Gateway to the Classics: The Way of the Gate by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey
 
The Way of the Gate by  Carolyn Sherwin Bailey

Thanksgiving in the Woods

"Tweet, tweet," chirped fluffy Brown Sparrow. He puffed out his little brown waistcoat with the cold. He shook the first snowflakes from his round brown cap. "I heard some children passing through the woods just now. They said that it is Thanksgiving Day. What have I to be thankful for, I wonder? There is a long, cold winter coming, and nothing to eat." Fluffy Brown Sparrow spread his wings and flew down to the ground.

Oh, such a surprise! There in a hollow tree, where it would be safe, was a round, crisp loaf of bread. The children had left it there for fluffy Brown Sparrow. He pecked big bites out of it with his bill.

"Tweet, tweet, I am thankful," sang the fluffy Brown Sparrow.

"Chirr, chirr," chattered Red Squirrel. He scampered from branch to branch in his little red overcoat, and whisking his long red tail, said, "Some children just ran by. I heard them say that it is Thanksgiving Day. What have I to be thankful for, I wonder? It has been such a poor season for nuts, and a long winter is coming."

But Red Squirrel sniffed, and sniffed, and then sniffed again.

"Nuts," he chattered. "I smell nuts."

Then the red squirrel spread his bushy red tail and jumped to a lower branch.

Oh, such a treat! There, nailed to the branch, was a little wooden box. Red Squirrel could easily reach it from his window, a hole in the tree trunk. Inside the box were chestnuts and hickory nuts. The children had filled the box and nailed it there for the red Squirrel.

"Chirr, chirr! I am thankful," chattered the red squirrel.

Thump, thump, little Wild Hare stamped on the frozen ground very hard with his little back feet. "I just got away in time," he said. "Some children came running through the woods. I am sure they would have caught me if they could. I heard them say something about its being Thanksgiving Day. What have I to be thankful for, I should like to know? Snow is coming early and covering the fields where I used to feed."

Slowly Wild Hare hopped back to the tree stump that was his house.

Oh, what a surprise! Tucked away in one corner of the hollow stump was a juicy white turnip. The children had left the turnip for the little wild hare. He sat upon his back legs and crossed his front legs over his empty little stomach and thought.

"I am thankful. Oh, I am very thankful," thought Wild Hare as the wind in the trees sang a Thanksgiving song.

To him that is ready to faint kindness should be showed from his friend.

—Job vi. 14.


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