| Among the Meadow People|
|by Clara Dillingham Pierson|
|Delightful stories of field life for young children, relating incidents in the lives of birds, insects, and other small creatures who make the meadow their home. Each chapter features the story of one animal in its daily activities and interactions with the other animals inhabiting the meadow. Ages 5-7 |
THE DAY WHEN THE GRASS WAS CUT
 THERE came a day when all the meadow people rushed back and
forth, waving their feelers and talking hurriedly to each
other. The fat old Cricket was nowhere to be seen. He said
that one of his legs was lame and he thought it best to stay
quietly in his hole. The young Crickets thought he was
afraid. Perhaps he was, but he said that he was lame.
All the insects who had holes crawled into them carrying
food. Everybody was anxious and fussy, and some people were
even cross. It was all because the farmer and his men had
come into the meadow to cut the grass. They began to work
 on the side nearest the road, but every step which the Horses
took brought the mower nearer to the people who lived in the
middle of the meadow or down toward the river.
"I have seen this done before," said the Garter Snake. "I
got away from the big mower, and hid in the grass by the
trees, or by the stumps where
the mower couldn't come. Then
the men came and cut that grass with their scythes, and I
had to wriggle away over the short, sharp grass-stubble to
my hole. When they get near me this time, I shall go into my
hole and stay there."
"They are not so bad after all," said the Tree Frog. "I like
them better out-of-doors than I did in the house. They saw
me out here once and didn't try to catch me."
A Meadow Mouse came hurrying along. "I must get home to my
babies," she said. "They will be frightened if I am not there."
 "Much good you can do when you are there!" growled a voice
down under her feet. She was standing over the hole where
the fat old Cricket was with his lame leg.
The mother Meadow Mouse looked rather angry for a minute,
and then she answered: "I'm not so very large and strong,
but I can squeak and let the Horses know where the nest is.
Then they won't step on it. Last year I had ten or twelve
babies there, and one of the men picked them up and looked
at them and then put them back. I was so frightened that my
fur stood on end and I shook like June grass in the wind."
"Humph! Too scared to run away," said the voice under her
"Mothers don't run away and leave their children in danger,"
answered the Meadow Mouse. "I think it is a great deal
braver to be brave when you are afraid than it is to be
brave when you're
 not afraid."
She whisked her long tail and scampered off through the
grass. She did not go the nearest way to her nest because
she thought the Garter Snake might be watching.
She didn't wish him
to know where she lived. She knew he was fond of
young Mice, and didn't want him to come to see her babies
while she was away. She said he was not a good friend for
"We don't mind it at all," said the Mosquitoes from the
lower part of the meadow. "We are unusually hungry today
anyway, and we shall enjoy having the men come."
"Nothing to make such a fuss over," said a Milkweed
Butterfly. "Just crawl into your holes or fly away."
"Sometimes they step on the holes and close them," said an
Ant. "What would you do if you were in a hole and it stopped
being a hole and was just earth?"
 "Crawl out, I suppose," answered the Milkweed Butterfly with
a careless flutter.
"Yes," said the Ant, "but I don't see what there would be to
crawl out through."
The Milkweed Butterfly was already gone. Butterflies never
worry about anything very long, you know.
"Has anybody seen the Measuring Worm?" asked the Katydid.
"Where is he?"
"Oh, I'm up a tree," answered a pleasant voice above their
heads, "but I sha'n't be up a tree very long.
I shall come down when the grass is cut."
"Oh, dear, dear, dear!" cried the Ants, hurrying around. "We
can't think what we want to do. We don't know what we ought
to do. We can't think and we don't know, and we don't think
that we ought to!"
"Click!" said a Grasshopper, springing into the air. "We
must hurry, hurry,
 hurry!" He jumped from a stalk of
pepper-grass to a plantain. "We must hurry," he said, and he
jumped from the plantain back to the pepper-grass.
Up in the tree where the Measuring Worm was, some Katydids
were sitting on a branch and singing shrilly: "Did you ever?
Did you ever? Ever? Ever? Ever? Did you ever?" And this
shows how much excited they were, for they usually sang only at
Then the mower came sweeping down the field, drawn by the
Blind Horse and the Dappled Gray, and guided by the farmer
himself. The dust rose in clouds as they passed, the
Grasshoppers gave mighty springs which took them out of the
way, and all the singing and shrilling stopped until the
mower had passed. The nodding grasses swayed and fell as the
sharp knives slid over the ground. "We are going to be hay,"
they said, "and live in the big barn."
 "Now we shall grow some more tender green blades," said the
"Fine weather for haying," snorted the Dappled Gray. "We'll
cut all the grass in this field before noon."
"Good feeling ground to walk on," said the Blind Horse,
tossing his head until the harness jingled.
Then the Horses and the farmer and the mower passed far
away, and the meadow people came together again.
"Well," said the Tree Frog. "That's over for a while."
The Ants and the Grasshoppers came back to their old places.
"We did just the right thing," they cried joyfully. "We got
out of the way."
The Measuring Worm and the Katydids came down from their
tree as the Milkweed Butterfly fluttered past. "The men left
the grass standing around the Meadow Mouse's nest," said the
Milkweed Butterfly, "and the Cows up
 by the barn are telling
how glad they will be to have the hay when the cold weather
"Grass must grow and hay be cut," said the wise old Tree
Frog, "and when the time comes we always know what to do.
"I think," said the fat old Cricket, as he crawled out of
his hole, "that my lame leg is well enough to use. There is
nothing like rest for a lame leg."
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics