TWO BRASS KETTLES
N a little town not far from Boston stood an old brick
house. It did not look like a brick house, for it had been
covered on the outside with boards.
It was the safest house in the village, and during King
Philip's War the neighbors often used to come to this
"fort-house," as it was called, for safety. When its great
oak doors were bolted and its strong shutters fastened,
there was little danger from Indians. They could not burn
its brick walls as they did so many log cabins.
But no Indians had been seen for a long time, and the people
began to think that danger from them was past.
One Sunday morning, Mr. and Mrs. Minot, who lived in the old
house, went to meeting, leaving their two little ones with
Experience, the maid.
It was a very hot summer day and the windows in the big
kitchen were wide open. The butterflies flitted to and fro
in the bright sunshine, and the bees hummed drowsily in the
vines twining about the window.
The two little children sat upon the floor while Experience
built a fire in the brick oven and began to prepare dinner.
When this was finished, she drew her chair up
beside the open window. "Now, little one," she said to the
baby, as she picked her up, "let us sit here in the breeze
and watch for mother to come."
"Let us sit here . . . and watch for mother"
Experience sang softly and rocked to and fro, hoping the
baby would go to sleep. But Baby
had no thought of going to sleep. She laughed and crowed and
tried to catch the pretty shadows as they danced over the
Suddenly Experience saw a sight which made
 her heart stand still. Behind a row of currant bushes was an
Indian, creeping on his hands and knees toward the house.
Only a moment Experience sat still and stared at the savage,
then she quickly bolted the door and closed the windows.
There was no time to close the heavy shutters.
What should she do with the children? She looked about for a
safe hiding place. On the floor, bottom upward, stood the
two great brass kettles which Experience had scoured the day
before. She quickly raised one of the kettles and pushed the
baby under it, then, before Baby's little brother could
think what had happened, down came the other kettle over
Then Experience rushed to the oven for a shovel of hot
coals. "If that Indian comes in here I'll give him a taste
of these hot coals," said she. But suddenly she noticed that
the Indian carried a gun.
"Oh!" she thought, "he can shoot much farther than I can
possibly throw these coals." So she dropped the shovel upon
the hearth and fled upstairs for the gun. "Keep still,
children," she whispered, as she ran past them.
But the children did not keep still. They did not at all
like being crowded under the kettles. They tried to push
them over, but the kettles were too heavy. Then they began
to yell, partly
 in terror, and partly in anger. The sound made
the kettles ring with a strange, wild noise.
When the Indian appeared at the window, he looked about the
room and could see no one, yet where could that dreadful
noise come from? He stared at the kettles, wondering what
creatures those could be that howled and rumbled so
Just then the children began to creep toward the light,
moving the kettles, which looked like two great turtles.
"Ugh! Ugh! Me shoot!" grunted the mystified Indian.
Boom-oom-oom-m! went the bullet, glancing from kettle to
The babies were frightened, but not at all hurt, so they
howled all the louder and crept faster than ever toward the
Now it was the Indian's turn to be frightened.
Ugh! Gun no hurt him! Him come!" Then he dropped his gun and
fled. He had no wish to fight with two great monsters that
could not be hurt with a gun.
Experience saw him as he ran away through the garden, and
fired at him, but he was soon out of sight. She could still
hear the children crying under the brass kettles, so she
knew they were not hurt. Before she could get down stairs,
Mr. and Mrs. Minot came home from meeting. There lay the gun
before the window, and the
 children were still under the kettles, howling madly and
struggling to be free.
"What is the matter? What has happened?" the parents cried,
and Experience told the story of the Indian.
"Perhaps he is still hiding somewhere on the farm," said Mr.
Minot, seizing his gun.
He hurried across the garden, looking behind trees and
bushes for the Indian. At last he found him, but the Indian
could do no harm then. His body lay beside the brook, for
the maid's aim had been more true than she thought.