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´╗┐Title: Peter and Polly in Winter
Author: Lucia, Rose
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Peter and Polly in Winter" ***

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    PETER AND POLLY IN WINTER

    BY

    ROSE LUCIA


    Formerly Principal of the Primary School
    Montpelier, Vermont

    _Author of "Peter and Polly in Spring," "Peter and Polly in
    Summer," and "Peter and Polly in Autumn."_


    AMERICAN BOOK COMPANY

    NEW YORK      CINCINNATI      CHICAGO

    BOSTON      ATLANTA


    COPYRIGHT, 1914, BY
    ROSE LUCIA.

    COPYRIGHT, 1914, IN GREAT BRITAIN.

    PETER AND POLLY IN WINTER.

    E. P. 21


    To
    C. M. G.

    [Illustration: _Frontispiece_ MAP]



    CONTENTS


    PETER AND POLLY
    THE BIRDS' GAME OF TAG
    THE STONE-WALL POST OFFICE
    PLAYING IN THE LEAVES
    "HOW THE LEAVES COME DOWN"
    THE BONFIRE
    THE HEN THAT HELPED PETER
    THE FIRST ICE
    THE THREE GUESSES
    THE FIRST SNOWSTORM
    THE STAR SNOWFLAKE
    HOW PETER HELPED GRANDMOTHER
    THE SNOW MAN
    PETER'S DREAM
    CUTTING THE CHRISTMAS TREE
    THE GIVE-AWAY BOX
    CHRISTMAS MORNING
    THE SNOW HOUSE
    THE FALL OF THE IGLOO
    PULLING PETER'S TOOTH
    DRIVING WITH FATHER
    THE STAG
    POLLY'S BIRD PARTY
    THE NEW SLED
    BROWNIE
    DISH-PAN SLEDS
    CAT AND COPY-CAT
    POLLY'S SNOWSHOES
    THE WOODS IN WINTER
    THE WINTER PICNIC
    THE SEWING LESSON
    FISHING THROUGH THE ICE
    MAKING MOLASSES CANDY
    GRANDMOTHER'S BIRTHDAY PARTY
    AROUND THE OPEN FIRE



PETER AND POLLY IN WINTER



PETER AND POLLY


Peter Howe is a little boy. Polly is his sister. She is older than
Peter.

They live in a white house. The house is on a hill. It is not in the
city. It is in the country.

There are no houses close about it. But there are trees and fields
around it.

In summer these fields are green. In winter the snow covers them.

The fields and the hills are as white as the house. Then there is fun
playing in the snow.

Peter likes to watch the snowflakes. He calls them "white butterflies."
But he knows what they are.

His friend, the Story Lady, told him. They are just frozen clouds.

Peter said to her, "I think they are prettier than raindrops. They can
sail about in the air, too. Raindrops cannot. I like winter better than
summer."

"It will be winter soon, Peter," said the Story Lady. "But many things
must happen first.

"The birds must fly away. The leaves must turn red and yellow. Then they
will fall and you can rake them into heaps. We will go to the woods for
nuts.

"All these things will happen before winter comes."

"Yes," said Peter. "And my grandmother must knit me some thick
stockings. And my father must buy me a winter coat. Grandmother must
knit some stockings for Wag-wag, too."

"But Wag-wag is a dog, Peter. Dogs do not need stockings."

"My dog does," said Peter. "He needs a coat, too. His hair is short. It
will not keep him warm. I shall ask father to buy him a coat."

"Do, Peter," said the Story Lady. "It is good to be kind to dogs. And
when Wag-wag wears his coat and stockings, bring him to see me. I will
take his picture."



THE BIRDS' GAME OF TAG


It is fall. Summer is really over. But it is still warm. Jack Frost has
not yet begun his work.

Peter and Polly have been watching the birds. For days they have seen
great flocks of them. In the summer there were not so many together.

One day they saw several robins. These were flying from tree to tree.

Peter said, "I know they are having a party. They are playing tag."

"Perhaps they are," said his father. "Perhaps each bird is telling
something to the bird he tags."

"What is he telling?" asked Peter.

"I think he is saying, 'Brother bird, don't you know that winter is
coming? Soon the snow will be here. What shall we do then?

"'We cannot get food. We shall freeze. Come, let us fly away to the
South. It is warm there.'"

"What does brother bird say?" asked Peter.

"I think brother bird says, 'It is a long way to the South. It will take
many days and nights to fly there.

"'Are our children's wings yet strong enough? I do not like to go. But
I know that we must.'"

"Doesn't he like to go, truly?" asked Peter.

"We do not know, Peter. The robins make their nests here. They lay their
blue eggs here. They hatch their little birds here. They never do this
in the South.

"Besides, they sing their beautiful songs here. They never sing them in
the South. We like to think that they love the North better. But, of
course, we do not know."

"How can they find their way back?" asked Polly.

"We do not know that, either, Polly. Many birds fly in the nighttime.
Then they rest a part of the day."

"I couldn't find my way in the dark," said Polly.

"But the birds can," said father. "We do not know how. The winter home
of some of our birds is thousands of miles from here."

"I like to watch the swallows," said Polly. "They sit in a line on a
telephone wire. Then one flies to another wire. In a minute they all
fly, too.

"I think that they are talking about going away soon. I hope they will
not get lost."

"Yes," said father. "They will soon be gone. But perhaps some of these
very birds will come back here next summer."

"I wish we could know them," said Polly.

"We shall have a few birds left this winter," said father. "You know
some of them. You know the chick-a-dees and the woodpeckers. And this
winter I shall show you others."

"May we hunt for nests and eggs, father?" asked Peter.

"We may hunt, Peter, but we won't find any eggs in winter. We shall find
other things. Perhaps we shall find the white-footed mouse. He sometimes
makes his home in an old bird's nest."

"Can a mouse climb trees, father? If he lives in a bird's nest, does he
lay bird's eggs?"

"He can climb trees, Peter. But he cannot lay eggs. We will see if we
can find Mr. White-foot some day.

"But first we will watch the birds fly away and the snow come."



THE STONE-WALL POST OFFICE


Around Peter's house is a beautiful field. This is Mr. Howe's hayfield.
You can find it on the map in the front of this book.

The children like this field. All the year round, it is a pleasant
place.

In the spring they find blue violets here. In the summer they watch the
birds that make nests in the tall grass. In the winter they slide here
on the crust.

At the farther side of the field, there are some trees. These are
butternut trees. In front of the trees is a stone wall.

Peter and Polly like to play by this wall. Sometimes they play that it
is a post office.

The holes in the wall are the boxes. There is a box for every one in the
village. Peter has more than one box; so has Polly.

The children take turns being the postmaster. If Peter is the
postmaster, Polly calls for the mail.

The real post office is in their father's store. So they have often seen
Mr. Howe put the mail into the boxes.

They use little sticks for the post cards. Leaves are the letters.
Stones are the packages. Sometimes the boxes are full of
mail--especially Peter's and Polly's.

Often they play that it is Christmas time. Then the boxes are full of
packages. It is fun to guess what is in each package.

One day Peter said, "There is a knife in this package. I like it. There
is a hammer in this package. I will build a house with it.

"There is a game in this package. Will you play it with me, Polly? And,
O Polly! There is a pony in this package! That is what I wish for most
of all."

"But, Peter, a pony is too big to be in your post-office box. It would
not come by mail."

"Then Santa Claus will bring it," said Peter. "If I get it, I do not
care how it comes."

One day the children saw that the butternuts were falling.

Polly said, "Let's pick up all we can. We will put them in our
post-office boxes. When they are full, we will bring your cart. Then we
can take the nuts home. We will crack them next winter."

So they filled the boxes with nuts. The nuts were still green. The
children stained their hands with them.

While they were playing with the nuts, they saw two squirrels. These sat
in the trees above them. They watched Peter and Polly with their bright
eyes, and scolded them a great deal.

"They want our nuts," said Polly. "But we have put them into our
post-office boxes. We will keep them."

The next day the children went for their nuts. They took Peter's cart
with them. What do you think they found?

Why, they found their boxes empty! The nuts were all gone!

"Some one bad has been here," said Peter.

Polly laughed. "You always say that, Peter. I think it was those
squirrels. And I don't care, because they need the nuts to eat this
winter."

"I don't care, either," said Peter. "I think we forgot to lock our
boxes."

"Perhaps we did," said Polly. "But I guess the squirrels thought the
boxes were theirs. When they called for their mail, they found the boxes
full. How pleased they must have been! Let's pick up more nuts for
them."

So the children again filled the post-office boxes with nuts. Then they
went home and left them for the squirrels.



PLAYING IN THE LEAVES


One day Peter saw something that pleased him. It was a branch of red
leaves on a maple tree.

He said to mother, "It will be winter soon."

"Why do you think so, Peter?"

"I have seen red leaves," said Peter.

"But, Peter, a few red leaves do not count. There are red leaves in the
summer. You must watch until you see many red, yellow, and brown
leaves."

"What makes the leaves red and yellow, mother? Is it magic?" asked
Peter. "Can you do it?"

"Perhaps it is a kind of magic, Peter. It is like the clouds turning
into snow. I cannot do that."

Then Peter watched for all the trees to turn. At last they were bright
with colors.

The maples were red and yellow; the oaks a deep red. The beeches were a
bright yellow.

Even the elm trees in front of the house were yellow. Now Polly liked
more than ever to swing. The swing took her way up among the yellow
leaves.

Then, one day, the leaves began to fall. Down they came, a few at a
time. The next day more fell, and the next and the next.

Polly said, "They are prettier than the snowflakes. The snow is white.
These have lovely colors. See them flying through the air."

At last most of the trees were bare. The leaves lay on the ground.

Then Peter said, "Oh, the poor trees! They haven't any clothes on. I am
so sorry."

Polly said, "The leaves are not clothes. They are children. Now they
have gone to bed. The snow is their blanket. When it comes, it will keep
them warm. If we leave them alone, they will sleep all winter. I learned
it in a poem."

"They cannot go to sleep yet," said Peter. "I shall not let them. I
shall wake them up."

"How will you do that?" asked Polly.

"I shall run in them. That will keep them awake. I shall do it now. Come
on! See if you can make as much noise as I can."

After a while the children raked the leaves into large heaps. Then they
jumped in the heaps. This scattered the leaves. But the children did not
care. They raked them up again.

Once Peter jumped where the leaves were not very deep. He came to the
ground with a bang. He was surprised. But he was not much hurt.

He said to mother, "My teeth shut with a noise when I went down."

Mother said, "It is lucky that your tongue was not in the way. You would
have bitten it badly."

"Come in now, both of you. You must wash your hands and faces. Father
will be home soon. You may play in the leaves to-morrow."



HOW THE LEAVES CAME DOWN[1]


    I'll tell you how the leaves came down.
      The great Tree to his children said,
    "You're getting sleepy, Yellow and Brown,
      Yes, very sleepy, little Red;
      It is quite time you went to bed."

    "Ah!" begged each silly, pouting leaf,
      "Let us a little longer stay;
    Dear Father Tree, behold our grief;
      'Tis such a very pleasant day
      We do not want to go away."

    So, just for one more merry day
      To the great Tree the leaflets clung,
    Frolicked and danced and had their way,
      Upon the autumn breezes swung,
      Whispering all their sports among,--

    "Perhaps the great Tree will forget,
      And let us stay until the spring,
    If we all beg and coax and fret."
      But the great Tree did no such thing;
      He smiled to hear their whispering.

    "Come, children, all to bed," he cried;
      And ere the leaves could urge their prayer
    He shook his head, and far and wide,
      Fluttering and rustling everywhere,
      Down sped the leaflets through the air.

    I saw them; on the ground they lay,
      Golden and red, a huddled swarm,
    Waiting till one from far away,
      White bedclothes heaped upon her arm,
      Should come to wrap them safe and warm.

    The great bare Tree looked down and smiled,
      "Good night, dear little leaves," he said.
    And from below, each sleepy child
      Replied, "Good night," and murmured,
      "It is so nice to go to bed!"

    --SUSAN COOLIDGE.

[1] Copyright, 1889, by Roberts Brothers.



THE BONFIRE


The next day father said, "Peter and Polly, will you work for me? I wish
to buy your leaves. I will give you a cent for three loads."

"Oh, goody, goody!" said Polly.

"Oh, goody, goody!" said Peter.

"You must put the leaves in a pile in the garden. I will show you
where."

"What will you do with them, father?" asked Polly.

"You will see to-night, if you are good workmen."

In the night the wind had blown the leaves about. So the children raked
them up once more.

Then they filled the big basket full. They packed in the leaves as hard
as they could.

"That is to give good measure," said Polly. "Father always gives good
measure at his store. So you and I must, too."

Every time they took a basketful to the garden, Polly made a mark on a
piece of paper.

At last the yard was raked clean. They had taken to the garden
twenty-nine loads. They had worked nearly all day.

At supper father said, "You are good workmen, chicks. Our yard looks
very clean. It is ready for winter.

"You piled the leaves carefully in the garden, too. Now, how much do I
owe you?"

"We took twenty-nine loads, father," said Polly. "I wish there had been
one more to make thirty."

"Why do you wish that, Polly?"

"Because three goes in thirty better than in twenty-nine."

"Well," said father, "we will call it thirty loads, Polly. I saw you
packing the leaves into the basket very hard.

"You are honest workmen to give me such good measure. Now, Polly, three
goes in thirty how many times?"

"Ten times, father. So you owe us ten cents. We shall each have five
cents."

"Very good, Polly. Here is your money. I have a surprise for you. Put on
your coats and come to the garden. Mother will come, too."

In the garden they found father beside the pile of leaves. He had thrown
many things upon it.

He said, "I came home early and cleaned up the garden. Now, what shall
we do with all this stuff?"

"Burn it, burn it!" shouted both children at once. "A bonfire, a
bonfire!"

"Very well," said father. "You may burn it. Here is a match for you,
Polly. And here is one for you, Peter. Light your fire."

Polly and Peter lighted the great heap. Soon the red flames were leaping
up. They made the garden bright. Farther away from the fire it was very
dark.

"Oh, see, see, mother!" cried Polly. "The flames are as pretty as the
red and yellow leaves. Have they taken the color from the leaves? How
hot they are!"

[Illustration: The children danced around the fire until it died down.
Then mother took them into the house. It was bedtime.]



THE HEN THAT HELPED PETER


Peter is a nice little boy. But he can be very naughty. Mother and
father know this. Grandmother Howe and Polly know it, too.

You see, Peter always wishes his own way. And you know this is not good
for little boys and little girls.

Peter cannot have cake between his meals. He may always have milk to
drink. Sometimes he may have bread and jelly, or bread and sugar.

He likes this very much. But he does not like the crusts of the bread.
So he used to eat only the soft part. The crusts he threw away.

But at the table he could not throw them away.

Then he put them under the edge of his plate. You know how.

When mother took the plate, there would be a crust on the table. It did
not look very well.

One day father said, "Peter, you are a big boy now. You are nearly five
years old. You are old enough to eat your crusts.

"I will give you a week in which to learn how. After that, I shall not
expect to see any more crusts on the table."

Peter knew that, when his father spoke so, he meant what he said. But
the little boy thought he would not eat his crusts until he had to do
so.

He said to himself, "In a week I will begin to eat them all up. But now
I will still put them under my plate."

So, every day when his plate was taken away, there were the crusts.
Peter did not see his father look at them. And his father said nothing
more about them.

By and by Peter began to think that his father had forgotten.

So, when the week was over, he said to himself, "I am sure that my
father has forgotten. I am going to keep on leaving my crusts."

But his father had not forgotten. He was just waiting to see if Peter
would obey.

That noon he saw that Peter had left a crust.

He said, "My son, you have not learned to eat your crusts. And you have
not learned to obey. I must teach you."

Then Peter was more naughty still. He said, "I do not like old crust. I
will throw old crust away. Then I cannot eat it."

He picked up the crust and jumped down from his chair.

His father called, "Peter!"

But Peter did not stop. He ran to the door and threw the crust out upon
the grass.

His father went after him. "You may pick up your crust, Peter," said he.

This time Peter started to obey. He knew that he had been very naughty.
But, before he could get to the crust, an old hen ran up. She snatched
it in her bill and off she went.

Peter looked at his father. He was not sure what his father would do. He
almost wished the hen had not taken the crust.

Father only laughed. He said, "That old hen is a friend of yours, Peter.
If it had not been for her, you would have eaten that crust."

"I know it," said Peter. "And, father, I am sorry. I do not like to be
naughty. I will be good. I will eat my crusts now to please you."

And after this he did.



THE FIRST ICE

    "Water now has turned to stone,
    Stone that I can walk upon."


One morning mother said, "Polly, will you go to the store for me? I need
a can of corn. We must have it for dinner."

"May Peter go, too, mother?"

"Oh, yes, Peter may go, if he wishes. Run and find him."

Now Polly and Peter liked to go to the store. It belonged to their
father. Sometimes they helped him unpack goods. Sometimes they sat still
and watched the customers.

Sometimes he let them play keeping store. Once Polly had really sold
some candy to another little girl.

But to-day they could not stay to play. They must get the can of corn
for mother, and come home.

They went down the hill. At the railroad tracks they stopped. They
looked for a train. They saw none, so they ran across the tracks.

Then they came to the bridge. You can find it on the map in the front of
this book.

They stopped to look over the rail at the water, far below.

"O Polly!" said Peter. "What is on the water?"

"Why, it is ice, Peter. The top of the water is frozen. See, the ice
goes nearly across the river."

"Ice, ice!" shouted Peter. "Now winter is almost here. The leaves have
gone. The ice has come. Let's run and tell father."

The children ran to the store.

"Father, father," called Peter, "we have seen ice!"

"So have I," said father. "Where did you see it?"

"We saw it from the bridge. The river is frozen at the sides. It is not
frozen in the middle."

"Yes," said father. "It freezes first at the edges, because the water
flows more slowly there. In the middle it flows faster.

"Every cold night that ice will grow. It will soon cover the middle of
the river, too. And at the same time it will grow thicker."

"By and by it will be so thick that we can walk upon it. Then it is time
to learn to skate. Perhaps you can learn this winter."

"When the ice is thick enough, men cut it into blocks. What will they do
with them?"

"Make houses of them," said Peter.

"O Peter, we are not Eskimos," said Polly. "I know, father. They will
put the ice into big ice houses. They will keep it to use in the hot
summer. I saw them doing it last winter."

"Right, Polly. That is where our ice comes from in the summer."

"Does all the water in the river freeze, father? Where do the fishes go?
Are they in the ice?"

"The ice is lighter than the water, Peter. So it stays on top of the
water. The bottom of our river does not freeze. The fishes are there.
They do not mind the cold as we do.

"Did you come to the store just to tell me about the ice, chicks?"

"No, father," said Polly. "We came for a can of corn. We saw the ice
when we were on the bridge."

"Then here is the corn. Take it to mother and tell her about the ice."

Off went the children. When they came to the bridge, Peter dropped some
small stones on the ice. But it did not break.

"It must be thick now, Polly," said he. "I wish we could skate."

"We weigh more than those stones do, Peter. I think the cold will have
to make the ice grow more before father will let us. And, anyway, we
have no skates."

"Let's tell mother about that, too, Polly. Perhaps she knows where there
are some."

So Peter and Polly hurried up the hill to find their mother.



THE THREE GUESSES


"Polly and Peter," said Mr. Howe, "I have something for you. It is
something to use in the winter, and not in the summer. You may have
three guesses."

"It can't be a sled," said Polly, "for we have sleds."

"It can't be a coat," said Peter, "for we have coats."

"And we have mittens and leggings and overshoes, too," said Polly.

"It might be my pony," said Peter.

"No," said Polly. "It couldn't be, Peter. We can use a pony in the
summer. Let's not guess that."

"Is it good to eat, father?" asked Peter. "I am hungry now."

"No, Peter. And there are four of them; two for each of you. They are
hard and shiny."

"Guns, guns!" shouted Peter.

"One guess is gone, Peter. What would you do with two guns?"

"Are they for us to wear, father?" asked Polly.

"Yes, Polly, but not all the time. You cannot wear them in the house."

"Then I know what they are, father. If there are two for each of us,
that is one for each foot. Can't you guess now, Peter?"

"Rubber boots," shouted Peter.

"I think it is skates, father. And I am glad. I have wished for some
ever since we saw the ice."

"You have made a good guess, Polly. Bring me the box that is in the
hall."

Out of the box Mr. Howe took two pairs of shining new skates.

"Oh, goody, goody!" cried both children, when they saw what was in the
box.

"We will go skating now," said father. "Then we can try them."

At the edge of the river he stopped. He put on the children's skates.
Then he put on his own.

"I will show you how to do it," he said. "Then I will help you just a
little."

He showed them how to strike out, first with one foot and then with the
other. His tracks looked like this:

[Illustration]

Then Polly tried, but her tracks looked like this:

[Illustration]

"That is not the way, Polly," said her father. "You are skating with
your right foot. But you are only pushing with your left. You must skate
with both. Watch me again."

Then Peter tried. His tracks looked like this:

[Illustration]

The cross marks the place where Peter fell down. But he did not care. He
got up and tried again.

Polly was doing better. So her father took hold of her and helped her a
little.

He said, "I wish you to learn alone. Then you will be a good skater. If
I help you all the time, you will never be able to skate alone."

Polly said, "That is what my teacher tells us. She says, 'I will show
you how to do it. And I will help you a little. Then you must try for
yourself.'"

"That is good," said father. "You must learn to do things alone. Your
teacher and your father will not always be near."

Soon the skates were taken off. "We must not stay too long the first
time," said father. "You may come again to-morrow. You may skate every
day until the snow comes."

"Oh, may we, father, may we?" cried Peter and Polly, jumping up and
down. "And when the snow comes, we can sweep it off the ice."

"Maybe I shall not wish for any snow now," said Peter. "Maybe I like
skating better."

"You will get the snow just the same, my son," said father. "So you may
as well wish for it. It is sure to come."

"Now, good-by. We have all had a good time. Take my skates home with you
and dry them when you dry yours. Then they will not rust. We will bring
mother the next time we come."



THE FIRST SNOWSTORM


One morning mother called to Peter, "Wake up, Peter! Look out of your
window. Winter has come."

Peter had been dreaming about a big snow man who chased him. He jumped
out of bed and said, "You didn't get me that time, old snow man. I woke
up too soon."

He ran to the window. The ground was white. The trees were white. The
air was full of the white butterflies that Peter likes so well.

"Oh! Oh!" he shouted. "I must go out to play! I must go out to play!"

"Not until you are dressed, Peter," said mother. "Then you must have
breakfast. After that you may go out."

At breakfast father said, "It has snowed a foot since dark yesterday.
How many inches is that, Polly?"

"It is twelve inches, father. Do you think this snow has come to stay?
Or will it melt away?"

"I think that it will stay, Polly. It is time for sleighing."

Peter and Polly put on their coats and caps, their leggings, overshoes,
and mittens. Then they were ready to go out.

At first Peter ran about in the yard. He kicked up the snow as he ran.
It flew all over him.

"Polly, Polly!" he called. "I am a snow man now. I shall chase you as
the one in my dream chased me."

He ran after her. Just as he caught her, she slipped. Down they both
went. They were covered from head to foot with snow.

"Now we are both snow men," said Polly. "Let's go and shake the little
trees."

These were two fir trees. They were at the side of the house. Polly took
hold of the end of a low branch. Peter stood under the tree, while Polly
shook it. Down came a shower of snow.

Then Polly stood under the other, while Peter shook that. Down came
another shower of snow. Some of this went into Polly's neck. But Polly
did not care.

"Now we will show grandmother how white we are," she said.

Grandmother heard them coming. She went out on the piazza.

She said, "I see two snow men. I cannot ask them in. Snow men would melt
near the fire. Then they would be nothing but water."

"Oh, yes, grandmother, they would be Peter and Polly," said Peter.

"Why, Peter! Why, Polly! Is this really you? I have no spectacles on,
this morning. Where are your sleds?"

"In the barn, in the barn!" shouted Peter. "We could not wait for them."

"See the posts of your fence, grandmother," said Polly. "They all have
on tall white caps."

"So they have, Polly. And how clean the snow caps are. How clean the
snow makes everything. We are all glad to have it, aren't we?"

"I am, I am!" shouted Peter. "Winter has come, winter has come! Good-by,
grandmother. I must go and play."

"Good-by," called grandmother. "Come down to dinner, if mother will let
you. We will have sugar on snow."

"She will let us," called Peter. "I know she will. And I will get the
pan of snow for the sugar."



THE STAR SNOWFLAKE


All that day Peter and Polly played in the snow. All day Peter's white
butterflies fell. Down they came out of the air, softly and silently.

Peter liked to stand and look up into the sky. He liked to feel the soft
flakes light upon his face. He liked to see them on his coat sleeve.

Polly said, "Aren't the flakes pretty, Peter? They are little stars. The
perfect ones have six points. The Story Lady told me a story about a
star snowflake. I will tell it to you.

"Once a little water fairy lived in our brook, back of grandmother's
house. One day she was very, very naughty. She did not wish to go up
into the air. She did not wish to be part of a cloud. She wished to
stay in the brook.

"Her father said, 'You must go. And I shall have you punished for being
so naughty. I shall have Jack Frost change you into a snowflake.'

"Jack Frost came one day to change the cloud into snowflakes. He saw how
sorry the water fairy was because she had been so naughty.

"So he said, 'You know that I have to make all snowflakes like stars.
Some of them are very pretty. I will change you into the prettiest star
snowflake that I know.'

"'And when you melt,' said Jack Frost, 'you will be a water fairy again.
You will always be good then, won't you?'

"So he changed her into a beautiful star snowflake. I have seen her
picture. The Story Lady showed it to me."

"Let's find her," said Peter. "Then let's show her to the Story Lady.
That will be better than the picture."

So the children looked and looked. They found many stars. But Polly was
not sure that any one of them was the right one.

At last Peter found the most beautiful star of all. "This is the water
fairy, this is the water fairy!" he cried.

And Polly said, "It does look like the picture. So let's go and show it
to the Story Lady."

Down they went to her house and into the kitchen. There was the Story
Lady, washing dishes.

"O Story Lady," said Peter. "I have the water fairy on my arm! She is
changed into a star. See her!"

But when the Story Lady looked, there was no star snowflake.

"She has gone," said Peter. "That is too bad." And he looked ready to
cry.

"Why, yes, Peter," said the Story Lady. "She has gone. But don't you
think that she is happy to be just a water fairy again? She likes that
better, you know. You must be glad that you found her and helped her
melt."

"I am glad," said Peter. "But it was only a 'Once upon a time' story,
wasn't it?"

"Of course it was, Peter. But don't you know that all snowflakes are
water fairies? Now run along and play with those that are left."



HOW PETER HELPED GRANDMOTHER


Grandmother was getting ready for Thanksgiving. Peter and Polly and
father and mother were going to her house on that day.

So grandmother was making mince pies. She was making other things, too.
One was fruit cake.

Peter and Polly were down at grandmother's, helping. At least, Polly was
helping and Peter was hindering.

He seemed bound to stand just where grandmother wished to walk. He
spilled a cup of milk on the table. After he had wiped it up, he upset
some flour.

But he did not mean to hinder.

Polly watched her grandmother make the pies. She watched her roll the
pie crust thin and trim it to the size of the plate.

She said, "If I had some dough, I am sure I could do that."

Her grandmother gave her some and a little plate. Polly rubbed the plate
with melted butter. Then she rolled out the dough and put it on the
plate.

"That is very good, Polly. Now we will fill our pies. Here is the
mincemeat."

Polly tried to make her little pie look like grandmother's large one.

"Next we must put on the covers," said grandmother. "Roll yours out like
mine."

She had Polly stick a knife through her cover in four places. Ask your
mother why she did this.

Then she helped Polly put on her cover, for that was quite hard to do.
Last of all she showed her how to pinch together the edges.

"Now," said grandmother, "we will bake our pies. What shall you do with
yours?"

"I should like to take it home to show mother and father. May I?"

"Why, to be sure. They ought to have a bite of your first pie. Please,
Peter, carry this pail of sugar into the pantry for me. I do not need it
any more."

The pies were baked brown. As soon as hers was cool enough, Polly
carried it up the hill to mother.

"See, mother," she said, "I can cook now. Grandmother let me make a pie.
It is for you and father."

"How good it looks, Polly! We will try it for dinner. You have done this
well. I see that I must begin to teach you to cook.

"Bread comes first. The next time I sponge bread, you may try. Your
first good loaf you may take to grandmother."

"Oh, may I, mother? I want to learn to cook. Then I can cook for you and
father. I watched grandmother all the morning. I helped her, too."

"So did I help grandmother," said Peter.

"O Peter, what did you do to help?" asked Polly. "You spilled the milk
and then you spilled the flour. That isn't helping much."

"I did help," said Peter. "I helped all the morning. I worked very
hard."

"I am sure that you meant to, Peter," said mother. "But tell me what you
did."

"Why," said Peter, "why, I carried away the pail of sugar."

Polly laughed, but mother said, "That was kind, Peter. And you know that
you always help by being a good boy. So I really think that you are
right."



THE SNOW MAN


"Let's make a snow man this morning. Will you, Peter? The snow is just
right for big balls."

"Then we will," said Peter. "But let's get Tim to help us."

Tim is Peter's playmate. He lives on a farm. His house is farther up the
hill. Look for it on the map in the front of this book.

Soon Tim was down at Peter's. His big dog Collie was with him. Wag-wag
and Collie are friends. They often play together.

The three children began to roll snowballs. Polly's grew very large. The
boys had to help her with it. They pushed it over and over. At last it
was quite near the edge of the bank.

"One more push," said Polly. "Then it will be just right. People can see
the man from the road."

But that push was too much. Over the edge of the bank the big ball
rolled.

"Oh, stop, stop!" cried Peter. "Do not run away. We will make you into a
good snow man."

But the ball did not stop. It rolled against Tim. It knocked him flat.
Peter and Polly fell down the bank after it. At last it smashed itself
against the fence.

"Never mind," said Polly. "We can make another. Do not let the next one
knock you down, Tim."

"Old snowball ran over me," said Tim. "But I do not care. He smashed
himself."

Another big ball was made. It was rolled into place. Then smaller ones
were lifted on it. These were for the body.

At last the head was ready. Polly stood in a chair. She stuck the head
on the body. She made eyes, a nose, and a mouth with small sticks.

She put an old hat on the head. She put a branch under the arm.

Then she said, "We will name you White Giant. You may take care of our
house at night. In the daytime you may play with us. Will you, old
Giant?"

Polly did not think that the snow man could talk. But just then she
heard some one say, "Of course I will play with you, Polly."

"Oh, oh! Has he come alive?" cried Peter. "Can he chase me? I do not
wish him to do that." And he ran behind Polly.

"I cannot chase you, Peter," the snow man seemed to say. "I cannot move
at all in the daytime. But at night you should see me."

"I saw you the other night in a dream," said Peter. "I did not like you.
You chased me."

"I will never do that again, Peter. So you must not be afraid of me."

Just then Tim cried out, "Look, look!" And there behind a tree was
Peter's father.

Polly laughed. "I know now that the snow man did not talk," she said.
"At first I thought he did. It was you, wasn't it, father?"

"Why do you think so, Polly? You didn't see me. Did it sound like me?"

"No, it did not, father," said Peter. "And I think it was the snow man.
I am going to watch him to-night and see."

"Why don't you?" asked father. "I should like to know about it. You tell
me when you find out. Where are your mittens, Tim? Aren't your hands
cold?"

"I've lost them. And Peter has lost one of his red ones. We can't find
them at all."

"Perhaps they are under the snow. The sun will help you find them by and
by. Peter, run in and tell mother. She will get some mittens for you and
Tim to wear.

"When you come back, bring the old broom. That is better than the branch
for your snow man. If you watch to-night, you may see what he does with
it."



PETER'S DREAM


At bedtime Peter said, "I want to sit up. I am going to watch the snow
man."

"Why?" asked mother.

"I heard him speak," said Peter. "He said he would not chase me. He said
I ought to see him at night. He can move then."

"Very well," said mother. "But you might get into your bed. You can
watch him from your window."

"I did not think of that, mother. I will go now."

Soon Peter was in bed. By sitting up, he could see the snow man. His
window was wide open. But Peter had on thick night clothes. He did not
feel the cold.

The moon was bright. Peter thought of his friend, the Fairy Bird. He
wished the Bird would come again and take him to the moon.

All at once he rubbed his eyes. Where was the snow man? He looked again.
The snow man was gone!

"Oh, oh!" said Peter to himself. "I've lost him. That's too bad. Now I
shall not see anything."

But just then the door opened softly. Peter saw something white coming
into his room. It was the snow man!

Peter was so surprised that he nearly jumped out of bed. He was
frightened, too. He called, "Oh, dear!"

"Sh, sh, sh!" said the snow man. "You'll wake every one in the house. I
came up here to please you. I don't care to see any one else.

"It was hard work climbing the stairs. You children didn't make me very
good legs; nor very good arms, either, I must say. I have no feet and no
hands.

"My hat came off when I broke myself away from the snow. But, without
hands, I couldn't put it back on my head.

"I do wish that you would make me better next time. You can, if you try.
But I'm thankful you gave me eyes and a mouth, too. I like to see and I
like to talk."

"Don't you like to eat?" asked Peter. "What do you eat? Oh, dear! I'm
afraid you eat little boys like me."

The snow man began to shake. Bits of snow dropped on the floor.

"Why, Peter, I believe you are afraid of me. You needn't be. You'll
laugh, too, when I tell you what I do eat. Sticks and twigs and leaves
that I pick up when you are rolling me.

"Best of all I like mittens. I don't get very many. But I ate yours and
Tim's this morning. They were good. I like red ones best. And I had only
one red mitten."

Then Peter did laugh. "What queer things to eat," he said. "And how
funny you look when you laugh. You shake, but you do not laugh with your
mouth."

"Yes," said the snow man. "That's all because of Polly. You see, she
made my mouth with a horrid straight stick. I can't bend it at all."

"You make me very cold," said Peter. "You are so white. I want my mother
to come and tuck me up."

"I will try," the snow man said. And, with his snowy arms, he tried to
pull up the bedclothes. One arm slipped and hit Peter's neck. Peter was
so surprised that he screamed.

In just a minute mother ran in. "What is it, dear?" she asked.

Peter could only say, "The snow man, the snow man! He has been up here!"

"He's out in the yard, dear. I can see him. And he has lost his hat. The
wind must have blown it off. It has been raining hard. The rain has come
in at the window. It is wet on the floor."

"He didn't have his hat up here," said Peter. "He dropped it when he
started. He couldn't put it on. And he made those spots on the floor.
It was not the rain. Pieces of snow dropped off him when he laughed."

Mother only said, "I'll tuck you up again, Peter. We can see about it in
the morning. Now good night."

In the morning the rain had stopped. The children went to look at the
snow man. He had grown much smaller in the night. There was a crack near
the bottom of his legs.

"He did walk, he did, I know he did!" cried Peter. "That's what made the
crack. And, O Polly, look at this!"

Sticking out of the snow man's stomach was the end of a red mitten!



CUTTING THE CHRISTMAS TREE


It was nearly Christmas. Peter could hardly wait for the day to come.

He kept saying, "Mother, will it be Christmas to-morrow? Mother, will it
be Christmas to-morrow?"

At last father said, "Do you want Christmas before I get the tree?"

"No," said Peter. "But will you ever get it?"

"I will to-day. You and Polly may go with me. We will choose the
prettiest fir tree we can find. Put on your things, and we will start
now."

"Oh, goody, goody!" cried Peter, jumping up and down. "Now I know that
Christmas is almost here."

"It will be here to-morrow," said father. "Run and tell Polly."

They went through the field back of the house. They climbed over the
stone-wall post office. Polly looked into some of the boxes for mail.

She said, "Father, one day Peter told me that he had a pony in his
post-office box."

"It must have been a very large box, Polly. We do not have such large
ones at the store. Which is it?"

"I don't care if I didn't have it in my box," said Peter. "I think I
shall get it on the tree. It will be up in the tiptop."

"Then we must find a strong tree, my boy. Can you see one you like?"

"That one," said Peter.

Father laughed. "That is a strong tree. But it is too tall. We should
have to cut a hole in the ceiling to stand it up. Find a smaller one."

"There is a good tree, father. See how pretty it is. It looks like our
little firs at home."

"I believe that is just right for us, Polly. I will cut it down. Please
hold my coat."

Father swung his ax. He gave three sharp blows. All at once there was a
chatter overhead.

In the next tree a gray squirrel was running up a large branch. He was
scolding with all his might. His tail was jerking. He looked very cross.

"Well, old fellow," said father, "did I disturb you? I am sorry. Go back
to sleep. We will not take your tree."

"His is too bare, isn't it, father? The leaves have all gone. We must
have a fir tree for ours. It has queer leaves. But they do not fall off
in the winter."

"That is why we call such trees evergreens, Polly. They are always
green. Pine trees are evergreens, too. Their needles are longer than fir
needles."

"I think that is one of our squirrels," said Peter. "He took our nuts,
Polly. I wonder where he put them."

"He thought they were his," said Polly. "He needed them."

Soon father had cut down the fir. He put it over his shoulder. The end
dragged on the snow.

"Now we are ready for home," he said. "To-night mother and I will dress
this tree. To-morrow you may see it."

"Have you really a dress for it?" asked Peter. "I hope it is red. Who
made it?"

"O Peter, how silly you are! Father means dress it up with candy bags
and popped corn and presents."

"I know now," said Peter. "Ponies and guns and things."

"See the snow sparkle, children. The sun makes it do that. Look at the
blue sky. Doesn't the air feel good to you?"

"It makes me feel like running," said Polly.

"Then run along, chicks. You will get home first. Tell mother that the
Christmas tree is really coming. You may pop the corn this afternoon."



THE GIVE-AWAY BOX


When Peter and Polly got home, they ran into the house.

"Mother, mother!" they shouted. "The Christmas tree is coming. Father
has it."

"Why, mother," said Polly, "what makes the house smell so sweet? It
smells just like the woods."

"It is the green wreaths, Polly. I have them in all the rooms. There is
one on the front door, too. These wreaths smell better than the ones
that we buy. You may help me make the rest of them. We need more."

So the children went into the kitchen. On a table were pieces of
evergreen boughs.

They helped their mother twist the pieces into circles. On each circle
she wound many small twigs. When done, the wreaths were firm and thick
and green.

"How good it does smell, mother. I like Christmas smells. But see my
hands."

"That is the pitch from the greens, Polly. Just rub on a little butter.
It will take off the pitch. Then wash your hands in warm water. I will
clean up the rest of the greens. When this is done, we will pop our
corn."

That was always fun. Polly liked to shake the popper. She liked to see
the white kernels of corn hop up and down. She liked the good smell,
too.

Soon two large panfuls were popped. Then came another task. The corn
must be strung. Polly and Peter both helped. But, of course, mother
could string faster than they. She told them stories while they worked.

"When I was a little girl," said mother, "we did not have a Christmas
tree. Instead, we hung up our stockings. We hung them near the
fireplace. We thought Santa Claus could reach them better there.

"I was the smallest in our family. So my stocking was the smallest. My
presents would never go into my stocking. This used to tease me.

"My dear grandmother found it out. One day she said to me, 'I am going
to knit you a new red stocking. It is not to wear. It is for you to
hang up.'

"And the very next Christmas, what do you think? She had knit me a
stocking as long as I was tall! How pleased I was to hang it up!

"Now, children, the Give-away Box is ready. You may choose your things
to give away."

On the floor in the dining room there was a large box. It was filled
with games, dolls, bags of candy and popped corn, and many other things.

These were for Peter and Polly to give away. They would make other
children happy. And that would make Peter and Polly happy, too.

Peter chose a jumping jack for Tim. Polly chose to give him a whistle.

"He cannot whistle with his mouth yet," she said. "Perhaps Collie will
come for this whistle."

When Polly was out of the room, Peter chose a present for her. It was
the prettiest doll that he had ever seen.

Polly chose a train of cars for Peter. But he did not know that.

"We can give this candlestick to Mrs. White," said Polly. "She gave us
back our Jack-o'-lanterns. I think she would like it."

Mother said, "Why don't you give the hot water bag to grandmother? Her
bag leaks."

"Oh, we will, we will!" cried both children.

"Farmer Brown is our friend," said Polly. "He showed us his sheep. Mrs.
Brown is our friend, too. She gave us a party last summer. The lambs
came to it. It was on her steps. Let us give them two wreaths."

"There is my teacher," said Peter. "I will give her these marbles."

Polly said, "Your teacher! You don't go to school, Peter."

"I did one day," said Peter. "I like her. She was good to me. She is my
teacher. I don't care what you say."

"Never mind about that, chicks," said mother. "I'm afraid she hasn't a
pocket for the marbles. Why not give her the box of handkerchiefs?"

Before long the Give-away Box was empty. The presents were tied up.
Every friend in the village had been remembered.

Peter and Polly were tired. They were glad when it was bedtime.

As mother tucked her up, Polly said, "I like the Give-away Box. It is
fun. It is as much fun as it is to get things. You gave it to us,
mother. You give us everything."

"Father, too," said mother. "And it makes fathers and mothers happy to
do that."



CHRISTMAS MORNING


Early Christmas morning Peter awoke. He heard a noise in mother's room.
So he knew that he might get up.

He pushed open the door. "Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!" he shouted.

"Merry Christmas," said mother, hugging him tightly.

"Merry Christmas," said father, tossing him up into the air. "Did you
see Santa Claus last night?"

Just then Polly ran in. "Oh, oh, it is Christmas!" she cried. "Merry
Christmas! Merry Christmas! See what I found in my bed."

It was a box of animal crackers. They were all sheep.

"O father! You did it for a joke. You know I do not like mutton."

Peter ran to look in his room. He thought a joke might be there, too.

"See, see!" he shouted. "I have found a letter box. That is not a joke."

"Look inside," said father.

Peter looked. There he saw a very small pony. It was made of cloth. On
its back it had a cloth monkey.

"A joke, a joke!" cried Polly. "Your pony came in your letter box after
all."

There were to be no more presents until after breakfast. So the children
dressed quickly.

It was hard for them to eat anything.

At last Polly said, "I cannot wait another second. I will eat my
breakfast with my dinner. Here comes grandmother. Now may we open the
door and see the tree?"

"In just a minute," said father. "You say 'Merry Christmas' to
grandmother. I have one last thing for the tree. You may come in when I
call." And out he ran.

"I wonder what it is," said Polly. "I can hear him coming back through
the side door."

Then grandmother came in, and Polly forgot to wonder any more.

At last they heard father shout, "Come!"

Polly opened the door, and the children rushed in.

"Oh! Oh!" said Polly.

"Oh! Oh!" said Peter.

Such a beautiful tree they had never before seen. It was hung with
strings of popped corn and red cranberries. It was covered with colored
balls and big gold stars. Over it was white, shiny stuff that looked
like snow.

It had candy bags and oranges. At the top, there was a doll with wings.
And there were many boxes and packages.

"Oh! Oh! Oh!" said both children again.

"Do you like it?" asked mother.

"I never saw anything so pretty," said Polly. "Is that a fairy at the
top?"

"I think it is Santa Claus's little girl," said Peter. "I should like to
have her for my own."

"Should you rather have that than anything else here?" asked father.

"I think so, father. May I?"

"Walk around the tree and see if you are sure, my son."

Peter did as he was told. He had not taken many steps when he jumped
back with a cry.

"What is it? What is it?" he asked.

Polly ran forward, and what do you think she saw?

On the other side of the tree something moved. Polly saw two large eyes,
two long ears, a brown head, and then she knew that it was a pony.

"Peter, Peter!" she cried, "here is the pony! It is on the Christmas
tree! O Peter, Peter, Peter!"

"Lead her out," said father. "She will come with you. She likes
children."

So Polly took hold of the little strap. And the pony walked out into the
room after her.

"Her name is Brownie," said father. "She is grandmother's present to you
and Peter. She is half yours and half Peter's."

"O grandmother!" cried Polly. "I thank you now, but I will thank you
better by and by."

"Which half is mine, grandmother?" asked Peter.

"Half of both halves," said grandmother. "Why?"

"Nothing," said Peter. "I love both her halves. And I love you, too. And
I love the tree, and Christmas, and everybody."

"And so you should," said father. "Come now, we will take Brownie to her
stable. Then you may get the presents off the tree."



THE SNOW HOUSE


One day there was a heavy snowstorm. At the same time the wind blew. It
heaped the snow over the road in front of Polly's house.

The snow was so deep that horses could not walk through. Men had to dig
the road out.

Mr. Howe helped to do this. Peter and Polly watched the work. They
thought it great fun.

The men threw the snow by the side of the road. Soon the piles were very
high. They were twice as high as Polly could reach.

A few days after this Polly said, "I know what we can do."

"What?" asked Peter.

"Let's play Eskimos."

"How do you play it?" asked Peter.

"Well," said Polly, "first we must make a snow house. Then we can think
of other things to do."

"We can't," said Peter.

"Can't what?" asked Polly. "Can't think of things to do? I can, if you
can't."

"No," said Peter, "we can't make a snow house. We tried. It tumbled
down. Don't you remember?"

"I've thought how to do it, Peter. Come on. I will show you."

Polly took Peter to the great pile of snow by the side of the road.

"There is our house," she said. "It is all made for us."

"That isn't any house, Polly. I think I won't play with you to-day. You
tease me. I am going to see Tim. Good-by."

"O Peter! Wait, wait! I won't tease. I will tell you about it now. That
is our house really and truly. But it is just the outside.

"We must make a hole in the pile for a door. Then we must dig out the
inside. Can't we do that, Peter?"

Peter said, "Oh, yes. We can do that. I see about it now. I will help.
We can dig very well.

"We dug our cyclone hole last summer. Perhaps we shall find another box
with silver dollars in it."

"Perhaps we shall not, too," said Polly. "I don't expect to find things
in the snow. People hide their gold and silver in the ground.

"The ground does not melt. Snow does. So it would not hide their gold
and silver very long."

"Why doesn't the ground melt, Polly?"

"Well, I don't know. You ask father. Snow melts because it is made of
water."

"Butter melts, sugar melts," said Peter. "They are not made of water. I
wish to know why the ground does not melt, too. I wish to know now."

"Peter, can't you stop asking questions and go to work? See, first we
must dig a path here. Then we will begin our door."

It took a long time to dig the path. But at last it was finished. Then
they made a hole. It went straight into the side of the big snow pile.
That was for the door.

"Now we must hollow out a place," said Polly. "It will be our room. We
must make it large. We shall sleep there and eat there and live there.
That is the way the Eskimos do. I read it in a book at school."

"I'd rather live in a house," said Peter. "Let's live in the house and
play out here."

"Then we will," said Polly. "It would be cold here anyway. I should
think Eskimos would freeze in snow houses. But they do not."

The next day the children scraped out more snow, and the next and the
next. At last they had made quite a large room.

It was nearly round. The floor was packed hard. The white walls were
smooth. Polly could stand up straight in the middle.

Mother gave them an old rug for the floor.

She said, "Eskimos have fur rugs. You must play that this is bearskin."

Father said, "Do you know what Eskimos call a snow house? It is igloo.
Perhaps some day I will try to crawl into your igloo. I should like to
see it."

"Oh, do, father. Then we will have a party. It is quite warm inside. But
we can make the door bigger for you."

"Never mind about that," said father. "Perhaps I can get a fairy to
shrink me. We shall see."



THE FALL OF THE IGLOO


For many days the children played in their igloo. More snow fell. They
dug it out of the path. Then they could get to the door.

"It only makes our house taller," said Polly. "It does not hurt the
inside. I do not care how much snow comes on top of it."

"You may care some day," said father. "Snow is heavy. After a while it
may break down your roof."

"What if we are inside when the roof breaks, Peter? The snow will get
down our necks."

"It will do more," said father. "It will bury you."

"Will it hurt us, father?"

"I think not. But you will look like snow men afterward."

One day Tim was playing with Peter and Polly. They were in the igloo.
Collie was outside playing with Wag-wag.

Wag-wag could go into the igloo. But the children did not like to have
Collie there. He was so large that he took up too much room.

Polly was the mother Eskimo. Peter was the father Eskimo. Tim was the
little boy Eskimo.

_Mother Eskimo._ "I think we need some meat. We need a seal. I can use
its skin. I will make boots of it."

_Father Eskimo._ "I killed a bear yesterday. Use the bearskin for
boots."

_Mother Eskimo._ "Oh, no. That would not make good boots. I need
sealskin for them. Besides I wish to use the bearskin to make some
trousers. I must have new ones."

"O Polly," said Peter, "women do not wear trousers."

"Eskimo women do, Peter. Now you go and catch me a seal."

_Father Eskimo._ "But it is cold. I may have to watch many hours for a
seal. I must sit very still beside his hole in the ice. If I move, he
will not come up there to breathe. Perhaps I shall freeze, sitting so
still."

_Mother Eskimo._ "No, you will not. Do I not make you good fur clothes?
Do I not sew them with my good bone needle? They will keep you warm."

_Father Eskimo._ "Yes, but don't I have to get the fur for them? That is
harder than making the clothes."

_Mother Eskimo._ "I am not so sure that it is. Should you like to scrape
the skins to clean them? Should you like to chew them to make them
soft?"

_Father Eskimo._ "No, I should rather hunt than chew skins. So I will go
now."

Father Eskimo crawled out of the igloo. He called to the dogs.

"Come here, dogs. You must drag my sledge. I am going out to catch a
seal. You must draw it home on the sledge."

The dogs were jumping up and down and playing with each other. They did
not know that they were Eskimo dogs.

Peter could not get them. He grew quite cross. He crawled back into the
igloo.

"I cannot catch the dogs," he said. "I shall not go hunting. I shall not
play Eskimo any more to-day."

Polly started to speak. But instead she screamed. Something was
happening. What were the dogs doing? Were they on the top of the igloo?

The roof was breaking. She could see the leg of one dog sticking
through. Then something fell on the children.

It was the snow roof. It was also two dogs. Collie and Wag-wag had
broken down the igloo.

Father was just coming home. How he laughed when he saw the children and
the dogs. He pulled them out from under the snow.

He said, "Aren't you glad you are not real Eskimos? Aren't you glad you
live in a strong house? Let's all go in and see what mother is cooking
for supper. It will not be seal meat. Tim must come, too."



PULLING PETER'S TOOTH


Peter had a loose tooth. It was a lower front tooth. It was his first
loose tooth. He had always wanted one.

When Polly's teeth became loose, he would feel of his.

He would say, "I wish I could wiggle mine, too. I wish I could pull mine
out."

Mother said, "You are not yet old enough to lose your teeth. I am glad
that you are not. Why do you wish to have a loose tooth?"

"Because they are nice to wiggle," said Peter. "Because Polly is faster
than I am. She has had four. I like the holes in her face, too. She can
make a funny noise through them. It is a whistle."

"Your turn will come by and by," said mother. "I suppose you will lose
your upper front teeth first."

But it happened one day that Peter fell down. He bumped his nose. He
also cut his lip on a tooth.

He must have bumped that tooth quite hard, for it became loose. Peter
was much pleased.

"I should let it alone," said mother. "Perhaps it will grow tight
again."

But Peter could not seem to let it alone. He wiggled it with his tongue.
He wiggled it with his fingers. At last he made it very loose.

Then he said, "Polly, I must pull my tooth."

"Oh, let it come out," said Polly. "Two of mine did."

"No," said Peter. "I shall pull it. You pulled one of yours with your
fingers. I shall do that."

But the loose tooth would not come out.

"It will not pull," said Peter. "I shall put a string on it. I shall tie
the end of the string to the door. Then I shall shut the door hard. It
will pull my tooth. You did that."

"Yes," said Polly. "That was fun. But I know a better way now. I will
show it to you."

She took a flatiron. She tied a string to it. She set it on the kitchen
table. Then she tied the other end of the string to Peter's loose tooth.

She said, "This string is too short to reach the floor. You push the
flatiron off the table. It will fall down and jerk out your tooth."

"Shall I now?" asked Peter.

"Yes, now."

So Peter pushed the flatiron. But Polly had not been right. The string
was too long. It reached to the floor.

Down went the flatiron, bang! It landed on the edge of Peter's boot. It
landed on the edge of Peter's toe, too. It hurt him, but not much. And
the tooth did not come out.

"Oh! Oh!" cried Peter. "It hurt my foot, it hurt my foot! It didn't pull
out my tooth at all." And he started to jump up and down.

The very first jump surprised him. Something pulled at his mouth and
then seemed to let go.

It was the string around his tooth. He had jumped up far enough to pull
the tooth out himself.

How Polly did laugh when she saw this!

Peter cried, "It's out, it's out! We have found a new way! I found it!"
And he got down on the floor to pick up his tooth.

"I am going to save it to plant in my garden," he said.

"To plant!" said Polly. "What for?"

"So I shall have more," said Peter.

Then Polly laughed again. She ran to tell mother about Peter's garden.



DRIVING WITH FATHER


One morning father said, "I am going to Large Village to-day. You
children may have a ride. You may go as far as Farmer Brown's. I will
leave you there."

"Oh, goody, goody!" cried Polly.

"Oh, goody, goody!" cried Peter.

"You are to stay to dinner. I shall have my dinner at Large Village. Run
and get ready."

"Oh, oh, oh!" cried both children at once.

Farmer Brown lived two and one half miles away. You must follow the road
past Mr. Howe's store to find his house.

Peter and Polly liked to go there. They liked to see his horses, cows,
sheep, pigs, and hens.

"We can see the sheep," said Polly. "They will not be in the pasture.
The snow has covered the grass. Their wool will be thicker now than it
was last summer."

"We can see the pigs," said Peter. "Perhaps they will grunt at us."

They drove to the farm in a low sled. When they were out of the village,
Mr. Howe stopped.

"Do you wish to ride on the runners?" he asked.

This was a great treat. Peter and Polly could never "catch rides" on
people's sleds. Some of the other children were allowed to do this. But
father showed Peter and Polly how they might get hurt.

He said, "If you 'catch rides,' I shall worry. I shall worry all the
time. So I ask you not to do it. When you drive with me, you may 'catch
rides' all you please."

So, on the way to Farmer Brown's, he drove slowly. And the children
jumped on and off the sled at any time they wished. It was fun.

The road followed the river all the way. But the river could not sing
now. It was covered with ice.

They passed through thick woods. Many of the trees were cedar. They are
evergreens. So they had not lost their leaves.

"Look there," said father, stopping the horse.

On one tree were many little birds. They looked black and gray. They
were hopping about from twig to twig. They were calling, "Chick-a-dee,
chick-a-dee."

"I know them," said Polly. "They are saying their own names over and
over. They are getting their breakfast. Aren't they cold at night,
father? Where do they sleep? I wish they would come to our house."

"I hope they sleep in some old hole, Polly. Then they can keep one
another warm. Perhaps they rent part of a woodpecker's hole for the
winter.

"We must put out some food for the birds to-morrow. Do not let me
forget."

At last Mr. Brown's house was in sight. The farmer and his wife came to
the door to meet them.

"Well, well," said Mr. Brown, "here are our little friends. Your cheeks
are red. You look as if you had been running. Didn't your father give
you a ride?"

"Oh, yes," said Polly. "But we have been running behind. We have been
catching rides on his sled. He lets us.

"He lets us ride on the runners, too. He does not wish us to do it
except on his sled."

"I hope that you mind him," said Mr. Brown.

"We do," said Polly.

"Shall we go out to the barn?" asked the farmer. "Where is Wag-wag?
Didn't you bring him? He might have come."

"I didn't know he was invited," said Polly. "Yes, let's go to the barn.
Let's see everything you have there. Have you any little lambs?"

"It is not quite time for little lambs yet. But you can see all the
sheep. They look fatter than they did last summer. That is because their
wool has grown longer. When we get back, it will be dinner time."



THE STAG


"There is one hen that goes up into the hay," said Farmer Brown. "I
think she lays her eggs there. But I cannot find them."

"Let us go up into the hay to look for them," said Polly.

So the children hunted. The barn was not very cold. Still it was not so
nice as in the summer time.

At last Polly nearly tumbled over something. It was the brown hen. She
flew away with a loud cackle. Then Polly saw four eggs lying in the hay.

"I've found them, I've found them!" she shouted. She gave Peter two and
took two herself. Then they went down to show Mr. Brown.

"You have sharp eyes," he said.

"I used to think I could see better if I had spectacles," said Polly. "I
used to think that I should have four eyes then."

"I am going to feed the horses now," said Mr. Brown. "You may come."

While Mr. Brown did this, Peter and Polly looked carefully at each
horse. They were hunting for one that they knew.

It was the old brown mare. They had ridden horseback on her last summer.
That was when they went with John to hunt for the turtle's eggs.

"There she is, I think," said Polly.

"Are you looking for John's mare? Yes, that is the one," said Farmer
Brown. "You will not need her to ride any more. I hear you have a pony
of your own."

Then the children told him about their pony. They told him about the
Christmas tree.

"Ho, ho!" laughed Farmer Brown. "Who ever heard of a pony on a Christmas
tree?"

"But think of a pony in a letter box," said Polly. And Farmer Brown
laughed still more.

How warm the cow stable was! Polly said, "How can it be so warm? There
is no stove."

"The cows themselves make it warm," said Mr. Brown. "See, here is one
just the color of a deer. Isn't she pretty?"

"I guess the deer would be glad, if they had such a nice, warm house,"
said Polly.

"Yes, the winter is hard for them. It is cold, and food is not easy to
find. There are two that sometimes come to our barnyard. I give them
grain and hay and salt."

"I wish I could see a deer to-day," said Polly. "Let us go to the
barnyard and look."

"We will feed the sheep now, Polly. You can watch for one while I am
doing that."

When the sheep were fed, it was dinner time. After dinner Mrs. Brown let
the children play on the piazza.

All at once Peter said, "See the pretty cow coming down from the woods.
Whose is she? Perhaps she is lost."

"Where, Peter?" asked Polly.

"Coming across the field. Now it is right there near the fence."

"Oh, oh!" cried Polly. "That isn't a cow. I think it is a deer. See its
horns."

She called to Mr. Brown. Just as he came out of the house, the deer
reached the fence. He walked quite close to it. Then he jumped over it.

"A pretty jump," said Mr. Brown. "The fence is more than four feet high.
That is a fine stag. A stag is a father deer, you know."

The stag walked across the road. He jumped another high fence. Then he
went off up the railroad track.

"Oh," said Polly, "I wish I could jump like that. He didn't run at all."

"It was a pretty sight," said Mr. Brown. "I am sorry the old fellow did
not stop for dinner. I am afraid he will have nothing better than bark
and twigs, now."

"It wasn't a cow, was it?" asked Peter.

"Cows can't jump like that, Peter. Though perhaps one did. I have heard
of a cow that jumped over the moon. Have you?"

"Yes, I have. But I know she didn't really. Oh, here is father. We will
tell him about my pretty cow."



POLLY'S BIRD PARTY


"Do you remember something, father?" asked Polly.

"What is it, chick?"

"Something you told me not to forget, father."

"Let me think. What was it? Yes, I remember now. We were to put out some
food for the birds. Is that it?"

"That is it. So, let us do it now."

"Very well," said father. "We will. But mother must help. She must give
us bones."

"Bones!" said Polly. "Birds don't eat bones. But dogs do. If we put out
bones, Wag-wag will get them."

"Wag-wag will not get these," said father. "I shall tie them up in the
trees. Wag-wag has not learned to climb trees."

"I saw him trying one day," said Polly. "He was after a chipmunk. The
chipmunk ran up a tree. Wag-wag put his fore paws on the trunk. He
stood up on his hind feet. He tried hard to get up that trunk. He barked
and barked."

"What did the chipmunk do?" asked father.

"The chipmunk stopped on a branch over his head. He sat there and
chattered. Grandmother said he was laughing.

"She told me he was saying, 'You can't come up, Wag-wag. You can't come
up. You don't know how to climb. I am safe!'"

"Perhaps he was saying that," said father. "Now here are the bones."

"Oh, I see," said Polly. "They have meat and fat on them. That is for
the birds. They need not try to eat bones."

"Yes, and here is grass seed. Some birds would rather have that. And
here is cracked corn, too. It is for the larger birds."

He put the grass seed into small baskets. He did the same with the corn.

"Now we are ready," he said. "You help me carry these things out. I will
come back for the stepladder."

Soon father had tied the bones to the trees. He put them on the small
branches. He tied them so that the birds could get at them easily. The
birds could perch on the branches and peck at the meat.

He said, "I will not tie them to large branches. Some cat might walk out
and catch our birds."

Then he fastened up the baskets. He fastened them tightly. They could
not swing. The birds could perch upon the edge and eat the seeds and the
corn.

"Now our party is ready," said father. "Do you suppose anything will
come to it? We will keep food here the rest of the winter."

How Peter and Polly watched the food! It seemed as if the birds would
never come. But at last they found it.

The very next morning Polly saw two birds eating there. She did not know
what they were. She ran to tell mother.

"See our birds!" she cried. "We have two. What are they, oh, what are
they?"

"You know them in the summer," said mother. "Then the father bird is
yellow and black. You call them your canaries."

"But they have changed their clothes," said Polly. "They do not look
the same. They are not so pretty."

"Many birds change their color," said mother. "Do you dress in the
winter just as you do in the summer? How those birds like the seeds!"

"There, there!" cried Polly. "See that big bird. He is after the meat. I
know him. He is a blue jay. Don't you frighten away my other birds, Mr.
Blue Jay."

It was not long before many birds found the food. Day after day the
chick-a-dees feasted. A few crows came. Once a flock of snowbirds
stopped at the party. And there were many that Peter and Polly did not
know.

One day Polly saw a bird that she liked very much. It was a robin. She
was surprised and pleased.

"I did not know that robins were here in cold weather," she said to him.
"I like you best of all. You make me think of spring. Peter likes winter
best. But I like you and spring. Please come to see me every day."

And the robin did for nearly a month. Then he came no more. Perhaps he
grew tired of waiting for spring. Perhaps he flew south to find it.
Polly never knew.



THE NEW SLED


"I am going to begin to make something to-day," said father. "The stove
is lighted. The workshop is warm. Who will be my helper?"

"I will," said Polly.

"I will," said Peter.

"Very well. You may both help. Come to the shop and guess what we are to
make."

The workshop was in Mr. Howe's barn. In it was a large workbench. Tools
hung on the walls. A box of tools was near the bench.

On the other side of the shop there was a very low workbench. It had two
drawers. In the drawers were tools.

There were two small hammers. There were two small saws. There were two
small screw drivers. There were two pots of glue. There were nails,
tacks, and screws.

The big bench and the big tools were for Mr. Howe. The little bench and
the little tools were for Peter and Polly.

It was not hard to guess what was to be made. Father had laid the pieces
of wood together. Any one could tell what they would make.

"It's a sled like your low one," said Polly. "I think it must be for
Brownie. It is too small for a big horse."

"That is just what it is, Polly. Grandmother wished to give you a
sleigh. But this will be better. If you tip over, you will not fall far.

"I am glad to have you learn to use Brownie in the winter, too. The snow
will make a soft cushion, if you fall off your sled."

The parts of the sled had been made for father. He needed only to put
them together. This did not take very long.

"Now," said father, "the carpenters have finished their work. We must
draw our sled to the blacksmith's shop."

"What for?" asked Peter.

"For the iron runners, my boy. They will make your sled slip easily. The
blacksmith has been making them. He says that he will fit them on
to-morrow."

So the three took the sled to the blacksmith. On the way Polly rode a
little. Then Peter rode a little. Father was the horse.

Once he played that he was running away. He tumbled Polly off into the
soft snow. The children thought this great fun.

At the blacksmith's shop they saw the runners. These did not quite fit
the wooden runners. Polly felt sorry about this.

But the blacksmith said, "Never you mind, Polly. I can heat them at the
forge. That will make them soft. Then I can bend them as I wish.

"You ought to know about this. Haven't you seen me shoe horses? Haven't
you seen me make the shoes fit?"

"Yes," said Polly. "But, you see, I forgot about that."

The next afternoon the sled came home. The blacksmith's boy drew it. The
iron runners were on. They fitted well.

"Now," said father, "we have another job to begin to-morrow. We must
paint the sled. What color shall it be?"

The children talked about it a long time.

At last Polly said, "Peter likes red and I like red. May we paint it
red, father?"

"Red is a good color," said father. "We will paint it red. See that your
brushes are soft. You must help on the work, you know."

The next day the painting began. Each child had a part to do all alone.
Of course, Peter got paint on his hands. And there were large, red spots
on his clothes. But they were old, and no one cared.

The first coat of paint dried quickly in the warm room. Then another was
put on, and the work was done.

Peter and Polly went to the workshop many times a day to look at the
sled. They touched the paint with their fingers. Surely it must be dry.

At last father said, "The paint is hard now. The sled is ready for use.
We will harness Brownie to it to-morrow."



BROWNIE


"Now may we harness Brownie?" asked Polly.

"Now you may," said father.

He drew out the new, red sled. He put on Brownie's little harness. He
helped the children harness her to the sled.

They jumped in. Polly had the reins. She said, "Get up, Brownie," and
Brownie walked out of the yard.

"First, we will show grandmother," said Polly. "Brownie is grandmother's
present. She must see us driving her."

They stopped in front of grandmother's house. Peter went in to call her
to the door. Polly held Brownie.

"Well, well," said grandmother, "that is nice. What a pretty sled you
have. I like the color."

"We helped to make it," said Polly. "We wished you to see us first. We
are going to show the children now. Hear our pretty sleigh bells.
Good-by."

Down the hill Brownie trotted. Her bells jingled softly. She went across
the railroad track and into the bridge.

Some of the village children were looking over the railing. They were
watching men cutting ice.

When they saw Peter and Polly, they cried, "Here comes the pony! See
Peter and Polly! Look at the red sled! Give us a ride! Oh, give us a
ride!"

"Yes, we will," said Polly. "Come up on the street, where it is smooth.
Two of you get in with us. We will take two more by and by."

Polly could drive quite well. She had often driven father's horse, when
father took her with him. She let each child hold Brownie's reins.

"Let more ride at once," said one of the girls. "There is room in the
sled."

"No," said Polly. "The pony is strong, but she is little. I will not
let her drag more than four. And two are enough, going uphill."

So they trotted up and down the street. Sometimes the boys and girls who
were not riding ran by Brownie's side. Brownie seemed to enjoy the fun
as much as any of them.

At last it was time to go home. The children all patted the pony. This
was to thank her for the good time she had given them. Then Peter and
Polly drove away, up the hill.

Mother came out of the house. She said, "Do you think you can do an
errand for me? Can you drive to the creamery? I wish some buttermilk.
Here is a pail for it."

"What fun," said Polly. "Yes, of course, we can do that. You hold the
pail, Peter."

Down the hill they trotted again. At the creamery, Polly took the pail.
She went inside.

She said, "Have you some buttermilk for me?"

"Plenty," said the creamery man. "Just hold your pail under the faucet."

"See our new pony," said Polly. "See our new sled."

"Are you driving your pony? I saw her the day she came. She is a fine
pony. If you tip over going home, come back for more buttermilk."

"Thank you," said Polly. "We have not tipped over yet."

"There always has to be a first time," said the man.

Going up the hill, Polly said, "We are nearly home. Perhaps we shall not
tip over to-day. Why does every one think that we shall?"

But, as they turned into their driveway, Polly pulled the wrong rein.
Brownie stepped to the side of the road. One of the sled runners struck
a bank of snow.

Over went sled, children, and buttermilk. Brownie stopped and looked
around. Polly was standing on her head in the soft snow. Peter was
covered with buttermilk. No one was hurt.

Polly scrambled up. She pulled Peter to his feet. She said, "Don't cry,
Peter. Buttermilk will not hurt you. You like it."

"Yes, I do," said Peter. "But that is inside, not outside. How would you
like it down your neck?"

"Well," said Polly, "you get into the sled again. We must go back for
more buttermilk. You may drive all the way. Perhaps you won't tip us
over."



DISH-PAN SLEDS


"Peter and Polly," said mother, "should you like to play a new game?"

"Oh, yes, oh, yes! Tell us fast!" cried both children.

"I cannot tell you," said mother. "But I will show you. Get ready to go
out of doors. Here comes Tim. That is good. He may play, too."

"How many can be in this game, mother?"

"Ever so many, Polly. Please take this dish pan. Peter, carry this pan.
Tim, here is one for you. Now follow me."

Mrs. Howe went through the open gate into the hayfield. A hard crust was
on the top of the snow.

"See, children," she said, "what a fine crust. It holds me up. It is
just right for sliding. By and by the sun will make it soft."

"I wish we had our sleds," said Peter. "Let's go back for them."

"You have them with you," said mother. "That is the game."

"I don't see any game," said Peter. "And I don't see any sleds."

"Then I will show you, my son. Bring your big pan here. Put it down on
the edge of the hill. Now sit in it. Hold on to the handles. Keep your
feet up. You need not steer. You can't run into anything here. Now go."

Mother gave Peter a push. Away he went on the icy crust.

"Mother, mother!" cried Polly, jumping up and down. "Look at Peter,
look! I want to go! I want to go!"

"In a minute," said mother. "Watch Peter, first."

Peter's dish-pan sled was not like a real sled. It did not go straight.
It turned around and around. First Peter slid backward, then sideways.
At last he reached the bottom.

He stood up and looked around. Then he laughed.

"Did you like it, Peter?" called mother.

"I did! I did!" cried Peter. "It felt just like sliding and rolling down
hill at the same time. I am going to play this game all the morning.
Let's all go now."

"Very well," said mother. "If you bump into one another, it won't hurt
you. Get ready."

So the children, in their dish-pan sleds, started down the hill. Polly
bumped into Tim. This made him spin around and around. Polly went the
rest of the way backward. Near the bottom she fell out.

Just then Wag-wag came running up the field. He was dragging Peter's
sled behind him.

He had heard the children and was coming to find them. Perhaps he
thought they had forgotten Peter's sled.

"Oh, look, look!" said Polly. "Wag-wag has a sled, too. Let's give him a
slide. Come here, Wag-wag. Come here, sir."

But Wag-wag would not come. Instead, he ran up the hill past Mrs. Howe.
The children picked up their dish pans and chased him.

"Never mind," said mother. "When he is tired of playing with the sled,
he may bring it back. Or you can go after it.

"Now good-by. Slide until the crust is soft. Then come in. Do you like
the new game, children?"

"Oh, we do, we do!" they all cried.

"And we like our new sleds, mother. We are going to name them," said
Polly.

"I am going to tell my mother not to wash dishes any more. I am going
to tell her to give me her dish pan," said Tim.

The children slid for a long time. At last the crust began to be soft.
They sank in a little at every step.

"I shall slide once more," Polly said. "Then I shall go home."

"I shall get my sled first," said Peter. "I wish Wag-wag had not left it
so far away."

Peter started across the field. Before long, he came to a place where
the snow was very soft. He sank into it as far as his legs could go. He
could not get to the sled. So he went home feeling quite cross.

Tim's father was in the yard. He had come for Tim. Collie was with him.

Peter said, "Wag-wag is a bad dog. He left my sled out in the field. The
snow is soft. I cannot get to it."

Tim said, "My father will send Collie after your sled, Peter. Won't you,
father?"

"Oh, will you?" asked Peter. "I shall want to slide in the road after
dinner. Dish pans are not good in the road. So I need my sled."

"Why, yes," said Tim's father. "Collie can get it. He will not break
through the crust as you do."

He showed Tim's sled to Collie. He put the rope into Collie's mouth. He
pointed to the end of the big field. Then he said, "Collie, go bring the
sled."

Collie was a wise dog. He understood many things that were said to him.
He knew what his master wished him to do now.

He went running over the snow. He found the sled and drew it home.

"Good old Collie," said his master, patting him.

"There," said Tim, "I told you Collie is smarter than Wag-wag. He is,
too."

"Maybe he isn't," said Peter. "Maybe Wag-wag was smart to leave my sled
there. But anyway I like Collie because he got it for me."

[Illustration]



CAT AND COPY-CAT


One winter day grandmother had been visiting Mrs. Brown. In the
afternoon she started for home. The sun was warm. The snow was packed
hard in the road. The walking was good.

Grandmother liked the cold, crisp air. She liked the blue sky, and the
hills and fields all white with snow. She liked to hear the
chick-a-dees, calling among the trees.

She was halfway home, when she heard a noise behind her. It was, "Meow,
meow."

"That sounds like a cat," said grandmother to herself. "But, of course,
it is not. No cat would be in these woods in winter."

"Meow, meow," came the sound again.

This time grandmother looked around. What do you think she saw? There,
in the road behind her, were two black and white kittens. They were
trotting along side by side. They looked just alike.

Grandmother stopped and called, "Kitty, kitty, kitty! Come here, you
pretty kitties. Where did you come from? Are you following me?"

As soon as grandmother stopped, the kittens, too, stopped. She went back
toward them. When she did this, the kittens turned and ran away. They
did not wish to be caught.

Grandmother called to them again. She tried in every way to get near
them. But she could not.

At last she said, "Poor kittens! You do not know that I am your friend.
I do not like to leave you here in the cold. But I cannot stay any
longer. I must go home."

So she walked on up the road. When the kittens saw this, they started
after her. She looked back and saw them following. Side by side they
came, their little pointed tails straight up.

"Well, I never!" said grandmother to herself. "Now, do you suppose they
will follow me home?"

She kept looking back to see. Every time she looked, the kittens were
coming. But, if she stopped, they stopped.

Through the village they went. They did not seem afraid. There were no
people about. Not a dog was to be seen.

At last they reached grandmother's house.

"Now," said grandmother, "you have followed me to my door. Are you
looking for a new home? Did you pick me out to be your mistress? If you
really wish to live with me, you may. We shall see."

She unlocked the door and went in. She left the door open. And after her
went the two black and white kittens. They ran under the stove at once.
Then grandmother shut the door.

In a short time she gave them some warm milk. When they had finished it,
they took a walk around the room.

One found grandmother's workbasket. Then he felt sure that he should
like his new home. He began to play with the spools.

His brother saw him. He thought he should like a game, too. So he rolled
some of the spools out on the floor. But grandmother put the basket away
before they did much harm.

Just then the telephone bell rang. The kittens both looked around. One
jumped upon the table. From there he jumped to the telephone box.

He put his paw on the bell, which kept ringing. Perhaps he thought it
would play with him. Perhaps he did not like the noise.

Then one jumped up into grandmother's lap. She patted it; and soon the
other came, too.

"You funny kittens," said grandmother. "You are almost alike. You, sir,
have a black spot on this leg. You have not. If you are to be my
kittens, I must name you.

"You are so nearly alike, I shall call you Cat and Copy-cat. And, if you
are good, you shall always live with me.

"Now I will telephone to Peter and Polly about you."



POLLY'S SNOWSHOES


"Peter, I've thought of something. Let's make some snowshoes."

"How do you do it, Polly?"

"I think I know. I saw a pair this morning. They were made of barrel
staves. They are not real snowshoes, of course."

"Of course not," said Peter. "Father's snowshoes are not made of barrel
staves. Let's go to look at his. Let's make some like them."

"We can't, Peter. But we can make the other kind. Let's see if there is
a broken barrel. Then we'll ask mother if we may have four staves."

"My flour barrel is just empty," said mother. "We will roll it outside.
I will knock it to pieces. Then you may have your four staves. Please
clean them out of doors. If you do not, you will get flour all over the
workshop."

When the children took the staves into the workshop, Peter said, "What
next?"

"We want four strips of leather next. They are for straps. We will tack
one strap on each stave. They will go across the staves. We will tack
them at the sides. They must be loose. We shall put our toes under
them."

"How will our snowshoes stay on?" asked Peter.

"I'll show you by and by. I must ask mother to cut this leather for me."

When the leather was cut, Polly tacked on the straps. The snowshoes now
looked like this:

[Illustration]

"I wish to put mine on," said Peter.

So he stuck his toes under the leather straps. He scuffed over the
floor. Then he tried to go backward. But he only pulled his feet out of
the leather straps.

"They will not stay on. I knew they would not," he said. "I do not like
them very well."

"I'm fixing mine so that they will stay on," said Polly. "I will fix
yours, too."

To each end of the leather straps Polly had tied a piece of soft rope.
Her snowshoes now looked like this:

[Illustration]

"Put your toes under the straps, Peter. I will wind the ropes back of
your heels. Now they go around your ankles and tie in front. See if the
snowshoes will come off now."

Peter scuffed around the room again. The snowshoes held fast. They
worked very well when he scuffed. But, if he tried to step, the backs
flew up and hit him.

"Father's don't do that," said Peter.

"I know it," said Polly. "There are holes in father's. His toes go down
through those holes. You haven't any holes. So your toes push the front
of your snowshoes down. Then the backs fly up and hit you. You must
scuff, not walk."

"I will," said Peter. "Let's go out of doors and try them. They are
good snowshoes now."

So out the children went. There was a little crust. The children walked
on it. Their snowshoes held them up.

They called to mother. She must see them. Mother looked through the
window. She clapped her hands.

All went well for a few steps. Then the toe of Polly's snowshoe caught.
It cut into the crust.

This pulled Polly forward. She fell on her face. Her arms stuck down
into the snow. The points of her snowshoes stuck down into the snow,
too. At first Polly could not get up.

Then she rolled over on her side. She was almost on her feet again, when
Wag-wag dashed up.

He had seen Polly rolling in the snow. He thought it was a game. He
wished to play, too.

He took the end of one snowshoe in his teeth. He pulled and pulled. He
shook the snowshoe. Then he jumped around Polly and on her.

Polly was laughing so that she could not scold him. She could only say,
"Oh, don't, Wag-wag! Don't!"

Mother and Peter were laughing. And perhaps Wag-wag was laughing, too.

At last he stopped playing. Mother came out of the house. She threw a
broom to Polly. Polly helped herself up with this.

She said, "These are good snowshoes. They are best when I am on them.
They are not so good when I am down. But I think that I can do better
than that next time."



THE WOODS IN WINTER


"We are going on a picnic to-day, chicks," said Mr. Howe.

"A picnic, father! I thought picnics were in summer."

"So they are, Polly. But why not have a winter picnic, too? I am going
into the woods. You may come, if you wish."

"But at picnics we have things to eat. We eat out of doors."

"We shall have things to eat to-day. And we shall eat out of doors,
too."

"But, father, we shall be cold!"

"What keeps us warm in the house in winter, Polly?"

"A fire," said Polly. "Oh, now I know, now I know! You will build a fire
in the woods. Once you promised me that you would. Goody, goody, goody,
goody!" And Polly jumped up and down for joy.

"What shall we eat?" asked Peter. "Just bread and butter?"

"Oh, no," said father. "We shall have bread and butter, of course. But
we shall have other things, too. We will cook our dinner."

"Oh, oh, oh!" cried both children.

"Are you glad? I thought you would like it. Now help me get ready.
Please get my knapsack, Polly."

In the kitchen, mother was busy spreading bread. She wrapped paper
around the slices. She put coffee into a small, cheese-cloth bag. She
filled a flat bottle with milk.

Father took six eggs. He rolled them up in paper. He put a jar of bacon
into his knapsack. Then the bread, coffee, and eggs were fitted in. The
bottle of milk went into his pocket.

"We will take my camp dishes," he said. "I will fasten my hatchet to my
belt. Get on your things, and we are ready."

"Let's play that we are Indians," said Polly. "Where are we going,
father?"

"Up the wood road on the hill. I must see if all our wood has been cut.
We need a little for our furnace, a little for our stove, and a great
deal for our fireplaces.

"Let's all keep our eyes wide open to-day. We may see interesting
things."

"I think that cooking our dinner will be interesting, father. I almost
wish it were dinner time now."

"We will build our fire where our trees have been cut. There we shall
find plenty of firewood," said father.

"See those tracks in the snow, children. A rabbit has been here. Yes,
this hollow is where he lies. The snow is packed hard. It is a little
dirty, too. Perhaps he is near by, watching us."

"Poor rabbit," said Polly. "What a cold bed. The Eskimos have snow beds.
But they have fur rugs to cover the snow."

"The rabbit has one between him and the snow, too. Only his rug is on
his back. It keeps him warm," said father.

"Look, look!" cried Polly. "Over there by those trees!"

"That's surely a rabbit, Polly. See him jump along. He is nearly as
white as the snow. He did not wait for us to call, did he?"

"What big jumps," said Polly. "I think he could beat Wag-wag."

"I am sure that he could, Polly. His hind legs are very long. They are
made for jumping. He can take twice as big jumps as he is taking now.
But he will not, unless we frighten him."

"Why doesn't he go into a hole in the winter? Why doesn't he sleep until
spring comes? The woodchuck does. Why doesn't he?" asked Polly.

"He is not made so that he can. Some animals store up fat on themselves.
In the winter they go to sleep.

"Then they seem to live on that fat. For, in the spring, they are always
thin and hungry looking.

"You couldn't do that, you know. And the rabbit cannot do it. What are
those birds, Peter?"

"Chickadees," said Peter. "I always know them. They cannot fool me. They
never say anything but 'chick-a-dee.'"

"Oh, yes, they do, my son. Listen! What is that? There it is again."

"Some one is whistling," said Polly. "Isn't it a pretty whistle?"

"It is just two notes," said father. "Aren't they sweet and clear?"

"It is quite near. But I cannot see any one. Are you doing it, father?"
asked Polly. "Why, now I can hear three people."

"Look above you, Polly. You will see who is whistling."

Polly looked. There on a limb of a tree was a chick-a-dee. He was
singing those two notes. In the next tree another was singing two other
notes.

"So you see, Peter, that they do say something besides 'chick-a-dee.'
These two notes are their song. The other is just their talk. Perhaps
you can learn to whistle those notes.

"Here is the place where our wood has been cut. Let us look at it."



THE WINTER PICNIC


"Yes," said father, "we shall have plenty of wood. See, this wood with
rough bark is maple. This, with smooth bark and lighter spots, is beech.
We will not use it in our fireplaces. It might snap sparks out on the
floor.

"And here is some beautiful white birch. This is for our fireplaces.
Here is yellow birch, too. Yes, there is plenty for next winter."

"If we were really Indians, we could make canoes out of the white birch
bark," said Polly.

"Isn't it nice here? The trees are thick all about us. How still it is!"

"It is still in the woods in winter," said father. "I always like it."

"I think it is too bad to cut the trees down, father. Will they grow
again?"

"See, Polly," said father. "We have cut down only the largest trees.
They were as large as they would ever be. Now the smaller ones will have
a better chance to grow.

"I would not cut them all down, unless I planted more. It would not be
good for my land to do that.

"This is the spot for our fire. Let us make it now."

He found a place, near a log, where the snow was not deep. He cleared
most of it away. There he built the fire. He used pieces of birch bark
instead of paper. Small twigs made very good kindling wood.

Peter and Polly pulled birch bark from the logs. They broke up the dry
twigs.

With his hatchet, father cut sticks of wood. He laid some of these on
the fire. He stuck his kettle irons down into the snow. They looked like
this:

[Illustration]

Then he lighted the fire.

He filled the coffeepot with snow. He hung it on the hook of the kettle
irons. It was quite near the blaze. When the snow had melted, more was
put in.

Father said, "It takes much snow to make a coffeepot full of water.
When the water boils, we will put in the bag of coffee."

Polly had taken out the camp dishes. She said, "We must have three
plates, three cups, three knives and forks and spoons. I will put them
on this log. I will put the bread and butter on the log, too."

Father had cut a straight stick. It looked like a cane. He took out the
frying pan.

"This stick is my handle," said he. "See where it fits in. Now I shall
not need to stand too near the fire. Frying would be hot work, if I had
not a long handle. Give me the bacon, Peter."

Soon the bacon was cooking nicely. How good it smelled! Then the eggs
were dropped into the pan.

When they were fried, father said, "Dinner is ready. Bring your cups.
You are to have a little coffee. It will be mostly milk."

This was a great treat. Peter and Polly did not drink coffee at home.
Then father gave them their bacon and eggs.

"Why," said father, "I forgot the sugar for our coffee."

"Mother did not," said Polly. "I saw her put it in, and here it is."

How good everything tasted! They sat on the log near the fire to eat. So
they were quite warm.

"This is the best dinner I ever had," said Polly. "Who taught you to
cook, father? I forgot all about playing Indians, I have been so busy."

When dinner was over, father picked up the dishes. He wiped them with
paper napkins. He put them into their case. Mother would wash them at
home.

The fire burned low. He threw some snow on it. This made it safe to
leave.

"Now I will show you some tracks," said he. "They were made by the
white-footed mouse. See how small they are. That line in the snow is
where he dragged his tail.

"He must have gone up into this tree. But I cannot see him anywhere.
Perhaps he lives in that old nest up there. He may have watched us eat
our dinner."

"Good-by, Mr. White-foot," called Polly. "We are sorry not to see you.
We are going home now."

Down the hill through the quiet woods they went. Polly had the big
knapsack over her shoulder. It was quite empty now, and not at all
heavy. Peter ran ahead.

At the door, Polly said, "Thank you, father, for our good time. It is
the best picnic that I ever had."



THE SEWING LESSON


"Mother," said Polly one day, "I wish I could sew something real. I am
tired of my patchwork. I wish I could make a dress for my doll. She
needs a new dress."

"Then you shall try it, Polly. Go to the drawer in the sewing table. You
will find a pattern at the back of the drawer. It is for you."

"O mother!" said Polly. "How did you think of it?"

"I knew you would need it soon. Here is the cloth for the dress."

She gave Polly some pretty blue cloth. She said, "Spread it out on the
table. Pin the pattern smoothly to the cloth. Be sure to pin it
straight. Now cut around the edge."

Polly worked very carefully. At last she said, "See, mother, this is
what I have left. There was too much."

Just then Peter came into the room. "What are you doing?" he asked.

"I am cutting out a doll's dress. See my pattern. See my pretty cloth."

"What is this piece for?" asked Peter.

"Nothing," said Polly. "That is left over. I do not need it at all."

"I wish I could have it," said Peter. "I wish I could sew something,
too."

"You may have it," said mother. "You may sew something. What do you wish
to sew?"

"Let me see, mother. I think I will make me some clothes."

"There is not quite cloth enough for that, Peter. Besides, it would be
hard to do. Why not make a bean bag?"

"That would be good," said Peter. "Where are the beans?"

"You shall have them when the bag is finished," said mother.

"But I must have them now. I must sew around them, mustn't I?"

"No, dear. This is the way we do it. First we cut it right. Then we turn
the edges. Then we baste them together.

"Here is a little thimble. Here is a large needle. Begin at this
corner. Make your stitches as small as you can.

"If they are too far apart, your beans will fall out, by and by. How are
you getting on, Polly?"

"I have some of the pieces basted together. May I stop basting and sew a
little?"

"If you like. Aren't you glad now that you can sew over and over so
nicely?"

Peter and Polly did not finish their work that day. But at last the bean
bag was done. Then Peter took it to Tim's house. He wished to show Tim
what he had made.

At last the dress, too, was finished. How pleased Polly was! She put it
on her doll at once.

She said, "Now I will take her calling. I will show her to the other
children. They will all wish to make dresses."

"If they do, we will cut the patterns for them," said mother. "Perhaps
we can have a little sewing school. I will be the teacher, and you may
be my helper. Should you like that?"

"Oh, I should, I should, mother. You do think of nice things. I will go
this minute and tell the other girls."



FISHING THROUGH THE ICE


"I wish I could go fishing," said Peter.

"You'll have to wait until summer," said Polly.

"Then I wish it were summer now."

"Why, Peter Howe! When it was summer, you wished for winter. Now it is
winter, you would like it to be summer."

"Yes," said Peter. "You see, when I wished for winter, I forgot all
about fishing. Anyway it will be summer soon."

"Not very soon," said Polly. "Will it, mother?"

"I will take you fishing," said father.

"How can you?" cried Peter. "Can you make it summer?"

"No, but I can take you fishing just the same. Get ready and we will
go. Polly may come, too, if she likes."

"Oh, oh, oh!" shouted Peter. "Where is my fish pole, mother?"

"You will not need it, Peter," said father. "We shall need just our
lines, hooks, sinkers, and bait.

"Put an extra pair of mittens in your pocket. You might take the red
ones that the snow man liked so well."

They walked up the road. By and by they came to a bridge. At one end
they climbed down to the river.

Here they found a path. It took them on to the river. At the end of the
path the snow was trodden down. Peter saw two holes in the ice.

"Father," he said, "see those holes. Who made them?"

"The blacksmith and his boy chopped them yesterday. Then they fished
through them. You see now why the blacksmith did not shoe Brownie
yesterday.

"He knew you would be sorry about that. So he told me to bring you
fishing."

"I'd rather do this than anything else," said Peter. "I will thank him
for his holes."

"You will not like to do it long," said father. "It is a cold day."

He baited Polly's hook and Peter's hook. He showed them how far into the
water to put their lines.

Then he said, "While you are fishing, I will build a little fire. There
are plenty of small pieces of wood by the bank. You may warm your
fingers at my fire. Perhaps the fish will not bite to-day."

"Did the blacksmith catch any?" asked Polly. "Oh, yes," said father.

"Maybe he caught them all," said Polly. "I haven't had a bite yet. I am
getting cold standing here."

"Then come and warm your fingers at my fire," said father.

Just then Peter said, "I feel something!" And he began to pull up his
line.

As soon as he pulled, Polly cried, "Oh, I feel something, too. It's a
bite, a bite!" And she began to pull up her line.

All at once they both stopped pulling.

"I'm caught," said Polly.

"I'm caught," said Peter. "It won't come any farther. But it jerks.
Maybe it isn't caught. Maybe it's a big fish."

Father began to laugh. "I think your big fish is Polly," he said. "Let
me see."

He took Peter's line. He told Polly to let hers out slowly. Then he
pulled. Surely enough, Peter's hook came up through his hole. Polly's
hook came up, too.

Peter and Polly had caught each other! How they laughed at this!

Peter said, "I shall carry my big fish home to mother. She will like
it. But she will not cook it. Let us go now to tell her."

"Very well," said father. "Roll up your line. Then warm your hands
before we start."

Polly had dropped her hook back into the water. All in a minute she felt
a good bite.

"Oh, I have one, I have one!" she cried.

"Pull in!" said father.

Polly pulled. Up through the hole came a beautiful big trout.

"Well, well, well!" said father. "Isn't that a beauty? I wonder how it
happened to bite our pork. We must throw it back. It's too bad."

"O father, my fish!" cried Polly. "Why did you? Wasn't it a good fish?"

"Indeed it was, Polly. But back it had to go. We can't keep trout in the
winter."

"Then let's go home now," said Polly. "I might catch more. And I should
not like to throw them back."

"I'm all ready," said Peter. "I think we have had a good time. You
caught a big fish and I caught a big fish and we can't eat either of
them."



MAKING MOLASSES CANDY


It was a wet, rainy day. Peter and Polly had been out in the rain. It
did not hurt them.

They had on rubber boots, rubber coats, and rubber caps. Peter's rubber
coat was yellow. Polly's was black. They played that they were firemen.

In the afternoon, mother wished them to stay in the house.

She said, "The rain makes the snow wet. It is not nice to play in. We
will have a candy party. We will make molasses candy. You may each pull
some."

"I should rather do that than play out of doors," said Polly.

"So should I," said Peter.

"Very well, children. Put on your aprons. Now, Polly, get the molasses
jug."

Mother measured out the molasses. Then she put it on the stove to boil.
Soon she measured out some white sugar. She poured it into the
molasses.

"Peter, you may carry away the sugar. That is the way you helped
grandmother, you know."

"Now let me stir," said Polly.

"Oh, no," said mother. "We do not stir this candy. I thought you knew
better than that."

Soon the molasses boiled. The children liked to watch it. They liked the
good smell.

Peter said, "See it bubble up just like our spring."

"It is the steam, trying to get out, that makes the bubbles," said
mother. "You know that steam is strong. You have seen it lift the lid of
the teakettle.

"Now let us try the candy. Bring a cup, Polly. Bring a cup, Peter. Fill
them half full of cold water."

Mother dipped a spoon into the boiling candy. She poured part of the
spoonful into Polly's cup, and the rest into Peter's cup.

"Let it stand a minute. Then we will see if the candy is hard enough to
pull. After that you may eat it."

This was just what the children wished to do. They were glad because
mother had to try the candy again.

At last, it was poured into cake tins. It was set out of doors to cool.
There was a big tin for mother, a little tin for Polly, and a little tin
for Peter.

Peter and Polly could hardly wait for the candy to cool. They were in
such a hurry to begin pulling it. Polly stuck her finger into hers
before it was ready. It almost burned her.

A few minutes after this, mother said, "Yours is cool enough now. Mine
is not. Wash your hands again. Then you may begin."

What a sticky time there was!

Polly pulled her piece over and over quite well. Soon it began to grow
light colored. When it stuck to her hands, she ran out of doors. This
cooled the candy.

But Peter could not pull so fast. His piece stuck to both hands. It got
between his fingers. Mother scraped it off and he began again.

At last, he dropped part of it on the floor. Mother said, "Let it alone,
Peter. I will scrape it up. It is not good to put with yours now."

Peter said, "I guess I do not like to pull candy. I am going to make fly
paper of mine. It is sticky enough."

"Yes," said mother. "It is sticky. But you are doing very well."

"Mine is ready to cut up, I think," said Polly.

She laid it on the clean kitchen table. She pulled it out into a long,
thin strip. Then she took a pair of clean scissors. She cut the strip
into short pieces.

"That is just the way," said mother. "Put it on the buttered plate. You
are a good candy maker. Grandmother must have some of this. O Peter!
What are you doing?"

Poor Peter had somehow got his hand stuck to his hair.

"I am just trying to get my hand away," said Peter. "But it is stuck."

"I should think it is," said mother. "You must sit quite still until I
get my candy ready to cut. Then I will help you."

"O Peter! How funny you look!" laughed Polly. And indeed he did look
funny, with his hand held close to his hair.

"But I don't feel funny, Polly. You stop laughing at me."

Mother gently pulled his hair away from the candy. Then she scraped his
hands.

"Please save my candy, mother," said Peter.

"I cannot, Peter. It is not clean now."

And Polly said, "You may have mine, Peter. I am sorry I laughed."

Then mother washed Peter's hands. "I must wash your hair, too," she
said. "But never mind. It needed washing. You have had fun with your
candy, haven't you?"

Peter answered, "Yes, I have, mother. But please do not make it so
sticky next time."



GRANDMOTHER'S BIRTHDAY PARTY


"Here is grandmother. Light the fire, Peter. Light the fire, Polly."

Peter and Polly each took a match. Peter lighted the open fire at the
left. Polly lighted it at the right side.

Soon the kindling wood began to crackle. Then the flames leaped high in
the fireplace.

Grandmother had come over to supper. She was to spend the evening. It
was her birthday. Peter and Polly were to stay up later because of this.

The Story Lady was coming to supper, too. Perhaps, just perhaps, she
would tell them a story. She knew stories about everything.

"Here she is now," cried Polly. And the Story Lady walked in at the door
with grandmother.

Soon supper was ready. Polly had helped mother set the table. She
thought that it looked very pretty.

Grandmother's birthday cake was in the center. On it were a dozen small,
colored candles. Polly had helped to put them there.

When mother had shown her the candles, she had said, "Why, mother,
grandmother is more than twelve years old.

"She must have a candle for every year. That is what I have."

"I know you do, Polly," mother had said. "But grandmother is sixty years
old. We cannot put sixty candles on this cake. It is not large enough.

"So we will count the fives in sixty. Then we will use one for every
five years. That makes just twelve."

"Yes," Polly had answered, "I have learned that. Twelve fives make
sixty. It is a good way to do. I shall do it when I am sixty years old."

Now the cake was on the table. Just before it was time to cut it,
father lighted the candles.

They all watched them burn for a few minutes. The melted wax ran down
the sides. They grew shorter and shorter.

"See Nan Etticoat," said Polly. "The longer she stands, the shorter she
grows. Do you know that story, grandmother?"

"My grandmother taught me to say Nan Etticoat," said grandmother. "That
was many years ago. She told me about making candles, too.

"When she was a little girl, there were no electric lights. There were
no gas lights. There were no lamps. Every one used candles.

"Not such pretty, colored ones as these. They were larger and quite
rough. How should you like to make them, Polly?"

"Oh, I should like to," said Polly. "May we?"

"Perhaps not," said grandmother. "We do not need to do so. We have other
lights.

"But in those old days, people made their own candles. They called it
'dipping candles.' It was a hard task.

"I am sure that they did not light many at once. I am sure that my
grandmother did not have candles on her birthday cakes.

"Now, my son, the wax is dripping on the frosting. The candles are
nearly burned. If you will put them out, I will cut my birthday cake."

Mr. Howe pinched the lighted ends in his fingers. He did this very
quickly.

"Don't they burn your fingers, father?" asked Polly.

"No, indeed, Polly. I do not give them time to burn me. This is better
than to blow them out. Then there is smoke. But children must not do it
this way."

Grandmother took the knife and cut the cake. She cut it as a pie is cut.
Each one had a very fat piece.

"Now we shall see if this cake is as good as it looks," said
grandmother. "I am sure that it is, for your mother is a good cook,
Polly."

But Polly was not listening. She was looking at something that she had
found in her cake.

She poked it with her fork. Then she took it up in her fingers.

"Why, mother," she said, "what a queer thing there is in my cake. How
did it get there?"

Just then Peter said, "There is a lump in my piece, too. It is something
hard."

Father said, "Clean the cake from your lumps and see what they are. Why,
I have a lump myself."

"And so have I," said the Story Lady.

"And so have I," said mother.

"Then," said grandmother, "I am the only one who has no lump. How did
you let these lumps fall into your cake, daughter? Can I ever again call
you a good cook?" And she laughed at Mrs. Howe.

Just then her fork struck something.

"Dear me!" cried grandmother. "A lump in my piece, too! Now I think they
must have been put in the cake on purpose."

"Oh, see, see, grandmother! See what mine is!" And Polly held up a
little, white china pig.

"Look at mine!" shouted Peter. He had scraped the cake from his lump. In
his hand was a small, white china monkey.

"What is yours, Story Lady? And yours, mother? And yours, father?" asked
Polly.

"Mine is a cat," said the Story Lady.

"And here is a kitten to go with her," said mother.

"And here is a naughty dog, to chase your cat and kitten," said father.
"Let's put them in a row on the table. Then we can all see them."

"But where is your lump, grandmother?" asked Polly.

Grandmother held out her hand. On it, there lay a beautiful, gold
thimble.

"Oh! Oh! Isn't it pretty!" cried Polly. "Who gave it to you?"

"Indeed it is, Polly. I think I know who gave it to me. It was you, my
daughter. You knew that I had lost mine.

"I thank you for this. And I thank you for another happy birthday party.
Perhaps you may put lumps in your cakes, just on birthdays."

"I will not do it at other times," said mother. "Now let us all go into
the other room and sit before the open fire."

"When our bedtime comes we need not go, need we, mother?" asked Polly.

"Not to-night, Polly. You and Peter may sit up a while," said mother.



AROUND THE OPEN FIRE


The open fire was blazing well. "Let me draw the chairs about it," said
father. "Then we can all enjoy it."

"We do not need chairs, father," said Polly. "Peter and I will sit on
the floor. I will sit next to grandmother."

"I will sit next to mother," said Peter.

"When I was little," said grandmother, "I liked to sit on the floor. I
thought it quite soft enough. Now that I am older, I like chairs
better."

"If you sit in a chair, it is never in the right place," said Polly. "A
floor is always in the right place. It is a big seat, too."

"What a good fireplace this is," said the Story Lady. "It is so large
that you can put real logs into it. And it never smokes."

"Just think of long ago, when there were no stoves," said grandmother.
"How would it seem now to heat our houses with open fires?"

"Why weren't there any stoves, grandmother? And where were the
furnaces?"

"People did not know how to make stoves and furnaces, Peter. They had
very large fireplaces, instead. My grandmother told me about them."

"What beautiful white birch logs," said the Story Lady. "They make such
a good fire."

"They came from our woods," said Peter. "We were up there one day. We
went to see next winter's wood. There is plenty. Some is already cut and
piled."

"At first, I did not like to see the pretty trees cut down," said Polly.
"But father told me that it is sometimes best."

"So it is, Polly," said the Story Lady. "We need the wood to keep us
warm, and for many other things, too. What are some of them?"

"Carts, sleds, telephone poles!" shouted Peter.

"Houses, barns, bridges!" shouted Polly.

"Yes, indeed, children, for all those and more. So we must cut down some
of the trees. But we must take care that others grow in their places.

"Thousands of years ago, people believed strange things about trees.
They believed that in some lived beings called dryads.

"These dryads were like lovely maidens. A maiden is a girl, you know.
They could come out of their trees. But still they were a part of the
tree.

"If a tree was cut down, the lovely dryad who lived in it died. So, in
those days, most people did not wish to cut down trees. They were afraid
of hurting the dryads.

"When trees grew old and fell, the dryads died, too. Sometimes kind
people propped up old trees. Then the dryads could live a little
longer."

"Oh, I wish I could see one," said Polly. "What did they wear?"

"No one knows exactly, Polly, because no one ever saw a dryad. It is one
of those stories that have come to us from thousands of years ago.

"Most of the stories are not true. We call them myths. And we like them
very much."

"Are myths as good as 'Once upon a time' stories?" asked Peter.

"Yes, indeed, Peter. Get your mother to tell you some, and see."

"Now I shall think of this story, when I see our fire burning a dryad's
house," said Polly.

"I shall play that there are dryads in our trees, too. Perhaps, if I
play hard enough, one will really be there.

"When spring comes, I shall go to the woods often. I know where there is
a hollow tree. That will make a good dryad's house."

"Spring is coming soon," said mother. "The cold winter is nearly over.
But, first of all, bedtime is coming. It has nearly come, now. Say good
night, Peter and Polly. Then off with you."

So Peter and Polly said good night and went upstairs to bed. Perhaps
they dreamed of dryads. Perhaps they dreamed of spring-time. Perhaps
they slept soundly and did not dream at all.





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