Puslapio vaizdai

striving to get off that grazing-ground and into places where they should not go, and the goatherd spent all his time keeping them to where they should be. And when he would get back to his own hut at night, the light would be gone, and he had no way of making a light to cut or to stitch by.

Now I must tell you about the king. His family was known as "the Dynasty of the Honest Crown," for there was no one in that family, it was thought, but was an honest man. A long time before one of the king's forefathers had been carried off by St. Martin, and ever since that theirs was spoken of as "the Honest Crown." And on All Saints' day, every year, the king would go walking the roads of his kingdom expecting that he would meet and be carried off by the white horse that was St. Martin.

All Saints' Day came round again. The king went walking the roads of his kingdom in the expectation that St. Martin would meet him and carry him off on his back. And as soon as the light came into the sky, the goatherd rose up, and took his breakfast of whey and curds, got together the two hundred goats, and started off for the edge of the forest. He did n't forget to take with him the leather and the awl, the needle and the waxed thread, and the cobbler's ball even. And the king's boot was where it always was when he went out in the morning, hanging from around his neck. As he went out of his door he took his cap off to the rising sun and he said, "Glory and thanks to the day, and to God who has given me this day and the sense to use it." And then he shouted to the goats and drove them off.

He drove the goats in among the rocks and he kept them there till the

king went by. The king, as always upon that day, was walking by himself, and the goatherd gave him the salutation that was always given him upon that day, "Good morrow, honest man." The king saluted him and went by, and then the goatherd took the road again, driving the two hundred goats before him.

He heard the sound of galloping behind him, and before he had time to look round him, a white horse came up with him. It galloped around and around him. It had wings upon its back. The horse drove the goats on, and put them into a cave, and then it came back and galloped around the goatherd.

"Go on, go on, your Reverence," said the goatherd. "Go on. The king is on the road before you."

But the great white horse with the wings would not go on. It kept galloping around and around the goatherd, persuading him to mount upon its back. And at last the goatherd said:

"If I get up upon your back, maybe then you will go on to where the king is walking."

So up upon the horse's back the goatherd got, and as soon as he was up, the horse spread out its wings and went up and up. High in the air went the goatherd upon the winged horse. Up and up they went, above the cave where the goats were, above the road where the king walked, above the forest along the edge of which the goats used to graze. Up and up they went, the goatherd upon the winged horse. There's many 's the story told of a man in the air, but there 's none of them as strange as that of the goatherd upon the winged horse.

They went above where the king was

walking, but although he was to be seen upon the road, the winged horse did not go down to take him up on his back. It took the goatherd at last to the place where the honest men were honestly enjoying themselves, each man doing the work that his heart was set upon doing. And there, with the rest of the honest men, the goatherd sat, and ate what there was there to be eaten and drank what there was there to be drunken, and set to and did what the rest of them were doing-the work that his heart was set upon.

He took the leather and cut it and shaped it; he took the awl and made holes for the needle to go through; he took the needle and the waxed thread and stitched the sides into the boot. He pared away the leather and he rubbed it with the cobbler's ball, making it all fine. And when the

work was done, the winged horse came before him again, and took him down to the cave where the two hundred goats were. Then the white horse galloped away. The goathered drove the goats to the edge of the forest, and there was still time for them to graze to their heart's content.

And in the morning when he wakened up, the goatherd looked to the shelf, and there before his eyes were the two high boots that were his very own. They were the finest sight the goatherd had ever looked on. He rose up and he put them on his two feet, and every minute in the day he looked down on them, saying to himself:

"I have as much style and comfort now as any man in the king's dominions. Praise to God and St. Martin for it!"

The Transfusion
(New York City, 1925)


Anxious, they waited in the anteroom.

The hospital's familiar sounds and smells
Renewed the memory of by-gone hells,

Awoke imaginings of future doom.

They waited, and a keen-eyed intern came,

Chose one of them, and vanished with his prize.

Back to the street they slouched, their envious eyes

Red with despair's inexorable flame.

And one: "Jim Murray allus had the luck!"
Another: "He'd find orchids in the mud!"

A third: "Yeh; Easter lilies in the muck.
Gee! fifteen dollars fer a pint o' blood!"


Document and Work of Art

The Next Step for the Younger Generation


HE new, if not the newest, movement in American literature has now been under way for something like a dozen years. It was in 1913 that Randolph Bourne with his first book proposed the league of youth which alone, as he saw it, could rouse the age from its inertia and untangle the snarl in which the Roosevelt generation had caught its own strenuous, undirected feet. Edna St. Vincent Millay had already sounded a vivid note which too few then heard. Eugene O'Neill was within a few months to give himself entirely to the theater. "Spoon River Anthology" and "Jurgen" and "Main Street" were not discouragingly far in the exciting future. H. L. Mencken had nearly mastered the art of his horrendous bludgeon. That dozen years has seen the ground cleared for literature in the United States as no previous dozen years has ever cleared it. A poet is at present free to write in whatever measure or rhythm he elects, without fatal abuse, if not always with general comprehension. A dramatist may count on a reasonable audience even when he ventures into surprising experiment. A novelist need no longer confine himself to any set of standard themes or characters, or strum forever upon any set of tradi

tional sympathies. tional sympathies. A critic has the whole world of ideas before him if he has the courage to travel through it. As always, it is more profitable to agree than to disagree with the majority; but the men of letters of the country have achieved victories for freedom which would put the men of theology and the men of politics to shame if those odd creatures were capable of any such respectable emotion. The question naturally arises: What is to be done with the freedom thus achieved?

§ 2

Two rival treatments of the same material which have just appeared offer an occasion for specific comment. Both concern themselves with Paul Bunyan, that mythical hero of the lumber camps who burst with a shout into literature so lately that his voice still reverberates across the continent. Precisely where he came from, no one has decided. There are hints of a Scandinavian, of a Canadian origin. Maine claims him, and Michigan. Yet while the learned have hesitated, Paul has made his mark. For at least half a century his reputation has been carried from camp to camp. Where lumberjacks have been gathered together, particularly when there

was some naïve stranger to overhear, the deeds of the supreme lumberman have been recounted. Exaggeration has been piled upon exaggeration without any limits except the limits of human language. All sorts of floating legends have been sucked into his tremendous wake. Around him are assembled a group of appropriate companions: an ox, a dog, a cook, a foreman, a timekeeper. Paul is connected by the saga with many regions, and lakes and mountains and cañons are called his monuments. A figure so striking and so amusing could not forever be left at the mercy of unwritten memories. Sooner or later Paul was bound to find himself the hero of a book. has, indeed, almost simultaneously found himself the hero of two books, of two methods so different that the gulf between them illustrates the great current problem of American literature.


Esther Shephard's "Paul Bunyan" is essentially a document. Into it has gone a remarkable amount of investigation of the sources of the legend. Mrs. Shephard has, it is true, made a selection among her episodes, leaving out the technical and the obscene. Moreover, she has put all the stories into the mouth of one narrator instead of reporting them as tossed back and forth by contending wits. Her work has consequently a unity of tone and idiom which the originals do not have. But in the main she has preserved the materials of her theme about as they came from the woods. If ever there had been a single logger with a knowledge and a bent equal to this one, he might have told his stories in much this same way. It may be guessed that Mrs. Shephard, in whose book

there are no signs of any special creative enterprise, did not see any other way. Though by threading the tales upon a single string she took a step beyond mere folk-lore, she took only one step. Having come upon a rich and racy vein, she was anxious to bring her ore speedily to light and exhibit it in all its native charm.

James Stevens in his "Paul Bunyan" has undertaken to go further. The task presented difficulties. To make a burlesque epic out of what was only a collection of folk-tales, he had to choose among his materials with a high hand. Epics, whether heroic or burlesque, require that certain elements of their themes be enlarged to some central significance and the rest subordinated, if not neglected altogether. Moreover, selection is not all. What remains after this physical process is complete must then be passed through a chemical process, must be fused and colored into a new unity in the imagination of the artist if it is to become a work of art. Mr. Stevens was in the position that Marlowe was in when he determined to make a play out of the Faustus legends. The Elizabethan must have been embarrassed with the abundance of his matter, but he was presumably less embarrassed than the American, for the reason that Faustus had a continuous history, whereas Paul Bunyan is the hero of disjointed episodes. To have done as well as Marlowe, Mr. Stevens must have been a better artist. This he is not. He has gusto and energy, but he seems never to have quite made up his mind exactly what he wanted to do. His book lacks concentration and direction. It is written in several manners.

Parts of it are magnificent, and parts are little more than a roaring in the forest.

Nevertheless, Mr. Stevens is on the right road, for he has deliberately deserted document for art. There is, of course, an art in dealing with documents, as Mrs. Shephard shows. They may be simplified and clarified; they may be rendered in a more suitable idiom than they have in the folk-mouth. Such an art is analogous to that with which folk-songs are arranged by a skilled composer when he removes them from the rude circumstances of their origin, chooses among the variants which he has found, and translates them into the universal symbols of music. But the composition of a symphony is a different and larger matter. It calls for the enrichment of the bare theme with harmony and for the elaboration of a structure beyond the reach of any simple melody. The defects of Mr. Stevens's work are in part due to his own inability to leave his documents far enough behind. He is still confused by the multiplicity of his sources and by some sense of obligation to be faithful to them. In part, however, he has been handicapped by the absence of any recent tradition which, if it existed, might have furnished him with more artful models.

Consequently he has allowed himself to be now satiric and now sentimental, to employ now mock-heroic and now burlesque, now to bring his narrative to bear upon actual conditions and now to send it off into the blue sky of comic fancy. Having been schooled in an age of documents, he has not acquired that habit of scrupulous audacity which might have led an artist with another schooling to take

merely his germ from the legend of Paul Bunyan and then to create something independent, rounding it out with a rigor which art demands, though fidelity to documents does not.

§ 3

The past age has been, indeed, an age of documents in American literature. Ever since the Civil War, less obviously since 1900, fiction has been engaged in making a kind of survey of the native resources of the continent. By 1900 almost every corner had been ransacked. Village customs had been dragged into the light of day. Rural speech had been exhibited in all its local varieties of grammar and pronunciation. Countless eccentric persons had been snatched from their obscure nooks and given a little immortality. Trades and callings were no longer mysteries to the uninitiated, but had seen their special terms put into print, their special devices used to add piquancy to stories of which the plots might be conventional enough. For a novelist to gain a hearing it was sufficient for him to find a new province to expose; he need not always have anything notable to say provided he had the knack of mimicry and a mild gift of arrangement. No doubt the process was one through which an expanding literature did well to go. It tried out its talents in many directions, in preparation for greater undertakings. The public, too, was being instructed, was learning that the raw materials of native life were capable of being assimilated to art. In time it came about that no reader was likely to be startled at finding that any familiar thing had been somehow dignified by making its appearance on a published

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