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´╗┐Title: The Doers
Author: Hopkins, William John, 1863-1926
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 "The Doers" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.








The Riverside Press Cambridge



_School Edition_

The Riverside Press




       I.  THE DIGGING-MEN STORY                      1

      II.  THE MASON STORY                           10


      IV.  THE CARPENTER STORY                       34

       V.  THE WATER-MEN STORY                       46


     VII.  THE PLUMBER STORY                         73

    VIII.  THE PAINTER STORY                         86

      IX.  THE TREE-MEN STORY                       101

       X.  THE CLEARING-UP STORY                    113

      XI.  THE SETTING-OUT STORY                    125

     XII.  THE POLE-MEN STORY                       138

    XIII.  THE MOVING-MEN STORY                     155




Once upon a time there was a little boy who was almost five years old.
And his mother used to let him wander about the garden and in the road
near the house, for there weren't many horses going by, and the men
who drove the horses that did go by knew the little boy and they were

So this boy wandered about and played happily by himself.

He had his cat and his cart and his shovel and his hoe, and he always
wore his overalls. And wherever he went his cat went too.

One morning he saw some men come with a big cart and two horses, and
they stopped in a field near his house where there were some queer
boards nailed on sticks that were stuck in the ground; and the boards
turned corners, and there were strings across from one board to

And the men got out of the big cart and unhitched the horses from the
cart, and the little boy thought he had better go there and see what
they were going to do.

So he went, dragging his cart behind him, with his shovel and his hoe
rattling in the bottom of it.

And his cat saw him going, and she ran on ahead with her bushy tail
sticking straight up in the air.

And the little boy came to the men and the horses and he stopped and
stood still.

And his cat stopped too, but she didn't stand still; she rolled over
on her back on the ground and wanted to play, but nobody would pay any
attention to her.

Pretty soon one of the men looked down and saw the little boy.

"Hello!" he said.

"Hello," said the little boy. "What are you going to do?"

"Why," said the man, "we're going to dig dirt."

"Are you going to dig a hole?" the little boy asked.

"Yes," said the man; "a great big hole."

"And what is the hole for?" the little boy asked. "Is it to plant
something in?"

"No," said the man, "it's going to be the cellar of a house."

"Oh," said the little boy, "is it? And do you think I could help you
dig? I've got my shovel and my cart."

"I'm afraid," said the man, "that it wouldn't do. You see that great

He pointed to a big iron scoop that was in the cart.

The little boy looked and nodded.

"Is that a scoop? What is it for?"

"The horses drag it, and a man takes hold of those two handles like
plough-handles, and it scoops the dirt right up."

The little boy nodded again.

"You can watch us if you want to," the man said then. "But you must be
careful not to get in the way of the horses."

"And can my kitty watch too?"

The man laughed and said his kitty could watch if she wanted to.

And the other men took pickaxes out of the cart, the handles of the
pickaxes and their iron heads, and each man slipped the head of his
pickaxe over the handle and gave it a tap on the ground to drive the
head on.

And they walked slowly in under the strings between the boards and
they got in a line.

And the little boy sat down on a stone that was just the right size
and watched them. His cat came and got right between his feet.

Then the man at the end of the line raised his pickaxe high above his
head, and the next man did the same, and then the third man, and so on
to the other end of the line.

And the first man struck his pickaxe down hard into the ground, and it
made the ground grunt, _Mnh!_

And the second man did the same, and the ground gave another grunt,

And then the third man did the same thing, and so on to the other end
of the line.

Then the first man was ready again, so that the sound of the pickaxes
was as regular as the ticking of the tall clock.

When the pickaxe was in the ground, each man gave a kind of a pry that
loosened the dirt.

And when they had picked, the men went ahead a little short step and
picked a new place and left the loosened dirt behind, so that, pretty
soon, they were walking on the dirt that they had loosened.

The cat had got tired of lying between the little boy's feet and
having no attention paid to her, so she got up and ran off a little
way, and stopped and looked back, but the little boy wouldn't look.

So she walked back, with her bushy tail straight up in the air, and
rubbed against the little boy's legs.

Still the little boy didn't notice her. And the reason why he didn't
notice her was that the horses were being hitched to the big iron

As soon as the horses were hitched to the scoop, they started walking
along; and the scoop turned right over on its face, upside down,
because the man didn't have hold of the handles.

And the horses dragged the scoop, upside down, and it bumped over the
stones and made a ringing kind of noise, and they dragged it in
between the boards and over the dirt that had been loosened by the
pickaxes, and when they got to the end of the loosened dirt, they

[Illustration: THE DIRT-SCOOP]

Then the man turned the horses around, and he took hold of the handles
of the scoop and turned it over; and he kept hold of the handles, and
the horses started, and the scoop dug into the loose dirt and scooped
it right up and carried it along.

Now the field, where they were digging the cellar, sloped down behind
where the cellar was to be, so that, when the horses came to that part,
they were walking down-hill.

And the man let go of the handles of the scoop, and it turned over and
dumped its load of dirt.

And when the horses heard the scoop bumping and banging on the ground,
they turned around of their own accord and walked back to get a new

And so they did until they had scooped out all the dirt that had been

Then the pickaxe men went back and began again on the part that had
been scooped, but the horses had to wait for the dirt to be loosened,
and they stood outside of the cellar.

It was beginning to look a little bit like a cellar now, but a very
shallow one.

And the little boy was getting tired of watching the pickaxes rise and
fall and of listening to the noise the ground made. So he got up.

And his cat saw him getting up, and she ran to him, and she saw that
he was going to the man with the horses, so she ran ahead, with her
bushy tail sticking straight up in the air.

The man saw them coming, and he looked at the little boy and smiled.

"I've got to go now," the little boy said, when he had come to the man.

"So soon?" asked the man. "I hope you aren't tired."

"I think I'd better go home," the little boy said. "P'r'aps my mother
would like to see me."

"I shouldn't wonder if she'd like to see you pretty often," the man
said. "You tell her that you'll be safe here. I'll keep my eye on you."

"How will you get your eye on me?" the little boy asked.

The man laughed. "Will you come again?"

"I'll come to-morrow," the little boy said. "P'r'aps I'll come this
afternoon. Good-bye."

"Good-bye," said the man.

And he watched the little boy as he trudged away, dragging his cart,
with his hoe and his shovel rattling in the bottom of it, and with his
cat walking beside him and looking up into his face.

And that's all of this story.



Once upon a time there was a little boy and he was almost five years
old. And there weren't any other children near for him to play with,
so he used to play happily all by himself.

He had his cat and his cart and his shovel and his hoe, and he always
wore his overalls.

One morning he was sitting right down in the gravel of his front walk,
the walk that led to the front door of the house that he lived in, and
he had been digging in the gravel. The hole that he was digging was

And he had picked the dirt all over with a big nail, and pried it
loose, and then he had pretended that his shovel was a big iron scoop
that could scoop the dirt out just the way the big scoop did when it
was dragged by the horses.

For he had been watching the men dig a cellar in the field next to his

And his cat was there, rolling in the gravel and playing with the air.

Pretty soon his mother looked out of a window, and then she came
running out.

"My dear little boy," she said, "what are you digging?"

The little boy got up, and the cat scampered away a few feet, with her
bushy tail straight up in the air.

"I'm digging a cellar for a house," said the little boy.

"Oh," said his mother. "Well, don't you think you'd better build the
house over near the sand-pile? People coming in might not see this
house, and they might kick it over and walk on it. But the masons have
come to work on the real cellar."

"The masons?" the little boy asked.

"The men to build the cellar wall. You may go and watch them if you

The little boy nodded again. Then he put his shovel into his cart, and
took hold of the handle of the cart. Then he looked back.

"Good-bye," he said.

"Good-bye, my dear little son," his mother said.

And she watched him trudging away, dragging his cart, with his shovel
and his hoe rattling in the bottom of it.

And his cat ran on ahead, with her bushy tail sticking straight up in
the air.

The little boy saw a man hoeing slowly at something in a big shallow
wooden box.

And the something that he was hoeing at was all white and it slopped
here and there; and the hoe was all white, and the outside of the box
was all covered with slops of the same white stuff, and the man's
shoes were white, too, and the bottoms of his overalls.

And there was a pile of new sand that looked all moist and just right
to play in.

There was another man standing at the edge of the cellar and looking
down into it.

The cellar itself was so deep now that the little boy could just see
the tops of the hats of the men who were working in it.

The man who had been looking down into the cellar heard the shovel and
the hoe rattling in the cart and looked up.

"Hello!" he called.

"Hello," said the little boy. "What are you doing?"

"I'm just looking to see if the men do their work right. Come over
here and I'll show you."

So the little boy left his cart beside the pile of sand and walked
over to where the man was.

And the man met him and took hold of his hand; and they walked
together to the edge of the cellar and looked down into it, and the
man stooped down and kneeled on one knee, with his arm half around the
little boy so that he wouldn't fall in.

In the cellar the little boy saw a great many big stones that lay all
about the middle, where they had been dumped; and there were six men
working around the edge of the cellar building the wall.

In part of the cellar the wall had been begun and was about two feet
high; but in another part there was nothing but the smooth dirt at the
bottom, and the smooth sides of the cellar that went straight up.

And two of the men were digging a trench in the smooth bottom of the
cellar where the wall would be.

When they had the shallow trench dug for a few feet, one of the men
put down his shovel and went to the pile of stones.

And he found some stones that were the size he wanted, each of them
just about as big as he could carry in one hand. And he took two of
these and went to the trench and put them in.

Then he went to the pile and got two more, and he put them in the
trench, too. And so he did until the bottom of the trench was all

Then he got smaller stones and threw them in on top of the bigger ones;
and, on top of those, still smaller stones that were flattish.

The flat stones filled the trench up nearly to the top, and he didn't
put in any more but took up his shovel again and helped the other man

Then two of the other men came, and they looked at the trench to see
if it was all right.

Then they went to the pile of big stones and they picked out one of
the biggest, and they took their big iron crowbars and put the points
of the bars under the stone, to move it.

The little boy wondered.

"What are they going to do?" he asked. "Are they going to move it? Can
they move it?"

The man nodded.

"Easy enough," he said. "You watch."

And the men pried with their crowbars, and the big stone started from
its place and rolled down from the pile. And the men got it over to
the trench, sometimes prying it with their crowbars and sometimes
rolling it with their hands, and they set it in its place on top of
the small flat stones.

Then one of the men shut one of his eyes and squinted along the wall
that was done to see if the stone was just in the right place; and the
other man moved the stone with his crowbar just a little until it was
in exactly the right place.

Then they went to the pile again and got another big stone in the same
way, and they got it over to the trench and set it in its place beside
the first.

Then the men went to the pile again, and they picked out a stone that
was nearly as big as the bottom stones, and they hammered it with
great hammers and split off some thin, flat pieces.

That was to make it fit better in the place where it was to go. The
ground all about the wall was covered with thin, flat pieces that had
been hammered off other stones.

And they got a great thick board, and they put one end of the board on
top of the bottom stones which they had just put in the trench, and
they put the other end of the board on the ground in front of the
stone which they had been hammering, and they rolled the stone slowly
up the board until it came to the end.

And they rolled it off the end upon the bottom stones, and got it into
its place with their crowbars.

And where it did not fit well enough, they put in thin, flat pieces
that they picked up from the ground.

The man who knelt on one knee at the edge of the cellar told the
little boy about it as the men worked.

And, when the men had put in the little flat pieces of stone, one of
them looked up and smiled at the little boy and said that they called
the thin, flat pieces "chocks."

"Not woodchucks," he said, "but just chocks."

The little boy smiled and nodded. He had never seen a woodchuck, but
there was a picture of one in his animal-book. It wasn't a very good

"I guess," he said, "that they are stone-chucks."

All the men who heard him laughed. And they went to work again, and
the little boy turned to the man who was holding him.

"I've got to go now," he said, "and play in that pile of sand."

"All right," said the man. "You play there just as long as you want

So the little boy went over to the man who was hoeing the white stuff.
It wasn't so white as it had been and it was thicker, just about like
nice mud.

And his cat came up from somewhere. The little boy didn't know where
she had been, but he didn't pay any attention to her. He just stood
and watched the man.

"What are you making?" he asked at last.

"I'm making mortar," the man said. "They put it in the cracks of the
wall, to hold it together."

"Oh," said the little boy. "Well, would you like to have me help you?"

"You might bring me a load of sand," said the man, "if you want to. I
shall have to put in more sand."

So the little boy went to his cart, and he threw out his hoe. He
wasn't careful where he threw it, and the handle of the hoe hit the

And the cat ran home as fast as she could go. But the little boy
didn't know it, he was so busy.

[Illustration: MAKING MORTAR]

And he backed the cart up to the sand-pile, and he took his shovel and
shoveled sand into the cart until the man said that was enough.

Then he took hold of the handle and pulled. It was heavier than he
thought it would be, but he pulled it over to the box of mortar. It
was only a few steps.

Then the man told him to shovel it in, a little at a time.

And the little boy shoveled it in slowly, and he felt very proud, for
he was helping to make real mortar.

And he kept on shoveling until the man said that was enough.

The man hoed the mortar for a few minutes, and then he took up a
queer-looking thing that he said was his hod.

It was made of two boards that were put together like a V with the
point down; and another board was nailed across one end, but the other
end was left open.

It was a kind of a trough; and a stick like a broom-handle stuck down
from the middle of it.

And the man filled this hod with mortar, and he turned around and put
the hod across one shoulder with the bottom of the trough resting on
his shoulder.

And he took hold of the stick, and he walked off, down a ladder into
the cellar.

And he dumped the mortar out of the hod on to a board near the men who
were building the wall. Then he came up again.

The little boy watched him until he had come up out of the cellar. And
he asked the man whether he would want any more sand, but the man said
that he wouldn't for some time.

So the little boy went and played in the sand-pile for a long time,
and, while he was playing, his cat came and rubbed against him. Then
the little boy got up.

"I've got to go now," he said to the mortar man. "Good-bye."

"Good-bye," said the man. "Come again."

"Yes," said the little boy, "I will."

And he put his shovel and his hoe into his cart, and he took hold of
the handle of the cart, and he walked off, with his shovel and his hoe
rattling behind him.

And his cat ran on ahead, with her bushy tail sticking straight up in
the air.

And that's all of this story.



Once upon a time there was a little boy and he was almost five years
old. And there weren't any other children near for him to play with,
so he used to play happily all by himself.

He had his cat and his cart and his shovel and hoe, and he always wore
his overalls when he was playing.

They were building a house in the field next to that little boy's
house, and he used to go there almost every day to watch the men and
to help.

One day it was late when he went, because his mother had taken him
with her down to the Square to do an errand, and when he came back he
had to change his clothes and put on his overalls. His mother wouldn't
let him wear his overalls down to the Square.

And when he had his overalls on, he hurried and got his cart and his
shovel and his hoe, and he called his cat, and she came running, with
her bushy tail sticking straight up in the air.

And he hurried to the new house, dragging his cart; and his shovel and
his hoe rattled in the bottom of it.

The mortar man saw him.

"Hello," he said.

"Hello," said the little boy. "Did you wonder where I was?"

"I did that," said the mortar man.

"Well, I had to go on an errand with my mother," the little boy said,
"but I hurried and came as soon as I could, and here I am. Do you want
some sand?"

[Illustration: THE MORTAR MAN]

But the mortar man didn't want any more sand then. He filled his hod
with mortar, and he stooped down and took the hod of mortar on his
shoulder, and he went trotting to the ladder, and he went down the

Then the little boy couldn't see him, because the cellar walls were
done and the carpenters had come, and they had put on the great square
beams that lie on top of the cellar walls, and they had put in the
beams that go across from one side to the other and hold up the floors.

But there were some men in the cellar, for the little boy could hear
them laughing and talking.

And the mortar man had told him that they were the bricklayers who
were building the chimneys and two of the masons who were smearing
mortar over all the cracks of the wall, so that the water wouldn't
leak through from the ground into the cellar.

The little boy wished that he could see those men, but he was afraid
that it wouldn't be being careful to go down that ladder, and he
didn't think he could do it, anyway, for the steps were too far apart.

So he looked about and he saw the man who had held the handles of the
scoop, and who had held him that other day, while he looked down into
the cellar and saw the masons building the wall. He was called the

The foreman was glad to see the little boy, and beckoned to him.

And the little boy went, and the foreman took hold of his hand, and
they went together right up on the floor beams; but the foreman
carried him when they got up there, because there weren't any boards
on the beams yet, and the little boy might have fallen through between
the beams.

And when they got to the right place, they both stooped over and
looked down between the beams, through a great big square hole. A
chimney would come up through the hole, and the bricklayers were
building it.

The little boy was surprised to see how enormous a chimney had to be
at the bottom.

There were four men laying bricks as fast as ever they could, but it
was all the little boy could do to watch one of the men.

First, he took up a brick from the pile, with his left hand, and he
generally tossed the brick up a little way in the air, and it turned
over before he caught it again, so that he saw all sides of it; and,
with the flat trowel which he held in his right hand, he scooped up
some mortar.

And he slapped the trowelful of mortar down on the bricks where he
wanted to put that other brick, and he gave a little wipe with the
trowel around the edges, and he pressed the brick that he was holding
in his left hand down into place, and he tapped the brick with the
handle of the trowel, and the mortar squeezed out all around, and,
with his trowel, he scooped off the mortar that had squeezed out, and
he slapped that down in a new place.

Then he began again, and reached down for another brick.

The little boy was so busy watching the bricklayer that he forgot all
about the masons who were putting mortar on the wall.

But, pretty soon, all the men said something to all the other men, and
they stopped laying bricks, and they began to take off their overalls.

"What are they going to do now?" the little boy asked.

"They are going to eat their dinner," said the foreman. "Come on."

So the foreman and the little boy got down on the ground again, and
the foreman set the little boy down, and he took his hand, and they
went back, near the pile of sand, where there were some nice boards to
sit on.

And the men all came trooping out of the cellar, and each man went and
got his dinner from the place where he had put it when he came there
in the morning.

Some of the men had their dinner in pails and some had theirs in
baskets and one man had his in a newspaper, so that he wouldn't have
anything to carry home at night.

And the men came where the nice boards were, and they sat around
anywhere, and they opened their pails and their baskets and the
newspaper bundle, and they began to eat their dinners.

The little boy had sat down, too, but he didn't feel very comfortable.

He thought that, perhaps, he ought to have brought his dinner, but he
didn't know about it, so how could he have brought it?

And he got up and started home, but the foreman called after him and
asked him why he was going.

And the little boy said that he was going to bring his dinner, too,
and eat it with them.

And the foreman said that they would give him some of their dinner,
and that there were all sorts of nice things that their wives had

And the little boy said that he would ask his mother, and he would
hurry as fast as he could.

In a few minutes, the little boy came back to the place where the men
were sitting.

He walked very carefully, because he was carrying a cup of milk; and
his cat walked beside him and looked up at the cup of milk all the
time, and, every few steps, she stood on her hind legs and tried to
reach the milk.

But she couldn't, and the little boy didn't pay any attention to her.

When he got to the men, the foreman asked him what his mother said.

And the little boy told him that his mother said he could have some of
their things if they didn't give him any cake or any pie, and that any
of the men could have their tea or coffee warmed for them if they
would take it to his house.

The men who had tea or coffee were glad to hear that, and they went to
the little boy's house and took their tea and their coffee.

Some had it in bottles and some had it in the covers of their
dinner-pails, with the cup to drink out of fitting over the top.

The foreman didn't go, and the little boy sat down close to him and
began to drink his milk; but his cat bothered him by trying to get it.

So the little boy gave her a push with his foot.

"Get away, kitty," he said. "You can't have any."

Then the foreman laughed, and he broke off a piece of white bread and
gave it to the little boy. And the little boy took a great enormous

"Is it good?" the foreman asked.

The little boy nodded. "M--m--m!" he said. He couldn't really say
anything because he had his mouth full of bread.

"My wife made it," said the foreman. "I think she's a very fine cook."

The little boy put his mouthful of bread in his cheek so that he could

"Yes," he said, "I think so too."

The foreman laughed again, and then the men began to come back.

They all wanted to give the little boy something; and some of them
gave him other little pieces of white bread, and some of them gave him
little corners of their sandwiches, and some gave him little pieces of
dark-colored bread.

And he ate his pieces of bread and drank his milk, and the foreman
gave him two of some little thin molasses cookies that were all
crackly and crumbly; for little crackly cookies like those aren't much
like cake.

When all the men had finished their dinner and had drunk their tea and
their coffee, they went and put their pails and their baskets away and
then came back and sat down again, and some of them got out their
pipes and filled them.

The little boy was very happy, and he sat on the board with his hands
in his lap, and he smiled.

"Now," said the foreman, "there's time for a story before you go to
work again. Do any of you know a story?"

He looked all about and, last of all, he looked at the little boy. "Do
you know any story?"

"Well," the little boy said, "I know about Jonah."

"Will you tell us about Jonah?" the foreman asked. "I should like to
hear that story."

"Yes," said the little boy, "I will tell it. Well, once upon a time
there was a man named Jonah. And he had to go to Nineveh to tell the
people how bad they were. But he didn't want to go; so he didn't. He
ran away in a ship.

"And when he got into the ship, he lay down and went to sleep. And the
ship started, and pretty soon the wind began to blow terribly hard,
and there were 'normous great waves, and the ship got all tippy. And
the sailors were afraid, and they threw out the things that were in
the ship.

"So the captain went to the place where Jonah was. 'Wake up, Jonah!'
he said. 'Why don't you get up and pray?'

"Then the sailors talked together, and said that it must be Jonah's
fault. 'Who is this Jonah, anyway?' they said. 'Where did he come from,
and what is he doing here? Let's ask him.'

"So they did. And Jonah told them, and said: 'I guess you'll have to
throw me out of the ship.' So they threw Jonah over into the water,
and there wasn't any more storm.

"And Jonah, he went down and down and down in the water, and I guess
he thought he was going to be drowned. Then a great, big whale came
along and saw Jonah, and he opened his mouth wide and went at Jonah
and swallowed him. But he didn't bite him or chew him or anything.

"But Jonah was terribly scared, 'cause he couldn't hardly guess where
he was. The insides of the whale were all wet, and it was all pitchy
dark in there.

"There wasn't anything for Jonah to do but to think, and after he had
thought for a long, long time, the whale up-swallowed him and spitted
him out on to the beach. And I s'pose Jonah went and washed his
clothes, because they were all whaley.

"And then he went to Nineveh and told them to be more better, and they
did be."

And that's all of Jonah.



Once upon a time there was a little boy and he was almost five years
old. And there weren't any other children near for him to play with,
so he used to play happily all by himself.

He had his cat and his cart and his shovel and his hoe, and he always
wore his overalls when he was playing.

They were building a house in a field near that little boy's house;
and, one morning, he had heard the sounds of hammers and of mallets
all the time he was at breakfast.

So he hurried to get through, and he slipped down from his chair and
took off his napkin and he wiped his mouth and he turned to his mother.

She was sitting still, smiling because he was in such a hurry.

"You seem to be in a good deal of a hurry," she said.

"Yes," he said, nodding, "I am. I think I had better go over to the
new house."

"To see whether the men are doing their work right?" she asked.

"You see, I have to help the mortar man," he explained. "Good-bye."

"Good-bye, dear," she said. Then she kissed him. "Be very careful."

"Yes, I will."

Then he went out, and he got his cart, and he put his shovel and his
hoe in it, and he called his cat; but no cat came. And he called her
again, but she didn't come then.

So he took up the handle of his cart, and he walked over to the new
house, dragging his cart behind him, with his shovel and his hoe
rattling in the bottom of it.

The mortar man was still there, hoeing mortar for the bricklayers to
use, for the chimneys weren't done yet.

"Hello," said the mortar man.

"Hello," the little boy said. "I came as soon as I could."

"Where's your kitty?" the mortar man asked. "You couldn't find her,
could you? Well, look around behind you."

The little boy looked around behind him.

He was standing with his back to the house, so that, when he looked
behind him he saw the new house and the carpenters who were working at
great beams which were on wooden horses that stood on the ground.

And he saw his cat, too. She was walking toward him, with her bushy
tail sticking straight up in the air.

But the little boy was too much interested in what the carpenters were
doing to pay much attention to his cat.

"What are those men doing?" he asked of the mortar man.

"The carpenters? They are cutting mortises in those girts. That is,
little holes in those big beams. The ends of other beams will be made
small enough to go in those holes, and they will hold the floor up."

"Mor--tar!" shouted one of the men who were building the chimney.

The mortar man hurried off with his hod of mortar, and the little boy
wandered over to where the carpenters were.

His cat went, too, but he left his cart by the pile of sand.

There were two carpenters there, and they both looked up and smiled.

They had great thick chisels and heavy wooden mallets in their hands,
and there was a big bit, or "borer," as the little boy called it,
lying on the ground between them. And I don't know why "borer" isn't a
better name for it.

There were some round holes in the beams which had been made by the
borer, and the men were making those round holes square with the

One of the men had just finished a hole when the little boy came, and
he went ahead to the next round hole, and he put the edge of the
chisel carefully against the wood, and he struck it with the mallet.

_Plack!_ _Plack!_ _Plack!_ shrieked the mallet on the chisel.

_Ugh!_ _Ugh!_ _Ugh!_ the wood grunted, and it seemed to shiver when
the mallet struck.

[Illustration: CUTTING A HOLE]

Then there was a splintering noise and a part of the wood broke away.

_Plack!_ _Plack!_ _Plack!_ screamed the mallet again.

The wood grunted again, but it was of no use, and another piece broke

And then the man hit the chisel again and another piece broke off, and
the chisel came through on the other side of the beam.

And the carpenter drove the chisel through at the other side of the
hole, in the same way; and what had been a round hole was a square one.

Then he laid the mallet down and took the chisel in both hands, and he
leaned over the square hole and made the sides all smooth with the

Then he made a sort of sloping hole, a kind of a little square trench,
and it went from the side of the beam into the square hole.

Then he put his tools down and looked at the little boy again and

"There!" he said. "That's done."

The little boy smiled back at him.

"Is it?" he said. "What goes in that hole? I could put my hand in it."

"It's not for little boys' hands," answered the carpenter. "The end of
a short beam goes in there. I'll show you. We have to make places for
the chimneys to come through and so people can go upstairs without
knocking their heads. Did you ever think of that?"

The little boy shook his head, and he came nearer. "Show me."

So the carpenter went to a little pile of short beams; and he took one
and brought it back.

And he turned the big beam on edge, and fitted the end of the little
beam into the hole.

The end of the little beam had already been made small, so that it
would go in.

"There," he said. "Now here, where I stand, will be the stairs for
people to go up, and there will be that other big beam on the other
side. We have to leave this big hole in the floor so that a man can go
on the stairs without hitting his head, you know. Everywhere else will
be a floor, except where the chimneys come through. Do you understand?"

The little boy nodded. He thought that he understood, although it was
not very easy to understand.

And while he was trying to understand better, there came a voice
behind him.

"Hello! I wondered where you were."

And he looked around and there was his friend the foreman, and the cat
had gone to meet him and was coming back beside him, and she was
looking up into the foreman's face, and her bushy tail was sticking
straight up into the air.

"Hello," said the little boy; and he leaned back against the horse
that the beam rested on.

"Your kitty," said the foreman, "came up here all by herself, and she
followed me about."

The little boy laughed.

"She's a funny kitty," he said.

The foreman stooped down.

"I think you'd better tell me your name," he said. "I like to know the
names of my friends."

"My name is David," the little boy answered.

"And mine is Jonathan," said the foreman quickly. "Think of that! Now,
Davie, come with me and let's see how the other men are getting on."

So David put his little hand into the foreman's big one, and they
started; and David saw some men putting up a great, tall beam on one
of the corners.

Two men were holding it, and another man reached up as high as he
could and nailed a board to it, and the other end of the board was
fastened down low, so that the tall beam shouldn't fall over when the
men let go.

"What are those men doing?" David asked. "That sticks up like my
kitty's tail, doesn't it?"

"So it does," the foreman said. "There'll be more of them presently,
sticking up all along every side."

"Will there? How many of those sticks will there be?"

"Oh, I don't know; more than fifty, I should think."

"A cat with fifty tails." And the little boy laughed. "Did you ever
see a kitty with fifty tails?"

"All sticking straight up in the air!" said the foreman. "That _would_
be funny. She'd look like a porcupine."

"What _is_ a porcupine?" David asked. "Did I ever see one?"

"I guess not," the foreman answered. "Anyway, I never did. It's a
little animal all covered with sharp things. It's just as if your
kitty's fur was about three or four times as long as it is, and every
hair was stiff and sharp. There's a great rattling as they walk, I'm
told. The Indians used to sew the quills--the sharp things--on their
soft leather slippers, because they looked pretty."

"Tell me some more about them," said David.

"I don't know any more. See, Davie, the men are putting up another

So David watched the men put up that stick, and he forgot about the
porcupine, which was what the foreman wanted.

And then he watched them put up another, and then another.

"They look as if they were the bones of the house," he said.

"So they do, Davie," the foreman said, "and so they are. And the whole
frame, before it's boarded in--before any boards are nailed on--looks
like the skeleton of a house, and so it is. They'll have pretty near
the whole frame up by the time you eat your supper; or to-morrow
morning, at any rate. Then you look and see. It's much the same way
that your body's made: your ribs and the other bones are the frame,
and inside you there are a lot of rooms, and it's all covered with
soft skin instead of boards."

"Am I? What are my ribs?"

"These bones." And the foreman stooped and ran his finger quickly down
David's ribs, and David shrieked with laughter.

"Tickles," said David. "Show me my ribs again."

"It isn't good for little boys to be tickled too much," said the
foreman. "Now we'll go over to the sand-pile for a while. I don't want
to take you into the house until they get the frame all up and some
floors down. It isn't safe."

So they turned around and went to the sand-pile, and the foreman
stayed there a little while and played in the sand.

Then he had to go away; and the mortar man had gone away, and nobody
was there but David and his cat.

And David thought that he would help the mortar man, so he filled his
cart with sand and dragged it over to the mortar box and shoveled it

Then he took up the handle of his cart, and he called his cat, and he
walked along to his house, dragging his cart.

And his shovel rattled in the bottom of it, and his cat ran on before

But he had forgotten his hoe. It was in the pile of sand.

And that's all of this story.



Once upon a time there was a little boy and he was almost five years
old. And there weren't any other children near for him to play with,
so he used to play happily all by himself.

He had his cat and his cart and his shovel and his hoe, and he always
wore his overalls when he was playing. And his name was David.

They were building a house in a field near David's house; and, one
morning, he heard a curious sound, and he wondered what they were
doing, and he asked his mother.

"Mother," he said, "what are they doing? What are they? It sounds as
if they were pickaxing the dirt."

His mother laughed. "Well," she answered, "perhaps they are. I don't
know what they are doing. I think you'll have to go and see."

"Think I'll have to go and see," David repeated; "but I'll have my
breakfast first."

So he had his breakfast first, and he hurried a little because he
wanted to know what the noise was.

And when he was through his breakfast he took off his napkin and
slipped down from his chair and went around to kiss his mother.

His father had gone off to town in the early train.

"Good-bye," said David.

"Good-bye, dear," said his mother. "Be very careful."

He nodded. "Yes, I will." He was going out, but he stopped. "I don't
hear it now, mother. I don't hear the noise. Do you suppose they've
stopped doing it?"

"If you go right along over there, I think you'll find out about it."

So the little boy went out, and he picked up his shovel, but he
couldn't find his hoe.

And he put his shovel into his cart, and took up the handle of the
cart, and his cat came running, and he went toward the new house,
dragging his cart behind him with his shovel rattling in the bottom of
it. His cat ran on ahead.

Long before he got as far as the house, he saw some men's heads bob up
in the middle of the road; heads without any bodies to them.

And he went nearer, and he saw that the men were in a trench that they
had dug in the road, as far as the new house.

Some long iron pipes were in the gutter. The pipes were big enough for
his kitty to crawl through.

He wanted to ask somebody about them, but there was nobody there
except the two men in the trench, so he walked along until he came to
the mortar box.

The mortar man wasn't there. He had gone into the house with a hod of

So David looked all about for somebody.

He saw the pile of sand with his hoe sticking out of it, but he didn't
pay any attention to it, for he wasn't thinking about hoes then.

And he saw the bones of the house almost all up, so that they made a
pretty good skeleton, and the carpenters were putting up the rafters:
the beams that hold up the roof.

And other carpenters had just begun nailing boards on to the outside
of the up-and-down beams, and there was a great noise of hammering.

At last he saw the foreman.

"Hello!" David called.

There was such a noise, with the carpenters all hammering, that the
foreman didn't hear him.

"Hello!" called David again, louder.

Still the foreman didn't hear.

"Hello!" David shouted as loud as he could shout. "_Hello, Jonathan!_"

The foreman heard, that time, and he looked around and laughed.

"Ho, Davie!" he said in a big round voice. "Just wait a minute and
I'll be down there."

So David waited a minute, then two, then five minutes, and the foreman
came. Then David asked his question.

"What are the men doing in the road?"

"They're digging a trench. When they get it done, they'll lay water
pipes in it. And the water will come all the way from the reservoir on
the hill, and it will go through pipes that are already laid under the
streets, and it will come to this street, and it will turn into this
street and go along, and some will go into your house, and some will
keep on to this house and go in through a pipe that will be under the
ground just the other side of the sand-pile.

"That pipe will go through the cellar wall, and to all the faucets in
the house, so that when the little boy who will live here wants to
wash his hands or take a bath, he will turn a faucet and the water
will come running. There, now."

"Oh," said David, "will a little boy live here?"

"I don't know who will live here, Davie," the foreman answered. "There
most generally is a little boy or so in any family that lives in this

"Oh," said David; and he nodded his head, and he saw a faucet that was
nailed to a board.

And the faucet was on the end of a pipe which stuck up from the ground
near the mortar box.

"Why," he said, "there's a faucet, and water will come. I've seen the
mortar man get it there."

"Yes," said the foreman. "We had to have water to use. It comes
through this pipe that lies on top of the ground all the way to your
house. See?"

And the foreman showed David the pipe. It was hidden by the long grass.

"They're going to lay the pipes now, Davie. Do you want to see them do

So David put his little hand into the foreman's big one, and they went
together to where the men were.

The men had got up out of the trench, and they were going to take up
one of the iron pipes that lay in the gutter.

Just as they began to lift it, out of one end of it popped David's
kitty. She scurried around and popped into the end of another pipe,
and all the men laughed.

"Funny kitty," said David.

Then the men took hold of the pipe that the cat had been in at first,
and they lifted it, one at each end, and they carried it and put it
down beside the trench.


Then they got into the trench again, and they took hold of the pipe
and lowered it to the bottom.

David couldn't see what the men were doing then, and he went to the
edge of the trench and squatted there and watched.

He saw the end of a pipe sticking out of the ground into the trench.
It looked as if it had been in the ground a long time.

"What is that?" he asked the foreman.

The foreman said it was the end of the old pipe, and there was a place
near his house where they could put a long iron thing into the ground,
down as far as the pipes, and turn it and let the water into this
pipe. The long iron thing was like a clock-key.

"And Davie," he said, "you see that one end of each pipe flares out
bigger than the other end. The men put the small end of one pipe into
the flaring end of the next. You'll see."

So David looked and the men fitted the small end of the new pipe into
the flaring end of the old one, and they blocked the new pipe up with
dirt and stones until it was just right.

Then one of the men took some things that were in the trench. All that
David saw was what looked like some old frazzled-out rope, and he laid
the things he had taken up around the new pipe in the joint, and he
hammered them in tight with a kind of a dull chisel. That was so that
the water shouldn't leak through.

When the men had the old frazzled-out rope all hammered in tight, the
other man came and brought him something that looked all snaky, and it
was shiny like the lead of a pencil, and it waved about as if it were
heavy and it seemed to be all moist like mud.

And the man took this snaky, wavy thing, and he wrapped it around the
pipe, and he drove it into the joint until it looked like a part of
the pipe.

Then he felt it all over carefully, and he stood up and looked at it.

And he made up his mind that it was all right, and the other man began
to shovel dirt down into the trench, and they punched the dirt until
it was all hard under the pipe and at the sides.

Then they went to the gutter and picked up another pipe.

The foreman couldn't wait any longer.

"I've got to go now, Davie."

"Where have you got to go?" David asked. "Can I go with you?"

"I've got to go into the house. I can't take you in there yet. I'm
afraid you'd get hurt. In a day or two you can go in."

David nodded. He was thinking about those pipes.

"Will the men keep on putting those pipes together until they come to
the house?" he asked. "And how will they get the pipe into the house?
They'll have to put it through a window."

"No," the foreman answered, "they won't have to put it through a
window. They'll lay the pipes straight past the house, and they'll
plug up the end until there are some more houses built on this road.

"Then they'll fit a little pipe into the side of the big pipe and run
it through a hole in the cellar wall.

"The little pipe is not much bigger than that pipe that the faucet is
on, over by the mortar box. What'll you do now, Davie?--play in the

David nodded again. "Good-bye," he said.

"Good-bye." And the foreman went into the house.

And David dug in the sand for a while, and then he looked for his cat,
but he didn't see her; so he put his shovel and his hoe into the cart,
and walked off, dragging the cart, with the shovel and the hoe
rattling in the bottom of it.

And when he got to the pipes, the cat popped out of the end of one of
them, and she ran ahead of David, with her bushy tail sticking
straight up in the air, and David walked along to his house.

And that's all.



Once upon a time there was a little boy, and he was almost five years
old, and his name was David. And there weren't any other children near
for him to play with, so he used to play happily all by himself.

He had his cat and his cart and his shovel and his hoe, and he always
wore his overalls when he was playing.

One day he wandered up to the corner of the road that he lived on.

He wasn't allowed to go beyond that corner, and his mother didn't like
to have him go so far as the corner.

But he was pretending, and he didn't know how far he had come.

He played in the gravel of the gutter for a long time, and he was
talking nearly all the time.

His cat was there, taking little runs away, with her bushy tail
sticking straight up in the air. Then she would lie down on her back
and play with the air, and then she always jumped up in a great hurry
and ran back to David and rubbed against him.

But David wasn't talking to his cat, and he wasn't talking to himself.

He was talking to the pretend child who was his playmate and who had
come there holding to the other handle of his cart and helping him
drag it.

And he was so busy that he didn't notice the great wagon that was just
about to turn the corner.

The driver called to him.

"Hey, little boy! Don't get run over."

David scrambled up on the sidewalk before he even looked, for he
remembered to be careful.

Then he looked, and he saw a big wagon that was drawn by two horses,
and the wagon was loaded with short, shiny boards, tied together in
bundles, and on top of the bundles of short, shiny boards were bundles
of shingles, a great many of them.

David knew what shingles looked like when they came in bundles, but he
wondered what the shiny, short boards were.

But he didn't ask, because the horses were almost trotting, they were
walking so fast, and the driver seemed to be pretty busy.

He supposed that the shingles and things were going to the new house,
and he watched the wagon until it stopped there.

Then he took up the handle of his cart, and he walked off with it as
fast as he could walk, and then he began to run, and his shovel and
his hoe rattled so that you would have thought they would rattle out.

The pretend child didn't go with David, for he had forgotten all about

Sometimes the child was a girl and sometimes it was a boy; but it was
a girl that morning. She was left in the gutter at the corner.

And David didn't call his cat, and the cat stayed at the corner for a
while, and first she looked at the pretend little girl and then she
looked after David, and she didn't know which to go with.

But at last she went running after David, and she caught up with him,
and she ran on ahead, with her bushy tail sticking straight up in the

When David got to the house, he found the wagon there, and the horses
were standing still, and the driver was throwing off the bundles of
shingles and another man was piling them up.

They had got almost to the shiny, short boards.

And the foreman was there, and he was putting something down with a
very short pencil in a little old book.

"Hello," said David. "What are--"

But the foreman interrupted him.

"Just wait a minute, Davie, until I get these checked up."

So David waited a long time, but the wagon was unloaded at last, and
the little book put in the foreman's pocket.

"Now, Davie," the foreman said, "what was it that you were asking me?"

"I was asking what are these," said David, putting his hand on a
bundle of the shiny boards.

"Those are clapboards, Davie."

The foreman stooped down and pointed to the house.

"You see they have begun to put them on the outside of the walls of
the house, but we had to have some more. You see that one edge of a
clapboard is thin and the other edge is thick."

He pulled one of the clapboards from a bundle and showed David.

"The thick edges go over the thin edges, very much like shingles, and
they keep the rain and the wind out. You know about shingles?"

David nodded doubtfully.

"I don't know whether I do or not."

"Well," the foreman said, "you ought to know about them. Those two men
have just begun to shingle the piazza roof. If you can wait a few
minutes, I'll take you up there. You aren't very busy this morning,
are you?"

David smiled and shook his head.

The foreman smiled too.

"You wait right here, and I'll come and get you pretty soon."

So David waited, and while he was waiting he watched the men putting
on clapboards.

They had begun at the top and had got about halfway down that side.

The side of the house was all covered with red stuff which looked
something like cloth and something like thick paper. It was paper, and
it rippled and waved in the wind.

The men were putting the clapboards on outside of that red paper.

A man had a pile of clapboards beside him, and he took one up and he
lifted the edge of the one above, and he tucked the thin edge of the
clapboard that he held in his hand under the edge that he had lifted;
and he gave it little taps with his hammer until it was in the right
place, and then he drove fine nails through the thick edge that he had
lifted, and through the thin edge of the clapboard beneath, and into
the wall of the house.

Then he took up another clapboard and put it close up to the one that
he had just fastened, with its thin edge tucked under the thick edge
of the one above.

The men put on clapboards very fast, and David was so interested in
seeing them do it that he forgot that the foreman had not come back
for him.

He had gone up nearer, so as to see just how the clapboards went on,
when he heard the foreman's voice behind him.

"Well, Davie," said the foreman, "do you think you could put on
clapboards as fast as that?"

David shook his head.

"No, I couldn't."

"Perhaps not. But come on, and we'll see what you can do with

And the foreman took David's small hand in his big one, and they went
to where a ladder stood leaning against the edge of the piazza roof.

A little way below the edge of the roof there was a rough sort of a
platform, made of two boards laid on some other boards that were
nailed to the posts of the piazza and to long sticks which went up and
down and had their ends resting on the ground.

This was what the carpenters called a staging or scaffolding, and when
they got through their work, they would take it down.

"Now, Davie," said the foreman, "you take hold of the rungs and climb
up. It's a pretty long stretch for little legs, but I'll hold you, and
I won't let you fall. Don't look down. Look up."

So David took hold of a rung and stretched his leg as high as it would
go, and he managed to get his foot on the first rung.

Then he pulled himself up and reached up with one hand and took hold
of the next rung; and then he put his other hand up, and he stretched
his leg up as high as it would go, and he stepped up another rung.

The rungs of a ladder are the little round sticks that go across that
you put your feet on.

David climbed very slowly, and he was rather scared at first; but he
felt the foreman's arm around him, and the foreman kept just behind
him, so that he stopped being scared.

And he climbed a little faster, and he came to the platform.

"Now, what shall I do?" he asked.

"Now you hold your breath," the foreman said, "and I'll put you over
on to the staging."

So Davie held his breath and one of the shingle men came and held him
by the arms when the foreman had set him down upon the boards.

Then the foreman stepped upon the staging and put his arm around David

"There!" said the foreman. "You've climbed your first ladder. Now
we'll see about the shingling."

There was a whole bundle of shingles on the staging, and another
bundle that had been opened, and the shingle men had thrown a good
many of these shingles up on the roof, so that they would be handy.

And David saw that there were three rows of shingles on already, and
that a string was stretched tight across the last row; and the string
was chalky-looking, and blue.

"They're just going to mark another row," the foreman said. "You

Then one of the shingle men lifted the stretched string between his
thumb and his forefinger, and he let it go, and it snapped down hard
upon the shingles.

And they took the string away, and there was a blue line all along the
row of shingles.

"What is that?" David asked.

"Chalk, Davie. They put chalk on the string by rubbing a lump of chalk
on it. That line shows where the edge of the next row of shingles goes.

"And they lay the shingles on so that each crack in the row beneath is
covered. The shingles are different widths, you see, and they can
always find one that fits up close to the next one and covers a crack.

"If the cracks were not covered, the rain would get through and the
roof would leak.

"Now let's see if you can lay shingles. Pick out one that you think
will be right to cover the crack in the row beneath, and lay it down
close up to the last one and with its thick edge to that blue line."

David was rather excited at the thought that he was to lay the

"Shall I?" he asked.

The foreman nodded, and he pointed to a shingle.

"Try that one."

So David took the one that the foreman pointed at, and he laid it down
as well as he could, close up to the last one which the shingle man
had put on, and with its thick edge at the blue line.

It took him some time, because he had never laid shingles before; but
the shingle man had only to change it a tiny bit, and then he drove in
two nails about halfway up toward the thin edge.

And David took another shingle which the foreman pointed at, and he
fitted it in its place a little more quickly, and the shingle man
didn't have to change that one at all, but drove the nails with hardly
more than two blows of his hammer.

So David kept on laying shingles, and the shingle man nailed them.

At first the foreman pointed to the right shingles; but, after a while,
he didn't point, but David chose them himself.

And they finished that row, and they began the next.

"I'm afraid, Davie," the foreman said, "that we'll have to go down
now. Aren't you ready to go?"

David was getting a little bit tired, for the shingle man nailed his
shingles before he could wink, and he felt hurried all the time.

So he said that he was ready, and the foreman took him under his arm
and carried him down the ladder that way.

"Good-bye," he called to the shingle men as he was going down.

"Good-bye," the shingle men called to David. "We're much obliged."

"You're welcome," David called back to the shingle men.

Then he was set down on the ground, and he was rather glad to feel the
ground again.

And his cat came running, with her bushy tail straight up in the air,
and David started off.

"Where are you going so fast?" the foreman asked.

David stopped for a moment.

"I've got to go home now."

"To tell your mother that you've been shingling?"

David nodded, and he smiled shyly.

"Well, good-bye, Davie," the foreman said.

"Good-bye," said David.

And he turned again and ran to his cart, and he took up the handle.

And he started walking as fast as he could, dragging his cart, with
his shovel and his hoe rattling in the bottom, and his cat ran on
ahead; and she ran right up the front steps and in at the door, and
David came after.

But he left his cart in the path.

And that's all of the shingle story.



Once upon a time there was a little boy, and he was almost five years
old, and his name was David. And there weren't any other children near
for him to play with, so he used to play happily all by himself.

He had his cat and his cart and his shovel and his hoe, and he always
wore his overalls when he was playing.

They were building a new house in the field next to David's house, and
it was all done on the outside, but it wasn't painted.

And the men were working inside, for David could hear the hammering,
and sometimes he could hear them sawing.

One morning, after breakfast, David went to his mother and said that
the foreman wanted him to come to the new house that morning, for the
plumbers would be there.

He didn't know what plumbers were.

"What are plumbers, mother?"

"They are men who mend the pipes, dear," his mother answered.

"What pipes?" he asked. "Are the pipes broken?"

His mother laughed. "Well, I suppose they put in the water pipes, and
the bathtubs and the basins and the hot-water boiler and all those

David nodded, and let his mother kiss him, and then he went out.

And his cat was there, waiting for him, and his cart was there, with
his shovel and his hoe in the bottom of it. And he stooped down and
took hold of the handle of his cart, and he trudged to the new house,
dragging his cart.

The mortar man had gone some time before, and there wasn't any
sand-pile, but the foreman saw him coming.

"Hello, Davie," he called.

"Hello," David called back.

"You're just in time to go into the house with me," the foreman said.

So David dropped the handle of his cart and the foreman took hold of
his hand, and they went up the steps and into the house.

The partition walls between the rooms weren't all done, and David
could see right through them in some places into the next room.

And the foreman and David went through the place that would be the
front hall when it was done, with the front stairs going up out of it;
and some carpenters were working there now and there was a great mess.

"What are the carpenters doing?" David asked.

"They're nailing on laths, Davie," the foreman answered. "Laths, you
see, are the little thin sticks that go on the up-and-down sticks of
the walls, and the plaster goes on them and squeezes between them.
Then, when it hardens, the part that is between the laths holds the
rest of the plaster up and against the wall."

David nodded, but they were in the back hall now, with the back stairs
going up out of it, and he forgot the carpenters and the laths.

Under the back stairs were some stairs that went down to the cellar,
and the foreman started down.

"Be careful of the steps, Davie," said the foreman. "They have to have
these rough boards on them now, while the workmen are here, so that
the real steps won't get all dirty and worn. When the men are almost
through, about the last thing they do is to lay floors and put nice
boards on the stairs."

David couldn't see very well, but he could feel that the boards of the
stairs were uneven and rough, and some of them were small; but he was
careful, and he went slowly, and at last he was on the cellar floor.

Far off in the very end of the cellar he saw a lantern lighted, and a
flickering light which moved about, high up.

Then, as he got used to the darkness, he saw the legs of two men; and
they had great wrenches and were doing something to long pipes, and
they had a candle which they held close up to the pipes, so that they
could see.

And the pipes went along close to the beams overhead, so that the men
were all the time bumping their heads and knocking their elbows on the
beams, and they didn't have room enough to work.

That was the reason why David had seen only their legs when he first
came down.

It wasn't a very convenient way to work, but the men didn't seem to
mind. Perhaps they were used to it.

"Are those the pipes that the water goes through?" David asked.

"Yes, Davie," the foreman said. "It comes in through the wall there,
close down to the floor, from that pipe that you saw the men laying in
the street.

"Then it goes up and through these pipes to the back of the cellar,
and then up again to the kitchen and the pantry and the bathrooms.

"It isn't much fun being down here, is it?"

"No," David said, "it isn't."

The foreman laughed.

"Well, you wait a half a jiffy and we'll go up."

So David waited while the foreman took a paper out of his pocket.

And first he looked at the paper and then he looked at the pipes, and
then he looked at the paper again.

Then he folded the paper and put it into his pocket, and he took
David's hand and they went up the cellar stairs, and through a door
into the kitchen.

There David saw the legs of two other men who were lying down under
the sink.

They had a stump of a candle, too, for David could see its flickering

And there was a kind of a lamp out on the floor beyond, and it burned
with a sputtering and a hissing and a roaring, and it threw a big
bluish kind of a flame straight out, like water out of a hose.

David watched the men for nearly a minute without saying anything, but
he couldn't guess what they were up to.

"What are they doing?" he asked at last.

"They're putting in the waste pipe and the trap," said the foreman;
"but you don't know what that is, of course. They're putting in the
pipe that the water runs through when it runs out of the sink."

"Oh, I know," David cried. "It's for the dirty water that the pots and
pans have been washed in; the soapy water."

"That's just right, Davie."

"Well," David said, "why do they have to be lying down to do it? I
should think they'd rather do it standing up or sitting down."

At that, one of the men poked his head out and smiled at David.

"You got that just right, too," he said; "but here's where it has to
go, and there's no other way that I know of."

"The pipe has to be under the sink, Davie, for the water to run into
it," the foreman said. "Now come on, and we'll go upstairs again."

So the foreman and David went up the back stairs very slowly and
carefully, for there were rough boards on those stairs, too; and they
went through a door and through the upstairs hall, and through another
door into a small square room.

The foreman said that that room would be the bathroom. No plaster was
on the walls yet, but the laths were all on. And there wasn't any
bathtub yet, nor any basin; only some pipes sticking up out of the

And David saw the bodies and the legs of two more men.

These men had their heads and shoulders through a great square hole in
the floor, and their bodies and their legs were lying on the floor and
sticking out straight.

David laughed. "Water-pipe men are funny men," he said.

One of the men lifted his head out of the hole in the floor and smiled
at David, but he didn't say anything.

"They're putting in the waste pipe and the trap," the foreman said;
"that is, the pipe that the water will run through when it runs out of
the bathtub. A tub will be here Davie, after the floor is laid."

David nodded.

"Would you like to be a plumber, Davie?" the foreman asked, smiling.

David shook his head.

"I think I'd better go now," he said. "My kitty won't know where I am."

So the foreman laughed, and he tucked David under his arm and carried
him downstairs and out of the front door, and he set him down on the

"Good-bye, Davie," said the foreman.

"Good-bye," said David.

And he took hold of the handle of his cart, and walked home as fast as
he could, dragging his cart, and his shovel and his hoe rattled in the
bottom of it.

When he got home, there was his cat waiting for him.

David dropped the handle of his cart, and ran around to the back of
the house and got an old grocery box that he used to play with.

He kept all his things at the back of the house: old broken grocery
boxes and old tin cans and rows of bottles, some of them filled with
water and some filled with thin mud and some empty, and nails and
pieces of iron and sticks; but not his toys.

And David dragged the old grocery box around to the front, and put it
opposite the end of a step.

Not all of the boards which had been nailed on for a cover were taken
off, so that the inside of the box was hard to get at, and it was
rather dark.

Then he picked up two short sticks and put them on the step.

David hurried to do all these things, and when he had them done, he
hurried into the house and into the dining-room, and he climbed up in
a chair and took a short candle out of one of the candlesticks which
they used on the table.

Then he pushed the chair over near where the matches were, and he
climbed up again and got three matches. And then he hurried out again.

He scratched one of the matches on the piazza floor and managed to get
the candle lighted with that first match.

So he dropped the other two matches, he didn't know where, and he
carried his candle to the grocery box, very carefully, so that it
shouldn't blow out, and he reached in and put it in a corner.

Then he lay down on the step and put his head and shoulders and his
arms inside the box, and he took the two short sticks in his hands.

David's mother had heard the chair scraping on the dining-room floor,
when he pushed it over to get the matches, and she thought that, as
likely as not, that was David, and she thought that she had better see
what he was doing.

She didn't think there was any great hurry about it, and so she came
downstairs in a few minutes, and she went out upon the piazza.

There she saw David's body and his fat little legs sticking out
straight on the step, but his head and his arms were in the box, so
she couldn't see them.

[Illustration: PLAYING PLUMBER]

And there was a light flickering inside the box, and there was a noise
of scraping and knocking, once in a while.

But she wasn't surprised.

"What in the world are you doing, dear?" she asked.

David drew his head out of the box so that he could see his mother and
answer her. His face was pretty red.

"I'm a plumber, mother," he said, "and I'm doing the work in the
bathroom. Plumbers _always_ do it this way."

David's mother laughed.

"So they do, dear, pretty nearly," she said. "Be very careful of the
candle, and don't burn yourself or set the box afire, and be sure to
blow it out when you are through."

And David nodded and put his head back in the box, and his mother went
in, smiling.

And his cat came and stood on the cover boards that had been left on,
and she put her head down and peered into the box, but she didn't get

And that's all of the plumber story.



Once upon a time there was a little boy, and he was almost five years
old, and his name was David. And there weren't any other children near
for him to play with, so he used to play happily all by himself.

He had his cat and his cart and his shovel and his hoe, and he always
wore his overalls when he was playing.

They were building a new house in the field next to David's house, and
the masons were through their work, and the bricklayers were through,
and the water men were through, and the plumbers were through, and the
gas men were through, and the plasterers were through, and the
carpenters were almost through, for they were laying nice clean boards
on the floors, and they had the floors almost done.

David had watched them do it, and had seen how they put one board down
after another, and gave the last board whacks with a hammer, to drive
it close up against the next board, and nailed it through the edge, so
that the nails shouldn't show.

But they always put a piece of a board against the floor board, and
whacked the hammer on that, because they wanted the floor to be all
smooth and shiny and not to show any marks of a hammer.

And now the house had to be painted.

So, one morning, a great big wagon came to the new house.

And on the wagon were ladders, some of them very tall, and they stuck
out far beyond the ends of the wagon; and there were great enormous
hooks, and boards that were all painty; and a great many pots of paint,
some dark green for the blinds, and some a lemon-yellow for the
corners of the house and what the painters call the trimmings.

But most of the paint was white.

There were two kinds of white paint, one kind for the outside of the
house and another for the inside.

And there were all the kinds of brushes that the painters would need,
and there were great bundles of cloth, which the painters would spread
over the floors, so that the nice clean floors shouldn't get all
spattered with paint; and there were some odds and ends besides.

And the painters came, and they took the things all off the wagon.

Of course, the carpenters had some ladders that would reach, but those
were the carpenters' ladders, not the painters'; and the carpenters
had some boards, but those were the carpenters' boards, not the

That is why the painters had brought boards and ladders.

David had gone on the train with his father and his mother, that
morning, but the painters didn't know about him, so they kept right on
with their work.

The foreman was there, and he was sorry that David wasn't there to see
what the painters were doing, but he knew that David would see them
before they were through with their work.

The wagon was unloaded, and some of the painters went inside the house,
to paint the parts that had to be painted in there; and some of the
painters got ready to paint the outside of the house.

And they took thick pieces of board, and bored a hole in the middle,
and they nailed those pieces of board on the roof, near the edge.

And they put the great enormous hooks up there, with the pointed ends
in the holes in the boards, and the other ends hanging over the edge
of the roof, over the gutter and the eaves.

The ends of the hooks which hung over had pulleys in them, and through
the pulleys ran long ropes which hung down to the ground.

And the painters fastened the end of one of the ropes to one end of a
ladder, and the end of another rope to the other end of the ladder.

Then they put some of the painty boards along over the rungs, so that
the men shouldn't fall through or drop their pots of paint through,
and they had made a sort of a staging which could be highered or
lowered by the ropes.

And they tried the ropes, to see that it was all right, and two
painters got on it, with their pots of paint and their brushes and
everything they needed.

And one man sat at each end, and they pulled on the ropes, and hoisted
the staging, with themselves sitting on it, up off the ground.

And the staging, with the two men on it, and their pots of paint, went
slowly higher and higher, until it was as high as it could go, and the
men could reach the highest board that they had to paint.

Then they fastened the ropes carefully, and they stirred up the paint,
and they took up the brushes and they dipped the brushes in the paint,
and they knocked them gently against the side of the paint-pot, _plop_,
_plop_, _plop_, and they began to move them quickly over the boards,
_swish_, _swish_, _swish_, first one side of the brush, and then back
again on the other side.

And the first thing you knew they had all those boards painted, and
they had to lower the staging so that they could reach the boards
lower down.

"Hello!" called a little clear voice, and the painters looked down.

The foreman was standing there, watching the painters; and he looked,
and there was David, all dressed in his go-to-town clothes.

And the foreman looked again, and there was David's mother, standing
by her gate and waiting for David.

And she had on her go-to-town clothes, too.

"Hello, Davie," the foreman called. "You're all dressed up, aren't
you? You'd better go and get into your overalls, quick, and then come

David's mother had heard what the foreman said, and she nodded and
smiled to thank him, because she would have to call very loud, indeed,
to make him hear, and she didn't like to.

And David nodded, and he ran back to his mother.

"Mother," he said, "the foreman said to get into my overalls. What did
he mean, mother? Does that mean to put them on?"

"Yes, dear," his mother said, smiling.

So David paid no attention to his cat, who was coming to meet him and
to rub against him, but he hurried to change his clothes and to put on
his overalls.

And when he had his clothes changed and his overalls on, he ran out,
and there was his cat waiting for him.

And he took up the handle of his cart, and he walked off as fast as he
could, dragging his cart, and his shovel and his hoe rattled in the
bottom of it; and his cat ran on ahead, with her bushy tail sticking
up in the air.

I don't know why David took his cart that time, for there wasn't any
mortar man, and there wasn't any sand-pile. He almost always took his

When David got to the house, there was the foreman standing in almost
the same place, but the painters had lowered the staging some more.

And David didn't say anything, but he dropped the handle of his cart,
and he went to the foreman and reached up for the foreman's hand.

And the foreman's big hand closed over David's little one, and the
foreman smiled, but he didn't say anything, either. He waited for
David to speak.

David watched the painters for some time.

"What color are they painting it?" he asked at last. "It looks like
white on the brushes, but sort of watery when they put it on, just as
my paints look when I put a great deal of water with them. Have they
got a great deal of water with their paint?"

"Not water, Davie," the foreman answered, "but oil. This is the first
coat of paint, you see, put right on the bare wood, and the wood soaks
the oil out of the paint at a great rate. They won't put so much oil
in the second and third coats."

"Oh," said David, "will they paint it three times?"

"Three times for new wood," the foreman said.

[Illustration: PAINTING]

He didn't say any more then, but he watched and so did David while the
painters dipped their brushes and patted them against the sides of
their paint-pots and brushed them quickly back and forth over the new

"Come with me, Davie," the foreman said at last, "and let's see if we
can't scare up something else that's interesting."

And so David went with the foreman, and they went around by the cellar

And there they saw a great pile of shutters or blinds which were to go
on the outside of all the windows of the house.

These blinds were leaning, one against another, and they had already
been painted a kind of bluish gray, and each one had whole rows of
little slats that you could turn back and forth.

And beyond the pile of bluish gray blinds was a smaller pile of dark
green blinds, and the dark green blinds glistened with fresh paint,
and they were leaning, one against another.

And between the pile of bluish gray blinds and the pile of dark green
blinds were two painters, painting for dear life, and they were
painting the bluish gray blinds dark green.

David watched them for a few minutes. It seemed to be a good deal of
trouble to get the slats well painted.

"These," said the foreman, putting his hand on the bluish gray blinds,
"are just as they come from the mill--the factory where they are made.
This first coat of paint is put on there. Then our painters paint them
whatever color is wanted."

David nodded, but he didn't say anything, for he didn't understand why
the carpenters didn't make the blinds.

Pretty soon he pulled at the foreman's hand.

"I want to go back," he said.

So they went back to the painters who were painting the side of the

They had lowered the staging so low that the foreman could reach it.

"I'll tell you what, Davie," the foreman said. "Do you suppose you
could paint a clapboard?"

"Oh," cried David, "will they let me?"

"I guess so," the foreman answered. "You ask them."

David looked up at the painters, and the painters looked down at David,
and they were smiling.

David started to speak, but he couldn't ask what he wanted to. And the
painters saw what was the matter, and one of them spoke.

"Want to paint a board?" he asked. "Well, come on up here."

So the foreman put his hands under David's arms, and he lifted David
right up, over the staging, and set him down with his feet hanging
over. And the painter dipped his brush into the paint, and patted it
gently against the side of the paint-pot, _plop_, _plop_, _plop_, and
he handed the brush to David.

"Oh," David said, "it's heavy!"

"So it is," the painter said. "The paint is mostly lead, that's why.
Now, you move the brush away from you as if you were sweeping the
floor or dusting the board. Then, when it has gone as far as you can
reach, you bring it back on the other side."

David tried, but he didn't do it very well and the paint squeezed out
of the brush and ran down and dripped from the edge of the clapboard.

"Not that way," the painter said. "I'll show you."

Then he took hold of David's wrist, but he left the brush in David's
hand, and he moved it the way it ought to go, and he swept up all the
little rivers of paint and all the little drips, and spread it
smoothly over the clapboard.

"There!" said the painter. "Now, do you see?"

David nodded, and he tried again.

This time he did better, but the paint was all gone from the brush,
and he held it out to the painter for more.

So the painter dipped it again, and David took it, and painted some

And each time he did better than he had done the last time, and he
hitched along on the staging, and that clapboard was all painted
before he knew it.

And David sighed and started to get up on his feet.

But the other painter called to him.

"Hey, David!" he called. "Aren't you going to do any painting for me?
That isn't fair. You come over and do a board for me."

David smiled with pleasure. "Yes, I will," he said.

So he crawled on his hands and knees along the staging, and the
foreman walked along on the ground beside him.

And he painted a clapboard for that other painter, but a great drop of
the paint got on the leg of his overalls.

"Oh," he said, "I got some paint on my overalls."

"Gracious!" said the painter. "That's nothing. Look at my overalls."

The painter's overalls were made of strong white cloth, and they were
all splashed up with paint, all colors. But he had painted a great
deal more than David had.

So David finished the clapboard, and then he got up on his feet, and
the foreman took him and lifted him down to the ground.

"Thank you," said the painter.

"Thank you," said the other painter.

"You're welcome," David said. "Good-bye."

"Good-bye," said both the painters.

And David began to run to his cart.

"Good-bye, Davie," the foreman said.

David stopped a moment and looked around.

"Good-bye," he said.

Then his cat came running to meet him, and he grabbed up the handle of
his cart, and he kept on running, dragging his cart, and his shovel
and his hoe rattled away like everything in the bottom of it.

And when he got to his house, he didn't stop running, but just dropped
the handle of the cart, and he climbed up the steps as fast as he
could and ran into the house.

"Mother," he called, "I painted two boards and I got some paint on my
overalls. But you ought to see the painter's overalls. They're _awful_

And that's all.



Once upon a time there was a little boy, and he was almost five years
old, and his name was David. And there weren't any other children near
for him to play with, so he used to play happily all by himself.

He had his cat and his cart and his shovel and his hoe, and he always
wore his overalls when he was playing.

Behind David's house were some thin woods. And in those woods were oak
trees, several kinds, but he didn't know the difference between the

And there were cedar trees and chestnut trees and birch trees of three
kinds; and there were white pine trees and pitch pine trees, and the
pitch pine trees were sticky all over.

David knew the pitch pine trees, because he had got his clothes all
covered with their stickiness.

And there were a few great sycamore trees, and some ash trees, and
some beech trees, and a lot of other kinds that I can't remember the
names of.

All summer there were lots of birds in these woods and about the edge
of them; and in the winter, when all those summer birds had gone away,
other birds came.

And four blue jays stayed there all the year, and the crows stayed, of
course, but they didn't live in those woods especially.

And there were chickadees and juncos, which are one kind of snowbird;
and there were a lot of little birds which looked like sparrows, and
there were red-polled linnets, and occasionally a flock of cedar-birds
would cover the cedars like gray snowflakes, and once David's mother
called him to come quick and see the pine grosbeaks.

And when David came, he saw a great flock of birds which looked gray,
but three of them had the most beautiful rose-colored feathers on
their breasts and shoulders and heads, making them look as if they had
tied rose-colored aprons about their necks. David watched them until
they flew away.

All these birds were very busy feeding on the seeds of weeds or the
berries of the trees, and some of them dug insects out of the bark.

And there were gray squirrels which raced along the branches of the
trees, and jumped from one branch to another, and poked about on the
ground and opened the chestnut-burs which had just fallen from the
trees, and ate the chestnuts, or scampered over the roof just above
David's head, and made a great racket.

They were great fat fellows with warm, thick fur, not much like the
squirrels on Boston Common, but they got almost as tame with David,
although he never could get quite near enough to one to pat it. That
was better, for the squirrel might have bitten David.

David used to try to get near them, but he always told his cat to stay
at home when he was going after them, for the squirrels were afraid of
his cat.

One morning in the fall David had gone after the squirrels. There were
a great many squirrels about, for the chestnuts had begun to fall, and
the squirrels were very busy.

And David had got farther and farther from his house, but he was where
he could see the road.

And he heard the rattle of a wagon, and he looked and saw a very
spick-and-span new wagon, painted red, with yellow and black stripes
on it, and the wheels were flashing in the sun as they turned.

On the wagon were ladders and long slender poles, and four men were
riding on it.

The wagon stopped, and the men got off. One of the men took a halter
out of the wagon and tied the horse to a tree, while the others took
off the ladders.

Then each man took one of the long, slender poles, and a big can and a
little can. And they took the ladders on their shoulders and held them
with one hand, and the poles in the other hand, and the handles of the
cans in that other hand, too, and they began to walk right to where
David was.

[Illustration: THE TREE-MEN]

And all the squirrels heard them coming, and they stopped eating
chestnuts, and each squirrel scurried to a tree, with his chestnut in
his mouth, and he scrambled up the tree, on the opposite side of the
trunk from the men, so that the men couldn't see him.

They scrambled up the trunks very fast, until they came to a branch;
and each squirrel sat on his branch, next to the trunk, and made a
sort of a scolding, barking noise, and every time he made the noise
his tail gave a queer little jerk.

David was watching them, and he heard their noises, and he couldn't
help laughing to see their tails jerk.

And then the men were there, and they saw David laughing.

"Hello," said one of the men. "What's so funny?"

"I was laughing at the squirrels," David said; "they make their tails

"Yes," said the man, "I hear them, and I see some of them. How they do
scold! But we wouldn't hurt them."

He put his cans down, and he leaned his pole against a tree, and he
stood the ladder against the tree.

David looked in the cans. There wasn't anything in the little can, but
the big can was full of something that was about as thick as molasses
and almost as black as ink, only it was brownish black.

"What is it?" he asked. "Is it molasses? It smells horrid."

The man laughed.

"No," he answered, "it isn't molasses or anything good to eat. It's
creosote. That's a poisonous kind of stuff. We put it on these things."

He pointed to a place on a tree. It looked as if somebody had daubed
dirt on the trunk, and the place was about the size of David's thumb,
and it was rounded out a little at the middle.

"I guess you never noticed those places," the man said. "Inside of
that are the eggs of a moth that eats things up and does a great deal
of harm. Those eggs would hatch when it gets warm enough, and little
worms would come out, and they would begin to eat, and the worms would
change into moths later on, and the moths would lay more eggs. We are
trying to get rid of them, so we paint some creosote on every bunch of
eggs we can find, and that kills them.

"If you look carefully you can see a good many places just like this,
all over the trunks of the trees and on the under sides of branches.
Some trees have a good many on them, and some don't have any. There's
a lot on this tree."

David looked and saw the little mud spots farther up the trunk, and
then he looked higher and he saw some of the spots on the under sides
of the branches, as the man had said.

He nodded.

"You paint some now," he said, going nearer, "with that stuff."

The man laughed.

"You want to see me do it right off, do you?" he asked.

So he took a stubby paint brush from his belt, and he dipped it into
the big can, and he wiped it over as many of the spots as he could
reach. The spots looked as if they had been painted with tar.

"Now," he said, "I am going to walk right up that tree."

He pointed to his legs, and David saw that a long iron thing was
strapped to each leg, and the iron thing had a sharp point which stuck
down about as far as the soles of his shoes.

"Those are climbers, or spurs. We can walk right up any tree that
isn't too large around, and you see that those points are bent in a
little so that they will stick into the trunk of the tree on each
side. You watch."

So the man poured some of the stuff from the big can into the little
can, and he hung the little can from his belt, and he stuck the stubby
paint brush in his belt.

Then he went to the tree, and he put his hands half-around the trunk,
and he lifted up one foot and jabbed it down, so that he jabbed the
spur into the tree. Then he lifted the other foot and jabbed that spur
in; and he walked right up the tree.

And when he had got to other spots that had been too high for him to
reach, he stopped and held on with one hand, while he took the paint
brush and painted those egg bunches with stuff from the little can.

But there were some egg bunches left on branches that were too little
for the man to go on.

So the man put one leg over a branch, and he took his pole, which was
leaning against a twig just beside him, and he fixed the paint brush
in the end of the pole, in a place that was meant for it, and he
reached out with the pole and painted all those egg bunches on the
small branches.

Then he put the pole back, leaning against the twig, and he came
slowly down to the ground.

"There!" he said. "Did you see how I did it? Do you think that you
could paint some?"

David's eyes glistened.

"Oh, could I? But I couldn't walk up the tree."

The man smiled.

"I'm afraid you couldn't, but you can paint as far as you can reach
with the pole."

The other men were busy on trees near, and they watched while David
painted the mud spots on another tree which the man found for him.

He wasn't very tall and there were only two spots which he could reach
while he stood on the ground.

But the man held him up in his arms as high as he could, and when he
had painted all those spots, the man fixed the paint brush in the end
of the pole.

It was pretty heavy for such a little boy to manage, and the end would
wave around so that he couldn't make the brush paint where he wanted
it to.

So the man helped David to hold the pole steady and paint as far as it
could reach.

Just then David heard his mother calling him.

"I've got to go now," he said to the man. "I think my mother wants me."

"Well, good-bye," the man said. "We're much obliged."

"You're welcome," David said. "Good-bye."

And he turned around and went galloping through the woods to his house.

And his cat met him, and then his mother met him.

"Where were you, dear?" his mother asked.

"I was helping the tree-men paint egg-spots. How big are moth-eggs,

But his mother didn't know.

And that's all.



Once upon a time there was a little boy, and he was almost five years
old, and his name was David. And there weren't any other children near
for him to play with, so he used to play happily all by himself.

He had his cat and his cart and his shovel and his hoe, and he always
wore his overalls when he was playing.

They had been building a new house in the field next to David's house,
and it was all done. Even the last coat of paint was dry.

David knew, because he had tried it with his finger to see. He had
tried it three times, and the first two times it wasn't dry, but the
last time it was.

And the carpenters had gone, and the painters had gone, but they had
left great messes and piles of stuff that had been swept out of the
house, and heaps of the sawed-off ends of boards, and some good boards,
and piles of broken laths and plaster and the little pieces that they
had sawed off the laths, and some broken saw-horses, and a lot of
other rubbish.

One morning David heard the rattle of a wagon; and he looked and saw a
wagon stop at the new house, and he saw the nice foreman that he knew,
and there were two other men.

And the men jumped out, and the foreman jumped out, and David hurried
to go over there. He hurried so fast that he forgot to take his cart,
and he forgot to call his cat, but his cat came just the same, and she
ran on ahead, with her bushy tail sticking straight up in the air.

And when the foreman saw the cat, he knew that David couldn't be far
off, and he looked up and he saw him.

"Hello, Davie," he said. "I'm glad to see you."

"Hello," David said. "What are you going to do?"

"I'm going to sort of clear up the place, Davie. Don't you think it
needs it? And I'm going to have all this rubbish carried off or burned

David nodded, but he didn't say anything; and he reached up, and he
put his little hand into the foreman's big one.

Then the two men who had come with the foreman began to pick out the
boards that were good.

There were some great heavy planks which were covered with plaster and
spattered with paint, but they were good planks and could be used

The men took these planks, one man at each end, and they brought them
to the wagon and they put them in.

When they had brought all the planks, they separated the long boards
from the little short ends of boards, and they brought the long boards
to the wagon and they put them on top of the planks.

Then they piled the little short ends of boards near the cellar door.
It was a great pile of wood that the people who moved into the house
could have to burn.

Then they found a couple of saw-horses that were pretty good, and they
put them on top of the boards in the wagon, and the wagon was loaded
with as much as one horse ought to pull.

So the foreman told one of them to go along with that load, and to
hurry back, and he would stay there and help the other man do a little
clearing up.

And the man climbed into the seat, and drove off.

"Now, Davie," the foreman said, "I've got to help my man, and I can't
stay here with you and do nothing, although I should like to."

"What are you going to do?" David asked.

"Oh, we're going to put all the rubbish that will burn over there on
the bare spot, where it can't set anything afire. All the stuff that
we can't burn we'll rake up into piles, and when the wagon comes back,
we'll take it away. And there's a little gravel over there that is
hardly worth taking, and we'll leave it for the graders to use."

"What are the graders?" asked David. "What do they do?"

"Oh, the graders are sort of rough gardeners. They spread the dirt
around where it is wanted, and they make it the right height all along
the foundation, and smooth it off, and they make the walks up to the
front door and the back door, and they spread gravel on the walks.
Sometimes they make terraces or banks, but they won't do that here. It
will be a nice slope from the house down to the field, all around."

David looked at the house, which stood high on its foundation, and he
saw that there was a great hole between the ground and the front
steps. He supposed that the graders would fill up that hole.

He nodded.

"I'll get my cart," he said, "and then I'll help you."

So he ran all the way home, and his cat saw him running and she ran
too, faster than David ran, and she ran right up on to the piazza.

But David didn't go there. He took up the handle of his cart, and he
ran back again.

And his cat saw that she had made a mistake, and she ran faster than
ever; and she passed David, and she was running so fast that her bushy
tail didn't stick up in the air at all, but straight out behind.

And David came where the foreman was standing, waiting for him, and
the foreman showed him where he wanted the rubbish piled to be burned,
far from the house.

And the foreman and David worked together, and they piled the rubbish
into the cart; and when it was full, they dragged the cart over to the
place, and they emptied the rubbish out of it.

Then the foreman took a match out of his pocket, and he scratched the
match on his trousers-leg, and he lighted the pile of rubbish.

And a little thin column of smoke went up, and then it blazed, and
then it crackled, and the foreman and David went back for another load.

The foreman and David worked for a long time, getting loads of rubbish,
and dragging them over to the fire.

[Illustration: BURNING RUBBISH]

Then the foreman would take up the cart, all filled with little odds
and ends of sticks and with shavings and with twigs and the ends of
laths, and he would turn the cart upside down over the fire, and empty
all that stuff out.

Then David would drag the cart back.

The other man was working with a rake all this long time, raking over
the places where the foreman and David had been, and he raked the
pieces of plaster and the other stuff that wouldn't burn into little

Suddenly they heard the rattle of the wagon, and they all looked up.
And the wagon stopped, and the man who had been driving jumped off,
and the horse just stood where he had stopped, and he breathed hard
and looked after the man, and he pricked his ears forward.

Then the foreman told the men to get all that stuff into the wagon,
and he waved his hand toward the heaps of rubbish that had been raked

So the man held out his hand toward the horse, and he whistled, and
the horse came, and he followed the men to the farthest pile of

And the men took shovels and shoveled the stuff into the wagon in no
time. Then they walked along to the next heap, and the horse came

And they shoveled that stuff into the wagon, and they walked along to
the next heap, and the horse came after.

And so they did until they had shoveled in the last heap; and the
horse walked into the road, dragging the wagon after him, and there he

The foreman and David had picked up all the little odds and ends of
things which would burn, and had put them on the fire.

The fire had been blazing up high, but now it wasn't blazing so high,
and it was almost burned out.

And the two men stood still, leaning on their shovels, and looked all

And the foreman stood still, and he looked all about.

And David stood still, leaning on the handle of his cart, and he
looked all about, because he saw the others looking; but he didn't see
anything in particular.

The foreman turned to David and sighed.

"Well, Davie," he said, "I guess that'll be about all."

David nodded and looked over to the fire, which was not much more than
a heap of red coals and white ashes.

The foreman saw where he was looking.

"The fire'll be all right," he said. "It's about out. Now I'll take
just one more look around."

So the foreman walked all around the house, slowly, and he looked
carefully to make sure that he had not forgotten anything.

And he looked at the cellar door and at the places where the heaps of
rubbish had been, and all around the foundations of the house, and at
the great hole under the front steps where the steps didn't come down
to the ground, and at the fire last of all.

The fire had all burned out to white ashes, and every swirl of the
wind made the ashes fly about.

Then the foreman came where David was.

"Now we're going, Davie," he said. "We'll come back some day to build
another house next to this one. Will you help us then?"

"Yes," said David, "I'll help you as much as I can. When are you going
to build it?"

"Oh, I don't know," the foreman said, "but I should think it would be
before long. Somebody's going to move into this house in a few days.
We're much obliged to you for helping us build this."

"You're welcome," said David.

Then the foreman shook David's hand.

"Good-bye, Davie," he said. "Don't forget us."

"Good-bye," said David.

Then the foreman climbed up to the seat of the wagon. The other men
were up there already.

And all the men waved their hands, and the horse started.

David stood and watched them until they turned the corner.

Then he picked up his shovel and his hoe and threw them into his cart,
and began to walk home, dragging his cart, with his shovel and his hoe
rattling in the bottom of it.

And his cat came running, and she ran ahead, with her bushy tail
sticking straight up in the air.

And that's all of this story.



Once upon a time there was a little boy, and he was almost five years
old, and his name was David. And there weren't any other children near
for him to play with, so he used to play happily all by himself.

He had his cat and his cart and his shovel and his hoe, and he always
wore his overalls when he was playing.

One morning he was playing in the thin woods behind his house.

He had his cart and his shovel and his hoe, and he was walking slowly
along, kicking the dead leaves and looking up at the leaves on the

Not nearly all the leaves had fallen from the trees yet, but those
leaves that were still on the trees had turned to all kinds of pretty
colors: red and yellow and a great many pretty browns which looked
alive. And some leaves were red and yellow together, and some were
still green with red and yellow spots on them, and some leaves had not
changed their color at all, but were green all over.

And the squirrels were very busy hunting chestnuts and they didn't pay
much attention to David.

Suddenly there was a great scurrying, and every squirrel went racing
up the nearest tree, and David's cat came running, with her bushy tail
sticking straight up in the air, and she ran a little way ahead of
David, and she flopped over on her back in a little pile of leaves,
and she began playing with the leaves.

David laughed at her. "Funny kitty!" he said.

Then he turned and went on talking, but he wasn't talking to his cat
and he wasn't talking to himself.

His pretend playmate had come, and it was the boy, this time, and he
had brought the cat.

So David and that pretend little boy played together for a long time.

Sometimes they dragged the cart together, and sometimes they stopped
and hunted for chestnuts, and they put into the cart the chestnuts
that they found.

And after a while they came into that part of the woods which was
behind the new house.

And David heard some men talking together up at the new house, and he
looked and saw them squatting down beside the house, and two of the
men had shovels.

So David and the pretend little boy hurried to go to the new house, to
see what the men were doing, and they dragged the cart, and the shovel
and the hoe and the chestnuts all rattled about together in the bottom
of it; and the cat went running on ahead.

But, when David got there, the pretend little boy had gone, for David
had forgotten about him.

And David stopped a little way from the men, and looked about.

The grading men must have got their work all finished, for the ground
all about didn't look at all as it had when the foreman and David had
left it.

There weren't any signs of the rubbish, and the dirt was up higher on
the foundation in a nice straight line, and it sloped down to the
field all around, and it had been made all smooth.

David wondered about the great hole that was under the front steps,
and he went around there and looked, and the hole wasn't there any
more, but the ground came up to the steps, and a man was raking gravel
smooth, to make a front walk like the one that went into David's house.

David didn't say anything, and the man didn't say anything either, but
kept on raking.

So David went back to the place where the men were, with the shovels.

Those men were digging a round hole in the ground, about big enough
for David to sit in and stretch his legs out straight.

And when they had the hole dug, another man came, carrying a little

There were a whole pile of little trees out near the road, and they
all had their roots tied up in bagging, or a kind of coarse cloth.

The tree which the man was carrying was a little Christmas tree. He
had taken the cloth off of the roots, and he was cutting off, with his
knife, some of the ends of roots.

Then he put it in the hole, carefully, and the men spread the roots
out all around in the bottom of the hole, and they sifted some
dark-colored dirt all about them, and they worked it in between the
fine roots with their fingers, and they pressed it down hard.

The man who had put the tree in was holding on to it all the time, so
that it should grow up straight.

And when the roots were all right and the dirt was pressed down hard,
he let go of the tree and took up the end of a hose that was lying on
the ground, right behind him.

David hadn't noticed the hose before. It came from a shiny hose-faucet,
and the hose-faucet stuck out of the house just above the foundation,
halfway along the side.

The man let water run from the hose into the dirt that had just been
put around the roots of the tree, and he let it run for a long time.

And when the top of the hole was just a puddle of mud, he stopped the
water and dropped the hose, and the men scattered a little
dark-colored dirt that was dry over the top of it.

That dark-colored dirt is called loam, and it is the best kind of dirt
to make things grow.

David saw that from the house down to where the path would be to the
back door was already covered with the same dark-colored dirt.

The other side of the path was nice and smooth, but it looked sort of
raw and the dirt was a yellow color.

Just beside the road was a great pile of dark-colored dirt, and there
was a two-wheeled cart backed up to the pile, and a man was shoveling
the dirt into the cart.

When the cart was filled, the man tossed his shovel on top of the dirt
and started walking along.

"Come along, Jack," he said.

The horse had had his ears pricked forward, and when the man said that,
he started and followed the man to the end of the yellow dirt.

There he stopped, and the man took his shovel off the cart and threw
it on the ground. And he took the backboard out of the cart, and he
put his knee on the cart, and the top tipped back and slid all that
dirt out in a heap on the ground.

Then the horse walked along two steps, and the man took his shovel and
scraped out what was left in the cart, and he tipped the top of the
cart back again and he put the backboard in.

And he got up into the cart, and the horse turned around and walked
back to the pile to get another load.

David wanted to ask somebody some questions about the dirt, but he
didn't know any of the men, and they all seemed to be very busy.

So he just watched; and he saw another man come, and he had a shovel,
and he spread around the dirt in the heap that the cart had just
dumped until it was pretty even and smooth.

And the horse came, bringing another load, and that was dumped, and
the man spread that around with his shovel.

David went nearer, and the man saw him.

"Are you going to plant some little trees?" David asked.

"We're going to sow grass seed here," the man answered, "when this is
all covered with loam."

Then another load of loam came, and he was busy with his shovel, and
David went back to watch the other men plant trees.

They were planting more little Christmas trees near that first one,
five trees in a kind of a clump, and David watched them dig the holes
and put the trees in, and spread the roots about, and put dirt on them,
and stamp the dirt down hard, and put the water in.

And when the Christmas trees were all planted, they put another kind
at the back corner of the house.

Then they went to the front corner of the house, and one of them said
that there was the place for the lilac bushes.

And he got the lilac bushes and cut off a part of the roots while the
other men were digging the holes, and they planted the lilac bushes in
the holes, but they didn't do it so carefully as they had with the
other kinds of trees.

And when they had the holes filled up and the water turned off, and
the planting of lilac bushes all finished, they stopped and leaned on
their shovels and looked around, to see what else they had to do.

The loam was all over the yellow dirt, and the last load was just
being spread around.

So some of the men went to get the grass seed. That grass seed was in
green bags.

And they took up bags of grass seed and began walking slowly along
over the ground, and they took up handfuls of the grass seed and
scattered it in the air so that it fell evenly over the ground.

And they sowed the seed all among the trees they had just planted, and
all over the smooth dirt, and wherever they wanted the grass to grow;
but they didn't sow it in the paths.

Then two other men came, and they were dragging a great heavy stone
roller behind them.

It was so heavy that the two men had to walk very slowly, each
dragging it by one handle.

And they went to and fro over the ground where the grass seed had been
sown, and they rolled it down smooth and hard and shiny.

Before the roller men had got through, the others had gone and put on
their coats and gathered up their tools; and David knew that they were
through their work.

So he went where he had left his cart, and he looked for the pretend
little boy, but he had gone away, and David couldn't find him. And he
looked for his cat, and he couldn't see her either.

So he took up the handle of his cart, and he walked along to his house,
dragging his cart, with his shovel and his hoe and the chestnuts all
rattling together in the bottom of it.

And that's all.



Once upon a time there was a little boy, and he was almost five years
old, and his name was David. And there weren't any other children near
for him to play with, so he used to play happily all by himself.

He had his cat and his cart and his shovel and his hoe, and he always
wore his overalls when he was playing.

One morning he had just started to wander along the road toward the
corner of the next street.

He wasn't allowed to go beyond that corner, but he could look and see
what was coming, and perhaps he could see the postman and the black

His cat was walking along beside him, looking up into his face, and he
was dragging his cart, with his shovel and his hoe rattling in the
bottom of it, for he might want to play in the sand of the gutter.

But before he got more than halfway to the corner, he heard a great
rattling and shouting, and two horses came around the corner.

They made a very wide turn, because they were dragging a wagon, and
behind that came two great logs which looked like trees, except that
they were all smoothed off.

And David wondered where the other ends of the logs were, for he
couldn't see anything but logs coming around the corner.

Then came a pair of strong wheels that the logs rested upon, and
presently there were the other ends of the logs, and David knew that
the logs were either telephone poles or electric light poles, for he
had seen a great many of both kinds.

There was a man driving, and two other men, and they had some other
smaller poles and some shovels in the wagon.

David stopped short, and his cat stopped, and they watched the wagon,
with the poles behind it, go slowly down the road until it had got a
little way beyond his house.

Then it stopped, and the men jumped out, and they began to look up in
the air.

David wondered why they were doing that. He wondered so much that he
walked along, with his cat walking beside him and his cart coming
after, to ask the men.

But before he got near enough to them to ask, they had stopped looking
up in the air, and they talked to each other, and David knew by what
they said that they had been looking to see where the telephone line
to his house stopped.

Then they started the horses, and the men walked beside them, and they
walked about as far as a big boy could throw a stone, and there they

And the men undid the ropes from the long logs, and they rolled one of
them to one side and tipped it so that its big end was on the ground,
and they tied the ropes on to the other log again.

Then they got two of the smaller poles from the wagon, and they held
up the small end of the log with the small poles; and the wagon
started and the wheels went out from under the log and left it.

Then the men took away the small poles and the log fell upon the
ground, and it made a big booming noise as it fell.

The other log was unloaded in the same way not far from the corner of
the new house, and they led the horses to a tree and tied them; and
they took the shovels and all the little poles and the other things
out of the wagon.

The shovels were strange-looking things, with long, straight handles
and queer blades, more like long mustard-spoons than shovels; and the
little poles had sharp spikes in the ends, and some of the poles were
not much longer than clothes-poles, and some were a great deal longer;
and there were two sharp-pointed iron bars.

The men took all their things to the place where the first pole lay on
the ground, and two of them took bars and the other took one of the

And the men with the bars stuck them into the ground and loosened the
dirt, and the other man scooped out the dirt with his big
mustard-spoon. Then some more dirt was loosened and that was scooped
out with the shovel.

The hole that they were digging was not much bigger around than the
end of the pole which would go into it.

The hole kept getting deeper, so that a common shovel wouldn't have
got up any dirt at all; but the man with the mustard-spoon shovel just
gave it a little twist, and lifted it out with dirt in it.

Pretty soon they had the hole dug deep enough.

It was so deep that, if a man could have stood on the bottom of it, he
could have just seen out, if he stood on his tiptoes.

But only a slim man could have got into the hole. A fat man would have
stuck fast as soon as his legs were in.

Then the men put down their bars and the shovel, and got the little
poles, and went where the long log lay.

And they rolled it over with bars which were something like tongs,
except that they had only one handle; and they rolled it until the big
end of the log was just over the hole.

Then they took the shortest small poles with spikes in the ends, and
they put them where they could reach them quickly.

And they all took hold of the end of the log and lifted it as high as
they could reach; and one of the men reached out quickly for his spike
pole, while the other two men held the log, and he jabbed the spike
hard into the log and held it while another man got his spike pole and
jabbed the spike hard into the log.

Then the third man jabbed the spike of his pole in, and they all
lifted together, and the butt end of the log slipped a little way into
the hole.

It couldn't go all the way to the bottom, because the big pole wasn't
up far enough yet, and the butt end struck the side of the hole.

Then they got longer spike poles, one man at a time, and they lifted
again, and the big pole slipped a little farther down into the hole.

And one of the men jabbed his spike pole in at another place, and then
the other men did, and they lifted again, and the big pole went
_thump!_ on the bottom of the hole.

And the men left their spike poles sticking in, all around, and jammed
the other ends into the ground to hold the big pole up straight while
they filled in the dirt around it.

David had been watching the men all the time, but he was careful not
to get near, because he had seen how the big pole bounced around when
it was unloaded.

His cat was not so careful, and she was almost hit by one of the spike
poles when the man threw it down, and she scampered home as fast as
she could go.

But David didn't pay any attention to her, and the men were too busy
to notice.

When the dirt was pounded hard around the pole, the men took up their
things, and walked along to the place where they had unloaded the
other pole; and David walked along, too, dragging his cart.

He would have liked to take some of the things in his cart, but they
were all too big, for he asked one of the men.

And the man looked at his cart, and he looked at David, and he laughed
and shook his head.

"But you be very careful not to get too near," he said. "If the pole
should get away from us, there's no knowing what it would do."

"Yes," said David. "I was careful."

"So you were," the man said. "You do the same way while we set this

So the men set the other pole, and David stood a long way off.

He stood so far off that he couldn't see very well, and when the men
had the pole straight up in the air, he wandered over to the wagon and
tried to see if anything else was in it.

The backboard was up and he couldn't see inside at all, but he saw the
wheels that the poles had come on, and he thought he would try to shin
up on them and look in.

So he put his arms around the axle and tried to get one leg over; but
as soon as he took his foot off the ground, the wheels began to go. He
put his foot down again and made the wheels go faster, hanging on to
the axle with his arms and paddling on the ground with his feet, for
the ground sloped a little.

And when the wheels had rolled gently down to the lowest part of the
road, they stopped and David couldn't make them go any more, even when
he pushed as hard as he could.

But the men had got through setting the pole, and they were going over
to the wagon when David rolled down the road and couldn't get back.

And they all went where he was, and one of them pushed on the axle,
and David pushed, and the wheels rolled back again to the wagon.

[Illustration: THE WHEELS BEGAN TO GO]

And the men let down the backboard, and they put in all their things:
all their poles and the bars and the shovel.

Then they took out a big coil of something that looked like rubber
tubing which was wound on a great wooden spool.

The spool was as big around as David's body, and the stuff that looked
like rubber tubing looked all twisty, as if there were two pieces
twisted together.

David wanted very much to know what it was. He didn't like to ask, but
the man who had it saw that he was looking at it very hard.

"Do you know what that is?" he asked, smiling at David.

David shook his head.

"Is it a little hose?"

"No, it's wire, and the wire is covered with that black rubbery stuff.
See, here are the ends."

He found the ends of the wire and showed them to David. There were two
bright ends of copper wire, and they peeped out of the black rubber

"There are two of them, you see, and they are twisted together."

David nodded, but he didn't say anything.

The other men were buckling on to their legs some iron spurs, or
climbers, just like those the tree men had.

And when they had their climbers buckled on, they took a little coil
of rope and some queer little wooden things and a big hammer, and they
went to the nearest pole.

One of the men walked right up this pole, and when he got nearly to
the top, he put a big strap around his waist and around the pole, and
buckled it, so that it held him to the pole, not tight up against it,
but loosely so that he could use his hands.

Then he took one of the wooden things that was sticking out of his
pocket, and he took his hammer from his belt, and he nailed the wooden
thing to the pole. And the coil of rope was hanging at his belt; and
he took it off, and he undid it, and let one end drop down to the

The man who was standing there tied on a big lump of glass, and the
man on the pole pulled it up, and untied it, and screwed it on the top
of the wooden pin that he had just nailed on. Then he dropped his rope
and came down the pole.

And he walked along until he came to the pole in front of David's
house, and he walked right up that pole.


Then he let down one end of his rope, and the man on the ground tied
it to the end of the twisted wires, and the man on the pole pulled
them up, and the spool turned over and the wires unwound as the ends
went up the pole.

David couldn't see what the man on the pole did with the ends of the
wires, but he fastened them somehow to the wires that were there
already, and then he came down.

And the man on the ground put a short stick through the hole in the
middle of the spool, and he took hold of one end of the stick and the
man who had just come down from the pole took hold of the other end,
and they walked along, and the hanging wire began to get tight, and
the spool began to turn around as they walked, and the wire lay on the
ground behind them.

And they walked past the two new poles and to the corner of the new
house; and they put the spool down on the ground.

Almost all the wire had unwound from the spool.

The other man had been doing what had to be done at the second pole:
nailing on the wooden thing and putting the glass on.

Then he had taken a ladder to the corner of the house, and he had
fastened some things for the wire to go through, up the corner of the
house to the eaves.

Then he came down the ladder, and all the men walked back together.

The first man walked up his pole again and waited.

And the second man walked up his pole, and let down the end of the

And the man on the ground tied it to the wire, and the man on the pole
pulled it up, and the wire hung in the air between him and David's

Then the man on the ground walked along to the next pole, and he tied
the man's rope to the wire and _he_ pulled it up.

And the man on the ground walked along to the corner of the new house,
and he took hold of the wire there, and went up the ladder with it,
and the wire was hanging in the air all the way from the new house to
David's house, but it rested on the two poles between.

Then the men all pulled the wire as tight as it ought to be, and they
fastened it to the poles and to the house, just the way it belonged,
and they made it go down the corner of the house, and they cut it off
at the bottom and left the ends sticking out.

Some other men would come and put wires inside the house, and those
other men would put the telephone in so that people could talk with
each other when they were far apart.

Then the pole men came down from their poles and the ladder, and they
gathered up all their things and put them into the wagon.

And they took off their climbers and put them into the wagon, and they
tied the wheels on behind, so that they would drag after the wagon.

And they untied the horses and they all got in, and they drove away,
with all their six wheels rattling, and they left David looking after

But before they had got far one of the men turned and saw David
looking after them, and he saw his cat; and he waved his hand to David,
and he waved it to his cat.

Of course, the cat couldn't wave her hand, but David could, and he did,
and then the wagon turned the corner, and the wheels rattled after.

And David looked to see where his cart was, for he had forgotten it;
and he went to the cart, and took up the handle and walked slowly home.

And that's all.



Once upon a time there was a little boy, and he was almost five years
old, and his name was David. And there weren't any other children near
for him to play with, so he used to play happily all by himself.

He had his cat and his cart and his shovel and his hoe, and he always
wore his overalls when he was playing.

They had been building a new house in the field next to David's house,
and it was all done, and all ready to be lived in.

It had electric lights and a range which would burn either coal or gas;
and in cold weather they would burn coal in the range, and in warm
weather they would use the gas part.

And the telephone was all in, for the inside-telephone-men had come
and put it in.

David hadn't seen them do their work, because they had been inside the
house all the time, and there wasn't any nice foreman, like Jonathan,
who knew him, and who took pains to show him everything there was to

But he had seen them go in, carrying the telephone, and he had seen
them come out without it, and he had asked them if they had it all
fixed so that people could talk, and they had said that they had fixed
it, and that it was all right.

Then six great wagons had come. Three of the wagons brought furnace
coal and two of them brought range coal, and one brought a load of
wood to burn in the fireplaces.

And the furnace coal went in at one cellar window, and the range coal
went in at another cellar window, and the wood went in at the cellar
door, in a man's arms.

All these different things were being done at once, and there was a
tremendous racket with all the coal going down through iron chutes,
and all the men had been very busy.

Then the racket had stopped, and the men had taken their chutes and
thrown them into the wagons, and they had climbed up into their seats,
and they had rattled off, in a procession, but they had left the
cellar windows flapping.

Coal men never do fasten the cellar windows unless there is somebody
right there to remind them of it. And, in a few minutes, David saw a
man come out of the house and lock the door, and walk up the road and
turn the corner.

The next day, David watched the new house for a long time, but nothing
happened, and he couldn't see that there was anybody there, so he
wandered into the thin woods behind his house.

His cat started with him, but two crows came and flew at the cat, and
she was frightened and ran home as fast as she could go, with her
bushy tail sticking straight out behind her.

David laughed to see her running away from the crows, and he walked
along slowly, and he came where were some crusts of bread and other
things which the maid at his house had taken out there for the birds.

David's mother had the maid throw out crusts of bread and tie lumps of
fat on the trees all winter, because when the snow is on the ground it
is sometimes hard for the birds to find things enough to eat.

There was a plenty of things for the birds to eat now, and they were
easy enough to get, but some birds were picking at the scraps.

Suddenly the birds flew up into a tree and two gray squirrels came and
gnawed at the bread crusts, when the two crows that had chased David's
cat came flapping down and tried to get at the scraps.

But the squirrels stopped eating and chased the crows savagely; and
the crows didn't fight back, but they just flew up a little bit of a
way and hovered there until the squirrels began to eat again.

Then they flapped down on the ground and began to sneak up toward the
scraps; and the squirrels darted at them and chased them again.


David wasn't very near, and he had watched the squirrels and the crows
for some time.

Then he just happened to look up, and he saw a maid come out of the
cellar door of the new house and get some wood from the pile that the
carpenters had left.

And she picked out the little pieces and put them in her apron and
went in; and, almost as soon as she was in, smoke began to come out of
the chimney, and David thought he had better go there and see what was
going on.

He walked up past his house, and stopped and got his cart and called
his cat. And his cat came running, and he walked along, dragging his
cart, with his shovel and his hoe rattling in the bottom of it.

But when he got to the road he looked up to the corner to see if there
was anything coming, and he saw what he thought must be the circus
just turning the corner.

First there came three great horses, harnessed abreast, and their
harness was glittering with chains and little brass things and with
ivory rings; and the horses were dragging a great big shiny van which
seemed almost as big as a house.

The driver's seat was up high, and the top of the van stuck over and
made a little roof for it; and on the side of the van was a picture of
two lions, and the lions in the picture were about as big as real

And behind that van came another three-horse van like the first, with
lions painted on the side.

And behind that came a smaller van drawn by two horses, and that had
lions painted on the side, and a little dog trotted under the
two-horse van, and his tongue was hanging out because he had trotted a
long way and he was thirsty.

When these three vans had turned the corner, no more came, although
David watched for as much as half a minute.

By that time the first van was past him and his cat had caught sight
of the little dog and the little dog had caught sight of the cat.

But the cat didn't do anything, and the little dog was too tired to
chase her. So he pretended that he didn't see her, and he trotted
along under the van as far as the new house.

All the vans stopped at the new house, and the horses backed them up
side by side in the gutter. There wasn't any curbstone, and the
sidewalk was a new one of gravel, and there would be a border of grass
when the grass had time to grow.

As soon as the vans had stopped, the little dog trotted out from under
the two-horse one, and went around the house looking for some water.

And he came to the faucet where they screw on the hose, and he saw
that there was a drop of water hanging on the bottom of the faucet. So
he licked that up and waited until another drop came, and he licked
that up.

Then one of the moving-men saw him.

"Poor little Dick!" said the moving-man.

And he went to the faucet and the little dog wagged his stump of a
tail and backed away a step and waited.

Then the moving-man turned the handle of the faucet so that a little
thin stream of water ran out, and the little dog came up and lapped
out of the little thin stream, wagging his stump of a tail very fast.
He wagged and he lapped until he had had enough.


And the moving-man turned the handle of the faucet the other way, and
the water stopped running.

Then the little dog licked the man's hand, and he trotted back to the
van, and he went under and curled up and slumped down, and he put his
head on his paws, and he drew two or three long breaths, and he went
to sleep.

There were three men with each three-horse van and two men with the
two-horse van; and they had all got down and taken off their coats,
and they had unlocked the great tall doors at the back of each van,
and they had opened the doors, and had taken some of the things out.

The things were covered with a great many old soft cloths: old coarse
burlaps, and old quilts and comforters. These soft cloths belonged to
the moving-men, and they kept them to use in that way, so that the
things which they moved shouldn't get scratched or broken.

When they took anything out of a van, they took off the cloths and
threw them in a pile on the sidewalk, and they put the things in a
sort of a clump, along the front walk of the new house.

David had come up close, dragging his cart, but his cat had run off
into the field.

Then the moving-men noticed David standing there.

"Hello," said one of the men. He seemed to be a kind of a foreman. "Do
you live around here?"

David pointed to his house.

"I live in that house. Do you know whether there are any little boys
coming to live in this house?"

"I think likely," said the moving-man, "but I don't know for certain."

"Well, are you going to take all these things into the house?" David
asked again, pointing at the things.

There were a hat-rack, and two waste-baskets filled with little things
done up in newspaper, and a little table, and a paste-board box filled
with hats, and two mirrors about as tall as David, and a maid's
wash-stand, and a bundle of pictures tied up in newspapers, and a
wooden box full of rubbers, and some crockery things, and a barrel of
kitchen things, and a great enormous paste-board box tied up with tape,
and another great paste-board box with the side broken in, and three
kitchen chairs, and a chamber chair, and a bundle of magazines, and
some other things; and they were all spread out on the walk.

These things were all the things that had been left over and put in
last in packing the vans, or little things which filled up chinks.

"We are going to take them in as soon as somebody comes to tell us
where to put them," the moving-man answered. "And we want to take in
some of the big things first, such as beds and dining-room table and
heavy things like those. They are all packed in the bottom of the

David nodded his head.

Just then one of the men took out of a van a little upholstered

"Hello!" said the moving-man. "That looks as if there was a youngster
of some kind coming, either a boy or a girl."

Then another man came with a box of toys, and set it down beside the

David saw it and smiled.

"That looks so, too, doesn't it now?" said the moving-man. He looked
up. "And here he is, I guess."

David turned around, and he saw a very pleasant-looking man coming
along, and, holding by his hand, there was a little boy who looked as
if he might be almost five years old.

They came near, and David looked at the little boy, but he didn't say
anything, and the little boy looked at David, and he didn't say
anything either, but he held to his father's hand tighter than ever.

"Well, here we are. You have not been waiting long, I judge. Now I'll
go in and you can come along with the things as fast as you like. What
will you do, Dick?"

At the sound of his name, the little dog raised his head and wagged
his stump of a tail and was all ready to get up; but nobody saw him,
for the little boy was whispering to his father, who turned to David.

"I guess that your name is David," he said; and David nodded. "I know
your father, David. How would you like it if Dick stayed out here with
you? You two can play anywhere that you are used to, David, or you can
stay and watch as long as you like."

[Illustration: THEY WATCHED THE MEN]

David thought that that would be nice, and he turned his cart around
and took out the backboard, and he told Dick that he might sit in it
if he wanted to, or he could sit in the little armchair.

Dick chose the cart to sit in, and David sat in the armchair, and they
watched the men, who were beginning to carry in the things.

They had taken some more things out of one of the vans, and they had
come to the heavy things.

One man was in the van, unpacking the things and pushing them to the
back, where the other men could reach them.

And a man would take as much as he could carry under his arms, and
march into the house with it; and another man would come and get his
load, and he would march in with it.

There was a procession of men going in with their loads and coming out
without any, and Dick's father stood just inside the front door and
told each man where to leave his load, and the man went to that room
and left it, and came out again.

But when they had all the parts of a bed in the room where the bed was
to be, they put the bed together, so that it was all ready to be made

Two men carried in the dining-table, and the library table, and the
ice-chest, and each bureau, and each dressing-table, and each bookcase,
and the tall clock, and each sofa, and each of the washstands, and
everything that was either too big or too heavy for one man.

They had come to a lot of boxes, all just alike, each box just about a
load for one man. The men were taking them up as fast as they could,
and going in, and piling them up in the hall, and they joked about
them, they were so heavy.

David was curious about the boxes, and he asked Dick what was in them;
and Dick said that books were in them, and his mother and his father
packed them, and it took them a long time, for they had to wrap every
book in newspaper and stuff newspapers in all the cracks. Then his
father had screwed the tops on with a screwer.

And David said it was funny how heavy books were, because they were
made of paper, and paper was one of the lightest things there was, and
his kitty liked to play with pieces of newspaper, out of doors, where
the wind blew them.

Then he got up and called his cat, but she didn't come.

"I'll tell you," David said; "let's go and find her."

So Dick and David each took hold of one handle of the cart, and walked
along to David's house, and David called his cat again, but she didn't

Then he thought that she must be in the woods, and they would go there
and find her.

But first he went into his house and asked the maid to give him and
Dick some cookies, and the maid gave him three for Dick and three for

And he gave Dick his three, and the two little boys wandered on into
the woods, eating their cookies and dragging the cart behind them, and
David thought how much better a real little boy was than a pretend
little boy.

And David told Dick about the squirrels and the crows and the other
birds that were there, and he showed him where there were some
chestnuts; and they picked up some chestnuts and got them out of the
burs and put them into the cart.

Then suddenly there was David's cat walking along, with her bushy tail
sticking straight up in the air; and she went to David and rubbed
against him, and she went to Dick and rubbed against him, and she went
to the cart and rubbed against that.

Then she ran on ahead, and they came after, and they went to the place
where the squirrels and the crows had been.

But no squirrels were there.

So the two little boys wandered on through the thin woods, looking for
squirrels, and sometimes the cat was with them and sometimes she
wasn't, and at last they were just behind Dickie's house, for the new
house was his house now.

And they looked up and saw the vans just starting away, and the horses
were trotting.

They watched until they couldn't see the vans any longer, and they
heard them turn the corner.

"I guess I've got to go," said Dickie then.

"Why have you got to go?" David asked. "Aren't you going to live in
that house?"

"Yes," Dick said, "I am, but we're going back for to-night. To-morrow
the maids will have it all ready, and we'll come and bring my mother
and my baby sister."

"Oh," said David.

That was the first time Dick had told him that he had a baby sister.

Dick had already started up to his house, but he stopped and turned

"Good-bye, David," he said.

"Good-bye, Dick," said David.

And Dick turned again and hurried to the new house, but David stood,
holding the handle of his cart and looking after him.

And he saw Dick's father come around the corner of the house and take
Dick by the hand.

Then Dick's father stood for a minute looking at the house, as if he
was afraid that he had forgotten something.

But he couldn't think of anything, and he and Dick began to walk away,
and Dick was talking to his father and his father was smiling.

David stood still, watching them, until he couldn't see them any

Then he began to gallop along toward his house, dragging his cart, and
his shovel and his hoe rattled like everything in the bottom of it;
and his cat ran on ahead, with her bushy tail sticking straight up in
the air.

And that's the end of this book.


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