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Jonas on a Farm in Winter by Jacob Abbott

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he called out, as loud as he could call,--


He listened after he had thus called, but there was no answer. In a few
minutes, the cry which he had heard first was repeated, in the same tone
as before.

"They don't hear me," said Jonas.

"Hal--loo!" cried out Josey, as loud as he could call.

There was no answer; but, in a few seconds afterwards, the cry was
repeated, as at first.

"You see," said Jonas, "that the wind blows this way, and they can't
hear us. We must go out after them."

Josey tried to dissuade Jonas from this plan; but Jonas said he must go,
and that, as they had oxen with them, there would be no danger. "First,"
said he, "we must throw off our load."

So he and Josey went to work, and threw off the rafters, as fast as they
could. Jonas reserved four or five rafters, which he left upon the sled.
Then he turned the oxen in the direction from which the cry had come.
They continued to hear it at moderate intervals.

They descended gradually a short distance across the field, and then
they came to the shore of the pond. Here Jonas took off one of his
rafters, and laid it upon the shore, with one end raised up out of the

"What is that for?" said Josey.

"To show us the way back to our road," said Jonas. "I place it so that
it points right back,--the way we came."

"We can tell by our tracks," said Josey.

"No," said Jonas; "our tracks will all be covered up before we come

Jonas then drove down upon the pond, guiding his oxen in the direction
of the cry. He kept Josey upon the sled, so as not to exhaust his
strength. He rode himself, too, as much as he could; but he was obliged
to jump off very frequently, to keep the oxen in a right direction. He
stopped occasionally to put down a rafter, placing it so that its length
should be in the line of his road, and taking care to sink one end into
the snow, so as to leave the other out as far as possible, to prevent
its being all buried up before they should return. Every now and then,
too, he would answer the cry, as loud as he could call.

At last, after they had toiled along in this way for some time, Jonas
thought that he succeeded in making the travellers hear; for,
immediately after his call, he would hear a calling from them, following
it, and speaking in a different way, though Jonas could not understand
what was said. He kept pressing forward steadily, and, before long, he
found that the travellers were silent, excepting immediately after he
called to them,--when there was a sound as if intended for a response,
though Jonas could not tell what was said.

"We shall get to them, Josey," said he.

"Who do you suppose it is?" said Josey.

"I don't know; very probably some travellers lost upon the pond."

Jonas was right in his conjecture: as they came nearer and nearer, the
sounds became more distinct.

"Hal--loo!" vociferated Jonas.

"Hal--loo!" was the answer. "Can--you--come--and--help--us?"

"Ay, ay," said Jonas; "we're coming."

"Ay, ay," shouted Josey, in his loudest voice, which, being more shrill
than that of Jonas, was perhaps heard farther.

Still nothing was to be seen. Besides being dark, the atmosphere was
thick with snow. So it was not until they got very near to the
travellers, that they could see them at all. They saw at last, however,
some dark-looking object before them. On coming up to it, they found
that it was a horse and sleigh. The horse was in a very deep snow-drift,
and was half lying down. There was a woman in the sleigh, with a small
child in her arms, and a boy, about as large as Josey, standing at the
horse's head.

"O, I am so glad you have got some oxen, sir!" said the woman. "We
couldn't have got out without oxen."

"I don't see how the snow happens to be so deep just here."

"Why, it's that island," said the woman; "I suppose there is an island
off there. I told Isaiah it would be drifted under this island; and now
the horse is all beat out; and, besides, we don't know the way."

"Well," said Jonas, "I'll hook the oxen on, and we'll soon get you to
the land. Isaiah, you take your horse out of the sleigh."

So Isaiah went to work to unhook the traces and the hold-backs, in order
to get the horse free from the sleigh.

"I'll get out," said the woman.

"No," said Jonas; "you sit still, and keep your child warm."

As soon as Isaiah had taken the horse out, Jonas told him to lead him
around behind the sleigh, while he turned the shafts over back against
the dasher, and then he brought the oxen up in front of the sleigh. He
first, however, drove the oxen out of the road with the sled, so as to
leave that where it would not be in the way. Then he took two chains
from the sled, and attached the oxen, by means of them, to the forward
part of the sleigh. When all was ready, he put Josey in with the woman,
and let Isaiah lead his horse behind. He then started the oxen.

"Are you going to leave the sled here?" said Josey.

"Yes," said Jonas, "we can come and get it after the storm is over."

The oxen drew the sleigh along very easily. The snow was quite deep for
a little distance, and then it became less so; but it was very dark, and
it was difficult for Jonas to follow his track. The snow blew across it
with great violence, and was fast filling it up.

However, Jonas soon came to his first rafter, and this encouraged him.
It was a good deal covered with snow, but the end was out, and the
direction of it showed him which way to go, in order to find the next
one. After he had passed this guide, the path was no more to be
distinguished. He went on, however, as nearly as he could in the
direction indicated by the rafter; and, after going the proper distance,
he began to look out before him for the second. He began to be a little
anxious lest he had missed it, when he observed something dark in the
snow, at a little distance on the right. He went to it, and found that
it was the rafter.

Thus he was upon his track again; but his having so narrowly escaped
missing it, made him afraid that he should not be able to follow the
train very far. His fears proved well grounded. All his efforts to
discover the third rafter were entirely unavailing.

"'Tis of no consequence," said Jonas; "we can't be far from the shore.
I'll keep straight on, and we shall strike the land somewhere, not far
from the house."

But it is much easier to get bewildered in a storm than Jonas had
supposed. The darkness, the obscurity produced by the falling snow, the
perfect and unvarying level of the surface, in every direction the same,
and the agitation of mind which even the most resolute must experience
in such a situation, all conspired to make it difficult, in a case like
this, to find the way. Jonas drove on in the direction which he thought
would have led to the shore; but, after going amply far enough to reach
it, no shore was to be seen. The fact was, that he had insensibly
deviated just so far from his course, as to be going along parallel with
the shore, instead of in the direction towards it. Jonas began to be
somewhat concerned, and Josey was in a state of great anxiety and fear.

He rose up in the sleigh, and attempted to look around; and his fear was
suddenly changed into terror, at seeing a large black animal, like a
bear, coming furiously up behind them, bounding over the snow. Josey
screamed aloud.

"What is the matter?" said the woman.

"Why, Franco! Franco!" said Jonas, "how could you get here?"

It was Franco, true enough. He came swiftly along,
leaping and staggering through the deep snow; and he seemed delighted to
have found Jonas and his party at last. Jonas patted his head. Both
Jonas and Franco were overjoyed to see each other.

[Illustration: "'That can't be the way, Franco,' said Jonas."]

Jonas patted Franco's head and praised him, while the dog wagged his
tail, whisked about, and shook the snow off from his back and sides.

"What dog is that?" said the woman.

"This is Franco," said Jonas. "Franco Ney is his name. Now we shall have
no trouble in getting out."

Franco turned off, short, from the road in which Jonas was going. He
knew by instinct which way the shore lay from them. Jonas at first
hesitated about following him.

"That can't be the way, Franco," said he.

But Franco, after plunging on a few steps, looked round and whined.
Then he came back towards Jonas again a few steps, looking him full in
the face, and then whisked about again, and went on farther than
before,--and then stopped and looked back, as if to see whether Jonas
was going to follow him. Jonas stood just in advance of the oxen,

"That must be the way," said Jonas. "Franco knows."

"No, that isn't the way," said the woman; "the dog don't know any thing
about it. We must go straight forward."

"No," said Jonas, "it will be safest to follow Franco." And so saying,
he began to turn his oxen in the direction indicated by Franco.

The woman remonstrated against this with great earnestness. She said
that they should only get entirely lost, for he was leading them
altogether out of their way. But Jonas considered that the
responsibility properly belonged to him, and that he must act according
to his own discretion. So he pushed forward steadily after Franco.

But his progress was now interrupted by hearing another loud call behind
him, back upon the pond.

"What's that?" said Josey.

"Somebody calling," said Jonas.

"More travellers lost," said the woman.--"O dear me!"

He listened again, and heard the calls more distinctly. He thought he
could distinguish his own name. He answered the call, and was himself
answered in return by men's voices, which now seemed more distinct and

"I know now who it is," said Jonas. "It is your uncle and Amos, coming
out after us. Franco was with them."

Jonas was right. In a few minutes, the farmer and Amos came up, and they
were exceedingly surprised when they saw Jonas with his oxen, drawing a
sleigh, with a woman in it, off the pond, instead of a sled load of
rafters from the woods.

"Jonas," said he with astonishment, "how came you here?"

"I came to help Isaiah get off the pond," said Jonas. "But how did you
find out where we were?"

"Franco guided us," said the farmer. "He followed the road along some
time, and then he wanted to turn off suddenly towards the pond. We
wouldn't follow him for some time; but he _would_ go that way, and no
other. When he came to the shore of the pond, we found your rafter laid
there, and that made us think you must have gone upon the ice, but we
couldn't imagine what for. At last, we found where you had left the
sled, and then we began to halloo to you."

"But, uncle," said Josey, "didn't you see our heap of rafters, by the
road where we turned off?"

"No," said his uncle.

"We put a load there."

"Then they must have got pretty well covered up," said he, "for we
didn't observe them."

The whole party followed Franco, who led them out to the shore the
shortest way. They took Isaiah and his mother to the house, and gave
them some supper, and let them stay there that night. The next morning,
when Jonas got up, he found that it was clearing away; and when, after
breakfast, he looked out upon the pond, to see if he could see any thing
of his sled, he observed, away out half a mile from shore, two short
rows of stakes, sticking up in the snow, not far from on island. The
body of the sled was wholly buried up and concealed from view.



The last of February drew nigh, which was the time fixed upon for Josey
to go home. He had remained with his uncle much longer than his father
had at first intended; but now they wanted him to return, before the
roads broke up in the spring.

The evening before Josey was to go, the farmer was sitting by the fire,
when Jonas came in from the barn.

"Jonas," said the farmer, "I have got to write a letter to my brother,
to send by Josey to-morrow; why won't you take a sheet of paper and
write for me, and I'll tell you what to say. You are rather handier with
the pen than I am."

Jonas accordingly brought a sheet of paper and a pen and ink, and took
his place at a table at the back side of the room, and the farmer
dictated to him as follows:

"Dear Brother,

"I take this opportunity to inform you that we are all alive
and well, and I hope that you may be the same. This will be
handed to you by Josey, who leaves us to-morrow, according
to your orders. We have been very glad to have him with us,
though he hasn't had opportunity to learn much. However, I
suppose he'll fetch up again in his learning, when he gets
home. He has behaved pretty fair on the whole, as boys go.
He will make a smart man, I've no doubt, though he don't
seem to take much to farming.

"We hope to have you, and your wife and children, come and
pay us a visit this coming summer,--say in raspberry time,
which will be just after haying."

"There," said the farmer, "now fold it up, and write my brother's name
on the back, and to-morrow morning I'll look it over, and sign my name
to it."

Jonas accordingly folded the letter up, and wrote upon the back, _Joseph
Jones, Esq., Bristol._ When it was done, he laid it on the table.

Amos came and took it up. "Jonas," said he, "I wish I could write as
well as that."

The farmer had a daughter whose name was Isabella. She was about
eighteen years old. She was at this time spinning in a corner of the
room, near a window. She came forward to look at the letter.

"Yes, Jonas," said she, "you write beautifully. I wish you'd teach me to
write like that."

"Very well," said Jonas, "that I can do."

"How can you do it?" said Isabella.

"Why, we can have an evening school, these long evenings," replied
Jonas. "You get through your spinning in time to have half an hour for
school before bed-time."

"Half an hour wouldn't be enough," said Amos.

"O, yes," replied Jonas; "half an hour every day will amount to a great
deal in three months."

"Yes," said the farmer, "that's a very good plan; you shall have an
evening school, and Jonas shall teach you;--an excellent plan."

"What shall we study?" said Isabella.

"Whatever you want to learn," replied Jonas. "You say you want to learn
to write; that will do for one thing."

"And I want to learn more arithmetic," said Amos.

"Very well," said Jonas. "We'll have an evening school, half an hour
every evening, beginning at eight o'clock. Have you got any school-books
in the house, Isabella?"

Isabella said there were some on a shelf up stairs.

"Well," said Jonas, "bring them to me, and I'll look over them, and form
a plan."

Isabella brought Jonas the school-books, and he looked them over, but
said nothing then about his plan. He reflected upon the subject until
the next day, because he did not wish to propose any thing to them,
until it was well matured.

The next evening, at eight o'clock, Isabella put up her spinning, and
took a seat by the fire, to hear Jonas's plan. Amos sat by a table at
the back side of the room. The farmer's wife was sitting upon the
settle, knitting; and the farmer himself was asleep in his arm-chair, at
the opposite corner.

"Now," said Jonas, "I like the plan of having an evening school, and I
am willing to be either teacher or pupil; only, if I am teacher, I must
_direct_, and you must both do as I say."

"No," said Isabella, "you mustn't direct entirely; we'll talk over the
plans, all together, and then do as we all agree."

"No," said Jonas, "I have no idea of having all school-time spent in
talking. I'm perfectly willing that either of you should be teacher, and
I'll obey. I'll set copies, or do any thing else you please, only I
won't have any responsibility about the arrangements. Or, if you wish,
I'm willing to be teacher; but then, in that case, I must direct every
thing, just as I think is best,--and you must do just as I say."

"Well," said Isabella, "what are your orders? We'll obey."

Amos and Oliver also agreed that they would obey his directions. Jonas
then consented to take the station of teacher, and he proceeded to give
his directions.

"I have been looking at the books," said he, "and I find we haven't got
but one of each kind."

"Then we can't have any classes in our school," said Oliver.

"Yes we can," said Jonas. "The first evening, Amos may take the
arithmetic and the slate, and cipher, while Isabella writes, and Oliver
studies a good long spelling lesson. Then, the second evening, Amos
shall study the spelling lesson, and Isabella cipher, and Oliver write."

"But I don't want to cipher," said Isabella. "I don't like arithmetic; I
never could understand it."

"You promised to obey my orders," said Jonas.

"Well," said Isabella, "I'll try; but I know I can't do the sums."

"Then, the third evening," said Jonas, "Isabella shall study the
spelling lesson, Oliver the arithmetic, and Amos take the writing-book."

"What, ain't you going to have but one writing-book?"

"No," said Jonas; "one is enough; because you won't all write the same
evening. So you can write one page, Oliver another, and Amos the third."

"No," said Isabella; "I don't like that. I want every scholar to have
his own book."

"If you'll be the teacher," said Jonas, "you can have it so."

"But I want to have it so, and you be the teacher," said Isabella.

"No," said Jonas; "if I have the responsibility of teacher, I must have
the power too."

"Well," said Isabella, "I suppose we had better submit."

"But what's the reason, Jonas," said Oliver, "that you ain't willing
that we should all have writing-books of our own?"

"There are two or three reasons," said Jonas. "But it is very poor
policy for a schoolmaster to spend his time in convincing his scholars
that his regulations are good. He must make them obey, and let them see
that the regulations turn out to be good in the end."

"But it seems to me, you've grown arbitrary all at once," said Amos,
with a smile.

"Yes," said Jonas, "I'm always arbitrary when I'm in command; if you
mean, by arbitrary, determined to have my own way. I won't _usurp_ any
power; but, if you put it upon me, I shall use it, you may depend upon

Jonas had two good reasons why he wanted to have only one writing-book
for all his scholars. One was, that he thought it uncertain how long
their school plan would last, and he did not want to trouble the farmer
to look up some paper, and then make a parade of preparing so many
writing-books; and then, perhaps, the whole plan might be abandoned,
when they had written four or five pages in each. And, therefore, as he
found one old writing-book of Oliver's, half full, he determined to make
the blank leaves of that answer for all.

But he had another reason still. He thought that, if all his scholars
should write, in succession, in the same book, their writing would come
into such close juxtaposition and comparison, that each one would be
stimulated to write with greater attention and care; as each one would
wish his or her own page to look as neatly written as the rest. He knew
that Isabella, when it came to her turn to write, would naturally,
without any thing being said, look at Amos's work on the page before,
and that she would observe its excellences and its faults, and that her
page would probably be written better, in consequence of her criticism
upon his.

Thus, though Jonas had good reasons, he chose not to give them. He
preferred, if he was going to be teacher, that they should not be in the
habit of expecting him to give reasons for all his directions. So he
simply expressed his decision upon the subject, by saying,--

"You may do just as you please about making me teacher; but, if you put
me into the office, you must expect to have to obey."

"That's right, Jonas," said the farmer's wife: "I am glad to see you
make 'em mind."

It was settled, without any further discussion, that Jonas's plan in
regard to the writing should be adopted, and that his scholars would
obey his directions in other things, whatever they might be. Jonas then
proceeded as follows:--

"Now, you see that, if we go on so three evenings, you will all have got
three lessons, and the fourth evening we will have for recitation. I
will hear you spell, and examine your writing, and see if your sums are
done right."

Jonas's exposition of the plan of his school was here interrupted by the
farmer's wife, who, as she sat at the end of the settle towards the
fire, had her face somewhat turned towards the window, and she saw a
light at a distance near the horizon.

"What light is that?" said she.

Jonas and all his school rose, and went to the window to see.

The window looked towards the pond. They looked off across a sort of
bay, beyond which there was a long point of land,--the one which the
boys had had to sail around when they went to mill. Just over this land,
and near the extremity of it, a light was to be seen, as if from a fire,
beyond and behind the land.

"That's exactly in the direction of the village," said Amos.

"It is a house on fire, I know," said Oliver,--"or a store."

"It looks like a fire, certainly," said Jonas.

"Yes," said the farmer's wife; "and you must go, boys, and help put it

"It is several miles off," said Amos.

"Yes, but put Kate into the light sleigh, and she'll carry you there
over the pond in twenty minutes.--Here, husband, husband," she
continued, calling to the farmer, who was still asleep in his chair,
"here's a fire."

The farmer opened his eyes, and sat upright in his chair, and asked what
was the matter.

"Here's a fire," she repeated, "over in the village; hadn't the boys
better go and put it out?"

The farmer rose, walked very deliberately to the window, looked a minute
at the light, and then said,--

"It's nothing but the moon."

"The moon?--no, it can't be the moon, husband," said she. "The moon
don't rise there."

"Yes," said the farmer, "that's just about the place."

"Besides," said she, "it isn't time for the moon to rise. It don't rise
now till midnight."

He turned away, and walked slowly across the room, to where the almanac
was hanging. He seemed very sleepy. He turned over the leaves, and then
said, "Moon rises--eight hours and fifty minutes; that is,--let's
see,--ten minutes before nine."

"Well," said his wife, "and 'tisn't much past eight now."

"It's the moon, you may depend," said the farmer; "perhaps our time is a
little out." So he returned to the chair, sat down in it, and put his
feet out towards the fire.

"Well," said his wife, "we shall know pretty soon; for, if it is the
moon, it will soon rise higher."

So they all stood a few minutes, and watched the light. It seemed to
enlarge a little, and to grow somewhat brighter; but it did not move
from its place.

"It certainly must be a fire," said the farmer's wife again; "and I
wish, husband, that you'd let the boys take Kate in the sleigh, and go
along the pond and see."

"I've no objection," said the farmer, "if they've a mind to take that
trouble; but they'll find nothing but the moon, they may depend."

"Let's go," said Amos.

"Very well," said Jonas; "I'm ready."

"We'll go too, boys," said the farmer's wife, "Isabella and I. You can
put in two seats. There are no hills, and Kate will take us all along
like a bird. I never saw a fire in my life."

The boys hastened to the barn, and got Kate out of the stall. Franco,
who knew that something extraordinary must have taken place, though he
could not tell what, came out from his place, leaped about, and
indicated, by his actions, that, wherever they were going, he meant to
go too.

The sleigh was soon harnessed. They drove up to the door, and found
Isabella and her mother all ready. They took their places upon the back
seat, while Amos and Jonas sat upon another seat, which they had placed
in, before. Oliver came running with a bucket, which he put in under the
forward seat, and then he jumped on behind, standing upon the end of the
runner, and clinging to the corner of the sleigh, close to Isabella's

Kate set off at a rapid trot down the road, which led to the pond. The
sleigh went very easily, for the road was smooth. There had been rain
and thaws lately, and cold weather after them, so that the surface of
the road had melted, and then become frozen again; and this made it
icy. They found the ice of the pond in the same state. The rain and the
thaws had melted the snow, upon the top of the ice, and made it a sheet
of water. Then this had frozen again, so that now the surface of the
pond was almost every where hard and smooth; and when they came down
upon it, and turned to go across the bay, the horse being at his full
speed, the sleigh swept round sideways over the ice, in a great circle,
and made the farmer's wife very much afraid that she should be upset. It
seemed as if the sleigh was trying to get before the horse.

However, Amos, who was driving, contrived to get the horse ahead again,
and then they went on with great speed. It was a mile across to the end
of the point of land; but Kate carried them over this space in a very
few minutes. As they drew near to the point, they watched the light. It
did not rise at all.

"It cannot be the moon," said Jonas, "for it is now full a quarter of an
hour since we first saw it."

"Yes," said the farmer's wife, "I knew it couldn't be the moon."

Just at this moment, the sleigh came around the point with great speed,
and brought into view a very bright but distant fire, far before them.

"It is a fire!" they all exclaimed.

"But it isn't in the direction of the village," said Jonas.

"It must be some farm-house," said the farmer's wife, "on the shore."

"No," said Jonas, "I think it is on the ice."

It very soon became evident that the fire was upon the ice. It was
plainly a large fire, though the distance made it look rather small. It
was very bright, and it flashed up high; and a cloud of illuminated
smoke arose from it, and floated off to the northward. The party in the
sleigh could soon perceive, also, a number of small, bright spots near
it, which seemed to be in motion about the fire. They looked like the
moons about the planet Jupiter, seen through a telescope.

"I wonder what it is," said Isabella.

"I presume," said Jonas, "that the boys are out skating, and this is a
fire on the ice, which they have built."

"And are those the boys moving about?" asked Oliver.

"Yes," said Jonas. "When they are near the fire, the light shines upon
their faces."

As they rode on, it became gradually more and more evident that Jonas
was right. The forms of the skaters, as they stood before the fire, or
came wheeling up to it, became more and more distinct, and, in fact, the
ringing sound of the skates soon became audible. The horse, in the mean
time, went on, with great speed, directly towards the fire. When they
arrived near the fire, the skaters came around them in great numbers,
wondering who could have come. Jonas asked them where they got the wood
to build their fire.

"All along the shore," said a large boy, with a long stick in his hand.
"Let's go and get some more, boys," he added, "and brighten up our

So saying, he wheeled round and skated away, the whole crowd of skaters,
small and great, following him at full speed. As they swept round by the
fire, the light glared brightly upon their faces and forms, but they
soon disappeared from view in the darkness beyond; only Jonas could
hear the sound of their skates, ringing over the ice, as they receded.

"What a great, hot fire!" said Oliver.

"Yes," said Isabella, "I never saw such a large fire on the ice. I don't
see how they got all the wood."

"I suppose," said Jonas, "that they got out the wood from the forest,
along the shore, and threw it out upon the ice, before they put on their
skates, and then they could easily bring it to the fire. But hark! they
are coming back again."

The fire was so bright where they were, and it flashed so strongly upon
the ice around, that they could not see the skaters until they came
pretty near. The dark figures, however, soon began to appear. The
foremost was a tall young man, who came forward with great speed,
pushing before him a long and slender log, half decayed and dry. One end
he held before him in his hands, and the other glided along upon the
smooth ice towards the fire.

There followed close behind him another skater, with the fragment of an
old stump upon his shoulder; then several others, with branches,
sticks, dry bushes, and fragments of every shape and size. These they
piled upon the fire as they swept up alongside of it, and then wheeled
away back from the heat which radiated from it. Two large boys came on,
bringing a long log between them, one at each end. It looked large, but
it was really not very heavy, as it was hollow and decayed. They hove it
up, with great effort, upon the fire, and its fall upon the heap threw
up a large, bright column of sparks and flame. Another boy had the top
of a young spruce, which he had cut off with his knife, by dint of great
labor; it made a great roaring and crackling when it was put upon the
fire. And, finally, behind all the rest, there came a little boy not so
big as Oliver, tugging away at a long branch, which he dragged behind
him, and put it upon the fire too.

"Well," said the farmer's wife, after a little time, "we mustn't stay
here much longer."

"We'll drive around the fire, in one great sweep," said Jonas.

So he started the horse on, and took a great circuit about the fire. The
skaters went with him on each side of the sleigh. Then they turned
their course towards home again. The light of the fire shone upon the
distant point of land, and illuminated it faintly, but in a very
beautiful manner, and showed Jonas which way to drive.

Isabella turned back her head repeatedly, to look at the fire, as they
rode on and left it far behind them. It seemed to grow smaller and
smaller, as they receded; and at length, when Jonas turned around the
point of land, it disappeared entirely. In a few minutes afterward, the
moon arose, and lighted them the rest of the way home.




Jonas was often sent away to transact business for the farmer. He was a
very excellent hand to do business. It requires several qualities to
make a boy good at business. He must be gentlemanly in his manners, so
as to speak to the persons that he is sent to, in a respectful and
proper manner; he must be faithful, so as not to neglect what is
intrusted to him; and he must be patient and persevering. Then he must
also have considerable judgment and discretion; for when he is sent away
from home on business, he must often be placed in circumstances that are
unforeseen, and where he must act without instructions. In such cases,
he will have to exercise his own judgment and discretion. Jonas was
placed in such circumstances at one time, when he was sent to the
carding-mill to get some rolls for Isabella.

The rolls which Isabella wanted were rolls of wool, as they are prepared
at the mill ready for spinning. The wool is carded very fine, and then,
by curious machinery, it is rolled out into rolls about three feet long,
and as large round as a whip-handle at the middle. These rolls Isabella
used to spin into yarn, at her spinning-wheel.

Isabella had spun nearly all her rolls, and she wanted Jonas to carry
some wool to the carding-mill, and get some more. The carding-mill was
not in the village upon the outlet stream; but it was upon another
stream, which emptied into the pond, instead of flowing from it. It was
the same stream that flowed by the land which Jonas and Oliver had
cleared when he first came to live with the farmer; only the mill was at
some distance from the mouth of the stream, back towards the high land.
It was more than two miles, by the road, from the farmer's house.

The farmer told Jonas where to get the wool, and then gave him some more
business, at a place in the woods, about two miles beyond the mill.
Oliver wanted to go too, and his father gave him leave. Oliver always
liked to go to the mill, as the machine for carding the wool was a great

Jonas put up the wool in a very large bundle, which almost filled up the
bottom of the sleigh. Jonas himself sat upon the seat, with his feet
under the bundle; but Oliver sat upon the bundle. He said it made a very
soft seat.

They rode along pleasantly towards the mill. The snow-drifts were very
high in some places on each side of the road; and the fences and walls
were almost buried up.

"I wish that Josey was here," said Oliver. "I think that he would like
to see the carding-mill very much indeed."

"Yes," said Jonas.

"Only," replied Oliver, "perhaps it would be dangerous to take him."

"Why?" said Jonas.

"Why, because," said Oliver, "I suppose he would touch the machinery,
and perhaps get his hands torn off."

"Yes," said Jonas, "boys sometimes do get very badly hurt in
mills,--careless and disobedient boys especially."

"I think that he is a careless and disobedient boy," said Oliver.

[Illustration: "He said it made a very soft seat."]

"Yes, but it is his misfortune, rather than his fault," replied Jonas.

"His misfortune?" repeated Oliver.

"Yes," said Jonas; "his father's situation is such, that it is very
unfortunate for him. I expect he is very unhappily situated at home, in
many respects."

"How?" said Oliver.

"Why, in the first place," said Jonas, "he lives, I'm told, in a large
and handsome house."

"Yes," said Oliver.

"And then," continued Jonas, "your aunt, I have heard, is a very fine
woman, and has a great deal of company."

"Well," said Oliver.

"And then," continued Jonas, "they can buy Josey any thing he wants, for

"Yes," said Oliver; "he told me he had got a rocking-horse. But I don't
call that being unfortunate."

"It is very fortunate for the father and mother, but such a kind of life
is generally unfortunate for the child. You see, if a man has been
industrious himself, when he was a boy, and has grown up to be a good
business man, and to acquire a great deal of property, and builds a
good house, and has plenty of books, and journeys, it is all very well
for him. He can bear it, but it very often spoils his children."

"Why does it spoil his children?" asked Oliver.

"In the first place, it makes them conceited and vain,--not always, but
often. The children of wealthy men are very often conceited. They wear
better clothes than some other boys, and have more books and prettier
playthings; and so they become vain, and think that they are very
important, when, in fact, they owe every thing to their fathers.

"Then, besides," continued Jonas, "they don't form good habits of
industry. Their fathers don't make them work, and so they don't acquire
any habits of industry, and patience, and perseverance."

"If I was a man, and had ever so much money," said Oliver, "I would make
my boys work."

"That is very doubtful," said Jonas.

"Why is it doubtful?" asked Oliver.

"Because," said Jonas, "you would be very busy, and couldn't attend to
it. It would be a great deal more trouble to make your boys do any
thing, than it would be to hire another man to do it; and so you would
hire a man, to save your trouble."

"Yes; but then, Jonas, farmers are very busy, and yet they make their
boys work."

"True," replied Jonas; "but farmers are busy about such kind of work as
that their boys can help them do it,--so they can keep them at work
without any special trouble. But men of property are employed in such
kind of business as boys cannot do; and so they must work, if they work
at all, at something else; and that makes a good deal of trouble."

"Then I'd send my boys to some farmer, and let him make them work," said

"Yes," said Jonas, "that would do pretty well."

So saying, Jonas stopped the horse a moment, and stepped out of the
sleigh. He was at the foot of a long, steep hill in the woods. He was
going to walk up. Oliver remained in the sleigh, and rode. When they
reached the top, Jonas got in again, and they rode on.

"But then, Jonas," said Oliver, "there is one thing to be thought of,
and that is, that rich men's sons will not have to work when they grow
up; and so they don't need so much to grow industrious."

"O, yes, they will," said Jonas.

"Why, Josey told me that he didn't expect to work when he should be a

"No, he doesn't _expect_ to work, but he'll find that it is different
from what he had expected, when he grows up."

"How?" said Oliver.

"Why, a great many rich men's boys find, when they get to be twenty-one,
that they have to go out into the world, and earn their own living,
without any money."

"Why?" said Oliver; "won't their fathers give them any money?"

"Their fathers cannot generally give them enough to support them," said
Jonas, "even if they are disposed to do it; because, you see, they have
their own families still to support. Besides, if they were to divide
their property at once among all their children, it would only be a
small portion for each one. It wouldn't be enough for the boys to live
as expensively as they have been living while at home. Therefore, as
fast as they grow up young men, they have to go away into the world,
and earn their own money by some kind of work, head work or hand work."

Jonas would probably have given Oliver some further explanations on this
subject, were it not that about this time they arrived at the mill.
Oliver tied the horse at a post, while Jonas took out the great bundle
of wool, and went in. Oliver followed immediately after him.

The machinery made a heavy, rumbling sound, which grew louder and louder
as the boys went up stairs. Jonas opened a door into a large room, and
at this the noise increased very loudly, so that Oliver and Jonas could
hardly hear each other talk. Jonas put down the bundle of wool by the
door, and then he and Oliver went in among the wheels and machinery.
There were a great many separate machines at different parts of the
room, with girls tending them. There was a large, round beam of wood,
overhead, slowly revolving. There were wheels upon it in different
parts, with straps passing around these wheels, and also around other
wheels connected with the machines below.

Oliver saw Jonas walk to a man who was writing at a desk in the corner
of a room, and say something to him. Oliver could not hear what it was.
Jonas pointed, while he was talking to the man, to the great bundle of
wool. Presently the man came and took the bundle of wool, and dragged it
off to one of the machines, which was not in motion. He called a girl to
come and tend it.

At one end of the machine was a broad band of cloth, passing around two
rollers. One roller was close to the wheels and other large rollers of
the machine itself. The other was back from it a little; and the cloth,
being extended from one of these to the other, formed a sort of flat
table just before the machine.

The girl who came to tend the machine immediately opened the great
bundle of wool, and then she took up a handful of it, and began to
spread it evenly over the cloth. When she had got the cloth pretty
nearly covered she pulled a handle pretty near her, and that, in some
mysterious way or other, set the machinery a-going. The cloth, with all
the wool upon it, began to move towards the great rollers of the
machine. These rollers were covered with card teeth, and the wool, as it
was drawn in between them, was carded fine, and spread evenly over all
the surface; and in a few minutes Jonas and Oliver found that it began
to come out at the other end, in the shape of rolls. One roll after
another dropped out, in a very singular manner. Oliver thought that it
was a very curious machine indeed, to take in wool in that way at one
end, and drop it out in beautiful long rolls at the other.

"Now," said Jonas, after a few minutes, to Oliver, "I am going away
farther, and shall come back here in about an hour. You may go with me,
or you may stay here,--just which you prefer."

"Well," said Oliver, "I'll stay here."

"Good-by, then," said Jonas; "I shall be back again in about an hour."

So Jonas went down stairs, and Oliver began to walk about the room a
little. There was a window in the back side of the room, which he
happened to pass pretty near to, and he stopped to look out at it. He
saw the dam and the waterfall below. There was a large pond above the
fall, which was made by the dam. The pond was frozen over, and the ice
was covered with snow. The water was open for a short distance above the
edge of the fall, and it was also open below the fall, where there was a
great foaming, and tumbling, and whirling of currents.

Oliver looked at it a moment, and then he concluded that it would be
better for him to go with Jonas.

"I have seen," said he to himself, "pretty much all of the machinery,
and I shall be very tired of waiting here an hour."

So he concluded that he would run down, quick, and see if Jonas had

When he got down stairs, and out at the door, he found that the sleigh
was not at the post. He ran around the corner, and saw Jonas at some
distance, just at the foot of a hill. He ran after him, calling,
"Jo-nas! Jo-nas!"

Just at this time, Jonas stopped to let his horse walk up the hill, and
so he heard Oliver calling; for the bells did not make so much noise
when the horse was walking, as they did before.

So Jonas stopped until Oliver overtook him; and they went on the rest of
the way together.




Although it was winter when the boys were taking this ride, yet the sun
was shining in a very warm and pleasant manner, and the snow was every
where softening in the fields and melting in the roads, indicating that
the spring was coming on.

There was a little stream of water, coming down the hill in the middle
of the road, and forming a long pool at the bottom. Jonas turned his
horse to one side, to avoid this pool of water, and waited until Oliver
came up.

"Well, Oliver," said he,--"tired of the mill already?"

"Why, no," said Oliver, "only I thought that, on the whole, I'd rather
go with you. I didn't think that you were going to be gone so long."

"It is about two miles," said Jonas.

"Where are you going?" said Oliver.

"O, to see about some logs. I thought you heard your father tell me to
go and see about some logs."

"What about the logs?" said Oliver.

"Why, to make the boards of, for the barn."

"O," replied Oliver, "I didn't know that."

"Yes," continued Jonas, "when we want boards, we have to go to somebody
who owns some pine timber in the woods, and get him to cut down some of
them, and haul them to the mill. Then they saw them up, and make

"What mill?" said Oliver.

"At that saw-mill near the carding-mill. The mill down in the village,
you know, is a grist-mill."

By this time, the boys had got to the top of the hill, and they got into
the sleigh, and rode along. Presently, they came to a place where Jonas
was going to turn off, into a sort of by-road which led away into the
woods, where the pine-trees grew. The man that owned the trees lived
pretty near, in a farm-house.

"Is that the road that we are going in?" asked Oliver.

"Yes," said Jonas, "but it does not look very promising."

The road was filled up nearly full of snow. It had been hard, so that
they could travel upon it pretty well; but the warm sun had softened the
snow so much, that the horses' feet sunk down into it, in some places,
very deep. However, Jonas went along as well as he could.

"Let us get out and walk, Jonas," said Oliver.

"No," said Jonas, "that will not do much good; for it is the weight of
the horse himself, that makes him sink into the snow, not the weight of
the sleigh."

So the boys both continued to ride in the sleigh. They soon came into
the woods, where, the ground being sheltered by the trees above, the
snow lay more evenly upon it; and, though the horse slumped a little,
yet he got along very comfortably.

At length, however, they came out of the woods into an opening. The road
went along under a high bank, with a deep brook on the other side. The
wind, during the storms in the winter, had blown in over this bank, and
filled up the road entirely.

"Now," said Jonas, "I am afraid we're in difficulty."

"Why?" said Oliver; "is that a very bad place?"

"Yes," said Jonas, "it looks like a very bad place."

Oliver saw that the snow was very deep on the upper side of the road,
and that it sloped away in such a manner that it would be very difficult
for them to get along, even if the road-way was hard.

"Perhaps it is hard," said Oliver.

"No," said Jonas, "I think it cannot be, for the bank slopes to the
south, and the sun has been shining upon it all day. However, we must
try it."

The horse hesitated a moment when he came to this place, for he knew by
instinct that it would be very hard for him to get through it.

"Come, General," said Jonas. "Though, stop a moment, Oliver; perhaps we
had better get out and walk, or the sleigh may upset."

So they got out. Oliver walked by the horse, keeping on the upper side
of the road. Jonas went behind, taking hold of the back part of the
sleigh, so as to hold it in case it should tip down too far. They went
on thus for some distance tolerably well. The horse sometimes got in
pretty far, and for a moment would plunge and stagger, as if he could
hardly get along; but then he would work his way out, and go on a little

At length, however, the old General came to a full stop. He sank down,
shoulders under, in the snow. The more he struggled to get free, the
deeper he got in. Jonas stepped on before him, and patted him on the
head, and tried to quiet him.

"Jonas," said Oliver, "let us stop; I don't believe we can go any

"Nor I," said Jonas. "At least I don't think we can get the old General
any farther."

"Nor back again either," said Oliver, "as I see."

The boys stood still, looking upon the horse a moment, utterly at a loss
what to do.

"Oliver," said Jonas, "should you be willing to stay here and take care
of the horse, while I go on and see about the logs?"

"Why--I--don't know," said Oliver. "I'm afraid he won't stand quiet."

"O, I shall get him out of the snow, first," said Jonas, "and take him
to some level place, where he'll stand well."

"How shall you get him out?" asked Oliver.

"Why, we will unharness him first," said Jonas, "and then draw the
sleigh back out of the way."

So Jonas began to unbuckle the straps of the harness, in order to
liberate the horse. Oliver tried to help him, but he could not do much,
the horse was so deep in the snow. And, besides, he was standing, or
rather lying, in such a position, that many parts of the harness were
drawn so tense, that Oliver had not strength enough to unbuckle them.

However, Jonas at length got the sleigh separated from the horse, and
drew it back out of the way. He trampled the snow down around the horse,
as much as he could, and then the horse, with a leap and a plunge,
recovered his footing. He stood deep in the snow yet, however.

"Now," said Jonas, "where shall we put him till I come back?"

Oliver looked across the brook, and saw there, upon a bank, under some
trees, a spot which was bare. The reason why it was bare was, that the
snow had nearly all blown off during the storms; and then the sun, which
had been shining for some days so pleasantly, had melted away what there
had been left; and now the ground was bare, and almost dry. But the
difficulty was to get to it; for it was upon the other side of the
stream, and the bed of the stream was filled with water and ice.

"I wouldn't lead him over there," said Oliver. "I think you had better
go home, and not do any thing about the timber."

"No," said Jonas.

"Why, father will not think you did wrong to give it up, when we got
into such trouble," said Oliver.

"No, I don't suppose he would; but I'd rather carry him back an answer,
if I can."

"Then let me go with you," said Oliver.

"Why, it is a long and very hard walk," said Jonas. "There is no work so
hard as travelling in soft snow, without snow-shoes. If we had a pair of
snow-shoes, we could get along very well."

"Did you ever see any snow-shoes?" said Oliver.

"No," replied Jonas, "but I have read about them. They are very large
and flat, and your foot stands in the middle of them, and so presses
them upon the snow; and they are so large that they will not sink in
very far."

While Jonas was saying this, he was climbing down to the bank of the
brook, with a pole in his hands, with which he was going to see if he
could find firm footing, for the horse to go across.

"Yes," said he, punching his pole down to the bottom of the brook; "yes,
it isn't deep. The old General will get down here very well, I think."

So he and Oliver trampled a sort of path down to the brook, and then
they led the old General down. He seemed a little reluctant, at first,
to step into the water. However, he soon went in, and walked over, and
Oliver fastened him to a tree, so that he could stand upon the bare
piece of ground. Jonas then pulled the sleigh out of the road, so that
it should not be in the way, if any body should come along with any
other team; then he bade Oliver good-by, and went on alone.

Jonas traveled along, as well as he could, through the snow, though he
found it very laborious walking. In some places, he found hard footing
for some distance; but then he would sink down again for several
successive steps. After a short distance, he got out of the deep drift,
which had prevented the horse from going on, and then he could advance
faster. There was a singular-looking track in the road. It consisted of
a smooth groove in the snow, as if the end of a large log had been
dragged along.

It was, in fact, made by a log which had been drawn along that road
towards the mill. One end of the log had been placed upon a sled, and
the other left to drag along in the snow; and this was what made the
smooth groove, which Jonas observed. He did not see it before, because
the man who drove the sled had turned out of the main road, into a
by-way across the fields, to avoid the deep drift where Jonas's horse
got into difficulty.

Jonas found it pretty good walking after this. The snow was not so deep
as it had been; and the path which the log had made was hard and smooth.
He concluded that it must have been made by such a log, and, of course,
if he followed it, that it would take him directly to the house of the
man whom he wanted to see.

After walking about a mile, he came to the house. It was a small
farm-house, in the woods. There were a great many large logs, lying each
side of the road near it, ready to be drawn to the mill.

Jonas went up towards the door, which was in the end of the house. As he
drew near to it, he saw a boy's head behind an enormous pile of wood. He
went around it, and found that the boy was about as big as Jonas
himself. He was rolling down a large stick of wood, and had an axe in
his hand, as if he was going to chop it.

"Does Mr. Woodman live here?" said Jonas.

"Yes," said the boy; "but he isn't at home."

"Where is he?" said Jonas.

"He is out in the lot, falling trees," said the boy.

"How far is it from here?" asked Jonas.

"O, about a good half mile."

"Which way?" said Jonas.

"Out yonder," said the boy; and he pointed back of the house, where a
rough sled-road led into the woods. "You can hear his axe."

Jonas listened, and he heard distinctly the sound of an axe in the woods
behind; presently it ceased. Immediately after, there was a prolonged
crash, which echoed back from the mountains.

"There goes a tree," said the boy.

Jonas was sorry to have to leave Oliver so long, but he wished to
persevere until he should find the man, as he knew that the farmer was
very desirous of having the business done that day. So he told the boy
that he believed he would go and see if he could find Mr. Woodman; and
then he set off in the direction which the boy had indicated.

This road was so sheltered by the woods, that the snow was not much
drifted; and, besides, it had been kept open by the teams, which had
been employed in hauling out pine logs. When Jonas got in to the end of
the road, he heard the strokes of the axe, at a short distance on the

He looked that way, and found that the man was standing at the foot of a
tall tree, of very large size; and he was cutting through the trunk of
it, about two feet from the top of the snow. He saw that it was nearly
off, and so he thought he would wait a moment, where he was, and see it
fall. He observed that Mr. Woodman occasionally looked up the stem of
the tree, between the strokes of his axe, as if to see whether it was
beginning to fall.

After a few strokes more, he stepped back from the foot of the tree to
one side. Jonas wondered why he left his work before the tree fell. He
looked up to the top of it, and he perceived that it was moving. It was
bending over very slowly indeed. It moved, however, faster and faster,
and presently began to come tearing down between the branches of the
other trees, and, at length, descended with a mighty crash to the
ground. Jonas thought that it was a very fine spectacle indeed. He
wished that Oliver had been there to see it.

Jonas then went to Mr. Woodman, and transacted his business
successfully, according to the farmer's directions. Then he turned
around, and began to walk back, as fast as he could go.

"I am afraid," said he to himself, "that Oliver is almost out of
patience waiting for me."




Jonas walked on until he came out of the woods, at the house where he
had seen the boy cut wood. As he approached the place, he saw that the
boy was there still; but there was a man with him. The man had a
goad-stick in his hand.

"He is driving a team somewhere," said Jonas to himself. "I wonder where
his oxen are."

A moment afterwards, Jonas came in sight of the oxen, which were in the
road, having been hid from his view before, by the wood pile.

The man and the boy looked at Jonas, as he walked towards them. The man
smiled a little, as if he knew Jonas; but Jonas thought that he had
never seen him before.

"Well, Jonas," said the man, "did you find Mr. Woodman?"

"Yes, sir," replied Jonas. He wondered how the man happened to know his

"I'm glad of it," said he; "and you'd better make haste back. Rollo is
almost tired of waiting for you."

"Oliver, you mean," said Jonas.

"No," said the man,--"Rollo; he said his name was Rollo."

"Rollo?" said Jonas; "his name is Oliver. I don't see what made him tell
you that his name was Rollo."

So saying, Jonas walked thoughtfully away, wondering what this could
mean. He had never known Oliver to do any such thing before. Oliver, he
thought, would not tell a falsehood on any account. He was not inclined
to say any thing of that kind by way of jest. He was a very sober and
sedate, as well as honest boy. Besides, he could not think what should
have put Rollo into Oliver's head. He did not recollect that he had said
any thing of Rollo for a long time. In fact, he had seldom told Oliver
any thing about him; and what could have induced him to call himself
Rollo, he could not conceive.

However, he had nothing to do but to go on, for the more he attempted
to imagine some explanation of the mystery, the more he was puzzled.
So he walked on as diligently as he could.

He came, at length, in sight of the spot where he had left the horse and
Oliver. The horse was there, but Oliver was not to be seen.

"He has got tired of waiting, and has gone away," said Jonas; "or
perhaps he is playing about near."

This last supposition was pretty soon, for a moment, confirmed; for
Jonas saw, very soon after, a boy's head on the bank of the brook, at a
little distance below.

"There he is now," said Jonas to himself. "No, it isn't he. That boy
isn't dressed like Oliver. I wonder who it is."

The boy had a long pole in his hand, and was pushing cakes of ice with
it. He was so intent upon this amusement, that at first he did not see
Jonas; but, presently, looking up, his eye suddenly caught a view of
Jonas, coming, and he instantly dropped his pole, and ran towards him,


"Why, Rollo!" exclaimed Jonas, in his turn. "How came you to be here?"

It was Rollo, indeed. Jonas was astonished. He could scarcely believe
his senses. "Is it possible that this is you?" said he.

"Yes," said Rollo, laughing with great delight, "I believe it is."

"And how came you here? I left Oliver here an hour ago, little thinking
that he would turn into Rollo while I was gone."

"Oliver?" said Rollo, "who is Oliver?"

"Why, don't you know Oliver?" said Jonas. "He is the farmer's son. He
came with me, and I left him here to the care of the sleigh. Haven't you
seen any thing of him?"

"No," replied Rollo, "nothing; there was nobody here when I came."

"What can have become of him, then?" said Jonas. "I hope he is not lost
in the woods."

So saying, Jonas began to call aloud, "Oliver! Oliver!" But no Oliver

"Let us see if we can find any tracks," said he; and he and Rollo began
to look about for tracks.

"What's this?" said Rollo, looking down intently upon the snow, pretty
near where the horse had been tied.

"Any tracks?" said Jonas.

"No," said Rollo, "but some writing in the snow."

So Rollo began to read the writing in a slow manner, as he walked along
from one word to another; for, the letters being large, the sentence
extended quite a distance from where it first attracted his attention.
He read as follows:--

"'Jonas,--I--am--tired of writing,'--no, 'waiting. I am

"Let me see," said Jonas.

So Jonas came to the place, and saw the writing. Rollo had read it

"Yes," said Jonas, "he has gone back to the mill, no doubt. We will go,
and we shall find him there;--but when did you come from home? and how
did you find where I was?"

Rollo, in answer to Jonas's question, explained to him that his father
had given him permission to take the horse and sleigh and Nathan, and
come and pay Jonas a visit. He had arrived at the farmer's that day,
just after Jonas and Oliver had set out. The farmer told them where
Jonas had gone, and he was very desirous of going after him. He said
that he had no doubt that he could find him.

The farmer had hesitated a little; but finally he gave his consent, and
Rollo set off, leaving Nathan at the farmer's, as he was rather tired.
He had followed Jonas to the mill, and then he inquired of the people
whether Jonas had been there. A man in the road told him that he had
seen Jonas ride away on a certain road; and so Rollo had followed on in
the road pointed out to him, as he knew that it was not far that he was
to go.

When Rollo had got so far in his story, Jonas interrupted him to ask,--

"Were you on foot, Rollo?"

"No," replied Rollo, "in my sleigh."

"And where is your sleigh?" asked Jonas.

"Why, I left it out here a little way. When I found that the snow was
deep, and my horse slumped in pretty bad, I left him by the side of the
road, and walked on to see if I could see any thing of you. I soon found
your sleigh, run out of the path, and the horse tied under a tree over
the brook. So I knew that you couldn't be far off."

"And you did not go any farther."

"No," said Rollo; "I thought it would be better for me to stay by the
sleigh, and wait for you."

Jonas asked Rollo a great many questions about all the people at
home--his father and mother, and his cousin Lucy; and he said that he
was very glad indeed, that Rollo had come to see him.

"Do you have a pretty good time upon the farm?" said Rollo.

"Yes," said Jonas, "very good indeed. You would like to be here very

"Are there any boys for me to play with?" said Rollo.

"Yes," said Jonas, "there is Oliver, though he don't play much. He works
nearly all the time. But then there is Josey, though he has gone home

"I saw a boy at the mill," said Rollo, "when I came along. I verily
believe it was Oliver."

"How big was he?" asked Jonas.

"O, about as big as I am," said Rollo.

"And what was he doing?" said Jonas.

"O, he was playing about on the rocks, under the falls. But he didn't
seem to have much to do. He stopped and looked at me when I was coming

"Very likely it was he," said Jonas. "If he had only known who you were,
he would have liked very much to have come along with you; and you would
have been good company for each other.

"And O, Rollo," said Jonas again, very eagerly, "there's somebody you'll
like very much indeed."

"Who is it?" said Rollo.

"Franco Ney," said Jonas.

"Franco Ney!" repeated Rollo; "I never heard a boy named Franco before.
How old is he?"

"I don't know," said Jonas.

"Don't know? Well, where does he live?--at your house?"

"No," said Jonas. Jonas was correct in this answer, for Franco was
accustomed to live in the barn.

After some other conversation, Rollo, suddenly looking up, said,--

"How far is it, Jonas, from your house to Mr. Ney's?"

Jonas laughed very heartily at this question, but gave no answer. Rollo
could not imagine what he could he laughing at. Jonas, however, would
not tell him, but said that he would know all about it, when he should
come to see Franco Ney.

"Well," said Rollo, "I'll ask him why you wouldn't tell me where his
father lives."

Very soon Rollo and Jonas arrived at the mill. They found Oliver safe
there, waiting for them; and the rolls, too, were ready. As they did not
like to tumble the rolls, Oliver rode with Rollo in his sleigh, and
Jonas took care of the rolls.

Rollo was greatly astonished, as well as very much pleased, when he came
to see Franco Ney.




The next morning, after breakfast, Oliver proposed to Rollo, that they
should go down to the pond, and build a snow fort. During the night,
there had been a slight thaw, accompanied with some rain. The body of
snow on the ground had become softened and adhesive by the moisture, and
was, as Jonas said, "in prime condition for all sorts of snow work."

Oliver borrowed of Jonas the large wooden snow-shovel, with a blade
nearly two feet square, used in cutting out the paths around the house.
Rollo assisted him to strap it on the hand-sled, together with some
boards, two iron shovels, and a hoe.

"The Conqueror"--for that was the name of his sled--"will have to be
captive to-day," said Oliver, as he bound the load upon the sled, which
he and Rollo were going to drag down to the pond.

"You had better take the garden-reel and line," said Jonas to Oliver,
"if you intend to make a good fort. You will want to stretch your line
so as to make the sides square, and to guide you in cutting out your
blocks of snow."

"O, we don't want to be so particular as that," said Oliver.

"But I thought," said Jonas, "that your plan last evening was, to do
your work in a workmanlike manner. If you want a substantial fort to
last all winter, you must lay a good foundation, and cut your courses
true, so that they will rest firmly one upon the other,--and especially
if you are going to have a roof."

"We mean to have a roof," said Rollo, "or we cannot illuminate it in the

"Well, then," said Jonas, "I advise you to take the line, and build
according to rule."

Oliver had not forgotten what Jonas had often told him about doing his
work like a workman.

"_What is worth doing at all, is worth doing well_" Jonas used to say.

So Oliver went to get the reel and line.

While he was gone to the tool-house, Rollo thought of Franco Ney, and
began to call aloud, "Franco! Franco!"

Franco did not come.

"Franco! Franco--o! Franco--o! Where _is_ Franco?" said Rollo; "we can't
go without him."

"He won't mind you," said Oliver, as he came running back.

"You call him, then," said Rollo.

Oliver whistled the dog call, and in a moment, Franco came running from
the poultry yard with a bone in his mouth, which he had been gnawing for
a breakfast. At that moment, Nathan came running out of the door, with a
luncheon in his hand for them all. The farmer's wife had put up in a
paper an apple turn-over and a nut-cake for each of the boys, as they
were going on so important an expedition.

Very soon, every thing was ready, and they started for the scene of
operations, eager for their work, Oliver and Rollo drawing the sled, and
Nathan and Franco following on behind.

When they arrived near the pond, Oliver pointed to a little mound, not
far from the edge of the water, which overlooked the principal
skating-ground of the village boys in winter.

"There, Rollo," said Oliver, "there's the place for a fort. Many a
pleasant time we have had there, in a clear winter night, watching the
skaters all the way up to the head of the pond. The fires look

"It is a good place for a lookout," said Rollo; "but then I wouldn't
build it here. Let us go down nearer the pond."

"No," said Oliver; "if we go down near the pond, as likely as not, the
first skating night, some of the boys will tear our fort all to pieces."

"What if they do?" said Rollo.

"I want it to last all winter," said Oliver.

Rollo yielded to Oliver's wishes, and they began together to unbind
their load of boards and tools.

"Come, Nathan," said Oliver, "we want you to help us now."

Rollo and Nathan measured with the reel and line, while Oliver planted a
stake firmly in the snow at the four corners of the square.

According to Jonas's advice, the evening before, they had agreed to make
their fortification twelve feet square, and the walls about one foot

Rollo and Nathan held the cord, stretched from corner to corner, just
along the surface of the snow, while Oliver, with the shovel, cut the
snow square down to the ground, more than a foot and a half deep.

In this way they went round the whole enclosure, outside. They then went
inside, and, by a similar process, cut away the snow so as to leave an
unbroken line of snow wall about ten feet square and one foot wide.

"There," said Oliver, "there are the sills, as Jonas called them. It is
what _I_ call a good foundation."

After this, Oliver asked Rollo to bring in the measuring-board inside of
the fort.

Oliver and Rollo remembered what Jonas had told them about "commanding
and obeying," and agreed to take turns in being "director."

It was Oliver's turn for the first hour, and Rollo was to obey him.
Nathan was to assist them both, when he was wanted.

Oliver, therefore, took the command, and directed where and how to cut
out the snow, in the manner which Jonas had described.

They proceeded with the measuring-board, to mark off, and cut out by it,
solid blocks of snow about four feet long, one foot wide, and one thick.

Rollo laid down the measuring-board on the snow, and then both of them,
with the shovels, cut down the snow perpendicularly along the edges, so
as to have all the snow-blocks of precisely the same length, breadth,
and thickness. These they laid in courses, on the top of the foundation.

It took just three blocks to form a side, excepting the side where the
door was, which they left three feet wide.

After working more than two hours, and laying two courses, they shoveled
out all the broken snow that remained inside, and then sat down on the
sled to eat their luncheon and rest.

"How do you like the looks of it, Rollo?" said Oliver.

"_Well_," said Rollo; "only I don't see how we can make a roof."

"Jonas will help us do that," said Oliver, "if we do the rest of the
work well."

The boys, however, were now pretty tired. They had worked very hard.
They pulled off their caps, and with their handkerchiefs wiped the
perspiration from their foreheads.

"Don't let us work any longer now," said Nathan, rubbing his hands, and
knocking one foot against the other. "I think we have done enough for
one day; and my feet are _so_ cold!"

"_We've_ done enough!" said Oliver. "I think Rollo and I have had the
principal _doing_ to do. You and Franco have been looking on."

"'What you've to do
Get done to-day,
And do not for to-morrow stay;
There's always danger in delay'"--

said Rollo. "I think we had better finish it now. Come, Nathan, jump
about here on the sled, and you will soon be warm."

So they went briskly at work again, Rollo taking the command. They found
it very hard, after the second course, to get the snow-blocks up on the
snowy wall. Often they would slip away out of their hands, just as they
were lodging them safely on the top, and fall over on one side of the
wall, and break to pieces.

"Let us cut them in two," said Oliver; "we can handle them better so."

Before they got through the fourth course, they were glad to cut all
their materials into pieces of one foot square.

"How high are the walls now?" said Rollo, as they stopped to look at the
appearance of the last course.

"Between five and six feet," said Oliver. "The foundation is at least a
foot and a half high, and we have laid four courses."

Oliver, Rollo, and Nathan went to work together, then, stopping up all
the chinks in the wall, inside and out, with soft snow.

When this was well done, Oliver took the hoe, and with the sharp edge
shaved down all around on both sides, making the walls look even and

"Well," said Rollo, "that is the best snow fort I ever saw. Jonas does
know how to do things, doesn't he, Oliver? But I don't see how we are to
get a roof on."

"I don't care about a roof," said Oliver. "We don't want to play in it
only in pleasant weather."

"I'll tell you what we might do," said Rollo. "We could make a partition
through the middle, and put a roof over half of it."

"So we can," said Oliver. "We'll do that this afternoon. It's time to go
to dinner now."

The boys then gathered all the tools, &c., and laid them together, as
Jonas had taught them to do, when they finished work, and then started
for home.

"Halloo, Franco," said Rollo, "are you here still?" They had been so busy
at work, they had taken no notice of him. But Franco had watched their
operations, and now went running on in the path before the boys, wagging
his tail, as if he had as much pleasure as they, in contemplating the
result of their morning's labor.

When Jonas came home to dinner, at noon, the boys were impatient to tell
him what they had done.

But Jonas was too much engaged in some work about the new barn to listen
to their story then. He told them, however, that he would go down about
sunset, and look at their work, and hear the account, in the evening, of
the experiment in doing work like workmen.

After dinner, Oliver was excused from many of his regular duties, on
account of the visit of Rollo and Nathan; and the three boys hastened
to return to their fort. They were so intent on finishing it, that they
lost all interest in playing with Franco, or each other.

"What shall we call our fort?" said Oliver, as they walked along.

"We don't want any name, do we?" said Rollo.

"O, yes," said Oliver, "let us have a name. I always like to have a
name. There's the old 'General,'--we have had many a good time with him;
and my 'Conqueror,'--there isn't a boy in town that doesn't know my

"We might call it 'Gibraltar,'" said Rollo.

"Yes, that's a good name," said Oliver. "How do you like 'Iceberg
Castle'? Jonas was telling us all about the icebergs the other evening;
and I read a story, about a famous 'Ice Palace' in Russia; how do you
like that?"

"I don't like that," said Rollo. "Ours is a _fort_; it isn't a palace."

"If you are going to have it a palace," said Nathan, "whom will you
have for a _king_?"

"You may be king, Nathan," said Rollo, "and we will soon demolish your
palace, and make a prisoner of you."

"No, no," said Oliver, "the fort shall stand as long as ice will last. I
mean to pour water all over it, and freeze it into solid ice; and I
expect the last ice to be seen any where about next spring, will be the
ruins of the old fort."

After some discussion, the boys agreed to call it "Iceberg Castle."

They then took a survey, inside and out, of their morning's work, and
decided to proceed at once and build the partition which Rollo proposed
before dinner. At Oliver's suggestion, Rollo was director.

For more than an hour they continued their toil, in constructing the
partition. Jonas had given them no instructions about this; and they
found it much more difficult than the walls, on account of the small,
low door, which they had to make, to lead from one apartment into the

At last, as Oliver and Nathan were drawing through the outer door a
small heap of loose snow, which they had gathered up from the floor of
the inner room, Rollo followed them, shouting, as they emerged from the
fort, "Done, boys, done!--Hurrah for Iceberg Castle!"

"I wish Jonas was here now," said Oliver; "but I suppose it will be two
or three hours before he can come down."

"Can't we do something more?" said Rollo. "I wish we could put on a
roof, before he comes."

"I don't believe we can do that," said Oliver.

The boys walked in and out, and all around the fort, again and again,
admiring its appearance, and thinking what else they could do.

"It wouldn't be a bad plan to have a king, as Nathan said, in our
castle; would it, Oliver?" said Rollo.

"Not at all," said Oliver. "Let us make a king, or a giant, to keep the
premises for us, when we are away."

So saying, they all set to work rolling snow-balls to make him.

Oliver rolled up a huge mass, for his body, larger than they could at
first get through the doors.

Rollo rolled one for his head, and Nathan made several small ones.

In one corner of the inner room, they laid a small platform, of several
square, flat blocks of snow, for a throne, as Rollo called it; and here
they placed his "Majesty."

"It seems to me," said Oliver, "that the King of the Frozen Regions
ought to have a crown and a court."

No sooner said than done. A little band of snow-balls, in double rows,
soon encircled his brow, surmounted, too, with icicles and stalactites,
which Nathan brought from the brook.

The opposite corners of the room were soon decorated with corresponding
figures, whom Rollo introduced as Lord and Lady Frost.

He had scarcely pronounced the names, when Jonas walked in, to the
surprise and great delight of the boys.

"Well done, boys," said Jonas; "I think you have followed directions
this time. I give you credit for doing your work in a workmanlike
manner. But I can't stay to talk with you about it now. Your father,
Oliver, wishes me to go out on the pond, and bring home the sled we left
there, the other night, in the storm. The wind has come out in the
north-west, and there is every prospect of a bitter cold night. It has
begun to stiffen already, and, before morning, the sled may be locked up
in solid ice."

Jonas hurried away, and the boys, not a little disappointed, gathered
all their implements together to return home.

"It _will_ be a cold night; won't it?" said Oliver, as he looked off to
the north-west. How fast it grows cold! It freezes now. I was in hopes
we should have one more mild day. But we can't get a roof on after

"Won't it make good skating on the pond," asked Rollo, "if the water
freezes now?"

"Yes, indeed," said Oliver. "I shouldn't be surprised if there was
skating there to-night. It's only a thin sheet of water over the ice and
snow. Three or four hours of real cold will make ice enough for that.

"Come, Nathan, jump on the sled, and you shall have a ride. Rollo and I
will be your horses. Mother will have supper ready by the time we get

Nathan, glad of a ride, took his seat, and they were soon at the house.

Oliver took the snow-shovels and the other tools, and returned them to
their proper places, and then drew up his sled into a corner of the

After tea, Oliver and Rollo went out into the yard to feel the air, and
judge of the impression the night would probably make upon "Iceberg
Castle" and its inhabitants.

It was clear and cold. The stars twinkled brightly. The moon was not up.

"See there!" said Oliver; "I do believe they are building a fire down on
the pond already. There'll be a skating party to-night, no doubt."

The boys returned to a cheerful room with a good fire, and were seated
round the table, to amuse themselves for the evening. They passed the
time pleasantly until Jonas returned from the pond.

"O Jonas, Jonas," they all said, as he came in, "what made you stay so

Jonas gave them an account of his adventures, and of his meeting a party
of skaters, who were already on the pond, expecting to be joined, in
the course of the evening, by a much larger number from the village.

After Jonas had taken his supper, the boys gathered around him to talk
about their fort, every now and then running to the door or window, to
see the fire on the pond.

Long before it went out, Oliver, Rollo, and Nathan, were in a sound

The next morning, early, they appeared as impatient to run down to the
"Castle," as if they had dreamed of it all night long; and before the
fire was well burning in the great room, they all three came running
back to Jonas, out of breath, and with sad faces, exclaiming,--

"O Jonas! Jonas! our fort is all torn to pieces!"

True enough, some of the boys of the skating party had completely
demolished the Castle.

Oliver and Rollo were greatly excited; they were grieved, and they were
angry, and could scarcely refrain from expressing wishes of vengeance
which it was not in their power to execute.

Jonas sympathized with them in their severe disappointment.

"'Tis _too bad_," said Rollo.

"'Tis _too bad_," repeated Oliver. "How shall we pay them for it? Jonas,
tell us how?"

"Pay them for it?" said Jonas; "that isn't the way I should do."

"Well, I think they deserve it," said Rollo.

"So do I," said Oliver.

"What do you mean by paying them for it?" said Jonas; "giving them as
much injury and pain as they have given you? Don't you remember the
lesson that Franco taught us, that to return good for evil was good
policy as well as good morals?"

"Well, what would you do, Jonas?" they both asked together.

"I don't know now," said Jonas, "what I would do. I will think of it.
But this I know,--that we ought _never to be overcome of evil, but to
overcome evil with good_."

Oliver and Rollo wondered what Jonas would do.

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