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A LITTLE MILK PEDDLER
N a cottage near the Pilgrims lived Mevrow
van Ness and her three children. Karl was
twelve years old and did not like being called
a child. Had he not been "mother's right-hand
man" all these long weeks while his father was
away in his fishing boat? And did he not peddle
milk every day to earn money for the family?
"The dogs knew where to take the milk almost
as well as Karl"
Karl had two trusty dogs, and every morning he harnessed
them to a little cart. Into the cart he put three shining
kettles filled with milk and a long-handled dipper to
measure it. Sometimes there were round, yellow cheeses or
butter-like balls of gold to put into the cart, for people
were always glad to buy Mevrow's butter and cheese.
 The little Pilgrim boys liked to go with Karl when he
peddled milk. They liked to help him harness the dogs, and
when the cart was ready, away they would all go over the
rough stone street. It was hard to tell which made the most
noise, Karl's wooden shoes, the heavy wheels of the cart, or
the clanging of the milk kettles as they bumped together.
The dogs knew where to take the milk almost as well as Karl
did. They stood very still while he went to the door. Often
as Karl raised his hand to rap, the door opened, for the
good housewife had seen him in her looking-glass. Many of
the Dutch women had two looking-glasses just outside their
windows. In them they could see far up and down the street
without leaving their chairs.
There was at least one pair of wooden shoes on nearly every
doorstep, for the children of Holland are taught to take off
their shoes before they go into the house.
One morning there was a pretty blue pincushion on the door
of a house where Karl and Jonathan Brewster left milk. It
was made of silk and trimmed with ribbon and lace.
"What a queer place for a pincushion!" exclaimed Jonathan.
"Don't you know what that means? The storks have brought a
baby girl to this house," answered Karl.
 "The storks!" exclaimed Jonathan, in surprise.
"The storks, of course," answered Karl. "If you are kind to the storks,
and never hurt them or say cross things about them, they
will bring you all sorts of good luck. Perhaps they will
like you well enough to build a nest on your chimney. If you
nail a cartwheel across the largest chimney, it will make a
better place for a nest."
"There goes a stork now, with a frog in his mouth. As he
flies he looks like a great goose, except for those long
legs stretched out behind him," said Jonathan.
"Oh, he is much larger than a goose, and his bill is three
times as long."
"Are storks as good to eat as geese?" asked Jonathan.
"To eat! Eat a stork!" cried Karl, in horror. "We would not
kill a stork for anything. Did I not tell you storks bring
"It would be good luck to get such a big bird if it tasted
as good as Christmas goose," replied Jonathan.
"Greedy! it would be the last good luck you would ever
have," answered the little Hollander.
"Pooh!" said Jonathan, "My father says there is no such
thing as luck."
"Just let me tell you what happened to Jacob Pelton," said
Karl. "For two hours he had sat on the dike with his rod
and line and had caught
 only three little fish, so Jacob was very cross.
"Just as he came up to his house with his basket on his arm,
down flew one of the storks which lived on his chimney. I
suppose the stork had not had good luck with his fishing,
either, and his babies and their mother were hungry.
"When the stork saw Jacob's basket of fish he put in his
long bill and helped himself to the largest one there. Oh,
how angry Jacob was! Before the stork had time to spread his
wings, Jacob struck him with his staff. I am sure he did not
mean to kill the bird, but there he lay dead.
"And now listen," said Karl, in a low voice. "That very week
the cows got in and ate up all of his garden. Then little
Peter fell off the dike and broke his arm. Not long after
that Jacob lost his place in the mill. He has had bad luck
ever since he killed that stork."
"I do not believe the storks had a thing to do with it,"
said Jonathan, when the story was ended.
"You just ask anybody in Amsterdam whether storks bring
luck," answered Karl.
"You have a nest of storks on your chimney. What good luck
did they ever bring you?" asked Jonathan.
"Oh, we are always lucky," answered Karl. "Every season
father catches a great boat load of fish. We can always
sell our milk and vegetables, butter and cheese. We are
almost always well,
 and all last year I stood at the head of my class
at school. Yes, the storks have brought us much
"I do not believe in storks, anyway," insisted the little
"Hush!" whispered Karl. "You would better not let the
storks hear you say that."