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
the wagons through to the barn. And the
wagons, going through, had made a little
track that led up past the kitchen door
and past the shed and past the barn and
past the orchard to the
One morning, after winter had begun and
snow was on the ground, Uncle John
got out the oxen. They put their heads
down low, and he put the yoke over and
the bows under, and he fastened the
tongue of the sled to the yoke. The sled
a good deal like little John's sled,
only very much bigger, with wooden
and very strong. On the sled was Uncle
John's axe, and he put on some
ropes besides. Then the old oxen started
and walked slowly along the little
track, past the barn and past the
orchard to the
When they got to that place, the old oxen stopped and stood still in the snow and Uncle John took his axe and looked about, at the trees, to see which one he should cut down. There was some wood already cut, piled up on the ground. It was some that Uncle John and Uncle Solomon had cut the winter before, and had piled up so that it would dry. Every winter, when it was cold and the trees had stopped growing, they cut down enough to last all winter and all summer. And then they piled it up to dry, because wood that isn't dry makes a great smoke and doesn't burn very well.
Pretty soon Uncle John saw a tree that he thought would be a good tree to cut down, to burn. It was a hickory tree, and the wood of the hickory tree, after it is dry, is the best wood to burn. So when Uncle John had found that tree, he looked around, to see which way it ought to fall, so that it would be in a good place for him to work at it, and so that it wouldn't hurt a lot of other trees while it was falling. When he knew just where he wanted the tree to fall, he began on that side, and he chopped at the tree with his axe. And great big chips fell out on the snow, and some of them came flying out so hard, they almost hit little John where he was playing, a little way off. And after Uncle John had been chopping a while, there was a deep place cut in the tree, that made it look as if it had its mouth open. Then Uncle John went around to the other side of the tree and began to chop there.
When Uncle John had been chopping a little while, on the other side of the tree, little John got tired of watching the axe and the chips that flew out, and he was cold. So he went near Uncle John and said he was cold, and Uncle John stopped chopping and listened. Then he said they would have a fire if little John would wait just a minute longer, because the tree was almost ready to fall. So little John watched and Uncle John chopped some more, and then he called out to little John to take care, because the tree was going to fall. And the tree was almost cut through, so that only a little piece was left to hold it up. And little John got out of the way, and just then the tree gave a great shiver when Uncle John hit it with his axe. Then Uncle John stopped chopping and looked up at the tree, and then he got out of the way.
Then the tree began to fall over very slowly.
Then the tree began to fall over very slowly and the top went over sidewise, and it went down, faster and faster, and at last it went very fast, and it struck the ground, with a great crashing noise, and all the little branches that were underneath were smashed.
When the tree was down, Uncle John began
to build the fire, because he had
promised little John. Uncle John wasn't
cold, but little John hadn't been
chopping, so he was cold. And Uncle John
went about and picked up a great many
pieces of the branches that were lying
about, and he made them into a pile.
Uncle John was chopping the branches off
the hickory tree, so that he could cut
the tree up into logs the right size to
burn. There weren't any very big
branches, but there were a good many
little ones, so before he had all the
branches chopped off, it was almost time
to go home. So Uncle John stopped
chopping and he made the oxen pull the
sled beside the pile of wood that was
there already, and he began to pile the
wood on the sled, and little John
helped. When the wood was all piled on
the sled, Uncle John looked at the
bonfire, and he saw that it was almost
out, and he said, "Gee up." And the oxen
started and walked along the little road
in the woods to the
Then Uncle John piled all the wood in the shed, so that it would be easy for him to take it into the kitchen. And he made the oxen back the sled into the shed, and he unhooked the tongue of the sled from the yoke, and he took off the yoke, and the old oxen went into the barn and went to sleep.
And that's all.