Gateway to the Classics: For the Children's Hour by Carolyn S. Bailey
For the Children's Hour by  Carolyn S. Bailey

Stuart's Valentine

S TUART was very happy when he went to bed the night before St. Valentine's Day, because his mamma said she felt sure he would find a pretty valentine in the morning, which would be all his own. So he dreamed a beautiful dream about a valentine that was red and yellow and blue, with pink roses and blue kittens upon it.

But when Stuart came downstairs in the morning he could not find mamma or papa, and he could not find any valentine at all. He felt very badly, for mamma always told him what was true; he thought somebody else must have got his beautiful valentine, so he went out to the kitchen and he said: "Mary, where is my valentine?"

Mary did not say anything, but she gave Stuart—what do you think?—a large brown cookie with raisins in it! Stuart bit a piece out of the cookie, and it tasted good, but he thought that was not a valentine, and so he went outdoors to eat it. There was the tall, red rooster pecking in the grass where the snow had melted away.

"Good morning, Mr. Rooster," said Stuart, "see my valentine."

The rooster looked at the cookie with his sharp eyes and then he walked up and took a bite out of it.

"That is my valentine," said the rooster. "You must ask the chickadee to give you another one; she ran off with my breakfast." And with that the rooster snatched the cookie out of Stuart's hand and ran off with it as fast as he could go. Stuart saw a pretty little brown bird perched on an evergreen bough singing "chickadee, chickadee," so he went up to the tree and said:

"Good morning, Miss Chickadee. Please give me a valentine. The rooster ran off with mine."

"I cannot give you a valentine," said the chickadee. "I have promised to be the pretty pussy-cat's valentine, but I don't know what a valentine is. You go and ask the pussy-cat."

"Please give me a valentine, Mr. Pussy-cat," said Stuart, walking up to the pussy, who was lying on the doorstep in the sunshine.

"I haven't got my own valentine yet," said the pussy-cat; "you go and ask the cow. I just heard her mooing in the barn."

"Moo-oo-oo," said Mrs. Cow, and she looked over toward the door and shook her horns.

"Aha! I believe the old white horse is the one who has my valentine," said Stuart, looking at the horse, who was chewing and chewing in his stall. The horse laughed out loud.

"Nay, nay," he said to Stuart. "You go out in the yard and see if the dog Rover is not bringing your valentine this very minute."

So Stuart ran out, and, sure enough, there was the wagon coming from the postoffice, and Rover was running on ahead with something in his mouth. It was a big envelope with Stuart's name on the outside, and in the envelope was a beautiful valentine!

— James E. Tower, "Good Housekeeping"   

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