Lulu's Library, Volume I by
Louisa M. Alcott
BY LOUISA M. ALCOTT.
JOHN WILSON AND SON, CAMBRIDGE.
A Christmas Dream
The Candy Country
The Skipping Shoes
How They Ran Away
The Fairy Box
A Hole in the Wall
The Piggy Girl
The Three Frogs
All but three of these stories were told to my little
niece during our quiet hour before bedtime. They
became such favorites with her and her friends that
I wrote them down in several small blue books, and
called them LULU'S LIBRARY. Having nothing else
to offer this year, I have collected them in one
volume as a Christmas gift to my boys and girls from
their old friend
CONCORD, August, 1885.
She actually stood in "a grove of Christmas trees."--PAGE 30
A CHRISTMAS DREAM, AND HOW IT CAME TRUE.
"I'm so tired of Christmas I wish there never
would be another one!" exclaimed a
discontented-looking little girl, as she sat idly
watching her mother arrange a pile of gifts two
days before they were to be given.
"Why, Effie, what a dreadful thing to say!
You are as bad as old Scrooge; and I 'm afraid
something will happen to you, as it did to him,
if you don't care for dear Christmas," answered
mamma, almost dropping the silver horn she
was filling with delicious candies.
"Who was Scrooge? What happened to
him?" asked Effie, with a glimmer of interest
in her listless face, as she picked out the sourest
lemon-drop she could find; for nothing sweet
suited her just then.
"He was one of Dickens's best people, and
you can read the charming story some day.
He hated Christmas until a strange dream
showed him how dear and beautiful it was, and
made a better man of him."
"I shall read it; for I like dreams, and have
a great many curious ones myself. But they
don't keep me from being tired of Christmas,"
said Effie, poking discontentedly among the
sweeties for something worth eating.
"Why are you tired of what should be the
happiest time of all the year?" asked mamma,
"Perhaps I should n't be if I had something
new. But it is always the same, and there is n't
any more surprise about it. I always find heaps
of goodies in my stocking. Don't like some of
them, and soon get tired of those I do like.
We always have a great dinner, and I eat too
much, and feel ill next day. Then there is a
Christmas tree somewhere, with a doll on top,
or a stupid old Santa Claus, and children
dancing and screaming over bonbons and toys that
break, and shiny things that are of no use.
Really, mamma, I 've had so many Christmases
all alike that I don't think I can bear another
one." And Effie laid herself flat on the sofa, as
if the mere idea was too much for her.
Her mother laughed at her despair, but was
sorry to see her little girl so discontented, when
she had everything to make her happy, and had
known but ten Christmas days.
"Suppose we don't give you any presents at
all,--how would that suit you?" asked mamma,
anxious to please her spoiled child.
"I should like one large and splendid one,
and one dear little one, to remember some very
nice person by," said Effie, who was a fanciful
little body, full of odd whims and notions,
which her friends loved to gratify, regardless of
time, trouble, or money; for she was the last of
three little girls, and very dear to all the family.
"Well, my darling, I will see what I can do
to please you, and not say a word until all
is ready. If I could only get a new idea
to start with!" And mamma went on tying up
her pretty bundles with a thoughtful face, while
Effie strolled to the window to watch the rain
that kept her in-doors and made her dismal.
"Seems to me poor children have better times
than rich ones. I can't go out, and there is a
girl about my age splashing along, without any
maid to fuss about rubbers and cloaks and
umbrellas and colds. I wish I was a beggar-girl."
"Would you like to be hungry, cold, and
ragged, to beg all day, and sleep on an ash-heap
at night?" asked mamma, wondering what would
"Cinderella did, and had a nice time in the
end. This girl out here has a basket of scraps
on her arm, and a big old shawl all round her,
and does n't seem to care a bit, though the
water runs out of the toes of her boots. She
goes paddling along, laughing at the rain, and
eating a cold potato as if it tasted nicer than
the chicken and ice-cream I had for dinner.
Yes, I do think poor children are happier than
"So do I, sometimes. At the Orphan Asylum
to-day I saw two dozen merry little souls
who have no parents, no home, and no hope of
Christmas beyond a stick of candy or a cake.
I wish you had been there to see how happy
they were, playing with the old toys some richer
children had sent them."
"You may give them all mine; I 'm so tired
of them I never want to see them again," said
Effie, turning from the window to the pretty
baby-house full of everything a child's heart
"I will, and let you begin again with something
you will not tire of, if I can only find it." And
mamma knit her brows trying to discover
some grand surprise for this child who did n't
care for Christmas.
Nothing more was said then; and wandering
off to the library, Effie found "A Christmas
Carol," and curling herself up in the sofa corner,
it all before tea. Some of it she did not
understand; but she laughed and cried over many
parts of the charming story, and felt better
without knowing why.
All the evening she thought of poor Tiny
Tim, Mrs. Cratchit with the pudding, and the
stout old gentleman who danced so gayly that
"his legs twinkled in the air." Presently
"Come, now, and toast your feet," said Effie's
nurse, "while I do your pretty hair and tell
"I 'll have a fairy tale to-night, a very
interesting one," commanded Effie, as she put on her
blue silk wrapper and little fur-lined slippers
to sit before the fire and have her long curls brushed.
So Nursey told her best tales; and when at
last the child lay down under her lace curtains,
her head was full of a curious jumble of
Christmas elves, poor children, snow-storms,
sugar-plums, and surprises. So it is no wonder that
she dreamed all night; and this was the dream,
which she never quite forgot.
She found herself sitting on a stone, in the
middle of a great field, all alone. The snow was
falling fast, a bitter wind whistled by, and night
was coming on. She felt hungry, cold, and
tired, and did not know where to go nor what to do.
"I wanted to be a beggar-girl, and now I am
one; but I don't like it, and wish somebody
would come and take care of me. I don't know
who I am, and I think I must be lost," thought
Effie, with the curious interest one takes in one's
self in dreams.
But the more she thought about it, the more
bewildered she felt. Faster fell the snow, colder
blew the wind, darker grew the night; and poor
Effie made up her mind that she was quite
forgotten and left to freeze alone. The tears were
chilled on her cheeks, her feet felt like icicles,
and her heart died within her, so hungry,
frightened, and forlorn was she. Laying her head
on her knees, she gave herself up for lost, and
sat there with the great flakes fast turning her to
a little white mound, when suddenly the sound
of music reached her, and starting up, she looked
and listened with all her eyes and ears.
Far away a dim light shone, and a voice was
heard singing. She tried to run toward the
welcome glimmer, but could not stir, and stood
like a small statue of expectation while the light
drew nearer, and the sweet words of the song
From our happy home
Through the world we roam
One week in all the year,
Making winter spring
With the joy we bring,
For Christmas-tide is here.
Now the eastern star
Shines from afar
To light the poorest home;
Hearts warmer grow,
Gifts freely flow,
For Christmas-tide has come.
Now gay trees rise
Before young eyes,
Abloom with tempting cheer;
Blithe voices sing,
And blithe bells ring,
For Christmas-tide is here.
Oh, happy chime,
Oh, blessed time,
That draws us all so near!
"Welcome, dear day,"
All creatures say,
For Christmas-tide is here.
A child's voice sang, a child's hand carried
the little candle; and in the circle of soft light
it shed, Effie saw a pretty child coming to her
through the night and snow. A rosy, smiling
creature, wrapped in white fur, with a wreath
of green and scarlet holly on its shining hair,
the magic candle in one hand, and the other
outstretched as if to shower gifts and warmly
press all other hands.
Effie forgot to speak as this bright vision
came nearer, leaving no trace of footsteps in the
snow, only lighting the way with its little candle,
and filling the air with the music of its song.
"Dear child, you are lost, and I have come
to find you," said the stranger, taking Effie's
cold hands in his, with a smile like sunshine,
while every holly berry glowed like a little fire.
"Do you know me?" asked Effie, feeling no
fear, but a great gladness, at his coming.
"I know all children, and go to find them;
for this is my holiday, and I gather them from
all parts of the world to be merry with me once
"Are you an angel?" asked Effie, looking
for the wings.
"No; I am a Christmas spirit, and live with
my mates in a pleasant place, getting ready
for our holiday, when we are let out to roam
about the world, helping make this a happy time
for all who will let us in. Will you come and
see how we work?"
"I will go anywhere with you. Don't leave
me again," cried Effie, gladly.
"First I will make you comfortable. That
is what we love to do. You are cold, and you
shall be warm; hungry, and I will feed you;
sorrowful, and I will make you gay."
With a wave of his candle all three miracles
were wrought,--for the snow-flakes turned to
a white fur cloak and hood on Effie's head and
shoulders; a bowl of hot soup came sailing to
her lips, and vanished when she had eagerly
drunk the last drop; and suddenly the dismal
field changed to a new world so full of wonders
that all her troubles were forgotten in a minute.
Bells were ringing so merrily that it was hard
to keep from dancing. Green garlands hung
on the walls, and every tree was a Christmas tree
full of toys, and blazing with candles that never
In one place many little spirits sewed like mad
on warm clothes, turning off work faster than
any sewing-machine ever invented, and great
piles were made ready to be sent to poor people.
Other busy creatures packed money into purses,
and wrote checks which they sent flying away
on the wind,--a lovely kind of snow-storm to
fall into a world below full of poverty.
Older and graver spirits were looking over
piles of little books, in which the records of
the past year were kept, telling how different
people had spent it, and what sort of gifts
they deserved. Some got peace, some
disappointment, some remorse and sorrow, some great
joy and hope. The rich had generous thoughts
sent them; the poor, gratitude and contentment.
Children had more love and duty to parents;
and parents renewed patience, wisdom, and
satisfaction for and in their children. No one was
"Please tell me what splendid place this is?"
asked Effie, as soon as she could collect her
wits after the first look at all these astonishing
"This is the Christmas world; and here we
work all the year round, never tired of getting
ready for the happy day. See, these are the
saints just setting off; for some have far to go,
and the children must not be disappointed."
As he spoke the spirit pointed to four gates,
out of which four great sleighs were just driving,
laden with toys, while a jolly old Santa Claus sat
in the middle of each, drawing on his mittens and
tucking up his wraps for a long cold drive.
"Why, I thought there was only one Santa
Claus, and even he was a humbug," cried Effie,
astonished at the sight.
"Never give up your faith in the sweet old
stories, even after you come to see that they are
only the pleasant shadow of a lovely truth."
Just then the sleighs went off with a great
jingling of bells and pattering of reindeer hoofs,
while all the spirits gave a cheer that was heard
in the lower world, where people said, "Hear
the stars sing."
"I never will say there isn't any Santa Claus
again. Now, show me more."
"You will like to see this place, I think, and
may learn something here perhaps."
The spirit smiled as he led the way to a
little door, through which Effie peeped into a
world of dolls. Baby-houses were in full blast,
with dolls of all sorts going on like live
people. Waxen ladies sat in their parlors elegantly
dressed; black dolls cooked in the kitchens;
nurses walked out with the bits of dollies; and
the streets were full of tin soldiers marching,
wooden horses prancing, express wagons rumbling,
and little men hurrying to and fro. Shops
were there, and tiny people buying legs of
mutton, pounds of tea, mites of clothes, and
everything dolls use or wear or want.
But presently she saw that in some ways the
dolls improved upon the manners and customs
of human beings, and she watched eagerly to
learn why they did these things. A fine Paris
doll driving in her carriage took up a black
worsted Dinah who was hobbling along with a
basket of clean clothes, and carried her to her
journey's end, as if it were the proper thing to
do. Another interesting china lady took off
her comfortable red cloak and put it round a
poor wooden creature done up in a paper shift,
and so badly painted that its face would have
sent some babies into fits.
"Seems to me I once knew a rich girl who
didn't give her things to poor girls. I wish I
could remember who she was, and tell her to
be as kind as that china doll," said Effie, much
touched at the sweet way the pretty creature
wrapped up the poor fright, and then ran off in
her little gray gown to buy a shiny fowl stuck on a
wooden platter for her invalid mother's dinner.
"We recall these things to people's minds by
dreams. I think the girl you speak of won't
forget this one." And the spirit smiled, as if he
enjoyed some joke which she did not see.
A little bell rang as she looked, and away
scampered the children into the red-and-green
school-house with the roof that lifted up, so
one could see how nicely they sat at their desks
with mites of books, or drew on the inch-square
blackboards with crumbs of chalk.
"They know their lessons very well, and are as
still as mice. We make a great racket at our
school, and get bad marks every day. I shall
tell the girls they had better mind what they do,
or their dolls will be better scholars than they
are," said Effie, much impressed, as she peeped
in and saw no rod in the hand of the little
mistress, who looked up and shook her head at the
intruder, as if begging her to go away before the
order of the school was disturbed.
Effie retired at once, but could not resist one
look in at the window of a fine mansion, where
the family were at dinner, the children behaved
so well at table, and never grumbled a bit when
their mamma said they could not have any
"Now, show me something else," she said, as
they came again to the low door that led out of
"You have seen how we prepare for Christmas;
let me show you where we love best to
send our good and happy gifts," answered the
spirit, giving her his hand again.
"I know. I've seen ever so many," began
Effie, thinking of her own Christmases.
"No, you have never seen what I will show
you. Come away, and remember what you see
Like a flash that bright world vanished,
and Effie found herself in a part of the city
she had never seen before. It was far away
from the gayer places, where every store was
brilliant with lights and full of pretty things, and
every house wore a festival air, while people
hurried to and fro with merry greetings. It was
down among the dingy streets where the poor
lived, and where there was no making ready for Christmas.
Hungry women looked in at the shabby shops,
longing to buy meat and bread, but empty
pockets forbade. Tipsy men drank up their wages in
the bar-rooms; and in many cold dark chambers
little children huddled under the thin blankets,
trying to forget their misery in sleep.
No nice dinners filled the air with savory
smells, no gay trees dropped toys and bonbons
into eager hands, no little stockings hung in
rows beside the chimney-piece ready to be
filled, no happy sounds of music, gay voices,
and dancing feet were heard; and there were
no signs of Christmas anywhere.
"Don't they have any in this place?" asked
Effie, shivering, as she held fast the spirit's hand,
following where he led her.
"We come to bring it. Let me show you our
best workers." And the spirit pointed to some
sweet-faced men and women who came stealing
into the poor houses, working such beautiful
miracles that Effie could only stand and watch.
Some slipped money into the empty pockets,
and sent the happy mothers to buy all the
comforts they needed; others led the drunken men
out of temptation, and took them home to find
safer pleasures there. Fires were kindled on
cold hearths, tables spread as if by magic, and
warm clothes wrapped round shivering limbs.
Flowers suddenly bloomed in the chambers of
the sick; old people found themselves
remembered; sad hearts were consoled by a tender
word, and wicked ones softened by the story of
Him who forgave all sin.
But the sweetest work was for the children;
and Effie held her breath to watch these human
fairies hang up and fill the little stockings
without which a child's Christmas is not perfect,
putting in things that once she would have thought
very humble presents, but which now seemed
beautiful and precious because these poor babies
"That is so beautiful! I wish I could make
merry Christmases as these good people do, and
be loved and thanked as they are," said Effie,
softly, as she watched the busy men and women
do their work and steal away without thinking
of any reward but their own satisfaction.
"You can if you will. I have shown you the
way. Try it, and see how happy your own
holiday will be hereafter."
As he spoke, the spirit seemed to put his
arms about her, and vanished with a kiss.
"Oh, stay and show me more!" cried Effie,
trying to hold him fast.
"Darling, wake up, and tell me why you are
smiling in your sleep," said a voice in her ear;
and opening her eyes, there was mamma bending
over her, and morning sunshine streaming
into the room.
"Are they all gone? Did you hear the
bells? Was n't it splendid?" she asked, rubbing
her eyes, and looking about her for the pretty
child who was so real and sweet.
"You have been dreaming at a great rate,--talking
in your sleep, laughing, and clapping
your hands as if you were cheering some one.
Tell me what was so splendid," said mamma,
smoothing the tumbled hair and lifting up the
Then, while she was being dressed, Effie told
her dream, and Nursey thought it very
wonderful; but mamma smiled to see how curiously
things the child had thought, read, heard, and
seen through the day were mixed up in her sleep.
"The spirit said I could work lovely miracles
if I tried; but I don't know how to begin, for I
have no magic candle to make feasts appear,
and light up groves of Christmas trees, as he
did," said Effie, sorrowfully.
"Yes, you have. We will do it! we will do
it!" And clapping her hands, mamma suddenly
began to dance all over the room as if she had
lost her wits.
"How? how? You must tell me, mamma,"
cried Effie, dancing after her, and ready to
believe anything possible when she remembered
the adventures of the past night.
"I 've got it! I 've got it!--the new idea. A
splendid one, if I can only carry it out!" And
mamma waltzed the little girl round till her curls
flew wildly in the air, while Nursey laughed as
if she would die.
"Tell me! tell me!" shrieked Effie.
"No, no; it is a surprise,--a grand surprise
for Christmas day!" sung mamma, evidently
charmed with her happy thought. "Now, come
to breakfast; for we must work like bees if
we want to play spirits to-morrow. You and
Nursey will go out shopping, and get heaps
of things, while I arrange matters behind the
They were running downstairs as mamma
spoke, and Effie called out breathlessly,--
"It won't be a surprise; for I know you are
going to ask some poor children here, and have
a tree or something. It won't be like my
dream; for they had ever so many trees, and
more children than we can find anywhere."
"There will be no tree, no party, no dinner,
in this house at all, and no presents for you.
Won't that be a surprise?" And mamma laughed
at Effie's bewildered face.
"Do it. I shall like it, I think; and I won't
ask any questions, so it will all burst upon me
when the time comes," she said; and she ate her
breakfast thoughtfully, for this really would be
a new sort of Christmas.
All that morning Effie trotted after Nursey
in and out of shops, buying dozens of barking
dogs, woolly lambs, and squeaking birds; tiny
tea-sets, gay picture-books, mittens and hoods,
dolls and candy. Parcel after parcel was sent
home; but when Effie returned she saw no trace
of them, though she peeped everywhere.
Nursey chuckled, but would n't give a hint, and
went out again in the afternoon with a long list
of more things to buy; while Effie wandered
forlornly about the house, missing the usual
merry stir that went before the Christmas dinner
and the evening fun.
As for mamma, she was quite invisible all day,
and came in at night so tired that she could
only lie on the sofa to rest, smiling as if some
very pleasant thought made her happy in spite
"Is the surprise going on all right?" asked
Effie, anxiously; for it seemed an immense time
to wait till another evening came.
"Beautifully! better than I expected; for
several of my good friends are helping, or I could n't
have done it as I wish. I know you will like
it, dear, and long remember this new way of
making Christmas merry."
Mamma gave her a very tender kiss, and Effie
went to bed.
The next day was a very strange one; for
when she woke there was no stocking to
examine, no pile of gifts under her napkin, no one
said "Merry Christmas!" to her, and the dinner
was just as usual to her. Mamma vanished
again, and Nursey kept wiping her eyes and
saying: "The dear things! It's the prettiest
idea I ever heard of. No one but your blessed
ma could have done it."
"Do stop, Nursey, or I shall go crazy because
I don't know the secret!" cried Effie, more
than once; and she kept her eye on the clock,
for at seven in the evening the surprise was
to come off.
The longed-for hour arrived at last, and the
child was too excited to ask questions when
Nurse put on her cloak and hood, led her
to the carriage, and they drove away, leaving
their house the one dark and silent one in
"I feel like the girls in the fairy tales who are
led off to strange places and see fine things,"
said Effie, in a whisper, as they jingled through
the gay streets.
"Ah, my deary, it is like a fairy tale, I do
assure you, and you will see finer things than
most children will to-night. Steady, now, and
do just as I tell you, and don't say one word
whatever you see," answered Nursey, quite
quivering with excitement as she patted a large
box in her lap, and nodded and laughed with
They drove into a dark yard, and Effie was
led through a back door to a little room, where
Nurse coolly proceeded to take off not only her
cloak and hood, but her dress and shoes also.
Effie stared and bit her lips, but kept still until
out of the box came a little white fur coat and
boots, a wreath of holly leaves and berries, and
a candle with a frill of gold paper round it.
A long "Oh!" escaped her then; and when she
was dressed and saw herself in the glass, she
started back, exclaiming, "Why, Nursey, I look
like the spirit in my dream!"
"So you do; and that's the part you are to
play, my pretty! Now whist, while I blind your
eyes and put you in your place."
"Shall I be afraid?" whispered Effie, full of
wonder; for as they went out she heard the
sound of many voices, the tramp of many feet,
and, in spite of the bandage, was sure a great
light shone upon her when she stopped.
"You need n't be; I shall stand close by, and
your ma will be there."
After the handkerchief was tied about her
eyes, Nurse led Effie up some steps, and placed
her on a high platform, where something like
leaves touched her head, and the soft snap of
lamps seemed to fill the air.
Music began as soon as Nurse clapped her
hands, the voices outside sounded nearer, and
the tramp was evidently coming up the stairs.
"Now, my precious, look and see how you
and your dear ma have made a merry Christmas
for them that needed it!"
Off went the bandage; and for a minute Effie
really did think she was asleep again, for she
actually stood in "a grove of Christmas trees,"
all gay and shining as in her vision. Twelve on
a side, in two rows down the room, stood the
little pines, each on its low table; and behind
Effie a taller one rose to the roof, hung with
wreaths of popcorn, apples, oranges, horns of
candy, and cakes of all sorts, from sugary hearts
to gingerbread Jumbos. On the smaller trees
she saw many of her own discarded toys and
those Nursey bought, as well as heaps that
seemed to have rained down straight from that
delightful Christmas country where she felt as
if she was again.
"How splendid! Who is it for? What is
that noise? Where is mamma?" cried Effie,
pale with pleasure and surprise, as she stood
looking down the brilliant little street from her
Before Nurse could answer, the doors at the
lower end flew open, and in marched twenty-four
little blue-gowned orphan girls, singing
sweetly, until amazement changed the song to
cries of joy and wonder as the shining spectacle
appeared. While they stood staring with round
eyes at the wilderness of pretty things about
them, mamma stepped up beside Effie, and
holding her hand fast to give her courage, told
the story of the dream in a few simple words,
ending in this way:--
"So my little girl wanted to be a Christmas
spirit too, and make this a happy day for those
who had not as many pleasures and comforts as
she has. She likes surprises, and we planned
this for you all. She shall play the good fairy,
and give each of you something from this tree,
after which every one will find her own name
on a small tree, and can go to enjoy it in her
own way. March by, my dears, and let us fill
Nobody told them to do it, but all the hands
were clapped heartily before a single child
stirred; then one by one they came to look up
wonderingly at the pretty giver of the feast as
she leaned down to offer them great yellow
oranges, red apples, bunches of grapes, bonbons,
and cakes, till all were gone, and a double row
of smiling faces turned toward her as the children
filed back to their places in the orderly way
they had been taught.
Then each was led to her own tree by the
good ladies who had helped mamma with all their
hearts; and the happy hubbub that arose would
have satisfied even Santa Claus himself,--shrieks
of joy, dances of delight, laughter and tears
(for some tender little things could not bear so
much pleasure at once, and sobbed with mouths
full of candy and hands full of toys). How they
ran to show one another the new treasures! how
they peeped and tasted, pulled and pinched,
until the air was full of queer noises, the floor
covered with papers, and the little trees left bare
of all but candles!
"I don't think heaven can be any gooder than
this," sighed one small girl, as she looked about
her in a blissful maze, holding her full apron
with one hand, while she luxuriously carried
sugar-plums to her mouth with the other.
"Is that a truly angel up there?" asked another,
fascinated by the little white figure with
the wreath on its shining hair, who in some
mysterious way had been the cause of all this
"I wish I dared to go and kiss her for this
splendid party," said a lame child, leaning on
her crutch, as she stood near the steps,
wondering how it seemed to sit in a mother's lap, as
Effie was doing, while she watched the happy
scene before her.
Effie heard her, and remembering Tiny Tim,
ran down and put her arms about the pale child,
kissing the wistful face, as she said sweetly,
"You may; but mamma deserves the thanks.
She did it all; I only dreamed about it."
Lame Katy felt as if "a truly angel" was
embracing her, and could only stammer out her
thanks, while the other children ran to see the
pretty spirit, and touch her soft dress, until she
stood in a crowd of blue gowns laughing as they
held up their gifts for her to see and admire.
Mamma leaned down and whispered one word
to the older girls; and suddenly they all took
hands to dance round Effie, singing as they
It was a pretty sight, and the ladies found
it hard to break up the happy revel; but it was
late for small people, and too much fun is a
mistake. So the girls fell into line, and marched
before Effie and mamma again, to say good-night
with such grateful little faces that the
eyes of those who looked grew dim with tears.
Mamma kissed every one; and many a hungry
childish heart felt as if the touch of those tender
lips was their best gift. Effie shook so many
small hands that her own tingled; and when
Katy came she pressed a small doll into Effie's
hand, whispering, "You did n't have a single
present, and we had lots. Do keep that; it's
the prettiest thing I got."
"I will," answered Effie, and held it fast until
the last smiling face was gone, the surprise all
over, and she safe in her own bed, too tired and
happy for anything but sleep.
"Mamma, it was a beautiful surprise, and
I thank you so much! I don't see how you did
it; but I like it best of all the Christmases I ever
had, and mean to make one every year. I had
my splendid big present, and here is the dear
little one to keep for love of poor Katy; so even
that part of my wish came true."
And Effie fell asleep with a happy smile on
her lips, her one humble gift still in her hand,
and a new love for Christmas in her heart that
never changed through a long life spent in doing
"Hollo, what do you want?" he asked, staring at her. PAGE 46
THE CANDY COUNTRY.
"I shall take mamma's red sun-umbrella, it
is so warm, and none of the children at
school will have one like it," said Lily, one day,
as she went through the hall.
"The wind is very high; I 'm afraid you 'll be
blown away if you carry that big thing," called
Nurse from the window, as the red umbrella
went bobbing down the garden walk with a
small girl under it.
"I wish it would; I always wanted to go up
in a balloon," answered Lily, as she struggled
out of the gate.
She got on very well till she came to the bridge
and stopped to look over the railing at the water
running by so fast, and the turtles sunning
themselves on the rocks. Lily was fond of throwing
stones at them; it was so funny to watch them
tumble, heels over head, splash into the water.
Now, when she saw three big fellows close by,
she stooped for a stone, and just at that minute
a gale of wind nearly took the umbrella out of
her hand. She clutched it fast; and away she
went like a thistle-down, right up in the air,
over river and hill, houses and trees, faster and
faster, till her head spun round, her breath was
all gone, and she had to let go. The dear red
umbrella flew away like a leaf; and Lily fell
down, down, till she went crash into a tree which
grew in such a curious place that she forgot her
fright as she sat looking about her, wondering
what part of the world it could be.
The tree looked as if made of glass or colored
sugar; for she could see through the red
cherries, the green leaves, and the brown branches.
An agreeable smell met her nose; and she said
at once, as any child would, "I smell candy!" She
picked a cherry and ate it. Oh, how good
it was!--all sugar and no stone. The next
discovery was such a delightful one that she nearly
fell off her perch; for by touching her tongue
here and there, she found that the whole tree
was made of candy. Think what fun to sit and
break off twigs of barley sugar, candied cherries,
and leaves that tasted like peppermint and
Lily rocked and ate till she finished the top
of the little tree; then she climbed down and
strolled along, making more surprising and
agreeable discoveries as she went.
What looked like snow under her feet was
white sugar; the rocks were lumps of chocolate,
the flowers of all colors and tastes; and every
sort of fruit grew on these delightful trees. Little
white houses soon appeared; and here lived
the dainty candy-people, all made of the best
sugar, and painted to look like real people.
Dear little men and women, looking as if they
had stepped off of wedding cakes and bonbons,
went about in their gay sugar clothes, laughing
and talking in the sweetest voices. Bits of
babies rocked in open-work cradles, and sugar
boys and girls played with sugar toys in the
most natural way. Carriages rolled along the
jujube streets, drawn by the red and yellow
barley horses we all love so well; cows fed
in the green fields, and sugar birds sang in
Lily listened, and in a moment she
understood what the song said,--
Come, come and eat.
Dear little girls
With yellow curls;
For here you 'll find
Sweets to your mind.
On every tree
Sugar-plums you 'll see;
In every dell
Grows the caramel.
Over every wall
Where our river goes.
Under your feet
Lies sugar sweet;
Over your head
Grow almonds red.
Our lily and rose
Are not for the nose;
Our flowers we pluck
To eat or suck.
And, oh! what bliss
When two friends kiss,
For they honey sip
From lip to lip!
And all you meet,
In house or street,
At work or play,
Sweethearts are they.
So, little dear,
Pray feel no fear:
Go where you will;
Eat, eat your fill.
Here is a feast
From west to east;
And you can say,
Ere you go away,
'At last I stand
In dear Candy-land,
And no more can stuff;
For once I 've enough.'
"That is the most interesting song I ever
heard," said Lily, clapping her sticky hands and
dancing along toward a fine palace of white
cream candy, with pillars of striped peppermint
stick, and a roof of frosting that made it look
like the Milan Cathedral.
"I 'll live here, and eat candy all day long,
with no tiresome school or patchwork to spoil
my fun," said Lily.
So she ran up the chocolate steps into the
pretty rooms, where all the chairs and tables
were of different colored candies, and the beds
of spun sugar. A fountain of lemonade supplied
drink; and floors of ice-cream that never melted
kept people and things from sticking together,
as they would have done had it been warm.
For a long while Lily was quite happy, going
about tasting so many different kinds of
sweeties, talking to the little people, who were
very amiable, and finding out curious things
about them and their country.
The babies were made of plain sugar, but the
grown people had different flavors. The young
ladies were flavored with violet, rose, and
orange; the gentlemen were apt to have cordials
of some sort inside of them, as she found when
she ate one now and then slyly, and got her
tongue bitten by the hot, strong taste as a
punishment. The old people tasted of peppermint,
clove, and such comfortable things, good for
pain; but the old maids had lemon, hoarhound,
flag-root, and all sorts of sour, bitter things
in them, and did not get eaten much. Lily
soon learned to know the characters of her
new friends by a single taste, and some she
never touched but once. The dear babies
melted in her mouth, and the delicately flavored
young ladies she was very fond of. Dr. Ginger
was called to her more than once when so much
candy made her teeth ache, and she found him
a very hot-tempered little man; but he stopped
the pain, so she was glad to see him.
A lime-drop boy and a little pink checker-berry
girl were her favorite playmates; and they
had fine times making mud-pies by scraping
the chocolate rocks and mixing this dust with
honey from the wells near by. These they
could eat; and Lily thought this much better
than throwing away the pies, as she had to do at
home. They had candy-pulls very often, and
made swings of long loops of molasses candy,
and bird's-nests with almond eggs, out of which
came birds who sang sweetly. They played football
with big bull's-eyes, sailed in sugar boats on
lakes of syrup, fished in rivers of molasses, and
rode the barley horses all over the country.
Lily discovered that it never rained, but
snowed white sugar. There was no sun, as it
would have been too hot; but a large yellow
lozenge made a nice moon, and red and white
comfits were the stars.
The people all lived on sugar, and never
quarrelled. No one was ill; and if any got
broken, as sometimes happened with such brittle
creatures, they just stuck the parts together and
were all right again. The way they grew old
was to get thinner and thinner till there was
danger of their vanishing. Then the friends of
the old person put him in a neat coffin, and
carried him to the great golden urn which stood
in their largest temple, always full of a certain
fine syrup; and here he was dipped and dipped
till he was stout and strong again, and went
home to enjoy himself for a long time as good
This was very interesting to Lily, and she
went to many funerals. But the weddings were
better still; for the lovely white brides were
so sweet Lily longed to eat them. The feasts
were delicious; and everybody went in their
best clothes, and danced at the ball till they
got so warm half-a-dozen would stick together
and have to be taken to the ice-cream room
to cool off. Then the little pair would drive
away in a fine carriage with white horses to a
new palace in some other part of the country,
and Lily would have another pleasant place
But by and by, when she had seen everything,
and eaten so much sweet stuff that at last she
longed for plain bread and butter, she began to
get cross, as children always do when they live
on candy; and the little people wished she would
go away, for they were afraid of her. No
wonder, when she would catch up a dear sugar baby
and eat him, or break some respectable old
grandmamma all into bits because she reproved
her for naughty ways. Lily calmly sat down on
the biggest church, crushing it flat, and even
tried to poke the moon out of the sky in a pet
one day. The king ordered her to go home;
but she said, "I won't!" and bit his head off,
crown and all.
Such a wail went up at this awful deed that
she ran away out of the city, fearing some one
would put poison in her candy, since she had
no other food.
"I suppose I shall get somewhere if I keep
walking; and I can't starve, though I hate the
sight of this horrid stuff," she said to herself,
as she hurried over the mountains of Gibraltar
Rock that divided the city of Saccharissa from the
great desert of brown sugar that lay beyond.
Lily marched bravely on for a long time, and
saw at last a great smoke in the sky, smelt a
spicy smell, and felt a hot wind blowing toward her.
"I wonder if there are sugar savages here,
roasting and eating some poor traveller like
me," she said, thinking of Robinson Crusoe and
other wanderers in strange lands.
She crept carefully along till she saw a
settlement of little huts very like mushrooms, for
they were made of cookies set on lumps of
the brown sugar; and queer people, looking as
if made of gingerbread, were working very
busily round several stoves which seemed to
bake at a great rate.
"I'll creep nearer and see what sort of
people they are before I show myself," said Lily,
going into a grove of spice-trees, and sitting
down on a stone which proved to be the plummy
sort of cake we used to call Brighton Rock.
Presently one of the tallest men came striding
toward the trees with a pan, evidently after spice;
and before she could run, he saw Lily.
"Hollo, what do you want?" he asked, staring
at her with his black currant eyes, while he
briskly picked the bark off a cinnamon-tree.
"I'm travelling, and would like to know what
place this is, if you please," answered Lily, very
politely, being a little frightened.
"Cake-land. Where do you come from?"
asked the gingerbread man, in a crisp tone of
"I was blown into the Candy country, and
have been there a long time; but I got tired
of it, and ran away to find something better."
"Sensible child!" and the man smiled till
Lily thought his cheeks would crumble. "You'll
get on better here with us Brownies than with
the lazy Bonbons, who never work and are all
for show. They won't own us, though we are
all related through our grandparents Sugar and
Molasses. We are busy folks; so they turn up
their noses and don't speak when we meet at
parties. Poor creatures, silly and sweet and
unsubstantial! I pity 'em."
"Could I make you a visit? I'd like to see
how you live, and what you do. I 'm sure it
must be interesting," said Lily, picking herself
up after a tumble, having eaten nearly all the
stone, she was so hungry.
"I know you will. Come on! I can talk
while I work." And the funny gingerbread man
trotted off toward his kitchen, full of pans,
rolling-pins, and molasses jugs.
"Sit down. I shall be at leisure as soon as
this batch is baked. There are still some wise
people down below who like gingerbread, and
I have my hands full," he said, dashing about,
stirring, rolling out, and slapping the brown
dough into pans, which he whisked into the
oven and out again so fast that Lily knew there
must be magic about it somewhere.
Every now and then he threw her a delicious
cooky warm from the oven. She liked the
queer fellow, and presently began to talk, being
very curious about this country.
"What is your name, sir?"
Lily thought it a good one; for he was very
quick, and she fancied he could be short and
sharp if he liked.
"Where does all this cake go to?" she asked,
after watching the other kitchens full of workers,
who were all of different kinds of cake, and each
set of cooks made its own sort.
"I 'll show you by and by," answered Snap,
beginning to pile up the heaps of gingerbread
on a little car that ran along a track leading to
some unknown storeroom, Lily thought.
"Don't you get tired of doing this all the time?"
"Yes; but I want to be promoted, and I
never shall be till I 've done my best, and won
the prize here."
"Oh, tell me about it! What is the prize,
and how are you promoted? Is this a cooking-school?"
"Yes; the prize for best gingerbread is a
cake of condensed yeast. That puts a soul
into me, and I begin to rise till I am able
to go over the hills yonder into the blessed
land of bread, and be one of the happy
creatures who are always wholesome, always needed,
and without which the world below would be
in a bad way."
"Bless me! that is the queerest thing I Ve
heard yet. But I don't wonder you want to go;
I 'm tired of sweets myself, and long for a good
piece of bread, though I used to want cake and
candy at home."
"Ah, my dear, you 'll learn a good deal here;
and you are lucky not to have got into the
clutches of Giant Dyspepsia, who always gets
people if they eat too much of such rubbish
and scorn wholesome bread. I leave my ginger
behind when I go, and get white and round and
beautiful, as you will see. The Gingerbread
family have never been as foolish as some of
the other cakes. Wedding is the worst; such
extravagance in the way of wine and spice
and fruit I never saw, and such a mess to
eat when it's done! I don't wonder people
get sick; serves 'em right." And Snap flung
down a pan with such a bang that it made
"Sponge cake is n't bad, is it? Mamma lets
me eat it, but I like frosted pound better," she
said, looking over to the next kitchen, where
piles of that sort of cake were being iced.
"Poor stuff. No substance. Ladies' fingers
will do for babies, but pound has too much
butter ever to be healthy. Let it alone, and eat
cookies or seed-cakes, my dear. Now, come
along; I'm ready." And Snap trundled away
his car-load at a great pace.
Lily ran behind to pick up whatever fell, and
looked about her as she went, for this was
certainly a very queer country. Lakes of eggs all
beaten up, and hot springs of saleratus foamed
here and there ready for use. The earth was
brown sugar or ground spice; and the only fruits
were raisins, dried currants, citron, and lemon
peel. It was a very busy place; for every one
cooked all the time, and never failed and never
seemed tired, though they got so hot that they
only wore sheets of paper for clothes. There
were piles of it to put over the cake, so that it
shouldn't burn; and they made cook's white
caps and aprons of it, and looked very nice. A
large clock made of a flat pancake, with cloves
to mark the hours and two toothpicks for hands,
showed them how long to bake things; and in one
place an ice wall was built round a lake of butter,
which they cut in lumps as they wanted it.
"Here we are. Now, stand away while I
pitch 'em down," said Snap, stopping at last
before a hole in the ground where a
dumbwaiter hung ready, with a name over it.
There were many holes all round, and many
waiters, each with its name; and Lily was
amazed when she read "Weber," "Copeland,"
"Dooling," and others, which she knew very well.
Over Snap's place was the name "Newmarch;"
and Lily said, "Why, that's where mamma gets
her hard gingerbread, and Weber's is where
we go for ice-cream. Do you make cake for them?"
"Yes, but no one knows it. It's one of the
secrets of the trade. We cook for all the
confectioners, and people think the good things
come out of the cellars under their saloons.
Good joke, is n't it?" And Snap laughed till a
crack came in his neck and made him cough.
Lily was so surprised she sat down on a warm
queen's cake that happened to be near, and
watched Snap send down load after load of
gingerbread to be eaten by children, who would
have liked it much better if they had only known
where it came from, as she did.
As she sat, the clatter of many spoons, the
smell of many dinners, and the sound of many
voices calling, "One vanilla, two strawberries,
and a Charlotte Russe," "Three stews, cup
coffee, dry toast," "Roast chicken and apple
without," came up the next hole, which was
"Dear me! it seems as if I was there," said
Lily, longing to hop down, but afraid of the
bump at the other end.
"I 'm done. Come along, I 'll ride you back,"
called Snap, tossing the last cooky after the
dumb-waiter as it went slowly out of sight with
its spicy load.
"I wish you 'd teach me to cook. It looks
great fun, and mamma wants me to learn; only
our cook hates to have me mess round, and
is so cross that I don't like to try at home,"
said Lily, as she went trundling back.
"Better wait till you get to Bread-land, and
learn to make that. It's a great art, and worth
knowing. Don't waste your time on cake,
though plain gingerbread is n't bad to have in
the house. I 'll teach you that in a jiffy, if the
clock does n't strike my hour too soon,"
answered Snap, helping her down.
"Why, of my freedom. I never know when
I 've done my task till I 'm called by the chimes
and go to get my soul," said Snap, turning his
currant eyes anxiously to the clock.
"I hope you will have time." And Lily fell
to work with all her might, after Snap had put
on her a paper apron and a cap like his.
It was not hard; for when she was going to
make a mistake a spark flew out of the fire and
burnt her in time to remind her to look at the
receipt, which was a sheet of gingerbread in
a frame of pie-crust hung up before her, with
the directions written while it was soft and baked
in. The third sheet she made came out of the
oven spicy, light, and brown; and Snap, giving
it one poke, said, "That's all right. Now you
know. Here's your reward."
He handed her a receipt-book made of thin
sheets of sugar-gingerbread held together by
a gelatine binding, with her name stamped on
the back, and each leaf crimped with a
cake-cutter in the most elegant manner.
Lily was charmed with it, but had no time
to read all it contained; for just then the
clock began to strike, and a chime of bells
Go to the head.
Your task is done;
A soul is won.
Take it and go
Where muffins grow,
Where sweet loaves rise
To the very skies,
And biscuits fair
Perfume the air.
Make no delay;
In the sea of flour
Plunge this hour.
Safe in your breast
Let the yeast-cake rest,
Till you rise in joy,
A white bread boy!"
"Ha, ha! I 'm free! I 'm free!" cried Snap,
catching up the silver-covered square that seemed
to fall from heaven; and running to a great white
sea of flour, he went in head first, holding the
yeast-cake clasped to his breast as if his life
depended on it.
Lily watched breathlessly, while a curious
working and bubbling went on, as if Snap was
tumbling about down there like a small
earthquake. The other cake-folk stood round the
shore with her; for it was a great event, and all
were glad that the dear fellow was promoted so
soon. Suddenly a cry was heard, and up rose
a beautiful white figure on the farther side of
the sea. It moved its hand, as if saying "Good-by,"
and ran over the hills so fast they had
only time to see how plump and fair he was,
with a little knob on the top of his head like
"He 's gone to the happy land, and we shall
miss him; but we 'll follow his example and
soon find him again," said a gentle Sponge
cake, with a sigh, as all went back to their work;
while Lily hurried after Snap, eager to see the
new country, which was the best of all.
A delicious odor of fresh bread blew up from
the valley as she stood on the hill-top and looked
down on the peaceful scene below. Fields of
yellow grain waved in the breeze; hop-vines
grew from tree to tree; and many windmills
whirled their white sails as they ground the
different grains into fresh, sweet meal, for the
loaves of bread that built the houses like bricks
and paved the streets, or in many shapes formed
the people, furniture, and animals. A river of
milk flowed through the peaceful land, and
fountains of yeast rose and fell with a pleasant
foam and fizz. The ground was a mixture of
many meals, and the paths were golden Indian,
which gave a very gay look to the scene.
Buckwheat flowers bloomed on their rosy stems, and
tall corn-stalks rustled their leaves in the warm
air that came from the ovens hidden in the
hillsides; for bread needs a slow fire, and an
obliging volcano did the baking here.
"What a lovely place!" cried Lily, feeling
the charm of the homelike landscape, in spite
of the funny plump people moving about.
Two of these figures came running to meet
her as she slowly walked down the yellow path
from the hill. One was a golden boy, with a
beaming face; the other a little girl in a shiny
brown cloak, who looked as if she would taste
very nice. They each put a warm hand into
Lily's, and the boy said,--
"We are glad to see you. Muffin told us you
"Thank you. Who is Muffin?" asked Lily,
feeling as if she had seen both these little people
before, and liked them.
"He was Ginger Snap once, but he's a
Muffin now. We begin in that way, and work
up to the perfect loaf by degrees. My name is
Johnny Cake, and she's Sally Lunn. You know
us; so come on and have a race."
Lily burst out laughing at the idea of playing
with these old friends of hers; and all three ran
away as fast as they could tear, down the hill,
over a bridge, into the middle of the village,
where they stopped, panting, and sat down on
some very soft rolls to rest.
"What do you all do here?" asked Lily, when
she got her breath again.
"We farm, we study, we bake, we brew,
and are as merry as grigs all day long. It's
school-time now, and we must go; will you
come?" said Sally, jumping up as if she
"Our schools are not like yours; we only
study two things,--grain and yeast. I think
you 'll like it. We have yeast to-day, and the
experiments are very jolly," added Johnny,
trotting off to a tall brown tower of rye and Indian
bread, where the school was kept.
Lily never liked to go to school, but she was
ashamed to own it; so she went along with
Sally, and was so amused with all she saw that
she was glad she came. The brown loaf was
hollow, and had no roof; and when she asked
why they used a ruin, Sally told her to wait and
see why they chose strong walls and plenty of
room overhead. All round was a circle of very
small biscuits like cushions, and on these the
Bread-children sat. A square loaf in the
middle was the teacher's desk, and on it lay an
ear of wheat, with several bottles of yeast well
corked up. The teacher was a pleasant, plump
lady from Vienna, very wise, and so famous for
her good bread that she was a Professor of
When all were seated, she began with the
wheat ear, and told them all about it in such an
interesting way that Lily felt as if she had never
known anything about the bread she ate before.
The experiments with the yeast were quite
exciting,--for Fraulein Pretzel showed them how
it would work till it blew the cork out, and
go fizzing up to the sky if it was kept too long;
how it would turn sour or flat, and spoil the
bread if care was not taken to use it just at
the right moment; and how too much would
cause the loaf to rise till there was no substance
The children were very bright; for they were
fed on the best kinds of oatmeal and Graham
bread, with very little white bread or hot cakes
to spoil their young stomachs. Hearty, happy
boys and girls they were, and their yeasty
souls were very lively in them for they danced
and sung, and seemed as bright and gay as
if acidity, heaviness, and mould were quite
Lily was very happy with them, and when
school was done went home with Sally and ate
the best bread and milk for dinner that she ever
tasted. In the afternoon Johnny took her to
the cornfield, and showed her how they kept
the growing ears free from mildew and worms.
Then she went to the bakehouse; and here she
found her old friend Muffin hard at work
making Parker House rolls, for he was such a good
cook he was set to work at once on the lighter
kinds of bread.
"Well, is n't this better than Candy-land or
Saccharissa?" he asked, as he rolled and folded
his bits of dough with a dab of butter tucked inside.
"Ever so much!" cried Lily. "I feel better
already, and mean to learn all I can. Mamma
will be so pleased if I can make good bread
when I go home. She is rather old-fashioned,
and likes me to be a nice housekeeper. I did n't
think bread interesting then, but I do now; and
Johnny's mother is going to teach me to make
Indian cakes to-morrow."
"Glad to hear it. Learn all you can, and tell
other people how to make healthy bodies and
happy souls by eating good plain food. Not
like this, though these rolls are better than cake.
I have to work my way up to the perfect loaf,
you know; and then, oh, then, I 'm a happy thing."
"What happens then? Do you go on to
some other wonderful place?" asked Lily, as
Muffin paused with a smile on his face.
"Yes; I am eaten by some wise, good human
being, and become a part of him or her. That
is immortality and heaven; for I may nourish a
poet and help him sing, or feed a good woman
who makes the world better for being in it, or
be crumbed into the golden porringer of a baby
prince who is to rule a kingdom. Is n't that a
noble way to live, and an end worth working
for?" asked Muffin, in a tone that made Lily
feel as if some sort of fine yeast had got into
her, and was setting her brain to work with new
"Yes, it is. I suppose all common things
are made for that purpose, if we only knew it;
and people should be glad to do anything to
help the world along, even making good bread
in a kitchen," answered Lily, in a sober way that
showed that her little mind was already
digesting the new food it had got.
She stayed in Bread-land a long time, and
enjoyed and learned a great deal that she never
forgot. But at last, when she had made the
perfect loaf, she wanted to go home, that her
mother might see and taste it.
"I 've put a good deal of myself into it, and
I 'd love to think I had given her strength or
pleasure by my work," she said, as she and
Sally stood looking at the handsome loaf.
"You can go whenever you like; just take
the bread in your hands and wish three times,
and you 'll be wherever you say. I 'm sorry to
have you go, but I don't wonder you want to
see your mother. Don't forget what you have
learned, and you will always be glad you came
to us," said Sally, kissing her good-by.
"Where is Muffin? I can't go without seeing
him, my dear old friend," answered Lily,
looking round for him.
"He is here," said Sally, touching the loaf.
"He was ready to go, and chose to pass into
your bread rather than any other; for he said he
loved you and would be glad to help feed so
good a little girl."
"How kind of him! I must be careful to
grow wise and excellent, else he will be
disappointed and have died in vain," said Lily,
touched by his devotion.
Then, bidding them all farewell, she hugged
her loaf close, wished three times to be in her
own home, and like a flash she was there.
Whether her friends believed the wonderful
tale of her adventures I cannot tell; but I know
that she was a nice little housekeeper from that
day, and made such good bread that other girls
came to learn of her. She also grew from a
sickly, fretful child into a fine, strong woman,
because she ate very little cake and candy,
except at Christmas time, when the oldest and
the wisest love to make a short visit to Candyland.
As soon as he was alone, Jocko ... jumped on his back. PAGE 70
"A music-man! a music-man! Run quick,
and see if he has got a monkey on his
organ," cried little Neddy, running to the
window in a great hurry one day.
Yes; there was the monkey in his blue and
red suit, with a funny little cap, and the long
tail trailing behind. But he did n't seem to be a
lively monkey; for he sat in a bunch, with his sad
face turned anxiously to his master, who kept
pulling the chain to make him dance. The stiff
collar had made his neck sore; and when the
man twitched, the poor thing moaned and put
up his little hand to hold the chain. He tried to
dance, but was so weak he could only hop a few
steps, and stop panting for breath. The cruel
man would n't let him rest till Neddy called out,--
"Don't hurt him; let him come up here and
get this cake, and rest while you play. I 've got
some pennies for you."
So poor Jocko climbed slowly up the trellis,
and sat on the window-ledge trying to eat; but
he was so tired he went to sleep, and when the
man pulled to wake him up, he slipped and fell,
and lay as if he were dead. Neddy and his aunt
ran down to see if he was killed. The cross man
scolded and shook him; but he never moved,
and the man said,--
"He is dead. I don't want him. I will sell
him to some one to stuff."
"No; his heart beats a little. Leave him here
a few days, and we will take care of him; and if
he gets well, perhaps we will buy him," said Aunt
Jane, who liked to nurse even a sick monkey.
The man said he was going on for a week
through the towns near by, and would call and
see about it when he came back. Then he went
away; and Neddy and aunty put Jocko in a nice
basket, and carried him in. The minute the door
was shut and he felt safe, the sly fellow peeped
out with one eye, and seeing only the kind little
boy began to chatter and kick off the shawl; for
he was not much hurt, only tired and hungry, and
dreadfully afraid of the cruel man who beat and
Neddy was delighted, and thought it very
funny, and helped his aunt take off the stiff
collar and put some salve on the sore neck.
Then they got milk and cake; and when he
had eaten a good dinner, Jocko curled himself
up and slept till the next day. He was quite
lively in the morning; for when Aunt Jane went
to call Neddy, Jocko was not in his basket, and
looking round the room for him, she saw the
little black thing lying on the boy's pillow, with his
arm round Neddy's neck like a queer baby.
"My patience! I can't allow that," said the
old lady, and went to pull Jocko out. But
he slipped away like an eel, and crept
chattering and burrowing down to the bottom of the
bed, holding on to Neddy's toes, till he waked
up, howling that crabs were nipping him.
Then they had a great frolic; and Jocko
climbed all over the bed, up on the tall
wardrobe, and the shelf over the door, where the
image of an angel stood. He patted it, and
hugged it, and looked so very funny with his
ugly black face by the pretty white one, that
Neddy rolled on the floor, and Aunt Jane laughed
till her glasses flew off. By and by he came
down, and had a nice breakfast, and let them
tie a red ribbon over the bandage on his neck.
He liked the gay color, and kept going to look
in the glass, and grin and chatter at his own
image, which he evidently admired.
"Now, he shall go to walk with me, and all
the children shall see my new pet," said Neddy,
as he marched off with Jock on his shoulder.
Every one laughed at the funny little fellow
with his twinkling eyes, brown hands, and long
tail, and Neddy felt very grand till they got to
the store; then troubles began. He put Jocko
on a table near the door, and told him to stay
there while he did his errands. Now, close by
was the place where the candy was kept, and
Jocko loved sweeties like any girl; so he hopped
along, and began to eat whatever he liked.
Some boys tried to stop him; and then he got
angry at them for pulling his tail, and threw
handfuls of sugarplums at them. That was great
fun; and the more they laughed and scrambled
and poked at him, the faster he showered
chocolates, caramels, and peppermints over them,
till it looked as if it had rained candy. The
man was busy with Neddy at the other end of
the store; but when he heard the noise, both ran
to see what was the matter. Neither of them
could stop naughty Jocko, who liked this game,
and ran up on the high shelves among the toys.
Then down came little tubs and dolls' stoves,
tin trumpets and cradles, while boxes of leaden
soldiers and whole villages flew through the air,
smash, bang, rattle, bump, all over the floor.
The man scolded, Neddy cried, the boys
shouted, and there was a lively time in that shop
till a good slapping with a long stick made Jock
tumble into a tub of water where some curious
fishes lived; and then they caught him.
Neddy was much ashamed, and told the man
his aunt would pay for all the broken things.
Then he took his naughty pet, and started to go
home and tie him up, for it was plain this
monkey was not to be trusted. But as soon as they
got out, Jocko ran up a tree and dropped on to
a load of hay passing underneath. Here he
danced and pranced, and had a fine time,
throwing off the man's coat and rake, and eating some
of the dinner tied up in a cloth. The crusts of
bread and the bones he threw at the horse; this
new kind of whip frightened the horse, and he
ran away down a steep hill, and upset the hay
and broke the cart. Oh, such a time! It was
worse than the candy scrape; for the man swore,
and the horse was hurt, and people said the
monkey ought to be shot, he did so much
mischief. Jocko did n't care a bit; he sat high up
in a tree, and chattered and scolded, and swung
by his tail, and was so droll that people could n't
help laughing at him. Poor Neddy cried again,
and went home to tell his troubles to Aunt Jane,
fearing that it would take all the money in his
bank to pay for the damage the bad monkey
had done in one hour.
As soon as he was alone Jocko came skipping
along, and jumped on his back, and peeped at
him, and patted his cheeks, and was so cunning
and good Neddy could n't whip him; but he
shut him up in a closet to punish him.
Jocko was tired; so he went to sleep, and all
was quiet till dinner-time. They were ready for
the pudding, and Neddy had saved a place for a
good plateful, as he liked snow-pudding, when
shrieks were heard in the kitchen, and Mary the
maid rushed in to say,--
"Oh, ma'am, that horrid beast has spoilt the
pudding, and is scaring Katy out of her life!"
They all ran; and there sat that naughty
monkey on the table, throwing the nice white snow
all over poor cook, till her face looked as if she
was ready to be shaved. His own face looked
the same, for he had eaten all he wanted while
the pudding stood cooling in the pantry. He
had crept out of a window in the closet, and
had a fine rummage among the sugar-buckets,
butter-boxes, and milk-pans.
Kate wailed, and Mary scolded; but Aunt Jane
and grandpa laughed, and Neddy chased Jock
into the garden with the broom. They had to
eat bread and jelly for dessert, and it took the
girls a long time to clear up the mess the rascal
"We will put his collar and chain on again,
and keep him tied up all the time till the man
comes," said Aunt Jane.
"But I can't catch him," sighed Neddy,
watching the little imp whisk about in the
garden among the currant-bushes, chasing hens
and tossing green apples round in high glee.
"Sit quietly down somewhere and wait till he
is tired; then he will come to you, and you can
hold him fast," said Aunt Jane.
So Neddy waited; and though he was much
worried at his new pet's naughtiness, he enjoyed
his pranks like a boy.
Grandpa took naps in the afternoon on the
piazza, and he was dozing comfortably when
Jocko swung down from the grape-vine by his
long tail, and tickled the old gentleman on the
nose with a straw. Grandpa sneezed, and opened
one eye to brush away the fly as he supposed.
Then he went to sleep again, and Jocko dropped
a caterpillar on his bald head; this made him
open the other eye to see what that soft, creepy
thing could be. Neddy could n't help laughing,
for he often wanted to do just such things, but
never dared, because grandpa was a very stern
old gentleman, and no one took liberties with
him. Jocko was n't afraid, however; and
presently he crept to the table, stele the glasses
lying there, put them on, and taking up the
paper held it before him, chattering as if he were
reading it, as he had seen people do. Neddy
laughed out loud at this, and clapped his hands,
Jocko looked so like a little old man, in spite of
the tail curled up behind. This time grandpa
opened both eyes at once, and stared as if he
saw a hobgoblin before him; then he snatched
off the spectacles, and caught up his cane,
"You rascal, how dare you!"
But Jocko tossed the paper in his face, and
with one jump lighted on the back of old Tom,
the big yellow cat, who lay asleep close by.
Scared half out of his wits, Tom spit and bounced;
but Jocko held fast to his collar, and had a
fine race round the garden, while the girls
laughed at the funny sight, and Neddy shouted,
"It's a circus; and there's the monkey and the
pony." Even grandpa smiled, especially when
puss dashed up a tree, and Jock tumbled off.
He chased him, and they had a great battle;
but Tom's claws were sharp, and the monkey
got a scratch on the nose, and ran crying to
Neddy for comfort.
"Now, you naughty fellow, I 'll chain you
up, and stop these dreadful tricks. But you
are great fun, and I can't whip you," said the
boy; for he knew what it was to enjoy a holiday,
and poor Jocko had not had one for a long time.
Jocko ate some lunch, took a nap in the grass,
and then was ready for more frolics. Neddy
had fastened him to a tree in the garden, so that
he could enjoy the sun and air, and catch
grasshoppers if he liked. But Jocko wanted
something more; and presently Neddy, who was
reading in his hammock on the piazza, heard a
great cackling among the hens, and looked up
to see the monkey swinging by his tail from a
bough, holding the great cock-a-doodle by his
splendid tail, while all the twenty hens clucked
and cackled with wrath and fear at such a dreadful prank.
"Now, that's too bad; I will slap him this
time," said Neddy, running to save his
handsome bird from destruction. But before he got
there poor cocky had pulled his fine tail-feathers
all out in his struggles, and when set free
was so frightened and mortified that he ran
away and hid in the bushes, and the hens went
to comfort him.
Neddy gave Jocko a good whipping, and left
him looking as meek as a baby, all cuddled up
in a little bunch, with his head in his hands as
if crying for his naughtiness. But he was n't
sorry. Oh, dear, no! for in half an hour he had
picked every one of the sweet peas Aunt Jane
was so fond of, thrown all the tomatoes over the
fence, and let the parrot out of his cage. The
sight of Polly walking into the parlor with a
polite "How are you, ma'am?" sent Aunt Jane
to see what was going on. Neddy was fast
asleep in the hammock, worn out with his cares;
and Jocko, having unhooked his chain, was
sitting on the chimney-top of a neighbor's house,
"We shall not live to the end of the week
if this sort of thing goes on. I don't know
what to do with the little beast; he 's as bad as
an elephant to take care of," said the poor lady,
in despair, as she saw Jocko throw his corncob
down on the minister's hat as that stately
gentleman went by.
As none of them could catch him, Miss Jane
let him alone till Neddy waked up and could go
and find some of the big boys to help him.
Jocko soon left the roof, and skipped in at a
window that stood open. It was little Nelly
Brown's play-room, and she had left her pet
doll Maud Mabel Rose Matilda very ill in the
best bed, while she went down to get a poppy
leaf to rub the darling's cheeks with, because
she had a high fever. Jocko took a fancy to
the pretty bed, and after turning the play-house
topsy-turvy, he pulled poor Maud Mabel Rose
Matilda out by her flaxen hair, and stuffing her
into the water-pitcher upside down, got into the
bed, drew the lace curtains, and prepared to
doze deliciously under the pink silk bed-cover.
Up came Nelly, and went at once to the dear
invalid, saying in her motherly little voice,--
"Now, my darling child, lie quite still, and I
won't hurt you one bit."
But when she drew the curtain, instead of the
lovely yellow-haired doll in her ruffled
nightcap, she saw an ugly little black face staring at
her, and a tiny hand holding the sheet fast.
Nelly gave one scream, and flew downstairs
into the parlor where the Sewing-circle was at
work, frightening twenty-five excellent ladies by
her cries, as she clung to her mother, wailing,--
"A bogie! a bogie! I saw him, all black;
and he snarled at me, and my dolly is gone!
What shall I do? oh, what shall I do?"
There was great confusion, for all the ladies
talked at once; and it so happened that none
of them knew anything about the monkey,
therefore they all agreed that Nelly was a
foolish child, and had made a fuss about nothing.
She cried dismally, and kept saying to her
"Go and see; it's in my dolly's bed,--I
found it there, and darling Maudie is gone."
"We will go and see," said Mrs. Moses
Merryweather,--a stout old lady, who kept her
six girls in such good order that they would
never have dared to cry if ten monkeys had
popped out at them.
Miss Hetty Bumpus, a tall thin maiden lady,
with a sharp eye and pointed nose, went with
her; but at the door that led to the dining-room
both stopped short, and after one look
came flying back, calling out together,--
"Mrs. Brown, your supper is spoilt! a dreadful
beast has ruined it all!"
Then twenty-five excited ladies flew across
the hall to behold Jocko sitting on the great
cake in the middle of the table, his feet bathed
in cream from the overturned pitcher, while
all around lay the ruins of custards, tarts,
biscuits, and sauce, not to mention nice napkins
made into hay-cocks, spoons, knives, and forks,
on the floor, and the best silver teapot in the
While Nelly told her tale and the ladies
questioned and comforted her, this bad monkey had
skipped downstairs and had a delightful party
all by himself. He was just scraping the jelly
out of a tart when they disturbed him; and
knowing that more slaps were in store for him
if he stayed, he at once walked calmly down the
ravaged table, and vanished out of the window
carrying the silver tea-strainer with him to play
The ladies had no supper that night; and poor
Mrs. Brown sent a note to Aunt Jane, telling her
the sad story, and adding that Nelly was quite
ill with the fright and the loss of dear Maud
Mabel Rose Matilda, drowned in the water-pitcher
and forever spoilt.
"John shall go after that man to-morrow, and
bring him back to carry this terrible monkey
away. I can't live with him a week; he will
cost me a fortune, and wear us all out," said
Aunt Jane, when Jocko was safely shut up in
the cellar, after six boys had chased him all over
the neighborhood before they caught him.
Neddy was quite willing to let him go; but
John was saved his journey, for in the morning
poor Jocko was found dead in a trap, where his
inquisitive head had been poked to see what the
cheese tasted like.
So he was buried by the river, and every one
felt much relieved; for the man never came back,
thinking Jocko dead when he left him. But he
had not lived in vain; for after this day of trial,
mischievous Neddy behaved much better, and
Aunt Jane could always calm his prankish spirit
by saying, as her finger pointed to a little collar
and chain hanging on the wall,--
"If you want to act like naughty Jocko, say
so, and I 'll tie you up. One monkey is enough
for this family."
Kitty laughed, and began to dance... Such twirlings and stoppings as she made.--PAGE 85
THE SKIPPING SHOES.
Once there was a little girl, named Kitty,
who never wanted to do what people
asked her. She said "I won't" and "I can't,"
and did not run at once pleasantly, as obliging
One day her mother gave her a pair of new
shoes; and after a fuss about putting them on,
Kitty said, as she lay kicking on the floor,--
"I wish these were seven-leagued boots, like
Jack the Giant Killer's; then it would be easy to
run errands all the time. Now, I hate to keep
trotting, and I don't like new shoes, and I won't
stir a step."
Just as she said that, the shoes gave a skip,
and set her on her feet so suddenly that it scared
all the naughtiness out of her. She stood looking
at these curious shoes; and the bright
buttons on them seemed to wink at her like eyes,
while the heels tapped on the floor a sort of
tune. Before she dared to stir, her mother called
from the next room,--
"Kitty, run and tell the cook to make a pie
for dinner; I forgot it."
"I don't want to," began Kitty, with a whine
But the words were hardly out of her mouth
when the shoes gave one jump, and took her
downstairs, through the hall, and landed her at
the kitchen door. Her breath was nearly gone;
but she gave the message, and turned round,
trying to see if the shoes would let her walk
at all. They went nicely till she wanted to turn
into the china-closet where the cake was. She
was forbidden to touch it, but loved to take a
bit when she could. Now she found that her
feet were fixed fast to the floor, and could not
be moved till her father said, as he passed the
window close by,--
"You will have time to go to the post-office
before school and get my letters."
"I can't," began Kitty; but she found she
could, for away went the shoes, out of the house
at one bound, and trotted down the street so
fast that the maid who ran after her with her
hat could not catch her.
"I can't stop!" cried Kitty; and she did not
till the shoes took her straight into the office.
"What's the hurry to-day?" asked the man,
as he saw her without any hat, all rosy and
breathless, and her face puckered up as if she
did not know whether to laugh or to cry.
"I won't tell any one about these dreadful
shoes, and I 'll take them off as soon as I get
home. I hope they will go back slowly, or
people will think I 'm crazy," said Kitty to
herself, as she took the letters and went away.
The shoes walked nicely along till she came
to the bridge; and there she wanted to stop and
watch some boys in a boat, forgetting school and
her father's letters. But the shoes would n't
stop, though she tried to make them, and held
on to the railing as hard as she could. Her feet
went on; and when she sat down they still
dragged her along so steadily that she had to go,
and she got up feeling that there was something
very strange about these shoes. The minute she
gave up, all went smoothly, and she got home
in good time.
"I won't wear these horrid things another
minute," said Kitty, sitting on the doorstep and
trying to unbutton the shoes.
But not a button could she stir, though she
got red and angry struggling to do it.
"Time for school; run away, little girl,"
called mamma from upstairs, as the clock struck
"I won't!" said Kitty, crossly.
But she did; for those' magic shoes danced
her off, and landed her at her desk in five
"Well, I 'm not late; that's one comfort," she
thought, wishing she had come pleasantly, and
not been whisked away without any luncheon.
Her legs were so tired with the long skips
that she was glad to sit still; and that pleased the
teacher, for generally she was fussing about all
lesson time. But at recess she got into trouble
again; for one of the children knocked down the
house of corn-cobs she had built, and made her
"Now, I 'll kick yours down, and see how you
like it, Dolly."
Up went her foot, but it did n't come down;
it stayed in the air, and there she stood looking
as if she were going to dance. The children
laughed to see her, and she could do nothing
till she said to Dolly in a great hurry,--
"Never mind; if you didn't mean to, I'll
Then the foot went down, and Kitty felt so
glad about it that she tried to be pleasant,
fearing some new caper of those dreadful shoes. She
began to see how they worked, and thought she
would try if she had any power over them. So,
when one of the children wanted his ball, which
had bounced over the hedge, she said kindly,--
"Perhaps I can get it for you, Willy."
And over she jumped as lightly as if she too
were an india-rubber ball.
"How could you do it?" cried the boys,
much surprised; for not one of them dared try
such a high leap.
Kitty laughed, and began to dance, feeling
pleased and proud to find there was a good side
to the shoes after all. Such twirlings and
skippings as she made, such pretty steps and airy
little bounds it was pretty to see; for it seemed
as if her feet were bewitched, and went of
themselves. The little girls were charmed, and tried
to imitate her; but no one could, and they stood
in a circle watching her dance till the bell rang,
then all rushed in to tell about it.
Kitty said it was her new shoes, and never
told how queerly they acted, hoping to have
good times now. But she was mistaken.
On the way home she wanted to stop and see
her friend Bell's new doll; but at the gate her
feet stuck fast, and she had to give up her wishes
and go straight on, as mamma had told her
always to do.
"Run and pick a nice little dish of
strawberries for dinner," said her sister, as she
"I 'm too ti--" There was no time to finish,
for the shoes landed her in the middle of the
strawberry bed at one jump.
"I might as well be a grasshopper if I 'm to
skip round like this," she said, forgetting to feel
tired out there in the pleasant garden, with the
robins picking berries close by, and a cool wind
lifting the leaves to show where the reddest and
ripest ones hid.
The little dish was soon filled, and she wanted
to stay and eat a few, warm and sweet from the
vines; but the bell rang, and away she went, over
the wood-pile, across the piazza, and into the
dining-room before the berry in her mouth was
"How this child does rush about to-day!"
said her mother. "It is so delightful to have
such a quick little errand-girl that I shall get her
to carry some bundles to my poor people this
"Oh, dear me! I do hate to lug those old
clothes and bottles and baskets of cold victuals
round. Must I do it?" sighed Kitty, dismally,
while the shoes tapped on the floor under the
table, as if to remind her that she must, whether
she liked it or not.
"It would be right and kind, and would please
me very much. But you may do as you choose
about it. I am very tired, and some one must go;
for the little Bryan baby is sick and needs what
I send," said mamma, looking disappointed.
Kitty sat very still and sober for some time,
and no one spoke to her. She was making up
her mind whether she would go pleasantly or
be whisked about like a grasshopper against
her will. When dinner was over, she said in a
"I 'll go, mamma; and when all the errands
are done, may I come back through Fairyland,
as we call the little grove where the tall ferns grow?"
"Yes, dear; when you oblige me, I am happy
to please you."
"I 'm glad I decided to be good; now I shall
have a lovely time," said Kitty to herself, as she
trotted away with a basket in one hand, a bundle
in the other, and some money in her pocket for
a poor old woman who needed help.
The shoes went quietly along, and seemed to
know just where to stop. The sick baby's
mother thanked her for the soft little
nightgowns; the lame girl smiled when she saw the
books; the hungry children gathered round the
basket of food, like young birds eager to be fed;
and the old woman gave her a beautiful pink
shell that her sailor son brought home from sea.
When all the errands were done Kitty skipped
away to Fairyland, feeling very happy, as people
always do when they have done kind things. It
was a lovely place; for the ferns made green
arches tall enough for little girls to sit under,
and the ground was covered with pretty green
moss and wood-flowers. Birds flew about in
the pines, squirrels chattered in the oaks,
butterflies floated here and there, and from the pond
near by came the croak of frogs sunning their
green backs on the mossy stones.
"I wonder if the shoes will let me stop and
rest; it is so cool here, and I 'm so tired," said
Kitty, as she came to a cosey nook at the foot of a tree.
The words were hardly out of her mouth
when her feet folded under her, and there she
sat on a cushion of moss, like the queen of the
wood on her throne. Something lighted with
a bump close by her; and looking down she saw
a large black cricket with a stiff tail, staring at
"Bless my heart! I thought you were some
relation of my cousin Grasshopper's. You came
down the hill with long leaps just like him; so
I stopped to say, How d' ye do," said the cricket,
in its creaky voice.
"I 'm not a grasshopper; but I have on fairy
shoes to-day, and so do many things that I
never did before," answered Kitty, much surprised
to be able to understand what the cricket said.
"It is midsummer day, and fairies can play
whatever pranks they like. If you did n't have
those shoes on, you could n't understand what
I say. Hark, and hear those squirrels talk, and
the birds, and the ants down here. Make the
most of this chance; for at sunset your shoes
will stop skipping, and the fun all be over."
While the cricket talked Kitty did hear all
sorts of little voices, singing, laughing, chatting
in the gayest way, and understood every word
they said. The squirrels called to one another
as they raced about,--
"Here's a nut, there's a nut;
In a hole, under leaves,
Acorns sweet are plenty,
Skip and scamper lively
Till the last ones fall."
The birds were singing softly,--
"Rock a bye, babies,
Soft down your pillow,
Father will feed you,
And shelter our darlings
And the ants were saying to one another as
they hurried in and out of their little houses,--
"Work, neighbor, work!
Wander far and wide,
We are never like
But like the busy bees,
"Ants always were dreadfully good, but
butterflies are ever so much prettier," said Kitty,
listening to the little voices with wonder and
Come down below,--
It's lovely and cool
Out here in the pool;
On a lily-pad float
For a nice green boat.
Here we sit and sing
In a pleasant ring;
Or leap-frog play,
In the jolliest way.
Our games have begun,
Come join in the fun."
"Dear me! what could I do over there in the
mud with the queer green frogs?" laughed Kitty,
as this song was croaked at her.
"No, no, come and fly
Through the sunny sky,
Or honey sip
From the rose's lip,
Or dance in the air,
Like spirits fair.
Come away, come away;
'T is our holiday."
A cloud of lovely yellow butterflies flew up
from a wild-rose bush, and went dancing away
higher and higher, till they vanished in the light
beyond the wood.
"That is better than leap-frog. I wish my
skipping shoes would let me fly up somewhere,
instead of carrying me on errands and where
I ought to go all the time," said Kitty,
watching the pretty things glitter as they flew.
Just at that minute a clock struck, and away
went the shoes over the pool, the hill, the road,
till they pranced in at the gate as the tea-bell
rang. Kitty amused the family by telling what
she had done and seen; but no one believed the
Fairyland part, and her father said, laughing,--
"Go on, my dear, making up little stories,
and by and by you may be as famous as Hans
Christian Andersen, whose books you like so well."
"The sun will soon set, and then my fun will
be over; so I must skip while I can," thought
Kitty, and went waltzing round the lawn so
prettily that all the family came to see her.
"She dances so well that she shall go to
dancing-school," said her mother, pleased with the
pretty antics of her little girl.
Kitty was delighted to hear that; for she had
longed to go, and went on skipping as hard as
she could, that she might learn some of the
graceful steps the shoes took before the day
"Come, dear, stop now, and run up to your
bath and bed. It has been a long hot day, and
you are tired; so get to sleep early, for Nursey
wants to go out," said her mother, as the sun
went down behind the hills with a last bright
glimmer, like the wink of a great sleepy eye.
"Oh, please, a few minutes more," began
Kitty, but was off like a flash; for the shoes
trotted her upstairs so fast that she ran against
old Nursey, and down she went, splashing the
water all over the floor, and scolding in such
a funny way that it made Kitty laugh so that
she could hardly pick her up again.
By the time she was ready to undress the sun
was quite gone, and the shoes she took off were
common ones again, for midsummer day was
over. But Kitty never forgot the little lessons
she had learned: she tried to run willingly when
spoken to; she remembered the pretty steps
and danced like a fairy; and best of all, she
always loved the innocent and interesting little
creatures in the woods and fields, and whenever
she was told she might go to play with them, she
hurried away almost as quickly as if she still
wore the skipping shoes.
So Cocky was brought in, and petted.--PAGE 105
In the barnyard a gray hen sat on her nest,
feeling very happy because it was time
for her eggs to hatch, and she hoped to have
a fine brood of chickens. Presently crack,
crack, went the shells; "Peep, peep!" cried
the chicks; "Cluck, cluck!" called the hen;
and out came ten downy little things one after
the other, all ready to run and eat and
scratch,--for chickens are not like babies, and don't
have to be tended at all.
There were eight little hens and two little
cockerels, one black and one as white as snow,
with yellow legs, bright eyes, and a tiny red
comb on his head. This was Cockyloo, the
good chick; but the black one was named
Peck, and was a quarrelsome bad fowl, as we
Mrs. Partlet, the mamma, was very proud
of her fine family; for the eight little
daughters were all white and very pretty. She led
them out into the farmyard, clucking and
scratching busily; for all were hungry, and ran
chirping round her to pick up the worms and
seeds she found for them. Cocky soon
began to help take care of his sisters; and when
a nice corn or a fat bug was found, he would
step back and let little Downy or Snowball have
it. But Peck would run and push them away,
and gobble up the food greedily. He chased
them away from the pan where the meal was,
and picked the down off their necks if they
tried to get their share. His mother scolded
him when the little ones ran to hide under her
wings; but he did n't care, and was very naughty.
Cocky began to crow when he was very young,
and had such a fine voice that people liked
to hear his loud, clear "Cock-a-doodle-doo!"
early in the morning; for he woke before the
sun was up, and began his song. Peck used
to grumble at being roused at dawn, for he
was lazy; but the hens bustled up, and were
glad to get out of the hen-house.
The father cock had been killed by a dog;
so they made Cocky king of the farmyard,
and Peck was very jealous of him.
"I came out of the shell first, and I am the
oldest; so I ought to be king," he said.
"But we don't like you, because you are
selfish, cross, and lazy. We want Cocky; he
is so lively, kind, and brave. He will make
a splendid bird, and he must be our king,"
answered the hens; and Peck had to mind,
or they would have pulled every feather out
of his little tail.
He resolved to do some harm to his good
brother, and plagued him all he could. One
day, when Cocky was swinging with three of
his sisters on a bush that hung over the brook,
Peck asked a stupid donkey feeding near to
come and put his heavy foot on the bush.
He did it, and crack went the branch, splash
went the poor chicks into the water, and all
were drowned but Cocky, who flew across
and was saved. Poor little Hop, Chirp, and
Downy went floating down the brook like balls
of white foam, and were never seen again.
All the hens mourned for them, and put a black
feather in their heads to show how sorry they
were. Mamma Partlet was heart-broken to
lose three darlings at once; but Cocky
comforted her, and never told how it happened,
because he was ashamed to have people know
what a bad bird Peck was.
A butterfly saw it all, and he told Granny
Cockletop about it; and the hens were so angry
that they turned Peck out of the barnyard, and
he had to go and live in the woods alone. He
said he did n't care; but he did, and was very
unhappy, and used to go and peep into the
pleasant field where the fowls scratched and
talked together. He dared not show himself,
for they would have driven him out. But
kind Cocky saw him, and would run with some
nice bit and creep through the fence into the
"Poor brother, I'm sorry for you, and I'll
come and play with you, and tell you the news."
Now in this wood lived a fox, and he had
been planning to eat Peck as soon as he was
fat; for he missed the good corn and meal he
used to have, and grew very thin living on
grasshoppers and berries. While he waited the sly
fellow made friends with Peck, though the bird
knew that foxes ate hens.
"I 'm not afraid, and I don't believe old
Granny Cockletop's tales. I can take care of
myself, I guess," he said, and went on playing
with the fox, who got him to tell all about the
hen-house,--how the door was fastened, and
where the plump chickens roosted, and what
time they went to bed,--so that he could creep
in and steal a good supper by and by. Silly
Peck never guessed what harm he was doing,
and only laughed when Cocky said,--
"You will be sorry if you play with the
fox. He is a bad fellow; so be careful and
sleep on a high branch, and keep out of his way,
as I do."
Cocky was fat and large, and the fox longed
to eat him, but never could, because he wisely
ran home whenever he saw the rogue hiding in
the wood. This made Peck angry, for he wanted
his brother to stay and play; and so one day,
when Cocky ran off in the midst of a nice game,
Peck said to the fox,--
"See here, if you want to catch that fellow,
I 'll tell you how to do it. He has promised to
bring me some food to-night, when all the rest
are at roost. He will hide and not get shut up;
then, when those cross old biddies are asleep,
he will cluck softly, and I am to go in and eat
all I want out of the pan. You hide on the top
of the hen-house; and while he talks to me, you
can pounce on him. Then I shall be the only
cock here, and they will have to make me king."
"All right," said the fox, much pleased with
the plan, and very glad that Peck had a chance
to get fatter.
So when it was night, Peck crept through
the broken paling and waited till he heard the
signal. Now, good Cocky had saved up nice bits
from his own dinner, and put them in a paper
hidden under a bush. He spread them all out
in the barnyard and called; and Peck came in
a great hurry to eat them, never stopping to say,
Cocky stood by talking pleasantly till a little
shower came up.
"Peck, dear, put this nice thick paper over
you; then you will be dry, and can go on eating.
I'll step under that burdock leaf and wait till
you are done," said Cocky; and Peck was too
busy gobbling up the food to remember
Now the fox had just crept up on the
hen-house roof; and when he peeped down, there
was just light enough to see a white thing
"Ah, ha! that's Cockyloo; now for a good
supper!" And with a jump he seized Peck by
the head before he could explain the mistake.
One squawk, and the naughty bird was dead;
but though the paper fell off, and the fox saw
what he had done, it was too late, and he began
to eat Peck up, while Cocky flew into a tree
and crowed so loud that the farmer ran with his
gun and shot the fox before he could squeeze
through the hole in the fence with the fowl in
After that the hens felt safe, for there were no
more foxes; and when they heard about Peck
they did not mourn at all, but liked Cocky
better than ever, and lived happily together, with
nothing to trouble them.
King Cockyloo grew to be a splendid bird,--pure
white, with a tall red comb on his head,
long spurs on his yellow legs, many fine feathers
in his tail, and eyes that shone like diamonds.
His crow was so loud that it could be heard all
over the neighborhood, and people used to say,
"Hark! hear Farmer Hunt's cock crow. Is n't
it a sweet sound to wake us in the dawn?" All
the other cocks used to answer him, and
there was a fine matinée concert every day.
He was a good brother, and led his five little
sisters all about the field, feeding, guarding,
and amusing them; for mamma was lame now,
and could not stir far from the yard. It was a
pretty sight to see Cocky run home with a worm
in his bill or a nice berry, and give it to his
mother, who was very proud of her handsome
son. Even old Granny Cockletop, who scolded
about everything, liked him; and often said, as
the hens sat scuffling in the dust,--
"A fine bird, my dears, a very fine bird, and
I know he will do something remarkable before
She was right for once; and this is what he did.
One day the farmer had to go away and stay
all night, leaving the old lady alone with two
boys. They were not afraid; for they had a
gun, and quite longed for a chance to fire it.
Now it happened that the farmer had a good
deal of money in the house, and some bad men
knew it; so they waited for him to go away that
they might steal it. Cocky was picking about
in the field when he heard voices behind the
wall, and peeping through a hole saw two
shabby men hiding there.
"At twelve, to-night, when all are asleep, we
will creep in at the kitchen window and steal the
money. You shall watch on the outside and
whistle if any one comes along while I 'm
looking for the box where the farmer keeps it," said
"You need n't be afraid; there is no dog, and
no one to wake the family, so we are quite
safe," said the other man; and then they both
went to sleep till night came.
Cocky was much troubled, and did n't know
what to do. He could not tell the old lady
about it; for he could only cackle and crow, and
she would not understand that language. So
he went about all day looking very sober, and
would not chase grasshoppers, play hide-and-seek
under the big burdock leaves, or hunt the
cricket with his sisters. At sunset he did not
go into the hen-house with the rest, but flew up
to the shed roof over the kitchen, and sat there
in the cold ready to scare the robbers with a
loud crow, as he could do nothing else.
At midnight the men came creeping along;
one stopped outside, and the other went in.
Presently he handed a basket of silver out, and
went back for the money. Just as he came
creeping along with the box, Cocky gave a
loud, long crow, that frightened the robbers and
woke the boys. The man with the basket ran
away in such a hurry that he tumbled into a
well; the other was going to get out of the
window, when Cocky flew down and picked at his
eyes and flapped his wings in his face, so that
he turned to run some other way, and met the
boys, who fired at him and shot him in the legs.
The old lady popped her head out of the upper
window and rang the dinner-bell, and called
"Fire! fire!" so loud that it roused the
neighbors, who came running to see what the trouble
They fished one man out of the well and
picked up the wounded one, and carried them
both off to prison.
"Who caught them?" asked the people.
"We did," cried the boys, very proud of what
they had done; "but we should n't have waked
if our good Cocky had not crowed, and scared
the rascals. He deserves half the praise, for this
is the second time he has caught a thief."
So Cocky was brought in, and petted, and
called a fine fellow; and his family were so
proud of him they clucked about it for weeks
When the robbers were tried, it was found
that they were the men who had robbed the
bank, and taken a great deal of money; so
every one was glad to have them shut up for
twenty years. It made a great stir, and people
would go to see Cocky and tell how he helped
catch the men; and he was so brave and
handsome, they said at last,--
"We want a new weather-cock on our courthouse,
and instead of an arrow let us have a
cock; and he shall look like this fine fellow."
"Yes, yes," cried the young folks, much
pleased; for they thought Cocky ought to be
remembered in some way.
So a picture was taken, and Cocky stood very
still, with his bright eye on the man; then one
like it was made of brass, and put high up on
the court-house, where all could see the
splendid bird shining like gold, and twirling about to
tell which way the wind was. The children were
never tired of admiring him; and all the hens
and chickens went in a procession one
moonlight night to see it,--yes, even Mamma
Partlet and Granny Cockletop, though one was lame
and the other very old, so full of pride were
they in the great honor done King Cockyloo.
This was not the end of his good deeds; and
the last was the best of all, though it cost him
his life. He ruled for some years, and kept his
kingdom in good order; for no one would kill
him, when many of the other fowls were taken
for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. But
he did die at last; and even then he was good
and brave, as you shall hear.
One of the boys wanted to smoke a pipe, and
went behind the hen-house, so nobody should
see him do such a silly thing. He thought he
heard his father coming, and hid the pipe under
the house. Some straw and dry leaves lay
about, and took fire, setting the place in a blaze;
for the boy ran away when he saw the mischief
he had done, and the fire got to burning nicely
before the cries of the poor hens called people
to help. The door was locked, and could not
be opened, because the key was in the pocket
of the naughty boy; so the farmer got an axe
and chopped down the wall, letting the poor
biddies fly out, squawking and smoking.
"Where is Cocky?" cried the other boy, as
he counted the hens and missed the king of the
"Burnt up, I 'm afraid," said the farmer, who
was throwing water on the flames.
Alas! yes, he was; for when the fire was out
they found good old Cocky sitting on a nest,
with his wide wings spread over some little
chicks whose mother had left them. They were
too small to run away, and sat chirping sadly
till Cocky covered and kept them safe, though
the smoke choked him to death.
Every one was very sorry; and the children
gave the good bird a fine funeral, and buried
him in the middle of the field, with a green
mound over him, and a white stone, on which
Here lies the bravest cock that ever crew:
We mourn for him with sorrow true.
Now nevermore at dawn his music shall we hear,
Waking the world like trumpet shrill and clear.
The hens all hang their heads, the chickens sadly peep;
The boys look sober, and the girls all weep.
Good-by, dear Cocky: sleep and rest.
With grass and daisies on your faithful breast;
And when you wake, brave bird, so good and true,
Clap your white wings and crow, "Cock-a-doodle-doo."
The lion walked awhile to rest himself.--PAGE 118
Rosy was a nice little girl who lived with
her mother in a small house in the woods.
They were very poor, for the father had gone
away to dig gold, and did not come back; so
they had to work hard to get food to eat and
clothes to wear. The mother spun yarn when
she was able, for she was often sick, and Rosy
did all she could to help. She milked the red
cow and fed the hens; dug the garden, and went
to town to sell the yarn and the eggs.
She was very good and sweet, and every one
loved her; but the neighbors were all poor, and
could do little to help the child. So, when at
last the mother died, the cow and hens and
house had to be sold to pay the doctor and the
debts. Then Rosy was left all alone, with no
mother, no home, and no money to buy clothes
and dinners with.
"What will you do?" said the people, who
were very sorry for her.
"I will go and find my father," answered Rosy,
"But he is far away, and you don't know just
where he is, up among the mountains. Stay
with us and spin on your little wheel, and we
will buy the yarn, and take care of you, dear
little girl," said the kind people.
"No, I must go; for mother told me to, and
my father will be glad to have me. I 'm not
afraid, for every one is good to me," said Rosy,
Then the people gave her a warm red
cloak, and a basket with a little loaf and bottle
of milk in it, and some pennies to buy more
to eat when the bread was gone. They all
kissed her, and wished her good luck; and she
trotted away through the wood to find her father.
For some days she got on very well; for the
wood-cutters were kind, and let her sleep in their
huts, and gave her things to eat. But by and by
she came to lonely places, where there were no
houses; and then she was afraid, and used to
climb up in the trees to sleep, and had to eat
berries and leaves, like the Children in the Wood.
She made a fire at night, so wild beasts would
not come near her; and if she met other
travellers, she was so young and innocent no one
had the heart to hurt her. She was kind to
everything she met; so all little creatures were
friends to her, as we shall see.
One day, as she was resting by a river, she saw
a tiny fish on the bank, nearly dead for want of
"Poor thing! go and be happy again," she
said, softly taking him up, and dropping him
into the nice cool river.
"Thank you, dear child; I '11 not forget, but
will help you some day," said the fish, when he
had taken a good drink, and felt better.
"Why, how can a tiny fish help such a great
girl as I am?" laughed Rosy.
"Wait and see," answered the fish, as he swam
away with a flap of his little tail.
Rosy went on her way, and forgot all about it.
But she never forgot to be kind; and soon after,
as she was looking in the grass for strawberries,
she found a field-mouse with a broken leg.
"Help me to my nest, or my babies will
starve," cried the poor thing.
"Yes, I will; and bring these berries so that
you can keep still till your leg is better, and
have something to eat."
Rosy took the mouse carefully in her little
hand, and tied up the broken leg with a leaf of
spearmint and a blade of grass. Then she
carried her to the nest under the roots of an old
tree, where four baby mice were squeaking sadly
for their mother. She made a bed of thistledown
for the sick mouse, and put close within
reach all the berries and seeds she could find,
and brought an acorn-cup of water from the
spring, so they could be comfortable.
"Good little Rosy, I shall pay you for all this
kindness some day," said the mouse, when she was done.
"I 'm afraid you are not big enough to do
much," answered Rosy, as she ran off to go on
"Wait and see," called the mouse; and all the
little ones squeaked, as if they said the same.
Some time after, as Rosy lay up in a tree,
waiting for the sun to rise, she heard a great buzzing
close by, and saw a fly caught in a cobweb that
went from one twig to another. The big spider
was trying to spin him all up, and the poor fly
was struggling to get away before his legs and
wings were helpless.
Rosy put up her finger and pulled down the
web, and the spider ran away at once to hide
under the leaves. But the happy fly sat on
Rosy's hand, cleaning his wings, and buzzing
so loud for joy that it sounded like a little trumpet.
"You 've saved my life, and I 'll save yours,
if I can," said the fly, twinkling his bright eye at Rosy.
"You silly thing, you can't help me," answered
Rosy, climbing down, while the fly buzzed away,
saying, like the mouse and fish,--
"Wait and see; wait and see."
Rosy trudged on and on, till at last she came
to the sea. The mountains were on the other
side; but how should she get over the wide
water? No ships were there, and she had no
money to hire one if there had been any; so she
sat on the shore, very tired and sad, and cried a
few big tears as salt as the sea.
"Hullo!" called a bubbly sort of voice close
by; and the fish popped up his head.
Rosy ran to see what he wanted.
"I 've come to help you over the water," said the fish.
"How can you, when I want a ship, and some
one to show me the way?" answered Rosy.
"I shall just call my friend the whale, and he
will take you over better than a ship, because
he won't get wrecked. Don't mind if he spouts
and flounces about a good deal, he is only
playing; so you need n't be frightened."
Down dived the little fish, and Rosy waited to
see what would happen; for she did n't believe
such a tiny thing could really bring a whale to
Presently what looked like a small island
came floating through the sea; and turning
round, so that its tail touched the shore, the
whale said, in a roaring voice that made her jump,--
"Come aboard, little girl, and hold on tight.
I 'll carry you wherever you like."
It was rather a slippery bridge, and Rosy was
rather scared at this big, strange boat; but she
got safely over, and held on fast; then, with a
roll and a plunge, off went the whale, spouting
two fountains, while his tail steered him like the
rudder of a ship.
Rosy liked it, and looked down into the
deep sea, where all sorts of queer and lovely
things were to be seen. Great fishes came and
looked at her; dolphins played near to amuse
her; the pretty nautilus sailed by in its
transparent boat; and porpoises made her laugh
with their rough play. Mermaids brought her
pearls and red coral to wear, sea-apples to eat,
and at night sung her to sleep with their sweet
So she had a very pleasant voyage, and ran
on shore with many thanks to the good whale,
who gave a splendid spout, and swam away.
Then Rosy travelled along till she came to a
desert. Hundreds of miles of hot sand, with no
trees or brooks or houses.
"I never can go that way," she said; "I
should starve, and soon be worn out walking in
that hot sand. What shall I do?"
Wait and see:
You were good to me;
So here I come,
From my little home,
To help you willingly,"
said a friendly voice; and there was the mouse,
looking at her with its bright eyes full of
"Why, you dear little thing, I 'm very glad
to see you; but I 'm sure you can't help me
across this desert," said Rosy, stroking its soft
"That's easy enough," answered the mouse,
rubbing its paws briskly. "I 'll just call my
friend the lion; he lives here, and he 'll take
you across with pleasure."
"Oh, I 'm afraid he 'd rather eat me. How
dare you call that fierce beast?" cried Rosy,
"I gnawed him out of a net once, and he
promised to help me. He is a noble animal,
and he will keep his word."
Then the mouse sang, in its shrill little voice,--
"O lion, grand,
Come over the sand,
And help me now, I pray!
Here 's a little lass,
Who wants to pass;
Please carry her on her way."
In a moment a loud roar was heard, and a
splendid yellow lion, with fiery eyes and a long
mane, came bounding over the sand to meet them.
"What can I do for you, tiny friend?" he
said, looking at the mouse, who was not a bit
frightened, though Rosy hid behind a rock,
expecting every moment to be eaten.
Mousie told him, and the good lion said
"I 'll take the child along. Come on, my
dear; sit on my back and hold fast to my mane,
for I 'm a swift horse, and you might fall off."
Then he crouched down like a great cat, and
Rosy climbed up, for he was so kind she could
not fear him; and away they went, racing over
the sand till her hair whistled in the wind. As
soon as she got her breath, she thought it great
fun to go flying along, while other lions and
tigers rolled their fierce eyes at her, but dared
not touch her; for this lion was king of all, and
she was quite safe. They met a train of camels
with loads on their backs; and the people
travelling with them wondered what queer thing was
riding that fine lion. It looked like a very large
monkey in a red cloak, but went so fast they
never saw that it was a little girl.
"How glad I am that I was kind to the
mouse; for if the good little creature had not
helped me, I never could have crossed this
desert," said Rosy, as the lion walked awhile to rest
"And if the mouse had not gnawed me out
of the net I never should have come at her
call. You see, little people can conquer big
ones, and make them gentle and friendly by
kindness," answered the lion.
Then away they went again, faster than ever,
till they came to the green country. Rosy
thanked the good beast, and he ran back; for
if any one saw him, they would try to catch him.
"Now I have only to climb up these mountains
and find father," thought Rosy, as she saw
the great hills before her, with many steep roads
winding up to the top; and far, far away rose the
smoke from the huts where the men lived and
dug for gold. She started off bravely, but took
the wrong road, and after climbing a long while
found the path ended in rocks over which she
could not go. She was very tired and hungry;
for her food was gone, and there were no houses
in this wild place. Night was coming on, and
it was so cold she was afraid she would freeze
before morning, but dared not go on lest she
should fall down some steep hole and be killed.
Much discouraged, she lay down on the moss
and cried a little; then she tried to sleep, but
something kept buzzing in her ear, and looking
carefully she saw a fly prancing about on the
moss, as if anxious to make her listen to his
"Rosy, my dear,
Don't cry,--I 'm here
To help you all I can.
I 'm only a fly,
But you 'll see that I
Will keep my word like a man."
Rosy could n't help laughing to hear the
brisk little fellow talk as if he could do great
things; but she was very glad to see him and
hear his cheerful song, so she held out her
finger, and while he sat there told him all her
"Bless your heart! my friend the eagle will
carry you right up the mountains and leave you
at your father's door," cried the fly; and he was
off with a flirt of his gauzy wings, for he meant
what he said.
Rosy was ready for her new horse, and not
at all afraid after the whale and the lion; so
when a great eagle swooped down and alighted
near her, she just looked at his sharp claws, big
eyes, and crooked beak as coolly as if he had
been a cock-robin.
He liked her courage, and said kindly in his
"Hop up, little girl, and sit among my feathers.
Hold me fast round the neck, or you may
grow dizzy and get a fall."
Rosy nestled down among the thick gray
feathers, and put both arms round his neck; and
whiz they went, up, up, up, higher and higher,
till the trees looked like grass, they were so far
below. At first it was very cold, and Rosy
cuddled deeper into her feather bed; then, as
they came nearer to the sun, it grew warm, and
she peeped out to see the huts standing in a
green spot on the top of the mountain.
"Here we are. You'll find all the men are
down in the mine at this time. They won't
come up till morning; so you will have to wait
for your father. Good-by; good luck, my
dear." And the eagle soared away, higher still,
to his nest among the clouds.
It was night now, but fires were burning in
all the houses; so Rosy went from hut to hut
trying to find her father's, that she might rest
while she waited: at last in one the picture
of a pretty little girl hung on the wall, and under
it was written, "My Rosy." Then she knew
that this was the right place; and she ate some
supper, put on more wood, and went to bed,
for she wanted to be fresh when her father came
in the morning.
While she slept a storm came on,--thunder
rolled and lightning flashed, the wind blew a
gale, and rain poured,--but Rosy never waked
till dawn, when she heard men shouting outside,--
"Run, run! The river is rising! We shall all
Rosy ran out to see what was the matter,
though the wind nearly blew her away; she
found that so much rain had made the river
overflow till it began to wash the banks away.
"What shall I do? what shall I do?" cried
Rosy, watching the men rush about like ants,
getting their bags of gold ready to carry off
before the water swept them away, if it became
As if in answer to her cry, Rosy heard a voice
say close by,--
Rumble and crash!
Here come the beavers gay;
See what they do,
Rosy, for you,
Because you helped me one day."
And there in the water was the little fish
swimming about, while an army of beavers began to
pile up earth and stones in a high bank to keep
the river back. How they worked, digging and
heaping with teeth and claws, and beating the
earth hard with their queer tails like shovels!
Rosy and the men watched them work, glad
to be safe, while the storm cleared up; and by
the time the dam was made, all danger was over.
Rosy looked into the faces of the rough men,
hoping her father was there, and was just going
to ask about him, when a great shouting rose
again, and all began to run to the pit hole,
"The sand has fallen in! The poor fellows
will be smothered! How can we get them
out? how can we get them out?"
Rosy ran too, feeling as if her heart would
break; for her father was down in the mine, and
would die soon if air did not come to him. The
men dug as hard as they could; but it was a
long job, and they feared they would not be in
Suddenly hundreds of moles came scampering
along, and began to burrow down through
the earth, making many holes for air to go in;
for they know how to build galleries through the
ground better than men can. Every one was so
surprised they stopped to look on; for the dirt
flew like rain as the busy little fellows scratched
and bored as if making an underground railway.
"What does it mean?" said the men. "They
work faster than we can, and better; but who
sent them? Is this strange little girl a fairy?"
Before Rosy could speak, all heard a shrill,
small voice singing,--
"They come at my call;
And though they are small,
They 'll dig the passage clear:
I never forget;
We 'll save them yet,
For love of Rosy dear."
Then all saw a little gray mouse sitting on
a stone, waving her tail about, and pointing
with her tiny paw to show the moles where
The men laughed; and Rosy was telling them
who she was, when a cry came from the pit,
and they saw that the way was clear so they
could pull the buried men up. In a minute they
got ropes, and soon had ten poor fellows safe on
the ground; pale and dirty, but all alive, and all
shouting as if they were crazy,--
"Tom's got it! Tom's got it! Hooray for Tom!"
"What is it?" cried the others; and then
they saw Tom come up with the biggest lump
of gold ever found in the mountains.
Every one was glad of Tom's luck; for he was
a good man, and had worked a long time, and
been sick, and could n't go back to his wife and
child. When he saw Rosy, he dropped the
lump, and caught her up, saying,--
"My little girl! she 's better than a million
pounds of gold."
Then Rosy was very happy, and went back
to the hut, and had a lovely time telling her
father all about her troubles and her travels.
He cried when he heard that the poor mother
was dead before she could have any of the good
things the gold would buy them.
"We will go away and be happy together in
the pleasantest home I can find, and never part
any more, my darling," said the father, kissing
Rosy as she sat on his knee with her arms round
She was just going to say something very
sweet to comfort him, when a fly lit on her arm
and buzzed very loud,--
"Don't drive me away,
But hear what I say:
Bad men want the gold;
They will steal it to-night,
And you must take flight;
So be quiet and busy and bold."
"I was afraid some one would take my lump
away. I 'll pack up at once, and we will creep
off while the men are busy at work; though
I 'm afraid we can't go fast enough to be safe,
if they miss us and come after," said Tom,
bundling his gold into a bag and looking very sober;
for some of the miners were wild fellows, and
might kill him for the sake of that great lump.
But the fly sang again,--
"Slip away with me,
And you will see
What a wise little thing am I;
For the road I show
No man can know,
Since it's up in the pathless sky."
Then they followed Buzz to a quiet nook in
the wood; and there were the eagle and his mate
waiting to fly away with them so fast and so far
that no one could follow. Rosy and the bag of
gold were put on the mother eagle; Tom sat
astride the king bird; and away they flew to a
great city, where the little girl and her father
lived happily together all their lives.
Poor Billy dangling from a bough, high above the ground. PAGE 146
HOW THEY RAN AWAY.
Two little boys sat on the fence whittling
arrows one fine day. Said one little boy
to the other little boy,--
"Let's do something jolly."
"All right. What will we do?"
"Run off to the woods and be hunters."
"What can we hunt?"
"Bears and foxes."
"Mullin says there ain't any round here."
"Well, we can shoot squirrels and snare woodchucks."
"Have n't got any guns and trap."
"We 've got our bows, and I found an old
trap behind the barn."
"What will we eat?"
"Here 's our lunch; and when that's gone we
can roast the squirrels and cook the fish on a
stick. I know how."
"Where will you get the fire?"
"Got matches in my pocket."
"I 've got a lot of things we could use. Let's see."
And as if satisfied at last, cautious Billy
displayed his treasures, while bold Tommy did the
Besides the two knives there were strings,
nails, matches, a piece of putty, fish-hooks, and
two very dirty handkerchiefs.
"There, sir, that 's a first-rate fit-out for
hunters; and with the jolly basket of lunch
Mrs. Mullin gave us, we can get on tip-top
for two or three days," said Tommy, eager to be off.
"Where shall we sleep?" asked Billy, who
liked to be comfortable both night and day.
"Oh, up in trees or on beds of leaves, like
the fellows in our books. If you are afraid, stay
at home; I 'm going to have no end of a good
time." And Tommy crammed the things back
into his pockets as if there were no time to lose.
"Pooh! I ain't afraid. Come on!" And
jumping down Billy caught up his rod, rather
ashamed of his many questions.
No one was looking at them, and they might
have walked quietly off; but that the "running
away" might be all right, both raced down the
road, tumbled over a wall, and dashed into the
woods as if a whole tribe of wild Indians were
"Do you know the way?" panted Billy, when
at last they stopped for breath.
"Yes, it winds right up the mountain; but
we 'd better not keep to it, or some one will see
us and take us back. We are going to be real
hunters and have adventures; so we must get
lost, and find our way by the sun and the stars,"
answered Tommy, who had read so many Boys'
Books his little head was a jumble of Texan
Rangers, African Explorers, and Buffalo Bills;
and he burned to outdo them all.
"What will our mothers say if we really get
lost?" asked Billy, always ready with a question.
"Mine won't fuss. She lets me do what I like."
That was true; for Tommy's poor mamma
was tired of trying to keep the lively little
fellow in order, and had got used to seeing him
come out of all his scrapes without much harm.
"Mine will be scared; she 's always afraid
I 'm going to get hurt, so I 'm careful. But I
guess I 'll risk it, and have some fun to tell
about when we go home," said Billy, trudging
after Captain Tommy, who always took the lead.
These eleven-year-old boys were staying with
their mothers at a farm-house up among the
mountains; and having got tired of the tame
bears, the big barn, the trout brook, the thirty
colts at pasture, and the society of the few little
girls and younger boys at the hotel near by,
these fine fellows longed to break loose and
"rough it in the bush," as the hunters did in
their favorite stories.
Away they went, deeper and deeper into the
great forest that covered the side of the
mountain. A pleasant place that August day; for it
was cool and green, with many brooks splashing
over the rocks, or lying in brown pools
under the ferns. Squirrels chattered and raced
in the tall pines; now and then a gray rabbit
skipped out of sight among the brakes, or a
strange bird flew by. Here and there blackberries
grew in the open places, sassafras bushes
were plentiful, and black-birch bark was ready
"Don't you call this nice?" asked Tommy,
pausing at last in a little dell where a noisy
brook came tumbling down the mountain side,
and the pines sung overhead.
"Yes; but I 'm awful hungry. Let's rest and
eat our lunch," said Billy, sitting down on a
cushion of moss.
"You always want to be stuffing and resting,"
answered sturdy Tommy, who liked to be
moving all the time.
He took the fishing-basket, which hung over
his shoulder by a strap, and opened it carefully;
for good Mrs. Mullin had packed a nice lunch
of bread and butter, cake and peaches, with a
bottle of milk, and two large pickles slipped in
on the sly to please the boys.
Tommy's face grew very sober as he looked
in, for all he saw was a box of worms for bait
and an old jacket.
"By George! we 've got the wrong basket.
This is Mullin's, and he 's gone off with our
prog. Won't he be mad?"
"Not as mad as I am. Why did n't you
look? You are always in such a hurry to start.
What shall we do now without anything to eat?"
whined Billy; for losing his lunch was a dreadful
blow to him.
"We shall have to catch some fish and eat
blackberries. Which will you do, old cry-baby?"
said Tommy, laughing at the other boy's dismal face.
"I 'll fish; I 'm so tired I can't go scratching
round after berries. I don't love 'em, either." And
Billy began to fix his line and bait his hook.
"Lucky we got the worms; you can eat 'em
if you can't wait for fish," said Tommy, bustling
about to empty the basket and pile up their few
possessions in a heap. "There's a quiet pool
below here, you go and fish there. I 'll pick the
berries, and then show you how to get dinner
in the woods. This is our camp; so fly round
and do your best."
Then Tommy ran off to a place near by
where he had seen the berries, while Billy found
a comfortable nook by the pool, and sat scowling
at the water so crossly, it was a wonder any
trout came to his hook. But the fat worms
tempted several small ones, and he cheered up
at the prospect of food. Tommy whistled while
he picked, and in half an hour came back with
two quarts of nice berries and an armful of dry
sticks for the fire.
"We 'll have a jolly dinner, after all," he said,
as the flames went crackling up, and the dry
leaves made a pleasant smell.
"Got four, but don't see how we 'll ever cook
'em; no frying-pan," grumbled Billy, throwing
down the four little trout, which he had half
"Don't want any. Broil 'em on the coals, or
toast 'em on a forked stick. I 'll show you how,"
said cheerful Tommy, whittling away, and feeding
his fire as much like a real hunter as a small
boy could be.
While he worked, Billy ate berries and sighed
for bread and butter. At last, after much trouble,
two of the trout were half cooked and eagerly
eaten by the hungry boys. But they were very
different from the nice brown ones Mrs. Mullin
gave them; for in spite of Tommy's struggles
they would fall in the ashes, and there was no
salt to eat with them. By the time the last were
toasted, the young hunters were so hungry they
could have eaten anything, and not a berry was left.
"I set the trap down there, for I saw a hole
among the vines, and I should n't wonder if we
got a rabbit or something," said Tommy, when
the last bone was polished. "You go and catch
some more fish, and I 'll see if I have caught any
old chap as he went home to dinner."
Off ran Tommy; and the other boy went
slowly back to the brook, wishing with all his
might he was at home eating sweet corn and berry pie.
The trout had evidently gone to their dinners,
for not one bite did poor Billy get; and he was
just falling asleep when a loud shout gave him
such a fright that he tumbled into the brook up
to his knees.
"I 've got him! Come and see! He's a
bouncer," roared Tommy, from the berry bushes
some way off.
Billy scrambled out, and went as fast as his
wet boots would let him, to see what the prize
was. He found Tommy dancing wildly round
a fat gray animal, who was fighting to get his
paws out of the trap, and making a queer noise
as he struggled about.
"What is it?" asked Billy, getting behind a
tree as fast as possible; for the thing looked
fierce, and he was very timid.
"A raccoon, I guess, or a big woodchuck.
Won't his fur make a fine cap? I guess the
other fellows will wish they 'd come with us,"
said Tommy, prancing to and fro, without the
least idea what to do with the creature.
"He 'll bite. We 'd better run away and wait
till he 's dead," said Billy.
"Wish he 'd got his head in, then I could
carry him off; but he does look savage, so we'll
have to leave him awhile, and get him when we
come back. But he's a real beauty." And
Tommy looked proudly at the bunch of gray
fur scuffling in the sand.
"Can we ever eat him?" asked hungry Billy,
ready for a fried crocodile if he could get it.
"If he 's a raccoon, we can; but I don't know
about woodchucks. The fellows in my books
don't seem to have caught any. He 's nice and
fat; we might try him when he 's dead," said
Tommy, who cared more for the skin to show
than the best meal ever cooked.
The sound of a gun echoing through the
wood gave Tommy a good idea,--
"Let's find the man and get him to shoot this
chap; then we need n't wait, but skin him right
away, and eat him too."
Off they went to the camp; and catching up
their things, the two hunters hurried away in the
direction of the sound, feeling glad to know that
some one was near them, for two or three hours
of wood life made them a little homesick.
They ran and scrambled, and listened and
called; but not until they had gone a long way
up the mountain did they find the man, resting
in an old hut left by the lumbermen. The
remains of his dinner were spread on the floor,
and he lay smoking, and reading a newspaper,
while his dog dozed at his feet, close to a
He looked surprised when two dirty, wet
little boys suddenly appeared before him,--one
grinning cheerfully, the other looking very
dismal and scared as the dog growled and glared
at them as if they were two rabbits.
"Hollo!" said the man.
"Hollo!" answered Tommy.
"Who are you?" asked the man.
"Hunters," said Tommy.
"Had good luck?" And the man laughed.
"First-rate. Got a raccoon in our trap, and
we want you to come and shoot him," answered
"Sure?" said the man, looking interested as
well as amused.
"No; but I think so."
"What's he like?"
Tommy described him, and was much disappointed
when the man lay down again, saying,
with another laugh,--
"It's a woodchuck; he's no good."
"But I want the skin."
"Then don't shoot him, let him die; that's
better for the skin," said the man, who was
tired and did n't want to stop for such poor game.
All this time Billy had been staring hard at
the sandwiches and bread and cheese on the
floor, and sniffing at them, as the dog sniffed at
"Want some grub?" asked the man, seeing
the hungry look.
"I just do! We left our lunch, and I 've only
had two little trout and some old berries since
breakfast," answered Billy, with tears in his eyes
and a hand on his stomach.
"Eat away then; I 'm done, and don't want
the stuff." And the man took up his paper as
if glad to be let alone.
It was lucky that the dog had been fed, for in
ten minutes nothing was left but the napkin;
and the boys sat picking up the crumbs, much
refreshed, but ready for more.
"Better be going home, my lads; it's pretty
cold on the mountain after sunset, and you are
a long way from town," said the man, who had
peeped at them over his paper now and then,
and saw, in spite of the dirt and rips, that they
were not farmer boys.
"We don't live in town; we are at Mullin's, in
the valley. No hurry; we know the way, and
we want to have some sport first. You seem to
have done well," answered Tommy, looking
enviously from the gun to the game-bag, out of
which hung a rabbit's head and a squirrel's tail.
"Pretty fair; but I want a shot at the bear.
People tell me there is one up here, and I 'm
after him; for he kills the sheep, and might hurt
some of the young folks round here," said the
man, loading his gun with a very sober air; for
he wanted to get rid of the boys and send them home.
Billy looked alarmed; but Tommy's brown
face beamed with joy as he said eagerly,--
"I hope you 'll get him. I 'd rather shoot a
bear than any other animal but a lion. We
don't have those here, and bears are scarce.
Mullin said he had n't heard of one for a long
time; so this must be a young one, for they
killed the big one two years ago."
That was true, and the man knew it. He did
not really expect or want to meet a bear, but
thought the idea of one would send the little
fellows home at once. Finding one of them was
unscared, he laughed, and said with a nod to
"If I had time I 'd take you along, and show
you how to hunt; but this fat friend of yours
could n't rough it with us, and we can't leave him
alone; so go ahead your own way. Only I
wouldn't climb any higher, for among the
rocks you are sure to get hurt or lost."
"Oh, I say, let's go! Such fun, Billy! I
know you'll like it. A real gun and dog and
hunter! Come on, and don't be a molly-coddle,"
cried Tommy, wild to go.
"I won't! I'm tired, and I'm going home;
you can go after your old bears if you want to.
I don't think much of hunting anyway, and
wish I had n't come," growled Billy, very cross
at being left out, yet with no desire to scramble
"Can't stop. Good-by. Get along home, and
some day I 'll come and take you out with me,
little Leatherstocking," said the man, striding
off with the dear gun and dog and bag, leaving
Billy to wonder what he meant by that queer
name, and Tommy to console himself with the
promise made him.
"Let's go and see how old Chucky gets
on," he said good-naturedly, when the man vanished.
"Not till I 'm rested. I can get a good nap
on this pile of hay; then we'll go home before
it's late," answered lazy Billy, settling himself on
the rough bed the lumbermen had used.
"I just wish I had a boy with some go in
him; you ain't much better than a girl," sighed
Tommy, walking off to a pine-tree where some
squirrels seemed to be having a party, they
chattered and raced up and down at such a rate.
He tried his bow and shot all his arrows many
times in vain, for the lively creatures gave him
no chance. He had better luck with a brown
bird who sat in a bush and was hit full in the
breast with the sharpest arrow. The poor thing
fluttered and fell, and its blood wet the green
leaves as it lay dying on the grass. Tommy
was much pleased at first; but as he stood
watching its bright eye grow dim and its pretty
brown wings stop fluttering, he felt sorry that
its happy little life was so cruelly ended, and
ashamed that his thoughtless fun had given so
"I 'll never shoot another bird except hawks
after chickens, and I won't brag about this one.
It was so tame, and trusted me, I was very mean
to kill it."
As he thought this, Tommy smoothed the
ruffled feathers of the dead thrush, and, making
a little grave under the pine, buried it wrapped
in green leaves, and left it there where its mate
could sing over it, and no rude hands disturb
"I 'll tell mamma and she will understand; but
I won't tell Billy. He is such a greedy old chap
he'll say I ought to have kept the poor bird to
eat," thought Tommy, as he went back to the hut,
and sat there, restringing his bow, till Billy woke
up, much more amiable for his sleep.
They tried to find the woodchuck, but lost
their way, and wandered deeper into the great
forest till they came to a rocky place and could
go no farther. They climbed up and tumbled
down, turned back and went round, looked at
the sun and knew it was late, chewed sassafras
bark and checkerberry leaves for supper, and
grew more and more worried and tired as hour
after hour went by and they saw no end to
woods and rocks. Once or twice they heard
the hunter's gun far away, and called and tried
to find him.
Tommy scolded Billy for not going with the
man, who knew his way and was probably safe in
the valley when the last faint shot came up to
them. Billy cried, and reproached Tommy for
proposing to run away; and both felt very
homesick for their mothers and their good safe beds
at Farmer Mullin's.
The sun set, and found them in a dreary place
full of rocks and blasted trees half-way up the
mountain. They were so tired they could hardly
walk, and longed to lie down anywhere to sleep;
but, remembering the hunter's story of the bear,
they were afraid to do it, till Tommy suggested
climbing a tree, after making a fire at the foot
of it to scare away the bear, lest he climb too
and get them.
But, alas! the matches were left in their first
camp; so they decided to take turns to sleep
and watch, since it was plain that they must
spend the night there. Billy went up first, and
creeping into a good notch of the bare tree
tried to sleep, while brave Tommy, armed with
a big stick, marched to and fro below. Every
few minutes a trembling voice would call from
above, "Is anything coming?" and an anxious
voice would answer from below, "Not yet.
Hurry up and go to sleep! I want my turn."
At last Billy began to snore, and then Tommy
felt so lonely he could n't bear it; so he climbed
to a lower branch, and sat nodding and trying
to keep watch, till he too fell fast asleep, and
the early moon saw the poor boys roosting
there like two little owls.
A loud cry, a scrambling overhead, and then
a great shaking and howling waked Tommy so
suddenly that he lost his wits for a moment and
did not know where he was.
"The bear! the bear! don't let him get me!
Tommy, Tommy, come and make him let go,"
cried Billy, filling the quiet night with dismal howls.
Tommy looked up, expecting to behold a large
bear eating his unhappy friend; but the
moonlight showed him nothing but poor Billy
dangling from a bough, high above the ground,
caught by his belt when he fell. He had been
dreaming of bears, and rolled off his perch; so
there he hung, kicking and wailing, half awake,
and so scared it was long before Tommy could
make him believe that he was quite safe.
How to get him down was the next question.
The branch was not strong enough to bear
Tommy, though he climbed up and tried to
unhook poor Billy. The belt was firmly twisted
at the back, and Billy could not reach to undo
it, nor could he get his legs round the branch
to pull himself up. There seemed no way but
to unbuckle the belt and drop. That he was
afraid to try; for the ground was hard, and
the fall a high one. Fortunately both belt and
buckle were strong; so he hung safely, though
very uncomfortably, while Tommy racked his
boyish brain to find a way to help him.
Billy had just declared that he should be cut
in two very soon if something was not done for
him, and Tommy was in despair, when they
thought they heard a far-off shout, and both
answered it till their throats were nearly split
"I seem to see a light moving round down
that way," cried Billy from his hook, pointing
toward the valley.
"They are looking for us, but they won't hear
us. I 'll run and holler louder, and bring 'em
up here," answered Tommy, glad to do anything
that would put an end to this dreadful
state of things.
"Don't leave me! I may fall and be killed!
The bear might come! Don't go! don't go!"
wailed Billy, longing to drop, but afraid.
"I won't go far, and I 'll come back as quick
as I can. You are safe up there. Hold on, and
we 'll soon get you down," answered Tommy,
rushing away helter-skelter, never minding where
he went, and too much excited to care for any damage.
The moon was bright on the blasted trees;
but when he came down among the green pines,
it grew dark, and he often stumbled and fell.
Never minding bumps and bruises, he scrambled
over rocks, leaped fallen trunks, floundered
through brooks, and climbed down steep places,
till, with a reckless jump, he went heels over
head into a deep hole, and lay there for a
moment stunned by the fall. It was an old
bear-trap, long unused, and fortunately well carpeted
with dead leaves, or poor Tommy would have
broken his bones.
When he came to himself he was so used up
that he lay still for some time in a sort of daze,
too tired to know or care about anything, only
dimly conscious that somebody was lost in a
tree or a well, and that, on the whole, running
away was not all fun.
By and by the sound of a gun roused him;
and remembering poor Billy, he tried to get
out of the pit,--for the moon showed him where
he was. But it was too deep, and he was too
stiff with weariness and the fall to be very
nimble. So he shouted, and whistled, and
raged about very like a little bear caught in
It is very difficult to find a lost person on these
great mountains, and many wander for hours not
far from help, bewildered by the thick woods,
the deep ravines, and precipices which shut them
in. Some have lost their lives; and as Tommy
lay on the leaves used up by his various struggles,
he thought of all the stories he had lately heard
at the farm, and began to wonder how it would
feel to starve to death down there, and to wish
poor Billy could come to share his prison, that
they might die together, like the Babes in the
Wood, or better still the Boy Scouts lost on the
prairies in that thrilling story, "Bill Boomerang,
the Wild Hunter of the West."
"I guess mother is worried this time, because
I never stayed out all night before, and I never
will again without leave. It's rather good fun,
though, if they only find me. I ain't afraid, and
it is n't very cold. I always wanted to sleep out,
and now I 'm doing it. Wish poor Billy was
safely down and in this good bed with me.
Won't he be scared all alone there? Maybe the
belt will break and he get hurt bumping down.
Sorry now I left him, he's such a 'fraid-cat.
There's the gun again! Guess it's that man after
us. Hi! hollo! Here I am! Whoop! Hurrah!
Hi! hi! hi!"
Tommy's meditations ended in a series of
yells as loud as his shrill little voice could make
them, and he thought some one answered. But
it must have been an echo, for no one came; and
after another rampage round his prison, the
poor boy nestled down among the leaves, and
went fast asleep because there was nothing else
So there they were, the two young hunters,
lost at midnight on the mountain,--one hanging
like an apple on the old tree, and the other sound
asleep in a bear-pit. Their distracted mothers
meantime were weeping and wringing their hands
at the farm, while all the men in the
neighborhood were out looking for the lost boys. The
hunter on his return to the hotel had reported
meeting the runaways and his effort to send
them home in good season; so people knew
where to look, and, led by the man and dog, up
the mountain went Mr. Mullin with his troop.
It was a mild night, and the moon shone high and
clear; so the hunt was, on the whole, rather easy
and pleasant at first, and lanterns flashed through
the dark forest like fireflies, the lonely cliffs
seemed alive with men, and voices echoed in
places where usually only the brooks babbled and
the hawks screamed. But as time went on, and
no sign of the boys appeared, the men grew
anxious, and began to fear some serious harm
had come to the runaways.
"I can't go home without them little shavers
no way, 'specially Tommy," said Mr. Mullin, as
they stopped to rest after a hard climb through
the blasted grove. "He's a boy after my own
heart, spry as a chipmunk, smart as a young
cockerel, and as full of mischief as a monkey.
He ain't afraid of anything, and I should n't be a
mite surprised to find him enjoyin' himself
first-rate, and as cool as a coocumber."
"The fat boy won't take it so easily, I fancy.
If it had n't been for him I 'd have kept the
lively fellow with me, and shown him how to
hunt. Sorry now I did n't take them both
home," said the man with the gun, seeing his
mistake too late, as people often do.
"Maybe they 've fell down a precipice and
got killed, like Moses Warner, when he was
lost," suggested a tall fellow, who had shouted
"Hush up, and come on! The dog is barkin'
yonder, and he may have found 'em," said the
farmer, hurrying toward the place where the
hound was baying at something in a tree.
It was poor Billy, hanging there still, half
unconscious with weariness and fear. The belt
had slipped up under his arms, so he could
breathe easily; and there he was, looking like a
queer sort of cone on the blasted pine.
"Wal, I never!" exclaimed the farmer, as
the tall lad climbed up, and, unhooking Billy,
handed him down like a young bird, into the
arms held up to catch him.
"He 's all right, only scared out of his
wits. Come along and look for the other
one. I 'll warrant he went for help, and may be
half-way home by this time," said the hunter,
who did n't take much interest in the fat boy.
Tommy's hat lay on the ground; and showing
it to the dog, his master told him to find the
boy. The good hound sniffed about, and then
set off with his nose to the ground, following
the zigzag track Tommy had taken in his hurry.
The hunter and several of the men went after
him, leaving the farmer with the others to take
care of Billy.
Presently the dog came to the bear-pit, and
began to bark again.
"He 's got him!" cried the men, much
relieved; and rushing on soon saw the good beast
looking down at a little white object in one
corner of the dark hole.
It was Tommy's face in the moonlight, for the
rest of him was covered up with leaves. The
little round face seemed very quiet; and for a
moment the men stood quite still, fearing that
the fall might have done the boy some harm.
Then the hunter leaped down, and gently
touched the brown cheek. It was warm, and
a soft snore from the pug nose made the man
call out, much relieved,--
"He 's all right. Wake up here, little chap;
you are wanted at home. Had hunting enough
for this time?"
As he spoke, Tommy opened his eyes, gave
a stretch, and said, "Hollo, Billy," as calmly as
if in his own bed at home. Then the rustle of
the leaves, the moonlight in his face, and the
sight of several men staring down at him
startled him wide awake.
"Did you shoot the big bear?" he asked,
looking up at the hunter with a grin.
"No; but I caught a little one, and here he
is," answered the man, giving Tommy a roll in
the leaves, much pleased because he did not
whine or make a fuss.
"Got lost, didn't we? Oh, I say, where's
Billy? I left him up a tree like a coon, and he
would n't come down," laughed Tommy, kicking
off his brown bed-clothes, and quite ready to
get up now.
They all laughed with him; and presently,
when the story was told, they pulled the boy
out of the pit, and went back to join the other
wanderer, who was now sitting up eating the
bread and butter Mrs. Mullin sent for their very
The men roared again, as the two boys told
their various tribulations; and when they had
been refreshed, the party started for home,
blowing the tin horns, and firing shot after shot to
let the scattered searchers know that the lost
children were found. Billy was very quiet, and
gladly rode on the various broad backs offered
for his use; but Tommy stoutly refused to be
carried, and with an occasional "boost" over a
very rough place, walked all the way down on
his own sturdy legs. He was the hero of the
adventure, and was never tired of relating how
he caught the woodchuck, cooked the fish, slid
down the big rock, and went to bed in the old
bear-pit. But in his own little mind he resolved
to wait till he was older before he tried to be a
hunter; and though he caught several woodchucks
that summer, he never shot another
harmless little bird.
A wasp flew out and stung her lips.--PAGE 159
THE FAIRY BOX.
"T wish I had a magic bracelet like
Rosamond's, that would prick me when I was
going to do wrong," said little May, as she put
down the story she had been reading.
There was no one else in the room, but she
heard a sweet voice sing these words close to
"Now hark, little May,
Under your pillow
If you have been good
A gift you will find,
But if you have been
A bad thing will come
So try, little dear,
How easy and sweet
To grow good it will be."
May was very much surprised at this, and
looked everywhere to see who spoke, but could
find no one.
"I guess I dreamed it; but my eyes are wide
open, and I can't make up poetry, asleep or awake."
As she said that, some one laughed; and the
same voice sang again,--
"Ha, ha! you can't see,
But listen to what
Tell no one of this,
My fun will be spoilt,
But if you are good,
A real fairy will come
"Oh, how splendid that will be! I 'll try hard,
and be as good as an angel if I can only get one
peep at a live fairy. I always said, there were
such people, and now I shall know how they
look," cried the little girl, so pleased that she
danced all about the room, clapping her hands.
Something bright darted out of the window
from among the flowers that stood there, and no
more songs were heard; so May knew that the
elf had gone.
"I 've got a fine secret all to myself, and I 'll
keep it carefully. I wonder what present will
come to-night," she said, thinking this a very
She was very good all day, and made no fuss
about going to bed, though usually she fretted,
and wanted to play, and called for water, and
plagued poor Nursey in many ways. She got
safely into her little nest, and then was in such
a hurry to see what was under her pillow that
she forgot, and called out crossly,--
"Do hurry and go away. Don't wait to hang
up my clothes, you slow old thing! Go, go!"
That hurt Nurse's feelings, and she went away
without her good-night kiss. But May did n't
care, and felt under her pillow the minute the
door was shut. A lamp was always left burning;
so she could see the little gold box she
"How pretty! I hope there is some candy
in it," she said, opening it very carefully.
Oh, dear! what do you think happened? A
wasp flew out and stung her lips; then both
wasp and box vanished, and May was left to cry
alone, with a sharp pain in the lips that said the
"What a dreadful present! I don't like that
spiteful fairy who sends such horrid things," she
Then she lay still and thought about it; for
she dared not call any one, because nobody
must guess the secret. She knew in her own
little heart that the cross words hurt Nursey as
the sting did her lips, and she felt sorry. At
once the smart got better, and by the time she
had resolved to ask the good old woman to
forgive her, it was all gone.
Next morning she kissed Nursey and begged
pardon, and tried hard to be good till tea-time;
then she ran to see what nice things they were
going to have to eat, though she had often been
told not to go into the dining-room. No one
was there; and on the table stood a dish of
delicious little cakes, all white like snowballs.
"I must have just a taste, and I 'll tell mamma
afterward," she said; and before she knew it one
little cake was eaten all up.
"Nobody will miss it, and I can have another
at tea. Now, a lump of sugar and a sip of cream
before mamma comes, I so like to pick round."
Having done one wrong thing, May felt like
going on; so she nibbled and meddled with all
sorts of forbidden things till she heard a step,
then she ran away; and by and by, when the
bell rang, came in with the rest as prim and
proper as if she did not know how to play
pranks. No one missed the cake, and her
mother gave her another, saying,--
"There, dear, is a nice plummy one for my
May turned red, and wanted to tell what she
had done, but was ashamed because there was
company; and people thought she blushed like
a modest little girl at being praised.
But when she went to bed she was almost
afraid to look under the pillow, knowing that
she had done wrong. At last she slowly drew
out the box, and slowly opened it, expecting
something to fly at her. All she saw was a tiny
black bag, that began at once to grow larger,
till it was big enough to hold her two hands.
Then it tied itself tight round her wrists, as
if to keep these meddlesome hands out of
"Well, this is very queer, but not so dreadful
as the wasp. I hope no one will see it when
I 'm asleep. I do wish I 'd let those cakes and
things alone," sighed May, looking at the black
bag, and vainly trying to get her hands free.
She cried herself to sleep, and when she woke
the bag was gone. No one had seen it; but she
told her mamma about the cake, and promised
not to do so any more.
"Now this shall be a truly good day, every
bit of it," she said, as she skipped away, feeling
as light as a feather after she had confessed her
But, alas! it is so easy to forget and do wrong,
that May spoilt her day before dinner by going
to the river and playing with the boats, in spite
of many orders not to do it. She did not tell
of it, and went to a party in the afternoon, where
she was so merry she never remembered the
naughty thing till she was in bed and opened
the fairy box. A little chain appeared, which
in a flash grew long and large, and fastened
round her ankles as if she were a prisoner. May
liked to tumble about, and was much disgusted
to be chained in this way; but there was no
help for it, so she lay very still and had plenty
of time to be sorry.
"It is a good punishment for me, and I
deserve it. I won't cry, but I will--I will
remember." And May said her prayers very
soberly, really meaning to keep her word this time.
All the next day she was very careful to keep
her lips from cross words, her hands from
forbidden things, and her feet from going wrong.
Nothing spoilt this day, she watched so well;
and when mamma gave the good-night kiss, she said,--
"What shall I give my good little daughter,
who has been gentle, obedient, and busy all day?"
"I want a white kitty, with blue eyes, and a
pink ribbon on its neck," answered May.
"I'll try and find one. Now go to bed, deary,
and happy dreams!" said mamma, with many
kisses on the rosy cheeks, and the smile that
was a reward.
May was so busy thinking about the kitty and
the good day that she forgot the box till she
heard a little "Mew, mew!" under her pillow.
"Mercy me! what's that?" And she popped
up her head to see.
Out came the box; off flew the lid, and there,
on a red cushion, lay a white kit about two
inches long. May could n't believe that it was
alive till it jumped out of its nest, stretched
itself, and grew all at once just the right size to
play with and be pretty. Its eyes were blue, its
tail like a white plume, and a sweet pink bow
was on its neck. It danced all over the bed,
ran up the curtains, hid under the clothes,
nipped May's toes, licked her face, patted her
nose with its soft paw, and winked at her in such
a funny way that she laughed for joy at having
such a dear kitty. Presently, as if it knew that
bed was the place to lie quiet in, puss cuddled
down in a little bunch and purred May to sleep.
"I suppose that darling kit will be gone like
all the other things," said May, as she waked up
and looked round for her first pretty gift.
No; there was the lovely thing sitting in the
sun among the flower-pots, washing her face
and getting ready for play. What a fine frolic
they had; and how surprised every one was to
see just the pussy May wanted! They supposed
it came as kitties often come; and May never
told them it was a fairy present, because she had
promised not to. She was so happy with little
puss that she was good all day; and when she
went to bed she thought,--
"I wish I had a dog to play with darling
Snowdrop, and run with me when I go to walk."
"Bow, wow, wow!" came from under the
pillow; and out of the box trotted a curly black
dog, with long ears, a silver collar, and such
bright, kind eyes May was not a bit afraid of
him, but loved him at once, and named him
Floss, he was so soft and silky. Pussy liked
him too; and when May was sleepy they both
snuggled down in the same basket like two
good babies, and went to by-low.
"Well, I never! What shall we find next?"
said Nurse, when she saw the dog in the morning.
"Perhaps it will be an elephant, to fill the
whole house, and scare you out of your wits,"
laughed May, dancing about with Snowdrop
chasing her bare toes, while Floss shook and
growled over her shoes as if they were rats.
"If your cousin John wants to give you any
more animals, I wish he 'd send a pony to take
you to school, and save my old legs the pain of
trotting after you," said Nurse; for May did
have a rich cousin who was very fond of her,
and often gave her nice things.
"Perhaps he will," laughed May, much tickled
with the idea that it was a fairy, and not Cousin
John, who sent the cunning little creatures to her.
But she did n't get the pony that night; for
in the afternoon her mother told her not to sit
on the lawn, because it was damp, and May
did not mind, being busy with a nice story. So
when she took up her box, a loud sneeze seemed
to blow the lid off, and all she saw was a bit of
"What is this for?" she asked, much disappointed;
and as if to answer, the strip of flannel
wrapped itself round her neck.
"There! my throat is sore, and I am hoarse.
I wonder how that fairy knew I sat on the damp
grass. I 'm so sorry; for I did want a pony, and
might have had it if I 'd only minded," said May,
angry with herself for spoiling all her fun.
It was spoilt; for she had such a cold next
day she could n't go out at all, but had to take
medicine and keep by the fire, while the other
children had a lovely picnic.
"I won't wish for anything to-night; I don't
deserve a present, I was so disobedient. But I
have tried to be patient," said May, feeling for
The fairy had not forgotten her, and there was
a beautiful picture-book, full of new, nice stories
printed in colored ink.
"How splendid to read to-morrow while I 'm
shut up!" she said, and went to sleep very happily.
All the next day she enjoyed the pretty
pictures and funny tales, and never complained or
fretted at all, but was so much better the doctor
said she could go out to-morrow, if it was fine.
"Now I will wish for the pony," said May, in
her bed. But there was nothing in the box
except a little red-silk rope, like a halter. She
did not know what to do with it that night,
but she did the next morning; for just as
she was dressed her brother called from the
"May, look out and see what we found in
the stable. None of us can catch him, so do
come and see if you can; your name is on the
card tied to his mane."
May looked, and there was a snow-white pony
racing about the yard as if he was having a fine
frolic. Then she knew the halter was for him,
and ran down to catch him. The minute she
appeared, the pony went to her and put his
nose in her hand, neighing, as if he said,--
"This is my little mistress; I will mind her
and serve her well."
May was delighted, and very proud when
the pony let her put on the saddle and bridle
that lay in the barn all ready to use. She
jumped up and rode gayly down the road; and
Will and mamma and all the maids and Floss
and Snowdrop ran to see the pretty sight. The
children at school were much excited when she
came trotting up, and all wanted to ride Prince.
He was very gentle, and every one had a ride;
but May had the best fun, for she could go
every day for long trots by the carriage when
mamma and Will drove out. A blue habit and
a hat with a long feather were bought that
afternoon; and May was so happy and contented at
night that she said to herself as she lay in
"I 'll wish for something for Will now, and
see if I get it. I don't want any more presents
yet; I've had my share, and I'd love to give
away to other people who have no fairy box."
So she wished for a nice boat, and in the box
lay a key with the name "Water Lily" on it.
She guessed what it meant, and in the morning
told her brother to come to the river and see
what she had for him. There lay a pretty green
and white boat, with cushioned seats, a sail all
spread, and at the mast-head a little flag flying
in the wind, with the words "Water Lily" on it
in gold letters.
Will was so surprised and pleased to find that
it was his, he turned heels over head on the
grass, kissed May, and skipped into his boat,
crying, "All aboard!" as if eager to try it at
May followed, and they sailed away down the
lovely river, white with real lilies, while the
blackbirds sang in the green meadows on either
side, and boys and girls stopped on the bridges
to see them pass.
After that May kept on trying to be good,
and wishing for things for herself and other
people, till she forgot how to be naughty, and
was the sweetest little girl in the world. Then
there was no need of fairies to help her; and
one night the box was not under the pillow.
"Well, I 've had my share of pretty things,
and must learn to do without. I 'm glad I tried;
for now it is easy to be good, and I don't need
to be rewarded," said May, as she fell asleep,
quite happy and contented, though she did wish,
she could have seen the fairy just once.
Next morning the first thing she saw was a
beautiful bracelet, shining on the table; and
while she stood admiring it, she heard the little
"Here is the bracelet
To wear on her arm
When it shines like the sun,
But when you are bad,
Farewell, little girl,
Make a fairy-box, dear,
And take out for all
Till all the year round
As the last words were sung, right before her
eyes she saw a tiny creature swinging on the
rose that stood there in a vase,--a lovely elf,
with wings like a butterfly, a gauzy dress, and
a star on her forehead. She smiled, and waved
her hand as she slowly rose and fluttered away
into the sunshine, till she vanished from sight,
leaving May with the magic bracelet on her
arm, and the happy thought that at last she had
really seen a fairy.
Johnny leaned forward to enjoy the long-desired "peek." PAGE 183
A HOLE IN THE WALL.
If any one had asked Johnny Morris who were
his best friends, he would have answered,--
"The sun and the wind, next to mother."
Johnny lived in a little court that led off from
one of the busiest streets in the city,--a noisy
street, where horse-car bells tinkled and
omnibuses rumbled all day long, going and coming
from several great depots near by. The court
was a dull place, with only two or three shabby
houses in it, and a high blank wall at the end.
The people who hurried by were too busy
to do more than to glance at the lame boy who
sat in the sunshine against the wall, or to guess
that there was a picture-gallery and a circulating-library
in the court. But Johnny had both, and
took such comfort in them that he never could
be grateful enough to the wind that brought him
his books and pictures, nor to the sun that made
it possible for him to enjoy them in the open
air, far more than richer folk enjoy their fine
galleries and libraries.
A bad fall, some months before the time this
story begins, did something to Johnny's back
which made his poor legs nearly useless, and
changed the lively, rosy boy into a pale cripple.
His mother took in fine washing, and worked
hard to pay doctors' bills and feed and clothe
her boy, who could no longer run errands, help
with the heavy tubs, or go to school. He
could only pick out laces for her to iron, lie on
his bed in pain for hours, and, each fair day,
hobble out to sit in a little old chair between the
water-butt and the leaky tin boiler in which he
kept his library.
But he was a happy boy, in spite of poverty
and pain; and the day a great gust came
blowing fragments of a gay placard and a dusty
newspaper down the court to his feet, was the
beginning of good fortune for patient Johnny.
There was a theatre in the street beyond, and
other pictured bits found their way to him; for
the frolicsome wind liked to whisk the papers
around the corner, and chase them here and
there till they settled under the chair or flew
wildly over the wall.
Faces, animals, people, and big letters, all
came to cheer the boy, who was never tired of
collecting these waifs and strays; cutting out
the big pictures to paste on the wall with the
leavings of mother's starch, and the smaller in
the scrap-book he made out of stout brown
wrappers or newspapers, when he had read the
latter carefully. Soon it was a very gay wall;
for mother helped, standing on a chair, to put
the large pictures up, when Johnny had covered
all the space he could reach. The books were
laid carefully away in the boiler, after being
smoothly ironed out and named to suit Johnny's
fancy by pasting letters on the back. This was
the circulating library; for not only did the
papers whisk about the court to begin with, but
the books they afterward made went the rounds
among the neighbors till they were worn out.
The old cobbler next door enjoyed reading
the anecdotes on Sunday when he could not
work; the pale seamstress upstairs liked to look
over advertisements of the fine things which she
longed for; and Patsey Flynn, the newsboy, who
went by each day to sell his papers at the
station, often paused to look at the play-bills,--for
he adored the theatre, and entertained Johnny
with descriptions of the splendors there to be
beheld, till he felt as if he had really been, and
had known all the famous actors, from Humpty
Dumpty to the great Salvini.
Now and then a flock of dirty children would
stray into the court and ask to see the "pretty
picters." Then Johnny was a proud and happy
boy; for, armed with a clothes-pole, he pointed
out and explained the beauties of his gallery,
feeling that he was a public benefactor when the
poor babies thanked him warmly, and promised
to come again and bring all the nice papers they
could pick up.
These were Johnny's pleasures: but he had
two sorrows,--one, a very real one, his aching
back; and the other, a boyish longing to climb
the wall and see what was on the other side,
for it seemed a most wonderful and delightful
place to the poor child, shut up in that dismal
court, with no playmates and few comforts.
He amused himself with imagining how it
looked over there, and nearly every night added
some new charm to this unseen country, when
his mother told him fairy tales to get him to
sleep. He peopled it with the dear old
characters all children know and love. The white
cat that sat on the wall was Puss in Boots to
him, or Whittington's good friend. Blue-beard's
wives were hidden in the house of whose upper
windows the boy could just catch glimpses.
Red Riding-hood met the wolf in the grove
of chestnuts that rustled over there; and Jack's
Beanstalk grew up just such a wall as that, he
But the story he liked best was the "Sleeping
Beauty in the Wood;" for he was sure some
lovely creature lived in that garden, and he
longed to get in to find and play with her. He
actually planted a bean in a bit of damp earth
behind the water-barrel, and watched it grow,
hoping for as strong a ladder as Jack's. But
the vine grew very slowly, and Johnny was so
impatient that he promised Patsey his best book
"for his ownty-donty," if he would climb up
and report what was to be seen in that enchanted garden.
"Faix, and I will, thin." And up went
good-natured Pat, after laying an old board over the
hogshead to stand on; for there were spikes
all along the top of the wall, and only cats and
sparrows could walk there.
Alas for Johnny's eager hopes, and alas for
Pat's Sunday best! The board broke, and
splash went the climber, with a wild Irish howl
that startled Johnny half out of his wits and
brought both Mrs. Morris and the cobbler to
After this sad event Pat kept away for a time
in high dudgeon, and Johnny was more lonely
than ever. But he was a cheery little soul; so
he was grateful for what joys he had, and worked
away at his wall,--for the March winds had
brought him many treasures, and after April
rains were over, May sunshine made the court
warm enough for him to be out nearly all day.
"I 'm so sorry Pat is mad, 'cause he saw this
piece and told me about it, and he 'd like to help
me put up these pictures," said Johnny to
himself, one breezy morning, as he sat examining
a big poster which the wind had sent flying into
his lap a few minutes before.
The play was "Monte Cristo," and the pictures
represented the hero getting out of prison by
making holes in the wall, among other
"This is a jolly red one! Now, where will
I put it to show best and not spoil the other
As he spoke, Johnny turned his chair around
and surveyed his gallery with as much pride
and satisfaction as if it held all the wonders
It really was quite splendid; for every sort
of picture shone in the sun,--simpering ladies,
tragic scenes, circus parades, labels from tin
cans, rosy tomatoes, yellow peaches, and purple
plums, funny advertisements, and gay bills of
all kinds. None were perfect, but they were
arranged with care; and the effect was very fine,
Presently his eyes wandered from these
treasures to the budding bushes that nodded so
tantalizingly over the wall. A grape-vine ran
along the top, trying to hide the sharp spikes;
lilacs tossed their purple plumes above it, and
several tall chestnuts rose over all, making green
tents with their broad leaves, where spires of
blossom began to show like candles on a
mammoth Christmas tree. Sparrows were chirping
gayly everywhere; the white cat, with a fresh
blue bow, basked on the coping of the wall, and
from the depths of the enchanted garden came
a sweet voice singing,--
"And she bids you to come in,
With a dimple in your chin,
Johnny smiled as he listened, and put his
finger to the little dent in his own chin, wishing
the singer would finish this pleasing song. But
she never did, though he often heard that, as
well as other childish ditties, sung in the same
gay voice, with bursts of laughter and the sound
of lively feet tripping up and down the boarded
walks. Johnny longed intensely to know who
the singer was; for her music cheered his
solitude, and the mysterious sounds he heard in the
garden increased his wonder and his longing
day by day.
Sometimes a man's voice called, "Fay, where
are you?" and Johnny was sure "Fay" was
short for Fairy. Another voice was often heard
talking in a strange, soft language, full of
exclamations and pretty sounds. A little dog barked,
and answered to the name Pippo. Canaries
carolled, and some elfish bird scolded, screamed,
and laughed so like a human being, that Johnny
felt sure that magic of some sort was at work
A delicious fragrance was now wafted over the
wall as of flowers, and the poor boy imagined
untold loveliness behind that cruel wall, as he
tended the dandelions his mother brought him
from the Common, when she had time to stop
and gather them; for he loved flowers dearly,
and tried to make them out of colored paper,
since he could have no sweeter sort.
Now and then a soft, rushing sound excited
his curiosity to such a pitch that once he
hobbled painfully up the court till he could see
into the trees; and once his eager eyes caught
glimpses of a little creature, all blue and white
and gold, who peeped out from the green fans,
and nodded, and tried to toss him a cluster of
the chestnut flowers. He stretched his hands
to her with speechless delight, forgetting his
crutches, and would have fallen if he had not
caught by the shutter of a window so quickly
that he gave the poor back a sad wrench; and
when he could look up again, the fairy had
vanished, and nothing was to be seen but the leaves
dancing in the wind.
Johnny dared not try this again for fear of a
fall, and every step cost him a pang; but he
never forgot it, and was thinking of it as he sat
staring at the wall on that memorable May day.
"How I should like to peek in and see just
how it all really looks! It sounds and smells so
summery and nice in there. I know it must be
splendid. I say, Pussy, can't you tell a feller
what you see?"
Johnny laughed as he spoke, and the white
cat purred politely; for she liked the boy who
never threw stones at her, nor disturbed her
naps. But Puss could not describe the beauties
of the happy hunting-ground below; and, to
console himself for the disappointment, Johnny
went back to his new picture.
"Now, if this man in the play dug his way out.
through a wall ten feet thick with a rusty nail
and a broken knife, I don't see why I could n't
pick away one brick and get a peek. It's all
quiet in there now; here's a good place, and
nobody will know, if I stick a picture over the
hole. And I 'll try it, I declare I will!"
Fired with the idea of acting Monte Cristo on
a small scale, Johnny caught up the old scissors
in his lap, and began to dig out the mortar
around a brick already loose, and crumbling at
the corners. His mother smiled at his energy,
then sighed and said, as she clapped her laces
with a heavy heart,--
"Ah, poor dear, if he only had his health he 'd
make his way in the world. But now he 's like
to find a blank wall before him while he lives,
and none to help him over."
Puss, in her white boots, sat aloft and looked
on, wise as the cat in the story, but offered no
advice. The toad who lived behind the water-barrel
hopped under the few leaves of the struggling
bean, like Jack waiting to climb; and just
then the noon bells began to ring as if they sang
clear and loud,--
"Turn again, Whittington, Lord Mayor of London."
So, cheered by his friends, Johnny scraped
and dug vigorously till the old brick fell out,
showing another behind it. Only pausing to
take breath, he caught up his crutch and gave
two or three hearty pokes, which soon cleared
the way and let the sunshine stream through,
while the wind tossed the lilacs like triumphal
banners, and the jolly sparrows chirped,--
"Hail, the conquering hero comes!"
Rather scared by his unexpected success, the
boy sat silent for a moment to see what would
happen. But all was still; and presently, with a
beating heart, Johnny leaned forward to enjoy the
long-desired "peek." He could not see much;
but that little increased his curiosity and delight,
for it seemed like looking into fairy-land, after the
dust and noise and dingy houses of the court.
A bed of splendid tulips tossed their gay
garments in the middle of a grass-plot; a strange
and brilliant bird sat dressing its feathers on a
golden cage; a little white dog dozed in the
sun; and on a red carpet under the trees lay
the Princess, fast asleep.
"It's all right," said Johnny, with a long sigh
of pleasure; "that's the Sleeping Beauty, sure
enough. There 's the blue gown, the white
fur-cloak sweeping round, the pretty hair,
and--yes--there's the old nurse, spinning and
nodding, just as she did in the picture-book mother
got me when I cried because I could n't go to
see the play."
This last discovery really did bewilder Johnny,
and make him believe that fairy tales might be
true, after all; for how could he know that the
strange woman was an Italian servant, in her
native dress, with a distaff in her hand? After
pausing a moment, to rub his eyes, he took
another look, and made fresh discoveries by
twisting his head about. A basket of oranges
stood near the Princess, a striped curtain hung
from a limb of the tree to keep the wind off,
and several books fluttered their pictured leaves
temptingly before Johnny's longing eyes.
"Oh, if I could only go in and eat 'em and
read 'em and speak to 'em and see all the
splendid things!" thought the poor boy, as he looked
from one delight to another, and felt shut out
from all. "I can't go and wake her like the
Prince did, but I do wish she 'd get up and do
something, now I can see. I dare n't throw a
stone, it might hit some one, or holler, it might
scare her. Pussy won't help, and the sparrows
are too busy scolding one another. I know!
I 'll fly a kite over, and that will please her any
way. Don't believe she has kites; girls never do."
Eager to carry out his plan, Johnny tied a
long string to his gayest poster, and then
fastening it to the pole with which he sometimes fished
in the water-cask, held it up to catch the fresh
breezes blowing down the court. His good
friend, the wind, soon caught the idea, and with
a strong breath sent the red paper whisking over
the wall, to hang a moment on the trees and
then drop among the tulips, where its frantic
struggles to escape waked the dog, and set him
to racing and barking, as Johnny hurriedly let
the string go, and put his eye to his peep-hole.
The eyes of the Princess were wide open now,
and she clapped her hands when Pippo brought
the gay picture for her to see; while the old
woman, with a long yawn, went away, carrying
her distaff, like a gun, over her shoulder.
"She likes it! I'm so glad. Wish I had some
more to send over. This will come off; I 'll poke
it through, and maybe she will see it."
Very much excited, Johnny recklessly tore
from the wall his most cherished picture, a gay
flower-piece, just put up; and folding it, he
thrust it through the hole and waited to see
Nothing but a rustle, a bark, and a queer
croak from the splendid bird, which set the
canaries to trilling sweetly.
"She don't see; maybe she will hear," said
Johnny. And he began to whistle like a
mocking-bird; for this was his one
accomplishment, and he was proud of it.
Presently he heard a funny burst of laughter
from the parrot, and then the voice said,--
"No, Polly, you can't sing like that bird. I
wonder where he is? Among the bushes over
there, I think. Come, Pippo, let us go and find him."
"Now she 's coming!" And Johnny grew
red in the face trying to give his best trills and
Nearer and nearer came the steps, the lilacs
rustled as if shaken, and presently the roll of
paper vanished. A pause, and then the little
voice exclaimed, in a tone of great surprise,--
"Why, there 's a hole! I never saw it before.
Oh! I can see the street. How nice! how nice!"
"She likes the hole! I wonder if she will
like me?" And, emboldened by these various
successes, Johnny took another peep. This was
the most delicious one of all; for he looked right
into a great blue eye, with glimpses of golden
hair above, a little round nose in the middle,
and red lips below. It was like a flash of
sunshine, and Johnny winked, as if dazzled; for the
eye sparkled, the nose sniffed daintily, and the
pretty mouth broke into a laugh as the voice
cried out delightedly,--
"I see some one! Who are you? Come and tell me!"
"I 'm Johnny Morris," answered the boy, quite
trembling with pleasure.
"Did you make this nice hole?"
"I just poked a brick, and it fell out."
"Papa won't mind. Is that your bird?"
"No; it's me. I whistled."
"It's very pretty. Do it again," commanded
the voice, as if used to give orders.
Johnny obeyed; and when he paused, out of
breath, a small hand came through the hole,
grasping as many lilies of the valley as it could
hold, and the Princess graciously expressed her
pleasure by saying,--
"I like it; you shall do it again, by and by.
Here are some flowers for you. Now we will
talk. Are you a nice boy?"
This was a poser; and Johnny answered
meekly, with his nose luxuriously buried in the
"Not very,--I 'm lame; I can't play like
"Porverino!" sighed the little voice, full of
pity; and, in a moment, three red-and-yellow
tulips fell at Johnny's feet, making him feel as if
he really had slipped into fairy-land through that
"Oh, thank you! Are n't they just elegant?
I never see such beauties," stammered the poor
boy, grasping his treasures as if he feared they
might vanish away.
"You shall have as many as you like. Nanna
will scold, but papa won't mind. Tell me more.
What do you do over there?" asked the child,
"Nothing but paste pictures and make books,
when I don't ache too bad. I used to help
mother; but I got hurt, and I can't do much
now," answered the boy, ashamed to mention
how many laces he patiently picked or clapped,
since it was all he could do to help.
"If you like pictures, you shall come and see
mine some day. I do a great many. Papa
shows me how. His are splendid. Do you
draw or paint yours?"
"I only cut 'em out of papers, and stick 'em
on this wall or put 'em in scrap-books. I can't
draw, and I have n't got no paints," answered
"You should say 'have n't any paints.' I will
come and see you some day; and if I like you,
I will let you have my old paint-box. Do you
"Guess I do!"
"I think I shall like you; so I 'll bring it when
I come. Do you ache much?"
"Awfully, sometimes. Have to lay down all
day, and can't do a thing."
"Do you cry?"
"No! I 'm too big for that. I whistle."
"I know I shall like you, because you are
brave!" cried the impetuous voice, with its pretty
accent; and then an orange came tumbling
through the hole, as if the new acquaintance
longed to do something to help the "ache."
"Is n't that a rouser! I do love 'em, but
mother can't afford 'em often." And Johnny
took one delicious taste on the spot.
"Then I shall give you many. We have
loads at home, much finer than these. Ah, you
should see our garden there!"
"Where do you live?" Johnny ventured to
ask; for there was a homesick sound to the
voice as it said those last words.
"In Rome. Here we only stay a year, while
papa arranges his affairs; then we go back, and
I am happy."
"I should think you 'd be happy in there. It
looks real splendid to me, and I 've been
longing to see it ever since I could come out."
"It's a dull place to me. I like better to be
where it's always warm, and people are more
beautiful than here. Are you beautiful?"
"What queer questions she does ask!" And
poor Johnny was so perplexed he could only
stammer, with a laugh,--
"I guess not. Boys don't care for looks."
"Peep, and let me see. I like pretty
persons," commanded the voice.
"Don't she order round?" thought Johnny, as
he obeyed. But he liked it, and showed such a
smiling face at the peep-hole, that Princess Fay
was pleased to say, after a long look at him,--
"No, you are not beautiful; but your eyes are
bright, and you look pleasant, so I don't mind
the freckles on your nose and the whiteness of
your face. I think you are good. I am sorry
for you, and I shall lend you a book to read
when the pain comes."
"I could n't wait for that if I had a book. I
do love so to read!" And Johnny laughed out
from sheer delight at the thought of a new book;
for he seldom got one, being too poor to buy
them, and too helpless to enjoy the free libraries
of the city.
"Then you shall have it now." And there
was another quick rush in the garden, followed by
the appearance of a fat little book, slowly pushed
through the hole in the wall.
"This is the only one that will pass. You will
like Hans Andersen's fairy tales, I know. Keep
it as long as you please. I have many more."
"You're so good! I wish I had something
for you," said the boy, quite overcome by this
"Let me see one of your books. They will
be new to me. I 'm tired of all mine."
Quick as a flash, off went the cover of the old
boiler, and out came half-a-dozen of Johnny's
best works, to be crammed through the wall,
with the earnest request,--
"Keep 'em all; they're not good for much,
but they 're the best I 've got. I 'll do some
prettier ones as soon as I can find more nice
pictures and pieces."
"They look very interesting. I thank you.
I shall go and read them now, and then come
and talk again. Addio, Giovanni."
Thus ended the first interview of little
Pyramus and Thisbe through the hole in the wall,
while puss sat up above and played moonshine
with her yellow eyes.
After that day a new life began for Johnny,
and he flourished like a poor little plant that
has struggled out of some dark corner into the
sunshine. All sorts of delightful things
happened, and good times really seemed to have
come. The mysterious papa made no objection
to the liberties taken with his wall, being busy
with his own affairs, and glad to have his little
girl happy. Old Nanna, being more careful,
came to see the new neighbors, and was
disarmed at once by the affliction of the boy and
the gentle manners of the mother. She brought
all the curtains of the house for Mrs. Morris to
do up, and in her pretty broken English praised
Johnny's gallery and library, promising to bring
Fay to see him some day.
Meantime the little people prattled daily
together, and all manner of things came and went
between them. Flowers, fruit, books, and
bon-bons kept Johnny in a state of bliss, and
inspired him with such brilliant inventions that
the Princess never knew what agreeable surprise
would come next. Astonishing kites flew over
the wall, and tissue balloons exploded in the
flower-beds. All the birds of the air seemed to
live in that court; for the boy whistled and piped
till he was hoarse, because she liked it. The
last of the long-hoarded cents came out of his
tin bank to buy paper and pictures for the gay
little books he made for her. His side of the
wall was ravaged that hers might be adorned;
and, as the last offering his grateful heart could
give, he poked the toad through the hole, to live
among the lilies and eat the flies that began to
buzz about her Highness when she came to give
her orders to her devoted subjects.
She always called the lad Giovanni, because
she thought it a prettier name than John; and
she was never tired of telling stories, asking
questions, and making plans. The favorite one
was what they would do when Johnny came to
see her, as she had been promised he should
when papa was not too busy to let them enjoy
the charms of the studio; for Fay was a true
artist's child, and thought nothing so lovely as
pictures. Johnny thought so, too, and dreamed
of the happy day when he should go and see
the wonders his little friend described so well.
"I think it will be to-morrow; for papa has a
lazy fit coming on, and then he always plays
with me and lets me rummage where I like,
while he goes out or smokes in the garden. So
be ready; and if he says you can come, I will
have the flag up early and you can hurry."
These agreeable remarks were breathed into
Johnny's willing ear about a fortnight after the
acquaintance began; and he hastened to
promise, adding soberly, a minute after,--
"Mother says she's afraid it will be too much
for me to go around and up steps, and see new
things; for I get tired so easy, and then the pain
comes on. But I don't care how I ache if I can
only see the pictures--and you."
"Won't you ever be any better? Nanna
thinks you might."
"So does mother, if we had money to go
away in the country, and eat nice things, and
have doctors. But we can't; so it's no use
worrying." And Johnny gave a great sigh.
"I wish papa was rich, then he would give
you money. He works hard to make enough
to go back to Italy, so I cannot ask him; but
perhaps I can sell my pictures also, and get a
little. Papa's friends often offer me sweets for
kisses; I will have money instead, and that will
help. Yes, I shall do it." And Fay clapped her
"Don't you mind about it. I 'm going to
learn to mend shoes. Mr. Pegget says he 'll
teach me. That does n't need legs, and he gets
enough to live on very well."
"It is n't pretty work. Nanna can teach you
to braid straw as she did at home; that is easy
and nice, and the baskets sell very well, she
says. I shall speak to her about it, and you
can try to-morrow when you come."
"I will. Do you really think I can come,
then?" And Johnny stood up to try his legs; for
he dreaded the long walk, as it seemed to him.
"I will go at once and ask papa."
Away flew Fay, and soon came back with a
glad "Yes!" that sent Johnny hobbling in to
tell his mother, and beg her to mend the elbows
of his only jacket; for, suddenly, his old clothes
looked so shabby he feared to show himself to
the neighbors he so longed to see.
"Hurrah! I 'm really going to-morrow. And
you, too, mammy dear," cried the boy, waving
his crutch so vigorously that he slipped and fell.
"Never mind; I 'm used to it. Pull me up,
and I 'll rest while we talk about it," he said
cheerily, as his mother helped him to the bed,
where he forgot his pain in thinking of the
delights in store for him.
Next day, the flag was flying from the wall,
and Fay early at the hole, but no Johnny came;
and when Nanna went to see what kept him, she
returned with the sad news that the poor boy
was suffering much, and would not be able to
stir for some days.
"Let me go and see him," begged Fay, imploringly.
"Cara mia, it is no place for you. So dark,
so damp, so poor, it is enough to break the
heart," said Nanna, decidedly.
"If papa was here, he would let me go. I
shall not play; I shall sit here and make some
plans for my poor boy."
Nanna left her indignant little mistress, and
went to cook a nice bowl of soup for Johnny;
while Fay concocted a fine plan, and, what was
more remarkable, carried it out.
For a week it rained, for a week Johnny lay
in pain, and for a week Fay worked quietly at
her little easel in the corner of the studio, while
her father put the last touches to his fine
picture, too busy to take much notice of the child.
On Saturday the sun shone, Johnny was better,
and the great picture was done. So were the
small ones; for as her father sat resting after his
work, Fay went to him, with a tired but happy
face, and, putting several drawings into his hand,
told her cherished plan.
"Papa, you said you would pay me a dollar
for every good copy I made of the cast you
gave me. I tried very hard, and here are three.
I want some money very, very much. Could
you pay for these?"
"They are excellent," said the artist, after
carefully looking at them. "You have tried,
my good child, and here are your well-earned
dollars. What do you want them for?"
"To help my boy. I want him to come in
here and see the pictures, and let Nanna teach
him to plait baskets; and he can rest, and you
will like him, and he might get well if he had
some money, and I have three quarters the
friends gave me instead of bonbons. Would
that be enough to send poor Giovanni into the
country and have doctors?"
No wonder Fay's papa was bewildered by this
queer jumble, because, being absorbed in his
work, he had never heard half the child had told
him, and had forgotten all about Johnny. Now
he listened with half an ear, studying the effect
of sunshine upon his picture meantime, while
Fay told him the little story, and begged to
know how much money it would take to make
Johnny's back well.
"Bless your sweet soul, my darling, it would
need more than I can spare or you earn in a
year. By and by, when I am at leisure, we will
see what can be done," answered papa, smoking
comfortably, as he lay on the sofa in the large
studio at the top of the house.
"You say that about a great many things,
papa. 'By and by' won't be long enough to do
all you promise then. I like now much better,
and poor Giovanni needs the country more than
you need cigars or I new frocks," said Fay,
stroking her father's tired forehead and looking
at him with an imploring face.
"My dear, I cannot give up my cigar, for in
this soothing smoke I find inspiration, and though
you are a little angel, you must be clothed; so
wait a bit, and we will attend to the boy--later." He
was going to say "by and by" again, but
paused just in time, with a laugh.
"Then I shall take him to the country all
myself. I cannot wait for this hateful 'by and
by.' I know how I shall do it, and at once.
Now, now!" cried Fay, losing patience; and with
an indignant glance at the lazy papa, who seemed
going to sleep, she dashed out of the room, down
many stairs, through the kitchen, startling Nanna
and scattering the salad as if a whirlwind had
gone by, and never paused for breath till she
stood before the garden wall with a little hatchet
in her hand.
"This shall be the country for him till I get
enough money to send him away. I will show
what I can do. He pulled out two bricks. I
will beat down the wall, and he shall come in at
once," panted Fay; and she gave a great blow
at the bricks, bent on having her will without
delay,--for she was an impetuous little creature,
full of love and pity for the poor boy pining for
the fresh air and sunshine, of which she had so much.
Bang, bang, went the little hatchet, and down
came one brick after another, till the hole was
large enough for Fay to thrust her head through;
and being breathless by that time, she paused
to rest and take a look at Johnny's court.
Meanwhile Nanna, having collected her
lettuce leaves and her wits, went to see what the
child was about; and finding her at work like a
little fury, the old woman hurried up to tell "the
Signor," Fay's papa, that his little daughter was
about to destroy the garden and bury herself
under the ruins of the wall. This report,
delivered with groans and wringing of the hands,
roused the artist and sent him to the rescue, as
he well knew that his angel was a very energetic
one, and capable of great destruction.
When he arrived, he beheld a cloud of dust,
a pile of bricks among the lilies, and the feet of
his child sticking out of a large hole in the wall,
while her head and shoulders were on the other
side. Much amused, yet fearful that the stone
coping might come down on her, he pulled her
back with the assurance that he would listen and
help her now immediately, if there was such
need of haste.
But he grew sober when he saw Fay's face;
for it was bathed in tears, her hands were
bleeding, and dust covered her from head to foot.
"My darling, what afflicts you? Tell papa,
and he will do anything you wish."
"No, you will forget, you will say 'Wait;'
and now that I have seen it all, I cannot stop
till I get him out of that dreadful place. Look,
look, and see if it is not sad to live there all in
pain and darkness, and so poor."
As she spoke, Fay urged her father toward
the hole; and to please her he looked, seeing
the dull court, the noisy street beyond, and
close by the low room, where Johnny's mother
worked all day, while the poor boy's pale face
was dimly seen as he lay on his bed waiting for
"Well, well, it is a pitiful case; and easily
mended, since Fay is so eager about it. Hope
the lad is all she says, and nothing catching
about his illness. Nanna can tell me."
Then he drew back his head, and leading Fay
to the seat, took her on his knee, all flushed,
dirty, and tearful as she was, soothing her by
"Now let me hear all about it, and be sure
I 'll not forget. What shall I do to please you,
dear, before you pull down the house about my ears?"
Then Fay told her tale all over again; and
being no longer busy, her father found it very
touching, with the dear, grimy little face
looking into his, and the wounded hands clasped
beseechingly as she pleaded for poor Johnny.
"God bless your tender heart, child; you
shall have him in here to-morrow, and we will
see what can be done for those pathetic legs of
his. But listen, Fay, I have an easier way to
do it than yours, and a grand surprise for the
boy. Time is short, but it can be done; and
to show you that I am in earnest, I will go this
instant and begin the work. Come and wash
your face while I get on my boots, and then we
will go together."
At these words Fay threw her arms about
papa's neck and gave him many grateful kisses,
stopping in the midst to ask,--
"See if it is not so." And putting her down,
papa went off with great strides, while she ran
laughing after him, all her doubts set at rest by
this agreeable energy on his part.
If Johnny had not been asleep in the back
room, he would have seen strange and pleasant
sights that afternoon and evening; for something
went on in the court that delighted his mother,
amused the artist, and made Fay the happiest
child in Boston. No one was to tell till the next
day, that Johnny's surprise might be quite
perfect, and Mrs. Morris sat up till eleven to get
his old clothes in order; for Fay's papa had
been to see her, and became interested in the
boy, as no one could help being when they saw
his patient little face.
So hammers rang, trowels scraped, shovels
dug, and wonderful changes were made, while
Fay danced about in the moonlight, like Puck
intent upon some pretty prank, and papa quoted
Snout,[#] the tinker's parting words, as appropriate
to the hour,--
"Thus have I, wall, my part discharged so;
And, being done, thus wall away doth go."
[#] A character in Shakspeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream."
A lovely Sunday morning dawned without
a cloud; and even in the dingy court the May
sunshine shone warmly, and the spring breezes
blew freshly from green fields far away. Johnny
begged to go out; and being much better, his
mother consented, helping him to dress with
such a bright face and eager hands that the boy
"How glad you are when I get over a bad
turn! I don't know what you 'd do if I ever
"My poor dear, I begin to think you will
pick up, now the good weather has come and
you have got a little friend to play with. God
Why his mother should suddenly hug him
tight, and then brush his hair so carefully, with
tears in her eyes, he did not understand; but was
in such a hurry to get out, he could only give
her a good kiss, and hobble away to see how
his gallery fared after the rain, and to take a
joyful "peek" at the enchanted garden.
Mrs. Morris kept close behind him, and it
was well she did; for he nearly tumbled down,
so great was his surprise when he beheld the
old familiar wall after the good fairies Love
and Pity had worked their pretty miracle in the
The ragged hole had changed to a little arched
door, painted red. On either side stood a green
tub, with a tall oleander in full bloom; from the
arch above hung a great bunch of gay flowers;
and before the threshold lay a letter directed to
"Signor Giovanni Morris," in a childish hand.
As soon as he recovered from the agreeable
shock of this splendid transformation scene,
Johnny sank into his chair, where a soft cushion
had been placed, and read his note, with little
sighs of rapture at the charming prospect opening
DEAR GIOVANNI,--Papa has made this nice gate,
so you can come in when you like and not be tired.
We are to have two keys, and no one else can open it.
A little bell is to ring when we pull the cord, and we
can run and see what we want. The paint is wet.
Papa did it, and the men put up the door last night.
I helped them, and did not go in my bed till ten. It
was very nice to do it so. I hope you will like it.
Come in as soon as you can; I am all ready.
- Your friend,
"Mother, she must be a real fairy to do all
that, mustn't she?" said Johnny, leaning back
to look at the dear door behind which lay such
happiness for him.
"Yes, my sonny, she is the right sort of good
fairy, and I just wish I could do her washing for
love the rest of her blessed little life," answered
Mrs. Morris, in a burst of grateful ardor.
"You shall! you shall! Do come in! I
cannot wait another minute!" cried an eager little
voice as the red door flew open; and there stood
Fay, looking very like a happy elf in her fresh
white frock, a wreath of spring flowers on her
pretty hair, and a tall green wand in her hand,
while the brilliant bird sat on her shoulder, and
the little white dog danced about her feet.
"So she bids you to come in,
With a dimple in your chin,
sung the child, remembering how Johnny liked
that song; and waving her wand, she went slowly
backward as the boy, with a shining face, passed
under the blooming arch into a new world, full
of sunshine, liberty, and sweet companionship.
Neither Johnny nor his mother ever forgot
that happy day, for it was the beginning of help
and hope to both just when life seemed hardest
and the future looked darkest.
Papa kept out of sight, but enjoyed peeps at
the little party as they sat under the chestnuts,
Nanna and Fay doing the honors of the garden
to their guests with Italian grace and skill, while
the poor mother folded her tired hands with
unutterable content, and the boy looked like
a happy soul in heaven.
Sabbath silence, broken only by the chime of
bells and the feet of church-goers, brooded over
the city; sunshine made golden shadows on the
grass; the sweet wind brought spring odors
from the woods; and every flower seemed to nod
and beckon, as if welcoming the new playmate
to their lovely home.
While the women talked together, Fay led
Johnny up and down her little world, showing
all her favorite nooks, making him rest often on
the seats that stood all about, and amusing him
immensely by relating the various fanciful plays
with which she beguiled her loneliness.
"Now we can have much nicer ones; for you
will tell me yours, and we can do great things,"
she said, when she had displayed her big
rocking-horse, her grotto full of ferns, her mimic sea,
where a fleet of toy boats lay at anchor in the
basin of an old fountain, her fairy-land under the
lilacs, with paper elves sitting among the leaves,
her swing, that tossed one high up among the
green boughs, and the basket of white kittens,
where Topaz, the yellow-eyed cat, now purred
with maternal pride. Books were piled on the
rustic table, and all the pictures Fay thought
worthy to be seen.
Here also appeared a nice lunch, before the
visitors could remember it was noon and tear
themselves away. Such enchanted grapes and
oranges Johnny never ate before; such delightful
little tarts and Italian messes of various sorts;
even the bread and butter seemed glorified
because served in a plate trimmed with leaves and
cut in dainty bits. Coffee that perfumed the air
put heart into poor Mrs. Morris, who half starved
herself that the boy might be fed; and he drank
milk till Nanna said, laughing, as she refilled
"He takes more than both the blessed lambs
we used to feed for Saint Agnes in the convent
at home. And he is truly welcome, the dear
child, to the best we have; for he is as innocent
and helpless as they."
"What does she mean?" whispered Johnny
to Fay, rather abashed at having forgotten his
manners in the satisfaction which three mugfuls
of good milk had given him.
So, sitting in the big rustic chair beside him,
Fay told the pretty story of the lambs who are
dedicated to Saint Agnes, with ribbons tied to
their snowy wool, and then raised with care till
their fleeces are shorn to make garments for the
Pope. A fit tale for the day, the child thought,
and went on to tell about the wonders of Rome
till Johnny's head was filled with a splendid
confusion of new ideas, in which Saint Peter's and
apple-tarts, holy lambs and red doors, ancient
images and dear little girls, were delightfully
mixed. It all seemed like a fairy tale, and
nothing was too wonderful or lovely to happen on
that memorable day.
So when Fay's papa at last appeared, finding
it impossible to keep away from the happy little
party any longer, Johnny decided at once that
the handsome man in the velvet coat was the
king of the enchanted land, and gazed at him
with reverence and awe. A most gracious
king he proved to be; for after talking
pleasantly to Mrs. Morris, and joking Fay on
storming the walls, he proposed to carry Johnny
off, and catching him up, strode away with
the astonished boy on his shoulder, while the
little girl danced before to open doors and clear
Johnny thought he could n't be surprised any
more; but when he had mounted many stairs
and found himself in a great room with a glass
roof, full of rich curtains, strange armor, pretty
things, and pictures everywhere, he just sat in
the big chair where he was placed, and stared
in silent delight.
"This is papa's studio, and that the famous
picture, and here is where I work; and is n't it
pleasant? and aren't you glad to see it?" said
Fay, skipping about to do the honors of the place.
"I don't believe heaven is beautifuller,"
answered Johnny, in a low tone, as his eyes went
from the green tree-tops peeping in at the
windows to the great sunny picture of a Roman
garden, with pretty children at play among the
crumbling statues and fountains.
"I 'm glad you like it, for we mean to have
you come here a great deal. I sit to papa very
often, and get so tired; and you can talk to me,
and then you can see me draw and model in
clay, and then we 'll go in the garden, and
Nanna will show you how to make baskets,
and then we 'll play."
Johnny nodded and beamed at this charming
prospect, and for an hour explored the
mysteries of the studio, with Fay for a guide and
papa for an amused spectator. He liked the
boy more and more, and was glad Fay had so
harmless a playmate to expend her energies
and compassion upon. He assented to every
plan proposed, and really hoped to be able to
help these poor neighbors; for he had a kind
heart, and loved his little daughter even more
than his art.
When at last Mrs. Morris found courage to
call Johnny away, he went without a word, and
lay down in the dingy room, his face still
shining with the happy thoughts that filled his mind,
hungry for just such pleasures, and never fed
After that day everything went smoothly, and
both children blossomed like the flowers in that
pleasant garden, where the magic of love and
pity, fresh air and sunshine, soon worked
miracles. Fay learned patience and gentleness from
Johnny; he grew daily stronger on the better
food Nanna gave him, and the exercise he was
tempted to take; and both spent very happy
days working and playing, sometimes under the
trees, where the pretty baskets were made, or in
the studio, where both pairs of small hands
modelled graceful things in clay, or daubed amazing
pictures with the artist's old brushes and
Mrs. Morris washed everything washable in
the house, and did up Fay's frocks so daintily
that she looked more like an elf than ever when
her head shone out from the fluted frills, like
the yellow middle of a daisy with its white
petals all spread.
As he watched the children playing together,
the artist, having no great work in hand, made
several pretty sketches of them, and then had a
fine idea of painting the garden scene where
Fay first talked to Johnny. It pleased his fancy,
and the little people sat for him nicely; so he
made a charming thing of it, putting in the cat,
dog, bird, and toad as the various characters in
Shakspeare's lovely play, while the flowers were
the elves, peeping and listening in all manner of
merry, pretty ways.
He called it "Little Pyramus and Thisbe,"
and it so pleased a certain rich lady that she
paid a large price for it; and then, discovering
that it told a true story, she generously added
enough to send Johnny and his mother to the
country, when Fay and her father were ready to go.
But it was to a lovelier land than the boy had
ever read of in his fairy books, and to a happier
life than mending shoes in the dingy court. In
the autumn they all sailed gayly away together,
to live for years in sunny Italy, where Johnny
grew tall and strong, and learned to paint with
a kind master and a faithful young friend, who
always rejoiced that she found and delivered
him, thanks to the wonderful hole in the wall.
She got too lazy to care for anything but sleeping and eating. PAGE 219
THE PIGGY GIRL.
"I won't be washed! I won't be washed!"
screamed little Betty, kicking and slapping
the maid who undressed her one night.
"You 'd better go and live with the pigs, dirty
child," said Maria, scrubbing away at two very
"I wish I could! I love to be dirty,--I will
be dirty!" roared Betty, throwing the sponge out
of the window and the soap under the table.
Maria could do nothing with her; so she
bundled her into bed half wiped, telling her to
go to sleep right away.
"I won't! I 'll go and live with Mrs. Gleason's
pigs, and have nothing to do but eat and sleep,
and roll in the dirt, and never, never be washed
any more," said Betty to herself.
She lay thinking about it and blinking at the
moon for a while; then she got up very softly,
and crept down the back stairs, through the garden,
to the sty where two nice little pigs were fast
asleep among the straw in their small house.
They only grunted when Betty crept into a
corner, laughing at the fun it would be to play piggy
and live here with no Maria to wash her and no
careful mamma to keep saying,--
"Put on a clean apron, dear!"
Next morning she was waked up by hearing
Mrs. Gleason pour milk into the trough. She
lay very still till the woman was gone; then she
crept out and drank all she wanted, and took
the best bits of cold potato and bread for her
breakfast, and the lazy pigs did not get up till
she was done. While they ate and rooted in
the dirt, Betty slept as long as she liked, with
no school, no errands, no patchwork to do. She
liked it, and kept hidden till night; then she
went home, and opened the little window in the
store closet, and got in and took as many good
things to eat and carry away as she liked. She
had a fine walk in her nightgown, and saw the
flowers asleep, heard the little birds chirp in the
nest, and watched the fireflies and moths at their
pretty play. No one saw her but the cats; and
they played with her, and hopped at her toes, in
the moonlight, and had great fun.
When she was tired she went to sleep with the
pigs, and dozed all the next day, only coming
out to eat and drink when the milk was brought
and the cold bits; for Mrs. Gleason took good
care of her pigs, and gave them clean straw
often, and kept them as nice as she could.
Betty lived in this queer way a long time, and
soon looked more like a pig than a little girl; for
her nightgown got dirty, her hair was never
combed, her face was never washed, and she
loved to dig in the mud till her hands looked like
paws. She never talked, but began to grunt as
the pigs did, and burrowed into the straw to sleep,
and squealed when they crowded her, and quarrelled
over the food, eating with her nose in the
trough like a real pig. At first she used to play
about at night, and steal things to eat; and people
set traps to catch the thief in their gardens, and
the cook in her own house scolded about the
rats that carried off the cake and pies out of her
pantry. But by and by she got too lazy and fat
to care for anything but sleeping and eating, and
never left the sty. She went on her hands and
knees now, and began to wonder if a little tail
would n't grow and her nose change to a snout.
All summer she played be a pig, and thought
it good fun; but when the autumn came it was
cold, and she longed for her nice warm flannel
nightgown, and got tired of cold victuals, and
began to wish she had a fire to sit by and good
buckwheat cakes to eat. She was ashamed to go
home, and wondered what she should do after
this silly frolic. She asked the pigs how they
managed in winter; but they only grunted, and she
could not remember what became of them, for
the sty was always empty in cold weather.
One dreadful night she found out. She was
smuggled down between the great fat piggies
to keep warm; but her toes were cold, and she
was trying to pull the straw over them when she
heard Mr. Gleason say to his boy,--
"We must kill those pigs to-morrow. They
are fat enough; so come and help me sharpen
the big knife."
"Oh, dear, what will become of me?" thought
Betty, as she heard the grindstone go round and
round as the knife got sharper and sharper. "I
look so like a pig they will kill me too, and
make me into sausages if I don't run away. I 'm
tired of playing piggy, and I 'd rather be washed
a hundred times a day than be put in a pork
So she lay trembling till morning; then she
ran through the garden and found the back door
open. It was very early, and no one saw her,
for the cook was in the shed getting wood to
make her fire; so Betty slipped upstairs to the
nursery and was going to whisk into bed, when
she saw in the glass an ugly black creature, all
rags and dirt, with rumpled hair, and a little
round nose covered with mud.
"Can it be me?" she said. "How horrid I
am!" And she could not spoil her nice white
bed, but hopped into the bathtub and had a good
scrubbing. Next she got a clean nightgown,
and brushed her hair, and cut her long nails, and
looked like a tidy little girl again.
Then she lay down in her cosey crib with the
pink cover and the lace curtains, and fell fast
asleep, glad to have clean sheets, soft blankets,
and her own little pillow once more.
"Come, darling, wake up and see the new
frock I have got for you, and the nice ruffled
apron. It's Thanksgiving day, and all the
cousins are coming to dinner," said her mamma,
with a soft kiss on the rosy cheek.
Betty started up, screaming,--
"Don't kill me! Oh, please don't! I 'm not
a truly pig, I 'm a little girl; and if you'll let me
run home, I 'll never fret when I 'm washed
"What is the dear child afraid of?" said
mamma, cuddling her close, and laughing to see
Betty stare wildly about for the fat pigs and the
She told her mother all about the queer time
she had had, and was much surprised to hear
"It was all a dream, dear; you have been
safely asleep in your little bed ever since you
slapped poor Maria last night."
"Well, I 'm glad I dreamed it, for it has made
me love to be clean. Come, Maria, soap and
scrub as much as you like, I won't kick and
scream ever any more," cried Betty, skipping
about, glad to be safe in her pleasant home and
no longer a dirty, lazy piggy girl.
She was rocking a small tadpole to sleep.--PAGE 238
THE THREE FROGS.
Hop, Croak, and Splash were three little
frogs who lived in a pleasant river, and
had merry times swimming about or hopping
on the green grass. At night they sat on the
bank and sung together, very sweetly they
thought; and if boats came by they skipped
into the water, heels over head, with a great
splashing and noise.
Hop was not contented with this quiet life;
he wanted to see the world, and kept asking his
brother Croak to go and travel with him.
"I 'm tired of poking about in this stupid
river, with no fun but leap-frog and singing. I
want to know what is over that hill, and I 'm
going to find out. You can stay and doze in
the mud if you please. I 've got more spirit
than that, and I 'm off."
So away went Hop, singing gayly,--
"A frog he would a-wooing go,
Whether his mammy would let him or no,
With a roly-poly, gammon and spinach,
Heigh-ho, said Anthony Rowley."
His good little sister Splash begged him to
stay, for the world was full of danger and he
was too young to go alone. But Hop told her
not to worry. Girls ought to keep at home, for
they could n't take care of themselves; but fine
young fellows should see something of life
before they settled down. His friend Turtle had
invited him to go; and if such a slow chap as
Creeper could start on a journey, of course the
best jumper in the river would get on all right.
While he was saying good-by, the turtle had
crept up the bank and was well on his way to
the road beyond. Hop skipped after him; and
when they had got to the hill-top they stopped
to rest,--Creeper in the road on the warm sand,
and Hop among some daisies close by.
"How big the world is!" he said, staring with
his great eyes; for he had never seen houses
before, and the village looked as grand to him
as London would to us. "I like it, and I
know I shall have a splendid time. Come on,
slow coach! I see fountains over there, and
want a good drink."
Just as he spoke a cart came by; and before
poor Creeper could get out of the way, a wheel
crushed him to death.
"Mercy on us! what horrid monsters those
are!" cried Hop, leaping as fast as his legs could
take him into a garden near by, where he lay
trembling and scared half out of his wits. He
thought the cart was a creature; and every time
he heard the rumble of wheels his heart beat
and he clasped his hands in fear as he sat under
the burdock leaves. At last it seemed so quiet
he ventured out, and had a lovely time in the
nasturtium-bed, catching flies and playing
bo-peep with a little bird. Then he hopped to the
grass-plot, where the sprinkler was whizzing
round, and took a refreshing bath. He was
just puffing his skin out and winking with
pleasure when a fat toad, who lived under the piazza,
told him very crossly to "clear out."
"You are a very rude old person, and I shall
do as I like. This is not your garden; so you
need n't goggle at me," answered saucy Hop,
opening his wide mouth to laugh at the toad,
who was so fat he could n't take long leaps like
the lively frog.
"Very well, dandiprat, I shall call the cat; and
she will make you skip, unless you want that
fine green jacket torn off your back by her
sharp claws," said the toad, hopping slowly
away to the sunny corner where a gray cat lay
"Pooh'! I 'm not afraid," said Hop; for he
had never seen a cat, and thought the toad made
it all up.
So he took a leisurely stroll down the walk,
looking about him as if he owned the whole
garden. Presently he saw a pretty little
creature playing with leaves, and hurried on to
speak to it, being eager to find friends in this
pleasant place. You see, when the toad told the
cat about the stranger, pussy only gaped and
went to sleep again, not caring to play with any
one. But the kitten who lay beside her was
curious to see a frog, and ran off at once to find
him. Hop did not know that this was the cat's
daughter, till kitty pounced on him as if he had
been a mouse, and instead of playing some nice
game and telling all about the new world, as
Hop expected, she clawed and bit him, tossed
him up, and let him bump down again on the
hard ground. He tried to get away, but she
let him hop a little and then pounced again,
cuffing him with her paws, and dragging him
about till he was half dead.
He believed the old toad now, and thought
the end of the world had come. It would have
been the end of the world for him, if a dog had
not bounced into the garden and made kitty fly
up a tree, spitting and glaring like a little dragon.
Poor Hop crept under a gooseberry bush, and
lay there longing for gentle Splash to tie up his
wounds and comfort his pain with spearmint
from the river side and a cool lily-pad for a wet
sheet to pack him in.
"It is an awful world, and I wish I was safe
at home," he sighed, as the sun grew hot, the
water was turned off, and the wind stopped
But he was too feeble to hop away, and lay
there panting till night, when a shower saved
his life; and early in the morning he started
to find the river before he got into any more
He went very slowly, being lame and sore;
but got out of the garden and was just planning
to give one tremendous leap over the road, for
fear he should get crushed as Creeper did, when
he heard a soft rustling behind him, and saw a
long, slender gray thing, with very bright eyes
and a little tongue that darted out and in like a
"I see no cruel claws; so it can't be a cat,"
thought Hop, feeling timid now about making
"Pretty fellow, come here and talk to me,"
hissed the snake, longing to eat the nice little
Hop felt rather nervous, but wished to be
polite; so he let the stranger coil lovingly round
him and look right into his face while listening
to the tale of woe he gladly told. Presently he
found he could not stir at all, nor move his eyes
from the fiery eyes before him, and the darting
tongue seemed ready to sting. Then he was
frightened, and tried to escape; but he only
gave one leap, for the snake caught him by the
hind legs and held him fast, while swallowing
him slowly down.
"Help, help!" cried Hop, in despair. "Croak!
Splash! oh, come and save me, save me!"
But there was no help; and in a few moments
there was no frog, for the last leg had vanished
down the snake's throat. Poor little Hop!
Croak was a noisy fellow, and kept up a great
racket trying to sing louder than any of the
other frogs; for he was very proud of his voice,
and sat on a log at night saying, "Ker honk! ker
honk!" till every one was tired of hearing him.
The old ones told him not to wear his throat
out till his voice was stronger; but he thought
they envied him its power and sweetness, and
croaked away louder than ever.
The boys who came to the river to bathe used
to mock him, and try to see which frog sung so
loud. This pleased him; and instead of
keeping still and staying among his friends, silly
Croak went and sat on a rock alone, that all
might see and hear the great singer.
"Now," said the boys, "we can catch him and
keep him in a tub; and when we are tired of his
noise we can rap him on the head and make
him be still."
So while the vain frog sat croaking at the top
of his voice, two of the boys swam up to the
rock and threw a net over him. He kicked
and struggled; but they had him fast, and tied
him up in a bundle till they got to the tub, and
there they left him with a little grass, saying,--
"Now sing away, old fellow, and make yourself
But Croak could not sing, he was so frightened
and unhappy; for he was hungry and
tired, and they did n't give him the right things
to eat, nor any mossy log to rest on. They
poked him with sticks, took him up to look at
his funny toes, opened his big mouth, and held
him by one leg to see him kick. He tried to
climb out; but the sides of the tub were slippery,
and he had to give it up. He kept swimming
and floating till he was tired out, and ate
bread-crumbs and grass to keep from starving; but he
was very miserable, though children came to
hear him sing, and he had nothing else to do.
"This is n't what I meant," sighed Croak, "and
if ever I get out of this old tub, I 'll keep very
still and never try to make a noise in the world
Among the children was one kind little girl
who pitied the poor frog, and one day when
she was alone took him up carefully and put
him on the grass, saying,--
"Run away, froggie, home to your mamma,
and don't tell the boys I set you free."
"Thank you, my dear; those bad boys will
never see or hear me again," answered Croak,
hopping off as fast as he could go, never
minding in his hurry that he was not taking the road
to the river.
After he had gone a long way he came to a
tank where a great many frogs seemed to be
having a very nice time; for there was plenty of
food, stones to sit on, and fresh water flowing in
all the time.
"Ah! these must be very elegant people to
live in this luxurious way. They sing pretty
well, but not one has a splendid deep voice like
mine. I 'll jump in and astonish them with my
best song," said Croak, after he had watched and
listened for a while.
If he had only known that these frogs were
kept there to be fattened for an old French
gentleman to eat, he would have skipped away and
saved his life; but he was so anxious to show
off his voice, that he gave a jump and went
splash into the tank, startling the others and
making a great commotion. He liked that; and
getting up on the highest stone, gave them his
favorite "Ker honk" song, till the air rang with
The other frogs were much impressed, for
they thought it fine music; so they gathered
round, and shook hands and welcomed the
stranger, sure that he must be a distinguished
musician, he put on such airs. Now Croak was
in his glory, and puffed himself out, and goggled
at the lady-frogs till they put up their fans of
green flag to hide their smiles. The young
fellows tried to imitate him, till the tank was such
a noisy place the old gentleman said to his cook,--
"Kill off a dozen of the fattest for dinner, and
stop that din out there."
The frogs had told Croak that every now and
then some of them were chosen to go and live
in the great house; and all were eager to find
out what good fortune had happened to their
friends, for none ever came back to tell the sad
truth. So when they saw the man in the white
cap and apron come to the tank and look down
at them, they all began to skip and prance,
hoping to be chosen.
With a long-handled net the cook picked out
the fattest and put them in a covered pail till he
had his dozen. Croak had not been there long
enough to get very plump, so he would have
escaped that time if he had held his tongue.
But he could n't keep still, and made such a
terrible noise the cook said,--
"I must catch and quiet that rascal, or my
master will go distracted." So he held the net
open; and that silly frog hopped in, little
dreaming that he had sung his last song.
"Now we shall see fine things. Good-by,
you poor dears! Be patient till your turn
comes," he cried, as the bucket was carried
away to the kitchen.
Croak was disappointed when he saw nothing
but pots and pans and a great fire; for the vain
fellow really thought he was chosen to sing
before some fine people. But his disappointment
turned to horror when he saw his friends taken
out one by one and their poor little legs cut off
to fry for dinner. That was the only part the
cook used, and the rest he threw away. Croak
was left to the last, as he was not to be eaten;
and while he waited his turn, he dashed
distractedly round and round the pail, trying to get
away, and croaking so dismally it was a wonder
the cook did not take pity on him. But he did
not, and was just going toward the pail with the
big knife in his hand, when the old gentleman
came down to see if his orders were obeyed, for
he thought a great deal of his dinner. All the
poor little legs lay in the pan ready to cook;
and he was so pleased that he said, looking
at the thin frog swimming about in that lively
"Ah! this is a very brisk fellow. I will put
him in my aquarium; the gold-fish and the crab
will like a little society, I think."
Then, catching Croak by one leg, he carried
him upstairs and threw him into the great glass
box where several pretty gold-fish and one cross
crab lived together. Croak was so glad to
escape frying that he was very quiet, humble, and
good; and though his new home was a prison,
he tried to be contented, and never complained
when the lovely fish called him ugly and the
cross crab nipped his toes. He was homesick,
and longed sadly for the pleasant river, the jolly
games he used to have, and his dear little sister.
He never sang now, fearing to be killed if he did;
but when the windows stood open through the
summer night and he heard the music of his
friends, he put his hands before his face and
cried such bitter tears that the water grew quite
salt. He bore it as long as he could; but his
heart broke at last, and one day poor Croak
was found floating on the top of the tank quite
dead. So that was the end of him.
Good little Splash lived at home all safe and
happy, and was so kind to every one that her
neighbors loved her dearly and sung her praises
at their evening concerts.
Now, the Frog Prince wished to marry, and
was looking about for a wife, as he was very
particular. So he wrapped himself up in a
dead-leaf cloak, put an empty nut-shell on his
head for a hood, and leaning on a bulrush staff,
went hobbling along by the river like a poor old
woman, begging at the different houses, that
he might see how the lady-frogs behaved at home.
When he rode out as the Prince on a field-mouse,
with flags flying, and all his court about
him, the young lady-frogs stood modestly by
their mammas, all in their best, and curtsied
sweetly as he went by. But now he came to
the back doors, a poor beggar, and it was very
different. Some were lazy and lay late in their
beds of river weeds, while the mothers did the
work; some were greedy and ate all the best
flies themselves; others slapped and scolded
their little brothers and sisters instead of taking
care of them; and nearly all were vain. The
Prince caught many looking at their bright
eyes in still pools, or putting on crowns of
water flowers, or bathing in dew to keep the
freckles from their faces. They were always
ready to dance at balls, to go boating, or sing
at the concerts where all could hear them; but
few were busy, sweet, and dutiful at home, and
the Prince nowhere found the bride he wanted.
He was very fond of music; so he listened to
the concerts, and soon began to wonder why
they all sang a song with this chorus,--
"Who is the fairest that swims in our river?
Who is the dearest frog under the sun?
Whose life is full of the sweetest endeavor?
Who is our busiest, happiest one?
Splash, Splash, darling thing!
All delight her praise to sing."
"I must find this lovely creature and see if
she is all they say, because if she is I 'll make a
Princess of her in the twinkling of an eye," said
the Prince; and he set off to look for Splash, for
he was a very energetic frog.
He soon found her, for she was always busy
doing something for her neighbors; and he
watched her teaching the little tadpoles to swim,
helping the old frogs out to sit in the sun when
damp weather gave them rheumatism, or taking
care of the sick ones, or feeding the poor, or
running errands for busy mammas with large
families and lazy daughters.
In her own little home all was as neat as wax,
but so lonely she did not like to stay there much.
All day she helped others, and at evening sat at
her door and thought sadly of her lost brothers.
She was very pretty in her neat, gray gown and
white apron, with her bright eyes, gentle face, and
sweet voice; though she seldom sung, except
lullabies to the little frogs and the sick folks.
She was rocking a small tadpole to sleep in
this way one day, when the disguised Prince
came hobbling along, and asked for a bit to eat.
Putting little Wiggle in his cobweb hammock,
Splash said kindly,--
"Yes, old mother, come in and rest while I
get you some dinner. Here 's a soft cushion
of moss, and a leaf of water fresh from the spring."
The Prince sat a long time talking with her,
and hearing about her brothers, and seeing how
sweet she was. He made up his mind to marry
at once; for frogs don't spend a long time and
much money getting ready,--they just wash up
their green and gray suits, and invite their friends
to the wedding. The bride can always find a
delicate cobweb on the grass for a veil, and that
is all she needs.
The Prince thought he would try one thing
more; so he said to her,--
"I 'm very lame; will you take me to the palace?
I want to see the Prince. Do you know him?"
"No; I 'm only a humble creature, and he
would n't care to know me," said Splash,
modestly. "But I admire him very much, he is so
brave and just and good. I love to see him go
by, and always peep behind my curtain, he is
such a splendid sight."
The Prince blushed under the nut-shell cap at
such praise, and was sure, from the way Splash
spoke, that she loved him a little bit. So he was
very happy and wanted to dance, but kept quiet
and leaned on her arm as she led him down the
bank, put him nicely on a lily-pad, and rowed
away, smiling at him and talking so sweetly he
got fonder and fonder of her every moment.
At last they came to the palace, all made of
white water-lilies, with red cardinal-flowers for
flags, floors of green moss, and pink toadstool
tables spread with acorn cups of honey, berries,
and all the dainties frogs love; for the Prince
had sent a telegram by the wind to have a feast
"Come in. I have something for you in return
for your kindness to me. I 'm not what I seem,
and in a moment you shall see who your new
friend is," said the Prince, leading her into the
great hall where the throne was.
Then he left her, wondering what was to happen,
while he hurried to throw off his old things
and to put on his green velvet suit, his crown of
cowslip, and the tall rush that was his sceptre.
He looked very splendid, with white silk stockings
on his long legs, his fine eyes shining, and
his speckled waistcoat puffed out with the joy
of his heart.
The trumpets sounded; all the frogs of the
court came marching in, with the Prince at the
head; and when they were seated at the tables,
he took astonished Splash by the hand, and said
in a loud voice,--
"This is your Queen,--the best, the loveliest
in the land! Bring the wedding veil; let the
bells ring, and shout with me, 'Hurrah! hurrah
for Queen Splash!'"
They did n't look like heroines, those two shabby little girls. PAGE 242
BAA THE FIRST.
They did n't look at all like heroines, those
two shabby little girls, as they trotted
down the hill, leaving a cloud of dust behind
them. Their bare feet were scratched and
brown, their hands were red with berry stains,
and their freckled faces shone with heat under
the flapping sun-bonnets. But Patty and Tilda
were going to do a fine piece of work, although
they did not know it then, and were very full
of their own small affairs as they went briskly
toward the station to sell berries.
The tongues went as fast as the feet; for this
was a great expedition, and both were much
excited about it
"Don't they look lovely?" said Tilda, proudly
surveying her sister's load as she paused to change
a heavy pail from one arm to the other.
"Perfectly de-licious! I know folks will buy
'em, if we ain't too scared to offer 'em,"
answered Patty, stopping also to settle the two
dozen little birch baskets full of red raspberries
which she carried, prettily set forth, on an old
waiter, trimmed with scarlet bunch-berries, white
everlasting, and green leaves.
"I sha'n't be. I 'll go right along and holler
real loud,--see if I don't. I'm bound to have
our books and boots for next winter; so just
keep thinking how nice they'll be, and push
ahead," said stout-hearted Tilda, the leader of
"Hurry up. I want to have time to sprinkle
the posies, so they'll look fresh when the train
comes. I hope there'll be lots of children in it;
they always want to eat, ma says."
"It was real mean of Elviry Morris to go and
offer to sell cheaper up to the hotel than we did,
and spoil our market. Guess she'll wish she'd
thought of this when we tell what we 've done
down here." And both children laughed with
satisfaction as they trudged along, never
minding the two hot, dusty miles they had to go.
The station was out of the village, and the long
trains carrying summer travellers to the
mountains stopped there once a day to meet the stages
for different places. It was a pleasant spot, with
a great pond on one side, deep forests on the
other, and in the distance glimpses of gray peaks
or green slopes inviting the weary city people
to come and rest.
Every one seemed glad to get out during the
ten minutes' pause, even if their journey was not
yet ended; and while they stood about, enjoying
the fresh air from the pond, or watching the
stages load up, Tilda and Patty planned to offer
their tempting little baskets of fresh fruit and
flowers. It was a great effort, and their hearts
beat with childish hope and fear as they came
in sight of the station, with no one about but the
jolly stage-drivers lounging in the shade.
"Plenty of time. Let's go to the pond and
wash off the dust and get a drink. Folks won't
see us behind those cars," said Tilda, glad to slip
out of sight till the train arrived; for even her
courage seemed to ooze away as the important
A long cattle-train stood on a side track waiting
for the other one to pass; and while the little
girls splashed their feet in the cool water, or
drank from their hands, a pitiful sound filled the
air. Hundreds of sheep, closely packed in the
cars and suffering agonies from dust and heat and
thirst, thrust their poor noses through the bars,
bleating frantically; for the sight of all that water,
so near yet so impossible to reach, drove them
wild. Those farther down the track, who could
not see the blue lake, could smell it, and took up
the cry till the woods echoed with it, and even the
careless drivers said, with a glance of pity,--
"Hard on the poor critters this hot day, ain't it?"
"Oh, Tilda, hear 'em baa, and see 'em crowd
this side to get at the water! Let's take 'em
some in our pickin' dishes. It's so dreadful
to be dry," said tender-hearted Patty, filling her
pint cup, and running to offer it to the nearest
pathetic nose outstretched to meet it. A dozen
thirsty tongues tried to lap it, and in the struggle
the little cup was soon emptied; but Patty ran
for more, and Tilda did the same, both getting so
excited over the distress of the poor creatures
that they never heard the far-off whistle of their
train, and continued running to and fro on their
errand of mercy, careless of their own weary feet,
hot faces, and the precious flowers withering in the sun.
They did not see a party of people sitting near
by under the trees, who watched them and
listened to their eager talk with smiling interest.
"Run, Patty; this poor little one is half dead.
Throw some water in his face while I make this
big one stop walking on him. Oh, dear! There
are so many! We can't help half, and our
mugs are so small!"
"I know what I 'll do, Tilda,--tip out the
berries into my apron, and bring up a nice lot
at once," cried Patty, half beside herself with pity.
"It will spoil your apron and mash the berries,
but never mind. I don't care if we don't sell one
if we can help these poor dear lammies,"
answered energetic Tilda, dashing into the pond
up to her ankles to fill the pail, while Patty piled
up the fruit in her plaid apron.
"Oh, my patience me! the train is coming!"
cried Patty, as a shrill shriek woke the echoes,
and an approaching rumble was heard.
"Let it come. I won't leave this sheep till it's
better. You go and sell the first lot; I 'll come
as quick as I can," commanded Tilda, so busy
reviving the exhausted animal that she could not
stop even to begin the cherished new plan.
"I don't dare go alone; you come and call
out, and I 'll hold the waiter," quavered poor
Patty, looking sadly scared as the long train
rolled by with a head at every window.
"Don't be a goose. Stay here and work,
then; I 'll go and sell every basket. I 'm so
mad about these poor things, I ain't afraid of
anybody," cried Tilda, with a last refreshing
splash among the few favored sheep, as she
caught up the tray and marched off to the
platform,--a very hot, wet, shabby little girl, but
with a breast full of the just indignation and
tender pity that go to redress half the wrongs
of this great world.
"Oh, mamma, see the pretty baskets! do buy
some, I 'm so thirsty and tired," exclaimed more
than one eager little traveller, as Tilda held up
her tray, crying bravely,--
"Fresh berries! fresh berries! ten cents! only
They were all gone in ten minutes; and if Patty
had been with her, the pail might have been
emptied before the train left. But the other
little Samaritan was hard at work; and when her
sister joined her, proudly displaying a handful
of silver, she was prouder still to show her woolly
invalid feebly nibbling grass from her hand.
"We might have sold everyone,--folks liked
'em ever so much; and next time we 'll have
two dozen baskets apiece. But we 'll have to
be spry, for some of the children fuss about
picking out the one they like. It's real fun,
Patty," said Tilda, tying up the precious dimes
in a corner of her dingy little handkerchief.
"So's this," answered the other, with a last
loving pat of her patient's nose, as the train
began to move, and car after car of suffering
sheep passed them with plaintive cries and vain
efforts to reach the blessed water of which they
were in such dreadful need.
Poor Patty could n't bear it. She was hot,
tired, and unhappy because she could do so
little; and when her pitying eyes lost sight of that
load of misery, she just sat down and cried.
But Tilda scolded as she carefully put the
unsold berries back into the pail, still unconscious
of the people behind the elder-bushes by the pond.
"That's the wickedest thing that ever was;
and I just wish I was a man, so I could see
about it. I 'd put all the railroad folks in those
cars, and keep 'em there hours and hours and
hours, going by ponds all the time; and I 'd
have ice-cream, too, where they could n't get a
bit, and lots of fans, and other folks all cool and
comfortable, never caring how hot and tired and
thirsty they were. Yes, I would! and then we'd
see how they like it."
Here indignant Tilda had to stop for breath,
and refreshed herself by sucking berry-juice off
"We must do something about it. I can't be
happy to think of those poor lammies going so
far without any water. It's awful to be dry,"
sobbed Patty, drinking her own tears as they fell.
"If I had a hose, I 'd come every day and
hose all over the cars; that would do some
good. Anyway, we 'll bring the other big pail,
and water all we can," said Tilda, whose active
brain was always ready with a plan.
"Then we sha'n't sell our berries," began
Patty, despondently; for all the world was
saddened to her just then by the sight she had
"We 'll come earlier, and both work real hard
till our train is in. Then I 'll sell, and you go
on watering with both pails. It's hard work,
but we can take turns. What ever shall we do
with all these berries? The under ones are
smashed, so we 'll eat 'em; but these are nice,
only who will buy 'em?" And Tilda looked
soberly at the spoiled apron and the four quarts
of raspberries picked with so much care in the
"I will," said a pleasant voice; and a young
lady came out from the bushes just as the good
fairy appears to the maidens in old tales.
Both little girls started and stared, and were
covered with confusion when other heads popped
up, and a stout gentleman came toward them,
smiling so good-naturedly that they were not afraid.
"We are having a picnic in the woods, and
would like these nice berries for our supper, if
you want to sell them," said the lady, holding
out a pretty basket.
"Yes, ma'am, we do. You can have 'em all.
They 're a little mashed; so we won't ask but
ten cents a quart, though we expected to get
twelve," said Tilda, who was a real Yankee, and
had an eye to business.
"What do you charge for watering the sheep?"
asked the stout gentleman, looking kindly at
Patty, who at once retired into the depths of her
sun-bonnet, like a snail into its shell.
"Nothing, sir. Was n't it horrid to see those
poor things? That's what made her cry. She's
real tender-hearted, and she could n't bear it; so
we let the berries go, and did what we could,"
answered Tilda, with such an earnest little face
that it looked pretty in spite of tan and freckles
"Yes, it was very sad, and we must see about
it. Here's something to pay for the berries,
also for the water." And the gentleman threw
a bright half-dollar into Tilda's lap and another
into Patty's, just as if he was used to tossing
money about in that delightful manner.
The little girls did n't know what to say to
him; but they beamed at every one, and surveyed
the pretty silver pieces as if they were
very precious in their sight.
"What will you do with them?" asked the
lady, in the friendly sort of voice that always
gets a ready answer.
"Oh, we are saving up to buy books and
rubber boots, so we can go to school next winter.
We live two miles from school, and wear out
lots of boots, and get colds when it's wet. We
had Pewmonia last spring, and ma said we must
have rubber boots, and we might earn 'em in
berry-time," said Tilda, eagerly.
"Yes, and she's real smart, and she's going
to be promoted, and must have new books, and
they cost so much, and ma ain't rich, so we get
'em ourselves," added sister Patty, forgetting
bashfulness in sisterly pride.
"That's brave. How much will it take for
the boots and the books?" asked the lady, with
a glance at the old gentleman, who was eating
berries out of her basket.
"As much as five dollars, I guess. We want
to get a shawl for ma, so she can go to meetin'.
It's a secret, and we pick every day real
hard, 'cause berries don't last long," said Tilda,
"She thought of coming down here. We
felt so bad about losing our place at the
hotel, and did n't know what to do, till Tilda
made this plan. I think it's a splendid one." And
Patty eyed her half-dollar with immense
"Don't spoil the plan, Alice. I 'm passing
every week while you are up here, and I 'll see
to the success of the affair," said the old
gentleman, with a nod; adding, in a louder tone,
"These are very fine berries, and I want you
to take four quarts every other day to Miller's
farm over there. You know the place?"
"Yes, sir! yes, sir!" cried two eager voices;
for the children felt as if a rain of half-dollars
was about to set in.
"I come up every Saturday and go down
Monday; and I shall look out for you here, and
you can water the sheep as much as you like.
They need it, poor beasts!" added the old
"We will, sir! we will!" cried the children,
with faces so full of innocent gratitude and good
will that the young lady stooped and kissed them
"Now, my dear, we must be off, and not keep
our friends waiting any longer," said the old
gentleman, turning toward the heads still
bobbing about behind the bushes.
"Good-by, good-by. We won't forget the
berries and the sheep," called the children,
waving the stained apron like a banner, and
showing every white tooth in the beaming smiles
they sent after these new friends.
"Nor I my lambs," said Alice to herself, as
she followed her father to the boat.
"What will ma say when we tell her and show
her this heap of money?" exclaimed Tilda,
pouring the dimes into her lap, and rapturously
chinking the big half-dollars before she tied
them all up again.
"I hope we sha'n't be robbed going home.
You 'd better hide it in your breast, else some
one might see it," said prudent Patty, oppressed
by the responsibility of so much wealth.
"There goes the boat!" cried Tilda. "Don't
it look lovely? Those are the nicest folks I
"She's perfectly elegant. I 'd like a white
dress and a hat just like that. When she kissed
me, the long feather was as soft as a bird's wing
on my cheeks, and her hair was all curling round
like the picture we cut out of the paper." And
Patty gazed after the boat as if this little touch of
romance in her hard-working life was delightful
"They must be awful rich, to want so many
berries. We shall have to fly round to get
enough for them and the car folks too. Let's
go right off now to that thick place we left this
morning, else Elviry may get ahead of us," said
practical Tilda, jumping up, ready to make hay
while the sun shone. But neither of them
dreamed what a fine crop they were to get in
that summer, all owing to their readiness in
answering that pitiful "Baa! baa!"
BAA THE SECOND.
A very warm and a very busy week followed,
for the berries were punctually delivered at the
farm, and successfully sold at the station; and,
best of all, the sheep were as faithfully watered
as two little pails and two little girls could do
it. Every one else forgot them. Mr. Benson
was a busy old gentleman far away in the city;
Miss Alice was driving, boating, and picnicking
all day long; and the men at the depot had no
orders to care for the poor beasts. But Tilda
and Patty never forgot; and, rain or shine, they
were there when the long train came in, waiting
to do what they could, with dripping pails,
handfuls of grass, or green branches, to refresh these
suffering travellers for whom no thought was
The rough stage-drivers laughed at them, the
brakemen ordered them away, and the station-master
said they were "little fools;" but nothing
daunted the small sisters of charity, and in a
few days they were let alone. Their arms were
very tired lifting the pails, their backs ached
with lugging so much water, and mother would
not let them wear any but their oldest clothes
for such wet work; so they had their trials,
but bore them bravely, and never expected to
When Saturday came round, and Miss Alice
drove to meet her father, she remembered the
little girls, and looked for them. Up at the
farm she enjoyed her berries, and ordered
them to be promptly paid for, but was either
asleep or away when they arrived, and so had
not seen the children. The sight of Patty,
hastily scrambling a clean apron over her old
frock, as she waited for the train with her
tray of fruit, made the young lady leave the
phaeton and go to meet the child, asking, with
"Where is the black-eyed sister? Not ill, I hope.
"No, ma'am; she's watering the sheep. She's
so strong she does it better 'n I do, and I sell
the baskets," answered Patty, rejoicing secretly in
the clean faded apron that hid her shabbiness.
"Ah, I forgot my lambs; but you were faithful
to yours, you good little things! Have you
done it every day?"
"Yes, 'm. Ma said, if we promised, we must
do it; and we like it. Only there 's such a lot of
'em, and we get pretty tired." And Patty rubbed
her arms as if they ached.
"I 'll speak to papa about it this very day.
It will be a good time; for Mr. Jacobs, the
president of the road, is coming up to spend
Sunday, and they must do something for the poor
beasts," said Miss Alice, ashamed to be outdone
by two little girls.
"That will be so nice. We read a piece in a
paper our teacher lends us, and I brought it
down to show Mr. Weed, the depot man. He
said it was a shame, but nobody could help it;
so we thought we 'd tell him about the law we
found." And Patty eagerly drew a worn copy of
"Our Dumb Animals" from her pocket to show
the little paragraph to this all-powerful friend
who knew the railroad king.
Miss Alice read:--
"An act of Congress provides that at the end of
every twenty-eight hours' journey animals shall be
given five hours' rest, and duly fed and watered,
unless shipped in cars having accommodations for the
care of live-stock on board."
"There!" cried Patty, "that's the law; and
ma says these sheep come ever so far, and ought
to be watered. Do tell the president, and ask
him to see to it. There was another piece about
some poor pigs and cows being ninety-two hours
without water and food. It was awful."
"I will tell him. Here 's our train. Run to
your berries. I 'll find papa, and show him this."
As Miss Alice spoke, the cars thundered into
the little station, and a brief bustle ensued,
during which Patty was too busy to see what
Mr. Benson and another stout old gentleman
got out; and the minute Miss Alice had been
kissed, she said very earnestly,--
"Wait a little, please; I want to settle a
very important piece of business before we go home."
Then, while the gentlemen listened indulgently,
she told the story, showed the bit in the paper,
and pointing out Patty, added warmly,--
"That's one good child. Come and see the
other, and you will agree with me that
something ought to be done to relieve their kind
little hearts and arms, if not out of mercy to the
animals, who can't be called dumb in this case,
though we have been deaf too long."
"My wilful girl must have her way. Come
and get a whiff of fresh air, Jacobs." And
Mr. Benson followed his daughter across the track,
glad to get out of the bustle.
Yes, Tilda was there, and at work so energetically
that they dared not approach, but stood
looking and laughing for a moment. Two pails
of water stood near her, and with a long-handled
dipper she was serving all she could reach;
those which were packed on the upper tier she
could only refresh by a well-aimed splash, which
was eagerly welcomed, and much enjoyed by all
parties,--for Tilda got well showered herself, but
did not care a bit, for it was a melting July day.
"That is a very little thing to do, but it is the
cup of cold water which we have forgotten,"
said Miss Alice, softly, while the air was full of
cries of longing as the blue lake shone before
the thirsty beasts.
"Jacobs, we must attend to this."
"Benson, we will. I 'll look into the matter,
and report at the next meeting."
That was all they said; but Alice clapped her
hands, for she knew the thing would be done,
and smiled like sunshine on the two old
gentlemen, who presently watched the long train
rumble away, with shakes and nods of the gray heads,
which expressed both pity and determination.
The other train soon followed, and Patty came
running over with her empty tray and a handful
of silver to join Tilda, who sat down upon her
upturned pail, tired out.
"Papa will see to it, children; and, thanks to
you, the sheep will soon be more comfortable,"
said Miss Alice, joining them.
"Oh, goody! I hope they'll be quick; it's
so hot, there 's ever so many dead ones to-day,
and I can't help 'em," answered Tilda, fanning
herself with her bonnet, and wiping the drops
off her red face.
Miss Alice took a pretty straw fan out of her
pocket and handed it to her, with a look of
respect for the faithful little soul who did her
duty so well.
"Ask for me when you come to the farm
to-night. I shall have some hats and aprons for
you, and I want to know you better," she said,
remembering the broad-brimmed hats and
ready-made aprons in the village store.
"Thank you, ma'am. We 'll come. Now we
won't have to do this wet work we 'd like to be
neat and nice," said Patty, gratefully.
"Do you always sell all your berries down
here?" asked Miss Alice, watching Tilda tie up
"Yes, indeed; and we could sell more if both
of us went. But ma said we were making lots
of money, and it was n't best to get rich too
fast," answered Tilda, wisely.
"That's a good thing for us to remember,
Benson, especially just now, and not count the
cost of this little improvement in our cattle cars
too closely," said Mr. Jacobs, as the old gentlemen
came up in time to hear Tilda's speech.
"Your mother is a remarkable woman; I
must come and see her," added Mr. Benson.
"Yes, sir; she is. She'd be pleased to see
you any day." And Tilda stood up respectfully
as her elders addressed her.
"Getting too rich, are you? Then I suppose
it would n't do to ask you to invest this in your
business for me?" asked Mr. Jacobs, holding
up two silver dollars, as if he felt bashful about
Two pairs of eyes sparkled; and Patty's hand
went out involuntarily, as she thought how many
things she could get with all that money.
"Would they buy a lamb? and would you
like to use it that way?" asked Tilda, in a
"I guess Miller would let you have one for that
sum if Miss Alice makes the bargain, and I should
very much like to start a flock if you would
attend to it for me," answered Mr. Jacobs, with a
laughing nod at the young lady, who seemed to
understand that way of making bargains.
"We 'd like it ever so much! We 've wanted
a lamb all summer; and we've got a nice rocky
pasture, with lots of pennyroyal and berry bushes
and a brook, for it to live in. We could get
one ourselves now we are so rich; but we 'd
rather buy more things for ma, and mend the
roof 'fore the snow comes: it's so old, rain runs
down on our bed sometimes."
"That's bad; but you seem fond of water,
and look as if it agreed with you," said
Mr. Jacobs, playfully poking Tilda's soaked apron
with his cane.
They all laughed; and Mr. Benson said,
looking at his watch,--
"Come, Alice, we must go. I want my
dinner, and so does Jacobs. Good-by, little
water-witches. I 'll see you again."
"Do you s'pose they 'll remember the lambs
and hats, and all they promised?" asked Patty,
as the others turned away.
"I don't believe they will. Rich folks are so
busy having good times they are apt to forget
poor folks, seems to me," answered Tilda,
shaking her head like a little Solomon.
"Bless my heart, what a sharp child that is!
We must not disappoint her; so remind me,
Alice, to make a memorandum of all this business,"
whispered Mr. Benson, who heard every word.
"The President is a very nice man, and I know
he 'll keep his word. See! he dropped the
money in my tray, and I never saw him do it,"
cried Patty, pouncing on the dollars like a robin
on a worm.
"There's a compliment for you, and well
worth the money. Such confidence is beautiful,"
said Mr. Jacobs, laughing.
"Well, I 've learned a little lesson, and I 'll
lay it to heart so well I won't let either of you
forget," added Alice, as they drove away; while
Tilda and Patty trudged home, quite unconscious
that they had set an example which their elders
were not ashamed to follow.
So many delightful things happened after this
that the children felt as if they had got into a
fairy tale. First of all, two nice rough straw hats
and four useful aprons were given them that very
night. Next day Miss Alice went to see their
mother, and found an excellent woman, trying to
bring up her girls, with no one to help her.
Then somehow the roof got mended, and the
fence, so that passing cattle could not devastate
the little beds where the children carefully
cultivated wild flowers from the woods and hills.
There seemed to be a sudden call for berries
in the neighborhood,--for the story of the small
Samaritans went about, and even while they
laughed, people felt an interest in the children,
and were glad to help them; so the dimes in
the spoutless teapot rose like a silver tide, and
visions of new gowns, and maybe sleds, danced
through the busy little brains.
But, best and most wonderful of all, the old
gentlemen did not forget the sheep. It was
astonishing how quickly and easily it was all
done, when once those who had the power
found both the will and the way. Every one
was interested now: the stage-drivers joked no
more; the brakemen lent a hand with the buckets
while waiting for better means of relief; and
cross Mr. Weed patted Tilda and Patty on the
head, and pointed them out to strangers as the
"nice little girls who stirred up the railroad
folks." Children from the hotel came to look at
them, and Elviry Morris was filled with regret
that she had no share in this interesting affair.
Thus the little pail of water they offered for
pity's sake kept the memory of this
much-needed mercy green till the lake poured its
full tide along the channel made for it, and
there was no more suffering on that road.
The first day the new pumps were tried every
one went to see them work; and earliest of all
were Tilda and Patty, in pink aprons and
wreaths of evergreens round their new hats, in
honor of the day. It was sweet to see their
intense satisfaction as the water streamed into
the troughs, and the thirsty sheep drank so
gratefully. The innocent little souls did not
know how many approving glances were cast
upon them as they sat on a log, with the tired
arms folded, two trays of berries at their feet
now, and two faces beaming with the joy of a
great hope beautifully fulfilled.
Presently a party from the hotel appeared;
and something was evidently going to happen,
for the boys and girls kept dodging behind the
cars to see if they were coming. Tilda and
Patty wondered who or what, but kept modestly
apart upon their log, glad to see that the fine
folks enjoyed the sight about as much as they did.
A rattle was heard along the road, a wagon
stopped behind the station, and an excited boy
came flying over the track to make the mysterious
announcement to the other children,--
"They 've got 'em, and they are regular beauties."
"More pumps or troughs, I guess. Well, we
can't have too many," said Tilda, with an eye to
the business under way.
"I wish those folks would n't stare so. I
s'pose it's the new aprons with pockets,"
whispered bashful Patty, longing for the old
cape-bonnet to retire into.
But both forgot pumps and pockets in a
moment, as a striking procession appeared round
the corner. Mr. Benson, trying not to laugh,
but shining with heat and fun, led a very white
lamb with a red bow on its neck; and behind
him came Miss Alice, leading another lamb with
a blue bow. She looked very much in earnest,
and more like a good fairy than ever, as she
carried out her little surprise. People looked
and laughed; but every one seemed to
understand the joke at once, and were very quiet
when Mr. Benson held up his hand, and said, in
a voice which was earnest as well as merry,--
"Here, my little girls, are two friends of those
poor fellows yonder come to thank you for your
pity, and to prove, I hope, that rich people are
not always too busy with their own good times
to remember their poorer neighbors. Take
them, my dears, and God bless you!"
"I did n't forget my lambs this time, but have
been taming these for you; and Mr. Jacobs
begs you will accept them, with his love," added
Miss Alice, as the two pretty creatures were led
up to their new owners, wagging their tails and
working their noses in the most amiable manner,
though evidently much amazed at the scene.
Tilda and Patty were so surprised that they
were dumb with delight, and could only blush
and pat the woolly heads, feeling more like
story-book girls than ever. The other children,
charmed with this pleasant ending to the pretty
story, set up a cheer; the men joined in it with
a will; while the ladies waved their parasols, and
all the sheep seemed to add to the chorus their
grateful "Baa! baa!"
University Press: John Wilson & Son, Cambridge.