THE CALICO'S STORY
"The Youth's Companion."
ONCE I was very tiny and all covered over with a brown
coat. I had many brothers and sisters; we lived in the
sunny South, and were kept huddled close together in a
One morning the people who lived in the house were up
earlier than usual, and I heard the master say:
 "Tom, you may plant that cotton seed to-day."
Cotton seed was my name, and I wondered if it were
better to be planted than to be tied up in a bag. But
while I was thinking, Tom picked me up with the others,
and I was soon put into a little bed close to a rolling
I loved to listen to the water as it laughed on its
journey to the sea. I wanted to see it, but my coat
fitted so closely that there was no chance.
I began to feel larger, and larger, until one day my
snug coat split, and I popped right out of the ground.
Wasn't I happy, then? I had a green body and two green
leaves. I stretched my head higher, and higher, and at
last I had three beautiful blossoms. I think I must
have been vain, for all my beautiful petals left me, to
go with Mr. Wind. I mourned for them every day, but,
to my surprise, the little bolls left by the blossoms
burst, and I was covered with cotton as white as snow
and as soft as silk!
I was as happy as a queen! The cool wind fanned me,
the sunbeams came to warm me, and the dear old river
lulled me to rest. I did not want any other friends,
but I found that I had some, soon.
"Come, chilern," I heard Aunt Chloe call; "we must
pick the cotton." And the chilern did come—a
dozen woolly heads, and twice that number of shining
eyes. One little fellow cried out: "Oh, did you ever
see nicer cotton?" And in an instant all my white was
held in his little black fingers. Next I was riding in
a basket on top of Tom's head; then in a cart on my way
to the "gin." I was sorry as I left the fields, and
said: "Good-bye, dear river."
When I got to the "gin," a machine took from my downy
grasp many little fellows dressed in brown
They looked just as I did before I went to sleep in
My next trip was in a bale. I was loaded on a big ship
which sailed on a great sea. I liked this bale and the
ride. It made me think of the river where I used to
By and by, the ship stopped.
I was carried to a large house where I heard "buzz,
buzz, buzz." So many strange things happened to me
that I wondered what would be the end of it all. I was
cleansed, and twisted, and spun, and woven, and
bleached, and at last found that I had become white
One thing I enjoyed about this was that an old river
rushed along and turned heavy wheels that made the
spindles buzz and the shuttles fly.
My next journey was through a printing-machine. At
first I was white, but this machine sent me under a
roller which left little bunches of red cherries all
over me. Then I went under another roller which put
green stems on the cherries and left green leaves close
to the stems. A third roller left brown twigs where
all the stems and leaves ought to hang. Prettier
bunches of fruit you never saw.
Now my white was almost gone, but what was left was
made black by a fourth roller.
I went under these rollers so quickly—a mile an
hour—that I could not see very much, but I know that
cherries were cut into the first roller, and that they
had red dye on them; the leaves and stems were cut into
the second roller, and covered with green dye; the
twigs were cut into the third with brown dye all over
I wondered if some of the leaves, twigs and stems
 might not print themselves in the wrong place, but they
After I left the black-dye roller, I was dried, folded,
and sent to a shop in a noisy city where I lay on a
One day a little country girl came into the store with
a basket of eggs. She wanted to look at me, and, just
think, she gave the shopkeeper all of her eggs for
eight yards of me. Then I was made up into a dress,
with pretty ruffles at the neck and sleeves, and I gave
much joy to the little girl, who always liked to wear
On her way to and from school she used to sit upon a
log to rest. Here I used to watch the plants which
grew near, but they were very unlike my old self,
because they did not grow in a warm country. What I
enjoyed most of all was a river which flowed near and
sang the same song as my old friend.