O NCE upon a time, O! such a very, very long time ago, long before your mammas or papas were little boys or girls, even long before your grandmothers and grandfathers were little, the fingers lived apart from the hand and could run about and play like you can.
They all lived together in the prettiest little house you can imagine; it had five windows in front, one for each of the little fingers, and just exactly in the middle of the front was a door, broad enough for the fat thumb to pass through, and high enough for the tall finger. This little house had an up-stairs and a down-stairs; down-stairs was a large dining-room and kitchen in one. In the middle of this large room stood a long table and around this table were five chairs, one for the thumb that was not high, next to this one a chair for the pointer which was larger than the thumb's, next a chair for the tall finger which was the largest, then one for the ring finger, and last a tiny chair for dear little finger.
In one corner was the kitchen stove upon which they cooked breakfast, dinner and supper. On the table were five plates, five cups, five forks, five knives and five spoons, one for each finger.
Up-stairs was the bedroom in which were five beds standing all in a row against the white wall. One was a short, broad bed for the fat little thumb, the next was a little longer and not quite so broad for pointer, the third was very long for the tall finger, then came a nice small bed which was very soft for the weak little gold finger, and last of all a tiny bed for the little wee finger.
In the morning when the sunbeams waked the fingers, the thumb would say, "Let us hurry and dress quickly, so we will have breakfast ready before the sunbeams get very much longer on the floor," and then they would make haste and get to work. Thumb, who was the strongest, would get wood from the shed; pointer would help him light the fire; long finger would get the dishes from the closet, while gold finger and little finger would set the table.
After breakfast was finished, dishes washed and the floor swept up nicely, up-stairs they would run, one after the other, and all going to work, very soon had made up the five beds, dusted the room and put every thing in order. What glorious times they all had, working and playing together!
One day (such a bright day it was) in the fall, just as
it is now, the thumb said, "do you know that the nuts
are ripe, and the little squirrels are busy at work
gathering their winter store, and if we do not go
tomorrow there will be none left for us to crack when
Jack Frost paints flowers upon the windows and every
thing is covered with snow and ice. Let us go
They met a little red squirrel with two great big nuts in his mouth. He looked at the little fingers with his sharp black eyes and said: "There are enough for us all, you can fill your sack up to the top with nuts as big as these here in my mouth." At last they came to the big tree; it was full of nuts up to the very top, and they were all large and round. Thumb said: "Pointer and I will hold the sack open;" long finger said: "I'll take a long pole and knock them off," and little finger said he would pick up those that fell upon the ground, and what would gold finger do? When they looked for her she was nowhere to be found; where was she? The little fingers looked at each other and could not imagine what was the matter. "O," said thumb, "I will tell you how it is. She had forgotten her hat and ran back to get it, and how rude and unkind it was that we did not wait for her." "I am sure she is crying," said pointer, "and I will run back and get her at once, for what will we do if she is not here to climb the tree and get nuts from the top, where long finger cannot reach them?" Away he ran as fast as he could, and when he got home he called, "Gold finger" as loud as he could. But no one answered, so he went up stairs and there he found her sitting in one corner crying bitterly. Pointer told her how she was missed and what they wished her to do. When she heard this, she put on her hat and away they both trotted to the woods. When they got there the other fingers were waiting for them, and gold finger was so anxious to help, that she climbed the tree too fast and fell down and hurt her back very badly, and this is the reason she can't stand up very straight. All the little fingers were sorry, and helped to rub it briskly so as to make it well, which they really did. After this she climbed up slower and shook all the nuts down, so that it sounded like hail. At last the bag was full to the very top; they all took hold and pulled, it was so very heavy. When they reached home they were very tired, but when winter came and the ground was all covered with snow and Jack Frost painted the windows and all the flowers were asleep, then they all sat around the warm fire, cracked nuts and told stories and had a splendid time. Don't you wish you had been there to hear the tales and eat walnuts? I'm sure I wish so.