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The Baldwin Library
THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
Sequel to "On Grandfather's Farm"
ANNIE HOWELLS FRECHETTE
AMERICAN BAPTIST PUBLICATION SOCIETY
1420 Chestnut Street
Copyright 1897 by the
AMERICAN BAPTIST PUBLICATION SOCIETY
from the Zociett'e own lDree
Co tbe finemort
Of my dear father and sister Victoria
To my cherished sister Aurelia
The one left of the loving three who made
us so happy on "Grandfather's Farm"
THE RAM-CAT'S KITTENS . .. 7
HOLLYHOCK LADIES . . ... 39
ARE THERE FAIRIES? . . 61
THE PARTY . . . .. 85
THE RAM-CAT'S KITTENS
THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
THE RAM-CAT'S KITTENS
HAT do you s'pose that noise
upstairs is, Sister?" and
Brother's eyes opened wide
S and his yellow hair did its best
S' to stand on end.
It sounds like something scratch-
ing," answered Sister, with her head
turned to listen toward the loft.
Do you think it is a panther ? in an
No, I don't. In the first place there
are no panthers on grandfather's farm,
and in the second place, if it was a pan-
ther it would have eaten Randolph and
Beverly last night, and I've seen them
going to the field this morning, so they
Io THE F4RM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
are not eaten. And besides, Brother,
you are too big a boy to be afraid of a
little noise like that."
I didn't say I was afraid."
But you looked afraid. I do wish,
Brother," and here Sister stood upright as
if to lecture in the oatbin where she and
Brother were playing mill, "that you
would get over that habit you have of
trying to get out of things. It is just as
bad to look scared as to be scared, and
you can't fool me. You know mamma
says you have a speaking countenance,'
and that it always tells just what you are
Can you tell by looking at my
"Yes, even by looking at your nose."
That's funny," and Brother laughed,
glad to talk about something else.
So if you want to prove to me that
you are not afraid, you ought to go up-
stairs and see what is scratching."
I'm not afraid," and Brother scram-
THE RAM-CAT'S KITTENS
bled out of the bin, and started for the
steep little stair which led to the loft.
These two little people of six and seven
were spending a most happy summer on
their grandfather's farm, a fine old place
in Virginia. Just now they were playing
in one of the group of log houses which
had been "the quarters" in slavery
times, the lower floor of which was some-
times used to store extra grain, while the
upper part of the cabin was used as a
bedroom for the two colored boys. A
great bin was found to be a most de-
sirable place in which to play, and many
a salt-bag of oats was loaded into the
express wagon and drawn to a make-be-
lieve mill in another corner, sister becom-
ing at once both horse and driver, and
Brother placing himself at the mill, where
he took the grist with a loud and gruff
voice-as became a dusty miller who was
always at work among rumbling wheels
At the foot of the stairs Brother paused.
12 THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
I'm not at all afraid, you know, Sis-
ter, but even when I'm upstairs maybe I
can't find out. You'd better come with
me. You know I can't tell very well. I
might think it was Bingo, or an old hen
making a nest on the boys' bed. I might
-why, Sister, it's the ram-cat! And
there sure enough was "the ram-cat"
(so called because of gray marks on
each side of her head, which the chil-
dren declared looked like the horns of a
ram) peering over the side of the stair.
Oh, Brother, wait for me. I'm sure
the ram-cat has a nest in the loft. How
perfectly lovely! and Sister went over
the side of the bin in double-quick time.
Up the stairs they flew, forgetful of
panthers or danger of any kind. The
ram-cat met them and rubbed against
them in a friendly way.
Rammy, dear, have you a nest? "
and Sister stooped to stroke her, while
Brother began peering about. Have
you kittens, Rammy ? "
THE RAM-CAT'S KITTENS
"Rammy" only twisted herself
around Sister's thin legs and pushed
against her bare feet with velvety paws.
She was not a house cat like Pooley, still
she was on very good and gentle terms
with the children, who often brought her
tempting little dinners. She even had a
frolic with them at times, a thing which
stately Pooley never did, for Pooley never
even stayed with any one but grandfather.
Now it had long been one of their fond-
est hopes that some day the ram-cat
would, as they termed it, "hatch kit-
tens," for there were many plays in which
kittens could take part, and a "flock"
of them would be a far lovelier sight than
any flock of downy chickens. Little
chickens were beautiful enough, but even
Brother feared the claws of the mother
hen too much ever to pick up a chick,
and as for Sister, she would go far out
of her path any day, rather than meet
Mistress Speck and her brood. So little
chickens did not count for much.
14 THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
Once more a little scraping sound was
heard, and this time there was with it a
faint but real mewing, which seemed to
come from an old barrel which stood half
hidden under the eaves. The children
made a rush toward it and the ram-cat
followed them uneasily. Brother tilted
himself over the barrel and looked down
into it. He tilted himself so far that
Sister had to grasp him around the
chubby calves to keep him from tumbling
in altogether. She could hear him breath-
ing hard, but it was a moment of such
intensity, that neither could speak. Then
Brother wriggled himself out until his
toes touched the floor; then his head ap-
peared; then out came his arms-and in
each hand he grasped a soft, roly-poly
"Take them, Sister, and I'll get the
rest; the barrel's 'most full of them."
Sister took them into the doubled-up
skirt of her dress in perfect silence, and
Brother again tilted himself into the bar-
THE RAM-CAT'S KITTENS
rel, Sister solemnly holding him by one
leg with her free hand; coming out he
silently put two more kittens into her
skirt and once more half of him was lost
to view. This time only one kitten was
I thought there were more," he said,
in deep disappointment.
You said the barrel was 'most full,
"Well, Sister, truly and truly it did
seem 'most full. They must have kept
crawling up the sides and tumbling back,"
and poor little Brother was mortified that
his treasury should so soon become
Well, never mind, we can get along
with five," and then Sister's joy began to
overflow. "Thank you, thank you, for
getting them out of the barrel; I never
could have got them out! "
"I'm so glad I happen to be a boy,
'cause boys can get kittens out of barrels
better than girls can, 'cause they are not
16 THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
afraid of tearing their dresses, that's the
only reason. Are they beauties, Sis-
ter ? beaming at her.
Perfect little loves I They are squirm-
ing 'round like little angels. Peep in at
them," and she opened a fold of her
skirt. We'll own them together, won't
we ? Let's go down to the bin and put
them on the floor, so we can see them all
at once. It will be better than playing
"And we can train them, and have a
"Yes, and now that the ram-cat has
hatched kittens, I just believe that old
Charley will hatch a Shetland ponry."
"I believe he'll hatch two," said
Brother, who always liked to have things
complete. "Let me carry some of
Yes, take one in each hand, but do be
careful not to drop them."
Down they went with their precious
load, the ram-cat coming as a jealous
THE RAM-CAT'S KITTENS
rear guard, and into the bin they labori-
ously climbed. Once safely within, Sis-
ter's skirt was emptied and a soft wad of
kittenhood put upon the floor. To the
excited children it seemed to combine all
the colors of the rainbow, and long and
lovingly was it looked over. By turns
they decided that the beauty of the family
was the all-white one-the gray one-
and each of the cunning white ones with
gray spots. Brother wanted to begin
their training at once, but their legs were
so weak and their bodies so pudgy, that
both Sister and the mother protested in
their different ways, and the kittens were
put to sleep in a corner of the bin.
But trained cats they were to be, sooner
or later, and the little busybodies after
kissing the soft heap, betook themselves
to the labor of making the place clean
and tidy, for future performances. Old
brooms were brought in, and such a cloud
of dust was raised that they seemed to
recede from each other into dim distance.
SAfter sweeping, seats were set for the
audience which was to consist of grand-
father, the aunts, and mamma.
n t"he .-: Joey Vale was to be asked to assist
- in the ring; and if Bingo and the ram-
cat could be coaxed to be friendly enough,
he too would add to the attractions of the
When all was done they once more
climbed back into the bin to feast their
eyes upon the kittens and to rest them-
Shall we tell about them when we go
to dinner, or shall we keep them for a
surprise ? "
To-morrow is Aunt Lea-
shie's birthday; we might
..... 'make her a present of
B them," said Sister.
l But you know Aunt Leashie does not
like cats. She even calls Pooley a
Well, she is a beast."
But I don't think she ought to be
... 0. .
THE RAM- CAT'S KITTENS
called one-and right before grandfather
too," protested Brother.
Well then, perhaps Aunt Leashie
would not like them, so we'll keep them
for a surprise. And when we have
trained them to jump over sticks and ride
on Bingo's back, and stand on their hind
legs and mew Home Sweet Home,' like
the trained dogs--
Only the dogs bark it."
"Oh, well, that's because they can't
mew-and when they can jump through
hoops and wear little dresses and coats
like monkeys, we'll give a circus, and
won't everybody be 'stonished ? Ho'w
proud the ram-cat will be of her chil-
dren. Oh, dear, I hear Bingo coming!
Now, they will fight and step on the kit-
tens and kill them! Do run, Brother,
and shut him into the barn. It is the
only chance to save their lives, the dear
wee things. Go away, you wicked
dog! Bingo at this moment came
rushing into the cabin and hearing the
20 THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
children talking in the bin, peered over at
them with a series of joyful little yelps,
and made as if to jump over to them.
"Bingo," said Brother sternly, go
to the house this minute."
Oh, dear, dear I can almost hear
their poor little bones being crunched.
Oh, look at Rammy's tail! and Sister
spread her skirts over the tempting mor-
sels, and the mother cat glared with fiery
eyes at the good-natured pup. "Oh,
Brother, if you don't get the awful mon-
ster away, we'll all be killed-they'll tear
us to pieces between them."
Valiant Brother scrambled out, took
the joyous Bingo by the nape of the
neck, and by coaxing and cuffing at last
did get him outside, and Sister hurried
after them, closing the door carefully.
I've left the sweet darlings asleep in
the bin with their kind mother to protect
them. What a narrow escape! Bingo,
if you had pounced upon them, I'd-
THE RAM-CAT'S KITTENS
Bingo stood before her asking with his
eyes what she would have done, but as
she seemed unable to think and remained
silent, he presently gave a gruff bark and
pretended to attack her, by flattening him-
himself upon the ground, then suddenly
springing up and circling around her.
This was always a challenge for a grand
romp and the children could not resist him.
"We may as well play with him
awhile," said Sister, "and get his mind
off the kittens."
Not only was Bingo's mind diverted,
but they played themselves into complete
forgetfulness as well. When they were
called to dinner they found Aunt Sie
planning a trip to a farm near by, and
they were asked to go along. Invitations
were seldom thrown away on them, and
after dinner, each holding dear Aunt
Sie's hand, they started off.
It was only when they were well on
their way that the helpless state of their
treasure recurred to Sister.
22 THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
We must go back-we must go back
this very minute! she cried, coming to
a dead halt.
Why must you go back ?" asked
Aunt Sie in surprise.
Oh, Aunt Sie, it was a secret, but
now you'll never, never see them, Bingo
will eat them all I and Sister burst into
And he can gulp 'em right down-
they are so soft," added Brother in a
Eat what ? Gulp what down ? "
"We may as well tell, Brother-the
circus is all over-we won't even have a
funeral if he eats them," said Sister.
Well, you are puzzling children "
K-k-kittens, Aunt Sie."
The-the-ram-cat has five kittens."
"Well, that is a calamity," exclaimed
their aunt. Five more cats to feed "
"And Bingo knows about them-- "
"And he 'most ate them before din-
THE RAM-CAT'S KITTENS
Well, he won't 'most eat them after
dinner if the ram-cat is around."
"Oh, won't she let him? Will she
spag him ?" they both cried in a breath.
Spag him! Well, all I have to say
is, that if Bingo tries to eat the ram-cat's
kittens, there won't be more than the
tip of his tail left! "
"Oh, goody! Will there be only
about an inch of his tail left, Aunt Sie?
Show me on your finger," urged exact
Brother. Aren't you glad, Sister ? "
Their weeping was turned to laughter
as they seized each other and broke into
a joyful dance."
The sun was just setting when they
reached home, warm and tired, and a
hasty search was made for the downy
mass they had left in the oatbin. To
their horror they found the bin empty;
but as there was no sign of bloodshed,
they dared hope there had been no battle
between Bingo and the ram-cat.
24 THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
Maybe, Sister," and Brother's face
glowed with hope, maybe their mother
thought they were to sleep upstairs. You
know at home Tibbie always used to
carry hers out to the shed in her mouth."
Upstairs trotted the tired little legs and
there, sure enough, in the barrel lay the
ram-cat surrounded by her family. It
was too dark to see distinctly, but
Brother made sure they were all there by
feeling and counting each sharp little tail.
Once he shouted up from the depth of
the barrel that there were six, but a re-
count proved to him that he had gotten
hold of the same tail twice.
I wish, Brother, you'd be careful not
to make such mistakes. All in a minute
I thought how beautiful three pairs of
kittens would look galloping around the
ring; and it is so disappointing to have
to get used to two pairs and a half
"Well, I'm awful sorry, Sister; but
you see I could not help it-they squirmed
so. They probably thought I was a bad
boy and meant to lift them by their tails.
But you know I wouldn't do such a
wicked thing, eh, Sister ? "
She was touched by his humility and
Oh, let's go down, Brother, I'm so
tired; I'm glad there aren't six, I'm too
tired to think of that many."
"And it kind of rests you only to
think of five, doesn't it, Sister? "
Yes, that's it."
And with their arms around each other
the little people went slowly toward the
house through the warm dusk.
They awoke fresh and bright. All the
weariness of the previous day had been
taken off to fairyland while they slept
by Toosle," a certain fairy friend of
theirs, who was supposed to watch over
their sleep, to see if he could do any-
thing for them. Sometimes the rogue
played tricks on them, such as tangling
or toosling" their hair, turning their
26 THE IARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
sleeves inside out, or pulling off buttons
which they were sure were all right when
they had gone to bed; but oftener he did
them good turns such as healing briar
scratches, or black and blue spots, or
bumps. These with aches and pains
once in a while he carried off to fairyland
and stored away until he found bad boys
and girls to palm them off on.
But something awful had happened
during the night. When Sister and
Brother went to the cabin and looked
into the barrel, only one kitten was to
be found. The ram-cat too was mysti-
fied. In vain they and she looked and
called, both upstairs and down. The
ram-cat tried to explain to them that
when she had returned from an early
trip to look for her own breakfast, and
jumped into the barrel to give the kittens
theirs, only one of all her lovely family
Wild guesses rushed one upon the
other. What could have become of the
THE RAM-CAT'S KITTENS
four little beauties? Could Randolph
and Beverly each have stolen two and
taken them home to their little brothers
and sisters ? Could Bingo have eaten
them ? Could jealous Pooley have car-
ried them off ?
In despair they went to their grand-
father with their sad tale and their sus-
picions. He sympathized with them in
their grief, and told them that it was not
the first time he had known whole fami-
lies of kittens to disappear and never be
heard of again. But he did his best to
clear away the cloud of suspicion which
rested upon Bingo. In all his long years
he had never known a dog to really eat
"And," he said, stooping down to
pat Bingo, see how innocent the poor
dog looks, and how sad because you are
so cross to him. Bingo, have you eaten
any kittens this morning ? Open your
mouth and let me see if there is any fur
28 THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
Bingo not only opened his mouth, but
showed a clean red tongue and gleaming
white teeth in a joyous smile.
There, you see what an honest fel-
low he looks. Pat him and be friendly
with him again, for I'm quite certain he
knows nothing of this sad business. And
anyhow, don't you think it is rather a
good thing that the poor ram-cat hasn't
five kittens to look after? "
"But we would have taken care of
them, grandfather; we meant to train
them," they broke in.
But think how many birds she would
have been tempted to catch for them.
Now you can manage with one and make
a pet of it. And I don't believe Bingo
will meddle with it after the way Pooley
cuffed him. So, cheer up."
"We are cheering up, grandfather,
as fast as we can," replied Sister in a
very doleful tone. "But it is very hard
to get cheerful on only one kitten."
You may own the head, Sister, and
THE RAM-CAT'S KITTENS
I'll own the tail," said Brother gloomily,
" and we'll both own the paws."
"That will be a very fair division.
Come, let us have a look at the little
It was indeed an honor to have grand-
father go to look at their little kitten, and
they told him on the way how they had
meant to have a circus; how they had
found the ram-cat's nest; and how at
first Brother was just a little bit afraid
that it was a panther, and so on, until
they had talked themselves upstairs.
Grandfather made them happy by declar-
ing it to be the most beautiful kitten he
had ever seen. He admired its snowy
whiteness and its blue eyes which, he
said, were very unusual.
I am going down to the bottom-lands
to see how the boys are coming on with
their hoeing, so you had better put the
kitten back with its mother and come
Oh, thank you, grandfather, for tak-
30 THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
ing us, and we can play at the brook
while you look after the boys."
Away they went, their loss forgotten
in thoughts of catching crawfish in the
little brook which ran around the wood
lot to finally tumble into the carp-pond.
Catching crawfish was one of their great-
est pleasures, and as they trotted along
by their grandfather's side, Brother told
how Sister lifted up the stones and he
picked up the crawfish she uncovered.
"And I'm very careful not to take
them by the end what bites, you know,
grandfather, for they just put their little
arms around your finger and-whew I "
"And what do you do with them after
you catch them ?"
"Oh, we have a dam that we put them
into, and next summer when we come to
visit you, they will have grown to be big
By this. time they had reached the
brook-a pretty spot under overhanging
branches, among whose leaves the birds
THE RAM-CAT'S KITTENS
and summer breeze made pleasant music.
And here grandfather left them to pur-
sue lobster-raising while he went forward
to oversee a harvest almost as doubtful.
He could still hear them splashing about
in the water and talking steadily to each
Presently there was a pause followed
by loud calls.
"Oh, grandfather, grandfather! Come,
please, as fast as you can. We've found
them! They were in the dam! "
He hastened back and saw Sister and
Brother standing knee-deep in water, and
in each raised hand a little drowned kitten.
They're dead-perfectly dead," and
Sister's ready tears splashed into the
St-stone dead, grandfather," and
Brother swallowed hard to keep back his.
"Where in the world did you find
them ? "
Right here. I was looking for our
lobsters, and I felt something soft under
32 THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
my foot, and I picked it up and it was
one of our kittens, and I felt around for
more, and then I found them all."
It is a shame! said grandfather,
and he turned and walked quickly back
to where the boys were at work, and they
heard him speaking sharply to them.
Grandfather seems to be scolding
the boys; I wonder what they have
done ? said Brother.
He is saying something about places
where we don't play."
Sister, I've just thought how it all
happened! The ram-cat often comes
down here to catch birds-of course she
doesn't know it's wicked to-and maybe
this morning she came and they followed
her, and they fell in. That's just the
way it happened "
Of course it is. I'm glad we found
them, if it did make us feel so awful."
And now we know that grandfather
is the wisest man in the world! You
know he said Bingo did not eat them."
THE RAM-CAT'S KITTENS
And we were so cross to Bingo."
"And we can have a funeral."
"We can have four, Brother, four
sweet little funerals "
And it will be almost better than
having a circus."
Calamities did not cease in the ram-
cat's family, for about two weeks later
the poor ram-cat herself fell a victim to a
savage dog, and was found dead near the
"Now you will have to take entire
care of poor little Snowball," for so they
had named her. You see now that it
was a good thing that the others were
drowned. I'm afraid they would have
Yes, indeed, grandfather, it is a very
good thing," said Brother soberly.
All day Snowball was plied with milk
and even cream, and much of the after-
noon was spent in making a suitable bed
for her. Aunt Sie gave them some bits
34 THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
of soft blanket, which they put into an
old pail making quite a cozy nest. After
it was finished they put it in a corner of
the cabin and carried their pet to the
house to have a long romp with her after
They played until dark, when mamma
said it was high time for both them and
their kitten to be in bed, so they ran
down through the moonlight to the cabin
to put Snowball into her new nest. It
was quite dark in the little room, but they
felt about until Sister laid hold of the
bucket. Good-night, you beautiful
darling, I hope you will sleep well. Kiss
her, Brother, right between her little
ears, and then we'll put the dear wee
thing to bed. There now, in you go.
You'll be nice and corn- "
Splash! Sputter! Spatter !
Oh, Brother, what is it ? What has
happened? She's fallen into some-
thing! Hear her puff-she's drowning.
THE RAM-CAT'S KITTENS
Beverly-Randolph-oh, somebody bring
a light! "
The boys upstairs ran down with a
light and the scene upon which they came
threw them into screams of laughter and
poor Sister into hysterical weeping.
During the day some papering had been
going on at the house, and the workmen
had put their bucket of paste into the
cabin to have it ready when they should
begin work in the morning. They had
set it beside the fine couch prepared for
Snowball, and in the dark Sister had laid
her into it.
As the first glimmer of light showed
the awful mistake, Brother seized the
dripping kitten and held it high. Its
ears were pasted flat to its head, its eyes
were closed, and from its feebly moving
paws trickled thick streams of paste.
Oh, don't hold it up like that! Look
at its beautiful tail; it is just like a pipe-
stem! shrieked Sister. Oh, put it
on the floor, it is dying-it is dying "
36 THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
Brother sadly placed it upon the floor
and it crept off leaving a trail of paste
"Is it dead yet ? I can't look I wept
Sister from under her apron which she
had thrown over her face.
"Not quite, Sister; it's creeping
around a little yet. Boys, you oughtn't
to laugh," in a voice which suited the
Deed we's got to larf. It do look
so mighty funny! Yo' bettah take it out
an' drop it in de trof now," and they
kept on with their merriment, until the
coming of the family, drawn by the up-
roar. Brother held the pitiable object up
to be looked at. After a hurried discus-
sion it was decided to take it to the
kitchen and wash it in warm water, so a
procession was formed headed by Brother
bearing his slippery burden. Poor Snow-
ball was too bewildered to object very
much to the tepid bath, though she did
not submit quite without protest.
THE RAM-CAT'S KITTENS 37
After the paste was washed off she was
wrapped up and put into a snug place to
dry. Then the weary children were car-
ried off to bed to dream of the awful
In the morning when they stole down
to the kitchen they found Snowball,
fluffy, frolicsome, and white, and in as
high spirits as if her nine chances of life
were not cut down to eight.
H, dear, I'm sure I don't know
what to do! Nothing seems
( i to be nice this morning.
Brother is not like he used to
be, and Bingo has gone off to the field
with the boys, and Juno shook her head
at me as if she'd just be glad to hook
me if I climbed through the bars, and
Snowball scratched me-ah! and the
doleful list finished with a catch in the
voice which was next door to a sob.
"Poor Sister, I'm sorry things are
going so badly with you. How, in what
way, has Brother changed ?" asked
mamma, as she finished cutting a but-
I-I think he likes Joey Vale better
than he does me. He said-well, I don't
mean he said it-but he looked as if he
42 THE FARA'S LITTLE PEOPLE
wished I'd go into the house last week
when Joey came to play with us. And
-well-mamma, I think I could have
sat in between grandfather and Aunt
Leashie without crowding them much,
I'd have sat so slim," and at that Sister
threw herself upon her mother's shoulder
and gave way to the grief which had
been growing more bitter every moment
since she had watched her grandfather
and aunt drive away.
Oh, is that what has spoiled the day
for you? Well, after you have cried
you will feel better, and you will begin
to recall all the lovely drives you have
had, and feel sure that if dear, kind
grandfather could have taken you with
him he would- "
"Aunt Leashie offered to let me sit
on her lap-- "
Yes, I know she did; but think how
tired poor Aunt Leashie would have been
at the end of several miles with a big
girl on her lap. She offered, because
HOLL YHO CK LADIES
she is unselfish; but all the same, we
must be unselfish too. Now I want you
to forget that you have been left behind,
and dry your eyes-like little Sally Wa-
ters-only not on your frock; that would
be pretty awful, wouldn't it ?-and hunt
Brother up and have a good play." Then
mamma kissed the sorrowful little girl as
she laid aside her work and took her
upon her lap.
"No, I can't play with Brother, even
when I'm through crying. He is tying
bees into the hollyhocks, and they buzz
so that they terrify me," sobbed the little
girl as she cuddled up to her mother,
already beginning to feel the relief of
tears and the effect of a bracing sym-
"Tying bees into the hollyhocks!
What in the world is he doing that for ? "
He says they injure the hollyhocks,
and he wants to teach them a lesson. He
thinks if he scares them, they won't
meddle with flowers any more. He
44 THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
means to keep the bees tied in until
dark, and-I-I think it is very cruel.
The poor things will never be able to find
their way back to the hives. Brother
says they can because, he says, he be-
lieves they have cat-eyes and can see in
the dark. And besides, I'm afraid they
will smother. Oh, dear, I feel so sorry
for them-I wish he wouldn't; the poor,
poor bees! and Sister went off into
another flood of tears, which mamma
saw was going to be the clearing-up
shower. She waited until it was over
Sand a sunny smile showed itself in the
dimple at the corner of her mouth.
"He was standing in the high
chair, and-and it upset with him,"
Here the smile was joined by a musi-
cal little laugh. "He looked so funny,
pitching headforemost among the holly-
hocks, with his legs sticking up in the air,
just like a big Y," and Sister laughed
until her eyes brimmed over with another
kind of tears. Poor little chap, he was
HOLLYHO CK LADIES
so scared. At first I was glad he fell,
and I told him so; but I did feel sorry
in a minute, for I think he skinned his
elbow, but he wouldn't own it."
Oh, I'm sorry you said you were
"So am I, mamma. I think I was
very cross to Brother. I even almost
hoped a bee would sting him, he acted
so stuck up. And he didn't seem to
mind not going with grandfather at all.
Oh, I'm so sorry I said it! Brother is
such a dear, good little boy, and I am so
bad. I wish I didn't mind things any
more than Brother does."
"Well, dear, since you have learned
your lesson, I don't regret your unhappy
morning. You have been angry and
jealous and cross, and you are now
ashamed of yourself. Instead of blam-
ing Brother, you have come to see what
is good in him and bad in yourself. He
has a very happy disposition. I don't
think he does mind things as much as
46 THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
you do, so it is easy for him to be
amiable and happy. But when you con-
quer your unkind feelings, you have
fought a good fight and deserve a great
deal of credit. I am very proud of my
little girl when she rules herself."
"Are you, mamma? I'm so glad.
I'll try always to be good to him. I
think I'll ask him to let me see his poor
elbow," and Sister got upon her feet.
"And I'll go with you, for I think
Brother will have to find some other way
to train the bees. I am afraid they will
"I don't know what we can play if
Brother stops doing that."
"Perhaps I can find some other play,"
answered her mother as they walked to-
ward the sunny garden where they could
see Brother looking very tall upon his
lofty perch among the old-fashioned
"What have the bees been doing?"
called mamma as they came near.
"They are very bad, mamma. They
buzz in and out of the hollyhocks and
kick the yellow stuff about so, and-and
-well they look so bold and fierce that
I'm pretending to put them in jail. I've
got two tied in, and if Sister had only
helped me, we could 'a had a lot of
prisoners by this time," answered the
little man, looking rather tired and hot.
But I don't believe the poor chaps
are doing anything very bad. Of course
they look bold and make a lot of noise,
but that is just their way, and I don't
really think they should be put into jail
for that," mamma replied.
"Don't you?" he said, rather crest-
"No, I don't. I have known boys
and girls to look bold and make a lot of
noise, but I should never think of trotting
them off to jail. Come down and let me
see your elbow; Sister tells me you have
Down came Brother from his high
48 THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
chair and slid his sleeve up past his little
tanned wrist to his dimpled white elbow,
where sure enough the skin was curled
up into small shavings.
Poor Brother! sighed Sister softly
as she pressed her lips to the hurt.
'Dear Sister!" and the arms went
quickly around her neck, and peace was
Mamma looked at the arm and said
the injury was not a serious one. "And
now I would let the prisoners out on
promise that they will never again disturb
the hollyhocks. Here are my scissors,
I'll bend down the stalks while you cut
"I'll ask them first. Bee, will you
promise never to steal yellow stuff again
if I let you out?"
"Tell him it's the hollyhocks' money,"
"Do you know, Mister Bee, that you
have been stealing hollyhock money?"
in a very gruff and terrible voice.
"I heard him promise; I heard him
buzz," and Sister hopped gayly up and
down. "Out he comes! Oh ho, Mister
"Come out, Mister Bee, and tell all
Snip went the scissors, up bounded
the stalk, and out flew the bee fuming and
The other culprit was set free with like
SI What shall we do now ?" after watch-
ing the bees out of sight.
"Well, if I were a little girl and boy,
"Oh mamma! How could you be
both? Who ever heard of even a
mamma being a little girl and boy? and
they seized her hands and danced around
in high glee that they had caught her in
"But I did not say I could be a little
girl and boy. I only said if I were.
But then maybe you don't care to know
50 THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
what I would do if Toosle should happen
along and touch me on the tip of my
nose with his wand, and turn me into a
little girl and boy," and mamma looked
as if under such charming conditions she
knew of thousands of things she could
do, and of millions of plays she could
"Oh yes we do, yes we do. Tell us,
tell us. You don't know how hard it is
for little girls and boys to know what to
"Don't I though? Maybe I have
never been a little girl."
"Oh, I wish I had been a little girl
when you were one. I'm sure you had
such fun! cried Sister.
"Well, if I were one this morning I
think I'd play-let me see what I'd play,"
said mamma musingly, as if sorting over
a multitude of joys in her mind. "Yes,
I think as to-day is rather warm outside,
I would go into the summer house and
play hollyhock ladies."
HOLL YHO CK LADIES
"Oh mamma, you never told-us about
that play before. What in the world is
"I'll show you. We'll pick a holly-
hock of each shade-here, toss them into
my apron-then we'll get some single
poppies, and some of those little green
bells that grow down by the currants;
and some ribbon grass; and some thorns
off the honey locusts-and then we'll go
to the summer house."
Oh, how lovely! Pick away, Brother;
I know it's going to be a perfectly
lovely play. I'm so glad I decided not
to go with Aunt Leashie and grand-
father!" and Sister buzzed about among
the flowers like a busy bee herself.
"Hadn't we better get two of each
shade?" called Brother.
"Perhaps it would be well," agreed
In a few minutes her sewing apron
looked quite baggy with its floral treasures,
and they turned to the vine-clad summer
house. In the center stood a round table
upon which they piled their flowers, and
then they drew the chairs up around it.
"Now, Brother, let me have all the
string you have in your pockets."
"Hurry, Brother, I'm so anxious to
see what mamma is going to do."
The string was dragged out in tangled
little wads, and mamma, seating herself,
picked out her first blossom, turned it
carefully inside out and tied-it about half
an inch below the crown with a bit of
string, which she afterward skillfully
covered with a ribbon grass sash, and
stood it down upon the table-a very fair
lady in a brilliant red silk gown topped
by a neat little round head.
Now she must have a parasol to pro-
tect her complexion. Give me that little
red poppy, Sister."
All the green was picked off the poppy
and a thorn stuck into the center and
fixed firmly in the lady's belt, and she
was ready to walk forth into the world.
HOLL YHO CK LADIES
What a beauty! Brother said;
" and I believe we can make men too."
"All right; make whatever you can."
Away he slipped and soon came back
with his straw hat full of flowers. "'These
are for their legs," he explained, laying
down a handful of the neatly rolled up
buds of morning glories.
"Just the thing," said mamma; "your
men will look like gay cavaliers. If you
look into the hollyhocks you'll find that
some have plumes on their heads, and
they will do for the knights."
She laid down her work and watched
Brother. His gentleman turned out very
like her lady, except that two thorns upon
which were strung morning glory buds
were stuck into the gathered folds of the
54 THE FARM'S LITTLE -PEOPLE
skirt which he proceeded to snip away
into a doublet. The blunt ends of the
thorns made very decent feet upon which
the gallant knight did not stand much
more unsteadily than the knights of old
often stood upon their feet. When it
was done he looked up brightly at his
mother for approval.
"Isn't our dear little boy clever,
mamma?" said Sister. "That is just a
darling of a man. Make a lot of them,
Thus praised he worked with a will,
and Sister began to make children out of
the little green bells, which stood up
primly upon the edge of their skirts.
The three worked away busily and soon
had a fine array of brilliant ladies, gentle-
men, and children. And then the gayety
began. They were formed into a pro-
cession, marched to an imaginary ball-
room, and stood up for dancing.
I think they ought to have a supper
after their ball," said mamma; "and if -
HOLL YHO CK LADIES
you will come to the house with me,
Brother, I will give you refreshments for
our friends from flower land, and enough
for you and Sister too, so you can eat
with them. Sister, you can arrange the
supper hall while we are away."
As they went out of sight in the direc-
tion of the house, Sister fell to work
making ready for the feast. Sofas of
great soft pink roses were brought in for
the hollyhock ladies to tilt themselves
against, while the knights were stood
about a monstrous sunflower which was
to serve as a table, and the prim little
green children were grouped in a corner.
When all was finished she threw herself
down upon a bench where she could keep
her eyes upon the company, and waited
And now happened a strange and won-
derful thing. She was just thinking what
a lovely thing it must have been to live
in the time of fairies-to talk to them-
56 THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
Suddenly she felt a soft patter across
her bare foot, like raindrops falling gently
upon it, and looking down, she could not
believe her eyes when she saw, as plain
as bright daylight could make it, the
dearest, the sweetest little carriage! It
was made of a softly tinted pearl shell,
and drawing it were six snow-white
horses, perfectly shaped but no larger
than mice. It was their little black hoofs
she had felt on her foot.
She was about to fall upon her knees
beside the dainty carriage, but she looked
again-to make sure that she really was
looking-when there, right before her
very eyes, stepping down from the car-
riage, was a darling fairy queen about as
tall as her little finger.
"Oh, you sweet, sweet creature! I
know you; you are a fairy, though I
never saw one before in all my life. Do,
do let me hold you in my hand. I'll be
very careful of you, I'll not squeeze you.
Oh, if only Brother could see you! "
"Brother will see me. I have come to
the ball you are giving for my young
ladies and knights."
And there, sure enough, came troops
of fairies, from where Sister could not
tell, until one of the young lady fairies
caught her high-heeled slipper and pitched
down on her nose, and then Sister saw
that the flower ladies and gentlemen were
turning into fairies as fast as they could,
and floating down from the table to join
"'I would be sorry to go back to fairy-
land without having a chat with Brother,"
continued the queen, gracefully gathering
the folds of her skirt together and step-
ping into Sister's outstretched hand; "for
I want to thank him for his efforts to
protect my people from the attacks of
fierce bees, as they call themselves, though
they are really goblins who were created
to drive poor little girls and boys to their
lessons by being held up as examples of
industry. They are greedy creatures, who
58 THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
suck all the sweetness out of my flowers,
and get nothing but praise from short-
sighted mortals for their industrious habits.
He is the first one who has ever rightly
understood them, as I saw by the course
he took this morning. And I was glad
to see-that you were at last willing to help
Sister could not speak. She just sat
and looked at the dainty, the exquisite
creature standing on her palm. She was
afraid to move a finger lest she should
crush her, and she wondered how she
could so clearly hear every word spoken
by such a mite. The queen went on:
My brother Toosle-- "
"Oh, are you Toosle's sister? We
know him very well."
"Little girl," with rather a stern man-
ner, "fairy queens are not accustomed
to being interrupted."
"Oh, please excuse me; I was so sur-
prised to find that you were Toosle's-
I mean Mister Toosle's sister."
HOLLYHO CK LADIES
"If you were surprised that makes a
difference and I'll excuse you. But as I
was about to say, Toosle and I have
often talked of coming to see you and
Brother, to ask you how you would like
to be assistant fairy king and queen."
Sister gave a little squeal of delight at
this, but seeing a gleam of severity come
into the corner of the queen's eye, she
did not speak. "People have an idea
that fairies are dying out, but it is a great
mistake. They are increasing rapidly.
And what with choosing fairy godmothers
and godfathers, and sending fairies to
keep girls and boys out of mischief, and
to watch the goblins, really we are often
so tired when night comes, that no matter
how fine the moonlight, I am so stiff
and worn out, and my head is in such a
whirl, that I have no heart to dance. So
you see we need help. Then too we
have often thought that your friend Juno
would make a good horned monster, to
60 THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
"Why mamma, I do believe Sister is
fast asleep," said Brother tiptoeing into
the summer house and leaning over her.
" Her eyes are shut and she breathes just
as she does at night."
"Poor little thing, she is tired out.
Let her sleep," answered mamma softly.
ARE THERE FAIRIES?
ARE THERE FAIRIES?
ISTER, I just want to ask you,
do you believe there are fair-
ies on grandfather's farm?"
"Yes, Brother, I do."
"Well now, Brother! Do I
have to tell you why? Didn't I
S see the queen of the fairies in the
summer house, with my own eyes? And
haven't we always known about Toosle?
And didn't Aunt Leashie show us the
fairy path the very first time we ever went
through the woods to Mrs. Brown's?
And haven't we this very minute found
this big leaf which must be a fairy's bath-
tub ? Ain't I touching it with my first fin-
ger this very second- Sister stopped
to take breath, which gave Brother a
chance to say somewhat doubtfully:
64 THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
"I know Sister-but-- "
"Brother, I think it is very wicked of
you to say 'but.' I should think you
would almost be afraid to go to sleep at
night, after asking me if I believe there
are fairies anywhere. I think it's dan-
Brother looked down, ashamed to meet
"Only-sometimes, you see-I-I
just kind of-of-wonder- "
"If you are going to stand right here
in the edge of this lonesome woods where
there may be bears, almost out of sight
of the house, and say that you don't be-
lieve in fairies any more, I shall go
home," and Sister turned as if to put
her threat into execution, then looked
over her shoulder to add, "I'm not going
to stay here and be turned into a hollow
stump maybe, or an old witch, and see
you go hopping off, a big toad or an ole
har, and neither of us ever, ever, ev-er
be able to speak to each other again. It
ARE THERE FAIRIES?
makes me nearly cry just to think of it."
Coming back, "Oh, Brother, don't say
you don't believe in fairies any more.
Is it Joey Vale who has been talking to
Oh no, Joey Vale has never said a
word against them."
Then it is that bad Tom Nellis-and
he stones birds, you know he does."
Yes, it was. He said- "
Don't tell me what he said."
"Oh, of course I don't believe him.
I just wanted to see if you still felt cer-
tain about seeing the fairy queen that
day in the summer house. Because if
you do, then I'm sure; for I guess you
know better than he does whether you
Does that awful boy pretend that I
was asleep? '
Yes," with a solemn nod.
"Then, Brother, I don't think we
ought ever to go over to the Nellises again
to play; they never let us hold their baby,
66 THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
anyhow. I think mamma ought to forbid
us to speak to them, don't you? "
"Yes, I do. Just think, Sister, he
said you were a goose- "
"And that we were both greenies."
And that he had lived here all his
life, and had never seen a fairy."
As if fairies were likely to appear to
such a boy! Beverly has seen ole hars
which he says weren't there when he
went to hit them; and he steals the eggs
you know. It doesn't take such very good
people to see ole hars, but people have
to be very good before they can see
"Oh, yes, they have to be good,
awful good; but we have come pretty near
seeing Toosle a few times. And now I
feel sure that this is a fairy bath-tub.
Let's go off a little way and see if any of
them come to bathe in it. Let's climb
that bent tree and watch them from it."
ARE THERE FAIRIES?
The very thing! You are such a
darling little boy. I expect you'll have
to boost me; I'm not very good at climb-
"Well, girls are most always not, but
you climb better than other girls-better
than Tom Nellis could if he was a girl,
I guess. Sister, look! It's a perfect
Swiss Family Robinson tree! We'll go
up and live in it. We've even got Bingo
along, and he can be Turk and Bill."
Oh, how lovely! You do think of
such nice plays, Brother. I'll go up first
and you can hand the things up to me,
and I can hang them where jackals and
things won't get them. We've never had
half as nice a play before."
Brother and Sister, with their ever-faith-
ful Bingo, had started out for a picnic,
with no orders, only that they should
keep within sight of the house. They
had a bountiful lunch, and carried their
usual baggage which was, a trowel for
digging wells and ponds, a small rug to
sit upon while they ate, and a popgun
as a means of defense against wild ani-
mals. These, with a large supply of
string and rope, and a hammer, which
Brother always insisted upon taking in
case of accidents," and an old milk
strainer in which to catch crawfish,
should they feel like taking up the raising
of lobsters, completed their outing lug-
All this was unpacked from the express
which had been drawn under the tree.
With much scrambling and laughter and
many sliding back Sister at last gained
the perch she wished. It was a great
limb which years before had been partly
broken from the trunk, and which had
thrown forth many upright branches
which now formed a leafy corridor along
which the two little ones could
patter in their bare feet, as happy
and as free as the squirrels which
leaped from bough to bough
ARE THERE FAIRIES?
"Is it nice?" called up Brother, his
cheeks glowing and his eyes shining.
"It is per-fectly lovely, only I seem
very high. Do you suppose I can ever
get down again?"
"Oh, yes; let down the string"-
Sister, through Brother's forethought
had carried up a bit of twine with a peb-
ble tied to the end-" and I'll begin to
send up the things. Night is coming on,
and the jackals may be here any instant,"
he said in as firm and manly a voice as
he could muster up.
"Oh, you kind of scare me when you
talk so fiercely. I feel just exactly as if
we had been shipwrecked, and hadn't
but one minute before night to get all
fixed up, and before the wolves would
begin to howl. So, hurry up, Brother.
If only we could for once all be ship-
wrecked Shall I tie it to a limb? Oh,
dear, dear, I've dropped the string! "
"There now! I knew you'd do
that! said Brother in a cross tone. He
70 THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
did not often get out of patience, but it
certainly was very trying after boosting
and hoisting even a thin girl up a slippery
tree, to have her drop the string before a
single piece of wreckage had been raised
to a place of safety.
"Well, please don't be cross to me.
I was so frightened just thinking that
maybe you'd be eaten by wild animals
Sister! Haven't I the gun? "
"Oh, yes, I'm so glad; but I forgot
about the gun. You climb up, dear, and
bring me the string; I won't drop it again.
You might play you were a monkey
while you're climbing, and carry the
string in your teeth and jabber. Oh,
how beautifully you do it! For
Brother had at once forgotten his griev-
ance in the delight of imagining himself
a monkey, and he squeaked merrily as he
twitched himself up the tree. Isn't it
a perfect bower? Will we be able to get
Bingo up, do you suppose? "
ARE THERE FAIRIES?
Of course we can; he's just longing
to climb up now. Look at him." And
in truth Bingo was doing his best by
pawing up the tree and barking shrilly at
Brother made the twine fast to a -twig
and then deftly swung himself down by
the low drooping branches, which at the
far end of the limb almost touched the
One after another the things were
raised and bestowed in places of safety,
and then it came Bingo's turn. But try
as they might, they were unable to get
him up. Brother tied the rope around
his waist"' and lifted from below while
Sister pulled from above. But Bingo's
terror was so alarming and his yelps so
piteous that, thinking they must be kill-
ing him, they quickly freed him, where-
upon he took to his heels and tore off
toward the house with his tail tucked
tightly between his legs.
"What shall we do? cried Sister as
72 THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
she clasped her hands and watched his
flight. Turk and Bill have both gone!
We have nothing left but your trusty gun.
Come up quickly, Mr. Swiss Family, and
pull up the ladder after you; I hear the
howl of wolves in the distance! "
Brother scrambled up in mad haste,
jerking the rope up after him, and all
was made secure.
Now we will break our fast," she
said, speaking in the fascinating language
of the Robinson family whom they had
long loved and envied. The milk from
these fresh cocoanuts will do for us to
drink until we can plant some tea and
coffee, or catch a cow." And so on, as
Sister carefully spread out their lunch on
the broad limb.
As they ate, they listened to the imag-
inary roars of wild beasts, or talked of
whether their ship would go to pieces
before they could get off all the valua-
bles. And they planned how, next day,
they would drive Juno into the wood and
ARE THERE FAIRIES?
tether her under the tree, and coax Bingo
back, and bring Snowball and the two
pigeons. With all these-and possibly
Sol Brown and Joey Vale-they could
be as nearly perfectly happy as children
who had not actually been shipwrecked
could expect to be.
During the afternoon Brother went
down many times from the house tree,
and made trips into the "jungles"
around them and along the coasts, always
bringing back reports of the wonderful
things he had seen, and from these trips
he sometimes returned fleeing as for his
life, upon which he would be helped to a
place of safety by Sister, and after
which-so totally to them did the real
give way to the unreal-they did not fail
to "return thanks," after the frequent
custom of the pious Swiss family which
they personated. Sister would gladly
have joined in these excursions, but she
could not get quickly back into the tree
in case of attack, so she had to remain
74 THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
on high and receive the spoils as they
were sent up to her by means of the rope.
It was a long, long happy day, and
they could scarcely believe their ears
when they heard the afternoon express go
shrieking up the valley.
Start home the moment you hear the
express train," was the one order which
ruled their wandering summer days, and
which they never dreamed of disregard-
ing. So now they made no question, but
began to put their things together and
lower them to their wagon. Everything
was down at last, even Sister, who, with
moans and timid cries, had slid down the
trunk, and they were about to turn their
faces homeward, when she cried out:
Oh, my hat! I have left my hat in
the tree. Can you get it for me,
Course I can get it! But, Sister,
you oughtened to leave your hats in trees.
Now we'll be late, and mamma will think
we're lost again.'''
ARE THERE FAIRIES?
Up the tree he went, rather slowly this
time, for his many climbs had wearied
him, and made his way along the limb to
where the hat was hanging.
Catch it! he called, as he tossed it
But alas, poor Brother! He leaned a
little too far to fling it clear of the
branches, and losing his balance, came
crashing through and fell at Sister's feet.
He did not move.
Oh, Brother! she screamed, as she
threw herself beside him.
He lay with closed eyes and did not
answer her for what seemed to her a very,
very long time. Then his eyelids trem-
bled and slowly lifted, and he looked at
her in a dazed way, trying to smile.
Oh, darling, darling, where are you
hurt? Do speak to me! "
He put his grimy little hand into hers
and answered slowly:
"Don't-cry. I-I just ache-all
76 THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
Oh, Brother, do you think your back
is broken, like the man's who fell off the
wharf? Can you sit up? Let me put
you into the express and pull you home.
Oh, dear, dear! It is all my fault. I
made you go back for my hat."
"That's no matter. Maybe I can
walk; I'll try."
But when with Sister's help he tried to
get up, he sank back with a cry of pain,
into a little heap upon the ground.
"You must go home without me. I
can't get into the wagon."
Oh, I'll never, never go home again.
I won't leave you I and she gave way
to another flood of tears.
But mamma will be anxious."
Mamma would never want me to
leave you. Oh, I wish I had fallen out
of the tree! I will put the rug under
you. Do you think it is your leg? "
No, I don't think so-it's-all over
But pulling the poor little man upon
ARE THERE FAIRIES?
the rug made him moan and beg her to
leave him where he had fallen. And
then Sister's heart seemed to break.
His lips were white and the beads of
moisture stood on his forehead and damp-
ened his yellow hair. A line from a
song which her mother often sang came
into her mind:
The death damp was on his pure white brow.
She was sure he was dying. They
had been-happy and loving little people,
and yet-ah, she could not help remem-
bering-there had been times when she
had got mad" at Brother. Once she
had even pinched him; several times she
had pushed him and slapped him; once
she had even hoped a bee would sting
him. Oh, those terrible memories! She
sobbed so bitterly that the little boy turned
stiffly and put a loving arm around her,
as she lay beside him with her face to the
Dear Sister, don't cry."
78 THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
"I can't help it, Brother; I've often
been so bad to you, I-I-I've slapped
you a good many times. I was cross to
you this morning about the fairies. And
now you are going to die, because I made
you fall out of the tree. And if you die
I want to die too "
But maybe I won't die; perhaps I'll
just have to have my arms and legs cut
off," suggested Brother with a view to
cheering his sister.
No, dear; I think you are going to
die. You are as white as snow," she
answered with the frankness of childhood.
" Oh, if only I could scream loud enough
to make them hear at the house! Shall
I run to the edge of the woods and try? "
She kissed him tenderly and then sped
away. She ran out clear of the trees and
called. She stood upon her tiptoes and
shouted out first one name and then
another, at the top of her voice. But
no one answered. She saw grandfather
ARE THERE FAIRIES?
come home from the post office and go
into the house ; she saw Sally come out
of the kitchen and get an armful of wood
and then go back. They both looked
very, very far away. It was no use to
try. They would not hear her.
I can't make any one hear ; I'll not
leave you again all alone."
Except for the fairies, Sister."
The fairies might help us if they only
knew about you. But why do you keep
your eyes shut, dear ? "
I don't know, only it rests me. I
feel-kind of tired-I guess I want-to
go to sleep-I think it is night-I- "
He became silent.
Oh, he is dying, I know he is,"
wept the wretched little girl, as she gently
lifted his head into her lap and watched
his quiet face.
Suddenly the blue eyes opened, and he
Sister! did you see him ?"
"Who ? Where ? Grandfather ?"
80 THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
No, not grandfather-Toosle."
"Where, Brother, oh, where ? "
"Right here. He's gone now; but
he said, Why don't you wave a flag ?
Shipwrecked people always wave flags
and shoot off cannons.' "
But we haven't any flags or cannons.
It is quite light out of the woods, and I
know I could make them see a flag if
only I had one."
They were both silent a moment, then
Brother said, with some of his usual en-
Take off your white apron and tie it
to the gun, and go out and wave it and
wave it! "
Oh, Brother, you always know just
what to do! I'll come back just the
minute I can."
"What dat w'ite t'ing a-bobbin' up
an' down ober dere by de woods ?"
asked Randolph of Beverly as the two
boys came up from the cornfields.
ARE THERE FAIRIES?
I dun know. Looks like some trick
ob de chillun, trying' to make us believe
it's a ghos'."
"Well, it's a-wavin' at us, whatever
'tis. It sutt'nly is a-wavin' "
Deir ma dun know if dey be in de
woods so late."
"Ho, dey nebber know when it gits
late. I reckon we better go 'roun' dat
way an' bring 'em home."
Oh, boys, come, come quick! Hurry,
hurry! Brother fell out of a tree, and I
can't get him home."
The boys quickened their pace to a
run, and were soon hastening with Sister
to where poor Brother lay.
It was easy work for Randolph to lift
him in his strong arms and carry him
steadily homeward. Sister became very
gay in the sudden deliverance which had
come, and she walked ahead with the
"flag" over her shoulder, trying to
make Brother laugh by showing him how
82 THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
she had waved it to the boys; and Bev-
erly, who came behind with the baggage,
told him they come powerful near run-
nin',".thinking it was a ghost.
The company was seen by the family,
and mamma and the aunts came hurrying
to meet it, while Bingo penitently came
behind. And so Brother was taken home
and laid upon a heap of cushions on the
sofa. Loving hands ministered to him,
and grandfather, who in his early years
had studied to be a doctor, made a care-
ful examination, and soon told them that
no bones were broken, but that the mus-
cles of the back were strained by the fall
and that he was badly bruised.
A warm bath and a gentle rubbing
soon relieved him of much of the pain,
and the poor little man was able, from
his couch, to join with Sister in the lively
story of their day's doing. Her spirits
had risen almost beyond control when she
found that Brother was still to be spared
to them, and she gave a funny account of
ARE THERE FAIRIES?
the rise and downfall of the Swiss
Family Robinson," adding extra touches
as she noticed Brother's enjoyment.
"Well, I am certain of one thing,"
said grandfather. If ever Brother is
shipwrecked he'll know just what to do.
It isn't every boy with the breath knocked
out of him, and his back all strained,
who would think to have his sister tie her
apron on his popgun and wave it for a
flag of distress."
Oh, but I didn't think of it, grand-
father. It was Toosle who told me to
do it," said Brother, getting up on his
elbow. "You see I seemed to go to
sleep, and there he was, just squealing
at me to wave a flag. He was such a
funny looking little fellow! "
And now, Brother, you have seen
Toosle, and I have seen the fairy queen,
and so now we know that there are fairies
on grandfather's farm, eh, Brother ? "
O, thank you, I won't get out. I
must be at home before dark. I
only drove around to ask if you
would send the children over to
.. Fair View to-morrow. My nieces
from Baltimore are with us, and the
Beldon children are coming; so are sev-
eral families nearer us, and we'll have
quite a party. Send them in the morn-
ing and let them stay until evening."
Oh, thank you. The children will
be more than glad to go. It will be a
delightful day for them. Won't it, chil-
They could only clutch each other's
hands and gasp out: "I should think so!
Thank you for asking us, Miss Kate."
Then Miss Kate leaned out and shook
hands with mamma, left her love for
88 THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
grandfather and the aunties, kissed her
hand to the children and drove away.
"We're go-ing over to Fair View,
we're go-ing over to Fair View! chanted
Sister in rhythmical measure as she skip-
ped off across the lawn toward the sun-
set, her long fair hair streaming out over
her shoulders as she went.
We're go-ing over to Fair View,
we're go-ing over to Fair View! chant-
ed Brother, a yard or two behind her.
"We'll cross the yawning valley! "
came from Sister.
And we'll cross the yawning valley !"
The children held a belief that they al-
ways felt like yawning while crossing a
And we'll ride on Lou-ey's po-nee,"
came Sister's voice from the far edge of
"Yes, we'll ri-hide on Lou-ey's po-
nee!" echoed Brother again, growing a
little short of breath.
"Are you getting out of breath,
Brother? skipping lightly.
"Yes, in-deed I-h-am, Sister."
"Then with a hop we'll stop, Broth-
er," and circling around on one foot,
closely followed by Brother, she dropped
upon the grass.
"The very next thing to being a
fairy," she said in her everyday tone.
" I'd as soon go to Miss Kate's to spend
I'd even rather than to be a fairy.
Because, you know, if you're a fairy-
well-even if you are a fairy, boys-
that is bad boys, like the Nellises-don't
believe you are, and then it's just the
same as if you wasn't."
It's a blessing that the Nellises won't
"I should think it is." Then rather
gloomily, Sister, do you think the
strange girls will be stuck up? "
No, I do not think they will be; but
if they are, we'll have to talk grandd"
90 THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
Talking grand-or grand, as they pro-
nounced it, to give it a more elegant
sound-was the using of a very haughty
tone by Sister and a deep and manly
tone by Brother. They usually "talked
grand when they played lady come
to see," and also when they were with
children whom they stood somewhat in
awe of; and the practice had been in-
vented by Sister as a means of support-
ing their dignity when they felt it to be
"Why are you two little toads sitting
there in the grass?" called grandfather
as he came home from the post office, and
stopped to look toward them, shading his
eyes from the level rays of the setting
sun with his hand.
"Just think, grandfather," springing
up and running to him with outstretched
arms, we are invited to a party at Miss
Kate's, and it is to last all day, from
the morning until sunset. We wish you
were a little boy so you could go too."
"Maybe I can go even if I am not a
little boy," said grandfather. You
don't think Miss Kate would send me
home, do you? "
"Oh, grandfather, just think of a
grown-up gentleman being sent home!"
"Well, I suppose you'll want some-
thing to eat, even if you are going to a
party to-morrow, so you had much better
come in to your supper, and then we'll
arrange how to get you there and back."
Grandfather," began Sister rather
timidly, would you and mamma and the
aunties be willing to let us take old Char-
ley and drive all alone to Miss Kate's?"
Grandfather looked rather doubtful at
this and made his mouth look as though
he were going to whistle. "I don't
know about that."
I'm sure dear old Charley would not
run away with us," urged Brother.
"Oh no, he would not run away;
there would be more danger of his stand-
ing still with you."
92 THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
"But I could get out and pull him."
"And I could lean over the dash-
board and push him."
Grandfather laughed. I'm, afraid it
would be too much of a responsibility for
two such little people."
But, grandfather, that is just what
we would like. All my life I've wanted
to take Brother on a journey where I'd
have all the-the re-spons'bility of him.
He could get out often and look at the
buckles and wheels."
But what if Charley should decide to
stop 'and rest just as you were cross-
ing the yawning valley, and you should
sit and yawn at each other until you went
to sleep, and Charley went to sleep, and
none of you would wake until evening,
and the party would be over."
Oh, how perfectly awful that would
After talking over the proposed drive
in all its lights, it was finally decided
that it would be quite safe for the chil-
dren to take old Charley and drive them-
selves as far as Mrs. Vale's the next
morning, where they would pick Joey up,
and with him make the rest of the jour-
ney to Fair View, two miles farther on.
Many were the charges and warnings
given to them as they started. The two
little ones were kissed and hugged and
as many good-byes spoken as if they
were starting for a journey around the
world. Indeed a journey around the
world could hardly have impressed them
more deeply. All things seemed to com-
bine to begin the festive day well. The
sun shone brightly, the birds sang,
Brother was as well as if he had never
been the head of the Swiss Family Rob-
inson, Sister had had most radiant dreams
all night, and old Charley was in his
You had better go down past the
barn, so Charley can drink at the branch;
then he will not want to stop at any of
the other drinking places. Sister will
94 THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
drive as far as the crooked oak, then
Brother will take his turn and drive to
Mrs. Vale's. And you had better leave
Bingo there until you come back, be-
cause he might want to fight dogs along
The children promised to remember
and obey all directions, and the wheels
began to turn slowly along the grassy
carriage way, which led across the upper
part of the vineyard, and down a long
slope at the foot of which ran a little
brook, or branch," as such is called in
Virginia. In this Charley dearly loved
to drink and meditate, with his feet firmly
planted among the pebbles and the clear
water running over them. Sometimes he
stood so long that Brother more than
once had been obliged to climb out over
the back of the buggy and wade around
to his head and lead him to land. He
was always forgiven for these failures, as
his little friends believed that when he
"went in wading he got to thinking
about when he was a colt and forgot all
about being a horse."
But this morning it would be rather a
serious thing if he were to forget, as
Brother had on shoes and stockings and
his best white sailor suit. So they used
all the time between the house and brook
planning what to do should he stop in
And sure enough, Charley did stop, and
he seemed to forget even more completely
than usual. He must have thought over
each of his coltish days separately.
Brother was just about to undress his feet
when he was much relieved to see coming
along the road an old man. The old man
saw their trouble and turned into the field.
Can't you make your horse go ? "
No, sir; and I've got my shoes and
stockings and my good clothes on, and
so I can't wade in to pull him out."
And can two such little girls drive
about alone ? "
They were carefully tucked under a
96 THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
linen carriage robe to protect them from
dust, so Brother's trousers were hidden
from view, and the long, light hair hang-
ing about his chubby face made him look
as much like a girl as like a boy. Still,
a boy's heart beat within his bosom, and
it was not in a boy's nature to let such a
mistake go. So he said in a polite and
"You misunderstand me, sir; I am a
But the old gentleman must have been
very deaf, for he replied smilingly:
Well, I'm nigh on to eighty years,
and I never saw two such pretty little
Poor Brother looked sad, and was
about to explain further, when Sister
nudged him, and whispered to him not
to mind, then piped out shrilly: "We are
going to a party, sir, and we are not in
our bare feet, so we can't go into the
water, and we will be very glad if you
will please pull him out for us."
"Yes, that is what I came to do."
And he hooked the bent head of his cane
into Charley's bridle and led him ashore.
" You had better not let him go into any
more water, and drive carefully. Good-
bye, little ladies."
Good-bye, sir, and thank you very
They began again their slow forward
movement, but Brother objected: Sister,
you ought to have let me explain; now
he will always think I am a girl."
At the foot of every little rise of ground
Charley stopped to rest, and again at the
top. At each of these pauses, which
his loving little friends thought were
necessary in order to restore his breath
and strength, they bemoaned their weight
and wondered if they were driving him too
fast. At last a turn in the road brought
them in sight of the Vale farmhouse, and
they were glad to see Joey (to whom
word had been sent) standing in the road
and waving for them to hurry.
98 THE FARM'S LITTLE PEOPLE
Joey has on shoes and stockings,"
said Brother aghast.
Red stockings," added Sister.
He is awfully dressed up. I didn't
know he had shoes or stockings, did
No; and I do hope he won't seem
proud with us. I'm more afraid of him,
though he always seems an awfully big
boy. I'm almost sorry we came."
"Never mind, Sister; I'll tell him
about the quail's nest that we have most
found, and that will make him think we
are rather big."
But in spite of their fears, Joey greeted
them in a most cordial and gay manner.
He looked overheated and crowded
into his clothes, and his hands and face
had rather a puffy look from the un-
wonted collar and cuffs out of which they
came. He hastily climbed into the buggy
It was very good of your grandfather
to have you stop for me."