Bobby and the Big Road  by Maud Lindsay

The Newcomers

R AP-A-TAP-A-TAP! Rap-a-tap-a-tap!

This is what Bobby heard early one morning before he was up. Rap-a-tap-a-tap.

He thought some one was knocking at the door. Rap-a-tap-a-tap!

"Come in," he called, but nobody came, and when he opened the door nobody was there.

But the rap-tap-tapping was louder and clearer than before.

"Perhaps a carpenter is building a house by the Big Road," thought Bobby. How nice that would be!

He fairly jumped into his clothes and ran out to see if he were right. He did not even wait to say anything to Mother and Father. "I'll tell them about it when I come back," he said to himself.

He could hear the noise very clearly out-of-doors, but though he looked up the road and down the road he could not find a carpenter at work.

Sometimes the rapping would stop, but if Bobby turned to go into the house it was sure to begin again. Rap-a-tap-a-tap! He was still trying to find out who was so busy and so noisy when Mother called him to breakfast.

"Perhaps my father will know," he thought as he ran in to wash his face and hands and, sure enough, the very first words Father said when he saw him were:

"Well, Bobby, do you hear our new neighbors at work? We must go to see them after breakfast."

He would not tell anything else about the new neighbors, and Bobby was in such a hurry to find out who they were that he could scarcely eat his bread and milk.

Rap-a-tap-a-tap! Father and Bobby heard the hammering from the time they went out of the door till they crossed the Big Road.

"They must be in the field beyond the hedge," said Bobby. But no! Father stopped under a tall hickory-tree that grew by the roadside.

"Here they are right above your head," he said. And what do you think the new neighbors were? Woodpeckers with red heads, and black-and-white wings, and strong bills. They were pecking a hole in the tree for their nest with their rap-a-tap-a-tap.


Woodpeckers with red heads, and black‑and‑white wings.

"Good-morning, Mr. and Mrs. Woodpecker," said Father. "This is Bobby. We are glad you are going to live by the Big Road."