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NCE upon a time, O! such a very, very long time ago, long
before your mammas or papas were little boys or girls,
even long before your grandmothers and grandfathers
were little, the fingers lived apart from the hand and
could run about and play like you can.
They all lived together in the prettiest little house
you can imagine; it had five windows in front, one for
each of the little fingers, and just exactly in the
middle of the front was a door, broad enough for the
fat thumb to pass through, and high enough for the tall
finger. This little house had an up-stairs and a
down-stairs; down-stairs was a large dining-room and
kitchen in one. In the middle of this large room stood
a long table and around this table were five chairs,
one for the thumb that was
 not high, next to this
one a chair for the pointer which was larger than the
thumb's, next a chair for the tall finger which was the
largest, then one for the ring finger, and last a tiny
chair for dear little finger.
In one corner was the kitchen stove upon which they
cooked breakfast, dinner and supper. On the table were
five plates, five cups, five forks, five knives and
five spoons, one for each finger.
Up-stairs was the bedroom in which were five beds
standing all in a row against the white wall. One was a
short, broad bed for the fat little thumb, the next was
a little longer and not quite so broad for pointer, the
third was very long for the tall finger, then came a
nice small bed which was very soft for the weak little
gold finger, and last of all a tiny bed for the little
In the morning when the sunbeams waked the fingers, the
thumb would say, "Let us hurry and dress quickly, so we
will have breakfast ready before the sunbeams get very
much longer on the floor," and then they would make
haste and get to work. Thumb, who was the strongest,
would get wood from the shed; pointer would help him
light the fire; long finger would get the dishes from
the closet, while gold finger and little finger would
set the table.
After breakfast was finished, dishes washed and the
floor swept up nicely, up-stairs they would run, one
after the other, and all going to work, very soon had
made up the five beds, dusted the room and put ever
thing in order. What glorious times they all had,
working and playing together!
One day (such a bright day it was) in the fall, just as
it is now, the thumb said, "do you know that the nuts
are ripe, and the little squirrels are busy at work
gathering their winter store, and if we do not go
tomorrow there will be none left for us to crack when
Jack Frost paints flowers upon the windows and every
thing is covered with snow and ice. Let us go
to-morrow." So they all went to bed early that night,
to be up with the birds next morning. They got up
early, hurried with their work and put on their hats.
Thumb and pointer ran into the cellar to get the big
sack to put the nuts into. At last they were ready to
 start, and off they walked in a straight row
like soldiers; first the thumb and pointer carrying the
sack between them, then long man, next the pretty ring
finger, and last dear little finger, for whose sake
they all walked very slowly. Into the woods they went,
where long finger had seen a great black walnut tree
full of nuts all ready to fall. The trees looked
beautiful in their red, brown and gold-leaved dresses,
and the tall golden rod looked as yellow as the
sunbeams. It was so lovely there!
They met a little red squirrel with two great big nuts
in his mouth. He looked at the little fingers with his
sharp black eyes and said: "There are enough for us
all, you can fill your sack up to the top with nuts as
big as these here in my mouth." At last they came to
the big tree; it was full of nuts up to the very top,
and they were all large and round. Thumb said: "Pointer
and I will hold the sack open;" long finger said: "I'll
take a long pole and knock them off," and little finger
said he would pick up those that fell upon the ground,
and what would gold finger do? When they looked for her
she was nowhere to be found; where was she? The little
fingers looked at each other and could not imagine what
was the matter. "O," said thumb, "I will tell you how
it is. She had forgotten her hat and ran back to get
it, and how rude and unkind it was that we did not wait
for her." "I am sure she is crying," said pointer, "and
I will run back and get her at once, for what will we
do if she is not here to climb the tree and get nuts
from the top, where long finger cannot reach them?"
Away he ran as fast as he could, and when he got home
he called, "Gold finger" as loud as he could. But no
one answered, so he went up stairs and there he found
her sitting in one corner crying bitterly. Pointer told
her how she was missed and what they wished her to do.
When she heard this, she put on her hat and away they
both trotted to the woods. When they got there the
other fingers were waiting for them, and gold finger
was so anxious to help, that she climbed the tree too
fast and fell down and hurt her back very badly, and
this is the reason she can't stand up very straight.
All the little fingers were sorry, and helped to rub it
briskly so as to make it well, which they really did.
 she climbed up slower and shook all the
nuts down, so that it sounded like hail. At last the
bag was full to the very top; they all took hold and
pulled, it was so very heavy. When they reached home
they were very tired, but when winter came and the
ground was all covered with snow and Jack Frost painted
the windows and all the flowers were asleep, then they
all sat around the warm fire, cracked nuts and told
stories and had a splendid time. Don't you wish you had
been there to hear the tales and eat walnuts? I'm sure
I wish so.
There are five little fingers on each little hand;
There are five jolly holidays all through the land:
There is St. Valentine's day, to count on your thumb;
There is Fourth of July, to have great fun;
There is Thanksgiving for joyous play;
Then Christmas comes for me and for you,
While Happy New year, How do you do?
Ten true friends you have
Who, five in a row,
Upon each side of you,
Go where you go.
Suppose you are sleepy,
They help you to bed;
Suppose you are hungry,
They see that you're fed.
They wake up your dolly,
And put on her clothes;
And trundle her carriage,
Wherever she goes.
They buckle your slate strap,
And haul out your sled;
Are in summer quite white,
And in winter quite red.
And these ten tiny fellows,
They serve you with ease;
And ask nothing from you,
But work hard, to please.
Now, with ten willing servants,
So trusty and true,
Pray who would be lazy
Or idle—would you?
Would you find out the name,
Of this kind little band?
Then count up the fingers
On each little hand.