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Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans by  Edward Eggleston


 

 

WASHINGTON AND HIS HATCHET

[54] IT was Arbor Day in the Mossy Hill School, Johnny Littlejohn had to speak a piece that had something to do with trees. He thought it would be a good plan to say something about the little cherry tree that Washington spoiled with his hatchet, when he was a little boy. This is what he said:

He had a hatchet—little George—

A hatchet bright and new,

And sharp enough to cut a stick—

A little stick—in two.


He hacked and whacked and whacked and hacked,

This sturdy little man;

He hacked a log and hacked a fence,

As round about he ran.


He hacked his father's cherry tree

And made an ugly spot;

The bark was soft, the hatchet sharp,

And little George forgot.


You know the rest. The father frowned

And asked the reason why;

You know the good old story runs

He could not tell a lie.


The boy that chopped that cherry tree

Soon grew to be a youth;

At work and books he hacked away,

And still he told the truth:


The youth became a famous man,

Above six feet in height,

And when he had good work to do

He hacked with all his might.


He fought the armies that the king

Had sent across the sea;

He battled up and down the land

To set his country free.


For seven long years he hacked and whacked

With all his might and main

Until the British sailed away

And did not come again.


[Illustration]


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