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Agnes Taylor Ketchum

The Nut Gatherers

O NE fine autumn day, Willie and Nettie went to gather nuts. They walked out into the woods, where they knew they would find a great many; but when they got there, they found the nuts were too high on the tree, and they could not reach them.

"What shall we do?" said Nettie. Just then the wind blew very hard and shook the tree, and down came a shower of nuts on their heads. They both laughed gaily, and ran to pick them up. They were fine, large walnuts, with green hulls on them.

"We will take off the hulls," said Willie, "and then put the nuts in the sun to dry; half of them will be mine, and the other half yours." They sat down on the ground and counted them, so they could make an equal division. There were twenty-four. "That will be twelve for each of us," said Willie, for he had been to the kindergarten, and knew how to count and divide. Nettie thought twelve nuts a great many.

"Now," said Nettie, "we will leave them here until to-morrow, and the sun will dry them off; we will then take them home." The next day they started with their baskets for the woods. But when they reached the spot, not a nut was to be seen. Nettie opened her big blue eyes with wonder, and said: "Where have they gone?"

"Well," said Willie, "I know they did not walk off. I should like to know who took them!" Just then they heard a loud noise and chattering over their heads, and looking up saw two brown squirrels, each eating a walnut, which they seemed to be enjoying very much.

"I do believe," said Nettie, "that those are our walnuts: they look like them."

"I wonder where they put the rest of them?" said Willie. "I see them here in the hollow of this tree. I suppose they wanted them for their winter store, but they did not know they were ours. I think, dear sister, we will let them keep the nuts." And Nettie thought so, too.