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Title: Little Daffydowndilly - (From: "The Snow Image and Other Twice-Told Tales")
Author: Hawthorne, Nathaniel
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 "Little Daffydowndilly - (From: "The Snow Image and Other Twice-Told Tales")" ***

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                        THE SNOW-IMAGE

                             AND

                     OTHER TWICE-TOLD TALES



                      LITTLE DAFFYDOWNDILLY

                              By

                      Nathaniel Hawthorne


Daffydowndilly was so called because in his nature he resembled a flower,
and loved to do only what was beautiful and agreeable, and took no
delight in labor of any kind.  But, while Daffydowndilly was yet a little
boy, his mother sent him away from his pleasant home, and put him under
the care of a very strict schoolmaster, who went by the name of Mr. Toil.
Those who knew him best affirmed that this Mr. Toil was a very worthy
character; and that he had done more good, both to children and grown
people, than anybody else in the world.  Certainly he had lived long
enough to do a great deal of good; for, if all stories be true, he had
dwelt upon earth ever since Adam was driven from the garden of Eden.

Nevertheless, Mr. Toil had a severe and ugly countenance, especially for
such little boys or big men as were inclined to be idle; his voice, too,
was harsh; and all his ways and customs seemed very disagreeable to our
friend Daffydowndilly.  The whole day long, this terrible old
schoolmaster sat at his desk overlooking the scholars, or stalked about
the school-room with a certain awful birch rod in his hand.  Now came a
rap over the shoulders of a boy whom Mr. Toil had caught at play; now he
punished a whole class who were behindhand with their lessons; and, in
short, unless a lad chose to attend quietly and constantly to his book,
he had no chance of enjoying a quiet moment in the school-room of Mr.
Toil.

“This will never do for me,” thought Daffydowndilly.

Now, the whole of Daffydowndilly’s life had hitherto been passed with his
dear mother, who had a much sweeter face than old Mr. Toil, and who had
always been very indulgent to her little boy.  No wonder, therefore, that
poor Daffydowndilly found it a woful change, to be sent away from the
good lady’s side, and put under the care of this ugly-visaged
schoolmaster, who never gave him any apples or cakes, and seemed to think
that little boys were created only to get lessons.

“I can’t bear it any longer,” said Daffydowndilly to himself, when he had
been at school about a week.  “I’ll run away, and try to find my dear
mother; and, at any rate, I shall never find anybody half so disagreeable
as this old Mr. Toil!”

So, the very next morning, off started poor Daffydowndilly, and began his
rambles about the world, with only some bread and cheese for his
breakfast, and very little pocket-money to pay his expenses.  But he had
gone only a short distance, when he overtook a man of grave and sedate
appearance, who was trudging at a moderate pace along the road.

“Good morning, my fine lad,” said the stranger; and his voice seemed hard
and severe, but yet had a sort of kindness in it; “whence do you come so
early, and whither are you going?”

Little Daffydowndilly was a boy of very ingenuous disposition, and had
never been known to tell a lie in all his life.  Nor did he tell one now.
He hesitated a moment or two, but finally confessed that he had run away
from school, on account of his great dislike to Mr. Toil; and that he
was resolved to find some place in the world where he should never see or
hear of the old schoolmaster again.

“O, very well, my little friend!” answered the stranger.  “Then we will
go together; for I, likewise, have had a good deal to do with Mr. Toil,
and should be glad to find some place where he was never heard of.”

Our friend Daffydowndilly would have been better pleased with a companion
of his own age, with whom he might have gathered flowers along the
roadside, or have chased butterflies, or have done many other things to
make the journey pleasant.  But he had wisdom enough to understand that
he should get along through the world much easier by having a man of
experience to show him the way.  So he accepted the stranger’s proposal,
and they walked on very sociably together.

They had not gone far, when the road passed by a field where some
haymakers were at work, mowing down the tall grass, and spreading it out
in the sun to dry.  Daffydowndilly was delighted with the sweet smell of
the new-mown grass, and thought how much pleasanter it must be to make
hay in the sunshine, under the blue sky, and with the birds singing
sweetly in the neighboring trees and bushes, than to be shut up in a
dismal school-room, learning lessons all day long, and continually
scolded by old Mr. Toil.  But, in the midst of these thoughts, while he
was stopping to peep over the stone wall, he started back and caught hold
of his companion’s hand.

“Quick, quick!” cried he.  “Let us run away, or he will catch us!”

“Who will catch us?” asked the stranger.

“Mr. Toil, the old schoolmaster!” answered Daffydowndilly.  “Don’t you
see him amongst the haymakers?”

And Daffydowndilly pointed to an elderly man, who seemed to be the owner
of the field, and the employer of the men at work there.  He had stripped
off his coat and waistcoat, and was busily at work in his shirt-sleeves.
The drops of sweat stood upon his brow; but he gave himself not a
moment’s rest, and kept crying out to the haymakers to make hay while the
sun shone.  Now, strange to say, the figure and features of this old
farmer were precisely the same as those of old Mr. Toil, who, at that
very moment, must have been just entering his school-room.

“Don’t be afraid,” said the stranger.  “This is not Mr. Toil the
schoolmaster, but a brother of his, who was bred a farmer; and people say
he is the most disagreeable man of the two.  However, he won’t trouble
you, unless you become a laborer on the farm.”

Little Daffydowndilly believed what his companion said, but was very
glad, nevertheless, when they were out of sight of the old farmer, who
bore such a singular resemblance to Mr. Toil.  The two travellers had
gone but little farther, when they came to a spot where some carpenters
were erecting a house.  Daffydowndilly begged his companion to stop a
moment; for it was a very pretty sight to see how neatly the carpenters
did their work, with their broad-axes, and saws, and planes, and hammers,
shaping out the doors, and putting in the window-sashes, and nailing on
the clapboards; and he could not help thinking that he should like to
take a broad-axe, a saw, a plane, and a hammer, and build a little house
for himself.  And then, when he should have a house of his own, old Mr.
Toil would never dare to molest him.

But, just while he was delighting himself with this idea, little
Daffydowndilly beheld something that made him catch hold of his
companion’s hand, all in a fright.

“Make haste.  Quick, quick!” cried he.  “There he is again!”

“Who?” asked the stranger, very quietly.

“Old Mr. Toil,” said Daffydowndilly, trembling.  “There! he that is
overseeing the carpenters.  ‘T is my old schoolmaster, as sure as I’m
alive!”

The stranger cast his eyes where Daffydowndilly pointed his finger; and
he saw an elderly man, with a carpenter’s rule and compasses in his hand.
This person went to and fro about the unfinished house, measuring pieces
of timber, and marking out the work that was to be done, and continually
exhorting the other carpenters to be diligent.  And wherever he turned
his hard and wrinkled visage, the men seemed to feel that they had a
task-master over them, and sawed, and hammered, and planed, as if for
dear life.

“O no! this is not Mr. Toil, the schoolmaster,” said the stranger.  “It
is another brother of his, who follows the trade of carpenter.”

“I am very glad to hear it,” quoth Daffydowndilly; “but if you please,
sir, I should like to get out of his way as soon as possible.”

Then they went on a little farther, and soon heard the sound of a drum
and fife.  Daffydowndilly pricked up his ears at this, and besought his
companion to hurry forward, that they might not miss seeing the
soldiers. Accordingly, they made what haste they could, and soon met a
company of soldiers, gayly dressed, with beautiful feathers in their
caps, and bright muskets on their shoulders.  In front marched two
drummers and two fifers, beating on their drums and playing on their
fifes with might and main, and making such lively music that little
Daffydowndilly would gladly have followed them to the end of the world.
And if he was only a soldier, then, he said to himself, old Mr. Toil
would never venture to look him in the face.

“Quick step!  Forward march!” shouted a gruff voice.

Little Daffydowndilly started, in great dismay; for this voice which had
spoken to the soldiers sounded precisely the same as that which he had
heard every day in Mr. Toil’s school-room, out of Mr. Toil’s own mouth.
And, turning his eyes to the captain of the company, what should he see
but the very image of old Mr. Toil himself, with a smart cap and feather
on his head, a pair of gold epaulets on his shoulders, a laced coat on
his back, a purple sash round his waist, and a long sword, instead of a
birch rod, in his hand.  And though he held his head so high, and
strutted like a turkey-cock, still he looked quite as ugly and
disagreeable as when he was hearing lessons in the schoolroom.

“This is certainly old Mr. Toil,” said Daffydowndilly, in a trembling
voice.  “Let us run away, for fear he should make us enlist in his
company!”

“You are mistaken again, my little friend,” replied the stranger, very
composedly.  “This is not Mr. Toil, the schoolmaster, but a brother of
his, who has served in the army all his life.  People say he’s a terribly
severe fellow; but you and I need not be afraid of him.”

“Well, well,” said little Daffydowndilly, “but, if you please, sir, I
don’t want to see the soldiers any more.”

So the child and the stranger resumed their journey; and, by and by, they
came to a house by the roadside, where a number of people were making
merry.  Young men and rosy-checked girls, with smiles on their faces,
were dancing to the sound of a fiddle.  It was the pleasantest sight that
Daffydowndilly had yet met with, and it comforted him for all his
disappointments.

“O, let us stop here,” cried he to his companion; “for Mr. Toil will never
dare to show his face where there is a fiddler, and where people are
dancing and making merry.  We shall be quite safe here!”

But these last words died away upon Daffydowndilly’s tongue; for,
happening to cast his eyes on the fiddler, whom should be behold again,
but the likeness of Mr. Toil, holding a fiddle-bow instead of a birch
rod, and flourishing it with as much ease and dexterity as if he had been
a fiddler all his life!  He had somewhat the air of a Frenchman, but
still looked exactly like the old schoolmaster; and Daffydowndilly even
fancied that he nodded and winked at him, and made signs for him to join
in the dance.

“O dear me!”  whispered he, turning pale.  “It seems as if there was
nobody but Mr. Toil in the world.  Who could have thought of his playing
on a fiddle!”

“This is not your old schoolmaster,” observed the stranger, “but another
brother of his, who was bred in France, where he learned the profession
of a fiddler.  He is ashamed of his family, and generally calls himself
Monsieur le Plaisir; but his real name is Toil, and those who have known
him best think him still more disagreeable than his brothers.”

“Pray let us go a little farther,” said Daffydowndilly.  “I don’t like
the looks of this fiddler at all.”

Well, thus the stranger and little Daffydowndilly went wandering along
the highway, and in shady lanes, and through pleasant villages; and
whithersoever they went, behold!  there was the image of old Mr. Toil.
He stood like a scarecrow in the cornfields.  If they entered a house, he
sat in the parlor; if they peeped into the kitchen, he was there.  He
made himself at home in every cottage, and stole, under one disguise or
another, into the most splendid mansions.  Everywhere there was sure to
be somebody wearing the likeness of Mr. Toil, and who, as the stranger
affirmed, was one of the old schoolmaster’s innumerable brethren.

Little Daffydowndilly was almost tired to death, when he perceived some
people reclining lazily in a shady place, by the side of the road.  The
poor child entreated his companion that they might sit down there, and
take some repose.

“Old Mr. Toil will never come here,” said he; “for he hates to see
people taking their ease.”

But, even while he spoke, Daffydowndilly’s eyes fell upon a person who
seemed the laziest, and heaviest, and most torpid of all those lazy and
heavy and torpid people who had lain down to sleep in the shade.  Who
should it be, again, but the very image of Mr. Toil!

“There is a large family of these Toils,” remarked the stranger.  “This
is another of the old schoolmaster’s brothers, who was bred in Italy,
where he acquired very idle habits, and goes by the name of Signor Far
Niente.  He pretends to lead an easy life, but is really the most
miserable fellow in the family.”

“O, take me back!--take me back!” cried poor little Daffydowndilly,
bursting into tears.  “If there is nothing but Toil all the world over, I
may just as well go back to the school-house!”

“Yonder it is,--there is the school-house!” said the stranger; for though
he and little Daffydowndilly had taken a great many steps, they had
travelled in a circle, instead of a straight line.  “Come; we will go
back to school together.”

There was something in his companion’s voice that little Daffydowndilly
now remembered; and it is strange that he had not remembered it sooner.
Looking up into his face, behold! there again was the likeness of old Mr.
Toil; so that the poor child had been in company with Toil all day, even
while he was doing his best to run away from him.  Some people, to whom I
have told little Daffydowndilly’s story, are of opinion that old Mr. Toil
was a magician, and possessed the power of multiplying himself into as
many shapes as he saw fit.

Be this as it may, little Daffydowndilly had learned a good lesson, and
from that time forward was diligent at his task, because he knew that
diligence is not a whit more toilsome than sport or idleness.  And when
he became better acquainted with Mr. Toil, he began to think that his
ways were not so very disagreeable, and that the old schoolmaster’s smile
of approbation made his face almost as pleasant as even that of
Daffydowndilly’s mother.





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