TWT logo

Together We Teach
Reading Room

Take time to read.
Reading is the
fountain of wisdom.

| Home | Reading Room PETER PAN

[James Matthew Barrie]

< BACK    NEXT >



Chapter 9


The last sound Peter heard before he was quite alone were the

mermaids retiring one by one to their bedchambers under the sea.

He was too far away to hear their doors shut; but every door in

the coral caves where they live rings a tiny bell when it opens

or closes (as in all the nicest houses on the mainland), and he

heard the bells.

Steadily the waters rose till they were nibbling at his feet;

and to pass the time until they made their final gulp, he watched

the only thing on the lagoon. He thought it was a piece of

floating paper, perhaps part of the kite, and wondered idly how

long it would take to drift ashore.

Presently he noticed as an odd thing that it was undoubtedly

out upon the lagoon with some definite purpose, for it was

fighting the tide, and sometimes winning; and when it won, Peter,

always sympathetic to the weaker side, could not help clapping;

it was such a gallant piece of paper.

It was not really a piece of paper; it was the Never bird,

making desperate efforts to reach Peter on the nest. By working

her wings, in a way she had learned since the nest fell into the

water, she was able to some extent to guide her strange craft,

but by the time Peter recognised her she was very exhausted. She

had come to save him, to give him her nest, though there were

eggs in it. I rather wonder at the bird, for though he had been

nice to her, he had also sometimes tormented her. I can suppose

only that, like Mrs. Darling and the rest of them, she was melted

because he had all his first teeth.

She called out to him what she had come for, and he called out

to her what she was doing there; but of course neither of them

understood the other's language. In fanciful stories people can

talk to the birds freely, and I wish for the moment I could

pretend that this were such a story, and say that Peter replied

intelligently to the Never bird; but truth is best, and I want to

tell you only what really happened. Well, not only could they

not understand each other, but they forgot their manners.

"I -- want -- you -- to -- get -- into -- the -- nest," the

bird called, speaking as slowly and distinctly as possible, "and

-- then -- you -- can -- drift -- ashore, but -- I -- am -- too -

- tired -- to -- bring -- it -- any -- nearer -- so -- you --

must -- try -- to -- swim -- to -- it."

"What are you quacking about?" Peter answered. "Why don't you

let the nest drift as usual?"

"I -- want -- you -- " the bird said, and repeated it all over.

Then Peter tried slow and distinct.

"What -- are -- you -- quacking -- about?" and so on.

The Never bird became irritated; they have very short tempers.

"You dunderheaded little jay," she screamed, "Why don't you do

as I tell you?"

Peter felt that she was calling him names, and at a venture he

retorted hotly:

"So are you!"

Then rather curiously they both snapped out the same remark:

"Shut up!"

"Shut up!"

Nevertheless the bird was determined to save him if she could,

and by one last mighty effort she propelled the nest against the

rock. Then up she flew; deserting her eggs, so as to make her

meaning clear.

Then at last he understood, and clutched the nest and waved

his thanks to the bird as she fluttered overhead. It was not to

receive his thanks, however, that she hung there in the sky; it

was not even to watch him get into the nest; it was to see what

he did with her eggs.

There were two large white eggs, and Peter lifted them up and

reflected. The bird covered her face with her wings, so as not

to see the last of them; but she could not help peeping between

the feathers.

I forget whether I have told you that there was a stave on the

rock, driven into it by some buccaneers of long ago to mark the

site of buried treasure. The children had discovered the

glittering hoard, and when in a mischievous mood used to fling

showers of moidores, diamonds, pearls and pieces of eight to the

gulls, who pounced upon them for food, and then flew away, raging

at the scurvy trick that had been played upon them. The stave

was still there, and on it Starkey had hung his hat, a deep

tarpaulin, watertight, with a broad brim. Peter put the eggs

into this hat and set it on the lagoon. It floated beautifully.

The Never bird saw at once what he was up to, and screamed her

admiration of him; and, alas, Peter crowed his agreement with

her. Then he got into the nest, reared the stave in it as a

mast, and hung up his shirt for a sail. At the same moment the

bird fluttered down upon the hat and once more sat snugly on her

eggs. She drifted in one direction, and he was borne off in

another, both cheering.

Of course when Peter landed he beached his barque [small ship,

actually the Never Bird's nest in this particular case in point]

in a place where the bird would easily find it; but the hat was

such a great success that she abandoned the nest. It drifted about

till it went to pieces, and often Starkey came to the shore of the

lagoon, and with many bitter feelings watched the bird sitting

on his hat. As we shall not see her again, it may be worth

mentioning here that all Never birds now build in that shape of

nest, with a broad brim on which the youngsters take an airing.

Great were the rejoicings when Peter reached the home under the

ground almost as soon as Wendy, who had been carried hither and

thither by the kite. Every boy had adventures to tell; but

perhaps the biggest adventure of all was that they were several

hours late for bed. This so inflated them that they did various

dodgy things to get staying up still longer, such as demanding

bandages; but Wendy, though glorying in having them all home

again safe and sound, was scandalised by the lateness of the

hour, and cried, "To bed, to bed," in a voice that had to be

obeyed. Next day, however, she was awfully tender, and gave out

bandages to every one, and they played till bed-time at limping

about and carrying their arms in slings.



Top of Page

< BACK    NEXT >

| Home | Reading Room PETER PAN





Why not spread the word about Together We Teach?
Simply copy & paste our home page link below into your emails... 

Want the Together We Teach link to place on your website?
Copy & paste either home page link on your webpage...
Together We Teach 






Use these free website tools below for a more powerful experience at Together We Teach!

****Google™ search****

For a more specific search, try using quotation marks around phrases (ex. "You are what you read")


*** Google Translate™ translation service ***

 Translate text:


  Translate a web page:

****What's the Definition?****
(Simply insert the word you want to lookup)

 Search:   for   

S D Glass Enterprises

Privacy Policy

Warner Robins, GA, USA