THE PUZZLING "DOS" AND "DON'TS"
 WITH the coming of Monday arrived a new life for David—a curious
life full of "don'ts" and "dos." David wondered sometimes why all
the pleasant things were "don'ts" and all the unpleasant ones
"dos." Corn to be hoed, weeds to be pulled, woodboxes to be
filled; with all these it was "do this, do this, do this." But
when it came to lying under the apple trees, exploring the brook
that ran by the field, or even watching the bugs and worms that
one found in the earth—all these were "don'ts."
As to Farmer Holly—Farmer Holly himself awoke to some new
experiences that Monday morning. One of them was the difficulty
in successfully combating the cheerfully expressed opinion that
weeds were so pretty growing that it was a pity to pull them up
and let them all wither and die. Another was the equally great
difficulty of keeping a small boy at useful labor
 of any sort in
the face of the attractions displayed by a passing cloud, a
blossoming shrub, or a bird singing on a tree-branch.
In spite of all this, however, David so evidently did his best to
carry out the "dos" and avoid the "don'ts," that at four o'clock
that first Monday he won from the stern but would-be-just Farmer
Holly his freedom for the rest of the day; and very gayly he set
off for a walk. He went without his violin, as there was the
smell of rain in the air; but his face and his step and the very
swing of his arms were singing (to David) the joyous song of the
morning before. Even yet, in spite of the vicissitudes of the
day's work, the whole world, to David's homesick, lonely little
heart, was still caroling that blessed "You're wanted, you're
wanted, you're wanted!"
And then he saw the crow.
David knew crows. In his home on the mountain he had had several
of them for friends. He had learned to know and answer their
calls. He had learned to admire their wisdom and to respect their
moods and tempers. He loved to watch them. Especially he loved to
see the great birds cut through the air
 with a wide sweep of
wings, so alive, so gloriously free!
But this crow—
This crow was not cutting through the air with a wide sweep of
wing. It was in the middle of a cornfield, and it was rising and
falling and flopping about in a most extraordinary fashion. Very
soon David, running toward it, saw why. By a long leather strip
it was fastened securely to a stake in the ground.
"Oh, oh, oh!" exclaimed David, in sympathetic consternation.
"Here, you just wait a minute. I'll fix it."
With confident celerity David whipped out his jackknife to cut
the thong; but he found then that to "fix it" and to say he would
"fix it" were two different matters.
The crow did not seem to recognize in David a friend. He saw in
him, apparently, but another of the stone-throwing, gun-shooting,
torturing humans who were responsible for his present hateful
captivity. With beak and claw and wing, therefore, he fought this
new evil that had come presumedly to torment; and not until David
had hit upon the expedient of taking off his blouse, and throwing
it over the angry
 bird, could the boy get near enough to
accomplish his purpose. Even then David had to leave upon the
slender leg a twist of leather.
A moment later, with a whir of wings and a frightened squawk that
quickly turned into a surprised caw of triumphant rejoicing, the
crow soared into the air and made straight for a distant
tree-top. David, after a minute's glad surveying of his work,
donned his blouse again and resumed his walk.
It was almost six o'clock when David got back to the Holly
farmhouse. In the barn doorway sat Perry Larson.
"Well, sonny," the man greeted him cheerily, "did ye get yer
"Y—yes," hesitated David. "I got it done; but I did n't like
" 'T is kinder hot work."
"Oh, I did n't mind that part," returned David. "What I did n't
like was pulling up all those pretty little plants and letting
"Weeds—'pretty little plants'!" ejaculated the man. "Well, I'll
"But they were pretty," defended David, reading aright the scorn
in Perry Larson's voice. "The very prettiest and biggest there
 were, always. Mr. Holly showed me, you know,—and I had to pull
"Well, I'll be jiggered!" muttered Perry Larson again.
"But I've been to walk since. I feel better now."
"Oh, ye do!"
"Oh, yes. I had a splendid walk. I went 'way up in the woods on
the hill there. I was singing all the time—inside, you know. I
was so glad Mrs. Holly—wanted me. You know what it is, when you
Perry Larson scratched his head.
"Well, no, sonny, I can't really say I do," he retorted. "I ain't
much on singin'."
"Oh, but I don't mean aloud. I mean inside. When you're happy,
"When I'm—oh!" The man stopped and stared, his mouth falling
open. Suddenly his face changed, and he grinned appreciatively.
"Well, if you ain't the beat 'em, boy! 'T is kinder like
singin'—the way ye feel inside, when yer 'specially happy, ain't
it? But I never thought of it before."
"Oh, yes. Why, that's where I get my songs—inside of me, you
know—that I play
 on my violin. And I made a crow sing, too. Only
he sang outside."
"Sing—a crow!" scoffed the man. "Shucks! It'll take more 'n you
ter make me think a crow can sing, my lad."
"But they do, when they're happy," maintained the boy. "Anyhow,
it does n't sound the same as it does when they're cross, or
plagued over something. You ought to have heard this one to-day.
He sang. He was so glad to get away. I let him loose, you see."
"You mean, you caught a crow up there in them woods?" The man's
voice was skeptical.
"Oh, no, I did n't catch it. But somebody had, and tied him up.
And he was so unhappy!"
"A crow tied up in the woods!"
"Oh, I did n't find that in the woods. It was before I went up
the hill at all."
"A crow tied up—Look a-here, boy, what are you talkin' about?
Where was that crow?" Perry Larson's whole self had become
"In the field 'way over there. And somebody—"
 "The cornfield! Jingo! Boy, you don't mean you touched that
"Well, he would n't let me touch him," half-apologized David. "He
was so afraid, you see. Why, I had to put my blouse over his head
before he'd let me cut him loose at all."
"Cut him loose!" Perry Larson sprang to his feet. "You did
n't—you did n't let that crow go!"
David shrank back.
"Why, yes; he wanted to go. He—" But the man before him had
fallen back despairingly to his old position.
"Well, sir, you've done it now. What the boss'll say, I don't
know; but I know what I'd like ter say to ye. I was a whole week,
off an' on, gettin' hold of that crow, an' I would n't have got
him at all if I had n't hid half the night an' all the mornin' in
that clump o' bushes, watchin' a chance ter wing him, jest enough
an' not too much. An' even then the job wa'n't done. Let me tell
yer, 't wa'n't no small thing ter get him hitched. I'm wearin'
the marks of the rascal's beak yet. An' now you've gone an' let
him go—just like that," he finished, snapping his fingers
 In David's face there was no contrition. There was only
"You mean, you tied him there, on purpose?"
"Sure I did!"
"But he did n't like it. Could n't you see he did n't like it?"
"Like it! What if he did n't? I did n't like ter have my corn
pulled up, either. See here, sonny, you no need ter look at me in
that tone o' voice. I did n't hurt the varmint none ter speak
of—ye see he could fly, did n't ye?—an' he wa'n't starvin'. I
saw to it that he had enough ter eat an' a dish o' water handy.
An' if he did n't flop an' pull an' try ter get away he need n't
'a' hurt hisself never. I ain't ter blame for what pullin' he
"But would n't you pull if you had two big wings that could carry
you to the top of that big tree there, and away up, up in the
sky, where you could talk to the stars?—would n't you pull if
somebody a hundred times bigger'n you came along and tied your
leg to that post there?"
The man, Perry, flushed an angry red.
"See here, sonny, I wa'n't askin' you ter do no preachin'. What I
did ain't no more'n any
 man 'round here does—if he's smart
enough ter catch one. Rigged-up broomsticks ain't in it with a
live bird when it comes ter drivin' away them pesky, thievin'
crows. There ain't a farmer 'round here that hain't been green
with envy, ever since I caught the critter. An' now ter have you
come along an' with one flip o' yer knife spile it all, I—Well,
it jest makes me mad, clean through! That's all."
"You mean, you tied him there to frighten away the other crows?"
"Sure! There ain't nothin' like it."
"Oh, I'm so sorry!"
"Well, you'd better be. But that won't bring back my crow!"
David's face brightened.
"No, that's so, is n't it? I'm glad of that. I was thinking of
the crows, you see. I'm so sorry for them! Only think how we'd
hate to be tied like that—" But Perry Larson, with a stare and
an indignant snort, had got to his feet, and was rapidly walking
toward the house.
Very plainly, that evening, David was in disgrace, and it took
all of Mrs. Holly's tact and patience, and some private pleading,
to keep a general explosion from wrecking all
 chances of his
staying longer at the farmhouse. Even as it was, David was
sorrowfully aware that he was proving to be a great
disappointment so soon, and his violin playing that evening
carried a moaning plaintiveness that would have been very
significant to one who knew David well.
Very faithfully, the next day, the boy tried to carry out all the
"dos," and though he did not always succeed, yet his efforts were
so obvious, that even the indignant owner of the liberated crow
was somewhat mollified; and again Simeon Holly released David
from work at four o'clock.
Alas, for David's peace of mind, however; for on his walk to-day,
though he found no captive crow to demand his sympathy, he found
something else quite as heartrending, and as incomprehensible.
It was on the edge of the woods that he came upon two boys, each
carrying a rifle, a dead squirrel, and a dead rabbit. The
threatened rain of the day before had not materialized, and David
had his violin. He had been playing softly when he came upon the
boys where the path entered the woods.
 "Oh!" At sight of the boys and their burden David gave an
involuntary cry, and stopped playing.
The boys, scarcely less surprised at sight of David and his
violin, paused and stared frankly.
"It's the tramp kid with his fiddle," whispered one to the other
David, his grieved eyes on the motionless little bodies in the
boys' hands, shuddered.
"Are they—dead, too?"
The bigger boy nodded self-importantly.
"Sure. We just shot 'em—the squirrels. Ben here trapped the
rabbits." He paused, manifestly waiting for the proper awed
admiration to come into David's face.
But in David's startled eyes there was no awed admiration, there
was only disbelieving horror.
"You mean, you sent them to the far country?"
"Sent them. Made them go yourselves—to the far country?"
The younger boy still stared. The older one grinned disagreeably.
"Sure," he answered with laconic indifference.
 "We sent 'em to
the far country, all right."
"But—how did you know they wanted to go?"
"Wanted—Eh?" exploded the big boy. Then he grinned again, still
more disagreeably. "Well, you see, my dear, we did n't ask 'em,"
Real distress came into David's face.
"Then you don't know at all. And maybe they did n't want to go.
And if they did n't, how could they go singing, as father said?
Father was n't sent. He went. And he went singing. He said he
did. But these—How would you like to have somebody come along
and send you to the far country, without even knowing if you
wanted to go?"
There was no answer. The boys, with a growing fear in their eyes,
as at sight of something inexplicable and uncanny, were sidling
away; and in a moment they were hurrying down the hill, not,
however, without a backward glance or two, of something very like
David, left alone, went on his way with troubled eyes and a
 David often wore, during those first few days at the Holly
farmhouse, a thoughtful face and a troubled frown. There were so
many, many things that were different from his mountain home.
Over and over, as those first long days passed, he read his
letter until he knew it by heart—and he had need to. Was he not
already surrounded by things and people that were strange to him?
And they were so very strange—these people! There were the boys
and men who rose at dawn—yet never paused to watch the sun flood
the world with light; who stayed in the fields all day—yet never
raised their eyes to the big fleecy clouds overhead; who knew
birds only as thieves after fruit and grain, and squirrels and
rabbits only as creatures to be trapped or shot. The women—they
were even more incomprehensible. They spent the long hours behind
screened doors and windows, washing the same dishes and sweeping
the same floors day after day. They, too, never raised their eyes
to the blue sky outside, nor even to the crimson roses that
peeped in at the window. They seemed rather to be looking always
for dirt, yet not pleased when they found it—especially
if it had been tracked in on the heel of a small boy's shoe!
More extraordinary than all this to David, however, was the fact
that these people regarded him, not themselves, as being strange.
As if it were not the most natural thing in the world to live
with one's father in one's home on the mountain-top, and spend
one's days trailing through the forest paths, or lying with a
book beside some babbling little stream! As if it were not
equally natural to take one's violin with one at times, and learn
to catch upon the quivering strings the whisper of the winds
through the trees! Even in winter, when the clouds themselves
came down from the sky and covered the earth with their soft
whiteness,—even then the forest was beautiful; and the song of
the brook under its icy coat carried a charm and mystery that
were quite wanting in the chattering freedom of summer. Surely
there was nothing strange in all this, and yet these people
seemed to think there was!
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