Gateway to the Classics: Display Item
Laura E. Richards

Child's Play

dropcap image NCE a child was sitting on a great log that lay by the roadside, playing; and another child came along, and stopped to speak to him.

"What are you doing?" asked the second child.

"I am sailing to the Southern Seas," replied the first, "to get a cargo of monkeys, and elephant tusks, and crystal balls as large as oranges. Come up here, and you may sail with me if you like."

So the second child climbed upon the log.

"Look!" said the first child. "See how the foam bubbles up before the ship, and trails and floats away behind! Look! the water is so clear that we can see the fishes swimming about, blue and red and green. There goes a parrot-fish; my father told me about them. I should not wonder if we saw a whale in about a minute."

"What are you talking about?" asked the second child. peevishly. "There is no water here, only grass; and anyhow this is nothing but a log. You cannot get to islands in this way."

"But we have  got to them," cried the first child. "We are at them now. I see the palm-trees waving, and the white sand glittering. Look! there are the natives gathering to welcome us on the beach. They have feather cloaks, and necklaces, and anklets of copper as red as gold. Oh! and there is an elephant coming straight toward us."

"I should think you would be ashamed," said the second child. "That is Widow Slocum."

"It's all the same," said the first child.

Presently the second child got down from the log.

"I am going to play stick-knife," he said. "I don't see any sense in this, I think you are pretty dull to play things that aren't really there." And he walked slowly away.

The first child looked after him a moment.

"I think you  are pretty dull," he said to himself, "to see nothing but what is under your nose."

But he was too well-mannered to say this aloud; and having taken in his cargo, he sailed for another port.