C. S. B.
 ONCE upon a time, when it was so long ago that there
were no trolley cars or telephones, Grandfather was a
little, little boy named John.
He lived in a wee, red farmhouse set in the middle of
wide fields, and there were woods all about, and only a
cow path to walk in across the meadows until you came
to the stage road.
In the summer Grandfather used to have just the best
time, for he knew the places where the biggest
blackberries hid, and he could find the patches of
checker-berries in the woods, and he knew where the
brook ran swiftest to sail his boats, and he could
climb the tallest apple tree that ever grew.
But in the winter it was quite different. Then
Grandfather wore a little cap made of coonskin, and a
bright-green tippet, and a home-spun suit, and a pair
of hide boots. It was always so very cold in the
country in the winter time, and Grandfather had to walk
two miles to the schoolhouse, with his little tin
dinner pail hung over his arm. When school was let
out, he must hurry home to help with the chores, for
there were kindlings to split, and the cows to fodder,
and paths to dig. At night he was a tired little John,
and he tumbled upstairs to bed in the attic, where the
walls were all hung with strings of dried apples, and
the spinning-wheel in the corner pointed its long
finger at him, till he pulled the patchwork quilt high
up over his cold little nose and went fast asleep.
One morning when Grandfather woke up, and jumped into
his clothes, and hurried down to the
 kitchen, he
found that a dreadful thing had happened. The fire in
the fireplace had gone out over-night, and nobody could
set it going again, for they had no matches in those
days, and the tinder box was lost. The water in the
tea-kettle was all ice. There could be no breakfast
until the fire burned once more.
"You'll have to take the lantern, John," said Great
Grandmother, "and go to Mr. Stone's for a light. I'm
sorry, little lad. Pull your cap down tight over your
ears, and hurry."
So Grandfather took the big brass lantern and hurried
off in the early morning, across the snowy fields, for
a light. It was so biting cold that not even the wood
rabbits were out, and Grandfather's toes ached, and he
had to blow on his fingers to keep them from
freezing—and it was a mile to Mr. Stone's! But he got
there at last, lighted his lantern at Mr. Stone's
fireplace, and carried it home very carefully, lest the
flame go out. Then Great Grandmother started the fire,
and boiled the water in the tea-kettle, and they had
When the kitchen was warm, and breakfast was over,
Great Grandmother went to the blue china mug on the
chimney-piece and took out of it a big copper penny as
large as a silver dollar.
"This is for you, John," she said. "You had a long
walk this morning. You may buy yourself a peppermint
Oh, how Grandfather's eyes danced! Pennies were scarce
in the little red farmhouse, and didn't he know just
how beautifully red and twisted the peppermint sticks
looked in the glass jar at the store; and hadn't he
wished for one all winter?
So he started out early for school—the store was
 such a long way off the road—skipping along, with
his penny held fast in his little red mitten, thinking
how good the peppermint stick was going to taste.
The snow was deep, and Grandfather had to wade through
the drifts, and climb the fences; and one snow bank was
so high that it came up to his waist, but he didn't
mind. There was the store at the crossroads, and
Grandfather opened his little red fist to look at the
penny—but where was it? The penny was not there at
all; it was quite gone. Grandfather had dropped his
penny in the high snow bank!
Poor little boy! All the morning, as he sat on the
hard bench in the schoolhouse, saying his A B, AB's.
and doing pothooks in his copy book, he had to squeeze
back the tears. And when he went home Great
Grandmother said she was sorry, but there were no more
pennies in the blue china mug. She didn't know when he
could have another. So Grandfather took his shovel and
dug all around in the snow bank, but he could not find
Well, the winter was very long; but, one day, the
red-winged blackbirds came back to sing in the south
pasture, and the song-sparrows twittered in the swamp.
The blue flag blossomed, and it was spring.
Grandfather laid away his coon-skin cap, and began
making willow whistles, and forgot all about his penny.
One morning he took a basket of eggs to the store, to
change them for sugar and tea, and he went the same way
that he had gone that other morning; and he was just as
happy as he skipped along down the road.
"Here's the place where the big snow bank was,"
 he said, "right in this fence corner, but it's all
melted now. Why-ee, here's my penny!"
Yes; there it was—sticking up out of the mud, not
bright and shining any more, but a good copper penny
just the same. All winter it had been waiting there
for Grandfather to take it to the store and buy a
And this is the true story of how Grandfather bought
his peppermint stick, after all. And this is the
reason why Grandfather gives you so many pennies,
dear—because he remembers how he was a little boy once,
with only just one.