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

The Forest Home

O NCE-UPON-A-TIME there were two Gipsies.

They are people, you know, who travel about a great deal and like to sleep and eat in the woods, where they can be near the tall forest trees, the wild flowers, the rocks and moss and the sparkling waters. Gipsies do not like to live in houses like you and me. No, no indeed, they would much rather live in tents, which can be quickly packed up and moved with them from place to place. I can show you with my hands how they look—so.

Now, isn't that a queer little house? and do you think you would like to live in it?

Well, anyway, these two Gipsies I am telling you about liked it very much. Why, when Mrs. Gipsy wanted to cook dinner, she did not need a stove. She would make a fire under the trees near the creek, and then she would hang her pot over it, and boil all kinds of nice things to eat. Then when she and Mr. Gipsy wanted water to drink they would go to the cool spring, where the ferns grew thickest. They did not sleep in beds either, like you and me, but they would sleep on a pallet under the tent, or in fine weather swing a hammock under the trees and sleep in that. So you see how happy they were. But they were happier than ever at this time I am telling you about, because they knew a great big secret. Something was going to happen to them! You see, somebody told them they were soon to receive a wonderful present—one they had longed for ever so many times—and now if they were only willing to wait cheerfully, the present was really to be theirs.

Now, what do you suppose it was? No, and I am afraid you will never guess! When Mr. and Mrs. Gipsy first saw it, why it was all wrapped up in a shawl, lying on the pallet under the tent. And when they peeped under the shawl, Mrs. Gipsy said: "Oh, isn't he sweet! See what tiny pink fists all doubled up! What a queer little mouth just like a rosebud, and—my, my, my, not a single tooth and not a hair of hair on his pretty bald head! But we don't care for that, he is the sweetest, prettiest thing in all the wide, wide world!"

Then they almost smothered the wonderful present with kisses. And what do you think? It began to cry. Of course you know now what the present was. Why, to be sure, a baby boy for Mr. and Mrs. Gipsy, and they were so proud of it they didn't know what to do.

"We shall name him Joe for you, Father Gipsy," said Mother Gipsy with a smile, "that is the prettiest name that I know—and we will call him Joe-Boy, so that he will not get mixed up with you."

At first Joe-Boy slept nearly all the time and his mother couldn't tell what kind of eyes he had. But then he was growing, you know, and getting so fat he was almost too heavy to lift.

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