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. And in the fence was a wide gate to let
the wagons through to the barn. And the wagons,
going through, had made a little track that went up
past the kitchen door and past
the shed and past the barn and past the orchard to a
gate in a stone wall, where
the bars were across; and through that field and
another gate where the bars
were across, into the
When the summer was nearly over and the corn and most
of the other things had got ripe and
had been gathered,
Then Uncle John took the plough off the drag and
unhooked the chain from the drag and
hooked it to the plough.
Then Uncle John unhooked the chain from the plough and
hooked it to the harrow; and
the old oxen started and walked slowly back and forth
across the field, and the teeth
of the harrow broke up the
lumps of dirt and made it all soft. And when the field
was all harrowed,
The next morning, Uncle John put some whole wheat in a
big bag and put the bag over his
shoulder and walked
along past the orchard to the
And the rain fell and the sun shone on the field and the wheat began to grow. And soon the little green blades pushed up through the ground like grass; and the wheat grew higher and higher until it was as high as little John's knees. And then the summer was all over and it was beginning to get cold; so the wheat stopped growing and stayed just as high as that all winter and the snow covered it.
And when the winter was over and it began to get warm,
the snow melted away and the
wheat began to grow again; and it got taller and taller
until it was as tall as
Then Uncle John and Uncle Solomon got their scythes and
their whetstones and started
very early in the morning to the
The next morning Uncle John got out the oxen and they
put their heads down low, and he
put the yoke over and the bows under and hooked the
tongue of the cart to the yoke and
said "Gee up there." And the old oxen walked slowly
along, past the barn and past
the orchard to the
And the sun had dried the stalks of wheat and the tassels. The tassels are a lot of little cases, on a fine stem; and in each little case is a grain of whole wheat. When the tassels are dry, the little cases are all ready to break open.
Then Uncle Solomon and Uncle John took their long forks and put the wheat in the cart, and when the cart was full the old oxen walked slowly back to the barn and in at the great doors.
There were great enormous doors in the side of the barn, big enough for a wagon to go through when it was piled up high with a load of hay or of wheat. And in the other side of the barn were other great enormous doors, so that the wagon could go right through the barn; and between the doors was only the great open floor with nothing on it. On one side of this open place were the cows, and on the other side were the horses and the oxen, and the cart went in between, with the wheat in it.
Then Uncle Solomon and Uncle John took the wheat out of
the cart and put it
on the floor of the barn; and the old oxen started
again and walked out the
other door and back to the
The next morning Uncle Solomon and Uncle John went to the barn, and each took down from a nail a long smooth stick that had another smooth stick fastened to its end by a piece of leather so that it flapped about. This was to beat the wheat with, and they called it a flail.
And so Uncle Solomon and Uncle John stood amidst the wheat on the barn floor and whacked it with the flails so that they made a great noise—whack! whack!—on the floor. And the little cases broke open and the grains of whole wheat fell out and dropped between the stalks to the barn floor. And the pieces of the broken cases blew out from the great barn doors; for the doors were open at both sides and the wind blew through. These broken pieces that blow away, they call chaff.
Then when Uncle Solomon and Uncle John had whacked for
a long time, and they
thought that all the whole wheat had come out of the
cases, they hung up the flails and
took their long forks and lifted up the stalks of the
wheat and shook them so that all the
grains of wheat might drop through; and they put the
dried stalks of the wheat in a corner
These dried stalks they call straw, and they put it for the horses and the cows and the oxen to sleep on.
And when the straw was all put away, there was all the wheat on the floor; and they gathered it up and put it into bags. And they had enough to make whole wheat flour to last all winter, and to feed the chickens and every kind of a thing that they wanted to use wheat for, and there was enough to take some to market besides.
And that's all.