Newspaper Page Text
The Land of
fJUST wish I was a man!" exclaimed Jamie,
emphatically, kicking a stone that lay in his
pathway. "Men don't have to"
Goodness! Was this a cyclone or what? He felt
himself being whirled, head over heels, up and away
away awa-a-ay, at a tremendous pace (so it'
seemed), as if some giant had shot him from a rub
Thump! He had landed as abruptly as he had
His head still whirling, he staggered to his feet and
gazed about him. He found that he was in a meadow,
near the border of a small lake. The first matter out
ef the ordinary that he noted was the distance beneath
him of the grass. Was he on stilts? No; for when he
wiggled his feet they stirred the green blades. The
one matter in especial that he noted was a number of
enormous daisies, a few yards from him, growing very
close to the turf, and a bird fluttering helplessly in the
ripples some five or six rods from snore.
Jamie, moved to pity, ran forward to rescue it. He
vaded in cautiously, because he was afraid of the
depth.; but the water after all, came up to his shoul
ders, and he easily succeeded in reaching the poor,
"That's right! Fetch him out!" shouted a voice from
Jammie hastily turned and looked. He saw on the
ihore, a tall, thin man, whose crown and face were
spparently as bare and clean as any egg. So very
smooth and bare were they that his aspect was really
Carrying the bird, which, half-drowned as it was,
nevertheless fluttered and squawked and even pecked,
Jamie made for the spot where was waiting the man.
"How-de-do," said the stranger, as Jamie neared the
water's edge. "Thank-ee," ana he extended his hand.
"Give him to me the mean critter!"
Whereupon, seizing the bird, he popped him into a
rage which had mysteriously produced itself, evidently
for the purpose.
"There 1" granted the man, in a satisfied tone.
He set the cage down, and began scrutinizing his
face in a small oval hand mirror. Jamie observed, also,
that slung from one shoulrer was a shaving mug, from
one trouser pocket stuck the end of a razor, and the
other bulged as if it might contain the brush and soap
peeded to complete the outfit ; and he was about to
Inquire politely: "Please, sir, are you a barber?" when
the bird (it might have been a swallow, or a spar
row, or any feathered thing of that size, so soaked and
an recognizable was its plumage), havine coughed sev
eral times with a sneezy, explosive sound, piped, husk
tly: "Do wish folks would let me alone! Meddling men!
Ugh ! Ugh ! A-chco."
Jamie was astounded at its ingratitude as much as at
"The idea! After I've gone in and got him when he
was drowning!" he appealeM, indignantly.
"Drowning!" scoffed the bird. "How can a fish
"But you're not a fish you're a bird!" retorted
"Certainly, he is! Just what I tell him, every time,
sir," agreed the individual with the mirror, brandish
ing it earnestly. "He wanted to be a bird, and now he
it a bird; and here he's pinin' to be a fish again! The
mean critter! Did you ever see any meaner?"
"I don't know," answered Jamie, puzzled.
Now that they were side by side Jamie perceived
that the man was not so tall, after all. Why, himself
was of nearly the same height.
"Well it's a hard world," responded the man. "But,
come on, come on ! While we're standin' here a-talkin'
tome fish will be tryin' to fly, and we'll be too late."
Leaving the bird, which was moodily huncnea on its
perch in its cage, he hurriedly trugded off adown the
warm, sandy beach, and Jamie followed.
"See?" suddenly spoke the man, over his shoulder,
pointing ahead. "I told vott so!"
"It's a fish, isn't it?'Vried Jamie. "An it's 'way up
"Of course!" snapped his guide. "What are you do
ing here, again?" he exclaimed, halting at the wrig
gling, flapping object. Stooping, . he picked it up ( it
was about eight inches long), and without more ado,
tossed it into the water.
Almost immediately, however, the fish put its head
Cut in expostulation, and, balancing as if treading,
raised a funny, squeaky voice :
"You mean old scamp,!" it railed. "You do that
every time I start to fly! You ought to be "
"You hush !" commanded the man. "You can't ex
pect to swim and fly both! Ain't you a fish? Well
then, what's the matter? Why don't you be satisfied?
You got what you wished, dfdn't you?"
"I won't be a fish! I don't like it!" replied the
jqueaky head. "I'm going to be a bird .again !"
"You're not, either!"
"I am, tool"
The fish jumped into- the' ajr and fell with a flat
"I shall r
" I shall f
"Well, you'd better not letjne ketch you on shore
again that's sail !" threatened the man, as his last
word. While thus scolding back and forth, they had
gradually drawn apart, and now the man, accompanied
by Jamie, proceeded upon his way. Jamie, glancing
behind, could see the fish, apparently in a frenzy,
bouncing up and down on the surface like an ani
Jnated piece of whalebone.
"Isn't -ft -disgustable 1" asserted fh Bran, pausing and
thoughtfully scanning biWKe more in his glass.
"V.'is anything err 3tr disgustabuller? Heyr'
tf."Will you tell me wtiere I am, please?" asked Jamie,
i alarm, at the oddity of his surroundings.
"I will if youH say I need shaving, offered the
"But but: you don't!" responded Jamie. "So I
ran t. .
Jamie spoke only truth, for assuredly, the man's
Ym was as guiltless of hair as is a dressed kid glove.
"High-ho-hum-Harry !" sighed the man, sadly. "I
ckon I don't. So 111 tell you, anyway. You're in the
Land of Wishcd-To-Be, and to get here you must have
I 5,rWWWw ww m-w w w v wwvwwwwwwwwMwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwvww' - - - - " ------ WWWWM
the Wish to Be
wished to be something different from what you were,
and you wished it on the very instant when the upper
horn of the new moon pointed due nor' nor'-tv-est at 12
noon; so here you are, and you're 'it!' Now what
In a lightning flash Jamie recollected his words just
before the whirlwind had snatched him!
"I I wished I was a man! Oh, crickety!"
"And you are a man, aren't you?" encouraged his
companion. "But men don't say 'Oh, crickety!' Do
be keerful, or you'll get like all the rest, tryin' to do
things that you quit doin' of your own accord!"
Jamie was curiously investigating himself, and tak
ing notes with fingers and eyes and sensations gener
ally. How rough and stiff his face was ! What big
hands and feet he had! And what stout, awkward
legs ! He had on long trousers ! Yes, hi was a man.
Dear, dear, who would have dreamed it!
"Aye, that's what's the matter up here," continued
the other. "Folks have got what they wanted, and now.
'stid o bein' satisfied, they're hankerin' to change back
again. Look at that pesky fieh, will you ! Got changed,
at last, from a bird, because he kept wishin' it and
now he's found he'd ruther fly than swim, after all.
Keeps me busy puttin' him into the water. He's about
the only one left at present. .The others ail got on
land, when I didn't see 'em, and died."
"I suppose, then, that bird we have in the cage was
a fish once," hazarded Jamie, whose clothes were
''Certain," answered the man. "Wished he was a bird,
' and got to be a bird, and now insists on bein' a fish,
because bein' a bird ain't the fun he thought it'd be.
He'll drown, I reckon, spite of all we can do. Such
meaness I never see, saw nor seen never!"
"Did did you come here on a wish?" inquired Jamie,
"Yes, I did," answered the man, frankly. "Its this
wav : I was all the time havin' to get shaved or trimmed
just when it was a bother, and one day my wife says,
savs she : 'John, do get your hair cut to-day.' and I
bein'expeciously busy, says, says I: 'Hang my hair! I
wish it was in Jericho!' and I guess that's where it
went, every speck of it."
"Didn't you ever find out?" queried Jamie.
"How? When I'm here, and it's there!" replied
the hairless man, shortly.
"Probably it's waiting for you tied up in a package
at the post-office." volunteered Jamie.
"More'n likely," assented the hairless man. "Only,
chances are it hasn't any return address on it. How
ever, nobodv else can use it. It won't fit. It's very
peculiar, obstinate hair. But I wish I had it back, just
the same. You don't see any signs yet of my needing
a trim or a shave, do you?" he added, eagerly.
"No, I don't," confessed Jamie, sorry as he was
to say it.
The man surveyed himself, according to his cus
tom, in the mirror.
"I'd give the world and all if you could," he sighed.
"I carry a razor and mug and pair of shears (the
shears a-e in my left hip-pocket, and I have to be
keerful not to sit on 'em) all ready. There was a
barber about for a while, and I hung to him, I tell
you, as long as he lasted. But he pined to be a coal
miner again, and he kept burrowin' in holes until one
caved in on him, and he never dug out."
The hairless man wiped his eyes.
"Dear me!" he remarked, peering at Jamie. "You're
nice and stubbly, and pretty soon you'll be gettin'
shaved and your hair on top of your head almost
needs trimmin'! What luck!"
So that was why his cheeks and chin felt so rough
and prickly! Jamie understood. , Of course: he was
a man. and his beard was growing. That thing which
tickled his nose and stiffened his upper lip was his
moustache! Well, Well!
With another peep into the glass, and with a reflec
tive passage of his hand over his smooth crown, the
hairless man stared inland, Jamie, proudly conscious
of equality, walking by his side.
Their route led them to a cluster of the enormous
daisies such as had met Jamie's eyes when he first ar
rived. But now, on close inspection, he discovered
them to be sunflowers, lying prone, as if a violent wind
and rain had beaten them flat. Mindful of the work
that he and his mother had been accustomed to do in
their garden at home after a violent storm, he bent
and raised one of the sunflowers upright.
To-his astonishment, it seemed to resist his effort
with all its stalk.
"Let me go you horrid thing, you!" it said, crossly.
"How dare you, anyway!"
"I only meant to help you, protested Jamie, ag
grieved. "Don't you want to stand up straight?"
"Na-a-a-aw I" snarled the sunflower. "Do you
s'pose I like to be stuck high in the air, where every
body can stare at me and see what I do, and I can't
have any privacy? Let. go, will you!"
Jamie obediently "let go," and the sunflower flopped
down as if its stalk were a steel spring, and nuzzled as
far as possible into the grass.
"Shame on you ! You re the 'meanest yet !" rebuked
the hairless man. "Why didn't you stay a violet,
then, 'stid of wishin' to be a sunflower?"
"I thought that being a sunflower would be nicer,"
wailed the big blosnom.
"But gettin' down there like a great booby won't
make you a violet igain," declared the hairless man.
"And somebody'll step on you, too!"
"I don't care. I want to be a violet again, like I
was in the first place," quavered the sunflower.
"The pestiferous critter!" muttered the hairless man,
as he and Jamie proceeded. "So onreasonable !"
It struck Jamie that the hairless man himself was
proven by his own actions to be, just as unreasonable
as the other inhabitants of this queer country of dis
content, but he prudently held his tongue.
"Here comes that tiresome elephant! She is the
worst!" growled the hairless man.
A fearsome trumpeting Tent the air, ' and raoidly
shuffled toward them an elephant well nigh as large
as a haystack.
"You needn't be scar.." said the hairless man, reas
suringly, to Jamie. "She ain't dangerous 'cept to
one's temper. Whoa-oa-a! What's wrong now,
The elephant stopped just in front of them, her sides
heaving and her trunk swaying -excitedly.
"It's the mouse he came out!" she whimpered.
"And to think that never, never, would I have run
from a mouse before!"
"You're not a cat, though, any more; you're an ele
phant!" explained the hairless man. "You wanted to
be an elephant, remember, and you are an elephant."
He grew angry. "Oh,, what a fooliferous, worriferous
beast you are! In all your life, pardner, did you ever
see a worriferouser? Now, did you?"
Jamie soberly shook his head.
"I fancied it would be so grand to be an elephant,
and not have to mind dogs or boys; indeed I did,"
pleaded the animal, 'like a culprit. "But I never, never
dreamed I'd be afraid -of a mouse! I used to eat
them, and they taste so good! I want a mou-ou-ouse 1"
I 1 1
A SLEEPY BOY-
f'Uf! Up,' my boy, it Vtime to dress.?'
.Calls Father in the morning;'
(And then, a second afterward, (
; There comes another warning?
What! not up yet, you lazy boy'
Says Father quite severely.X
It 's fifteen minutes since I called
And breakfast 's ready, nearly
. k r . .
''Now' what I really want to know,
is. where those fifteen minutes gy
Her voice broke, and tears streamed down her trunk,
which had ceased swaying and hung dejectedly to the
ground. "And my whiskers that I used to wash! I
can't wash them ; my paws don't work right 1 I'd rather
be a ca-a-at." " "
She sat on her haunches and wept bitterly.
Jamie would have essayed to console her, but his
companion dragged him away,
"Idjit!" mumbled the hairless man,. as they continued
their route. "Wished to be an elephant, and now, 'stid
of enjoyin it, she squats by a mouse-hole half her
time and tries to be a cat again bah !"
After having encountered such a succession of
amazing characters a complaining bird, a complain
ing fish, a complaining sunflower, a complaining ele
phant, and an extraordinarily bald-faced, bald-headed
personage, also complaining Jamie was relieved to
sight, a short distance on before, a boy of about his
own age. Here, at least, was somebody who would
be more congenial.
'That's Simon Snoodles," announced the hairless
man. "Now, I wonder what dido he'll kick up!"
Simon Snoodles turned out to be a chubby lad in
knickerbockers; he was sitting, with a dissatisfied, sul
len mien, beside a kite, which, leaning against a tree,
was bigger than himself.
"Howdy, Simon," greeted the hairless man, conde
scendingly. "Why don't you fly your new kite?"
Simon looked up and frowned.
"Kite!" he sneered, with the utmost scorn. "Kite!
Fiddlesticks! What do I want with a kite! Piff!"
Then, observing Jamie, he hastily sprang to his feet.
"I beg your pardon," he said; "but this gentleman
hasn't the morning's paper with him, has he? I'd
give a good deal to know what Congress is doing with
that tariff measure."
"Why, no; haven't any paper," responded Jamie,
astonished, "but I'll help yon fly your kite, if youll
let me. Say, isn't she a dandy, though! Where did
you get her?"
He began to examine it with "sparkling eyes, for fly-
fng kites was one of bis favorite amusements, and this
kite certainly was the. finest that he ever had seen.
"You two juat better qnit, right herel" interposed
the hairless man sharply. "Simon S noodles, you're a
boy. You fly your kite and eat your jujube paste,
never you mind about mora In' papers, and Congress
and the like. And you, . friend WhatVyour-name,
you're a man. Flyin' kites ain't for you. You're done
with kite and marble; and. alL that , truck. After we
leave Master Snoodles to play Fidget you a morn in'
paper and you can sit .down quiet " with it and read
it as much as you please. Hey howB .that?"
At the mention of jujube paste Jamie's ears had
pricked up and his mouth had begun to water. Jujube
paste yum-yum !
XBOYniust dress himself, you Unovrf,
Before he is a man,
(But buttons always want to go
- The queerest way they can. (
I struggle "with them every day,'1
And, tug with all my might,
(And still they seem to hae.a way?
Of never going right J
fond yet when Mother, take's a hand.
i They go so easily,
That. I can never understand
Vhy they won't go for me,
"Did did you say 'jujube paste? he asked.
"Yep; jujube paste, and caramels, and lemon drops,
and cinnamon dropJf and all-day suckers, and choco
late drops, and why, that boy has everything a boy
could have, even green apples, besides a new hat and
a steam engine, and a kite that cost four dollars!"
"Whew!" sighed Jamie. "If he doesn't want all
that candy I can eat part of it."
"Take it, take it!" cried the chubby Simon. "It's
"Nonsense 1" interrupted the hairless man. "Grown
folks can't munch like that 'twould give 'em indiges-
Litlte cxryBiue come blow your horn";
;Che shceps in tho meadow, the cow s
. In -the corn . C
la this he way you mind your sheep , tv
U nderthe heystacri, fast , osiecp 1
src-. ... . . ' .
V rXm-Ji T T 1
tion. As for toys like steam engines and kites
don't keer for them, do we, Mr. What's-your-name?"
Jamie dared not shake his head. He was too dis
appointed. "Besides, we're too busy to play, and when we're
not too busy we're too tired. We have to work, and
then we have to rest Come on," he bade to Jamie;
"it's time you were at your office, Leave your Simoa
to fly his kite and play ball with the other boys."
"Gracious me!" exclaimed Simon. "I must get to
the office myself. Business will all go to wnash. I
can buy a morning's paper on my way."
"I guess 111 let him go to the office instead of me,"
faltered Jamie, shyly. "I'd I'd rather stay and fly
the kite. There's an awful good wind, you tee."
And he thought, also of the jujube paste and the
caramels and the steam-engine.
"All right," agreed Simon, eagerly. "But I warn
you, sir, youll find it mighty stupid."
"Ree-diculous !" snorted the hairless man. "And I
dunno which is the ree-diculouser, one or t'other.
Here's a mun who's at last got to be a boy again,
wantin' to gq back into his old routine; and here's
boy that's got to be a man, bound to fly kites and eat
jujube. Aw, stop it!" And he gave Simon a push
and Jamie a pull, as if he had disposed of the mat
ter then and there.
"Don't be so rough ! Let me alone ! You aren't my
father! I don't have to mind yen! Ill do as I
please!" objected Jamie, holding back.
"Hands off! What do you mean b;- shoving me like
that?" demanded Simon, bristling up.
. "Bah!" grinned the hairless man, pushing and pull
ing, and resisted so stoutly by both that the scuffle
speedily waxed into a regular scrimmage. Suddenly
the hairless man lost his temper.
- "You good-for-nothin', mean critters!" he bawled,
as if exasperated beyond measure; and with the last
word, he dealt Jamie, whom he had been jerking, a
violent shove backward.
Over went Jamie, and down, down, down, down,
as if he had fallen from the edge of a frightful prec
ipice. He agonizingly awaited the landing; but it
came as easily as to a thisiie-sced, so gently he settled
Expectantly he picked himself up. He was in the
backyard once more. Hurrah! And his legs were
in knickerbockers and his hands were decently small,
and he recognized a crooked baseball finger and his
face felt smooth and he wasn't large and awkward!
"Crickety, but I'm glad !" he chuckled. t "Being just
what I am is good enough for me. Only," he added,
"I'd like to have brought that kite along."
THE MANX KITTEN
By Zitella Cocke.
nj LSIE wrote Grandpa a letter
Brimming o'er with love and thanks.
For the kitten he had promised
All the way from Isle of Manx
Quite a labor, too, she found it.
Dotting i's and crossing t's, ..
But Grandpa read very clearly:
"Send the kitten, if you please."
So one morning, from the city,
Spite of wind and snow and rain
Came the long-expected Kitty,
In a basket, on the train.
"Oh! you darling thing!!" cried Elsie,
Stroking fur as smooth as silk,
"Come, 3'our breakfast is now ready;
Such a bowl of bread and milk!"
Kitty ran to eat the breakfast,
Elsie uttered shriek and wail:
"Oh. dear, dear! somtehing's the matter?
Where, oh, where, is Kitty's tail?"
Then she wrote another letter,
Nice and neat, without a blot:
"Thank you. Grandpa, for the Kilty;
But her tail you have forgot!"
Little boy Elue.'awake, awake,
And see how merry your chargcVmakeis...
Through field and garden their course they"steeY,v
And the mischief they 're doing, oh deartch deax-
I see them now, as .they'wancler faf,
With never a thought of a fence or bar;
I hear them laueh. I 'm sure I do.
As they think of the trouble they 've made for yoti
Ah, little boy Blue," this wisdom keep,
That much may happen when one 's asleep;
And he who 'd harvest his field of corn (
M,ust keep his eyes open, and blow, his borrii