"That was well done," said the mayor, coming I back again; "but tell me, can you put my cart before my horse and take me to ride?"
"Certainly, sir," replied Tommy; and going to the mayor's stable he put the harness on the nag and then led him head-first into the shafts, instead of backing him into them, as is the usual way. After fastening the shafts to the horse, he mounted upon the animal's back, and away they started, pushing the cart before the horse.
"That was easy," said Tommy. "If your honor will get into the cart I 'll take you to ride." But the mayor did not ride, although he was pleased at Tommy's readiness in solving a difficulty.
After a moment's thought he bade Tommy follow him into the house, where he gave him a cupful of water, saying,
"Let me see you drink up this cup of water."
Tommy hesitated a moment, for he knew the mayor was trying to catch him; then, going to a corner of the room, he set down the cup and stood upon his head in the corner. He now carefully raised the cup to his lips and slowly drank the water until the cup was empty. After this he regained his feet, and, bowing politely to the mayor, he said,
"The water is drunk up, your honor."
"But why did you stand on your head to do it?" enquired the alderman, who had watched the act in astonishment.
"Because otherwise I would have drunk the water down, and not up," replied Tommy.
The mayor was now satisfied that Tommy was shrewd enough to do him honor, so he immediately took him to live in the great house as his adopted son, and he was educated by the best masters the city afforded.
And Tommy Tucker became in after years not only a great, but a good man, and before he died was himself mayor of the city, and was known by the name of Sir Thomas Tucker.
"Pussy-cat, Pussy-cat, where do you go?" "To London, to visit the palace, you know." "Pussy-cat Mew, wily you come back again?" "Oh, yes! I 'll scamper with might and with main!"
Pussy-cat Mew set off on her way, Stepping quite softly and feeling quite gay. Smooth was the road, so she traveled at ease, Warmed by the sunshine and fanned by the breeze.
Over the hills to the valleys below, Through the deep woods where the soft mosses grow, Skirting the fields, with buttercups dotted, Swiftly our venturesome Pussy-cat trotted.
Sharp watch she kept when a village she neared, For boys and their mischief our Pussy-cat feared! Often she crept through the grasses so deep To pass by a dog that was lying asleep.
Once, as she walked through a sweet-clover field, Something beside her affrightedly squealed, And swift from her path there darted away A tiny field-mouse, with a coat of soft gray.
"Nowhere," thought our Pussy, "is chance for a dinner; The one that runs fastest must surely be winner!" So quickly she started the mouse to give chase, And over the clover they ran a great race.
But just when it seemed that Pussy would win, The mouse spied a hole and quickly popped in; And so he escaped, for the hole was so small That Pussy-cat could n't squeeze in it at all.
So, softly she crouched, and with eyes big and round Quite steadily watched that small hole in the ground "This mouse really thinks he 's escaped me," she said, "But I 'll catch him sure if he sticks out his head!"
But while she was watching the poor mouse's plight, A deep growl behind made her jump with affright; She gave a great cry, and then started to run As swift as a bullet that 's shot from a gun!
"Meow! Oh, meow "our poor Puss did say; "Bow-wow!" cried the dog, who was not far away. O'er meadows and ditches they scampered apace, O'er fences and hedges they kept up the race!
Then Pussy-cat Mew saw before her a tree, And knew that a safe place of refuge 't would be; So far up the tree with a bound she did go, And left the big dog to growl down below.