The Baldwin Library
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Ibe sforrst Vomwe Stries. No, 3.
A SEQUEL TO THE MOUNTAINEER SERIES.
WILLIS BOYD ALLEN,
AUTHOR OF "THE MOUNTAINEER SERIES," "CHRISTMAS
AT SURF POINT," "PINE CONES," "SILVER RAGS,"
"THE NORTHERN CROSS," "KELP," ETC.
BOSTON AND CHICAGO:
ronnerceattinal Infltabth.Banol atn ubrtlisbing Socide.
COPYRIGHT, 1889, BY
CONGREGATIONAL SUNDAY-SCHOOL AND PUBLISHING SOCIETY.
Electrotyped and Printed Ly
Samuel Usher, .7I Devonshire Street, Boston.
Y LITTLE WEST INDIAN NIEO
I. OFF FOR THE WOODS . .. 7.
II. THE COMING STORM ... .. 17
III. IN CAMP .......... 28
IV. ROB'S CELEBRATION .... .. 42
V. TROUT FISHING . .. 51
OFF FOR THE WOODS.
"WINTHROP, how should you
like to camp out with King and
me for a couple of nights ? "
Not all night, father, in a real
camp ? "
Should you like to? "
Oh, jolly, jolly! Will you take
us, sir ?"
If your mother has no objec-
tions, we will start next Thursday
morning and get back Saturday
afternoon. Hugh will stay here
8 FIR BOUGHS.
both nights, Polly, so you need n't
be afraid of being left alone."
Mrs. Alden was a little nervous
about it, in her heart, but she
could n't bear to spoil their fun;
so she smiled, and said she guessed
,she should have to get along with-
out her three boys for forty-eight
"You '11 be glad enough to come
home," she added.
It was one Tuesday morning
early in June when Mr. Alden
made this proposition. Winnie
and King had worked hard since
the fifteenth of May in preparing
and planting a garden near the
log-cabin. He had wanted to give
the boys some sort of a vacation
for a day or two; and as he him-
OFF FOR THE WOODS. 9
self dearly loved to stay in the
woods night or day, he had thought
of this plan. Hugh was to take
care of the cabin, as we have seen,
during his absence; and a bright
young fellow from the mill had
offered to look out for the store
from Thursday until Saturday
Never was a boy so happy as
Winthrop, unless it was his
brother King, who was one or two
years older, and was therefore too
dignified to hop about the floor,
clapping his hands and shouting,
as Winnie did.
Then, too, there were great
preparations to be made. Blank-
ets were selected, and strapped
into as tight a bundle as pos-
I0 FIR BOUGHS.
sible. Tin dippers, a coffee-pot,
a tin pail, and a small frying-
pan were all the cooking utensils
they required. For provisions
they took pork, meal, salt, a little
corned beef, tea, sugar, and a
generous supply of bread, which
kept Mrs. Alden at the oven the
greater part of the two days that
remained. Fish-hooks, lines, and
bait were prepared and carefully
examined, as Mrs. Alden told the
boys they would have nothing
to eat for three days but corned
beef and bread, unless they caught
Hugh gave one of his great,
good-natured laughs when he heard
of all this excitement.
I declare," said he, "ye 'd
OFF FOR THE WOODS. I
think a hull army was starting'
off, by the amount o' gittin'
Wednesday night was a hard
one for Winnie. It seemed as if
he never could go to sleep, he was
so full of thoughts of the mor-
row; and his dreams, at last, were
full of bears and Indians and trout
of most extraordinary size.
Next morning he was awake
and up almost as soon as the sun
itself, which, as you know, is a
very early riser in June.
In fact, the boy dressed himself
arid crept down from the loft so
early that he found himself stand-
ing in the kitchen quite alone,
before any body else in the house
had two eyes open.
12 FIR BOUGHS.
Well," thought he, I might
as well go out and feed Whiteface.
It's the last time I shall see her
for three days."
So he slid back the bolt softly,
and made his way to the cow's
Whiteface looked rather sur-
prised to see him, and turned her
head as far as she could, as much
as to say :-
What in the world are you
up for at this time of day? I
hope the cabin isn't on fire, or
any thing !"
I have no doubt that's what
she tried to say, though all it
sounded like was a soft and deep
" Moo-o-o-o / "
"Ah, Whiteface," said Winnie,
OFF FOR THE WOODS. 13
"you've no idea what a good
time I 'm going to have,"
He kept working all the time as
- he talked.
The cow seemed to listen with
great interest for a moment or
two; then she turned her head
to the crib again and forgot all
about Winthrop in eating her
"Pretty soon," said the boy,
King will come out and milk
you, and drive you down to
the meadow. To-morrow morning
Hugh will be the one to take care
of you, and oh, Whiteface, you
must be very careful not to tread
on him, or turn over the pail,
or Hulloa, King, you up?" as
his brother entered the shed.
14 FIR BOUGHS.
All ready for fun ?" cried
King, as gleefully as Winthrop
himself. Is n't it a glorious day
for the start, Win ? "
Splendid Did you finish put-
ting on those sinkers last night ?"
Every one of 'em."
"And did you put some red
apples into the pail ?"
Eight. It makes it pretty
heavy, but I guess it will grow
lighter before long; eh, Win?"
Winnie gave a caper, to show
that he knew what he meant,
and dashed off to the wood-pile
to start the kitchen fire and so
hurry up the breakfast.
Pretty soon King came in with
the milk. Stella came running
down-stairs with a face bright
STELLA AND CREEPING JENNY. Page 15
OFF FOR THE WOODS. -5
as the morning itself, and after a
kiss for each of her brothers be-
gan to help as earnestly as the
While she strained the morn-
ing's milk and put it away in
a cool little half-cellar which the
boys had dug the autumn before,
King ground the coffee and Win-
throp went to the brook for water,
filled the kettle, gave Whiteface
a good drink, and brought in a
pailful for the house. Then
father and mother came in, and
lastly wee Jenny, who would soon
lose her name of Creeping," she
was growing so strong.
At breakfast the family all
bowed their heads as usual. Mr.
16 ZIR BOUGHS.
Dear Father in heaven, let
us not forget the hand which
gives us our daily bread. And
while we are apart, in the days
that are at hand, wilt thou take
tender care of thy children at
home in the cabin, and those at
home in the forest; we can not go
away from home, for it is all home
wherever thou art. Amen."
Half an hour later the boys,
with their father, bade good-by
to Mrs. Alden, Stella, and baby,
and striking into a merry song
as they went, started up the -steep
THE COMING STORM.
"WHERE do you expect to camp,
father?" asked King, after they
had been walking steadily upward
for about half an hour.
I mean to go on about a mile
further by this path, then -strike
off toward the south, and stop
somewhere beside a brook that
comes down between those two
mountains you see beyond the
Are there any bears there ? "
It was Winthrop who spoke
," Oh, a few. But we are not
I8 FIR BOUGHS.
likely to see any. If there were
any round here, some of the
hunters would have run across
their tracks and told us. Look
at that striped squirrel!"
"What makes mountains, fath-
er? I mean I know God
made them, but how does he
make them ? "
There are different ways. But
most of it is done by thousands
of little workmen."
"Workmen? How funny! That
sounds like a fairy story !"
"It is stranger than the queer-
est fairy story you ever read,
Winnie, and more wonderful. In
the made-up stories, the giants and
dwarfs and fairies do something
great and startling just for a few
-..I:HR P ,e is.
"LOOK ALr TI-JAT SQUIIReEL." Page 18.
THE COMING STORM. 19
minutes or days; but the little
workmen I told you about have
been working busily and happily
for nobody knows how many
thousands of years."
"The way they make a moun-
tain is to start with a high, level
place and carry off little bits from
every side, leaving a great piece
standing by itself, which people
call a hill or a mountain, according
to the size."
"Do they work all the year
"Yes, indeed. Only in winter
their work is to split off pieces,
and in the summer to carry it
"What can they be ?"
20 FIR BOUGHS.
I know," exclaimed King. It
must be the brooks and rivers,
beginning with the very littlest
mites of streams, only a few drops
of water running together."
"That's it," replied his father,
with a smile at the boy's earnest-
"But how do they split it in
"Why, don't you see, Win?
The water gets into the rocks and
the ground, and freezes, and so
splits it by swelling, the way ice
"But some hills see that one
right ahead are just smooth and
round. What makes that ? "
King could n't answer, and
looked to his father for an expla-
THE COMING STORM. 21
"Many, many thousands of
years ago after the evergreen
time that your mother was telling
you about, boys -wise men say this
part of the country was covered
with thick ice. It moved slowly
down the valleys, deepening them,
rounding off the hills, and carrying
huge rocks from place to place."
"That must be what brought
those big rocks in grandfather's
old pasture in Maine !"
Exactly. When the ice melted,
down dropped the stone, wherever
it happened to be. The great
rocks that have been left in that
way are often called bowlders."
By this time the party was
ready to leave the path. They
struck off in the new direction,
22 FIR BOUGHS.
having now no guide except the
"lay of the land," as Mr. Alden
called it, and their compass.
It was much harder work than
before, as the tough boughs of the
low firs and spruces barred their
way or sprung back in their faces.
Then too the moss, though deli-
ciously soft beneath their feet,
was treacherous and often covered
sharp rocks or decayed logs, over
which the travelers stumbled. A
few miles away were high cliffs
where eagles built their nests.
They could see one of the huge
birds hovering over the forest.
At last Mr. Alden called a halt
and proposed lunch.
Good said Winnie, throwing
down his bundle. "I 'm as hungry
as a bear."
EAGLE BUILDING HER NEST. Page 22.
THE COMING STORM. 23
We can't stop long, boys,
because I want to reach the
camping ground early. We must
build a good shelter to sleep in,
and I don't quite like the looks
of the sky.
Winnie glanced up at his father
in some alarm, but was immediately
re-assured by his calmness. Some-
how Winnie felt that if his father
was with him things would come
out right, no matter what hap-
pened. It would be a great deal
better, he said to himself, to be out
in the woods in a storm with his
father, than in the snuggest of
houses without him.
After a short half-hour's rest
they pushed on.
See cried King, as they came
24 FIR BOUGHS.
out into a little open spot, how
black the clouds are! "
Mr. Alden had already seen
them, and pushed on as fast as the
boys' strength would allow.
Suddenly he stopped.
"Hark!" said he. "I thought
I heard thunder."
They all listened intently. The
forest was so still that it seemed
as if they could hear their hearts
beat. The only sound was the
rush of a brook a few rods be-
Pretty soon the sound came
again. There was no mistaking
it-a long, low rumble of thun-
der, echoing far off among the
"That settles it, boys," said Mr.
THE COMING STORM. 25
Alden promptly, starting on again.
"We must camp in that little
clump of evergreens right ahead.
It's of no use to think of reach-
ing the spot I was aiming for
before the storm comes. See,
there are some white birches, just
what we want, and plenty of firs
In'a couple of minutes they had
reached the place he had pointed
sout, and then how all hands did
Mr. Alden cut down four or five
bushy young firs with a dozen clips
of his axe, and directed Winnie to
break off short boughs and pile
them in a heap. King was sent to
peel birch bark, the biggest sheets
he could get off. Mr. Alden him-
26 FIR BOUGHS.
self trimmed three of Winnie's fir-
trees and placed two of them
upright, with one across, like this
I ] Then he lashed two long
poles to the tops of the upright
ones, letting the ends reach back
to the ground. More poles were
laid on for rafters, and then sheets
of bark were placed across like
shingles, as fast as King could
bring them. Some of the larger
boughs were flung upon the bark,
to keep it from blowing away,
and other branches were placed
against the side of the camp
towards the wind.
Winnie's boughs were now
thrown in, and the blankets and
provisions on top of them.
Meanwhile the sky grew blacker
THE COMING STORM. 27
and the thunder louder every mo-
ment. It took the three workers
about half an hour to build the
camp, and just as the last bundle
was placed under shelter, big drops
of rain began to fall.
HURRY up, Win! Pull your
feet in out of the rain!"
The three campers threw them-
selves at full length on the heap
of fragrant fir boughs, glad enough
to get under shelter.
Winthrop crept over as near his
father as possible. He could not
help being a little bit afraid, as the
lightning glittered among the trees,
and thunder crashed overhead.
How it did pour! The sheets
of birch bark kept off most of it,
but a stream did trickle down here
and there, keeping the boys dodg-
ing from one side to the other.
IN CAMP. 29
"Are you afraid, father?" Win-
nie asked once.
No, my boy. You would n't
be afraid if you saw me mending
the roof of our cabin, would you,
no matter how hard the blows
sounded ? "
"But lightning would kill me."
"So would the hammer if it hit
you. And God is ever so much
more careful with this thunder
and lightning than I could pos-
sibly be with my tools."
After an hour of heavy rain, the
storm rolled off over the moun-
tains, the rain ceased, and the
setting sun shone out brightly.
It's a. regular gold-pour in-
stead of rain-pour! ." cried King,
pointing to the. glistening tops
of the firs all around them.
30 FIR BOUGHS.
The first thing to be done.was
to build a fire. The camp had
been built near a large rock, and in
front of this Mr. Alden proposed
to have the camp-fire. Every-
thing, however, seemed to be soak-
I don't see what we can use
for kindlings," said Winnie dis-
consolately. "The trees are just
I guess we '11 find a way."
Mr. Alden was an old camper,
and knew just what to do at such
a time as this.
You peel off some of the inner
strips of that birch bark, Winthrop.
Reach up under the rafters, where
the rain hasn't come through.
Now, King, you and I will find
some dry splints."
IN CAMP. 31
Taking the axe he walked up to
the dead trunk of an old pine; a
" stub," as the woodsmen call it.
It was full of holes where wood-
peckers had built their nests in it,
and was, all together, about twice
as high as his head.
Now, then, look out! "
And whack! went the axe into
the side of the old stub.
Another blow, and another.
Long splints, riven out of the very
center of the tree by the axe, began
to fall. Presently there was a good
armful. "Dry as chips!" King
joyfully shouted to Winnie.
In five minutes more the red
blaze was dancing up through the
wood, and crackling in the jolliest
32 FIR BOUGHS.
We won't try to catch any fish
to-night," said Mr. Alden: it's so
late. To-morrow morning, though,
we must have trout for breakfast."
A simple meal was prepared, of
beef, toasted bread and butter, and
tea; they all ate with great relish,
and had a merry time over their
first supper in the woods.
The half-hour of fading daylight
that remained they used in gather-
ing fire-wood for the night. -Mr.
Alden felled a good-sized birch,
and cut it into six-foot lengths for
When all was prepared, and the
flames were hissing and humming
cosily among the wet twigs, the
campers once more threw them-
selves down on the fir boughs,
IN CAMP. 33
over which they had first laid
their heaviest blanket.
Almost Fourth of July,"
mused Winnie, listening to the
fire that snapped as loudly as
crackers. "I wonder what we
Oh, celebrate some way, I
guess," said King. Father," he
added suddenly, it's a splendid
time for a story. Can't you tell
us one about the Fourth?"
"Well, let me see," said Mr.
Alden thoughtfully. "I don't
know but I can. I can tell you
about a boy who made a little
Declaration of Independence all
of his own."
"Oh, good! Let's hear about
34 FIR BOUGHS.
"Very well," said Mr. Alden.
"I '11 make the story last just as
long as that birch stick does. The
one in the middle, I mean. When
that breaks in two, I '11 stop tell-
Ho !" said Winnie, "I 'd just
like to sprinkle a little water on
Mr. Alden stretched himself out
comfortably, and began as follows:
Hooray for the Fourth! Only
two weeks off!"
Rob Sutton rushed into the
house after school, slamming the
door after him. His mother had
winced a little at the sudden noise,
but met her boy with the pleasant
smile he loved to see.
IN CAMP. 35
What are you planning to do
on the glorious Fourth, Rob?"
she asked, as he looked up into
Oh, Dick Reed and I are
goin' to get up at three o'clock and
set off two bunches of crackers
an' half a dozen cannon-crackers,
and then fire off his new brass
cannon, and "
There's one thing I have n't
heard yet," observed Mrs. Sutton,
her arm still round the boy.
"What's that, mother-pin-
wheels? Just wait till night!"
No, I was n't thinking of pin-
wheels nor Roman candles," she
said, laughing outright this time.
" I was a little surprised that you
did n't plan something that should
36 FIR BOUGHS.
really keep in mind the anniver-
sary. You know what the day is
Of course, ma'am. The Dec-
laration of Independence! "
Rob straightened up a little as
he said it.
Well, if I were you I'd have
one this year."
"A 'declaration of independ-
ence ? How, mother? There's
nobody ruling over us now. I
just wish there was a war;
wouldn't I fight 'em!"
Why did n't you shut the gate
behind you, yesterday, Rob, when
you went to meet Dick? You
know how the cattle got in and
trampled on the garden."
Rob hung his head at the recol-
IN CAMP. 37
I could n't stop, ma'am. I had
to be on hand with the fellows."
Couldn't stop? Had to be?
I thought 'nobody ruled over us'
"Well I mean "-
Don't think I am scolding,
Robbie. We finished all the sober
talk about the gate yesterday.
But, you see, you were really a
servant to your desire to play.
When you put off going on my
errand till too late this morning,
it was laziness that commanded
you to stand still, and you obeyed.
If I were a boy I 'd declare inde-
pendence on the Fourth of July,
once for all independence of all
unjust and bad masters, like the
one I spoke of."
38 FIR BOUGHS.
That's splendid!" cried Rob,
catching the idea at once. I '11
get Dick and some of the other
fellows to join. Would you write
it out, mother? 'When in the
course of human events it becomes
necessary for one boy to run er-
rarids' that 's the way it ought
Hardly necessary to write it, I
think," answered Mrs. Sutton, with
her gentle smile. "There is just
One to whom you may repeat all
your promises and declarations,
and who will help you till you
have 'perfect liberty.' Now run
off to your dinner, and we'll see
how your resolutions prosper."
Dick Reed was enthusiastic over
the new way of observing the
IZ CAMP. 39
"That is," said he, if you don't
leave out crackers."
"I don't see," remarked Rob
gravely, after a moment's reflec-
tion, that crackers have any thing
to do with it, or pin-wheels. I 'm
not quite sure about serpents, be-
cause they scare girls, an' it's 'no
fun lettin' 'em off unless there's
somebody round to screech when
they begin to fizz."
Serpents were accordingly ruled
Like tea in the old times,"
put in Roland Jackson, a third
The night before the Fourth was
hot and sultry. As soon as the
sun set horns began to toot in the
town of Birchville, where Rob lived,
40 FIR BOUGHS.
and guns to pop. Invalids turned
wearily in their beds, and wished
the great day were ended instead
of beginning. Men with gray in
beard and hair remembered their
own boyish days and longed to
go out and toot with the young-
sters. Rob retired early, having
left a piece of string hanging out
of his window, with the end a few
feet from the ground. The other
end was attached, firmly to his
thumb, and Dick was bound by
solemn agreement to "yank" the
aforesaid string at exactly 2.55
I '11 pull," said Dick earnestly,
"till you wake up or come out o'
.,riJ, ;- A ''
,,,W l Nll il, I ,,N I I, Pl. 1 0.
ROB'S OPEN WINDOW. Page 4o.
IN CAMP. 41
At this point in the story the
great birch log sagged a little,
then fairly broke in two, sending
up a shower of sparks into the
Oh! oh! cried Winnie. "We
must n't stop there, father. Do
"Well," said Mr. Alden laugh-
ingly, if you'll put on another
log and stir up the fire a little,
I'11 tell you about Rob's celebra-
"THERE," said Winthrop, creep-
ing into the shelter again, and
brushing pieces of wet bark
and moss from his jacket, "that
fire will last as long as the story
does this time, I guess."
"All ready, sir," said King,
" Did the boys' plan work well ? "
Mr. Alden answered by going
on with the story.
Rob found no difficulty next
morning in waking at the sum-
mons. It was half an hour sooner
than the appointed time, to be
ROB'S CELEBRATION. 43
sure, but Dick never wavered for
a trifle like that. With pockets
stuffed full of delicious-smelling
red crackers and slow-match, the
two boys crept off to a vacant field
near by. There they found half a
dozen others similarly armed, and
grouped about a good-sized brass
"Wait till just three!" com-
manded Rob, who was the leader.
" Lucky we thought of this place to
fire. One of the selectmen called on
my father only last night and said
we must n't make a disturbance in
the other end of the town before
The boys fidgeted, lighted their
slow-match, and swung it about in
44 FIR BOUGHS.
At a quarter before three, Ro-
land Jackson fired a cracker right
in their midst, by accident.
Well, we might as well begin
now," said Rob, rather relieved at
the excuse. "Horns all ready?
Bunch of crackers ? Cannon load-
ed -grass in the muzzle to make
her speak? Now, when I say
Before he got any fartherr a.
slight little figure flitted into the
"Oh, boys! please don't fire off
any thing loud. My mother's
sick, and father he's "-
"Drunk! finished one of the
boys roughly. I saw him drink-
ing last night. Let's go ahead.
ROB'S CELEBRATION. 45
What odds will it make? They '11
all be firing soon."
Please began the girl.
"Oh, go ahead, Dick. Touch
off your cannon. The slow-
match 's all burnin' up. I say
let's fire, don't you, fellows?"
There was a murmur of assent,
and one'or two called out, "Fire
"You shut up an' go home,
Doll Harkins. We can't have all
our fun spoiled by -
Can't! Who says we can't ? "
It was Rob's voice, clear and
strong in the dim twilight. He
had been silent until now, fighting
"Who says we can't?" he re-
46 FIR BOUGHS.
peated. I, for one, can do what I
please. I do want to have a good
time, and a regular old slam. But
I want still more to do the right
thing. I can't answer for any of
you fellows, but the want-to-have-
a-good-time sha'n't rule over me, I
can tell you. I go in for inde-
Rob paused for breath after his:
speech. The boys were puzzled.
This was a new view of the mat-
"Hooray for the Declaration!"
shouted Dick, half under his
breath. "Put my name down
Well, you can easily see that
the tide was turned. Boys have
good hearts, and the whole crowd
ROB'S CELEBRATION. 47
stuffed crackers into pockets once
more, to go to far-off fields or wait
until a later hour.
Dollie dried her tears, and went
back to her mother, who was sleep-
ing restfully in a little hovel near
by. In the course of the day Mr.
Sutton called there, and left bright-
ness and hope, for the girl's father
was not a bad man, and was full
of remorse when he came to him-
As for Rob and the rest, they
made noise enough during the
daylight hours to last for a twelve-
month; at least, so thought the
I told Him about it last even-
ing," Rob whispered to his moth-
er, when she sat down by his bed
48 FIR BOUGHS.
that night, and kissed her boy's
forehead. "I did n't know how
soon I 'd have to 'declare,' but I
guess He helped me, don't you,
There was silence for a minute
or two in the little camp, as Mr.
Alden finished his story.
Then Winnie, having remarked
that it was first-rate," gave a tre-
The other two laughed.
I guess it's somebody's bed-
time," said his,father.
It was a long time before Win-
throp could get asleep. The forest
was very dark, and he could not
help fancying he heard wild beasts
stepping softly to and fro behind
ROB'S CELEBRATION. 49
Having at last dropped into
a heavy sleep, he was aroused at
about midnight by a long, dismal
note from the depths of the woods.
It almost froze Winthrop's
blood in his veins, it was so
like the wolf's howl he had
read of in books.
"Father, father! he whispered
with a shaking voice, "I'm
Mr. Alden, who had himself been
drowsing until his son spoke,
reached over and clasped his little
frightened hand. In a moment
the terrible voice came again.
Ow-oo-o-oo !" it echoed in the
What is it, father?" asked
Winthrop again, clinging to his
50 FIR BOUGHS.
"Only an owl, my son. Go to
sleep again, dear."
Oh, what a comfort that was!
Winnie's hair seemed to smooth
itself down again.
Still he could not let go his
father's hand, but held it from the
very memory of his friglt; and,
so holding it, went to sleep.
WHEN Winnie awoke the next
morning, the first sound he heard
was such a beautiful one that he
almost held his breath to listen.
Winnie had never heard a flute,
and did not know that it sounded
like one; but he knew it was a
bird singing gloriously, and 'that
is even better than a flute.
"A hermit thrush!" exclaimed
Mr. Alden, who was already
Then they listened again to the
But Winnie was too real a boy
52 FIR BOUGHS.
to lie in bed long hearing a bird
sing. The air was full of the
balsamic fragrance of the fir, and
with a rush of delight he realized
that he was in the woods, and
had still a whole day and night
to come before it would be time to
All three of the campers, now
thoroughly roused from sleep,
jumped up and ran to the brook,
where they had a wash in the deli-
cious clear water.
Whew! cried Winnie, scatter-
ing the bright drops round him
like a sparrow in its bath; "is n't
Splendid! Shall we go on any
farther to-day, father ? "
"I guess not, King. I don't
believe we can find a better spot
than this, and here's our camp,
"What shall we name it,
"I think we'd better call it
"On account of the rain, dear,"
said Mr. Alden, with a twinkle in
"O-oh!" cried King, with a
shout, "what a joke, father! I
thought you called it so because
there were n't any reindeer here."
Or because it rained ere we
were ready," suggested Mr. Alden
Winnie had been thinking it
out. Now he chimed in with his
54 FIR BOUGHS.
"We 'll call it Reindeer' be-
cause it rained here," said he. At
which, of course, there was an-
"Now, boys," said Mr. Alden,
their rather hasty toilet being com-
pleted, "if you want any break-
fast, you 've got to catch it first."
All right, sir. Here goes.
Come along, Win, with the bait."
King was a good fisherman for
a boy of his size, and had often
provided the Mountaineers with
a good mess of trout.
"Very well," added his father.
"I'll build up the fire and have
some tea and hasty pudding ready
by the time you are back with the
trout. Don't stay more than an
hour, King. Keep close beside
the brook, and in any case stop
fishing when you've caught two
dozen. That will be enough for
Winthrop was greatly excited;
he had never been fishing before.
King cut two short, slender rods
from some young birches growing.
by the brook-side.
If we were down in the mead-
ows," he said to Winnie, as he
trimmed the rods, "I'd take al-
ders. But up here on the moun-
tains we must just take the best
we can find."
His brother watched the opera-
tion of trimming with great inter-"
est, and as soon as the rods were
finished, helped King tie the lines
to the tips. The hooks and sink-
ers were already on the lines.
56 FIR BOUGHS.
"Then the next thing," said
King, "is to find a good pool.
There, do you see that place just
behind that big rock, where the
water is deep, with the foam from
that little waterfall floating over
Winnie nodded excitedly.
I believe there's an old spotted
fellow waiting for you there.
Here, let me bait your hook.
Now," lowering his voice, "you
creep along just as easy, and drop
in just beyond the fall--that's
right; let the bait drift down-
hulloa! Pull "
Winnie pulled, and threw a
glittering fish at least twenty feet
into the air. It fell with a splash
into the brook, and was instantly
out of sight.
"Ah, you pulled too hard, Win.
Just a little twitch, and then a
good steady pull, and out he'll
Sha'n't I try here again, King ?"
Winnie could hardly keep still, he
was so excited.
No use. The first one's told
'em all about it by this time.
There's another good place,
though, just beyond."
Winnie's second attempt was
rewarded with success, and a trout
of perhaps a quarter of a pound
weight was soon jumping about
on-the mossy bank.
"We '11 put him out of his mis-
ery right off," said King, giving
the fish a sharp, quick blow with
58 FIR BOUGHS.
Do you suppose it hurts them
awfully, King?" asked Winthrop,
who was a tender-hearted little
I don't believe it is very com-
fortable to be hauled out of the
water with a hook," admitted the
older boy. "But people who have
studied about it say that fish can't
suffer so very much. Insects suf-
fer less than fish, and so on. I
believe we were meant to catch
fish and eat them, anyway; and
we'll be just as merciful about it
as we can. It's no worse than
we do to cows and even sheep."
Winnie looked relieved, and
crept off to another pool. King
now began to fish, and their string
lengthened rapidly. They caught
no more, however, as large as
Winnie's first prize.
The fish bit well, and it was
within the half-hour that the
twenty-fourth trout was landed.
The boys drew in their lines, stuck
the hooks into the soft bark of
their rods, and started up-hill for
Hurrah!" shouts Winthrop,
as he sees a column of smoke
mounting gayly among the fir-tops.
" Look, father!" holding up the
"Well done!" says Mr. Alden,
turning the string round admir-
ingly. "That's a big one at the
"I caught him, the very first
60 FIR BOUGHS.
"That was a good beginning.
Now put your rod away, Winnie,
and watch me while I dress the
fish, so that you will know how
yourself next time."
Winnie is much interested in
this, and finally thinks he could
'do it as well as his father, if he
were cast away on a desert island.
"Only they lose their knives,
getting ashore from the wreck,"
remarks King thoughtfully.
Ah, but they make new ones
from rusty iron hoops!" cries
They laugh, wash faces and
hands again, and sit down to
breakfast, Mr. Alden having mean-
while fried the fish.
"Plates 1" cries Mr. Alden; and
King jumps up, runs off a little
way, and returns with half a dozen
pieces of clean birch bark.
What a jolly breakfast! Mr.
Alden tells stories, and keeps the
boys laughing half the time.
Winnie does not relish tea with-
out milk, and prefers brook water
cold as ice. While the campers
are enjoying themselves, the
thrush sings sweetly in the
depths of the forest.
"Now," said Mr. Alden, after
the meal was over, "what shall
we do next? "
Winthrop was in favor of going
a-fishing again, but it was finally
decided to take a walk to the top
of a mountain not far away. The
view was grand.
62 FIR BOUGHS.
The way back to camp seemed
very long. The boys were tired,
and looked forward to a good rest
on those fir boughs.
"Are n't we most there?" asked
Winnie at length.
His father glanced at him rather
"I'm sorry you're tired, my
son," he said in his tender way,
without answering his question
After half an hour's more hard
walking he suddenly stopped and
"Boys, I may as well tell you
that I don't know the nearest way
back to camp. It can't be far
away, but I think we had better
have lunch before we go farther."
Fortunately all three had filled
their pockets before leaving camp.
They were very hungry, but Mr.
Alden made them save half the
supply; and they knew he was
afraid they might have to stay out
On they tramped again, growing
more and more weary. There was
no sign of a storm this afternoon,
but the air was hot and sultry.
Lower and lower sank the sun.
"We may as well be looking for
a place to camp," said Mr. Alden
Winnie looked up into his
father's face, and tried hard to be
brave. But hunger, fatigue, and
dread of the dark night in that
lonely place, all twitched at his
64 FIR BOUGHS.
lips and made a lump in his
"I think that would be a good
place "- began King, when Win-
nie uttered a cry of fear.
0 father, father," he whis-
pered, there 's a fire in the trees
ahead Can it be Indians ?"
The others stopped, and looked
eagerly in the direction pointed
out by the boy. They could see
"You must be mistaken," said
Mr. Alden. Besides, there are n't
any Indians about here, that I
Oh, I saw it, sir, just as plain!
It flared right up, and then died
away. There look, look!" his
voice dying away to a whisper
All three advanced slowly. The
flickering light of a fire could now
be seen plainly.
All at once King gave a joyful
Home again! Its our own old
camp-fire, and here we are, safe in
Sure enough, there was the
shelter, looking snug and home-
like. One or two old brands in
the fire had been puffed into a
blaze by the wind, and it was
their first light that Winnie had
Oh, how good the soft fir boughs
felt! As soon as the campers
had had a fifteen minutes' rest,
they set about their preparations
for supper. King had time before
66 FIR BOUGHS.
dark to walk down the brook a
little way, and catch some trout.
He brought in a string of fourteen,
some of them pretty good-sized
Very thankful and happy, the
man and his two sons sat down
to their evening meal. Just as
they had finished and had built
up the fire for the night, hark! the
hermit thrush began to sing as
sweetly as ever.
The boys slept that night as
they never slept before, and the
sun was high Friday morning
before the camp was fairly awake.
After breakfast they packed up
their blankets, gave three rousing
cheers for "Camp Reindeer," and
started for home.
The walk was a pleasant one,
and as the last part of the way
was down hill, it seemed an easy
Polly, Stella, Hugh, and Baby
Jenny were all out in front of the
cabin when they reached home.
"Glad to see ye back," said
the backwoodsman. "Didn't know
but ye'd like it so well ye'd
stay the year out up in the
I am very thankful," said Polly
softly, as she held her dear ones in
her arms again.
Den, Den!" cooed Jenny,
creeping and toddling up to be
taken notice of, while Stella's
face shone like the little star she
68 FIR BOUGHS.
The story of the Fir Boughs'"
is ended, but there is much more
to tell about the Forest Home and
The next volume will be called
A LEAF OF LAUREL.
93h 3WOiq L