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THE BIG GOBBLER CAME PUFFING TOWARD HER.
TO THE CHILDREN
Dear Little Friends:
want to introduce the farmyard people to you, and to
have you call upon thems and become better acquainted
as soon as you can. Some of them are working for us,
and we surely should know them. Perhaps, too, some of
us are working for them, since that is the way in this
delightful world of ours, and one of the happiest parts
of life is helping and being helped.
It is so in the farmyard, and although there is not
much work that the people there can do for each other,
many kind things to be said, and even the Lame Duckling
found that he could make the Blind Horse happy when he
[iv] tried. It is there as it is everywhere else, and I
sometimes think that although the farmyard people do
not look like us or talk like us, they are not so very
different after all. If you had seen the little
wouldn'teat gravel when his mother was
reproving him, you could not have helped knowing his
thoughts even if you did not understand a word of the
Chicken language. He was thinking,
"I don't care! I don't care a bit! So now!" That
was long since, for he was a Chicken when I was a
little girl, and both of us grew up some time ago. I
think I have always been more sorry for him because
when he was learning to eat gravel I was learning to
eat some things which I did not like; and so, you see,
I knew exactly how he felt. But it was not until
afterwards that I found out how his mother felt.
That is one of the stories which I have been keeping a
long time for you, and the
[v] Chicken was a particular friend of mine. I knew him
better than I did some of his neighbors; yet they were
all pleasant acquaintances, and if I did not see some
of these things happen with my own eyes, it
is just because I was not in the farmyard at the
right time. There are many other tales I should like to
tell you about them, but one
mustn'tmake the book too
fat and heavy for your hands to hold, so I will send
you these and keep the rest.
Many stories might be told about our neighbors who live
out-of-doors, and they are stories that ought to be
told, too, for there are still boys and girls who do
not know that animals think and talk and work, and love
their babies, and help each other when in trouble. I
knew one boy who really thought it was not wrong to
steal newly built birds'-nests, and I have seen
girls—quite large ones, too—who were afraid of Mice !
It was only last winter that a Quail came to my front
[vi] door, during the very cold weather, and snuggled down
into the warmest corner he could find. I fed him, and
he stayed there for several days, and I know, and you
know, perfectly well that although he did not say it in
so many words, he came to remind me that I had not yet
told you a Quail story. And two of my little neighbors
brought ten Polliwogs to spend the day with me, so I
promised then and there that the next book should be
about pond people and have a Polliwog story in it.
And now, good-bye! Perhaps some of you will write me
about your visits to the farmyard. I hope you will
enjoy them very much, but be sure you don't wear red
dresses or caps when you call on the Turkey Gobbler.
CLARA DILLINGHAM PIERSON.
March 28, 1899.