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´╗┐Title: Piccaninnies
Author: Peacocke, Isabel Maud, 1881-1973
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Piccaninnies" ***

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[Illustration: "They made strings of the scarlet nikau berries, and hung
them round their necks."]



PICCANINNIES

BY

ISABEL MAUD PEACOCKE

Author of "Songs of the Happy Isles." "My Friend Phil." "Robin of the
Round House." "The Bonny Books of Humorous Verse," etc.

Illustrated by TREVOR LLOYD



WHITCOMBE & TOMBS LIMITED

Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin and Wellington, N.Z. Melbourne and
London



DEDICATED

TO

MY LITTLE GOD-DAUGHTER

JOAN LUSK

TE KUITI, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND



  If your heart is pure, and your eyes are clear,
  And you come the one right day of the year,
  And eat of the fruit of the Magic Tree
  The wee Bush Folk you will surely see.

  *       *       *       *       *

  In the green and woody places,
  Thickets shady, sunlit spaces,
  Have you never heard us calling,
  When the golden eve is falling--
  When the noon-day sun is beaming--
  When the silver moon is gleaming?
  Have you never seen us dancing--
  Through the mossy tree-boles glancing?
  Have you never caught us gliding
  Through the tall ferns? laughing--hiding?
        We are here, we are there--
        We are everywhere;
  Swinging on the tree tops, floating in the air;
      Hush! Hush! Hush!
        Creep into the Bush,
  You will find us everywhere.

      If you would see,
      First bathe your eyes,
      In dew that lies
      On the bracken tree.

  *       *       *       *       *

      If you would hear
      Our elfin mirth
      To Mother Earth
      Lay down your ear.

  *       *       *       *       *

  A-many have come with their bright eyes clear,
  And their young hearts pure, but--alas! Oh dear!
  They've made a mistake in the day of the year.



Piccaninnies



I.

CHRISTMAS TREE. (_Pohutukawa_).


Long ago the Piccaninnies didn't have a rag to their
backs except a huia feather which they wore in their hair. They were the
jolliest, tubbiest, brownest babies you ever saw with tiny nubbly knobs
on their shoulders, as if they had started to grow wings and then
changed their minds about it, and little furry pointed ears, as all wild
creatures have. Only these were _not_ wild, but very, very shy.

Where did they live? Oh, just anywhere--all about; among the fern, in
the long grass, down on the sands, in all the places babies love to roll
about in.

And then _People_ began to come about, so tiresome! They began to make
houses, sell things in shops, tear about in big boxes on wheels, and
send great, clattering, shrieking, puffing monsters rushing through the
country, dropping smoke and cinders like anything. There was such a
clatter and a chatter, such gabbling and babbling, such hammering and
banging and laughing and crying, and hurry and scurry and rush that it
was enough to drive one crazy. There was such a _fuss_, the Piccaninnies
simply couldn't stand it, and they fled to the Bush. Well, wouldn't you,
with all that going on?

And there they lived a long time. What fun they had swinging on the
giant fern leaves, climbing the trees, chasing the fantails, riding the
kiwis, who are very good-natured, though shy, and teasing the great,
sleepy round-eyed morepork, who is so stupid and _owlish_ in the
daytime.

And then People came _into the Bush!_ Did you ever!

The Piccaninnies took to the trees altogether then, and no wonder!


II.

And then one day some one in a picnic party left a scrap of paper
blowing about--you know the horrid way picnic parties have!--and a
Piccaninny found it.

[Illustration: "To be sure they were looking at the pictures upside
down, but that made no real difference."]

As luck would have it, it was a girl Piccaninny; had it been a boy he
would simply have torn it up and made paper darts with it to throw at
the other boys, and no harm would have been done. _But girls are
different!_

[Illustration: "Teasing the great, sleepy, round-eyed morepork."]

She smoothed it out and looked at it carefully, and then she called the
other girls to look at it. And soon there was such a clattering and
chattering that the boys came racing that way to see if the girls had
found anything good to eat. You know boys!

The scrap of paper was a page out of a fashion book, and there were
pictures on it of horrid little smug-faced boys in sky-blue suits
bowling hoops in a way no real little boy ever bowled a hoop in his
life, and simpering little girls in lace frocks holding dolls or
sun-shades in un-natural attitudes.

But the Piccaninnies were delighted. To be sure they were looking at the
pictures upside down, but that made no real difference.

They decided they must have clothes too.

Of course the boys said pooh they wouldn't! It's much easier to slide
down a fern-leaf, or jump off the end of a branch if you haven't any
clothes--everyone knows that.

But when the girls, after being absent for hours, came back all in
darling little crimson kilts made out of blossoms from the Christmas
tree, the boys simply couldn't bear to think the girls had something
they hadn't got. You know what boys are!

After laughing at the girls in the hopes they'd throw away their pretty
little frocks, the boys went off together. They simply had to think of
something, and it would never do to copy the girls. They came back later
with the quaintest little breeches, made out of broad flax leaves,
stitched together with the points downwards. It was clever of the boys!
They had also stuck some of the red-brown flowers in their hair. The
girls were vexed that they hadn't thought of that, but they went one
better. They made strings of the scarlet nikau berries and hung them
round their necks. (Trust the girls!)

And that was how Fashions came to be started in the Bush.

[Illustration]



CLEMATIS.


Of course fashions change, and no one need be surprised
to find that crimson kilts were soon "out," while the Piccaninny girls
were to be seen walking about in pretty little white, frilly petticoats
made out of clematis blossoms, and sun hats of the same flowers.

The hats were rather silly, because the Piccaninnies lived so deep in
the Bush that the sun couldn't hurt them, but then fashions are absurd.
(Look at the ladies who wear fur coats in hot climates!)

The boys made no change because their kind of fashion doesn't change,
except sometimes you take great pains to iron the crease out of them,
and other times you iron it _in_ most carefull-_ee_.

For some reason the boys didn't like the girls' change of frocks. Of
course, they said, the girls would never play with them now, but the
girls said oh yes, they would. The boys said:

"You'd be scared to play berry fights like we used to."

But the girls said, as brave as could be:

"Would we?"

And the boys answered:

"Let's see you then!"

So they all ran off and collected puriri berries, big purply red ones,
rather squashy. Then the boys all yelled in chorus:

  _Ka mate! Ka mate! Ka ora! Ka ora!
  Tenei te tangata puhuru huru
  Na na nei i tiki mai--
  whaka whiti te ra! Upane! Upane! Upane!
  kaupani whiti te ra!_

which means something very warlike, and the girls answered shrilly:

  _Ka whawhai tonu! Ake! Ake! Ake!_

They said that because they had heard that someone had said that
sometime about something, and it means "we will fight for ever and
ever."

But they didn't! At the very first volley the berries stained their
dainty frocks, and the girls fled, screaming angrily:

"You horrid things! You've ruined our frocks!"

And the boys grinning delightedly, and rolling their black eyes, thumped
their little brown heels on the ground, and beat their little bare,
brown knees and chanted all together:

  "_Akarana Mototapu Rangitoto Ra!_"

And of course you all know what that means! You don't? Well, I'm not
quite sure myself, because I couldn't find it in the dictionary (so
careless of Mr. Webster!) but it really doesn't matter.

[Illustration]



CABBAGE PALM.

(Pickled Cabbages).


Little Swanki, the Piccaninny girl, and Tiki, the
Piccaninny boy, were up in a karaka tree eating the pulp of the ripe
berries. When I was young I was told I would die if I ate the karaka
berries, but I suppose Piccaninny tummies are different.

Anyhow, there they were, skinning the soft yellow pulp, which _does_
took nice, off the hard inside of the berry with their sharp little
white teeth, and throwing the hard part at a kiwi wandering about below
their tree, and thinking it great fun to watch his surprised face as he
tried to dodge the berries.

Swanki had just eaten her fourteenth berry and was reaching for the
fifteenth, when she sighed discontentedly.

"Oh, Tiki," she said, "aren't you sick and tired of eating the same old
foods for ever and ever? Berries--berries--berries! Roots--roots--roots!
And only a few leaves that are worth eating."

But Tiki was a contented little boy, and he couldn't think of anything
nicer to eat than a handful of ripe puriri berries, or the root of a
young fern.

[Illustration: "Oh, Tiki, aren't you sick of eating the same old foods
for ever and ever!"]

"But what else could we eat?" he asked, "There isn't anything else!"

"Of course there is--lots and lots," answered Swanki. "There's mince pie
and ham sandwiches and jam tarts and vinegar and plum duff and cakes and
pickled cabbages."

[Illustration: "So they all ran off and collected puriri berries."]

Tiki stared at Swanki in amazement; he had never even heard of these
foods, and thought she must be wonderfully clever to know all about
them.

Sly little Swanki did not tell him that she had lately been hidden in a
hollow tree stump near a picnic party which had come into the bush, and
that she had heard the people offering these strange foods to one
another, and they sounded as though they might be more interesting than
just berries--berries--berries--roots--roots--roots.

And that is always the way,--something we haven't got always seems more
worth having than the things we have.

When Tiki had recovered from his surprise he remembered one familiar
word in Swanki's list of things to eat, and as he was always ready to
please, he said:

"Swanki, I don't know where the mince pie and plum duff and--and vinegar
trees grow, but I can show you the pickled cabbage trees all right."

"Oh, Tiki, can you?" cried Swanki. "Then let's go at once. I'm longing
for some pickled cabbage."

"It's a long way," said Tiki, doubtfully, "a long, long way to go;"
(though he'd never heard of the popular song, which shows how easy it
must be to write those songs).

But Swanki said it didn't matter how far it was; the sooner they
started, the sooner they'd be there, which was true in a way.

They slid down the tree, and having persuaded the kiwi to give them a
lift, which was pretty cool of them, considering, they set off and
travelled in fine style for some way.

But as they arrived near the edge of the bush and the trees grew
thinner, the kiwi, who hates the open country for his own reasons,
refused to go any farther, and the Piccaninnies had to get off and
trudge the rest of the way on foot.

And crossing a little green glade they met Miss Fantail darting round
and round the glade after flies. Now, Miss Fantail is a friendly and
harmless little bird, but she's the most inquisitive creature in the
bush, and a regular little gossip.

The Piccaninnies knew that if she got wind of where they were going it
would soon be all over the bush, and they made up their minds to dodge
her. So they pretended to be little brown lizards crawling through the
moss, but Miss Fantail wasn't taken in for a moment, but flitted down
to them and put her head on one side in her bright-eyed inquisitive way.

[Illustration: Miss Fantail, the most inquisitive creature in the bush.]

"Now she'll begin to ask questions," muttered Swanki, and sure enough
Miss Fantail began in her usual manner:

"Whit--Whit--Whit--What? What? What? What? Where are you two off to?
Whit! What are you after? What? When are you coming back? Why are you
going so fast? Whit--Whit--Whit--What? What? What?"

And when they wouldn't answer she persisted in following them, flitting
in her restless way from tree to tree, sometimes darting ahead of them,
sometimes circling round them, and never ceasing to cry inquisitively:

"Whit--Whit--Whit--What? What? What? What?"

On the very edge of the bush, however, she hesitated. She had been born
in the bush, and was used only to its cool green shade, and the glare of
the sun on the outside world rather scared her. So after hanging about
for a time to see what the Piccaninnies intended doing, she flitted away
after a large blue fly, and while she was busy Tiki and Swanki gave her
the slip. They, too, had been rather dismayed at the glare of the sun
and the shelterless look of the outside world, but Tiki said that the
Pickled Cabbage trees were not far away; he had seen them once when he
had climbed to the top of a rata tree, and a bush pigeon had told him
the name of them.

So, shrinking a little and keeping a sharp look-out for enemies in case
they had need to "drop dead" and pretend to be a dead stick or leaf,
they ran on hand in hand, and came after a time to the edge of the
swamp.

"There!" said Tiki proudly, "there are the Pickled Cabbage trees."

There were quite a number of them, tall slim trees with long bare trunks
and a crown of long, narrow leaves at the top.

"We must climb to the top to find the cabbages," said Swanki; but though
they had done a lot of climbing in their day, it was usually up trees
with plenty of branches and twigs to help them.

They found it very hard to get a grip with their little, bare, brown
knees on the long, smooth trunks, and Tiki frowned thoughtfully at his
tree as he slid down for the fifth time.

"You give me a leg up first," said Swanki, "and when I'm up I'll give
you one," which was rather a silly thing to say when you come to think
of it.

However, you can do most things if you try hard enough, and Swanki,
seeing how the last year's jackets of the cicadas, which they had quite
grown out of, were clinging to the Cabbage trees with their tiny claws,
slipped her hands and feet into a set of them and through this clever
idea of hers was able to climb right up the trunk, followed by Tiki, who
was busy all the time trying to explain that he had just been going to
think of the plan himself.

When they were at last nestled in the crown of leaves they began to look
about for the cabbages, but could find nothing resembling Swanki's idea
of a cabbage, which wasn't very clear, but quite different from anything
they found in that tree.

They nibbled some of the leaves which were bitter and stringy, and tried
some of last year's flowers, which were very little better, and then
Swanki cried out in disappointment:

"You've played me a trick, Tiki. These are not cabbages."

She gave him an angry little push, and to her surprise he fell backward
out of the tree splash into the swamp, where she saw him struggling in
the muddy water.

Very frightened Swanki hurried down the tree and ran to the edge of the
water, where she held out her hands to Tiki who grabbed them tightly.

But just as she was drawing him to land the boggy piece of ground on
which she was standing gave way, and she, too, fell into the water.

Luckily it was not very deep, and a friendly old frog gave them a leg up
the bank, and very wet and muddy and miserable they started back for the
bush.

The worst of it was that tiresome Miss Fantail had spread it all abroad
that they had left the bush, and on the way home they met her and all
her relations, and all the Piccaninnies too, setting out on a search
party.

[Illustration: "To her surprise he fell backward out of the tree."]

How they stared and questioned and teased the poor little tired
travellers, standing before them so wet and grimy and weary, and when
they had heard the whole story how they all laughed at Swanki and Tiki!

And glad, indeed, were those two Piccaninnies to sit down to
a delicious tea of fern root, young nikau, and assorted berries,
and never again did any one hear Swanki complain of just
"berries--berries--berries--roots--roots--roots."

[Illustration]



[Illustration: " ... he rocked himself to sleep among the pretty little
starry flowers."]



TEA TREE.


One of the Piccaninnies had a horrid adventure one day.
He had heard a tui that morning singing in the Bush, and had made up his
mind to speak to it, because he was sulking with the other Piccaninnies.

You know they say a tui can be made to talk, but it's hard to get near
enough to one to find out, but perhaps if you did get close and
surprised it, it would be so mad at you that it would _answer back_.

The Piccaninny followed his tui up and up, but it flitted from tree top
to tree top, and he could hear it tolling a bell and cracking a whip,
and chuckling at him, and finally it flew away, and that was the last of
it.

The Piccaninny, tired out, climbed up into a tea tree bush, and swung
himself gently to-and-fro until he rocked himself to sleep among the
pretty little starry flowers, a thing he should never have done unless a
Piccaninny Boy Scout had been posted near by in case of danger. He was
_so_ drowsy, that he never heard a voice saying:

"Oh! look here, George, this is a lovely spray!" nor felt the spray on
which he was sleeping torn from its mother-bush, and carried away. It
was taken into a big room in a big house, and there on a big table it
was placed in a silver vase.

It was then the Piccaninny woke up because the bough had ceased to sway
gently up and down. At first he was very surprised, and then, poking his
little brown head out, he was horribly frightened. Instead of the green
leafy arch above him, he saw a flat white thing, and all around him were
enormous strange objects. Craning out still farther he over-balanced
himself and fell thud! upon a hard, polished flat plain. He tried to
scramble to his feet, but the ground under him was so slippery that he
could only crawl gingerly on all fours and flounder about on it.

Someone exclaimed suddenly:

"Oh, look at that horrid brown insect. It must have come from the tea
tree. Fetch the brush and dustpan."

And someone else cried excitedly:

"Kill it! Kill it!"

But a third someone said quite calmly:

"Nonsense! It's quite harmless!"

Then a huge bristly thing fell upon him, and smothered and gasping he
felt himself swept along, and then flying through the air. Again he fell
with a thud upon something hard, but it was only the hardness of the
good brown earth, and the tall green grass closed protectingly over him.

You may be sure he lost no time in scuttling back to the bush, and he
didn't hunt tuis again for many a long day.

[Illustration]



~Bush Babies~



KOWHAI BLOSSOM.


  _The Bush Babies lie
  In cradles of gold;
  They haven't a stitch,
  But they never take cold;
  For the golden flowers,
  And the golden sun,
  And the golden smiles
  Upon everyone--
  Keep the world warm and bright
  And flooded with light
  For the Bush Babies
  In their cradles of gold._

The Bush Babies come out of the kowhai flowers. They are the prettiest
little things--fair as lilies with golden ringlets, and little golden
peaked caps, bent over like a horn upon their heads. I don't think they
wear anything else much, just an odd little fluff of green here and
there, like stray feathers that have stuck to them.

[Illustration: "They haven't a stitch, But they never take cold."]

The Piccaninnies love to play with them; indeed, they're favourites with
everyone, and it's the prettiest sight in the world at early morning, to
see each Bush Baby crawling out of its cradle flower on its little
tummy, yawning or smiling or stretching, or blinking at the light with
round sleepy eyes.

But you would never get up early enough to see that.

They tell a story in the Bush about a Bush Baby and a Piccaninny--and
laugh about it to this day. The Piccaninny told the Bush Baby that he
would find some honey for her. Now the Bush Babies love honey better
than anything else in the world, so she put her hand in his sweetly and
off they set.

They came to the edge of the swamp where the tall branching flax flowers
grow (the flax is not in flower when the kowhai is, but I can't spoil my
story for that), and every flax flower was alive with birds, dipping,
and sipping the honey, so the two little creatures wandered off again.

The Piccaninny led the Bush Baby to several other flowers, but at every
one some bird or insect would edge them away, crying out:

"We got here first!"

[Illustration: "The Bush Lawyer, the most spiteful plant in the bush."]

At last the Bush Baby began to cry. They are very young and tender
things, these Babies, and this one had been caught and scratched by the
Bush Lawyer, the most spiteful plant in the Bush, and had nearly fallen
into a creek, and the peak of its cap was dangling into its eye, and it
was a long way from home.

To comfort it the Piccaninny put his little brown arms right round it
and loved it, and they both sat down on a fallen tree to rest while he
wiped its eyes with a soft green leaf--they didn't know about pocket
handkerchiefs yet.

_Oh!_ The next moment out of a hole in the tree flew a swarm of angry
bees, with humming wings and large fierce eyes and tails curved down to
strike.

The Bush Baby was so astonished that she fell off the log, and there she
lay face down on the green moss, so still that the bees took her for a
fallen kowhai blossom and droned away from her.

But the Piccaninny ran for his life, with all the bees after him, and
when the noise of their angry buzzing had died away, the Bush Baby got
up and had a rare feast of honey, and went back home very sticky and
blissful and contented.

As for the Piccaninny, who had escaped the bees, by lying down and
pretending to be a Tea Tree Jack (they call that camouflage now), he
only sniffed when they told him about it, and said:

"Pooh! I knew that honey was there all the time. I said I'd find her
some and I did!"

_How like a boy!_

 _When the tree of gold
  Turns a tree of green,
  The dear Bush Babies
  Are no more seen.
  To fields of gold
  They have gaily run,
  And are lost in the light
  Of the golden sun;
  Or caught in the mist
  Of gold that lies
  Like a net of dreams
  On Day's sleepy eyes.
  But behold! next year
  They are here! They are here!
  They come trooping back
  Down the wander-track,
  Like rays of light
  In the forest old,
  And the green tree turns
  To a tree of gold._



HOHERIA BLOSSOM.


Do you know the Lovely Ladies of the Bush? They swing on
the tips of the Hoheria tree, with their floating white gowns and
tossing silvery ringlets, and are so light and graceful that they float
on the wind as they swing. If you could _only_ see the Lovely Ladies
dancing! But very few have been lucky enough for that!

They dance on the wind, holding to the tips of the Hoheria and their
white gowns flutter and swirl, and their ringlets float and sway, and
sometimes in the joy of the dance a Lovely Lady lets go of her branch
and comes fluttering down to earth.

Then she can dance no more, but lies very still. It is rather sad,
because once she has let go she may not go back and dance on the tree
for a whole long year, and it is looked on rather as a disgrace to be
the first to fall.

However, she has not to wait long for company. For one by one, the
Lovely Ladies, wild with the joy of the mazy dance, the soft rush of
the wind and the laughing and clapping of the little leaves, loose their
hold, and drift to earth light as thistle-down, and that is the end of
their dancing for that year. Where do they go to while the year goes by?
I have never found out, but I think it most likely that they go to the
place they came from.

The Lovely Ladies have a song which they and the wind sing together as
they dance, and the way it is sung makes everyone that hears it, mad to
dance too. This is it:

  "_The wind is shaking the Hoheria tree,
        Cling, Maidens, cling!"
  "I'll dance with you if you'll dance with me,
        Swing, Maidens, swing!"
  "So up with a windy rush we go,
  Floating, fluttering, to and fro,"
  "Sing for the joy of it, Maidens, Oh!
        Sing, Maidens, sing!_"

The Piccaninnies simply love to watch the Lovely Ladies dancing, and
long to be able to dance in the same way. When they hear the song, their
little brown toes go fidgeting among the moss and leaves, and their
heads nod-nodding to the air.

[Illustration: "They dance on the wind."]

[Illustration: "They began working themselves up and down like mad."]

Once they found a Hoheria tree after all the Lovely Ladies had left it,
and now, they thought, was their chance. They swarmed all over the tree,
clutched the tips of the delicate branches, and began working themselves
up and down like mad.

It was great fun, but with their chubby little brown bodies, short legs,
and shock heads, it did not look quite the same thing, and three Bush
Babies riding that way on a good-natured kiwi, laughed so much (and even
the kiwi, which is a grave bird, looked up and smiled) that the
Piccaninnies, feeling rather foolish, dropped to the the ground and ran
away and hid in the fern.



THE GREAT RED ENEMY.


One day one of those tiresome picnic parties came again
to the bush, and after a great deal of stupid and rather terrifying
noise, during which every Piccaninny and Bush Baby and all the other
bush folk lay hidden away in utter silence, the people all went away
again, and the Wee Folk were free to come out of their hiding places and
turn over curiously the few things the party had left.

There was an empty meat tin which flashed so brightly that the
Piccaninnies took it for a helmet, and each in turn tried to wear it;
but it was so big that it simply hid them altogether, so very
regretfully they had to throw it away. Then there were a few crusts of
bread which quite by accident one of the boys discovered to be good to
eat. They finished every crumb of the bread and enjoyed it, but on the
whole agreed that fern root tasted nicer. There was an empty bottle
that nobody dared go near, for they thought it was some kind of gun, and
a baby's woollen bootee, which the Piccaninnies found most useful as an
enormous bag to be filled with berries. But most mysterious, and
therefore most interesting, though a little frightening, was a large
heap of grey smoking ashes where the picnic fire had been.

The Piccaninnies circled round and round this queer grey pile wondering
what on earth it could be. One boy venturing a little nearer than the
others trod on a live cinder, for the fire was not as dead as it ought
to have been, and jumped back howling and hopping round and round on one
foot, holding the other.

When they crowded round him asking what had happened he cried in fear:

"The Red Enemy bit me. He lives under that grey mound, and I saw his red
eye flash as I went near. That is his breath you see rising up through
the trees."

The Piccaninnies looked frightened and backed away from the grey mound,
but all the rest of that evening they came again and again to stare upon
the Red Enemy, and each time they came his red eyes seemed to flash
brighter, his thick white breath to grow denser as it wound up through
the trees, and he seemed to be purring and growling to himself.

[Illustration: "All the rest of the evening they came again and again to
stare upon the Red Enemy."]

When the Piccaninnies went to bed that night they were very uneasy and
could not sleep well. The sound of the Red Enemy's breathing seemed to
fill the bush with a low roaring, and his breath stole in and out of the
trees like a reddish mist; the air was very hot and dry. One of the
Piccaninnies, a brave little fellow, said that he would go and see what
their strange new enemy was doing, and sliding down his sleeping-tree he
set off.

He had not gone far before the heat and the stifling air drove him hack,
and rushing back to his friends he cried:

"Run for your lives! Quick! Quick! The Great Red Enemy is coming. He is
roaring with anger and tearing the trees down as he comes. None of us
can hope to escape him, for he has a million bright red eyes which he
sends flying through the bush in all directions to find us, and his
breath is so thick that we will be lost in it if we don't run now. Run!
Run!"

The Piccaninnies did not wait to be told twice. Without waiting to pack
up they slid down the trees and started to run through the dark bush,
and soon there were hundreds of little bush creatures all joining in the
race for life.

On, on they ran in fear and excitement, hearing the angry roaring of the
Great Red Enemy behind them, feeling his hot breath scorching them as it
writhed and twisted through the trees in reddish-black billows. Some of
his millions of angry, red searching eyes flew or drifted past them, but
they never stopped for a moment. And now they had left the trees behind
them and were running over clear ground, and before long they reached
the edge of the swamp, lying dark and cool before them.

In their haste and fear they all plunged in headlong and found the water
so fresh and cool and delightful after their heat and hurry, that they
burrowed deeper into it, only leaving their little black heads sticking
out.

All that night they lay and watched the Great Red Enemy in his wrath
worrying and tearing their poor trees to pieces, and all next day and
the next it lasted, and then nothing was left of their beautiful bush
but a few black, ugly stumps and a great grey waste of ashes.

And from the ashes rose the smoking dense breath of the Red Enemy, and
every now and then he flashed an angry red eye. The Piccaninnies who had
lived in that part of the bush could never again return to the cool
green shades of the forest, never slide down a fern leaf, or swing on
the branches, or pick puriri berries, or pelt the morepork in the
daytime.

What could they do? Where could they go? Poor, poor little Piccaninnies!

Well, this is what they did. Having no home to go to, and finding the
water very delightful they decided to make their home in it. At first
they would only stay timidly near the edges where the water was not
deep, but by-and-by through living entirely in the water they grew
webbed-toes (you try it!) and became as much at home in the swamp as any
other water-creature. Some of them even grew elegant little tails
(believe me or not, as you choose!) and they became known in the swamp
as the Teenywiggles, and some day you may hear something more of the
doings of the Teenywiggles.


       *       *       *       *       *


Charming Booklets by Isabel Maud Peacocke (illustrated by Trevor Lloyd)


Piccaninnies

a bewitchingly fanciful and humorous fairy story in a setting of New
Zealand plant and bird life. 1/6


Bonny Books of Humorous Verse

These two booklets of amusing verses on topics peculiar to childhood
will delight both young and old. 1/6

Miss Peacocke's quaint humour is delightfully engaging, and Mr. Lloyd's
drawings are no less droll and pleasing.

       *       *       *       *       *

Dainty Booklets by Edith Howes (illustrated by Alice Poison)


Wonderwings, and other Fairy Stories

Three entrancing fairy stories by New Zealand's popular author of
juvenile literature. 1/6


Little Make-Believe

a companion booklet to "Wonderwings," also containing three delightful
fairy stories. 1/6

Miss Howes's stories are at once entertaining and uplifting. Every one
is written with a lofty purpose.





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