Albert Paine.

Making Up with Mr. Dog. Hollow Tree Stories



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"Don't leave, Mr. Dog! Stay with him, Mr. Dog! Hold him to it, Mr. Dog; you've got him! First course, Mr. Dog!"

And Mr. Dog heard Jack Rabbit and got madder and madder every minute, till all of a sudden he got a lick on the side of the head from Mr. Fish's tail that made him see stars and broke the line. And away went the big fish out into deep water, while Mr. Dog crawled back to shore, wet and bruised from head to foot, and 'most dead.

Then Mr. 'Coon and Mr. 'Possum and Jack Rabbit, standing on top of the hill, gave a great big laugh, all together, and Mr. Rabbit called out: —

"How did you like the first course, Mr. Dog?"

That made them all laugh again, and then Mr. 'Coon called out: —

"Are you ready for the second course, Mr. Dog?"

And pretty soon Mr. 'Possum he called out: —

"Are you ready for a nice roast now, Mr. Dog?"

And that, of course, made them all laugh very loud, for Mr. 'Possum used slang now and then and meant by a "roast" that people would all make fun of Mr. Dog wherever he went; which they did, for a long time.

Even Mr. Robin, who was good friends with Mr. Dog, couldn't help calling out to him, now and then, as he went by: —

"Are you ready for the next course, Mr. Dog?"

And Mr. Dog would pretend not to hear and go hurrying by very fast, as if he were out on special and important business for Mr. Man.

MR. RABBIT EXPLAINS
AN EASTER STORY

"WHY do we always have rabbits at Easter?" asked the Little Lady. "Is that a story, too?"

The Story Teller lit his pipe, thinking all the time, and pretty soon he said: "Why, yes, there is a story about that, and it goes this way": —

One afternoon in the early spring Mr. Jack Rabbit and his friends were out for an airing. The Hollow Tree people were along, and Mr. Turtle, as usual. By and by they came to a log under a big tree and sat down for a smoke and talk. They talked about the weather at first and other things, till somebody mentioned Easter. Then they all had something to say about that.

"What I object to," says Mr. Rabbit, when it came his time to talk, "is this thing of people always saying that the Easter eggs belong to me."

"Oh, but that's just a joke," says Mr. 'Coon, laughing.

"I know it's just a joke, of course, but it's a pretty old joke, and I'm tired of it," says Jack Rabbit.

"How did it get started anyway?" asked Mr. 'Possum.

Then Mr. Rabbit took his pipe out of his mouth and leaned forward a little, so he could talk better.

"I tell you how it got started," he says, "and after that I don't want to hear any more of it. This is how it happened: —

"Once upon a time, as much as twenty grandmothers back, I should think, there was a very nice family of Rabbits that lived in a grassy place on a hillside back of a big farmyard. There was quite a hole in the ground there, and they had a cozy home in it, and a soft bed for their little folk.

"Now, every bright morning, Father and Mother Rabbit used to take the children out for a walk, and for a few lessons in running and hiding from Mr.

Dog, who bothered about a good deal, and one day as they were coming home they heard a great cackling, and when they got to their house there was a nice fresh egg lying right in the children's bed. Some old hen from the farmyard had slipped in and laid it while they were gone. A good many hens, especially old hens, like to hide their nests that way, and this was one of that kind.

"Well, of course all the young Rabbits claimed it, and Mother Rabbit at last gave it to the smallest and weakest one of the children, a little girl, who was always painting things with the juice of flower petals. And the very first thing that little girl did was to stain that egg all over with violet juice, not thinking what trouble it was going to cause our family forever after.

"It was a nice blue egg when she got through with it, and the next day, when they all came back from their walk again there was another white egg right by it. The old hen had been there again and laid another while they were gone. The second little girl claimed that egg, of course, and she painted it a bright yellow with buttercup juice. Then the next day there was another egg, and the next day there was another egg, and the next day there was another egg, until there was one apiece for every one of the children, and some over.

"And they all painted them. Some painted theirs pink or red with rose leaves or japonica, some painted them yellow with buttercups, and some blue or purple with violets, as the first little girl had done. They had so many at last that it crowded them out of their bed and they had to sleep on the floor.

"And then, one Sunday, and it must have been Easter Sunday, they all went out walking again, and when they came back every one of those beautiful colored eggs was gone. The children cried and made a great fuss, but it was no use. Some of Mr. Man's boys out hunting hens' nests had found them and taken them all home with them.

"And of course all those colored eggs set Mr. Man to wondering, and he came with his boys to the place where they had found them; and when they looked in out jumped the whole Rabbit family, helter skelter in every direction.

"And right then," said Mr. Rabbit, leaning over to light his pipe from Mr. 'Possum's, "right then Mr. Man declared those colored eggs were rabbit eggs, and he's kept on saying so ever since, though he knows better, and he knows I don't like it. He takes eggs and colors them himself now, and makes believe they're mine, and he puts my picture all over things about Easter time. I suppose he thinks I don't care, but I do, and I wish that little Miss Rabbit twenty grandmothers back had left that old hen's egg white as she found it."

"It's too bad," says Mr. Crow. "It's like that story they tell about the fox making me drop the cheese."

"Or like Mr. Man making believe that the combs he uses are really made out of my shell," says Mr. Turtle.

Mr. 'Coon and Mr. 'Possum shook their heads. They had their troubles, too.

THE HOLLOW TREE POETRY CLUB
HOW MR. DOG CAME TO A POETRY CLUB, AND WHAT HAPPENED

ONCE upon a time, when it was getting along toward fall in the Hollow Tree, when Jack Rabbit and Mr. Robin and the others had come to live with the 'Coon and 'Possum and the Old Black Crow, there began to be long evenings, and the Hollow Tree people used to think of new ways to pass the time. They tried games at first, and sleight-of-hand tricks. Then they tried doing things, and Mr. Turtle carried them all together twice around the big parlor room on his back. But even that wasn't so funny after the first evening, and Mr. Crow, who did most of the thinking, had to scratch his head and think pretty hard what to do next.

All at once he happened to remember that Jack Rabbit, who was the big man of the party, was also a first rate poet, and liked to read his own poetry better than anything. So, when he thought of that, he said: —

"I'll tell you. We'll have a poetry club."

And of course that made Mr. Rabbit wake up right away.

"What's that?" he said. "What kind of a thing is a poetry club?"

"Why," said Mr. Crow, "it's a place where the members each write a poem and read it at the next meeting. You're the only real, sure enough poet, of course, and will be president, and write the best poem, but the rest of us can try, and you can tell us our mistakes. I've heard that Mr. Man has clubs, and they're ever so much fun."

Jack Rabbit thought so, too, and all the others liked the plan. So they elected Mr. Rabbit president and then went to work on their poems. They couldn't have the first meeting very soon, for it took longer to write poems in those days than it does now, so before they got half ready the news got out some way, and even Mr. Dog had heard of it.

Poor Mr. Dog! It made him really quite ill to think he wasn't on very good terms with the Hollow Tree people, for he thought he could write pretty nice poetry, too, and he wanted to belong to that club worse than anything he could think of. He wanted to so bad that at last he told Mr. Robin that if they'd just let him come he'd promise anything they asked.

They didn't want to let him, though, until Mr. Crow, who always felt kind of sorry for Mr. Dog, said he didn't see why Mr. Dog shouldn't come and look in through the window shutters, and that they could nail a seat for him on a limb just outside. They could pull him up to it with a rope and he could sit there and listen and applaud the poems all through without being able to do any damage to the poets, and he would be glad enough to be let down by the time they got done reciting.

So they sent him an invitation, and Mr. Dog was as happy as a king. He went right to work on his poem, and he worked all night and walked up and down the yard all day trying to think up rhymes for "joyful" and "meeting," and a lot of other nice words. Even when he was asleep he dreamed about it, and said over some of the lines out loud and jerked his paws about as if he were reciting it and making motions. You see, Mr. Dog hadn't always done just right by the Hollow Tree people, and he was anxious to make a good impression and fix up things. He fixed himself all up, too, when the night came for the meeting, and took his poem under his arm and lit a cigar that he'd borrowed of Mr. Man for the occasion, and away he went.

The Hollow Tree people were on the look-out for him and had the rope down and ready. So Mr. Dog tied it around under his arms, and they pulled and pulled, and up he came. Then, when he got pretty close to the window, they closed the shutter and put the rope through and pulled him up still a little higher, so that he could reach the seat on the limb, which was fixed just right for him to sit there and lean on the window sill while he listened and looked in.

Of course, Mr. Dog wished he was inside, like the others, but he knew why he wasn't, and he was glad enough to be there at all. He peeked through the slats at the big room and smiled and said some nice things about how pretty the room looked, till they all got real sociable with him. Then Jack Rabbit called the meeting to order and made a few remarks.

He said the duties of his office had kept him from writing quite as long and as good a poem as he would have liked to write, but that he hoped they might be willing to hear what he had done. Then they all shouted, "Yes, yes!" and "Hear, hear!" and Mr. Rabbit bowed first to the ones inside and then to Mr. Dog outside, and began: —

THE JOYS OF POETRY
BY J. RABBIT
 
Oh, sweet the joys of poetry
In the merry days of spring,
When the dew is on the meadow
And the duck is on the wing!
For 'tis then, from Dan to Dover,
I'm a rover 'mid the clover,
Seeking rhymes the country over
With a ring, sing, swing —
With a ding, dong, ding,
And a ting a ling a ling —
For I'm the rhyming rover of the spring.
 
 
Oh, sweet the joys of poetry
In the pleasant summer time!
For 'tis then I have no trouble
To compose my gentle rhyme;
In a nooklet by the brooklet
I can think up quite a booklet,
As with fishing line and hooklet
I assist the fish to climb
To the music of my chime,
For with rollick and with rhyme
I'm the poet of the pleasant summer time.
 
 
Oh, sweet the joys of poetry
When any days have come,
When the autumn zephyrs whisper
Or the winter breezes hum!
For 'tis then my thoughts unfurling,
While the smoke goes upward curling,
Come a whirling, swirling, twirling,
With a rumty, tumty, tum,
Come a twirling, swirling, whirling,
Like a rattle of a drum.
Come a whirling, come a swirling;
For in spring or in the summer,
In the autumn or the winter
I'm the rumty, tumty, tummer
That rejoices in the seasons as they come.
 

Well, when Mr. Rabbit got through everybody sat still for a minute, till Mr. Dog called out for somebody to come and unwind him so he could get his breath again. Then they all commenced to laugh and shout and pound on the table. And Mr. Rabbit coughed and looked pleased and said it was easy enough to do when you knew how.

Then Mr. 'Possum, who was next on the program, said he hoped they'd let him off this time because he could only think of four lines, and that he was a better hand at the dinner table than he was at poetry, anyway. But they wouldn't do it, so he got up and looked foolish and swallowed two or three times before he could get started.

WHAT I LOVE
BY A. PUFFINGTON 'POSSUM
 
I love the fragrant chicken pie
That blooms in early spring;
I love a chicken stew or fry,
Or any old thing.
 

Mr. 'Possum's poem was short, but it went right to the spot, and the way they applauded almost made Jack Rabbit jealous. He said that it was 'most too true to be good poetry, but that it was good for a first effort, and that being short helped it. Then Mr. Robin spoke his piece: —

MOTHER AND ME
BY C. ROBIN
 
When the bud breaks out on the maple bough
Mother and me we build our nest —
A twig from the yard and a wisp from the mow
And four blue eggs 'neath the mother breast.
Up in the tree, mother and me,
Happy and blithe and contented are we.
 
 
When the daisies fall and the roses die,
An empty nest in the boughs to swing —
Four young robins that learn to fly
And a sweet adieu till another spring.
Then up in the tree, mother and me,
Happy once more and contented we'll be.
 

The applause wasn't so loud after Mr. Robin's poem, but they all said it was very pretty, and Mr. 'Possum even wiped his eyes with his handkerchief, because it made him remember something sad. Mr. Rabbit said that it ought to be "Mother and I," but that it didn't make much difference, he supposed, about grammar, so long as it rhymed and sounded nice. Then Mr. Crow got up.

JUST NOTHING
BY J. CROW
 
While others may sing of the pleasures of spring,
Or winter or summer or fall,
I'll sing not of these, because, if you please,
I'll sing of just nothing at all.
Just nothing at all, because, oh, ho!
I'll sing of myself, an old black crow.
 
 
As black as a coal and as homely as sin —
What more can I tell you, I pray?
For when you have nothing to sing of, why, then,
Of course there is nothing to say.
Nothing to say at all, oh, ho!
Except good-by to the old black crow —
The rollicking old black crow!
 

They made a good deal of fuss over Mr. Crow's poem. They applauded, of course, but they said it wasn't so at all, and that Mr. Crow was a good deal more than "just nothing." They said that it was he who had got up this party, and that he was the best man to plan and cook anywhere. Mr. 'Possum said he even liked Mr. Crow's April fool chicken pies, and then they all remembered and laughed, even to Mr. Crow himself. After that it was Mr. Squirrel's turn. Mr. Squirrel coughed twice and straightened his vest before he began, so they knew his poem wasn't to be funny.

THE FOOLISH LITTLE LAD
BY MR. GRAY SQUIRREL
 
Once on a time, the story goes,
A silly squirrel lad
One summer day did run away —
Which made his ma feel bad.
 
 
She hunted for him up and down
And round and round she ran —
Alas, that foolish squirrel boy
Was caught by Mr. Man.
 
 
For he had tried to climb a tree
As Mr. Man came past.
"I'll make you climb!" said Mr. Man,
And walked home pretty fast.
 
 
When he got there a boy came out
As Mr. Man went in.
That silly squirrel soon was put
Into a house of tin.
 
 
"Now you can climb!" said Mr. Man,
But when he did he found
That nice tin house, so bright and new,
Turned round and round and round.
 
 
And there he climbs and climbs all day
And never seems to stop,
And I have heard my mother say
He'll never reach the top.
 

When Mr. Squirrel sat down there wasn't a dry eye in the room, and even Mr. Dog outside was affected. He said he'd seen that poor little squirrel at Mr. Man's house turning and turning away in his tin wheel, and felt so sorry for him that two or three times he'd tried to get him out. He said, though, that Mr. Man had always caught him at it and that then they didn't get on well for a day or two. He was so tender hearted, though, he said, that he couldn't help pitying the little fellow, climbing and climbing all day long and never getting anywhere. Mr. 'Possum shivered, and said it reminded him of bad dreams he'd had sometimes, when he'd eaten too much supper, and dreamed of climbing the rainbow. Then they all sat still and waited for Mr. Turtle, who came next.

MY SNUG HOUSE
BY D'LAND TURTLE
 
Oh, what do I care for your houses of wood,
Your houses of brick or of stone,
When I have a house that is cozy and good —
A beautiful house of my own?
And the doors will not sag and the roof will not crack
Of the house that I carry about on my back.
 
 
It is never too large and 'tis never too small,
It is with me wherever I roam.
In spring or in summer, in winter or fall,
I always can find my way home.
For it isn't so hard to remember the track
To the house that you carry about on your back.
 

Well, of course, everybody applauded that, and then it was Mr. 'Coon's time. Mr. 'Coon said he was like Mr. 'Possum. He wasn't much on poetry, and only had four lines. He said they were some like Mr. 'Possum's too.

THE BEST THINGS
BY Z. 'COON
 
I like the spring, I like the fall,
I like the cold and heat,
And poems, too, but best of all
I like good things to eat.
 

That brought the house down, and the Hollow Tree people thought the entertainment was over. They were going to have supper right away, but Mr. Dog called out to wait a minute. He said he had a little poem himself that he wanted to read. So out of politeness they all sat still, though they didn't expect very much. Then Mr. Dog unrolled his poem and leaned over close to the blinds and commenced to read.

MY FOREST FRIENDS
BY MR. DOG
 
Oh, dear to me my forest friends,
Especially Mr. Rabbit —
I love his poetry very much,
And every gentle habit.
 
 
And dear to me is Mr. 'Coon,
And also Mr. 'Possum;
I hope to win their friendship soon —
'Twill be a precious blossom.
 
 
And Mr. Crow and Robin, too,
With fancy sweet and fertile,
And Mr. Squirrel, kind and true,
And likewise Mr. Turtle.
 
 
Oh, dear to me my forest friends,
Especially Mr. Rabbit —
I love his poetry very much,
And every gentle habit.
 

Before Mr. Dog was half through reading the Hollow Tree people had gathered around the window to listen. By the time he got to the end of the third stanza he had to stop for them to cheer, and when he read the last one, Jack Rabbit pounded on the shutter with his fist and shouted, "Hurrah for Mr. Dog! Hurrah for Mr. Dog!" just as loud as ever he could, while all the others crowded up and shouted and tried to pound, too.

Well, maybe the shutter wasn't very strong, or maybe they crowded and pounded too hard in their excitement over Mr. Dog's nice poem, for all at once there was a loud crack and the shutter flew open and out went Mr. Rabbit right smack into the arms of Mr. Dog!

I tell you that was pretty sudden and Mr. Rabbit was scared. So were all the others, and they were going to grab the shutter and close it again and leave Mr. Rabbit out there. But Jack Rabbit thinks quick.

"Oh, Mr. Dog," he said, "that was the nicest poem I ever heard. Let me embrace you, Mr. Dog, and be your friend for ever after!"

Then he hugged Mr. Dog just as tight as he could, and Mr. Dog hugged him, too, and shed tears, he was that happy. He had been wanting to make up with the forest people for a long time, but he hadn't expected this. Then the others all saw how it was and they shouted, "Hurrah for Mr. Dog!" again and invited him in. And Mr. Dog went in and they had the biggest supper and the biggest time that ever was known in the Hollow Tree.

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

MR. RABBIT'S UNWELCOME COMPANY
MR. POLECAT MAKES A MORNING CALL AND MR. DOG DROPS IN

I THINK I shall have to tell you about Mr. Polecat, said the Story Teller, and about his visit to Mr. Rabbit.

"Who's Mr. Polecat?" said the Little Lady. "You never told me about him before."

Well, no, because you see Mr. Polecat is so queer in some of his ways that people even don't talk about him a great deal. He is really quite a nice gentleman, though, when he doesn't get excited. But when he does he loses friends.

The trouble is with the sort of perfumery he uses when he gets excited, just as some people use a smelling-bottle, and nobody seems to like the sort Mr. Polecat uses except himself. I suppose he must like it or he wouldn't be so free with it. But other people go away when he uses it – mostly in the direction the wind's blowing from – and in a hurry, as if they were afraid they'd miss a train. Even Mr. Dog doesn't stop to argue with Mr. Polecat. Nobody does, and all the other Deep Woods people do their best to make him happy and to keep him in a good humor whenever he comes about, and give him their nicest things to eat and a lot to carry home with him, so he'll start just as soon as possible.

But, more than anything, they try to keep him from saying anything about Mr. Dog, or hinting or even thinking about Mr. Dog, for when he does any of these things he's apt to get excited, and then sometimes he opens up that perfume of his, and his friends fall over each other to get out of reach. They're never very happy to see him coming, and they're always glad to see him go, even when he's had a quiet visit and goes pretty soon, which is just what didn't happen one time when he came to call on Jack Rabbit, and it's that time I'm going to tell about. This was before Mr. Dog made up with the Hollow Tree people; I don't know exactly how long before, but a good while.



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