Rollo at Play by Jacob Abbott

Produced by Rosanna Yuen and PG Distributed Proofreaders ROLLO AT PLAY; OR, SAFE AMUSEMENTS. ROLLO AT PLAY. THE ROLLO SERIES IS COMPOSED OF FOURTEEN VOLUMES. VIZ. Rollo Learning to Talk. Rollo Learning to Read. Rollo at Work. Rollo at Play. Rollo at School. Rollo’s Vacation. Rollo’s Experiments. Rollo’s Museum. Rollo’s Travels. Rollo’s Correspondence. Rollo’s Philosophy–Water.
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Produced by Rosanna Yuen and PG Distributed Proofreaders




[Illustration: “Now he is standing perfectly still. O, Jonas, come and see him.”]




Rollo Learning to Talk.
Rollo Learning to Read.
Rollo at Work.
Rollo at Play.
Rollo at School.
Rollo’s Vacation.
Rollo’s Experiments.

Rollo’s Museum.
Rollo’s Travels.
Rollo’s Correspondence.
Rollo’s Philosophy–Water.
Rollo’s Philosophy–Air.
Rollo’s Philosophy–Fire.
Rollo’s Philosophy–Sky.



Although this little book, and its fellow, “ROLLO AT WORK,” are intended principally as a means of entertainment for their little readers, it is hoped by the writer that they may aid in accomplishing some of the following useful purposes:–

1. In cultivating _the thinking powers_; as frequent occasions occur, in which the incidents of the narrative, and the conversations arising from them, are intended to awaken and engage the reasoning and reflective faculties of the little readers.

2. In promoting the progress of children _in reading_ and in knowledge of language; for the diction of the stories is intended to be often in advance of the natural language of the reader, and yet so used as to be explained by the connection.

3. In cultivating the _amiable and gentle qualities of the heart_. The scenes are laid in quiet and virtuous life, and the character and conduct described are generally–with the exception of some of the ordinary exhibitions of childish folly–character and conduct to be imitated; for it is generally better, in dealing with children, to allure them to what is right by agreeable pictures of it, than to attempt to drive them to it by repulsive delineations of what is wrong.



STORY 1. ROLLO AT PLAY IN THE WOODS.–The Setting out. Bridge-Building. A Visitor. Difficulty. Hearts wrong. Hearts right again.

STORY 2. THE STEEPLE-TRAP.–The Way to catch a Squirrel. The Way to lose a Squirrel. How to keep a Squirrel. Fires in the Woods.

STORY 3. THE HALO ROUND THE MOON; OR LUCY’S VISIT.–A Round Rainbow. Who knows best, a Little Boy or his Father! Repentance.

STORY 4. THE FRESHET.–Maria and the Caravan Small Craft. The Principles of Order. Clearing up.

STORY 5. BLUEBERRYING.–Old Trumpeter. Deviation. Little Mosette. Going up. The Secret out.

STORY 6. TROUBLE ON THE MOUNTAIN.–Boasting. Getting in Trouble. A Test of Penitence.



One pleasant morning in the autumn, when Rollo was about five years old, he was sitting on the platform, behind his father’s house, playing. He had a hammer and nails, and some small pieces of board. He was trying to make a box. He hammered and hammered, and presently he dropped his work down and said, fretfully,

“O dear me!”

“What is the matter, Rollo?” said Jonas,–for it happened that Jonas was going by just then, with a wheelbarrow.

“I wish these little boards would not split so. I cannot make my box.”

“You drive the nails wrong; you put the wedge sides _with_ the grain.”

“The wedge sides!” said Rollo; “what are the wedge sides,–and the grain? I do not know what you mean.”

But Jonas went on, trundling his wheelbarrow; though he looked round and told Rollo that he could not stop to explain it to him then.

Rollo was discouraged about his box. He thought he would look and see what Jonas was going to do. Jonas trundled the wheelbarrow along, until he came opposite the barn-door, and there he put it down. He went into the barn, and presently came out with an axe. Then he took the sides of the wheelbarrow off, and placed them up against the barn. Then he laid the axe down across the wheelbarrow, and went into the barn again. Pretty soon he brought out an iron crowbar, and laid that down also in the wheelbarrow, with the axe.

Then Rollo called out,

“Jonas, Jonas, where are you going?”

“I am going down into the woods beyond the brook.”

“What are you going to do?”

“I am going to clear up some ground.”

“May I go with you?”

“I should like it–but that is not for me to say.”

Rollo knew by this that he must ask his mother. He went in and asked her, and she, in return, asked him if he had read his lesson that morning. He said he had not; he had forgotten it.

“Then,” said his mother, “you must first go and read a quarter of an hour.”

Rollo was sadly disappointed, and also a little displeased. He turned away, hung down his head, and began to cry. It is not strange that he was disappointed, but it was very wrong for him to feel displeased, and begin to cry.

“Come here, my son,” said his mother.

Rollo came to his mother, and she said to him kindly,

“You have done wrong now twice this morning; you have neglected your duty of reading, and now you are out of humor with me because I require you to attend to it. Now it is _my_ duty not to yield to such feelings as you have now, but to punish them. So I must say that, instead of a quarter of an hour, you must wait _half_ an hour, before you go out with Jonas.”

Rollo stood silent a minute,–he perceived that he had done wrong, and was sorry. He did not know how he could find Jonas in the woods, but he did not say any thing about that then. He only asked his mother what he must do for the half hour. She said he must read a quarter of an hour, and the rest of the time he might do as he pleased.

So Rollo took his book, and went out and sat down upon the platform, and began to read aloud. When he had finished one page, which usually took a quarter of an hour, he went in to ask his mother what time it was. She looked at the clock, and told him he had been reading seventeen minutes.

“Is seventeen minutes more than a quarter of an hour, or not so much?” asked Rollo.

“It is more;–_fifteen_ minutes is a quarter of an hour. Now you may do what you please till the other quarter has elapsed.”

Rollo thought he would go and read more. It is true he was tired; but he was sorry he had done wrong, and he thought that if he read more than he was obliged to, his mother would see that he _was_ penitent, and that he acquiesced in his punishment.

So he went on reading, and the rest of the half hour passed away very quickly. In fact, his mother came out before he got up from his reading, to tell him it was time for him to go. She said she was very glad he had submitted pleasantly to his punishment, and she gave him something wrapped up in a paper.

“Keep this till you get a little tired of play, down there, and then sit down on a log and open it.”

Rollo wondered what it was. He took it gladly, and began to go. But in a minute he turned round and said,

“But how shall I find Jonas?”

“What is he doing?” said his mother.

“He said he was going to clear up some land.”

“Then you will hear his axe. Go down to the edge of the woods and listen, and when you hear him, call him. But you must not go into the woods unless you hear him.”


Rollo went on, down the green lane, till he came to the turn-stile, and then went through into the field. He then followed a winding path until he came to the edge of the trees, and there stopped to listen.

He heard the brook gurgling along over the stones, and that was all at first; but presently he began to hear the strokes of an axe. He called out as loud as he could,

“Jonas! Jonas!”

But Jonas did not hear.

Then he walked along the edge of the woods till he came nearer the place where he heard the axe. He found here a little opening among the trees and bushes, so that he could look in. He saw the brook, and over beyond it, on the opposite bank, was Jonas, cutting down a small tree.

So Rollo walked on until he came to the brook, and then asked Jonas how he should get over. The brook was pretty wide and deep.

Jonas said, if he would wait a few minutes, he would build him a bridge.

“_You_ cannot build a bridge,” said Rollo.

“Wait a little and see.”

So Rollo sat down on a mossy bank, and Jonas, having cut down the small tree, began to work on a larger one that stood near the bank.

After he had cut a little while, Rollo asked him why he did not begin the bridge.

“I am beginning it,” said he.

Rollo laughed at this, but in a minute Jonas called to him to stand back, away from the bank; and then, after a few strokes more, the top of the tree began to bend slowly over, and then it fell faster and faster, until it came down with a great crash, directly across the brook.

“There!” said Jonas, “there is your bridge.”

Rollo looked at it with astonishment and pleasure.

“Now,” said Jonas, “I will come and help you over.”

“No,” said Rollo, “I can come over myself. I can take hold of the branches for a railing.”

So Rollo began to climb along the stem of the tree, holding on carefully by the branches. When he reached the middle of the stream, he stopped to look down into the water.

“This is a capital bridge of yours, Jonas,” said he. “How beautiful the water looks down here! O, I see a little fish! He is swimming along by a great rock. Now he is standing perfectly still. O, Jonas, come and see him.”

“No,” said Jonas, “I must mind my work.”

After a little time, Rollo went carefully on over the bridge, and sat down on the bank of the brook. But he did not have with him the parcel his mother gave him. He had left it on the other side.

After he had watched the fishes, and thrown pebble-stones into the brook some time, he began to be tired, and he asked Jonas what he had better do.

“I think you had better build a wigwam.”

“A wigwam? What is a wigwam?” said Rollo.

“It is a little house made of bushes such as the Indians live in.”

“O, I could not make a house,” said Rollo.

“I think you could if I should tell you how, and help you a little.”

“But you say _you_ must mind your work.”

“Yes,–I can mind my work and tell you at the same time.”

Rollo thought he should like to build a wigwam very much. Jonas told him the first thing to be done was to find a good place, where the ground was level. Rollo looked at a good many places, but at last chose a smooth spot under a great oak tree, which Jonas said he was not going to cut down. It was near a beautiful turn in the brook, where the water was very deep.

Jonas told him that the first thing was to make a little stake, and drive it down in the middle of his wigwam-ground. Then Rollo recollected that he had left his hatchet over on the other side of the brook, together with the parcel his mother gave him; and he was going over to get them, when Jonas told him he would trim up the bridge a little, and then he could go over more easily.

So Jonas went upon the bridge, and began to cut away the branches that were in the way, leaving enough on each side to take hold of, and to keep Rollo from falling in. Rollo could then go back and forth easily. He held on with one hand, and carried his hatchet in the other. Then he went over again, and brought his parcel, and laid it down near the great oak tree.

Then he made a little stake, and drove it down in the middle of the wigwam-ground. Then he asked Jonas what he must do next.

“That is the centre of your wigwam; now you must strike a circle around it.”

“What?” said Rollo.

“Don’t you know how to strike a circle?” said Jonas.

Rollo said he did not, and then Jonas told him to do exactly as he should say, and that would show him.

“First,” said Jonas, “have you got a string?”

Rollo felt in his pockets in vain, but he recollected his little parcel, which was tied with a piece of twine, and held it up to ask Jonas if that would do. Jonas said it would, and told him to take it off carefully, and tie one end of it to his centre stake.

And Rollo did so.

“Now,” said Jonas, “make another little sharp stake for the marker, and tie the other end of the twine to that, near the sharp end.”

Rollo worked busily for some time, and then called out,

“Jonas, it is done.”

All this time, Jonas was at work in the bushes, at a little distance. He now came to Rollo’s wigwam-ground, and took hold of the marker, and held it off as far from the middle stake as it would go, and then began to make a mark on the ground all around the middle stake. Now, as the marker was tied to the middle stake by the string, the mark was equally distant from the middle stake in every part, and that made it exactly round. Then Jonas laid down the marker, and pulled out the middle stake; and they looked down and saw that there was a round mark on the ground, about as large as a cart-wheel.

Then Jonas took the crowbar, and made deep holes all around, in this circle, so far apart that Rollo could just step from one to the other. But Rollo could not understand how he could make a house so.

“I will tell you,” said Jonas. “You must now go and get some large branches of trees, and trim off the twigs from the lower end, and stick them down in these, holes. I will show you how.”

So Jonas took a large bough, and trimmed the large end, and sharpened it a little, and then he fixed it down in one of these holes, in such a manner that the top of it bent over towards the middle of the circle; then he went back to his work, leaving Rollo to go on with the wigwam.


Rollo put down two or three branches very well, and was very much delighted at seeing it gradually begin to look like a house, when he thought he heard a voice. He listened a moment, and heard some one at a distance calling, “Rol–lo. Rol–lo.”

Rollo dropped his hatchet, and looked in the direction that the sound came from, and called out as loud as he could, “What!”

“Where–are–you?” was heard in reply.

Rollo answered, “_Here_,” and then immediately clambered along over the bridge, and ran through the woods until he came out into the open field; and there he saw a small boy, away off at a distance, just coming through the turn-stile.

It was his cousin James. It seems that James had come to play with him that day, and Rollo’s mother had directed him down towards the woods.

James came running along towards Rollo, holding up something round and bright, in each hand. They were half dollars.

“Where did you get them?” said Rollo.

“One is for you, and one is for me,” said James. “Uncle George sent them to us.”

“What a beautiful little eagle!” said Rollo, as he looked at one side of his half dollar; “I wish I could get it off and keep it separate.”

“O no,” said James, “that would spoil your half dollar.”

“Why, they would know it was a half dollar by the letters and the head on the other side. What a pretty thin eagle! How do you suppose they fasten it on so strong?”

James said he thought he could get it off; so they went and sat down on a smooth log, that was lying on the ground, and laid Rollo’s half dollar on the log. Then he took a pin, and tried to drive the point of it under the eagle’s head, with a small stone. But the eagle would not move. They only made some little marks and scratches on the silver.

“Never mind,” said Rollo; “I will keep it as it is.” So he took his half dollar, and they walked along towards the brook.

They showed their money to Jonas, and told him that they had tried to get the eagle off. He smiled at this. The boys went back soon to the wigwam, and James said he would help Rollo finish it. While they were at work they put their money on a large flat stone, on the brink of the brook. They fixed a great many boughs into their wigwam, weaving them in all around, and thus made a very pleasant little house, leaving a place for a door in front. When they were tired, they went and opened Rollo’s little package, and found a fine luncheon in it of bread and butter and pie; which they ate very happily together, sitting on little hemlock branches in the wigwam.


After their luncheon, the boys began to talk about the best place for a window for the wigwam.

“I think we will have it _this_ side, towards the brook,” said James, “and then we can look out to the water.”

“No,” said Rollo, “it will be better to have it _here_, towards where Jonas is working, and then we can look out and see him.”

“No,” said James, “that is not a good plan; I do not want to see Jonas.”

“And I do not want to see the water,” replied Rollo. “It is _my_ wigwam, and I mean to have the window _here_.”

So saying, he went to the side towards Jonas, and began to take away a bough. James came there too, and said angrily,

“The wigwam is mine as much as it is yours, for I helped make it, and I will not have a window here.”

So he took hold of the branch that Rollo had hold of. They both felt guilty and condemned, but their angry feelings urged them on, and they looked fiercely at each other, and pulled upon the branch.

“Rollo,” said James, “let go.”

“James,” said Rollo, “I tell you, let my wigwam alone.”

“It is not your wigwam.”

“I tell you it is.”

Just then they heard a noise in the bushes. They looked around, and saw Jonas coming towards them. They felt ashamed, and were silent, though each kept hold of the branch.

“Now, boys,” said Jonas, “you have got into a foolish and wicked quarrel. I have heard it all. Now you may do as you please–you may let me settle it, or I will lead you home to your mother, and tell her about it, and let her settle it.”

The boys looked ashamed, but said nothing.

“If you conclude to let me settle it, you must do just as I say. But I do not pretend that I have any right to decide such a case, unless you consent. So I will take you home, if you prefer.”

The boys both preferred that he should settle it, and promised to do as he should say.

“Well, then,” said he, “the first thing is for you, Rollo, to go over the other side of the brook, and you, James, to stay here, and both to sit down still, until you have had time to cool.”

The boys obeyed, and Jonas went back to his work.

The boys sat still, feeling guilty and ashamed; but they were not penitent. They ought to have been sorry for their fault, and become good-natured and pleasant again. But instead of that, they were silent and displeased, eyeing one another across the brook. Jonas waited some time, and then came and called them both to him.

“Now,” says James, “I will tell you all about it, and you shall decide who was to blame.”

“I heard it all, and I know which was to blame; you, James, came here to see Rollo, and found him building a wigwam. It was _his_ wigwam, not _yours_. He began it without you, and was going on without you, and when you came, you had no right to assume any authority about it. You ought to have let him do as he wished with his own wigwam. You were unjust.”

Here Rollo began to look pleased and triumphant, that Jonas had decided in his favor.

“But,” continued Jonas, “you, Rollo, were playing here alone. Your little cousin came to see you; and you were very glad to have him come. He helped you build, and when he wanted to have the window in a particular way, you ought to have let him. To quarrel with a visitor for such a cause as that, was very ungentlemanly and unkind. So you see you were both very much to blame.”

The boys looked guilty and ashamed, but they did not feel really penitent. They were not cordially reconciled. Neither was willing to give up.

“But,” said Rollo, “how shall we make the window?”

“I think you ought not to make any window, as you cannot agree about it.”

They wanted to make a window now more than ever, for each wanted to have his own way; but Jonas would not consent, and as they had agreed to abide by his decision, they submitted. Jonas then returned to his work, and the boys stood by the side of the brook, not knowing exactly what to do. Jonas told them, when they went away, that he expected that they would have another quarrel, as he perceived that their hearts were still in a bad state.


The boys sat down on the bank of the brook, and began to pick up little stones and throw them into the water. They began soon to talk of the window again.

Rollo said, “Jonas thought you were most to blame, I know.”

“No, he did not,” replied James. “He blamed you the most; he said you were unjust.”

“I don’t care,” said Rollo. “You do not know how to build a wigwam. You cannot reach high enough to make a window.”

“I _can_ reach high,” said James. “I can reach as high as that,” said he, stretching up his hand.

“And I can reach as high as _that_” said Rollo, stretching up his hand higher than James did; for he was a little taller.

James was somewhat vexed to find that Rollo could reach higher than he could, though it was very foolish to allow himself to be put out of humor by such a thing. But boys, when they are ill-humored, and dispute, are always unreasonable and foolish. James determined not to be outdone, so he took up a stick, and reached it up in the air as high as he could, and said,

“I can reach up as high as _that_.”

Then Rollo took up a stone, and tossed it up into the air, saying,

“And I can reach as high as that.”

Now, when boys throw stones into the air, they ought to consider where they will come down; but, unfortunately, Rollo did not in this case, and the stone fell directly upon James’s head. It was, however a small stone, and his cap prevented it from hurting him much; but he was already vexed and out of humor, and so he began to cry out aloud.

Rollo was frightened a little, for he was afraid he had hurt his cousin a good deal, and then he expected too that Jonas would come. But Jonas took no notice of the crying, but went on with his work. Now, Jonas was very kind and careful, and always came quick when there was any one hurt. But this time, he knew by the tone of James’s crying, that it was vexation rather than pain that caused it.

James, finding that his crying did no good, gradually became still; and in a few minutes, as he happened to look round, his eye rested on the stone where they had put their half dollars, and he saw that only one of them was there.

“O, Rollo,” said he, “one of our half dollars is gone.”

They went to the stone, and, true enough, one was gone. They looked around, but it was no where to be found. Boys that are out of humor with one another, are never at a loss for subjects of dispute; and Rollo said he believed James had taken it, and James charged it upon Rollo. Then there was a dispute who should have the one that was left. James knew it was his; he said he remembered _exactly_ how his looked; and Rollo knew it was his, for the head and the stars were very bright on his, and they were very bright on this. James, however, had the half dollar, and would not give it up; and so Rollo went to Jonas, and told him that James had got his half dollar.

Jonas came, and heard the whole story from both of the boys. James said he _knew_ the one that was left was his, for he remembered exactly how it looked, and he also remembered exactly the very spot on the stone where he put it down.

James did not mean to tell a lie, but he was a little angry and excited, and when boys are in that state of mind, they are very apt to say they know not what.

Jonas looked at both sides of the half dollar very attentively.

“Which half dollar was it,” said he, “that you tried to get the eagle off of?”

“Mine,” said Rollo; “let me see.”

Jonas held down the half dollar, and showed to Rollo and James the marks and scratches made by the pin; proving that this was Rollo’s half dollar. James looked ashamed and confounded; Jonas just waited to hear what he would say.


James stood still a minute, thinking presently he said,

“Well, Rollo, I suppose my half dollar is lost, but I am glad yours is safe, at any rate.”

“I am sorry yours is lost,” said Rollo, “but then I can give you half of what I buy with mine.”

“Where did you put the half dollars?” said Jonas.

“On that rock,” said Rollo.

They walked along towards the rock. It was by the edge of the water; Jonas thought that as they had been dragging boughs of trees along near the rock, some little branch might have reached over and brushed off one of the pieces of money into the water. So he walked up to it and looked over.

In a minute or two, he pointed down, and the boys looked and saw something bright and glittering on the bottom.

“Is that it?” said James.

“I believe it is,” said Jonas.

Jonas then took off his jacket, rolled up his shirt sleeve, lay down on the rock, and reached his arm down into the water, but it was a little too deep. He could not reach it.

“I cannot get it so,” said he.

“What shall we do?” said James. “How foolish I was to put it so near the water!”

“I think we shall contrive some way to get it,” said Jonas.

He then sat down on the rock and looked into the water. “We can go home and get a long pair of tongs, and get it with them at any rate,” said he.

“O, yes,” said Rollo, “I will go and get them;” and he ran off towards the bridge.

“No,” said Jonas, “stop; I will try one plan more.”

So he went and cut a long straight stem of a bush, and trimmed it up smooth, and cut the largest end off exactly square. Then he went to a hemlock tree near, and took off some of the gum, which was very “sticky.” He pressed some of this with his knife on the end of the stick. Then he reached it very carefully down, and pressed it hard against the half dollar; it crowded the half dollar down into the sand, out of sight.

“There, you have lost it,” said James.

“I don’t know,” said Jonas; and he began slowly and carefully to draw it up.

When the end of the stick came up out of the sand, the boys saw, to their great delight, that the half dollar was sticking fast on. They clapped their hands, and capered about on the stone, while Jonas gently drew up the half dollar, and put it, all wet and dripping, into James’s hand.

The boys thanked Jonas for getting up the money, and then they asked him to keep both pieces for them until they went home. Then they began to think of the wigwam again.

“We will make the window as you want it, James,” said Rollo; “I am willing.”

“No,” said James, “I was just going to say we would make it your way. I rather think it would be better to make it towards the land.”

“Why can you not have two windows?” said Jonas.

“So we can,” said both of the boys; and they immediately went to work collecting branches and weaving them in, leaving a space for a window both sides. Their quarrelsome feelings were all gone, and they talked very pleasantly at their work until it was time for them to go home to dinner.


[Illustration: “An escape.”]


* * * * *


The afternoon of the day when Rollo and his cousin James made their wigwam in the woods by the brook, they were at work there again, employed very harmoniously together, in finishing their edifice, when suddenly Jonas, who was at work in the woods at a little distance, heard them both calling to him, in tones of surprise and pleasure–

“O, Jonas, Jonas, come here quick–quick.”

Jonas dropped his axe and ran.

When he got near them, they pointed to a log.

“See there;–see;–see there.”

“What is it?” said Jonas. “O, I see it,” said he.

It was a little squirrel clambering up a raspberry-bush, eating the raspberries as he went along. He would climb up by the little branches, and pull in the raspberries in succession, until he got to the topmost one, when the bush would bend over with his weight until it almost touched the log.

“Let us catch him,” said Rollo, very eagerly; “do let us catch him; I will go and get our steeple trap.”

Jonas did not seem to be so very much delighted as the boys were. He said he was certainly a cunning little fellow, but “what should we do with him if we should catch him?”

“O,” said Rollo, “we would put him in a little cage. It would be so complete to have him in a cage! Do, Jonas, do.”

“But you have not got any cage.”

“We can get one,” said James. “We can buy one with our half dollars.”

“Well,” said Jonas, “it will do no good to set the trap now, for he will be away before we could get back. But I will come down to-night, and set the trap, and perhaps we shall catch him, though I do not exactly like to do it.”

“Why?” said the boys.

“O,” replied Jonas, “he will not like to be shut up all night, in a dark box, and then be imprisoned in a cage. He had rather run about here, and gather raspberries. Besides, you would soon get tired of him if you had him in a cage.”

“O no,” said Rollo, “I should not get tired of him.”

“Did you ever have any plaything that you were not tired of before long?”

“Why,–no,” said Rollo; “but then a real live squirrel is a different thing. Besides, you know, if I get tired of him, I need not play with him then.”

“No, but a real live thing must be fed every day, and _that_ you would find a great trouble. And then you would sometimes forget it, and the poor fellow would be half starved.”

“O no,” said Rollo; “I am sure I should not forget it.”

“Did you remember your reading-lesson this morning?”

“Why,–no,” said Rollo, looking a little confused. “But I am sure I should not forget to feed a squirrel if I had one.”

“You don’t know as much as I thought you did,” replied Jonas.


“I thought you knew more about yourself than to suppose you could be trusted to do any thing regularly every day. Why, you would not remember to wash your own face every morning, if your mother did not remind you. The squirrel is almost as fit to take care of you in your wigwam, as you are to take care of him in a cage.”

Rollo felt a little ashamed of his boasting, for he knew that what Jonas said was true. Jonas said, finally, “However, we will try to catch him; but I cannot promise that I shall let you keep him in a cage. It will be bad enough for him to be shut up all night in the box trap, but I can pay him for that the next day in corn.”

So Jonas brought down the box trap that night. It was a long box, about as big as a cricket, with a tall, pointed back, which looked like a steeple; so Rollo called it the steeple trap. It was so made that if the squirrel should go in, and begin to nibble some corn, which they were going to put in there, it would make the cover come down and shut him in. They fixed the trap on the end of the log, and Jonas observed, as he sat on the log, that he could see the barn chamber window through a little opening among the trees. Of course he knew that from the barn chamber window he could see the trap, though it would be too far off to see it plain.


Early the next morning, James came over to learn whether they had caught the squirrel; and he and Rollo wanted Jonas to go down with them and see. Jonas said he could not go down then very well, but if he would go and ask his father to lend him his spy-glass, he could tell without going down.

Now Jonas had been a very faithful and obedient boy, ever since he came to live with Rollo’s father. He had some great faults when he first came, but he had cured himself of them, and he was now an excellent and trustworthy boy. It was a part of his business to take care of Rollo, and they always let him have what he asked for from the house, as they knew it was for some good purpose, and that it would be well taken care of. So when Rollo went in and asked for the spy-glass, and said that Jonas wanted it, they handed it down to him at once.

Jonas took the glass, and they all three went up into the barn chamber.

Jonas opened the glass, and held it up to his eye. The boys stood by looking on silently. At length, Jonas said,

“No, we have not caught him.”

“How do you know?” said the boys.

“O, I can see the trap, and it is not sprung.”

“Is not sprung?” said James, “what do you mean by _sprung_?”

“Shut. It is not shut. I can see it open, and of course the squirrel is not there.”

“O, he may be in,” said Rollo, “just nibbling the corn. Do let us go and see.”

Jonas smiled, and said he could not go then, but he would look through the spy-glass again towards noon. He then gave the glass to Rollo, and it was carried back safely into the house.

James soon after went home, and Rollo sat down in the parlor to his reading. Afterwards he came out, and went to building cities in a sandy corner of the garden. He was making Rome,–for his father had told him that Rome was built on seven hills, and he liked to make the seven hills in the sand. He made a long channel for an aqueduct, and went into the house to get a dipper of water to fill his aqueduct, when he met James coming again. So they went in, and got the spy-glass, and asked Jonas to go up and look again.

Jonas adjusted the glass, held it up to his eye, and looked some time in silence, and then said,–

“Yes, it is sprung, I believe. Yes, it is certainly sprung.”

“O, then we have caught him,” said the boys, capering about. “Let us go and see.”

“Perhaps we have caught him,” said Jonas, “but it is not certain; sometimes the trap gets sprung accidentally. However, you may go and ask your father if he thinks it worth while for me to leave my work long enough to go down and see.”

Rollo came back with the permission granted, and they all set off; Rollo and James running on eagerly before.

When they came to the trap, they found it shut. Jonas took it up, and tipped it one way and the other, and listened. He heard something moving in it, but did not know whether it was anything more than the corn cob. Then he said he would open the trap a very little, and let Rollo peep in.

He did so. Rollo said it looked all dark; he could not see any thing. Then Jonas opened it a little farther, and Rollo saw two little shining eyes, and presently a nose smelling along at the crack.

“Yes, here he is, here he is,” said Rollo; “look at him, James, look at him;–see, see.”

They all peeped at him, and then Jonas took the box under his arm, and they returned home.

Jonas told the boys he was not willing to keep the squirrel a prisoner very long, but he would try to contrive some way by which they might look at him. Now, there was, in the garret, a small fire-fender, which had been laid aside as old and useless. Jonas recollected this, and thought he could fix up a temporary cage with it. So he took a small box about as large as a raisin-box, which he found in the barn, and laid it down on its side, so as to turn the open side towards the trap, and then moved the trap close up to it. He then covered up all the rest of the open part of the box with shingles, and asked James and Rollo to hold them on. Then he carefully lifted up the cover of the trap, and made a rattling in the back part of it with the spindle. This drove the squirrel through out of the trap into the box.

When Jonas was sure that he was in, he took the old fender and slid it down very cautiously between the trap and the box, so as to cover the open part entirely, and make a sort of grated front, like a cage. Then he took the trap away, and there the little nut-cracker was, safely imprisoned, but yet fairly exposed to view.

That is, they _thought_ he was safely imprisoned; but he, little rogue, had no idea of submitting without giving his bolts and bars a try. At first, he crept along, with his tail curled over his back, in a corner, and looked at the strange faces which surrounded him. “Let us give him a little corn,” said Rollo; “perhaps he is hungry;” and he was just slipping some kernels in between the wires of the fender, when Bunny sprang forward, and, with a jump and a squeeze, forced his slender body between two of the wires that were bent a little apart, leaped down upon the barn floor, ran along to the corner, up the post, and then crept leisurely along on a beam. Presently, he stopped, and looked down, as if considering what to do next.

The moment he escaped, the boys exclaimed, “O, catch him, catch him,” and were going to run after him; but Jonas said that it would do no good, for they could not catch him again now, and had better stand still and see what he would do.

He soon began to run along on the beam; thence he ascended to the scaffold, and made his way towards an open window. He jumped up to the window sill, and then disappeared. The boys all ran around, outside, and were just in time to catch a glimpse of him, running along on the top of the fence, down towards the woods again.

“Do let us run after him and catch him,” said Rollo.

“Catch him!” said Jonas, with a laugh, “you might as well catch the wind. No, the only way is to set our trap for him again. I meant to let him go, myself; but he is not going to slip through our fingers in that way, I tell him.” So Jonas went down that night and set the trap again.

For several days after this, the trap remained unsprung, and the boys began to think that they should never see him again. At last, however, one day, when Rollo was playing in the yard, he saw Jonas coming up out of the woods with the trap under his arm. Rollo ran to meet him, and was delighted to find that the squirrel was caught again.


Jonas contrived to tighten the wires of the lender, by weaving in other wires so as to secure the little prisoner this time; and when he was fairly in his temporary cage, the boys were so pleased with his graceful form and beautiful colors, especially the elegant stripes on his back, that they begged hard to keep him; and they made many earnest promises never to forget to feed him. Jonas said, at last,

“On the whole. I believe I will let you keep him, but you must do it in my way.”

“What is your way?”

“Why, after a day or two, we must carry him back to his raspberry-bush, and let him go. But you may give him a name, and call him yours, and you can carry some corn down there now and then, to feed him with,–and then you will see him, occasionally, playing about there.”

James and Rollo did not exactly like this plan at first, but when they considered how much better the little squirrel himself would like it, they adopted it; and Rollo proposed that they should tie a string round his neck for a collar, so that they might know him again.

“I can get mother to let me have a little pink riband,” said he, “and that will be beautiful.”

“It would be a good plan,” said Jonas, “to mark him in some way, but he might gnaw off the riband.”

“O no,” said James, “he could not gnaw any thing on his own neck.” Rollo thought so too, and they both tried to bite their own collar ribands, by way of showing Jonas how impossible it was.

“I don’t know exactly what the limits are of a squirrel’s gnawing,” said Jonas. “Perhaps he might tear it off with his claws.”

“Or he might get another squirrel to gnaw it off for him,” said James.

“Yes,” said Jonas, “and there is another difficulty. He might be jumping from one tree to another, and catch his collar in some little branch, and so get hung, without judge or jury.”

“What can we do then?” said Rollo.

“I think,” said Jonas, “that the best plan would be to dye the end of his tail black. That would not hurt him any; and yet, as he always holds his tail up, we should see it, and know him.”

The boys both thought this would be excellent, and Jonas said he had some black dye, which he had made for dyeing some wood. Jonas was a very ingenious boy, and used to make little boxes, and frames, and windmills, with his penknife, in the long winter evenings, and he had made this dye out of vinegar and old nails, to dye some of his wood with.

“I am not certain,” said Jonas, “that my dye will color hair; I never tried it, except on wood. Do you think that black would be a pretty color?”

“No,” said Rollo, “black would not be a very pretty color, but it would do. Yellow, and red, and green, are pretty colors, but black, and brown, and white, are not pretty at all.”

“I have not got any yellow, or red, or green,” said Jonas. “I don’t know but that I have got a little blue.”

“O, blue would be beautiful,” said James.

Then Jonas walked along into the barn, and Rollo and James followed him. He went up stairs, and walked along to the farthest corner, and there, up on a beam, were several small bottles all in a row. Jonas took down one, and shook it, and said that was the blue.

He brought it down to the cage; Rollo went into the house, and brought out an old bowl, and Jonas prepared to pour out the dye into it. They then concluded that they would carry the whole apparatus down into the edge of the woods, and perform the operation there; and then the squirrel, when he was liberated, would easily find his way back to his home. Jonas carried down a pair of thick, old gloves, to keep the squirrel from biting him.

As they walked along, Rollo proposed that Jonas should dip the squirrel’s ears in as well as his tail; “because,” said he, “we may sometimes see him when he is half hid in the bushes, so that only his head is in sight.”

“Besides,” said James, “it will make him look more beautiful if his ears and tail are both blue.”

Jonas did not object to this, and after a short time, they reached the edge of the woods. They found a little opening, where the ground was smooth and the grass green, which seemed exactly the place for them. So they put down the cage and the bowl of dye, and Jonas began to put on his glove.

“Now, boys,” said he, “you must be still as moonlight while I do it. If you speak to me, you will put me out; and besides, you will frighten little Bunny.”

The boys promised not to speak a single word; and Jonas, after unfastening the fender from the front of the box, moved it along until there was an opening large enough for him to get his hand in. Rollo and James stood by silently, and somewhat anxiously, waiting the result.

When the squirrel saw Jonas’s hand intruding itself into the box, he retreated to the farther corner, and curled himself up there, with his tail close down upon his back. Jonas followed him with his hand, saying, in a soothing tone, “Bunny, Bunny, poor little Bunny.”

He reached him, at length, and put his hand very gently over him, and slowly and cautiously drew him out.

Rollo and James gave a sort of hysteric laugh, and instantly clapped their hands to their mouths, to suppress it; but they looked at one another and at Jonas with great delight.

Jonas gradually brought the squirrel over the bowl, and prepared to dip his ears into the dye. It was a strange situation for a squirrel to be in, and he did not like it at all; and just at the instant when his ears were going into the dye, he twisted his head round, and planted his little fore teeth directly upon Jonas’s thumb. As might have been supposed, teeth which were sharp and powerful enough to go through a walnut shell, would not he likely to be stopped by a leathern glove; and Jonas, startled by the sudden cut, gave a twitch with his hand, and, at the same instant, let go of the squirrel. Bunny grasped the edge of the howl with his paws, and leaped out, bringing the bowl itself at the same instant over upon him, spattering him all over from head to tail with the blue dye.

The boys looked aghast for a minute, but when they saw him racing off as fast as possible, and running up a neighboring tree, Jonas burst into a laugh, which the other boys joined, and they continued it loud and long, till the woods rang again.

“Well, we have spotted him, at any rate,” said Jonas. “We will call him Leopard.”

The boys then looked at Jonas’s bite, and found that it was not a very serious one. In fact, Jonas was a little ashamed at having let go for so small a wound However, it was then too late to regret it and the boys returned slowly home.

As they were walking home, James said that the squirrel’s back looked _wet_, where the dye went upon him, but he did not think it looked very _blue_.

“No,” said Jonas, “it does not generally look blue at first, but it grows blue afterwards. It will be a bright color enough before you see him again, I will warrant.”

So they walked along home; the fender was put back in its place in the garret, the bowl in the house, and the box in the barn. Jonas soon forgot that he had been bitten, and the squirrel, as soon as his back was dry, thought no more of the whole affair, but turned his attention entirely to the business of digging a hole to store his nuts in for the ensuing winter.


All the large trees that Jonas had felled beyond the brook, he cut up into lengths, and hauled them up into the yard, and made a great high wood-pile of them, higher than his head; but all the branches, and the small bushes, with all the green leaves upon them, lay about the ground in confusion. Rollo asked him what he was going to do with them. He said, after they were dry, he should burn them up, and that they would make a splendid bonfire.

They lay there drying a good many weeks. The leaves turned yellow and brown, and the little twigs and sticks became gradually dry and brittle. Rollo used to walk down there often, to see how the drying went on, and sometimes he would bring up a few of the bushes, and put them on the kitchen fire, to see whether they were dry enough to burn.

At last, late in the autumn, one cool afternoon, Jonas asked Rollo to go down with him and help him pile up the bushes in heaps, for he was going to burn them that evening. Rollo wanted very much that his cousins James and Lucy should see the fires; and so he asked his mother to let him go and ask them to come and take tea there that night, and go out with them in the evening to the burning. She consented, and Rollo went. Lucy promised to come just before tea-time, and James came then, with Rollo, to help him pile the bushes up.

Jonas said that the boys might make one little pile of their own if they wished; and told them that they must first make a pile of solid sticks, and dry rotten logs as large as they could lift or roll, so as to have a good solid fire underneath, and then cover these up with brush as high as they could pile it, so as to make a great blaze. He told them also that they must make their pile where it would not burn any of the trees which he had left standing, for he had left a great many of the large oaks, and beeches, and pines, to ornament the ground and make a shade.

Rollo and James decided to make their pile near the brook, between the bridge which Jonas made of a tree, and the old wigwam which they had made some time before of boughs. They got together a great heap of solid wood, as large pieces as they could lift, and at one end they put in a great deal of birch bark, which they stripped off, in great sheets, from an old, decayed birch tree, which had been lying on the ground near, for half a century. When this was done, they began to pile on the bushes and brush, taking care to leave the end where the birch bark was, open. After they had piled it up as high as they could reach. Rollo clambered up to the top of it, and James reached the long bushes up to him, and he arranged them regularly, with the tops out. So they worked all the afternoon, and by the time they had got their pile done, they found that Jonas had thrown almost all the rest of the bushes into heaps; and then they went home to tea.

They found Lucy there, and they were all so eager to go to the bonfires, that they did not eat much supper. Their father told them that, as they had so little appetite, they had better carry down some potatoes and apples, and roast them by the fires. They thought this an excellent plan, and ran into the store-room to get them. Their mother gave them a basket to put the potatoes and apples into, and a little salt folded up in a paper. They were then so impatient to go that their parents said they might set off with Jonas, and they themselves would come along very soon.

So Jonas and the three children walked on. Rollo carried the basket, and Jonas a lantern; and Jonas, as he went along, made, with his penknife, some flat, wooden spoons, to eat their potatoes with. They came to the bridge, and all got safely over, though Lucy was a little afraid at first.

They played around there a few minutes, as the twilight was coming on; and, soon after, they saw Rollo’s father and mother coming down through the trees, on the other side of the brook. They stopped on that side, as Rollo’s mother did not like to come across the bridge. Pretty soon they called out to Jonas to light the fires.

Jonas then took a large piece of birch bark, and touched the corner of it to the lamp in the lantern, and when it was well on fire, he laid it carefully on the ground. The bark began to blaze up very bright, sending out volumes of thick smoke and dense flame, writhing, and curling, and snapping, as it lay on the ground. The light shone brightly on the grass and sticks around.

“There,” said Jonas, “that will burn some time; now you may light your torches from that.”

“Torches?” said Rollo, “we have not got any torches.”

“Have not you made any torches? O, well,–I will make you some in a minute.”

So he took out his knife, and selected three long slender stems of bushes, and trimmed them up, and cut off the tops. Then he made a little split in the top end, and slipped in a piece of birch bark. Then he handed them to the children, one to each, and said, “There are your torches; now you can light your fires without burning your fingers.”

So they took their torches, and held the ends over the flame of the piece of birch bark, which, however, had by this time nearly burned out. Lucy’s took fire, but Rollo’s and James’s did not, at first; and as they pressed their torches down more and more to make them light, they only smothered what little flame was left, and put it out.

“O dear me!” said Rollo.

Lucy had gone a little way towards a pile; but when she saw what was the matter, she came back and said, “Here;–light it by mine.” So the boys held their torches over hers until they were all three in a bright blaze. They then carried them along, waving them in the air, and lighting pile after pile, until the whole forest seemed to be in a flame.

The children stood still a few moments, gazing on the fires, and on the extraordinary effect which the light produced upon the objects around. It was a singular scene. Flashing and crackling flames rose high from the heaps which were on fire, and shed a strong but unsteady light on the trees, the ground, and the banks of the brook, and penetrated deep into the forest on every side. Rollo called upon James and Lucy to look at his father and mother, who were across the brook; they stood there under the trees, almost invisible before, but now the bright light shone strongly upon their faces and forms, and cast upon them a clear and brilliant illumination, which was strongly contrasted with the dark depths of the forest behind them.

The children were silent, and stood still for a few minutes, gazing on the scene with feelings of admiration and awe. They expected to have capered about and laughed, but they found that they had no disposition to do so. The enjoyment they felt was not of that kind which leads children to caper and laugh. They stood still, and looked silently and soberly on the flashing flames, the lurid light, the bright red reflections on the woods, the banks, and the water,–and on the volumes of glowing smoke and sparks which ascended to the sky.

Before long, however, the light fuel upon the top of the piles was burned up, and there remained great glowing heaps of embers, and logs of wood still flaming. These the boys began to poke about with long poles that Jonas had cut for them, to make them burn brighter, and to see the sparks go up. Presently they heard their father calling them.

The boys all stopped to listen.

“We are going home,” said he; “we shall take cold if we stand still here. You may stay, however, with Jonas, only you must not sit down.”

So Rollo’s father and mother turned away, and walked along back towards the house, the light shining more and more faintly upon them, until they were lost among the trees.

“Why do you suppose we must not sit down?” said Lucy.

“Because,” said Jonas, “they are afraid you will take cold. As long as you run about and play around the fires, you keep warm.”

“O, then we will run about and play fast enough,” said James. “I know what I am going to do.”

So he took a large flat piece of hemlock bark, which he found upon the ground, and began tearing off strips of birch bark from the old tree, and piling them upon it.

“What are you going to do?” said Lucy.

“O, I am going to play steam-boat on fire,” said he; and he took up the piece of bark with the little pile of combustibles upon it, and carried it down to the edge of the brook. Then he went back and got his torch stick, and put a fresh piece of birch bark in the split end, and lighted it, and then came back to the brook, walking slowly lest his torch should go out.

Lucy held his torch for him while he gently put his steam-boat on the water; and then he lighted it with his torch, and pushed it out. It floated down, all blazing as it was, to the great delight of the three children, and astonishment of all the little fishes in the brook, who could not imagine what the blazing wonder could be.

The children followed it along down the brook, and began to pelt it with stones, and soon got into a high frolic. But as they were very careful not to hit one another with the stones, nor to speak harshly or cross, they enjoyed it very much. When at last the steam-boat was fairly pelted to pieces, and the blackened fragments of the birch bark were scattered over the water, and floating away down the stream, they began to think of roasting their corn and potatoes, which they did very successfully over the remains of the fires. When they had nearly finished eating, Rollo suddenly exclaimed,–

“O, I will tell you what we will do; we will go and set our wigwam on fire!”

Rollo pointed to the wigwam. James and Lucy looked, and observed that it had been dried and browned in the sun, and Rollo thought it was no longer good for any thing as a wigwam, but would make a capital bonfire. He proposed that they should all go into it and sit down, and put a torch near the side so as to set it on fire, as if accidentally. They would go on talking as if they did not see it, and when the flames burst out, they would jump up and run out, crying, Fire! as people do when their houses get on fire.

Lucy said she should not like to do that. She should be afraid, she said. The sparks would fall down upon her and burn her. So the boys gave that plan up. Then James proposed that they should make believe that they were savages, going to set fire to a town. The wigwam was to be the town. They would take their torches, and all go and set it on fire in several places.

“But, then, I could not help,” said Lucy, “for women do not go to war.”

“O yes, they do, if they are savages,” said James. “We play that we are savages, you see.”

So it was all agreed to. They lighted their torches, and marched along, waving them in the air, until they came to the wigwam, and then they danced around it, singing and shouting as they set it on fire in many places on all sides. The flames spread rapidly, and flashed up high into the air, and soon there was nothing left of the poor wigwam but a few smoking and blackened sticks lying on the ground.

The children then crept along over the bridge, and went towards home. There were still great beds of burning embers remaining, and in some places the remains of logs and stumps were blazing brightly. And that night, when Rollo went to bed, he lay looking out the window which was towards the woods, and saw the light still shining among the trees, and the smoke slowly rising from the fires, and floating away through the air.


[Illustration: “The way to ask a favor.”]


* * * * *


About six miles from the house where Rollo lived, there was a mountain called Benalgon, which was famous for bears and blueberries. There were no bears on it, but there were plenty of blueberries. The reason why it was so famous for bears, when in fact there were none there, was because the boys and girls that went there for blueberries every year, used to see black logs and stumps among the trees and bushes of the mountain, and they would run away very hastily, and insist upon it, when they got down the mountain, that they had seen a bear.

Now, Rollo’s father and mother, together with his uncle George, formed a plan for going up this mountain after blueberries, and they were going to take Rollo and his cousin Lucy with them. Uncle George and cousin Lucy were to come in a chaise to Rollo’s house immediately after breakfast, and Rollo was to ride with them, and his father and mother were to go in another chaise.

Rollo got his little basket to pick his blueberries in, all ready the night before, and he got a string to tie around his neck, intending to hang his basket upon it, so that he could have both his hands at liberty, and pick faster. He also thought he would take all the heavy things out of his pocket, so that he could run the faster, in case he should see any bears. He put them all on a window in the shed. The things were a knife, a piece of chalk, two white pebble stones, and a plummet. When he got them all out, he asked Jonas, who was splitting wood in the shed, if he would not take care of them for him, till he came back.

“Why, yes,” said Jonas, “I will take care of them if you wish; but what are you going to leave them for?”

“O, so that I can run faster,” said Rollo.

“Run faster? I do not think you will run much, up old Benalgon, unless he holds his back down lower than when I went up.”

Rollo did not mean that he was going to run up the mountain, but he did not explain what he did mean, for he thought that Jonas would laugh at him, if he told him he was afraid of the bears. So he said, “Jonas, don’t you wish you were going with us?”

“I should like it well enough, but I must stay at home and mind my work.”

“I wish you could go. I will go and ask my father if he will not let you.”

Rollo ran into the house with great haste and eagerness, leaving all the doors open, and calling out, “Father, father,” as soon as he had begun to open the parlor door.

“Father, father,” said he, running up to him, “I wish you would let Jonas go with us to-morrow.”

Now, Rollo’s father had come home but a short time before, and was just seated quietly in his arm-chair, reading a newspaper, and Rollo came up to him, pulling down the paper with his hands, and looking up into his father’s face, so as to stop his reading at once. Heedless boys very often come to ask favors in this way.

His father gently moved him back and said,

“No, my son, it is not convenient for Jonas to go to-morrow. Besides, I am busy now, and cannot talk with you;–you must go away.”

Rollo turned away disappointed, and went slowly back through the kitchen. His mother, who was there, and who heard all that passed, as the doors were open, said to him, as he walked by her, “What a foolish way that was to ask him, Rollo! You might have known it would have done no good.”

Rollo did not answer, but he went and sat down on the step of the door, and was just beginning to think what the foolishness was in his way of asking his father, when a little bird came hopping along in the yard. He ran in to ask his mother to give him some milk to feed the bird with. She smiled, and told him milk was good for kittens, but not for birds; and she gave him some crumbs of bread. Rollo threw the crumbs out, but they only frightened the little thing away.

That night, when Rollo went to bed, his father said, that when he was all ready, he would come up and see him. When he came into his chamber, Rollo called out to him,

“O, father, look out the window, and see what a beautiful ring there is round the moon.”

“So there is,” said his father; “I am rather sorry to see that.”

“Sorry, father! why? It is beautiful, I think.”

“It does look pretty, but it is a sign of rain to-morrow.”

“Of rain? O no, father; it is a kind of a rainbow. It is a round rainbow. I am sure it will be pleasant to-morrow.”

“Very well,” said his father, “we shall see in the morning.” Then he sat down on Rollo’s bed-side some time, talking with him on various subjects, and then heard him say his prayers. At length he took the light, and bade Rollo good night.

Rollo’s eye caught another view of the moon as his father was going, and he said,

“O, father, just look at the moon once more; that _is_ a rainbow; I see the colors. I expect it will grow into a large one, such as you told me was a sign of fair weather. I will watch it.”

“Yes,” said his father, “you can watch it as you go to sleep.”

So Rollo laid his face upon his pillow in such a way that he could see the moon through the window; and he began to watch the bright circle around it, but before it grew any bigger, he was fast asleep.


The next morning, Rollo awoke early, and he was very much pleased to see, as soon as he opened his eyes, that the sun was shining in at the windows. He was not only pleased to find that the prospect was so good for a pleasant ride, but his vanity was gratified at the thought that it had turned out that he knew better about the weather than his father. He began to dress himself, as far as he could without help, and was preparing to hasten down to his father, to tell him that it was going to be a pleasant day. When he was nearly dressed, he was surprised lo observe that the bright sunlight on the wall was gradually fading away, and at length it wholly disappeared. He went to look out the window to see what was the cause. He found that there was a broad expanse of dark cloud covering the eastern sky, excepting a narrow strip quite low down, near the horizon. When the sun first rose, it shone brightly through this narrow zone of clear sky; but now it had ascended a little higher, and gone behind the cloud.

“Never mind,” said Rollo to himself. “The cloud is not so very large after all, and the sun will come out again above it when it gets up a little higher.”

Rollo came down to breakfast, and he went out into the yard every two or three minutes, to look at the sky. The cloud seemed to extend, so that the sun did not come out of it, as he expected, but still he thought it was going to be pleasant Children generally think it is going to be pleasant, whenever they want to go away.

His father thought it was probably going to rain, and that at any rate it was very doubtful whether Uncle George would come. However, he said they should soon see, and, true enough, just as they were rising from the breakfast table, a chaise drove up to the door, and out jumped Uncle George and cousin Lucy.

Lucy was a very pleasant little blue-eyed girl, two or three years older than Rollo. She had a small tin pail in her hand, with a cover upon it.

“Good morning, Rollo,” said she. “Have you got your basket ready?”

“Yes,” said Rollo; “but I am afraid it is going to rain.”

While the children were saying this, Uncle George said to Rollo’s father,

“I suppose we shall have to give up our expedition to-day. I am in hopes we are going to have some rain.”

“In _hopes_,” thought Rollo; “that is very strange when we want to go a blueberrying.”

Rollo’s father and mother and his uncle looked at the clouds all around. They concluded that there was every appearance of rain, and that it would be best to postpone their excursion, and then went into the house. Rollo was very confident it would not rain, and was very eager to have them go. He asked Lucy if she did not think it was going to be pleasant, but Lucy was more modest and reasonable than he was, and said that she did not know; she could not judge of the weather so well as her father.

Rollo began by this time to be considerably out of humor. He said he knew it was not going to rain, and he did not see why they might not go. He did not believe it would rain a drop all day.

Lucy just then pointed down to a little dark spot on the stone step of the door, where a drop had just fallen, and asked Rollo what he called that.

“And that,–and that,–and that,” said she, pointing to several other drops.

Rollo at first insisted that that was not rain, but some little spots on the stone.

Then Lucy reached out her hand and said,

“Hold out your hand so, Rollo, and you will feel the drops coming down out of the sky.”

Rollo held out his hand a moment, but then immediately withdrew it, saying, impatiently, that he did not care; it was not rain; at any rate it was only a little sprinkling.

Lucy observed that Rollo was getting very much out of humor, and she tried to please him by saying,

“Rollo, I would not mind. If it does rain, I will ask my father to let me stay and play with you to-day, and we can have a fine time up in your little room.”

“No, we cannot,” said Rollo; “and besides, they will not let you stay, I know. I went yesterday to ask my father to let Jonas go with us to-day, and he would not.”

It was certainly very unreasonable for Rollo to imagine that his father and uncle would be unwilling to have Lucy stay just because it had not been convenient to let Jonas go with them. But when children are out of humor, they are always very unreasonable.

“Why would not he let Jonas go?” asked Lucy.

“I do not know. Mother said it was because I did not ask him right.”

“How did you ask him?”

“O, I interrupted him. He was reading.”

“O, that is not the way. I never _interrupt_ my father if I want to ask him any thing.”

“Suppose he is busy, and you want to know that very minute; what do you do?”

“I will show you. Come with me and I will ask him to let me stay with you to-day.”

So Lucy and Rollo walked in. When they came to the parlor door, they saw that their parents were sitting on the sofa, talking about other things.

Rollo stopped at the door, but Lucy went in gently. She walked up to her father’s side, and stood there still.

Her father took no notice of her at first, but went on talking with Rollo’s father. Lucy stood very patiently until, after a few minutes, her father stopped talking, and said,

“Lucy, my dear, do you want to speak to me?”

“Yes, sir,” said Lucy, “I wanted to ask you if you were willing to let me stay here to-day and play with Rollo, if you do not go to the mountain.”

“I do not know,” said her father, hesitating, and patting Lucy on the head–“that is a new idea; however, I believe I have no objection.”

Lucy ran back joyfully to Rollo, and after a short time, her father went home. Rollo, however, did not feel in any better humor, and all Lucy’s endeavors to engage him in some amusement, failed. She proposed building with bricks, or going up into his little room, and drawing pictures on their slates, or getting his storybooks out and reading stories, and various other things, but Rollo would not be pleased.

Rollo ought, now, when he found that he must be disappointed about his ride, to have immediately banished it from his mind altogether, and turned his thoughts to other pleasures; but like all ill-humored people, he _would_ keep thinking and talking, all the time, about the thing which caused his ill-humor. So he sat in a large back entry, where he and Lucy were, looking out at the door, and saying a great many ill-natured things about the weather, and his father’s giving up the ride just for a little sprinkling of rain that would not last half an hour. He said it was a shame, too, for it to rain that day, just because he was going to ride.

Just then, his father spoke to him from the window, and called him in.

He and Lucy went in together into the parlor.

“Rollo,” said his father, “did you know you were doing very wrong?”

Rollo felt a little guilty, but he said rather faintly, “No, sir, I was not doing any thing.”

“You are committing a great many sins, all at once.”

Rollo was silent. He knew his father meant sins of the heart.

“Your heart is in a very wicked state. You are under the dominion of some of the worst of feelings; you are self-conceited, ungrateful, undutiful, unjust, selfish, and,” he added in a lower and more solemn tone, “even impious.”

Rollo thought that these were heavy charges to bring upon him; but his father spoke calmly and kindly, and he knew that he could easily show that what he said was true.

“You are _self-conceited_–vainly imagining that you, a little boy of seven years old, can judge better than your father and mother, and obstinately persisting in your opinion that it is not going to rain, when the rain has actually commenced, and is falling faster and faster. You are _ungrateful_, to speak reproachfully of me, and give me pain, by your ill-will, when I have been planning this excursion, in a great degree, for your enjoyment, and only give it up because I am absolutely compelled to do it by a storm; _undutiful_, in showing such a repining, unsubmissive spirit towards your father; _unjust_ in making Lucy and all of us suffer, because you are unwilling to submit to these circumstances that we cannot control; _selfish_, in being unwilling that it should rain and interfere with your ride, when you know that rain is so much wanted in all the fields, all over the country; and, what is worse than all, _impious_, in openly rebelling against God, and censuring the arrangements of his providence, and pretending to think that they are made just to trouble you.”

When he had said this, he paused to hear what Rollo would say. He thought that if he was convinced of his sin, and really penitent, he would acknowledge that he was wrong, or at least be silent;–but that if, on the other hand, he were still unsubdued, he would go to making excuses.

After a moment’s pause, Rollo said,–“I did not know that there was need of rain in the fields.”

“Did not you?” said his father. “Did not you know that the ground was very dry, and that, unless we have rain soon, the crops will suffer very much?”

“No, sir,” said Rollo.

“It is so,” said his father; “and this rain, which you are so unwilling to have descend, is going down into the ground all over the country, and into the roots of all the plants growing in the fields, carrying in the nourishment which will swell out all the corn and grain, and apples and pears. In a few days there will be thousands and thousands of dollars’ worth of fruit and food more than there would have been without this rain; and yet you are very unwilling to have it come, because you want to go and get a few blueberries!”

Rollo was confounded, and had not a word to say.

“Now, Rollo,” continued his father, “all the rest of us are disposed to be good-humored, and to acquiesce in God’s decision, and try to have a happy day at home; and we cannot have it spoiled by your wicked repinings. So you must go away by yourself, until you feel willing to submit pleasantly and with good humor. Then you may come back, but be sure not to come back before.”


Now there was in Rollo’s house a small back garret, over a part of the kitchen chamber, which had one small window in it, looking out into the garden. This garret was not used, and Rollo’s father had put a little rocking-chair there, and a small table with a Bible on it, and hung some old maps about it, so as to make it as pleasant a little place as he could; and there he used to send Rollo when he had done any thing very wrong, or when he was sullen and ill natured, that he might reflect in solitude, and either return a good boy, or else stay where his bad feelings would not trouble or injure others. His father had put in marks, too, at several places in the Bible, where he thought it would be well for him to read at such times; as he said that reading suitable passages in the Bible would be more likely to bring him to repentance, than any other book.

Rollo knew that when his father told him to go away by himself, he meant for him to go into this back garret. So he turned round and walked out of the room. As he passed up the back stairs, the kitten came frisking around him, but he had no heart to play with her, and walked on. He then turned and went up the narrow, steep stairs that led to the garret; they were rather more like a ladder than like stairs. Rollo ascended them, and then sat down in the little rocking-chair. The rain was beating against the windows, and pattering on the roof which was just over his head.

It is sometimes but a little thing which turns the whole current of the thoughts and feelings. In Rollo’s case, at this time, it was but a drop of water. For after having sat some time in his chair, his heart remaining pretty nearly the same, a drop of water, which, somehow or other, contrived to get through some crevice in the boards and shingles over his head, fell exactly into the back of his neck. The first feeling it occasioned was an additional emotion of impatience and fretfulness. But he next began to think how unreasonable and wicked it was to make all that difficulty, just because his father was preventing his going out to stay all day in the rain, when a single drop falling upon him vexed and irritated him.

He also looked out of the window towards the garden, and the dry ground, and all the trees and garden vegetables seemed to be drinking in the rain with delight. That made him think of the vast amount of good the rain was doing, and he saw his own selfishness in a striking point of view. In a word Rollo was now beginning to be really penitent. The tears came into his eyes; but they were tears of real sorrow for sin, not of vexation and anger.

He took up his little Bible, to read one of the passages, as his father had advised him. He happened to open at a mark which his father had put in at the parable of the prodigal son. The first verse which his eye fell upon, was the verse, “I will arise and go to my father.” Rollo thought that that was exactly the thing for him to do–to go and confess his fault to his father.

So he laid down his little Bible, wiped the tears from his eyes, and went down stairs. He met his father in the entry. He went up to him, and took his hand, and said,

“Father, I am really very sorry I have been so naughty; I _will try_ to be a good boy now.”

His father stooped down and kissed him. “I am very glad to hear it, Rollo,” said he. “Now you may go and find Lucy. I believe she is up in your mother’s chamber.”

Rollo went off quite happy in pursuit of Lucy. He found her sitting on a cricket in his mother’s room, looking over a little picture-book. Rollo ran laughing up to her, and said,

“What have you got, Lucy?”

“One of your little picture-books. Will you lend it to me to carry home?”

Rollo said he would, and then they began to talk about what they should do. It rained very fast, and they could not go out of doors; and, after proposing several things, which, however, neither of them seemed to like, they turned to Rollo’s mother, and asked her what they had better do.

“I always find,” said his mother, “that when I am disappointed of any pleasure, it is best not to try to find any other pleasure in its place, but to turn to _duty_.”

The children did not understand this very well, and they were silent.

“What I mean,” she continued, “is this: When we have just been disappointed of any pleasure which we had set our hearts upon, it is very difficult to find any thing else that we can have in its place, that will look as pleasant as the one we had lost. You see that you are not satisfied with any thing you propose to one another. Now, I find that the best way, in such cases, is to give up pleasure altogether, and turn to some duty; and after performing the duty a short time, peace and satisfaction return to the mind again, and we get over the effects of the disappointment in the quickest and pleasantest way.”

Rollo and Lucy looked at one another rather soberly. They did not seem to know what to say.

“I presume, however, you will not do this,” continued his mother.

“Why?” said Rollo.

“Because,” said his mother, “it requires a good deal of resolution, at first, to turn to _duty_ when you have just been setting your heart on _pleasure_.”

“O, we have got resolution enough,” said Rollo.

“What duty do you think we had better do?” asked Lucy.

“If I were you,” replied Rollo’s mother, “I should first of all sit down and have a good reading lesson.”

Rollo and Lucy hesitated a little, but they concluded to take their mother’s advice at last, and went to Rollo’s little library, and chose a book, and then went down to the back entry, and sat down there, on a long cricket, and began to read.

At first, it was rather hard to do it, for it did not look very pleasant to either of them to sit down and read, just at the time when they expected to be gathering blueberries on the mountain. Rollo said, when they were opening the hook and finding the place, that, if they had gone, they should, by that time, have just about arrived at the foot of the mountain.

“Yes,” said Lucy, “but we must not think of that now. Besides, just see how it rains. It would be a fine time now to go up a mountain, wouldn’t it?”

Rollo looked out of the open door, and saw the rain pouring down into the yard, and felt again ashamed to recollect how he had insisted that it was not going to rain.

Lucy said it was beautiful to see it pouring down so fast. “Look,” said she; “how it streams down from the spout at the corner of the barn!”

“Yes,” said Rollo, “and see that little pond out by the garden gate. How it is all full of little bubbles! It will be a beautiful pond for me to sail boats in, when the rain is over. I can make paper-boats and pea boats!”

“Pea boats?” said Lucy; “what are pea-boats?”

“O! they are beautiful little boats,” said he. “Jonas showed me how to make them. We take a pea-pod, a good large full pea-pod, and shave off the top from one end to the other, and then take out the peas, and it makes a beautiful little boat. I wish we had some; I could show you.”

“Let us make some when we have done reading, and sail them. Only that pond will all go away when the rain is over.”

“O no,” said Rollo, “I will put some ground all around it, and then the water cannot run away.”

“Yes, but it will soak down into the ground.”

“Will it?” said Rollo. “Well, we can sail our boats on it a little while before it is gone.”

“But it is so wet,” said Lucy, “we cannot go out to get any pea-pods.”

“I did not think of that,” said Rollo. “Perhaps Jonas could get some for us, with an umbrella.”

“_I_ could go with an umbrella,” said Lucy, “just as well as not.”

The children saw an umbrella behind the door, and they thought they would go both together, and they actually laid down their book, spread the umbrella, and went to the door. It then occurred to them that it would not be quite right to go out, without leave; so Rollo went to ask his mother.

His mother said it was not suitable for young ladies to go out in the rain, as their shoes, and their dress generally, were thin, and could not bear to be exposed to wet; but she said that Rollo himself might take off his shoes and stockings, and go out alone, when the rain held up.

“But, mother,” said he, “why cannot I go out now, with the umbrella?”

“Because,” she replied, “when it rains fast, some of the water spatters through the umbrella, and some will be driven against you by the wind.”

“Well, I will wait, and as soon as it rains but little, I will go out. But must I take off my shoes and stockings?”

“Yes,” said his mother, “or else you will get them wet and muddy. And before you go you must get a dipper of water ready in the shed, to pour on your feet, and wash them, when you get back; and then wait till they are entirely dry, before you put on your shoes and stockings again. If you want the pea-pods enough to take all that trouble, you may go for them.”

Rollo said he did want them enough for that, and he then went back and told Lucy what his mother had said, and they concluded to read until the rain should cease, and that then Rollo should go out into the garden.

They began to read; but their minds were so much upon the pea-pod boats, that the story did not interest them very much. Besides, children cannot read very well aloud, to one another; for if they succeed in calling all the words right, they do not generally give the stops and the emphasis, and the proper tones of voice, so as to make the story interesting to those that hear. Some boys and girls are vain enough to think that they can read very well, just because they can call all the words without stopping to spell them; but this is very far from being enough to make a good reader.

Rollo read a little way, and then Lucy read a little way; but they were not much interested, and thinking that the difficulty might be in the book, they got another, but with no better success. At last Rollo said they would go and get their mother to read to them. So they went together to her room, and Rollo said that they could not get along very well in rending themselves, and asked her if she would not be good enough to read to them.

“Why, what is the difficulty?” said she.

“O, I do not know, exactly: the story is not very interesting, and then we cannot read very well.”

“In what respect will it be better for me to read to you?” she asked.

“Why, mother, you can choose us a prettier story; and then we should understand it better if you read it.”

“I suppose you would; but I see you have made a great mistake.”

“What mistake?” said both the children at once.

“Why is it that you are going to read at all?”

“Why, you advised us to, mother.”

“Did I advise you to do it as a _duty_, or as a _pleasure_?”

“As a _duty_, mother; I recollect now.” said Rollo.

“Yes: well, now the mistake you have made is, that you are looking upon it only as a pleasure, and instead of doing it faithfully, in such a way as will make it most useful to you, you are forgetting that altogether, and only intent upon having it interesting and pleasant. Is it not so?”

“Why–yes,” said Rollo, hesitating, and looking down; and then turning round to Lucy, he said, “I suppose we had better go and read the story ourselves.”

“Do just as you please,” said his mother. “I have not commanded you to read, but only recommended it; and that not as a way of _interesting_ you, but as a way of spending an hour _usefully_, as a preparation for an hour of enjoyment afterwards. You can do as you please, however; but if you attempt to read at all, I advise you to do it not as _play_, but as a _lesson_.”

“Well, come, Rollo,” said Lucy, “let us go.”

So the children ran back to the entry, and sat down to their story, taking pains to read carefully, as if their object was to learn to read; and though they did not expect it, they did, in fact, have a very pleasant time.

The rest of the adventures of Rollo and Lucy, during this day must be reserved for another story.


[Illustration: “Going to see the freshet.”]


* * * * *

The story that Rollo and his cousin Lucy began to read together, in the back entry, looking out towards the garden, that rainy day when they were disappointed of the excursion up the mountain, commenced as follows:–


Maria Wilton lives in the pretty white house which stands just at the entrance of the wood, where the children find the blackberries so thick in the berrying season. It is not as large or elegant a house as many that we pass on a walk through the village; but yet, with its neatly-painted front and blooming little garden, its appearance is quite as inviting as that of many a more splendid mansion. Certain it is, at least, that there is not a more pleasant or happy dwelling in the town. Neatness and good order regulate all the arrangements of the family, and where such is the case, it is almost needless to add that peace and