After a time the little man woke up, and in looking around for the drake he saw Johnny's red wig sticking out of the top of the bushes.

"That is surely the drake," he thought, "for I can see a curl and something red;" and the next minute "bang!" went the gun, and Johnny Sprigg gave a great yell and jumped out of the bushes. As for his beautiful wig, it was shot right off his head, and fell into the water of the brook a good ten yards away!

"What are you trying to do?" he cried, shaking his fist at the little man.

"Why, I was only shooting at the drake," replied Jimson; "and I hit it, too, for there it is in the water.

"That 's my wig, sir!" said Johnny Sprigg, "and you shall pay for it, or I 'll have the law on you. Are you the man who shot the duck here yesterday morning?"

"I am, sir," answered the little man, proud that he had shot something besides a wig.

"Well, you shall pay for that also," said Mr. Sprigg; "for it belonged to me, and I 'll have the money or I 'll put you in jail!"

The little man did not want to go to jail, so with a heavy heart he paid for the wig and the duck, and then took his way sorrowfully homeward.

He did not tell Joan of his meeting with Mr. Sprigg; he only said he could not find a drake. But she knew all about it when the paper came out, for this is what it said on the front page:

There was a little man and he had a little gun, And the bullets were made of lead, lead, lead. He shot Johnny Sprigg through the middle of his wig, And knocked it right off from his head, head, head.

The little man was so angry at this, and at the laughter of all the men he met, that he traded his gun off for a lawn-mower, and resolved never to go hunting again.

He had the little duck he had shot made into a pie, and he and Joan ate it; but he did not enjoy it very much.

"This duck cost me twelve dollars," he said to his loving wife, "for that is the sum Johnny Sprigg made me pay; and it 's a very high price for one little duck--do n't you think so, Joan?"

Hickory, Dickory, Dock

Hickory, Dickory, Dock

Hickory, Dickory, Dock! The mouse ran up the clock. The clock struck one, The mouse ran down, Hickory, Dickory, Dock!

Within the hollow wall of an old brick mansion, away up near the roof, there lived a family of mice. It was a snug little home, pleasant and quiet, and as dark as any mouse could desire. Mamma Mouse liked it because, as she said, the draught that came through the rafters made it cool in summer, and they were near enough to the chimney to keep warm in wintertime.

Besides the Mamma Mouse there were three children, named Hickory and Dickory and Dock. There had once been a Papa Mouse as well; but while he was hunting for food one night he saw a nice piece of cheese in a wire box, and attempted to get it. The minute he stuck his head into the box, however, it closed with a snap that nearly cut his head off; and when Mamma Mouse came down to look for him he was quite dead.

Mamma Mouse had to bear her bitter sorrow all alone, for the children were too young at that time to appreciate their loss. She felt that people were cruel to kill a poor mouse for wishing to get food for himself and his family. There is nothing else for a mouse to do but take what he can find, for mice can not earn money, as people do, and they must live in some way.

But Mamma Mouse was a brave mouse, and knew that it was now her duty to find food for her little ones; so she dried her eyes and went bravely to work gnawing through the baseboard that separated the pantry from the wall. It took her some time to do this, for she could only work at night. Mice like to sleep during the day and work at night, when there are no people around to interrupt them, and even the cat is fast asleep. Some mice run about in the daytime, but they are not very wise mice who do this.

At last Mamma Mouse gnawed a hole through the baseboard large enough for her to get through into the pantry, and then her disappointment was great to find the bread jar covered over with a tin pan.

Mother Goose in Prose Page 32

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