The Merry Little Breezes Have a Busy Day 🌬️

Written by Thornton W. Burgess

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Old Mother West Wind came down from the Purple Hills in the shadowy coolness of the early morning, before even jolly, round, red Mr. Sun had thrown off his rosy covers for his daily climb up through the blue sky. The last little star was blinking sleepily as Old Mother West Wind turned her big bag upside down on the Green Meadows and all her children, the Merry Little Breezes, tumbled out on the soft green grass.

Then Old Mother West Wind kissed them all around and hurried away to hunt for a rain cloud which had gone astray. The Merry Little Breezes watched her go. Then they played hide and seek until jolly, round, red Mr. Sun had climbed out of bed and was smiling down on the Green Meadows.

Pretty soon along came Peter Rabbit, hoppity-hoppity-hop.

“Hello, Peter Rabbit!” shouted the Merry Little Breezes. “Come play with us!”

“Can’t,” said Peter Rabbit. “I have to go find some tender young carrots for my breakfast,” and away he hurried, hoppity-hoppity-hop.

In a few minutes Jimmy Skunk came in sight and he seemed to be almost hurrying along the Crooked Little Path down the hill. The Merry Little Breezes danced over to meet him.

“Hello, Jimmy Skunk!” they cried. “Come play with us!”

Jimmy Skunk shook his head. “Can’t,” he said. “I have to go look for some beetles for my breakfast,” and off he went looking under every old stick and pulling over every stone not too big for his strength.

The Merry Little Breezes watched him for a few minutes and then raced over to the Laughing Brook. There they found Billy Mink stealing softly down towards the Smiling Pool.

“Oh, Billy Mink, come play with us,” begged the Merry Little Breezes.

“Can’t,” said Billy Mink. “I have to catch a trout for Grandfather Mink’s breakfast,” and he crept on towards the Smiling Pool.

Just then along came Bumble the Bee. Now Bumble the Bee is a lazy fellow who always makes a great fuss, as if he was the busiest and most important fellow in the world.

“Good morning, Bumble,” cried the Merry Little Breezes. “Come play with us!”

“Buzz, buzz, buzz,” grumbled Bumble the Bee. “Can’t, for I have to get a sack of honey,” and off he hurried to the nearest dandelion.

Then the Merry Little Breezes hunted up Johnny Chuck. But Johnny Chuck was busy, too busy to play. Bobby Coon was asleep, for he had been out all night. Reddy Fox also asleep. Striped Chipmunk was in such a hurry to fill the pockets in his cheeks that he could hardly stop to say good morning. Happy Jack Squirrel just flirted his big tail and rushed away as if he had many important things to attend to.

Finally the Merry Little Breezes gave up and sat down among the buttercups and daisies to talk it over. Every one seemed to have something to do, every one but themselves. It was such a busy world that sunshiny morning! Pretty soon one of the Merry Little Breezes hopped up very suddenly and began the maddest little dance among the buttercups.

“As we haven’t anything to do for ourselves let’s do something for somebody else!” he shouted.

Up jumped all the Little Breezes, clapping their hands.

“Oh let’s!” they shouted.

Way over across the Green Meadows they could see two long ears above the nodding daisies.

“There’s Peter Rabbit,” cried one. “Let’s help him find those tender young carrots!”

No sooner proposed than off they all raced to see who could reach Peter first. Peter was sitting up very straight, looking this way and that way for some tender young carrots, but not one had he found, and his stomach was empty. The Merry Little Breezes stopped just long enough to tickle his long ears and pull his whiskers, then away they raced, scattering in all directions, to see who could first find a tender young carrot for Peter Rabbit. By and by when one of them did find a field of tender young carrots he rushed off, taking the smell of them with him to tickle the nose of Peter Rabbit.

Peter wriggled his nose, his funny little nose, very fast when it was tickled with the smell of tender young carrots, and the Merry Little Breeze laughed to see him.

“Come on, Peter Rabbit, for this is my busy day!” he cried.

Peter Rabbit didn’t have to be invited twice. Away he went, hoppity-hoppity-hop, as fast as his long legs could take him after the Merry Little Breeze. And soon they came to the field of tender young carrots.

“Oh thank you, Merry Little Breeze!” cried Peter Rabbit, and straightway began to eat his breakfast.

Another Merry Little Breeze, slipping up the Crooked Little Path on the hill, spied the hind legs of a fat beetle sticking out from under a flat stone. At once the Little Breeze remembered Jimmy Skunk, who was hunting for beetles for his breakfast. Off rushed the Little Breeze in merry whirls that made the grasses sway and bend and the daisies nod.

When after a long, long hunt he found Jimmy Skunk, Jimmy was very much out of sorts. In fact Jimmy Skunk was positively cross. You see, he hadn’t had any breakfast, for hunt as he would he couldn’t find a single beetle.

When the Merry Little Breeze danced up behind Jimmy Skunk and, just in fun, rumpled up his black and white coat, Jimmy lost his temper. In fact he said some things not at all nice to the Merry Little Breeze. But the Merry Little Breeze just laughed. The more he laughed the angrier Jimmy Skunk grew, and the angrier Jimmy Skunk grew the more the Merry Little Breeze laughed. It was such a jolly laugh that pretty soon Jimmy Skunk began to grin a little sheepishly, then to really smile and finally to laugh outright in spite of his empty stomach. You see it is very hard, very hard indeed and very foolish, to remain angry when someone else is perfectly good natured.

Suddenly the Merry Little Breeze danced up to Jimmy Skunk and whispered in his right ear. Then he danced around and whispered in his left ear. Jimmy Skunk’s eyes snapped and his mouth began to water.

“Where, Little Breeze, where?” he begged.

“Follow me,” cried the Merry Little Breeze, racing off up the Crooked Little Path so fast that Jimmy Skunk lost his breath trying to keep up, for you know Jimmy Skunk seldom hurries.

When they came to the big flat stone Jimmy Skunk grasped it with both hands and pulled and pulled. Up came the stone so suddenly that Jimmy Skunk fell over flat on his back. When he had scrambled to his feet there were beetles and beetles, running in every direction to find a place to hide.

“Thank you, thank you, Little Breeze,” shouted Jimmy Skunk as he started to catch beetles for his breakfast.

And the Little Breeze laughed happily as he danced away to join the other Merry Little Breezes on the Green Meadows. There he found them very, very busy, very busy indeed, so busy that they could hardly find time to nod to him. What do you think they were doing? They were toting gold! Yes, Sir, toting gold! And this is how it happened:

While the first Little Breeze was showing Peter Rabbit the field of tender young carrots, and while the second Little Breeze was leading Jimmy Skunk to the flat stone and the beetles, the other Merry Little Breezes had found Bumble the Bee. Now Bumble the Bee is a lazy fellow, though he pretends to be the busiest fellow in the world, and they found him grumbling as he buzzed with a great deal of fuss from one flower to another.

“What’s the matter, Bumble?” cried the Merry Little Breezes.

“Matter enough,” grumbled Bumble the Bee. “I’ve got to make a sack of honey, and as if that isn’t enough, old Mother Nature has ordered me to carry a sack of gold from each flower I visit to the next flower I visit. If I don’t I can get no honey. Buzz-buzz-buzz,” grumbled Bumble the Bee.

The Merry Little Breezes looked at the million little flowers on the Green Meadows, each waiting with a sack of gold to give and a sack of gold to receive. Then they looked at each other and shouted happily, for they too would now be able to cry “busy, busy, busy.”

From flower to flower they hurried, each with a bag of gold over his shoulder. Wherever they left a bag they took a bag, and all the little flowers nodded happily to see the Merry Little Breezes at work.

Jolly, round, red Mr. Sun climbed higher and higher and higher in the blue sky, where he could look down and see all things, great and small. His smile was broader than ever as he watched the hurrying, scurrying Little Breezes working instead of playing. Yet after all it was a kind of play, for they danced from flower to flower and ran races across bare places where no flowers grew.

By and by the Merry Little Breezes met Peter Rabbit. Now Peter Rabbit had made a good breakfast of tender young carrots, so he felt very good, very good indeed.

“Hi!” shouted Peter Rabbit, “come play with me.”

“Can’t,” cried the Merry Little Breezes all together, “we have work to do!”

Off they hurried, while Peter Rabbit stretched himself out full length in a sunny spot, for Peter Rabbit is also a lazy fellow.

Down the Crooked Little Path onto the Green Meadows came Jimmy Skunk.

“Ho!” shouted Jimmy Skunk as soon as he saw the Little Breezes, “come play with me.”

“Can’t,” cried the Little Breezes, “for we are busy, busy, busy,” and they laughed happily.

When they reached the Laughing Brook they found Billy Mink curled up in a round ball, fast asleep. It isn’t often that Billy Mink is caught napping, but he had had a good breakfast of trout, he had found no one to play with and, as he never works and the day was so bright and warm, he had first looked for a place where he thought no one would find him and had then curled himself up to sleep, One of the Little Breezes laid down the bag of gold he was carrying and creeping ever so softly over to Billy Mink began to tickle one of Billy’s ears with a straw.

At first Billy Mink didn’t open his eyes, but rubbed his ear with a little black hand. Finally he jumped to his feet wide awake and ready to fight whoever was bothering him. But all he saw was a laughing Little Breeze running away with a bag of gold on his back.

So all day long, till Old Mother West Wind came with her big bag to carry them to their home behind the Purple Hills, the Merry Little Breezes hurried this way and that way over the Green Meadows. No wee flower was too tiny to give and receive its share of gold, and not one was overlooked by the Merry Little Breezes.

Old Mother Nature, who knows everything, heard of the busy day of the Merry Little Breezes. Nobody knows how she heard of it. Perhaps jolly, round, red Mr. Sun told her. Perhaps—oh, never mind. You can’t fool old Mother Nature anyway and it’s of no use to try.

So old Mother Nature visited the Green Meadows to see for herself, and when she found how the Merry Little Breezes had distributed the gold she was so pleased that straightway she announced to all the world that from this day forward and for all time the Merry Little Breezes of Old Mother West Wind should have charge of the distribution of the gold of the flowers on the Green Meadows, which they have to this day.

And since that day the Merry Little Breezes have been merrier than ever, for they have found that it is not nearly so much fun to play all the time, but that to work for some good in the world is the greatest fun of all.

So every year when the gold of the flowers, which some people do not know is gold at all but call pollen, is ready you will find the Merry Little Breezes of Old Mother West Wind very, very busy among the flowers on the Green Meadows. And this is the happiest time of all.

Striped Chipmunk’s Pockets 🐿️

Written by Thornton W. Burgess

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It was one of Striped Chipmunk’s busy days. Every day is a busy day with Striped Chipmunk at this season of the year, for the sweet acorns are ripe and the hickory nuts rattle down whenever Old Mother West Wind shakes the trees, while every night Jack Frost opens chestnut burrs just to see the squirrels scamper for the plump brown nuts the next morning.

So Striped Chipmunk was very busy, very busy indeed! He whisked in and out of the old stone wall along one edge of the Green Meadows. Back and forth, back and forth, sometimes to the old hickory tree, sometimes to the hollow chestnut tree, sometimes to the great oak on the edge of the Green Forest Striped Chipmunk scampered.

Old Mother West Wind, coming down from the Purple Hills very early in the morning, had found Striped Chipmunk up before her and hard at work. Later, when jolly, round, red Mr. Sun had climbed up into the sky, the Merry Little Breezes had spied Striped Chipmunk whisking along the old stone wall and had raced over to play with him, for the Merry Little Breezes are very fond of Striped Chipmunk. They got there just in time to see him disappear under a great stone in the old wall. In a minute he was out again and off as fast as he could go to the old hickory tree.

“Oh, Striped Chipmunk, come play with us,” shouted the Merry Little Breezes, running after him.

But Striped Chipmunk just flirted his funny little tail and winked with both his bright eyes at them.

“Busy! busy! busy!” said Striped Chipmunk, hurrying along as fast as his short legs could take him.

The Merry Little Breezes laughed, and one of them, dancing ahead, pulled the funny little tail of Striped Chipmunk.

“It’s a beautiful day; do come and play with us,” cried the Merry Little Breeze.

But Striped Chipmunk flirted his tail once over his back.

“Busy! busy! busy!” he shouted over his shoulder and ran faster than ever.

In a few minutes he was back again, but such a strange-looking fellow he was! His head was twice as big as it had been before and you would hardly have known that it was Striped Chipmunk but for the saucy way he twitched his funny little tail and the spry way he scampered along the old stone wall.

“Oh, Striped Chipmunk’s got the mumps!” shouted the Merry Little Breezes.

But Striped Chipmunk said never a word. He couldn’t. He ran faster than ever until he disappeared under the big stone. When he popped his head out again he was just his usual saucy little self.

“Say, Striped Chipmunk,” cried the Merry Little Breezes, rushing over to him, “tell us how you happen to have pockets in your cheeks.”

But Striped Chipmunk just snapped his bright eyes at them and said “Busy! busy! busy!” as he scuttled over to the hollow chestnut tree.

The Merry Little Breezes saw that it was no use at all to try to tempt Striped Chipmunk to play with them or to answer questions.

“I tell you what,” cried one, “let’s go ask Great-Grandfather Frog how Striped Chipmunk happens to have pockets in his cheeks. He’ll know.”

So away they started, after they had raced over to the big hollow chestnut tree and sent a shower of brown nuts rattling down to Striped Chipmunk from the burrs that Jack Frost had opened the night before.

“Good-bye, Striped Chipmunk,” they shouted as they romped across the Green Meadows. And Striped Chipmunk stopped long enough to shout “Good-bye” before he filled his pockets with the brown nuts.

Old Grandfather Frog sat on his big green lily pad blinking in the sun. It was very still, very, very still indeed. Suddenly out of the brown bulrushes burst the Merry Little Breezes and surrounded old Grandfather Frog. And every one of them had brought to him a fat, foolish, green fly.

Grandfather’s big goggly eyes sparkled and he gave a funny little hop up into the air as he caught each foolish green fly. When the last one was safely inside his white and yellow waistcoat he settled himself comfortably on the big green lily pad and folded his hands over the foolish green flies.

“Ribbit!” said Grandfather Frog. “What is it you want this morning?”

“Oh, Grandfather Frog,” cried the Merry Little Breezes, “tell us how it happens that Striped Chipmunk has pockets in his cheeks. Do tell us, Grandfather Frog. Please do!”

“Ribbit,” said Grandfather Frog. “How should I know?”

“But you do know, Grandfather Frog, you know you do. Please tell us!” cried the Merry Little Breezes as they settled themselves among the rushes.

And presently Grandfather Frog began:

“Once upon a time—a long, long while ago—”

“When the world was young?” asked a mischievous little Breeze.

Grandfather Frog pretended to be very much put out by the interruption, and tried to look very severe. But the Merry Little Breezes were all giggling, so that presently he had to smile too.

“Yes,” said he, “it was when the world was young, before old King Bear became king. Mr. Chipmunk, Striped Chipmunk’s great-great-great-grandfather a thousand times removed, was the smallest of the squirrels, just as Striped Chipmunk is now. But he didn’t mind that, not the least little bit. Mr. Gray Squirrel was four times as big and had a handsome tail, Mr. Fox Squirrel was four times as big and he also had a handsome tail, Mr. Red Squirrel was twice as big and he thought his tail was very good to see. But Mr. Chipmunk didn’t envy his big cousins’ their fine tails; not he! You see he had himself a beautiful striped coat of which he was very proud and which he thought much more to be desired than a big tail.

“So Mr. Chipmunk went his way happy and contented and he was such a merry little fellow and so full of fun and cut such funny capers that everybody loved Mr. Chipmunk.

“One day, when the nights were cool and all the trees had put on their brilliant colors, old Mother Nature sent word down across the Green Meadows that every squirrel should gather for her and store away until she came a thousand nuts. Now the squirrels had grown fat and lazy through the long summer, all but Mr. Chipmunk, who frisked about so much that he had no chance to grow fat.

“Mr. Gray Squirrel grumbled. Mr. Fox Squirrel grumbled. Mr. Red Squirrel grumbled. But they didn’t dare disobey old Mother Nature, so they all set out, each to gather a thousand nuts. And Mr. Chipmunk alone was pleasant and cheerful.

“When they reached the nut trees, what do you suppose they discovered? Why, that they had been so greedy that they had eaten most of the nuts and it was going to be hard work to find and store a thousand nuts for old Mother Nature. Then they began to hurry, did Mr. Gray Squirrel and Mr. Fox Squirrel and Mr. Red Squirrel, each trying to make sure of his thousand nuts. They quarreled and they fought over the nuts on the ground and even up in the trees. And because they were so big and so strong, they pushed Mr. Chipmunk this way and they pushed him that way and often just as he was going to pick up a fat nut one of them would knock him over and make off with the prize.

“Poor Mr. Chipmunk kept his temper and was as polite as ever, but how did he work! His cousins are great climbers and could get the nuts still left on the trees, but Mr. Chipmunk is a poor climber, so he had to be content with those on the ground. Of course he could carry only one nut at a time and his legs were so short that he had to run as fast as ever he could to store each nut in his secret store-house and get back for another. And while the others quarreled and fought, he hurried back and forth, back and forth, from early morning until jolly, round, red Mr. Sun pulled his night cap on behind the Purple Hills, hunting for nuts and putting them away in his secret store-house.

“But the nuts grew scarcer and scarcer on the ground and harder to find, for the other squirrels were picking them up too, and then they did not have so far to carry them.

“Sometimes one of his cousins up in the trees would drop a nut, but Mr. Chipmunk never would take it, not even when he was working hard to find any, ‘for,’ said he to himself, ‘if my cousin drops a nut, it is his nut just the same.’

“Finally Mr. Gray Squirrel announced that he had got his thousand nuts. Then Mr. Fox Squirrel announced that he had got his thousand nuts. The next day Mr. Red Squirrel stopped hunting because he had his thousand nuts.

“But Mr. Chipmunk had hardly more than half as many. And that night he made a dreadful discovery—someone had found his secret store-house and had stolen some of his precious nuts.

“‘It’s of no use to cry over what can’t be helped,’ said Mr. Chipmunk, and the next morning he bravely started out again. He had worked so hard that he had grown thinner and thinner until now he was only a shadow of his old self. But he was as cheerful as ever and kept right on hunting and hunting for stray nuts. Mr. Gray Squirrel and Mr. Fox Squirrel and Mr. Red Squirrel sat around and rested and made fun of him. Way up in the tops of the tallest trees a few nuts still clung, but his cousins did not once offer to go up and shake them down for Mr. Chipmunk.

“And then old Mother Nature came down across the Green Meadows. First Mr. Gray Squirrel took her to his storehouse and she counted his thousand nuts. Then Mr. Fox Squirrel led her to his storehouse and she counted his thousand nuts. Then Mr. Red Squirrel showed her his store-house and she counted his thousand nuts.

“Last of all Mr. Chipmunk led her to his secret store-house and showed her the pile of nuts he had worked so hard to get. Old Mother Nature didn’t need to count them to see that there were not a thousand there.

“‘I’ve done the best I could,’ said Mr. Chipmunk bravely, and he trembled all over, he was so tired.

“Old Mother Nature said never a word but went out on the Green Meadows and sent the Merry Little Breezes to call together all the meadow people and all the forest folks. When they had all gathered before her she suddenly turned to Mr. Gray Squirrel.

“‘Go bring me a hundred nuts from your store-house,’ said she.

“Then she turned to Mr. Fox Squirrel.

“‘Go bring me a hundred nuts from your store-house,’ said she.

“Last of all she called Mr. Red Squirrel out where all could see him. Mr. Red Squirrel crept out very slowly. His teeth chattered and his tail, of which he was so proud, dragged on the ground, for you see Mr. Red Squirrel had something on his mind.

“Then old Mother Nature told how she had ordered each squirrel to get and store for her a thousand nuts. She told just how selfish Mr. Gray Squirrel and Mr. Fox Squirrel had been. She told just how hard Mr. Chipmunk had worked and then she told how part of his precious store had been stolen.

“‘And there,’ said old Mother Nature in a loud voice so that everyone should hear, ‘there is the thief!’

“Then she commanded Mr. Red Squirrel to go to his store-house and bring her half of the biggest and best nuts he had there!

“Mr. Red Squirrel sneaked off with his head hanging, and he began to bring the nuts. And as he tramped back and forth, back and forth, all the meadow people and all the forest folks pointed their fingers at him and cried ‘Thief! Thief! Thief!’

“When all the nuts had been brought to her by Mr. Gray Squirrel and Mr. Fox Squirrel and Mr. Red Squirrel, old Mother Nature gathered them up and put them in the secret store-house of Mr. Chipmunk. Then she set Mr. Chipmunk up on an old stump where all could see him and she said:

“‘Mr. Chipmunk, because you have been faithful, because you have been cheerful, because you have done your best, henceforth you shall have two pockets, one in each cheek, so that you can carry two nuts at once, that you may not have to work so hard the next time I tell you to store a thousand nuts.’

“And all the meadow people and all the forest folks shouted ‘Hurrah for Mr. Chipmunk!’ All but his cousins, Mr. Gray Squirrel and Mr. Fox Squirrel and Mr. Red Squirrel, who hid themselves for shame.

“And ever since that time long ago, when the world was young, the Chipmunks have had pockets in their cheeks.

“You can’t fool old Mother Nature,” concluded Great-Grandfather Frog. “No, Sir, you can’t fool old Mother Nature and it’s no use to try.”

“Thank you, thank you,” cried the Merry Little Breezes, clapping their hands. Then they all raced across the Green Meadows to shake down some more nuts for Striped Chipmunk.

Going to the Fair 🎡

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Erin is excited about going to the fair with her friends then next day. She is having trouble sleeping and can see the lights from the exhibition grounds from her window. Erin dreams of first prize with a pumpkin that has grown twice her size. Enjoy a day at the fair with Erin and her friends.

✨ Going to the Fair is written by Sheryl McFarlane a Canadian author who has written sixteen books for children. Waiting for Whales, Jessie’s Island, and Eagle Dreams are a few of her award-winning books. Sheryl enjoys reading, renovating old houses, gardening, and stocking a little free library for her friends and neighbours.✨

👉 You can find more information about her and her books at her website sherylmcfarlane.ca.

Lobster in my Pocket 🦞

Story by Deirdre Kessler.

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This Maritime classic tells the magical story of Lee, a lonely girl in a coastal fishing village. One day she meets Lucky, a talking lobster trapped in a crate on the wharf. Lee sets Lucky free, and the two become friends. When Lee falls into the ocean during a terrible storm, Lucky shows how much he cares about her!

✨ Deirdre Kessler is a Prince Edward Island writer and teacher. She is the author of five novels for young people and seven picture books, including the award-winning “Brupp Rides Again“. She teaches children’s literature and creative writing at the University of Prince Edward Island. For more information see her website deirdrekessler.com.✨

Used with permission of the author. Book art by Brenda Jones.

🌊 Please note that the water scene might be upsetting to some children.

Blackie, A Lost Cat. Chapter 12 🐈

Story by Richard Barnum.

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Well,” said Blackie to herself, after walking up and down the dusty porch, “I can’t get in the house, that’s for sure. But I simply can’t go away from it again, even if the family has moved away. If I stay around here perhaps Arthur or Mabel will come back. They may have forgotten something, and if they do come back, and see me, they’ll take me to the new home with them. Yes, I shall stay here.”

“But wait a minute. I’ll go next door and ask Speckle where my folks are. He may know.”

But alas for poor Blackie! The house next door was closed too, and Speckle was not around. And Blackie did not feel like asking the dog who lived in the other yard.

“I’ll just have to stay here,” thought Blackie. “I’ll go under the stoop where no stray dogs will see me, and there I’ll stay.”

Under the stoop of the house where she used to live crept Blackie, not exactly a lost cat any longer, but still a cat without a home to go into.

“And I’m hungry, too,” thought Blackie. “I wish I had something to eat, or some milk to drink.”

Blackie stayed under the stoop all that day. Late in the afternoon she looked out, wondering where she could go to get something to eat or drink. And, as she poked out her head a milkman, driving his horse and wagon down the street, saw Blackie.

“Hello!” he exclaimed, stopping his horse. “The family that lives in that house is away, and that cat must be hungry. I have a little milk left in one of my cans. I’ll give her some.”

The kind milkman got out of his wagon, and with some milk in the top of one of his big cans, brought it over to Blackie. The black cat was not afraid of him, for he spoke so kindly to her.

“Here, kitty!” said the man. “Here is some milk for you. What shall I put it in? Ah, here is an empty sardine tin, that will hold it nicely.” He poured the milk in the tin. Oh! how good that milk did taste to hungry and thirsty Blackie! She just purred, she was so thankful to that man.

He watched her drink the milk, and patted her on the back, even rubbing her under the ears a little, and Blackie liked that.

“If you’re here to-morrow I’ll give you more milk,” said the man. Blackie wished he could speak her kind of talk, so she might ask him where Mabel, Arthur and the rest of the family had gone, but she could not do that.

“Well, I feel a little better,” said Blackie to herself, as she licked the milk off her whiskers with her red tongue. “I can sleep to-night I hope.”

Blackie curled up under the stoop and got ready to go to sleep. It was not yet night but soon would be. Now and then Blackie heard the dog in the next yard barking, and once another dog came snooping along the stoop where the black cat was hiding. But Blackie arched up her back, made her tail big, and hissed like a snake.

“Wuff!” barked the dog, as he ran away. “Wuff! Wow!”

“Well, I learned how to scare dogs even if I can’t jump fences as well as Speckle can,” thought Blackie. “Now I won’t be so afraid of the dog next door. Maybe I can scare him, and, if I can, life will be easier for me and Speckle, so I will have learned something by having run away and been a lost cat.”

Blackie went to sleep for a while, but suddenly she was awakened by a strange sound. Someone was running up the steps over her as she lay under the porch. Then she heard voices.

“Oh, Mabel!” cried a boy. “Aren’t you glad to be home again?”

“I guess so, Arthur,” answered a little girl. “But it was nice in the country on our vacation. Oh, if only we had Blackie back I would be happy.”

“So would I. I looked for her in the country, but I didn’t see her. Look, the people next door aren’t home yet.”

“Wait a minute, children, and Daddy will open the door for us,” said a lady’s voice.

Blackie was wide awake now.

“Why—why—!” exclaimed the black cat. “The folks have come home! That is Mabel and Arthur! I wonder where they have been? Oh, how glad I am! Now I am all right.”

Blackie heard the front door of the house open. Then she heard the children run inside.

“Here is where I surprise them,” thought the black cat.

Out from under the stoop crawled Blackie. Up the steps she went, and in through the open front door. She could hear the children in the kitchen now, getting drinks of water, and Blackie walked toward them, hoping there was something to eat in the house.

The gas was lighted in the kitchen. Mabel and Arthur stood near the sink, drinking. The little girl was the first to spy Blackie, who walked in, her tail held up straight like a fishing pole. “Why—why!” cried Mabel, rubbing her eyes to make sure she was wide awake. “Why, look, Arthur! There’s Blackie!”

“Blackie? Where?”

“Right here. Oh, Blackie, you’ve come back to us; haven’t you? Oh, how glad I am!” and Mabel caught Blackie up in her arms.

“Oh, you dear Blackie!” cried Arthur, rubbing the cat on the head. “Where have you been all this while, and where did you come from? Oh, how glad I am, and happy.”

“Purrr-r-r-r!” said Blackie, and that was her way of saying that she, too, was happy.

“Look, mother!” cried Mabel. “Blackie is back!”

“You don’t mean it!” said the lady. “Why, isn’t that strange!”

“She ran away just before we went on our summer vacation,” said Arthur, “and now when we have come back she is here to meet us.”

Then Blackie understood. The house had been closed because the folks were away in the country for a vacation. And she had reached home the very day they came back. Wasn’t Blackie a lucky cat?

Well, you can just imagine how glad Arthur and Mabel were to see Blackie. They took turns holding her and petting her, and when their father came in, a little later, with the bags and bundles from the train, he, too, pet Blackie.

“My, but how thin and poor Blackie has grown,” said Mabel’s mother. “She must have had a mighty hard time while she was on her vacation.”

“Oh, mother! Cats don’t have a vacation!” laughed Arthur.

“Well, I guess Blackie did,” said the lady. “She must have had many adventures.”

And Blackie had, as you can tell by this book. Of course Blackie herself could not tell them about her own adventures, as she can not write or talk our language, so I have written them down for her.

Blackie was given a fine supper and then she washed herself and went to sleep on her own soft cushion again. And oh! how good it felt after her nights of sleeping under haystacks, and among boxes and barrels!

In a few days Blackie began to get fat again and soon she was like herself. She even dared get up on the fence and make faces at the dog next door, and he was so surprised at seeing how brave Blackie was that he forgot to bark.

Blackie was lonesome for Speckle, the other cat, as she wanted to tell him some of her adventures, but he was not home, nor were the people who lived in the house. But one day Blackie heard a noise in the next yard. She heard a door in the house open.

“Oh, perhaps that is Speckle coming back!” Blackie thought.

She gave a jump, and easily went over the fence, and there, surely enough, in the yard, was Speckle.

“Why, how well you jumped that fence!” said Speckle.

“Yes, I learned that on my journey when I was lost and had so many adventures,” cried Blackie.

“That’s right, you did go away,” said Speckle. “I had forgotten.”

“Where have you been?” asked Blackie.

“Oh, off in the country on a vacation with my folks,” answered the other cat. “I had a fine time, too. Did you?”

“Well, no, not all the while,” Blackie answered. “But I think the trip did me good. I met Dido, a dancing bear, Tum Tum, the jolly elephant, and Flop Ear, the rabbit!”

“My! You did have some time!” meowed Speckle. “You must tell me all about your adventures.”

And Blackie did, especially about Flop Ear. And as that little chap had many things happen to him I am going to put them in a book so you may read them. It will be called: “Flop Ear, the Funny Rabbit; His Many Adventures.”

“Yes, you certainly had quite a time,” spoke Speckle, as Blackie finished telling him of her journey.

“And I learned how to scare dogs, too, as well as how to jump fences,” said Blackie. “Come on over and I’ll show you how to scare the dog next door when he barks at us.”

And the two cats went up on the fence and made funny faces at the dog, which so surprised him that he crept into his house, and did not even growl.

So having brought Blackie safely home again, I will tell her good-by for all of you.

THE END

The Little Dressmaker 👗

Story by Eleanor Farjeon an English author of children’s stories and plays, poetry, biography, history and satire.

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There was once a Little Dressmaker who was apprentice to a Big Dressmaker. But although she was only an apprentice she cut her patterns so beautifully, and took her stitches so daintily, and had such charming fancies about the dresses she made, that she was really the best dressmaker in the kingdom, and the Big Dressmaker knew it. But the Little Dressmaker was so young and so modest, that the Big Dressmaker said to herself:

‘There is no need to tell Lotta she is a better dressmaker than I am. If I don’t tell her, she will never find out for herself, and if I do tell her she will go away and set up a Rival business.’

So the Big Dressmaker held her tongue, and did not always praise Lotta when she had done something prettier than usual, and quite often scolded her when she had done nothing whatever to deserve it. But Lotta took it all in good part; and she did not suspect her own worth, even when the Big Dressmaker came to her for advice, as, when she had a particularly important order, she always did.

‘The Marchioness of Roley-Poley has just been in to order a ball dress, Lotta,’ the Big Dressmaker would say. ‘She fancies herself in a peach-coloured silk.’

‘Oh, what a pity!’ Lotta would cry. ‘She would look so much better in plum-coloured velvet.’

‘Exactly what I told her,’ said the Big Dressmaker. ‘She wants seventeen flounces on the skirt.’

‘Fancy that!’ exclaimed Lotta. ‘She ought to have it as plain as plain but with a dignified cut.’

‘Precisely,’ said the Big Dressmaker. ‘As I said to the Marchioness with my very own lips, a dignified cut is the thing, and as plain as plain can be.’

So instead of making the Marchioness of Roley-Poley a flouncy peach-coloured dress, they made her a dignified plum-coloured one; and the Marchioness looked extremely imposing at the Queen’s reception, and everybody said, ‘The Big Dressmaker is a genius.’
But it was really little Lotta.

Now you must know that the Queen of the country was seventy years old and, being unmarried, had no children to succeed to the throne. But if she had never been a mother, she had at least been, for twenty-five years, an aunt; and her nephew, who was King of the kingdom next door, would in the course of time rule over her country as well as his own. He hadn’t visited his aunt for twenty years, but reports said he was a charming young man, and, like his aunt, he was unmarried—a circumstance which bothered her so much that she wrote to him about it twice a year: at Christmas and on his birthday. But he always wrote back:

‘Dear Aunt Georgey,

Thank you awfully for the jolly pencil-case.

Your loving Nephew,

Richard.

P.S. There’s plenty of time.’

But old Georgina was seventy and young King Richard was twenty-five, and at seventy there does not seem to be quite so much time as there does at twenty-five; so presently the Queen, who was a masterful old lady, wrote a letter in between Christmas and his birthday, to tell him he must come to her Court and choose for himself a bride from among the Court ladies, because she was sick and tired of his stuff and nonsense. As this time she hadn’t sent him a pencil-case, the King couldn’t put it off with thanks, and the chief part of his letter had to be about the marriage. So he wrote:

‘Dear Aunt Georgey,

Just as you like.

Your loving Nephew,

Richard.

P.S. I won’t marry anybody who isn’t nineteen-and-a-half years old, and nineteen-and-a-half inches round the waist.’

The Queen immediately summoned all the Court ladies of nineteen-and-a-half years old, and had them measured. There were exactly three whose waists were nineteen-and-a-half inches, no more and no less. So she wrote again to her nephew.

‘My dear Richard,

The Duchess of Junkets, the Countess of Caramel, and the Lady Blanche Blancmange will all be twenty next December; the present month being June. They are delightful girls, and their waists meet your requirements. Come and choose for yourself.

Your affectionate Aunt,

Georgina Regina.’

To this the King replied:

‘Dear Aunt Georgey,

Have it your own way. I’ll come on Monday. Please give three balls, on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and let me have each of the ladies in turn for my partner. I’ll marry the one I like best on Friday, and go home on Saturday.

Your loving Nephew,

Richard.

P.S. I’d like the balls to be fancy dress, because I’ve got an awfully good one.’

The Queen did not get this letter till Monday morning, and the King was coming that very night. You can imagine what a flutter everybody was in, particularly the ladies with the nineteen-and-a-half-inch waists! Of course, they paid a visit to the Big Dressmaker at once.

Said the Duchess of Junkets:
‘I positively must have the most beautiful fancy dress you can make me, and that on Tuesday in time for the First Ball. And be sure, when it is ready, and have sent to me one of your girls to show me how to wear it.’

Said the Countess of Caramel:
‘It is of the utmost importance that you should make me the most fascinating fancy dress you can think of, and deliver it on Wednesday in time for the Second Ball. And let your best apprentice bring it, to set it off for me.’

Said the Lady Blanche Blancmange:
‘I shall expire of vexation if you do not create for me the most enchanting fancy dress in the world, to be worn on Thursday night at the Third Ball. And that I may see it is quite perfect, put it on your daintiest model so that I can judge the effect for myself.’

The Big Dressmaker promised them all, and as soon as the ladies had departed she rushed into Lotta and told her all about it.

‘We must think with all our brains, and sew with all our fingers, Lotta, if we are to get them done in time!

‘Oh, I’m sure I can manage,’ said Lotta cheerfully. ‘We’ll take the dresses in order, and the Duchess shall have hers tomorrow night, and the Countess shall have hers the next night, and the Lady Blanche shall have hers the night after that, if I have to sit up all the time and never go to bed at all.’

‘Very well, Lotta,’ said the Big Dressmaker. ‘But now I must consider what the dresses will be.’

‘The Duchess will look beautiful as a Sunbeam,’ said Lotta.
‘Just what I was thinking,’ said the Big Dressmaker.

‘And how entrancing the Countess would look as Moonlight,’ said Lotta.
‘My idea exactly,’ said the Big Dressmaker.

‘And as a Rainbow the Lady Blanche would be simply ravishing.’
‘You have taken the very words out of my mouth,’ said the Big Dressmaker. ‘Now to design them, cut them out, and make them.’

So Lotta designed the three dresses, and set about making the first one, a radiant golden gown that would flash and sparkle like light as the wearer of it danced. She sat at it day and night, and saw nothing of the young King’s arrival at the palace; and on the Tuesday, an hour before the opening of the First Ball, the bright frock was ready.

‘They have sent a coach from the palace to fetch it,’ said the Big Dressmaker, ‘and one of my girls is to wear it and show it off to the Duchess before she puts it on. But whom can I possibly send? It has only a nineteen-and-a-half-inch waist.’

‘That’s just my size, madam,’ said Lotta.
‘How fortunate! Quick, Lotta, slip it on and be off.’

So Lotta slipped on the dazzling frock, the golden shoes and slippers, and the little gold crown twinkling with points of light, and throwing her old black cloak over all ran down to the royal coach that was waiting for her. The coachman flicked his whip and away they went. When she arrived at the palace, a Footman who was passing through the hall conducted Lotta to a little anteroom.

‘You are to wait here,’ said he, ’till the Duchess is ready for you in the next room. When she is, she will ring a bell. What a charming dress you seem to be wearing under your cloak.’

‘It is the Duchess’s dress,’ said Lotta, ‘with which she is to captivate the young King. Would you like to see it?’
‘Very much indeed,’ said the Footman.
Lotta dropped her black cloak, and stepped like a sunbeam out of a cloud.

‘There!’ she said. ‘Isn’t it beautiful! Do you think the King will be able to resist dancing with the Duchess in this dress?’

‘I am sure he won’t,’ said the Footman. And making an elegant bow, he added, ‘Duchess, may I have the honour of this dance?’

‘Oh, Your Majesty!’ laughed Lotta. ‘The honour is mine.’

The Footman put his arm round Lotta’s waist, and danced with her, and just as he was telling her that her hair was more golden than sunlight itself, the bell rang and Lotta had to go.

The Duchess was delighted with the dress, and when Lotta had shown her exactly how to move and sit and stand and dance in it, she put it on and sailed into the ballroom.

Lotta, wrapping herself up in her old cloak, heard how everybody broke into applause as the radiant little Duchess appeared.

‘Ah,’ thought Lotta, ‘the King will never be able to resist her!’ And back she ran, to begin the Moonlight dress.

All night and all day she sewed the slim silver sheath, and she got it done by the following evening, just as the royal coach drew up at the door to fetch her. As before, she slipped on the dress, covered herself with her cloak, and drove away; and as before, the young Footman escorted her to the anteroom and told her to wait.

‘And what happened at the ball last night?’ asked Lotta.
‘The King danced with the Golden Duchess all the evening,’ said the Footman. ‘I doubt if the Countess will have such luck.’

‘Don’t you think so?’ said Lotta; and opening her black cloak, she stood before him like the moon shining at midnight.
‘Oh, Countess!’ said the Footman, taking her hand and kissing it, ‘will you make me the happiest man in the world by dancing with me?’
‘The happiness is mine, Your Majesty,’ said Lotta, smiling sweetly.

So once more they danced together in the anteroom, and then they sat down and talked all about themselves and each other; and Lotta told him that she was nineteen-and-a-half years old, and that her mother was a housemaid and her father a cobbler, and she herself an apprentice dressmaker. And the Footman told her that he was twenty-five years old, and that his father was a bookbinder and his mother a laundress, and he himself a footman to the young King, to whose kingdom he would return when the King was married. And this made Lotta thoughtful, and the Footman asked why, and Lotta didn’t know. And the Footman took her hand in his, and was just telling her that it was as white as moonlight when the bell rang and Lotta had to go.

The Countess of Caramel was charmed with the dress, and when all its points had been shown off she put it on and entered the ballroom. And Lotta heard the shout of admiration that went up as she appeared; while Lotta herself hurried back in her old cloak to make the Rainbow dress.

All night and all day she sat at it, and her eyes were rather heavy, and her heart was a little heavy too, but she couldn’t think why. And just an hour before the Third Ball was to begin, the dress was done and the coach was waiting. Once more Lotta put on a shimmering dress, hid herself in her old cloak, and was driven to the palace. And once more the Footman escorted her to the anteroom, where she sank into a deep chair while he stood before her. And once more Lotta asked, ‘What happened at the ball last night?’

‘The King danced every dance with the Silver Countess, and never took his eyes off her,’ said the Footman. ‘I don’t suppose there’s much chance for the Lady Blanche.’

‘You never know,’ said Lotta. But she was feeling so tired that she didn’t even try to undo her cloak and show him. So the Footman undid it for her, and laid it back against the chair; and when he saw Lotta shining like a little rainbow against a black cloud-bank, he fell on his knees before her.

Oh, Lady!’ he whispered, ‘won’t you dance this dance with me, and every other dance as well?’

But Lotta shook her head, because she was so tired, and she tried to smile, but at the same time big tears trickled down her cheeks. And the Footman didn’t even ask why, since tears seem natural in a rainbow, but he put his arms round her as she sat in the chair and gave her a kiss. And before the kiss was quite finished, the bell rang, and Lotta had to wipe her eyes and go.

The Lady Blanche was ravished with the dress, and after Lotta had turned this way and that way to show her how to wear it, she put it on and ran into the ballroom. Lotta heard a great sigh of wonder go round at the lovely little vision that had appeared. Then she went back to the empty anteroom, put on her old cloak, and stumbled home. She meant to go to bed and sleep and sleep.

But at the door the Big Dressmaker met her with a face of despair.

‘What do you think? An order has just come from the Queen that we must make the finest wedding-dress ever made, for the King’s Bride tomorrow. The wedding is to be at noon. Now, think, Lotta, think! What shall the wedding-dress be?’

Lotta thought of a dress as pure as a fall of snow, and as she began to cut it out she said, ‘But, madam, we do not know whom it is to fit.’

‘Make it to fit yourself,’ said the Big Dressmaker. ‘For you and the three ladies are all of a size.’

‘And which do you think it will be?’ asked Lotta.

‘Nobody knows. They say the King was equally charmed by the Sun and the Moon, and doubtless he will be by the Rainbow as well.’

‘And what dress did the King wear at the balls, madam?’ asked Lott,a trying to keep herself awake.

‘A most disappointing dress for a King,’ said the Big Dressmaker. ‘He wore the clothes of his own Footman!

After that, Lotta asked no more questions. She just bent her tired little head over the pure white stuff, and sewed and sewed till her fingers and her eyes ached.

The night passed, morning came, and an hour before noon the dress was ready.

‘The coach is here,’ said the Big Dressmaker. ‘Put on the dress, Lotta, for the Bride will certainly wish to see how it should be worn.’

‘Who is the Bride?’ asked Lotta.

‘Still nobody knows,’ said the Big Dressmaker. ‘They say the young King is making his choice at this moment, and the wedding will take place as soon as he has decided.’

So Lotta put on the wedding-dress, and went down to the coach, and there, to her surprise, was her own Footman, waiting to hand her in. She looked at him earnestly and said, ‘But aren’t you the King?’ and the Footman said, ‘Whatever made you think that?’ and closed the door, and away they galloped. And Lotta leaned back in a corner, and fell fast asleep, and dreamed she was driving to her wedding.

When she woke up, the coach was just pulling up at a door; but instead of being the palace door, it was the door of a little church in the country.

The Footman jumped down and helped Lotta out; it all seemed a natural part of her dream as she went up on his arm and down the aisle in the snow-white gown, and found the clergyman waiting at the altar. In two minutes they were married, and Lotta, with a gold ring on her finger, went back to the coach. But this time the Footman got inside with her, and as they drove off he finished giving her the kiss he had begun the night before, and Lotta went to sleep with her head on his shoulder.

She never woke up till they reached the young King’s city and stopped before the young King’s palace. And there, all in a daze, she found herself going up the steps on the Footman’s arm amid the cheers of the populace, and at the top of the steps, waiting to receive them, with a merry smile on his face—the young King himself.

Yes; because, you see, the Footman really was the Footman. Only, as the young King didn’t want to be married a bit, he had sent his Footman in his place. And as the Footman fell in love with Lotta at first sight, he had made up his mind before the very first ball, and after that there wasn’t any chance for the Duchess of Junkets, the Countess of Caramel, or the Lady Blanche Blancmange. And this was really very fortunate, because if the Footman had chosen and married one of them, the old Queen would have been greatly annoyed when she found out the trick that had been played upon her by her nephew; and the Bride would have been annoyed as well.

As it was, when the facts came to the Queen’s ears, she wrote to the young King on his birthday:

‘My dear Richard,

I send you the enclosed, with my love. At the same time, I wish to say I am extremely displeased with you, and shall take no further interest in your matrimonial affairs.

Your affectionate Aunt,

Georgina Regina.’

To which the young King replied:

‘Dear Aunt Georgey,

Thanks awfully.

Your loving Nephew,

Richard.

P.S. Oh, and thank you for the jolly pencil-case.’

Blackie, A Lost Cat. Chapter 11 🐈

Story by Richard Barnum.

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That’s the time I scared a dog!” said Blackie to herself, laughing. For she had not hurt him, and she had stopped him from biting her, which was a good thing. I suppose it would be nicer if dogs and cats were more friendly, but they never seem to be that way—at least not very often.

Then Blackie saw something strange. Up on the stoop was what seemed to be a little baby girl, lying down. The dog ran up to the baby and began barking at her.

“My goodness!” said Blackie. “He’ll bite the child, that dog will. That must not be! I will stop him. I’m not afraid of him.”

Up the stoop ran Blackie. The dog was barking so hard at the baby that he did not see or hear Blackie. She went close up behind him, and cried, in cat and dog language:

“Here, you let that little baby alone, if you please!”

“What’s that? Are you talking to me?” asked the dog, as he began to turn around, not knowing who was speaking to him.

“Yes, I am,” answered Blackie. “Go on, now! Run away, and leave this child alone!”

“I will not!” said the dog, and then he turned all the way around and saw the big black cat. Up went Blackie’s back again, her tail grew as large around as a big brush, and how she hissed! “Hiss!”

“Oh, yow! Oh, wow!” howled the dog. “It’s that cat again! She’s after me!”

Away he ran, down off the stoop, and Blackie could not help laughing at him, for she had not hurt him at all.

“I guess I made him leave that baby alone,” thought Blackie. “Don’t be afraid, little one,” said Blackie, though she knew, of course, that no child could understand cat-talk.

And then, to her surprise, Blackie saw that it was not a live baby at all, but a large doll, such as Mabel used to play with.

“Well did you ever!” exclaimed Blackie. “I thought it was a real child! It looks so natural. What will that dog think of me, taking a doll for a baby? He must be laughing at me.”

But the dog was too frightened then to laugh, though later on, when Blackie had gone, the dog came out from under the stoop where he had gone to hide and as he looked at the doll, which lay where the little girl-mother had dropped it, that dog said:

“Huh! That cat thought she was smart, driving me away because I was barking at a doll! I wouldn’t hurt it!”

As Blackie stood on the stoop, looking at the doll, the door opened and a little girl came out.

“Oh, you nice, big, black cat!” exclaimed the little girl. “Did you come up on the stoop to look at my dollie?”

Of course Blackie could not tell why she had come up on the stoop, for the cat could not speak girl-language. But Blackie meowed, and rubbed up against the little girl’s legs, purring, for the little girl was almost like Mabel, and quite as nice.

“Oh, I just love you, Kitty,” said the little girl. “I’m going to get you a saucer of milk.” And she did, still leaving her doll on the stoop. But the doll did not seem to mind.

“There you are, nice, black cat,” the little girl said, as she came out with the milk. “I guess you are thirsty.”

And Blackie was. She drank up all the milk, and wished there was more. She felt much better after that. The little girl watched the cat drinking the milk and said:

“I’m going in and ask my mother if I can keep you for my own. You’re alive, and I like you better than my doll, though she is nice too.”

Into the house hurried the little girl, leaving her doll on the stoop with Blackie. But the black cat, though she liked the little girl, did not want to stay and live in that house.

“I want to go on to my own home,” thought Blackie. “I want Mabel and Arthur. Besides, if I lived here that dog and I would be always having trouble, I’m afraid. He is not like Don. I’m going to travel on.”

And while the little girl was in the house, asking her mother if she could keep the cat, Blackie ran down the stoop, laughing in her own way, as she looked at the doll, and thought of how she had mistaken it for a baby.

The dog came out from under the stoop where he had run to get away from Blackie and he was up beside the doll again when the little girl came out once more.

“Oh, where is that nice black cat?” asked the little girl, looking all around. “Where is he, Fido? Mother said I might keep her, but she is gone. Do you know where she is?”

“Bow wow!” barked Fido. “I’m glad she is gone. I don’t like her, for she scared me. I’m glad she isn’t going to live here.”

Of course the little girl did not know that her dog Fido said that, but he really did. She was sorry, the little girl was, that the cat had gone away. But it was best in the end, for I suppose Blackie and the dog would not have gotten along well together.

Down the street trotted the black cat, feeling not so hungry now. But she was still far from home, and she did not know when she would find the place where she used to live so very happily.

“I’ll never run away again,” Blackie said. “I have had enough of it. I have had adventures, it is true, and I am a good deal better fence-jumper than I used to be, but I have had a hard time of it. I will have many things to tell Speckle when I see him. And I wish I could see him right now, for then I would be home.”

The next day when Blackie was traveling through a woods, and hoping that on the other side of it she might find the city where her house was, she saw a funny animal hopping along over the dried leaves. The animal looked like a cat, for it had fur, only it was white instead of black. And the animal had pink eyes and a pink nose.

“How do you do?” asked Blackie politely, for she saw that the animal was not going to hurt her.

“I am pretty well,” answered the white animal. “How are you and what is your name?”

“Well, I’ve seen the time that I felt better,” answered Blackie, and she told her name, and mentioned that she was a cat.

“Oh, a cat; eh?” exclaimed the white animal. “Well, I’m a rabbit, and my name is Flop Ear. They call me that because one ear flops or falls over, see.”

Flop Ear stood up on his hind legs, as easily as Dido, the dancing bear, could have done, and while one of his ears stood up straight the other one sort of leaned over, or flopped.

“Oh, I see how it is,” spoke Blackie, laughing, for Flop Ear was a funny little rabbit. “Do you live here in these woods?”

“Yes, with my father and mother, and some brothers and sisters and also Lady Munch.”

“Lady Munch?” exclaimed Blackie. “Who is she?”

“She is my grandmother,” answered Flop Ear. “And we all like her very much. But excuse me, I must hurry on.”

“Where are you going?” asked Blackie.

“Over in the field to get some carrots for dinner. Do you like carrots?”

“I never ate any,” Blackie answered. “I am a cat, you know.”

“That’s so, I forgot about that,” spoke Flop Ear. “I was told never to play with cats or dogs, as they might bite me.”

“I would never bite you,” said Blackie. “I think you are very nice, and your fur is like mine. I will go along with you and help you get the carrots, if you want me to, though I don’t eat them.”

“What do you eat?” asked Flop Ear, as he hopped along beside Blackie.

“Oh, meat and milk, and fish, when I can get them.”

“Why can’t you get them now?” the white rabbit wanted to know.

“Because I am a lost cat,” answered Blackie. “I ran away from home, you see, to have adventures, and to learn to become a good fence-jumper, but it is not so easy to get things to eat when you are lost.”

“I am sorry for you,” said the white rabbit. “I never was lost and I am never going to run away from home.”

“You do not need to learn to jump,” Blackie told Flop Ear, “for you are a good jumper now.”

“Yes, all rabbits are good jumpers,” said Flop Ear, “but I never tried to jump over a fence. And I am never, never going to leave my home.”

“No, don’t,” advised Blackie.

But you just wait and read, in the next book after that, what happened to Flop Ear.

Soon Blackie and Flop Ear came to the field where the carrots grew. The white rabbit nibbled one, and told the cat to taste. Blackie did, but said:

“Eww, I don’t like carrots. They might be good if cooked in milk, but I do not like them raw.”

“That’s strange,” replied Flop Ear. “They are best raw, I think.”

The rabbit and the cat talked together a little longer, and then Blackie said she thought she had better travel on, and try to find her home.

“For I am tired of being a lost cat,” sighed Blackie.

That night Blackie slept in a field under a pile of hay. There were some little mice who had made a nest there too, but Blackie did not touch them, though she liked to eat mice.

But for her supper that night Blackie had found a piece of meat in front of a butcher shop, and as she had eaten that she was not hungry. So she let the little mice alone, and I guess they were happy about that.

But oh! how lonesome Blackie was for her own home! She thought about it very often that night as she cuddled down in the hay.

“If I don’t find my home before Winter I don’t know what I shall do,” thought Blackie. “It isn’t so bad sleeping out in Summer, but in the Winter it is going to be dreadful! I simply must find my home.”

For two days more Blackie traveled on. She came out of the woods, she left the fields, and then she found herself in a city. She walked through the streets. Sometimes boys would chase her, or throw stones at her, and sometimes dogs would run after her. Once or twice Blackie had to go up a tree to get away.

And then, one day, Blackie found herself on a street that she seemed to know. She looked up at the houses, hardly believing it at first, and then she saw that she was really right on the street where she had lived.

“Oh, why! I do believe I’m back in my own city again!” said the delighted Blackie to herself. “Yes, I know these houses, and there is the one I live in! Oh, how glad I am!”

Blackie ran up the front steps. But, somehow or other the house did not seem to be the same as when Blackie had lived there. The step was covered with dust, and it was never that way as long as Blackie could remember, for Mabel used to sweep it off every morning.

“This is strange,” said Blackie. “I’ll go around to the back.”

The back door was closed, and so were the windows. Blackie ran all the way around the house, meowing. No one came out to let her in.

Blackie looked up at all the windows. They were closed down, and the shades were drawn.

“Why—why the family must have moved away!” thought Blackie, and she was very sad. “Oh, dear! After my long journey, and my many adventures, to get home and find the house locked up and the family gone! Oh, isn’t it too bad! What shall I do?”

Blackie was very sad. She felt all tired out and lonesome. She would have cried real tears had she been a little girl or boy, I guess. But, being only a cat, she could do nothing but meow.

Stella Star of the Sea & Stella Princess of the Sky

This episode featured with permission of Groundwood Books in Toronto, Stella Star of the Sea and Stella Princess of the Sky written and illustrated by Louise-Marie Gay.

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Stella and her little brother Sam take a trip to the seashore in Stella Star of the Sea. Stella has been to the sea before and knows all its secrets, but Sam has many questions. In the second story Stella and Sam explore the outdoors at nighttime and encounter fireflies, raccoons, and bats.

Louise-Marie Gay is a Canadian 🇨🇦 children’s writer and illustrator. She has written and/or illustrated over sixty books for children inspired by her childhood, her own children, her travels and especially her overheated imagination. She lives in Montreal with her family. ✨

🙏🏼 These books can be purchased at https://houseofanansi.com/search?q=Stella. Also, please visit Groundwood Books for more books that are loved by children around the world.🙏🏼

Blackie, A Lost Cat. Chapter 10 🐈

Story by Richard Barnum.

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Now we can talk nicely,” said Don, as he walked along beside Blackie, when she had jumped from the tree. “Come over here in the shade and I’ll tell you about my adventures.”

“I’ve had some adventures, too,” spoke the cat. “Not as wonderful as yours, perhaps, but still they were quite some for me. I never thought, when I started out, that I would meet a dancing bear and Tum Tum, the jolly elephant. And I’m very glad I met you too, Don, especially since you are so good to me.”

“Oh, don’t mention it,” went on Don. “I’m sorry for what I did first. Now I’ll begin.”

So Don told Blackie of his many adventures. But as I have written a book especially about them, where you may read them for yourself, I won’t put any of them down here.

“My! You had a perfectly wonderful time!” exclaimed Blackie, when Don was finished.

“Tell me about yourself now,” invited the big dog. And Blackie did. She told how she had gone wandering off, so that she might learn to become a fine fence-jumper, how she had gotten on the roof of the house, how good Mrs. Thompson had taken care of her and brought her to the country, and how, finally, she had gotten lost.

“And I am lost yet,” went on the black cat. “I don’t know where to go or what to do, Don. I thought I would find a place in this house to stay, but you tell me they don’t like cats.”

“They don’t,” Don said. “At least they never kept a cat where I live now, and I am sure that shows they do not like them. For if they kept one I would be friendly with her and not chase her as I did you. But for now on I’m not going to chase cats. I never knew before how nice they could be. I thought they always scratched and bit. And many a time I’ve had cats crook up their backs at me, make their tails big, and hiss like a snake.”

“That is our way of scaring dogs,” said Blackie. “You see most dogs are bigger and stronger than we, and the only way we can scare them is to fluff out our fur, and make believe we are twice as big as we are. Then we hiss like a snake, or steam like a steam pipe, and that scares the dog more. But I was so tired and frightened that I didn’t try to scare you, Don.”

“I’m glad you didn’t. Now we’ll be friends. But of course if you see some other dog running at you, why you’ll scare him, I suppose, Blackie.”

“Yes, I guess I will,” answered the black cat, sort of smiling.

The two new friends talked for some time longer and then, all at once, Don said:
“Oh, Blackie! I forgot! You said you were hungry, didn’t you?”

“Yes, Don, I am hungry. But you say they don’t like cats in your house, so I don’t see how I am going to get anything to eat there.”

“Oh, don’t you worry about that,” said Don with a laugh. “I’ll fix that all right. Just you leave it to me. Now I’ll tell you what you’ll do. They feed me pretty well at this house, for they like me. They bring out nice bones and bits of meat, bread with gravy on and—”
“Oh, don’t talk about it!” spoke Blackie quickly. “It makes me hungry to hear about all those good things!”

“Well, you’ll be having some soon,” said the dog, “for they’ll be bringing out my dinner directly. I think it will be chicken today.”

“Oh, my! Chicken!” meowed Blackie, putting out her red tongue. “How good that sounds!”

“It will taste good, too,” said Don.

“How do you know you will have chicken?” asked the black cat.

“Well, I always have the same thing the family has for dinner,” Don said, “and I know they are going to have chicken today for I saw the butcher bringing some. The butcher’s boy always sets his basket down on the back step when he rings the bell, and I can look in it.”

“Do you ever take anything out?” asked Blackie, sort of smiling.

“I did once, when I was a little puppy,” Don said, “but I knew no better. I was whipped for it, so I never did it again. But now I’ll tell you what to do, so you will have a good dinner.”

“And will you have one too?” asked Blackie.

“Oh, yes indeed. Don’t you worry about me. Now you go hide in my house and when they bring me out my dinner I’ll give you all you want.”

“Will there be enough for both of us?” asked Blackie.

“Oh, yes. They bring me plenty of dinner. Look out, here they come with it now. Into the house with you!”

Blackie looked and saw, coming down the back stoop, a cook. In her hand she carried a dish, and even as she ran into the dog’s house Blackie could smell that it held something good.

“I believe it is chicken,” thought the black cat. “Oh, how nice!”

Don stood in front of his housel, as Blackie ran inside and along came the cook.

“Here’s your dinner, Don,” said the cook. “I brought you plenty this time, ’cause I thought you’d be hungry. And I thought I saw a cat ’round here a while ago, but I guess maybe I was mistaken, because you wouldn’t let a cat stay in your yard; would you, Don?”

Don barked and wagged his tail. Just what he said to the cook, she, of course, did not know, for she could not understand dog language. But Don was sort of laughing to himself. There was a cat in his house all the time and the cook did not know it!

“Here’s your dinner now, Don. Eat it,” she continued. “I’ll get you some fresh water, too.”

And when she had set down the dish of chicken, which was left over from the family dinner, and had given Don some fresh water, the cook went back in the house.

“Are you there, Blackie?” asked Don, in a dog whisper.

“Yes, I’m here,” answered the cat from inside the house.

“Then come on out and have some dinner.”

I think you can guess how good the chicken dinner tasted to poor, hungry Blackie. She ate so much that she was afraid she would take more than her share, and not leave enough for Don.

“But don’t you worry about that,” said the dog kindly, when Blackie spoke about it. “You eat all you want. I’ll have plenty, and anyhow I can get more later.”

So Blackie had the first really good meal she had eaten since she had left Mrs. Thompson. And when she had taken a good drink of water she felt much better.

“Now you can go to sleep in my house,” said Don, “and no one will disturb you. I always like to sleep after a good meal.”

“So do I,” said Blackie.

For several days Blackie lived with Don in his house, keeping out of sight of the people in the house. I don’t really suppose they would have minded Blackie, only they had gotten out of the habit of keeping a cat, so Don imagined they did not like such animals. Anyhow, he and Blackie thought it would be best for the black cat to remain quietly in the house, and she did.

“Well, I think I’ll be traveling on,” said Blackie one day.

“Traveling on?” asked Don. “Where are you going, back to the circus?”

“Oh, no,” answered Blackie. “I don’t belong there. I am going back to the home where I lived with the little boy and girl, Arthur and Mabel. I am lonesome for them, and I am sure they miss me.”

“Do you know how to find your way back to them?” asked Don.

“Well, no, not exactly,” replied Blackie. “But I am lost anyhow, and I can’t be any more lost than I am now, no matter what I do.”

“No, I suppose not,” Don said.

“So I am going to wander on, over the fields and through the woods, until I get back to the city where Arthur and Mabel live. Then perhaps I can find their house.”

“All right. I am sorry to have you go,” Don said, “for I have come to like you very much.”

“And I like you,” Blackie spoke politely.

“I never knew how nice cats were before,” went on the dog. “And if you meet Tum Tum, the elephant, or Dido, the dancing bear, on your journey give them my love.”

“I shall,” said the cat.

Then she told Don good-by, and the two rubbed noses together, and Blackie started over the fields and through the woods.

She had so many adventures that I can not get them all in this book, but I will mention a few before I come to the big adventure by which Blackie finally found her home again.

Once as she was sleeping in the woods she heard a hissing noise like a steam radiator, and she jumped up in time to see a big snake crawling along, his tongue going in and out as fast as anything.

“Oh!” exclaimed Blackie. “Are you going to bite me?”

“No, indeed!” answered the snake. “I don’t bite cats unless they scratch me, and you haven’t done that. I am on my way to find a hen’s nest.”

“Are you going to bite a chicken?” asked Blackie.

“No, but I am going to eat some of her eggs,” and away crawled the snake.

“I’m glad I am not an egg,” thought Blackie.

Another time Blackie had a nice adventure. She was walking along a country road, and she was quite tired and warm, for the sun was shining brightly. Blackie was hungry too.

All at once she heard a horn blown:

“Toot! Toot! Toot!”

“Ha! I wonder if that can be Dido, the dancing bear?” thought Blackie. “He told me when he went around doing his tricks his master blew on a horn. Perhaps Dido has come out of the circus and is going around dancing as he did at first.”

But Blackie soon saw that it was not Dido’s horn that was being blown. The sound came from a man who was riding on a wagon, and from the wagon came a nice smell of fresh fish.

“Oh, how hungry I am!” thought Blackie. “How I wish I had a piece of fish.”

And what do you think happened? Why, when the wagon came up to Blackie, the man on it stopped tooting his horn and said:

“Hello, kittie! Would you like a nice fish head?”

“Meow!” answered Blackie, which was as near as she could say to “yes” in our language.

“Here you are,” the man said, and he tossed out on the grass a nice fish head, which cats like almost better than anything else.

“Meow-meow,” said Blackie, which was her way of saying “Thank you!”

Then she ate the fish head, while the kind man drove on, blowing his horn:

“Toot! Toot! Tooti-ty-toot!” That meant he had fish to sell.

For several days Blackie traveled on, eating as best she could, and getting water to drink at wayside brooks. But she could not seem to find her home, where Arthur and Mabel lived.

One day Blackie was going along a street where it was nice and quiet. She looked up at the houses, wondering if she could go up to one of them and beg for something to eat, or some milk to drink.

All at once Blackie heard a dog barking, and she saw one run down off the step at her. He was only a small dog, and instead of running away, as she might have done, Blackie thought to herself:

“Here is where I scare that dog. I’m going to crook up my back, puff out my tail and hiss like a snake. I’ll see what he does then.”

As soon as the dog got close to her, up went Blackie’s back, until it looked like a hill of black fur. Her tail grew twice as large as it usually was, for she made the fur stick out straight, and oh! how she hissed!

“Wow! Yow! Yip! Yee!” howled the dog, and he stood still and barked hard at Blackie, but did not come near enough to bite her.

“Hiss! Hiss!” went the black cat.

“Wow! Wow! Yip! Yip!” howled the dog, and then he was so frightened that he turned around and ran up the stoop.

Owl with the Great Head and Eyes🦉

This is one of many origin stories told by the Indigenous peoples of Canada, the original inhabitants of the land that is now Canada.

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Long ago, when Glooskap was the ruler of the Indians in Eastern Canada, and when the animals all worked for him and talked like men, Wolf was one of Rabbit’s enemies. On the surface they seemed to be friends, but each was afraid of the other and each suspected the other of treachery. Rabbit was very faithful to his work as the forest guide who showed people the way to far places. But he was also a great trickster, and he delighted to play pranks on everyone he met. He liked more than all to pester Wolf, for he had a hatred for his cruel ways, and he was always able to outwit them.

It happened that Rabbit and Wolf lived close together, deep in the Canadian forest. Some distance from them, in a little house, lived a poor widow woman who had only one daughter. She was a very beautiful girl, with hair as black as the raven’s wing, and with eyes like the dark of the underwater. Rabbit and Wolf each fell in love with her, and each in his own way sought her as his wife. Rabbit tried hard to win her love. When he went to her house he always dressed himself in a soft brown coat, and he put a bangle around his neck and bells upon his feet. And often he played sweetly on his flute, hoping to charm her with his music, for he was a great player upon the Indian pipe. And he tried to grow a moustache to hide his split lip; but he had little success, for his whiskers would not grow thick, and he has the thin scraggy moustache of a few hairs to this day. But no matter what Rabbit did to adorn himself, the girl gave him cold looks, and old Wolf seemed to be deeper in her favour, for she liked his willowy form and his sleek and bashful ways. And poor Rabbit was sore distressed.

One fine day in the springtime, Rabbit came upon the girl and her mother gathering May-flowers among the moss. He crept close to listen to their talk. He heard the mother say, “I have no stomach for little Rabbit, but Wolf pleases me well. You must marry Wolf. They tell me he is a great hunter, and if you marry him we shall never want for food.”

When Rabbit heard this he was very sad; he determined that on no account should Wolf marry the widow’s daughter, and that he must use all his power to prevent it. That night he went alone to the girl’s house. He spoke sneeringly of Wolf, saying with a bitter frown, “Wolf is no hunter; he never catches any game because he is lazy and has no brains; I always have to feed him to keep him from starving; but he is a beast of burden; I always ride upon his back when I go to a far country, for he is good for nothing else.” The little girl’s mother wondered greatly, and she was very startled by this news, for she did not want her daughter to marry a good-for-nothing; but she was not sure that Rabbit spoke the truth, for she had heard that sometimes he told great lies. So she said, “If you will ride Wolf over here I will believe you, and he shall not marry my daughter, and you shall marry her yourself.” And Rabbit went home well pleased and sure of a happy ending to his trick.

The next day Rabbit purposely met Wolf in the forest, and he said, “Let us go together to see the widow’s daughter.” And Wolf was glad to go. They had not gone far when Rabbit began to cry. Then he lay down on the ground, and rolled and moaned and rubbed his belly as if in great distress. “I have a sharp pain in my belly,” he sobbed, “I cannot walk any farther. If I walk I shall surely die, and I cannot go on unless you carry me on your back.” Wolf willingly agreed, for he wanted to see the beautiful girl, and he was very sorry for poor Rabbit in his pain; and Rabbit, laughing to himself, climbed on Wolf’s back. Wolf ran along, not feeling the load, for Rabbit was very light.

They had not gone far when Rabbit cried again and said, “I cannot ride without a saddle, for your bare back hurts me and gives me blisters.” So they borrowed a little saddle from a field by the way and put it on Wolf’s back. Soon Rabbit said, “This is fine fun; let us play that you are a horse and that I am a great rider. I should like to put a little bridle on you, and to wear spurs on my feet and to carry a whip.” And Wolf, wishing to please Rabbit to make him forget his pain, gladly agreed. So they borrowed a little bridle and spurs and a whip from another field nearby, and did as Rabbit asked, and together they went to the girl’s home, Wolf trotting along like a little horse, and Rabbit laughing to himself, sitting in the saddle, with his spurs and his whip, holding the bridle reins.

When they drew near the house, Rabbit made a great noise so that the mother and her daughter might look out to see where the shouting came from. He called loudly, “Whoa, Whoa.” And the girl and her mother opened the door and looked out at them in wonder. Then as they were looking on, Rabbit, chuckling to himself, struck Wolf a stinging blow with his whip, and stuck his spurs deep into Wolf’s sides and called out loudly that he was a lazy beast. Wolf jumped and plunged and kicked because of the prick of the spurs and the sting of the whip; he was very cross, but he said nothing.

Some distance away, Rabbit tied Wolf to a tree, saying, “Stay here and I will send the girl to you.” Then he went to the house, and he said to the woman, “Now you will believe that Wolf is a beast of burden, for I have ridden here on his back.” And the woman believed him. She told him to give Wolf some corn or grass. But Rabbit said, “He doesn’t eat corn or grass; he eats only fresh meat,” for he knew well that Wolf would be quite contented if he got a good meal of meat. Then she gave him some fresh meat, which he brought to Wolf. And Wolf was happy, and his anger disappeared, and he forgot the pain of the spurs and the whip, and he thought it was fine fun to get a good meal so easily. The woman promised that Rabbit should marry her daughter, and when night fell Rabbit went home well pleased, leaving Wolf still tied to the tree.

It was so dark that Wolf did not see him leaving the house, and for a long time he thought he was still inside, and he waited long in the starlight. At last he grew tired waiting, for he was hungry and he was cold standing still in the chill night air of early spring. He cut with his teeth the bridle rein that tied him to the tree, and then he went to the woman’s house. But the woman would not let him in. She told him to go away, that she never wished to see him again, and she called him a lazy beast of burden. He went home in great anger, for he now knew that he had been tricked, and he swore that he would have vengeance on Rabbit.

The next day Rabbit learned from the woman that she had spurned Wolf from her door, and he knew that Wolf realized he had been deceived. He was somewhat frightened, for he dreaded Wolf’s vengeance, and for several days he hid among the trees. Then hunger drove him out and he went forth to look for food.

One evening he entered a garden in search of cabbage, and he was busy robbing it, when the people who owned the garden spied him. And they said, “Here is the thief who has been stealing our vegetables. We will catch him and teach him a lesson.” Before Rabbit knew it, they were upon him, for he was eating heartily, he was so hungry, and they caught him and bound him fast to a tree and went to get scalding water to pour upon his back to teach him not to rob their garden again. But while they were away Wolf came along. He, too, was very hungry, for he had eaten no meal for many days, but he was glad when he saw Rabbit, for now he thought he would have his revenge. Rabbit saw him at a distance, and he resolved to try another trick on him, and to hail him as if he thought he was still his friend. And he cried out to him, “Help me, Wolf! Help me! The people here asked me to eat up a nice little lamb, and when I refused to do it, they tied me up to this tree, and they have gone to bring the lamb to me.”

Wolf was too hungry to be cautious, and he forgot all about Rabbits tricks, for spring lamb was his favourite food. And he said, “I will eat up the little lamb,” and he smacked his lips as he spoke, and thought of the nice tender meal he would have. Then Rabbit said, “Untie me and take my place, for the people will soon be here with the lamb.” So Wolf untied him, and Rabbit in turn bound Wolf fast to the tree, and laughing to himself because he had again outwitted Wolf, he ran rapidly away. Far off he hid behind the trees to see what would happen. Soon the people came back, carrying the pots of scalding water. Wolf saw them coming, and he was in high spirits, for he thought the lamb he was to eat was in one of the pots. It was moonlight, and in the shadow of the great tree the people could not see very clearly, and they thought Wolf was Rabbit, still bound fast where they had left him. So they poured the scalding water on his back and kicked him and knocked him on the head with a big stick, and they said, “Now, thief, we have taught you how dangerous it is to rob gardens in the spring moonlight.” Wolf howled with pain, for his back was blistered and his head was sore, and Rabbit heard him, and he sat on a log and shook with laughter because of the success of his prank.

Then the people untied Wolf and let him go. He went away wearily among the trees. And he again swore vengeance on Rabbit, and he resolved to get it as soon as he set eyes upon him, for he knew he had been tricked a second time. For several days he searched for his enemy. At last, one night of bright moonlight, he came upon Rabbit sitting in a patch of tobacco plants, eating his fill and contentedly chewing the tobacco leaves.

Rabbit’s mouth was full of tobacco, but he laughed loudly when he saw Wolf’s back bound in bandages because of the blisters, and his sore head tied up in a cloth. But when he saw Wolf’s angry eyes he was frightened, and he ran away into the woods. The moon was shining in the forest, and Wolf could catch a glimpse now and then of his brown coat among the trees, and he chased him for a long time. Rabbit tried all his tricks to shake him from his tracks, but without avail. At last, when Rabbit was almost worn out, he took refuge in a hollow tree, into which he slipped through a small hole, where Wolf could not follow him. And Wolf said, “Now I have him in my power. I will have revenge; but first I must go home to get my axe to cut down the tree.” Then he looked around for someone to keep watch over the tree while he was gone, so that Rabbit could not escape. At last he saw Owl sitting quietly on a branch near. He called to him and said, “Watch this hole until I get back, and do not let Rabbit get away.” So Owl came down and sat by the hole and promised to keep guard over the prisoner, and Wolf went away to look for his axe.

But Rabbit was not caught yet; he had another trick left. After Wolf had gone away, he called to Owl sitting by the hole, and said, “Owl, come and see what a nice little room I have here in the tree.” But Owl replied, “It is too dark, I cannot see.” Then Rabbit said, “Open your eyes wide and put your face close to the hole, for I have a light here and you can see easily.” Owl did as he was told, for he was a curious fellow. Rabbit had a great mouthful of tobacco juice from the tobacco leaves he had been chewing, and when Owl put his face close to the hole he squirted the juice into Owl’s eyes. Owl screamed loudly, for his eyes were smarting and he was blinded by the juice; he ran around the tree and stamped and shrieked and rubbed his eyes, trying to relieve them of their pain. And while he was about it, Rabbit slipped out of the hole and ran away, and Owl did not know he was gone.

Soon Wolf came back, carrying his big sharp axe. And he said, “Now I shall have him at last.” And Owl was afraid to tell him about his sore eyes; they were still open wide, and he could not close them. At once Wolf chopped down the hollow tree. Then he split it open from end to end. But there was no sign of Rabbit. Wolf then thought Owl had tricked him, and that he had helped Rabbit to escape. But Owl said he had not. He sat with his eyes wide open, staring strangely and moaning and making strange noises because of his pain. Wolf thought he was laughing at him and taunting him, for he did not know the meaning of Owl’s strange cries, and in his rage he fell to hitting him over the head with his axe-handle until poor Owl’s head was swollen to a great size. And Owl cried, “Hoot, Hoot, Hoot,” and his eyes stared from his swollen head even larger than before.

Then Wolf went on his way, resolved to keep away from Rabbit. And since that time Owl has cried “Hoot, Hoot, Hoot” at night, for he still remembers his pain; and his head is still swollen and bigger than that of other birds because of the beating Wolf gave him with his axe-handle; and his eyes are still large and they stare strangely, and he cannot look at light, and he is blind in the daylight because of the tobacco juice Rabbit squirted into his eyes. And since that night Rabbit and Wolf have avoided each other, and they have not lived in the same place, and they have never since been friends.