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 9 of 9)
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Dog!" again and invited him in. And Mr. Dog went in and they had the
biggest supper and the biggest time that ever was known in the Hollow

And that's how Mr. Dog got to be friends with all the Hollow Tree people
at last. And he stayed friends with them ever and ever so long - and
longer - just as long as he lived, for the Mr. Dog that isn't good
friends with them now isn't the same Mr. Dog. And he isn't as smart,
either, for he can't write poetry, and he's never even been able to find
the Hollow Tree, where the 'Coon and 'Possum and the old black Crow live
together and every summer keep open house for their friends.


Once upon a time, when Mr. Dog was over spending the evening with the
Hollow Tree people, he told them that Mr. Man had said the world was
round, like a ball. Of course this was after Mr. Dog got to be good
friends with the 'Possum and the 'Coon and the old black Crow, and he
often used to come over to the Hollow Tree, where they lived, for a
quiet talk and smoke, and to tell the things that Mr. Man said, and did,
and what he had on his table for dinner.

The Hollow Tree people liked to hear about Mr. Man, too; but when they
heard what he said about the world being round they thought there must
be some mistake in the way Mr. Dog had understood it. Mr. 'Coon said
that it couldn't be so, for the edge of the world was just beyond the
last trees of the big deep woods, and that he'd often sat there and hung
his feet over and watched the moon come up. Mr. 'Possum said so, too;
and Mr. Crow said that the other edge was over along the wide, blue
water, where Mr. Turtle lived, and that of course the water was flat,
as everybody could see. Anyway, it would spill out if it wasn't.

But Mr. Dog stuck to it that Mr. Man had said just what Mr. Dog had said
he said, and that, what was more, Mr. Man had said that the world turned
over every day, and that the sun and moon and stars all went round it.
And Mr. Man had said, too, that people sometimes went around the world,
and didn't turn over or fall off into the sky when they were underneath,
but kept on, and came up on the other side, right back to the very place
they started from.

Well, that made them all wonder a good deal more than ever; and Mr. Jack
Rabbit, who came in just then for the evening, said he shouldn't be a
bit surprised if it were true, for he'd often noticed how the seasons
went round and round, and he thought, now, they must travel around the
world some way, too. He said he'd composed some poetry on Spring as he
came along, and that now he understood some lines of it better than he
had at the start; for, of course, when poetry just comes to anybody, as
it does to Mr. Rabbit, it isn't expected that even the poet himself will
understand it very well at first.

Then they all wanted to hear Jack Rabbit's poem, and Mr. Rabbit said
that it really wasn't just as he wanted it yet, but that if they
wouldn't expect too much, he'd let them hear how it went, anyway.


By J. Rabbit.

O Spring,
Ho, Spring!
Whither do you go, Spring?
If I did but know. Spring,
I would go there, too.
Pray, Spring,
Say, Spring,
Whither and away, Spring?
I would start to-day, Spring,
If I go with you.

And Spring answers: -

"Why, sir,
I, sir,
Just go tripping by, sir -
If you did but try, sir,
You could go with me.
Over hill and hollow -
Where the bluebirds call, O,
I am sure to be."

Well, everybody applauded that, of course; and Mr. 'Coon said that for
his part he was tired of cold weather, and that if to-morrow was a
bright day, and anybody'd go with him, he'd start out at sunrise and
follow Spring clear around the world. Then Mr. 'Possum said he'd go just
to see whether Mr. Man was right or not, and Mr. Crow said he'd go, too.
Mr. Rabbit wanted to go to prove some things in his poem, but he had to
make a garden if it was a good day, and Mr. Dog had an engagement to dig
moles for Mr. Man.

[Illustration: SET OUT IN HIGH SPIRITS.]

So the next morning, bright and early, the three Hollow Tree people got
up and started. They packed some lunch in a basket, so they wouldn't get
hungry, in case they were gone all day, and set out in high spirits; for
it was a beautiful morning in April, and they knew Spring had come at

They saw a bluebird up in a tree not far away, and they remembered what
Mr. Rabbit's poem had said about following him over hill and hollow; so
they went along in that direction, talking and whistling and singing,
because they felt so good in the fresh morning sunlight.

And Mr. Bluebird hopped and whistled and flew along ahead, until,
by-and-by, they came to where Mr. Fox lived.

"Where are you fellows going, so early?" called Mr. Fox.

"We're following Spring around the world," called back Mr. Crow; and
then they told him all that Mr. Dog had said.


Then Mr. Fox looked very wise, for he didn't know if Mr. Dog was playing
a trick on them, or if it were really true that the world was round and
he hadn't heard of it. Anyway, he wasn't going to let on, so he said,
"Why, of course! I knew that all the time. You just keep right on until
you come to that big elm over yonder, and turn to the right. Anybody
over there can show you the way." Then Mr. Fox coughed and went back
into the house, but he made up his mind he wouldn't laugh until he had
seen Mr. Dog and was sure it was all a joke. And the Hollow Tree people
kept on to the elm tree, and, sure enough, there was Mr. Bluebird,
hopping and whistling and flying on ahead, for he'd been listening to
what Mr. Fox had told them.

So they hurried right along after him till they came to Mr. Wolf's
place. Mr. Wolf was looking out of his door as they came by.

"Hello, you early birds!" he called. "Whose hen-roost you been after?"

Then they told him they weren't thinking of such things as that on a
beautiful morning like this, but that they were following Spring around
the world. And they told him all that Mr. Man had said to Mr. Dog, and
what Mr. Fox had said, and about Jack Rabbit's poem. Mr. Wolf thought
he'd better be wise, too, until he found out just how things were, so he
said: - "Sure enough! That's a good plan. I'd go along if I had time. I
know the way well. You just keep on till you come to that creek yonder,
then cross and turn to the right, and after that any one can show you
the way."

So away went the Hollow Tree people, and when they got to the creek, and
crossed, and turned to the right, there was the bluebird again, hopping
and whistling and dancing on ahead, just in the direction that Mr. Wolf
had said to go. Then, pretty soon, Mr. 'Possum said he was hungry, so
they sat down on some moss and ate their lunch, and Mr. Bluebird came up
close and sang to them till Mr. 'Possum went to sleep in the sun and
took a little nap, while the 'Coon and the Crow put what was left back
into the basket and got ready to go. Then Mr. 'Possum woke up and said
he was sure they must be nearly around the world, for he'd just had a
dream about catching a chicken with four legs and two heads, and he knew
that must mean something good. So then they went on and the bluebird
went ahead, until they came to a fine, big cave, where Mr. Bear lived.


Now Mr. Bear is very big and wise - at least he thinks he is - and he knew
right away that Mr. Dog was just playing a joke on them, or at least he
thought he did, so he said: - "Well, well! I supposed you fellows knew
all that long ago. You don't mean to say, do you, that this is really
your first time round? Why, I go round the world every spring and fall,
and buy most of my things on the other side. You just follow this path
till you come to a big black rock, and then turn to the right and keep
straight ahead. You can't miss the way."

Then Mr. Bear went back in his cave, and laid down and rolled over and
laughed to think what a big joke everybody was playing on the Hollow
Tree people. But the Hollow Tree people kept right on, for they saw Mr.
Bluebird still whistling and dancing on ahead; and by-and-by they came
to the big black rock that Mr. Bear had mentioned, and turned to the
right again as he had told them, to do. Then they walked and walked, and
Mr. Bluebird hopped and skipped and whistled, until at last, just as
they were all getting very tired and it was most night, they came to a
big hollow tree in a deep woods; and Mr. 'Possum looked up and says,

"Why," he says, "this tree looks a good deal like our tree!"

And Mr. 'Coon he says, "Why, it's just like our tree!"

[Illustration: AND MR. CROW, HE SAYS, "WHY, IT _IS_ OUR TREE!"]

And Mr. Crow, he says, "Why, it is our tree!" for of course they'd
turned to the right three times, which brought them right back where
they started from, though they did not know it.

So then all at once they commenced to laugh and shout: - "We've done it!
We've done it!

"We've followed Spring around the world,
According to the plan!
Hurrah for Mr. Rabbit!
And hurrah for Mr. Man!"

And the bluebird up in the branches whistled and danced and shouted,
too; and Jack Rabbit and Mr. Dog came over pretty soon to see if they'd
got home yet. And of course Mr. Rabbit was proud about the way his poem
had turned out; and Mr. Dog he was proud, too, on Mr. Man's account.
Then they all had a big supper, to celebrate, and by-and-by Mr. Rabbit
and Mr. Dog went away arm in arm, singing Mr. Rabbit's poem to the moon;
while the 'Coon and 'Possum and the old black Crow went to bed happy
because they had followed Spring clear around the world, and hadn't got
lost or tumbled off into the sky, but were home again safe and sound in
the Hollow Tree.



Once upon a time, he said, when the Robin, and Turtle, and Squirrel, and
Jack Rabbit had all gone home for the winter, nobody was left in the
Hollow Tree except the 'Coon and 'Possum and the old black Crow. Of
course the others used to come back and visit them pretty often, and Mr.
Dog, too, now that he had got to be good friends with all the Deep Woods
people, and they thought a great deal of him when they got to know him
better. Mr. Dog told them a lot of things they had never heard of
before, things that he'd learned at Mr. Man's house, and maybe that's
one reason why they got to liking him so well.


He told them about Santa Claus, for one thing, and how the old fellow
came down the chimney on Christmas Eve to bring presents to Mr. Man and
his children, who always hung up their stockings for them, and Mr. Dog
said that once he had hung up his stocking, too, and got a nice bone in
it, that was so good he had buried and dug it up again as much as six
times before spring. He said that Santa Claus always came to Mr. Man's
house, and that whenever the children hung up their stockings they were
always sure to get something in them.


Well, the Hollow Tree people had never heard of Santa Claus. They knew
about Christmas, of course, because everybody, even the cows and sheep,
know about that, but they had never heard of Santa Claus. You see, Santa
Claus only comes to Mr. Man's house, but they didn't know that, either,
so they thought if they just hung up their stockings he'd come there,
too, and that's what they made up their minds to do. They talked about
it a great deal together, and Mr. 'Possum looked over all his stockings
to pick out the biggest one he had, and Mr. Crow he made himself a new
pair on purpose. Mr. 'Coon said he never knew Mr. Crow to make himself
such big stockings before, but Mr. Crow said he was getting old and
needed things bigger, and when he loaned one of his new stockings to Mr.
'Coon, Mr. 'Coon said, "That's so," and that he guessed they were about
right after all. They didn't tell anybody about it at first, but by and
by they told Mr. Dog what they were going to do, and when Mr. Dog heard
it he wanted to laugh right out. You see, he knew Santa Claus never went
anywhere except to Mr. Man's house, and he thought it would be a great
joke on the Hollow Tree people when they hung up their stockings and
didn't get anything.

But by and by Mr. Dog thought about something else. He thought it would
be too bad, too, for them to be disappointed that way. You see, Mr. Dog
liked them all now, and when he had thought about that a minute he made
up his mind to do something. And this is what it was - he made up his
mind to play Santa Claus!

He knew just how Santa Claus looked, 'cause he'd seen lots of his
pictures at Mr. Man's house, and he thought it would be great fun to
dress up that way and take a bag of presents to the Hollow Tree while
they were all asleep and fill up the stockings of the 'Coon and 'Possum
and the old black Crow. But first he had to be sure of some way of
getting in, so he said to them he didn't see how they could expect Santa
Claus, their chimneys were so small, and Mr. Crow said they could leave
their latch string out down stairs, which was just what Mr. Dog wanted.
Then they said they were going to have all the folks that had spent the
summer with them over for Christmas dinner and to see the presents they
had got in their stockings. They told Mr. Dog to drop over, too, if he
could get away, and Mr. Dog said he would, and went off laughing to
himself and ran all the way home because he felt so pleased at what he
was going to do.

Well, he had to work pretty hard, I tell you, to get things ready. It
wasn't so hard to get the presents as it was to rig up his Santa Claus
dress. He found some long wool out in Mr. Man's barn for his white
whiskers, and he put some that wasn't so long on the edges of his
overcoat and boot tops and around an old hat he had. Then he borrowed a
big sack he found out there, too, and fixed it up to swing over his
back, just as he had seen Santa Claus do in the pictures. He had a lot
of nice things to take along. Three tender young chickens he'd borrowed
from Mr. Man, for one thing, and then he bought some new neckties for
the Hollow Tree folks all around, and a big, striped candy cane for each
one, because candy canes always looked well sticking out of a stocking.
Besides all that, he had a new pipe for each, and a package of tobacco.
You see, Mr. Dog lived with Mr. Man, and didn't ever have to buy much
for himself, so he had always saved his money. He had even more things
than that, but I can't remember just now what they were; and when he
started out, all dressed up like Santa Claus, I tell you his bag was
pretty heavy, and he almost wished before he got there that he hadn't
started with quite so much.



It got heavier and heavier all the way, and he was glad enough to get
there and find the latch string out. He set his bag down to rest a
minute before climbing the stairs, and then opened the doors softly and
listened. He didn't hear a thing except Mr. Crow and Mr. 'Coon and Mr.
'Possum breathing pretty low, and he knew they might wake up any minute,
and he wouldn't have been caught there in the midst of things for a
good deal. So he slipped up just as easy as anything, and when he got up
in the big parlor room he almost had to laugh right out loud, for there
were the stockings sure enough, all hung up in a row, and a card with a
name on it over each one telling who it belonged to.

Then he listened again, and all at once he jumped and held his breath,
for he heard Mr. 'Possum say something. But Mr. 'Possum was only talking
in his sleep, and saying, "I'll take another piece, please," and Mr. Dog
knew he was dreaming about the mince pie he'd had for supper.

So, then he opened his bag and filled the stockings. He put in mixed
candy and nuts and little things first, and then the pipes and tobacco
and candy canes, so they'd show at the top, and hung a nice dressed
chicken outside. I tell you, they looked fine! It almost made Mr. Dog
wish he had a stocking of his own there to fill, and he forgot all about
them waking up, and sat down in a chair to look at the stockings. It was
a nice rocking chair, and over in a dark corner where they wouldn't be
apt to see him, even if one of them did wake up and stick his head out
of his room, so Mr. Dog felt pretty safe now, anyway. He rocked softly,
and looked and looked at the nice stockings, and thought how pleased
they'd be in the morning, and how tired he was. You've heard about
people being as tired as a dog; and that's just how Mr. Dog felt. He was
so tired he didn't feel a bit like starting home, and by and by - he
never did know how it happened - but by and by Mr. Dog went sound
asleep right there in his chair, with all his Santa Claus clothes on.

And there he sat, with his empty bag in his hand and the nice full
stockings in front of him, all night long. Even when it came morning and
began to get light Mr. Dog didn't know it; he just slept right on, he
was that tired. Then pretty soon the door of Mr. 'Possum's room opened
and he poked out his head. And just then the door of Mr. 'Coon's room
opened and he poked out his head. Then the door of the old black Crow
opened and out poked his head. They all looked toward the stockings, and
they didn't see Mr. Dog, or even each other, at all. They saw their
stockings, though, and Mr. 'Coon said all at once: -

"Oh, there's something in my stocking!"

And then Mr. Crow says: - "Oh, there's something in my stocking, too!"

And Mr. 'Possum says: - "Oh, there's something in all our stockings!"


And with that they gave a great hurrah all together, and rushed out and
grabbed their stockings and turned around just in time to see Mr. Dog
jump right straight up out of his chair, for he did not know where he
was the least bit in the world.

"Oh, there's Santa Claus himself!" they all shouted together, and made a
rush for their rooms, for they were scared almost to death. But it all
dawned on Mr. Dog in a second, and he commenced to laugh and hurrah to
think what a joke it was on everybody. And when they heard Mr. Dog laugh
they knew him right away, and they all came up and looked at him, and he
had to tell just what he'd done and everything; so they emptied out
their stockings on the floor and ate some of the presents and looked at
the others, until they almost forgot about breakfast, just as children
do on Christmas morning.

Then Mr. Crow said, all at once, that he'd make a little coffee, and
that Mr. Dog must stay and have some, and by and by they made him
promise to spend the day with them and be there when the Robin and the
Squirrel and Mr. Turtle and Jack Rabbit came, which he did.


And it was snowing hard outside, which made it a nicer Christmas than if
it hadn't been, and when all the others came they brought presents, too.
And when they saw Mr. Dog dressed up as Santa Claus and heard how he'd
gone to sleep and been caught, they laughed and laughed. And it snowed
so hard that they had to stay all night, and after dinner they sat
around the fire and told stories. And they had to stay the next night,
too, and all that Christmas week. And I wish I could tell you all that
happened that week, but I can't, because I haven't time. But it was the
very nicest Christmas that ever was in the Hollow Tree, or in the Big
Deep Woods anywhere.

And this, said the Story Teller, is the very last Hollow Tree story, and
there will be no more, for they all came out through Mr. Dog, and Mr.
Dog has gone away now into that Far Land of Evening where all good dogs
go to when they get very, very old. He was friends with the Hollow Tree
people to the last, and when he got too old to visit them, they used to
come to see him, sometimes at night, when Mr. Man was asleep. And when
Mr. Dog went away on his long journey beyond the sunset they were all so
sorry, for they knew that no other Mr. Dog would ever be friends with
them, and they were very sad in the Hollow Tree for a long time.

Then here's goodby to the old black Crow,
And the rest, with a one, two, three!
And here's goodby to the Hollow, Hollow, Hollow -
Good-by to the Hollow Tree.



The Little Lady looks into the fire thoughtfully.

"And isn't there any more about the Hollow Tree?" she says at last.

The Story Teller looks into the fire, too.

"I'm afraid not," he answers.

"And won't you never know any more? Not ever - in a thousand days?"

"I - no, I'm afraid not."

"I wish we lived in a Hollow Tree," says the Little Lady.

From the House of Many Windows the Story Teller looks down on the
dazzling lights and the clatter and jangle of the street. Then he
remembers cool, musky ways in the dim woods, down which the padded feet
of the forest people pass silently to hidden homes of peace. The Story
Teller sighs.

"Yes, sweetheart," he says, "I have wished that sometimes, too."


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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 9 of 9)