WINTER IN HOLLAND
HEN the days grew shorter and cooler there were no baby
storks in their homes on the chimney tops. Those that were
little birdlings when the Pilgrims went to Holland had
grown large and strong. For weeks their parents had taken
them on long flights into the country, that their wings
might grow strong for a longer journey.
Still the days grew shorter. The cold north wind blew off
the sea. Even the nest on the chimney was no longer
The storks knew it was time to fly to their winter home in
the far south. So they spread their wings and away they flew
in long lines across the sky, hundreds and thousands of
Then came a still, cold night, and a day just as cold.
There were no little girls knitting on the street that day.
Their fingers were hidden in warm red mittens, and they
hurried home as fast as their wooden shoes would carry
Boys swung their arms to keep warm, and talked of the fun
there would be on the ice if it stayed cold until
to-morrow. There would be no school, and the stores and
mills would be closed, for the first day of skating is a
holiday in Holland.
The next morning the Pilgrims were awakened
 at daybreak by merry shouts on the canal. Bartholomew
Allerton ran to the window, but the frost on the panes was
so thick he could not see out. He breathed upon the
glass and scraped away some of the frost. Down the canal came
eight boys in a
row, each holding to the jacket of the boy in front of him.
They flew past the house like a flash of light.
"Everybody is on skates today"
Bartholomew could hardly wait to eat his breakfast, he was
so eager to go out upon the canal.
 Suppose we put on our skates and go with him.
What a merry place the canal is this morning! Everybody is
on skates to-day. Here come three market women from the
country. Each has on her shoulders a wooden yoke from which
hang baskets of vegetables. There is a man with a yoke, too.
He must have milk in those bright cans. I am afraid it will
freeze if he has far to go.
Just see Mevrow Vetter! What is she carrying on her back?
Oh, it is her baby in a snug little nest made of his
mother's shawl. He puts his arms around her neck and she
holds his little hands. He is warm and happy, and he coos and
chatters, trying to tell her about the people he sees on the
canal. He thinks skating is great fun.
There goes Doctor Fuller, skating to see a sick man at the
other end of town. At the rate he goes he will soon be
there. And who is this pushing a sled before him as he
skates? Bartholomew knows him. That is Peter Houten with his
lame sister. She cannot skate, so Peter has fixed her chair
on a sled and covered it with warm fur. On the sled is a
little foot stove filled with hot coals, so she will not get
cold. Her pale cheeks have grown rosy and her eyes shine
Now we have come to the great canal beyond the city. It is
much wider than the others. Here are beautiful sleighs drawn
by horses, their bells making merry music on the canal.
 There is a group of boys on skates, playing the game boys
play all the world over. They hit a ball with their clubs
and away it flies over the smooth ice. Look out, boys! See
these white sails flying down the canal. Whoever saw a
sleepy canal boat go so fast! Has it too put on skates?
Whiz! Whir-r-r! It is past. What was it? Lookout! Here comes
another! Whir-r! whiz! whir-r-r!
They are ice boats and have runners like a sled. The wind
fills their sails and they go faster than a ship on the
water, faster than the swiftest horse. They are too
dangerous to run on the crowded canals in the city. They
must stay on the lakes, or river, or on the great canals
outside of the town. Even here they must stay on their own
side of the canal and we must stay on ours, or some one will