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DANCE OF' THE, VEIGETABLES.
I L .-- _
BALL OF TIIE VEGETABLES
PROSE AND VERSE
By MARCGARET EYTINGE
HARI'ER & BRUTIERS. FRANKLIN SQUARE
1 8 83
,f&i-7w l ff-
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1883, by
HARPER & BROTHERS,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
All rights reserved.
'I'Ti': aIuthor of the stories in prose and verse comprised in this volume
desires to express her thanks to the publishers of Haicer's Young PijleC, St.
XzJ2koas, TIidc Awake, T/ie Idpciendent, the Detroit Fr-ce Press, Ehkrick's Quar-
trcl' BaZdowin's lonthzl', and other periodicals, for their kindness in giving her
permission to collect into a volume the contributions which originally appeared
in their pages. She trusts that the favor with which they have been received
singly by the little readers of America will be extended to the new and beauti-
ful form in which they now appear.
THE BALL OF THE VEGETABLES .......... 9
THE DANCE IN THE KITCHEN . .. 20
THE SILLY LACE HANDKERCHIEF . . 23
THE NED MORNINGS TAR LOCOMOTI VE . . 27
THE UMPING MATCH . . . . 37
GINEVRA AL VERETTA'S MERRY CHRISTAS . 38
ANOTHER RIP VAN WINKLE ..... . 50
YOUNG JACK'S STORY. .... .... .. 52
A LITTLE RHYME.... . ...59
THE MOUSE'S OPINION .. .......60
A STRANGE CAT-BIRD. . . . 62
THE FLOWER THAT GREW IN A CELLAR . . 63
"-NOT AT ALL LIK E". ........ . 69
THE LADY IN THIE LOBSTER'S HEAD . . 70
THE DEATH OF BLUEBIRD . ...... ... 74
THE FIRE-FL Y THAT TRIED TO BE A STAR .76
SAD, BUT JUST . ..... . . 80
THEY GOT THE TURKEY ............. 81
J UST SO . . . . . . 86
WHAT THE ROSE TOLD THE BUTTERFLY . .. .89
CHERRY AND STRAWBERR .... . . . 92
ANDY AND THE WORM .. .............. .. 93
A BAD BEGINNING, BUT A GOOD ENDING . . 96
MUCH TOO HIGH . . . . .98
"THE SWEETEST MONTH . . 100
THE SONG OF THE C AR ....... . . 101
DEAR M E Z . . . . . . 104
COLD, GRA Y STONES. . . . . 105
A D UE T . .. . . . 108
THE TORN PRI ER . .... ... . 110
THE SANDHOPPER 7IG ..................112
BOW-WOW CURLY CURL CR ................114
NOSES OUT OF JOINT. ........ ........118
THE STORY OF THE DAISIES . . .......119
IN THE DEEP BLUE SEA . . ........125
RUDE MARCH AN D SWEET APRIL...... . .. ..128
PLAIN SPEAKING .. . ......... 131
THE GARDEN ON THE SHED . . . 132
PRETTY POLL .. . . . . 136
THE CALF THAT WOULDN'T SUPPOSE . . 144
WHY THE DOG'S NOSE IS AL WAYS COLD . .145
YELLOW JACKET'S FRIGHT . . . .147
BRO WN HAND AND WHITE HAND . .. . .151
"GRANDPA, YOU DO LOOK SWEET" . ......153
THE VIOLETS THAT CAME IN NOVEMBER . . 155
FROM A BOTTLE. A CHRISTMAS STORY . . .157
CHARLEY BENNET'S GHOST STORY . . . 164
ONLY AN ACORN, AFTER ALL. . ....... 168
IN FAY'S SHOE . . . . .. 170
AND THE SUN SMILED . . .........174
"CA W . . . . . ... 176
THE SAD FATE OF MR. TONGS... . ......177
THE GRASS AND ITS FRIENDS. . ......... ..180
THE WONDERFUL NEST. .... . ......185
A LITTLE BROWN DOG . . . . 186
INDIGNANT POLLY WOG . . .........196
THE SONG OF THE WREN . . . . 197
WISE MRS. SWALLOW . .......... 240
"SIXTY MINUTES MAKE AN HOUR". ........ 207
THE GIFT OF THE BIRDS ... . .......212
THE BUMP TOLD. . . .. ....... .. 214
MRS. BEE EXPLAINS ......... ......... ....217
"APRIL-FOOL/" .. . . . ..... .. 218
ON GUARD . . ......... .. .223
THE GERANIUM LEAF ..... ..............224
HO W THE Y MADE THE SNOW. . .........230
THE JOLLY DOG'S PRACTICAL JOKE . . .. 234
"CHIRP" AND "SWEET" ... . .... .. .....236
THANKS TO THE MADEIRA VINE . . . 243
A SIMPLE GRACE . ............. .. 245
DANCE OF THE VEGETABLE.S . . ... . Fronli'piece
" I'LL YOUR PARTNER BE," SAID SHE . . . 21
THE NED MORNINGSTAR LOCOMOTIVE. . . . .
THEY SAT DOWN IN A HALF-CIRCLE AROUND THE STOVE . 41
" RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LAUGH SHE FELL FAST ASLEEP 45
"THERE LAY MY LrITTLE SISTER" . . 5.
A STRANGE CAT-BIRD . . . 2
SAD, BUT JUST . . . . ... 81
"AND THEY GOT THE TURKEY" . . . 87
" I DON'T BELIEVE I COULD DO THAT" . . . 95
STANDING IN THE DOORWAY .. . . 108
"BOFE DEM CHILUN'S WHTE . . . . 109
THE SANDHOPPER JIG . . . 1
YOUR NOSE IS OUT OF JOINT, THAT'S ALL . . . .118
AND NEVER TIRED THEY GREW ... OF BRINY TALE AND SON 126
THE PARTY IN THE DEEP BLUE SEA . . . 127
THE MULLINGONG AND ECHIDNA . . . . 131
PARTING GRANDPA'S HAIR . . . . 154
" 'THERE IT IS,' SAYS BARNEY" . . . . 167
IN THE EVERGREEN FIVE BIRDIES . . . 185
BIRDIE AND HER LITTLE FRIENDS . . . .201
" HALT NOT A STEP FARTHER !" . . . 225
"PRAY DON'T TROUBLE YOURSELF" 235
" WE THANK THEE FOR THY LOVING CARE" . . . 245
STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
THE BALL OF THE VEGETABLES.
"I HEAR that the flower fairies, the dew fairies, the insect
tribe, and all the wee folk are having splendid times this sum-
mer. I'm going to speak to his Majesty, and see if we Vegeta-
ble people can't have a ball or concert, or something of that
sort. One might as well be 'out of the world as out of the
fashion,'" said Queen Squash, one very warm summer after-
noon, as she fanned herself with a burdock-leaf. And imme-
diately the plump young princes and princesses danced, or
rolled about rather, in the greatest joy, and stately Lady Lima
Bean began practising her quadrille steps.
He, he !" tittered the young String Beans, cousins to her
ladyship. Quadrilles, indeed! As though any one ever
danced quadrilles in this civilized age!" And away they went
through the garden, swaying their slender forms to and fro in
the polka-mazurka, and stopping every now and then to courtesy
profoundly, after the manner of The Lancers."
Mamma dear," asked the youngest Prince Squash, shall
we invite any of the Fruit folks ?"
The Fruit folks !" repeated the Queen. Why, my pet, they
10 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
wouldn't condescend to lower themselves to our level. They
hold themselves very much above us."
"True, true, your Majesty," exclaimed old Dame Cabbage;
"but pride goes before a fall; and, take my word for it, many a
Peach and Apple will be glad to associate with us before the
summer is over. As for the Cherries, they have already dropped
in to see us, and-"
"Yes, yes, Dame," impatiently interrupted the Queen; but
for all that, we won't invite any of them to our ball. That must
be 'The Ball of the Vegetables.' "
Dear mamma, little Miss Strawberry is not at all airy,"
continued the young prince who had spoken before.
No, she is not stuck up a bit," added Green Tomato; she
and her sisters run over to see our family often."
"And old Uncle Watermelon," said the prettiest princess,
"why, he's as good-natured as can be. He is at this very mo-
ment rolling about in the dirt to amuse my little brothers."
"And his niece, Miss Muskmelon," added Lady Lima Bean.
"To be sure, she looks rather cross-grained, but really she is
quite a sweet creature !"
"Well, well," replied the Queen, "we'll see what the King
says about it. I'll ask him as soon as he awakes."
Just then a loud yawn was heard, and the Queen nodded
and smiled good-naturedly, and the little ones clapped their
hands and shouted, and in another moment out waddled King
Pumpkin to see what all the noise was about.
Oh, papa papa !"
Your Royal Highness! your Majesty!" burst from every
THE BALL OF THE VEGETABLES. 11
Hoity-toity, what's in the wind now ?" exclaimed he, rubbing
his eyes, for he was scarcely awake yet.
Can't we ?"
"i Mayn't we"
Will you ?"
Rose fairies !"
Butterflies All the-"
One at a time-o-n-e a-t a t-i-m-e," said the old fellow (I beg
pardon, his Majesty), slowly; and down he sat, right on the
grass, just for all the world like a common Vegetable.
"Silence !" exclaimed Queen Squash. "' I will the tale un-
fold'" (she was apt to be a little pompous at times most
Queens are), and straightway she explained, and craved the
King's permission to give the ball.
I'd admire to," said King Pumpkin instantly, to the great
delight of all; and he sent for his secretary, Red Pepper, to
write the invitations. I reckon he'll make them pretty smart.
He's a precious sharp fellow, is R. P."
You must know the King's parents were raised in real
Yankee Land, which will account for some of his peculiar ex-
A little robin who lives in an apple-tree that stands near
the vegetable garden was an unobserved listener to the above
conversation; and as soon as my window was opened the next
morning she came hopping in, and repeated it all to me. The
little robin and I were great friends, because early in the spring
I had given her many a breakfast.
12 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
Now, the moment I heard of the ball that was to be I was
most anxious to know all about it, so that I might write a
full and true description of it for the boys and girls I love
So said I to Mrs. Robin: Mrs. Robin, my dear bird, if
you will only go to this ball, and tell me afterward all that
takes place, you may consider me your baker for the rest of
the year. You and your children shall always find fresh
crumbs on the window-sill."
Good gracious me !" trilled Mrs. Robin, and her round
black eyes twinkled. "How can I ever keep my head from
going under my wing? Just as soon as night comes under
it goes, whether I will or no."
But, my darling little bird," said I, I entreat you to try.
Only think! our little birds will be as glad to hear about this
Ball of the Vegetables as your little birds would be to get a
delicious fat worm."
"I'll do my best-I'll do my best-I'll do my best," sung
Mrs. Robin, with more shakes than an opera-singer, and away
That she fulfilled her promise you will see.
The evening appointed by Queen Squash for the ball
proved to be one of the finest of the season. The scene was
brilliant beyond description. The grounds were lighted by
hundreds of glow-worms and fire-flies, and the far-famed
Cricket Band was in attendance, assisted by the Tree-toad
.Singing Club and the Katydid Opera Company.
At precisely seven o'clock their Majesties entered the gar-
THE BALL OF THE VEGETABLES. 13
den, while the band played the celebrated Voices of the
King Pumpkin wore a robe of rich orange -color; the
Queen appeared in her favorite dress of green-and-white.
They were followed by the Royal Family and their attend-
ants, all clad either in green, white, or orange. And very well
they looked, too, with the exception of two old maiden aunts,
who, unfortunately, had crooked necks.
After them marched the Asparagus Guards, keeping per-
fect step; and a fine sight they were, all dressed exactly alike,
and all of precisely the same height.
Having taken his place upon the throne, which was erected
just within the entrance of the grape-arbor, the King gra-
ciously requested that the dancing should commence.
Professor Banana, a distinguished foreigner, who, although
a Fruit, was nearly related to the Vegetables, gave the signal
for a waltz, when, before the first couple had time to lead off,
quite a commotion was caused in the upper part of the garden
by the arrival of the tall and handsome Captain Corn.
The Captain looked every inch a soldier; his uniform was
of bright green, and from his cap waved a long, graceful, silken
On his arm leaned Miss Carolina Potato, a Southern belle,
from one of the first families, in fact. Her buff dress was a
little soiled by travelling, yet she looked so charming that
everybody declared her real sweet.
She was followed by her favorite attendant, Ochra," famil-
iarly known as Gumbo," and renowned for making excellent
14 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
By-the-bye, there is a remarkable circumstance connected
with the Corn family. They are forbidden to marry unless
with the Beans, and then they are obliged to take the name
of "Succotash." The Captain is in despair, for he is desper-
ately in love with Sweet Potato; but his parents shake their
heads and declare that nothing good could come from such
Having paid their respects to the Royal Family, the Cap-
tain and Carolina joined the waltzers, dancing so gracefully
that the lookers-on were perfectly enchanted.
Little Miss Strawberry proved the truth of Prince Squash's
remarks about her by arriving quite early in the evening, look-
ing as pretty and modest as possible. She wore a beautiful
crimson dress, and the cunningest, tiniest green cap perched
on top of her dear little head.
General Tomato, in his uniform of bright red, placed him-
self by her side; and those odd fellows, the young Gherkins,
kept close behind her, evidently to her great vexation.
I don't like them one bit," she whispered to her escort;
"I hear they become so sour in their old age. Now, I like
good-natured Vegetables, like your kind King and Queen, and
Lady Lima Bean, and-and-don't you ?"
"To be sure," said the young general; and I believe he
would have said "To be sure," if she had asked him if he
didn't think it must be pleasant to be stewed, he- was that in
love with her.
Well, it is not to be wondered at. She is a dear little
blushing thing, not a bit proud, though she could at any mo-
ment join the cream of the very best society.
THE BALL OF THE VEGETABLES. 15
After the waltz came a mazurka, during which an incident
of somewhat unpleasant nature occurred.
Miss Cauliflower was floating about with Savoy Cabbage,
when suddenly she paused, turned pale, and would have fallen
to the ground had it not been for the tender support of her
Why, dear Miss Cauliflower, pray what is the matter?"
asked he, in great alarm.
"Oh, they are coming this way-those dreadful, horrible,
vulgar Vegetables!" replied she.
Who-what-which ?" asked he again.
Why, is it possible you do not smell that horrid perfume
they insist upon carrying about them? It's so strong it actu-
ally brings the tears into my eyes;" and the delicate Vegetable
Savoy looked behind him. The mystery was solved. The
Onion family were approaching.
For goodness' sake, do go to another part of the garden,"
cried he to them. Don't you see how your presence affects
Miss Cauliflower ?"
"Mliss Cauleflower indeed! Well, I do declare!" said old
Mrs. Onion, turning very red in the face. "Suchz airs! I'll
let her know that we are powerful not only here, but in many
foreign lands. Italy, France, and Germany acknowledge our
smell-I mean our spell-and love and admire us, and all our
relatives to the very remotest cousin; and what's more, we
never associate with Slugs. She'd better go home, if she's so
delicate, or bathe her head in milk-and-water.. That may re-
16 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
Mrs. Onion, though an honest body, is not very refined.
Oh, ma!" exclaimed her eldest daughter, don't fly into a
passion about that pale-faced thing. Our family, as she will
see, is great and strong. Indeed, I heard the gardener say the
other day, 'In onion there is strength.' Here come our inti-
mate friends, the Parsnips and Carrots, and with them that
dear Summer Celery, as slender, straight, and tall as ever.
Let's join them. Good-evening, Miss Cauliflower!"
And she went right up to the shrinking Vegetable, made
a deep courtesy, then turned about and walked off in the most
dignified manner. And her seventeen sisters, and ten broth-
ers, and twenty-five cousins-the Garlics-and her great aunt
and uncle, the Leeks, all followed her example.
"There, I hope you've become a little accustomed to the
Opion family by this time," said Mrs. Onion, as she took her
departure, leaving Savoy perfectly green with rage.
"Well, I vow!" exclaimed a sprightly little Red Radish,
who had witnessed the scene, "there is no sauce like garden
The Turnips, who always take longer to prepare than any
other Vegetables, made their appearance about eight o'clock,
bringing with them a German cousin, whom they introduced
as the Count Kohl Rabbi.
He was a bluff, honest-looking fellow, and pronounced
everything he saw Vary goot! vary goot!"
Salsify (better known as Oyster Plant), the Misses Beet, and
Lord Egg Plant, accompanied this party. His lordship wore
a lovely purple satin coat, and, though a sober-looking body,
said the funniest things in the drollest manner.
THE BALL OF THE VEGETABLES. 17
One of these witty sayings is too good to be lost.
How learned Russia Turnip is !" said Miss Round Beet.
Too clever entirely for me," replied Lord Egg Plant, at
the same time looking tenderly at his companion; "she can't
Truly a princely joke! Mrs. Marrowfat Pea laughed so
immoderately that she split her new green dress all down the
Captain Corn pulled his lovely blond mustache, and de-
clared it was the best thing he had heard since he came from
Count Kohl Rabbi shook his fat sides and said, "Vary
goot! vary goot!" though he didn't understand a word of it.
Nine o'clock arrived, and the guests were promenading
about, conversing with each other, and drinking some delicious
dew-wine, when a brisk knocking was heard directly under
their feet, and in a moment out into the midst of the assembly
tumbled a lot of Irish Potatoes.
"Whack! fal de liddel!" shouted they. "Better late than
niver! Here we are, all the way by the underground railway.
Good-avenin' to yez all, and how do yez all do ?" And then,
without waiting for an answer, Let's have a bit of a jig to
shake off the dust from our coats," cried one of them-the
funniest-looking old fellow, with queer little knobs all over his
Thrue fur ye!" exclaimed a dozen, and at it they went.
Some of the more aristocratic Vegetables looked rather
shocked; and Miss Carolina whispered to Captain Corn, with
a pretty little shudder, Dear me! to think these fellows are
18 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
my cousins!" But old King Pumpkin, giving a signal to the
band (who thereupon merrily struck up St. Patrick's Day in
the Morning"), took Queen Squash by the hand, and, hastily
descending the throne, they joined in the dance.
The Court took their cue from their sovereign (as all
courts do), and, without waiting to select partners, seized each
upon his nearest neighbor; and away they all went, the crick-
ets chirping, the katydids screaming, the locusts whizzing, and
an old frog (who, hearing the mirth, came over from a pond
near by and volunteered his services), beating the bass drum
Oh dear! wasn't it fun! Old Dame Cabbage bounded
about like a great ball, and Captain Corn jumped so high that
his plume was constantly waving above the crowd.
Little Red Radish bobbed up and down opposite a jolly,
plump Cucumber; and though, as Miss Bean said, "she hadn't
much to brag of in the way of shape," yet she looked such a
cunning, lively, red-cheeked little thing, that every Vegetable
who looked at her smiled an approving smile.
As for Miss Cauliflower, she actually danced right in among
tho Onions, and old Mrs. Onion whirled about with Savoy
Cabbage in the friendliest manner.
Professor Banana and Miss Carolina executed the most
graceful and difficult steps; while Gumbo, sticking close to his
mistress, went through wonderful heel-and-toe movements.
Victoria Lettuce's crisp skirts rattled as she slid gracefully
about with young Celery; and Colonel Asparagus, eating a
lump of salt, pirouetted around Miss Rhubarb, who was enjoy-
ing a lump of sugar.
THE BALL OF THE VEGETABLES. 19
Count Kohl Rabbi jumped up and down in an extraordinary
manner, shouting Vary goot! vary goot!" while his partner,
Round Beet, looked as though her exertions had sent all the
blood to her head.
Prince Squash cut in and cut General Tomato out; but the
general took it very coolly, and, kissing his hand to Miss Straw-
berry, danced gayly up to one of the plump princesses.
Russia Turnip flirted desperately with the biggest Irish
Potato, evidently to his great delight, as he appeared to have
eyes for no one else.
But an odd group stood silently in one corner of the gar-
den. They refused to dance, and appeared to be there only as
spectators. Nobody saw them arrive nobody heard them.
They belonged, apparently, to the Quaker fraternity, for they
were dressed in the most delicate colors, and did not remove
their broad-brimmed hats.
"A set of upstarts!" said Lady Lima to the Queen. I'll
wager they came without an invitation. What impertinence !"
Hush, my dear," replied her Majesty. I grant they are a
queer, independent set, but I assure you all the very best fami-
lies are fond of the Mushrooms."
And the Mushrooms remained quiet and grave while the
rest of the company danced, and capered, and leaped, and
jumped until they dropped from sheer exhaustion, and every
Irish Potato among them had burst his jacket.
And so ended the Ball of the Vegetables.
20 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
THE DANCE IN THE KITCHEN.
OH, that winter afternoon!
Such a merry, merry tune
As the jolly, fat tea-kettle chose its singing to begin!
'Twas a lilting Scottish air,
And it seemed, I do declare,
As though bagpipe played by fairy was forever joining in.
Then the bagpipe ceased to play,
And another tune straightway
Sung the kettle, louder, louder, till its voice grew very big;
And the feet of laughing girls
(Girls with shamrocks in their curls)
You could almost hear a-keeping time to that old Irish jig.
Darling, smiling, cunning Bess
Grasped with tiny hands her dress,
And, a pretty courtesy making, while the kettle made a bow,
I'll your partner be," said she;
Forward, backward, one, two, three;"
And pussy cried, Bravo I my dears," in one immense me-ow.
And they danced right merrily
Till 'twas nearly time for tea,
I'llL YOUR PARTNER BE," SAID SHE,; FORWARD, BACKWARD, ONE) TWVO) THREE.'
THE SILLY LACE HANDKERCHIEF. 23
The kettle tilting this way and then that way-oh, what fun !-
And its hat bobbed up and down
On its moist and steamy crown,
With a clatter falling off at last, and then the dance was done.
THE SILL Y LACE HA NDKERCHIEF.
IT was washing-day. Betsy had just hung her clothes upon
the line, when along came the Wind, bent on a frolic.
Ha! ha!" laughed the Shirts, flinging their arms in the
air; how are you, old fellow ?"
"Jolly as can be," said the Wind, shaking hands violently
with them. Come out with me, won't you? I'm going to have
a fine race to-day."
No, thank you," answered the Shirts, "we'd rather be ex-
cused. If we went with you we'd never see our intimate friends,
the Collars, again, and, as you must know, we are very much
attached to them."
"The Collars indeed!" said the Wind; "stuck-up things!
Why do you care for them ? Come along, do !"
But the Shirts danced merrily about, and said they'd stay
where they were, thank him, for in their opinion there was no
place like home."
So the wind blew into the Pillow-slips until they looked like
great giant snowballs.
Oh, see what lovely balloons I've made of you, Pillow-slips!
Jerk yourselves away from the stupid Clothes-pins, and I'll carry
you up in the air so far that you may almost touch the sky !"
"24 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
"Stupid, indeed !" growled the Clothes-pins, and they held
on tighter than ever, while the Pillow-slips made answer, No,
thank you, sir, we couldn't think of going. To-morrow night,
after we are nicely ironed, two of the sweetest little heads in
the world will be laid upon us, and we shall hear from two dear
little mouths pretty secrets about fairy-land.
Oh, bother fairy-land !" interrupted the saucy Wind, giving
a great puff.
Do leave us alone, Mr. Wind," entreated the smallest Pil-
low-slip; you are very, very rude to make balloons of us with-
out asking our permission. We don't want to be made balloons
of, and if you don't stop I'll tell my grandmother, Bolster-case."
How funny !" and the Wind shrieked with laughter. I'm
not afraid of your grandma, you foolish little thing! Stay
where you are. You'll come, Towel with the red border, won't
you ?" and he gave it a toss that threw it backward over the
I'd like to see myself!" said the Towel, in a rage, and its
border grew redder than ever. "I wouldn't associate for five
minutes with such an impolite creature as you are."
Hoity-toity!" said the Wind. Impolite, am I?" and he
gave it another toss. Now let's see you unwind yourself,
I'm sure I sha'n't go; so you needn't trouble yourself to
ask me," said the Table-cloth.
"Who wants you ?" replied the Wind. You must be three
years old if you're a day. You'd look nice going on a frolic at
your time of life." And he slapped it so hard that he tore a
large piece from one corner, and left it with one end dragging
THE SILL Y LACE HANDKERCHIEF. 25
on the ground. Then he flung all the Clothes against each
other and set them quarrelling and fighting.
The Shirts struck the Sheets, and the Towel with the
crimson border at last unwound itself and kicked madly at
the Table-cloth. The Pillow-slips became so excited that
they were ready to burst.
One of the Aprons pulled away from its fast friend,
Clothes-pin, and fell on the grass-plot, where it lay flinging
its strings about and frightening a dear cunning Baby-dress
that had been put there to bleach.
At last the Wind spied a pretty little Handkerchief, fine
as a spider's web, and trimmed with the most beautiful lace.
"What a beauty you are, Miss Handkerchief!" he said, in
his sweetest voice. "You are much too lovely to stay in one
place all your life. Come out in the world and be admired.
I will take you where you will see the most wonderful things.
Pretty Lace Handkerchief, say, will you go?"
"Well, I think I will," said the silly little Handkerchief,
"for Betsey won't give me half as much starch as she does
those horrid Collars, and I think I'm as good as they any
"Oh, my darling!" said a large Linen Handkerchief that
hung beside her, "you are too delicate for so much starch. It
would ruin your health, my dear. The Collars are strong fel-
lows, and they can stand it. They're very different from the
Handkerchief family. Don't go with that blustering Wind, I
beg of you."
I will," said the Lace Handkerchief. I'm tired of this
place, and I want to see the world."
26 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
"Don't say that," said the Linen Handkerchief, "for you
know you have the best of care here."
Don't care !" said the silly thing, with an impatient shake;
"don't care, don't care!"
Washing, lodging, all for nothing but looking pretty.
Think a moment," said the large Handkerchief.
Don't care !" was the only reply.
"Stay, do, that's a dear," said the large Handkerchief, as
the Wind, angry at its interference, whirled it in the air.
Sha'n't," said the foolish Lace Handkerchief; and away it
went on the wings of the Wind.
Good-bye!" called some of the Clothes, and Come back !"
shouted the others; but it paid no attention to them, and
sailed along, saying to itself, "Soon I shall be a bird."
For a while the journey was delightful, the Sun shining
brightly and the Wind whistling gayly; but at last Mr. Wind
began to get cross, and he said, in a strange, hoarse voice, I'm
tired-can't carry you any farther. I shall have to drop you."
Oh, but I'm so very little and you're so very big," said the
poor little trembling Handkerchief.
For all that I'm not going to carry you any farther, as I
said before," screamed the Wind, flinging a handful of dirt at her.
Do take me home again," prayed the Handkerchief.
Ha, ha!" shrieked the Wind. "We're miles away from
home. Take you back again? I think not; I haven't time.
Good-bye." And off he flew, leaving her lying in a mud-
puddle in the road; and soon after a cow, passing that way,
trampled upon and tore her into shreds.
And all because Betsey gave more starch to the Collars!
THE NED MORNINGSTAR LOCOMOTIVE. 27
THE NED MORNING STAR LOCOMOTIVE.
UNCLE JEFF-he wasn't my uncle, or anybody's in particu-
lar that I know of, but everybody called him Uncle," so I did
too-was as deaf as a post-though why a post should be any
deafer than a door or any other wooden thing I can't see; but
that's what people say, so I say it too.
He'd only been deaf about two years when he came to
live in Greenville-lost his hearing at some great explosion
in New York, where they're always exploding something or
other; and he'd tried all the great au-what-d'ye-call-'ems-no
matter, I'll call 'em ear-doctors-and they couldn't cure him-
said the tin pan drums of his ears were all out of order, and
he'd never hear anything again. So he bade farewell to his
native shore and bought Mrs. Billerwell's big, old-fashioned
house just back of Chestnut Grove, and became a Greenvil-
lian. He lived all alone by himself, 'cept an old woman who
did the house-work and an old man who did the garden-work;
and he had lots of money, though he scarcely ever gave any
away. But if he wasn't free with his dimes he was a jolly,
good fellow with his apples and pears; and any boy might go
into his orchard and eat enough to give himself the stomach-
ache, if he'd only take off his hat and ask politely. I don't
mean in words, 'cause Uncle Jeff couldn't hear, no matter how
loud you shouted, but pointing at the trees and then at your-
28 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
self, and smiling all the time. And he'd let our club-the
Nimble Squirrels we are-play ball on the green, back of his
house, two or three times a week, which used to make the
Kangaroos-that's the other club-as mad as hornets, for it
was the A No. 1-est piece of green for ball-playing anywhere
The reason he was mad at the Kangaroos was because
their captain', Bob Mudge, made faces at him once.
"Oh crackey! I forgot. I thought it was near-eyesighted
he was instead of deaf," said Bob. But it was a bad forget for
him and his fellows, for on that green the Kangaroos did not
jump again for a long, long time.
Catch the Nimble Squirrels making faces at the old man!
They were too smart for that. They'd say all sorts of queer
things to him, looking right at him, just for fun, you know;
but they took good care to say them with their hats in their
hands and a pleasant smile. Thought I should die a-laughing
the day Roy Wheeler said to him, Good-morning, Egyptian
Mummy, Esquire (you see Uncle Jeff was awful brown-nev-
er'd got the scorch off since he was blown, up), "and would
you be kind enough to give me one hundred and forty-nine
dollars and five cents? If you can't spare the rest, I'll take
the five cents and call it square. And, oh! may we burn
down your house and barn? We haven't had a bonfire for
ever so long."
Yes, yes," said Uncle Jeff. He always said Yes, yes," or
" No, no;" and once in awhile he hit, but oftener he didn't.
Ned Morningstar he was our captain. We'd always sing
" I feel, I feel, I feel, I feel like a morning star," when we saw
THE NED MORNINGS TAR LOCOMO TIVE. 29
him coming, and when he got there he'd join in-he could
sing louder than any boy in school-and then we'd all take
hands and dance round like mad. He was a splendid fellow;
there couldn't be a better boy-captain in all the world, and
the Nimble Squirrels wouldn't have had any other, not if he'd
treated them to soda-water every day of their lives. The
Kangaroos' captain-his folks keep the drug-store-treated his
crowd-there wasn't many of 'em-to soda-water once a week.
His father let him 'cause his mother said he must. His moth-
er is a great big woman, and his father isn't much bigger than
"They sha'n't go ahead of us," said Ned Morningstar,
when he heard of it. We'll have lemonade twice a week."
And we did. Ned bought the lemons, and every boy su-
gared himself, except little Al Smith, who hadn't any mother,
and his aunt locked up the sugar-bowl; so I took a double
allowance and went halves.
Our captain was the smartest boy in Greenville. He was
always inventing something, like Benjamin Franklin and Sir
Isaac Newton, and them-I mean those-other fellows, who
invented steam and lightning, and made apples fall when they
wanted 'em. I never had any science into my head. I'm
good at ball-playing, running, swimming, and skating; but I
don't know much about "cranks," and "valves," and "feed-
boxes," and "levers," and "buffers," and "boilers," and all that
sort of thing; but I'd just like to have you mention something
in the way of machinery Ned don't know all about.
He invented a telegram to run all around the school-room.
The four corner desks were the stations, and it took messages
30 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
first-rate, till one day Young Jack-his real name's Jack Young
-was asking Short Jim-his real name's Jim Short-to give
him a Madeira-nut for a quarter of an orange, when little Al
Smith, who sat between the two last stations, fell off his seat;
and Mr. Merrit, the teacher, coming in a great hurry to see
what was the matter, stumbled over the wire and came pre-
cious near falling flat on his face. Jiminy! wasn't he mad!
And as we wouldn't tell who got up the telegraph he sus-
pected Ned; but Ned was home that day-had the toothache,
and that's bad enough, I hope (and we wasn't a-going to give
him away)-we all had our jackets dusted. But I guess it
hurt the teacher more than it did us, for there were eighteen
boys in our class, and he was a little man anyhow-almost as
small as Dr. Mudge-and not very strong; and it took him
nearly the whole afternoon, 'cept 'rithmetic, and the dust didn't
fly much from the last five or six jackets either.
Then Captain Morningstar invented something to talk out
of the window in a whisper with a boy whose mother kept a
pie and cake and candy and apple store 'round the corner. It
was made out of two patty-pans-little tin things, you know-
about six inches around and an inch and a half deep, with the
bottoms knocked out and oiled silk put in, and a fine, strong
India-rubber string fastening them together, and I forget
what else, and I suppose that's the whole secret. But any-
how, Ned-he sat next the window in summer-time-used to
drop one of these patty-pans out of the window when it was
near twelve o'clock, and the boy he'd come along and ketch
ahold of it and walk off a few steps, so as to make the string
,taut; and then Ned 'd whisper in his pan, and the boy 'd hold
THE NED MORNINGSTAR LOCOMOTIVE. 31
his to his ear and hear what Ned said; and then the boy 'd
whisper back again, and Ned 'd hold his pan to his ear and
hear what the boy said.
But one day "Lemon-drops "-that's what we called the
boy, 'cause he always had one in his mouth-forgot to whisper.
The captain had asked him, What-have-you-got-
good-to-day ?" (We didn't want to go out that noon, and
Ned meant to order some goodies to be brought to the gate.)
And he shouted back as loud as he could-he said afterward
he was looking at a monkey that was riding on a dog's back,
with an organ-grinder, coming up the road-just as Mr. Merrit,
who was hearing the history class, said, What were the dying
words of Cardinal Wolsey ?"-" Currant tarts, blackberry-pie,
bully doughnuts, cinnamon taffy, and ginger-beer!"
As soon as he'd hollered this Lemon-drops was awful
scared, and ran off as fast as his legs 'd carry him, and his patty-
pan flew up when he let go of it and smashed a pane of glass.
But Ned hauled it in quick before the teacher got there; and
Mr. Merrit thinks to this day that some rude boy "out of mali-
cious mischief "-that's what he called it-threw a stone and
broke the window, and made up a new Cardinal Wolsey's dying
And now I'm coming to the locomotive. I'd been there
before, only I thought you fellows here in Woodbury would like
to hear something about us fellows in Greenville, and that's the
reason I stopped on the way.
Well, the glorious Fourth was near, and the Nimble Squir-
rels had been saving like everything, so as to have plenty of
fireworks and a big new flag (we had lots of small ones); and
32 STORIES, IN PROSE AND VERSE.
Captain Edward Morningstar had been busy on an invention
that was to go ahead-and you bet it did go ahead-of any-
thing he'd ever invented before; and it was to make its trial-trip
at two P.M., July the Fourth, on Uncle Jeff's green. We'd asked
him on a slate, and he'd said "Yes;" and the Kangaroos wasn't
to know anything about it, for fear they'd stand outside and
hoot; and if they had stood outside and hooted the Nimble
Squirrels would have had to lick 'em, and that wouldn't have
been a nice way of spending the anniversary of the birthday of
American Independence." That's from Dr. Mudge's speech.
They say Mrs. Mudge wrote it for him.
At last the day came, and after we'd had our dinner and let
off a few fire-crackers and torpedoes, just to get our hands in,
we met on the green. We'd sent the drum, and flags, and fire-
works down there the day before; and Uncle Jeff he was alone
-the old man and woman had gone to their daughter's-and
he says, speaking in a voice like a bear's voice wrapped up in a
handkerchief, Boys, don't you hurt that young tree," pointing
to a little tree near the gate. That tree is very valuable, and
was sent to me from France; and don't go near the chicken-
coop, for I have some very fine game-fowls that ain't quite used
to the place yet."
We all shook our heads as though we'd shake them off in
sign we wouldn't; and then he went away and sat down under
an old apple-tree, and lighted his pipe and began to read the
In a few moments Ned Morningstar and Roy Wheeler
came puffing up the road, wheeling something in a wheelbarrow.
It was all covered over with brown paper, but the Nimble Squir-
-' .. ,' ) ^-, ,-, ', '. .
S.... ~~ ,--' ... : ..- , ,>'- -, - --. --- -
'/-----.-- -" *, J'
"^-* ;.''" "' .... *',4 --
._- .. -" -- --a "- +' -
. .-. '
ST- I 'L C x.
i --" "-- \
..THE NED MORNINGSTAR LOCOMOTIVE.
THE NE MONIGSA LOCOMOTIVE.
THE NED MORNINGSTAR LOCOMOTIVE. 35
rels soon tore that off, and there was a locomotive. "The Ned
Morningstar Locomotive was painted on the flag which waved
over it. It was a queer-looking thing-looked as though it
might have been made out of an old iron furnace, some tomato-
cans, two or three pokers, and a piece of stove-pipe. There was
a double car behind it-a soap-box cut in two, and then nailed
together again lengthways-and in this car was a dozen packs
Will she go ?" I asked the captain. Go !" said he. "I
guess you'll think so in a minute. Attention company. The
fire is now started, the fire-crackers are lit, and when I say
'Ready!' beat the drum, wave the flags, send off some blue-
lights, and yell like wild Indians. Ready !"
Rub-a-dub-dub went the drum; Fizz-z-z went the blue-
lights; bang went the fire-crackers. Hurrah !" yelled the boys,
and off started the Ned Morningstar locomotive. Straight into
the valuable young tree from France she went first, knocking it
flat; then over the finest game-rooster, who had run out, think-
ing there was a fight, smashing him flat; then under the chair
on which Uncle Jeff was sitting, taking the legs clean off, and
making the old man sit down hard on the back of his head,
with his legs kicking wildly in the air; and then through the
kitchen window on to the kitchen floor, where she exploded
with a noise like seven hundred and fifty cannon.
We boys started to run away, when the captain called out,
"Nimble Squirrels, don't be cowards; come back and face the
music like men;" and we all came back 'cept little Al Smith,
who was running so hard that he couldn't stop himself until he
brought up against some blackberry bushes. And when we'd
36 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
got back there stood Uncle Jeff,' rubbing the back of his head,
and looking as though he'd just woke up.
What was that noise ?" said he.
"Noise?" said Roy Wheeler, who had more cheek than all
the rest of- us put together. Why, you queer Old Man of the
Sea, how did you know there was a noise ?" And then he shook
his head and said there hadn't been a sound except the game-
Oh! what a whopper !" said I.
"A whopper! I should think so," said Uncle Jeff. "And,
young fellow," taking Roy by the ear, "don't you call me 'Old
Man of the Sea' again."
Good gracious!" we all shouted, "he hears!"
"Yes, he hears," said Uncle Jeff; "one shock took his ears
away and another brings them back again, when all the doctors
in the land couldn't."
The locomotive knocked down the tree," said Ned Morn-
ingstar. I'm awful sorry, sir."
And it killed the biggest rooster," said I.
"And it smashed the kitchen window and burst up in the
kitchen, Old Man-Uncle-I mean Mr. Jeff," said Wheeler.
"And it gave me my hearing again," said the old man,
" which is worth all the French trees and game-fowls in Amer-
ica. And now be off, you young scamps, and come back in
two hours, bringing all your friends and relations-"
"The Kangaroos, too, sir?" asked little Al Smith, who had
got away from the blackberry bushes, leaving a big piece of his
trousers behind; but we draped the big flag around him till he
got to my mother's, and she made it all right.
THE JUMPING MA TCH. 37
"Yes, the Kangaroos too, and I'll give you a Fourth of July
party such as you never had before. Scatter !"
And he did. Ice-cream-quarts of it; lemonade-gallons
of it; cake-pounds of it; bananas-hundreds of 'em; oranges
-hundreds of them too. And old Pop Van Lew to play the
fiddle for us; and the grandest display of fireworks, at nine in
the evening, ever seen in Greenville, or any other "ville," to
wind up with.
TIHE JUMPING MA TCH.
MR. FIELD CRICKET stood at the door of his house,
When a Grasshopper, merry and green, came along,
Calling out, Hey! old fellow, I bet you can't jump
As high as I can, though your legs are so strong-
So exceedingly strong and surprisingly long-
Yes, surprisingly long and exceedingly strong.
Will you try?" Go ahead," said the Cricket. Then "Chirp!
Chirp! chirp!" he went on with his ear-splitting song.
Hi! ho! here we go!" said the Grasshopper gay-
And sprung up in the air, to be caught by a bird,
And carried away in a twinkling; while sly,
Very sly, Mr. Cricket had not even stirred.
But as his friend vanished he said, "'Pon my word!
An extremely spry chap and remarkable bird.
That jumping-match, verily, didn't last long."
And again he went on with his ear-splitting song.
38 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
GINEVRA ALVERETTA'S MERRY CHRISTMAS.
I DON'T believe there ever could have been a happier or a
jollier family than the Pie family since first the world began.
From the grandfather and grandmother down to the six-months'-
old baby, whose laugh was a comical crow, they laughed from
the time they got up until they went to bed again; and so, as
you may imagine, there was always plenty of noise in their
home; but when on holidays they felt it their duty to be, if
possible, a little jollier than usual, it was deafening. Fortu-
nately, they had no neighbors to be annoyed by it, living as
they did on a corner at the very top of a tall building filled
with business-offices, the nearest dwelling-house-a large house,
divided into flats-being three doors away.
The Pies-they were colored people-took care of the
building in which they lived, Poppy Pie being janitor, and the
rest of the family doing the sweeping, scrubbing, dusting, and
window-washing; and, besides receiving good wages for their
services, they were allowed the use of the loft for a residence;
and, having partitioned it off into several rooms, principally by
means of sundry quilts and blankets, they found it a very com-
fortable place to live in. But, in spite of the good wages and
no rent to pay, they could only afford the plainest kind of food
and the cheapest, clothes, for there were eight of them to be
GINE VRA ALVERETTA'S MERR Y CHRISTMAS. 39
taken care of-Grandpoppy and Grandmommy Pie; Mr. and
Mrs. Reliable Pie, better known as Poppy and Mommy Pie;
Berethea, the eldest girl, usually called Berry Pie;" Americus,
the eldest boy, nicknamed Custard Pie;" Ginevra Alveretta,
six years old Christmas-eve, and always called by her whole
name; and the baby, christened in honor of the minister,
Brother Smilie Jorkins.
The roofs of the buildings on the block of which the Pie
house was the first or the last one, according to the way you
approached it, were nearly on a level; and many of them, dur-
ing flower-time, were made fragrant by pretty flowers growing
in boxes filled with earth.
Grandpoppy Pie had raised cucumbers and beans also in
his boxes, and he actually came near raising a watermelon in
a half-barrel once, but Ginevra Alveretta ate it when it was
about the size of a teacup; and this performance of hers was
the only thing she had ever done since she was born that the
family didn't laugh at. The Pie children used to spend all the
time their father and mother could allow them on their roof in
pleasant weather. They could see the sun rise and set in all
its glory there just as well as though they were in the country,
and watch the steamboats from the New York piers across the
wide waters until they reached the opposite shores; and at
night-time it was so cool and quiet, with the moon and stars
looking upon them, that they seemed to be miles and miles
away from the busy world below.
But in winter, when it was very cold, they were obliged to
stay in-doors; and they could only peep from the windows of
the loft at the surrounding houses, and catch a glimpse of the
40 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
streets on either side; and yet they were as merry as ever,
waiting with cheerful patience for spring to come again.
And on this day before Christmas of which I write they
had laughed and laughed:
Grandpoppy and Grandmommy Pie, Ki-yi-yi-yi !"
Poppy and Mommy Pie, Ya-ya-ya-ya-yap !"
Berry Pie, Te-he-he-he !"
Custard Pie, Cluck-cluck-cluck-cluck !"
Ginevra Alveretta-well, I can't imitate her laugh in words
-it was like the gurgling of water poured from a bottle; and
the baby, Uh-u-u-u-u !" in a high key, which is as near as I
can come to a description of that.
They had laughed like this from early morning; and when
darkness came they were nearly tired out, having worked hard
too, and sat down in a half-circle around the stove to warm
themselves awhile before going to bed. But even then Ameri-
cus could not remain quiet, but burst out in a minute or two
with, "Oh, granny! tell us 'bout dat ar ole Sunday-Clothes
wot's druv ober de ruffs ter-night wid reindeer-hosses."
Ought ter have snow deer-hosses," giggled Berry.
How kin dem reindeer-hosses hop from de corners ob de
streets 'cross de way, an' up from de way-down ruffs to de way-
up ones ?" Custard went on. Don' believe it. It's onpossible."
Yo' don' believe it ?" said Grandmommy Pie. Yo' don'
believe it, yo' wicious young sinner? S'pose ebb'rything's on-
possible 'cause yo' don' believe it? Dem reindeer-hosses don'
hav' to hop. Dey flows 'long like birds."
Hain't got no wings in der picshures," said the wicious
young sinner," shaking his head doubtfully.
THEY SAT DOWN-IN A HAL-F-CIRLEAOUNDTHETOV
bi ., .,;
THEY SAT DOWN IN A HALF-CIRCLE AROUND THE STOVE.
GINE VRA AL VERE TTA'S MERRY CHRIS TMA S. 43
But dey has got 'em derselves fur all dat," persisted gran-
ny. "Four enormouss wings-each of dem-an' wen dey ain't
usin' dem wings dey foles 'em up jest like dey wos fans an'
slides 'em down inter der legs, an' dat's de time dey's had der
picshures took, I s'pose. So dere now!"
And then they all laughed again:
"And all dem fedders in dem wings," said Grandmommy
Pie, when they were silent once more, "has eyes in dem like
as dey was peacock-fedders, so dat dem ar reinder-hosses kin
see all roun' in de dark. An' Massa Santy Claus he steers
dem reindeer-hosses to de tops of de chimbleys, an' he has
piles an' piles of ter-umpits an' der-ums, an' heaps an' heaps of
pep'mint-der-ops an' pigs' feet, an' piles an' piles of silk hanker-
chers, an' hams, an' new aperns, an' poun's an' poun's of de
werry best tea-"
"An' pipes an' papers of backy" said Grandpoppy Pie.
"An' fur caps wid ear-wigs," said Poppy Pie.
"An' han'sum big Bibles," said Mommy Pie.
An' a pink kerwat an' a cane," said Americus.
An' a blue sating hair-ribbing and p'serves," said Berethea.
"An' candy, an' a gole ring, an' a doll," said Ginevra Alve-
The baby said nothing, but I've no doubt he thought,
" And rattles, and barley-sugar dogs and cats and roosters."
44 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
Yes, all dem things, show's yo' bohn," Grandmommy Pie
began again, an' heaps an' heaps an' piles an' piles an' poun's
an' poun's of odder things dat's done gone slipped my mem-
branes. An' Santy Claus he goes down dem chimbleys wen
dey's big 'nuff hisself, an' wen dey ain't he lets de Chris'mus
presents down wid a rope; an' he gibs de waluabilest to
de waluabilest folks, an' de onwaluabilest to de onwaluabilest
"'Pears like he might gib de waluabilest to de onwaluabil-
est sometimes, jess for fun," said Custard.
Dat ain't his way, chile," said his grandmother. Nebber
was, an' nebber will be, I's afeared. Sho'! dar's nine o'clock
striking Time we was all in bed. Hole your brack tongues
now ef yo' kin, an' ondress yo'selves."
And in a short time the Pie family were fast asleep, with
the exception of Ginevra Alveretta.
She waited until she heard her grandfather and grand-
mother snoring, and her father and mother snoring, and her
sister and brother snoring, and the baby snuffling, which was
the nearest it could come to a snore; and then she got up
quietly and dressed herself again, and, wrapping her mother's
brown woollen shawl about her head and shoulders, stole care-
fully up the steep ladder that led to the scuttle, opened the
scuttle-this was hard work for such a little body, but, making
a great exertion, she did it; and oh, how her heart beat as it
slipped from her hands and fell with a bang! But no one
woke, and she stepped out on to the roof and stumbled
through the snow until she came to the house where five
wealthy families lived on five handsome flats. It had stopped
GINEVRA ALVIERETTA'S MERRY CHRISTMAS. 45
snowing, and the stars were brightly twinkling in the sky, and
the sound of jingling sleigh-bells and merry laughing and
singing floated up to the small
RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LAUGH SHE FELL FAST ASLEEP."
en Sunday-o tClothes comes along he'll think to be certainly
"dat I 'longs to dem, an' gib me a heap of lubly things 'stead
of a tin dipper, or a money-jug, or something' like dat." And
"as she sat dow se began to laugh with delight at the idea,
wbut right folksin the idle of the laugh she fell fast asle
46 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
Now, on the floor just below this roof an old gentleman
and his wife had been all the evening awaiting the arrival of
a daughter, her husband, and her children from the country,
to spend Christmas-eve and Christmas-day with them. But,
much to their disappointment, a telegram, which had been de-
layed for several hours for some reason connected with the
severe snow-storm, was handed to them at half-past nine
o'clock, saying that the baby was not well enough to travel,
and the visit must be postponed until New-year's-day.
It was too bad; for there stood the dining-table just as it
had stood since six o'clock that afternoon, loaded down with
cakes and grapes, and apples and oranges, and six kinds of
preserves, and cold tongue, and roast chicken, and cheese, and
home-made bread; and in one of the closets were hidden away,
all ready to be brought out at the proper time and put into
stockings of various sizes, gold rings in velvet cases, dolls in
the prettiest baby-clothes, neckties of gay colors, china cups,
delightful books, bon-bon boxes filled with the most delicious
bon-bons, and "many other things too numerous to mention,"
as the store-keepers say in their advertisements.
"Well, well, I am disappointed," said Mr. Bush (that was
the old gentleman's name), "for it will be the first time in
many years that we have not had a Christmas party."
"And so am I," said Grandmamma Bush; "but of course
the dear baby's health must not be endangered, bless its little
heart! We'll let the table stand as it is until to-morrow morn-
ing, for I am too tired to attend to it to-night, and then we
must find some one with whom to share the eatables that will
not keep. As for the presents, they will all keep. But, Mary,"
GINEVRA AL VERETTA'S MERRY CHRIS TMAS. 47
she called to the servant-maid, "take a look at the roof-door
before you go to bed. There was a man up there to-day
brushing off the snow, and I don't know whether he fastened
it or not."
Mary ran up the stairs that led to the small room, or cupola,
in which there was a door from which you could step out on
to the roof, and which she found the man had not bolted, as he
should have done.
I wonder if it's snowin' ag'in ?" she said to herself, opening
it far enough to peep out. But she slammed it and screamed,
and reached the landing below with a flying leap, all in the
Why, Mary, what in the world is the matter?" asked her
mistress, hurrying out of the dining-room, followed by her hus-
band with a stout walking-stick.
"Oh! there's something' by the chimbly, ma'am-somethin'
"A man?" said the old lady, in a trembling voice.
No, ma'am; it's too small, ma'am. One of the good peo-
ple, I do be thinking ma'am-kind of fairies they be, though
they do be bigger."
Nonsense! there's nothing of the sort," said Mr. Bush.
Beggin' your pardon, sir, there's plenty in Ireland; and
maybe some of them has immigrated, sir. Don't go out, sir,
or they may turn you into a goose or something sir, as they
mostly does thim that's bold enough to look upon thim."
But the old gentleman put her aside, with a smile, and in
a moment more was bending over the something all black" by
48 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
Poor little girl! she was still fast asleep, and almost frozen.
He lifted her in his arms and carried her down to his wife,
who was waiting for him on the platform, from which a few
steps more led to the hall, to which Mary, in her fear of the
"good people," had retreated.
Good gracious !" said Grandmamma Bush, "where did the
child come from ?" and she- began slapping the icy-cold hands;
but she had only slapped them half a dozen times when Gi-
nevra Alveretta opened her big eyes and her not small mouth,
and out of the latter gurgled the rest of the laugh that had
been cut short when she so suddenly fell asleep. And before
it was ended came a loud and joyful chorus of laughter from
above; and, looking up in great surprise, Mr. and Mrs. Bush
saw a crowd of dusky faces looking down.
Mommy Pie had been awakened by the cold air blowing
in upon her from the opened scuttle; and wondering how it
came open, she got up to close it, and found Ginevra Alveretta
More frightened than she had ever been in all her life
before, she aroused the whole family, each and,every member
of which began to laugh as soon as he or she unclosed his
or her eyes. But they became as serious as Mrs. Reliable Pie
herself when they heard the alarming news she had to tell.
They dressed themselves in haste, and, guided by Mr. Reliable
Pie, who went ahead with a lantern, they followed the child's.
footsteps in the snow until they reached the chimney of the
big house, and from there some larger footsteps led them to
the roof-door, which, it having been left slightly ajar, the wind
had blown wide open, and, stepping into the cupola, they looked
GINE VRA AL VERE TTA'S MERRY CHRIS TMAS. 49
down the stairs and saw with glad hearts the object of their
search safe in the arms of a lovely old lady.
And Grandpapa Bush had a Christmas party after all, for
he invited the unexpected visitors to supper in such a cordial
way that they accepted the invitation at once. And didn't the
"good things disappear! They did, in a most marvellous man-
ner. And while they were disappearing Ginevra Alveretta told
the kind host and hostess why she had left her warm bed and
stumbled through the snow, to fall asleep beside her neighbor's
chimney. "I guessed Sunday-Clothes 'd come dar to be cer-
tainly," she said, and then the whole Santa-Claus story as Grand-
mommy Pie had told it came out--the "reindeer-hosses wot
flowed like as dey wos birds," and the way Santa Claus had of
leaving de waluabilest things wid de walubilest folks," and all
the rest of it. And I don't think any of the Pie family ever
laughed more heartily than Grandpapa and Grandmamma Bush
did while listening to it.
And when the janitor and his relations took their leave
Grandpoppy Pie carried a new pipe and a large bag of smok-
ing-tobacco; Grandmommy Pie a package of tea, and gingham
enough for three old-fashioned aprons; Poppy Pie a cane with
a horseshoe for a head; Mommy Pie a handsome Bible and the
baby; Berry Pie a jar of quince preserves and a blue satin-on-
one-side and silk-on-the-other hair-ribbon; Custard Pie a red
necktie and a book for boys, full of pictures; Ginevra Alveretta
a doll with golden hair, a bottle of cologne, and a box of can-
dies; and the baby a rattle, and a gutta-percha dog that barked
when you squeezed it; and the next day, as Americus, a turkey-
leg in one hand and a piece of mince-pie in the other, danced
50 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
wildly, for the fiftieth time, around the table on which the pres-
ents were spread out, he shouted, triumphantly, Hi, granny!
ho, granny! we did get some of de waluabilest things, an' we's
werry onwaluabilest folks indeed. 'Pears like ole Sunday-
Clothes been a-list'nin' an' left dem ar splendificent presents
dar 'cause he knowed we was agoin' dar to supper."
"Shouldn't wonder, honey," said Grandmommy Pie; "dat
ar Santa Claus he knows mos' ebbery thing. He's gathered a
pow'ful lot of wisdom the few hundred years he's been going'
roun'. But of all de good times he ebber gib us dis yere takes
de cake; fur I don' believe if we lib to be as ole as he is hisself
we'll ebber see anudder holiday like Ginevra Alveretta's Merry
Christmas. No, indeedy!"
ANOTHER RIP VAN VWINKLE.
" MARCH !" said Spring. Quickly melting, the ice ran away,
And the frost hurried out of the ground;
And the leaves, brown and dry, dropped -with Autumn's Good-
With the wind went a-skurrying round.
And from the 'deep mud in the swampiest place
His head a big turtle thrust out,
And, winking and blinking his funny round eyes,
He lazily peered all about.
Then he dragged from the mire-like a snail on his back
He bore it-his box-like abode,
ANOTHER RIP VAN WINKLE. 51
And patiently climbed for an hour or more
Up the bank, till he came to the road.
There he met an old man who was crooked and gray,
And who walked with a stout oaken cane.
And he cried, Hi! halloo! please tell Ned that I'm here,
And am waiting to see him aoain."
"Who's Ned?" asked the man. "Just examine my top
(I suppose you have learned how to spell),
And a name and some figures he carved with his knife,
When we parted, you'll find on my shell."
The old man he stooped, with a grunt, for he was
Decidedly lame in each knee,
And he read, "August ist, 1820-Ned Mott,"
And then chuckled, Good gracious! that's me."
" You !" the turtle exclaimed. Why, Ned Mott is a boy,
And his laugh can be heard for a mile;
With hair brown as earth, and with eyes bright as mine-
You! Excuse me, I really must smile."
" I am he." It can't be." Yes, it can. Don't you see,
Many years since you saw me have sped ?"
"- What's years ? I know nothing 'bout years, but I know
That you are not rosy-cheeked Ned.
" He's a boy, and he wears a small cap with a peak,
And in summer picks berries called 'whortle.'
Oh! the stupidest thing is a stupid old man."
You mistake, 'tis a stupid old turtle.
52 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
I'm Ned Mott." You are not." If I'm not I'll be shot!"
Then be shot;" and he dropped with a thud
That sleepy, that ancient, that obstinate turtle
Head-foremost back into the mud.
YOUNG JA CK'S STORY.
You fellows want to know why I have a whole lot of mari-
golds in my garden, more than all the other flowers put to-
gether (it isn't my garden; it's my little sister's my only
sister's. I planted it for her, though-except some lady-slipper
seeds, which she planted herself, and pulled up as soon as the
first two leaves came out of the ground, and brought to the
barn to show me they were growing -and I take care of it;
but it's hers, every bit), and why I never forget to buy a piece
of meat for the old one-eyed cat that is always waiting for me
at our gate when school's out.
Well, I don't mind telling you. You seem to be clever
chaps enough, and haven't sassed me any more than I can
stand since I came here to school, last week. So here goes;
only don't any of you ask questions till I'm through. Ques-
tions before I'm through put me out. Ask as many as you like
when the story's done, and I'll answer 'em all-if I can.
Where we live when we're home (father's got to stay in this
city, on account of some bothering business or other, for a year;
so we're boarding at Aunt Nina's now. She's a splendid old
aunt, and understands boys, and ain't a-hollering all the time
when a fellow's playing, Great H-e-a-v-e-n-s! stop that noise !"
YO UNG JACK'S .STOR -. 53
But when the year's over we're going back again; and I'm glad
of it, for I always feel choked in a place where there's so many
houses and no water to look at). And-oh! where was I ? Oh!
yes, I know-our house is on the sea-coast; and I tell you we
have some tre-mend-u-ous storms there. The waves rise as high
as mountains-yes, monzotazizns, Ed Hillard. You needn't be
sneering. They'd scare you, or any other boy that carries an
umbrella when it rains, as you do. And they run up on shore
with a dreadful loud noise. You fellows thought that storm
yesterday, when the liberty-pole in front of the barber's shop
fell down, and some of the chimney-pots went a-flying, was a
high old storm. Humph! that's nothing to our storms.
Our house stands pretty well back from the water; but two
or three nights the waves came way up to the big apple-tree
and the big apple-tree isn't more than ten feet from our front
door. But oh! when there ain't any storms though they
never frighten me-it's the bulliest kind of a place to live in.
There's the great ocean stretching miles and miles away, as
far as you can see, and a great deal farther, and as bright and
blue as anything; and you can find loads of queer things on
the shore-star-fish, shaped like a star, and if you break a piece
off it grows out again; and mussels, and sea-flowers that eat;
and all sorts of crabs. But the funniest is the hermit crab.
When he first knows he's a crab he has nothing on but a shell
jacket, and so he goes all around looking for an overcoat-not
a new one, but one that some other creature has grown too big
for and wriggled out of. And when he finds one he backs into
it, and goes clattering about in it forever after. And he's a sol-
dier, too, and fights like Old Jiminy; and when there's two of
54 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
'em fighting for the same overcoat they'll whack off each other's
claws as fast as they can. But crabs don't care much about
losing their claws, 'cause new ones come in their places. So do
lobsters'. And there's thousands of shining stones, and lots of
pretty sea-weeds and clams; and "a life on the ocean wave and
"a cottage by the sea" for me.
Well, I was my mother's only child and my father's too;
but, though I had splendid times and a boat of my own
(" What's her name?" It was The Skziping Ben Ben's my
father's name-but now it's The Iarigold), and three or four
boys, who lived near, to play with, I used sometimes to feel
lonely and wish I had a little sister. I always liked little girls;
and it's my opinion that the fellow that don't like them is no
great shakes-and you needn't snicker either. And I used to
think that if there was one in our house I'd make a pretty gar-
den for her, with clam and mussel shell borders and shiny stone
walks. The boy that lived in the biggest house in our place-
his father's a captain (no, he isn't a pirate, Sam Brown; there
ain't any pirates nowadays, only in books)-had a little sister
(black eyes she has), and he made her just such a garden.
But my ninth birthday was coming, and I had no sister yet;
and mother, says to me, "Jack, what would you like to have for
your birthday?" My mother's one of the kind that never for-
gets to give you something for your birthday. And says I, "A
new straw hat, a clam-pie, and a little sister." And the next
morning I got the straw hat, and at noon the clam-pie, and in
the afternoon-almost night it was-came up the dreadfullest
storm you ever saw-I mean I ever saw; for of course you in-
land chaps never saw anything like it. The thunder thundered,
"THERE LAY MY LITTLE SISTER.~
YOUNG JACK'S STORY. 57
and the rain rained, and the lightning lightninoed, and the wind
winded-I mean blew; and in the midst of it all a great gun
went Boom boom boom !" And we knew there was a ship
in distress near by. All the men and boys, and some of the
women too, ran down to the shore; and the gun kept on
" Boom! boom! boom !" And we were all crazy to help the
poor people on the ship; but the oldest men there said no
boat could live in that sea." And so we just stood there pity-
ing them until the storm was over and the moon came out as
bright as could be. And there wasn't a sign of a ship to be
seen then, except a spar or door, or something of that kind,
drifting about on top of the waves.
And my mother (she'd come down when the moon came
out) said--she was crying -" Come home, Jack," and turned
around to take my hand, when she spied (mother's got awful
sharp eyes) a box lashed to a little raft, wedged in the sand.
She dropped my hand and knelt down beside it.
There's something alive in it," she said. An axe, quick !"
And Tom Funrel he came and opened the box carefully; and,
boys, t/icre lay 7imy little sister! She was wrapped in a thick
shawl, and she had a black kitten, with one of its eyes hurt, in
her arms. Mother took her out of the box, and carried her
home and took off the shawl; and she was dressed in a pretty
white dress, all tucks and frizettes and lace and things, with
gold bracelets on her sleeves. And she opened her big blue
eyes (she'd been fast asleep; mother said they'd given her
something to make her sleep), and looked like-well, just like
a beautiful blue-eyed baby.
She cried a little at first; but mother gave her some warm
58 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
goat's- (Yes, I've got a goat-two of 'em: one goes in harness.
Didn't I tell you not to ask questions ?) Lemme see. Where
was I? Oh! goat's milk. And she soon fell asleep again.
And that night, when I said my prayers, I asked God to let
one of the angels tell her folks that she was my sister, and I'd
take care of her for ever-'n-ever.
Well, she was about a year old when she and the kitten-
it lost the sight of the eye that was hurt-came ashore on the
raft; and we called her "Baby" until she was three months
older. Mother was waiting for me to name her; but it seemed
as though I couldn't think of the right name. And then, one
day, I'd been up to see the boy whose father was a captain, and
whose little sister had a garden, and he'd given me some flowers
for Baby. I most always took her about with me in a little
wagon father had made for her. And didn't they kiss and pet
her wherever we went! But this day mother thought it too
hot for her to go out, and I brought them home to her (she had
never yet spoken a single word), and said, "Here, Baby, is a
pink, a lily, a marigold." And she reached out her dear little
fat hands and said, so sweet (well, I never heard anything so
sweet, not even a bird's song), Ma-ly Dold." And she took
the bright yellow flower with a smile and a coo, and kissed it
and held it to her pretty cheek; and I named her Mary Gold
on the spot; and I planted plenty of marigolds in the garden I
made for her. It's ever so much nicer than that fellow's whose
father is a captain. And when I came here I coaxed Aunt Nina
(she's jolly coaxable) to let me plant a lot in her garden, for fear
our Mary Gold would feel lonely without them. She's four
years old now, and the prettiest darling you ever saw.
A LITTLE RHYME. 59
And, I say, if you fellows 'd like to see her you can come
down, two a day (lemme see-eighteen; that would take nine
days, leaving out Sunday), to Aunt Nina's and see her.
What's that you say, Fred Winship? "You're all going to
give her a present?" Well, now, you are clever; and I'll have
you all at once out to the "Cottage by the Sea" the very first
summer I'm back there; and you shall have the jolliest time
you ever had in your lives. There's the school-bell!
A LITTLE RHYME.
WHAT would the birdies do,
What would the flowers,
What the bees and butterflies,
If in cloudy hours
They believed the sun had gone
Forever from the sky?
Birds and bees and butterflies
And flowers-all would die!
But the birdies know full well,
And the flowers too,
After clouds of black and gray
Skies of white and blue;
And the bees and butterflies,
Hidden from the rain,
Wait, with folded wings, until
The sun shines out again!
60 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
THE MOUSE'S OPINION.
ANNETTE'S canary bird's cage, with the canary in it, was
brought into the library and hung upon a hook beside the
Out popped a mouse from a hole behind the book-case.
"Why, what are you doing here, canary?" she said. "I
thought your place was the bay-window in the dining-room."
So it is-so it is!" beginning with a twitter, answered the
canary; "but they said I talked too much !" ending with a
"Talked!" repeated the mouse, sitting up on her hind-legs
and looking earnestly at him. I thought you only sung!"
"Well, singing and talking mean about the same thing in
bird-language," said the canary. But goodness g-r-r-racious !"
he went on, swinging rapidly to and fro in his little swing at
the top of his cage, "'twas they that talked so much-my mis-
tress and the doctor's wife, and the doctor's. sister-not me. I
said scarcely a word, and yet I am called a chatterbox and pun-
ished-before company, too! I feel mad enough to pull out my
yellowest feathers or upset my bath-tub. Now, you look like a
sensible little thing, mouse, and I'll tell you all about it-what
they said and what I said-and you shall judge if I deserved to
THE MO USE'S OPINION. 61
The doctor's wife and the doctor's sister called.
"'It's a lovely day,' said they.
"'A lovely, lovely, lovely day,' sung :I. 'The sun shines
bright-the sky is blue-the grass is green-yes, lovely, lovely,
lovely-and I'm happy, happy, happy, and glad, glad, glad !'
"They went right on talking, though I sung my very best,
without paying the slightest attention to me; and when I
stopped I caught the words 'So sweet' from my mistress, and
then I sung again, 'Sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet,
sweet is the clover-sweet is the rose-sweet the song of the
bird-sweet the bird-sweet the clover-sweet the rose-the
rose-the clover-the bird-yes, yes, yes-sweet, sweet, sweet!'
And as I paused to take breath I heard some one say, 'What a
noise that bird makes! how loudly he sings !' How loudly he
sings !' repeated I; 'how loudly he sings!-the bird, the bird,
the beautiful bird-sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet-' But suddenly
my song ended; for my mistress got up, unhooked my cage,
saying, 'Canary, you're a chatterbox; you talk too much,' and
brought me in here.
"And really, mouse, as you must see, I didn't say more than
a dozen or so words. What do you think about it ?"
Well," said the mouse, stroking her whiskers and speaking
slowly, "you didniz't say much, but it strikes me you talked a
"Oh!" said the canary, putting his head on one side and
looking thoughtfully at her out of his right, bright, black, round
eye. But just then the mouse heard an approaching footstep,
and, without even saying "Good-bye," she hurried away to the
hole behind the book-case.
62 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
A STRANGE CAT-BIRD.
A STRANGE CA T-BIRD.
IN the dear old cedar-tree that stands
Before my cottage-door
A bird's nest 'mid the topmost boughs
Has been a year or more;
And, looking from my window, I
This morning chanced to see
The queerest bird upon that nest
In that old cedar-tree.
For wings an extra pair of legs
He had; for feathers, fur;
A STRANGE CAT-BIRD.
A S TRA I1GE CA T-BIRD.
IN the dear old cedar-tree that stands
Before my cottage-door
A bird's nest 'mid the topmost boughs
Has been a year or more;
And, looking from my window, I
This morning chanced to see
The queerest bird upon that nest
In that old cedar-tree.
For wings an extra pair of legs
He had; for feathers, fur;
THE FLOW ER THAT GREW IN A CELLAR. 63
For beak, a little, pinkish nose;
And for a song, a purr.
A cat-bird he; but no cat-bird
That ever hopped or flew
Would own him as a brother-bird,
Or answer to his mew.
But there he was upon the nest,
A-blinking in the sun,
And thinking to himself, no doubt,
"Oh, this is jolly fun!"
And anything much cunninger
I'm sure could never be
Than that gray kitten playing bird
In our old cedar-tree.
THE FL POWER THAT GREWT IN A CELLAR.
IT was the evening of flower-day in the Child's Hospital,
and the kind ladies of the Flower Mission had brought many
lovely posies to gladden the eyes and the hearts of the sick
children, and the whole place was bright with their beauty
and sweet with their fragrance. Queenly roses, gay petunias,
pure white lilies, bunches of star-like daisies and their soft,
round, white little buds; gaudy marigolds, brown, yellow, and
orange; crimson cock's-combs, branches of honeysuckle-vines
filled with honey-rich fairy trumpets; saucy, elf-faced pansies;
spicy pinks, hollyhocks in satiny dresses of many colors, bright-
64 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
eyed verbenas and sweet-williams, brilliant geranium-blossoms,
and even great, honest, faithful sunflowers-those flowers that
love the sun so dearly that they turn to gaze upon him when
he is bidding the earth "good-night "-were all there, bringing
with them Love and Hope and a troop of gentle spirits.
All day had the sick and maimed little ones rejoiced in
their presence; and now, when they were placed in the wee
pitchers and vases that stood on the shelves above each snow-
white little bed, and the sunshine faded, and the stars came
out, their loveliness and fragrance floated into the dreams of
the sleeping children. The dreams of all but one, I should
say; for one dear little girl, with great gray eyes and tangled
brown curls, who had fallen and hurt her back so badly a few
days before that it was feared she would never walk again, was
wide awake, trying hard to keep back the tears that filled her
eyes and the sobs that rose in her throat when she thought of
the dear father and mother and the darling baby brother she
had left in the poor home from which she had been brought.
A small lamp hung from the ceiling near by, and cast a faint
light upon the flowers that were crowded into a quaint jug on
the shelf above her bed. There were some roses, some lilies,
some daisies, and one very pale pink geranium-blossom in the
midst of a group of pretty, shy buds; and as the little girl sti-
fled a great sob that seemed determined to break out she be-
came conscious of several very small voices whispering softly
together; and, listening intently for a few moments, she discov-
ered these voices came from the flowers in the quaint jug.
"I came," said a lovely crimson rose, when the whispering
had ceased, and the flowers were apparently satisfied that the
THE FLOWER THAT GREW IN A CELLAR. 65
children were all asleep, "from a most beautiful garden, where
birds sing and fountains play all day long, and the rarest of
our race are tended with the greatest love and care."
"Icame," said a daisy, "from a happy meadow, where the
bees and butterflies roam from morning 'til night, where thou-
sands and thousands of my sisters look up and smile at the
bright blue sky, and the cheery green grass nods on every side."
"/ came," said a stately water-lily, "from a great lake, where
the waves flash like precious gems in the day, and like purest
silver at night; where glancing fish swim merrily to and fro;
where tall, graceful, drooping trees, standing upon the mossy
banks, cast their shadows upon the water; where, when the
air begins to tremble with the earliest songs of the birds, the
broad, faint light of morn steals from sleeping lily to sleeping
lily and wakes them with a touch."
"I came," said the pale pink geranium-blossom, "from a
"A cellar!" repeated the others, moving a little away from
Yes, a cellar."
"I never met a flower from a cellar before," said the rose.
Nor I," said the daisy.
Nor I," said the lily. There are no cellars in lakes."
"I thought they were all cellar," said the daisy, slyly; but
the lily made no reply.
Would you mind telling us how you came there ?" asked
the rose. Being full-blown, I couldn't sleep much if I tried."
"I am perfectly willing to tell you, if the others care to
listen," said the pink flower, modestly.
66 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
Pray go on," begged the daisy.
And I have no objection," added the water-lily, in a gra-
"One day," began the geranium-blossom, growing a little
pinker as its companions all turned toward it, "a servant-maid
tossed from a window a withered bouquet into the street, and
in the centre of this bouquet was a slip of geranium which had
been placed there because its crumpled young leaves were so
fresh and green. A poor little girl passing by picked up this
slip, and carried it to a wretched cellar, where she lived in the
greatest untidiness with her mother-a poor, weak, complaining
woman-and her two small sisters and eight-year-old brother.
Here she found a battered tin pail, which she filled with dirt
from the street, and in this dirt she planted the slip of gera-
nium. 'See, mommy,' she said, holding it up, as her mother
raised her eyes from the coarse garment she was making,' I
mean to take awful good care of this; and some day it may
grow a flower, a beautiful flower, like those I see in the win-
dows of the big houses. Wouldn't that be lovely, mommy?'
And she climbed up on the shaky old wooden table, and placed
the pail on the ledge of the four-paned cellar window.
"But the window-panes were so covered with cobwebs and
dirt that the little of the blessed sunlight that found its way
down there could not get in at all. So Polly got the broom,
and carefully swept away the dust and the spider-webs, and
then she washed and polished the four panes until they shone
again; and the very next afternoon a sunbeam came to visit
the geranium, and a tiny new leaf peeped out to greet it.
When the window was cleaned the shelf (holding a few old
THE FLOWER THA T GREW IN A CELLAR. 67
tin pans) that hung below it looked so dingy that Polly could
not rest until she had scrubbed it well. Nor did she stop
there, but also scoured the old tin things before she put them
back in their places, until they looked :almost like new. And
thus, from the very moment of my mother-plant's arrival there
a change for the better begun in that dreary cellar. It seemed
so natural, when Polly had the basin of water ready to sprin-
kle the geranium, to wash the faces and hands of her little sis-
ters and brother first; and then, of course, the room must be
swept and put in order, so that the bright, clean faces might
not seem out of place in it. And when, at last, a cluster of
wee pink buds crowned the green stem Polly's joy knew no
bounds. Her poor mother laughed aloud-which was a rare
thing for her to do-to see her little daughter dancing about
and clapping her hands in glee. 'Oh, mommy !' she cried, 'we
must make it as nice as we can for them here, the pretty dar-
lings, for flowers are not used to living in a cellar; and we
must never say or do any wicked things before them, or they'll
be scared, and die right away. And if we are all very, very
good they'll grow, and grow, and grow, till they look like a
"And the mother, catching the spirit of the child, grew
more cheerful and hopeful and industrious; and the under-
ground home became neater and neater, until it was neatness
itself. And when any of the smaller children were tempted,
as the best of children often are, to quarrel and call each other
naughty names, Polly would say, with warning voice and fin-
ger, 'Hush! the flowers will hear you!' and the little ones
kissed and made up again.
68 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
"And this morning, when the lady of the Flower Mission
was passing by, with a basket of roses and lilies in her hand,
Polly ran up the cellar steps and begged her to wait a mo-
ment, 'For,' said she, bashfully, 'I have a flower to send to
some sick child.'
"'You have!' said the lady, in surprise; for she thought,
when she first saw the little girl, that she came to beg a flower,
not to offer one. 'Pray, where did you get it, my dear?'
"And Polly told her the whole story, just as I have told
it to you; and the lady went down into the dark room, and
talked for almost an hour in the kindest manner with Polly's
mother, and smiled brightly upon the beautiful geranium, now
filled with round, pink bunches of buds and blossoms. And I
shouldn't wonder if some of those buds opened in a much
pleasanter home than that cellar. But I'm glad I grew there;
for my heart is filled with happiness when I think that through
me and mine dear little Polly has become a better girl, made
a happier home, and gained in the pretty flower-lady a lovely
"All the same, I'd rather come from a garden," said the rose.
"And I from a meadow," said the daisy.
And I from a lake," murmured the water-lily.
I wouldn't," said the lame girl, forgetting her pain, with
flushed cheeks and sparkling eyes-" I wouldn't, if I were a
flower. I think the flower that grew in a cellar the best and
sweetest of you all."
But she met with no reply; and from that day to this
never has she heard lily or daisy, rose or geranium-blossom
"NOT AT ALL LIKE ME." 69
"NOT AT ALL LIKE ME."
Two little monkeys were swinging one day
In the top of a cocoa-nut-tree;
Said one little M. to the other, "Ahem!
You don't look at all like me-
Not at all, not at all like me.
" My nose is turned up much higher than yours,
And my eyes they are wondrously small;
My fingers are longer, my toes they are stronger-
Oh no, you're not like me at all-
Don't frown; but, indeed, not at all.
" You needn't get mad-it isn't my fault
That so strongly I favor my ma;
She'd a sweet monkey-face, and was belle of this place
Before she married my pa-
Yes, and after she married my pa."
Not a word said her friend; but she threw out her arm,
With a look of deep indignation,
And she whacked the belle" till she tottered and fell,
And that ended the conversation-
Quite ended the conversation.
70 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
THE LADY IN THE LOBSTER'S HEAD.
ONE fine moonlight night in June a Lobster, a Crab, and a
Shrimp met on a glistening sandy beach. Several Oysters were
also of the party, but they preferred sitting on a rock that jutted
out a short distance into the water.
Oh dear! do tell us," said Miss Shrimp to the old Lobster,
after they had all politely bidden each other good-evening-" is
it true that Lobsters always have ladies in their heads ?"
Quite true," answered the Lobster, seriously.
"Well, I declare! how awful funny!" said Miss Shrimp.
" Please tell us all about it, that's a good Lobster."
I don't mind if I do," replied the Lobster; "but you must
promise to be very quiet and attentive, for, like all story-tellers,
I hate to be interrupted."
Miss Shrimp promised, and so the Lobster began.
Once on a time, when Lobsters were even handsomer than
they are now-"
Could that be possible ?" sneered the Crab, who had lately
lost one of his claws, and was a snappy, quarrelsome sort of
The Lobster took no notice of him, but commenced again.
Once on a time, when Lobsters were even handsomer than
they are now, my greatest, very greatest, grandmother gave a
party-'twas on the beach at Long Branch-"
THE LADY IN THE LOBSTER'S HEAD. 71
I've heard that before," said the Crab.
"On the beach at Long Branch," repeated the Lobster.
" She invited all the Crustacea-"
The what ?" asked Miss Shrimp.
The Crustacea," answered the Lobster; "so called because
they belonged to the 'upper-crust.'"
The idea, Miss Shrimp," scolded the Crab, "of your not
knowing the name of the great family of which you are a mem-
ber yourself! Don't you go to school ?"
The schools were full of Mackerel and Herring this spring,"
sobbed Miss Shrimp, with tears in her funny little stick-out eyes.
Well," said the Crab, "if that's the case you're to be ex-
cused, and I'll give you some information on the subject myself.
The Crustacea all have their bodies covered with a shell over-
coat, and every year they throw away their old coats and get
Yes; and the fun of it is," said a large Oyster, "they don't
have to pay for them."
Well, you don't have to pay for them," said the Crab.
" Shut up!"
And the Oyster did shut up-so tight that it would have
taken the strongest kind of an oyster-knife to open him.
Who's telling this story ?" asked the Lobster, shaking his
biggest claw at the Crab. "Will you be quiet or not? I'll
begin once more; but don't any of you interrupt me again.
"My very greatest grandmother gave a party, and she in-
vited the Crustacea-the Bivalve Molluscas-"
Here the large Oyster opened with a jerk and said, That's
me and my relations," and shut up again with a snap.
72 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
"And all the Fishes, and, in fact, all the creatures that live
in the sea. 'Twas a lovely night, and the moon shone bright."
That's poetry," said Miss Shrimp.
Great old poetry!" sneered the Crab. Go on, Lobster."
"Mr. Lobster, if you please," said the Lobster, in a rage.
I don't allow any one-sided, one-clawed Crab to call me 'Lob-
ster.' Where are your manners?"
Gone to look for his claw," giggled Miss Shrimp.
It was a beautiful night, and the moon shone bright," the
Lobster went on, after a moment's silence. "The company
came dressed in their very best. (Don't you say 'poetry' again,
Miss Shrimp, or I'll slap you.) The Mackerel were gorgeous-"
"What ?" asked Miss Shrimp.
"Gorgeous, splendid, beautiful," explained the Lobster.
" They were attired-"
"What?" again asked Miss Shrimp.
Clothed, dressed; and permit me to say, Miss Shrimp, I'll
not answer any more of your silly questions -I'm not a dic-
No, nor anything of the kind," said the spiteful Crab.
" He and his family are only well red after they are boiled."
How about your family?" asked the Lobster, who was be-
coming very angry indeed. Are they ever boiled ? And what
color are they then ?"
Oh dear!" said Miss Shrimp, "upon my word and honor,
I'll not say another word, if you will only stop quarrelling and
go on with the story."
The Lobster balanced himself on his tail, threw a couple
of somersets, and said he felt better.
THE LADY IN THE LOBSTER'S HEAD. 73
That great soldier, General Swordfish, came to the party;
but you may believe the other Fish did not come very near
him, for he had a bad habit of running his sword into whatever
came in his way and pretending he didn't see it."
"I'd like to have him try to run his sword through my
overcoat," said the large Oyster, opening his shell a little, and
shaking his fat sides with laughter.
The Gold and Silver Fish came," continued the Lobster,
"and oh! how bright they shone in the moonlight! Some
Flying Fish dropped in for an hour or so. They were very
tired, for they had been chased by a Dolphin; but no one was
sorry for them, because they put on so many airs on account
of being able to rise a little above the other fish.
"The Herrings didn't stay long. Poor, delicate things!
they couldn't bear to be away from their water-home.
"Captain Codfish swam in with Captain Sturgeon. Two
funny old salts, my very greatest grandmother called them.
The Trout family brought their little cousins, the Smelts, and
they all looked very gay and pretty; but the belle of the party
was Miss Nautilus. She sailed to the beach in her own tiny,
"Some Oysters, who fell desperately in love with her, pre-
sented to her a necklace of beautiful pearls, which they had
brought from somewhere, ever so far away."
"I've got a pearl in my shell now," interrupted the large
Keep it," said the Crab.
"I shall," said the Oyster.
No, give it to me," said Miss Shrimp.
74 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
I won't," said the Oyster.
Don't believe you've got any pearl," said the Crab.
Have," said the Oyster.
Fib," said the Crab.
Hush !" said Miss Shrimp.
But it was too late. The Lobster had thrown a tremen-
dous somerset, and landed so far away from them that they
could no longer even see him.
And so to this very day they have never been able to find
out why Lobsters always have queer little ladies sitting in
queer little arm-chairs in their heads.
THE DEA TH OF BLUEBIRD.
HE is dead!" said the Wind.
Oh! who ?" asked the Rose.
The prince of the wildwood-the Bluebird.
And he died-" said the Wind.
Oh, why ?" asked the Rose.
He loved, and his love was no true bird."
"Alas !" sighed the Rose.
"Ah me!" said the Wind,
So handsome, so tuneful, so clever!"
And she ?" asked the Rose.
False one !" said the Wind,
In the maple chirps gayly as ever.
THE DEATH OF BLUEBIRD. 75
"And he lies-" said the Wind.
Oh, where ?" asked the Rose.
"At the foot of the oak, in the clover.
And the grass-" said the Wind.
Droops low," wept the Rose,
O'er the form of the ill-fated lover."
Oh, list !" said the Wind.
"I hear," sighed the Rose;
" The grave-digging Beetles are coming."
"And that sound?" asked the Wind.
Is a hymn," wept the Rose,
" That the Bee-folks are solemnly humming."
They are there," said the Wind.
"And at work?" asked the Rose.
" Yes, the ground very softly they're breaking.
They are kind," said the Wind.
Most kind," wept the Rose,
" Such a pretty wee grave to be making."
They are done," said the Wind,
"And I'll fling," said the Wind,
" A rose-leaf or two where he's lying."
Take myself," sighed the Rose-
"All myself," wept the Rose-
" He is dead, and for him I am dying!"
76 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
THE FIRE-FL Y THAT TRIED TO BE A STAR.
WHY, where in the world are you going ?" said an apple-
blossom, on the topmost bough of a great apple-tree, to a fire-
fly that was flying by, one lovely June night. "You flashed
into my dream like a small sunbeam, and I awoke, thinking
surelyemorning had come."
I'm not going in the world at all," answered the fire-fly,
pausing in her flight; I'm going above the world, to be a star!"
and she fluttered her wings and shone her very brightest.
Indeed!" said the pretty apple-blossom; "and do you really
think you will like it, so far away.from all your friends? And
won't you miss the pleasant evenings in the meadow, and the
gay dances I so often see you fire-flies dancing hour after hour?
Apples and pears! how you do whirl around! It makes my
head dizzy just to look at you."
Oh, I shall forget all that when I'm a star!" said the fire-
fly. "Stars are so high-minded that they never join in such
"Well, they tumble each other out of the sky sometimes,
for I've seen many a falling star since I first opened my leaves,
and I don't think that's very pretty conduct," said the apple-
blossom; "much worse than dancing, I should say. And oh!
now, wouldn't it be sad if they didn't like you after you got
THE FIRE-FLY THAT TRIED TO BE A STAR. 77
there, and tumbled you out? Such a very long way to fall,
But the fire-fly went on without noticing these last remarks.
She evidently did not like them. They have plenty of the
brightest, the most sparkling company every night; and as for
the evenings in the meadow, to tell the honest truth, I'm rather
tired of them, the frogs do sing so dreadfully out of tune, and
the katydids keep saying the same thing over and over. True,
I am the largest and most brilliant fire-fly of the season, and, in
consequence, much honored and admired by the other insects
of the night; but that goes for nothing when a fire-fly feels that
she is out of her sphere-that she was meant for a star. But
good-bye! I can't stop longer talking here. I hope you will
become a fine apple, for really you're a very nice blossom. I
won't forget you. I'll look down on you when I take my place
in the sky. By-bye."
Good-bye," said the apple-blossom, wondering if that last
speech could be taken as a compliment or not; and then she
went to sleep again.
Up flew the fire-fly, until she met a cloud that was teasing
the moon by scurrying before her and hiding her face from
Halloo !" said the cloud, "what's this? A bit broken off
a star? No! that wouldn't have legs. A piece of very
late sunshine? No! that wouldn't have wings. A speck of
lightning ? No! that wouldn't have a head. What are you,
The fire-fly trembled. It had so suddenly grown dark, and
the cloud spoke in no very gentle tone; but she summoned
78 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
courage to answer to the question, while she kept her light
shining brightly, I am a fire-fly, and I came from the world
Oh, you are, and you did!" said the cloud, "and what for,
I pray?" and in its curiosity it forgot the moon, and she sailed
"I want to be a star," said the fire-fly, flashing and gleam-
ing and sparkling like a diamond; "and if I can reach the sky
I'm sure I shall become one; for, as you see, I shed a most
"Wonderful light! Nonsense !" said the cloud. Stars are
stars because they are stars, and fire-flies are fire-flies because
they are fire-flies; and a fire-fly can't be a star any more than
a star can be a fire-fly. Now, clouds can change-they can be
snow or rain. I'm thinking of turning into a shower myself
"in a few moments-that's the reason I'm hanging so low; but
stars are stars, and fire-flies are fire-flies."
You said that before," said the fire-fly, with a spiteful little
flash, for she was getting angry; "but please let me pass. I'm
going to try to be a star, anyhow."
"You silly, conceited young thing!" growled the cloud,
looking darker than ever. I've a good mind to put out your
'wonderful light' altogether."
"Oh, don't!" said the fire-fly, meekly, and half-folding her
On second thought I won't," replied the cloud. "You'll
see your folly soon enough; fly on !" And off it started after
the moon again.
By this time the little wanderer was very tired; and, as she
THE FIRE-FL Y THAT TRIED TO BE A STAR. 79
looked above her, the stars seemed yet to be miles and miles
Her wings grew weary, and she was shivering with the
cold. Her light began to shine dimly-she had not strength
to keep it bright; and she thought with regret, for the first
time since she had started on her journey, of the pleasant
meadow-home she had left, of the sweet wild-flowers hanging
their beautiful heads heavy with dew, of the sleeping birds that
ever and anon charmed the listening night with little tunes
they dreamed, of her sisters and brothers whirling through
their merry dances-yes, and even of the frogs whose croak-
ing had so displeased her, and the katydids who had annoyed
her by saying the same thing over and over.
Still, she tried to go on; but her wings refused to obey
her, her light went entirely out, and, almost dead with fear and
cold, she began slowly to sink toward the earth.
At last, to her great joy, she found herself resting on the
topmost bough of the apple-tree.
What! are you back again ?" asked the apple-blossom, who
must have been a very light sleeper.
But she was too tired to reply.
She dropped from the branch, and once more sunk slowly
through the air, until she touched the dew-gemmed grass of her
own dear meadow.
Her friends clustered about her.
Why ?" Well ?" What ?" How ?" they asked.
But all she said was, I don't want to be a star !"
80 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
SAD, BUT 7UST.
A MONKEY and a porcupine
Went out to walk one night-
'Twas in September, and the moon
And stars were shining bright-
When in a garden near the road
They spied a splendid tree,
As full of peaches, round and red,
As ever it could be.
The topmost branch that monkey reached
In one astounding bound,
And soon the ripest peaches there
Were strewn upon the ground;
And 'mong them rolled the porcupine
With porcupiny skill,
And when he left that spot he bore
A peach upon each quill.
And how they laughed, the monkey and
His very sharp young chum,
When, safe at home, they ate them all!
But soon they looked quite glum;
THEY GOT THE TURKEY. 81
They'd never steal ,again;
SFor Oh!" they groaned, and Oh!" thy
December, l 'ike a bower. -Two young cedar-trees stood one on
new kind of gigantic fruit from tIhe mass of green that covered
the ceiling, had a gay ribbon tied around its neck. And such a
_1- "'^- / ....
SAD, BUT JUST.
And ere the night had passed they vowed
They'd never steal again;
For Oh !" they groaned, and "Oh !" they moaned,
We've got a peachy pain."
THEY GOT THE TURKEY.
THE shop of Mr. Onosander Golong looked, that 24th of
December, like a bower. Two young cedar-trees stood one on
each side of the door-way; long garlands of evergreen, sprinkled
with bright berries, were festooned all over the walls; and every
turkey there-and there were lots of them-hanging like some
new kind of gigantic fruit from the mass of green that covered
the ceiling, had a gay ribbon tied around its neck. And such a
wonderful picture in the way of freshness and color as the big
window presented to the passers-by! Bunches of crisp, light
green celery leaning up against heaps of brown, pink-eyed pota-
82 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
toes and honest red onions; fiery-looking peppers side by side
with golden oranges and yellow lemons; hard, smooth, shining
cranberries, trying to look as though they were sweet; great fat
pumpkins; piles of green and piles of rosy apples; bunches of
fragrant thyme; and more turkeys, some with and some without
their feathered coats, but all, as I said before, with gay ribbons
around their necks. Dear me! if Santa Claus could have only
looked into that window and peeped into that shop, how pleased
he would have been, and how he would have laughed! And he
certainly would have taken Mr. Onosander Golong for a long-
lost brother, for never before did mortal man so strongly resem-
ble the children's old Christmas friend. Snow-white hair, long,
snow-white beard, twinkling blue eyes, round, fat, red, good-nat-
ured face, a fur cap on his head, bunches of holly berries pinned
here and there on his shaggy jacket, and a laugh-good gra-
cious! such a loud, hearty, mirth-provoking laugh-that the very
people on the street, hearing it, began to smile, and feel that
Christmas was here indeed. And I tell you Mr. Onosander
Golong was busy that day, and so were all the men and boys
employed by him. Turkeys and other things -that had been
ordered the evening before, turkeys and other things that had
been ordered early that morning, and turkeys and other things
being ordered all the time, were to be packed away in huge
baskets, and sent to their respective destinations. But he
wasn't so busy but that he stopped a moment from his work
to give a piece of meat to a poor dog that had trotted hope-
fully into the shop (having evidently translated the name Go-
long" over the door into Come in "), and was asking for it with
his eyes. And as he rose from patting the dog he saw two chil-
THEY GOT THE T URKE Y 83
dren standing before him, also asking for something with their
eyes. They were poorly dressed children, but the girl had a
sweet, bright face, and the boy was as jolly-looking a little fellow
as you could find anywhere. His cheeks were as round, if not
as red, as Mr. Golong's, and his merry black eyes actually danced
in his head. Now, if there was one place in Mr. Onosander
Golong's heart softer than the rest it was the place he kept for
children; and so when he saw these two looking up in his face
-the boy with boyish boldness, and the girl with girlish shy-
ness -he said, in the cheeriest, kindest manner, Well, small
people, what can I do for you ?"
We would like to tell you a story," answered the boy, in a
frank, pleasant voice.
Tell me a story!" repeated Mr. Golong, in a tone of great
Yes, sir, please-a Christmas story," was the reply.
Bless my heart! what a queer idea!" said Mr. Golong; and
he laughed a silent laugh that half closed his eyes, and wrinkled
his nose in the funniest way.
Wouldn't you like to hear one ?" asked the girl, coaxingly.
Of course I would-I am very fond of stories-but I don't
see how I can spare the time. We're so busy just now, and
likely to be until night," said Mr. Golong.
It's only a short one," said the boy.
A very short one," added the girl.
Well, go ahead," said the good-natured old fellow; and he
sat down on a barrel of potatoes, and his young visitors placed
themselves one on each side of him.
One Christmas-time," the boy began, there was a big tene-
84 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
ment-house in this city, and ten families lived in it, and every
one of these families 'cept one knew they were going to have
turkey for their Christmas-dinner. They knew it sure the day
before Christmas, all 'cept this one. The family that wasn't
sure the day before Christmas morning lived on the top floor,
and it was-it was-"
Mrs. Todd, Neal Todd, Hetty Todd, and Puppy Todd,"
prompted the girl.
Yes, it was them," said the boy, and went on with his story
again: Mrs. Todd was Neal's and Hetty's mother-they hadn't
any father-he died three years ago; and Puppy was their dog.
Mrs. Todd is one of the best mothers that ever lived, and she
sews button-holes on boys' jackets for a big store; and Hetty
cleans up the house, and gets the supper, and such things; and
I- I mean Neal--runs errands for folks when he can get a
chance after school. His mother wants him to go to school till
he's fourteen, anyhow, 'cause a boy that has some education can
get along better than a boy that don't know anything. And
this family, though they were very poor, had always managed to
have a turkey dinner till the Christmas I'm telling about, and
Mrs. Todd she loved turkey."
"Didn't Hetty and Neal?" asked Mr. Golong, closing his
eyes and wrinkling his nose again; and he hurried away to
wait on a stout lady, all covered with glittering jet ornaments
and bugles, who must have been a very particular customer,
she talked so loud and so much.
Didn't Hetty and Neal?" he repeated, when he came back.
"Oh my! I guess they did!" said the girl, her eyes spar-
THE Y GOT THE TURKEY Y. 85
"They'd 'a been funny fellows if they didn't," added the
boy; "but, 'pon their words and honors, they wanted it more
for their mother-she's such a good mother, and has so few
good things to eat-than they did for themselves. And it
made them feel awful bad when she came home and cried
'cause some wicked thief had stolen her pocket-book, with half
a week's earnings in it, and the two-dollar bill that the boss
had given her to buy a Christmas dinner with besides. And
so the boy Neal- He's kind of a nice chap, ain't he, Hetty?'"
"Awful nice," replied Hetty, with a mischievous little giggle.
"And he says to his sister- She's awful nice, ain't she,
Kind of nice," said Hetty, with another little giggle.
He says to his sister," continued the boy, "'Don't say any-
thing to mother, but put on your hat, and bring a basket, and
we'll make a try for a Merry Christmas dinner, turkey and all.'
And they went round the corner to a beautiful market, kept by
a gentleman who looked exactly like Santa Claus-"
Mr. Onosander Golong laughed aloud this time, and flew to
wait on another particular customer.
So he looked like Santa Claus ?" he said, with a chuckle,
when he sat down on the barrel of potatoes again.
The very image of him !" said the girl, with great emphasis.
The boy," began the boy once more, had run errands for
him two or three times, and each time had got two apples or
oranges besides the regular pay; and he was good to cats and
dogs. So this chap went to this gentleman-he took his sister
along, 'cause he thought Mr. Golong would like to see her-
and they told him their story. And the boy says, when it was
86 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
done,' If you would only trust us for a turk-I mean a turkey
-and a few other things, I'll work for you all holiday week,
and another week too, after school. My name's Neal Todd,
and my mother is a real nice woman, and I love her just as
you used to love your mother when you was a little boy.' And
the gentleman, says he, 'Being as it's Christmas-time, and I
look so much like Santa Claus, I'll do it.' And he did. And
Mr. Onosander Golong burst out a-laughing, and, oh! how
he laughed! He laughed until the tears ran down his cheeks.
He laughed until he nearly fell off the barrel. He laughed
until everybody far and near who heard him laughed too, and
the very roosters in the poultry-shop over the way joined in,
and crowed with all their might and main. And they got the
A YOUNG calf saw one day a circus pass,
And cried at once, Oh, I must join that show.
Just as they run to see the elephant,
The folks would run to look at me, I know."
You're quite mistaken," said a sheep; "for while
In this great land the elephants are few-
And therefore wonders are-the world, my dear,
Has seen a multitude of calves like you."
rl / '- fIVt. ,
Lf :~ "t I ',
"Y "''" ; 'I Ii "-d i.." "u ~ cJ'
"AND THEY GOT THE TURKEY."
-" ,I "
., ,,"'], ._<1-- I "-- ,, :,
--,: ,'; ..., '"', "- ...:
_F ----' "" ':":"
(ANDTHEYGOT TE TUKEY,
WHAT THE ROSE TOLD THE BUTTERFLY. 89
WHAT THE ROSE TOLD THE BUTTERFLY.
TIRED of roaming about from flower to flower-and, strange
as it may appear, a little sick of honey-the beautiful butterfly,
with the rainbow-tinted wings, stopped, at the end of a long
summer afternoon, to take a few moments' rest on the branch
of a fragrant rose-tree.
As he did so he spied just above him a big brown cater-
pillar slowly eating its way through one of the largest of the
Well," said the young butterfly, opening wide his wings, so
that all the roses and buds might see their brilliant colors, that
is a queer-looking thing! It don't appear to have any legs, and
it's very ugly. I've half a mind to speak to it."
Then he had a whole mind, and spoke: Halloo! my
friend "-(his friend, indeed!)-" you with a fur coat on-in such
warm weather, too. How very odd, when one feels like wear-
ing no coat at all! What are you ?"
What you were once yourself," answered the caterpillar,
gruffly, raising its head for an instant, and then quietly going
on with its meal.
I ?" said the butterfly, standing on the tips of his toes in
his great astonishment. Well, that is a good joke! I ever
anything like you! The idea is absurd-ridiculous! I fly; you
crawl. I feed on honey; you on green leaves. I, to speak
90 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
plainly, am beautiful; and you, to speak still more plainly, are
not beautiful. Oh no, my funny fellow. You've made a great
mistake, or else told-"
Stop, stop !" said a sweet voice, and a lovely crimson rose
leaned toward the indignant speaker. "The caterpillar has
spoken the truth."
Why, how do you know, pretty one ?" asked the butterfly.
The grape-vine told me all about it," replied the rose.
"And I should feel obliged if you would tell me all about
it," said the butterfly.
With pleasure," said the rose, and began: When I was a
bud I used to peep through my green lattice-work at a tiny
cradle or hammock, or something of that sort, that hung from a
branch of the blackberry-bush just opposite, and wonder what
was in it. It never stirred except when the breeze came along
and stopped to rock it for a few moments; but one day, as I
was watching and wondering, it burst asunder, and you, most
beautiful of butterflies, came out-"
Yes, yes, I remember that," interrupted the butterfly, for-
getting his politeness in his impatience. But what has that
to do with my ever being like a caterpillar?"
Like a caterpillar," muttered the fur-coated one, with his
mouth full. Oh, yes, indeed! Very like !"
Have patience," said the rose, "and you shall hear. At
the moment you first unfolded your wings the grape-vine behind
me flung out a pretty tendril and caught me around the stem.
"'Aha! I have you now, Queen of the Rose-buds,' said he
(he's a merry fellow, always full of fun); 'and I shall hold you
until you tell me what you were thinking about.'
WHAT THE ROSE TOLD THE BUTTERFLY. 91
"' I don't mind telling you at all,' said I. 'I was wondering
what that was that just opened and let out a lovely butterfly.'
"'That,' said the grape-vine (who is ever so old-years old,
and knows everything that is to be known about a garden)
-'that, sweetest of sweet wee blossoms, was a caterpillar's
"'A caterpillar's coffin!' repeated I, in great surprise.
"'Yes. When a caterpillar gets tired of being a caterpillar
it makes for itself a coffin; and into that coffin it goes a cater-
pillar, and out of it it comes a butterfly. Don't ask me to ex-
plain, pinkest of pink buds. I can't, though I've seen it done
over and over again.'
"'How funny!' said I, and slipped away from the tendril
that was holding me.
"'You sly little thing,' said the grape-vine. 'I'll catch you
again-see if I don't-the very next time you're thinking.'
So, though it may seem absurd and ridiculous to you now,
velvet-winged butterfly, you must have once been a caterpillar.
But I suppose sleeping so long in that coffin, as the grape-vine
called it (I'd rather call it a cradle), has made you forget all
about the days you had no wings, and looked as though you
had no legs."
Well," said the butterfly, unfolding his wings ready for
flight, I must say, if all the caterpillars in the world had told
me I had ever belonged to their family I wouldn't have believed
them. But, as you say, sweet crimson rose, the grape-vine is
old and knows everything- -think there is such a thing as
being too old and knowing too much-I suppose I must accept
his story as the truth. Good-evening!" and away he flew, feel-
92 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
ing much less pleased with himself than he did when he first
spied the caterpillar.
Thank you; you're as clever as you are lovely," said the
caterpillar to the rose, as soon as he had gone.
"Glad you think I'm lovely. Sorry I can't say the same
for you," replied the truthful flower. You're not pretty-not
at all; and really I don't like the way you eat my green leaves.
Do stop and wind yourself up in your cradle or coffin, or what-
ever it is, and turn into a butterfly as soon as possible. Won't
But the caterpillar went on eating. He wasn't ready for his
coffin just yet. So the rose turned her back on him, and began
to throw kisses to the slender white lily that grew in the next
garden and was deeply in love with a humming-bird.
CHERRY AND ST RA WBERR Y.
SAID Black Cherry
Your cheeks with crimson glow;
There's no doubt you're very pretty,
But I have a heart, you know!"
To Black Cherry,
That fact, my dear, is known;
But a heart's not much to boast of
When it's nothing but a stone!"
ANDY AND THE WORM. 93
AND Y AND THE WORM.
HE had dark, curly hair--very curly -curling almost as
tight as the tendrils of a grape-vine, and you all know how
tight they curl.
And he had bright, gray eyes, with long, black lashes, and a
funny little mouth that looked as though it was always asking
questions, as, indeed, between you and me, it always was.
And he was a boy five years and I don't know how many
days old; and he had no sisters, or brothers, or cousins, or any-
thing of that kind, or, if he did have a cousin or two, they didn't
live there-so what was the use?
He played with the flowers, and stones, and grass, and
talked to the bees, and the butterflies, and the dog and the cat,
and he sung pretty songs with the birds; and his name was
"And Why," because the funny little mouth said "And why?"
so often; but they called him Andy for short.
He loved to play in the dirt, and he had a tiny garden for
his very own, where one summer he raised one pea-vine and
The reason he didn't raise any more pea-vines and radishes
was because he kept digging up the seeds he had planted, to
see if they were growing yet; but this pea and these two radish
seeds having rolled away and hidden in a corner, escaped being
94 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
dug up, and so took root and became, as I said before, a pea-
vine, and two round, red, crisp, very nice radishes.
The two radishes Andy ate (I'm afraid he did not stop to
wash them); and the pea-vine, after putting forth five sweet
pink blossoms that looked like angel butterflies, died because
it was so lonely.
Well, one day Andy was digging in his very own garden
just after a shower, when he spied a big worm.
Worms are not pleasant things. I don't think that any-
body would make a pet of one, and although I've tried very
hard I cannot say that I really love them myself; but I'm not
afraid of them, and neither, I am glad to say, was Andy.
He didn't run away as fast as he could, tumbling over all
sorts of things, until he reached the house, nor did he dance
up and down screaming Oh! oh! oh !" when this worm came
out of the ground. Not a bit of it.
He sat quietly down on an overturned flower-pot and looked
at the worm in silence for at least two minutes, and the worm
raised its head a little (worms can't raise their heads very high)
and looked at him.
At last said Andy, You're not pretty."
I am not," answered the worm.
"You can't dance," said Andy.
"I can't," said the worm.
Nor sing," said Andy.
Nor sing," repeated the worm.
You don't know your letters, even," said Andy.
"I don't," said the worm.
Butterflies can fly," said Andy.
AND Y AND THE WORM. 9
They can," said the worm.
Bees hum," said Andy.
They do," said the worm.
"You can't do anything," said Andy.
I CAN," said the worm, so loudly (for a worm) that Andy
tumbled off the flower-pot, he was so very much astonished.
But, quickly picking himself up, he sat down again and
asked "What ?"
DONT BELIEVE I COULD DO HAT.
2 i ..;
"I DON'T BELIEVE I COULD DO THAT."
"Something that bees, birds, and even boys can't do," an-
swered the worm, wriggling a little, as naughty girls do when
they say, So there, now-you think yourself something great."
Let's see," said Andy.
Take your little spade and chop me in two," said the worm.
"Oh no," said Andy, that would be wicked."
96 STORIES IN PROSE AND VERSE.
"Well, don't you ever do it unless a worm asks you to,"
said the worm; "then it's all right. Now I'm ready-go
Are you sure you're in earnest ?" asked Andy.
Quite sure," answered the worm.
"And won't it hurt you?" asked Andy.
Don't ask so many questions; do as I tell you," replied the
"And why?" said Andy; but, seeing that the worm was turn-
ing away from him, he seized his little spade and chopped it in
two, and lo and behold! one-half crept off one way and one-half
Well, sure enough," said Andy, I don't believe I could do
that. Good-bye, Mr. Worm-I mean two Mr. Worms."
Good-bye," said the head, and Good-bye," said the tail;
and they both crept under the ground, and left Andy to ask,
"And why?" to this very day.
A BAD BEGINNING, BUT A GOOD ENDING.
MARCH came in like a lion,
With a terrible growl and a roar,
And the naked trees trembled and shivered,
And the waves ran up on the shore;
And old Winter came back for a moment
To start the north wind on a blow;
And the breath of the lion froze white on the air,
And his mane was all covered with snow.
A BAD BEGINNING, BUT A GOOD ENDING. 97
Weeks passed, and the snow-flakes had melted,
And the wind grown too weary to shout;
But March was still grumbling, when lo! a wee flow'r
From a tiny green mantle peeped out.
" Oh, what is the use ?" said she, gently,
"Of being so dreadfully cross?
I have three little sisters so frightened at you
They are hiding away in the moss.
"And the buds of the trees are still lingering
In the boughs, for they fear to burst forth;
And only two birds, of the host that went South
Last autumn, have dared to come North.
Do smile once or twice ere you leave us,
And the hearts of the timid ones cheer,
For believe me, dear March, it is better by far
To be thought of with love than with fear."
As she paused March was shaking with laughter.
Why, you elf-bloom, you pale little thing!
Where got you the courage a lecture to give
To the roistering son of the Spring?
But you're right, pretty one; and, to show you
There are other months worse than I am,
Here's a smile of the very best sunshine, my dear."
And he turned and went out like a lamb.