HE NEXT DAY William Tell took his thoughtless nephew with him, on a hunting excursion, since it was necessary he should find some better occupation than throwing stones. After several days they returned, loaded with the skins of the chamois that had been slain by the unerring arrow of Tell.
His wife and children hastened to the cottage door to welcome him, when they beheld him coming. "Behold, my beloved," said Tell, "how well I have sped in the chase! These skins will bring in a mine of wealth against the winter season. To-morrow is Altdorf fair and I shall go thither to sell them."
"Hurrah!" shouted Philip. "Is Altdorf fair to-morrow? Oh, my faith, I had forgotten it. Well, I shall go thither, and have some fun."
"And I mean to go too, cousin Philip," said Henric.
"Not so fast, young men," cried Tell. "Altdorf fair will be full of soldiers and turbulent people, and is not a proper place for rash boys and children."
"But you will take care of us, father, dear father," said Henric, stroking his father's arm caressingly.
"I shall have enough to do to take care of myself, Henric," replied Tell. "So you must be a good boy, and stay with your mother."
"But I won't be a good boy, if you leave me at home," muttered the little rebel.
"Then you must be whipped, sir," said his father; "for we love you too well to permit you to be naughty without punishing you."
On hearing this, Henric began to weep with anger. So his father told Lalotte to put him to bed without his supper.
Now Philip was a silly, good-natured fellow, and fancied that his little cousin, Henric, of whom he was very fond, was ill-treated by his father. So he took an opportunity of slipping a sweet-cake into his pouch, from the supper-board, with which he slily stole to Henric's crib.
"Never mind my cross uncle, sweet cousin," said he: "see, I have brought you a nice cake."
"Oh! I don't care about cakes," cried Henric. "I want to go to Altdorf fair to-morrow."
"And you shall go to Altdorf fair," said Philip.
"But how can I go, when father says he won't take me?" sobbed Henric.
"There, dry your eyes, and go to sleep," whispered Philip; "as soon as my uncle is gone I will take you to the fair with me; for I mean to go, in spite of all he has said to the contrary."
"But what will mother say?" asked Henric.
"We won't let her know anything about it," said Philip.
"But Lalotte won't let us go; for Lalotte is very cross, and wants to master me."
"A fig for Lalotte!" cried the rude Philip; "do you think I care for her?"
"I won't care for Lalotte when I grow a great big boy like you, cousin Philip; but she makes me mind her now," said Henric.
"Never fear; we will find some way of outwitting Mademoiselle Lalotte to-morrow," said Philip.
The next morning William Tell rose at an early hour, and proceeded to the fair at Altdorf, to sell his chamois skins.
Philip instead of getting up, and offering to carry them for his uncle, lay in bed till after he was gone. He was pondering on his undutiful scheme of taking little Henric to the fair, in defiance of Tell's express commands that both should stay at home that day.
Henric could eat no breakfast that morning for thinking of the project in which Philip had tempted him to engage. His kind mother patted his curly head, and gave him a piece of honeycomb for not crying to go to the fair. He blushed crimson-red at this commendation, and was just going to tell his mother all about it, when Philip, guessing his thoughts, held up his finger, and shook his head at him.
When his mother and Lalotte went into the dairy to churn the butter they begged Henric and Philip to take care of Lewis and the other little ones, so that they should not get into any mischief. No sooner, however, were they gone, than Philip said, "Now, Henric, is our time to make our escape, and go to the fair."
"But," said Henric, "my mother gave me some sweet and honeycomb just now, for being a good boy; and it will be very naughty of me to disobey my father's commands after that. So, dear Philip, I was thinking that I would stay at home to-day, if you would stay too, and make little boats for me to float on the lake."
"I shall do no such thing, I promise you," replied Philip; "for I mean to go to the fair, and see the fun. You may stay at home, if you like--for I don't want to be plagued with your company."
"Oh, dear!" cried Henric, "but I want very much to go to the fair, and see the fun too."
"Come along then," said Philip; "or we shall not get there in time to see the tumblers, or the apes and dancing bears, or the fire- eaters, or any other of the shows."
It was nearly two hours before the truants were missed by Henric's mother and Lalotte; for they were all that time busy in the dairy. At length they heard the children cry; on which, Lalotte ran into the room, and found no one with them but Lewis.
"What a shame," cried Lalotte, "for that lazy boy Philip, to leave all these little ones, with only you, Lewis. Where is Henric, pray?"
"Oh! Henric is gone to the fair with cousin Philip," lisped little Lewis.
"Oh that wicked Philip!" cried Lalotte. "Aunt! aunt! Philip has run off to Altdorf fair, and taken Henric with him!"
"My dear Lalotte," said her aunt, "you must put on your hood and sabots, and run after them. Perhaps, as you are light-footed, you can overtake them, and bring Henric back. I am sure, some mischief will befall him."
Lalotte hastily threw her gray serge cloak about her, and drew the hood over her head. She slipped her little feet into her sabots, or wooden shoes, and took the road to Altdorf, hurrying along as fast as she could, in hope of overtaking the truants before they reached the town.