THE POTATO CHILD
HERE was once a poor woman, who did all her own work.
She swept the room, cooked the breakfast, washed
dishes, made the beds, and had so much to do that she
had to work from early in the morning until late at
night. She had one little daughter, who loved her
mother very dearly, and used often to wish she could
help her mother with the work. This good little girl's
name was Maggie.
One day Maggie's mamma was peeling potatoes for dinner,
and as she peeled them she threw the peelings in a
little dish. Maggie was too small to help her mamma peel
the potatoes, but she tried to help by throwing the
peelings out of the dish into a large wooden bucket.
Maggie would watch carefully, and just as soon as her
mother filled the dish with potato skins, Maggie would
empty it into the wooden bucket. Soon the mother had
peeled all the potatoes in the basket, then she said:
"Maggie, run to the cellar and bring me two or three
potatoes in your apron."
Maggie knew the way to the cellar, so she ran quickly
down the steps, picking up her apron in her hands, and
holding it tightly so it would be ready to hold the
potatoes. Maggie's mamma waited and waited, but Maggie
did not come with the potatoes. Then the mamma thought,
"Perhaps my poor little girl has fallen down the
steps." She ran quickly to the cellar, and what do you
think she saw? There was Maggie, sitting quietly in the
corner of the cellar on the heap of potatoes. She had
something in her arms, which she had wrapped up in her
apron, and she was singing softly, as she rocked it to
and fro. The mother looked to see what it was the
little girl was nursing so tenderly, and she saw that
it was a potato, that looked something like a baby.
"Sh! sh! mamma," whispered Maggie, "you will wake up my
Then the mamma knew why Maggie had staid so long in the
cellar—she was putting the potato child to sleep. She
told Maggie she must bring the potato child up stairs,
and she and Maggie found some old pieces of while
cotton and made the potato child a dress. When night
came, Maggie wanted to take the potato child to bed
with her, but mamma said, "No, no, Maggie, you night
roll over on it and break its head;" so she took some
straw and made the potato child a bed of its own, and
covered it with an apron. Then little Maggie knelt down
and said her prayers, kissed her potato baby, kissed
her dear mother, and jumped into her own little bed and
was soon fast asleep.