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Title: Here and Now Story Book - Two- to seven-year-olds
Author: Mitchell, Lucy Sprague, 1878-1967
Language: English
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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.

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 Experimental Stories Written for the
 Children of the City and Country School
 (formerly the Play School)
 and the Nursery School of the
 Bureau of Educational Experiments.


 _Illustrated by_
 Hendrik Willem Van Loon

 [Illustration: Logo - CLASSICS TO GROW ON]

 _Published by E. P. Dutton & Company, Inc., for_
 Publishers of Parents' Magazine
 and Approved Publications for Young People
 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York



 _All Rights Reserved_

 _Printed in the United States of America_



 FOREWORD: BY CAROLINE PRATT                                      ix
 INTRODUCTION                                                      1
   _Content_: Its educational and psychological basis              4
   _Form_: Its patterns in words, sentences and stories           46


  _Two-Year-Olds_: Types to be adjusted to individual
          children. Content, personal activities, told in
          motor and sense terms. Form reduced to a succession
          of few simple patterns.
      MARNI TAKES A RIDE                                          73
      MARNI GETS DRESSED IN THE MORNING                           81

  _Three-Year-Olds_: Content based on enumeration of
          familiar sense and motor associations and
          simple familiar chronological sequences. Some
          attempt to give opportunity for own contribution
      THE MANY HORSE STABLE                                       99
      MY KITTY                                                   105
      THE ROOSTER AND THE HENS                                   109
      THE LITTLE HEN AND THE ROOSTER                             114

      MY HORSE, OLD DAN                                          115
      HORSIE GOES JOG-A-JOG                                      118
      AUTO, AUTO                                                 119

  _Four- and Five-Year-Olds_: Content, simple relationships
          between familiar moving objects, stressing
          particularly the idea of use. Emphasis on
          sound. Attempt to make verse patterns carry
          the significant points in the narrative.
    HOW SPOT FOUND A HOME                                        121
    THE DINNER HORSES                                            131
    THE GROCERY MAN                                              137
    THE JOURNEY                                                  141
    PEDRO'S FEET                                                 147
    HOW THE ENGINE LEARNED THE KNOWING SONG                      153
    THE FOG BOAT STORY                                           167
    HAMMER, SAW, AND PLANE                                       177
    THE ELEPHANT                                                 185
    HOW THE ANIMALS MOVE                                         189
    THE SEA-GULL                                                 192
    THE FARMER TRIES TO SLEEP                                    197
    WONDERFUL-COW-THAT-NEVER-WAS                                 203
    THINGS THAT LOVED THE LAKE                                   211
    HOW THE SINGING WATER GOT TO THE TUB                         219
    THE CHILDREN'S NEW DRESSES                                   229
    OLD DAN GETS THE COAL                                        237

  _Six- and Seven-Year-Olds_: Content, relationships
          further removed from the personal and immediate
          and extended to include social significance of
          simple familiar facts. Longer-span pattern which
          has become organic with beginning, middle and end.
    THE SUBWAY CAR                                               241
    BORIS WALKS EVERY WAY IN NEW YORK                            267
    SPEED                                                        281
    FIVE LITTLE BABIES                                           291
    ONCE THE BARN WAS FULL OF HAY                                299
    THE WIND                                                     309
    THE LEAF STORY                                               315
    A LOCOMOTIVE                                                 320
    MOON, MOON                                                   322
    AUTOMOBILE SONG                                              323
    SILLY WILL                                                   325
    EBEN'S COWS                                                  340
    THE SKY SCRAPER                                              353


Our school has always assumed that children are interested in and will
work with or give expression to those things which are familiar to them.
This is not new: the kindergarten gives domestic life a prominent place
with little children. But with the kindergarten the present and familiar
is abandoned in most schools and emphasis is placed upon that which is
unfamiliar and remote. It is impossible to conceive of children working
their own way from the familiar to the unknown unless they develop a
method in understanding the familiar which will apply to the unfamiliar
as well. This method is the method of art and science--the method of
experimentation and inquiry. We can almost say that children are born
with it, so soon do they begin to show signs of applying it. As they
have been in the past and as they are in the present to a very great
extent, schools make no attempt to provide for this method; in fact they
take pains to introduce another. They are disposed to set up a rigid
program which answers inquiries before they are made and supplies needs
before they have been felt.

We try to keep the children upon present day and familiar things until
they show by their attack on materials and especially upon information
that they are ready to work out into the unknown and unfamiliar. In the
matter of stories and verse which fit into such a program we have always
felt an almost total void. Whether other schools feel this would depend
upon their intentional program. Surely no school would advise giving
classical literature without the setting which would make the stories
and verse understandable. It is a question whether the fact of desirable
literature has not in the past and does not still govern our whole
school program more than many educators would be willing to admit. What
seems to be more logical is to set up that which is psychologically
sound so far as we know it and create if need be a new literature to
help support the structure.

In the presence of art, schools have always taken a modest attitude. For
some reason or other they seem to think it out of their province. They
regard children as potential scientists, professional men and women,
captains of industry, but scarcely potential artists. To what school of
design, what academy of music, what school of literary production, do
our common schools lead? We are not fitting our children to compose, to
create, but at our best to appreciate and reproduce.

Mrs. Mitchell as story teller in this new sense of writing stories,
rather than merely telling them, is having an influence in the school
which has not been altogether unlooked for. The children look upon
themselves as composers in language and language thus becomes not merely
a useful medium of expression but also an art medium. They regard their
own content, gathered by themselves in a perfectly familiar setting as
fit for use as art material. That is, just as the children draw and show
power to compose with crayons and paints, they use language to compose
what they term stories or occasionally, verse. Often these "stories" are
a mere rehearsal of experiences, but in so far as they are vivid and
have some sort of fitting ending they pass as a childish art expression
just as their compositions in drawing do.

So far as content is concerned the school gives the children varied
opportunities to know and express what they find in their environment.
Mrs. Mitchell finds this content in the school. It is being used, it is
even being expressed in language. What she particularly does is to show
the possibility of using this same content as art in language. She does
this both by writing stories herself and by helping the children to
write. The children are not by any means read to, so much as they are
encouraged to tell their own stories. These are taken down verbatim by
the teachers of the younger groups. Through skilful handling of several
of the older groups what the children call "group stories" are produced
as well as individual ones.

We hope this book will bring to parents and teachers what it has to us,
a new method of approach to literature for little children, and to
children the joy our children have in the stories themselves.

                                                     CAROLINE PRATT

 The City and Country School
 July, 1921




These stories are experiments,--experiments both in content and in
form. They were written because of a deep dissatisfaction felt by a
group of people working experimentally in a laboratory school, with
the available literature for children. I am publishing them not
because I feel they have come through to any particularly noteworthy
achievement, but because they indicate a method of work which I
believe to be sound where children are concerned. They must always
be regarded as experiments, but experiments which have been strictly
limited to lines suggested to me by the children themselves. Both the
stuff of the stories and the mould in which they are cast are based on
suggestions gained directly from children. I have tried to put aside
my notions of what was "childlike." I have tried to ignore what I,
as an adult, like. I have tried to study children's interests not
historically but through their present observations and inquiries, and
their sense of form through their spontaneous expressions in language,
and to model my own work strictly on these findings. I have forced
myself throughout to be deliberate, conscious, for fear I should slip
back to adult habits of thought and expression. I can give here only
samples of the many stories and questions I have gathered from the
children which form the basis of my own stories. Suffice it that my
own stories attempt to follow honestly the leads which here and now
the children themselves indicate in content and in form, no matter how
difficult or strange the going for adult feet.

First, as to the stuff of which the story is made,--the content. I have
assumed that anything to which a child gives his spontaneous attention,
anything which he questions as he moves around the world, holds
appropriate material about which to talk to him either in speech or in
writing. I have assumed that the answers to these his spontaneous
inquiries should be given always in terms of a relationship which is
natural and intelligible at his age and which will help him to order the
familiar facts of his own experiences. Thus the answers will themselves
lead him on to new inquiries. For they will give him not so much new
facts as a new method of attack. I have further assumed that any of this
material which by taking on a pattern form can thereby enhance or deepen
its intrinsic quality is susceptible of becoming literature. Material
which does not lend itself to some sort of intentional design or form,
may be good for informational purposes but not for stories as such.

The task, then, is to examine first the things which get the
spontaneous attention of a two-year-old, a three-year-old and so up to a
seven-year-old; and then to determine what relationships are natural and
intelligible at these ages. Obviously to determine the mere subject of
attention is not enough. Children of all ages attend to engines. But the
two-year-old attends to certain things and the seven-year-old to quite
different ones. The relationships through which the two-year-old
interprets his observations may make of the engine a gigantic extension
of his own energy and movement; whereas the relationships through which
the seven-year-old interprets his observations may make of the engine a
scientific example of the expansion of steam or of the desire of men to
get rapidly from one place to another. What relationship he is relying
on we can get only by watching the child's own activities. The second
part of the task is to discover what _is_ pattern to the untrained but
unspoiled ears, eyes, muscles and minds of the little folk who are
to consume the stories. Each part of the task has its peculiar
difficulties. But fortunately in each, children do point the way if
we have the courage to forget our own adult way and follow theirs.


In looking for content for these stories I followed the general lines of
the school for which they were written. The school gives the children
the opportunity to explore first their own environment and gradually
widens this environment for them along lines of their own inquiries.
Consequently I did not seek for material outside the ordinary
surroundings of the children. On the contrary, I assumed that in stories
as in other educational procedure, the place to begin is the point at
which the child has arrived,--to begin and lead out from. With small
children this point is still within the "here" and the "now," and so
stories must begin with the familiar and the immediate. But also stories
must lead children out from the familiar and immediate, for that is the
method both of education and of art. Here and now stories mean to me
stories which include the children's first-hand experiences as a
starting point, not stories which are literally limited to these
experiences. Therefore to get my basis for the stories I went to the
environment in which a child of each age naturally finds himself and
there I watched him. I tried to see what in his home, in his school, in
the streets, he seized upon and how he made this his own. I tried to
determine what were the relationships he used to order his experiences.
Fortunately for the purposes of writing stories I did not have to get
behind the baffling eyes and the inscrutable sounds of a small baby. Yet
I learned much for understanding the twos by watching even through the
first months. What "the great, big, blooming, buzzing confusion" (as
James describes it) means to an infant, I fancy we grown-ups will really
never know. But I suppose we may be sure that existence is to him
largely a stream of sense impressions. Also I suppose we are reasonably
safe in saying that whatever the impression that reaches him he tends to
translate it into action. At what age a child accomplishes what can be
called a "thought" or what these first thoughts are, is surely beyond
our present powers to describe. But that his early thoughts have a
discernible muscular expression, I fancy we may say. It may well be
that thought is merely associative memory as Loeb maintains. It may well
be that behaviorists are right and that thought is just "the rhythmic
mimetic rehearsal of the first hand experience in motor terms." If the
act of thinking is itself motor, its expression is somewhat attenuated
in adults. Be that as it may, a small child's expressions are still in
unmistakable motor terms. It is obviously through the large muscles that
a baby makes his responses. And even a three-year-old can scarcely think
"engine" without showing the pull of his muscles and the puff-puffing of
exertion. Nor can he observe an object without making some movement
towards it. He takes in through his senses; and he interprets through
his muscles.

For our present purposes this characteristic has an important bearing.
The world pictured for the child must be a world of sounds and smells
and tastes and sights and feeling and contacts. Above all his early
stories must be of activities and they must be told in motor terms.
Often we are tempted to give him reasons in response to his incessant
"why?" but when he asks "why?" he really is not searching for reasons
at all. A large part of the time he is not even asking a question. He
merely enjoys this reciperative form of speech and is indignant if
your answer is not what he expects. One of my children enjoyed this
antiphonal method of following his own thoughts to such an extent that
for a time he told his stories in the form of questions telling me each
time what to answer! His questions had a social but no scientific
bearing. And even when a three-year-old asks a real question he wants to
be answered in terms of action or of sense impressions and not in terms
of reasons why. How could it be otherwise since he still thinks with his
senses and his muscles and not with that generalizing mechanism which
conceives of cause and effect? The next time a three-year-old asks you
"why you put on shoes?" see if he likes to be told "Mother wears shoes
when she goes out because it is cold and the sidewalks are hard," or if
he prefers, "Mother's going to go outdoors and take a big bus to go and
buy something:" or "You listen and in a minute you'll hear mother's
shoes going pat, pat, pat downstairs and then you'll hear the front door
close bang! and mother won't be here any more!" "Why?" really means,
"please talk to me!" and naturally he likes to be talked to in terms he
can understand which are essentially sensory and motor.

Now what activities are appropriate for the first stories? I think the
answer is clear. His, the child's, own! The first activities which a
child knows are of course those of his own body movements whether
spontaneous or imposed upon him by another. Everything is in terms of
himself. Again I think none of us would like to hazard a guess as to
when the child comes through to a sharp distinction between himself
and other things or other persons. But we are sure, I think, that this
distinction is a matter of growth which extends over many years and that
at two, three, and even four, it is imperfectly apprehended. We all know
how long a child is in acquiring a correct use of the pronouns "me" and
"you." And we know that long after he has this language distinction, he
still calls everything he likes "mine." "This is my cow, this is my
tree!" The only way to persuade him that it is _not_ his is to call it
some one else's. Possessed it must be. He knows the world only in
personal terms. That is, his early sense of relationship is that of
himself to his concrete environment. This later evolves into a sense
of relationship between other people and their concrete environment.

At first, then, a child can not transcend himself or his experiences.
Nor should he be asked to. A two-year-old's stories must be completely
his stories with his own familiar little person moving in his own
familiar background. They should vivify and deepen the sense of the
one relationship he does feel keenly,--that of himself to something
well-known. Now a two-year-old's range of experiences is not large. At
least the experiences in which he takes a real part are not many. So his
stories must be of his daily routine,--his eating, his dressing, his
activities with his toys and his home. These are the things to which he
attends: they make up his world. And they must be his very own eating
and dressing and home, and not eating and dressing and homes in general.
Stories which are not intimately his own, I believe either pass by or
strain a two-year-old; and I doubt whether many three-year-olds can
participate with pleasure and without strain in any experience which has
not been lived through in person. He may of course get pleasure from the
sound of the story apart from its meaning much earlier. Just now we are
thinking solely of the content. I well remember the struggles of my
three-year-old boy to get outside himself and view a baby chicken's
career objectively. He checked up each step in my story by this
orienting remark, "That the baby chicken in the shell, not me! The baby
chicken go scritch-scratch, not me!" Was not this an evident effort to
comprehend an extra-personal relationship?

Again just as at first a small child can not get outside himself, so he
can not get outside the immediate. At first he can not by himself recall
even a simple chronological sequence. He is still in the narrowest, most
limiting sense, too entangled in the "here" and the "now." The plot
sense emerges slowly. Indeed there is slight plot value in most
children's stories up to eight years. Plot is present in embryonic form
in the omnipresent personal drama: "Where's baby? Peek-a-boo! There she
is!" It can be faintly detected in the pleasure a child has in an actual
walk. But the pleasure he derives from the sense of completeness, the
sense that a walk or a story has a beginning and a middle and an end,
the real plot pleasure, is negligible compared with the pleasure he gets
in the action itself. Small children's experiences are and should be
pretty much continuous flows of more or less equally important episodes.
Their stories should follow their experiences. They should have no
climaxes, no sense of completion. The episodes should be put together
more like a string of beads than like an organic whole. Almost any
section of a child's experience related in simple chronological
sequence makes a satisfactory story.

This can be pressed even further. There is another kind of relationship
by which little children interpret their environment. It is the early
manifestation of the associational process which in our adult life so
largely crowds out the sensory and motor appreciation of the world. It
runs way back to the baby's pleasure in recognizing things, certainly
long before the period of articulate questions. We all retain vestiges
of this childlike pleasure in our joyful greeting of a foreign word that
is understood or in any new application of an old thought or design. As
a child acquires a few words he adds the pleasure of naming,--an
extension of the pleasure of recognition. This again develops into the
joy of enumerating objects which are grouped together in some close
association, usually physical juxtaposition. For instance a two-or
three-year-old likes to have every article he ate for breakfast
rehearsed or to have every member of the family named at each episode
in a story which concerns the group! Earlier he likes to have his five
little toes checked off as pigs or merely numbered. This is closely tied
up with the child's pattern sense which we shall discuss at length under
"Form." Now the pleasure of enumeration, like that of a refrain, is in
part at least a pleasure in muscle pattern. My two-year-old daughter
composed a song which well illustrates the fascination of enumeration.
The refrain "Tick-tock" was borrowed from a song which had been sung to

       Marni's nose,
       Marni's eyes,
       Marni's mouth,
       Marni's teeth,
       Marni's chin,
       Marni's romper,
       Marni's stockings,
       Marni's shoes," etc., etc.

This she sang day after day, enumerating such groups as her clothes, the
objects on the mantel and her toys. Walt Whitman has given us glorified
enumerations of the most astounding vitality. If some one would only
pile up equally vigorous ones for children! But it is not easy for an
adult to gather mere sense or motor associations without a plot thread
to string them on. The children's response to the two I have attempted
in this collection, "Old Dan" and "My Kitty," make me eager to see it
tried more commonly.

All this means that the small child's attention and energy are absorbed
in developing a technique of observation and control of his immediate
surroundings. The functioning of his senses and his muscles engrosses
him. Ideally his stories should happen currently along with the
experience they relate or the object they reproduce, merely deepening
the experience by giving it some pleasurable expression. At first the
stories will have to be of this running and partly spontaneous type.
But soon a child will like to have the story to recall an experience
recently enjoyed. The living over of a walk, a ride, the sight of a
horse or a cow, will give him a renewed sense of participation in
a pleasurable activity. This is his first venture in vicarious
experiences. And he must be helped to it through strong sense and
muscular recalls. I have felt that these fairly literal recalls of
every day details _did_ deepen his sense of relationships since by
himself he cannot recapture these familiar details even in a simple
chronological sequence.

But if stories for a two or a three-year-old need to be of himself
they must be written especially for him. Those written for another
two-year-old may not fit. Consequently the first three stories in this
collection are given as types rather than as independent narratives.
"Marni Takes a Ride" is so elementary in its substance and its form as
to be hardly recognizable as a "story" at all. And yet the appeal is the
same as in the more developed narratives. It falls between the embryonic
story stage of "Peek-a-boo!" and Marni's second story. It was first told
during the actual ride. Repeated later it seemed to give the child a
sense of adventure,--an inclusion of and still an extension of herself
beyond the "here" and "now" which is the essence of a story. Both of
Marni's stories are given as types for a mother to write for her
two-year-old; the "Room with the Window in It" (written for the Play
School group) is given as a type for a teacher to write for her
three-year-old group.

I cannot leave the subject of the "familiar" for children without
looking forward a few years. This process of investigating and trying
to control his immediate surroundings, this appreciation of the world
through his senses and his muscles, does not end when the child has
gained some sense of his own self as distinguished from the world,--of
the "me" and the "not me,"--or achieved some ability to expand
temporarily the "here" and the "now" into the "there" and the "then."
The process is a precious one and should not be interrupted and confused
by the interjection of remote or impersonal material. He still thinks
and feels primarily through his own immediate experiences. If this
is interfered with he is left without his natural material for
experimentation for he cannot yet experiment easily in the world of the
intangible. Moreover to the child the familiar _is_ the interesting. And
it remains so I believe through that transition period,--somewhere about
seven years,--when the child becomes poignantly aware of the world
outside his own immediate experience,--of an order, physical or social,
which he does not determine, and so gradually develops a sense of
standards of what is to be expected in the world of nature or of his
fellows along with a sense of workmanship. It is only the blind eye of
the adult that finds the familiar uninteresting. The attempt to amuse
children by presenting them with the strange, the bizarre, the unreal,
is the unhappy result of this adult blindness. Children do not find the
unusual piquant until they are firmly acquainted with the usual; they do
not find the preposterous humorous until they have intimate knowledge of
ordinary behavior; they do not get the point of alien environments until
they are securely oriented in their own. Too often we mistake excitement
for genuine interest and give the children stimulus instead of food. The
fairy story, the circus, novelty hunting, delight the sophisticated
adult; they excite and confuse the child. Red Riding-Hood and circus
Indians excite the little child; Cinderella confuses him. Not one
clarifies any relationship which will further his efforts to order
the world. Nonsense when recognized and enjoyed as such is more than
legitimate; it is a part of every one's heritage. But nonsense which is
confused with reality is vicious,--the more so because its insinuations
are subtle. So far as their content is concerned, it is chiefly as
a protest against this confusing presentation of unreality, this
substitution of excitement for legitimate interest, that these stories
have been written. It is not that a child outgrows the familiar. It is
rather that as he matures, he sees new relationships in the old. If our
stories would follow his lead, they should not seek for unfamiliar and
strange stuff in intrigue him; they should seek to deepen and enrich
the relationships by which he is dimly groping to comprehend and to
order his familiar world.

But to return to the younger children. Children of four are not
nearly so completely ego-centric as those of three. There has seemed
to me to be a distinct transition at this age to a more objective way of
thinking. A four-year-old does not to the same extent have to be a part
of every situation he conceives of. Ordinarily, too, he moves out from
his own narrowly personal environment into a slightly wider range of
experiences. Now, what in this wider environment gets his spontaneous
attention? What does he take from the street life, for instance, to make
his own? Surely it is moving things. He is still primarily motor in his
interest and expression and remains so certainly up to six years.
Engines, boats, wagons with horses, all animals, his own moving
self,--these are the things he notices and these are the things he
interprets in his play activities. Transportation and animals and
himself. Do not these pretty well cover the field of his interests? If
conceived of as motor and personal do they not hold all the material a
four-or five-year-old needs for stories? If we bring in inanimate
unmoving things, we must do with them what he does. We must endow them
with life and motion. We need not be afraid of personification. This is
the age when anthropomorphism flourishes. The five-year-old is still
motor; his conception of cause is still personal. He thinks through his
muscles; he personifies in his thought and his play.

Nevertheless there is very real danger in anthropomorphism,--in thus
leaving the world of reality. There is danger of confusing the child. We
must be sure our personifications are built on relationships which our
child can understand and which have an objective validity. We must be
sure that a wolf remains a wolf and an engine an engine, though endowed
with human speech.

Now, what are the typical relationships which a four-or five-year-old
uses to bind together his world into intelligible experiences? We have
already noted the personal relationship which persists in modified form.
But does not the grouping of things because of physical juxtaposition
now give way to a conception of "Use"? Does he not think of the world
largely in terms of active functioning? Has not the typical question of
this age become "What's it for?" Even his early definitions are in terms
of use which has a strong motor implication. "A table is to eat off"; "a
spoon is to eat in"; "a river means where you get drinks out of water,
and catch fish, and throw stones." (Waddle: Introduction to Child
Psychology, p. 170.) It was only consistent with his general conception
of relationships in the world to have a little boy of my acquaintance
examine a very small man sitting beside him in the subway and then turn
to his father with the question, "What is that little man for?"

Stories which are offered to small children must be assessed from this
two-fold point of view. What relationships are they based on? And in
what terms are they told? Fairy stories should not be exempted. We are
inclined to accept them uncritically, feeling that they do not cramp a
child as does reality. We cling to the idea that children need a fairy
world to "cultivate their imaginations." In the folk tales we are
intrigued by the past,--by the sense that these embodiments of human
experience, having survived the ages, should be exempt from modern
analysis. If, however, we do commit the sacrilege of looking at them
alongside of our educational principles, I think we find a few precious
ones that stand the test. For children under six, however, even these
precious few contribute little in content, but much through their
matchless form. On the other hand, we find that many of the human
experiences which these old tales embody are quite unsuitable for
four-and five-year-olds. Cruelty, trickery, economic inequality,--these
are experiences which have shaped and shaken adults and alas! still
continue to do so. But do we wish to build them into a four-year-old's
thinking? Some of these experiences run counter to the trends of
thinking we are trying to establish in other ways; some merely confuse
them. We seem to identify imagination with gullibility or vague
thinking. But surely true imagination is not based on confusion.
Imagination is the basis of art. But confused art is a contradiction
of terms.

Now, the ordinary fairy tale which is the chief story diet of the
four-and five-year-olds, I believe does confuse them; not because it
does not stick to reality (for neither do the children) but because it
does not deal with the things with which they have had first-hand
experience and does not attempt to present or interpret the world
according to the relationships which the child himself employs. Rather
it gives the child material which he is incapable of handling. Much in
these tales is symbolic and means to the adult something quite different
from what it bears on its face. And much, I believe, is confused even
to the grown-up. Now a confused adult does not make a child! Nor does
it ever help a child to give him confusion. When my four-year-old
personified a horse for one whole summer, he lived the actual life of a
horse as far as he knew it. His bed was always "a stall," his food was
always "hay," he always brushed his "mane" and "put on his harness" for
breakfast. It was only when real horse information gave out that he
supplied experiences from his own life. He was not limited by reality.
He was exercising his imagination. This is quite different from the
adult mixtures of the animal, the social, and the moral worlds. Does not
Cinderella interject a social and economic situation which is both
confusing and vicious? Does not Red Riding-Hood in its real ending
plunge the child into an inappropriate relationship of death and
brutality or in its "happy ending" violate all the laws that can be
violated in regard to animal life? Does not "Jack and the Beanstalk"
delay a child's rationalizing of the world and leave him longer than is
desirable without the beginnings of scientific standards? The growth of
the sense of reality is a growth of the sense of relations. From the
time when the child begins to relate isolated experiences, when he
groups together associations, when he begins to note the sequence,
the order of things, from this time he is beginning to think
scientifically. It is preëminently the function of education to further
the growth of the sense of reality, to give the child the sense of
relationship between facts, material or social: that is, to further
scientific conceptions. Stories, if they are to be a part of an
educational process, must also further the growth of the sense of
reality, must help the child to interpret the relationships in the world
around him and help him to develop a scientific process of thinking. It
is not important that he know this or that particular fact; it _is_
important that he be able to fit any particular fact into a rational
scheme of thought. Accordingly, the relationships which a story
clarifies are of much greater import than the facts it gives. All this,
of course, concerns the content of stories--the intentional material it
presents to the child and has nothing to do with the pleasure of the
presentation,--the relish which comes from the form of the story. I
do not wish this to be interpreted to mean that I think all fairy
stories forever harmful. From the beginning innocuous tales like the
"Gingerbread Man" should be given for the pattern as should the "Old
Woman and Her Pig." Moreover, after a child is somewhat oriented in the
physical and social world, say at six or seven,--I think he can stand a
good deal of straight fairy lore. It will sweep him with it. He will
relish the flight the more for having had his feet on the ground. But
for brutal tales like Red Riding-Hood or for sentimental ones like
Cinderella I find no place in any child's world. Obviously, fairy
stories cannot be lumped and rejected en masse. I am merely pleading not
to have them accepted en masse on the ground that they "have survived
the ages" and "cultivate the imagination." For a child's imagination,
since it is his native endowment, will surely flourish if he is given
freedom for expression, without calling upon the stimulus of adult
fancies. It is only the jaded adult mind, afraid to trust to the
children's own fresh springs of imagination, that feels for children
the need of the stimulus of magic.

The whole question of myths and sagas together with the function of
personification must be taken up with the older children. For the
present we are still concerned with four-and five-year-olds. Two sets
of stories told by four-and five-year-old children in the school seem
to me to show what emphasizing unrealities may do at this age. The
first child in each set is thinking disjunctively; the second has his
facts organized into definite relationships. Can one think that the
second child enjoyed his ordered world less than the first enjoyed
his confusion?


Once there was a table and he was taking a walk and he fell into a pond
of water and an alligator bit him and then he came up out of the pond of
water and he stepped into a trap that some hunters had set for him, and
turned a somersault on his nose.

               *       *       *

There was a new engine and it didn't have any headlight--its light
wasn't open in its headlight so its engineer went and put some fire in
the wires and made a light. And then it saw a lot of other engines on
the track in front of it. So when it wanted to puff smoke and go fast it
told its engineer and he put some coal in the coal car. And then the
other engines told their engineers to put coal in their coal cars and
then they all could go.

(The child then played a song by a "'lectric" engine on the piano and
tried to write the notes.)


     Once upon a time there was a clown and the clown jumped on the bed
     and the bed jumped on the cup. Then the clown took a pencil and
     drawed on his face. And the clown said, "Oh, I guess I'll sit in a
     rocking chair." So the rocking chair said, "Ha! ha!" and it tumbled
     away. Then a little pig came along and he said, "Could you throw me
     up and throw an apple down?" So the clown threw him so far that he
     was dead. He was on the track.

                    *       *       *

     There was a big factory where all the men made engines. And one man
     made a smoke stack. And one man made a tender. And one man made a
     cab. And one man made a bell. And one man made a wheel. And then
     another man came and put them all together and made a great big
     engine. And this man said, "We haven't any tracks!" And then a man
     came and made the tracks. And then another man said, "We haven't
     any station!" So many men came and built a big station. And they
     said, "Let's have the station in Washington Square." So they pulled
     down the Arch and they pulled up all the sidewalks. And they built
     a big station. And they left all the houses; for where would we
     live else?

     (In a sequel he says: So they knocked down the Arch and chopped up
     all the pieces. And they chopped all around the trees but they
     didn't chop them down because they looked so pretty with our

I am far from meaning that five-year-olds should be confined to their
literal experiences. They have made considerable progress in separating
themselves from their environment though at times they seem still to
think of the things around them more or less as extensions of
themselves. Their inquiries still emanate from their own personal
experiences; but they do not end there. A child of this age has a
genuine curiosity about where things come from and where they go to.
"What's it for?" indeed, implies a dim conception beyond the "here" and
the "now," a conception which his stories should help him to clarify. If
we try to escape the pitfall of "fairy stories,"--abandoning a child in
unrealities,--we must not fall into the opposite pitfall and continue
the easy habit of merely recounting a series of events, neither
significant in themselves nor, as in the earlier years, significant
because they are personal experiences. "Arabella and Araminta" and their
like give a five-year-old no real food. They are saved, if saved they
are, not by their content, but by a daring and skilful use of repetition
and of sound quality. No, our stories must add something to the
children's knowledge and must take them beyond the "here" and the
"now." But this "something," as I have already said, is not so much new
information as it is a new relationship among already familiar facts.

In each of the stories for four-and five-year-olds I have attempted to
clarify known facts by showing them in a relationship a little beyond
the children's own experience. All the stories came from definite
inquiries raised by some child. They attempt to answer these inquiries
and to raise others. "How the Engine Learned the Knowing Song," "The Fog
Boat Story," "Hammer and Saw and Plane," "How the Singing Water Gets to
the Tub," "Things That Loved the Lake," "The Children's New Dresses,"
"How Animals Move,"--all are based on definite relationships, largely
physical, between simple physical facts.

Interest in these relationships,--inquiries which hold the germ of
physical science, continue and increase with each year. In addition, a
little later, children seem to begin questioning things social and to be
ready for the simpler social relationships which underlie and determine
the physical world of their acquaintance. "What's it for?" still
dominates, but a six-year-old is on the way to becoming a conscious
member of society. He now likes his answers to be in human terms. He
takes readily to such conceptions as congestion as the cause for subways
and elevated trains; the desire for speed as the cause of change in
transportation; the dependence of man on other living things,--all of
which I have made the bases of stories. To the children the material in
"The Subway Car," "Speed," "Silly Will," is familiar; the relationships
in which it appears are new.

Somewhere about seven years, there seems to be another transition
period. Psychologists, whether in or out of schools, generally agree in
this. Children of this age are acquiring a sense of social values,--a
consciousness of _others_ as sharply distinguished from themselves.
They are also acquiring a sense of workmanship, of technique,--of
_things_ as sharply distinguished from themselves. They seek information
in and for itself,--not merely in its immediate application to
themselves. Their inquiries take on the character of "how?" This means,
does it not, that the children have oriented themselves in their narrow
personal world and that they are reaching out for experience in larger
fields? It means that the "not-me" which was so shadowy in the earlier
years has gained in social and in physical significance. And this again
means that opportunity for exploration in ever-widening circles should
be given. Stories should follow this general trend and open up the
relationships in larger and larger environments until at last a child is
capable of seeing relationships for himself and of regarding the whole
world in its infinite physical and social complexity, as his own

Probably the first extra-personal excursions should be into alien
scenes or experiences which lead back or contribute directly to their
old familiar world. Stories of unknown raw material which turn into
well-known products are of this type,--cattle raising in Texas, dairy
farms in New England, lumbering in Minnesota, sheep raising in
California. It is a happy coincidence that raw materials are often
produced under semi-primitive conditions, so that a vicarious
participation in their production gives to children something of that
thrilling contact with the elemental that does the life of primitive
men, and this without sending them into the remote and, for modern
children, "unnatural" world of unmodified nature. The danger here is
that the story will be sacrificed to the information. Indeed it can
hardly be otherwise, if the aim is to give an adequate picture of some
process of production. This, of course, is a legitimate aim,--but for
the encyclopedia, not for the story. What I have in mind is a dramatic
situation which has this process as a background, so that the child
becomes interested in the process because of the part it plays in the
drama just as he would if the process were a background in his own life.
I am thinking of the opportunities which these comparatively primitive
situations give for adventure rather than for the detailed elucidation
of a process of production.

It is the peculiar function of a story to raise inquiries, not to give
instruction. A story must stimulate not merely inform. This is the
trouble with our "informational literature" for children, of which
very little is worthy of the name. Indeed, I am not sure it is not a
contradiction of terms. It is frankly didactic. It aims to make clear
certain facts, not to stimulate thought. It assumes that if a child
swallows a fact it must nourish him. To give the child material with
which to experiment,--this lies outside its present range. Reaction from
the unloveliness of this didactic writing has produced a distressing
result. The misunderstood and misapplied educational principle that
children's work should interest them has developed a new species of
story,--a sort of pseudo-literary thing in which the medicinal facts
are concealed by various sugar-coating devices. Children will take this
sort of story,--what will their eager little minds not take? And like
encyclopedias and other books of reference this type has its place in a
child's world. But it should never be confused with literature.

Literature must give a sense of adventure. This sense of adventure, of
excursion into the unknown, must be furnished to children of every age.
As I have said before, I think "Peek-a-boo, there's the baby!" is the
elementary expression of this love of adventure. The baby disappears
into the unknown vastness behind the handkerchief and to her, her
reappearance is a thrilling experience. Children's stories,--as indeed
all stories,--have been largely founded on this. The "Prudy" and "Dotty
Dimple" books though keyed so low in the scale seem adventurous because
of the meagre background of their young readers. But children of the
age we are considering,--who have left the narrowly personal and
predominantly play period demand something higher in the scale of
adventure. To them are offered the great variety of tales of adventure
and danger of which the boy scout is the latest example. Every child in
reading these becomes a hero. And every child (and grown-up) enjoys
being a hero. Higher still comes "Kidnapped" and so up to Stanley Weyman
and "The Three Musketeers" which differ in their art, not in their

Now is it not possible to give children these adventurous excursions
which they crave and should have, without so much killing of animals or
men, and so many blood-thirsty excitements, and so much fake heroism?
What relationships do such tales interpret? What truths do they give a
child upon which to base his thinking? The relation of life to life is a
delicate and difficult thing to interpret. But surely we can do better
at an interpretation than tales of hunting, of impossible heroisms, and
of war. Or at least, we can protest against having these almost the sole
interpretations of adventure which are offered to children. The world
of industry holds possibilities for adventure as thrilling as the world
of high-colored romance. We must look with fresh eyes to see it. When
once we see it, we shall be able to give the children a new type of the
"story of adventure." Of all the experiments which the stories in this
collection represent, this attempt to find and picture the romance and
adventure in our world here and now, I consider the most important and
difficult. In such stories as "Boris" and "Eben's Cows" and "The Sky
Scraper," I have made experimental attempts to give children a sense of
adventure by presenting social relations in this new way.

The cultured world has yet another answer to the question, "How shall
we give our children adventure?" It points to the wealth of classical
myths, of Iliads, sagas, of fairy-stories which are practically
folk-lore, semi-magic, semi-allegorical, semi-moral tales which express
the ideals and experiences of a different and younger world than ours of
today. And it replies, "Give them these." It feels in the sternness of
saga stuff and in the humanity of folk-lore, a validity and a dignity
and a simplicity which seem to make them suitable for children. These
tales tell of beliefs of folk less experienced than we: we have outgrown
them. They must be suited to the less experienced: give them to
children. Thus runs the common argument. And so we find Hawthorne's
"Tanglewood Tales," Æsop's "Fables," various Indian myths and Celtic
legends, and even the "Niebelungen Lied" often given to quite young
children. But do we find this reasoning valid when we examine these
tales free from the glamour which adult sophistication casts around
them? Remember we are thinking now of children in that delicate seven-to
eight-year-old transition period. I have already told how I believe
these children are but just beginning to have conceptions of
laws,--social and physical. They are groping their way, regimenting
their experiences, seeing dim generalizations and abstractions. But they
are not firmly oriented. They are beginners in the world of physical or
social science and can be easily side-tracked or confused. A child of
twelve or even ten is quite a different creature, often with clear if
not articulate conceptions of the make-up of the physical and human
world. He has something to measure against, some standards to cling to.
But we are talking about children still in the early plastic stages of
standards who will take the relationships we offer them through stories
and build them into the very fabric of their thinking.

Now, how much of the classical literature follows the lead of the
children's own inquiries? How much of it stimulates fruitful inquiries?
What are the relationships which sagas, myths and folk-lore interpret?
And what are the interpretations? This is a vast question and can be
answered only briefly with the full consciousness that there is much
lumping of dissimilar material with resulting injustices and
superficiality. Also there is no attempt to use the words "myth," "saga"
and "folk-lore" in technical senses.[A] I have merely taken the dominant
characteristic of any piece of literature as determining its class.

 [A] For a clear exposition of this field of literature for children
     see "Literature in the Elementary School," by Porter Lander
     MacClintock, University of Chicago Press, 1907.

Myths, properly, are slow-wrought beliefs which embody a people's effort
to understand their relations to the great unknown. They are essentially
religious, symbolic, mystic, subtle, full of fears and propitiations,
involved, often based on the forgotten,--altogether unlike in their
approach to the ingenuous and confident child. They are full of the
struggle of life. Hardly before the involved introspections and theories
of adolescence can we expect the real beauty and poignancy of a genuine
myth to be even dimly understood. And why offer the shell without the
spirit? It is likely to remain a shell forever if we do. And indeed,
such an empty thing to most of us is the great myth of Prometheus or of
the Garden of Eden.

But sagas! Are they not of exactly the heroic stuff for little children?
In essence the relationships with which they deal are human,--social.
The story of Siegfried, of Achilles, of Abraham,--these are great sagas.
Each is a tremendous picture of a human experience, the first two
under heroic, enlarged conditions, the last under a human culture
picturesquely different from our own. But even as straight tales of
adventure they do not carry for little children. The environment is too
remote, the world to be conquered too unknown to carry a convincing
sense of heroism to small children. The same is true of the heroic tales
of romance,--of Arthur and all the legends which cluster around his
name. Magic, the children will get from these tales but little else. But
if the tales should succeed in taking a child with them in their strange
exploits into a strange land, they would surely fail to take him into
the turgid human drama they picture. And as surely we should wish them
to fail. The sagas, like most genuine folk-lore deal with the great
elemental human facts, life and death, love, sexual passion and its
consequences, marriage, motherhood, fatherhood. We grasp at them for
our children, I believe, just _because_ they deal with these fundamental
things,--the very things we are afraid of unless they come to us
concealed in strange clothing. But what kind of a foundation for
interpreting these great elemental facts will the stories of Achilles
and Briseus, of Jason and Medea, Pluto and Proserpina, of Guinevere and
Launcelot make? What do we expect a child to get from these pictures of
sexual passion on the part of the man,--even though a god,--and of
social dependence of woman? Do Greek draperies make prostitution
suitable for children? Does the glamour of chivalry explain illicit
love? Most parents and schools who unhesitatingly hand over these social
pictures to their children have never tried,--and neither care nor dare
to try,--to face these elemental facts with their children. Can we
really wish to avoid a frank statement of the _positive_ in sex
relations, of the facts of parenthood, of the institution of marriage,
of the mutual companionship between man and woman, and give the
_negative_, the unfulfilled, the distorted? This is preposterous and no
one would uphold it. It must be the beauty of the tale, and not the
significance we are after. But _are_ these tales beautiful except as we
endow them with the subtleties of a classical civilization, as we read
into them piquant contrasts of a sensitive, expressive race still
primitive in its social thinking and social habits,--that elusive
thing which we mean by "Greek"? And can children get this without its
background, particularly as they have yet no social background in their
own world to hold it up against? And can children do any better with the
perplexing ideals of the chivalrous knight swept by a human passion?

And in the same way can a child really get the beauty of Siegfried? What
can he make out of the incestuous love of Siegmund and Sieglinda? And of
Siegfried's naïve passion on his first glimpse of a woman? What do we
want him to make of it? Is that the way we wish to introduce him to sex?
And as for the rest, the allegory of the ring itself, the sword, the
dragon's blood, what do little children get from this except the
excitement of magic? What _we_ get because of what we have to put into
it, is a different matter and should never be confused with the straight
question of what children get. Outgrown adult thinking in social matters
is no more suitable to children than outgrown thinking on physical
facts. We do not teach that the world is flat because grown-ups once
believed it was. We are not afraid of a round earth so we tell the
truth about it. But we come near to teaching "spontaneous generation"
with our endless evasions. We are afraid of a reproducing world, and so
we fall back on curious mixtures of sex fables,--on storks and fairy
godmothers and leave the mysteries of sex to be interpreted by Achilles
and Siegfried and Guinevere! To emasculate these tales is to insult
them,--to strip them of their significance and individuality. Is it not
wiser to wait until children will not be confused by all their straight
vigor and beauty?

There is other folk-lore less gripping in its human intensity. Through
this may not children safely gain their needed adventures? And here we
come again to the real "Märchen,"--the fairy tales. They take us into a
lovely world of unreality where magic and luck hold sway and where the
child is safe from human problems and from scientific laws alike. I have
already said in talking of the younger children that I feel it unsafe
to loose a child in this unsubstantial world before he is fairly well
grounded in a sense of reality. Once he has his bearings there is a good
deal he will enjoy without confusion. The common defense that the
mystery of fairy tales answers to a legitimate need in children, I
believe holds good for children of six or seven, or even five, who have
had opportunities for rational experiences. We all know how children
revel in a secret. They like to live in a world of surprises. To give
the children this sense of mystery I do not believe it is at all
necessary to turn to vicious tales of giants, of ogres, and Bluebeards,
or to the no less vicious pictures of the beautiful princess and the
wicked stepmother. Even after rejecting the brutal and sentimental we
have a good deal left,--a good deal that is intrinsically amusing as in
"The Musicians of Bremen" or "Prudent Hans" or charming as in "Briar
Rose." Symbolic or primitive attempts to explain the physical world,--as
in the Indian legend of "Tavwots" I have never found held great appeal
for the modern six- or seven-year-old scientists. Also the burden
of symbolic morality rests on a good many of the traditional tales which
usually neither adds nor detracts for the child and satisfies an adult
yearning. Allegories like Æsop's "Fables" and "The Lion of Androcles"
have a certain right to a hearing because of their historic prestige,
apart from any reform they may accomplish in the way of character
building. And in our own day many animals have achieved what I believe
is a permanent place in child literature. "The Elephant's Child," the
wild creatures of the "Jungle Book," "Raggylug" and even the little
mole in the "Wind in the Willows,"--these are animals to trust any child
with. Yet even in these exquisitely drawn tales, I doubt if children
enjoy what we adults wish them to enjoy either in content or in form.
And I doubt if we should accept even some of Kipling's matchless tales
if the faultless form did not intrigue us and make us oblivious of the

It is just here that most of us fail to be discriminating. Most of
the classical literature, most of the legends, or the folk tales that
I have been discussing have a compelling charm through their form. But
unfortunately that does not make their content suitable! Their place
in the world's thinking and feeling and their transcription into their
present forms by really great artists give them a permanent place in
the world's literature. This I do not question. It is partly because I
believe this so intensely that I wish them kept for fuller appreciation.
It is as formative factors in a young child's thinking that I am afraid
of them. Neither am I afraid of all of them. There are some old
conceptions of life and death and human relations which the race has not
outgrown, perhaps never will outgrow. The mystery and pathos of the Pied
Piper, the humor of Prudent Hans, the cleverness of the boy David, the
heroism of the little Dutch boy stopping the hole in the dyke, the love
of the Queer Little Baker, and the greed and grief of Midas are eternal.
In spite of these and many more, I maintain that for the most part,
myths, sagas, folk-lore depend for their significance and beauty alike
upon a grasp of present social values which a young child cannot have
and that our first attention should be to give him those values in terms
intelligible to him. After we have done that he is safe. It matters
little what we give him so long as it is good: for he will have
standards by which to judge our offerings for himself.

Yet after all is said and done, we may be reduced to giving children
some of the stories we think inappropriate, for lack of something
better. But a recognition of the need may evoke a great writer for
children. I maintain we have never had one of the first order. The best
books that we have for children are throw-offs from artists primarily
concerned with adults,--Kipling and Stevenson stand in this group,--or
child versions of adult literature,--from Charles and Mary Lamb down.
The world has yet to see a genuinely great creator whose real vision is
for children. When children have _their_ Psalmist, _their_ Shakespeare,
_their_ Keats, they will not be offered diluted adult literature.

So after we have gathered what we can from the world's store for
children of this seven-to-eight-year old period I think we shall find
many unfilled gaps. Most attempts at humor, for instance, are on the
level of the comic sheet of the Sunday supplement or the circus. There
is little except a few of the "drolls" which give the child pure fun
unmixed with excitement or confusion. Even "Alice in Wonderland" when
first read to a six-year-old who was used to rational thinking and
talking was pronounced "Too funny!" This same boy, however, went back
to Alice again and again. He always relished such bits as:

    "Speak roughly to your little boy,
       And beat him when he sneezes,
     He only does it to annoy
       Because he knows it teases."

No child's world is complete without humor. And children have a sense of
the preposterous, the inappropriate all their own. Lewis Carroll and a
few others have occasionally found it. Still, I think much remains to be
done in the way of studying the things that children themselves find
amusing. This is true for the younger ones as well. I give several
younger children's stories which appeared both to the tellers and their
audiences to be convulsing. The humor is strangely physical and
amazingly simple. And it is all fresh.


     I dreamed I was asleep in a tomato and just scrambled around until
     I'd eaten it up.

                    *       *       *

     Once there was a cow and he was in a wagon and he jumped over the
     wagon's edge.

                    *       *       *

     Sesame the Cat

     She lived with a nice man, a candy man, and she was at the gate
     watching the cattle go by and the men were digging under some
     caramel bricks and he called Sesame the Cat and she came banging
     and almost jumped on the man's head. She jumped like a merry
     balloon. Oh, he got angry!

               *       *       *


     Once there was a fly. And he went out walking on a little boy's
     face. He came to a kind of a soft hump. "What is this?" thought the
     fly. "Oh, I guess it's the little boy's eye!" Then he came to a lot
     of kind of wiggly things that went down with him. "What is this?"
     thought the fly. "Oh, I guess it's the little boy's hair!" Then he
     slipped and fell into a deep hole. It was the little boy's ear. And
     he couldn't get out. He tried and he tried. But he staid there
     until the little boy's ear got all sore!

               *       *       *


     Once upon a time there was a fox and a skunk, and the fox was
     walking down the path with a lot of prickly bushes on the side of
     the path. Then he saw a skunk coming along. He said, "Will you let
     me throw my little bag of perfume on you?" And then she (it was a
     lady fox) she backed and backed and backed and backed and backed
     and backed, and she backed so far she backed into the bushes, and
     she got her skirt torn on the prickly bushes.

                    *       *       *

     Once upon a time there was a boy and the boy was awfully funny. And
     one day the boy went to the store to buy some eggs and he got the
     eggs and ran so fast with the eggs home,--he stumbled and broke the
     eggs. So he took the eggs, and took the shell and fixed it like the
     same egg. And he walked off slowly to his home. And his mother was
     going to beat the eggs and she just opened the shell and no egg was
     there, and she couldn't make no cake that night.

There is still another kind of story which I believe children of this
transition period and a little older seek and for the most part seek in
vain. These children are beginning to generalize, to marshal their facts
and experiences along lines which in their later developments we call
"laws." They like these wide-spreading conceptions which order the
world for them. But they cannot always take them as bald scientific
statements. Moreover there are certain general truths which tie together
isolated familiar facts which can be most simply pictured through some
device such as personification,--for at this age personification is
recognized and enjoyed as a device and not, as in earlier years, as a
necessary expression of thought. This uniting bond, this underlying
relation may be a physical law like the dependence of life on life; it
may be a social law like the division of labor in modern industry. Any
dramatic statement of these laws is a simplification as is a diagram or
map. And like a diagram or map, it is in a way artificial since it gives
weight to one element at the expense of the others. But again like the
diagram or map, the thing it shows is a fact, a fact which is more
readily grasped by this artificial device than by bald statement. Maps
do not take the place of photographs, nevertheless they have their own
peculiar place in making intelligible the make-up of the physical world.
In the same way, personification does not take the place of science.
Nevertheless it has its own peculiar place in making clear to the child
some simplifying principle,--physical or social,--which unifies his
multitudinous experiences. So long as personification elucidates a true,
a scientific principle, so long as it is not pressed to tortuous lengths
which actually give false impressions, so long as it is kept within the
bounds of æsthetic decency, so long as it is recognized as a play
device and does not confuse a child's thinking,--so long as it is
justified. No more. It is a useful intellectual tool and a charming
device for play. Kipling is preëminently the master here. It is a
dangerous tool in lesser hands. Yet I have dared to use it and without
scruple in "Speed," in "Once the Barn was Full of Hay" and in "Silly
Will." Here again I feel sure that study of children's questions and
stories would bring rich suggestions as to how to fill this large gap
in their present literature.

Gaps there are, and many and large ones. Still, taken all in all, the
field for the seven- to eight-year-old transition period is not as
completely barren as the field for the earlier years. For these children
are evolving from the stage where they need "Here and Now" stories. They
are beginning to take on adult modes of thought and to appreciate and
understand the peculiar language which adults use no matter how young a
child they address! So much for the content of children's stories. And
at best the content is but half.


If content is but half, form is the other half of stories and not the
easier half, either. Every story, to be worthy of the name, must have
a pattern, a pattern which is both pleasing and comprehensible. This
design, this composition, this pattern, whether it be of a story as
a whole or of a sentence or a phrase, is as essential to a piece of
writing as is the design or composition to a picture. It satisfies the
emotional need of the child which is as essential in real education as
is the intellectual. Without this design, language remains on the
utilitarian level,--where, to be sure, we usually find it in modern

Now what kind of pattern is adapted to a small child,--say a
three-year-old? What kind does he like? More, what kind can he perceive?
Herein the expression as fatally as in the content has the adult shaped
the mould to his own liking. Or rather, the case is even worse. The
adult more often than not has presented his stories and verse to
children in forms which the children could not like because they
literally could not hear them! The pattern, as such, did not exist for
them. But what have we to guide us in creating suitable patterns for
these little children who can help us neither by analysis nor by
articulate remonstrance? We have two sources of help and both of
them come straight from the children. The first are the children's own
spontaneous art forms; the second are the story and verse patterns which
make an almost universal appeal to little children. Even a superficial
study of these two sources,--and where shall we find a thorough
study?--suggests two fundamental principles. They sound obvious and
perhaps they are. But how often is the obvious ignored in the treatment
of children! The first is that the individual units whether ideas,
sentences or phrases must be simple. The second is that these simple
units must be put close together.

As the quickest and most eloquent exemplification of both these
principles I give four stories. The first was told by a little girl of
twenty-two months, a singularly articulate little person,--as she looked
at the blank wall where had hung a picture of a baby (she supposed her
little brother), a cow and a donkey. The second was a story told by a
little girl of two and a half after a summer on the seashore. The third
was achieved by a boy of three,--a child, in general, unsensitive to
music. The fourth was told in school by a four-year-old girl.


    Where cow?
    Where donk?
    Where little Aa?

    Cow gone away!
    Donk gone away!
    Little Aa gone away!

    Like cow!
    Like donk!
    Like little Aa!

    Come back cow!
    Come back donk!
    Come back little Aa!


    I fell in water.
    Man fell in water.
    John fell in water.
    For' fell in water.
    Aunt Carrie fell in water.

    I pull boat out.
    Man pull boat out.
    John pull boat out.
    For' pull boat out.
    Aunt Carrie pull boat out.

    I go in that boat.
    Man go in that boat.
    John go in that boat.
    For' go in that boat.
    Aunt Carrie go in that boat.


    And father went down, down, down into the hole
    And the bull-frog, he went up, up, up into the sky!
    And then the bull-frog, he went down, down, down into the hole
    And then father, he went up, up, up, way into the sky!
    And then the bull-frog he went down, down, down into the hole
    And up, up into the sky!
    And then he went down into the hole
    And up into the sky!
    And he went down and up and down and up
    And down and up and down and up
    And down and up and down and up
    And down and up
    And down and up
    And down and up
    Down and up---- (to wordless song.)


    Baby Bye, Baby Bye
    Here's a fly
    You'd better be careful
    Else he will sting you
    And here's a spider too.
    And if you hurt him he will sting you
    And don't you hurt him
    And his pattern on the wall.

Certainly all have form,--spontaneous native art form. Indeed they
strongly suggest that to the child, the pleasure lay in the form rather
than in the content. The patterns of the first two are somewhat
alike,--variations of a simple statement. In content the younger child
keeps her attention on one point, so to speak, while the older child
allows a slight movement like an embryonic narrative. The pattern of the
three-year-old's is considerably more complex. The phrases shorten, the
tempo quickens, until the whole swings off into wordless melody. The
fourth probably started from some remembered lullaby but quickly became
the child's own. I give two more examples of stories. In the first, does
not this five-year-old girl give us her vivid impressions in marvelously
simple sense and motor terms? And does not the six-year-old boy in the
second show that imagination can spring from real experiences?


     I am going to tell you a story about when I went to Falmouth with
     my mother. We had to go all night on the train and this is the way
     it sounded, (moving her hand on the table and intoning in different
     keys) thum, thum, thum, thum, thum, thum, thum, thum, _NEW ARK!_
     thum, thum, thum, thum, thum, thum, thum, thum, thum, thum,
     FALMOUTH! And then we got off and we took a trolley car and the
     trolley car went clipperty, clipperty, clipperty, zip, zip. And
     another trolley car came in the other direction (again with hands)
     and one came along saying clipperty, clipperty, clipperty, zip, zip
     and the other came along saying clipperty, clipperty, clipperty,
     zip, zip, zip, BANG! And they hit in the middle and they got stuck
     and they tried to pull them apart and they stuck and they stuck and
     they stuck and finally they got them apart and then we went again.
     And when we got off we had to take a subway and the subway went
     rockety-rockety-rockety-rock. You know a subway makes a terrible
     noise! It made a _terrible_ noise it sounded like

     And at last we got there and when we came up in the streets of
     Falmouth it was so still that I didn't know what to do. You know
     the streets of Falmouth are just so terribly quiet and then we had
     to walk millions and millions of miles almost to get to our little
     cottage. And when we got there I put on my bathing suit and I went
     in bathing and I shivered just like this because it was a rainy
     day, the day I went to Falmouth with my mother.

The Talk of the Brook

    O brook, O brook, that sings so loud,
    O brook, O brook, that goes all day,
    O brook, O brook, that goes all night
    And forever.
    Splashes and waves, girls and boys are playing with
    You and in you.
    Some with shoes off and some with shoes on,
    And some are crying because they fell in you.
    O brook, O brook, have you an end ever?
    Or do you go forever?

Technically in all these stories the child exemplifies the two rules. He
attends to but one thing at a time. And his steps from one point to the
next are short and clear.

When we look at the forms which have been presented to children with
these their spontaneous patterns fresh in mind, we can see, I think, why
Mother Goose has been taken as a child's own and Eugene Field and even
Stevenson rejected as unintelligible. I do not believe there is anything
in the content of Mother Goose to win the child. I believe it is the
form that makes the appeal. Vachel Lindsay, whose daring play with words
has made him an object of suspicion to the reluctant of mind, has given
us one poem in pattern singularly like the children's own and in content
full of interest and charm. Again I give examples as the quickest of
arguments. And I give them in verse where the form is more obvious and
can be shown in briefer space than in stories.

      Jack and Jill
      Went up the hill
    To fetch a pail of water.
      Jack fell down
      And broke his crown
    And Jill came tumbling after.


    A birdie with a yellow bill
    Hopped upon the window sill,
    Cocked his shining eye and said:
    "Ain't you shamed, you sleepy head?"



(A recitation for Martha Wakefield, three years old)

    There was a little turtle.
    He lived in a box.
    He swam in a puddle.
    He climbed on the rocks.

    He snapped at a musquito.
    He snapped at a flea.
    He snapped at a minnow.
    And he snapped at me.

    He caught the musquito.
    He caught the flea.
    He caught the minnow.
    But he didn't catch me.

               --_Vachel Lindsay._


    So when the children shout and scamper
      And make merry all the day,
    When there's naught to put a damper
      To the ardor of their play;
    When I hear their laughter ringing,
      Then I'm sure as sure can be
    That the Dinkey-bird is singing
      In the amfalula tree.

--_Eugene Field._

Of the two "Jack and Jill" and "Birdie with the Yellow Bill," surely
Stevenson's is the more charming to the adult ear. But when I have read
it to three-year-olds, I have felt that they were lost. They could not
sustain the long grammatical suspense, could not carry over "A birdie"
from the first line to the conclusion and so actually did not know who
was saying "Ain't you shamed, you sleepy-head!" Mother Goose repeats her
subject. The span to carry is two phrases in Mother Goose as against
four in Stevenson. The Vachel Lindsay I have found is as easily
remembered and as much enjoyed as Mother Goose, though it is a pity
it is about an unfamiliar animal. As for the Dinkey-bird even a
seven-year-old can hardly _hear_ the rhyme even if intellectually he
could follow the adult vocabulary and the complicated sentence with its
long postponed subject.

It is the same with stories. The classic tales which have held
small children,--"The Gingerbread Man," "The Three Little Pigs,"
"Goldylocks,"--have patterns so obvious and so simple that they cannot
be missed. In "The Gingerbread Man" the pattern is one of increasing
additions. It belongs to the aptly called "cumulative" tales. The
refrains act like sign-posts to help the child to mark the progress.
This is simply a skilful way of making the continuity close, of showing
the ladder rungs for the child's feet. I venture to say that any good
story-teller consciously or unconsciously puts up sign-posts to help the
children. If he is skilful, he makes a pattern of them so that they are
not merely intellectually helpful but charming as well. So Kipling in
his "Just So Stories" uses his sign-posts,--which are sometimes words,
sometimes phrases, sometimes situations,--in such a way that they ring
musically and give a pleasant sense of pattern even to children too
young to find them intellectually helpful.

In other words, the little child is not equipped psychologically to hear
complicated units. I wish some one could determine how the average
four-year-old hears the harmony of a chord on the piano. Is it much
except confusion? In the same way, he is not equipped to leap a span
between units. I wish some one would determine the four-year-old's
memory span for rhymes, for instance. The involutions, the
suggestiveness so attractive to adult ears, he cannot hear. Even an
adult ear, untutored, can scarcely hear the intermingling rhythms and
overlapping rhymes which blend like overtones of a chord in such verse
as Patmore's Ode "The Toys." I feel sure the small child cannot hear
complexities; he cannot leap gaps. And so he cannot understand when even
simple ideas are given in complex and discontinuous form. This explains
his notorious love of repetition. Repetition is the simplest of
patterns, simple enough to be enjoyed as pattern. I have found that
almost any simple phrase of music or words repeated slowly and with a
kind of ceremonious attention, enthralls a year-old child. If the unit
is simple enough to be remembered he will inevitably enjoy recognizing
it as it recurs and recurs. This is the embryonic pattern sense.

This pattern enjoyment too is motor in its basis. His early repetitions
of sounds are probably largely pleasure in muscle patterns. We all know
that a child uses first his large muscles,--arm, leg and back,--and that
he early enjoys any regular recurrent use of these muscles. So at the
time when the vocal muscles tend to become his means of expression, he
enjoys repeating the same sounds over and over. And soon he gets
enjoyment from listening to repetitions or rhythmic language,--a
vicarious motor enjoyment. Surely it is important that stories should
furnish him this exercise and pleasure. Three- and four-year-olds
will enjoy a positively astounding amount of repetition. In the Arabella
and Araminta stories a large proportion of the sentences are given in
duplicate by the simple device of having twins who do and say the same
things and by telling the remarks and actions of each. The selection
quoted is repeated entire four times, the variation being only in the
flower picked:

     And Arabella picked a poppy, and Araminta picked a poppy, and
     Arabella picked a poppy, and Araminta picked a poppy, and Arabella
     picked a poppy, and Araminta picked a poppy, and Arabella picked a
     poppy, and Araminta picked a poppy, and Arabella picked a poppy,
     and Araminta picked a poppy, until they each had a great big bunch
     (I should say a very large bunch), and then they ran back to the

     Arabella got a glass and put her poppies in it, and Araminta got a
     glass and put her poppies in it.

     And Arabella clapped her hands and danced around the table. And
     Araminta clapped her hands and danced around the table.

Adult ears repudiate anything as obvious as this; they still, however,
enjoy a ballad refrain.

Just as small children cannot hear complications, so they cannot grasp
details if the movement is swift. We must give time for a child's slow
reactions. We usually fail to do this in ordinary social situations and
are often surprised to hear our three-year-old say "good-bye" long after
the front door is closed and our guest well on his way down the street.
In stories we must take a leisurely pace. We must also read very slowly
allowing ample time for a child to give the full motor expression to his
thought for the art of abbreviation he has not yet learned.

It is not enough to recognize that since a child attends to but one
thing at a time the units must be simple. Here in the form as in the
content, must the motor quality of a child's thinking be held constantly
in mind. In trying to find the general subject matter appropriate for
little children I said that they think through their muscles. This motor
expression of small children has its direct application in the concrete
method of telling of any happening. The story child who is experiencing,
should go through the essential muscular performances which the real
listening child would go through if he were actually experiencing
himself. For he thinks through these muscular expressions. As an
example, when a group of four-year-olds heard a story about a little
boy who saw the elevated train approach and pass above him, they thought
the child might have been run over. The words "up" and "above" and
"overhead" had been used but the children failed to get the idea of
"upness." Unquestionably they would have understood if I had made the
little boy _throw back his head and look up_. Small children act with
big gestures and with big muscles. And they think through the same

These two principles, simplicity and continuity, apply concretely to
sentence and phrase structure as well. The effort to obtain continuity
for the child explains the colloquial "The little boy who lived in this
house, _he_ did so and so----" You help your child back to the subject,
"the little boy" by the grammatically redundant "he" after his mind has
gone off on "this house." This same need for continuity also explains
why a child's own stories are characteristically one continuous sentence
strung together with "ands" and "thens" and "buts." He sees and hears
and consequently thinks in a simple, rhythmic, continuous flow. If we
would have him see and hear and think with us, we must give him his
stories and verse in simple units closely and obviously linked together.

But after all is said and done, why should we give children stories at
all? Is it to instruct and so should we pay attention to the content? Is
it to delight and so should we pay attention to the form? Both things,
information and relish, have their place in justifying stories for
children. But both to my mind are of minor importance compared to a
third and quite different thing,--and this is to get children to create
stories of their own, to play with words. "To get" is an unhappy phrase
for it suggests that children must be coaxed to the task. This I do not
believe though I cannot prove it. I do believe that children play with
words naturally and spontaneously just as they play with any material
that comes to their creative hands. And further I believe,--though this
too I cannot prove,--that we adults kill this play with words just as we
kill their creative play with most things. Most of us have forgotten how
to play with anything, most of all with words. We are utilitarian, we
are executive, we are didactic, we are earth-tied, we are hopelessly
adult! Actually children use their ears and noses and fingers much more
than do we adults. Our stories rely mainly upon visual recalls. We
forget to listen even to birds whose message is pure melody. And how
many of us _hear_ the city sounds which surround us, the characteristic
whirr of revolving wheels, the vibrating rhythm of horses' feet, the
crunch of footsteps in the snow? Noises we hear, the warning shriek of
the fire engine or the honk! honk! of the automobile. But the subtler,
finer reverberations we are not sensitive to. Yet little children love
to listen and develop another method of sensing and appreciating their
world by this pleasurable use of their hearing. It surely is an unused
opportunity for story-tellers. I have tried to use it in "Pedro's Feet"
which is an attempt to give them an ordinary story by means of sounds.
And even less than to city sounds do we listen for the cadences in
language. We listen only for the _meaning_ and forget the sensuous
delight of sound.

But happily children are not so determined to wring a meaning out of
every sight and every sound. Children play. Play is a child's own
technique. Through it he seizes the strange unknown world around him and
fashions it into his very own. He recreates through play. And through
creating, he learns and he enjoys.

There is no better play material in the world than words. They surround
us, go with us through our work-a-day tasks, their sound is always in
our ears, their rhythms on our tongue. Why do we leave it to special
occasions and to special people to use these common things as precious
play material? Because we are grown-ups and have closed our ears and our
eyes that we may not be distracted from our plodding ways! But when we
turn to the children, to hearing and seeing children, to whom all the
world is as play material, who think and feel through play, can we not
then drop our adult utilitarian speech and listen and watch for the
patterns of words and ideas? Can we not care for the _way_ we say things
to them and not merely _what_ we say? Can we not speak in rhythm, in
pleasing sounds, even in song for the mere sensuous delight it gives us
and them, even though it adds nothing to the content of our remark? If
we can, I feel sure children will not lose their native use of words:
more, I think those of six and seven and eight who have lost it in
part,--and their stories show they have,--will win back to their
spontaneous joy in the play of words. This is the ultimate test of
stories and verse,--whether they help children to retain their native
gift of play with language and with thought.

In the City and Country School where my experiments in language have
been carried on, we have not gone far enough to offer convincing proof
along these lines. But I submit two stories told by a six-year-old class
which are at least suggestive. The first is the best story told to me by
any member of the class before any effort had been made to get the
children to listen to the sound of their words or to think of their
ideas as all pointing in one direction and giving a single impression.
The second was told by the class as a whole while looking at Willebeek
Le Mair's illustration of "Twinkle, twinkle, little star." They said the
picture made them feel sleepy and that they would say only things that
made them sleepy and use only words that made them sleepy. Between the
two stories I had met with them seven times. I had read them sounding
and rhythmic verse. They had become interested in the sound of language
apart from its meaning. They had become interested in the sound of the
rain and the fire. They were thinking through their ears. Am I mistaken
in believing this shows in their language and in their thought?


     Once upon a time there was a little boy named Peter and a little
     boy named Boris. And Peter took him out for a walk and took him all
     around school. Then I took him out to my house and saw all my play
     things. And then I took him to Central Park and showed him sea
     lions and the giraffe and the elephant and I showed how they eat
     by their trunks. And he thought it was queer. And he said he was
     afraid of animals and so I took him home. I told him to tell his
     mother about it and his mother said, "You want to go for another
     walk?" and he said, "Yes, but not where the wild animals are." I
     said, "Do you want to go to Central Park?" and he said, "Yes." You
     see he got fooled! He didn't know about the wild animals.


     I like it when the boy and the girl look at the sky. They look at
     the trees and they are sleepy. It is dark outside. It is night and
     the sky is dark blue. And it is kind of whitish and the trees are
     next to the blue sky. The bright evening star is out. The star is
     so far up in the sky that you can hardly see it. The children are
     looking at the sky before they go to bed and they are praying to
     God. They have their nightgowns on. The bed is all nice so they
     couldn't have just got up. The clothes are hanging on the bed. They
     sleep in their own bed together. When they go to bed they have
     their door closed.

"The Leaf Story" and "The Wind Story" I have incorporated with my
stories, though they are almost entirely the work of children. In both
cases the organization is beyond the children. But the content and the
phraseology bear their unmistakable imprint. The same is true of "The
Sea Gull."

Because of the pattern, the play aspect of language, I believe in
written stories even for very little ones. If we loved our language
better and played with its sound in our ordinary speech, perhaps stories
for two- and three-year-olds would not be needed. But as it is, we
need to present them with something more intentional, more thought out
than is possible with most of us in a story told. If the patterns of
our ideas or of our speech are to have charm, if they are to fit the
occasion with nicety, if they are to flow easily and are to be
continuous enough to be comprehended by little children, they will need
careful attention,--attention that cannot be given under the emergency
of telling a story, not, at least, by the uninspired of us. Inevitably,
with our utilitarian tendencies, we shall be drawn off to an undue
regard of the content to the neglect of the expression. And yet, for
very little children, there is unquestionably something lost by the
formality and fixity of a written story. A story told has more
spontaneity, allows more leeway to include the chance happenings or
remarks of the children; it can be more intimately personal, more
adapted to the particular occasion and to the particular child. Perhaps
some time we shall achieve a fortunate compromise, a stepping stone
between the story told and the story read. Perhaps we shall work out
happy or characteristic phrases about familiar things,--little personal
things about the clothes and habits of each child, general familiar
things like autos and wagons and horses on the street, coal going down
the hole in the sidewalk, the squabbling of sparrows in the dirt, the
drift of snow on the roofs,--perhaps we shall learn to use such
thought-out phrases or refrains like blocks for building many stories.
If we could work out some such technique as this, we could keep the
intimacy, the flexibility, the waywardness of the spoken story and still
give the children the charm of careful thinking and careful phrasing.
Many such phrases have been fashioned by people sensitive to the quality
of sound. Every nursery has had its rooster crow:


But few have given its children that delightful epitome of the songs of
spring birds which has piped with irrepressible freshness now for nearly
four centuries:

    "Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!"

I have never known the child who did not respond to Kipling's engine

    "With a michnai-ghignai-shtingal! Yah! Yah! Yah!"

Every child creates these wonderful sound interpretations of the world.
We smile a smile of indulgence when we hear them. And then we forget
them! Cannot we seize some of them however imperfectly and learn to
build them into the structure of our stories? It was more or less this
kind of thing that I had in mind in writing Marni's stories and "The
Room with the Window Looking Out Upon the Garden" which as I have said
elsewhere are types to be told rather than narratives to be read. And I
feel sure if we could once make a beginning that the children themselves
would soon take the matter into their own hands and create their own
building blocks.

For children are primarily creators. They do not willingly nor for long
maintain the passive rôle. This should be reckoned with in stories and
not merely as a concession to restless children but as a real aid to
the story. An active rôle should be provided for the children somewhere
within every story until the children are old enough to have a genuinely
impersonal interest in things and events and until they do not need a
motor expression of their thoughts. For as I have already said, up
to that age,--and it is for psychologists to say when that age
is,--children think in terms of themselves expressed through their own
activities. This active rôle should be used not merely as a safety valve
of expression to keep the child a patient listener, but as a tool by
which he may become aware of the form of thought and language. It is
interesting that the children to whom these stories have been read, have
seized upon the rhyme refrains as their own and after a few readings
have joined in saying them as though this were their natural portion.
It is with this hope that I have tried to make the refrains not mere
interludes in the story, as they usually are, but the real skeleton, the
intrinsic thought pattern, the fundamental design. In "How the Singing
Water Gets to the Tub" and "How Spot Found a Home," for instance, the
refrains taken by themselves out of the context, tell the whole story.
It is too soon to say, but I am strong in the hope that through relish
for this kind of active participation in written stories, a small child
may become captivated by the play side of the stories as opposed to the
content and so turn to language as play material in which to fashion
patterns of his own.

For the sake of analysis, I have treated content and form separately.
But I am keenly aware that the divorce of the two is what has made our
stories for children so unsatisfactory. We have good ideas told without
charm of design; and we have meaningless patterns which tickle the ear
for the moment but fade because they spring from no real thought.
Literature is only achieved when the thought pattern and the language
pattern exactly fit. A refrain for the mere sake of recurrent jingle,
that has no genuine no essential recurrence in the thought, is a trick.
If the pattern does not help the thought and the thought suggest the
pattern, there is something wrong. It is an artifice, not art. This
matching of content and form is nothing new. It is and always has been
the basis of good literature. The task that is new is to find thought
sequences, thought relations which are truly childlike and the language
design which is really appropriate to them,--to make both content and
form the child's.

As I said at the beginning, so must I say at the end. These stories are
experiments, experiments both in content and form. To have any value
they must be treated as such. The theses underlying them have been
stated for brevity's sake only in didactic form. In reality, they lie in
my mind as open questions urgently in need of answers. But I do not hope
much from the answers of adults,--from the deaf and blind writers to the
hearing and seeing children. The answers must come from the children
themselves. We must listen to children's speech, to their casual
everyday expressions. We must gather children's stories. Mothers and
teachers everywhere should be making these precious records. We must
study them not merely as showing what a child is thinking, but the _way_
he is thinking and the way he is enjoying. It is the hope that these
stories may be tried out with children, the hope of reaching others who
may be watching and listening and working along these lines, the hope
that we may gather records of children's stories which will become a
basis for a real literature, the hope that somewhere among grown-ups we
may find an ear still sensitive to hear and an eye still fresh to
see,--it is this hope that has given me the courage to expose these
pitifully inadequate adult efforts to speak with little children in
their own language. Some one must dare, if only to give courage to the
better equipped. And if we dare enough, I am sure the children will come
to our rescue. If we let them, they will lead us. Whatever these stories
hold of merit or of suggestiveness is due to the inspiration and
tolerance of the courageous group of workers in the City and Country
School and in the Bureau of Educational Experiments and in particular to
Caroline Pratt without whom these stories would never have been dreamed
or written; and above all to the children themselves, for whom the
stories were written and to whom they have been read, both in the
laboratory school and in my own home. To those then, who wish to follow
the lead of little children, to those who have the curiosity to know
into what new paths of literature children's interest and children's
spontaneous expression of those interests will lead, and to the children
themselves, I send these stories.

                                         LUCY SPRAGUE MITCHELL.

 New York City
 July, 1921.

                                               MARNI TAKES A RIDE
                                                       IN A WAGON

The refrains in this story were first made up during the actual ride.
Later they served to recall the experience with vividness. This story is
given only as a type which any one may use when helping a two-year-old
to live over an experience.


One day Marni went for a ride. Little Aa, he climbed into Sprague's
wagon and Marni, she climbed in behind him. Then Mother took the handle
and she began to pull the wagon with little Aa and Marni in it. And
Mother she went:

        Jog, jog, jog, jog,
        Jog, jog, jog, jog,
        Jog, jog, jog, jog,
        Jog, jog, jog, jog,
     _And_ Jog, jog, jog, jog,
        Jog, jog, jog, jog,
        Jog, jog, jog, jog,

And the wheels, they went, (with motion of hands):

        Round, round, round, round,
        Round, round, round, round,
        Round, round, round, round,
        Round, round, round, round,
     _And_ Round, round, round, round,
        Round, round, round, round,
        Round, round, round, round,

And then Mother was tired. So she stopped. And Marni said, "Whoa,

Then Little Aa said, "Ugh, ugh!" for he wanted to go.

But Marni said, "Get up, horsie!" for she wanted to go too. So Mother
took hold of the handle and went:

        Jog, jog, jog, jog,
        Jog, jog, jog, jog,
        Jog, jog, jog, jog,
        Jog, jog, jog, jog,
     _And_ Jog, jog, jog, jog,
        Jog, jog, jog, jog,
        Jog, jog, jog, jog,

And the wheels they went:

        Round, round, round, round,
        Round, round, round, round,
        Round, round, round, round,
        Round, round, round, round,
     _And_ Round, round, round, round,
        Round, round, round, round,
        Round, round, round, round,

And then Mother was tired. So she stopped, and Marni said, "Whoa,

Then Little Aa said, "Ugh, ugh!" for he wanted to go. But Marni said
"Get up, horsie!" for she wanted to go too. So Mother took hold of the
handle and went,

        Jog, jog, jog, jog,
        Jog, jog, jog, jog,
        Jog, jog, jog, jog,
        Jog, jog, jog, jog,
     _And_ Jog, jog, jog, jog,
        Jog, jog, jog, jog,
        Jog, jog, jog, jog,

And the wheels they went:

        Round, round, round, round,
        Round, round, round, round,
        Round, round, round, round,
        Round, round, round, round,
     _And_ Round, round, round, round,
        Round, round, round, round,
        Round, round, round, round,

And then Mother was very, _very_ tired. So she stopped. And Marni said,
"Whoa, horsie!"

Then Little Aa said, "Ugh, ugh!" for he wanted to go again. But Marni
said "Get up, horsie!" for she wanted to go too. But Mother she was
very, _very_, VERY tired. She had jogged, jogged, jogged so long and
made the wheels go round, round, round, round, so much! So she said,
"The ride is all over!" Then Little Aa climbed down out of the wagon and
Marni climbed down out of the wagon. And Marni said, "Goodbye, wagon!"
and ran away!

                                               MARNI GETS DRESSED
                                                   IN THE MORNING

This story, obviously, is for a particular little girl. It is told in
the terms of her own experience, of her own environment, and of her own
observations. It is nothing more or less than the living over in
rhythmic form of the daily routine of her morning dressing. Her story
remarks are either literal quotations or adaptations of her actual every
day responses. The little verse refrains are the type of thing almost
anyone can improvise. I have found that any simple statement about a
familiar object or act told (or sung) with a kind of ceremonious
attention and with an obvious and simple rhythm, enthralls a
two-year-old. The little girl for whom this story was written began
embryonic stories before her second birthday. The water-soap-sponge
episode is an adaptation of one of her first narrative forms. This story
is meant merely as a suggestion of the way almost anyone can make
language an every day plaything to the small child she is caring for.


Once there was a little girl and her name was Marni Moo. Marni used to
sleep in a little bed in mother's room. In the morning Marni would wake
up and she would say "Hello, Mother." And then in a minute she would
say, "I want to get up."

And mother would say:

    "Hoohoo, Marni Moo.
     I'm coming, I'm coming,
     I'm coming for you."

Then mother would get up and she'd come over and she'd unfasten the
blanket and she'd take little Marni Moo in her arms and she'd walk into
Marni's bath-room and she'd take off Marni's nightgown and Marni's
shirt. And then she'd get a little basin, and she'd put some water in
it, and she'd get some soap and she'd get a sponge and she'd wash little
Marni Moo. She'd wash Marni's face and then she'd wash Marni's hands,
and Marni would put one hand in the basin and she'd splash the water
like this:--    Then she'd put another hand in the basin and
she'd splash the water like this:--    Then mother would wipe
both hands and she'd throw the water down the sink and she'd put away
the soap and the sponge. And Marni would watch mother and then she'd


    "Where water?
     Where soap?
     Where sponge?

     Water gone away!
     Soap gone away!
     Sponge gone away!"

And after that what do you suppose Marni would say?

"Shirt, shirt." And mother would put Marni's shirt over her head and

    "Peek-a-boo, Marni Moo,
     Marni's head is coming through."

and then mother would button up Marni's shirt.

And then Marni would say "Waist, waist." Then while mother put on
Marni's waist she would say:

    "Here's one hand
     And here's another.
     Marni's a sister
     And Robin's a brother."

And then Marni would say, "Drawers, drawers." And while mother put on
Marni's drawers she would say:

    "Here's one foot
     And here's another.
     Marni's a sister
     And Peter's a brother."

And then Marni would say, "Stockings, stockings." And mother would put
on one stocking on her left foot, and then she'd put on another stocking
on her right foot. And then she'd fasten the garters on one stocking,
and then she'd fasten the garters on the other stocking. And all the
time mother would keep saying:

    "Here's one leg
     And here's another.
     Marni's a sister
     And Jack-o's a brother."

Then Marni would say, "Shoe, shoe." And mother would put one shoe on her
left foot and then she'd put on the other shoe on her right foot. And
then she'd say again:

    "Here's one foot
     And here's another.
     Marni's a sister
     And Robin's a brother."

And then Marni would say, "Hook, hook." And mother would get the
button-hook and then she'd button up the left shoe and then she'd button
up the right shoe. And all the time she was buttoning up first one shoe
and then the other shoe Marni would say:

    "Look, look,
     Hook, hook."

And when the shoes were all buttoned up, mother would hit first one
little sole and then the other little sole, and say:

    "Now we're through
     Tit, tat, too.
     Here a nail, there a nail,
     Now we're through."

Then Marni would run and get her romper and bring it to mother calling,
"Romper, romper." And mother would put on her romper, singing:

    "Romper, romper
     Who's got a romper?
     Little Marni Moo
     She's got two.
     One is a yellow one
     And one is blue.
     Romper, romper
     Who's got a romper?"

And then Marni would say, "Button, button." And mother would button up
her romper all down the back. First one button and then another button
and then another button and then another button, and then another button
and then another button until they were buttoned all down the back.

And then Marni would say, "Sweater." And mother would put on her little
blue sweater saying:

    "Sweater, sweater
     Who's got a sweater?
     Little Marni Moo
     She's got two.
     One is a yellow one
     And one is blue.
     Sweater, sweater,
     Who's got a sweater?"

And then Marni would say, "Hair." And mother would get the brush and
comb and brush Marni's hair. And all the time she was brushing it she
would say:

            "Brush it so
             And brush it slow.
             Brush it here
             And brush it there.
             Brush it so
             And brush it slow.
             And brush it here
             And brush it there
    And brush it all over your dear little head."

And then Marni would say, "All ready." And mother would put her down on
the floor.

Then Marni would say:

    "Where my little pail?
     My little pail gone away.
     I want my little pail
     Come, little pail."

And mother would give her her little pail. And Marni would put one nut
in her pail, and then she'd put another nut in her pail, and then she'd
put another nut in her pail. And then she'd put a marble in her pail,
and then she'd put another marble in her pail, and then she'd put
another marble in her pail. And then she'd put her quack-quack in her
pail, and then she'd put her fish in her pail, and then she'd put her
frog in her pail. Then she would shake her pail with all of the nuts and
the marbles and the quack-quack and the frog and the fish, and they
would all go bingety-bang, crickety-crack, bingety-bang, crickety-crack.

And Marni would say, "Bingety-bang, crickety-crack. Where Jack-o?" And
Marni would run to find Jack-o, and she would say, "Jack-o, hear
bingety-bang, crickety-crack." And she would rattle her little pail with
all the nuts and the marbles and the quack-quack and the fish and the
frog. Then she'd say, "Where Peter?" And Marni would run to find Peter,
and she would say, "Peter, hear bingety-bang, crickety-crack." And she
would rattle her little pail with all the nuts and the marbles and the
quack-quack and the fish and the frog.

Then mother would call, "Breakfast, breakfast. Anyone ready for

And Jack-o would call back, "I am, I am, I am ready for breakfast."

And Peter would run as fast as he could calling, "I am, I am, I am ready
for breakfast."

And last of all would come little Marni Moo calling, "Breakfast,

Then the two boys would chase Marni to the breakfast table saying:

    "Marni Mitchell,
     Marni Moo,
     Run like a mousie
     Or I'll catch you."

And Marni would scimper scamper like a mousie until she reached the
breakfast table.

Then they would all have breakfast together.

                                                THE ROOM WITH THE
                                               WINDOW LOOKING OUT
                                                    ON THE GARDEN

In this story written for a three-year-old group, I have tried to
present the familiar setting of the classroom from a new point of view
and to give the presentation a very obvious pattern. I want the children
to take an _active_ part in the story. But before they try to do this I
want them to have some conception of the whole pattern of the story so
that their contributions may be in proper design, both in substance and
in length. That is the reason I give two samples before throwing the
story open to the children. If each child has a part which falls into
a recognized scheme, through performing that part he gets a certain
practice in pattern making in language,--however primitive--and also a
certain practice in the technique of co-operation which means listening
to the others as well as performing himself. I have not tried to add
anything to their stock of information,--merely to give them the
pleasure of drawing on a common fund together.


Once there was a little girl. She was just three years old. One morning
she and her mother put on their hats and coats right after breakfast.
They walked and walked and walked from their house until they came to
MacDougal Alley. And then they walked straight down the alley into the
Play School. Now the little girl had never been to the Play School
before and she didn't know where anything was and she didn't know any
of the children and she didn't even know her teacher! So she asked her
mother, "Which room is going to be mine?" And her mother answered, "The
one with the window looking out on the garden."

And sure enough, when the little girl looked around there was the sun
shining right in through a window which looked out on a lovely garden!
She knelt right down on the window sill to look out.


Then she heard some one say, "Little New Girl, why don't you take off
your things?" She turned around and there was Virginia talking to her.
"Because I don't know where to put them," said Little New Girl. "How
funny!" laughed Virginia, "because see, here are all the hooks right in
plain sight," and she pointed under the stairs. So the little girl took
off her hat and her mittens. Her mother had to unbutton the hard top
button but she did all the rest. Then she hung up everything on a hook.

"Goodbye," said her mother. "Goodbye," said Little New Girl. "Don't
forget to come for me because I don't know where anything is and I don't
know the children and I don't even know my teacher." And her mother
answered, "No, I won't." And then she was gone.

"Now, Little New Girl, what do you want to do?" said her teacher. But
the little girl only shook her head and said, "I don't know anything to
do." One little boy said, "Let me show Little New Girl something." And
what did he show her? He took her over to the shelves and he showed her
the blocks. "You can build a house or anything with them," said the
little boy.

Then another little girl said, "Let me show Little New Girl something."
And what did this other little girl show her? She showed her the dolls.
"You can put them into a house," said this other little girl.

"Who else can show Little New Girl something to do?" called her teacher.
"Will you, Robert?" So what did Robert show her? (Give child ample time
to think. If he does not respond go on.) Robert took her over to the
shelves and showed her the paper and crayons. "You can draw ever so many
pictures," said Robert.

Then Virginia said, "Let me show Little New Girl something." So what
did Virginia show her?--Virginia showed her the horses and wagons. "You
can harness them up," said Virginia.

Then Craig said, "Let _me_ show Little New Girl something." So what did
Craig show her?--Craig showed her the beads. "You can string them in
strings," said Craig.

Then Peter said, "Let _me_ show Little New Girl something." So what did
Peter show her?--Peter showed her the clay. "You can make anything you
want out of it," said Peter.

Then Tom said, "Let _me_ show Little New Girl something." So what did
Tom show her? Tom showed her the saw and hammer and nails. "You can saw
or hammer nails," said Tom.

Then Barbara said, "Let me show Little New Girl something." So what did
Barbara show her? Barbara showed her the paper and scissors. "You can
cut out anything you want," said Barbara.

"Now Little New Girl, what do you want to do?" said her teacher. And
this time the little girl jumped right up and down and said, "I'm glad!
I want to do everything." "But which thing first?" asked her teacher.
"Let me watch," the Little New Girl said.

So Little New Girl stood quite still. She saw Robert go and get some
paper and crayons and sit down at his little table to draw. She saw
Virginia get some horses and harness and sit down at her little table to
harness them. She saw Craig get some beads and sit down at his little
table to string them. She saw Peter get the clay and sit down at his
little table to model. She saw Tom go to the bench and begin to saw a
piece of wood. She saw Barbara get some paper and scissors and paste and
sit down at her little table to cut out and to paste.

Then she said, "I want to draw first." So she took some paper and some
colored crayons and she sat down at a little table near the window
looking out on the garden. There she drew and she drew and she drew. And
she didn't feel like a Little New Girl at all for now she knew where
everything was and she knew all the children and she knew her teacher.


    I know a yellow room
    With great big sliding doors
    And a window on the side
    Looking out upon a garden.
    There's a balcony above
    With a bench for carpenters
    With planes and saws and hammers,
    Bang! bang! with nails and hammers.
    There are hooks beneath the stairs
    To hang up hats and coats,
    And nearby there's a sink
    With everybody's cup.
    There's a rope and there's a slide
    Zzzip! but there's a slide.
    There are shelves and shelves and shelves
    With colored silk and beads,
    With paper and with crayons,
    And a great big crock with clay.
    And the're blocks and blocks and blocks
    And blocks and blocks and blocks
    And the're horses there and wagons
    And cows and dogs and sheep,
    And men and women, boys and girls
    With clothes upon them too.
    And then the're cars to make a train
    With engine and caboose.[B]
    And the're lots of little tables
    In this yellow, yellow room
    For boys and girls to sit at
    And play with all those things.
    And there's a great big floor
    In this yellow, yellow room
    For boys and girls to sit on
    And play with all those things.
    And there is lots of sunshine
    In this yellow, yellow room
    For boys and girls to sit in
    And play with all those things.

 [B] _At this point the teacher might ask, "What else?" Not the first
     time, however. The children must get the outline as a whole before
     they contribute. Otherwise they will be entirely absorbed by the

                                            THE MANY-HORSE STABLE

All the material for this story was supplied by a three-year-old. The
pattern was added. An older child would not be content with so sketchy
an account. But it seems to compass a three-year-old's most significant
associations with a stable. The title is one in actual use by a
four-year-old class.



Once there was a stable. The stable was in a big city. Downstairs in the
stable there were many g-r-e-a-t b-i-g wagons and one little-bit-of-a
wagon. And on the walls there were many g-r-e-a-t b-i-g harnesses and
one little-bit-of-a harness. And there were many g-r-e-a-t b-i-g
blankets and one little-bit-of-a blanket. And there were some g-r-e-a-t
b-i-g whips and one little-bit-of-a whip. And there were some g-r-e-a-t
b-i-g nose bags and one little-bit-of-a nose bag. Upstairs in the
stalls there were some g-r-e-a-t b-i-g horses and one little-bit-of-a

In the morning the men would come and harness up the g-r-e-a-t b-i-g
horses with the g-r-e-a-t b-i-g harnesses to the g-r-e-a-t b-i-g wagons.
They would put in the g-r-e-a-t b-i-g blankets and the g-r-e-a-t b-i-g
whips and the g-r-e-a-t b-i-g nose bags. Then they would get up on the
seats and gather up the reins and off down the street would go the
g-r-e-a-t b-i-g horses. Clumpety-lumpety bump! thump! Clumpety-lumpety
bump! thump!

Then a little-bit-of-a man would harness up the little-bit-of-a pony
with the little-bit-of-a harness to the little-bit-of-a wagon. He would
put in the little-bit-of-a blanket and the little-bit-of-a whip and the
little-bit-of-a nose bag. Then he would get up on the seat and gather up
the reins and off down the street would go the little-bit-of-a pony!
Lippety-lippety! lip! lip! lip! Lippety-lippety! lip! lip! lip!

                                                         MY KITTY

Here there is no plot. Instead I have attempted to enumerate the
associations which cluster around a kitten, and present them in a
patterned form.


    Meow, meow!
      Kitty's eyes, two eyes, yellow eyes, shiny bright eyes.
    Meow, meow!
      Kitty's pointed ears, pink on the inside, fur on the outside.
    Meow, meow!
      Kitty's mouth, little white teeth and whiskers long.
    Meow, meow!
      Kitty's fur, soft to stroke like this, like this.

    Prrrr, prrrr,
      Little fur ball cuddled close to the warm, warm fire.
    Prrrr, prrrr,
      Little padded feet pattering soft to get her milk.
    Prrrr, prrrr,
      Little pink tongue, lapping up the milk from her own little dish.
    Prrrr, prrrr,
      Warm little, round little, happy little kitten snuggled in my arms.

    Pssst, pssst!
      Stiff little kitten, spitting at a dog.
    Pssst, pssst!
      Hair standing up on her humped-up back.
    Pssst, pssst!
      Sharp white teeth, sharp, sharp, claws.
    Pssst, pssst!
      Ready to jump and to bite and to scratch.

    Kitty, kitty, kitty,
      You funny little cat,
    I never know whether you'll purr or spit
      You funny little cat!

                                         THE ROOSTER AND THE HENS

An objective story tied in with the personal.


Once there was an egg. Inside the egg there was a little chicken
growing, for the mother hen had sat on it for three weeks. When the
chicken was big enough he wanted to come out and so he went pick, peck,
pick, peck, until he made a little hole in the shell. Then he stuck his
bill through the hole and wiggled it until the shell cracked and he
could get his head through. Then he wiggled it a little more and the
shell broke and he could get his foot out. And then the shell broke
right in two.

As soon as the little chicken was out he went scritch, scratch, with his
little foot. Then he ran to a little saucer of water. He took a little
water in his bill; then he held his head up in the air while the water
ran down his throat. The mother hen went:

    "Cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck,"

and the little chicken ran to her calling:

    "Cheep, cheep, cheep."

Then he heard a funny little noise. He looked around and what do you
think he saw? Another egg was cracking because another little chicken
was going pick, peck inside. Soon out of the shell came a little baby
brother. And then he heard another funny little noise, and another shell
broke and out of the shell came a little baby sister. And then he heard
another little noise and another shell broke and out of the shell came
still another little sister. This went on until there were a lot of
yellow baby chickens. Then all the little chickens went scritch,
scratch, with their little feet looking for worms, and all the little
chickens took a drink of water and held up their heads to let the water
run down their throats. And all the little chickens ran to the mother
hen calling:

    "Cheep, cheep, cheep."

Now all the little chickens began to grow. The little sisters all got
little bits of combs on the tops of their heads and under their bills.
Their little yellow feathers turned into all kinds of colors. But the
little brother chicken, he got a great big red comb on the top of his
head and under his bill, and he got long spurs on his ankles. On his
neck the feathers grew long and yellow and behind on his tail they grew
very long and all shiny green.

He was walking around one morning while it was still dark when suddenly
he felt a funny feeling in his throat. He wanted to open his mouth. So
he did, and out of his mouth this is what came:


He thought it sounded perfectly wonderful; so he opened his mouth again
and out came the same sound:


Now when his sister hens heard this wonderful rooster-noise they all
came running out of the chicken house. This made the rooster more
pleased than ever. So he threw his head way back and he opened his beak
wide and he crowed:

     I'm twice as smart as you,
     See what I can do."

When his sister hens heard him say this each one began to cluck and say:

    "Cut-cut-cut, cadaakut,
     I'm going to lay an egg, an egg."

Then the rooster answered:

     I don't believe it's true.
     I don't believe it's true."

So the little black and white hen, she ran into the barn and up on the
side of the wall she saw a little box. She jumped into the little box
and there she laid an egg. Then she said:

    "Cut-cut-cut, cadaakut,
     I laid an egg for Robert.
     Cut-cut-cut, cadaakut,
     I laid an egg for Robert."

Then the little yellow hen she jumped right into the manger and she
wiggled around in the straw until she made a little nest where she laid
an egg. Then she said:

    "Cut-cut-cut, cadaakut,
     I laid an egg for Martha.
     Cut-cut-cut, cadaakut,
     I laid an egg for Martha."

Then the little black hen she saw another little box nailed on to the
wall so she jumped up on it and she laid an egg and then she said:

    "Cut-cut-cut, cadaakut,
     I laid an egg for Tom, for Tom,
     Cut-cut-cut, cadaakut,
     I laid an egg for Tom."

And then the little white hen she could not find any place at all. She
ran around and around. Finally she sat right down in the soft dust which
by this time the sun had made all warm, until she made a little round
hollow and there she laid an egg. Then she said:

    "Cut-cut-cut, cadaakut,
     I laid an egg for Peter.
     Cut-cut-cut, cadaakut,
     I laid an egg for Peter."

When the rooster saw all these eggs he opened his mouth again and

     What they say is true.
     See what they can do,

And the little hens answered:

    "Cut-cut-cut, cadaakut,
     We can lay an egg, an egg,
     Cut-cut-cut, cadaakut,
     We can lay an egg."

And if ever you are out in the country early in the morning you will
hear the wonderful rooster-noise. And then you will hear the hens
telling how many eggs they have laid for you.


    The little hen goes "cut cut cut."
    The rooster he goes "cock a doodle doo!
    You want me and I want you,
    But I'm up here and you're down there."
    The little hen goes "cut cut cut,"
    The rooster he steps with a funny little strut,
    He cocks his eye, gives a funny little sound,
    He looks at the hen, he looks all around,
    He flaps his wings, he beats the air,
    He stretches his neck, then flies to the ground.
    "Cock a doodle, cock a doodle, cock a doodle doo!
    Now you have me and I have you!"

                                                MY HORSE, OLD DAN

This verse utilizes a child's love of enumeration and of movement. The
School has found it the most successful of my verse for small


    Old Dan has two ears
    Old Dan has two eyes
    Old Dan has one mouth
      With many, many, many, many teeth.

    Old Dan has four feet
    Old Dan has four hoofs
    Old Dan has one tail
      With many, many, many, many hairs.

    Old Dan can    w a l k,    w a l k,
    Old Dan can    trot,    trot,    trot,
    Old Dan can run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run,
      Many, many, many, many miles.

                   *       *       *

    Horsie goes jog-a-jog-a-jog
      The wheels go round and round and round.
    Horsie goes jog-a-jog-a-jog
      Oh, hear what a rattlety, tattlety sound!
    Horsie goes jog-a-jog-a-jog
      The wheels they pound and pound and pound.
    Horsie goes jog-a-jog-a-jog
      While the wagon it rattles along the ground!


    Auto, auto.
    May I have a ride?
    Yes, sir, yes, sir,
    Step right inside.
    Pour in the water,
    Turn on the gasolene,
    And chug, chug, away we go
    Through the country green.

                                            HOW SPOT FOUND A HOME

This story was worked out with the help of a five-year-old boy who
supplied most of the content. It at once suggested dramatization to
various groups of children to whom it was read. The refrains are
definite corner posts in the story and are recognized as such by the


Once there was a cat. She was a black and white and yellow cat and the
boys on the street called her Spot. For she was a poor cat with no home
but the street. When she wanted to sleep, she had to hunt for a dark
empty cellar. When she wanted to eat, she had to hunt for a garbage can.
So poor Spot was very thin and very unhappy. And much of the time she
prowled and yowled and howled.


Now one day Spot was prowling along the fence in the alley. She wanted
to find a home. She was saying to herself:

    "Meow, meow!
     I've no place to eat,
     I've no place to sleep,
     I've only the street!
     Meow, meow, meow!"

Then suddenly she smelled something. Sniff! went her pink little nose.
Spot knew it was smoke she smelled. The smoke came out of the chimney of
a house. "Where there is smoke there is fire," thought Spot, "and where
there is fire, it is warm to lie." So she jumped down from the fence and
on her little padded feet ran softly to the door. There she saw an empty
milk bottle. "Where there are milk bottles, there is milk," thought
Spot, "and where there is milk, it is good to drink." So she slipped in
through the door.

Inside was a warm, warm kitchen. Spot trotted softly to the front of the
stove and there she curled up. She was very happy, so she closed her
eyes and began to sing:

    "Purrrr, purrrr,
     Curling up warm
     To a ball of fur,
     I close my eyes
     And purr and purr.
     Purrrr, purrrr,
     Purrrr, purrrr."

Bang! went the kitchen door. Spot opened one sleepy eye. In front of her
stood a cross, cross woman. The cross, cross woman scowled. She picked
up poor Spot and threw her out of the door, screaming:

    "Scat, scat!
     You old street cat!
     Scat, scat!
     And never come back!"

With a bound Spot jumped back to the fence.

    "Meow, meow!
     I've no place to eat,
     I've no place to sleep,
     I've only the street.
     Meow, meow, meow!"

So she trotted along the fence. In a little while sniff! went her little
pink nose again. She smelled more smoke. She stopped by a house with two
chimneys. The smoke came out of both chimneys! "Where there are two
fires there must be room for me," thought Spot. She jumped off the fence
and pattered to the door. By the door there were two empty milk bottles.
"Where there is so much milk there will be some for me," thought Spot.
But the door was shut tight. Spot ran to the window. It was open! In
skipped Spot. There was another warm, warm kitchen and there was another
stove. Spot trotted softly to the stove and curled up happy and warm.
She closed her eyes and softly sang:

    "Purrrr, purrrr,
     Curling up warm
     To a ball of fur,
     I close my eyes
     And purr and purr.
     Purrrr, purrrr,
     Purrrr, purrrr."

"Ssssspt!" hissed something close by. Spot leapt to her feet. "Ssssspt!"
she answered back. For there in front of her stood an enormous black
cat. His back was humped, his hair stood on end, his eyes gleamed and
his teeth showed white.

    "Ssssspt! leave my rug!
     Ssssspt! leave my fire!
     Ssssspt! leave my milk!
     Ssssspt! leave my home!"

Spot gave one great jump out of the window and another great jump to the
top of the fence. For Spot was little and thin and the great black cat
was strong and big. And he didn't want Spot in his home.

Poor Spot trotted along the fence, thinking:

    "Meow, meow,
     I've no place to eat,
     I've no place to sleep,
     I've only the street,
     Meow, meow, meow."

In a little while she smelled smoke again. Sniff! went her little pink
nose. This time she stopped by a house with three chimneys. The smoke
came out of all the chimneys! "Where there are three fires there _must_
be room for me," thought Spot. So she jumped off the fence and pattered
to the door. By the door were three empty milk bottles! "Where there is
so much milk there must be children," thought Spot and then she began to
feel happy. But the door was shut tight. She trotted to the window. The
window was shut tight too! Then she saw some stairs. Up the stairs she
trotted. There she found another door and in she slipped. She heard a
very pleasant sound.

             "I crickle, I crackle,
              I flicker, I flare,
    I jump from nothing right into the air."

There on the hearth burned an open fire with a warm, warm rug in front
of it. On the rug was a little table and on the table were two little
mugs of milk. Spot curled up on the rug under the table and began to

    "Purrrr, purrrr,
     Curling up warm
     To a ball of fur,
     I close my eyes,
     And purr and purr.
     Purrrr, purrrr,
     Purrrr, purrrr."

Pat, pat, pat, pat, pat, pat, pat, pat! Spot heard some little feet
coming. A little boy in a nightgown ran into the room. "Look," he
called, "at the pretty spotted cat under our table!" Then pat, pat, pat,
pat, pat! And a little girl in a nightgown ran into the room. "See," she
called, "the pussy has come to take supper with us!" Then the little
boy, quick as a wink, put a saucer on the floor and poured some of his
milk into it and the little girl, quick as a wink, poured some of hers
in too.

In and out, in and out, in and out, went Spot's pink tongue lapping up
the milk. Then she sat up and washed her face very carefully. Then she
curled up and closed her eyes and began to sing. That was her way of
saying "Thank you, little boy and little girl! I'm so glad I've found a

    "Purrrr, purrrr,
     Purrrr, purrrr,
     Purrrr, purrrr, purrrr."

                                                THE DINNER HORSES
                                                  THE GROCERY MAN

The material for these stories came from questions and observations on
the part of three- and four-year-olds arising largely from their
trips on the city streets. The children should be allowed to name the
various kinds of food.


In a certain house on a certain street there lives a certain little girl
and her name is Ruth (one of children's names). She sleeps in a little
bed in a room with a big window opening on to the street. She sleeps all
night in the little bed with her eyes closed tight. In the morning she
opens her eyes and it's just beginning to get light. Then she stretches
and stretches her legs. Then she stops still and listens. For she hears
him coming, coming, coming down the street. Clopperty, clopperty,
clopperty, clop! comes the milk horse down the street! He stops in front
of Ruth's house. Ruth hears him. Then she hears the driver jump out and
pat, pat, pat, she hears his feet coming to the door. Clank, clink,
clank, go the milk bottles in his hands. Clank! she hears him put them
down. Then fast she hears his feet, pat, pat, pat, pat, pat, pat, pat.
"Go on, Dan!" she hears him call, and clopperty, clopperty, clopperty,
clop! off goes the milk horse down the street.

Then after a while she hears something else. It's quite light now. Ruth
thinks it must be time to get up. She stretches and stretches her legs.
Then she stretches and stretches her arms. Then she stops still and

For she hears him coming, coming, coming down the street. Clippety, lip,
lip, lip, clippety, lip, lip, lip! comes the bread horse down the
street. He stops in front of Ruth's house. Ruth hears him. Then she
hears the driver jump out and pat, pat, pat, she hears his feet coming
to the door. Rattle, crackle, goes the paper as he puts down the loaves
of bread all wrapped up to keep them clean. Then fast she hears his
feet, pat, pat, pat, pat, pat, pat, pat. "Go on, Bill!" she hears him
call and clippety, lip, lip, lip, clippety, lip, lip, lip! off goes the
bread horse down the street.

After breakfast when Ruth is all ready to go to school she hears a big
auto coming down the street. Kachug-a-chug-a-chug comes the grocery auto
down the street. It stops at Ruth's house. Ruth runs and looks out of
the window. She sees the driver jump out and take from the back of the
auto a basket all full of things. She can see spinach and potatoes and a
package of sugar and----and----and----.

Then pat, pat, pat, the driver runs to the door. Prrrrrr! she hears the
bell ring and Ruth knows that the driver is giving Bessie all the things
at the kitchen door. Then pat, pat, pat back comes the driver, jumps
into the auto and kachug-a-chug-a-chug! off goes the grocery auto down
the street!

On the way to school Ruth passes another wagon. Rattling and clattering,
she hears the butcher's wagon come down the street. "Is there anything
in that wagon for us?" asks Ruth. And her mother answers, "Yes, a little
chicken." Then rattling and clattering off to Ruth's house goes the
butcher's wagon down the street.

Now while Ruth is away at school Bessie washes the spinach and chops it
up fine and puts it on the stove to boil. She puts the little chicken in
a pan and puts it in the oven to roast. Then she puts some big potatoes
in the oven to bake. Then she slices some bread and cuts off a piece of
butter and pours out some glasses of milk.

When Ruth comes home from school she smells something good. "Dinner's
all ready," calls Bessie. Ruth answers, "Come father, come mother. I'm

So Ruth and her father and mother sit down at the table and they drink
the milk and they eat the bread and the spinach and the potatoes and the
chicken which the milk horse and the bread horse and the grocery auto
and the butcher's wagon brought in the morning.



Prrrip! prrrip! prrrip! the telephone rings in the grocery store.
"Hello," says the grocery man. "Who are you?"

"I'm Ruth's mother. Good morning, Mr. Grocery Man."

"Good morning, Ruth's Mother. What can I send you today?"

"Please, Mr. Grocery Man, send me some potatoes and some graham crackers
and a package of sugar and some carrots."

"Is that all, Ruth's Mother?"

"Yes, that's all. Goodbye, Mr. Grocery Man."

"Goodbye, Ruth's Mother."

So the grocery man hangs up the telephone and takes a basket and in the
basket he puts some potatoes, some graham crackers, a package of sugar
and some carrots.

Then prrrip! prrrip! prrrip! the telephone rings again.

"Hello!" says the Grocery Man. "Who is this?"

"This is John's Mother. Good morning, Mr. Grocery Man."

"Good morning, John's Mother. What can I send you today?"

"Please, Mr. Grocery Man, send me some spinach and some apples and some
butter and some eggs."

"Is that all, John's Mother?"

"Yes, that's all. Goodbye, Mr. Grocery Man."

"Goodbye, John's Mother."

So the Grocery Man hangs up the telephone and takes another basket and
in the basket he puts some spinach and some apples and some butter and
some eggs.

Then prrrip! prrrip, prrrip! the telephone rings another time.

"Hello!" says the Grocery Man. "Who are you?"

"I'm Robert's Mother. Good morning, Mr. Grocery Man."

"Good morning, Robert's Mother. What can I send you today?"

"Please, Mr. Grocery Man, send me some prunes and some macaroni and some
salt and some oatmeal."

"Is that all, Robert's Mother?"

"Yes, that's all. Goodbye, Mr. Grocery Man."

"Goodbye, Robert's Mother."

So the Grocery Man hangs up the telephone and takes another basket and
in the basket he puts some prunes and some macaroni and some salt and
some oatmeal. Then he carries Ruth's basket out and puts it in a wagon
on the street. Then he carries John's basket out and puts it in the
wagon. At last he carries Robert's basket out and puts that in the wagon
with the others. Then the driver jumps to the seat and gathers up the
reins and says "Go on, Old Dan," and clopperty, clopperty clop! off goes
Old Dan down the street.

Old Dan goes clopperty, clopperty, clop till he gets to Ruth's house and
there he stops. The driver jumps out and takes the basket and pat, pat,
pat, go his feet running to the door. Prrrr! he rings the bell and gives
Ruth's mother the potatoes, the graham crackers, the sugar and the
carrots. Then pat, pat, pat, he is back in the wagon. "Go on, Old Dan,"
and clopperty, clopperty, clop! off goes Old Dan down the street.

Old Dan goes clopperty, clopperty, clop till he gets to John's house and
there he stops. The driver jumps out and takes another basket and pat,
pat, pat go his feet running to the door. Prrrr! he rings the bell and
gives John's mother the spinach, the apples, the butter and the eggs.
Then pat, pat, pat, he is back in the wagon. "Go on, Old Dan," and
clopperty, clopperty, clop! off goes Old Dan down the street.

Old Dan goes clopperty, clopperty, clop till he gets to Robert's house
and there he stops. The driver jumps out, takes another basket and pat,
pat, pat, he is at the door. Prrrr! he rings the bell and gives Robert's
mother the prunes, the macaroni, the salt and the oatmeal. Then pat,
pat, pat, he is back in the wagon. "Go on, Old Dan," and clopperty,
clopperty, clop! off goes old Dan down the street.

So Old Dan goes clopperty, clopperty, clop from house to house until he
has left a basket with everybody who telephoned to the grocery man in
the morning.

                                                      THE JOURNEY

This story, which is an adaptation of a five-year-old's story quoted in
the introduction, embodies the details given to me by another
three-year-old child. The sound of the train should be intoned, as it
was in the original telling.


Once Ruth's father was going to take a journey. He got out his suitcase.
And in his suitcase he put his slippers, his pajamas, his tooth brush,
some tooth paste, some clean underclothes, some clean shirts, some
collars, some socks and some handkerchiefs. Then he kissed Ruth goodbye
as she lay asleep in her bed and he kissed her mother goodbye and with
his suitcase in his hand went up to the Pennsylvania Station.

At the train he met the negro porter. "What berth, sir?" said the
porter. "Lower 10", said Ruth's father. So the porter took the suitcase
and put it down at Number 10 which was all made up into two beds, one
above the other, with green curtains hanging in front. Then Ruth's
father undressed. And in a few minutes he was asleep behind the green

Soon the train started and Ruth's father never woke up. "Thum," said the
train (on many different keys) all through the night. "Thum, thum, thum;
thum, thum, thum, thum; thum, thum, thum, thum; thum, thum, thum, thum.
_Philadelphia!_ Thum, thum, thum, thum; thum, thum, thum, thum; thum,
thum, thum, thum; thum, thum, thum, thum. _Baltimore!_ Thum, thum, thum,
thum; thum, thum, thum, thum; thum, thum, thum, thum; thum, thum, thum,
thum. _Washington!_"

Then Ruth's father got up and dressed himself, for it was morning. The
negro porter carried his suitcase to the platform. "Goodbye, sir," he
said. "Goodbye, Porter," said Ruth's father. And then he went off to a

The next day it was time for him to go home. So Ruth's father packed his
suitcase again. In his suitcase he put his slippers, his pajamas, his
tooth brush, some tooth paste, his dirty underclothes, his dirty shirts,
his collars, his socks and his handkerchiefs. Then he went to the
Pennsylvania Station in Washington.

At the train he met another negro porter. "What berth, sir?" said the
porter. "Upper 6," said Ruth's father. So the porter took the suitcase
and put it in the top bed of Number 6. Ruth's father climbed up into the
upper berth. Then he undressed and in a few minutes he was asleep behind
the green curtains.

Soon the train started. "Thum," said the train, though Ruth's father
never heard it he was so sound asleep. "Thum, thum, thum, thum; thum,
thum, thum, thum; thum, thum, thum, thum; thum, thum, thum, thum.
_Baltimore!_ Thum, thum, thum, thum; thum, thum, thum, thum; thum, thum,
thum, thum; thum, thum, thum, thum. _Philadelphia!_ Thum, thum, thum,
thum; thum, thum, thum, thum; thum, thum, thum, thum; thum, thum, thum,
thum. _New York!_"

Then Ruth's father got up and dressed himself for it was morning. The
negro porter carried his suitcase to the platform. "Goodbye, sir," he
said. "Goodbye, Porter," said Ruth's father.

Then Ruth's father jumped into a taxi and in a few minutes he was at
home. Ruth came running down the stairs. "Here's father," she cried.
"Here's father in time for breakfast!" "My," said Ruth's father, giving
her a hug, "It's good to be home!"

                                                     PEDRO'S FEET

Here there is a definite attempt to let the sounds tell their own


Little Pedro was a dog. He lived in New York City. He was owned by a
little boy who loved him. For Pedro had big brown eyes and curly brown
hair and when he wanted anything he would go:

"Hu-u-u, hu-u-u, hu-u-u!" And any one would have loved Pedro.

One day Pedro was lying on his front steps in the warm, warm sun. He put
his nose on his little fore paws and went to sleep.

"Bzbzbzbzbzbzbzbzbz!" went a little fly in his ear.

"Yap, yap!" went Pedro's jaws as he snapped at the fly. But he missed
the fly.

"Bzbzbzbzbzbzbzbzbz!" went the little fly.

"Yap, yap!" went Pedro's jaws. But he missed the fly again.


"Yap, yap, yap!"


"Yap, yap, yap, yap!"

Up jumped Pedro. "I can't sleep with that fly in my ear! I'll take a
walk!" Down the steps he went. Skippety, skippety, skippety, skippety.
He reached the sidewalk. On the sidewalk went his feet. You could hear
them as they beat. Pitter patter, pitter patter, pitter patter down the

When he came to the end of the block, he started across the street.
Pitter patter, pitter patter, pitter pat----

"Honk, honk! Look out, look out! Honk, honk!"

Jump-thump! went Pedro's feet. Jump-jump jump-jump, jump-jump,
thump-thump, thump-thump, thump-thump, jump-jump, jump-jump, jump-jump,
pitter patter, pitter patter,--he'd reached the other side! And the auto
hadn't hurt him!

Again on the sidewalk went his feet. You could hear them as they beat
pitter patter, pitter patter, pitter patter down the street.

When he came to the end of this block, he started across the next

Pitter patter, pitter patter, pitter pat----

"Clopperty, clopperty, clopperty, clopperty! Get out of my way, get out
of my way! Clopperty, clopperty, clopperty, clopperty!"

Jump-thump! went Pedro's feet. Jump-jump jump-jump, jump-jump,
thump-thump, thump-thump, thump-thump, jump-jump, jump-jump, jump-jump,
pitter patter, pitter patter,--he'd reached the other side! And the
horse hadn't hurt him either!

Again on the sidewalk went his feet. You could hear them as they
beat,--pitter patter, pitter patter, pitter patter down the street.

When he came to the end of this block, he started across the next

Pitter patter, pitter patter, pitter pat---- Pedro stopped with
one little front foot up in the air. In the middle of the street stood a
man. He had on high rubber boots and he held a big hose.

Shrzshrzshrzshrzshrz--came the water out of the hose. It hit the street.
Splsh splsh splsh splsh splsh! It ran in a little stream into the hole
in the gutter,--gubble, gubble, gubble, gubble, gubble! This was
something new to Pedro. He didn't understand.

Pitter patter, pitter patter, pitter patter. He thought he'd better find
out about it.

"Hie, you little dog! Look out!" shouted the man.

Pitter patter, pitter patter, pitter patter.

"Hie, you little dog. I say look out!"

Pitter patter, pitter pat--ssssssssss bang! the water hit him!

"Ki-eye! yow! yow!" Kathump, kathump, kathump, kathump; kathump,
kathump, kathump, kathump! Fast, fast went Pedro's feet, running,
tearing down the street.

"Ki-eye! I'm going home!" Kathump, kathump, kathump, kathump! Down the
sidewalk, 'cross the street, 'nother sidewalk, 'nother street, kathump,
kathump, kathump, kathump! Pedro was at home. Skippety, skippety up the
stairs. Pedro was at his own front door.

He stopped. Brrrrrrrrrrrrr--he shook himself. He scattered the water all

"Bow, wow, I'm glad I'm home! Bow, wow, I'm glad I'm home!"

Then he lay down in the warm, warm sun. And he put his nose on his
little fore paws. And he closed his eyes and he went to sleep.


But Pedro was too sound asleep to hear the fly.

"Whe-whuhuhu, whe-whuhuhu, whe-whuhuhu." That's the way he was
breathing. For he was oh, so sound asleep! And there he is sleeping

                                           HOW THE ENGINE LEARNED
                                                 THE KNOWING SONG

This story stresses the relationship of use in response to what seems to
be a five-year-old method of thinking.

The school has found it best to let the younger children take the parts
individually but to omit the parts in unison. The joy of the mere noise
makes it difficult to bring them back for the close of the story. All
the children have repeated the refrains after a few readings with
evident enjoyment.


Once there was a new engine. He had a great big boiler; he had a smoke
stack; he had a bell; he had a whistle; he had a sand-dome; he had a
headlight; he had four big driving wheels; he had a cab. But he was very
sad, was this engine, for he didn't know how to use any of his parts.
All around him on the tracks were other engines, puffing or whistling or
ringing their bells and squirting steam. One big engine moved his wheels
slowly, softly muttering to himself, "I'm going, I'm going, I'm going."
Now the new engine knew this was the end of the Knowing Song of Engines.
He wanted desperately to sing it. So he called out:

    "I want to go
     But I don't know how;
     I want to know,
     Please teach me now.
     Please somebody teach me how."

Now there were two men who had come just on purpose to teach him how.
And who do you suppose they were? The engineer and the fireman! When
the engineer heard the new engine call out, he asked, "What do you want,
new engine?"

And the engine answered:

    "I want the sound
     Of my wheels going round.
     I want to stream
     A jet of steam.
     I want to puff
     Smoke and stuff.
     I want to ring
     Ding, ding-a-ding.
     I want to blow
     My whistle so.
     I want my light
     To shine out bright.
     I want to go ringing and singing the song,
     The humming song of the engine coming,
     The clear, near song of the engine here,
     The knowing song of the engine going."

Now the engineer and the fireman were pleased when they heard what the
new engine wanted. But the engineer said:

    "All in good time, my engine,
     Steady, steady,
     'Til you're ready.
     Learn to know
     Before you go."


Then he said to the fireman, "First we must give our engine some water."
So they put the end of a hose hanging from a big high-up tank right into
a little tank under the engine's tender. The water filled up this little
tank and then ran into the big boiler and filled that all up too. And
while they were doing this the water kept saying:

    "I am water from a stream
     When I'm hot I turn to steam."

When the engine felt his boiler full of water he asked eagerly:

    "Now I have water,
     Now do I know
     How I should go?"

But the fireman said:

    "All in good time, my engine,
     Steady, steady,
     'Til you're ready,
     Learn to know
     Before you go."

Then he said to the engineer, "Now we must give our engine some coal."
So they filled the tender with coal, and then under the boiler the
fireman built a fire. Then the fireman began blowing and the coals began
glowing. And as he built the fire, the fire said:

    "I am fire,
     The coal I eat
     To make the heat
     To turn the stream
     Into the steam."

When the engine felt the sleeping fire wake up and begin to live inside
him and turn the water into steam he said eagerly:

    "Now I have water,
     Now I have coal,
     Now do I know
     How I should go?"

But the engineer said:

    "All in good time, my engine,
     Steady, steady,
     'Til you're ready.
     Learn to know
     Before you go."

Then he said to the fireman, "We must oil our engine well." So they took
oil cans with funny long noses and they oiled all the machinery, the
piston-rods, the levers, the wheels, everything that moved or went
round. And all the time the oil kept saying:

    "No creak,
     No squeak."

When the engine felt the oil smoothing all his machinery, he said

    "Now I have water,
     Now I have coal,
     Now I am oiled,
     Now do I know
     How I should go?"

But the fireman said:

    "All in good time, my engine,
     Steady, steady,
     'Til you're ready.
     Learn to know
     Before you go."

Then he said to the engineer, "We must give our engine some sand." So
they took some sand and they filled the sand domes on top of the boiler
so that he could send sand down through his two little pipes and
sprinkle it in front of his wheels when the rails were slippery. And all
the time the sand kept saying:

    "When ice drips,
     And wheel slips,
     I am sand
     Close at hand."

When the new engine felt his sand-dome filled with sand he said eagerly:

    "Now I have water,
     Now I have coal,
     Now I am oiled,
     Now I have sand,
     Now do I know
     How I should go?"

But the engineer said:

    "All in good time, my engine,
     Steady, steady,
     'Til you're ready.
     Learn to know
     Before you go."

Then he said to the fireman, "We must light our engine's headlight." So
the fireman took a cloth and he wiped the mirror behind the light and
polished the brass around it. Then he filled the lamp with oil. Then the
engineer struck a match and lighted the lamp and closed the little door
in front of it. And all the time the light kept saying:

    "I'm the headlight shining bright
     Like a sunbeam through the night."

Now when the engine saw the great golden path of brightness streaming
out ahead of him, he said eagerly:

    "Now I have water,
     Now I have coal,
     Now I am oiled,
     Now I have sand,
     Now I make light,
     Now do I know
     How I should go?"


And the engineer said, "We will see if you are ready, my new engine." So
he climbed into the cab and the fireman got in behind him. Then he said,
"Engine, can you blow your whistle so?" And he pulled a handle which let
the steam into the whistle and the engine whistled (who wants to be the
whistle?) "Toot, toot, toot." Then he said, "Can you puff smoke and
stuff?" And the engine puffed black smoke (who wants to be the
smoke?), saying, "Puff, puff, puff, puff, puff." Then he said, "Engine,
can you squirt a stream of steam?" And he opened a valve (who wants to
be the steam?) and the engine went, "Szszszszsz." Then he said, "Engine,
can you sprinkle sand?" And he pulled a little handle (who wants to be
the sand?) and the sand trickled drip, drip, drip, down on the tracks in
front of the engine's wheels. Then he said, "Engine, does your light
shine out bright?" And he looked (who wants to be the headlight?) and
there was a great golden flood of light on the track in front of him.
Then he said, "Engine, can you make the sound of your wheels going
round?" And he pulled another lever and the great wheels began to move
(who wants to be the wheels?) Then the engineer said:

    "Now is the time,
     Now is the time.
     Steady, steady,
     Now you are ready.

Blow whistle, ring bell, puff smoke, hiss steam, sprinkle sand, shine
light, turn wheels!

    'Tis time to be ringing and singing the song,
    The humming song of the engine coming,
    The clear, near song of the engine here,
    The knowing song of the engine going."

Then whistle blew, bell rang, smoke puffed, steam hissed, sand
sprinkled, light shone and wheels turned like this: (Eventually the
children can do this together, each performing his chosen part.)

    "Toot-toot, ding-a-ding, puff-puff,
     Szszszszsz, drip-drip, chug-chug."

(After a moment stop the children)

That's the way the new engine sounded when he started on his first ride
and didn't know how to do things very well. But that's not the way he
sounded when he had learned to go really smooth and fast. Then it was
that he learned _really_ to sing "The Knowing Song of the Engine." He
sang it better than any one else for he became the fastest, the
steadiest, the most knowing of all express engines. And this is the song
he sang. You could hear it humming on the rails long before he came and
hear it humming on the rails long after he had passed. Now listen to the

(Begin very softly rising to a climax with "I'm here" and gradually
dying to a faint whisper)

    "I'm coming, I'm coming, I'm coming, I'm coming,
     I'm coming, I'm coming, I'm coming, I'm coming,
     I'm coming, I'm coming, I'm coming, I'm coming,
     I'm Coming, I'm Coming, I'm Coming, I'm Coming.
     I'm Going, I'm Going, I'm Going, I'm Going,
     I'm going, I'm going, I'm going, I'm going,
     I'm going, I'm going, I'm going, I'm going,
     I'm going, I'm going, I'm going, I'm going."

                                               THE FOG BOAT STORY

The refrains must be intoned if not sung to get the proper effect. Most
of the informational parts of the original story have been cut out. The
story grew out of questions asked before breakfast on foggy days, and
was originally told to the sound of the distant fog horns.


Early, early one morning, all the fog boats were talking. This is the
way they were going:

"Toot, toot, toot, too-oot, to-oo-oot!" (on many different keys.)


Way down at the wharf a big steamer was being pulled out into the river.
The furnaces were all going for the stokers were down in the hole
shoveling coal, down in the hole shoveling coal, shoveling coal, and a
lot of black smoke was coming out of the smoke stack. And the engines
were working, chug, chug, chug. And all the baggage and freight had been
put down in the hold. And all the food had been put on the ice. And all
the passengers were on board and the gang-plank had been pulled up. And
this is what the big steamer was saying:

 [Illustration: Musical Score
 "Toot toot I'm mov-ing; toot toot I'm mov-ing."]

And do you know what was making the steamer move? What was pulling her
out into the river? It was a little tug boat and the tug boat had hold
of one end of a big rope and the other end of the rope was tied fast to
the steamer. And the little tug boat was puffing and chucking and
working away as hard as he could and calling out:

 [Illustration: Musical Score
 "Too too too too toot I'm aw-ful smart; too too too too toot I pull
 big things."]

And do you know why the tug boat and the steamer were talking like this?
It is because they were afraid they might bump into some other ship in
the fog for they can't see in the fog. You know how white and thick the
fog can be.

So the old steamer and the little tug boat both kept tooting until they
were way out in the middle of the river.

"Toot, toot, I'm moving." "Tootootootootoot, I'm awful smart."


Now when they were way out in the middle of the river, the little tug
boat dropped the rope from the big steamer and turned around. As it
puffed away it called out:

    "Too-too-too-tootoot, I'm going home
     Too-too-too-tootoot, I'm awful smart."

Then the big steamer moved slowly down the river towards the great ocean
calling through the fog:

    "Toot, toot, I'm moving."

Up on the captain's bridge stood the pilot. He is the man who tells just
where to make the steamer go in the harbor. He knows where everything
is. He knows where the rocks are on the right and he didn't let the
steamer bump them. He knows where the sand reef is on the left and he
didn't let the steamer get on to that. He knows just where the deep
water is and he kept the steamer in it all the time.

Now down on the right so close that it almost bumped, there went a flat
boat. This boat was saying:

 [Illustration: Musical Score
 "Toot toot My load is heavy, load is heavy, load is heavy, toot,"]

And that was a coal barge. And then down on the left so close that it
almost bumped on the other side they heard another boat saying:

 [Illustration: Musical Score
 "Too toot, back & forth, Too toot, back & forth"]

And that was a ferry boat! Then off on the right they heard a great big
deep voice. This is what it said:

 [Illustration: Musical Score
 "Toot toot, 'tis I"]

And that was a war boat! And every time the old steamer answered:

    "Toot, toot, I'm moving."

Once off on the left the passengers could hear this:

    "Ding----g! dong----g!
     Hear my song----g!
     Ding----g! dong----g!"

And what bell do you think that was way out there? A bell buoy rocking
on the water! Every time the wave went up it said, "ding" and every time
the wave went down it said, "dong."

By this time the old steamer was out of the harbor way out in the open
sea. The pilot came down from the captain's deck; he climbed down the
rope ladder to the little pilot boat that was tied close to the big
steamer. Then the little pilot boat pushed away into the fog calling:

 [Illustration: Musical Score
 "Too too toot too toot I'm go-ing go-ing home"]

And again the big steamer answered:

    "Toot, toot, I'm moving."

Then way off on the left so far away it could barely hear it, it heard:

 [Illustration: Musical Score
 "Don't hit me, toot toot, don't hit me, toot toot"]

And that was a sail boat! Then way off on the right so far away it could
barely hear it, it heard

    "Toot, toot, I'm moving"

and that was another steamer.


And again the big steamer answered:

    "Toot, toot, I'm moving."

And so the old steamer went out into the fog calling, calling so that no
boat would hit it. And all the other boats that passed it, they went
calling, calling too.

                                         HAMMER AND SAW AND PLANE

This story is a slight extension of the children's own experience. It is
purposely limited to the tools they themselves handle familiarly.


Once there was a carpenter. He had built himself a fine new house. And
now it was all done. The walls, the floors and the roof were done. The
stairs were done. The windows and doors were done. And the carpenter had
moved into his new house.

In his house he had a stove and he had electric lights. He had beds and
chairs and bureaus and bookcases. He had everything except a table to
eat off of. He still had to stand up when he ate his meals!

So the carpenter thought he would make him a table. But he had no lumber
left. So off he went to the lumber mill. At the lumber mill he saw lots
and lots of lumber piled in the yard. The carpenter told the man at the
lumber mill just how much lumber he wanted and just how long he wanted
it and how broad he wanted it and how thick he wanted it.

So the man at the lumber mill put all this lumber,--just what the
carpenter had ordered,--on a wagon and sent it out to the carpenter's

And then the carpenter began. He said to himself, "First I must make my
boards just the right length." So he measured a board just as long as he
wanted the top to be; then he put the board on a sawhorse and he took
his saw and began to saw:


            "Zzzu," went the saw,
            "Zzzu, zzzu, zzzu."
             The sawdust flew
             The saw ripped through
    Down dropped the board sawed right in two.

And then the carpenter took another board and he measured this just the
same length. Then he put this board on the sawhorse and he took the saw
and began to saw:

            "Zzzu," went the saw,
            "Zzzu, zzzu, zzzu."
             The sawdust flew
             The saw ripped through
    Down dropped the board sawed right in two.

And then the carpenter took still another board and "Zzzu," went the saw
until this board too was sawed right in two. Then he had enough for the
top of the table. Then he took the pieces that were going to make the
legs and he sawed four of them just the right length. Then he sawed the
boards that were going to be the braces until they too were just the
right length. And underneath his sawhorse there was a little pile of

Then after this the carpenter says to himself, "I must make my boards
smooth." So he puts a board in the vise and he begins to plane the

    The plane he guides
    The plane it glides
    It smooths, it slides
    All over the sides.

And when this board is all smooth, the carpenter takes it out of the
vise and puts in another board. Then he takes his plane.

    The plane he guides
    The plane it glides
    It smooths, it slides
    All over the sides.

And then the carpenter takes still another board and he guides and
slides the plane until this board too is all smooth. And he does this
until all the boards that are going to make the top and the legs and the
braces are all smooth. And underneath his bench there is a pile of

And then the carpenter he says to himself, "I must nail my boards
together." So he puts the boards that are going to make the top together
and he takes a nail and then he swings his hammer:

    The hammer it gives a swinging pound.
    The nail it gives a ringing sound.
        Bing! bang! bing! bing!
    And the boards are tight together!

And then the carpenter takes another piece of the top and puts it beside
the other two and he takes another nail and then he swings his hammer

    The hammer it gives a swinging pound.
    The nail it gives a ringing sound.
        Bing! bang! bing! bing!
    And the boards are tight together!

And then the carpenter takes one piece that is going to be a leg and he
holds it so it stands right out from the top, and he takes another nail
and he nails the leg to the top. Bing! bang! bing! bing! He does this
with the other three legs of his table. And then he has four strong legs
and the top of his table all nailed together.

Then the carpenter he says to himself, "I'll put some boards across and
make it stronger." So he takes some boards sawed just the right length,
and he nails them across underneath the top, bing! bang! bing! bing! And
then he has a table!

So the carpenter lifts his table out into the middle of his room and he
puts a chair beside it. When he sits down he is smiling all over. For
the table is just the right size and just the right height and it is
strong and good to look at. The carpenter is so glad to have a table to
eat off of that he says to himself:

      "Now isn't it grand?
      I won't have to stand
    While eating my dinner again!
      For now I am able
      To sit at the table
    I made with saw, hammer and plane!"

                                                     THE ELEPHANT

This was written with the help of eight-year-old children who were
trying to make everything sound "heavy" and "slow."


The little boy had never before been to the Zoo. He walked up close to
the high iron fence. On the other side he saw a huge wrinkled grey lump
slowly sway to one side and then slowly sway back to the other. And as
it swayed from side to side its great long wrinkled trunk swung slowly
too. The little boy followed the trunk with his eye up to the huge head
of the great wrinkled grey lump. There were enormous torn worn flapping
ears. And there, too, embedded like jewels in a leather wall sparkled
two little eyes. These eyes were fastened on the little boy. They seemed
to shine in the dull wrinkled skin. Slowly the huge mass began to move.
Slowly one heavy padded foot came up and then went down with a soft
thud. Then came another soft thud and another and another. Suddenly the
monstrous trunk waved, curled, lifted, stretched and stretched, until
its soft pink end was thrust through the high iron fence and the little
boy could look up into the fleshy yawning red mouth. The little boy drew
back from the high iron fence. The end of the trunk wiggled and
wriggled around feeling its way up and down a rod of the fence; the
great body swayed from one heavy foot to the other; and all the time the
bright little eyes were fastened on the boy.

The little boy looked and looked and looked again. He could hardly
believe his eyes. "Whew!" he said at last, "so that's an elephant!"

                                             HOW THE ANIMALS MOVE

The classifications and most of the expressions were suggested by a


    The lion, he has paws with claws,
      The horse, he walks on hooves,
    The worm, he lies right on the ground
      And wriggles when he moves!

    The seal, he moves with swimming feet,
      The moth, has wings like a sail,
    The fly he clings; the bird he wings,
      The monkey swings by his tail!

        But boys and girls
        With feet and hands
        Can walk and run
        And swim and stand!

                                                     THE SEA-GULL

All the material and most of the expressions are taken from a story by a
six-year-old. It was put into rhythm because the children wished "the
words to go like the waves."


    Feel the waves go rocking, rocking,
      Feel them roll and roll and roll.
    On the top there sits a sea-gull
      And he's rocking with the waves.
    Now 'tis evening and he's weary
      So he's resting on the waves.

    When he woke in early morning
      Like a flash he spied a fish.
    Quick he flew and quickly diving
      Snapped the fish and ate him straight.
    Then he screamed for he was happy.
      Then he spied another fish
    Quick he flew and quickly diving
      Snapped the fish and ate him straight.
    So he played while shone the sunshine,
      Catching fish and screaming hoarse
    Till he was quite out of hunger,
      And would rest him on the waves.
    Once he flapped and flapped his great wings,
      Soaring like an aeroplane.
    Down below him lay the ocean
      Like a wrinkled crinkly thing,
    And giant steamers looked like toy ones
      Slowly moving on the waves.

    Now the moonshine's making silver
      All the tossing, rocking waves.
    And the sea-gull looks like silver
      And his great wings look like silver
      Pressing close his silver side,
    And his sharp beak looks like silver
      Tucked beneath his silver wings.
    For beneath the silver moonlight
      See, the sea-gull's gone to sleep.
    Rocking, rocking on the water,
    Sleeping, sleeping on the waves,
    Fast asleep upon the waves.

                                        THE FARMER TRIES TO SLEEP

It has seemed appropriate to let the children realize the incessant
quality of farm work before that of the factory.


    The farmer woke up in the morning
      And sleepy as sleepy was he,
    He turned in his bed and he grouchily said:
      "Today I will sleep! Let me be, let me be!
       Today I will sleep! Let me be!"

    Now Puss in the corner she heard
      She heard what the farmer had said,
    She ran to the barn and she mewed in alarm;
      "The farmer will sleep in his bed, in his bed!
       Today he will sleep in his bed!"

    Then Horse in the stable looked up,
      He whinneyed and shook his old head;
    "Shall I stand here all day without any hay?
      Whey-ey-ey! Farmer, come feed me!" he said, so he said,
      "Whey-ey-ey! Farmer, come feed me!" he said.

    But the farmer he tight closed his eyes
      For sleepy as sleepy was he,
    He turned in his bed and he angrily said:
      "Horse, I will sleep! Let me be, let me be!
       Horse, I will sleep! Let me be!"

    Down under the barn in the dirt
      Pig heard what the Pussy cat mewed.
    "Can he give me the scraps when he's taking his naps?
      Wee-ee, Farmer, come give me my food, oh, my food!
      Wee-ee, Farmer, come give me my food!"

    But the farmer he tight closed his ears
      For sleepy as sleepy was he,
    He turned in his bed and he sulkily said:
      "Pig, I will sleep! Let me be, let me be!
       Pig, I will sleep! Let me be!"

    Now Rooster with Chickens and Hen
      Had been crowing since early that morn,
    And he crowed when he heard this terrible word:
      "Cock-a-doo! Farmer, give us our corn, us our corn!
       Cock-a-doo! Farmer, give us our corn."

    But the farmer he pulled up the covers
      For sleepy as sleepy was he,
    He turned in his bed and crossly he said:
      "Cock, I will sleep! Let me be, let me be!
       Cock, I will sleep! Let me be!"

    Cow heard in the pasture and lowed;
      "My cud no longer I chew,
    I stand by the gate and I wait and I wait,
      Oh, Farmer, come milk me! Moo-oo, moo-oo!
      Oh, Farmer, come milk me, moo-oo!"

    But the farmer got under the covers,
      For sleepy as sleepy was he,
    He turned in his bed and fiercely he said,
      "Cow, I will sleep! Let me be, let me be!
       Cow, I will sleep! Let me be!"

    Then Horse he broke from the stable,
      And Pig he broke from the pen,
    And Cow jumped the fence though she hadn't much sense,
      And Cock called Chickens and Hen, and Hen,
      He called to Chickens and Hen.

    Then up to the farm house door
      All followed the Pussy who knew.
    Horse whinneyed, Cock crowed, Pig grunted, Cow lowed;
      "Get up, Farmer! Whey, cock-a-doo, wee-wee-wee, mooo!
       Whey, cock-a-doo, wee-wee-wee, moooo!"

    The farmer down under the covers,
      He heard and he groaned and he sighed.
    He wearily rose and he put on his clothes;
      "They need me, I'm coming, I'm coming," he cried,
      "They need me, I'm coming," he cried.

    "I'll feed Horse, Chickens and Pig,
      I'll milk old Cow," said he,
    "And when this is done, my work's just begun,
      Today I must work, so I see, so I see!
      Today I must work, so I see!"

    So he fed Horse, Chickens and Pig
      And afterwards milked old Cow.
    For Farmer must work, he never can shirk!
      Today he is working, right now, right now!
      Today he is working right now!


All the essential points in this story were taken from the story of a
four-year-old's about a horse. He enjoyed the nonsense in telling it.
Some of the four-year-old groups have appreciated the humor; some
five-year-olds have not. Instead they have seemed confused.


Once there was a wonderful cow,--only she never was! She always had been
wonderful, ever since she was a baby calf. Her mother noticed it at
once. She was born out in the pasture one sunny morning in June. As soon
as she was born, she got up on her long, thin legs. She wobbled quite a
little for she wasn't very strong. Then she went over to her mother and
put her nose down to her mother's bag and took a drink of milk. This is
what all the old cow's babies had always done so the old cow thought
nothing of that. But when this wonderful last baby calf had drunk its
breakfast, what do you suppose it did? It stood on its head! Now the old
cow had never seen anything like this. It was most surprising! It
frightened her. She called to it:

    "Oh, my baby, baby calf,
     Your mother kindly begs,
     Please, _please_ get off your head
     And stand upon your legs!"

But the baby calf only mooed. And it smiled when it mooed which the old
cow thought queer too. None of her other babies had smiled. Then the
calf said:

      "I'm a wonderful calf,
       And it makes me laugh
    Such wonderful things can I do!
       I stand on my head
       Whenever I'm fed,
    And smile whenever I moo,
         I do,
    I smile whenever I moo!"

"Dear me!" thought the old mother cow. "I never saw or heard anything
like this!"

But this was only the beginning. The baby calf kept on doing
strange and wonderful things till at last everyone called her
Wonderful-calf-that-never-was! And many people used to come to see her
stand on her head whenever she was fed. She did other queer things too!
Once she pulled off the ear of another calf! And all she said was: "Poor
little calf! You mustn't go in the pasture where there are other
calves!" But the little calf who had lost its ear said, "Yes, I must!"
But after that Wonderful-calf-that-never-was was kept in the barn for a
long time.

At last it was June again and she was a year old. Her horns had begun
to grow. The old cow, her mother, had another baby. This new baby calf
was just like other calves and not wonderful at all. The old cow was
glad for Wonderful-cow-that-never-was worried her very much. For
everything about her was queer. One day the calf who had lost
the ear,--she was a young cow now,--took hold of the tail of
Wonderful-young-cow-that-never-was and pulled it. And what do
you suppose happened? The tail broke right off! All the cows
were frightened. Whoever heard of a broken tail? But
Wonderful-young-cow-that-never-was only mooed and when she mooed
she always smiled. Then she said:

      "I'm a wonderful cow
       And I don't know how
    Such wonderful things I do!
       If I break my tail,
       I never fail
    To glue with a grasshopper's goo,
         I do,
    I glue with a grasshopper's goo!"

And so she did. She got a grasshopper to give her some sticky stuff
and she smeared it on the two ends of her broken tail and stuck them
together. "And now it's as good as new," she said, "and now it's as good
as new!"

Her horns grew and grew. She was very proud of them and was always
trying to hook some one or gore another cow with them. But one day she
went to the edge of the lake when it was very still. It wasn't wavy at
all. And as she leaned over to drink, she saw herself in the water. My
mercy! but she was shocked!

"My horns are straight!" she screamed, "and I want them curly!" She ran
to the old mother cow and had what her mother called the "Krink-kranks."
She jumped up and down and bellowed: "My horns are straight and I want
them curly!"

The old mother cow was giving her new baby some milk. It made her cross
to hear Wonderful-cow-that-never-was having krink-kranks over her horns.
"Horns grow the way they grow!" she remarked crossly. "So what are you
going to do about it?"

"Something!" answered the young cow. "I'm not
Wonderful-cow-that-never-was for nothing!" And she stopped having
krink-kranks and went off. She stayed away all day and when she did come
back, her horns were curled up tight! And she was chewing and smiling
and chewing and smiling.

"What have you done now?" gasped the old mother cow. "I never saw horns
curled so crumply!"

The young cow smiled and said:

      "I'm a wonderful cow
       And I don't know how
    Such wonderful things I do!
       I curl my horn
       On the cob of a corn
    And smile whenever I chew,
         I do,
    I smile whenever I chew!"

"And here is the corn cob I curled them on," she said, opening her
mouth. And sure enough, there was the corn cob!

Now Wonderful-cow-that-never-was got queerer and queerer until the
farmer thought her a little _too_ queer. She was very proud of her
crumpled horns and tried to hook everyone on them. Once she tore the
farmer's coat trying to hook him. And once she _did_ toss him up. She
watched him in the air and all she said was "He's up now, but he'll come
down some time." And bang! So he did!

Finally one terrible day, they tied her tight and cut off her horns. She
was never the same afterwards. She couldn't hook any more. "I don't
care about being queer any more," she said to her mother. And she
wasn't. She stopped standing on her head. She never pulled off another
ear. She never broke her tail again and of course she never curled her
horns again. Because she hadn't any! "After all," she said, "it's
wonderful enough just to be a cow and have four stomachs and chew cud
and give milk and have a baby each Spring!" And that's what she's doing

      She's a wonderful cow,
      And anyhow
    She does a wonderful thing!
      She wallows in mud,
      She chews her cud,
    And has a baby in Spring!

                                       THINGS THAT LOVED THE LAKE

This story was worked out with a five-year-old boy. It is the result of
his own summer experiences on a lake.


Once there was a little lake. And many things loved the little lake for
its water was clear and smooth and blue when it was sunshiny, and dark
and wavy and cross-looking when it was rainy. Now one of the things that
loved the little lake was a little fish. He was a slippery shiny little
fish all covered with slippery shiny scales. He lived in the shadow of
a big rock near a deep, dark, cool pool. And when his wide-open shiny
eye saw a little fly fall on the top of the water, he would flip his
slippery, shiny tail and wave his slippery, shiny fins and dart out and
up and--snap! he'd have the fly inside him! Then like a shiny streak
he'd quietly slip back to the cool, deep, dark pool.


Another thing that loved the little lake was a spotted green frog. He
too lived near the big rock. He would squat like a lump on the top in
the sun, blinking his bright little eyes. Then splash! jump he would go,
plump into the water. He'd keep his funny head with the little blinking,
bright eyes above water while he'd kick his long, spotted, green legs
and he'd swim across to another rock. At first he used to frighten the
slippery shiny little fish when he came tumbling into the quiet water.
But the spotted green frog never did anything to hurt the little fish so
the slippery shiny little fish didn't mind him after all. But at night
what do you think the spotted green frog did? He squatted on the rock
with his front feet toeing in, like this, and he looked up at the
far-away white moon in the far-away dark sky, and then he swelled and he
swelled and he swelled his throat, and then he opened his wide, wide
mouth and out came a noise. Oh, such a noise! "K-K-K-Krink!!
K-K-K-Krank!!" All night the spotted frog swelled his throat and croaked
at the moon.

Now another thing that loved the little lake was a beautiful wild duck.
The wild duck had beautiful green and brown feathers and on his head he
had a little green top-knot. Every year he flew north from the warm
south where he had been spending the winter. High up in the air he flew,
leading many other beautiful wild ducks. He flew with his head stretched
out and his feet tucked up close to his body and his strong wings
flapping, flapping, flapping like great fans. And as he flew way up in
the air his keen eye would see the little lake glistening down below.
"Quonk-quonk!" he would call. And the other wild ducks would answer,
"Quonk-quonk-quonk!" And then they would swoop, right down to the little
lake and they'd light right on the water. There they would sit, rocking
on the little waves or swimming about with their red webbed feet. Oh,
the wild ducks loved the little lake very much!

But not the slippery shiny fish, not the spotted green frog, not the
beautiful wild duck loves the lake as much as some one else does. I
don't believe any one else loves the little lake as much as does the
little summer boy! Sometimes the little summer boy goes rowing on top
of the lake. He leans way forward and stretches his oars way back,
then he puts them into the water and pulls as hard as ever he
can--splash--splash--splash--splash----! And the boat glides and slides
right over the water! Sometimes,--and this he loves better still,--he
stands on the rock in his red bathing suit. Then plump! he jumps right
into the water! Sometimes he goes feetwards and sometimes he goes
headwards and sometimes he turns a somersault in the air before he
touches the water. And then away he goes moving his arms and kicking his
legs almost like the spotted green frog. But the little fish when he
hears this great thing come splashing into the quiet water, he flips his
slippery shiny tail and waves his slippery shiny fins and darts way out
into the deep water where the little boy with the red bathing suit can't
follow him. For to the little fish this little summer boy seems very
queer, and very, _very_ noisy, and very, _very_, VERY enormous! And the
spotted green frog too gets out of the way when the little boy comes
racketing into the water. He hops, hops under the rocks into a safe
little cave and from there he watches and blinks his bright little eyes.
But he never croaks then! The little summer boy knows the green frog is
there and sometimes he peeks at him and thinks "I wish I could make my
back legs go like yours!" For he's often seen the spotted green frog
swim from rock to rock.

But the beautiful wild duck, he never saw the little summer boy. For
long before the boy came to the little lake, the duck had left the lake
far behind. Early one morning in Spring he flapped his strong wings and
tucked his wet webbed feet up close to his body and stretched out his
long neck and calling "Quonk-quonk!" he flapped away to the north.
And all the other beautiful wild ducks followed calling,
"Quonk-quonk-quonk!" So the little summer boy never knew the wild duck!

It is too bad that the fish and the frog are scared away when the summer
boy goes in bathing. But it is only for a little while anyway. For the
little summer boy's mother doesn't let him play in the lake all day as
does the mother of the slippery shiny fish and the mother of the spotted
green frog. She has called him now, and he calls back, "One more time!"
for no one loves the little lake as much as the little boy in the red
bathing suit. He has climbed up on the rock. The water is running down
him, for he is as wet as a baby seal. Now he puts out his hands, like
this, and he calls out, "This time I'm going to take a headwards dive!"

    In the lake they play,
      The spotted green frog
    And the slippery shiny fish.
      They frisk and they whisk,
      And they dip and they flip.
      And the water it glimmers,
      It ripples and twinkles
    When the frog and the fishes play.

    In the lake they play,
      The beautiful duck
    And the rackety summer boy.
      When the wild duck swims
      The water it skims.
      But the boy with a shout
      He plumps in, he jumps out.
    And the little lake shakes with his play.

                                            HOW THE SINGING WATER
                                                   GOT TO THE TUB

In this story I have tried to make the refrains carry the essential
points in the content. I have tried, however, to subordinate the
information to the pattern. This story came in response to direct
questions during baths.


Once there was a little singing stream of water. It sang whatever it
did. And it did many things from the time it bubbled up in the far-away
hills to the time it splashed into the dirty little boy's tub. It began
as a little spring of water. Then the water was as cool as cool could be
for it came up from the deep cool earth all hidden away from the sun. It
came up into a little hollow scooped out of the earth and in the hollow
were little pebbles. Right up through the pebbles, bubbling and gurgling
it came. And what do you suppose the water did when the little hollow
was all full? It did just what water always does, it tried to find a way
to run down hill! One side of the little hollow was lower than the
others and here the water spilled over and trickled down. And this is
the song the water sang then:

    "I bubble up so cool
     Into the pebbly pool.
     Over the edge I spill
     And gallop down the hill!"

So the water became a little stream and began its long journey to the
little boy's tub. And always it wanted to run down--always down, and as
it ran, it tinkled this song:

    "I sing, I run,
     In the shade, in the sun,
     It's always fun
     To sing and to run."

Sometimes it pushed under twigs and leaves; sometimes it made a big
noise tumbling over the roots of trees; sometimes it flowed all quiet
and slow through long grasses in a meadow. Once it came to the edge of a
pretty big rock and over it went, splashing and crashing and dashing and
making a fine, fine spray.

It sang to the little birds that took their baths in the spray. And the
little birds ruffled their feathers to get dry and sang back to the
little brook. "Ching-a-ree!" they sang. It sang to the bunny rabbit who
got his whiskers all wet when he took a drink. It sang to the mother
deer who always came to the same place and licked up some water with her
tongue. To all of these and many more little wild wood things the little
brook rippled its song:

    "I sing, I run,
     In the shade, in the sun,
     It's always fun
     To sing and to run."

But to the fish in the big dark pool under the rocks it sang so softly,
so quietly, that only the fishes heard.

Now all the time that the little brook kept running down hill, it kept
getting bigger. For every once in a while it would be joined by another
little brook coming from another hillside spring. And, of course, the
two of them were twice as large as each had been alone. This kept
happening until the stream was a small river,--so big and deep that the
horses couldn't ford it any more. Then people built bridges over it,
and this made the small river feel proud. Little boats sailed in it
too,--canoes and sail boats and row boats. Sometimes they held a lot
of little boys without any clothes on who jumped into the water and
splashed and laughed and splashed and laughed.

At last the river was strong enough to carry great gliding boats, with
deep deep voices. "Toot," said the boats, "tootoot-tooooooooot!"

And now the song of the river was low and slow as it answered the song
of the boats:

    "I grow and I flow
     As I carry the boats,
     As I carry the boats of men."

After the little river had been running down hill for ever so long, it
came to a place where the banks went up very high and steep on each side
of it. Here something strange happened. The little river was stopped by
an enormous wall. The wall was made of stone and cement and it stretched
right across the river from one bank to the other. The little river
couldn't get through the wall, so it just filled up behind it. It filled
and filled until it found that it had spread out into a real little
lake. Only the people who walked around it called it a reservoir!

Now in the wall was just one opening down near the bottom. And what
do you suppose that led to? A pipe! But the pipe was so big that an
elephant could have walked down it swinging his trunk! Only, of course,
there wasn't any elephant there.

Now the little river didn't like to have his race down hill stopped. So
he began muttering to himself:

    "What shall I do, oh, what shall I do?
     Here's a big dam and I can't get through!
     Behind the dam I fill and fill
     But I want to go running and running down hill!
     If the pipe at the bottom will let me through
     I'll run through the pipe! That's what I'll do!"

So he rushed into the pipe as fast as he could for there he found he
could run down hill again! He ran and he ran for miles and miles. Above
him he knew there were green fields and trees and cows and horses. These
were the things he had sung to before he rushed into the pipe. Then
after a long time he knew he was under something different. He could
feel thousands of feet scurrying this way and that; he could feel
thousands of horses pulling carriages and wagons and trucks; he could
feel cars, subways, engines;--he could feel so many things crossing him
that he wondered they didn't all bump each other. Then he knew he was
under the Big City. And this is the song he shouted then:

    "Way under the street, street, street,
     I feel the feet, feet, feet.
     I feel their beat, beat, beat,
     Above on the street, street, street."

And then again something queer happened. Every once in a while a pipe
would go off from the big pipe. Now one of these pipes turned into a
certain street and then a still smaller pipe turned off into a certain
house and a still smaller pipe went right up between the walls of the
house. And in this house there lived the dirty little boy.


The water flowed into the street pipe and then it flowed into the house
pipe and then,--what do you think?--it went right up that pipe between
the walls of the house! For you see even the top of that dirty little
boy's house isn't nearly as high as the reservoir on the hill where the
water started and the water can run up just as high as it has run down.

In the bath-room was the dirty little boy. His face was dirty, his hands
were dirty, his feet were dirty and his knees--oh! his knees were very,
very dirty. This very dirty little boy went over to the faucet and
slowly turned it. Out came the water splashing, and crashing and

"My! but I need a bath tonight," said the dirty little boy as he heard
the water splashing in the tub. The water was still the singing water
that had sung all the way from the far-away hills. It had sung a
bubbling song when it gurgled up as a spring; it had sung a tinkling
song as it rippled down hill as a brook; it had crooned a flowing song
when it bore the talking boats; it had muttered and throbbed and sung to
itself as it ran through the big, big pipe. Now as it splashed into the
dirty little boy's tub it laughed and sang this last song:

    "I run from the hill,--down, down, down,
     Under the streets of the town, town, town,
     Then in the pipe, up, up, up,
     I tumble right into your tub, tub, tub."

And the dirty little boy laughed and jumped into the Singing Water!

                                       THE CHILDREN'S NEW DRESSES

An old pattern with new content. The steps in the process were
originally dug out by a child of six through his own questions.


Once there was a small town. In the small town were many houses and in
the houses were many people. In one of these houses there lived a mother
with a great many children. One night after the children were all in bed
and the mother was sitting by the fire, a brick fell down the chimney.
Then another came bumping and rattling down. Now outside there was a
great wind blowing. It whistled down the chimney and up flamed the fire.
The sparks flew into the hole where the bricks had fallen out. The first
thing the mother knew the house was all on fire. Still the great wind
roared. The house next door caught fire, then the next, then the next,
then the next, until half the little town was burning. The mother with
the many children and many other frightened people ran to the part of
the town behind the great wind. And there they stayed until the wind
died down and they could put the fire out.

Now many of these people's clothes had burned with their houses. The
many children who had gone to bed before the fire began had nothing to
wear except their nightclothes. The mother went to the store. That too
was burned! But she found the storekeeper and said:--"Storekeeper, sell
me some dresses for my children for their dresses have been burned and
they have nothing to wear."


"But, mother of the many children," the storekeeper replied, "first I
must get me the dresses. For that I must send to the many-fingered
factory in the middle of the city."

So he sent to the many-fingered factory in the middle of the great city
and he said:--"Clothier, send me some dresses that I may sell to the
mother; for her children's dresses have burned up and they have nothing
to wear."

But the clothier in the many-fingered factory replied:--"First I must
get me the cloth. For that I must send to the weaving mill. The weaving
mill is in the hills where there is water to turn its wheels."

So the clothier sent to the weaving mill in the hills where there is
water to turn its wheels and said:--"Weaver, send me the cloth that the
many fingers at the factory may make dresses to send to the storekeeper
in the small town to sell to the mother; for her children's dresses have
burned up and they have nothing to wear."

But the weaver in the weaving mill in the hills sent back word:--"First
I must get me the cotton. For that I must send to the cotton fields. The
cotton fields are in the south where the land is hot and low."

So the weaver in the weaving mill in the hills sent to the cotton
plantation, and he said:--"Planter, send me the cotton from the hot
low lands that I may make cloth in the mill in the hills to send to the
clothier in the many-fingered factory in the middle of the great city to
be made into dresses to send to the storekeeper in the small town to
sell to the mother; for her children's dresses have burned up and they
have nothing to wear."

But the planter sent back word:--"First I must get the negroes to pick
the cotton. For cotton must be picked in the hot sun and negroes are the
only ones who can stand the sun."


So the planter went to the negroes and he said:--"Pick me the cotton
from the hot low lands that I may send it to the weaver in his mill in
the hills that he may weave the cloth to send to the clothier in the
many-fingered factory in the middle of the great city to make dresses to
send to the storekeeper in the small town to sell to the mother; for
her children's dresses have burned up and they have nothing to wear."

But the negroes answered:--"First de sun, he hab got to shine and shine
and shine! 'Cause de sun, he am de only one dat can make dem little seed
bolls bust wide open!"

So the negroes sang to the sun:--"Big sun, so shiny hot! Is you gwine to
shine on dem cotton bolls so we can pick de cotton for de massah so he
can send it to de weaver in de weaving mills in de hills to weave into
cloth so he can send it to de clothier in de many-fingered factory in de
middle of de big city to make dresses to send to de storekeeper in de
small town so he can sell it to de mammy; for de chillun's dresses hab
gone and burned up and dey ain't got nothin' to wear!"

Now the sun heard the song of the negroes of the south. And he began to
shine. And he kept on shining on the hot low lands. And when the cotton
bolls on the hot low lands felt the sun shine and shine and shine, they
burst wide open. Then the negroes picked the cotton, the planter shipped
it, the weaver wove it, the clothier made it into dresses, and the
storekeeper sold them to the mother.

So at last the many children took off their nightclothes and put on
their new dresses. And so they were all happy again!

                                            OLD DAN GETS THE COAL

The occupations of the city horse are always absorbing to the school
children. They have many tales about various "Old Dans" and their
various trades. The docks are familiar to almost all the children,--even
to the four-year-olds. This verse is meant to be read fast or slow
according to whether or no the wagon is empty.


    Old Dan, he lives in a stable, he does,
    He sleeps in a stable stall.
    Old Dan, he eats in the stable, he does,
    He eats the hay from the manger, he does,
        He pulls the hay
        And he chews the hay
    When he eats in his stable stall.

    Old Dan, he leaves the stable, he does,
    He pulls the wagon behind.
    Old Dan he goes trotting along, so he does,
    He trots with the wagon all empty, he does;
        The wagon, it clatters,
        The mud, it all spatters
    Old Dan with the wagon behind.

    Old Dan, he trots to the dock, he does,
    He trots to the coal barge dock.
    Old Dan, he stands by the barge, he does,
    He stands and the big crane creaks, it does.
        Up! into the chute,
        Bang! out of the chute
    Comes the coal at the coal barge dock!

    Old Dan, he pulls the load, he does,
    He pulls the heavy load.
    Old Dan he pulls the coal, he does,
    He slowly pulls the heavy coal.
        The wagon thumps,
        It bumps, it clumps
    When old Dan pulls the load.

    Old Dan, he stands by the house, he does,
    And the coal rattles out behind.
    Old Dan stands still by the house, he does,
    He stands and the slippery coal, so it does
        Goes rattlety klang!
        Zippy kabang!
    As it slides from the wagon behind!

    Old Dan, he then leaves the house, so he does,
    A-pulling the wagon behind.
    Old Dan he goes trotting along, so he does,
    He trots with the wagon all empty, he does.
        The wagon it clatters,
        The mud it all spatters
    Old Dan with the wagon behind.

    Old Dan, comes home to his stable, he does,
    Home to his stable stall.
    He finds the hay in the stable, he does,
    He eats the hay from the manger, he does,
        He pulls the hay,
        He chews the hay,
    Then he sleeps in his stable stall.

                                                   THE SUBWAY CAR

The relationship which this story aims to clarify is the social
significance of the subway car--its construction and the need it answers
to. Children have enjoyed the verse better, I think, than any other in
the book.


    The surface car is a poky car,
    It stops 'most every minute.
    At every corner someone gets out
    And someone else gets in it.
    It stops for a lady, an auto, a hoss,
    For any old thing that wants to cross,
    This poky old, stupid old, silly old, timid old,
          lumbering surface car.


    Up on high against the sky
    The elevated train goes by.
    Above it soars, above it roars
    On level with the second floors
    Of dirty houses, dirty stores
    Who have to see, who have to hear
    This noisy ugly monster near.
    And as it passes hear it yell,
    "I'm the deafening, deadening, thunderous, hideous,
          competent, elegant el."

    Under the ground like a mole in a hole,
    I tear through the white tiled tunnel,
    With my wire brush on the rail I rush
    From station to lighted station.
    Levers pull, the doors fly ope',
    People press against the rope.
    And some are stout and some are thin
    And some get out and some get in.
    Again I go. Beginning slow
    I race, I chase at a terrible pace,
    I flash and I dash with never a crash,
    I hurry, I scurry with never a flurry.
    I tear along, flare along, singing my lightning song,
    "I'm the rushing, speeding, racing, fleeting, rapid subway car."


Whew-ee-ee-ee-ew-ew went the siren whistle. And all the men and all the
women hurried toward the factory. For that meant it was time to begin
work. Each man and each woman went to his particular machine. The steam
was up; the belts were moving; the wheels were whirring; the piston rods
were shooting back and forth. And one man made a piece of wheel, and one
man made a part of a brake, and one man made a belt, and one man made
a leather strap, and one man made a door, and one man made some
straw-covered seats, and one man made a window-frame, and one man made
a little wire brush. And then some other men took all these things and
began putting them together. And when the car was finished some other
men came and painted it, and on the side they painted the number 793.

The car stood on the siding wondering what he was for and what he was to
do. Suddenly he heard another car come bumping and screeching down the
track. Before the new car could think what was happening,--bang!--the
battered old car went smash into him. This seemed to be just what the
man standing along side expected. For the car felt him swing on to the
steps, and shout "Go ahead." At the same minute the car felt a piece of
iron slip from his own rear and hook into the front of the other car.

And "go ahead" he did, though No. 793 thought he would be wrenched to

"Whatever is happening to me?" he nervously asked the car that was
pushing him. "I feel my wheels going round and round underneath me and I
can't stop them. Can't you just hear me creak? I'm afraid I will split
in two."

The dilapidated old thing behind simply screamed with delight as he
jounced over a switch.

"See here, now," he said in a rasping voice, "what do you think wheels
are for anyway if they are not to go round? And if you can't hang
together in a quiet little jaunt like this, you had better turn into a
baby carriage and be done with it. Say, what do you think you were made
for anyway, Freshie?"

With this he gave a vicious pull. Freshie thought it would probably
loosen every carefully fastened bolt in his whole structure.

"And what's more," continued the amused and irritated old car, "if you
think all you've got to do is to be pulled around like a fine lady in a
limousine, you are pretty well fooled. Wait till you feel the juice go
through you--just wait--that's all I say."

"What is juice?" groaned No. 793.

But he could get no answer except "Just wait, you will find out soon

In another minute he had found out. He felt his door pulled open and a
heavy tread come clump, clump, clump down the whole length of him to the
little closet room at the end. There he felt levers pulled and switches
turned. Suddenly the little wire brush underneath him dropped until it
touched the third rail. Z-z-zr-zr-zr-zz-zz--What in the name of all
blazes was happening to him? He tingled in every bolt. He quivered with
fear. "This must be the juice!" Another lever was turned. He leaped
forward on the track, jerking and thumping and creaking.

Then he settled down and it wasn't so bad. The first scare was over. He
did not go to pieces. On the contrary he felt so excited and strong that
he almost told the old thing behind him to take off his brush and let
himself be pulled. But he was afraid of the cross old car. So he
ventured timidly: "Isn't this great? I should like to go flying along in
the sun like this all day."

"In the sun?" snarled his old companion. "Come now, Freshie, can't you
catch on to what you are? You just look your fill at the old sun now for
you won't see him again for some time."

"Why not?" whimpered No. 793.

But he needed no answer. Ahead of him he could see the track sliding
down into a deep hole. The earth closed over him in a queer rounded
arch, all lined with shiny white tiles. At the same moment the lights
all up and down his own ceiling flashed on. He noticed then that he had
a red lantern on his front. He could tell it by the red, glinting
reflections it threw on the tiles as he tore along. Ahead he could see
a great cluster of lights which seemed to be rushing towards him. Of
course he was really rushing towards them, but he was so excited he got
all mixed in his ideas.

"Where are we? And what on earth is that rushing towards us? And why do
we come down here under the ground?" he screamed to the old car behind.

"There's no room for us on top," jerked the old car. "There are a heap
of people in this old city of New York, Freshie, and you will find 'em
on the surface or scooting in the elevated and here jogging along
underneath the earth."

"People!" screamed No. 793, "I don't see any. What do we do with them in
this hole anyway?"

Even as he spoke he felt the man in the little closet room in his front
turn something. His wire brush lifted and all his strength seemed to
ooze away. Then something clutched his wheels. He screeched,--yes, he
really screeched, and then he stood still, close to the station
platform. The station looked big to No. 793 and very brilliantly
lighted. It was jammed with people who stood pressed against ropes in
long rows.

A man on his own platform pulled down a handle and then another. He felt
his end doors and then his center doors fly open. Then tramp, tramp,
tramp, tramp--a hundred feet came pounding on his floor. He could feel
them and somehow he liked the feel. He could even feel two small feet
that walked much faster than the others, and in another moment he felt
two little knees on one of his straw-covered seats. Then the handles
were pulled again. His doors banged closed; z-zr-zr-rr--the brush
underneath touched the rail and the electricity shot through him. He
felt a hundred feet shift quickly and heavily. He felt his leather
straps clutched by a hundred hands. And amid the noise he heard a little
voice say, "Father, isn't this a brand new subway car?" And then he knew
what he was!

                                     BORIS TAKES A WALK AND FINDS
                                   MANY DIFFERENT KINDS OF TRAINS

This first story is an attempt to let a child discover the significance
of his everyday environment,--of subways and elevated railways. Here
there is no content new to the city child. But the relationship to
congestion he has not always seen for himself. In the second story the
lay-out of New York on a crowded island is discovered. Again the content
is old but its significance may be new. Both these stories verge on the


    Many little boys and girls
      With fathers and with mothers,
    Many little boys and girls
      With sisters and with brothers,
    Many little boys and girls
      They come from far away.
    They sail and sail to big New York,
      And there they land and stay!
    And you would never, never guess
      When they grow big and tall,
    That they had come from far away
      When they were wee and small!

One of the little boys who sailed and sailed until he came to big New
York was named Boris. He came as the others did, with his father and his
mother and his sisters and his brothers. He came from a wide green
country called Russia. In that country he had never seen a city, never
seen wharves with ocean steamers and ferry boats and tug boats and
barges,--never seen a street so crowded you could hardly get through,
had never seen great high buildings reaching up, up, up to the clouds,
he thought. And he had never heard a city, never heard the noise of
elevated trains and surface cars and automobiles and the many, many
hurrying feet. He often thought of the wide green country he had left
behind, and he used to talk about it to his mother in a funny language
you wouldn't understand. For Boris and his family still spoke Russian.
But Boris was nine years old and he loved new things as well as old. So
he grew to love this crowded noisy new home of his as well as the still
wide country he had left.


Now Boris had been in New York quite a while. But he hadn't been out on
the streets much. One day he said to his mother in the funny language,
"I think I'll take a walk!"

"All right," she answered, "be careful you don't get run over by one of
those queer wagons that run without horses!"

"Yes I will," laughed Boris for he was a careful and a smart little boy
and knew well how to take care of himself for all he was so little.

So Boris went out on the street. He walked to the corner and waited to
go across.

    Kachunk, kachunk, kachunk went by an auto;
    Clopperty, clopperty, clopperty went by a horse;
    Thunk-a-ta, thunk-a-ta, bang, bang went by a truck.

He waited another minute.

    Kachunk, kachunk, kachunk went by an auto;
    Clopperty, clopperty, clopperty went by a horse;
    Thunk-a-ta, thunk-a-ta, bang, bang went by a truck.

He stood there a long while watching this stream of autos and horses and
trucks go by and he thought:

    "Dear me! dear me!
     What shall I do?
     The're so many things,
     I'll never get through!"

Just then all the autos and the horses and the trucks stopped. They
stood still right in front of him. And Boris saw that the big man
standing in the middle of the street had put up his hand to stop them.
So he scampered across. Boris didn't know that the big man was the
traffic policeman!


Now Boris scampered down the block to the next street. There he waited
to go across.

    Kachunk, kachunk, kachunk went by an auto;
    Clopperty, clopperty, clopperty went by a horse;
    Thunk-a-ta, thunk-a-ta, bang, bang went by a truck.

He stood there a long time watching the autos and horses and trucks go
by. And he thought:

    "Dear me! dear me!
     What shall I do?
     The're so many things,
     I'll never get through!"

Boris looked at the big policeman who stood in the middle of _this_
street. After a while the big policeman raised his hand and all the
autos and horses and trucks stopped and Boris scampered across and ran
down the block to the next street crossing. And there the same thing
happened again.

    Kachunk, kachunk, kachunk went by an auto;
    Clopperty, clopperty, clopperty went by a horse;
    Thunk-a-ta, thunk-a-ta, bang, bang went by a truck.

"I'll not get much of a walk this way," he thought. "I have to wait and
wait at each corner. And the're so many things I'll never get through."
Just then he saw a street car. "I might take a car," he thought. But
then he saw on the street a long line of cars waiting, waiting to get
through. "It wouldn't do much good," he thought. "They're just like me."

    "Dear me! dear me!
     What can they do?
     The're so many things,
     They'll never get through!"

Then he noticed a big hole in the sidewalk. Down the hole went some
steps and down the steps hurried lots and lots of people. "I wonder what
this is?" thought Boris and down the steps he ran.


At the bottom of the steps there was a big room all lined with white
tile and all lighted with electric lights. On the side was the funniest
little house with a little window in it and a man looking through the
window. Boris watched carefully for he didn't understand. Everyone went
up to the window and gave the man 5 cents and the man handed out a
little piece of blue paper.

"That's a ticket," thought Boris, for he was a very smart little boy.
"These people must be going somewhere." So he reached down in his pocket
and pulled out a nickel. For all he was so little, and so new to New
York, he knew what a 5 cent piece was quite well. He had to stand on
tiptoe to hand the man his nickel and to reach his little blue ticket.
Then he watched again. Everyone dropped this ticket in a funny little
box by a funny little gate and another man moved a handle up and down.
So Boris did just the same. He stood on tiptoe and dropped his ticket in
the box and walked through the little gate to a big platform. And what
do you think he saw there? A great long tunnel stretching off in both
directions,--a long tunnel all lined with white tiles! And on the bottom
were rails! "I wonder what runs on that track?" thought Boris.

Just then he heard a most terrible noise:

    Rackety, clackety, klang, klong!
    Rackety, clackety, klang, klong!

and down the tunnel came a train of cars. "Yi-i-i-i--sh-sh-sh-sh!"
screamed the cars and stopped right in front of Boris. And then what do
you suppose happened? The doors in the car right in front of him flew
open. Everyone stepped in. So did Boris.

It was the front car. He walked to the front and sat down where he could
look out on the tracks. He could also look into the funny little box
room and see the man who pulled the levers and made the car go and stop.
In a moment they started:

    Rackety, clackety, klang, klong!
    How fast! How fast!

Then "Yi-i-i-i--sh-sh-sh-sh!" The man put on the brakes and they stopped
at another station. In another moment they started again. Rackety,
clackety, klang, klong! Then "Yi-i-i-i--sh-sh-sh-sh" another station!
And so they went flying from lighted station to lighted station through
the white-tiled tunnel.

Boris was very happy. He sat quite still watching out of the window and
saying with the car; rackety, clackety, klang, klong; rackety, clackety,
klang, klong! "This is the way to go if you're in a hurry," he thought.
He looked up and smiled to think of all the autos and horses and trucks
above going oh! so slowly down the street!

At last he thought he would get out. So the next time the man put the
brakes on and the train yelled "Yi-i-i-i--sh-sh-sh-sh!" Boris walked
through the open doors on to the platform, then through the little gate,
up some long steps and found himself on the street again. But right near
him what do you think he saw? A park all full of trees and grass! This
made Boris happy for he hadn't seen so many trees and so much grass
since he had left the wide country in his old home in Russia. A little
breeze was blowing too! He clapped his hands and ran around and laughed
and laughed and laughed and sang:

    "I like the grass,
     I like the trees,
     I like the sky,
     I like the breeze!
     I touch the grass,
     I touch the trees,
     Let me play in the Park,
     Oh, please! oh, please!"

So he ran all round and played in the Park.

Suddenly he thought it was time to go home. He looked for the hole in
the sidewalk but he couldn't find it. And he didn't know how to ask for
the subway for he didn't know its name and he couldn't talk English.
"I'll have to walk!" he thought. He knew he must walk south for he had
noticed which way the sun was when he went into the hole in the
sidewalk. And now he noticed again where it was and so he could tell
which way was south.

So Boris went out on the street. He walked to the corner and waited to
go across.

    Kachunk, kachunk, kachunk went by an auto;
    Clopperty, clopperty, clopperty went by a horse,
    Thunk-a-ta, thunk-a-ta, bang, bang went by a truck.

He waited another minute.

    Kachunk, kachunk, kachunk went by an auto;
    Clopperty, clopperty, clopperty went by a horse;
    Thunk-a-ta, thunk-a-ta, bang, bang went by a truck.

He stood there a long time watching the stream of autos and horses and
trucks go by. And he thought; "I'll never get home if I have to go as
slowly as this.

    "Dear me! dear me!
     What shall I do?
     The're so many things
     I'll never get through!"

And for all he was so smart he was a very little boy and he began to cry
for his legs were tired and he was a little frightened, too.

Just then what do you suppose he saw? Down the street way up in the air
on a kind of trestle, he saw a train of cars tearing by. "That's just
what I want! That train doesn't have to stop for autos and horses and
things!" thought Boris and he ran down the street. When he got to the
high trestle, there was a long flight of stairs. Up the steps went
Boris. At the top he found another funny little room with a window in it
and a man looking out. This time he knew just what to do. He stood on
tiptoe and gave the man 5 cents and the man handed him a little red
piece of paper. Boris took it, walked through a little gate, stood on
tiptoe and dropped the ticket into another funny little box and another
man moved the handle up and down and his ticket dropped down. And what
do you suppose he saw from the platform? Tracks again! Tracks stretching
out in both directions. He didn't have to wait on the platform long
before he heard the train coming. It seemed to say:

"I'm the elevated train, I'm the elevated train, I'm the elevated,
elevated, elevated train!" It stopped right in front of Boris and Boris
got into the front car again. Here was another man in another little box
room moving more levers and making this train stop and go. And Boris
could look right out in front and see the stations before he reached
them. He could see bridges before they tore under them; he could look
down and see the horses and the autos and the trucks. He smiled as he
saw how slowly they had to go while he was racing along above them.

So Boris was quite happy and sat very still and watched out of the
window. Suddenly he heard the conductor call "Fourteenth Street!" Now
that was one of the few English words that Boris knew for he lived on
14th Street. Now he was pleased for he knew he was near home. So he got
off the car, ran down the long, long steps and found himself on the
street. Down 14th Street he ran until he came to his house.

"Well," called his mother. "You've been gone a long time! What did you
see on the streets?"

Boris smiled. "I haven't been _on_ the streets much mother."

His mother was surprised. "Where have you been if you haven't been on
the streets?" she asked.

Boris laughed and laughed. "There were so many things on the streets, so
many autos and horses and trucks," he said, "that I couldn't go fast. So
I found a wonderful train _under_ the streets and I went out on that.
And I found a wonderful train _over_ the streets and I came home on

"Well, well," said his mother. "Trains under and trains over! Think of
that!" And Boris did think of them much. And when he was in bed that
night, he seemed to hear this little song about them:

      "Now out on the streets
       There everything meets
    And they're all in a hurry to go.
       But what can they do
       For they can't get through
    And all are so terribly slow?

      "But under the street
       Where nothing can meet
    The subway goes rackety, klack!
       It can dash and can race,
       It can flash and can chase,
    For there's nothing ahead on the track.

      "And over the street
       Where nothing can meet
    Is a wonderful train indeed!
       High up the stair
       Way up in the air
    It goes at remarkable speed."



One morning when Boris was eating his breakfast, he suddenly thought of
the wide green country around his old home in Russia. I don't know what
made him think of it. He just did! "Mother," he said, "I want to see
some grass."

His mother smiled. "Want to go to the Park, Boris?" she asked.

"No, more grass than that even. I want to see it everywhere," and Boris
waved his arms around. "I think I'll go and find lots and lots of it!"

"I'd like to see lots and lots of grass too, Boris," smiled his mother.
But her eyes were full of tears too! "But I don't know where you can go
in New York and see grass everywhere!"

"Then I'll go out of New York!" cried Boris. "If I walk far enough I'll
surely find grass, won't I?"

"You can try," answered his mother. Boris was now much bigger than when
he came to New York and could talk quite a little English too. So his
mother let him walk over the city alone. Boris clapped his hands! For
though he was much bigger, he was still a little boy, you know!

"Which way had I better go?" thought Boris when he was out on the
street. "I think I'll go west first." So he walked west. Though the
streets were crowded he had learned to go faster than when he took his
first walk and discovered the subway and elevated. West, west, west he
went. Street after street,--houses set close together all the way. Then
at last he saw something that made him run. The city came to an end! And
there was a big river, oh! such an enormous river! The edge of the river
was all docks,--docks as far as he could look. Across on the other side
he could see another city with big chimneys and lots and lots of smoke.
There were lots of boats in the river too. "Some day I'll come and watch
them," thought Boris excitedly, "but now I want to find my grass." So he
turned around. "I'll have to go east, I guess," he thought.

So east he went. East he went until he came to his house. But he did not
stop. He went right by it. "How many houses there are" he thought. "How
many people there must be!" And still he walked east. And still the
houses were set close together street after street. After a while he saw
something that made him run again. The city came to an end! And there
was another big river! This edge too was all docks,--docks as far as he
could look. Across on the other side he could see another city with big
chimneys and lots of smoke. "Well," thought Boris, "isn't it the
funniest thing that when I walk west I come to a river and when I walk
east I come to a river too!"

Now this puzzled him so that he thought he must ask somebody about it.
Close to him was a big dock and at the dock was a flat barge. A lot of
men were unloading coal from her. He walked up to one. "Please," he
said, "what river is this?"

The man stopped his work for a minute. "It's the East River of course.
Where do you come from, boy?"

"From Russia," said Boris, "so you see I didn't know. And please, is the
other river the West River then?"

"What other river, boy? What are you talking about?"

This made Boris feel very uncomfortable, but he knew there was another
river in the west for hadn't he just walked there? So he said bravely,
"If you keep walking west you _do_ come to another river. I know you do!
For I've done it. And it's a bigger river than this, too!"

The man laughed out loud. "Right you are, boy!" he said. "You're a great
walker, you are. Did you walk all the way from Russia?" Now Boris
thought the man couldn't know very much to ask him such a question. But,
then, he didn't know much either. He was asking questions too! So he
answered, "Oh! no! I came on an enormous boat. But please you haven't
told me the name of the other river?"

The man laughed louder than ever. "It's a funny thing, boy, that we call
it the North River. But you are right: it _is_ west! It's really the
Hudson River, boy, that's what it is. And a mighty big river it is too.
Want to know anything more?" And the man turned back to his work.

"Well," thought Boris. "I can't get to my grass today if I strike rivers
everywhere I go." And he turned and walked home slowly, because he was
sorry. And he was very, very tired too. For you see he had walked all
the way across the city twice and that is a pretty long walk even for a
boy the size of Boris.

    Boris, he went out to walk
      To find the country wide.
    And he walked west and west he walked
      But found the Hudson wide!
    And so he turned himself about
      And walked the other way
    And he walked east and east he walked
      And there East River lay!


The next morning at breakfast, Boris suddenly thought again of the wide
green country around his old home in Russia. I don't know why he thought
of it again. He just did! And then he thought of the Hudson River he had
found by walking west and of the East River he had found by walking
east. "I might try walking north this time," he thought. And so he said
to his mother, "I think I'll go on another hunt for grass,--grass that's
everywhere!" and again he waved his arms.

"All right," answered his mother. "But I'm afraid you'll have to walk a
long way to find grass everywhere!"

Out on the street he began to walk north. Then he remembered what a long
long ride north in the subway he had had the other day. "I'd better
take something if I want to get to the country wide," he thought.

So Boris went down to the subway and took the train. He rode for ever
and ever so long. He kept wondering if there were still houses above him
or if it was all grass,--lots and lots of grass. "I guess I'll go up and
see," he thought. So up he went at the next station. But there were
still houses everywhere. They weren't so high nor quite so close
together; but still there was no grass. So he kept on walking north.
Then he saw something that made him run. He could hardly believe his
eyes. There was _another river_! "Oh! dear! oh! dear!" thought Boris.
"I'll never in the world find the country wide if I strike a river
whatever way I go. I think I'll take the subway and go way, way south.
Surely I can get through that way. West a river, east a river, north a
river. Yes, I'll go south!"

So again Boris went down to the subway and took a train going south. He
stayed on it so long that he thought he must surely be way out in the
country wide under grass, grass, everywhere. "I guess I'll go up and
see," he thought.

So up he went at the next station. But when he came up he found himself
on a street. There were high buildings all around him. He began to walk
south. The farther he walked, the higher the buildings he found. At last
he came to a place where the buildings reached up, up, up,--up to the
clouds, he thought. He threw back his head to look at them,--so high
above him that it made him almost dizzy to look at their tops. He wasn't
sure they weren't going to fall either! Then he looked down again. And
what did he see at the end of the street? Trees, yes, green trees!
"Perhaps I am coming to the wide green country," he thought. And he
hurried on.


But when he got to the trees he saw that the city came to an end again.
And what a wonderful end it was too! All around him was water,--water so
full of boats that it made Boris gasp. When he looked to the west he
could see a great river with another city on the other side. "That's the
Hudson," thought Boris for he remembered what the coal man had told him.
When he looked to the east he could see another great river. "That's the
East River," he thought for he remembered that name too.

But what river was that out in front of him? Then suddenly Boris
remembered. That was New York Harbor! This was where he had landed when
he had come in the giant steamer from Russia! Out there was Ellis Island
where he had stayed with his father and his mother and his sisters and
his brothers until they had been looked at! He thought he could see
Ellis Island from where he stood. But there were so many islands he
couldn't be sure. But he _could_ see the Statue of Liberty, that
enormous woman holding a torch in her hand. He was sure of that. And he
could see the boats everywhere all over the harbor. Boris stood there
some time just staring and listening and staring.

    When Boris he went out again
      To find the country wide
    And he went north and north he went
      To Harlem River's side.

    Again he turned himself about
      And went the other way
    And he went south and south he went
      And there the harbor lay!


Suddenly Boris remembered what he had come for. He was looking for the
wide green country, for a place where grass grew everywhere. "This is
the funniest thing in the world," he thought scratching his head.
"Wherever I walk in New York I come to water. So many people and water
on every side of them! How do they ever get out?" As soon as he thought
of this, he began to look around. Across the East River he could see a
giant bridge leaping from New York over to another city and on the
bridge were trains and cars shooting back and forth and autos and horses
and people. "So that is the way they get out!" he thought.

Then he looked to the west, to the Hudson River. "No bridges there!" he
said. "It's too wide." Then he suddenly remembered the ferry boat that
had brought him from Ellis Island. "Ferry boats, of course," he thought.
And sure enough there were ferry boats and ferry boats going back and
forth from New York to the other side and to the little islands out in
the harbor too!

Now Boris walked along thinking hard about all this water all around New
York. Just then he noticed a lot of people coming up out of a hole in
the sidewalk. "The Subway," he thought, for you remember he had been on
the subway. But the name over the steps didn't spell "subway." He looked
at it for a long time. At last he could read it. "Hudson Tubes" it said.
Hudson Tubes? What could that mean? Boris wanted to know. So he walked
right up to a woman coming out of the hole.

"What are the Hudson Tubes and where do they take you?" he asked.

The woman laughed. "They take you to New Jersey, of course," she said.

"Is that over there?" Boris asked, pointing across the Hudson. "And do
they really go under the Hudson River?"

"Yes, to be sure they do. Where do you want to go?" she answered and
then Boris remembered what he had been hunting for. "I want to go to a
wide green country where there is grass everywhere. But every way I walk
in New York I come to water. I know because I've walked east and I've
walked west and I've walked north and I've walked south," he said,
feeling a little like crying for he was very tired and he _was_ only a
little boy too. The woman smiled and she looked nice when she smiled.
"You see, boy," she said, "New York is an island, so of course, you come
to water every way you walk. And it's so full of people that there isn't
any wide green country left,--except the Parks of course."

"Yes, I know the Parks," said Boris, "but that isn't quite what I mean!"

The woman smiled again. "There _is_ a wide green country when you get
out of the island," she said. "You'll find it some day I'm sure," and
then the woman hurried away. Boris was very, very tired. So he took the
subway home. When he came in his mother called out, "Did you find the
wide green country, Boris?"

"No," said Boris, "I couldn't, you see. Because what do you think New
York is?"

"What do I think New York is, Boris? Why, it's the biggest city in the

"That's not what I mean. What do you think it _is_? What is it built on
I mean?"

"What is it built on? On good sound rock I suppose!"

Boris laughed and laughed. "No, no," he said. "I mean it's an island.
Every way you walk, if you walk long enough, you come to water. Now
isn't that the funniest thing?" And Boris's mother thought it was funny

"So many people and all to live on an island!" she kept saying to
herself. "I should think it would make them a lot of work!"

And Boris who remembered the bridges and the ferry boats and the "tubes"
thought so too!

    Boris, he went out to walk
      To find the country wide
    And he walked west and west he walked
      But he found the Hudson wide!
    And so he turned himself about
      And walked the other way
    And he walked east and east he walked
      And there East River lay!

    But Boris he went out again
      To find the country wide
    And he went north and north he went
      To Harlem River's side.
    Again he turned himself about
      And went the other way
    And he went south and south he went
      And there the harbor lay!

    Then Boris scratched his head and thought:
      "Whatever way I go
    There's always water at the end
      Whatever way I go!
    New York must be an island
      An island it must be
    So many people all shut in
      By rivers and by sea!

    They've bridges and they've ferry boats
      Across the top to go;
    They've subways and they've Hudson tubes
      To burrow down below
    To get things in, to get things out
      How busy they must be!
    In that enormous big New York
      On rivers and on sea!"


This story is a definite attempt to make the child aware of a new
relationship in his familiar environment.

The verse is for the older children. The story has lent itself well to


Once there was a big beautiful white ox. His back was broad, his horns
were long and his eyes were large and gentle. He went slowly sauntering
down the road one sunshiny summer day. As he walked along he swung from
side to side carefully putting down his small feet. And this is what he

"I am pleased with myself--so large, so broad, so strong am I. Is there
anyone else who can pull so heavy a load? Is there anyone else who can
plow so straight a furrow? What would the world do without me?"

Just then he heard something tearing along the road behind him.
"Clopperty, clopperty, clopperty, clopperty." In a moment up dashed a
big, black horse.

"Greetings," lowed the ox, slowly turning his large gentle eyes on the
excited horse. "Why such haste, my brother?" The horse tossed his mane.
"I'm in a hurry," he snorted, "because I'm made to go fast. Why, I can
go ten miles while you crawl one! The world has no more use for a great
white snail like you. But if you want speed, I'm just what you need.
Watch how fast I go!" and clopperty, clopperty he was off down the road.
As the ox watched the horse disappear he thought of what he had heard.

"He called me a great white snail! He said he could go ten miles while I
crawled one! Surely this swift horse is more wonderful than I!"

Now as the horse went frisking along this is what he thought. "I am
pleased with myself. I am sleek, I am swift--swifter than the ox. What
would the world do without me?"

Just then he heard a strange humming overhead. He glanced up. The sound
came from a wire taut and vibrating. Then he heard fast turning wheels
coming "Kathump, kathump." And what do you think that poor frightened
horse saw coming along the road? A self-moving car with a trolley
overhead touching the singing wire! His eyes stuck out of his head and
his mane stood on end he was so scared. What made it go, he wondered.

"Hello, clodhopper," shrieked the electric car. "I didn't know there
were any of you four-footed curiosities left. Surely the world has no
more use for you. Where you go in half a day, I go in an hour; where you
carry one man, I carry ten. If you want speed I'm just what you need.
Just watch me!" He was gone leaving only the humming wire overhead. The
poor horse thought of what he had heard.

"He called me a clodhopper! He said he could go in an hour where I take
half a day! Surely this swift car is more wonderful than I!"

Now the trolley went swinging on his way thinking, "I am pleased with
myself. My power is the same as the lightning that rips the sky. I am
swift,--swifter than the ox--swifter than the horse. What would the
world do without me?"

Just then he heard a terrifying noise. It sounded like a mightly monster
coughing his life away. "Chug, a chug a chug a chug, chug." Then to his
horror he saw coming across the green field a gigantic iron creature
with black smoke and fiery sparks streaming from a nose on top of his

"Well, slowpoke," screamed the engine as he came near the car. "Out o'
breath? No wonder. You're not made to go fast like me, for I move by the
great power of steam. Look at my monstrous boilers; see my hot fire.
Where you go in half a day, I go in an hour; where you carry one man I
carry twenty. If you want speed I'm just what you need! Goodbye. Take
your time, slow coach." And chug, chug, he was off leaving only a trail
of dirty smoke behind him. The poor trolley car thought of what he had

"He called me a slowpoke! He said he could go in an hour where I take a
half day! Surely this ugly engine is greater than I!"


Now the engine raced down to the freight depot which was near the great
shipping docks. As he waited to be loaded he thought:

"I am pleased with myself. I am swift--swifter than the ox, swifter than
the horse, swifter than the electric car. What would the world do
without me? I serve everyone, I go everywhere----"

Just here he was interrupted by the deep booming voice of a freight
steamer lying alongside the wharf. "Tooooot" is what the voice said,
"you ridiculous landlubber! You go everywhere? What about the water? Can
you go to France and back again? It's only I who can haul the world's
goods across the ocean! And even where you _can_ go, you never get
trusted if they can possibly trust me, now do you? Did you ever think
why men use river steamers instead of you? Did you ever think why men
cut the great Panama Canal so that sea could flow into sea? Well, it's
simply because they're smart and prefer me to you when they can get me.
You eat too much coal with your speed,--that's what the trouble is with
you--you ridiculous landlubber!"

This long speech made the old steamer quite hoarse so he cleared his
throat with a long "Toooot" and sank into silence.

"Of course, what he says is true," thought the engine. "At the same time
it is equally true that _on land_ I _do_ serve everyone, I go

Just here he was interrupted again by a most unexpected noise. It
sounded half like a steel giggle, half like a brass hiccough. It
made the engine uneasy. He was sure someone was laughing at him.
Majestically he turned his headlight till it lighted up a funny little
automobile who was laughing and laughing and shaking frantically like
this and going "zzzzz."

"You silly little road beetle," shouted the great engine, "what on
earth's the matter with you?"

The automobile gave one violent shake, turned off his spark and said in
an orderly voice, "It struck my funny bone to hear you say you went
everywhere _on land_, that's all. Don't you realize you're an old fuss
budget with your steam and your boiler and your fire and what not?
You're tied to your rails and if everything about your old tracks isn't
kept just so you tumble over into a ditch or do some fool thing. Now I'm
the one that can endure real hardships. Sparks and gasoline! you just
sit right there, you baby, you railclinger, and watch me take that hill!
Honk, honk!" And he was off up the hill.

The engine slowly turned back his headlight till the light shone full on
his shiny rails. He thought of what he had heard. "He called me a
railclinger--yes, that I am. How can that preposterous little beetle run
without tracks? I'm afraid he's more wonderful than I."

Now the automobile went jouncing and bouncing up the rough road puffing
merrily and thinking, "I'm mightily pleased with myself. Look at the way
I climb this hill. There's nothing really so wonderful as I----"

Just then he heard a sound that made his engine boil with fright.
Dzdzdzdzdzr--it seemed to come right out of the sky. He got all his
courage together and turned his searchlights up. The sight instantly
killed his engine. Above him soared a giant aeroplane. It floated, it
wheeled, it rose, it dropped. It looked serene, strong and swift. Down,
down came the great thing. Through the terrific droning the automobile
could just make out these words:

"Dzdzdzdz. You think you're wonderful, you poor little creeping worm
tied to the earth! I pity all you slow, slow things that I look down on
as I fly through the sky. Ox made way for horse, horse made way for
engine, car and auto but all,--all make way for me. For if you want
speed, I'm just what you need. Dzdzdzdzdz."

And the great aeroplane wheeled and rose like a giant bird. The
automobile watched him, too humbled to speak. Up, up, up, went the
aeroplane--up, up, up 'til it was out of sight.


    The hounds they speed with hanging tongues;
    The deer they speed with bursting lungs;
        Foxes hurry,
        Field mice scurry.
        Eagles fly
        Swift, through the sky,
    And man, his face all wrinkled with worry,
    Goes speeding by tho' he couldn't tell why!
        But a little wild hare
        He pauses to stare
        At the daisies and baby and me
        Just sitting,--not trying to go anywhere,
        Just sitting and playing with never a care
        In the shade of a great elm tree.
        And the daisies they laugh
        As they hear the world pass,
        What is speed to the growing flowers?
        And my baby laughs
        As he sits in the grass,
        We all laugh through the sunshiny hours,--
        Through the long, dear sunshiny hours!
        For flowers and babies
        And I still know
        'Tis fun to be happy,
        'Tis fun to go slow,
        'Tis fun to take time to live and to grow.

                                               FIVE LITTLE BABIES

This story was originally written because the children thought a negro
was dirty. The songs are authentic. They have been enjoyed by children
as young as four years old.


This is going to be a story about some little babies,--five different
little babies who were born in five different parts of this big round
world and didn't look alike or think alike at all.

One little baby was all yellow. He just came that way. His eyes were
black and slanted up in his little face. His hair was black and
straight. He wore gay little silk coats and gay little silk trousers
with flowers and figures sewed all over them. When he looked up he saw
his father's face was yellow and so was his mother's. And his father's
hair was black and so was his mother's. And when he was a little older
he saw they both wore gay silk coats and gay silk trousers with flowers
and figures sewed all over them. But the baby didn't think any of this
was queer,--not even when he grew up. For every one he knew had yellow
skin and wore silk coats and trousers. So of course he thought all the
world was that way.

But long before he was old enough to notice any of these things he knew
his mother loved her little yellow baby with slanting black eyes. And
he loved to have her take him in her arms and sing to him, saying:

    "Chu Sir Tsun Ching Min. Tsoun Sun
     Gi Gi. Koo Yin Fee Min Kwei
     Hua Shiang Lee Pan Run Yin.
     Fon Chin Yoa Sir. Loo Yi To
     Choa Yeo Liang Sung. Tsun Tze
     Doo Soo Soo Wei Gun. Tsin Tsin."

For all this happened in China and he was a little Chinese Baby.

               *       *       *

Another little baby was all brown. He just came that way. His eyes were
black and his hair was black. He wore pretty colored silk shawls and
little silk dresses. And when he looked up he saw his father's face was
brown and that he wore a big turban on his head. And he saw that around
his mother's brown face was long soft hair. He saw that she wore pretty
colored silk shawls and long silk trousers and bare feet. But the baby
didn't think any of this was queer,--even when he grew up. He thought
every one had brown skin and that everybody dressed like himself and his
father and his mother.

But long before he was old enough to notice any of these things, he
knew his mother loved her little brown baby with black eyes. And he
loved to have her take him in her arms and sing to him, saying:

    "Arecoco Jarecoco, Jungle parkie bare,
     Marabata cunecomunga dumrecarto sare,
     Hillee milee puneah jara de naddeah,
     Arecoco Jarecoco Jungle parkie bare."

For all this happened in India and he was a little Indian baby.

               *       *       *

Now another little baby was all black. He just came that way. His eyes
were black and his hair was black and curled in tight kinky curls all
over his little head. And this little baby didn't wear anything at all
except a loin cloth. When he looked up he saw the black faces and kinky
black hair of his father and his mother. And when he was a little older
he saw that they didn't wear any clothes either except a loin cloth and
a feather skirt and some shells. Neither did this baby think any of this
was queer,--not even when he grew older. He thought all the world looked
and dressed like that.

But long before he was old enough to notice any of these things, he knew
his mother loved her little black baby with kinky black hair. And he
loved to have her take him in her arms and sing to him, saying,

    "O túla, mntwána, O túla,
     Unyóko akamúko,
     Uséle ezintabéni,
     Uhlú shwa izigwégwe,

     O túla, mntwána, O túla,
     Unyóko w-zezobúya,
     Akupatéle ínto enhlé,

For all this happened in Africa and he was a little negro baby.

               *       *       *

Still another little baby,--he was the fourth,--was all red. He just
came that way. His eyes were black and his hair was straight and black.
He was bound up tight and slipped into a basket and carried around on
his mother's back. He didn't think this was queer, even when he grew up.
He thought all little babies were carried that way. And he thought all
fathers and mothers had red skin and black hair and wore leather coats
and trousers trimmed with feathers. For his did.

But long before he was old enough to notice any of these things he knew
his mother loved her little red baby that she carried on her back, and
he loved to have her take him out of his basket bed and rock him in her
arms and sing to him, saying:


For all this happened in America long, long ago, and he was a little
Indian baby.

               *       *       *

The last little baby, and he makes five, was all white. He just came
so too. His eyes were blue and his hair was gold and he looked like a
little baby you know. And he wore dear little white dresses and little
knitted shoes. When he looked up he saw his father's white skin and his
mother's blue eyes. When the baby was big enough he saw what kind of
clothes his father and his mother wore,--but the story doesn't tell what
they were like. And when the baby was big enough he saw they all lived
in a big dirty noisy city, but the story doesn't tell what kind of a
house they lived in. And the story doesn't tell whether he thought any
of these things queer when he was little or when he grew up; probably
because you know all these things yourselves. But the story does tell
that long before he was old enough to notice any of these things he
knew his mother loved her little white baby with blue eyes and golden
hair. And it tells that he loved to have her rock him in her arms and
sing to him this song:

    "Listen, wee baby,
     I'd sing you a song;
     The arms of the mothers
     Are tender and strong,
     The arms of the mothers
     Where babies belong!
     Brown mothers and yellow
     And black and red too,
     They love their babies
     As I, dear, love you,--
     My little white blossom
     With wide eyes of blue!
     And your wee golden head,
     I do love it, I do!
     And your feet and your hands
     I love you there too!
     And my love makes me sing to you
     Sing to you songs,
     Lying hushed in my arms
     Where a baby belongs!"

For all this is happening in your own country every day and he is a
little American baby. Perhaps you know his father,--perhaps you know the
baby,--perhaps, oh, perhaps, you have heard his mother sing!

                                    ONCE THE BARN WAS FULL OF HAY

This story made a special appeal to the school children because the
school building was originally a stable in MacDougal Alley. They had
even witnessed this evolution from stable to garage. The children have
seemed to enjoy the rhythmic language without any sense of


   Once the barn was full of hay,
   Now 'tis there no more.
   I wonder why the hay has left the barn?

   The old horse stood in the stall all day.
   He wanted to be on the streets.
   He was strong, was this old horse.
   He was wise, was this old horse.
   And he was brave as well.
   And he was proud, oh, very proud to be strong and wise and brave!
   He wanted to be on the streets,
   And he wondered what was wrong
   That now for ten long days
   No one had to come harness him up.
   Old Tom, the aged driver, seemed to have gone away,
   And only the stable boy had given him water and oats,
   And poked him hay from the loft above.
   And as the old horse thought of this
   He reached up high with his quivering nose,
   And pushing his lips far back on his teeth,
   Pulled down a mouthful of hay.
   But as he stood chewing the hay
   Again he wondered and wondered again
   Why nobody needed him,
   Why nobody wished to drive.

   For almost every day
   Old Tom would harness him up
   To a dear little, neat little, sweet little carriage
   And down the alley they'd go and around to the front of the house.
   And there he'd stand and wait, this dear, this steady old horse,
   Flicking the flies with his tail,
   Till the door of the house would open wide
   And out would come his mistress dear with the baby in her arms,
   And running along beside
   Would come her little boy, the little boy he loved so well,
   Who gave him sugar from his hand and patted his nose and neck.
   And into the carriage they all would get,
   His mistress and baby and little boy.
   And Tom would tighten the reins a bit
   And off down the street they'd go,
   Clopperty, clopperty, clopperty, clop.
   When he was out on the streets,--
   This dear old, steady old horse,--
   He knew just what to do, when to go and when to stand still.
   And when with clang! clang! clang!
   Fire engines shrieked down the street
   He'd stand as still as a rock
   So his mistress and her baby were never frightened a bit!
   And the little boy laughed and watched and laughed!
   And when the great policeman, so big in the middle of the street,
   Held up his hand,
   The old horse stopped
   But watched him close
   For the first wave of the hand that would tell him to go ahead.
   Always the first to stop,
   Always the first to go,
   The old horse loved the streets.

   Now he wanted the streets.
   And while he stood and chewed his hay and wondered what was wrong,
   Suddenly there came a rumble
   Of noises all a-jumble,
   A quaking and a shaking
   A terrifying tremble
   Making the old horse quiver and stand still!
   It came from the alley,
   His own peaceful alley
   Where he knew every horse, every coach, every wagon!
   Bump, thump, like a lump of lead jolting,
   Bang, whang, like a steam engine bolting,
   Down it came crashing
   Down it came smashing,
   Till it stopped with a snort at his own stable door!
   The old horse pulled at his halter
   And strained to look round at the door.
   Out of the tail of his eye he could see
   The doors, the doors to his very own barn,
   Swing wide under the crane where they hoisted the hay.
   And there in the alley, oh what did he see
   This old horse with his terrified eye?
   A monster all shiny and black
   With great headlights stuck way out in front,
   With brass things that grated and groaned
   As the driver pulled this thing and that.
   And there on the back of this monster
   Sat old Tom
   Who had driven him now for fifteen long years.
   And out of the mouth of the monster, as there opened a neat little door,
   Stepped his mistress dear
   With her eager little boy and the baby in her arms.
   And the poor horse trembled to see those that he loved so well
   So near this terrible monster.
   "'Twill eat them all!" he thought.
   And for the first time in all his brave and prudent life
   The old horse was frightened.
   He raised his head,
   He spread his nostrils,
   He neighed with all his strength.
   His mistress dear
   Would surely hear,
   Would hear and understand!
   He wanted to save her, save the boy and save the little baby
   From this terrible ugly beast
   Snorting there so near!
   And his mistress dear, she heard.
   But did she understand?
   She came and laid her hand upon his quivering side.
   "Poor dear old horse," she said,
   "Your day is gone and you must go!"
   What could she mean?
   What could she mean?
   What could she mean?
   "You have been strong; but not so strong as is our new machine!
   You have been brave; but see this thing, this thing can know no fear!
   You have been wise; but this machine is like a part of Tom.
   He pulls a lever, turns a wheel and this machine obeys!
   Poor dear old horse
   Your day is gone
   And now you too must go!"
   So that was what she meant!
   So that was what she meant!
   So that was what she meant!

                   *       *       *

   The old horse heard but how could he understand?
   How could he know that she had said
   They wanted him no longer?
   How could he know that this big monster, this new automobile
   Was going to do his work for them
   And do it better than he!
   He knew that something was wrong.
   He was puzzled and sad and frightened.
   With head drooped low and feet that dragged
   He let old Tom untie his rope
   And lead him from the stall.
   For one short moment as he passed the shiny automobile
   He straightened his head and widened his nostrils
   And snorted and snorted again.
   But there within the monster, lying safe upon a seat,
   He saw the little baby
   Laughing and all alone.
   And the old horse was puzzled, was puzzled and frightened too.
   Then old Tom pulled him gently through the wide swinging doors
   And led him down the alley.
   Past the stables with other horses,
   Past the grooms and stable boys,
   Down the alley he knew so well
   Went the old horse for the last time.
   For he never came back again.
   They had no need of him; they liked their auto better!
   Down the alley he slowly went
   And as he turned into the street below
   One last long look he gave to the stable at the end,
   One last long look at his mistress dear with the baby in her arms,
   One last long look at the little boy waving and
       calling: "Goodbye, goodbye".
   One last long look, and then he was gone!

   Once the barn was full of hay:
   Now 'tis there no more.
   I wonder why the hay has left the barn?

                                                         THE WIND

This story is composed entirely of observations on the wind dictated by
a six-year-old and a seven-year-old class. Every phrase (except the one
word "toss") is theirs. The ordering only is mine.


    In the summer-time the wind goes like breathing,
    But in a winter storm it growls and roars.


Sometimes the wind goes oo-oo-oo-oo-oo! It sounds like water running. It
makes a singing sound. It blows through the grass. It blows against the
tree and the tree bows over and bends way down. It whistles in the
leaves and makes a rustling sound. The tree shakes, the branches and
leaves all rustle. The wind knocks the leaves off the trees and tosses
them up in the air. Then it blows them straight in to the window and
drags them around on the floor. It makes the leaves whirl and twirl.

And sometimes the wind is frisky. It whisks around the corners. It comes
blowing down the street. It blows the papers round and round on the
ground. It tears them and rares them, then up, it takes them sailing. It
sweeps around the house, blowing and puffing. It blows the wash up. It
blows the chickens off the trees. It makes the nuts come rattling down.
It turns the windmill and makes the fire burn. It blows out the matches,
it blows out the candles, it blows out the gas lights. It hits the
people on the street. Some it keeps back from walking and some it
pushes forward. It unbuttons the coat of a little girl, it unbuttons her
leggings too and the little girl feels all chilly in the frisky wind. It
blows up her skirt. It pulls off her hat and blows through her hair till
she feels all chilly on her head too. Puff! it goes, puff! puff! Then
off go other hats spinning down the street. It gets under umbrellas and
turns them inside out. The frisky wind blows harder and harder. The
houses shake. The windows rattle. And the people on the street are
whirling and twirling like the leaves.

Sometimes there is a storm. The wind roars over the ocean and makes the
waves bigger than the ships. The waves go up and down, and up and down,
and the ship goes rocking and rocking, this way and that way, this way
and that way, to the right, to the left, to the right, to the left, back
and forth and back and forth. A boat gets tossed on the sea. The sails
are all torn to pieces by the storm. The masts get broken off and fall
down on the ship. The ship just rocks and rocks. Then pretty soon it
bumps into a rock and is wrecked and sinks. And all the men get drowned.

The wind growls and roars over the mountain. There is thunder and
lightning. The thunder says, "Boompety, boom, boom, boom!" The lightning
is all shiny. The rain comes pouring down. The wind whistles in the
trees. It blows a tree over. It crashes down. The lightning goes crack!
and splits the tree in two. And then the tree catches on fire and the
leaves burn like paper.

    In the summer-time the wind goes like breathing,
    But in a winter storm it growls and roars.

                                                   THE LEAF STORY

All the content and many of the expressions were taken from stories on
dried leaves dictated by a six-year-old and a seven-year-old class.



    I want to fly up in the air!
    If I take two leaves in my hands and put two leaves on my feet
    And the wind blows
    Perhaps I'll fly up in the air!
    Something stirs in the dried leaves,
    The tree bends, the tree bows,
    The wind sweeps through the brown leaves.
    The brown leaves crackle and rattle and dance,
    They rustle and murmur and pull at the bough,
    They shiver, they quiver till they pull themselves loose
    And are free.
    Up, up they fly!
    Little brown specks in the sky.
    They twist and they spin,
    They whirl and they twirl,
    They teeter, they turn somersaults in the air.
    Then for a moment the wind holds its breath.
    Down, down, down float the leaves,
    Still turning and twisting,
    Still twirling and whirling,
    The brown leaves float to the earth.
    Puff! goes the wind,
    Up they fly again
    With a little soft rustling laugh.
    Then down they float.
    Down, down, down.
    On the ground the leaves go as if walking or running.
    They go and then they stop.
    They scurry along,
    Still twisting and turning,
    Still twirling and whirling,
    They hurry along,
    With a soft little rustle
    They tumble, they roll and they roll.

    I want to fly up in the air!
    If I take two leaves in my hands and put two leaves on my feet
    And the wind blows,
    Perhaps I'll fly up in the air.


    In the daytime, what am I?
    In the hubbub, what am I?
    A mass of iron and of steel,
    Of boiler, piston, throttle, wheel,
    A monster smoking up the sky,
        A locomotive!
          That am I!

    In the darkness, what am I?
    In the stillness, what am I?
    Streak of light across the sky,
    A clanging bell, a shriek, a cry,
    A fiery demon rushing by,
        A locomotive
          That am I!



(_To the tune of "Du, du, liegst mir im herzen._")

    Moon, moon,
      Shiny and silver,
    Moon, moon,
      Silver and white;
    Moon, moon,
      Whisper to children
      "Sleep through the silvery night."
    There, there, there, there,
      Sleep through the silvery night.

    Sun, sun,
      Shiny and golden,
    Sun, sun,
      Golden and gay;
    Sun, sun,
      Shout to the children
      "Wake to the sunshiny day!"
    There, there, there, there,
      Wake to the sunshiny day.


    A-rolling, bowling, fast or slow,
    A-racing, chasing, off we go.
    The jolly automobile
    Whizzes along with flying wheel.
    We go chug, chug-chug, chug-up!
    Then we go s-l-i-d-i-n-g down.
    We go scooting over the hills,
    We go tooting back to town.

                                                       SILLY WILL

In this story I have used a device to tie together many isolated
familiar facts. I have never found that six-year-old children did not
readily discriminate the actual from the imaginary.



Once there was a little boy. Now he was a very silly little boy,
so silly that he was called Silly Will. He had an idea that he was
tremendously smart and that he could quite well get along by himself in
this world. This foolish idea made him do and say all sorts of silly
things which led to all sorts of terrible happenings as this story will

One day he went out walking. He walked down the road until he met a
little girl. The little girl was crying.

"What's the matter with you?" asked Silly Will.

"Oh!" sobbed the little girl, "our cow has died and I don't know what
we shall do. I don't know how we can get along without her milk and
everything. We depended on her so!"

"Depended on a cow!" cried Silly Will. "Whoever heard of such a thing!
I've often seen that stupid old cow of yours. Clumsy, lumbering thing!
Cows are no good! I wouldn't depend on any animal, not I! It wouldn't
matter to me if all the cows in the world died!" And Silly Will strutted
off down the road.

The little girl looked after him with astonishment. "I just wish no cow
would ever give that silly boy anything!" she thought.

Before long he met an old woman. The old woman was crying too.

"What's the matter with you?" asked Silly Will.

"Oh!" cried the old woman wringing her hands. "Our sheep has fallen over
a cliff and broken its legs and it's going to die. I don't know how we
shall get along without her wool for spinning. We depended so much on

"Depended on a sheep!" cried Silly Will. "Whoever heard of such a thing!
I've often heard your stupid old sheep bleating. Sheep are no good. I
wouldn't depend on any animal, not I! It wouldn't matter to me if all
the sheep in the world died!" And Silly Will strutted off down the road
feeling very smart.

The old woman looked after him greatly surprised. "Silly little boy!"
she thought. "He little knows! I just wish no sheep would give him

Then before long Silly Will met a man. The man was sitting beside the
road with his face in his hands.

"What's the matter with you?" asked Silly Will.

The man looked up. "Oh, our horse has died!" he sighed dolefully, "and I
don't know how we can get along without him to plow for us now that it's
seeding time. And there's not much use getting in the seeds anyway
without a horse to carry the grain to market when it's ripe. We depended
so on our horse!"

"Depended on a horse!" cried Silly Will. "Whoever heard of such a thing!
First I meet a little girl who says she depended on a cow for food: then
I meet an old woman who says she depended on a sheep for clothes. And
here is a man who says he depends on a horse to work and to carry for
him! As for me, I depend on no animal, not I! It wouldn't matter to me
if there were no animals in the world. They needn't give me anything! I
wish they wouldn't!"

The man looked at him greatly amazed. "Silly little boy!" he said. "I
hope your silly wish will come true. How little you understand! I just
wish tonight all the animal kingdom would leave you and then perhaps you
would understand a little!" But Silly Will walked home feeling very
smart, for he _didn't_ understand. Silly people never _do_ understand!

Now that night a strange thing happened to Silly Will. I can't explain
how or why it happened. But in the middle of the night, all the animals
_did_ leave Silly Will. Not only the cow and the sheep and the horse but
all the animal kingdom! He was sound asleep in his flannel nightgown
snuggled under warm wool blankets. Suddenly he felt a jerk. What was
happening? He sat up in bed just in time to see his blankets whisk off
him and disappear. He looked down. His night shirt was gone! He heard a
faint sound almost like the bleating of the old woman's sheep.
"Ba-ba-a-a I take back my wool!"

Then he was aware that something queer had happened to his mattress. It
was just an empty bag of ticking. He heard a faint sound almost like the
neighing of the man's horse who had died. "Whey-ey-ey, I take back my

He reached for his pillow. It too was an empty sack.

"Hh-ss-s-hh" hissed a faint sound almost like a goose. "I take back my

"Whatever is happening?" screamed Silly Will. "Let me get a light." He
found a match and struck it, but his candlestick was empty.
"Ba-a-moo-oo" said some faint voices. "I take back my fat!"

By this time Silly Will was thoroughly frightened and shivering with
cold besides.

"I'd better get dressed," he thought, and groped his way to the chair
where he had left his clothes. He could find only his cotton underwaist
and his cotton shirt. His wool undershirt and drawers, his trousers and
stockings, and his silk necktie were gone. And so were his leather
shoes. Just the lacings lay on the floor. "Mooooo" he seemed to hear a
faint sound almost like the little girl's cow he had made fun of in the
afternoon. "I take back my hide."

He put on the few cotton clothes that were left, but there were no
buttons to hold them together. "Moooooo," he heard a faint voice say. "I
take back my bones."

Terrified he ran to the closet to see what more he could find. "I'll
surely freeze," he thought as he lighted another match. "I'll slip on my
coat and get into bed." But his warm coat with the fur collar was gone,
too. "Chee, chee, chee," he seemed to hear a faint sound almost like the
squirrel he was fond of frightening. "I take back my skin!"

But he did find some cotton stockings and some old overalls. These he
put on relieved to find they had metal buttons. Then poor Silly Will
crawled back to bed wearing his cotton clothes and waited for morning to
come. He didn't sleep much for the wire spring cut into him. He was
cold, too.

As soon as it was light he hunted around for more clothes. He found some
straw bed-room slippers. His rubbers too were there and he put them on
over his slippers. Then he ran downstairs to get something to eat.

"Anyway," he thought, "those old animals can't get me when it comes to
eating. I never did care much about meat."

The pantry door squeaked as he opened it. It sounded for all the world
like a far away barnyard--hens, cows, and pigs. He looked around. No
milk, no eggs, no bacon! "Bread and butter will do me," he thought.

But the butter had gone too! He opened the bread box. The bread was
still there! He almost wept from relief. By hunting around he found a
good deal to eat. Cocoa made with water instead of milk was pretty good.
Then there were crackers and apples. His oatmeal wasn't very good
without milk or butter. But he ate it. He knew he would have plenty of
vegetables and fruits and cereals.

And the day was warm enough so that he didn't mind his cotton clothes.
But his feet did hurt him. He wondered about wooden shoes and thought he
would try to make some.

He was a little worried too about his bed. He hunted around in the house
until he found two cotton comforters. One he put under his sheet in
place of his mattress and one on top in place of his blankets. So, on
the whole, he thought, he could manage to get along.

Poor little Silly Will! He had never before thought how much the animals
did for him. Once in a while he would think of the little girl and the
old woman and the man he had met that afternoon. But not for long. And
he never remembered that some time winter would come. But long before
that time came, Silly Will had got himself into still more trouble. For
even now he didn't understand!


From this time on nothing went well with Silly Will. When he had eaten
the vegetables he had in the house he walked over to a gardener who
lived nearby. He wanted to get potatoes and other supplies for the
winter. To his horror he found everything drooping and wilted and
withered. "What's the matter with the vegetables, gardener?" asked
Silly Will.

"A frost," sighed the gardener. "It's killed all the potatoes. I hope
you weren't depending on them?"

"Oh, of course not," said Silly Will, gulping hard. "I certainly
wouldn't depend on a vegetable. That would be too ridiculous. If the
frost should kill all the vegetables, it would make no difference to
me!" Nevertheless in his heart he felt unhappy and a little frightened
at the thought of the coming winter. But still he didn't understand.
Silly people never do understand.

He walked on down the road saying to himself, "I'll go order my winter
wood anyway. I'm almost out of it at home." Just then he looked up. He
expected to see the green forest stretching up the hillside. He stared.
The hillside was black smoking stumps, fallen blackened trees, white
ashes! Beside the dead trees stood the old forester wringing his hands.
Silly Will didn't even speak to him. He could see what had happened
without asking. He turned around. Slowly he walked home. He went right
to bed. He still pretended that he wasn't unhappy or frightened. He kept
saying to himself, "I don't really depend on the wood at all. Of course
that would be silly! I've got coal. It wouldn't matter to me if all the
plants left me." And with that thought he fell asleep. You see even now
he didn't understand. Silly people never do understand.

Now that night another strange thing happened to Silly Will. I can't
explain how or why it happened. But in the middle of the night all the
plants _did_ leave Silly Will,--not only the potatoes and the trees but
the whole vegetable kingdom.

He was asleep all curled up to keep warm in his cotton clothes. Suddenly
he felt the comforter and sheet under him jerk away and he was left
lying on the wire spring. At the same time the comforter and sheet over
him disappeared. So did his nightshirt. Then bang! His wooden bed was
gone. The house began to creak and rock. He jumped up and tore down
stairs. He just got outside the front door when the whole house

The moon was shining. Silly Will could see quite plainly. There stood
the brick chimneys rising out of a pile of plaster dumped on top of the
concrete foundations. There was the slate roof and the broken window of
glass. The air was full of a sound like the violent trembling of many
leaves. It sounded for all the world as if it said, "I take back my

"Whatever will I do?" groaned Silly Will as he shivered all naked in the
moonlight. Then his eye lighted on the kitchen stove. There it stood
with the stove pipe all safely connected with the chimney.

"I'll build a coal fire," he thought. There stood the iron coal scuttle.
But alas! It was empty! He heard a far-away murmur like a faint wind
stirring in giant ferns. And they said, "I take back my buried leaves!"

By this time Silly Will was shaking with cold. "I've heard that
newspapers are warm," he thought. But the pile behind the stove was
gone. Again came the murmur of trees--"I take back my pulp," and a queer
soft sound which he couldn't quite make out. Was it "I take back my

Silly Will was thoroughly terrified now.

"I'll go somewhere to think," he said to himself. So he crept down the
cement steps to the cellar and crawled into a sheltered corner. But he
couldn't think of anything pleasant. He could hear a confused noise all
around him. Sometimes it sounded like growls, like animal cries, like
animal calls. "The animal kingdom has left him," it seemed to say.

Again it sounded like the wind rustling a thousand leaves. "The
vegetable kingdom has left him," it seemed to say.

"I've nothing to wear," sobbed Silly Will. "And I'm afraid I've nothing
to eat." At the thought of food he jumped up and ran over to the cellar
pantry. He found just three things. They did not make a tempting meal!
They were a crock of salt, a tin of soda and a porcelain pitcher of

"What shall I ever do? How shall I live? I'll never have another glass
of milk or cup of cocoa. I'll never have anything to wear. I'll freeze
and I'll starve. I might just as well die now!" And poor little Silly
Will broke down and cried and cried and cried.

"I can't live without other living things," he sobbed. "I can't eat only
minerals and I can't keep warm in minerals. Everybody has to depend on
animals and vegetables. And after all I'm only a little boy! I've got to
have living things to keep alive myself!"

Then a wonderful thing happened to Silly Will. I can't explain how or
why it happened. Suddenly he felt all warm and comfortable. "Perhaps I'm
freezing," he thought. "I've heard that people feel warm when they are
almost frozen to death."

Slowly he put out his hand. Surely that was a linen sheet! Surely that
was a woolen blanket. Surely he had on his flannel nightgown. He sat
straight up. Surely this was his own bed: this was his own room: this
was his own house. He could scarcely believe his eyes. He gave a great

"Moo-oo-oo," answered a cow under a tree outside his window. And the
leaves of the tree rustled at him too.

"Hello, old cow! Hello, old tree!" cried Silly Will running to the
window. "Isn't it good we're all alive?" And when you think of it that
wasn't a silly remark at all!

"Moo-oo-oo," lowed the old cow. "Swish-sh-sh-sh," rustled the tree. And
suddenly Silly Will thought he understood! I wonder if he did!

                                                      EBEN'S COWS

This story attempts to make an industrial process a background for real



Eben was looking at the cows. And the cows were looking at Eben. What
Eben saw was twenty-six pairs of large gentle eyes, twenty-six mouths
chewing with a queer sidewise motion, twenty-six fine fat cattle, some
red, some white, some black, some red and white, and some black and
white, all in a bright green meadow. What the cows saw, held by his
mother on the rail fence, was a fat baby with a shining face and waving
arms. What Eben heard was the heavy squashy footsteps of the slow-moving
cows as they lumbered toward the little figure on the fence. What the
cows heard was a high, excited little voice saying a real word for the
first time in its life, "Cow! cow! oh, cow! oh, cow!" And so with his
first word began Eben's life-long friendship with the cows.

Eben Brewster lived in a little white farm-house with green blinds. The
cows lived in a great long red barn, which was connected with the little
white farm-house by a wagon-shed and tool-house. High up on the great
red barn was printed GREEN MOUNTAIN FARM. Long before Eben knew how to
read he knew what those big letters said, and he knew that the lovely
rolling hills that ringed the farm around, were called the Green
Mountains. In front of both house and barn stretched the bright green
meadows where day after day fed the twenty-six cows. In a neighboring
meadow played the long-legged calves. For at Green Mountain Farm there
were always many calves. In the summer they usually had fifteen or
twenty calves a few months old. For every cow of course had her baby
once a year. The little bull calves they sold; but the little cow
calves they raised.


When Eben was three years old he made friends with the calves his own
way. He wiggled through the bars of the gate into their pasture. The
calves stared at him; they sniffed at him. Then they came a little
closer. They stared at him again. They sniffed at him again. Then they
came closer still. Then one little black and white thing came right up
to him and licked his face and hands. And three-year-old Eben liked the
feel of the soft nose and the rough tongue and he liked the sweet cow

So it came about that Eben played regularly with the calves. It always
amused his father Andrew to watch them together. "I never saw a child so
crazy about cows!" he used to say. One day he put a pretty little new
calf,--white with red spots,--into the pasture. Eben ran to the calf at
once. "What shall we call the calf, Eben?" asked his father. "Think of
some nice name for her." Eben put his arms around the calf's neck and
smiled. "I call him 'ittle Sister," he said. For little baby sister was
the only thing three-year-old Eben loved better than a calf. And the
name stuck to the calves of Green Mountain Farm. From that time on they
were always called Little Sisters!

Real little sister or Nancy, as she was called, grew apace. To her Eben
was always wonderful. At six years he seemed equal to about anything. It
did not surprise her at all one day to hear her father say, "Eben, you
get the cows tonight." But it did surprise Eben. He had helped his
father drive them home for years. And now he was to do it alone! Down
the dusty road he went, switch in hand, taking such big important
strides that the footprints of his little bare feet were almost as far
apart as a man's. The cows stood facing the bars. He took down the bars.
The cows filed through one by one. Nancy and her father, waiting to help
him turn the cows in at the barn, knew he was coming. They could see the
cloud of dust and hear the many shuffling feet and the shrill boy's
voice calling: "Hi, Spotty, don't you stop to eat! Go 'long there,
Crumplehorn, don't you know the way home yet! Hurry up, Redface. Can't
you keep in the road?" Eben felt older from that day.

From the day he began driving home the cows alone Eben took a real share
in the work at the farm. He put the cows' heads into the stanchions when
each one lumbered into her stall. He fed them hay and ensilage through
the long winter months when the meadows were white with snow. He put
the cans to catch the cream and the skimmed milk when his father turned
the separator. He took the separator apart and carried it up to his
mother to be washed. Nancy helped and talked. Only she really talked
more than she helped!

Eben's talk ran much on cows. His poor mother read all she could in the
encyclopedia, but even then she couldn't answer all his questions. Why
does a cow have four stomachs? Why does her food come back to be chewed?
Why does she chew sideways? Why does she have to be milked twice a day?
Why doesn't she get out of the way when an auto comes down the road?
When Eben asked his father these things the farmer would shake his head
and answer, "I guess it's just because she's a cow."

There came a very exciting day at Green Mountain Farm. For twenty years
Andrew Brewster and his men had milked his cows morning and evening. His
hands were hard from the practice. The children loved to watch him milk.
With every pull of his strong hands he made a fine white stream of milk
shoot into the pail, squirt, squirt, squirt. Eben had often tried, but
pull as he would, he could only get out a few drops. And even as Andrew
Brewster had milked his cows morning and evening until his hands were
horny, so had his father done before him. Yes, and his father's father,
too. For three generations of Brewsters had hardened their hands milking
cows on Green Mountain Farm. Then there came this exciting day, and a
new way of milking began at the big red barn.

A milking machine was put in. It ran by a wonderful little puffing
gasolene engine. It milked two cows at once. And it milked all
twenty-six of them in twenty minutes. Andrew Brewster could manage the
whole herd alone with what help Eben could give him. It was a great day
for him. It was a great day for Eben and Nancy too.


There came another day which was even more exciting for the two children
than when the milking machine was put into the big red barn. This story
is really about that day. Eben was then ten years old and Nancy seven.
Their father and mother had gone for the day to a county fair. The two
children were to be alone all day, which made up for not going to the
fair. The children had long since eaten the cold dinner their mother
had left for them. They had done all their chores too. Nancy had
gathered the eggs and Eben had chopped the kindling and brought in the
wood. They had fed the baby chickens and given them water. Then they had
gone to the woods for an afternoon climb over the big rocks and a wade
in the brook. Now they were waiting for their father and mother to come
back. They had been waiting for a long time, for it was seven o'clock.
The last thing their mother had called out as she drove off behind the
two old farm horses was, "We'll be back by five o'clock, children."

What could have happened? "Eben," said Nancy, "we'd better eat our own
supper and get something ready for Father and Mother. I guess I'll try
to scramble some eggs."

"Go ahead," answered Eben. "But we're not the ones I'm worrying
about--nor Father and Mother either. It's those poor cows."

"Oh! the cows!" cried Nancy. "And the poor Little Sisters! They'll be
so hungry." Both children ran to the door. "Just listen to them," said
Eben. "They've been waiting in the barn for over an hour now. I
certainly wish Father would come." From the big red barn came the lowing
of the restless cattle. "I'm going to have another look at them," said
Eben. "Come along, Nancy."

The two children peered into the big dark barn. The unmistakable cow
smell came to them strong in the dark. Stretching down the whole length
was stall after stall, each holding an impatient cow. The children could
see the restless hind feet moving and stamping; they could see the
flicking of many tails; they could feel the cows pulling at the
stanchions. On the other side were the stalls of the Little Sisters.
They too were moving about wildly. Over above it all rose the deafening
sound of the plaintive lowings. By the door stood the gasolene engine.
It was attached to a pipe which ran the whole length of the great barn
above the cows' stalls. Eben's eyes followed this pipe until it was lost
in the dark.

"Moo-oo-oo," lowed the cow nearest at hand, so loud that both children
jumped. "Poor old Redface," said Nancy. "I wish we could help you."
"We're going to," said Eben in an excited voice, "See here, Nancy. We're
going to milk these cows!" "Why, Eben Brewster, we could never do it
alone!" Nancy's eyes went to the gasolene engine as she spoke. "We've
got to," said Eben. "That's all there is about it."

So the children began with trembling hands. They lighted two lanterns.
"I wish the cows would stop a minute," said Nancy. "I can't seem to
think with such a racket going on." Eben turned on the spark of the
engine. He had done it before, but it seemed different to do it when his
father wasn't standing near. Then he took the crank. "I hope she doesn't
kick tonight," he wished fervently. He planted his feet firmly and
grasped the handle! Round he swung it, around and around. Only the
bellowing of the cows answered. He began again. Round he swung the
handle; around and around. "Chug, chug-a-chug, chug, chug, chug-a-chug,
chug," answered the engine. Nancy jumped with delight. "You're as good
as a man, Eben," she cried.

"Come now, bring the lantern," commanded Eben. Nancy carried the lantern
and Eben a rubber tube. This tube Eben fastened on to the first faucet
on the long pipe between the first two cows. This rubber tube branched
into two and at the end of each were four hollow rubber fingers. Eben
stuck his fingers down one. He could feel the air pull, pull, pull.
"She's working all right, Nancy," he whispered in a shaking voice. "Put
the pail here." Nancy obeyed. Eben took one bunch of four hollow rubber
fingers and slipped one finger up each udder of one cow. Then he took
the other bunch and slipped one finger up each udder of the second cow.
The cows, feeling relief was near, quieted at once. "I can see the
milk," screamed Nancy, watching a tiny glass window in the rubber tube.
And sure enough, through the tube and out into the pail came a pulsing
stream of milk. Squirt, squirt, squirt, squirt. In a few minutes the two
cows were milked and the children moved on to the next pair. Nancy
carried the pail and Eben the rubber tube which he fastened on to the
next faucet. And in another few minutes two more cows were milked. So
the children went the length of the great red barn, and gradually the
restless lowings quieted as pail after pail was filled with warm white

"I wouldn't try the separator if it weren't for the poor Little
Sisters," said Eben anxiously as they reached the end of the barn.
"They've got to be fed," said Nancy. "But I can't lift those pails."
Slowly Eben carried them one by one with many rests back to the
separator by the gasoline engine. He took the strap off one wheel and
put it around the wheel of the separator. "I can't lift a whole pail,"
sighed Eben. Taking a little at a time he poured the milk into the tray
at the top of the separator. In a few minutes the yellow cream came
pouring out of one spout and the blue skimmed milk out of another. In
another few minutes the calves were drinking the warm skimmed milk.
"There, Little Sisters, poor, hungry Little Sisters," said Nancy, as
she watched their eager pink tongues.

Eben turned off the engine. "I'm sorry I couldn't do the final hand
milking," he said. "I wonder if we'd better turn the cows out?" Before
Nancy could answer both children heard a sound. They held their breath.
Surely those were horses' feet! Cloppety clop clop clop cloppety clop
clop clop. Up to the barn door dashed the old farm horses. From the dark
outside the children heard their mother's voice, "Children, children,
are you there? The harness broke and I thought we'd _never_ get home."
Carrying a lantern apiece the children rushed out and into her arms.
"Here, Eben," called his father. "You take the horses quick. I must get
started milking right away. Those poor cows!" The children were too
excited to talk plainly. They both jabbered at once. Then each took a
hand of their father and led him into the great red barn. There by the
light of the lanterns Andrew Brewster could see the pails of warm white
milk and yellow cream. He stared at the quiet cows and at the Little
Sisters. Then he stared at Eben and Nancy. "Yes," cried both children
together. "We did it. We did it ourselves!"

                                                  THE SKY SCRAPER

The story tries to assemble into a related form many facts well-known
to seven-year-olds and to present the whole as a modern industrial



Once in an enormous city, men built an enormous building. Deep they
built it, deep into the ground; high they built it, high into the air.
Now that it is finished the men who walk about its feet forget how deep
into the ground it reaches. But they can never forget how high into the
blue it soars. Their necks ache when they throw back their heads to see
to the top. For, of all the buildings in the world, this sky scraper is
the highest.

The sky scraper stands in the heart of the great city. From its top one
can see the city, one can hear the city, one can smell the city--the
city where men live and work. One can see the crowded streets full of
tiny men and tiny automobiles, the riverside with its baby warehouses
and its baby docks, the river with its toy bridges and toy giant
steamers and tug boats and barges and ferries. The city noise,--the
distant, rumbling, grumbling noise,--sounds like the purring of a
far-away giant beast. And over it all lies the smell of gas and smoke.

The sky scraper stands in the heart of the great city. But from its top
in the blue, blue sky one can see all over the land. Landward the fields
spread out like a map till they are lost in the mist and smoke. Seaward
lies the vast, the tremendous stretch of the sea, the wrinkled, the
crinkled, the far-away sea that stretches to touch the sky.

Now this soaring sky scraper is the work of men--of many, many men. Its
lofty lacy tower was first thought of by the architect. With closed eyes
he saw it, and with his well-trained fingers quickly he drew its
outline. Then at his office many men with T squares and with compasses,
sitting at high long tables, with green-shaded lamps, worked far into
the nights till all the plans were ready.

Then the sky scraper began to grow. The first men brought mighty steam
shovels. One hundred feet into the earth they burrowed. The gigantic
mouths of the steam shovels gnawed at the rock and the clay. Huge hulks
they clutched from this underworld, heaved up with enormous derricks and
crashed out on the upper land. Deep they dug, deep into the ground till
they found the firm bed-rock. With a network of steel they filled this
terrific hole. Into the rasping, revolving mixers they poured tons of
sand and cement and gravel which steadily flowed in a sluggish stream to
strengthen the steel supports.

At last,--and that was an exciting day,--the great beams began to rise.
Again the derricks ground, as slowly, steadily, accurately, they swung
each beam to its place. A thousand men swarmed over the steel bones,
some throwing red-hot rivets, others catching them in pails, all to the
song of the rivet driver.


The riveter screamed and shrieked and shrilled. It pierced the air of
the narrow streets. On the nearby buildings it vibrated, echoed. The
sky scraper seemed alive and thrilled by the quivering, throbbing,
shrieking shrill,--by the song of the riveter. Story by story the sky
scraper grew, a monstrous outline against the sky. And ever and ever as
it grew, hissed the rivet and screamed the drill.

At length the sky scraper soared sixty dizzy stories high. Then swiftly
came the stone masons and encased the giant steel frame. Swiftly in its
center, men reared the plunging elevators. Swiftly worked the
electrician, the plumber, the carpenter. All workmen were called and
all workmen came. The world listened to the call of this sky scraper
standing in the heart of the great city. From the mines of Minnesota to
the swamps of Louisiana came goods to serve its need. Long, long ago, in
olden days, the churches grew slowly bit by bit, as one man carved a
door post here and another fitted a window there, each planning his own
part. Not so with the sky scraper. It grew in haste. Its parts were made
in factories scattered the country over. Each factory was ready with a
part, and the railroad was ready swift to bring them to its feet. The
sky scraper grew in haste. For it the many worked as one.

Planned by those who command and reared by those who obey, in an
enormous city men built this enormous building. Deep they built it, deep
into the ground; high they built it, high into the air. And now they
use this building built by them. The sky scraper houses an army of ten
thousand men. All day they clamber up and down its core like insects in
a giant tree. They buzz and buzz, and then go home.


But there with the shadowy silent streets at its feet stands the lofty
sky scraper. On its head there glows a monstrous light. The rays pierce
through the fogs. And when the storm is screaming wild, the light
struggles through to the frightened boats tossing on the mountain waves.
The storm howls and beats on the sides of the lofty lacy tower with the
shining light on top. The storms beat on its side, the tower leans in
the wind, the tower of steel and of stone leans and leans a full two
feet. Then when the blast is past, this tower of steel and of stone
swings back to straightness again.

And so in the enormous city men built this enormous building. Deep they
built it, deep into the ground; high, they built it, high into the air.
Now that it is finished, the men who walk about its feet forget how deep
into the ground it reaches. But they can never forget how high into the
blue it soars. Their necks ache when they throw back their heads to see
to the top. For of all the buildings in the world this sky scraper is
the highest.


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