Short Stories » Guess What
ONCE there was a flood that surrounded the house where I was living, and it carried drift-wood that lodged in the high branches of trees along bank and across lowlands. After the waters subsided, there were many strange sights ; one of them was a kitchen stove in a tree-top, and it remained for eight years that I know of, how much longer I cannot say. One that was on our own place was odd enough.
One morning as the cows were being taken to pasture, the boy discovered a poor little chick helplessly fluttering in the water, and fast drifting down toward the bridge he stood upon. Of course he res- cued the chicken and wondered where it came from.
Presently he heard a clucking in the air, and turned slowly around to discover where to locate the sounds. As he held the wet little creature in his handkerchief to dry it, its plaintive cries were heard by the mother, and, to our boy's astonishment, she flew out of a tree-top toward him. Impelled by curiosity, he climbed up, and in a mass of drift-wood some ten feet in diameter, found a brood of fourteen fine chickens. He called loudly, and all ran in haste to see Biddy's " castle in the air," some fifteen feet above our heads.
They were all brought down in a basket, and were soon in full parade upon level ground, reveling among grass and scouting along the brook's edge for vagrant insects. Biddy showed no disposition to return to her strange lodgings at night, but marched into the fowls' quarter in the barn-yard.
But this lofty retreat was again occupied, and by as strange a tenant, too. The possession of the premises was not even suspected, until one afternoon when I was quietly gathering blackberries (at least the bees and I were, and the bees seemed to get the blackest and sweetest ones every time, for they got there earlier than I did), when I heard such pitiful cries, and such a coaxing one too, that I put down my basket and began another kind of search. Up and down the bank I hunted, among grasses and briers. Straightening up for a rest, I found them at last, four frightened kittens cautiously coming down the steep trunk of the tree, in dire dismay of the running water below. We brought a long, wide board, and kitty went up and down on it, bringing one each time to the ground.
It had been a perilous place for both broods, but neither hawks disturbed the one nor mischievous boys the other.
Why should we not learn from these simple examples that the strangest situations are as safe as any if a protecting care is over us ?