Abby Morton Diaz.

The Jimmyjohns, and other stories online

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Alome, or scratch up worms with her, or any thing, be
cause Phe-endy had that speckled feather in her wing.

One of the hens that Teedla Toodlum talked to in
this way was deaf, and therefore could not hear very
well. She had become deaf in consequence of not
minding her mother. It happened in this way : A tall
Shanghai roost-cock crowed close to her car when she
was quite small ; when, in fact, she was just hatched
out of her shell. She had a number of brothers and
sisters who came out at almost the same time. The
Shanghai stood very near, and in such a way that his
throat came close to the nest, and he crowed there.
The chicks wanted to put their heads out from under
their mother, and see who was making such a noise.
Their mother said,


4 No, no, no! Keep under! You might be made
deaf: I ve heard of such a thing happening."

But one chick did put her head out, and close to the
Shanghai s wide-open throat too, and when he was
crowing terribly.

Then her mother said,

1 Now I shall punish you : I shall prick you with my

And the chick was pricked, and she became deaf be
sides ; so that, when she grew up, she hardly could
hear herself cackle. And this was the reason she could
not understand very well when the hen named Tecdla
Toodlum was telling the others that the hen named
Phe-endy Alome had a Speckled feather in her wing.

One day, the hen named Teedla Toodlum scratched
a hole in the sand beneath a bramble-bush, and sat
down there, where it was cool ; and, while she was
sitting there, a cow came along at the other side of the
bramble-bush, with a load of " passengers " on her
back. The cows in the country of Chickskumeatyour-
kornio permit the hens to ride on their backs ; and,
when a great many are on, they step carefully, so as
not to shake them off. In frosty weather they allow
them to get up there to warm their feet. Sometimes
hens who have cold feet fly up and push off the others
who have been there long enough.
The cow passed along at the other side of the bush,
and by slipping one foot into a deep hole which was
hidden with grass, and therefore could not be seen,
upset the whole load of passengers. She then walked
on ; but the passengers staid there, and had a little
talk together, after their own fashion, of course.


The deaf one happened to be among them ; and, seeing
that the others were having great sport, she wanted to
know what it was all about. Upon this the others
those of them who could stop laughing raised their
voices ; and all began at once to tiy to make her under
stand. And this is what they said :

"Think of that goose of a hen, Teedla Toodlum,
telling us not to go with Phe-endy Alome because Phe-
endy Alome has a speckled feather in her wing, when
at the same time Teedla Toodlurn has tivo speckled
feathers in her own wing, but doesn t knoto it I

Teedla Toodlum was listening, and heard rather more
than was pleasant to hear. She looked through the
bramble-bush, and saw them. Some had their heads
thrown back, laughing ; some were holding on to their
sides, each with one claw ; and some were stretching
their necks forward, trying to make the deaf one un
derstand, while the deaf one held her claw to her ear
in order to hear the better.

"Ah, I feel ashamed! " said Teedla Toodlum to
herself. " I see now that one should never speak of
the speckled feathers one sees in others, since one can
never be sure that one has not speckled feathers one s

" Why, that s the way our cow does! " cried the
Jimnryjohns as soon as Mr. Tompkins had finished.

"What! talks about speckled feathers?" asked
cousin Floy.

" No : lets hens stay on her back."

" Her parents, or grandparents, or great-grand
parents, then," said Mr. Tompkins, " probably came
from Chickskumeatyourkornio."


u TT must be that spring has
JL come," said the Pansy,
" or I should never feel so un
easy, and so very wide-awake.
I ve a great mind to put my
head up out of the ground, and
see. Hark ! Yes, there are
the birds. They are calling to
the flowers. Awake ! they
say, i awake, and come forth !
There s nothing to be afraid of
now ; for Old Winter has gone
away. He can t hurt you any
more. Violet! Snowdrop!
Pansy ! Don t stay down there
any longer.
We little
birds are
without you.
Yes, birds,
we are com
ing, and that right soon ; for it is quite time the spring


work was a-doing ; and as old Goody Grass says, if
some of us do not spring up, there will be no spring
at all.

"Ah, how charming to breathe fresh air, and to be
in the light! Why, I feel all alive, all astir! This
warm sunshine thrills me through and through. Twas
very dismal down there ; but how light and cheerful it
is up above ! And here are all our old neighbors ;
come to spend the summer, I hope. Dear Violet,
I m so glad to see you ! When did } ou come up? "

" Only just this moment, Pansy. When the birds
began to call, I felt that we ought to start immediately.
It is really very pleasant to be awakened by music ;
pleasant, too, to meet old friends once more. And,
oh, how good it is to be alive ! I have just your feel
ings, and cannot keep mj self quiet. What is the
charm that works upon us so ? "

" I believe," said Pansy, " that the great shining
sun up there has something to do with it, in a way we
don t understand. Ah ! Neighbor Snowdrop, how do
you do? No doubt, being so early a riser, you were
one of the very first upon the ground."

"Why, yes," said Snowdrop, " I do make a prac
tice of coming early. It seems as if the birds should
have some one to welcome them back : it must be
hard work singing to bare ground, after what they ve
been used to at the South. And, besides, my dreams
were so unpleasant, that I was really glad to shake
them off. Probably I slept too near the surface ; for
the terrible uproar above ground disturbed me, even in
my sleep. I dreamed that a mighty giant was striding
about, shaking the world to pieces ; that he stamped


upon the flowers ; and was so cruel to the trees as to
make them groan dreadfully. Once I half awaked,
and shuddered, and said to myself, Oh ! what can
be going on overhead ? then fell asleep again, and
dreamed that the whole beautiful earth was covered
with something white and cold, and that a voice said,
4 Go up through the snow ! to which I answered, Oh !
I m afraid to go alone/

" When I awoke, the voice seemed still saying, Go
up ! Then I remembered the birds, and came, but came
trembling ; for the cold white snow was truly here, and
I feared that dreadful giant might be real also. My
good friends, did you have no bad dreams? and were
you not disturbed by the tumult ?

" Not at all," said Pansy. " When our mother told
us the good Summer who loved us had gone, and that
there was a dreadful old Winter coming, who would
growl and pinch and bite, and that we d better keep
our heads under cover, then I went to sleep, and slept
soundly. I haven t heard any thing of all this rowde-
dow you say has been going on overhead, but, on the
contrary, have had very charming dreams. I dreamed
of being in a place where the sky was made up of the
most beautiful colors, purple, yellow, pale gold, and
straw-color ; and there were purple and yellow rain
bows reaching down from the sky to me. At last I
awoke, and heard the birds calling. Wasn t that
pretty? Now, little Violet, what did you dream? "

" In my dreams," said the Violet, " the sky was all
over blue, a deep, beautiful blue. And I can t tell
you how it was, the dream was a strange one, but,
while it* lasted, this blue seemed to fall upon me, to


fall gently, as the dew falls ; and with the blue came a
delightful perfume. It was a very sweet dream."

" Now I slept here quite accidentally," said a 3 oung
Sunflower, starting up ; "but I, too, had my dreams. I
dreamed of seeing something round and bright and
glorious moving across the sky, something which I
so worshipped, so longed to be like, that, wherever it
went, I never failed to turn towards it ; and, in return
for my worship, this glorious object sent me down floods
of its golden light."

" As for me," said a Damask Rose-Bush, "I haven t
been to bed at all, but have slept standing; and in
my dreams the sky was the color of the east just before
sunrise, and eveiy object seemed bathed in its lovely
light. There was a fragrance, too, in the air about
me, and whispers, very faint whispers, which sounded
like this, Love, love, love ! and there were little
winged boys hovering around."

" Now I," said the Woodbine, " slept leaning against
the house, and my dreams were chiefly of climbing.
Nothing would satisfy me but getting higher. And
really the dream seems to have meant something. I
have strange sensations : I feel active, restless. What
has got into me, I wonder. It must be the sap. Well,
here I go ! "

The other dreams seemed to have meant some
thing too : for the Snowdrop bore a flower the color
of snow, a pale, trembling blossom, that looked as
if it were afraid old Winter would come back, and have
a grab at it }~et ; and the Pans}^ s flower was of the
wondrous hues she dreamed of, purple, yellow, and


straw-color; the Violet s was blue, and shed around
it a delicious perfume, like that which in her dream
came down with the blue from the heavens.

The Sunflower grew up very tall, and produced a
flower which always turned to the sun, from the time
of his rising in the east to his setting in the west, and
thus drew into itself such floods of golden light, that
at last this devoted flower came to resemble somewhat
the sun it worshipped.

The buds of the Damask Rose were used by lovers
when they wished to tell their love in the most beautiful
wa}^ ; and no doubt they and those who received them
heard whispers in the air like those the Rose-Bush
dreamed of ; and if they did not see the little winged
boys, why, they might have been there, for all that.

As for the Woodbine, it climbed till the house-top
was reached, and, at last accounts, was still creeping
up the roof.


" "VTOIJ must know, children," said uncle Joe, "that I
JL have taken great pains to collect dreams . When
ever strange ones or funny ones are told, me, I write
them down in this dream-book. Some of them would
make }*ou laugh till the tears ran out of your eyes. It
is really curious what singular things do come to us in
dreams, such wonders ! such jumbles ! such silliness
es ! and yet they all seem right enough when we are
dreaming them.

"Now, there was little Barnabas Springer, who
dreamed he was ploughing with an ox on the seashore,
(of all places in the world to be ploughing ! ) and that
the ox made a stifled, i rumble-grumble sound in its
throat several times. He dreamed, that, when they
reached the end of the furrow, he saw standing there a
tall lacly, whose head now mind this was set on in
such a wa} r that her face came over her right shoulder ;
and that this tall lady spoke to him in a loud voice, like a
person scolding,

Barnabas Springer ! that ox was trying to tell
you to say Gee " to him, so that he might " gee,"
and not wet his feet.



" Now, gee means turn to the right, and the tall
lady s face looked over her right shoulder ; and, when
Barnabas woke up, he was lying on his right side, with
his eyes, nose, and mouth in the pillows : all of which
is something to think of.

" Then there was my pet niece Susie dreamed she
was her own kitten, trying to catch her own canary-
bird, and that she understood every thing the bird said
in his flutterings, and just what his feelings were. The
poor child cried herself awake, and no wonder.

But among the strangest of the strange ones in
this collection," said uncle Joe, opening his dream-
book, "is that of Jimmy, my little nephew. He
dreamed he was a fly, and that he talked with a sor
rowful butterfly (which died in the dream) , and with a
bluebird, and also with a curious being who w r ore five
tall black-and-white plumes, one in his hat, and two
on each shoulder. The curious being also wore a cow s
horn, standing in front of his hat ; for which reason he
was called the Great Head-Homer.

"He had ten helpers. These helpers had each
one plume, but no horn. Their plumes stood up
straight, in the middle of the crowns of their tall hats.
You will hear about them presently; for I have the
whole dream written down here, just as Jimmy told it
to me, dialogue-fashion.

It happened in this way : One summer afternoon
Jimmy had been doing something naughty (you will
find out what it was by and by) ; and his mother, after
talking with him, read to him a story about a boy who
had done the same thing, and other things somewhat
like it. She also told some true stories of cruel men


whom she had known, and read several short pieces of
poetry on the same subject.

" Now that I have spoken the word cruel/ I may as
well say that Jiminy had been tormenting insects in
ways which it would give me pain to tell, and give you
pain to hear, and that the men of whom his mother
spoke had been cruel to dumb animals.

"While she was talking, three or four officers in
Uniform passed by. I mention these things in order
that you may the better account for Jimnw s curious

" Jimmy fell asleep during the reading of the verses,
and dreamed of being in a strange place, where he saw
close beside him a large golden-spotted butterfly. He
dreamed that it was a moaning, sighing, sorrowing but
terfly, and what seemed more strange that it spoke
to him, and called him a fly ; and, stranger yet, that he
thought, for a time, he was a fl} T , though he felt like
himself all the while. Even this, however, is not so
strange as the rest.

In the dream-dialogue I call Jimmy by his true
name, because, as he said, he felt like himself. You
will observe that the sorrowful butterfly begins."

Butterfly. Speak to him ; ask him not to do it, dear,
pretty fly !

Jimmy. You are not talking to me, butterfly, are

Butterfly. Yes, fly, I am talking to you.

Jimmy. But I am not a fly, butterfly : I am a boy,
a Jimmy.

Butterfly. You arc a fly, and this will prove it. Can
a boy hear butterfly-talk, and know the meaning of it?


Jimmy. But if I were a fly, butterfly, I could fly.

Butterfly. So you can fly, fly. Flap, and try !

" He flapped in his dream, flew up, then flew clown."

Jimmy. But if I were a fly, butterfly, I could crawl
on the wall.

Butterfly. You can. Flap again, fly; fly to the
wall, and crawl !

He flapped in his dream, flew to the wall, and

Butterfly. Now do you believe } T OU are a fly?

Jimmy. Yes, butterfly: I am a fly, and I am a
Jimmy ; I am a Jimnry-fry.

Butterfly. Oh, oh, oh ! Help, he comes !

Jimmy. Who comes ?

Butterfly. The giant. Ask him not to do it, dear,
good fly ! See, see the sharp rod ! I tremble, I quiver !

Jimmy. What will he do with it, butterfly?

Butterfly. He will run it through my body. Oh,
dear ! oh, dear !

Jimmy. Why don t } T OU fry away?

Butterfly. The window is shut. Do, do speak to
him !

Jimmy. A fly cannot talk to a giant.

Butterfly. But you can buzz to him. A poor but
terfly cannot even buzz. See, he comes near !

Jimmy. That is not a giant : that is only a boy.

Butterfly. Oh, it is a giant! Won t you, tvon t
you, buzz to him?

Jimmy. What shall I buzz to him?

Butterfly. Buzz that I want to live ; that I long to

Jimmy. What shall I buzz that you want to live for?


Butterfly. To rock in the lily-bells.

Jimmy. What else?

Butterfly. To float up and down, up and down, all
the summer-day.

Jimmy. What else ?

Butterjly. For the honey of the flowers.

Jimmy. What else?

Butterfly. And for their fragrance. Flower fra
grance is the breath of life to a butterfly. Buzz ah 1 this
to him. Quick ! Ah, too late, too late ! Oh, oh, oh !

Jimmy. Will it take a great while to die?

Butterjly. A very great while. (Gasps for breath.)
Oh, oh, dear ! Cruel, cruel, cruel giant !

"The Jimnv^fly flies up to the giant s ear, and
tries to buzz Cruel, cruel, cruel !

A great hand strikes him off. He gets lost in the
air ; and when, after a long time, he finds his way back, ,
the golden-spotted butterfly is almost dead. It takes
no notice of any thing around, but murmurs, faintly
and more faintly, of clover, bees, honey, perfume,
roses, mossy banks, lily-bells, dewdrops, humming
birds, and so passes away in a pleasant butterfly

"The Jimmy-fly flies up again, and buzzes in the
giant s ear, as well as he can, Cruel, cruel, cruel !

" The window is opened, and he is driven out. He
flies to a tree near by, where sits a bluebird. The bird
appears frightened, and -utters cries of distress."

Jimmy. Bluebird, what troubles you so?

Bluebird. There s a gun below. It will kill me!
Oh, if I could only live !

Jimmy. It is strange. The butterfly wished the


very same thing. Now, what do you want to live for,
bluebird ?

Bluebird. Why, to sing with the other birds, and
to swing on the boughs ; to take care of my little
birdies, and to spread my wings, and fly away and
away over the treetops ; also to go South with the
summer. Oh, but we birds have rare sport then!
Have you heard of the sunny South ? Do you know
that we ^o where the orange-trees bloom? We find no
frost there, but sunshine always, and flowers, and" a
mild air. And then the fun of going all together ! We
sing, we fly races in the sky, we follow the leader. Ah !
a bird s life is a happy life, and

" A gun has been fired.

"The Jimmy-fly flies down, and finds the bird on
the ground, gasping for breath. Its bright eyes are
closed. Its head falls on its breast. One little flut
ter of the wings, dead! The bluebird will never
sing again, nor swing on the boughs, nor fly away
and away over the treetops, nor go South with the

And here enters into the dream the curious being
spoken of just now, namely, the Great Head-Horner,
or captain, with his five tall l^lack-and- white plumes,

one in his hat, and two on each shoulder. Behind
him, in single file, all keeping step, march his ten

Captain (in a loud voice) . Halt ! Here is the boy.

Boy, step this way !

Jimmy. I am not a boy. I am a a fly.
Captain. Ha, ha! He says he is a fly. Ha,
ha ! Pass it along.


" It passes along the line, each helper saying to the

" Ha, ha ! He says he is a fly. Ha, ha ! Pass it
along. "

Captain. If he is a fly, why doesn t he fly?

" All repeat this, one after the other, If he is a fly,
why doesn t he fly? till the noise of so many voices
sounds like the bumbling of hoarse bumble-bees.

" Jimmy flaps his arms, but cannot rise.

" A laugh passes along the line."

Captain. Which are you now, fly, or boy?

Jimmy. I think I am a boy.

Captain. He thinks he is a boy : we think he is a
pullwinger-boy. Wheel about, my helpers. Boy,
these are my first company of helpers. Wheel about,
my helpers ; form a hollow square around the boy ;
take him to the great " Bondenquol ; " let him see what
what is being done there !

" Jimmy is now taken to the great Bondenquol.

Captain. First company of helpers, begin your
work : bring in the abusers of dumb animals. (The
ten helpers march out.)

Captain. Helper No. 1, enter !

" Enter helper No. 1, driving before him a red-
faced man who is harnessed to a wagon in which is a
load too heavy for him to draw. Wagon moves slowly :
man pulls with all his might. Helper No. 1 strikes him
with a whip : man cries out, tries to move faster, but
cannot. Another blow : he groans, t quivers, bends
himself nearly double.

1 Meantime other helpers have come in at other
doors, each driving a man who is trying to draw a


load heavy be} r ond his strength. The helpers use
their whips. The men suffer pain : some of them are
lame ; some blind ; some are half starved, and so weak
that their joints tremble. The great Bondenquol
resounds with shrieks and groans."

Jimmy (to the captain) . What are they hurting
those men for ?

Captain. To let them know how whip-blows feel.
Those are the cruel : they abuse dumb animals. Do
you know, that, were horses not dumb, whoever passes
along the street would hear shrieks and groans worse
than those you are now hearing ? But come. You are
waited for. Bo} T -punishers, roll the wall.

" The heavy wall moves along on rollers. The noise
of this, together with fright at the prospect of being pun
ished, woke Jimmy from his sleep. A wagon loaded
heavily with coal was passing the house. It was this
which waked him. It came to a steep place in the road.
The horses could scarcely move. The driver swore at
them. He took his whip, and laid on the blows, ter
ribly hard blows !

"Jimmy ran out.

" Oh, don t, Mr. Driver ! he cried. Please stop
whipping the poor horses ! You don t know how it
hurts !

The driver could hardly tell what to make of it to
be spoken to in that way, and by a boy.

" And do you know? he asked.

" Yes, yes ! cried Jimmy. I dreamed all about it.

" The driver seemed more puzzled than ever. He
stood still, looked down at Jimmy ; and at last said he,

" Well, to please you, I ll stop."




IT was not a new story ; indeed, it was hardly a story
at all : but the children liked the family story-teller s
way of telling it and of acting it out. The family story
teller made a big matter of that barn-moving. He put
in words enough to describe an earthquake, or a AVest-
India hurricane, or a volcano pouring out red-hot melted
lava, or a steamboat bursting her boiler and blowing
herself up. He also wanted plenty of room in which
to fling Jiis arms about, and shake his fists, and make
other kinds of motions, so as to act out what was done,
and especially what the oxen-drivers did.

"Oh, yes! "the family story-teller said, taking a
leap into the middle of the floor: "I ll tell how the
barn came from Jorullo. All keep quiet. The story
is going to begin now. One morning the barrel-man
a collector of barrels went forth from his house by the
back-door ; and there he stood with folded arms (like
this), looking at all his carts, wheelbarrows, barrels,
haystacks, garden-tools, and many other things. And
he said, Behold, I have carts, wheelbarrows, bar
rels, haystacks, garden-tools, and many other things,
but have no roof whereunder to shelter them/ And he



said, Behold, in Jorullo there stands a barn, a brown
barn, a right goodly barn. This barn will I buy. And
I will get oxen (horned oxen with their drivers) and
horses, and moving-men with their stout wheels,
and timbers, and great iron chains ; and the timbers
shall be raised upon the wheels, and the barn shall be
raised upon the timbers, and the oxen shall draw, and
the wheels shall roll, and the barn shall come from
Jorullo ; and in that will I shelter my carts, barrels,
wheelbarrows, haystacks, garden-tools, and many other

And he sent round about into all the country ; and
there came twenty oxen, and horses besides, with their
drivers, from South Stromriffe and Smithersville and
Mt. Lob and Trilerbite Four Corners ; and the Paxham-
borough moving-men came with their stout wheels, and
their timbers, and their great iron chains ; and the
timbers were raised upon the wheels, and the barn was
raised upon the timbers. Then the drivers began to
shout, and nourish their whips (like this) : Get up
there I Gee! 1 Haw ! Come along ! c Hi, hi,
hi I What re ye bout ? The horses and oxen began
to draw with mighty strength ; the wheels began to roll ;
and the barn began to move from Jorullo.

" And first they came to a telegraph-wire, and there
they stopped. Take down that telegraph-wire !
shouted the head moving-man, and let it stay down
till the barn passes by. Then out came the ladders,
and up climbed the men, and down came the telegraph-

" And out jumped a cat! " cried one of the little




" Yes, out jumped a cat from the barn-window, with
a kitten in her mouth. She thought twas time to move
into some other building. She went back to Jorullo

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Online LibraryAbby Morton DiazThe Jimmyjohns, and other stories → online text (page 5 of 13)