Gateway to the Classics: Little Folks' Land by Madge A. Bigham
Little Folks' Land by  Madge A. Bigham

The Carpenter's Help

W HEN the brickmasons had finished their work and gone home, Father Gipsy hurried to the tent in the woods. He knew Mother Gipsy would be waiting for him, and would want to hear all about the work on the new house. Sure enough, she came down the path to meet him, and the very first thing she said was:

"How is Joe-Boy's house? Did the brickmasons build a strong foundation?"

"Yes indeed," said Father Gipsy, "the foundation is finished, and it is such a fine, strong one I am sure you will like it."

"That is good news," said Mother Gipsy, "now, what is the next thing to be done?"

"The next thing to do," said Father Gipsy, "is to find some jolly carpenters. They will build the wood work and finish up the house. It will take them many days of hard work, but I shall pay them well, and by-and-by all will be finished, and Joe-Boy and you and I will move into the pretty house."

Very early the next morning the carpenters came to work on the house, and each one of them brought his dinner in a basket, because they would be so busy building all day, there would be no time to go home for dinner. They brought large tool boxes with them too, filled with all kinds of carpenter's tools—hammers, saws, augers, gimlets, measuring squares, planes, screws and nails. Soon every carpenter was hard at work, some hammering, some sawing, some planing, some boring and some measuring, but all working on Joe-Boy's house.

For many days Mother Gipsy listened to the ring of the hammers and the whir of the saws, as the planks were sawn in two—long ones and short ones, thick ones and thin—planed smooth and level, and then nailed in place. Sometimes great, heavy planks would have to be lifted to the top of the house, and then, it would take many men to help, because one man was not strong enough to lift it all by himself. They would tie a rope around the large plank, and then pass this rope over a strong iron wheel, called a pulley, and catching the other end of the rope they would pull and pull with all their strength, and the heavy plank would rise higher and higher, until it reached the top of the house, where other carpenters were waiting to catch it and nail it into place. These carpenters knew of other ways to move things, too,—weights so heavy that many men could not lift them, even a little way, and then they would use the capstan, which could lift heavy weights high and hold them so tight, they could not slip, nor hurt anyone. And if the carpenters had anything on top of the house to send down to the ground, they would slide it down a long slanting board, called an inclined plane, and this helped them in their building very, very much, and saved many steps. So, you see what busy, busy workmen these carpenters were, and how much work they had to do before Joe-Boy's house would be ready for him.

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