Harriette Taylor Treadwell

The Straw Ox

Part 1 of 2

[39]

A long time ago there was an old man

and an old woman.

They were very poor.

The old man worked in the field.

And the old woman spun flax.


One day the old woman said,

"Daddy, make me a straw ox,

and smear it with tar."


"What is the good of a straw ox?"

said the old man.


"Please make me a straw ox,"

said the old woman.


So the old man made the straw ox,

and he smeared it with tar.


[40]

The next morning the old woman drove

the straw ox into the field.

She said, "Graze away, little ox,

while I spin my flax."


She spun her flax a long time.

Then she fell asleep.


Soon a bear came out of the woods.

He ran at the ox and said,

"Who are you? Speak and tell me."


"I am an ox, I am.

I am made of straw

and smeared with tar, I am."


"Oh," said the bear,

"you are made of straw

and smeared with tar, are you?

Give me some straw and tar.

Then I can mend my torn fur."


"You may take some," said the ox.



[Illustration]


[41]

The bear ran at the ox.

He began to tear away the tar,

and he stuck fast.

He pulled and pulled, but could not let go.

Then the ox dragged the bear home.


The old woman awoke.

"Where is my ox?" she cried.

"I will go home to see."

So she got up and ran home.

And there stood the ox and the bear.


[42]

She ran to the old man.

"Look," she cried,

"the ox has brought us a bear."

The old man threw the bear into the cellar.


The next morning the old woman drove

the ox into the field again.

"Graze away, little ox," she said,

"while I spin my flax."

She spun her flax a long time.

Then she fell asleep.