Albert Bigelow Paine.

The hollow tree and deep woods book : being a new edition in one volume of The hollow tree and In the deep woods with several new stories and pictures added online

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Online LibraryAlbert Bigelow PaineThe hollow tree and deep woods book : being a new edition in one volume of The hollow tree and In the deep woods with several new stories and pictures added → online text (page 2 of 9)
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"Hi, there! Hold on, Mr. Dog, or you'll get there before Mr. Rabbit is
ready for you. He just passed, and said he had to clean up before you
came. I s'pose he wants to get up a fine dinner, too."

Well, that settled it. Mr. Dog stopped and said he wasn't in any hurry
at all, but was just running a little because it was a nice morning and
he felt well. Of course, he said, he didn't want to get there before Mr.
Rabbit was ready for him, and then he trotted along comfortably,
thinking how he would eat the Rabbit's fine dinner first, and then there
would be time enough for Mr. Rabbit himself afterward.

So, when he got to Jack Rabbit's house he straightened his vest and his
necktie a little, and then he knocked and turned around and whistled
while he was waiting for Mr. Rabbit to come to the door. But Jack Rabbit
didn't come to the door. He opened an upstairs window and said: -

"Why, it's Mr. Dog! Sit right down on the porch, Mr. Dog, till I get my
house ready and the dinner cooked."


So Mr. Dog sat down and lit his pipe and smoked and looked at the
scenery, while Mr. Rabbit inside he laughed and laughed, and lay down on
the bed and finally went to sleep.

Mr. Dog sat there and smoked and smoked, and wished the Rabbit would
hurry and let him in, 'cause he wanted to get home to his folks, and it
was a long way to travel. By and by he called up and asked him if dinner
wasn't ready yet. That waked Jack Rabbit up, and he looked out the
window and said that he'd had bad luck with his biscuit and dinner would
be late. Then Mr. Dog said he'd come in while he was waiting, but the
Rabbit said the house was full of smoke, and he wouldn't think of
letting his company sit inside such a pleasant day.

Well, Mr. Dog he sat and sat, and Mr. Jack Rabbit laughed and went to
sleep again, and by and by it got so late that Mr. Dog knew if he didn't
go home pretty soon he'd "catch it" when he got there. So he called up
again to Mr. Rabbit, and said that he'd take anything he happened to
have in the house, and that he didn't care much for biscuit anyway. But
Jack Rabbit said he would never show his face again if he let his
company do that, and that it was a perfect shame that Mr. Dog had waited
so long, when he had so far to go. He said that his stove didn't draw
worth a cent, and that his fire had gone out once, and he hadn't got it
started again yet.

Then Mr. Dog didn't wait to hear another word, but just set out for
home, lickety split, with Mr. Jack Rabbit rolling on the bed and
laughing to see him go.

"Come again, Mr. Dog!" he called after him. "Come again when you can't
stay so long."

But Mr. Dog didn't say a word or look 'round, for he knew by Jack
Rabbit's laughing so loud and saying to come when he couldn't stay so
long that he'd been fooling him all the time.

"And did he ever go to Jack Rabbit's house again?" asked the Little

Well, not right away. He didn't go out much of anywhere after that for a
while, because people made fun of him and kept calling out when he went
by: -

"Come again, Mr. Dog! Come again when you can't stay so long!"



Once upon a time there came to the big Hollow Tree, where the 'Coon and
the 'Possum and the Old Black Crow lived, an invitation from Mr. Jack
Rabbit for the three to dine with him next day. Nobody was going to be
there, he said, but the Turtle, and for them to come early so's to have
a nice long afternoon.

He didn't need to say that, for the 'Possum would have started right off
if it had been polite, and the Crow and the 'Coon were both so excited
that the 'Coon commenced with pie first at supper and the Crow took his
hat to get water in. Then they talked all the evening about their
clothes and what they were going to wear, and the 'Possum said he was
afraid to look at his best suit for fear it was moth eaten, and the
'Coon and the Crow rummaged through their bureaus and got out all their
clean shirts so's to have one ready for the next day.

In the morning they all got up long before daylight, and the 'Possum
looked out first and then called over to the others that there had
been a light snow in the night, but that it was clear now and just cold
enough to give a fellow a good appetite. He was going to eat a slim
breakfast, he said, so's to be ready for a big dinner.

They were all dressed and ready long before time, but they managed to
stand it until about ten o'clock, and then the 'Possum said he was just
naturally getting gray headed waiting for that dinner, and off they


[Illustration: LOOKED AT THE ALBUM.]


Mr. Jack Rabbit had got up early, too, that morning, and had the table
'most set when they came. He had his sleeves rolled up and an apron on,
and the way he was flying around and getting ready was a caution. The
'Coon and the Crow sat down in the parlor, and looked at the album and
some travel books they found on the table, but Mr. 'Possum was so hungry
after his light breakfast that he could not keep out of the kitchen,
where it smelled good, and stood around and talked to Jack Rabbit, and
asked him where he got his chickens, and if he thought Mr. Fox would
spare him some, too, and if Mr. Rabbit had any trouble getting his
biscuits to rise in cold weather.

Then the Rabbit gave the 'Possum some new receipts, and Mr. 'Possum
tasted of everything, a great big taste, making believe he wanted to see
just how it was made, but really because he was almost starved, and
couldn't wait.

Well, pretty soon Mr. Turtle straddled in, and everything was on the
table and they all sat down. The 'Possum had tasted so much in the
kitchen that he wasn't so starved as the 'Coon and the Crow, and behaved
very politely, and stepped on the 'Coon's toe under the table because he
ate so greedily, and whispered to the Crow not to shovel the food about
on his plate, as if he were cleaning snow off a roof.


They were all too busy to say much at first, but pretty soon they got to
talking and telling stories, and Jack Rabbit told about the time that
Mr. Dog chased him home, and how he kept Mr. Dog sitting out on the
porch all the afternoon waiting for dinner to be ready. Then Mr. Turtle
up and told about his stopping Mr. Dog that day, telling him that the
Rabbit had gone home to get dinner for him, and they all laughed, and
the 'Coon and the 'Possum said that Mr. Dog thought they were afraid of
him, too, but the first time they got a chance they were going to show
him a few things that would open his eyes. That made the Crow laugh till
he coughed and strangled, and when the Rabbit said he wasn't afraid,
either, the Turtle laughed, too. Then the 'Coon and the 'Possum and Mr.
Jack Rabbit all pounded on the table, and said, "Just show us Mr. Dog,
and you'll see whether we're afraid or not," and right then, as they
said these words, there came a loud knock, and a great big bow! wow!
wow! right at the door, and Mr. Jack Rabbit fell over backward, and Mr.
'Coon upset his coffee, and Mr. 'Possum, being stuffed so he could
hardly move, rolled under the table and fainted dead away.

"Wasn't the Crow and Mr. Turtle scared some, too?" interrupted the
Little Lady.

Not a bit. Mr. Dog is good friends with the Crow and the Turtle. Of
course they were afraid some for the Rabbit and the 'Coon and the
'Possum, but they didn't think Mr. Dog could get in, because the door
was locked, so they laughed and pounded on the table as the others had
done and said: -

"Oh, yes, just show us Mr. Dog! Just show us Mr. Dog!"

That made the Rabbit feel ashamed, 'cause he was in his own house, so he
hopped up quick and marched over to the door and said: -

"Why, Mr. Dog, is that you out there?"

Mr. Dog said it was, and that he had seen all the tracks in the snow,
and just thought he'd like to take a hand in that big dinner himself.
That made the hair on Mr. 'Coon's head stand right straight up, and Mr.
'Possum, who had rolled under the table, gave a groan and crawled over
behind a long curtain, where he could faint and be covered up at the
same time. Mr. Rabbit thought a little minute and then said, very
politely: -

"It's just too bad, Mr. Dog, I'll declare it is. But every time you come
it seems like something happens to keep me from having your company.
We've just got up from the table and there isn't a thing left, and
besides, Mr. 'Possum had a sick turn a minute ago, and we're all upside
down and every which way."

But Mr. Dog said he wasn't afraid but that there'd be plenty for him to
eat, and that he was a pretty good hand with sick folks himself. Then he
gave another great loud bark and said: -

"You fooled me once, but you'll fool me no more,
So lift up the latch and open the door!"

Mr. Dog talks poetry that way sometimes when he gets excited. But Jack
Rabbit said he really couldn't think of inviting him in, the way things
were, and that it would likely be after sundown before he'd be ready for
him. Of course, he said, Mr. Dog couldn't wait that long, he knew, and
that he s'posed, after all, they'd have to do without his comp'ny this
time. Then Mr. Dog said that his folks were away from home now, and that
he could stay there all night if he wanted to, but that he didn't want
to and didn't propose to, and then he gave another great big bow wow
wow! and said: -

"You fooled me once, but you can't ag'in;
Open the door or I'll break it in!"

[Illustration: THE 'POSSUM ALMOST DIED.]


Jack Rabbit and Mr. 'Coon both jumped when they heard that, and Mr.
'Possum almost died. It worried the Crow and the Turtle some, too, for
they knew if he did break in the door there'd be a big row and no
telling how it would end. And just then Mr. Dog gave a big run and a
jump against the door, and it squeaked and opened a little, so that the
Rabbit could see a streak of light through it and Mr. Dog's yellow legs
and tail. When he saw that Jack Rabbit just gave one spring and landed
on the top shelf of his china closet. Mr. 'Possum jumped up and ran
around the room and fainted in two or three different places, trying to
find one that was safer than the other, and Mr. 'Coon scampered up the
Rabbit's new lace curtains and hung on to the pole for dear life. The
Crow and the Turtle just kept still and got ready to argue some with Mr.
Dog when he got in.

Pretty soon he came, bang! against the door again, and this time a good
deal harder than before, and it squeaked louder and the crack was wider,
for Mr. Dog had jumped against it as hard as ever he could, backward.
And right there Mr. Dog made a mistake, for in just that little second
while the crack was open the end of his tail got in it, and the door
smacked right down on it, and there he was.

"Ho!" said the Little Lady. "Was he caught tight?"


He was that. The harder he pulled the tighter it pinched, and he howled
like a good fellow. You wouldn't have thought that such a little bit of
his tail would make him howl so loud, but it did, and he couldn't get
far enough away from the door to jump against it again. Well, Mr. Rabbit
didn't let on that anything had happened, but just came down out of the
china closet as cool as you please, with the dessert dishes on his arm,
and the 'Possum said his sick turn had passed off, and the 'Coon came
down from the curtain and mentioned that he always liked to take a
little exercise during a heavy meal that way. Then they had dessert, and
all the time Mr. Dog was making a big fuss outside, and by and by he
began to beg and promise anything if they'd just let him loose.

Mr. Rabbit called out to him that, being as his folks were away now, he
needn't be in any hurry, and that he might just as well stay there all
night if he wanted to. Then Mr. Dog called out to the Turtle and the
Crow to "prize" open the door and let him get his tail out, but they
both said that they couldn't think of being impolite with Jack Rabbit in
his own house by sending off any of his friends that way.

Well, pretty soon the 'Coon and the 'Possum said they must be going,
they guessed, so Mr. Rabbit let them out the back door, and they went
around and said goodby to Mr. Dog and hoped he was having a nice time.
And Mr. Dog told them, with tears in his eyes, that he was sorry to see
them go and that he hoped to meet them again. Then the 'Coon and the
'Possum both laughed and took a good look at Mr. Dog, for they had never
been so close to him before in their lives. They kept on laughing and
looking around as far as they could see, and said it was the best joke
they had ever heard of.

The Crow and the Turtle didn't go right away. They stayed and had a talk
with Jack Rabbit first so as to give the 'Coon and the 'Possum time to
get home. By and by they bade goodby to Mr. Rabbit and said they'd had a
nice time, and went out the back door, too, and when it was shut and
locked tight Jack Rabbit told Mr. Dog if he'd promise to go right home
and behave himself, and not go gallivanting around the country, he'd
let him loose. Mr. Dog promised, and said his tail was numb clear up to
his ears, and for Mr. Rabbit to please hurry. Then Jack Rabbit got a
stick of stovewood and pried the door open a little wider, and Mr. Dog's
tail came out just as the Turtle and the Crow stepped around the corner.

"Was Mr. Dog mad at them?" asked the Little Lady, anxiously.


Not very. He was too much ashamed, and, besides, they walked along with
him and said they were sorry and thought it was too bad the way he had
been treated, and Mr. Crow said he'd have Mr. Dog over to his house for
supper before long, which would be a good joke on the 'Coon and 'Possum,
too, because they'd have to stay locked in their rooms. That made Mr.
Dog perk up a little, but he didn't have much to say, and he didn't even
look around when Mr. Jack Rabbit sat up in his window and called after
them: -

"I fooled you once and I fooled you twice,
If you come again I'll fool you thrice!"

For Jack Rabbit could make up poetry, too, sometimes when he felt well.



Well, you remember (said the Story Teller) that the Crow promised Mr.
Dog he would have him over sometime for supper, and play a joke on Mr.
'Coon and Mr. 'Possum. So one morning he sent word to Mr. Dog, and the
same day gave it out to the 'Coon and the 'Possum that we would have
company for supper the next evening, and that he was going to set the
big table in the parlor and have both of them come down and take supper
with him, too. He didn't tell them he was going to have Mr. Dog and went
around laughing to himself, because he thought it would be very funny
for them to get all ready for a fine supper and then be afraid to come
down when they found out who was there. Of course he meant to tell them
before they came, because he didn't really want any fuss there in the
parlor, especially when he had his good things on the table.

Well, the 'Coon and the 'Possum said they'd come, and they guessed and
guessed who it was that the Crow was going to have, but he wouldn't tell
them, and by and by they began to suspect that maybe it was somebody
that they didn't care much about. So they had a little private talk
together and fixed up a way to be ready for him.

After that they went around smiling a good deal, and the Crow thought it
was on account of the big supper they were expecting, so he smiled, too,
and was busy getting ready for the fun next day.

Well, next day about five o'clock, Mr. Dog came and knocked at the door
down stairs, and Mr. Crow slipped down and let him in, and took him
right up to the parlor where supper was all on the table except the
fried chicken, which he had left on the stove to keep hot. Mr. Dog took
a seat and glanced round and said that everything looked good and
smelled even better than it looked. The Crow liked to hear that, for he
was always proud of his cooking and he laughed all over, and kept on
laughing when he thought what a joke he was going to have right away on
Mr. 'Coon and Mr. 'Possum.

Then, pretty soon he had everything ready, and said to Mr. Dog: -

"Now I'm going to call my friends down, but they won't come." And then
they both laughed soft like, for of course Mr. Dog knew all about the
joke, too.

So then the Crow went up to the 'Possum's door and knocked and said: -

"Supper's ready! Comp'ny's here! Come down!"

[Illustration: "WHO IS YOUR COMPANY, MR. CROW?"]

"Who is your company, Mr. Crow?"

"Oh, just home folks. Nobody but Mr. Dog. We've got fried chicken and
it's all ready."

"I'm sorry, Mr. Crow, but I've just had comp'ny come, too, and I
couldn't come unless I brought my comp'ny."

"Who is it?" said the Crow.

"Nobody but home folks. Mr. Cat just dropped in to spend the evening."

The Old Black Crow gave a jump when he heard that, for he was afraid as
death of Mr. Cat, and he said, quick as a wink: -

"Table's all full and no room for more! Table's all full and no room for

Then he hurried over to the 'Coon's door and called: -

"Supper's all ready! Comp'ny's here! Come down!"


Mr. 'Coon put an extra chair against the door and said: -

"Who is your comp'ny, Mr. Crow?"

"Oh, just home folks. Nobody but Mr. Dog. We've got fried chicken and
it's all on the table."

"I'm sorry, Mr. Crow, but comp'ny just came here, too, and I'd have to
bring him along."

"Who is it, Mr. 'Coon?"

"Only home folks. Just Mr. Hawk run in for the evening."


Mr. Crow nearly fell over backward when he heard that. He had stolen
some of Mr. Hawk's chickens the day before, and the 'Coon knew about it.
The Hawk would surely know the flavor of his own chickens if he came
down, and, anyhow, Mr. 'Coon would tell him. So he called out just as
quick as lightning: -

"Table's all full and no room for more! Table's all full and no room for

Then he hurried right back to Mr. Dog and told him not to wait, because
Mr. 'Coon and Mr. 'Possum could not come, and Mr. Dog laughed and
pitched into the fried chicken and said it was the best joke and the
best chicken he had ever heard of. But the Crow some way did not think
it was as good a joke as he had expected and could not eat his supper
for looking up at the doors where the 'Possum and the 'Coon were.

By and by, when Mr. Dog had finished his supper and had a smoke, he said
he guessed his folks would be looking for him and that he would have to
go. Then the Crow nearly had a fit and begged and begged him to spend
the evening. He said Mr. Dog came so seldom that he ought to stay, now
he was there, so at last Mr. Dog sat down again and said he might as
well sit a little longer, he s'posed.


Well, the Crow talked and talked and told stories and got Mr. Dog to
telling stories, too, and once he slipped around behind Mr. Dog while he
was talking away and put the clock back, but it didn't do any good. Mr.
Dog said by and by that he was obliged to go and that he was afraid now
he would be locked out when he got home. So the Crow thought as quick as
he could and called out loud: -

"Time comp'ny was going home! Time comp'ny was going home!"

But the 'Possum called back that his comp'ny wasn't in any hurry. And
the Coon called back that his comp'ny wasn't in any hurry either.

Then Mr. Crow was in a bad fix. He hopped around first on one foot and
then on the other while Mr. Dog was putting on his things, and as soon
as he was gone he skipped right up into his own room and locked the door

Mr. 'Coon and Mr. 'Possum were looking out of their windows and saw Mr.
Dog outside as he lit his pipe and marched off laughing. And the 'Coon
and 'Possum laughed, too, for they hadn't had any company at all, but
had been making believe all the time. Then they unbarred their doors and
went down into the parlor, where there was a lot of the supper left, and
sat down and passed the fried chicken across to each other and laughed
some more and said Mr. Crow was certainly a mighty good cook.

"Didn't they give the Crow any?" asked the Little Lady, who had been so
still that the Story Teller believed her asleep.

Pretty soon they did. They said it was too bad to punish him any longer,
so they went up to his door, and the 'Possum knocked and said: -

"Better come down to supper, Mr. Crow. Comp'ny's all gone!"

And then the 'Coon he knocked and said: -

"Better come down to fried chicken, Mr. Crow. Comp'ny's all gone!"

So then the Crow opened the door a little crack and peeked out, and when
he saw nobody was there but the 'Coon and the 'Possum he stepped out as
brave as you please and said that he had been to one big supper and was
sleepy and just going to bed, but that he believed he would sit down
with them just to be sociable. He was sorry, he said, that he couldn't
have asked them to bring down their comp'ny, but he hadn't fixed for so
many, and, after all, it would be nicer now, all alone together.

So then the 'Coon and the 'Possum and the Old Black Crow all sat down to
the table together and ate and ate and ate, and the Old Black Crow ate
most of all.



Last night when the full moon looked into the House of Many Windows the
Little Lady stood looking at it for a long time.

She had been told that the moon was another world, and that the stars
were worlds, too, and she was trying to think how that could be when
they looked so small and close together; also if it were all true, and
they were so big, why they did not get against each other when the sky
itself wasn't any bigger than the world and came down to it everywhere
at the edges. She asked the Story Teller about it when he came in.

The Story Teller tried to explain that the stars and moon were not so
close together as they looked, and that some were a good deal further
away than others, and a lot more things, all of which the Little Lady
doubted, because she said she could see for herself that the sky was
just a round blue ceiling, and that the moon and stars were right
against it, and if any of them were further away than the others they
would be over beyond the ceiling and wouldn't show. This was a good
deal easier for the Story Teller to understand than the things he had
been trying to tell, so he said, "Why, of course. I hadn't thought of
that," and then he said he knew some stories about the moon that were a
good deal truer, he guessed, than most anything else. And then he told
her, first of all,


Once upon a time, when Mr. Dog had invited the Crow and the Turtle to
his house for supper, Jack Rabbit came over to the Hollow Tree to spend
the evening with the 'Coon and the 'Possum, and they took a long walk.
They walked and walked, till by and by they got to the edge of the world
and sat down and hung their feet over and talked and looked at the full
moon that was just rising.

They talked first about one thing and then another, and then they got to
talking about the moon, and come to find out one thought it was this,
and one thought it was that, and the third man, which was the 'Coon,
said he knew it wasn't either one, for the moon had once belonged to his
family and he knew all about it.

So then they agreed between them to let each one tell what he knew about
the moon and how he came to know it and all about it. And Mr. 'Coon told

"Well," he said, "a long time ago, about sixteen
great-great-grandfathers back, our family lived in a big woods in a big
tree that was on top of a high mountain and touched the sky with its top
limbs when the wind blew.

"It was a good big family, too; I don't know just how many there were,
but I know there was an old grandmother besides the father and mother
and a lot of children. They were a very noisy lot of youngsters, so the
story goes, nearly all of the same age, and used to tear around the
house and never want to do anything but play and run up and down stairs
until my sixteenth great-great-grandmother used to stop her ears and say

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Online LibraryAlbert Bigelow PaineThe hollow tree and deep woods book : being a new edition in one volume of The hollow tree and In the deep woods with several new stories and pictures added → online text (page 2 of 9)