“Did the king ever let them know whether he was pleased or not with their cooking?” asked Bertha.
“Yes. He marked the dishes he liked best with a cross. He enjoyed his dinner, and generally had a number of friends to eat with him. There was much joking, and there were many clever speeches.
“When the meal was over, the king played on his flute a short time, and then attended to more business.”
“Did he work till bedtime, Hans?”
“Oh, no. In the evening there was a concert or lecture, or something like that. But, all the same, the king was a hard-working man, even in times of peace.”
“He loved his people dearly, father once told me,” said Bertha. “He said he understood his subjects and they understood him.”
“Yes, and that reminds me of a story the schoolmaster told. King Frederick was once riding through the street when he saw a crowd of people gathered together. He said to his groom, ’Go and see what is the matter.’ The man came back and told the king that the people were all looking at a caricature of Frederick himself. A caricature, you know, is a comical portrait.
“Perhaps you think the king was angry when he heard this. Not at all. He said, ’Go and hang the picture lower down, so they will not have to stretch their necks to see it.’
“The crowd heard the words. ‘Hurrah for the king!’ they cried. At the same time, they began to tear the picture into pieces.”
“Frederick the Great could appreciate a joke,” said Bertha. “I should think the people must have loved him.”
“He had some fine buildings put up in his lifetime,” Hans went on. “A new palace was built in Berlin, besides another one the king called ‘Sans Souci.’ Those are French words meaning, ’Without a Care.’ He called the place by that name because he said he was free-hearted and untroubled while he stayed there.
“I’ve told you these things because you are a girl. But I’ll tell you what I like to think of best of all. It’s the stories of the wars in which he fought and in which he showed such wonderful courage. So, hurrah for Frederick the Great, King of Prussia!”
Hans made a salute as though he stood in the presence of the great king. Then he started for the wood-pile, where he was soon sawing logs with as much energy as if he were fighting against the enemies of his country.
THE BRAVE PRINCESS
“Listen, children! That must be the song of a nightingale. How sweet it is!”
It was a lovely Sunday afternoon. Every one in the family had been to church in the morning, and come home to a good dinner of bean soup and potato salad. Then the father had said:
“Let us take a long walk over the fields and through the woods. The world is beautiful to-day. We can enjoy it best by leaving the house behind us.”