two armies immediately squared off. Xuande rode his horse out onto the field with Yunchang on his left, and Yide on his right. He raised his riding crop, and shouted abuses in a loud voice, "Traitorous rebels, why don't you surrender before it's too late!"




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from Lays of Ancient Rome by Macaulay.

More About This Story


This is one of four great novels from China, published when it was the most highly civilization in the world. Map shows China at the time of this story.

Chapter Summary: Three brave men swear an oath of allegiance at the feast in the peach gardens; our heroes' first achievement is the vanquishing of the Yellow Turbans.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of This Series


This translation from Wikipedia. See license CC-BY-SA.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Wizard of Oz - Chapter Three - 27

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
by L. Frank Baum


When she had tired watching the dancing, Boq led her into the house, where he gave her a room with a pretty bed in it. The sheets were made of blue cloth, and Dorothy slept soundly in them till morning, with Toto curled up on the blue rug beside her.

She ate a hearty breakfast, and watched a wee Munchkin baby, who played with Toto and pulled his tail and crowed and laughed in a way that greatly amused Dorothy. Toto was a fine curiosity to all the people, for they had never seen a dog before.

"How far is it to the Emerald City?" the girl asked.

"I do not know," answered Boq gravely, "for I have never been there. It is better for people to keep away from Oz, unless they have business with him. But it is a long way to the Emerald City, and it will take you many days. The country here is rich and pleasant, but you must pass through rough and dangerous places before you reach the end of your journey."




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from Romance of the Three Kingdoms the great Chinese novel from the Middle Ages.

The trailer of Judy Garland's breakout movie of 1939; why wasn't the rest of Baum's Oz books made into movies?

Illustrated: cover of the book's first edition in 1900.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of this Series

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Gruenfeld Defense

Get ready to play in a chess tournament this weekend.

Here's a little video to help you get your engine started. (-or to just learn a little more about the game.)





Chess events in your area . . . and visit The Chess Website who created these wonderful videos.

A Quote I Like 6/2/10


Genius is fostered by industry.


- Cicero


Innocents Abroad - Chapter Four - 27

by Mark Twain


CHAPTER IV.

We plowed along bravely for a week or more, and without any conflict of jurisdiction among the captains worth mentioning. The passengers soon learned to accommodate themselves to their new circumstances, and life in the ship became nearly as systematically monotonous as the routine of a barrack. I do not mean that it was dull, for it was not entirely so by any means--but there was a good deal of sameness about it. As is always the fashion at sea, the passengers shortly began to pick up sailor terms --a sign that they were beginning to feel at home. Half-past six was no longer half-past six to these pilgrims from New England, the South, and the Mississippi Valley, it was "seven bells"; eight, twelve, and four o'clock were "eight bells"; the captain did not take the longitude at nine o'clock, but at "two bells." They spoke glibly of the "after cabin," the "for'rard cabin," "port and starboard" and the "fo'castle."

At seven bells the first gong rang; at eight there was breakfast, for such as were not too seasick to eat it. After that all the well people walked arm-in-arm up and down the long promenade deck, enjoying the fine summer mornings, and the seasick ones crawled out and propped themselves up in the lee of the paddle-boxes and ate their dismal tea and toast, and looked wretched. From eleven o'clock until luncheon, and from luncheon until dinner at six in the evening, the employments and amusements were various.




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.

More About This Book


This travelogue cemented this rising author's reputation when it was published in 1869.

Chapter Summary: The Pilgrims Becoming Domesticated--Pilgrim Life at Sea--"Horse-Billiards"--The "Synagogue"--The Writing School--Jack's "Journal"--The "Q. C. Club"--The Magic Lantern--State Ball on Deck--Mock Trials--Charades--Pilgrim Solemnity--Slow Music--The Executive Officer Delivers an Opinion

Photo: Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) by Matthew Brady Feb. 7, 1871.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of this Series

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sad Day for Us

Mother passed away about an hour ago.

Kim - Chapter One - 27

by Rudyard Kipling




The first minutes of the movie; the first pages of the book.




Kim accepted this new God without emotion. He knew already a few score.

'And what dost thou do?'

'I beg. I remember now it is long since I have eaten or drunk. What is the custom of charity in this town? In silence, as we do of Tibet, or speaking aloud?'

'Those who beg in silence starve in silence,' said Kim, quoting a native proverb. The lama tried to rise, but sank back again, sighing for his disciple, dead in far-away Kulu. Kim watched head to one side, considering and interested.

'Give me the bowl. I know the people of this city--all who are charitable. Give, and I will bring it back filled.'

Simply as a child the old man handed him the bowl.

'Rest, thou. I know the people.'




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain.

More About This Book


Kipling's novel of India and the British empire, published in 1900.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of this Series

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Illiad - Book One - 27

by Homer


"Wife," said Jove, "I can do nothing but you suspect me and find
it out. You will take nothing by it, for I shall only dislike you
the more, and it will go harder with you. Granted that it is as
you say; I mean to have it so; sit down and hold your tongue as I
bid you for if I once begin to lay my hands about you, though all
heaven were on your side it would profit you nothing."

On this Juno was frightened, so she curbed her stubborn will and
sat down in silence. But the heavenly beings were disquieted
throughout the house of Jove, till the cunning workman Vulcan
began to try and pacify his mother Juno. "It will be
intolerable," said he, "if you two fall to wrangling and setting
heaven in an uproar about a pack of mortals. If such ill counsels
are to prevail, we shall have no pleasure at our banquet. Let me
then advise my mother--and she must herself know that it will be
better--to make friends with my dear father Jove, lest he again
scold her and disturb our feast. If the Olympian Thunderer wants
to hurl us all from our seats, he can do so, for he is far the
strongest, so give him fair words, and he will then soon be in a
good humour with us."




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from Kim by Rudyard Kipling.

More About This Book


From the earliest days of Ancient Greece, the author(s) of this poem were contemporaries of the writers of the Bible's Old Testament.

Summary of First Book: The quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles--Achilles withdraws from the war, and sends his mother Thetis to ask Jove to help the Trojans--Scene between Jove and Juno on Olympus.

Painting: The Wrath of Achilles by Michael Drolling, 1819.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of This Series

Remembering Memorial Day

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Thousand and One Nights - 27

The Fisherman and the Genie


Then he lifted his eyes to heaven and said, 'O my God, Thou knowest that I cast my net but four times a day; and now I have cast it three times and have taken nothing. Grant me then, O my God, my daily bread this time!' So he said, 'In the name of God!' and cast his net and waited till it had settled down in the water, then pulled it, but could not bring it up, for it was caught in the bottom Whereupon, 'There is no power and no virtue but in God!' said he and repeated the following verses:

Away with the world, if it be like this, away! My part in it's
nought but misery and dismay!
Though the life of a man in the morning be serene, He must drink
of the cup of woe ere ended day.
And yet if one asked, 'Who's the happiest man alive?' The people
would point to me and 'He' would say.





Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from The Illiad by Homer.

More About This Book


From the Arab world: these stories date back to the Middle Ages.

Picture: Queen Scheherazade tells her stories to King Shahryār.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of this Series

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Lays of Ancient Rome - 26

Horatius at the Bridge
by Thomas B. Macaulay


LI

Yet one man for one moment
Strode out before the crowd;
Well known was he to all the Three,
And they gave him greeting loud.
"Now welcome, welcome, Sextus!
Now welcome to thy home!
Why dost thou stay, and turn away?
Here lies the road to Rome."

LII

Thrice looked he at the city;
Thrice looked he at the dead;
And thrice came on in fury,
And thrice turned back in dread:
And, white with fear and hatred,
Scowled at the narrow way
Where, wallowing in a pool of blood,
The bravest Tuscans lay.




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from the great Arab book Thousand and One Nights.

More About This Book


This poem celebrates one of the great heroic legends of history. Horatius saves Rome from the Etruscan invaders in 642 BC. Scottish poet Macaulay published this in 1842.

Illustration: Horatius at the Bridge from the first edition.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of this Series

Friday, May 28, 2010

Halys Battle Day



A battle was fought here on this date in 585 B.C. This is the oldest date that we can fix with mathematical certitude because a solar eclipse ended it. The soldiers feared that the sudden darkening was a sign from the gods and fled. Peace was declared between the Medians and Lydians. This river became their boundary.

This isn't a holiday but it ought to be one. The oldest event that can be dated in all human history - that ought to be celebrated.

3 Kingdoms - Chapter One - 7

Romance of the Three Kingdoms
by Luo Guanzhong


11 While they were drinking, they spotted a large fellow pushing a cart. The man stopped for a moment in the doorway, then entered into the tavern and sat down. The man called out to the server, "Pour me a drink and be quick about it, I'm in a hurry to get to town so that I can join the army." Xuande took a look at the man, who stood at a height of nine chi, and had a two chi long beard; his face was the color of a dark jujube, with lips that were red and plump; his eyes were like that of a crimson phoenix, and his eyebrows resembled reclining silkworms. He had a dignified air, and looked quite majestic. Xuande invited the man to sit with them, and inquired as to his name. The man said, "My surname is Guan, my given name is Yu, my style name was Shouchang, but then I changed it to Yunchang. I am from Xieliang in the Hedong Commandery. Because there was a man from a wealthy family who was acting like a big shot and bullying everybody, I ended up killing him. I had to become a fugitive, and have been living the life of an itinerant mercenary for the past five or six years. When I heard that this area was recruiting soldiers to go smash bandit rebels, I came especially to join up." When Xuande told the man of his plans, Yunchang was overjoyed. They all went to Zhang Fei's estate to discuss these important matters.

12 Fei said, "There is a peach garden in the rear of my estate, and the flowers are now in full bloom; tomorrow, we should conduct a sacrificial ceremony to heaven and earth. We three should become brothers, joining forces with a common purpose, and later we will be able to accomplish great deeds." Xuande and Yunchang both responded in unison, "An excellent idea!" The following day, they prepared sacrificial offerings such as a black bull and a white horse. The three of them all burned incense, and performed double obeisance. They all took an oath, saying, "When saying the names Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, although the surnames are different, yet we have come together as brothers. From this day forward, we shall join forces for a common purpose, and come to each other's aid in times of crisis. We shall avenge the nation from above, and pacify the citizenry from below. We seek not to be born on the same day, in the same month and in the same year. We merely hope to die on the same day, in the same month and in the same year. May the gods of heaven and earth attest to what is in our hearts. If we should ever do anything to betray our friendship, may the gods in heaven strike us dead." Having completed the oath, Xuande was declared to be eldest brother, followed by Guan Yu, with Zhang Fei as the most junior brother. They made thorough offerings to heaven and earth, and then butchered the bull. They also brought out some wine, and gathered together all of the brave men of the county. They recruited more than three hundred men, so they proceeded to get thoroughly drunk in the peach garden. The day after, they gathered their weapons, but became frustrated that they had no horses to ride.




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from Lays of Ancient Rome by Macaulay.

More About This Story


This is one of four great novels from China, published when it was the most highly civilization in the world. Map shows China at the time of this story.

Chapter Summary: Three brave men swear an oath of allegiance at the feast in the peach gardens; our heroes' first achievement is the vanquishing of the Yellow Turbans.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of This Series


This translation from Wikipedia. See license CC-BY-SA.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Big Argument with Kathy!

But she came back to me, crawling on her hands and knees.  In fact, she crawled on her belly, then she said to me, "get out from under the bed, you coward."

Oh, well!  I can't win them all.  (Sigh!)

Wizard of Oz - Chapter Three - 26

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
by L. Frank Baum


When Boq saw her silver shoes he said, "You must be a great sorceress."

"Why?" asked the girl.

"Because you wear silver shoes and have killed the Wicked Witch. Besides, you have white in your frock, and only witches and sorceresses wear white."

"My dress is blue and white checked," said Dorothy, smoothing out the wrinkles in it.

"It is kind of you to wear that," said Boq. "Blue is the color of the Munchkins, and white is the witch color. So we know you are a friendly witch."

Dorothy did not know what to say to this, for all the people seemed to think her a witch, and she knew very well she was only an ordinary little girl who had come by the chance of a cyclone into a strange land.




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from Romance of the Three Kingdoms the great Chinese novel from the Middle Ages.

The trailer of Judy Garland's breakout movie of 1939; why wasn't the rest of Baum's Oz books made into movies?

Illustrated: cover of the book's first edition in 1900.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of this Series

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Quote I Like 5/26/10


Men give me credit for genius but all the genius I have lies in this: When I have a subject in mind I study it profoundly. Day and night it is before me. The result is what some people call the fruits of genius, whereas it is in reality the fruits of study and labor.

- Alexander Hamilton

More on Alexander Hamilton

Innocents Abroad - Chapter Three - 26

by Mark Twain


"I'll have to get you to give that to me, Sir. If there's anything you'd like to know about taking the sun, I'd as soon tell you as not--but I don't like to trust anybody with that instrument. If you want any figuring done--Aye, aye, sir!"

He was gone to answer a call from the other side. I sought the deck-sweep.

"Who is that spider-legged gorilla yonder with the sanctimonious countenance?"

"It's Captain Jones, sir--the chief mate."

"Well. This goes clear away ahead of anything I ever heard of before. Do you--now I ask you as a man and a brother--do you think I could venture to throw a rock here in any given direction without hitting a captain of this ship?"

"Well, sir, I don't know--I think likely you'd fetch the captain of the watch may be, because he's a-standing right yonder in the way."

I went below--meditating and a little downhearted. I thought, if five cooks can spoil a broth, what may not five captains do with a pleasure excursion.




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.

More About This Book


This travelogue cemented this rising author's reputation when it was published in 1869.

Chapter Summary: "Averaging" the Passengers--Far, far at Sea.--Tribulation among the Patriarchs--Seeking Amusement under Difficulties--Five Captains in the Ship

Photo: Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) by Matthew Brady Feb. 7, 1871.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of this Series

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Kim - Chapter One - 26

by Rudyard Kipling




The first minutes of the movie; the first pages of the book.




The old man halted by Zam-Zammah and looked round till his eye fell on Kim. The inspiration of his pilgrimage had left him for awhile, and he felt old, forlorn, and very empty.

'Do not sit under that gun,' said the policeman loftily.

'Huh! Owl!' was Kim's retort on the lama's behalf. 'Sit under that gun if it please thee. When didst thou steal the milkwoman's slippers,
Dunnoo?'

That was an utterly unfounded charge sprung on the spur of the moment, but it silenced Dunnoo, who knew that Kim's clear yell could call up legions of bad bazaar boys if need arose.

'And whom didst thou worship within?' said Kim affably, squatting in the shade beside the lama.

'I worshipped none, child. I bowed before the Excellent Law.'




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain.

More About This Book


Kipling's novel of India and the British empire, published in 1900.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of this Series

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Illiad - Book One - 26

by Homer


"Juno," replied the sire of gods and men, "you must not expect to
be informed of all my counsels. You are my wife, but you would
find it hard to understand them. When it is proper for you to
hear, there is no one, god or man, who will be told sooner, but
when I mean to keep a matter to myself, you must not pry nor ask
questions."

"Dread son of Saturn," answered Juno, "what are you talking
about? I? Pry and ask questions? Never. I let you have your own
way in everything. Still, I have a strong misgiving that the old
merman's daughter Thetis has been talking you over, for she was
with you and had hold of your knees this self-same morning. I
believe, therefore, that you have been promising her to give
glory to Achilles, and to kill much people at the ships of the
Achaeans."




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from Kim by Rudyard Kipling.

More About This Book


From the earliest days of Ancient Greece, the author(s) of this poem were contemporaries of the writers of the Bible's Old Testament.

Summary of First Book: The quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles--Achilles withdraws from the war, and sends his mother Thetis to ask Jove to help the Trojans--Scene between Jove and Juno on Olympus.

Painting: The Wrath of Achilles by Michael Drolling, 1819.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of This Series

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Thousand and One Nights - 26

The Fisherman and the Genie


Then he threw out the jar and wrung out and cleansed his net: after which he asked pardon of God the Most High and returning to the sea a third time, cast the net. He waited till it had settled down, then pulled it up and found in it potsherds and bones and broken bottles: whereat he was exceeding wroth and wept and recited the following verses:

Fortune's with God: thou mayst not win to bind or set it free:
Nor letter-lore nor any skill can bring good hap to thee.
Fortune, indeed, and benefits by Fate are lotted out: One
country's blest with fertile fields, whilst others sterile
be.
The shifts of evil chance cast down full many a man of worth And
those, that merit not, uplift to be of high degree.
So come to me, O Death! for life is worthless verily; When
falcons humbled to the dust and geese on high we see.
'Tis little wonder if thou find the noble-minded poor, What while
the loser by main force usurps his sovranty.
One bird will traverse all the earth and fly from East to West:
Another hath his every wish although no step stir he.




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from The Illiad by Homer.

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From the Arab world: these stories date back to the Middle Ages.

Picture: Queen Scheherazade tells her stories to King Shahryār.

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Lays of Ancient Rome - 25

Horatius at the Bridge
by Thomas B. Macaulay


XLIX

But all Etruria's noblest
Felt their hearts sink to see
On the earth the bloody corpses,
In the path the dauntless Three:
And, from the ghastly entrance
Where those bold Romans stood,
All shrank, like boys who unaware,
Ranging the woods to start a hare,
Come to the mouth of the dark lair
Where, growling low, a fierce old bear
Lies amidst bones and blood.

L

Was none who would be foremost
To lead such dire attack;
But those behind cried, "Forward!"
And those before cried, "Back!"
And backward now and forward
Wavers the deep array;
And on the tossing sea of steel
To and frow the standards reel;
And the victorious trumpet-peal
Dies fitfully away.




Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from the great Arab book Thousand and One Nights.

More About This Book


This poem celebrates one of the great heroic legends of history. Horatius saves Rome from the Etruscan invaders in 642 BC. Scottish poet Macaulay published this in 1842.

Illustration: Horatius at the Bridge from the first edition.

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Literature DailyMore of this Series