The Sandman: His Farm Stories  by Willliam J. Hopkins

The Shawl 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. This farm was Uncle Solomon's. But before he had the farm, he was a sailor, and he sailed in great ships, over the great enormous ocean. A great many ships used to sail from Boston, over the big ocean, carrying different things to far countries, and one of these ships was the brig Industry.Uncle Solomon was the captain of the brig Industry,  but that was when he was a young man, and a long time before he had the farm.

One day the brig Industry  was lying beside the wharf at Boston, and she was tied to the wharf with great ropes. And all the things had been put in the ship, the things they were to sell in the far country where they were going, and the things to eat, and the water they would drink. For the ocean water is salt and bitter, so that people can't drink it, and they had to carry all the water that they would need to drink and almost all the things they would need to eat. The water was in big hogsheads, down near the bottom of the ship. The sailors were all on the ship, and everything was all ready to start. Then Captain Solomon walked down the wharf, and he got on the ship, and the great ropes were untied, and the sailors hoisted the sails, and the ship sailed away from the wharf. She sailed down the harbour and past the islands and out into the great ocean.

So the wind kept blowing, and the Industry  kept sailing along over the ocean for a great many days. She sailed along, through parts of the ocean where it is always hot and where it rains a great deal, and past the country where the monkeys live, and around the end of that country. And after awhile Captain Solomon saw some land, and he knew it was an island where no people lived, but where beautiful clear water ran out of a crack in the rock. So he made the ship go near that island, and then the sailors fixed the sails so that the ship wouldn't go ahead. And the sailors let down one of the rowboats into the water. For every big ship has some rowboats that are hung up over the deck. And they took all the hogsheads of water and emptied out what water was left. Then they put in the bungs and tied all the hogsheads together with ropes that went between them, and they threw them over the side of the ship into the water. Then the sailors in the rowboat caught the end of the rope and rowed, and they went to the island, dragging the hogsheads that floated on the top of the water. And they filled the hogsheads with nice fresh water that came out of the rock, and then they rowed back to the ship, dragging the hogsheads. And they were hoisted up into the ship, and the rowboat was hoisted up, and the sailors fixed the sails again so that the ship would sail ahead.


So they sailed along for a great many days, and at last they came to the far country. That country is called India. And the Industry  sailed into a wide river, and the sailors took down the sails and let down the great anchor to the bottom of the river. For the water by the shore was not deep enough for the ship to go there, so they had to keep the ship in the middle of the river. On the shore was a city, and a lot of men came out from the shore in little rowboats and took the things out of the Industry  and carried them to the city. And the boats were so little, and there were so many things, they had to go back and forth a great many times.

When the things were all taken out of the ship, Captain Solomon had his rowboat let down into the water, and he got in, and two sailors rowed him to the land. Then he went to the man who had bought all the things he had brought, and the man paid Captain Solomon the money for the things. Then Captain Solomon started to look about to see what he could buy to take back to Boston.

First he bought a lot of tea, and a lot of spices, like cinnamon and cloves and nutmegs, and a lot of china dishes that had houses and trees and birds painted on them in blue. Then he bought a lot of pretty tables and such things that were made of teak-wood and ebony and ivory. And he bought a lot of little images that were carved out of ivory, and some trays that were shiny black, with birds and flowers painted on them in red and silver and gold. Then he bought a great many logs of teak-wood to carry back to Boston, to make into chairs and mantels and doors for the inside of houses. And when all these things were carried to the ship and put in, Captain Solomon had some money left, and he looked about to see what he could buy that was very nice.

In India they have cloth that is made of the hair of goats, and shawls that are made of the hair of camels. The people made these things and brought them to the city to sell. The cloth was very nice and the shawls were very fine and beautiful.

So Captain Solomon went to the place where they had the cloth of goat's hair and the camel's-hair shawls, and he bought a great many shawls and some of the cloth. Some of the shawls were white, with a pattern of curly shapes in the middle, in red and blue and yellow, and some had a border of the same kind all around the edge. Some were red, with a pattern all over them of blue and brown and yellow and white. And besides the shawls, there were narrow pieces made of camel's hair, that were meant to be worn around ladies' necks. And they were all very beautiful.

So Captain Solomon had all the shawls and the pieces of cloth put in two great chests made of cedar, and he had the chests carried on the ship and put in his cabin. His cabin was the room where he did all his work, looking at the charts and maps, to see where the ship was, and writing down in a book what happened every day. The beautiful shawls would be taken care of in his cabin better than in the bottom of the ship, with the teak-wood and the other things.

When Captain Solomon had bought the shawls and got them put on the ship, he bought a lot of things for the sailors to eat while the ship was sailing back to Boston. There were flour and meal and very hard crackers and salt and sugar and fine hominy and peas and beans and a lot other things, and great hogsheads of meat that was in salt water. And there was a cow that they kept in a kind of pen on the deck of the ship, and four sheep and a lot of chickens. So they could have milk and eggs, and sometimes roast chicken for dinner, or roast mutton. Then they filled all the water barrels with fresh water, and the sailors pulled up the great anchor and hoisted the sails.

So the Industry  sailed out of the river and into the big ocean, and they sailed away for a great many days. And when they came to the island where the nice water ran out of the rock, Captain Solomon had all the water barrels filled with fresh water again. Then they sailed along, around the end of the country where the monkeys lived, and over another big ocean. And after a long time they came to Boston, and the Industry  sailed in past the islands and into the harbour, and up to the wharf. And the sailors took down the sails and fastened the ship to the wharf with great ropes.

Then Captain Solomon went on shore and got a big wagon. The horses dragged the wagon down on the wharf, and the men took the two chests out of the cabin and put them on the wagon. Then Captain Solomon got on the wagon with the men, and they drove the horses through the streets until they came to the place where the men stayed that owned the Industry.  That place they call an office.

So Captain Solomon got down from the wagon, and the men took the chests and carried them into the office. In the office were Captain Jonathan and Captain Jacob. They had been sailors, too, and they owned the Industry.  And Captain Solomon opened the chests and showed the cloth and the shawls to Captain Jonathan and Captain Jacob, and they thought the cloth and the shawls were very beautiful. And while Captain Jonathan was looking at the shawls he found one that was white, with a pattern in the middle of red and yellow and brown and blue. He thought that shawl was the prettiest shawl he had ever seen. So he said: "Jacob, I am going to give this shawl to my daughter Lois."


And Captain Jacob said, "All right." For Captain Jonathan's daughter Lois was Captain Jacob's wife.

So Captain Jonathan gave the shawl to his daughter Lois. And after a great many years she gave the shawl to her daughter Lois. And after a great many years more, when that Lois was an old lady, she gave the shawl to her niece, who was named Lois. And when that Lois was an old lady she used to wear the shawl almost all the time. But one day she forgot and hung the shawl over the balusters near the door just when the cook was going away. And the cook saw the shawl and took it away and never brought it back.

And that's all.