Gateway to the Classics: The Wonder Clock by Howard Pyle
The Wonder Clock by  Howard Pyle

Front Matter


I put on my dream-cap one day and stepped into Wonderland.

Along the road I jogged and never dusted my shoes, and all the time the pleasant sun shone and never burned my back, and the little white clouds floated across the blue sky and never let fall a drop of rain to wet my jacket. And by and by I came to a steep hill.

I climbed the hill, though I had more than one tumble in doing it, and there, on the tip-top, I found a house as old as the world itself.

That was where Father Time lived; and who should sit in the sun at the door, spinning away for dear life, but Time's Grandmother herself; and if you would like to know how old she is you will have to climb to the top of the church steeple and ask the wind as he sits upon the weather-cock, humming the tune of Over-yonder song to himself.

"Good-morning," says Time's Grandmother to me.

"Good-morning," says I to her.

"And what do you seek here?" says she to me.

"I come to look for odds and ends," says I to her.

"Very well," says she; "just climb the stairs to the garret, and there you will find more than ten men can think about."

"Thank you," says I, and up the stairs I went. There I found all manner of queer forgotten things which had been laid away, nobody but Time and his Grandmother could tell where.

Over in the corner was a great, tall clock, that had stood there silently with never a tick or a ting since men began to grow too wise for toys and trinkets.

But I knew very well that the old clock was the

Wonder Clock;

so down I took the key and wound it—gurr! gurr! gurr!

Click! buzz! went the wheels, and then—tick-tock! tick-tock! for the Wonder Clock is of that kind that it will never wear out, no matter how long it may stand in Time's garret.

Down I sat and watched it, for every time it struck it played a pretty song, and when the song was ended—click! click!—out stepped the drollest little puppet-figures and went through with a dance, and I saw it all (with my dream-cap upon my head).

But the Wonder Clock had grown rusty from long standing, and though now and then the puppet-figures danced a dance that I knew as well as I know my bread-and-butter, at other times they jigged a step I had never seen before, and it came into my head that maybe a dozen or more puppet-plays had become jumbled together among the wheels back of the clock-face.

So there I sat in the dust watching the Wonder Clock, and when it had run down and the tunes and the puppet-show had come to an end, I took off my dream-cap, and—whisk!—there I was back home again among my books, with nothing brought away with me from that country but a little dust which I found sticking to my coat, and which I have never brushed away to this day.

Now if you also would like to go into Wonderland, you have only to hunt up your dream-cap (for everybody has one somewhere about the house), and to come to me, and I will show you the way to Time's garret.

That is right! Pull the cap well down about your ears.

* * * * * * *

Here we are! And now I will wind the clock. Gurr! gurr! gurr!

Tick-tock! tick-tock!

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