Once the world was young, the seas were wild.
The blue waves leaped to the white clouds, piled
In snowy mountains up the tall sky;
But the oars dipped smoothly, the mast held high.
Were they galley slaves who manned those oars?
Or free men seeking for friendly shores?
Or merchantmen trading for silks and gold,
With spices and herbs in the deep dark hold?
Bulging with cargo, riding low
In the cold, cold water, where did they go?
To India, Africa, Zansibar,
And home to Finland by polar star?
Oh, a boy would have had to be very strong
And full of courage to be taken along,
To sail with fair wind on a sea so wide,
And come happily home with the running tide.

[illustration] Painting by Steven Andrew Wise, age 10, Austin, Texas (Read about Steven on page 19.)