John B. Gruelle.

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he could, took off his dripping clothes, put on his little pajamas, and
climbed into his warm little cozy cobweb bed.

Now of course Thumbkins was happy because he had helped another, and
when a person is happy there is nothing to worry about, and when there
is nothing to worry about, of course there is nothing to keep one awake.

So Thumbkins fell fast asleep and dreamed the most pleasant dreams.

And they were such happy dreams Thumbkins slept until almost half-past
eight the next morning.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]





THE WISHBONE


The stove lifter lay upon his iron side and looked across the top of the
shelf which stood above the stove. "Who is he?" he asked of the box of
matches lying near him.

The box of matches looked at the strange new object standing upon two
thin white legs and leaning against the wall near the coffee pot.

"I do not know!" the match box answered.

Then they asked a number of other objects lying about if they knew who
the newcomer was, but none of them had ever seen anything like him
before.

When the new two-legged object with the bald head heard everyone
whispering he felt they were talking about him, and he stepped out where
all might see him, and walked up and down the shelf at the back of the
stove.

The stove lifter, the match box and all the other objects watched him
with interest as he strutted back and forth.

At last the new object stood still and with his head thrown back he
said: "I am a wish-bone, but as none of you know what a wishbone is,
I shall tell you! A wishbone is an object of great importance in this
world. Some of us come from the breasts of chickens and some from the
breasts of turkeys. When we are placed above a doorsill in a house, we
bring good luck!"

"Don't the people in the house here wish good luck?" asked the match
box.

"What a silly question!" replied the wishbone, "Anyone could easily see
you do not know much!"

"Then why didn't they place you above the door?" asked the stove lifter.

"Because I have greater qualities than bringing good luck!" the wishbone
answered. "The children placed me here to dry, for they have heard that
I make wishes come true! And if you keep your eyes and ears open you
will see just what a great object a wishbone really is!"

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

All the other objects upon the shelf on the back of the stove held their
breaths to think such an important object deigned to talk to them.

Then the children came romping into the kitchen. "Here they come!" cried
the wishbone. "Now watch me make their wishes come true!"

And all the other objects scarcely breathed while they watched the
children as they took the wishbone from the shelf. They could see how
proud he looked as the children each took one of the wishbone's legs
between their fingers.

"I wish that this kitchen were just filled with candy and cake, then we
could eat all we wish to!" one of the children said. "And I wish for a
million golden pennies piled high upon the kitchen table!" the other
child cried.

"Now watch!" the wishbone winked to the objects upon the shelf behind
the stove.

The two children pulled upon the wishbone's legs. "Ouch!" he cried.
There was a loud snap, and the wishbone broke in two.

"I get my Wish!" cried the child with the longest part of the broken
wishbone, "The room will be filled with candy!"

"Watch the room fill with candy!" cried all the objects upon the shelf.
"How wonderful it must be to be a wishbone!"

But the room did not fill with candy.

"That's another time the wish did not come true!" cried one child.

"They never come true!" cried the other child as the broken wishbone was
tossed in the coal scuttle. "Wishbones are just ordinary bones and do
not make wishes come true!" And the children ran outside to romp and
play.

"How much better it is to be a useful object!" said the stove lifter.

"Yes indeed!" replied the match box. "And the more useful one is,
usually, the less he brags about himself!"

[Illustration]

[Illustration]





TIM TIM TAMYTAM


"This looks like an excellent place, Tim Tim!" Mrs. Tamytam said, as she
threw her little poke bonnet back from her head. "An excellent place!"
Tim Tim Tamytam scrambled up the root of the tree and peered into the
dark hole in the tree trunk. "HMMM!" he said by way of reply, "Did you
bring the candle with you, Tum Tum?"

"Oh, I forgot it, Tim Tim!" his little wife replied, "I will run right
back and get it!"

"No, Tum Tum! I will run home and get it! You sit down upon this soft
little toad-stool and wait until I return. It will take me but a
moment!"

So Mrs. Tamytam sat down to wait upon the little soft toad-stool, with
her bonnet hanging over her shoulders, and she sang and knitted.

Now, Mrs. Tamytam was a delightful little elfish lady, and she and Tim
Tim were very, very happy together, even though they were only six
inches tall.

So, while she sang and knitted, Tim Tim ran down the tiny path made by
the woodfolk, past the bubbling spring and around the bend in the bank
of the tumbling brooklet until he came to his home, which was another
hole in the trunk of an old tree.

As Tim Tim climbed into his doorway, he stood and looked with dismay at
what had been his cozy living room, for now it was filled with sawdust
and small pieces of sticks and twigs, for the whole top of the old tree
had broken off and now the rain would splash right down on everything
the first time there was a shower.

Tim Tim Tamytam searched about in the sawdust and twigs until he found a
tiny bit of bayberry candle, and, putting this in his pocket, he turned
to go out of the hole. But just then Tom Tom Teenyweeny walked in the
door.

"Hello, Tom Tom Teenyweeny!" Tim Tim cried cheerily.

"Hello, Tim Tim Tamytam!" Tom Tom cried at the same time, "What ever has
happened to your lovely home, Tim Tim?"

"Well, I will tell you, Tom Tom," Tim Tim answered, "You know Mrs.
Fuzzytail lived with her grandchildren squirrels up in the top of the
tree, and they had a very cozy den up there, too, but Mrs. Fuzzytail
wished to make some small improvements, such as a new peep-hole window
and a little cupboard for Chinkapins and hickory nuts. So last summer
she sent for the carpenter ants and arranged with them to do the
carpenter work. And do you know, Tom Tom," and here Tim Tim Tamytam
put his hand upon Tom Tom's shoulder and got very confidential, "those
mischievous carpenter ants, when they once got started, they sawed and
chipped, until they had cut almost all of the shell of the tree away,
and when it blew so very hard last night the top of the tree broke right
in two, where the ants had made their tunnels, and down it fell with a
great crash and made this great pile of sawdust and sticks!" "Dear me!"
said Tom Tom. "Was anyone hurt when the top of the tree fell?"

"Fortunately no one was injured!" Tim Tim replied, "But our home was
ruined and so was Mrs. Fuzzytail's and Wally Woodpecker's, the bachelor
and we have been out looking for another home. If you will come with me,
Tom Tom, I will show it to you, for now I have a candle and can look
about inside!"

So Tim Tim and Tom Tom ran back along the tiny wood-folk path until they
came to the place where Tim Tim had left Mrs. Tamytam.

There hung her knitting bag upon the stem of a flower, but Tum Tum
Tamytam was no where about.

"OOOHooooo!" Tim Tim called, putting his hands to his mouth and forming
a sort of horn. Charley Chipmunk stopped whittling upon a hickory nut
and peeped over the limb to see who called.

Mrs. Tamytam did not answer, so Tom Tom took a leaf and rolled it into
a horn. Across the small end he strung a fibre from a piece of moss and
with this elfin horn he blew the Tim Tim Tamytam wood-call: "Tahoo Tahoo
Tahoo-hoo-hoo!"

"That's the Tim Tim Tamytam call!" all the wood creatures, said, as they
listened.

"Tahoo Tahoo Tahoo-hoo-hoo!"

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

And as Tim Tim and Tom Tom listened, they heard away off the answering
Tamytam wood-call: "Toowoo-toowoo-tooawoooooo!" sounding like the
plaintive notes of the turtle dove but was easily distinguished by any
of the woodfolk.

Tim Tim and Tom Tom followed the sound of the answering call until they
came to a beautiful woodland glade. There, where the sweet ferns and
fragrant flowers grew in profusion and a carpet of velvety moss spread
upon the ground, they saw Mrs. Tom Tom Teenyweeny and Mrs. Tim Tim
Tamytam with tiny brooms sweeping out a little hole in a great
blue-gray beech tree.

"I came upon Mrs. Tamytam sitting upon the toad stool," said Mrs.
Teenyweeny, "and as I had just heard of this lovely home for rent, she
came with me to see it and we decided to take it!"

"And will Tom Tom and Mrs. Teenyweeny live with us, Tum Tum?" Tim Tim
asked.

"They have the little nook right across the hall!" Mrs. Tamytam replied.
Upon hearing this Tom Tom and Tim Tim caught hold of hands and danced
about, kicking up their heels with pleasure.

"Just wait until you see inside, Tom Tom and Tim Tim!" Mrs. Teenyweeny
and Mrs. Tamytam cried, and then they led the way inside the trunk of
the great blue-gray beech tree.

And after they had inspected Mrs. Tamytam's home, Mrs. Teenyweeny's Tom
Tom and Tim Tim were as delighted with the new homes as their tiny wives
had been, so Tim Tim and Tom Tom ran to their old homes and brought all
their furniture and placed it about the large living rooms.

When all was finished and the tiny rugs had been placed just right, they
heard a stamping of tiny feet in the hallway.

And as they ran to the door a merry, laughing crowd of tiny creatures
like themselves, each carrying an acorn basket, trooped into the living
room.

"It's a surprise party!" they all shouted and then one, Tee Tee
Tubbytee, a great speaker, said: "We watched you moving in, and decided
to have a nice, fine, lovely party for you, so I called all the
neighbors together and here we are!"

Some of the tiny creatures had brought their tiny violins and some their
elfin flutes, and as all were in a merry mood they played rollicking
airs such as "The Wind Tinkles the Fairy Bells" and "Mother Hulda Picks
Her Geese."

Tim Tim and Tom Tom danced and sang elfin songs. And then the merry tiny
creatures ate the goodies brought in the acorn baskets.

[Illustration]

After the dinner all the tiny creatures went outside, and upon the soft,
mossy carpet they held a wood-folk dance while the silvery moon peeped
down through the leaves of the woodland glade and bathed the scene in
fairy light.

When the first rooster crowed, far away in a distant farm yard chicken
coop, the tiny creatures, after planning another surprise party the next
moonlit night, bade each other good night and went to their tree trunk
homes.

So upon soft summer evenings, should you pass near the woodland glade,
you may hear the "Tahoo Tahoo Tahoo-hoo-hoo!" and the answering notes of
plaintive melody, "Toowoo-toowoo Tooawoooooo!" For the tiny creatures
have adopted the Tamytam call as the call to the evening parties. And
you must step quietly and approach softly so as not to disturb the tiny
creatures, when you wish to see one of their moonlight surprise parties.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]





A CHANGE OF COATS


Two mischievous little gnomes were walking along the beach one day and
as they came to a pile of rocks they heard voices. One of the little
gnomes put his finger to his lips for silence and peeped cautiously
around the largest stone. There he saw a crab and a lobster sitting upon
a bunch of sea-weed in the sunshine.

The other little gnome tip-toed up and joined his brother and when they
had listened a while they winked at each other and quietly walked back
to the beach. After whispering together a moment one of the little
gnomes ran up the beach and over a sand dune.

The other gnome again crept up behind the large stone and listened to
the lobster and the crab.

"Yes," said the crab, "I agree with you, Mr. Lobster! While our coats
are just a plain green they are still quite beautiful!"

"Ah! You speak the truth, Friend Crab," the lobster replied, "Green is a
lovely color and I am very glad that we are not purple!"

"I am very glad that we are green, too." the crab said, "Just suppose we
were colored blue! I know I should not be able to stand it! Would you,
Friend Lobster?'

"No indeed!" the lobster cried, "Nor would I care to change to any other
color, would you, Friend Crab!" "It is nice to be satisfied! Isn't it,
Friend Lobster?"

"Yes! Especially when we are as satisfied as we are!" The lobster
answered.

The little gnome listening behind the large stone winked at himself and
smiled. He knew the lobster and the crab would give anything if they
were of a different color, for he could tell by their conversation they
were dissatisfied with their green coats.

Soon the other little gnome appeared over the sand dunes carrying a
large kettle, and when he got to a spot on the beach where the crab and
the lobster could see and hear him he began shouting in a sing-song
manner: "Old clothes changed to new! Old clothes changed to new! Old
clothes changed to new!"

"Pooh!" said the lobster. "Who is foolish enough to wish to change their
natural coats?"

"Hmm!" said the crab as he sidled towards the beach. "Let's go over and
talk with him, anyway, and ask him if anyone ever changes the color
of their clothes. Not that I wish to change my lovely green coat, you
understand, but - "

"It would be interesting to hear about it, anyway!" the lobster replied,
as he crawled after the crab.

[Illustration]

The little gnome with the large kettle sat upon the beach and pretended
he did not see the crab and lobster, but continued crying: "Old coats
changed to new! Green ones changed to red! Old coat changed to new! Old
coats changed to new!"

When the crab and the lobster came up quite near the little gnome pulled
a number of pieces of colored cloth from his pocket and placed them upon
the sand.

"How pretty!" said the crab.

"Very lovely!" said the lobster.

"Do you wish your coats changed in color?" asked the little gnome.

"Ah, no, thank you!" the two hypocrites said. "We were just looking
around a bit!"

"Well, I am glad to have your company," said the little gnome as he took
a piece of scarlet cloth and laid it over the lobster's back.

"How do you like that?" he asked of the crab.

"It looks fine!" said the crab. "Try it on me!"

The little gnome placed the scarlet piece of cloth over the crab's back.

"How do you like it?" he asked the lobster.

"Did I look that well in that color?" asked the lobster by way of reply.

"I think both of you will look far better if you let me change you
to scarlet. It's in far better taste, too!" the little gnome added,
pinching himself to keep from laughing.

"Shall we change?" the crab asked the lobster and the lobster asked the
crab.

"You will find the color a great deal warmer," said the little gnome.
"Green is decidedly cold, you know!"

So the little gnome gathered an armful of drift-wood and built a fire.
Then he dipped the kettle into the sea and placed the crab and the
lobster in the kettle of water and put the lid on.

"Be sure and make us a brilliant scarlet!" cried the lobster and the
crab, as the little gnome placed the kettle over the fire. An hour later
the two little gnomes lay upon their backs upon the sand and yawned
contentedly, their little round stomachs almost bursting their belts.
Near them was the upturned kettle, and scattered all about them on the
sand were lovely pieces of scarlet lobster and crab shells.

"It's funny," one little gnome said drowsily, "how one sometimes will
become dissatisfied with the way he was made by Mother Nature and try to
improve upon her work! It usually leads to misfortune."

"Yes, that is true," the other little gnome replied, "We should be
satisfied and contented just as we are!"

"Well, I for one am satisfied!" the little gnome said, stroking his fat
stomach.

"So am I!" his brother laughed.

[Illustration]







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Online LibraryJohn B. GruelleFriendly Fairies → online text (page 4 of 4)