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The Oak-Tree Fairy Book by  Clifton Johnson
Table of Contents


 

 

JOHNNY-CAKE

[1]

O
NCE upon a time there was an old man and an old woman and a little boy. One morning the old man got up and started the kitchen fire, and the old woman got up and made a Johnny-cake and put it in the oven to bake it.

The little boy slept in the kitchen, and the old woman shook him to awaken him, and said, "Your father and I are going out to work in the garden, and do you get up, and pretty soon you must turn the Johnny-cake."

So the old man and old woman went out and began to hoe potatoes in the garden and left the little boy to watch the oven; but the little boy was lazy, and he lay snug and warm in bed, half asleep.

By-and-by he said to himself, "Oh, dear, I shall have to get up to turn the Johnny-cake!"

But the Johnny-cake called out, "No, you needn't; I can turn myself."

The little boy was not sure about that, and he [2] scrambled out of bed and began to dress; but he had only got his trousers on when he saw the oven door swing back, and out jumped Johnny-cake and started toward the open door, but Johnny-cake was too quick for him and was down the steps and out into the road before the little boy could catch him.

"Johnny-cake's running away, Johnny-cake's running away!" shouted the little boy, and hurried after him as fast as he could scamper, and the old man and the old woman threw down their hoes and hastened to join in the chase.

But Johnny-cake outran all three, and shortly was gone from sight, and his pursuers sat down, panting for breath, on a bank to rest.

On went Johnny-cake, and by-band-by he came to four mowers in a meadow, who looked up from their work and called out, "Where are ye going Johnny-cake?"

"Oh," said Johnny-cake, "I've outrun an old man and an old woman and a little boy, and I can outrun you, too-o-o!"

"Ye can, can ye? We'll see about that!" said they, and they threw down their scythes and ran [5] after him; but they could not catch up with him, and presently they had to sit down by the roadside to rest.

On ran Johnny-cake, and by-and-by he came to two ditch-diggers, who were digging a ditch.

"Where are you going, Johnny-cake?" they asked.

"Oh," said he, "I've outrun an old man and an old woman and a little boy and four mowers, and I can outrun you, too-o-o-!"

"Ye can, can ye? We'll see about that!" said they, and they threw down their spades and ran after him; but Johnny-cake soon outstripped them, and, seeing they could never catch him, they gave up the chase and sat down to rest.

On went Johnny-cake, and by-and-by he came to a bear.

"Where are you going, Johnny-cake?" the bear asked.

Oh," said Johnny-cake, "I've outrun an old man and an old woman and a little boy and four mowers and two ditch diggers, and I can outrun you, too-o-o-!"

"Ye can, can ye? We'll see about that!" growled the bear, and hurried as fast as his legs [6] could carry him after Johnny-cake, who kept right on along the road.


[Illustration]

Pretty soon the bear was left so far behind that he saw he might as well give up the hunt first as last. So he stretched himself by the wayside to rest.

On went Johnny-cake, and by-and-by he came to a wolf.

"Where are you going, Johnny-cake?" the wolf asked

Oh," said Johnny-cake, "I've outrun an old man and an old woman and a little boy and four mowers and two ditch diggers and a bear, and I can outrun you, too-o-o-!"

"Ye can, can ye? We'll see about that!" snarled the wolf; and he set off at a gallop after Johnny-cake, who went on and on so fast that the wolf soon saw there was no hope in catching him, and lay down to rest.

On went Johnny-cake, and by-and-by he came to a fox, who was stretched out for a nap among some bushes a little aside from the road.

The fox heard Johnny-cake coming, and he cried out in a sharp voice, without getting up, "Where are ye going, Johnny-cake?"

Oh," said Johnny-cake, "I've outrun an old [7] man and an old woman and a little boy and four mowers and two ditch diggers and a bear and a wolf, and I can outrun you, too-o-o-!"

The fox said, "I can't quite hear ye, Johnny-cake. Won't ye come a little closer?"


[Illustration]

So Johnny-cake went a little closer, and called out in a very loud voice, "I've outrun an old man and an old woman and a little boy and four mowers and two ditch diggers and a bear and a wolf, and I can outrun you,  TOO-O-O!"

"I can't quite hear ye. Won't ye come a little closer?" said the fox, putting a paw behind one of his ears to help him hear better.

So Johnny-cake came up quite close and screamed out still louder, "I'VE OUTRUN AND OLD MAN AND AN OLD WOMAN AND A LITTLE BOY AND FOUR MOWERS AND TWO DITCH DIGGERS AND A BEAR AND A WOLF, AND I CAN OUTRUN YOU, TOO-O-O-!"

[8] "Ye can, can ye?" yelped the fox, and he snapped up Mr. Johnny-cake in his sharp teeth and ate him; and that was the end of poor Johnny-cake.


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