Other ships sailed away for sugar. They found sugar right here in the New World. When Columbus came across the sea, before any other white man, he came in a Spanish ship. He found warm islands and the mainland, far south of where the English and Dutch people afterwards came to live. Spanish people followed him. They were glad to find that sugar cane would grow in many parts of tropical America. Sugar was worth a great deal of money. Do you know, no one, not even kings, had enough sugar to eat until shiploads of it were sent to the Old World from America?

Puritan and Dutch and Quaker lads often went as cabin boys, on the ships that sailed to the Spanish colonies for sugar. The farther south the ships sailed, the warmer it grew. The sun was high and bright; the sea and sky very blue. A steady wind blew all day long and filled the white sails. They passed dozens of green islands. On the islands were palm trees. One of the most beautiful things in the world is a palm tree, with a crown of green plumes, on the hill top of an island, against a blue sky. What would you think, then, of an island that was seven hundred miles long, and more than a hundred miles wide, lying in a sea as blue as indigo, and all its hill tops plumed with twenty-five kinds of palm trees?

"O-o-o-o-h!" is what the cabin boys on the sailing vessels said, when they saw Cuba. It was such a big island! It was so lovely, so green, so rich in fruits and other food plants. It had such wide harbors for ships, and it lay among smaller islands, right where all the ships would have to pass to go to lands beyond. No wonder the Spanish people called Cuba "The Pearl." No wonder they built their finest city in America, on the widest harbor of this jewel of an island. This city they named Havana. It was one hundred years old when the English and Dutch came to America to live.

To get to Havana a trading ship had to run the flag of its country up the mast. Then it sailed through a narrow passage into the harbor. The city was guarded by castle forts. It had a high wall around it. Over the wall, church towers and palm trees and roofs of red tile could be seen. It looked like some old Spanish city sleeping in the sun. Perhaps a Spanish merchant, in white cotton clothes and a palm-leaf hat, invited the captain and the cabin boy to his home for breakfast.

Inside the walls of the city were low, one and two storied houses. They were colored pink and blue and lemon yellow. They were roofed with fluted red tiles from Spain. The streets were narrow. There was a public square, a palace for the royal governor, and a cath-e-dral where ladies went to church. They wore black gowns, and shawls of black lace on their heads. In the house they wore white or gaily colored silk.

Juan (Wan) and Dolores (Dol'o-rees) ate their breakfast in the patio. The patio was the inside garden of a Spanish house. The house was built all around it. The patio was paved with marble. It was open to the blue sky. There was a fountain in it. Palms and pink o-le-an'ders, and orange trees with white blossoms and golden fruit, grew in tubs. It was cool and quiet.

The children were cool and quiet, too. They wore white cotton clothes, and sandals without stockings. They had soft black eyes and pale, cream-tinted faces. They were very polite, but rather lazy. Negro slaves waited on them. They ate oranges and bananas and pineapples. They drank chocolate and cocoanut milk. They gave their visitors salted olives and sugary raisins from Spain. If a visitor admired anything they said: "Take it, senor; it is yours." But unless it was some trifle he was not expected to take it.

These Spanish children were rich—oh, very rich. Their father had been to Mexico, or Central America, or South America. He went with Span-ish soldiers who had guns and swords and cannon. They found Indians who were different from those in the north. These Indians had built cities and palaces and temples. Some of them had built stone roads over mountains and deserts. They worked the mines, and had treasures of gold and silver. But they had no guns or cannon. The Spanish soldiers killed the strong men, and made slaves of the children. They made these slaves go into the mines for more gold and silver. Most of them died. Ship loads of wealth were sent back to Spain. Rich Spaniards went back, too. Only some poor soldiers, and black slaves and dying Indians stayed behind, to build towns and make farms. After the gold and silver was all taken away, the Spanish king still kept soldiers and officers in Havana and other towns. He made all these poor people pay taxes. It was four hundred years before all these Spanish countries in America won their freedom from Spain. One of the big Spanish islands belongs to us, today. It is called Porto Rico. It is near Cuba, and very much like it, but smaller.

Cuba, "The Pearl" of all the islands, is free today, and our country watches over it so no big nation can steal it. You can go to Havana in a fast steamship. The castle-like forts are still there, guarding the harbor. The harbor is full of ships that come for sugar, tobacco and coffee berries, oranges, bananas and pineapples and many other good things to eat. The president of Cuba lives now in the palace of the old royal governors. In the cath-e-dral you must take off your hats. It is a church, and besides Columbus is buried there. His bones were brought from Spain to the New World he discovered. Don't you think that was right? White people and negroes, and even a few Indians live in Cuba. They are all free, now, and they all speak Spanish. The low houses under the palm trees are roofed with red tiles; the walls are painted pink and blue and lemon yellow. The little children eat their breakfast in the patio. If you admire anything that belongs to them they will bow politely and say:

"Take it, senor; it is yours." If the gift should be a little cage full of fire-flies I would take it. It would make a pretty lantern to flash and glow in the orange tree in the patio. See Cuba, page 485, and Havana, page 847.