The Sandman: His Farm Stories  by Willliam J. Hopkins

The Log 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 little track that went up past the kitchen door and past the shed and past the barn and past the orchard to the wheat-field. But when this farm-house was just built, there wasn't any wheat-field or any other field, and the places where the fields would be were all covered with trees. And that was a long time before Uncle Solomon had the farm.

So the man that built the farm-house took his axe, one day, when the snow was on the ground, and he went to the place where he wanted the fields and he began to cut down the trees. There were big trees and little trees, and it took him a long time to cut down all the trees on the place where the field would be. He cut off all the branches, and the branches and the little trees he cut up with his axe to burn in the fireplaces; and he piled all that wood near the kitchen door. But the big logs—the trunks of the big trees after the branches were cut off—he was going to take to the mill, to have them sawed into boards.

So, one morning, after that was all done, the man got out the oxen. There were two yoke of oxen—two oxen they call a "yoke" of oxen, because two are yoked together—and they came out of the barn and put their heads down and he put the yokes over and the bows under and he hooked the tongue of a great sled to each yoke. And on each sled was a great chain.

Then he said: "Gee up there," and the oxen all started walking slowly along, and they walked out of the wide gate and along the road until they came to the place where the trees were all cut down, and there they stopped. And the sleds were beside one of the big logs, one sled at each end.

Then they unhooked the tongues of the sleds from the yokes and led the oxen out of the way. And the man and two other men that were helping him put some little logs sloping from the ground up to the sleds, and with poles that had hooks on the ends they rolled the great log up the little logs on to the sleds, so that it rested on them. And there was one sled under each end, but under the middle there was nothing. Then they fastened that log to the sleds, so that it couldn't roll off, and they rolled another log up on the other side and fastened that; and they rolled another log up on top of the first two. Then they fastened the tongue of each sled to the logs, and the logs were held on with the great chains, so they couldn't roll off. Then they hooked a chain to the first sled and to one of the yokes, and another chain from that yoke to the other yoke. And the man said: "Gee up there," and all the oxen pulled as hard as they could, and the sleds started sliding along the ground on the snow and into the road. And the oxen walked slowly along the road, pulling the sleds with the logs on them, for a long way.


When they had gone along the road for a long way, they came to a place where there was a building beside a little river. And on the side of the building was a wheel so large that it reached down into the water. And when the water ran along, it made the wheel turn around and that made a big saw go, inside the building.

And the oxen pulled the sleds with the logs up beside the building and there was a strong carriage that ran on wheels on a track. And the men unfastened the chains and rolled a log off on to the carriage and fastened it there. Then they pushed on the carriage and it rolled along toward the saw, and the saw was going. And the end of the log came against the saw and the saw made a great screeching noise and began to cut into the log, and it kept on cutting and the men pushed, and the saw cut all the way through the log to the other end, and that piece fell off. That piece was round on one side and flat on the other.


Then they rolled the carriage back and fastened the log farther over and pushed it up against the saw again, and the saw cut off another piece that was flat on both sides. That piece was a board. And that way they cut the log all up into boards, and then they cut up the other logs the same way.

When the logs were all cut into boards, the men put the boards on the sleds and fastened them on just the same way the logs had been fastened, and the oxen started and turned around and walked along the road until they came to the farm-house; and they turned in at the gate and went up past the kitchen door to the place where the shed was going to be, and there they stopped. And the men took the boards off and put them on the ground in a pile, so that the man would have them there to build the shed. For the shed wasn't built then. The barn was built first and then the house.

And the other big logs they took to the saw-mill on other days and sawed them up into boards, so that the man had all the boards he needed to build the shed and the chicken house and all the other things and some to give to the men for helping him.

And when that was done, the man took off the yokes and the old oxen went into the barn and went to sleep.

And that's all.