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The Oak-Tree Fairy Book by  Clifton Johnson
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THE CRANE IN THE WHEAT-FIELDS

[353]

O
NCE, in the summer, when the wheat had grown high, a crane was often seen in the fields belonging to the Gotham townsmen, walking up and down in the grain patches to catch frogs. This troubled the men of Gotham greatly.

"See how big he is," said one, "and look at the legs of him. He is treading down a vast deal of grain, to be sure."

"We must drive the animal away, or we shall have no harvest," said another.

"Very true," said still another, "and the quicker the better. Let us appoint Tom Thacker, the shepherd, for the job. He is used to much walking and the work would suit him well."

So Tom Thacker, the shepherd, was appointed to go into the fields and chase the bird out. But as he went in after the crane his neighbors noticed that his feet were very broad and large, and though he scared [354] off the bird, he at the same time trampled down a great deal of wheat.

"That will never do," said one of the townsmen, and the men of Gotham puzzled their brains for some better method.

At last one of them said, "The thing to do is this—some of us must carry the shepherd when he goes into the grain again, so that he shall not tread it down."

"Yes, yes," cried the others, "that is the proper thing to do, and why did we not think of that before, I wonder?"

[355] Then they took a stout fence gate off its hinges, had the shepherd sit down on it, and eight men lifted the gate on their shoulders and carried it through the fields of wheat, where the crane was in the habit of resorting, that the shepherd might scare the bird away.


[Illustration]

"The shepherd will not trample down any more of our grain with his big feet now," said the men of Gotham.


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