WEEK 29 |
J OHNNY CHUCK was unhappy. Here it was the glad springtime, when everybody is supposed to be the very happiest, and Johnny Chuck was unhappy. Why was he unhappy? Well, he hardly knew himself. He had slept comfortably all the long winter. He had awakened very, very hungry, but now he had plenty to eat. All about him the birds were singing or busily at work building new homes. And still Johnny Chuck felt unhappy. It was dreadful to feel this way and not have any good reason for it.
One bright morning Johnny Chuck sat on his
But now, all of a sudden, Johnny Chuck became dissatisfied with his home. It was too near the Lone Little Path. Too many people knew where it was. It wasn't big enough. The front door ought to face the other way. Dear me, what a surprising lot of faults a discontented heart can find with things that have always been just right! It was so with Johnny Chuck. That house in which he had spent so many happy days, which had protected him from all harm, of which he had been so proud when he first built it, was now the meanest house in the world. If other people had new houses, why shouldn't he? The more he thought about it, the more dissatisfied and discontented he became and of course the more unhappy. You know one cannot be dissatisfied and discontented and happy at the same time.
Now dissatisfied and discontented people are not at all pleasant to have around. Johnny Chuck had always been one of the best natured of all the little meadow people, and everybody liked him. So Jimmy Skunk didn't know quite what to make of it, when he came down the Lone Little Path and found Johnny Chuck so out of sorts that he wouldn't even answer when spoken to.
Jimmy Skunk was feeling very good-natured himself. He had just had a fine breakfast of fat beetles and he was at peace with all the world. So he sat down beside Johnny Chuck and began to talk, just as if Johnny Chuck was his usual good-natured self.
"It's a fine day," said Jimmy Skunk.
Johnny Chuck just sniffed.
"You're looking very fine," said Jimmy.
Johnny just scowled.
"I think you've got the best place on the Green Meadows for a house," said Jimmy, pretending to admire the view.
Johnny scowled harder than ever.
"And such a splendid house!" said Jimmy. "I wish I had one like it."
"I'm glad you like it! You can have the old thing!" snapped Johnny Chuck.
"What's that?" demanded Jimmy Skunk, opening his eyes very wide.
"I said that you can have it. I'm going to move," replied Johnny Chuck.
Now he really hadn't thought of moving until that very minute. And he didn't know why he had said it. But he had said it, and because he is an obstinate little fellow he stuck to it.
"When can I move in?" asked Jimmy Skunk, his eyes twinkling.
"Right away, if you want to," replied Johnny Chuck, and swaggered off down the Lone Little Path, leaving Jimmy Skunk to stare after him as if he thought Johnny Chuck had suddenly gone crazy, as indeed he did.
As Tommy Snooks and Bessy Brooks
Were walking out one Sunday,
Says Tommy Snooks to Bessy Brooks,
"Wilt marry me on Monday?"
WEEK 29 |
"W HO will be the first one up in the morning?"
This is what Father asked Bobby every night at bedtime.
"I shall. You'll see if I'm not," said Bobby.
"I shall. You'll see," said Father; and it was a race between the two of them. Sometimes Father beat and sometimes Bobby.
Bobby might beat Father up in the morning, but try as he would he could not get ahead of the birds. No matter when he waked up, they were always twittering and chirping and singing as if they had been awake for hours and hours.
Bobby slept in a little white bed close by a window. One night he dreamed that a bird came and sat on the window sill and said:
"Lazy boy! Lazy boy! Why aren't you up?"
"But I am not a lazy boy," said Bobby in his dream.
"I help my mother every day and I get up almost as early as you do."
"Then what are you doing in bed now?" asked the saucy bird, cocking its head on the side, and bursting into such a loud song that Bobby nearly jumped out of bed.
He gave such a start that he waked himself and the very first thing he heard as he opened his eyes was a bird singing, and singing, and singing in a tree near by.
Bobby had never heard a bird sing like this one before. It was just as if all the other birds had given their songs to one bird to make into a new song.
Bobby thought it must be time for him to get up. He listened to hear if Father were stirring; but there wasn't a sound in the house.
"I'll beat my father up
There was scarcely enough light in the room for Bobby to see where his clothes were; and when he found them he was almost too sleepy to put them on.
He was trying his best to button his blouse when Mother called from her door:
"What in the world is my little boy doing up by himself in the middle of the night?"
"Why it's morning," said Bobby. "Don't you hear the bird singing?"
Then how Mother and Father did laugh! They thought it
was a great joke for their little boy to think it was
morning because a
O NCE when Father and Bobby went out for a walk, they found a tall yellow dandelion growing in the grass by the lizard's stone.
But when they passed by the stone the next day but one, there was no yellow dandelion to be seen. Instead there was a round feathery ball like a fairy balloon on the top of the long stem.
"Mr. Yellow Dandelion young and gay has changed to
"I know," said Bobby, "and I shall ask him if my mother needs me at home."
Father thought that would be fun.
"I used to do it when I was a little boy," he said.
"Did you say, 'Does my mamma need me? Yes, or no?' and then try to blow all the dandelion's white hair away in three long breaths?" asked Bobby.
"Yes," said Father; "and if all the feathery crown went flying off, that meant yes, but if the tiniest bit stayed on the stem it meant no."
"That's just the way I play it," said Bobby.
"Wouldn't you like to try it
But Father thought he would let Bobby try this time.
So Bobby picked the dandelion and held it in his hand and said:
"Does my mother need me? Yes, or no?"
"Does my mother need me? Yes, or no?"
Then he blew three long, strong breaths and away went the dandelion's feathery crown.
Father and Bobby watched the last tiny bit fly from the stem, and then hurried home.
"Mother, Mother, do you need me?" Bobby called as soon as he reached the house.
"Yes, indeed," said Mother. "How could I keep the
weeds out of my
WEEK 29 |
T HIS is a Tale about a tail—a tail that belonged to a little red squirrel, and his name was Nutkin.
He had a brother called Twinkleberry, and a great many cousins: they lived in a wood at the edge of a lake.
I N the middle of the lake there is an island covered with trees and nut bushes; and amongst those trees stands a hollow oak-tree, which is the house of an owl who is called Old Brown.
O NE autumn when the nuts were ripe, and the leaves on the hazel bushes were golden and green—Nutkin and Twinkleberry and all the other little squirrels came out of the wood, and down to the edge of the lake.
T HEY made little rafts out of twigs, and they paddled away over the water to Owl Island to gather nuts.
Each squirrel had a little sack and a large oar, and spread out his tail for a sail.
T HEY also took with them an offering of three fat mice as a present for Old Brown, and put them down upon his door-step.
Then Twinkleberry and the other little
squirrels each made a low bow, and said
"Old Mr. Brown, will you favour us with permission to gather nuts upon your island?"
UT Nutkin was excessively impertinent in
his manners. He bobbed up and down like a
little red cherry,
"Riddle me, riddle me, rot-tot-tote!
A little wee man, in a red red coat!
A staff in his hand, and a stone in his throat;
If you'll tell me this riddle, I'll give you a groat."
Now this riddle is as old as the hills; Mr. Brown paid no attention whatever to Nutkin.
He shut his eyes obstinately and went to sleep.
T HE squirrels filled their little sacks with nuts, and sailed away home in the evening.
UT next morning they all came back again to
Owl Island; and Twinkleberry and the others
brought a fine fat mole, and laid it on the
stone in front of Old Brown's doorway, and
"Mr. Brown, will you favour us with your gracious permission to gather some more nuts?"
UT Nutkin, who had no respect, began to
dance up and down, tickling old Mr. Brown
with a nettle and
"Old Mr. B! Riddle-me-ree!
Hitty Pitty within the wall,
Hitty Pitty without the wall;
If you touch Hitty Pitty,
Hitty Pitty will bite you!"
Mr. Brown woke up suddenly and carried the mole into his house.
E shut the door in Nutkin's face. Presently
a little thread of blue smoke from a wood
fire came up from the top of the tree, and
Nutkin peeped through the key-hole and
"A house full, a hole full!
And you cannot gather a bowl-full!"
T HE squirrels searched for nuts all over the island and filled their little sacks.
But Nutkin gathered oak-apples—yellow and scarlet—and sat upon a beech-stump playing marbles, and watching the door of old Mr. Brown.
O N the third day the squirrels got up very early and went fishing; they caught seven fat minnows as a present for Old Brown.
They paddled over the lake and landed under a crooked chestnut tree on Owl Island.
WINKLEBERRY and six other little squirrels
each carried a fat minnow; but Nutkin, who
had no nice manners, brought no present at
all. He ran in front,
"The man in the wilderness said to me,
'How many strawberries grow in the sea?'
I answered him as I thought
'As many red herrings as grow in the
But old Mr. Brown took no interest in riddles—not even when the answer was provided for him.
O N the fourth day the squirrels brought a present of six fat beetles, which were as good as plums in plum-pudding for Old Brown. Each beetle was wrapped up carefully in a dock-leaf, fastened with a pine-needle pin.
But Nutkin sang as rudely as
"Old Mr. B! riddle-me-ree
Flour of England, fruit of Spain,
Met together in a shower of rain;
Put in a bag tied round with a string,
If you'll tell me this riddle, I'll give you a ring!"
Which was ridiculous of Nutkin, because he had not got any ring to give to Old Brown.
T HE other squirrels hunted up and down the nut bushes; but Nutkin gathered robin's pincushions off a briar bush, and stuck them full of pine-needle pins.
O N the fifth day the squirrels brought a present of wild honey; it was so sweet and sticky that they licked their fingers as they put it down upon the stone. They had stolen it out of a bumble bee's nest on the tippitty top of the hill.
But Nutkin skipped up and down,
"Hum-a-bum! buzz! buzz! Hum-a-bum buzz!
As I went over Tipple-tine
I met a flock of bonny swine;
Some yellow-nacked, some yellow backed!
They were the very bonniest swine
That e'er went over Tipple-tine."
O LD Mr. Brown turned up his eyes in disgust at the impertinence of Nutkin.
But he ate up the honey!
T HE squirrels filled their little sacks with nuts.
But Nutkin sat upon a big flat rock, and played ninepins with a crab apple and green fir-cones.
O N the sixth day, which was Saturday, the squirrels came again for the last time; they brought a new-laid egg in a little rush basket as a last parting present for Old Brown.
But Nutkin ran in front laughing, and
"Humpty Dumpty lies in the beck,
With a white counterpane round his neck,
Forty doctors and forty wrights,
Cannot put Humpty Dumpty to rights!"
N OW old Mr. Brown took an interest in eggs; he opened one eye and shut it again. But still he did not speak.
UTKIN became more and more
"Old Mr. B! Old Mr. B!
Hickamore, Hackamore, on the King's kitchen door;
All the King's horses, and all the King's men,
Couldn't drive Hickamore, Hackamore,
Off the King's kitchen door."
Nutkin danced up and down like a sunbeam; but still Old Brown said nothing at all.
"Arthur O'Bower has broken his band,
He comes roaring up the land!
The King of Scots with all his power,
Cannot turn Arthur of the Bower!"
Nutkin made a whirring noise to sound like
the wind, and he took a running jump right
onto the head of Old
Then all at once there was a flutterment and a scufflement and a loud "Squeak!"
The other squirrels scuttered away into the bushes.
W HEN they came back very cautiously, peeping round the tree—there was Old Brown sitting on his door-step, quite still, with his eyes closed, as if nothing had happened.
But Nutkin was in his waistcoat pocket!
T HIS looks like the end of the story; but it isn't.
O LD BROWN carried Nutkin into his house, and held him up by the tail, intending to skin him; but Nutkin pulled so very hard that his tail broke in two, and he dashed up the staircase and escaped out of the attic window.
ND to this day, if you meet Nutkin up a
tree and ask him a riddle, he will throw
sticks at you, and stamp his feet and scold,
There was an old woman had three sons,
Jerry and James and John,
Jerry was hanged, James was drowned,
John was lost and never was found;
And there was an end of her three sons,
Jerry and James and John!
WEEK 29 |
NE day a young Frog who lived down by the river, came
hopping up through the meadow. He was a
Young Mr. Green Frog had very big eyes, and they stuck out from his head more than ever when he saw all the strange sights and heard all the strange sounds of the meadow. Yet he made one great mistake, just as bigger and better people sometimes do when they go on a journey; he didn't try to learn from the things he saw, but only to show off to the meadow people how much he already knew, and he boasted a great deal of the fine way in which he lived when at home.
Mr. Green Frog told those whom he met that the meadow was dreadfully dry, and that he really could not see how they lived there. He said they ought to see the lovely soft mud that there was in the marsh, and that there the people could sit all day with their feet in water in among the rushes where the sunshine never came. "And then," he said, "to eat grass as the Grasshoppers did! If they would go home with him, he would show them how to live."
The older Grasshoppers and Crickets and Locusts only looked
at each other and opened their funny mouths in a smile, but
the young ones thought
At last they all set off together,—
When they got to the marsh, Mr. Green Frog went in first with a soft "plunk" in the mud. The rest all followed and tried to make believe that they liked it, but they didn't—they didn't at all. The Grasshoppers kept bumping against the tough, hard rushes when they jumped, and then that would tumble them over on their backs in the mud, and there they would lie, kicking their legs in the air, until some friendly Cricket pushed them over on their feet again. The Locusts couldn't fly at all there, and the Crickets got their shiny black coats all grimy and horrid.
They all got cold and wet and tired—yes, and hungry too, for there were no tender green things growing in among the rushes. Still they pretended to have a good time, even while they were thinking how they would like to be in their dear old home.
After the sun went down in the west it grew colder still, and all the Frogs in the marsh began to croak to the moon, croaking so loudly that the tired little travellers could not sleep at all. When the Frogs stopped croaking and went to sleep in the mud, one tired Cricket said: "If you like this, stay. I am going home as fast as my six little legs will carry me." And all the rest of the travellers said: "So am I," "So am I," "So am I."
Mr. Green Frog was sleeping soundly, and they crept away as quietly as they could out into the silvery moonlight and up the bank towards home. Such a tired little party as they were, and so hungry that they had to stop and eat every little while. The dew was on the grass and they could not get warm.
The sun was just rising behind the eastern forest when they
got home. They
did not want to tell about their trip at all,
but just ate a lot of
WEEK 29 |
HEN Harriet woke on Tuesday morning it was not raining
any more. As soon as she saw the bright sunshine she
hopped joyfully out of bed and called to her
"We shan't have to stay in the house all day to-day, shall we, Mumsey?"
"No, indeed," said Mother; "and that is very fortunate, for you and I have ever so many errands to do this morning."
So, as soon as breakfast was over, the dishes washed and the beds made, the postman and the janitor and the iceman and the milkman attended to, Harriet and her Mother started out on their errands. Harriet carried her beautiful pink sunshade which Aunt Grace had given her. Mother carried her shopping-bag in one hand and that left her other hand free to hold Harriet's when they crossed the streets where automobiles and grocers' and butchers' wagons went whizzing by.
It was not a long walk to the street where the shops were. The errands this morning were not downtown errands to the great, huge department stores. Harriet's Mother wanted groceries and meat and fruit, not dresses and coats and shoes and furniture. There was a long avenue which had a row of all sorts of small shops down each side of it, and a trolley ran through the middle of the avenue.
Mother and Harriet stopped first at Mr. O'Rourke's grocery store. As soon as they went into the door, one of the clerks named Jans Jorgensen came forward to wait upon them. Jans had very light hair and bright red cheeks. Harriet liked him very much, and he thought Harriet was the nicest little girl who came into the store.
Mother ordered of Jans a dozen of the freshest eggs, two pounds of Mr. O'Rourke's best butter, a pound of seedless raisins, and three and a half pounds of sugar. She told Jans not to have the things sent over to her house until noon, because she did not expect to get home until then. As they started to go away, Jans went to a basket and chose the largest and prettiest peach he could find to give to Harriet. Harriet thanked him very prettily, and Jans smiled a broad smile to see his little friend so delighted.
Next Harriet and her Mother stopped at Mr. Schlachter's meat market. Mr. Schlachter was a great, big man, tall and broad and fat. When Harriet first saw him she was a very little girl and he gave her a great fright, though of course he did not mean to do so. Mr. Schlachter had stood behind his counter, with a great sharp knife in one hand and the long knife-sharpener in the other, and he looked so big and his face was so red that Harriet thought he was the ogre whose picture was in her Jack-and-the-Beanstalk story. She screamed with fright and hid her face in her Mother's skirts so that Mother did not buy any meat that day, but she took Harriet home at once. Then Mother explained that Mr. Schlachter was a good, kind man, with little girls of his own who loved him, and that there weren't really any ogres except in story books. So now Harriet was not afraid of Mr. Schlachter, but she did not like him as well as Jans.
Perhaps she would have liked him better if she had had a little dog or a cat at home, because Mr. Schlachter was very generous about feeding animals. Not far from his shop there was a big stable where lived two spotted coach dogs,—just like Peter Spots in the book about "Fighting a Fire,"—and these dogs thought Mr. Schlachter was the best kind of a friend. Harriet often saw the dogs and patted them when she went to the meat market.
Harriet's Mother ordered a chicken and she told Mr. Schlachter also not to send it till noon. Then they walked on to the fruit store.
The fruit store belonged to a dark-haired man who had come far across the great ocean and a great sea from the brave little country of Greece. In fact, most of the people who sold things along the avenue had come from far-away countries. Father and Mother always had a story for everything, and Harriet had heard many an old wonder tale that the fathers and mothers of Mr. Sorakês's country told to their little children. Perhaps the reason why the shopkeepers liked to wait upon Harriet's Mother was because she was interested in their countries and talked to them about their far-away homes.
Mr. Sorakês's window always looked as pretty as a flower garden. He knew just how to arrange his dark-red cherries and pale-yellow lemons, his rosy-cheeked apples and huge bunches of California grapes, his boxes of dates and figs, his many-colored jars of jelly, his walnuts and almonds and berries, and—oh! more delicious things than Harriet could ever count. She always stayed outside the shop while Mother went inside and she gazed into the great glass window enjoying the colors and trying to name the different kinds of things, but there was always some new name to learn.
Mother ordered a box of strawberries and a dozen of lemons from Mr. Sorakês, and then they went on to their next stopping-place.
This was not a shop for selling things to eat. It was a tiny little place where an Italian cobbler mended shoes. Mother had left a pair of her shoes here a few days before for Mr. Sarrachino to put new soles and heels upon them. Mr. Sarrachino gave Harriet a bright smile and he bowed low to Harriet's Mother. He was always a very polite and cheerful man. He had a whole row of dark-eyed little boys and girls of his own who lived in the rooms back of his shop. He worked hard at his bench from early morning till late at night, because there were so many hungry mouths to feed, but you never saw him cross or surly. He was so proud to have his boys and girls go to the fine public schools and learn to be good Americans that he did not care how hard he worked to feed and clothe them. Harriet's Mother gave most of Harriet's outgrown clothes to the Sarrachino babies, and at Christmas time Harriet always filled a big stocking full of toys and goodies for the family.
When they had inquired about the latest baby, Mrs. Sarrachino was called from the back room to show the little fellow. She came in smiling, with little Giuseppe in her arms, and Harriet's Mother praised the baby's mother for keeping her baby so clean.
It was hard work to care for so many children, but Mrs. Sarrachino was quick to learn, and the school nurse had told her how important it was to keep house and children clean and to feed the children properly; and their teachers said that the bright-eyed little Sarrachinos were the cleanest little Italians in the whole school.
After bidding good-bye to Mr. and Mrs. Sarrachino, who stood bowing and smiling till they had left the shop, Harriet and her Mother walked along the avenue quite a distance before they came to Mother's next errand place. They stopped and looked into many of the windows on the way. The florists' windows were lovely, but not so fine as they were in winter, because in June many people have flowers in their own gardens, and in the winter ladies go to more balls and to the opera and they give dinner-parties, so in winter the florists sell more flowers.
Harriet always liked the bakeshop windows, but Mother seldom bought anything from a bakery. She knew it was better for little girls and schoolteacher fathers to eat home cooking, and Mother was a fine cook. This morning Harriet could hardly tear herself away from the bakery window, because there was a huge wedding cake in the middle of it, and on top of the white frosted cake was a wedding party! There was the tiny bridegroom in a black coat, and there was the bride with her long white veil, and there was a candy wedding bell hung above the bride and groom, and the cake was gay with pink-and-white candy flowers. Oh, it was a beautiful sight! Harriet decided at once to have a doll wedding some day at home.
There were delicatessen shops, too, on the avenue, which Harriet liked. You could buy a whole cooked meal in one of these shops—a pot of baked beans, or a roast of beef, slices of cold ham, potato salad and other kinds of salad, bread and butter and pie and pickles and cheese and doughnuts. The windows made a person hungry just to look at them, but Mother hardly ever bought anything here, either, except cream cheese.
Next they passed a cleaner's window. That means a place where people take the kind of waists and dresses and skirts that cannot be washed in a tub of water, but which the cleaner can make look almost as good as new by some other ways of cleaning than using soap and water. Even feathers and gloves and satin slippers are made to look fresh and new by these wonderful people.
Harriet did not usually care to look into the cleaner's
window, because grown people's clothes aren't very
interesting, but to-day she caught sight of something
that made her stop her Mother and cry
"Oh, Mother, see! There's a Mother Goose dressing-gown almost like the one Grandma made for me when I was a little girl!"
Sure enough, there was a little blue kimono hanging in the window, and on its collar and sleeves and down the front and around the hem of it were lots of Mother Goose children—Little Boy Blue with his horn, Miss Muffett and her spider, Simple Simon, Jack and Jill, and the rest.
Harriet was delighted, but her Mother laughed and
"Do you remember how you cried the first night you saw your kimono because Boy Blue's head was cut off? Grandma had not noticed, when she turned the hem, what happened to Boy Blue's head, so I had to rip the hem and restore his head before you would wear the pretty dressing-gown."
"Yes, I remember," said Harriet, and she laughed a little, but then she looked sober. Even though she was now so big she did not like to think of a picture Boy Blue without a head; and she looked very carefully at the dressing-gown in the window and was glad to see that all the children on it were quite whole.
Next Mother stopped at Mr. Levy's, the tailor's, to ask him to send for a suit of Father's that needed to be mended and pressed. Mr. Levy made new suits and coats and skirts, and he could also mend and smooth out wrinkled clothes till they looked almost like new ones.
There were only two more errands to do. One was at the branch post-office in the drug store, where Mother bought stamps and postal cards. Harriet wanted some ice cream from the soda fountain part of the drug store, but Mother said No, not in the morning and so near lunch-time.
Last of all they went to a little shop where the woman sold all sorts of materials for doing pretty needlework. There were embroidery silks and needles and scissors; there were embroidery patterns to stamp on towels and napkins and tablecloths, on little girls' white dresses and ladies' pretty waists; there were knitting-needles and worsted for making sweaters and scarfs and bedroom slippers; and there were lots of other things. During the winters in the city Mother was too busy for fancy work, but there were long days in Maine when she had plenty of time to knit as well as to go picnicking and sailing and swimming; so that this morning Mother bought materials for making a white-and-blue porch jacket for Aunt Maud.
At last all the errands were done and Mother and Harriet went home. After lunch Harriet was so tired that she took quite a long nap. Then they sat on a Parkway bench once more until it was time for Father, and dinner, and then for story-telling.
Harriet's visit to Mr. Sarrachino's shop made her think of the story of a little Italian marionette named "Pinocchio," so, although Father had read it to her many, many times, she called for it again, and once more she and Father laughed and laughed about the bad little wooden boy who, after many funny adventures, decided to be good and was then changed into a really, truly, live boy.
And after hugs and kisses and goodnight prayers, Harriet sailed off to Dreamland again.
So that is the end of the Fifth Story about Harriet and what she did on Tuesday.
"Robert Barnes, my fellow fine,
Can you shoe this horse of mine?"
"Yes, good sir, that I can,
As well as any other man;
There's a nail, and there's a prod,
Now, good sir, your horse is shod."
WEEK 29 |
O NCE upon a time there was a little boy and he was almost five years old. And there weren't any other children near for him to play with, so he used to play happily all by himself.
He had his cat and his cart and his shovel and his hoe, and he always wore his overalls when he was playing. And his name was David.
They were building a house in a field near David's house; and, one morning, he heard a curious sound, and he wondered what they were doing, and he asked his mother.
"Mother," he said, "what are they doing? What are they? It sounds as if they were pickaxing the dirt."
His mother laughed. "Well," she answered, "perhaps they are. I don't know what they are doing. I think you'll have to go and see."
"Think I'll have to go and see," David repeated; "but I'll have my breakfast first."
So he had his breakfast first, and he hurried a little because he wanted to know what the noise was.
And when he was through his breakfast he took off his napkin and slipped down from his chair and went around to kiss his mother.
His father had gone off to town in the early train.
"Good-bye," said David.
"Good-bye, dear," said his mother. "Be very careful."
He nodded. "Yes, I will." He was going out, but he stopped. "I don't hear it now, mother. I don't hear the noise. Do you suppose they've stopped doing it?"
"If you go right along over there, I think you'll find out about it."
So the little boy went out, and he picked up his shovel, but he couldn't find his hoe.
And he put his shovel into his cart, and took up the handle of the cart, and his cat came running, and he went toward the new house, dragging his cart behind him with his shovel rattling in the bottom of it. His cat ran on ahead.
Long before he got as far as the house, he saw some men's heads bob up in the middle of the road; heads without any bodies to them.
And he went nearer, and he saw that the men were in a trench that they had dug in the road, as far as the new house.
Some long iron pipes were in the gutter. The pipes were big enough for his kitty to crawl through.
He wanted to ask somebody about them, but there was nobody there except the two men in the trench, so he walked along until he came to the mortar box.
The mortar man wasn't there. He had gone into the house with a hod of mortar.
So David looked all about for somebody.
He saw the pile of sand with his hoe sticking out of it, but he didn't pay any attention to it, for he wasn't thinking about hoes then.
And he saw the bones of the house almost all up, so that they made a pretty good skeleton, and the carpenters were putting up the rafters: the beams that hold up the roof.
And other carpenters had just begun nailing boards on
to the outside of the
At last he saw the foreman.
"Hello!" David called.
There was such a noise, with the carpenters all hammering, that the foreman didn't hear him.
"Hello!" called David again, louder.
Still the foreman didn't hear.
"Hello!" David shouted as loud as he could shout. "Hello, Jonathan!"
The foreman heard, that time, and he looked around and laughed.
"Ho, Davie!" he said in a big round voice. "Just wait a minute and I'll be down there."
So David waited a minute, then two, then five minutes, and the foreman came. Then David asked his question.
"What are the men doing in the road?"
"They're digging a trench. When they get it done,
they'll lay water pipes in it. And the water will come
all the way from the reservoir on the hill, and it will
go through pipes that are already laid under the
streets, and it will come to this street, and it will
turn into this street and go along, and some will go
into your house, and some will keep on to this house
and go in through a pipe that will be under the ground
just the other side of the
"That pipe will go through the cellar wall, and to all the faucets in the house, so that when the little boy who will live here wants to wash his hands or take a bath, he will turn a faucet and the water will come running. There, now."
"Oh," said David, "will a little boy live here?"
"I don't know who will live here, Davie," the foreman answered. "There most generally is a little boy or so in any family that lives in this town."
"Oh," said David and he nodded his head, and he saw a faucet that was nailed to a board.
And the faucet was on the end of a pipe which stuck up from the ground near the mortar box.
"Why," he said, "there's a faucet, and water will come. I've seen the mortar man get it there."
"Yes," said the foreman. "We had to have water to use. It comes through this pipe that lies on top of the ground all the way to your house. See?"
And the foreman showed David the pipe. It was hidden by the long grass.
"They're going to lay the pipes now, Davie. Do you want to see them do it?"
So David put his little hand into the foreman's big one, and they went together to where the men were.
The men had got up out of the trench, and they were going to take up one of the iron pipes that lay in the gutter.
Just as they began to lift it, out of one end of it popped David's kitty. She scurried around and popped into the end of another pipe, and all the men laughed.
Out popped David's kitty
"Funny kitty," said David.
Then the men took hold of the pipe that the cat had been in at first, and they lifted it, one at each end, and they carried it and put it down beside the trench.
Then they got into the trench again, and they took hold of the pipe and lowered it to the bottom.
David couldn't see what the men were doing then, and he went to the edge of the trench and squatted there and watched.
He saw the end of a pipe sticking out of the ground into the trench. It looked as if it had been in the ground a long time.
"What is that?" he asked the foreman.
The foreman said it was the end of the old pipe, and
there was a place near his house where they could put a
long iron thing into the ground, down as far as the
pipes, and turn it and let the water into this pipe.
The long iron thing was like a
"And Davie," he said, "you see that one end of each pipe flares out bigger than the other end. The men put the small end of one pipe into the flaring end of the next. You'll see."
So David looked and the men fitted the small end of the new pipe into the flaring end of the old one, and they blocked the new pipe up with dirt and stones until it was just right.
Then one of the men took some things that were in the
trench. All that David saw was what looked like some
When the men had the old frazzled-out rope all hammered in tight, the other man came and brought him something that looked all snaky, and it was shiny like the lead of a pencil, and it waved about as if it were heavy and it seemed to be all moist like mud.
And the man took this snaky, wavy thing, and he wrapped it around the pipe, and he drove it into the joint until it looked like a part of the pipe.
Then he felt it all over carefully, and he stood up and looked at it.
And he made up his mind that it was all right, and the other man began to shovel dirt down into the trench, and they punched the dirt until it was all hard under the pipe and at the sides.
Then they went to the gutter and picked up another pipe.
The foreman couldn't wait any longer.
"I've got to go now, Davie."
"Where have you got to go?" David asked. "Can I go with you?"
"I've got to go into the house. I can't take you in there yet. I'm afraid you'd get hurt. In a day or two you can go in."
David nodded. He was thinking about those pipes.
"Will the men keep on putting those pipes together until they come to the house?" he asked. "And how will they get the pipe into the house? They'll have to put it through a window."
"No," the foreman answered, "they won't have to put it through a window. They'll lay the pipes straight past the house, and they'll plug up the end until there are some more houses built on this road.
"Then they'll fit a little pipe into the side of the big pipe and run it through a hole in the cellar wall.
"The little pipe is not much bigger than that pipe that the faucet is on, over by the mortar box. What'll you do now, Davie?—play in the sand?"
David nodded again. "Good-bye," he said.
And David dug in the sand for a while, and then he looked for his cat, but he didn't see her; so he put his shovel and his hoe into the cart, and walked off, dragging the cart, with the shovel and the hoe rattling in the bottom of it.
And when he got to the pipes, the cat popped out of the end of one of them, and she ran ahead of David, with her bushy tail sticking straight up in the air, and David walked along to his house.
And that's all.
Simple Simon met a pieman,
Going to the fair;
Says Simple Simon to the pieman,
"Let me taste your ware."
Says the pieman to Simple Simon,
"Do you mean to pay?"
Says Simon, "Yes, of course I do!"
And then he ran away.
Simple Simon went a-fishing
For to catch a whale:
All the water he had got
Was in his mother's pail.
WEEK 29 |
A T last the time came when Jesus must leave the little quiet Nazareth village, and begin His Father's work. There were so many poor people in the dark world waiting for the Light, so much suffering and pain and sin waiting for the healing touch of His hand and His gracious word of forgiveness.
But although He was God, the Light of the world, who could forgive sins, yet He was Man too, and He never saved Himself from any of our hardships and temptations. The devil tempted Him just as he tempts each one of us now; and He often suffered hunger and pain, and many a night He had no place in which to shelter, or pillow on which to lay His head.
The story of His wonderful work has often been told—how He opened the eyes of poor blind men, healed the sick, fed the hungry, comforted the sorrowful, brought back life to the dead, and, more than all, taught people to know that God was their Father, and loved each one of them. But among all the stories of this wonderful life, children always love to remember the special times when Jesus had time to think of them, and to speak to them as well as to the grown-up people, and how the children of long ago showed their love for Him as well.
It was one day when Jesus was passing a little village that He sat down to rest for a while under the cool shade of a wayside tree. He was very weary, and His disciples and friends who were with Him were anxious that He should rest quietly, and that no one should disturb Him.
But the village people had heard that the great Teacher was there, and the joyful news quickly spread from house to house. The women hastily called the children together from their play. The little ones who could not walk they carried in their arms; even the tiniest babies were not left behind. These mothers knew how good and kind and wonderful this great Teacher was. They had heard how the very touch of His hand healed the sick and gave sight to the blind, and they wanted Him to lay those loving hands upon their children's heads, for they knew that His touch would bring a blessing.
Very soon a crowd had gathered, and began to move towards the place where Jesus was. The barefooted children in their scanty little garments pattered along the dusty road; the women in their coarse red and blue robes, with bright handkerchiefs over their heads, followed behind, carrying the babies in their arms. All hurried towards the place where that tired figure could be seen resting at the wayside.
The disciples of the Master frowned as they saw the approaching crowd. This was too bad. If there were sick people to be healed or anxious men who wanted to hear the Master's wise words, it would have been more easily excused. But to disturb Him for nothing more than a crowd of children and babies was more than they could bear. The women should have known better than to allow their children to come there and trouble the Master.
So the disciples hurried forward to check the little crowd and bring it to a standstill before it could disturb that quiet figure. The children were to go home at once, they said, and the mothers should be ashamed of themselves for being so selfish and thoughtless.
All the happy smiles began to fade upon the children's faces, and the mothers hung their heads with downcast looks when they heard the rebuking words. Slowly they turned to go back again without the blessing they had longed for. But in a moment their disappointment was turned into joy, for the Master, looking on, called to them Himself, and the sound of His dear voice could be heard by all.
"Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not," He said, "for of such is the kingdom of God."
He was displeased with His disciples for trying to send the little ones away. He wanted them, every one.
The children were not shy. They knew at once that it was the voice of some one who loved them, and they pressed happily forward as near to Him as possible, resting their little sunbrowned hands confidingly on His knee, or clutching at a fold of His robe. The mothers, too, came near, and humbly asked if He would lay His hand in blessing on their babies' heads. Each little dark or sunny head felt the touch of that gentle hand as the children gathered round His knees. And not only that, but He took the tiny babies in His own arms, just as the good shepherd carries his lambs.
It was when His life on earth was nearly ended, that once more a crowd of children gathered round the Master. But this time they did not come to ask anything of Him, but to give Him all they had to offer—their song of praise and worship.
The day before, Jesus had ridden into Jerusalem amidst the welcoming shouts of the people. The men and women who went out to meet Him treated Him as if He were indeed a king. There was no procession of horsemen and chariots, no banners flying or trumpets blown, no royal robes or jewelled crown. The King, clothed in His peasant robes, rode upon a humble ass, and there seemed nothing to show that He was a great conqueror. But that day the people hailed Him as their earthly king. They took off their garments, and laid them on the road as a carpet for Him to ride over; they cut down palms and silvery olive branches, and strewed them in His way. The air rang with the sound of their voices as they shouted, "Hosanna: Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest."
The Trimphal Entry
The children amongst the crowd listened to that shout of praise, and it rang in their ears until they too joined in the song. And later on, when the King entered the Temple, they gathered round Him, a little group of children, and sang out again with all their hearts the hymn they had learned: "Hosanna: Hosanna in the highest."
"Suffer little children to come unto Me."
The frowning, white-robed priests were very angry as they listened. They were really more angry with Jesus than with the children, for they hated Him, and it made them furious to hear the people call Him a King. They dared not say what was in their hearts to Him, but it was safer to blame the children who were making so much noise in the Holy Temple with their hymn of praise.
"Hearest Thou what these say?" demanded one of the chief priests of Jesus, with an impatient gesture of his hands towards the singing children.
But Jesus loved to hear those childish voices. It made Him happy to receive their praise and love, and He would not bid them be silent. It was perfect praise, He told the priest who wished to have them silenced.
With the same kind look in His eyes as when He took those village babies in His arms, He listened now to the voices of the city children, ready always, then as now, to receive their love and worship.
The two gray kits,
And the gray kits' mother,
All went over
The bridge together.
The bridge broke down,
They all fell in;
"May the rats go with you,"
Says Tom Bolin.