Gateway to the Classics: Davy Crockett by Frank Lee beals
Davy Crockett by  Frank Lee beals

An Important Decision

D AVY lost the election. He was hurt and discouraged.

"Elizabeth," he said in a quiet voice. "When I knew nothing about making laws I was elected to help make them. My people believed in me and they trusted me. I worked hard both here and in Washington to serve them faithfully. Now, when I know how to serve them they no longer want me."

"Davy, you have not forgotten your motto, have you?"

He looked up quickly. He smiled and said, "Go ahead—go ahead. But where, Elizabeth, where?"

"Right here ! Even though you are not in the Congress of the United States, there are many things to be done here at home."

"All right, Elizabeth, I will 'go ahead' here."

Again Davy went hunting. He spent many days alone in the forest. But at night when he returned to his cabin he did not bring back as much game as he brought back in the old days. He was quiet and his once happy, smiling face was now grave and serious.

Elizabeth watched Davy as each day he became quieter and sadder. "I wish I could help him," she said to herself.

One day she was waiting for him to return from the forest. Davy walked slowly toward her. His usual light, easy stride was gone. He walked with his head bent down. He carried his rifle carelessly across his shoulder.

"Davy! Davy!" she called as she walked out to meet him.

"What is it, Elizabeth? Is something the matter with the children?"

"No, it's you about whom I am worried. Sit here beside me," she said when they came to a grassy spot some distance from the cabin.

"Worried about me?" questioned Davy.

"Yes. You are so different," she said smiling quietly at him. "I have watched you for some time now. You do not enjoy hunting any more, do you?"

"Hunting is still all right, but there are more important things for me to do. Our country is changing, Elizabeth, and we change with it. Law and order have made these changes. I have helped to bring this about. I must go ahead."

"I know and I understand, Davy."

"Then you must understand when I tell you that I want to go to Texas."

"To Texas! Oh, no, Davy!"

"Yes, I must go to Texas, Elizabeth. I cannot stay here. Tennessee is now settled and the frontier has pushed westward. All my life I have moved with the frontier."

"But Texas is so far away," she protested.

"It is a new land," said Davy. "It is wild and bright and its people are fighting for freedom. Haven't you heard the men who have stopped by our cabin talk about this new struggle for freedom?"

"Yes, I have," she answered quietly, "and I have known for some time that you were planning to go."

"I have tried to tell myself that I must stay here with you and the children. I know you need me and yet I feel I must go."

Elizabeth wept softly. She did not speak.

"They are fighting for what we have—Independence and Liberty. Can't you understand how I feel?" he pleaded.

She looked at him through her tears. Then she smiled and said to him, "I do understand, Davy. You must go. When do you want to leave?"

"Bless you, Elizabeth," he said. "We will make our plans together."

The next few days were busy ones for Davy. He moved the family to a cabin nearer a settlement. The children were almost grown, and John, the eldest, was teaching in an academy.

"You will be safer here while I am gone," he said to his wife one night after they had settled in their new cabin.

"I will wait here for you, Davy."

It was their last evening together.

The next morning Davy dressed carefully. He put on a new deerskin hunting jacket and trousers. He tried on his new coonskin cap. His famous Old Betsy had been ready for days.

Quietly Elizabeth prepared the family breakfast. Then, after breakfast, Davy told the children that he was going on a long trip.

"Where, Father?" they asked.

"To Texas. Your mother will tell you all about it later. Kiss me good-by." The children crowded about him. Elizabeth left the cabin and went clown the road. Davy found her waiting for him. Together they walked down the path. When they came to the top of the hill, Elizabeth said, "I will watch you go from here. Good-by, Davy, good-by."

They looked into each other's eyes and smiled bravely.

"I will come back to you and the children," he said quietly. "I will not say good-by. Pray for victory, Elizabeth." He kissed her tenderly. Then quickly he walked away.

Elizabeth stood there alone. When Davy came to the bend in the road, he turned and waved to her. Then he was gone.

"Come back, Davy! Come back!" she whispered. Then proudly she threw her shoulders back and called, "Fight, Davy! Fight! My prayers will follow you."

Liberty and Independence

1. Why did Davy Crockett decide to go to Texas?

2. For what was Davy ever ready to fight?

3. What does Liberty and Independence mean to you?

4. What are your responsibilities to your country?

5. What do you think is a threat to liberty?

6. Should all citizens be ready to defend our liberties at all times? Why?

7. How can you become a better citizen?

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