These fish aren’t going down a waterfall. They’re going up! Nothing can stop these big, strong salmon. Not even a waterfall pouring down on them can make them turn back. The water smashes and splashes but the salmon flip, wriggle and twist, finally going up and over the waterfall in great leaps. Even then they don’t stop the rest. They keep on swimming up the river, while the water rushes down on its long way from the mountains to the ocean.
Where are the salmon going? The salmon are swimming up the river to return to the quiet waters where they were hatched. They started far out in the ocean-too far away to see land anywhere. But somehow the salmon find the land. They even find the particular river that they are looking for. Night and day they swim on, almost never stopping to eat or rest.
The salmon swim past cities and towns and farms and forests. They often have to get away from fisherman…and sometimes from bears. They swim under bridges and around dams and leap over high waterfalls. Finally they reach the waters where they grew up. We don’t know how salmon can find their way on this long trip up the river. But we do know what they do when they get there.
With her tail and snout, the mother salmon digs a long hole at the bottom of the stream. She fills the hole with thousands of tiny eggs-eggs that will hatch into little salmon. She covers the eggs with sand and gravel to hide them and keep them safe. The eggs hatch and the baby salmon grow. When they are about as long as your finger they are big enough to start the dangerous swim to the ocean. They float backward down the long river-tails first and heads last! They seem to steer better that way. On and on they drift and tumble.
Many of them never reach the ocean. Too many enemies-birds, animals and bigger fish-wait along the way. The salmon that do reach the ocean start growing longer and wider and bigger. Then one day they too start the long, hard trip up the river to the quiet waters where they were hatched.
People said that Igor Stravinsky was going to be a famous musician. Then he wrote a piece called The Rite of Spring. Most people who heard it the first time it was played thought the music was terrible. They booed and stamped their feet. Some threw things at the orchestra. The music was different. It sounded strange-not like the music people were used to hearing.
Even when he was a child in Russia, Igor experimented with music. He took piano lessons but he was always making up his own music instead of playing notes the way they were written. His teacher didn’t approve. “Please!” he said.” Play the notes the way they are written or your music will never amount to anything.
Igor’s father encouraged his son to become a lawyer. Igor tried. He studied to become a lawyer. But he never stopped writing music. A good friend introduced his father the great Russian composer Rimski-Korsakov to Igor. After that instead of writing music just for the piano, Igor began to write for all the instruments in the orchestra.
It took a long time, but Stravinsky’s music did become popular. He wrote compositions for ballet dancers, as well as for musicians. He became so popular that many composers have tried to write music the way he did. Today people do not say Igor Stravinsky’s music is terrible. Many even say it is wonderful.
“Hang on!” Three men clung to the steering oar of the raft, trying to hold it steady while great waves lifted the raft up and down. Three other men struggled with the big square sail.The tugboat that had pulled them out to sea swung away and headed back. Now the six men alone on their little raft headed west across the wide Pacific Ocean.
The name of the raft was the Kon-Tiki. Its captain was Thor Heyerdahl. When he first said he was going to sail all the way across the Pacific Ocean on a wooden raft, people thought he was crazy. They said that all men would be washed off the raft by the big waves and that the raft would be smashed to bits. But Thor Heyerdahl was sure they were wrong. Now he was going to find out!
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Thor Heyerdahl wanted to across the ocean on the raft because of a story told to him by an old man on an island in the South Pacific. The old man said that long, long ago a great chief named Kon-Tiki had brought his people here to Fatu Hiva and other South Sea Island. To get here they had crossed the ocean from a far off country. That was long ago, before people knew how to build boats. So Thor Heyerdahl thought that the only way Kon-Tiki could have crossed the ocean was on a raft.
He thought,” If I build a raft like Kon-Tiki’s I can try to sail it across the ocean and see if it reaches Chief Kon Tiki’s islands. If it does, I’ll know that the Kon-Tiki story might be true.” In the country of Ecuador, in South America Thor Heyerdahl went into the jungle with a friend and cut down 12 great balsa wood trees. Balsa wood is very light and floats easily. The men rolled 12 balsa logs into the river to be floated to the ocean. In the bay near Lima, Peru (another country in South America), the tied 9 of the logs together with ropes. On their raft they built a cabin of bamboo sticks and put up a sail.
Before the Kon Tiki began its long voyage the men watched how it rode on the water. It did not overturn and it stayed on top of even the biggest waves.Six men were aboard the raft when it set out. On the trip they caught fish and cooked them. Some of the fish were flying fish that jumped out of the water onto the raft. Suddenly one day someone shouted,” Man overboard!” A man named Herman had fallen into the water. On the Kon Tiki the men grabbed a life belt and threw it out toward Herman. But the wind blew it back.Herman was farther and farther behind and there was no way to turn the raft around.
Then one of the men dove into the sea with a life belt that was attached to the raft by a rope. First the men saw Herman’s head above the waves but Knut’s was gone. Then they saw Knut’s head but Herman’s was gone. Then they saw both heads together. Herman and Knut were hanging onto the life belt. The men hauled them safely back to the raft.
At last they sighted land. The raft was heading straight for a dangerous reef, a line of rocks where the waves were very high. With worried faces they all watched while they drifted helplessly in. Now they could hear the thunder of the waves against the reef. The Kon-Tiki was lifted into the air and a mountain of water pounded over it. The cabin was crushed in. The mast was broken. Bamboo sticks and rope ends flew everywhere. But everyone hung on and the raft slipped over the reef into calm water.
They had landed in South Sea Islands 101 days after they had started. They had proved that a raft could carry men across the Pacific Ocean.
What if there wasn’t any rope-anywhere in the world? How could you skip rope? Or learn to walk a tightrope? Or climb a mountain? Or sometimes lead your pet? Or sail a sailboat? Cowboys couldn’t even rope cows.
A long time ago there wasn’t any rope. What did men use before they had rope?Before there was rope, people used vines,animal skins and strips of bark. They learned to weave the strips in and out to make baskets, fishnets and animal traps.
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Finally people discovered the threadlike fibers that grow in plants. Cotton,wool, hemp and others.The plant fibers were stretched and twisted into yarn and pieces of the yarn in turn were twisted to make rope. Today rope is made in factories. Wire and plastics are used more often than plant fibers and giant machines do most the work.
Rope comes in many sizes. Thin rope is called string and is used for wrapping packages. Thick rope is sometimes called cable is used for lifting elevators in tall buildings and for holding huge ships safely to a wharf.
An old story tells about a mother wolf who is trotting along the bank of a wide river. Suddenly she stopped. Her ears pricked up. She thought she heard someone crying. She crept forward through the bushes…until she saw two baby boys sitting on the riverbank. They had no clothes on. They were crying because they were lost and hungry.
When they saw the wolf, they crawled to her and put their little arms around her furry neck. This must have pleased the mother wolf because she took the babies back to her cave and cared for them as though she were their mother. Later the baby boys were found by a herdsmen and his wife, who took care of them until they were old enough to take care of themselves. We don’t know who named the boys but today we call them Romulus and Remus.
At the place on the riverbank where the mother wolf found them, the boys started a city. They called their city Rome and that according to legend, is how Rome-a great city and the capital of Italy-began. All this happened a long,long,long time ago-if it happened at all. The story probably isn’t true. But it is true that the Romans who continued to build the city of Rome, were as tough and as fierce as wolves. They were great fighters. The soldiers of Rome conquered most of the world that was known at that time. They conquered even the faraway Greeks.
The Romans liked what they saw in Greece. They brought back many Greek ideas. They built their buildings something like those in Greece. They brought back Greek teachers to teach their children. The Romans even took the Greek alphabet and changed it to fit their own language. The alphabet you learn in school comes from the Roman alphabet.Rome became the most important city in the world. It ruled over a huge empire.
In the Forum or center, of Rome the senators made laws or rules for all the lands and all the people that the Roman armies had conquered. Most of the laws were good laws. The Romans knew how to govern well. Many of our laws today are taken from Roman law. During this time a Roman could go anywhere in the conquered lands and still find the same laws the same kind of government, many of the same customs and even the same language. It was all Roman. Romans built good roads in every direction. People could start out from Rome and go through swamps and forests and mountains on smooth rock roads. Some of the Roman roads are still use today.
Since Rome ruled most of the known world, there was not much fighting among the different countries. The Roman soldiers stopped the wars as soon as they started or kept them from starting in the first place.Rome’s soldiers brought back treasures from all the countries they had conquered. They also brought back many captives as slaves. Rome became very rich. Some of its leaders became too proud. A few became very cruel. They held great contests in the huge open-air theater called the Colosseum.(The ruins of the Colosseum can be seen today.)
Thousands of people went to Colosseum to see man, called gladiators, fight each other until one was killed by the other. Sometimes groups of people were forced to fight with lions while other people watched. But not all of Rome’s leaders were cruel. Many were good men who ruled the empire wisely and fairly. Even now, long after the Roman Empire has gone, people remember it well.
Children who live in countries where a language different from English is used do not use the same letters that we do when they want to print or write about this furry pet. French children use the letters c-h-a-t when they print or write the animals name. Spanish children use the letters g-a-t-o. And the Russian children print or write k-o-t or k-o-m. French and Spanish or Russian children would not know what the letters c-a-t meant-unless they knew English as well as their own language.
Of course other words-words like dog, house, airplane and run also have different letters in other languages. When you study a language other than your own, you learn the words of the new language. When you have learned many of the words of the new language, then you can read that language.
One of the first kinds of writing was chiseled into stone by the Egyptians. This kinds of writing is called hieroglyphics. Many Egyptians monuments have things written on them in hieroglyphics. After people stopped practicing the Egyptian religion thousands of years ago, there was no one left who could read hieroglyphics. For many years people wondered what the writing said or whether it said anything at all.
Many years went by before the mystery of hieroglyphic writing was solved. A stone was discovered that had hieroglyphic writing on it as well as another form of Egyptians writing and Greek. The scientists who were studying the stone could read Greek. They guessed that the three kinds of writing said the same thing. They thought that they could use Greek to read the others.
They were right! Now they were able to tell what the hieroglyphic marks on the stone meant. From this they were able to figure out the whole language. At last they were able to read the writing on the old monuments and to find out many things about the ancient Egyptians.
Can you imagine a train with no engine? None of the first trains had engines. One old time train looked more like a sailboat than a train. But it didn’t run on water. It ran on rails. And the wind pushed it along the railroads. There never were very many sail cars. It’s easy to see why. Sometimes there was no wind. Sometimes the wind changed direction and the next thing the passengers knew they might be going backward. They might even end up right where they started!
Horses made much better “engines” than the wind. Horses had already seen pulling wagons and carriages for thousands of years. Now they were just hitched up to a railroad car and unlike the wind, did just what the driver told them to do. A horse could pull a car on a railroad track easier than on a dirt or gravel or mud road. It could pull much more weight on the smooth track, though not much faster. Something much, much faster than a horse was needed to pull a train.
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Finally in Philadelphia Oliver Evans built a boat that was also a wagon. Its steam engine could turn both the wagon’s wheels and the boats paddle. When this strange monster came waddling out of Mr. Evans’ shop, a waiting crowd gasped in wonder. Clouds of smoke and sparks poured from its smokestack. Huffing and puffing down the road, it rolled right into the river. Having changed itself from a wagon into a boat, it now went paddling around in the water! Mr. Evans said he could also build a steam wagon that would run on rails. People laughed at that. But all over the world trains were soon being pulled by steam locomotives.
Most people thought a railroad could never be built across the wild American West. But President Abraham Lincoln thought it could be done. One company began laying track west from the city of Omaha, Nebraska. Another started east from California. It took six years but finally the tracks met at Promontory Point, Utah. In a great celebration the rails were joined with a golden spike-and from that day, trains have been speeding across the country from one ocean to the other. Early passenger cars looked like stagecoaches. The locomotives were even called iron horses. In the West, cowboys, shouting “Yippeee!” and trying to lasso the engine’s snorting smokestack, raced their horses alongside trains.
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In his splendid uniform the conductor looked like the train’s captain. But most boys in those days wanted to grow up to be engineers and drive the trains. Fireman shoveled coal into a fire under a hot water boiler to make steam that would turn the locomotive’s big wheels. Escaping steam made a choochoo sound. People liked to watch the huge locomotives thunder by, smoke and steam gushing, sparks flying. They liked to hear their clanging bells and the lonely wail of their steam whistles.
When the electric horns of diesel engines replaced the whistles so many people complained that railroad companies tried to make the horns sound like the old whistles. But it was never quite the same. The lonely wail of the steam whistles like the old steam engines themselves was gone forever. Freight trains carry things rather than people. A special car at the end of the most freight trains looks like a little house on wheels. It’s called the caboose and is both the office and traveling home of the trainmen. Most of the cars on a freight train are boxcars. Boxcars can carry radios, toys, bags of grain-almost anything.
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Many boxcars are refrigerators cars. They keep food from spoiling, just as t=your refrigerator does. From far away they bring us fruits, vegetables and meat. Huge tanks on wheel-called tank cars-bring us oil, milk and other liquids from distant places.Flatcars have neither sides nor roofs. They carry farm machinery, bog logs and other freight too long or high to fit into boxcars. Often truck trailers are shipped long distances on flatcars. These flatcars are called piggyback cars because the truck trailers are riding piggyback on them.
In circus trains wild animals sometimes ride right in their own cages on flatcars. Passengers trains carry people.Locals stop at every station, but fast express trains stop only at a larger towns and cities. Express trains have baggage cars for suitcases and things too big to carry into passenger cars. If you take your dog along on a trip, it will ride in the baggage car and be taken care of by the baggageman. Another car that used to be on nearly every train was the mail car. It was a U.S Post Office with clerks busily sorting mail and canceling stamps. When mail was picked up at small stations the train didn’t even have to stop. A metal arm just reached out and snatched the mailbag off the post it was hanging on beside the tracks! Some mail still goes by train, but most of it goes by plane.
The fast streamliners are like beautiful hotels on wheels. They have telephone and radios. The dining cars are fine restaurants. A stewardess sees to the passengers’ wants and helps mothers with babies. On trains with a special playroom car for children, the stewardess reads to them from storybooks. A few of these fine trains even have barbershops. The passenger trains that carry the most people are the commuter trains. In the morning they take people into the city to work, and then at night they take the people home again. Some of the commuter cars are big double-deckers. They are certainly a change from the sail cars that ran on rails when the wind blew or the railroads cars that were pulled by horses.
Watchful as a bird, Robin Hood moved along a dim trail in Sherwood Forest. Under the greenwood trees it was dark and spooky. The sheriff of Nottingham said Robin Hood and his men were outlaws. The sheriff spent of his time trying to catch them. But in the great forest, Robin Hood and his merry men felt safe.
Now, ahead on the forest trail, Robin Hood could see a narrow footbridge that crossed a deep stream. Yellow sunlight flooded down through the trees and showed Robin something else. Standing in the middle of the bridge was the tallest man he had ever seen. The bridge was so narrow that there wasn’t room on it for two men to pass each other.
“Get out of my way,” roared Robin Hood to the tall stranger. “I’m coming across the bridge.” “Stay out of my way,” the stranger roared back.” I’m coming across.” Robin Hood was the best shot with a bow and arrow of any man in the woods. Quickly he fitted an arrow to his bow. “Wait!” the stranger shouted.” You don’t want to shoot a man who can’t shoot back. Come onto the bridge and we’ll fight until one of us falls into the water.
Robin Hood was laughed for he was as strong as the oldest oak tree in the forest. He went onto the bridge and fought with the stranger until the bridge groaned and shook. Robin’s men who were nearby heard the noise and came running. Finally-splash! One of the men had lost the fight and fallen into the stream. It was Robin Hood! The tall stranger stood on the bridge and looked down at Robin splashing in the water. The stranger laughed so loud that sounds of his laughter echoed through the forest. Before Robin has scrambled out of the stream, his men had seized the stranger.
“Let him go,” Robin said.”He beat me fairly.Maybe he will join us. “That’s why I came here in the first place,” the stranger said. ” To join Robin Hood and his men.” “What’s your name?”Robin asked. “John Little,” the men answered. Robin Hood’s men laughed.” He’s seven feet tall,” one of them shouted,” so we’ll call him Little John.”
And that is how Robin Hood’s best fighter came to be called Little John. Robin Hood’s men sat under the green trees and roasted meat. It spit and dripped over their fire as they told Little John of their adventures…Once when Robin Hood had been hungry, he had shot a deer in the king’s forest. The king was very angry. He sent the sheriff of Nottingham to grab Robin and put him into jail. Robin escaped into the forest. The sheriff never could catch him and he said that anyone in the kingdom could kill Robin and still go free. That was how Robin Hood became a hunted outlaw who had to wander far from where people lived.
Other hunted men came to join Robin Hood in the forest just as Little John had now. Although the king called them outlaws, the people in the kingdom did not think they were outlaws. Robin Hood and his men stole money only from the king’s rich friends. They gave most of his money to poor people who needed it.Because Robin Hood was good to the people in the kingdom, they were good to him. Many times they helped him escape from the sheriff and the king’s soldier.
“Remember,” said one of Robin Hood’s men whose name was Will Scarlet,” remember the old woman who helped you once?” Robin Hood’s men started laughing even before Will started telling his story. It all happened, Will said, when Robin Hood was in a town one day giving away some of the king’s gold. The sheriff of Nottingham came hunting him and Robin Hood dashed into the house of an old woman who was spinning thread and asked her to hide him.
“How can I?” the old woman moaned.” My house is no bigger than a mousehole. But suddenly she laughed her cackling old laugh. ” I know,” she said, I know what we will do to fool the sheriff. A minute or two later the fierce sheriff and his men galloped up to the tiny house. All they saw were two old woman spinning thread. “Have you seen the outlaw Robin Hood?” the fierce sheriff shouted. The two old woman in their baggy dresses didn’t even look up. With their faces bent to their spinning wheels, they just kept singing and muttering. “They’re crazy,” one of the sheriff’s men said. “We’re just wasting our time in this house.” And they left.
Friar Tuck, the fattest of Robin Hood’s men laughed and held his stomach as he always did when he heard about the great Robin Hood dressed up in the old woman’s clothes. “But did you hear about the way Robin helped a knight?”he asked. Then fat Friar Tuck told about the time a knight wandered into the forest, so sad that the tears from his cheeks watered the violets. Robin Hood stopped him and asked him for the money to give to the poor. But the knight opened his money bag to show that it was empty.
Robin Hood was surprised because knights were usually very rich. “I owe 400 pieces of gold,” the knight said. “If I don’t pay it next Saturday, I will lose my castle.” The birds stopped singing in the forest, for knights cannot be knights without their castles. “Will Scarlet, go get 400 pieces of gold from our treasure,” Robin ordered. Will Scarlet jumped up and got the gold pieces. He spread them on the ground to count them. They lit up the forest like 400 little suns. “There is your gold,”Robin said.
The knight thanked Robin Hood and his men.”I shall come to the forest at this time next year to pay you back,” he promised. “Don’t pay me, “Robin said.” Give the 400 gold pieces to the poor.” As long as he lived, the knight gave money and food and clothes to the poor people of the land…Ron=bin Hood and Little John and Friar Tuck and all the others stayed in the forest for many years, making it safe and taking from the rich and giving to the poor. And no forest since has sparkled with so much gold or rung with such laughter.
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It’s raining…it’s poring!Raindrops bounce and splash on windows and sidewalks. They pound on the roofs. Water trickles off the branches and leaves. The ground and grass are soaking wet. Puddles dance in the low spots. Slippery sidewalks glisten. The rain tap-tap-taps on the umbrellas. The water drip-drop-drips from the trees. The tires on the cars swish-splash-swish by.
The rain wets and cools and freshen the earth. The earth turns dark and moist ready to carry plant food to the roots it holds. Raindrops hang on the leaves and cling to the bending blades of grass. Little streams for wading ripple along the streets, then disappear down the storm sewers. The children launch leaf boats that skim and swirl.
What happens to the raindrops?Where does the water go?Some of the tiny droplets of water have soaked into the ground, and some have run off into the rivers. When the sun comes out, it warms and dries the earth. Water droplets from lakes, oceans, rivers and the moist earth rise high into the air. They are much too tiny to see. After a while they come together to form clouds.
The wind blows the clouds. Look up at the sky some windy day. You can see the clouds moving. As the drops of water in the clouds grow larger and heavier, the clouds grow darker. Someday, somewhere they will be dark enough to be called storm clouds. Drops of water will fall from the clouds and it will be raining again. The raindrops will fall back to the earth. After the rain, when the sun shined tiny droplets will rise to form clouds again. The wind will blow the clouds will become dark and heavy and back to earth the rain will fall…over and over and over again.
Have you ever talked into your radio?You probably haven’t because the radio you have in your house is only for listening. The radios most people have in their cars and houses are one way radios. In a radio station somewhere an announcer talks or plays a record. You listen to the sounds of the announcer or to the music as it comes from your radio-sent through the air from the station.
The very first radios weren’t used that way. They were two-way radios, and they were used to talk with people on ships at sea. Today two–way radios are used for many different things. Two-way radios are very useful on moving things, such as cars or boats or planes where it’s impossible to hook up a telephone with wires.
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Repair trucks from service stations sometimes use two way radios to get them quickly to customers who need help. Policeman usually have two way radios in their squad cars and there is one at the police station. Policeman use them to get information quickly about accidents or crimes. Police officers in helicopters may use their two way radios to tell squad cars on the ground where to go to catch a thief who’s running away.
Telephone in boats, trains or automobiles are connected by radio to the regular telephone service. If some friend calls you from a speeding train the message goes through the air by radio waves from the train It is picked up by radio that sends it through telephone wires to your house. Telephone companies can also use radio to send telephone messages into faraway places deep in forests, on deserts or on the tops of mountains.
Weather balloons and satellites send radio messages back from outer space. So do astronauts. Astronauts talk with the ground control. At home on our one way radios we can listen to astronauts on the moon as they describe what is happening. Airplanes use two way radios to talk with control towers. In bad weather airplanes are guided by radio to safe landings.
These are just a few of the many ways radio is used. When you are older you can work with radio as a ham operator. Ha, operator is the name for a person who uses a two-way radio for fun. With a two -way ham set you can talk with other ham operators all over the world.