Gateway to the Classics: Star Stories for Little Folks by Gertrude Chandler Warner
Star Stories for Little Folks by  Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Two Dippers

Look for the Dippers
early in November

Doctor Lorry had solemnly promised Helen that when she grew strong enough to go out in the yard at seven o'clock, he would come up on purpose to point out some of the most beautiful stars, and teach her their names.

Night after night Helen had tossed in her white bed by the window. It was only when the kind nurse had pushed the shade up—slip, slip, creak, creak,—and let Helen look out at the wonderful starry sky, that she had been able to rest at all.

And now here she was down in the hall, dressed warmly from the top of her brown fur hat, with its scarlet rose, to her brown fur leggings, waiting for the big, burly doctor to keep his promise. And he kept it. He came chugging up in his long gray car, looking like a bear in his fur coat.

"Only fifteen minutes, sister," he said to Helen. "We mustn't take cold. We will go out to the garden path and face north, to get a view of the Big Dipper. No course of lectures is complete without the Big Dipper to start from."

"Please  let it be a course of lectures," begged Helen.

"Very well," agreed Dr. Lorry, good-naturedly. "Now just take a look at this."

He turned a tiny flash-light on a black card with white stars dotted on it in the shape of the Dipper.


"The Dipper is right side up, right above those trees. Four stars make the bowl and three the long handle."

"I see!" cried Helen.

"Now," continued the doctor, "the two stars through which the arrow was drawn are called Pointers, because they point almost  to the North Star. Do you see it? A very faint star?"

"Yes," cried Helen again, "and it is the very tail of the Little Dipper's handle, exactly like the picture."

"Good!" said Dr. Lorry, very much pleased. "You have sharp enough eyes to see little Alcor, I think. If a person can see Alcor, he has very good eyes. Look in the handle of the Big Dipper, directly above the first star from the end. Alcor is the Rider, and the bright star below it is his Horse."

"I see both," said Helen. "My eyes are all right."

"Good! Now we must go in."

Helen went very obediently.

"How different the stars look when I'm outdoors!" she said.

But when she was lying in bed again, looking out at the starry sky, the Big Dipper already seemed like a dear old friend.

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