Gateway to the Classics: Display Item
Willliam J. Hopkins

The Market Story

dropcap image NCE upon a time there was a farm-house, and it was painted white and had green blinds; and it stood not far from the road. In the fence was a wide gate to let the wagons through to the barn. And the wagons, going through, had made a track that led up past the kitchen door and past the shed and past the barn and past the orchard to the wheat-field.

One morning, after the summer was over and all the different things had got ripe and had been gathered, Uncle John woke up when the old rooster crowed, very early, long before it was light. And he got up and put on his clothes, and Aunt Deborah got up too, and they went down-stairs.


Then, while Aunt Deborah fixed the fire and got breakfast ready, Uncle John went out to the barn. He gave the horses their breakfast, and when they had eaten it he took them out of their stalls and put the harness on and led them out to the shed. Then he hitched them to the big wagon and he made them back the wagon up to the place where all the things were put that were to go to market.

Then Uncle Solomon came out and helped, and they put into the wagon all the barrels of apples that they could get in, and they put in a lot of squashes and turnips and some kegs of cider and some bags of meal and fine hominy and some butter that Aunt Deborah and Aunt Phyllis had made and some other things. And when these things were all in the wagon, breakfast was ready, and Uncle John fastened the horses to a post and went in to breakfast. And all this they had to do by the light of a lantern, because it wasn't daylight yet.

Then, when Uncle John and little John had had their breakfast, they came out of the house, and Uncle John put little John up on the high seat and he unhitched the horses and climbed up on the high seat beside him. And then Aunt Deborah came out of the house and handed Uncle John a little bundle, and he put the bundle under the seat. In the bundle was some luncheon for Uncle John and little John; and for the horses there was some luncheon too, oats in a pail that hung under the wagon, one pail for each horse. And a lantern hung beside the seat, for it wasn't daylight yet.


When they were all ready, Uncle John said: "Get up," and the horses started walking down the little track into the road and along the road. The horses wanted to trot, but Uncle John wouldn't let them because it isn't good for horses to trot when they have just had their breakfast; and he held on to the reins tight and they had to walk. So they walked along for awhile and it was very dark; and pretty soon Uncle John let the horses trot. And they trotted along the road for a long time and at last it began to get light, and little John was very glad, for he was cold. Then Uncle John blew out the lantern and after awhile the sun came up and shone on them and made them warm. And the horses trotted along for a long time and at last they began to come to the city, and it was very early.

So the horses dragged the wagon through the city streets, and there were not many people in the streets, for they had not had their breakfasts. And by and by they came to the shops and little John saw the boys opening the doors of the shops and sweeping the shops and the sidewalks; and so they went along until they came to a great open place. And in the middle of the open place was a big building, and all about it were wagons, some standing in the middle of the street and some backed up to the curbstone. All these wagons had come in from the country, bringing the things to eat; and the building was a market, and the men in the market bought the things from the men that drove the wagons, and the people that lived in the houses came down afterward and bought the things from the market-men.

Then Uncle John drove the horses up to the sidewalk and he got out and hitched the horses to a post and told little John not to get off the seat; and Uncle John went into the market. When he had been gone some time, he came back and a market-man came with him. The market-man had a long white apron on and no coat; and he looked at the barrels of apples and the squashes and the turnips and the kegs of cider and the bags of meal and the butter and the other things, and he thought about it for a few minutes and then he said: "Well, I'll give you twenty dollars for the lot."


And Uncle John thought for a few minutes and then he said: "Well, I ought to get more for all that. It's all first-class. But I suppose I'd better let it go and get back."

So Uncle John unhitched the horses and backed the wagon up to the sidewalk. Then he took the bridles off the horses' heads and took the buckets of oats from under the wagon; and he put the pails on boxes at the horses' heads, one for each horse, and the horses began to eat the oats.

Then a man came out of the market, wheeling a truck—a kind of a little cart with iron wheels—and he helped the market-man take the barrels out of the wagon, and the squashes and turnips and the kegs of cider and the bags of meal and the butter and the other things. And they put them on the truck, a part at a time, and he wheeled them into the market. Then, when that was all done, the market-man took some money from his pocket and counted twenty dollars and handed it to Uncle John. And then the horses had finished eating the oats, and Uncle John took the pails and hung them under the wagon again and put the bridles on the horses' heads.

Then Uncle John climbed up on the high seat beside little John and took the reins in his hands and said "Get up"; and the horses started and went across the open place to a great stone that was hollowed out and was full of water. And, the horses each took a great drink of water and then they lifted up their heads and started along the streets.

And pretty soon Uncle John stopped them at a shop, and he went in and bought some things that Aunt Deborah wanted, and he paid the shop-man some of the money the market-man had given him. Then they went to another shop and Uncle John bought some more things. And after that they didn't stop at any shops, but the horses trotted along through the streets until they were out of the city and going along the road in the country that led to the farm-house.

By and by they came to a steep hill and the horses stopped trotting and walked, for they were tired. And Uncle John fastened the reins and took the bundle from under the seat and undid it, and in it were bread and butter and hard eggs and gingerbread and a bottle of nice milk. And Uncle John and little John ate the nice things and liked them, for they were both very hungry.

Then they got to the top of the hill and Uncle John took up the reins again and said "Get up," and the horses trotted along for a long time until they came to the farm-house; and they turned in at the wide gate and went up to the kitchen door and there they stopped. And Uncle John got down and took little John down. Little John was glad to get off the high seat, for he had been there a long time and he was very tired.

So he went into the house and Uncle John unhitched the horses from the wagon and put the wagon in the shed. And he took the horses to the barn and took off their harness and put them in their stalls, and they went to sleep.

And that's all.