• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Half Title
 Title Page
 Dedication
 Table of Contents
 Nim and Cum
 Wonder-head stories
 Back Matter
 Back Cover
 Spine






Title: Nim and Cum
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00083174/00001
 Material Information
Title: Nim and Cum and the Wonder-head stories
Uniform Title: Nim and Cum
Physical Description: 126, 1 p. : ill. ; 18 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Yale, Catharine Brooks, 1818-1900
Rogers, Bruce, 1870-1957 ( Illustrator )
Yale, Catharine Brooks, 1818-1900
Juvenile Collection (Library of Congress)
R.R. Donnelley and Sons Company ( Printer )
Lakeside Press (Chicago, Ill.) ( Printer )
Way & Williams ( Publisher )
Publisher: Way and Williams
Place of Publication: Chicago
Manufacturer: R. R. Donnelley & Sons Co. ; Lakeside Press
Publication Date: 1895
 Subjects
Subject: Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children's stories   ( lcsh )
Children's stories -- 1895   ( lcsh )
Fantasy literature -- 1895   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1895
Genre: Children's stories
Fantasy literature   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- Illinois -- Chicago
 Notes
Summary: A collection of stories about characters both fantastical and ordinary, including the two giants Nim and Cum who drink from the Big Dipper and three children who go fishing early one morning and come back with a huge eel.
Statement of Responsibility: by Catharine Brooks Yale
General Note: "Decorations by Bruce Rogers."
General Note: Title page printed in red and black.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00083174
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002240160
notis - ALJ0703
oclc - 02628516
lccn - 86222930

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Half Title
        Page 1
    Title Page
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Dedication
        Page 4
        Page 5
    Table of Contents
        Page 6
        Page 7
    Nim and Cum
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
    Wonder-head stories
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Chuckle-de-dum
            Page 32
            Page 33
            Page 34
            Page 35
            Page 36
            Page 37
            Page 38
            Page 39
            Page 40
            Page 41
            Page 42
            Page 43
            Page 44
            Page 45
            Page 46
            Page 47
            Page 48
            Page 49
            Page 50
            Page 51
            Page 52
            Page 53
            Page 54
            Page 55
            Page 56
            Page 57
        Checkerberry toes
            Page 58
            Page 59
            Page 60
            Page 61
            Page 62
            Page 63
            Page 64
            Page 65
            Page 66
            Page 67
            Page 68
            Page 69
            Page 70
            Page 71
            Page 72
            Page 73
            Page 74
            Page 75
        Something funny
            Page 76
            Page 77
            Page 78
            Page 79
            Page 80
            Page 81
            Page 82
            Page 83
            Page 84
        The old gray duck
            Page 85
            Page 86
            Page 87
            Page 88
            Page 89
            Page 90
            Page 91
            Page 92
            Page 93
            Page 94
            Page 95
            Page 96
            Page 97
            Page 98
            Page 99
            Page 100
            Page 101
            Page 102
            Page 103
            Page 104
            Page 105
            Page 106
            Page 107
            Page 108
            Page 109
            Page 110
        Letter from New Babel
            Page 111
            Page 112
            Page 113
            Page 114
            Page 115
            Page 116
            Page 117
            Page 118
            Page 119
            Page 120
            Page 121
            Page 122
            Page 123
            Page 124
            Page 125
            Page 126
    Back Matter
        Page 127
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
    Spine
        Spine
Full Text


















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NIM AND CUM
AND
THE WONDER-HEAD STORIES


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Nim and Cum
and

The Wonder-Head Stories

By
Catharine Brooks Yale


Chicago
Way and Williams
1895





























COPYRIGHT
BY WAY & WILLIAMS
CHICAGO, 1895


















DECORATIONS BY BRUCE ROGERS



























WRITTEN FOR, AND DEDICATED TO
GEORGE SPENCER FULLER





















CONTENTS.


NIM AND CUM, -

WONDER-HEAD STORIES,
CHUCKLE-DE-DUM, -
CHECKERBERRY TOES,
SOMETHING FUNNY, -
THE OLD GRAY DUCK,
A RIDE TO FROST-LAND,
LETTER FROM NEW BABEL,


PAGE
- 9
25
32
58
- 76
85
- 96
- I
















NIM AND CUM














NIM AND CUM


'Riddle-me, riddle-me ree
Pr'aps you can't tell me what this may be.'
Two lofty, vague figures loomed
up above one of the highest peaks
of the Alleghany mountains. One
was called Nim, that was the man;
the other was Cum, that was the
woman. Cum said to Nim:
'I am very warm hurrying all
the way from the Atlantic coast,
give me your hat,' and she took
Nim's hat and began to fan her-
self furiously.
9






10 NIM AND CUM


There was a large city at the
foot of the mountain, and when
Cum began to fan herself all the
people said:
'How the wind blows! See
those thunder-caps on the top of
the mountain. I believe we are
going to have a thunder-shower or
a hurricane.'
Then a newspaper man ran to
his office and wrote a report of a
terrible gale that had sprung up
and was blowing off the roofs of
houses and the tops of chimneys;
but before he had finished the
paragraph, the wind suddenly
ceased.
When Cum stopped fanning her-
self, she said:
'Nim, I'm thirsty.
Nim kindly offered to get her
some water, and he reached up






NIM AND CUM


and took down the Big Dipper
from the sky where it always
hangs pointing to the North Star;
and moving away a little, he dip-
ped it into Lake Superior and
brought a nice cool draught to
Cum, who drank all she wanted
and then threw the rest out and
handed the Dipper back to Nim,
who hung it up in the sky in its
usual place.
When Cum emptied the Dipper,
the people in the city at the foot
of the mountain said:
'How it rains! It pours, see it
pour! we shall have a flood.'
Then the newspaper man ran as
fast as he could to his office, and
wrote: 'It is raining heavily; peo-
ple are in great fear of a terrible
freshet.'
But before he had finished the






12 NIM AND CUM


item, Nim and Cum were rested
and had moved away from the
mountain; and as they had noth-
ing in particular to do, they con-
cluded to take a little foot bath
in Niagara Falls, so they each
put down one foot at a time under
the largest cataract and took a
good spray bath. They felt cool
and light after this, so they up
and away, and chased each other
over lakes and mountains and
rivers and prairies until they were
fairly tired out, and then they
stopped on a peak of the Rocky
Mountains and took a good long
rest. After a while Nim said:
'I believe I will go a-fishing.'
'Where's your rod ?' asked Cum.
'I will show you,' said Nim; and
he stepped up to the North Pole,






NIM AND CUM


and taking hold of it firmly, wig-
gled it a little and out it came.
Then he seized it, and with a few
strides reached the Equator, and
there he unwound the equinoctial
line and tied it to the pole. Then
he went back and showed Cum
his nice rod and line with great
pride.
'But,' said he, 'I am still minus
a hook.'
'Why won't this do?' asked
Cum, and she just pulled the me-
ridian of longitude she was sitting
on, right out, bent it into the shape
of a fish-hook, and handed it to
Nim, who tied it on his line.
When Nim took out the North
Pole and unwound and took away
the equinoctial line, and when Cum
pulled out the meridian of longi-






14 NIM AND CUM
tude, the people in the cities down
below felt a jar and exclaimed:
'It is an earthquake, a fearful
earthquake!'
And the newspaper man hurried
to his office and wrote:
'There have been remarkable
meteorological disturbances for an
hour past, and tremors of the
earth that are without doubt an
earthquake.'
By this time, Nim had cast his
line into the Pacific Ocean. After
waiting a while for a bite, he found
his hook was entangled in some-
thing, and he tried in vain to get
it free. Cum said:
'Maybe it is a leviathan.'
'No,' said Nim, 'I know levia-
thans and their tricks and their
manners, and they don't act like






NIM AND CUM


this,' and he gave a little jerk, and
up flopped a fine large ocean
steamer.
'Pshaw,' said Nim, 'it is noth-
ing but a few sticks stuck together,
-some child's toy,' and he set
down the steamer very carefully on
the coast of San Francisco.
Then all the people in the city
ran about the streets calling out:
'Here's a wreck! a wreck! a
wreck! a wreck of a large and
beautiful steamer! Struck by light-
ning! See the hole where it was
struck!'
But the crew and passengers,
who were all safe, said it was not
lightning that had struck them,
but that they had been drawn up
by a water spout or something and
carried along through the air and






16 NIM AND CUM


then had been left as mysteriously
as they had been taken. And the
newspaper man wrote it all down
in his paper.
Nim did not fish any more. Cum
said she thought there was a kind
of wobbling motion of the earth,
and that she believed it was be-
cause the North Pole was out. So
Nim put it back, while Cum care-
fully restored the meridian of
longitude to its place, and then
she helped Nim tie the equinoctial
line around the equator where it
belonged.
Just as they had finished doing
this, Cum saw hanging over the
Cape Verde Islands a beautiful
rainbow, and she said to Nim:
'How would such a scarf as that
become me?'






NIM AND CUM


Nim answered, 'We will see,'
and he reached out his hand and
took the rainbow, and threw it
over Cum's shoulders, and kissed
her.
The man of the newspaper in
the city below wrote:
'A wonderful display of clouds
and rainbow were seen yesterday,
and a peculiar reverberation in
the air indicated an electrical
storm in the clouds.'
But before the people read this,
Nim and Cum had stepped over
the ocean and the Mediterranean
Sea, and sitting down near Mt.
Vesuvius, they both said they were
tired and hungry,
'Well, what will you have?'
said Nim.
Cum said she did not see any-







NIM AND CUM


thing around there that she cared
for, and then Nim asked how
Ursa Major would do, broiled over
the crater.
'You might try it,' answered
Cum.
So Nim made an exertion and
trapped the Great Bear. Then
they broiled it over the crater of
Vesuvius, which was just hot
enough to do it to a turn. It was
rather a heavy meal, but Cum pre-
tended to enjoy it, and after it was
over she said:
'We ought to have some kind
of dessert.'
Of course Nim thought he could
furnish a dessert, and he at once
reached up his arm, and taking
the Little Dipper he punched some
holes in the bottom of it with the






NIM AND CUM


'point of view' he always carried
in his pocket, and then he skimmed
it lightly over the Milky Way and
took the cream off; then reaching
his hand up to the Frigid Zone, he
took a handful of ice, and crush-
ing it and shaking it up in the
Dipper, he had in a few moments
some delicious ice cream, which
Cum enjoyed very much.
But it was too hot near the
crater, so they moved off soon
after dinner, and Nim proposed
they should go and see the sun set.
So they went westward until they
came in sight of the sun actually
setting on his nest of years, months,
weeks, and days. Nim said:
'Let us wait here until the sun
comes off his nest, for then we
shall have a To-morrow.






20 NIM AND CUM


They waited, and Nim amused
himself dressing Cum in curious
and beautiful things. He took the
Temperate Zone and put it around
her waist for a belt. Immediately,
far below in the city, the news-
paper man sat down at his desk
and wrote:
'We are having singularly hot
weather, and we seem to be laps-
ing into the Torrid Zone.
Nim then reached up and took
one of Saturn's rings, and putting
it on Cum's forefinger, asked:
'Do you know what that means?'
Cum looked down, and blushed
and glowed beautifully.
After turning her ring around
on her finger silently for a minute
or two, she said, 'Yes.'
When she looked up, Nim was






NIM AND CUM


bending over her, and she arose
and they both mounted higher and
higher into the heavens, darting
here and there in rosy glory.
The newspaper man in the city
below ran to his paper, and wrote:
'We are having the most glor-
ious Aurora Borealis that was
ever seen in this latitude, and it
seems in some way related to
the remarkable phenomena of
rain, and heat, and hurricanes,
and earthquakes we have recently
had.'
And Nim and Cum floated on
away and away into a higher re-
gion, and they danced and they
danced until the sun rose from his
nest, and To-morrow flew out all
fresh and young.
'Isn't this funny?' said Cum.






22 NIM AND CUM

'This To-morrow that has just
come out of its nest is To-day!'
'Yes,' said Nim, 'Yesterday, To-
day was To-morrow,' and he rub-
bed his eyes and said he did not
understand it exactly; he felt as if
he had lost something.
'You have lost something;' an-
swered Cum; 'when you reached
up and took that ring from Saturn,
I saw you drop Time and Space.'

















WONDER-HEAD STORIES














WONDER-HEAD STORIES


Once there was an old woman
who lived among the mountains in
a valley hollowed out very much
in the shape of a bowl, with a notch
on one side, where a stream ran
out. There was a pretty village
in the valley, and the sides of the
hills were green in summer and
covered with berries and flowers;
and in the autumn there were hick-
ory nuts and chestnuts and butter-
nuts, so that the children and
squirrels had a splendid time; and
in the winter-oh, the beautiful
25






26 WONDER-HEAD STORIES

coasting down the sides of those
hills, and the skating on the river!
Well, as I was saying, an old
woman lived among the hills, and
this old woman the children called
Aunt Frity. One cold day in win-
ter Aunt Frity said to the man
Gad, who lived with her:
'Gad, you may put Skittymist'
(that was the name of her white
horse), 'in the sleigh, I am going
to drive down to see the Fussy
Mussies.'
'Yes ma'am,' said Gad.
Pretty soon the horse was at the
door, and Aunt Frity came out of
the house with shaggy gray coat
on, and a tippet and muff, and a
bonnet gay with feathers and lace
and red feather poppies, and as
she got into the sleigh she said to
Gad:






WONDER-HEAD STORIES 27

'Pull the wolf-skin pretty well
up and tuck it snugly around me,
it is very cold.'
Gad answered as usual, 'Yes,
ma'am,' and handed her fur mit-
tens to her and placed a hot foot-
stone under her feet; then gave
her the lines and off Skittymist
started. The string of little bright
bells jingled on the harness, the
tails of the wolf-skin robe bobbed
about "Aunt Frity, and her long
gray curls and ribbons flew back
in the wind. She drove fast; it
was smooth sleighing and much of
the way down-hill; and it was so
cold that the wind bit her cheeks,
and stung her nose, and her tippet
was thick with frost where she
breathed.
If the horse slackened his pace
going up hill, Aunt Frity would say:






28 WONDER-HEAD STORIES

'That's right, Skittymist, my
beauty, take your time for the
hills,' and he would prick back his
ears and half turn his head as if
he was saying: 'I thank you, mad-
am, I intend to.'
But going down hill Aunt Frity
chirruped:
'Skit, flit, my little Misty, we
must get to the Fussy Mussies be-
fore the sun goes down.'
And Skittymist seemed to under-
stand this too, as he swung his
long tail, and quickened his trot;
and the sleigh bumped along over
ridges and down slopes full as fast
as Aunt Frity wished to go. It
was so cold there was not a bird or
a squirrel to be seen; but a lively
little brook ran so fast the ice
could not freeze up its pleasant






WONDER-HEAD STORIES 29
song, so it was company for Aunt
Frity all the way down the moun-
tain.
It was just after sunset when
Skittymist stopped before the door
of the Fussy Mussies. A man
came from the porch and took the
horse; and Aunt Frity, who was
quite stiff with the cold, ran as fast
as she could into the house, and
through a long hall, and rapped at
the door of the sitting-room where
the family usually were. But at
this time there was nobody in the
room but two little Fussy Mussies,
Wonder-head and Bobberty, and
they were running and shouting
and rattling their playthings in
such a way they could hardly have
heard a clap of thunder, much less
Aunt Frity's tap, tap, tap.






30 WONDER-HEAD STORIES
So she opened the door into the
Fussy Mussy room, and behold,
all the chairs were in a line in the
middle for a train of cars, and the
sofa was pulled around at the end
of them for a locomotive. Wonder-
head was helping, or rather throw-
ing the passengers on board; and
these passengers were a white
woolly dog with a broken nose, a
cat, a wooden sheep that had lost
its tail, some dolls of china and
india-rubber with only a head or
two among them all, wooden roost-
ers without their tail-feathers, and
cotton rabbits without their ears.
Bobberty was blowing a whistle
for the train to start, but Aunt
Frity, being very cold, did not wait
for the train but set up a dreadful






WONDER-HEAD STORIES 31

yelping and barking like a little
dog in distress.
This attracted the Fussy Mus-
sies; and when they saw who it
was, they left the cars and ran to
Aunt Frity, who opened her arms
and hugged first one and then the
other and gave each a great kiss.
Somebody came in and took her
bonnet and muff and satchel, and
then she laid off her coat and sat
down by the stove.
It was not long before Wonder-
head came up to her chair and
began to poke her dress away to
make room for himself beside her,
and when he was settled he said:
'Tell me a story.'
Aunt Frity laid her hand softly
among the gold-brown shadows of






32 WONDER-HEAD STORIES

the dear Wonder-head, and turned
so that she could look into his
eyes, and asked:
'What shall I tell you about ?'
'Chuckle- de- dum,' answered
Wonder-head, and so Aunt Frity
told him what he called-

THE CHUCKLE-DE-DUM STORY.
Peterkin, when he was a little
boy, came to his mother one warm
day toward the end of the month
of May, and said:
'Mother, what do boys do when
the leaves of the maple trees are
about as large as a mouse's ear ?'
'They hoe in the garden,' she an-
swered; They make chicken coops,
run of errands for their mothers,
and study and read a little every
afternoon.'






WONDER-HEAD STORIES 33

'No sir,' replied Peterkin in a
shocking slangy way, 'they don't
do any such thing; they go trout-
fishing. Yes, my dear mother, all
good little boys go trout-fishing
when the leaves of the maples are
about as large as a mouse's ear,'
and then he up with his saucy face
and kissed his mother, and added;
'I have my fishing-rod and tackle
all ready, and my shoes and my bas-
ket, and now, mother dear, I want
you to go with me trout-fishing.'
His mother knew why the sly
rogue wanted her to go with him
-he wanted her to drive the horse
while he fished down the brook,
and be ready at evening to bring
him home; but she answered:
'You are very kind, but are you
sure I shall not be in your way ?'







34 WONDER-HEAD STORIES
'Oh, not in the least,-I want
you to go.'
'Well,' she said, 'bring your
horse and your buggy to the door.
I will be ready.'
They hopped into the buggy
and were soon out of the village.
Peterkin was very happy, and
seemed to enjoy every sight and
sound, and pretty soon he said:
'How many robins there are in
that orchard, and they always
sing this song:
Gentlemen jillet,
Scour the skillet."'
'Yes,' his mother answered, 'I
don't believe you would sing so
merrily if you had to hop around
as early as they do and get your
own breakfast.'
Peterkin looked around slyly at






WONDER-HEAD STORIES 35
her, and said: 'Don't you think
the Phebes are regular scolds ?'
Then he imitated their petulant,
worried tone, 'Phe-e-e-e-be, Phe-
e-e-e-be, Phe-e-e-e-be.'
His mother understood his joke
and answered accordingly:
'Yes, to be sure they do seem a
little out of patience, but I suppose
the little Phebes won't bring in the
wood when they are told to, and
that they make a fuss about get-
ting their arithmetic lessons and
writing compositions, and bang the
doors and throw their caps on the
floor.'
'O mother, how ridiculous!'
Peterkin exclaimed, and his mother
added:
' Phebes must work and Phebes must eat,
There's little to earn, and many to keep.'






36 WONDER-HEAD STORIES
'Are you making poetry, moth-
er ?' asked Peterkin.
Nothing but a parody, my dear.'
'What is a parody, mother dear?'
inquired Peterkin.
'Your dictionary will tell you;'
she answered; and just then Peter-
kin happened to see some lambs
taking their breakfast from their
patient mothers, and the way they
wiggled their tails made them both
laugh heartily.
The road, by and by, led into
woods away from any houses, and
meadows and pastures; and finally
it came upon a brook that gurgled
and rushed over rocks and stones,
and Peterkin stopped the horse
when they came to a deep pool,
and said, standing up in the buggy:
'What will you bet there isn't a






WONDER-HEAD STORIES 37

trout right down there in that dark
water by that log ?'
'Bet, my dear is that what you
might call an elegant way of ad-
dressing your mother ?'
'Beg your pardon, mother; let
us tie our horse here,' and Peter-
kin led him to a birch tree and
fastened him, and the horse began
to eat the leaves as if he thought
they were put there on purpose for
his breakfast.
Peterkin put his rod together,
and tied to his line a cunning little
fly made of yellow floss silk and
part of a brown feather called
'hackle,' from a rooster's tail.
Then he put on his fishing shoes,
which had nails driven in the soles
to keep him from slipping on the
wet rocks when he was wading.






38 WONDER-HEAD STORIES
He then went cautiously, so that
the trout should not see him, and
cast his fly on the dark pool by the
rock. It hardly touched the water
before his mother heard a splash
and saw something shine, and
Peterkin called out: 'I've got
him I've got him!' and some-
thing flopped in the grass at her
feet. Peterkin came and took
from the hook a beautiful trout,
waved with brown on its back, and
speckled with gold on its sides,
with dots of pink here and there
on the shiny white of the under-
side. Peterkin stroked it admir-
ingly, saying as he laid it in some
grass in his basket: 'Isn't he a
handsome fellow?'
Yes,' his mother answered, 'al-
most as pretty as my lilies and






WONDER-HEAD STORIES 39
pinks. But I could not pull up my
pretty things out of their beds as
you do; I leave them to enjoy
their own life.'
'Ah, but you wait till you see
my next posy,' Peterkin proudly
answered, not a bit sorry that he
had art enough to draw these
'water posies,' as he called them
afterward, jokingly, from their
hidden beds; and he went off to
cast his fly again.
His mother did not wait to see
what success he had with the next
cast, but went up the bank into
the deep woods to a flat rock, and
knowing that Peterkin would soon
be hungry, she opened the basket
that she had brought and began
to set a table. That is, she spread
a napkin on the flat rock and put






40 WONDER-HEAD STORIES
on it bread and butter, and cold
meat, and hard-boiled eggs, and
some seed-cakes of which Peter-
kin was very fond. When she had
the table set, she lay down beside
it, with her head on a little pillow
covered with dry moss, and con-
trary to all her intentions she fell
asleep.
She had a whistle tied with a
string to a buttonhole in her dress
with which she intended to call
Peterkin to dinner. But the wind
whispered softly among the trees.
It was sweet and cool and she was
tired with her ride, so she slept on
and on.
Meanwhile Peterkin had taken
seven beautiful trout, and having
laid them in grass in his basket so
that they would keep cool and not






WONDER-HEAD STORIES 41
get jammed, and not hearing any
whistle for dinner as he expected,
he came up to the rock where his
mother was asleep. Seeing the
table and all the nice things, he
just put the seed-cakes into his
pocket and hid the eggs in some
moss, and scattered the bread as if
a squirrel or something had nib-
bled at it; then came close to his
mother, and carefully taking the
whistle, blew it long and very loud.
This wakened her so suddenly
she sprang to her feet bewildered,
and looked around. Peterkin took
off his hat and wiped his jolly, fat
face, made a bow, and said :
'Mother dear, I am afraid I
waked you rather suddenly.'
When his mother's eyes rested
on the table, she began to wonder






42 WONDER-HEAD STORIES
what had become of the things.
Peterkin tried to look very grave,
and suggested that there were a
good many chipmucks around, and
he presumed they were fond of
seed-cakes, and he was sure weas-
els were fond of eggs. But his
mother saw the twinkle in his eye,
and she just made him turn his
pockets inside out, and bring the
eggs back, and put the table in
order again.
Then he brought some water in
a leather cup from a spring near
by, and they both sat down to
their rock table and ate with great
appetites, and called their dinner
delicious.
When Peterkin had finished, he
lay down on his back, and looking
up into the tree-tops said:





WONDER-HEAD- STORIES 43
'This is nice; let us be gypsies
and always live in the woods.'
While his mouth was open say-
ing this, his mother dropped into
it a crumb of cake, just as an old
robin feeds her young ones; then,
while he dozed, she watched ants
and spiders and other funny in-
sects run and creep around and
sometimes over him. She won-
dered what they thought of such a
big boy-mountain lying right in
their path, and so she said to Peter-
kin :
'Don't you suppose this spider
that is running over your hair
thinks he is in a very thick, dark,
dreadful forest ?'
She thought Peterkin would
spring up at this remark and brush






44 WONDER-HEAD STORIES
off the creature, but he only an-
swered sleepily: 'Very likely.'
Then she added : 'That daddy-
long-legs seems to be making di-
rectly for your nose; I presume
he thinks it is the Hoosac Tunnel.'
'Shouldn't wonder,' was the lazy
answer.
'There is a worm about to ex-
plore your ear, my dear; I suppose
it is the Mammoth Cave.'
'No, you don't,' exclaimed Peter-
kin, thoroughly aroused at last ;
and jumping up, he brushed him-
self off and gathered up his things
and trudged off towards the brook,
saying as he went:
'You can drive down the road
and meet me at the farm-house at
the foot of the hill, mother dear.'
'Very well, don't fish very late,






WONDER-HEAD STORIES 45

my dear,' his mother answered,
and began to gather up the dishes
and put them into the basket.
When she had it ready, she wan-
dered slowly through the woods,
picking the young fern leaves that
are covered with down as thick as
rabbit's fur. She found, too, the
nodding dog-tooth violet, and the
dainty blue blossoms of Innocence.
After she got to the roadside,
and was reaching up to a maple
tree to get some of its blood red
blossoms, she heard a sweet voice
call out: 'How d'ye do ?'
She looked around startled
enough to hear a girl's voice in
this lonely place, and there sitting
on a hillock was Hetty Swan, a
little neighbor of whom Peterkin
and his mother were very fond.






46 WONDER-HEAD STORIES
She had come with her father, who
was washing sheep in the brook
near by, but she was glad to get an
invitation to ride home with Aunt
Frity, and after getting permission
from her father trotted off toward
the carriage, picking checker-ber-
ries as she went along.
They untied the horse and he
whinnied with delight to have his
head turned toward home. They
rode slowly along, blowing their
whistle once in a while, and Peter-
kin answered from the brook which
ran down the hill in the woods a
little way from the road. After a
while the birds began to sing their
evening songs, and the cows in the
pastures far off 'mooed' to go
home. Suddenly a horrid kind of
noise came from a tree not far off,






WONDER-HEAD STORIES 47

and Hetty started from her seat
and whispered:
'What's that ?'
'Nothing but a screech-owl, it
won't hurt you,' said Peterkin's
mother, and then she told her all
about the different kinds of owls,
the cat-owl, the hoot-owl, and the
screech-owl.
The sun was quite down when
they came to the farm-house where
they were to wait for Peterkin.
The cows were in the barn-yard,
and a girl came out to milk them.
She looked smilingly at the two
people in the buggy and they told
her what they were waiting for,
and she sat down on her milking-
stool, while they listened to the
quick streams of milk as they
struck the bottom of the tin pail,






48 WONDER-HEAD STORIES
and to the foamy sound as the pail
began to fill.
'I wish I could have a cup of
milk,' whispered Hetty.
Peterkin's mother asked the girl
if she would give her some.
'Yes,' she answered; 'if she will
come and squat down here by me.'
So Hetty got out of the buggy
and did as she was told.
'Now open your mouth,' said
the girl.
Hetty did so, and the girl milked
right in her open mouth; then
Hetty laughed, and after she had
swallowed said she liked it better
than to drink from a cup, and
wanted more. While she was sit-
ting there with her head thrown
back, her mouth open, and her
eyes shut, Peterkin, who had come






WONDER-HEAD STORIES 49
up and stood surprised a moment
-to see Hetty there and what was
going on, stole carefully behind
her, and just as the stream was
coming into her mouth bent down
and kissed her, and the -milk went
all over both their faces. Then
there was a great shout from all,
and the cow whisked her tail and
stepped almost into the pail, and
the girl fell off her stool, and the
horse started to go. The girl
called 'so, so !' to the cow and
Peterkin's mother told the horse
to 'Whoa!' while Peterkin laugh-
ing till he could hardly stand, pre-
tended to wipe Hetty's face with
some of the grass that had covered
the trout in the fish-basket.
Finally Peterkin and Hetty
hopped into the buggy, and one






50 WONDER-HEAD STORIES
said, 'You must sit there,' and the
other said, 'You must sit here,'
and it ended by both of them sit-
ting down and riding all the way
home in the bottom of the buggy,
with Peterkin's mother driving
with the whole seat to herself.
When they were seated Peter-
kin looked around into Hetty's
face and at her pretty curls and
seemed to think she was prettier
than even a trout.
Hetty carried the fishing-rod,
and they chatted together about
everything they saw or heard on
the road; and they tried to count
the different sounds-the evening
chippers of the different birds, the
barking of dogs, the bleating of
sheep, the sounds of wagons and
the voices of people.






WONDER-HEAD STORIES 51

Soon they came to a swamp,
where there seemed to be a million
of peepers, peeping as fast as they
could.
'How many frogs do you suppose
there are in that pond, Peterkin?'
asked Hetty.
'Those are not frogs,' he an-
swered, 'that you hear in that
swamp.'
Hetty laughed and said: 'What
are they? Birds ?'
Peterkin repeated: 'They are
not frogs.'
'May be you think they are
grasshoppers,' said Hetty.
'No, I think they are newts,'
Peterkin replied.
'Newts! What are newts?' asked
Hetty.
'They are a kind of lizard, so a






52 WONDER-HEAD STORIES
man told me,' answered Peterkin,
'and he said they are the things
that peep in the spring in the
swamps, and that they are not
frogs at all.'
'Do you believe a word he says?'
Hetty asked, turning to Peter-
kin's mother. She answered: 'It
is all new-t to me,' and said she
had read that the peepers were
Hylodes, or what we call tree-
toads, but she thought they had
better hunt in books of Natural
History and find out, before they
went fishing again, what the noisy
little creatures really were.
Then Peterkin said: 'I will tell
you what frogs really do say,' and
he puffed out his chin as big as he
could, like a green bull-frog, and
in a deep voice he said :







WONDER-HEAD STORIES


Chuckle-de-dum, Chuckle-de-dum.
I am emphatically some,
Creation's culmination come,
Chuckle-de-dum, Chuckle-de-dum.
I poise my head on a lily pad,
And I leisurely leer at the moon,
Chuckle-de-dum, Chuckle-de-dum,
Ke-buck.'

'When the frog dives into the
water, Hetty, and says: 'Ke-buck,'
all the little frogs call out, 'Guie,
Gu-i-e, Gu-i-e.'
Hetty was much amused at the
frog-poetry, and she made Peter-
kin repeat it over and over again.
Then she said:
'I know a kind of frog-song;'
and when Peterkin urged her to
sing it she did so in a sweet voice:

'The owl is abroad, the bat and the toad,
And so is the cat-o-mountain,
The ant and the mole both sit in a hole,
And the frog leaps up at the fountain.'






54 WONDER-HEAD STORIES
By the time she had finished
her song they were at her gate,
and she jumped out, saying:
'Good-night, good-night, I don't
believe they are newts, they are
frogs.'
Peterkin called back: 'Newts,'
she answered t louder, 'Frogs.'
Then he repeated 'Newts,' and
she 'Frogs,' until they got to
Peterkin's home, which was next
door to Hetty's.
Peterkin showed his trout to the
family, and like all tired fishermen
he ate a hearty supper and hur-
ried off to bed, saying as he kissed
his mother good-night, 'Isn't
Hetty Swan a jolly girl, mother
dear?' And he disappeared sing-
ing :
Chuckle-de-dum, Chuckle-de-dum.'







WONDER-HEAD STORIES 55
When Aunt Frity finished this
story it was time for Wonder-head
to go to bed, so she and his father
made with their four hands what
they called a chair, as children do
at school, and Wonder-head sat on
it as loftily as a little Prince and
they carried him up-stairs to bed.
When Aunt Frity kissed him, he
asked :
'Did the little Chuckle-de-dums
sit on lily pads?'
The next morning after break-
fast Aunt Frity sat down in a big
arm chair, and took a small
streaked red-and-white stocking
out of her pocket, and began to
knit. Wonder-head and Bobberty
ran out into the hall and climbed
up the stairs, and pulled out the
stair-rods. When their mother






56 WONDER-HEAD STORIES
stopped that mischief, they chased
each other into the kitchen around
the stove, and were very much in
the cook's way.
But they stopped when a trap
was brought in with a frozen
squirrel in it, and Wonder-head
said:
'0 let me see that catamouse!'
Wonder-head's father used to
tell him stories about bears and
wolves and catamounts, so he
called any strange animal a 'cata-
mouse.' After he got tired of the
squirrel, he climbed up to the
table where Bridget was skim-
ming milk, and once in a while
his fingers slid into the bowl of
cream. When Bridget saw that,
she dumped him on the floor very
suddenly. He gathered himself






WONDER-HEAD STORIES 57

up and seeing the outside door
open, he and Bobberty ran out
on the porch.
There they tried to ride the
black dog, Major, then they played
with three cats that lay in the sun-
shine, and finally found some ici-
cles in a water tank. They threw
them on the floor to see them
break into beautiful bright pieces;
but finally their fingers got as red
as cranberries and began to ache,
and then they came crying into the
house.
Aunt Frity pretended not to
hear them cry and did not give
them a word of pity, but said very
briskly :
'Let us pick up all the play-
things and throw them into the
rocking carriage, and then sit on






58 WONDER-HEAD STORIES

cushions like Turks, and tell sto-
ries.'
So they scrambled up the play-
things and threw them into the car-
riage, and when it was full, they
drew it into a corner; then they
took two cushions from the sofa
and put them on the floor, and
crossed their legs as Aunt Frity
told them the Turks do. Then
she said :
'I will tell you a story about-
about-let me see, about-

CHECKERBERRY TOES.
One time there was a little boy
who was very fond of playing by
a brook below a steep hill behind
his mother's house. He had a
little pail and a shovel, and he used
to build dams and houses, and as






WONDER-HEAD STORIES 59

he had no little brothers or sisters
he often talked to himself. Some-
times he found little snail-shells,
and beetles, and he would play they
were sheep or cows, and make
pens for them. Then he would
chase butterflies or throw sticks at
the little squirrels-not to hurt
them, but to see them run.
One day in the spring-time, he
had his little pail in his hand, and
was just stooping down to get a
bright red checkerberry that grew
on a mossy knoll, when a low,
musical laugh, and a rustle as if
somebody was near him, made him
start and look all around.
There was nobody in sight, so
he stooped down again and hunted
around in the moss; and he was
just about to put his little fingers






60 WONDER-HEAD STORIES
on the checkerberry when there
came the same little rustle and
funny, low laugh as before. He
raised himself up and looked all
around in every direction, expect-
ing to see a little boy or girl be-
hind a bush or tree, but there was
no boy or girl to be seen.
He concluded it must be the
brook running over the stones, or
some strange kind of bird, and he
went to hunting again for the
checkerberry; but now it was gone,
and he could find nothing of it, al-
though he looked under the winter-
green leaves and everywhere in the
moss. For a minute his little head
was quite bewildered by what had
happened, but he spied a spring
beauty near by in the corner of the
fence, so he ran to it and was just





WONDER-HEAD STORIES 61

looking into the blossom, veined
with pink like a little girl's cheek-
he had even got his fingers on the
stem, when a merrier laugh than
before seemed to come right up
from the ground. He looked
around again just as he did before,
and when he looked back the
spring beauty was gone.
He stood a minute like a little
boy or girl that has been asleep
and remembers their dreams.
Then he walked slowly toward the
brook, and as he went along look-
ing on the ground two hepaticas
like soft, blue eyes seemed to smile
at him from among brown, moist
leaves. Then he spoke right out,
'I will have you, anyhow!' But
before his fingers touched the
stems, such a gay, saucy laugh came






62 WONDER-HEAD STORIES

from-he did not know where, he
was fairly bewildered.
He whispered, 'I wonder what
it is,' and then he grew bold and
called out very loud, 'Boo, who
are you! you can't catch me!' He
ran among the elder bushes and
into the corners of the fence, and
around the rocks, but nothing ran
after him and he found nothing
that could laugh.
He stopped running to look at
a splendid orange-colored mush-
room that was shaped like a cap,
and as he bent toward it a yellow
butterfly flew before him. Its
wings had a beautiful border, and
spots like eyes, which seemed to
look right at him, and at the same
time a spider's web swung out
from a tree and stuck to his hand





WONDER-HEAD STORIES 63

and caught on his eyes, and the
sweetest, clearest laugh he had
ever heard seemed to come from
everything around him. It was as
clear as a flute and as merry as
bells.
Little Wispy now began to run
in earnest, and the laugh ran too,
through the elder bushes, up the
hill, and down to the brook. Some-
times the laugh floated off on the
air as if it was going away, then
back again it came close to his
own giddy little head. Wispy be-
came very hot and tired, and at
last just stopped short and threw
off his cap and said :
'Laugh if you want to, I don't
care.'
It was not a minute before he
was lying under some witch-hazel






64 WONDER-HEAD STORIES

bushes on a green hillock. The
soft winds blew over him, a blue-
jay sang in a tree near him, and a
bumble-bee hummed close to his
ear. He watched the leaves trem-
ble in the wind and the clouds far
up in the sky. Some poppy leaves
fell on his eyelids; they closed, and
he saw stranger things than he had
ever seen before.
The wind, with forms and faces
of little girls, began to dance
around him, and to play bo-peep,
and to swing around their puffed-
out dresses, and make curtsies to
him. Then they shook scarfs over
him full of the odor of violets,
waving and dancing and laughing
all the time. As he was watching
them something seemed to come
from behind a large tree and stand






WONDER-HEAD STORIES 65
between the great roots near the
ground. At first he could hardly
tell it from the bark, then he
seemed to see a bright orange cap
like a mushroom, then the cap ap-
peared to be on a head, and the
head to have two pretty blue eyes
like hepaticas; and as he looked
more and more closely, there cer-
tainly seemed to be a pretty face
there with pink cheeks like spring
beauties.
He now looked very eagerly,
and he could see the figure had on
a silky, gray gown like the bark
of birch trees-it was curly, and
fringy about the neck and the bot-
tom of the dress. What delighted
him more than anything was to
see, among the moss and vines,
little red toes, peeping out, like the






66 WONDER-HEAD STORIES

very checkerberries that had played
such a funny hide-and-seek with
him.
'It's you, Checkerberry Toes, I
know you!' Wispy called out, and
when he said this the little winds
began to puff out their cheeks and
to blow at this little girl, and she
rose up in the air, and as she was
blown along, her bark gown fell
off, and the leaves and vines that
had clung to her, and the mush-
room cap fell from her head and
she settled down at Wispy's feet,
dressed all in white like a wind-
flower; but she had the same pink-
veined cheeks like spring beauties
that she had under the tree, and
the same little red checkerberry
toes.
Wispy was going to speak to






WONDER-HEAD STORIES 67
her, when she put out her little
hand and brushed the poppy-leaves
from his eyes. He sprang up as
light as a feather, and began to
run with the winds, and to blow
Checkerberry Toes about. He
soon noticed that all the things
around him were prettier and
more curious than anything he
ever saw in his life. He could see
right into the ant-hills and the way
the ants build their houses with
little pillars and walls; and he saw
the food they lay up, and he was
much astonished to learn that some
ants keep a dairy of little creatures
called aphides, which they milk,
something as he had seen cows
milked. He saw gold-and-blue
beetles, and some with white-and-
yellow spots, but he learned for






68 WONDER-HEAD STORIES

the first time that these handsome
beetles were as cruel as tigers in
getting their food. Besides these,
he saw the roads and tunnels that
mice and moles make under
ground; he could come close to
moths and butterflies, and found
there were not only wonderful pic-
tures but words on their wings.
Wispy ran from one thing to an-
other perfectly delighted. Check-
erberry Toes went with him and
showed him wonderful little eggs,
some as clear as pearl, some white
like ivory, and some as yellow as
gold.
'What a pretty place!' exclaimed
Wispy, 'I never saw so many
pretty things in all my life.'
'Oh, you haven't seen anything
yet; wait till I show you these






WONDER-HEAD STORIES 69

things I am getting,' called Check-
erberry Toes, and she brought her
hands full of flowers and leaves,
and they sat down on a rock of
shining crystals to look them over.
'Oh, see this!' one would say,
unrolling fern leaves, or opening
alder-buds, or shaking out birch
tassels, and then the other would
read stories that were written on
these leaves or that were rolled up
in the buds. There were stories
about wind and rain, and dew, and
frost, and snow; there were pic-
tures of fishes and toads and frogs
and turtles-oh, more things than
could be told in a thousand years!
While they were looking at
these things they heard a sound
whir-r-r-r, whir-r-r-r, whir-r-r-r,
and when it came near they looked






70 WONDER-HEAD STORIES
up. There was a beautiful car-
riage made of shells and fish-bone,
so neatly put together that it rolled
along after the little white mice
that drew it so fast you could only
see it twinkle and it was gone.
'These are the Fays come to
dinner,' said Checkerberry Toes,
and she rose and tapped on one of
the crystals on the rock.
It opened into a bright circular
room. They stepped down some
shining steps of crystal, and the
light from the dome above softened
into red, yellow and violet mist.
There was a round table set in
the middle of the room, and little
people in handsome clothes of all
colors and very curious forms were
just sitting down to it. There were
the wind family, and the Miss






WONDER-HEAD STORIES 71

Dews, and Mr. Jack Frost, and all
his relations, and the lively water-
sprites, old and young, and Father
Graylock had come down from the
mountain in an old-fashioned car-
riage made of moose-wood and
acorns, drawn by two bats. The
little Miss Elves had tripped the
whole way on foot. They all sat
down to the table, talking and
laughing, and drank from their
glasses a kind of wine called Daf-
fydown-dilly. Then they had a
soup of frog's toes, and after that
humming-birds' eggs boiled, served
with squirrel-corn. Their dessert
was poppy-seeds and honey. While
they were sipping their Daffy-
down-dilly, a band of music began
to play. Wispy looked up to see
where it was, and saw on an ele-






72 WONDER-HEAD STORIES
vated platform a mosquito sound-
ing his horn and two blue-bottle
flies playing their bag-pipes, and a
bumble-bee with his big bass-viol.
The music was very lively, and all
the Elves and Sprites began to
dance, excepting old Father Gray-
lock, who lay down on a lounge
stuffed with thistle-down, covered
himself with a spider's web, and
went to sleep.
The winds danced as if they
were crazy, the Water Sprites
waltzed to and fro in excellent
time, and the Fays were lively
and graceful. Checkerberry Toes
whirled Wispy round and round,
and made his feet go so fast they
could not be seen at all. Faster
and faster they went, everything
began to whirl, the gauze dresses






WONDER-HEAD STORIES 73
flirted before him, the tassels
shook, the fine dust of flowers and
their odors blinded and choked
him. He fixed his eyes on Check-
erberry Toes to make her stop,
but she looked at him with eyes
growing brighter and brighter; she
seemed to come nearer and nearer,
and to grow thinner and thinner.
Wispy felt that he was going to
lose her, and he clung to her, but
faster and faster she flew, thinner
and thinner she grew, and her eyes
began to burn right into his eyes.
Then he cried out with all his
strength, 'Checkerberry Toes!'
and in an instant elves and fairies
were all gone, and Wispy lay with
large wondering eyes under the
witch-hazel bushes looking through
the leaves at the sun.






74 WONDER-HEAD STORIES
When Aunt Frity had finished
this long story she found Bobberty
was fast asleep, and Wonder-head
had pulled all the needles out of
the red-and-white stocking that
she had laid down while she was
talking, so she knew they had both
had a good time. The next day
at table Wonder-head poured the
milk from his silver cup into his
plate, and began to paddle in it
with his spoon. His mamma told
him not to, but he did not stop.
'Wonder head, Wonder head,'
she said, 'you must not do so.
I shall take your plate away if
you don't stop!' and she took
hold of it.
Then he began to scream and
cry, and to get very red in the
face, and he kicked and made all the






WONDER-HEAD STORIES 75
noise he could. Aunt Frity called
him a 'Storm Child,' and said:
'You ought to go and live with
mad waters in the sea, or with
crazy winds in caves.'
This made Wonder-head think
about stories and it was not more
than a minute before his blue eyes
shone through his tears and he
said in the sweetest voice: 'Tell
me a story.'
So they ran into the parlor, Aunt
Frity lay on the sofa and Wonder-
head climbed and curled down
behind her with his hands in his
lap, and his eyes full of wonder
about the story he was going to
hear this time. Aunt Frity said:
'Now I am going to tell you -
tell you let me see tell you-






76 WONDER-HEAD STORIES


SOMETHING FUNNY.'

I knew three children once who
lived on the high bank of a river;
two of them were boys, the oldest
and youngest, but the sister always
played with them, the same as if
she had been a boy. They slept
in an attic chamber in a little
tower, and stairs led up to it from
below, where their parents slept.
One morning their mother was
awakened very early by a great
stir in the attic, and she could hear
Flurry, the dear little Flurry, say-
ing:
'Don't make a noise, Tumblety.
There, see, I've got on one boot
for you.'
Then the older brother said:






WONDER-HEAD STORIES 77

'Keep still, you'll wake papa and
mamma.'
'Sh-sh-sh, -here's your sack,'
whispered Flurry.
'Did I scratch you? Never mind,
don't cry,' said Jock, the oldest
brother, and added, 'Oh, hush,
there go all my marbles,' when
there was a great rolling and hunt-
ing, and then Flurry said: 'Don't
let us pick them up now, here are
the stairs; don't fall, Tumblety.'
Jock led the way down and it
was just light enough for mamma
to see first one booted little foot,
then another, then dim outlines of
little bodies and curly heads, as
they tip-toed, and stumbled, and
halted, and whispered, and helped
Tumblety from one stair to an-
other, until they got down the last






78 WONDER-HEAD STORIES
one. They stole carefully through
the chamber and then went into
the hall and down another flight
of stairs, and again they had a
good deal of trouble in getting fat
little Tumblety from one stair to
another. Their mother could hear
Flurry say:
'There you are most down, step
softly, down-y-daisy; you don't cry,
do you, Tumblety?'
'You'll see what I've got,' said
Jock. Then they went through
the sitting-room, and what they
said could no longer be heard, only
there were more stumblings on
the kitchen stairs into the base-
ment, where the cook was just
making a fire.
Papa, who had heard all this,
said: 'Little witches.' and went to






WONDER-HEAD STORIES 79

sleep again, but mamma lay awake
wondering where the' little witches'
could be going so early.
It was too dark to go to the
barn to feed Fanny, the horse, or
to hunt hens' nests, or to make
mud-pies in the hollow, or to sail
boats in the brook, or to go to the
shop to see the blacksmith strike
sparks from the red-hot iron, or
up to the swamp for berries.
Where could they have gone?
Mamma lay thinking and think-
ing, but although she was anxious
about them, she was glad she did
not ask them where they were go-
ing; she liked to have them enjoy
their little secret, for she did not
believe it was anything bad.
By and by it became light enough
to get up. Mamma began to dress






80 WONDER-HEAD STORIES
herself, then a great noise arose
from the kitchen, and there was
hurrying of little feet up the stairs,
and the dog was following them,
and one child called 'Mamma,' and
another 'Papa,' and another push-
ing up the stairs faster called out,
'You can't guess what!' and then
there was a strife to see which
should get into the room first, and
then they all exclaimed at once:
'Oh, we have got such a bi-i-g!'
The dog Logan here pushed in
among them, and wagged his tail
against Tumblety, and pushed him
down, and stepped on Mamma's
clean collar with his muddy feet,
and came near frisking papa's
watch off the stand, and there was
a general scramble, and among it
all Flurry kept calling:






WONDER-HEAD STORIES 81

'Come down and see it, papa!
Oh, it is such a big Down, Lo-
gan!' And then there was a clat-
tering toward the door, and the
dog, children, papa and mamma,
all tumbled along down stairs to-
gether.
The children's boots were wet,
and their clothes were drabbled
up to their knees, and Logan was
all mud; it was evident they had
been in the grass and near the
river. They kept talking alto-
gether:
'When we found the-
Oh, I was so frightened!'
'Tumblety ran like everything
and kept falling down,' said Flurry.
'I saw it was all twisted around
the log, and Flurry was afraid to
touch it, and-'






82 WONDER-HEAD STORIES

'So were you afraid, Jock. Oh,
Logan, get away!'
'There, papa!'
Out of the kitchen door they all
pushed, followed by the cook,
Bridget, with a fork in her hand.
Before the kitchen door, around a
large elm tree, a long fish-line was
wound, a rod lay on the ground,
and on the end of the line there
was-
'Oh, mamma, isn't it-'
Be-s they always wigglin' their-
selves that way?' asked Bridget.
'Well done,' said papa.
'Is it possible ?' said mamma.
'We run fas' we could,' said
Tumblety.
'It was twisted around the log
in the edge of the water. I bet
Flurry was afraid when she saw






WONDER-HEAD STORIES 83

me untwist it,' said Jock again,
proudly.
'Well, so were you afraid, when
you dragged it up the hill,' said
Flurry, 'it flopped; O, papa, you
ought to see it flop!'
'Brave little fishermen,' said
mamma.
'An' sure, I'd be afraid to be
meddlin' with such a craither,' said
Bridget.
'Jock, did run, didn't you Jock?'
hinted Flurry.
'Well, I didn't scream or fall
down,' answered Jock.
'Big eel, papa, isn't it?'
They measured the eel, and it
was three feet long.

The Fussy Mussies had a great
many questions to ask about the






84 WONDER-HEAD STORIES
eel, whether it was as big as a
'Catamouse,' whether it had teeth
and could bite, and what Jock did
with it. Aunt Frity told them
everything she knew about it, then
got a book that had pictures of
fishes in it and showed them the
picture of an eel. Wonder-head
did not like the looks of it; he
doubled up his little fist and said:
'If a old eel comes to bite me,
I'll-I'll shoot him' (Wonder-head
had a little pop-gun), 'and I'll
bang him.' Here he was very
fierce and began to thrust his
hands toward the picture as if it
was a terrible live thing. After
they got through looking at the
pictures the Fussy Mussies went
off to play, and Aunt Frity took a
nap. In the evening after the






WONDER-HEAD STORIES 85

lamps were lighted. Aunt Frity got
a piece of paper and made pictures
for Wonder-head, and one of them
was a picture of a duck. When
she had drawn it she asked the
Fussy Mussies if they would like
a story about

THE OLD GRAY DUCK.
Once I lived in a cottage on the
shore of a beautiful lake. In the
morning, when the farmer went to
the barn to feed the horses and
milk the cows, and to give the lit-
tle red-and-white calf its break-
fast, I used to take a big pan of
meal-and-water and go out in the
yard near the barn and call: 'Bid-
dy, Biddy, Biddy- here Biddy,
Biddy, Biddy,' and in a minute
hens and ducks came running and






86 WONDER-HEAD STORIES

flying toward me to get their
breakfast.
There were black hens, and
white hens, and speckled hens,
and hens with top-nots, and ban-
tams, and shanghais, some pretty,
some ugly, and I knew every one
of them, and had different names
for them. There was Mary Jane,
a nice speckled hen, and Polly, a
little white bantam; Eugenie was
a black Spanish hen, and there
were any number of common hon-
est biddies, that were called Thank-
ful, and Patience, and Delight, and
Finis, and such names. A splen-
did rooster with a magnificent red
comb and long sweeping tail-feath-
ers I called Ulysses. The ducks,
too, had each a name; a slow old
drake was Uncle Sam, and one that






WONDER-HEAD STORIES 87

had a handsome purple-and-green
neck was named Shoddy.
There was one large, gray, sim-
ple-minded old duck, and she was
Mrs. Boffin. Mrs. Boffin became
very irregular at her meals. I
asked the farmer about it and he
said she was 'setting,' and that if
I looked back of the barn near the
pond I should see her nest. So
after my breakfast I walked along
by the bank of a brook until I
came to th e pond, and there I found
Mrs. Boffin under the shade of a
large oak tree near the pond. It
was a pretty place for a calm and
reflective mind like Mrs. Boffin's.
She could hear the 'chip, chip,
chip,' of the squirrels that ran up
and down the tree under which she
sat, and the birds and the tinkle






88 WONDER-HEAD STORIES

of the brook, and the waving of
the trees, all the long summer day.
There could not be a nicer place
for Mrs. Boffin's nest but for one
thing-she had some bad neigh-
bors, very bad neighbors indeed;
not chatty, playful neighbors like
the squirrels; not gay neighbors
like the birds; but dismal neigh-
bors that were hardly ever seen,
but yet were always on the watch
for Mrs. Boffin. Whenever she
left her nest to get something to
eat, or to take a swim in the pond,
they sneaked out of their holes
and around her nest to suck her
eggs, and she even feared they
would get hold of her and kill her,
and eat her all up but her feathers
and toes.
These neighbors had coarse






WONDER-HEAD STORIES 89

black-and-white hair, and long,
meddlesome -looking noses, but
their eyes were pleasant, and their
teeth were very white and regular,
and they had handsome bushy
tails. If they had been friendly
and well-mannered nobody would
have found fault with their coarse
hair or their noses, but they were
not friendly, and their manners
were bad, very bad. They did
not come out honestly in the day-
time to get their living, but stole
out slyly in the dark, and ate eggs,
and killed chickens and sometimes
large hens and ducks, and then
crept back to their houses in the
ground and kept out of sight as
long as they could.
Mrs. Boffin was almost worried
out of her wits by their dreadful






90 WONDER-HEAD STORIES

habits and unpleasant odor. The
farmer and I concluded we must
protect her or she would never get
her little ducks into the world and
bring them off the nest alive.
So we got some boards and
stakes and stones, and built a for-
tification all around her nest.
There was quite a large yard
within the outer wall and a large
roof over her nest, so that she was
safe from rain and out of sight of
her enemies. But we had to leave
an open place for her to go in and
out, and where she could go her
bad-smelling neighbors, the Snook-
noses could go, so we did not feel
at rest about her after all.
Everything, however, went on
safely until at last I found, one
day, all her eggs broken, and four






WONDER-HEAD STORIES 91

little downy Boffins cuddling
around their mother
For a few days I fed them at
the fort, but they were soon strong
enough to come to the kitchen
door, and everything would have
been delightful to Mrs. Boffin if it
had not been for those horrid
Snook-noses. There was not a
night they did not spoil her rest,
and make her almost sick with
their vile behavior.
At last the farmer and I con-
cluded we would move Mrs. Boffin
and her family to another barn,
off some distance on a hill, and
entirely out of the neighborhood
of the Snook-noses. So we put
old Billy in the wagon and drove
up to the fort, and took Mrs. Boffin
very gently from her nest and put






92 WONDER-HEAD STORIES

her in a bashel-busket and her
four little ones carefully beside
her, and then put the basket in the
wagon and drove them safely to
their new home. It was evening
and the Boffins did not have a
glimpse of the scenery, or much
of a view of the barn-yard where
we left them in some hay in a
corner.
Here comes the funny part of
my story. The very next morn-
ing as I was standing among my
hens and ducks in the yard with
my tin pan in my hand, calling
them by their names, telling Sarah
Jane not to be greedy, and Betsy
Ann not to push, and Patience to
come forward, what should I see
but Mrs. Boffin waddling into the
big open gate.






WONDER-HEAD STORIES, 93

She looked very tired and dread-
fully cast down, and had only three
little ducks with her. That she
had come over that strange road,
down the hill, through the woods
and over the bridge, astonished
me. I suppose she was homesick
in the night, and said to the little
Boffins, 'Qua-a-c-k, qua-a-a-ck,
qua-a-a-a-ck!' in a low, sad voice,
and they understood her.
'I don't like this place, I hate
it; hear those pigs grunt, you
never heard such noises at our
fort. I don't hear any brook here.
What are we to do without a brook
and a pond? Oh, how lonesome
it is! Let us go back, will you,
my little ducks?'
Then I suppose they made an-
swer in little quacks:






94 WONDER-HEAD STORIES
Yes, mother, go ahead.'
Then I suppose she started, and
what a time she must have had
getting through fences, down hills,
by strange houses and barns,-oh,
she must have been terribly anx-
ious! Sometimes she must have
looked this way and that, uncer-
tain whether she was on the right
road; sometimes she must have
tried wrong paths, and I have no
doubt she often fancied the Snook-
noses were watching to waylay her
and to eat up her little ones, every
Boffin of them.
It would seem that one of her
little ones gave out entirely and
probably died on the road, for I
never saw it afterward. I suppose
it made a feeble little quack which
meant:






WONDER-HEAD STORIES 95

'O mother, I cannot go a step
further, not a step; I haven't a bit
of strength left in my legs, and my
bill is so dry I can hardly quack at
all,' and then most likely he fell
and never quacked again.
I suppose Mrs. Boffin waddled
on, sad as it was to leave this lit-
tle one behind, and in order to
keep up the spirits of the rest, she
probably quacked in this lively
manner:
'We are most home; don't you
hear the brook? See, there is one
of our squirrels running up a tree!
and as sure as you live, there is
Aunt Frity! She has got her tin
pan in her hand; let us hurry, and
we can have our breakfast with
the rest.'
It was just as she was saying







96 WONDER-HEAD STORIES

this, probably, that I saw her com-
ing into the gate. For several
days after this, she quacked a good
deal, and I found afterward that
she was making poetry. The walk,
so long and so dangerous, and the
death of her little Boffin had made
her a poetess. And here is some
duck poetry by Mrs. Boffin:
'Fly, birds, fly,
Into the sky;
Run, brook, run,
It is your fun;
Stray, turkeys, stray,
Straggle, straggle,
Gobble, waggle;
But here I stay,
Night and day,
Forever by this puddle,
Muddle, muddle;
Glad I'm back,
Quack, quack, quack!'

The last day of Aunt Frity's
visit came; it was a splendid bright






WONDER-HEAD STORIES 97

day, so she and the Fussy Mussies
went out and ran in the carriage-
drive a while, and then went to
the stable to see Skittymist. Aunt
Frity put Wonder-head and Bob-
berty where they could see him,
but told them not to follow her,
then she went right by Skitty-
mist's heels, up to his fore-legs,
and held out her hand saying:
'Good morning.'
Skittymist lifted up his foot as
if to shake hands. Aunt Frity
shook hands, and then gave him
an apple from her pocket. His
great eyes looked very kind and
yet a little disappointed, so Aunt
Frity ran into the house and got
some lumps of sugar. These suited
Skittymist exactly, and he ate them
and rubbed his nose around Aunt






98 WONDER-HEAD STORIES
Frity's dress for more. He got
only a few pats, and then all went
away to slide down-hill.
Aunt Frity sat down on the sled,
took Bobberty in her lap, and
clasped him tightly with one hand,
and with the other held the lines,
and away they flew-down, down,
down to the bottom of the hill, but
in stopping, over they rolled into
the snow. They hopped up with
their eyes and mouths and coats
and tippets all covered with snow,
and Wonder-head called out from
the top of the hill:
'Hullo! Hul-lo!'
The next time, Aunt Frity put
Wonder-head on the sled and gave
him the lines, and sent him off
with a gentle push. At first he
went slowly, then faster and faster,




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