McGuffey Reader and Poetry Story 45

STORY  XLV  THE  MOUNTAIN  SISTER

  1. The home of little Jeannette is far away, high up among the mountains. Let us call her our mountain sister.
  2. There are many things you would like to hear about her, but I can only tell you now how she goes with her father and brother, in the autumn, to help gather nuts for the long winter.
  3. A little way down the mountain side is a chestnut wood. Did you ever see a chestnut tree? In the spring its branches are covered with bunches of creamy flo wers, like long tassels. All the hot summer these are turning into sweet nuts, wrapped safely in large, prickly, green balls.
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  4. But when the frost of autumn comes, these prickly balls turn brown, and crack open. Then you may see inside one, two, three, and even four, sweet, brown nuts.
  5. When her father says, one night at sup per time, “I think there will be a frost to night,” Jeannette knows very well what to do. She dances away early in the evening to her little bed, made in a box built up against the wall.
  6. Soon she falls asleep to dream about the chestnut wood, and the little brook that springs from rock to rock down under the tall, dark trees. She wakes with the first daylight, and is out of bed in a minute, when she hears her father’s cheerful call, “Come, children; it is time to be off.”
  7. Their dinner is ready in a large basket. The donkey stands before the door with great bags for the nuts hanging at each side. They go merrily over the crisp, white frost to the chestnut trees. How the frost has opened the burs! It has done half their work for them already.
  8. How they laugh and sing, and shout to each other as they fill their baskets! The sun looks down through the yellow leaves; the rocks give them mossy seats; the birds and squirrels wonder what these strange people are doing in their woods.
  9. Jeannette really helps, though she is only a little girl; and her father says at night, that his Jane is a dear, good child. This makes her very happy. She thinks about it at night, when she says her prayers. Then she goes to sleep to dream of the merry autumn days.
  10. Such is our little mountain sister, and here is a picture of her far-away home. The mountain life is ever a fresh and happy one.
    sister

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