McGuffey Reader and Poetry Story 41


  1. Ray was thought to be an odd boy. You will think him so, too, when you have read this story.
  2. Ray liked well enough to play with the boys at school; yet he liked better to be alone under the shade of some tree, reading a fairy tale or dreaming daydreams. But there was one sport that he liked as well as his companions; that was kiteflying.
  3. One day when he was flying his kite, he said to himself, “I wonder if anybody ever tried to fly a kite at night. It seems to me it would be nice. But then, if it were very dark, the kite could not be seen. What if I should fasten a light to it, though? That would make it show. I’ll try it this very night.”
  4. As soon as it was dark, without saying a word to anybody, he took his kite and lantern, and went to a large, open lot, about a quarter of a mile from his home. “Well,” thought he, “this is queer. How lonely and still it seems without any other boys around! But I am going to fly my kite, anyway.”
    ray kite
  5. So he tied the lantern, which was made of tin punched full of small holes, to the tail of his kite. Then he pitched the kite, and, after several attempts, succeeded in making it rise. Up it went, higher and higher, as Ray let out the string. When the string was all unwound, he tied it to a fence; and then he stood and gazed at his kite as it floated high up in the air.
  6. While Ray was enjoying his sport, some people who were out on the street in the village, saw a strange light in the sky. They gathered in groups to watch it. Now it was still for a few seconds, then it seemed to be jumping up and down; then it made long sweeps back and forth through the air.
  7. “What can it be?” said one person. “How strange!” said another. “It can not be a comet; for comets have tails,” said a third. “Perhaps it’s a big firefly,” said another.
  8. At last  some  of  the  men  determined  to  find  out  what this strange light was– whether it was a hobgoblin dancing in the air, or something dropped from the sky. So off they started to get as near it as they could.
  9. While this was taking place, Ray, who had got tired of standing, was seated in a fence corner, behind a tree. He could see the men as they approached; but they did not see him.
  10. When they were directly under the light, and saw what it was, they looked at each other, laughing, and said, “This is some boy’s trick; and it has fooled us nicely. Let us keep the secret, and have our share of the joke.”
  11. Then they laughed again, and went back to the village; and some of the simple people there have not yet found out what that strange light was.
  12. When the men had gone, Ray thought it was time for him to go; so he wound up his string, picked up his kite and lantern, and went home. His mother had been wondering what had become of him.
  13. When she heard what he had been doing, she hardly knew whether to laugh or scold; but I think she laughed, and told him that it was time for him to go to bed.

Go to Lesson 42 here.