The Sandman: His Farm Stories  by Willliam J. Hopkins

The Stump Story

dropcap image NCE upon a time there was a farm-house, and it was painted white and had green blinds. And when this farm-house was just built, before it was Uncle Solomon's, the man that lived there wanted some fields where he could plant his corn and his potatoes and his wheat. But the places where the fields would be were all covered with trees.

So in the winter when the snow was on the ground, he went out and cut down the trees with his axe. And the great big trees he carried to the mill, and they were sawed up into boards; that is another story. And the branches and the small trees he chopped up with his axe to burn in the fireplaces. Then the field was all covered with the stumps of the trees and with great rocks.


Then, when it began to get warm, after the winter was over, the man got out the old oxen. There were two pairs of oxen, and they came out of the barn and put down their heads, and the man put the yokes over their necks and the bows up under, and he hooked great chains to the yokes. And he hooked one chain to the drag, and took his whip and said: "Gee up there, Buck; gee up there, Star." And the old oxen began walking slowly along to the field.

Then the man unhooked the drag, and fastened one of the chains to a stump, and hooked the other chain to that chain, and said: "Gee up there." And all the oxen began to pull as hard as they could, and all of a sudden out came the stump with a lot of dirt. And he pulled out all the stumps the same way, and stood them up at the back of the field, where they made a kind of a fence with the roots sticking slanting up into the air.

Then there were the big rocks all over the field. And the man fastened the chains to a rock and the old oxen pulled as hard as they could, and out came the rock and they put it on the drag. And then the man saw where he wanted his fence; and they dug a trench and put flat rocks on the bottom and then the biggest rocks they had on the flat rocks. And they pulled all the rocks out of the ground with the chains, and put them on the drag, and the old oxen pulled them over to the trench, and the man piled them up and built a wall.


Building the wall took a long time—a good many days. And when the oxen had pulled all the rocks out of the ground and dragged them over to the wall, the field was all soft and ready to be ploughed. So the oxen started walking along, out of the field, along the road, dragging the drag. And they went in at the big gate and up past the kitchen door to the barn. Then the man unhooked the chains and took off the yokes and the oxen went into the barn and went to sleep.

And that's all.