Young Folks' Treasury: Classic Tales and Old-Fashioned Stories HTML version

Tales From Shakespeare
There was a certain island in the sea, the only inhabitants of which were an old man, whose name
was Prospero, and his daughter Miranda, a very beautiful young lady. She came to this island so
young, that she had no memory of having seen any other human face than her father's.
They lived in a cave or cell, made out of a rock; it was divided into several apartments, one of
which Prospero called his study; there he kept his books, which chiefly treated of magic, a study
at that time much affected by all learned men: and the knowledge of this art he found very useful
to him; for being thrown by a strange chance upon this island, which had been enchanted by a
witch called Sycorax, who died there a short time before his arrival, Prospero, by virtue of his
art, released many good spirits that Sycorax had imprisoned in the bodies of large trees, because
they had refused to execute her wicked commands. These gentle spirits were ever after obedient
to the will of Prospero. Of these Ariel was the chief.
The lively little sprite Ariel had nothing mischievous in his nature, except that he took rather too
much pleasure in tormenting an ugly monster called Caliban, for he owed him a grudge because
he was the son of his old enemy Sycorax. This Caliban, Prospero found in the woods, a strange
misshapen thing, far less human in form than an ape: he took him home to his cell, and taught
him to speak; and Prospero would have been very kind to him, but the bad nature which Caliban
inherited from his mother Sycorax, would not let him learn anything good or useful: therefore he
was employed like a slave, [pg 234] to fetch wood, and do the most laborious offices; and Ariel had the
charge of compelling him to these services.
When Caliban was lazy and neglected his work, Ariel (who was invisible to all eyes but
Prospero's) would come slily and pinch him, and sometimes tumble him down in the mire; and
then Ariel, in the likeness of an ape, would make mouths at him. Then swiftly changing his
shape, in the likeness of a hedgehog, he would lie tumbling in Caliban's way, who feared the
hedgehog's sharp quills would prick his bare feet. With a variety of such-like vexatious tricks
Ariel would often torment him, whenever Caliban neglected the work which Prospero
commanded him to do
Having these powerful spirits obedient to his will, Prospero could by their means command the
winds, and the waves of the sea. By his orders they raised a violent storm, in the midst of which,
and struggling with the wild sea-waves that every moment threatened to swallow it up, he
showed his daughter a fine large ship, which he told her was full of living beings like
themselves. "O my dear father," said she, "if by your art you have raised this dreadful storm,
have pity on their sad distress. See! the vessel will be dashed to pieces. Poor souls! they will all
perish. If I had power, I would sink the sea beneath the earth, rather than the good ship should be
destroyed, with all the precious souls within her."
"Be not so amazed, daughter Miranda," said Prospero; "there is no harm done. I have so ordered
it, that no person in the ship shall receive any hurt. What I have done has been in care of you, my
dear child. You are ignorant who you are, or where you came from, and you know no more of