could gobble most beautifully, and took as much care of the little
speckled turkeys as Mr. Rooster did of the hens and chickens. One day
they got to talking about Buffy, and Mr. Rooster said, "I am afraid
Mrs. Speckle is going to have a hard time with Buffy. Because, just as
fish love water, so Buffy loves water, and, like all ducks, he will want to
go swimming every day. I don't see what Mrs. Speckle is going to do
"Well, I know a very fine plan," said Mr. Turkey-Gobbler, "if
Mrs. Speckle is willing to do a very kind thing."
"What's that?" said Mr. Rooster; "I'm sure everybody likes to do
kind things, and Mrs. Speckle does, too."
LITTLE FOLKS' LAND 129
"It is this," said Mr. Turkey-Gobbler. "You know Mrs. Silver-
Duck, who has been away from the barnyard such a long time? Well,
she made her nest in the tall grass by the pond some time ago, and had
it almost full of eggs — she showed them to me just before she went
to sitting. I counted them myself, and there were ten, and, do you
know, yesterday, when I went to see her, someone had stolen every one
of those duck eggs, and then put a china egg in that nest for poor Mrs.
Silver-Duck to sit on! And you know, Mr, Rooster, neither, hens,
guineas, turkeys, ducks, nor any other kind of bird can hatch anything
from a c-h-i-n-a egg! I told Mrs. Silver-Duck so, but poor thing! she
only shook her head and said, 'Quack, quack,' in such a sorrowful way
that I left her there — sitting on that china egg. And there, she says,
she expects to sit until that egg changes into a duckling!"
"Cock-a-doodle-do ! Cock-a-doodle-do !
What shall we do! What shall we do!"
said Mr. Rooster.
"Do?" said Mr. Turkey-Gobbler, "why, can't you guess the plan?
If we can only get Mrs. Speckle to give Buffy to her, won't that be
"Why, to be sure," said Mr. Rooster, "the very thing to do. Cock-
And he flapped his strong wings up and down many times, and then
he and Mr. Turkey-Gobbler went off to find Mrs. Speckle and tell her
about it. And what do you think Mrs. Speckle said ? First, she listened
very closely, with her bright black eyes fixed on Mr. Rooster and then
on Mr. Turkey Gobbler, and she thought and thought and thought.
And then, she said, "It is a mighty hard thing you have asked me to do —
give away one of my children. I love Buffy very much and should not
like to part with him, but then I have twelve children and Mrs. Silver-
Duck has none. And I am sure Buffy would be happier with her than
with me — he loves the water so, and I am so afraid of it! I am always
afraid Buffy will get wet and catch cold, though they tell me ducks
never do. Anyway, I will let Buffy do as he chooses, and if he says he
would rather be Mrs. Silver-Duck's child than to live with me, why, I
think the kindest thing I can do is to let him go."
Well, she told Buffy about it that very night, and then she said,
"Now, which would you rather do?"
130 LITTLE FOLKS' LAND.
And dear little Buffy nestled his yellow head against his mother's
and said, "You know I love you, mother dear, but I should much rather
live down by the pond than up here in the barnyard — it is such fun to go
"Very well, then," said Mrs. Speckle, "go to sleep now and rest;
tomorrow I will take you down to Mrs. Silver-Duck — I am sure she
will love you and treat you kindly."
So BufEy cuddled up beneath Mother Speckle's wings for the last
night and was soon fast asleep, dreaming and dreaming about water.
The next morning Mrs. Speckle waited until Mrs. Silver-Duck had
left her nest to find something to eat, and then what do you think she
did ? She slipped down to the nest in the grass and scratched that china
egg out into the water, and then she put Buffy in the nest and told him
to stay there until his new mother came back, and she went away —
up to the barnyard to take care of her baby chickens. By and by Mrs.
Silver-Duck came back to her nest and saw the china egg was gone,
and she saw dear little yellow fluffy Buffj^ cuddled in the nest, waiting
for her ! And, don't you know, she was glad ! Why, she was so happy
she couldn't say one thing but "Quack, quack, quack." And she and
Buffy went in swimming that very afternoon, and they went in swimming
the next day and the next day and the next day, too — they went in
swimming every day, even when it rained, and they lived happily ever
Program for Eleventh Week — Animal Relationships.
Circle talk, songs and games: Have you seen toads? Where were they?
Do you know why they go into the garden? What do they eat?
( Impress the fact that toads eat bugs destructive to plants. ) Would
you like one to live in your garden?
Gift: Excursion to nearest pond to get eggs of toad and of frog.
Carry home plenty of pond water with some mud and weeds to
place with eggs in open basin or jar that children may watch de-
LITTLE FOLKS' LAND 131
The Wonderful Eggs
Circle talk, songs and games: Compare eggs of toad and frog.
Song: "Pollywog and Tadd_vpole."
Game: "Toady, how art thou?" "Frog in Middle Pond?"
Gift Period: Sand modeling. — Toad house in garden.
Occupation: Clay modeling. — Eggs.
Circle talk, songs and games: Joe-Boy had another pet. Instead of
having four feet, she had two. Instead of having large eyes, she
had small. Instead of having a large mouth, she had a small mouth.
Instead of loving the water as a place to lay her eggs, she was
afraid of it.
Play: Poultry in farm yard.
Gift: Modeling. — Nest, eggs, chickens.
Occupation: Sewing. — Outline chicken coming out of shell.
Circle talk, songs and games: Did you ever see a baby duck? How
was it different from a chicken? Do you know why the feet are
different? Do you know why the bill is different?
Play: Dramatize the story.
Song: "See them there in the pond below.
Good mother duck, and her ducklings four."
Gift Period: Sand table. Meadowbrook pond.
Occupation : — Folding. — Ducks.
Buffy 's Stepmother
Circle talk, songs and games : Show china egg. "This came out of a
hen's nest." Would it hatch? Why not? Do you know why a
china egg is kept in the hen's nest?
Play: Dramatize story.
Gift Period: Modeling. — Duck's Egg.
132 LITTLE FOLKS' LAND
Occupation: Drawing, or excursion to some pond or park where ducks
can be seen. Feed ducks, watch their manner of walking.
Twelfth Week, Birds
THERE was something else that came to the barnyard to get some-
thing to eat when Joe-Boy fed the hens and chickens. They
would flutter, flutter around his head and about his feet, saying
softly, "Coo, coo, coo, coo, give us some, too; coo, coo, coo." Of course,
you know now they were Joe-Boy's pigeons. Some were white, some
were blue, and some were gray, and some were green, and some were
brown, and some were many colors. They lived in the pretty pigeon
house Father Gipsy had helped Joe-Boy build. There were pretty lit-
tle windows and pretty little doors and cosy little porches that went all
around so the pigeons could sit there in the sunshine and tell about the
many things they saw when they went out flying — they could fly so high
and so far away, you know. Joe-Boy had often wished that he had
strong wings like theirs, and could fly away with them. White- Wings
was the prettiest pigeon of all. She was pure white, with the brightest
eyes and the pinkest feet! And she was so gentle and tame that she
would light on Joe-Boy's shoulder and eat from his hand, while he
stroked her softly. Rosy-Feet was White- Wings mate — he was white,
too, and they lived together in one of the little rooms in the pigeon
house. One day while they were out flying together they passed over the
pond in the buttercup meadow, and White-Wings peeped down and
saw little Buffy swimming on the pond with his stepmother, Mrs. Silver-
"See, Rosy-Feet," she said, "I did not know Mrs. Silver-Duck had a
little duckling. He looks like a fluffy yellow lily, floating on the water.
Don't they look happy?"
"Yes," said Rosy-Feet, "and you just ought to see Mrs. Speckle's
family, too. She has more than I can count — the dearest little downy
darlings — and when Mrs. Speckle sits down to rest they peep from be-
neath her wings and scramble over her back as cute as can be. Come,
let us fly to the barnyard and see them ; it is almost dinner time anyway,
and Joe-Boy is sure to have something nice for us to eat."
LITTLE FOLKS' LAND 133
So away flew White-Wings and Rosy-Feet to the barnyard, and
just as soon as White- Wings saw Mrs. Speckle's babies, why, she said
she wanted some, too, and that very day she and Rosy- Feet began to
gather twigs and straw to make a nest for the baby pigeons, flying in and
out of the little round doors, and working so hard until the nest was
finished. Then, only guess, White-Wings laid four white eggs in the
nest, and then she sat on them for days and days, just as Mrs. Speckle
had done — you know why. Sometimes she would get tired and long to
fly away over the green hills and tree tops; but she would shake her
pretty head and say:
"No, no, no, if I go the eggs will get cold. I must stay and keep
them warm, so that the baby pigeons will wake up."
So when Rosy-Feet peeped in many times a day, to see "how White-
Wings was getting on and to tell her the news, he always found her on
the nest, as happy as happy could be. By and by, early one morning,
White-Wings felt the eggs under her breast moving — something in-
side, trying to get out. White-Wings knew it was the baby pigeons
waking in the eggs, and she rolled one of the eggs out from her soft
feathers and pecked and pecked very gently until the egg shell came
open, and there was one baby pigeon. And then she rolled another egg
out and pecked and pecked very gently until it came open, and there
was another baby pigeon. And then she rolled another egg out and
pecked and pecked very gently until it came open, and there was another
baby pigeon. And then she rolled the last egg out and pecked it open
very gently, too, and there was another baby pigeon — four baby pigeons
for Rosy-Feet and dear little White-Wings. Aren't you glad? White-
Wings tucked them all under her wings and said, "Coo, coo, coo," so
softly, and do you know it wasn't any time before those baby pigeons
were trying to say, "Coo, coo, coo," too? When White- Wings showed
them to Rosy- Feet he felt very proud and glad, and he said :
"Now I am papa pigeon, and you are mother pigeon, and we shall
both work hard for our babies. They do not look like Mrs. Speckle's
children, do they?"
You see, they didn't have any clothes on yet, but White-Wings
said she was sure when their feathers grew they would be white like
theirs, and they already had pink bills and rosy feet, and she thought
they were the most beautiful babies in all the world ! And then Rosy-
Feet looked at them again and he said, "I believe they are."
134 LITTLE FOLKS' LAND
The Little Pigeons Four
WHEN the baby pigeons got their white dresses on and were
large enough to walk a little, White- Wings let them each
come to the little round door and peep out. They liked to
peep into the barnyard below and see the hens and chickens walking
about. They saw Mrs. Speckle and her babies, and they saw Mr.
Rooster, and they saw Mr. Turkey-Gobbler, and they saw Charlotte
Anne and Joe-Boy, too. Then they looked up high at the blue, blue sky,
and the sunbeams dancing on the trees, and they longed to fly away.
"Wait a little longer," said Rosy-feet and White-Wings, "until
your wings are stronger. Then we will teach you how to fly, and you
may go with us' to the buttercup meadow and see little BufEy swimming
on the pond."
And those baby pigeons wanted to go so very much, they could
hardly wait long enough for their wings to grow strong. But by and
by White- Wings and Rosy-Feet said they believed they were all strong
enough to fly, and the little pigeons four, hopped out on the little porch,
ready to take their first flying lesson. And then when the time came to
start, why, they were afraid to go !
"Well, did you ever!" said White- Wings, — "such baby pigeons!
Why, it is easy to fly. Just work your wings so : up and down, up and
down, up and down — now give a little jump from the porch, and off
But though the little pigeons four worked their wings up and down
all right, they were afraid to jump, you see.
"Oh, I'll fall!" said baby pigeon one.
"Oh, oh, I'll fall!" said baby pigeon two.
"Oh, oh, oh, I'll fall," said baby pigeon three.
"Oh, oh, oh, oh, I'll fall !" said baby pigeon four.
And then Rosy-Feet would laugh and say, "Oh, oh, oh, oh, you
silly little things ! If you won't try you'll never learn — I can not carry
you on my back, and how will you ever see BufEy and the pond and the
buttercup meadow. Now, t-r-y!"
"I'll try," said baby pigeon one.
"I'll try, I'll try," said baby pigeon two.
"I'll try, I'll try, I'll try," said baby pigeon three.
LITTLE FOLKS' LAND 135
"I'll try, I'll try, I'll try, I'll try," said baby pigeon four.
"You little darlings!" said White-Wings, "follow me."
And then she jumped from the pigeon house porch, and baby pigeon
one jumped, and baby pigeon two jumped, and baby pigeon three
jumped, and baby pigeon four said, "oh, oh, oh, oh, I am afraid to jump!"
And then Rosy- Feet just gave him a quick little push, and off
went little pigeon four, and he could fly as well as anybody! So off
they all flew in a row, cooing and cooing.
"Oh, I can fly!" said baby pigeon one.
"Oh, oh, I can fly!" said baby pigeon two.
"Oh, oh, oh, I can fly!" said baby pigeon three.
"Oh, oh, oh, oh, I can fly!" said baby pigeon four.
And they were so very happy.
They flew straight to the buttercup meadow, and stopped by the
pond for a rest, and they saw some pretty grass and some white rocks
and some flowers and — yes, they saw Buffy swimming on the water.
And they saw Joe-Boy and Charlotte Anne making a daisy chain, and
Joe-Boy and Charlotte Anne saw them, too. And then they flew back
home, and cuddled up in their nest and talked about all the wonderful
things they had seen that day. And when they went to sleep they
dreamed about them, too, singing softly, coo, coo, coo, coo.
The Carrier Pigeon
THE next day it rained, and rain so hard the baby pigeons could
not go out to fly, so they stayed in the nest and only peeped out
of the little round door. It was raining at Charlotte Anne's
house, too, and she couldn't go out to play, and it was raining at Joe-
Boy's house, too, and he couldn't go out to play, so he stood at the play-
room window and peeped at White-Wings and Rosy-Feet and the little
pigeons four, who peeped back ' at him from their little round door,
"Coo, coo, coo, it is raining at our house today; coo, coo.
Is it raining at your house, too?"
Then White-Wings called them in, because they might catch a
cold, you know, if they peeped out in the rain too much. It was just
then that Mother Gipsy came to the window and heard White- Wings
136 LITTLE FOLKS' LAND
cooing to her babies. So she said, "I believe White-Wings Is telling
the baby pigeons a story now; shall I tell you one?"
Of course you already know what Joe-Boy said, and then Mother
Gipsy sat in the broad window seat and began :
"Once upon a time there was a little girl named Cleo, and she
had a beautiful pet pigeon called a carrier pigeon, because it could Hy
such a long, long waj's, miles and miles, even across the great ocean, and
he would carry a letter with him if }'0u fastened it beneath his wings.
Cleo called him Fairy, and she loved him ver}^ much. Fairy would
light on her shoulder and eat from her hand, just as White- Wings eats
from your hand. Cleo's father was the captain of a great ship, and
very often he would have to go away and leave her, and then of course
she missed him very much.
"One day as her father was starting away to cross the big waters,
Cleo went to the ship to see him off. And she said, 'I'll tell you what,
father dear, take Fairj^ with you this time, and when you get far away
on the ocean waters, write me a long letter, and tie it under Fairy's
wing, and send him back to me with your love.'
"Then the sea captain laughed merrily and he said, 'All right, my
dear, I will do just as you say, and when I am far out on the waters,
I will write you the letter, and send Fairy back to you with my love.'
"Then he sailed away on the great ship, taking the pretty pigeon
with him. But when he had sailed far out on the waters, a great storm
came up and the wind blew so hard that it washed the waves high over
the sides of the ship, until at last the ship was broken and could not sail
" 'What shall we do?' asked the people on the ship. 'We can not
swim back to land, and if we went in the boats we would get lost, be-
cause we do not know the way. And then the captain thought about
the carrier pigeon, and he said, 'Don't be afraid, there is a carrier
pigeon on the ship that belongs to my little daughter. We will write a
letter, telling about our trouble, and tie it under the pigeon's wing, and
turn him loose — he will fly straight home to Cleo, and she will read
the letter and send somebody quickly to help us.'
"So, that is what they did, and when the captain had written the
letter he went up on the deck of the ship with Fairy perched on his
finger, and when he held him high, guess what he did? Yes, he
stretched wide his strong wings, and flew quickly across the waters to
find Cleo — the one he loved best.
LITTLE FOLKS' LAND 137
"The next morning, early, Cleo heard something pecking at her
window blinds, and when she raised the window, Fairy flew in and
lit on her shoulder and pecked her gently on her lips — that is the way
he always kissed her, you know. Then Cleo found the letter, which he
had brought safely across the water, and she loved Fairy more than
ever then, because he had saved the lives of the people on the ship, and
her dear father's, too, by bringing her the letter. Quickly she told the
people in the village about the broken ship, and many of them hurried
away in a strong, new ship to help them, and bring them back to land.
And you may guess how much those people loved Fairy, ever after that
— stroking and petting him over and over again. And that is the end
of my story."
"Tell it again, mother," said Joe-Boy.
■ The Return of the Bluebirds
SPRING time was coming in the buttercup meadow; you could
smell it in the air. The breezes whispered softly, "It's coming";
the sunbeams sang, "It's coming"; the water in the meadow
brook rippled, "It's coming"; and everything seemed glad!
"If the spring time is coming," said dear old Mother Nature, "I
must get ready for the birds. They will soon be here to spend the
summer, and everything must be fresh and clean. I must sweep and
dust and scour and waken the sleeping flowers, or the birds will miss
them when they come. I must waken the trees in the orchard, and
tell them to shake out their blossoms — the plum and cherry and peach
and apple — and the tall trees in the woods beyond, for the pine and
the maple and the oak and the hickory and the chestnut and the poplar,
all will be needed to make the birds happy. Who'll help me do my
spring cleaning?" said happy Mother Nature.
"I'll help," said the wind, "I'll be your broom, and sweep the
whole earth clean! I'd like to see the birds back again."
"I'll help," said the cloud, "I'll send my raindrops down and scour
the old earth clean, and I'll water the sleeping seed babies and start
them on their way — they'll make the birds glad, I'm sure."
"I'll help," said the great, warm sun, "I'll send the fairy sunbeams
down to dry and warm the earth, and care for the waking seed babies."
138 LITTLE FOLKS' LAND
Then Mother Nature smiled as she said, "I need you everyone —
the wind to sweep, the rain to scour, and the sun to dry and warm, for
the old earth must be warm and beautiful when the birds come back
And then she began her spring cleaning. How she did sweep!
The wind made a very fine broom, indeed, and for days and days he
blew, until leaves and paper and trash went whirling away through the
air, and at last the earth was swept as clean as the wind could sweep it.
"That will do," said Mother Nature, "and I thank you very much.
Now, I must do my scouring and wash the winter's dust and dirt away.
Hurry, clouds, and send the raindrops down."
So the clouds did, and for days and days it rained, washing the
trees and fences and houses, and soaking down, down, down, to freshen
and waken the little seed babies. Then Mother Nature thanked the
busy raindrops and sent them back to the clouds, while troops of sunbeam
fairies tripped to the dripping earth and warmed and dried everything —
slipping down to the drowsy grasses and flowers that the raindrops had
started on their way, and warmed their beds and whispered, "Hurry,
the birds are coming back again!"
Then the seeds of flowers and grasses rubbed their sleepy eyes and
stretched their tiny hands up, up, up, to greet the birds they loved so
well. A velvety carpet of richest green soon covered all the earth, and
pansies and violets and snowdrops and buttercups lifted their dainty
heads, while the trees in orchards and woods rustled new leaves in glad-
ness — they knew the birds would need them to hide away the snug bird
homes, where their pretty eggs lay. and the wee birdlings grew strong —
yes, yes, the trees longed for the birds to come back again, to flit and sing
among their branches, or waltz on the carpet of grass below.
And so at last all things were ready, and Mother Nature's great
heart throbbed with joy. "Which one of my birds will be the first to
come, I wonder. Will it be the bluebird? — brave little fellow. Will
it be the robin, with his orange-red breast, or the thrush, dressed in
brown ? Will it be the woodpecker with his gay red cap, the oriole with
his yellow throat, the happy, happy sparrows, the bluejay, the bobwhite,
the mocking-bird, the swallows, or little Jenny Wren — I love them
And then she stopped to listen, for at that very moment the love-
liest, gayest little song floated down from a tree, right in the buttercup
LITTLE FOLKS' LAND 139
meadow! You couldn't guess who it was, so I'll tell you. Two blue-
birds had just gotten back from the far away South. They fluttered
and flitted from tree to tree, chattering as they went.
"See, how beautiful everything is," they said, "let us sing our
'thank you' song." And holding their pretty heads up to the sky they
caroled: "I love you, I love you — sun, trees, leaves, flowers, grasses,
waterfall, all! I love you, I love you!"
Mother Nature heard, and she throbbed with joy.
"Come," said the bluebirds, "let us fly to Joe-Boy's house, and
see how he is getting on. We haven't seen him for a long, long time —
and won't he be glad to see us once more!"
So they raced to the house, and peeped in at the dining-room win-
dow and saw Joe-Boy eating his dinner, and Joe-Boy heard them sing:
"Howdy do! howdy do!
Glad to see you!
And then, even before he could scatter the crumbs on the window
sill, they were gone — flitting across the street to see Charlotte Anne.
She loved them, too, and they found her feeding her rabbits, and gaily
sang: ,(,,, , ,
We see you ! we see you !
Howdy do, howdy do!"
Then they hopped over and took dinner with the rabbits, and
Charlotte Anne was so glad. She ran in the house to tell her mother
that the bluebirds were back again, and then she skipped across the
street to tell Joe-Boy. And there was Joe-Boy just skipping across the
street to tell her! And they said at the very same time:
"The bluebirds are back again! I've seen them!"
The Birds' Store
AFTER the bluebirds came, it was not many weeks before all the
birds were back again, and almost every day Charlotte Anne
and Joe-Boy would see a new one flitting through the orchard
or buttercup meadow. They were hard at work building their nests,
and one day Charlotte Anne said, "I guess it is time for us to open our
store for the birds."
140 LITTLE FOLKS' LAND
"Did you know that those two children kept a store just for the
birds? Well, they did, every year, and it was a dry goods store and a
grocery store mixed up together, and they kept it right on the top of
the meadow fence. First, they sprinkled a few seeds on the fence — that