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John of the Woods   By: (1871-1927)

Book cover

First Page:

JOHN OF THE WOODS

BY

ABBIE FARWELL BROWN

ILLUSTRATIONS BY

E. BOYD SMITH

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY

BOSTON AND NEW YORK

THE RIVERSIDE PRESS CAMBRIDGE

COPYRIGHT, 1909, BY ABBIE FARWELL BROWN

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Published October 1909

To J.D. and K.D.

Kindest of neighbors and best of friends

to all the world and its

Animal Kingdom

CONTENTS

I. THE TUMBLERS II. THE FALL III. THE RUNAWAY IV. THE OX CART V. THE HUNCHBACK VI. THE SILVER PIECE VIX. THE WANDERER VIII. THE RESCUE IX. THE ANIMAL KINGDOM X. THE HERMIT XI. THE PUPIL XII. THE BEAU XIII. A FOREST RAMBLE XIV. THE WOLF BROTHER XV. THE GREEN STRANGER XVI. THE HUNT XVII. THE MESSENGER XVIII. THE CARRIER PIGEON XIX. THE JOURNEY XX. THE ARRIVAL XXI. THE PALACE XXII. THE PRINCE'S CHAMBER XXIII. THE CURE XXIV. THE KING XXV. THE FETE XXVI. THE TALISMAN CONCLUSION

ILLUSTRATIONS

THE THREE TUMBLERS GIGI RUNS AWAY HAVE YOU GOT MY BOY? A QUAINT PAIR OF WANDERERS THE CIRCLE OF ANIMALS WATCHED HIM JOHN TALKED WITH THEM YOU SHALL NOT KILL MY FRIEND THE BEAR THE KING SENDS FOR YOU A STRANGE COMPANY JOHN WAS PROTECTED BY POWERFUL FRIENDS HE STROKED THE SOFT BALL OF FUR I WISH I COULD DO IT MYSELF JOHN URGED THE CLUMSY FELLOW TO DANCE TO ME, MY BROTHERS! THE KING AND PRINCESS CAME TO VISIT HIM

JOHN OF THE WOODS

I

THE TUMBLERS

It was late of a beautiful afternoon in May. In the hedges outside the village roses were blossoming, yellow and white. Overhead the larks were singing their happiest songs, because the sky was so blue. But nearer the village the birds were silent, marveling at the strange noises which echoed up and down the narrow, crooked streets.

"Tom tom; tom tom; tom tom"; the hollow thud of a little drum sounded from the market place. Boys and girls began to run thither, crying to one another:

"The Tumblers! The Tumblers have come. Hurry, oh, hurry!"

Three little brothers, Beppo, Giovanni, and Paolo, who had been poking about the market at their mother's heels, pricked up their ears and scurried eagerly after the other children.

Jostling one another good naturedly, the crowd surged up to the market place, which stood upon a little hill. In the middle was a stone fountain, whence the whole village was wont to draw all the water it needed. In those long ago days folk were more sparing in the use of water than they are to day, especially for washing. Perhaps we should not be so clean, if we had to bring every bucket of water that we used from the City Square!

"Tom tom; tom tom; tom tom"; the little drum sounded louder and louder as the crowd increased. Men and women craned their necks to see who was beating it. The children squirmed their way through the crowd.

On the highest step of the fountain stood a man dressed in red and yellow, with little bells hung from every point of his clothing, which tinkled with each movement he made. In his left hand he held a small drum, from which hung streamers of red and green and yellow ribbon. This drum he beat regularly with the palm of his skinny right hand. He was a lean, dark man, with evil little red rimmed eyes and a hump between his shoulders.

"Ho! Men and women! Lads and lasses!" he cried in a shrill, cracked voice of strange accent. "Hither, hither quickly, and make ready to give your pennies. For the tumbling is about to begin, the most wonderful tumbling in the whole round world!"

Stretching out his arm, he pointed to the group below him. The crowd pressed forward and stood on tiptoe to see better. Beppo and Giovanni and Paolo wriggled through the forest of legs and skirts and came out into the open space which had been left about the fountain. And then they saw what the backs of the butcher and baker and candlestick maker had hidden from them.

From the back of a forlorn little donkey that was tethered behind the fountain a roll of carpet had been taken and spread out on the ground... Continue reading book >>




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