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Little Amish 






! Little Amish 




by Ella Maie Seyfert 

Illustrated by Ninon MacKnight 

New York • 1939 







All rights reserved. No part of this boo\ may 

be reproduced in any form except by a reviewer 

who may quote brief passages in a review to be 

printed in a magazine or newspaper 




who follow in the footsteps 
of their brave ancestors 





a voice shouted warningly. Then WHIZZ! A big 
snowball ripped past David's broad-brimmed hat 
and squashed into a thousand bits on the rail fence beside him. 
The wet snow splashed all over David, stinging his face and 

He jumped and looked back. "I get you tomorrow once ! " 
he called lustily to the boy who stood in the middle of the road, 
blowing his breath on his cold fingers. "I sock you a good one 
tomorrow, Johnny Zook ! " 

David had been one of the first to rush from the wide-open 

schoolhouse door when school was dismissed at the little 
Amish schoolhouse. Boys and girls of all ages came bounding 
after, crunching over the snow-covered boardwalk in their 
heavy-soled winter shoes, glad to feel the cold November air 
on their faces. They were still excited over the first snow, 
which had come so quickly on top of Indian summer, and 
were eager to get out into it again. David wanted very much 
to stay and play with the other children for a while, but he had 
to hurry home to his little sister Martha because he had such 
good news for her this afternoon. 

The other boys were still busily squeezing and shaping the 
new snow into balls with which to "sock" each other, while 
the girls skipped along in groups, dodging the whizzing snow- 
balls with screams of fright. They pulled their big bonnets over 
their faces and tucked their woolen shawls close under their 
chins for protection. When they dared peek out they called 
"Good night, good night," again and again to groups going 
in the opposite direction. Two of the girls were still chasing 
each other round and round on the snowy road in front of the 
schoolhouse. "Good night, Mary, good night!" The little 
girl's voice was shrill and happy. "See your face last, Katie, 
good night ! " 

David was tempted again to loiter and stay in the fun, but 
he thought of the good news he had for Martha, and with a 
last warning to Johnny Zook — "I get you tomorrow already ! " 
— and "Good night, good night," to the other children, he 
went on down the country road. As he scuffed through the wet 
snow he gripped his strap of books tightly under his arm and 


swung the little splint lunchbasket that hung by his side. 

The cries of the children straggling after him sounded pleas- 
ant to David as he walked quickly along, especially their Penn- 
sylvania Dutch "Goot nachtl Goot nachtl" for this was the 
language the little Amish boys and girls spoke at home, before 
they learned to speak English at their little red schoolhouses. 
Sometimes they mixed Dutch with their English and it 
sounded very funny to other people. 

As he hurried along the road David looked quaint indeed 
in his big hat and long trousers, for he was dressed exactly as 
his father dressed now, and as his great-great-grandfather 
dressed two hundred years ago when he first came to America. 
Great-great-grandfather's trunk was still in their attic — the 
trunk which he had brought with him from 'way across the 
water, from Switzerland, two hundred years ago. 

David called the short jacket he wore a "wammus" His 
trousers were long and had no cuffs, and his hat was broad of 
brim and the crown was low. David's hair grew long over his 
ears, and his mother cut it straight across his forehead in a 
bang, which made him look like all the other little Amish boys 
because they all had their hair cut in this same way, and they 
all wore the same kind of clothes. 

The little Amish girls all looked alike, too. They dressed 
just like their mothers, in long dresses colored soft green or 
purple or red, with big aprons over them. Their neckerchiefs 
matched their dresses, and after they became older and joined 
the church they wore little white mull caps under their large 
bonnets, just like their mothers, too. 


David lived with his parents on a farm not far from the 
Welsh mountains in beautiful Lancaster County in Pennsyl- 
vania. Other Amish families lived on other farms all around 
them. They all belonged to the more strict Mennonites — a 
group called "Plain People" because they lived plainly and 
dressed plainly, just as their forefathers did in Switzerland so 
long ago. And they were very proud to be like those brave 
people who came to America more than two hundred years 
ago because here they could worship God in the way they felt 
was right. 

When David reached the "by-road" or lane that led to his 
father's farm this evening, the other children were far behind. 
But he called "Good night!" and "Goot nachtl" as he did 
each evening when he turned into his lane, though he knew 
no one would hear. 

Halfway down to the house David could see little Martha 
near the apple orchard. She was running to meet him with 
Shep, their dog, who leaped along happily in the snow as he 
recognized David in the distance. David called to Shep and 
then he called to Martha. He knew how much Martha liked 
to eat out of his splint lunchbasket so he saved her a bit of 
his lunch each day. 

Now he held the basket high above his head for her to see. 
" Yoo hoo ! Yoo hoo ! " he called to her. And " Yoo hoo ! " Mar- 
tha called back to him breathlessly. She tried to run fast over 
the snowy ground but her long skirts and big shawl were hard 
to manage in the cold and wind, and Shep reached David long 
before she did. 

"Down, Shep, down! Shame! — Tt's f° r Martha," David 
scolded, as he kept the basket swinging as high as he could 
over his head. 

"Iss kalt. It's cold," Martha panted, quite out of breath now. 
She found the basket lid hard to open because her hands were 
numb with cold, although she was wearing her warm red 
home-knit woolen mittens. But just as David offered to help 
her she gave an extra hard tug and the lid flew off ! 

"Ach, shoo-fly pie!" Martha shouted, peeping under the 
red fringed napkin that covered it. Shoo-fly pie is molasses 
cake baked in pastry and covered thickly with white sugary 
crumbs. Martha loved shoo-fly pie and when she bit into the 
crumbly, sugary cake it almost smothered her. 

"Ich gleich \uchen ! I like cake ! " she mumbled as she puffed 
the crumbs all around and tried to swallow the dry mouthfuls. 

David was eager to tell Martha his news but she was so 
interested in the lunchbasket he thought she had forgotten 
all about it. He went on ahead with Shep. But as soon as Mar- 
tha managed to swallow the last bit of cake in her mouth she 
called after him. "Does the schulhaus keep still, David?" 

But David was far ahead now, racing Shep to the house. 

"David!" Martha called again — this time as loud as she 
could scream. "David! Does the schulhaus keep still?" 

"Yes, yes!" David turned to shout back. "It keeps maybe and 
tomorrow you go to school with me!" 

Little Martha had heard so much talk at home and among 
other Amish people about closing their little red schoolhouses 
and building one big schoolhouse to take their places that she 


was afraid each day she might hear that hei own little school- 
house was to be closed. Martha thought and worried about this 
a great deal because her small world was made up of going to 
church, to weddings, and to farm sales, and for some time now 
she had been looking forward to next year when she could go 
to school with David. And she thought she wouldn't like at 
all to go to a big school with a lot of strange children. 

Martha's father and mother would not like this for her and 
David because they wanted to keep their children close to their 
home and have them go to school and play with other little 
Amish children only, so that they would keep to the Amish 
way of living always. 

When Martha heard David call to her that she was to go 
to school with him tomorrow it made her so happy she jumped 
up and down until her bonnet slipped 'way back on her head 
and what was left of the shoo-fly pie was squeezed into pieces 
in her red-mittened hands. 

"Go to school! Go to school!" she shouted with delight, 
then jerked her bonnet back into place and ran to catch up 
with David. 

Once a year Teacher allowed the boys and girls who would 
be old enough to start school the next year to come to spend a 
day at school — the "tryout day" she called it — and now Mar- 
tha's tryout day had come! She hurried along with David 
to tell her mother the good news. 

The big latch on the blue wooden gate in front of their 
house was all crackly with ice and snow. Martha strained with 
both hands to lift it out of the notch and David pulled just 


as hard at the top of the gate to help his sister open it. 

"A-h-h!" said David, banging the gate behind him. "It 
gives something good for supper!" He sniffed the air and 
"Ah," he said again as he breathed in the delicious smell. "Bet 
it gives schnitz and knepp for supper. Smells like." 

"A-h-h ! " Martha rolled her eyes as she sniffed back at him. 
"I \now it's schnitz and knepp — ah! smells gootl" 

"Martha Wenger ! " David warned her, as they stepped up 
on the kitchen porch, "you say good, g-o-o-d, like Teacher 
does. Don't you be a dummy tomorrow in school ! Vershteh? 
Understand? Don't you dare say 'ain't'; Teacher says not!" 

Sure enough, when they opened the kitchen door, there was 
Hetty, their big sister, dropping spoonfuls of golden batter 
from an earthen bowl into a pot of boiling ham and sweet 
apple snitz brea — broth. The yellow dumplings bobbed 
around like little sail boats in the pinkish broth and swelled 
up to the top of the pot. Then Hetty clapped the pot lid on 
tight, to steam the knepp — dumplings. She threw the red table 
cloth quickly over the table, to make it look as though supper 
were almost ready. 

"They make done soon," she said, "dumplings boil in a 
jiffy if they're not sad. Hurry and feed the chickens, David, I 
dish up soon now." 

"And the wood box makes empty too," Mother's voice re- 
minded him from the other end of the kitchen where she stood 
leaning over baby Jacob's cradle. 

Mother agreed with the teachings of their church that it is a 
sin to be lazy, and she expected David and Martha to do their 


share of work every day, although they were still little chil- 

All this time Martha was trying to thaw out her cold fingers 
over the hot cook stove, hoping that she would be allowed to 
play with baby Jacob in his cradle when her hands were warm 
again. She had not yet told her good news. Bubbling over at 
last she leaped across the big kitchen floor to Mother. "I go to 
school, Mom, tomorrow!" she cried. "You're glad, not?" 

"Ya veil, iss goot," Mother answered, still leaning over the 
cradle. "Now, quick, Martha, run the cellar steps down and 
fetch up the sots [yeast] jar. We bake bread tomorrow." 

"Does Jacob croup up again?" Martha asked as she came 
up the cellar steps with the jar. 

"Nein, nein — it's the colic. Martha, don't be dopplich [care- 


less]. Set the jar over there on the table and come rock him 

"SUPPER!" Hetty called just then to Father and David 
who were out at the barn. After they had come and washed 
up in the basin at the water bench, the family gathered around 
the kitchen table. 

It was such a good schnitz and knepp supper, although 
Father teased Mother about not having "seven sours and seven 
sweets." "It's a good hausfrau who sets her table with seven 
sours and seven sweets — not, Mother?" he joked. But he al- 
ways expected Mother to have these "seven sours and seven 
sweets" on the table when they had company — sour red beets, 
chow chow, pepper cabbage, baby watermelons pickled, cole- 
slaw, cucumber rings and sour apple butter; as well as pie, 
cake, prunes, preserves, home canned peaches, jelly and sweet 
applebutter tarts. 

Martha was allowed to help herself to everything three 
times. "Three helps," she said, and while she was busily eating 
she almost talked herself hoarse about going to the little red 
schoolhouse with David tomorrow. Mother and Father knew 
how excited she was and smiled over her chatter. 

Martha was the first to leave the supper table, and soon she 
was curled up on the wood box back of the stove, sound asleep. 

Mother covered her gently with a thick woolen shawl. 

"Schlof, bubeli, schlof — sleep, baby, sleep," she whispered. 
"I hope your schulhaus keeps always for you. We want it so ! " 





next morning. From the very first minute she 
knew that something wonderful was going to 
happen today, because she felt so happy and excited. And 
the very next minute she remembered what it was ! 

SCHOOL ! She was going to school with David. She was 
going to see Teacher, about whom she had heard so much. She 
was going to sing songs as they did at church, and she was 
going to eat lunch out of David's lunchbasket ! And she could 
play with all the little girls. 

She dressed in a hurry, and while she smoothed her shiny 


brown hair into the braids that would go around her head, she 
counted over the things she must remember. 

"I daresn't say 'goot' and I daresn't say 'aint,' " she said to 
herself softly. "My, I'm scairt of Teacher ! " she cried in happy 
excitement, and flew down the stairs to the kitchen. 

There she found Mother packing two lunches in David's 
splint lunchbasket. It was filled to the top with hard-boiled 
eggs, peanut butter sandwiches, pretzels, snitz pie, and a big 
apple for each of them! It all looked wonderful to Martha, 
but it did not tempt her now because she was far too excited 
to be hungry. 

"Our Martha grows big soon ! " Father joked at the break- 
fast table, as he filled her plate with sausage and hot cakes. 
"Next year she'll be as big as Hetty, not?" 

But Martha was thinking of her first day at school and 
didn't hear a word he said. She couldn't eat her breakfast 
either, and could hardly wait for the others to finish theirs so 
that she might leave the table. 

"Martha tries school today," Mother said with a smile. "We 
miss her all day, not, Hetty?" 

At last Martha was putting on her bonnet while Mother 
pinned the woolen shawl close up under her chin, and pulled 
the warm, red mittens well over her wrists to keep out the 

"School ! I go to school ! " Martha called into Grandpappy's 
room off the kitchen. "I go to school!" she whispered over 
baby Jacob's cradle, and baby Jacob wrinkled up his little nose 
and cooed back at her ! "School ! " she told her rag doll Sally 


Ann, who was propped up on the wood box back of the stove. 

David was already at the gate waiting for her, and they went 
oft, waving good-bye to Mother and Hetty who were stand- 
ing at the kitchen door. 

They walked up the hill and down, and as they passed the 
limekiln Martha whispered, "Spooks!" under her breath. 
Then they both giggled as they remembered how they had 
been scared by some "spooks" last fall while they were hunt- 
ing acorns here in the old limekiln furnace. And the "spooks" 
had turned out to be only some black pigs. 

The first bell was ringing when they came in sight of the 
schoolhouse. This meant that they were not late, for the first 
bell always rings out early over the Conestoga Valley to say 
that "school keeps." 

"Hi, there ! Wait ! " David called to the Zook children who 
were on ahead. Martha was glad to see that Little Georgie was 
with them. It was "tryout day" for him too. 

When David and Martha caught up with the others, they all 
hurried along the road as if their lives depended upon their 
being inside the schoolhouse in good time. 

Martha's heart was going pit-a-pat as David opened the 
schoolroom door, and her cheeks were glowing red from the 
cold air and excitement. She kept close to David while he put 
the lunchbasket on a long shelf in the back part of the room — 
the boys' side of the room — and tossed his books on his desk. 

"Go over to Katie Zook," David told Martha quietly. 
"Gehl Go\" 

She crossed the room to the girls' side. Katie helped her 


take off her bonnet and shawl, and hung them on a big hook 
beside many other bonnets and shawls. 

It was all so new to Martha ! She looked around shyly. Why, 
the room was larger than any "best room" she had ever seen 
for Sunday church meetings ! In the center stood a big, round 
stove, with isinglass doors through which you could see the 
bright red coals. The glowing fire made the big room warm 
and cosy. 

On the front wall near the blackboard were two pictures. 
Each picture had a flag over it. Katie told Martha that the man 
with a beard like Father's was Abraham Lincoln. Martha 
thought his face was kind too, like Father's. The man in the 
other picture had puffs over his ears, which looked very funny 
to Martha. Katie said that he was George Washington. 

Both of these good men had once been President of our 
country, Katie said. Martha was very much interested in these 
men and wondered why there wasn't a picture of Bishop 
Stoltzfus up there with them, because he was such a good 
man, too. 

Until the second bell rang, Martha walked all around the 
room with Katie while Katie read to her the big printed cards 
which hung high up on the wall. One said, "Be Honest," an- 
other said "Be Polite," and another said "Smile." 

As they walked past Teacher who was writing at her desk 
she looked kindly into Martha's big brown eyes, which were 
bigger than ever with interest and excitement. 

"Good morning, Martha ! " she said. "I'm glad you can visit 
with us today." 


Then she put down her pen, reached out and took Martha's 
hands, which were still cold, into her own to warm them, just 
as Mother would do. 

Soon after this the second bell rang and it was time for 
"books." The children sat quietly at their desks while Teacher 
read from the Bible, and then they all prayed the Lord's 

Martha had stayed close to David when the bell rang, and 
much to his dismay she wanted to sit with him on the boys' 

"Ach well," he said, "you know besser next winter ! Don't 
set so close ! " he scolded in a whisper, as he moved over to the 
end of the seat. "Keep over there ! " 

Martha did know better, because at church she always sat 
on the women's side. Of course she always sat with Mother, 
which made a great difference. But she still felt very strange 
here in school and wanted to stay close to David. 

When they all sang My Country 'Tis of Thee and O, I 
Never Can Forget the Old Schoolhouse on the HUH Martha 
wanted to join in, but she was too shy to begin. When she tried 
to tap her foot instead, it would not reach the floor, so she kept 
time by nodding her head. 

After the singing the children went up to the front of the 
room in class groups to recite their lessons. When it was 
David's turn to go up to History class Martha felt very proud 
of her big brother. 

Before he left the seat he had given Martha a pencil and 
paper on which to scribble. But she noticed little Georgie Zook 


sitting across from her looking very lonely, she thought, so she 
pointed to the empty seat beside her and moved over to make 
room for him. 

''Room I" she called in a squeaky voice. But in moving 
quickly to the edge of the seat, thump I — she went to the floor. 
The other children tried hard to keep from laughing David 
felt so ashamed of her as Teacher raised a hand for the room 
to quiet down. But Martha crawled quickly back onto the 
seat, put her head down on the desk and glanced over at little 
Georgie with an impish twinkle in her eye ! 

While Martha swung her short legs from the high desk seat 
and listened to all the reading and spelling during the long 
morning, she grew hungrier and hungrier and was sorry she 
had not eaten more pancakes and sausage for breakfast. And 
by noontime she wished there was even more lunch in the 
splint basket that Mother had packed so full. 

Everything tasted so good that before long the basket was 
about empty. Then David said, "Listen, Martha, it's long until 
books again. You put on your wraps and go play with the girls. 
No, not by me ! Vershteh? I play corner ball. You play by the 

Martha went out then with the other girls, her bright red 
apple clasped tightly in one hand. It was very cold and the 
girls played tag to keep warm, eating their apples while they 
ran from one end of the school yard to the other. When Katie's 
apple fell to the ground and rolled in the dirty snow, all the 
other girls crowded round her, willing to share bites of their 
apples with her. 


Martha was especially interested in all the girls she had 
never seen before, little girls who were not Amish and were 
not dressed as she was. She thought that the yellow-haired 
Brooks twins, Dora and Lilly, wore such pretty store clothes. 
They had beads, too — Dora's were red and Lilly's a deep blue. 
This was the only way Teacher could tell them apart, and now 
they showed their beads proudly to Martha. 

But "Koo\l" said Martha herself, as she pulled a string 
of "}°b' s tears" from under her thick shawl and let the girls 
feel the pretty, blue-gray beads that she had strung for herself 
after picking them in the garden. How surprised the little 
twins were that beads could grow in a garden ! They had never 
seen any like them before. Their own had come from a store 
in Lancaster. 

Now another girl, Naomi Stauffer, was trying to show off 
something too. It was something that she was wearing around 
her neck. 

"Boo-o-o ! " they all shouted and held their noses when they 
saw what it was. Then they chased Naomi all around the 
schoolhouse for wearing a small cloth bag filled with asafetida 
because the smell was so unpleasant. Naomi said it was a charm 
to keep from getting sick, and her mother said she must 
wear it. 

But the girls shouted, "Put it away ! Put it away or you don't 
play with us ! Cover it up ! " 

"It keeps the 'blue cough' [whooping cough] away any- 
how," Naomi told them defiantly, tucking the bag under the 
neck of her dress. 


"Pussy Wants a Corner," someone shouted then as they 
all raced to the front of the school yard. "Last one over at the 
steps is the cat ! " 

Martha ran with all her might because she didn't want to 
be the "cat" her first game at school. But she was anyway be- 
cause she stopped to scream in terror, "David, David ! " when 
she saw a group of the boys mixed wildly on the ground, their 
legs waving high in the air. 

"Ach, it's just wrasslin' matches, Martha," Katie Zook cried, 
as she drew Martha back, looking quite provoked. "It's fun — 
boys likes wrasslin' — it's not a fight — keep quiet — that's how 
they tell who's the boss ! Come, we go into the schoolhouse and 
play where it's warm." 

It was surely a wonderful day for Martha ! She felt braver 
now as she walked among the girls and watched them play 
tit-tat-toe on the blackboard. Two little boys were playing 
"mumble-de-peg" on the platform floor with open pen-knives 
"Keep back, Martha," they told her, as a knife, tossed in the 
air, came down with a "tunk" and stuck into the floor. "That's 
zehn [ten] for you, Daniel Fischer ! You win ! " 

Later when Teacher walked past Martha on her way to 
her desk, Martha put out her hand to touch her dress, then 
drew it back quickly. But Teacher understood and said, "Well, 
Martha, having a good time?" 

"Ya, it's gootl" Martha answered. She was so excited that 
she spoke Pennsylvania Dutch without thinking. 

Then the big school bell rang for "books" again and they 


all hurried to their desks. Teacher called the roll of names. 

"Katie Zook"— "Present." "Johnny Zook"— "Present." 
"Adam Fischer"— "Present." "Christian Stoltzfus"— "Pres- 
ent." "David Wenger"— "Present." 

"Where is the present?" Martha asked David, louder than 
a whisper. David nudged her to keep quiet. Then they all 
started to sing Beautiful Snow. It was such a lively song that 
Martha was almost ready to join in when it was over and 
Teacher gave the signal for school work to begin. 

During the afternoon Martha heard so much talk of the 
great men, Washington and Lincoln, and another one, Colum- 
bus, all "such good men" that she wondered again why no one 
said anything about good Bishop Stoltzfus who came to their 
house to talk to Grandpappy sometimes, and stayed to supper 
and asked the long blessing before and after the meal. 

When David went up to the blackboard to do his arithmetic 
problem Martha felt prouder of him than ever. She thought he 
must be almost as smart as Hetty who left school last winter ! 

She watched him while he wrote a lot of numbers on the 
board — her arms folded loosely on the desk in front of her, 
her head held firmly erect. Funny how he looked sometimes 
— as if he had two heads and wrote with two hands ! 

Martha's tired head sank down on her arms. She slept a long 
time, through all the pleasant hum of children's voices, until 
one of the big boys poured coal into the round stove. Then 
she woke up with a start. 

"Did I snooze?" she asked David, stretching her aching 
legs. "O-oh ! Hum ! I dream of baby Jacob ! " 


School was over! The boys and girls put on their wraps, 
took their books and lunchbaskets and filed out of the door 
past Teacher. 

"Good night ! " Teacher said to Martha, looking down into 
her freshly wide-awake eyes. Martha put out her hand the way 
she always did at church when people said " Wie geht's? [How 
do you do.]" 

"I like school," she said, brave for a second. Then like a 
frightened deer she ran down the road after David. 

When they reached home they met Father on his way to 
the barn to shell corn for Mother's flock of turkeys. 

"Our Martha knows a lot now, so?" he teased, patting the 
top of her bonnet. "Her schoolhouse iss a goot place for her ! 
Was it a goot day?" 

David had to tease her a bit too so he said, "Y-e-s, but she 
knows better next time — when she sits on the girls' side ! " 

But Martha never waited to hear what David said, for she 
was so anxious to see Mother and Hetty. She raced to the house, 
threw open the kitchen door and then, "Mom ! Hetty ! " she 
cried, "My schulhaus keeps still." Her words tumbled out easily 
now. "It was a goot day! And I ain't scairt of Teacher no 
more ! " 




David and Martha, filled with church-going and 
meeting with friends and relatives. And each Sunday 
was always exactly like all the other Sundays that had gone be- 
fore. But this particular Sunday turned out to be very different, 
and exciting too, although it began in the usual way. 

Hetty had laid a fire in the "best room" and now there was 
smoke twisting and curling from both chimneys on the 
Wenger farmhouse. This was a friendly sign, because it 
meant there would be company to dinner. Someone would 
come back from church with the family. And Hetty had 


made the "best room" ready for company. In fact the whole 
house had been made especially neat. Yesterday the porch 
boards had been scrubbed until they were white, and folded 
strips of old rag carpet were laid in front of the doors. 

There were two front doors to this old stone farmhouse. 
And a big dinner bell hung in the cupola on the top of the 
roof. One door opened into the "winter kitchen," which was 
kept cool and dark while they used the "summer kitchen" 
built across the porch; and the other door opened into the 
"best room" or parlor, which was used only on Sundays or 
for very special occasions. 

The "best room" had plain, whitewashed walls, and no 
wall paper or pictures of any kind. And it was very large, 
large enough for church meetings. Today, however, it was not 
going to be used for a meeting, for they were going to the 
home of Hiram Stoltzfus for church. 

Martha was already in the back seat of the yellow German- 
town wagon when Mother came out of the house carrying 
baby Jacob all rolled up in a warm blue blanket. While Fa- 
ther held him Mother climbed over the high front wheel 
into the wagon and then stepped over the front seat to sit 
beside Martha on the back one. Then Father handed baby 
Jacob in to Mother, and put the much-needed little "satchel," 
in which she carried baby Jacob's bottle and extra clothes, at 
Mother's feet. 

Snuggling close to Mother, Martha tucked the blankets 
warmly about baby Jacob. She always worried about him 
when they took him away from home, fearing that he might 


catch a cold or something worse, like the opnehme, the "wast- 
ing away." 

When they were all settled and ready to start Mother called 
out, "Make a big dinner, Hetty ! Maybe the Zooks come back 
with us once ! " 

Hetty was busy sweeping dry leaves from the freshly 
scrubbed front porch. She was staying at home with Grand- 
pappy who was too feeble to go to church. 

"Don't forget to turn the best side of the kitchen rug up, 
Hetty ! " Mother called out again from the back of the wagon 
as they started off. "For Sunday, you know!" 

David was driving Cap today. Father thought he was old 
enough now to drive although he could not "hitch up." He 
wasn't tall enough for that, but while he was putting the bit 
in Cap's mouth and fastening the traces to the singletree, he 
had wished so much that they had a shiny, squeaky harness 
for Cap like the one on the horse that Hetty's young man 
drove when he took her out riding in an open top buggy on 
Wednesday and Saturday nights. 

As the Germantown wagon rolled noisily on, down by the 
limekiln and up the long hill, past the little red schoolhouse, 
Martha kept her eyes on the schoolhouse as long as she could 
see it. Then they turned out on the State Road. 

The air smelled damp and weedy. The first snow that had 
come so unexpectedly was gone — all but little patches that 
were left in the fence corners and beside tall shocks of corn 
with yellow pumpkins snuggling close by. A crisp breeze rus- 
tled the dry corn leaves, making a soft, soothing murmur, 

and overhead crows cawed and flapped against the blue sky. 

"It's the end of Indian Summer for sure," said Father sigh- 
ing. "Ya, veil, soon it gives winter ! 

"But it's a good harvest, Mother," he added as he looked 
contentedly out over the rich Lancaster county farm land. 
"The corn ears burst open when we husk them, and that means 
a warm winter, the almanac says." 

"Soon we have corn mush," Mother answered from the back 
seat, where she held baby Jacob close to keep him warm and 
comfortable. "Mrs. Hurst says she dries some corn last week 
already to take to the mill. The miller says it gives his first corn- 

"So?" Father said, in surprise. "She beats you, not?" 

Mother and Mrs. Hurst, who lived across the fields from 
each other, were always trying to see who could have the first 
garden "salad" in the spring and the first cornmeal for mush 
in the fall. But Mother just smiled at Father's teasing now be- 
cause she knew he understood that she and Mrs. Hurst were 
good friends. 

As they passed other wagons on the way to church the 
drivers called "Wiegeht'sl" no matter whether they knew each 
other or not ! Automobiles whizzed by them and left them far 
behind in their Germantown wagon, which moved slowly 
along. Father thought automobiles were worldly and against 
the Scriptures, and because the Bible told him to keep to the 
old ways, he was satisfied with his good horse Cap. 

But David grew excited over each automobile that passed, 
and he nearly fell out of the wagon trying to see more of an 


aeroplane that was dipping and whirling overhead. Cap got 
into the weeds growing by the side of the road and Father said 
sternly, "Mind the horse, David." 

David sat back then and kept his eye on Cap. He started to 
wish once more for a shiny, squeaky harness such as Hetty's 
young man had for his horse. David loved Cap. He was gentle 
and smart and lively. 

They were near the Stoltzfus home now and they could see 
many wagons already lining the roadsides near it — yellow and 
black ones, and wagons without tops — buggies, which the un- 
married men drove. Some of the horses had been unhitched be- 
cause many of the families who came a long distance would 
stay after church to have dinner. 

When they entered the big "best room" of the Stoltzfus 
home it was crowded. David went to sit on the right side of the 
room with Father and the other men and boys while Martha 
went over to the left side with Mother. They sat on long 
benches or straight-backed chairs. The women took off their 
bonnets but not the tiny thin white caps, which looked very 
soft and bright against the dark clothes all around them. 

Before the services started Mother put baby Jacob to sleep 
upstairs with several other babies. Martha had gone upstairs 
with Mother but she hung back as Mother turned to go down 
again after she had made baby Jacob comfortable. 

"He don't catch the opnehme up here?" Martha asked 
Mother. She had heard so much about babies who had the 
opnehme, who did not grow but wasted away instead. She had 
heard, too, that some people even had an old woman mumble 


magic words over them to cure them. She worried a great deal 
about baby Jacob. 

"Maybe he catches the opnehme," she said again, but 
Mother said, "Nein, nein. Baby Jacob is good. And anyhow 
Dr. Herr chases the opnehme away with pills from his black 
bag. Don't fuss so, Martha. Koom, we must go down. They 

A hush fell over the room as they settled down with Bibles 
and hymn books on their laps. The preacher stood beside a 
small table. He was just one of the Amish men who had been 
chosen by lot to be the preacher and he was not paid. 

First they sang a German hymn. The preacher read two 
lines and the people sang them; then he read two more lines 
which the people sang. This they called "lining the hymn." 


After this there was a long prayer, another hymn, and then 
a long sermon followed by another hymn — and church was 

Although David and Martha were used to sitting still for a 
long time during the service, today Martha was restless because 
she was worried about baby Jacob. Once she even tiptoed up- 
stairs to see that he was all right. She patted him and sang over 
him very, very softly "Schlof, Bubeli, Schlof!" Then, tiptoeing 
down the stairs, she took her seat again beside her mother who 
smiled in an understanding way. 

"He schlof/' Martha whispered. "I tend him." 

How they all talked after the meeting was over! Church 
was not held every Sunday, and they were so glad to see one 
another. But they couldn't stay much longer now because it 
was dinner time. 

So, "Kooml" Mother said to Martha, after they had put on 
their bonnets and shawls and rolled baby Jacob up in his blan- 
ket. "Father and David wait for us. Fetch the satchel, Mar- 

The Zooks went to their home to have Sunday dinner with 
them, just as Mother had hoped they would, and Martha knew 
that would mean a good time with Katie, Sarah, Johnny, 
Georgie, and baby Christian — "Chrissly" they called him 

At home Hetty had been busy all during the forenoon, and 
as soon as she spied the two wagons coming rapidly down the 
hill, she called into Grandpappy's room, "Det Freundschaft 
\oomt! The relations come!" 


She had already started to set the table in the big winter 
kitchen, and now, as she brought out the delicious looking 
pies, she was glad she had used the little pinwheel scalloper on 
the edge of the crust. They looked as nice as the pies that 
Mother scalloped so evenly with her fingers. The noodles 
which had been drying in the sun all morning were golden 
yellow, and the big slices of frying ham had turned an ap- 
petizing brown in the pan on the stove. 

"Whoa!" David called out extra loud as he drove up to 
the front gate. He wanted Hetty to hear him so that she would 
hurry with dinner. "Whoa, CAP ! " 

Father took Cap to the barn then while Mr. Zook tied his 
horse to the wooden hitching post near the mail box in front 
of the house. 

"Your zinnias and asters made out good last summer, not?" 
Mrs. Zook asked as she came up the stone walk carrying Chris- 
sly, followed by Mother with baby Jacob. Baby Jacob was still 
fast asleep. 

"Ya, they give a lot!" Mother was satisfied. "But they are 
frosted now." 

The children trailed close behind the women, and after they 
had wiped their shoes on the strip of rag carpet at the door, 
they stepped across the clean scrubbed door sill into the big 
"best room." But they did not stay there long. They were glad 
to stretch their cramped legs after sitting in church all morn- 
ing and were soon starting a game of hide-and-seek. 

David counted out in German. Then "Katie's it! Katie's 
it ! " they all screamed and ran for a good place to hide. 


The children played until they were called to dinner. The 
"first table" was for the grownups, and they ate and talked a 
long time. The children kept playing around the porch, and 
kept their eyes fixed longingly on the dinner table, peeping 
through the glass in the kitchen door. They were waiting 
anxiously their turn to sit down at the "second table." When 
there was a lot of company the children always had their din- 
ner after the grownups. 

It seemed like a long, long time before Mother called 
"Kinder, \oom essal Children, come and eat!" And how they 
did eat ! 

Little Georgie left the table first, without even eating his 
custard pie. "I eat myself done already," he groaned, rubbing 
his stomach and shuffling out on the porch. "A-ah ! " 

"Last one over at the pump's it!" David called as he left 
the table suddenly. After a great clattering of chairs they all 
chased after him. 

"Sarah's it ! Sarah's it ! " — then a scramble for hiding places 
— and all was quiet once more. 

The men sat out on the porch, chairs tipped back against 
the wall, while they talked over their crops and their schools. 
The question of having to give up their little red schoolhouses 
was always brought up whenever a group of Amish people 
talked together. 

The women were busy talking things over in the kitchen 
too, while they washed the dishes. Sunday was passing just like 
all other Sundays on the Wenger farm. 

Then suddenly everything happened at once. Water that 


Hetty was heating in the big iron pot boiled over on the hot 
stove, hissing like a steam engine. And although Mrs. Zook 
called to her, "Make it off, Hetty, quick, or you don't get 
married for seven years yet!" her warning was lost in the 
general excitement, for something terrible seemed to be hap- 
pening at the barn ! 

The children began shouting and running frantically, with 
the men close behind them, while a splitting, grinding, swish- 
ing sound almost deafened them, and they could see what 
looked like a bundle of clothes props crushed between an apple 
tree and the chicken house. 

"Ay, yi, yi!" Mother threw her apron around her head and 
shoulders while she ran with Mrs. Zook and Hetty to see what 
had happened. Such a squawking and cackling! Shep was 
barking and the girls shouting. "Airplane ! Airplane ! It made 
down fast. LOOK!" 

"Ach, girls iss dumb!" David puffed and sputtered. "It's a 
giro — giro — autogiro ! Autogiro is what it is. Look at the long 
sticks once ! " 

There was more crashing of tree branches and splitting of 
wood as the queer-looking machine settled nearer the ground, 
and a young man crawled out of the wreck looking very much 

"Whoa ! " Father and Mr. Zook both gasped as they ran to 

"It's a bad ride you make," said Father. "Are you hurt 

"No-o, but I guess I'm in for a law suit," the young pilot 


said, looking hopelessly at the wrecked chicken house. "I'm 
just learning," he explained, as these people who looked so 
strange to him, crowded round to make sure he wasn't hurt. 
"And something must have gone wrong," he added, noticing 
the little girls dressed just like the women, the little boys 
dressed exactly like the men. 

Then his attention wandered again to the possible damage 
he had done. He started to pull the branches of the apple tree 
from under his wrecked machine. 

"You'll sue me, I suppose?" he asked again in a bewildered 
way. But Father and Mr. Zook insisted that he leave it all to 
them. They would clear up the wreckage and help him fix the 

"You have a shock from such a fall," said Father. "You 
don't worry now. I treat you fair. We are Amish. Our people 
don't go to law, we settle things by the Church." 

Father was still so excited that he waved his arms in the air 
wildly in an effort to make everyone move back out of the way. 

"Geh vec\ — go away — Kinder \ Keep quiet, Shep! David, 
shoo the chickens back in the yard. Look for some eggs. Nein, 
nein — stay out of the chicken house ! We got to fix this ma- 
chine," he added, bustling about. 

Martha and David had never seen Father so excited, and 
they stayed close as they dared in order to see everything that 
was going on. 

The men found that the machine was not so easy to fix, and 
the young pilot decided that he must hire a repair man who 
had a shop out on the State Road. When he left he told Father 


he would come back the next day to "settle up" for the damage 
he had done. 

"I'll be back. You trust me?" he asked. 

"I trust you," Father said as they shook hands. "My yes is 
my yes, and my no is my no. You treat me the same, I know ! " 

This is the Amish people's hand schlag or word of honor 
and they expect everyone else to be as honorable as they are. 

All this time David had been doing his best to explain about 
the engine and the whirring shafts to the "dumb" girls. Father 
noticed him now and remembered how he had watched the 
aeroplane dipping and whirling in the sky this morning while 
they were driving to church. He was beginning to worry about 
David's great interest in automobiles and aeroplanes. He did 
not want him to be dissatisfied with riding in their wagon and 
driving their horse Cap. Father's thoughts were interrupted 
then for suddenly someone asked for Georgie and Georgie was 
nowhere about. 

"Where is Georgie?" David forgot the autogiro and turned 
to question Martha. 

"Yes, where is he?" Mrs. Zook wondered anxiously. 

"I don't know," Martha answered, surprised that he was 
not around in all the excitement. 

"Georgie! Georgie!" Their voices echoed and re-echoed, 



>:z r . 


over the fields and back from the Welsh mountains. "Ge-o-r- 


"He hides himself with us!" Martha assured his mother, 
who now took up the call herself. 

"GEORGIE! KOOM!" But there was no answer. They 
looked across the fields in every direction, expecting Georgie 
to come out from a safe hiding place any minute. 

"Run, Katie ! " Mrs. Zook ordered. "Look the beds under ! 
David, poke the haymow through and make the bake-oven 
door open quick. Mebbe, too, he's in the corn crib," she called 
after them in a frightened, high-pitched voice. 

Sarah raced across the yard to the old spring house where 
she noticed the door wide open. But Georgie was not inside, so 
she sped on toward the old sink hole in the wheat field. 

Martha got down nimbly on her hands and knees to look 
into Shep's dog house. 

"Georgie, Georgie ! " she coaxed. "Koom, Georgie ! " 

Shep sniffed around her, pawing up the ground and barking 
quite savagely. "Keep quiet, Shep," Martha said, holding a 
warning finger in front of his nose, "Georgie scares at you!" 
Then she got down to look once more. 

"Not here, Shep," she told the dog as she sprang up, brushed 
the dirt from her best blue Sunday apron and ran across the 
yard to look into the empty sauerkraut stand that stood on the 
back porch. "He mighta tumbled in here," she said to herself. 

By this time Father was pulling more branches from under 
the wrecked giro. Could Georgie have been hiding behind the 
apple tree when the machine fell? They all stood around him, 


breathless and shivering in the raw, cold November wind. 

"Nein, nein!" Father was sure he was not there, and a sigh 
of relief rose from everyone, even though he hadn't as yet been 

"Why don't you bell?" Martha cried on her way back from 
a search in the sauerkraut stand. No one had thought of ring- 
ing the big dinner bell on top of the house to bring Georgie 
back, and now everybody started at once for the kitchen, but 
Hetty was first to grasp the rope swinging back of the kitchen 

DING, DONG— DING, DONG ! The bell clanged out in 
noisy, jerky tones across the quiet country. Hetty thought it 
sounded twice as loud on Sunday as it did on week days when 
she called the men from the fields to dinner. 

Ding, dong! It woke Grandpappy up from his afternoon 
nap. Tottering across his room slowly to the kitchen he cried, 
"Vas iss?" in a trembling voice. 

"It's Georgie — he loses," Martha told him in a choked voice, 
nervously rolling and unrolling her apron on her arms to keep 
from crying. "But he finds himself when we bell, not?" she 
asked, trying to be hopeful. 

Then she drew the back of her hand across her eyes and 
darted out of the kitchen door to look down Schoolhouse Road 
for Georgie — but half way down the stone walk she stopped 

"Georgie Zook ! " she shrieked. For there he was, climbing 
slowly down from his father's Germantown wagon which was 
still standing at the front gate near the mail box. No one had 


thought to look on the back seat that had been his safe hiding 
place while he slept through all the excitement. 

"I hear the supper bell," he yawned, trying to stand up 
straight on his chubby, stir! legs. "Ich den\ — I think I eat my 
custard pie now ! " 

Martha grabbed him eagerly, threw her warm shawl over 
his shoulders and hugged him close. 

"Ach, Georgie," she scolded, "you're a bad boy to make me 
cry once. But I knew that when the bell made, you would find 
yourself! Koom, we go to your mother, quick! It's a big fuss 
out at the barn, too. Hurry ! Hurry ! " 


!,M^^-^^^ U ^ M 



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lowing week, Martha climbed up on the wood box 
back of the stove to get the old Baers Almanac from 
the wall where it hung all the year round. Then she dropped 
to her knees on the floor, and, resting the almanac on the wood 
box, she began to thumb the curled pages over and over again. 
"Does it say in here where the schulhaus comes down?" she 
asked Mother, who was darning stockings while she rocked 
baby Jacob's cradle back and forth with her foot. 

"The almanac is full of pictures, not? Mebbe it tells of the 


schulhaus too, and how it makes down soon!" Martha kept 
talking to herself as she turned the pages. "It must be here 
some place, and I find it ! " 

That very afternoon Martha had heard Father talking about 
the school to the young man who had come back to pay for 
the damage done to the chicken house when his autogiro had 
crashed on it last Sunday. But because neither Father nor the 
young man seemed to be sure, Martha thought she might be 
able to find in the almanac whether her schulhaus would have 
to come down. 

She thought because it told everything else it would surely 
tell this too. It always told about the weather better even than 
Grandpappy's pink goosebone. It told Father when to butcher 
the pigs so they would give the most meat. And when to pick 
the apples so they would not rot. She knew too that David got 
his history dates from the almanac and Hetty found out how 
to make such good cakes. So it must surely tell when the 
schulhaus would come down, if only she could find it. 

"Mo-ther ! " Martha asked again in a pleading voice. "Is it 
here if the schulhaus comes down?" To get Mother's attention 
she banged her fist on top of the wood box until she winced 
from the sting of it. 

"Sh-sh, Jacob sleeps ! " Mother put her fingers on her lips. 
"Nein, nein, Martha — we hear about the schulhaus at church, 
and read about it in the papers, not in the almanac," she ex- 
plained patiently. 

Martha hung the almanac back on its nail, but she was still 
wondering and thinking it over. 


"Does the schulhaus come down soon, mebbe? Soon as the 
dandelions make in the pasture, Mother?" 

"Nein, Martha, we hope not by the springtime." 

"I'm glad," Martha sighed in a satisfied way. "Teacher was 
so nice that schulday, and we sing Be-autiful Snow dis way." 
She straightened up, threw back her head, and hummed and 
sang the tune as best she could. "Be-a-utif ul snow ! Bea-utiful 
snow ! " her childish voice died off in a whisper, then started 
again — "Beauti — " 

"It's time for David to come from school, Martha," Mother 
said, looking up at the clock. "Quick, make ready, he looks for 
you ! Put on your thickest shawl — it comes colder all the time 

Martha turned quickly. She had forgotten all about David. 
And she must tell him about the aeroplane man too. He had 
come back and David had missed him. She hurried now with 
her bonnet and shawl and mittens, and when the door closed 
behind her, Mother sighed with relief. 

Turning to Hetty who was snitzing — slicing — apples for 
sauce, Mother said, "Martha thinks so old-like. She hears such 
a lot and bothers herself so about the schulhaus. And she likes 
Teacher. So some night we must tell her to come for supper, 
not, Hetty? She has the high learning, I know, but she makes 
out good with the children — and I like her, too." 

The next morning when Martha slipped out of her warm 
bed and tiptoed over the cold floor to the window, she was 
surprised to see feather snowflakes falling over the fields and 


"It snows again ! " she shouted, wondering if Grandpappy's 
pink goosebone had told about this snow too. 

She dressed quickly, leaving her long apron for Mother to 
button down the back. By the time Hetty had placed a big dish 
of sizzling fried ponhaus (scrapple) on the table, Martha was 
down in the kitchen ready to eat. The breakfast table was 
laden with good things — fried potatoes, dried beef and gravy, 
chow chow, prunes swimming in thick syrup, bread, schmear 
kase to use in place of butter, coffee and applebutter tart. 

"Our Martha must eat more ponhaus'/ Father told her, as 
he pinched her pale cheek. "Makes the roses come ! Ya! Yal" 

David and Martha liked to eat breakfast in the early morn- 
ing darkness with the big lamp in the middle of the table, 
while everybody talked over what he had planned to do for the 

"Ya, veil, Mother, it snows for Menno Weaver's sale today," 
Father said, sipping his steaming cup of coffee with real pleas- 

"The almanac makes out snow for today, and so it is," 
Mother replied confidently. "But we go anyhow," she added 
with a special smile for David. She knew David had his heart 
set on a bright, shiny harness for Cap and she hoped there 
would be one offered at the sale. 

David looked up happily. He had been counting on the sale. 
It was such a treat for him. Mother would write him an excuse 
note to leave school at one o'clock, something she did not do 
very often, and with some of the other boys he would go on to 
the Menno Weaver farm. He felt sure there would be a set of 


shiny, screechy harness for sale and they would buy it for Cap. 

By one o'clock the snow had nearly all melted — just as 
Grandpappy said it would after consulting his goosebone! 
But everybody knew that the slushy roads would not keep the 
crowds of people from going to the Weaver's big farm. The 
Weavers were moving to a hotel in the city and were selling 
all their farm implements and household furniture. 

As soon as they had eaten their lunch, David and three other 
boys started out from school for the sale. As they trudged a 
shorter way over rough plowed fields, one mile did not seem 
so far to go. Soon they could see the long lines of automobiles 
and wagons around the Weaver farm. Hundreds of people 
from all over Lancaster County had been gathering there 
for hours, and from Blue Ball, New Holland, Morgantown, 
Churchtown, and Smoketown they flocked to one of the 
largest sales of the year. 

"When all the people want the same things, it makes a good 
sale," Johnny Zook said wisely. And David agreed with him 
and thought of the harness he wanted for Cap. He hoped too 
many other people wouldn't want it. 

When they reached the house finally they saw that many 
strangers had come to the sale, too. But it was a friendly gather- 
ing. Everyone was talking and the air was full of Pennsylvania 
Dutch as well as English. 

Halfway between the house and the barn were a hot dog 
stand, a peanut roaster and a bubbling pot of coffee. A kettle 
of stewed oysters stood beside the huge coffee pot, all ready to 
be sold. 


"It smells just wonderful!" the boys kept saying to each 
other, hungry again so soon after their lunch. They sniffed the 
air greedily. 

"I think I buy some peanuts," Johnny Zook said, feeling in 
his wammus pocket for his money. 

He came back to the other boys after spending his nickel and 
pressed his cold fingers down into the hot bag of freshly roasted 
nuts. "A-h ! Feels goot — buy some and try it ! " he told them. 
But David did not follow his advice. He had to keep all his 
savings toward the purchase of a harness. 

The things to be sold were piled all over the porch and out 
in the yard, so that people could look them over before buying. 
There were old-fashioned cord beds, featherbeds, tables, an 
old water bench, chairs, stoves, rag carpets, dishes, pots and 
scrapple pans. These were tin, oblong in shape, in which scrap- 
ple was poured after it was cooked. When it was cold and firm 
it was cut in slices for frying. There were clocks, too, and 
canned fruits in jars, applebutter crocks, potted plants and 
many other articles. The sale bills down at the cross roads had 
read, "Everything must be sold." 

Mother, Mrs. Hurst, and Mrs. Zook were all there, in warm 
double shawls and big bonnets, while Martha and Katie, snug 
in their winter clothing, kept close beside them. 

"This makes a good haussteur [house furnishing] for Liz- 
zie," Mrs. Hurst said, as she examined a brass preserve kettle 
that stood among the pots and pans. 

"You know my Lizzie marries Benjamin Beiler's Ezra on 
this Thanksgiving Day coming," she explained to Mrs. Zook. 


She had already told the good news to Mother. 

"I hear he makes up to her." Mrs. Zook nodded her head 
knowingly. "He has his farm ready a long time back, not?" 

The women tapped the brass kettle with their knuckles to 
make sure it was sound, and then held it up to the light to look 
for holes. 

"Good enough, not too sin," they declared as one of them 
stood it back among the other kettles and turned to look over 
some of the old dishes. 

"I think I buy a featherbed for Lizzie, too, if it doesn't weigh 
too heavy ! " Mrs. Hurst decided. 

"Oyez ! Oyez ! O-o-yez ! This way ! This way ! " the voice of 
the auctioneer cried from the front porch, and the people 
gathered around him, for the sale was really about to start. 
Jonas Minnich was the crier, and he seemed to know everyone 

"Get up close, or you can't hear me ! Get up close or you miss 
a bargain ! " He boomed in a voice that was as loud as a mega- 

He held up one thing after another, praising everything 
highly, and made jokes as he asked for bids. 

"Don't hold on to your purse-strings so tight. You farmers 
have lots of money ! " 

"And we work to get it ! " A bantering voice came from the 

"How much am I bid for this brass kettle?" the auctioneer 
shouted now as he swung the kettle back and forth before the 

4 6 

"Maybe it's gold — looks good for another hundred years, 
anyhow, ladies! All sound — you hear?" Turn! Turn! Tum- 
pety-tum ! and he beat a tattoo on it with his fingers. 

"What am I bid? Twenty-five cents, twenty-five cents — or 
do you mean twenty-five dollars?" 

Everybody laughed and he went on calling. "Twenty-five 
cents, twenty-five cents, twenty-five cents," as fast as he could 
say it, until the words ran together in a long loud mumble, and 
then it began to sound to David like "Cents twenty-five, cents 
twenty-five, cents twenty-five — " 

David was anxious for the crier to get through with all the 
house things so that they would go on to the barn and get to 
the shiny black harness he wanted for Cap. He felt in his warn- 
mus pocket now for the two dollars he had taken from his 
matchbox bank this morning. 

Then, "Do I hear thirty cents?" The auctioneer waited a 
second for someone to nod. 

"Thirty cents, thirty cents, thirty cents — do I hear thirty- 
five? Come now, this is no tin basin I'm offering you! Forty 
cents, forty cents, forty-five, fifty — " and he wheedled bids up 
to seventy-five cents. 

"Is that all I'm bid for this brand new old kettle? Great for 
making ketchup, ladies! Going, go-i-n-g, gone — to the lady 
standing over there beside the pump." 

Of course, that lady was Mrs. Hurst, who seemed delighted 
with Lizzie's haussteur. 

The sale went on and on. Martha and Katie hopped up and 
down on their toes to keep warm. But they were having a good 


time even though they were chilled through and through. 

"Let's look in the house once," Katie said. "Koom! Mebbe 
it warms us." 

They strolled through the big bare rooms, downstairs and 
then upstairs, until they noticed the open door leading to the 

"It's the sale up there, too, I guess," Martha said. "Let's 
look." Up the rickety steps, cluttered on both sides with empty 
flower pots and bags, they climbed. 

"It must be the sale up here soon," Katie felt sure as she 
stepped into the cold cheerless garret. "It's so full here, too!" 

"A-a-h ! " Martha drew in a long breath, "smells shust like 
our garret ! " 

They could hear the birds hopping and scratching on the 
slate roof above, and the drone of busy voices in the yard far 
below them as they picked their way carefully among apple- 
butter crocks, lard cans and boxes piled high with bars of 
home-made soap. Onions and lima beans that had been spread 
on newspapers to dry were strewn all over the floor. 

"It's a lot to sell, not?" Martha said, looking around in sur- 

Hanging over their heads from the rafters they could see 
bunches of dried boneset tea, catnip and peppermint, red pep- 
pers for pepper hash, strings of unhusked popcorn, a dried 
beef, little gourds, big ears of seed corn and small bags of dried 
apple snitz and cherries. 

Katie reached up and squeezed a bag of cherries slowly. 

"Smells goot, Martha — sweet! Here, I hold you up once. 

4 8 

Don't squeeze too hard! Maybe it's not goot for them." 

Martha dug her cold ringers into the cherry bag and 
breathed in the faint, sweet odor, then slid down from Katie's 

"Look, Katie!" She pointed over to the other end of the 
garret. "It's a Grandpappy's trunk over there like we have ! " 

Back in the dusty corner by the crumbling chimney, they 
saw a little old leather-covered trunk that was studded all over 
with heavy brass tack heads green with age. Fastened around 
the lid were two wide leather straps with clumsy buckles. 

"Shust like ours ! " Martha was so sure. "Grandpappy tells 
me how his pappy — der Grosspappy — brings it f-a-r over the 
water ! " 

"Yes," Katie agreed with her, "far from Switzerland over 
two hundred years ago ! " 

"Let's look in," Martha proposed eagerly. 

"We mustn't touch, mebbe ! " Katie said, but then gave in. 

As they lifted the trunk lid up by the straps, the rusty hinges 
creaked mournfully, and a delicate odor of lavender and cam- 
phor floated around them. They leaned away over the trunk 
in order to see more closely a beautiful, hand-woven coverlet, 
yellowed from the long years. Woven on the corner that was 
folded toward them was a wreath of leaves encircling a date 
and several initials : 

S W 1800 

"That's for Menno and Sara Weaver, the great Grossfater 
and Grossmutter," Katie told Martha. "See the pile of towels 





I^ 1 




ffrn i i 


J. J 














* \ 

with the tulips embroidered on them there? The Grossmutter 
weaves them long ago, when she sits on a weaving stool. Oh, 
they worked a lot then, not?" 

Martha's eyes sparkled with interest but Katie looked 
around now anxiously. "Mebbe we better go downstairs, it's 
no sun any more. See, it gets dark up here already ! " And she 
dropped the trunk lid with a bang. 

A-a-choo! A-choo! A puff of dust tickled Martha's nose, 
and when she opened her eyes she saw Katie disappearing 
down the garret stairs. 

"Katie, Katie ! My shawl — it makes fast — it pulls ! I mustn't 
tear it ! O-o-h ! " Martha wailed. 

Katie rushed back and tried her best to lift the lid again, but 
it stuck tight over Martha's woolen shawl. 

"Stand still, Martha, wait once a while," she told her in a 
motherly voice, "I'll fetch David. Now don't fuss up — ver- 
shteh — understand?" And she hurried down the cluttered 
garret steps as fast as she could go. 

In the meantime everything at the house had been sold and 
the crowd had moved out to the barn. Several cows, a hummy 
(calf), two horses, a hutshli (colt), a plow, a shovel, harrow, 
wheelbarrow, springwagon, a fine set of harness, and many, 
many other farm tools were there to be sold. 

David kept close to Father, and when the shiny, almost 
brand new harness was put up for sale he held his breath. He 
wanted so much to see Cap wear a harness like that ! 

"What am I bid?" came the booming voice of the auctioneer. 


"One dollar, one dollar, one dollar." David nodded his head 
bravely, and the auctioneer noticed him, small as he was. But 
then another head nodded and David waited. Would it be "one 
dollar fifty, one dollar fifty?" 

But, "Two dollars ! " shouted the auctioneer. "Two dollars, 
two dollars, two dollars," and David's hand dropped to his 
pocket. He felt for the red handkerchief in which he had care- 
fully knotted his precious two dollars. That was all he had ! He 
couldn't bid any more. 

In another minute Mother was by his side. "I help out with 
my egg money, David," she said, and kept nodding to the 
auctioneer as she snapped and unsnapped her old purse. 

David's breath came quickly. They would get the harness 
sure, if Mother thought it was so important. 

But somebody else was bidding just as earnestly. Somebody 
else wanted that shiny black harness. David watched Ezra 
Beiler nod his head. 

"Four dollars! Four dollars! Four dollars! Nobody gives 
me five?" 

David's hand went up recklessly, but the next second almost 
the auctioneer was chanting, "Six dollars, six dollars !" 

It was going to be more than Mother had thought, after all, 
so she stopped bidding too. David's two dollars would go back 
into the matchbox behind the pewter teapot on the kitchen 
mantel, to be saved for another sale day. And David was so 
disappointed that he did not hear Father's voice take up the 
bidding right away. Not until after the auctioneer's voice said 


"Eight dollars," did he hear Father shout "Nine!" But Ezra 
Beiler shouted "Ten," before the auctioneer had a chance to 
even take up Father's bid. 

Then Father's voice again. This time stubborn, but careful. 

"Ten fifty," Father cried. And David waited, but there was 
no other voice. The auctioneer started to wheedle again, but 
the bidding had stopped. The harness was theirs — Cap's. 
David was so happy he couldn't talk. Father looked very 
pleased with himself as he came over to them and said, smiling, 
"You work it out in the hayfield in June ! I need an extra hand. 
It's a nice harness. Take it to the wagon." 

David reached for it and was off to show it to Cap. Cap 
whinnied when he heard the boy coming. He nuzzled into 
David's hand and David leaned his cheek against him. Cap 
was warm and alive. He understood when you spoke to him, 
and was glad when you petted him or brought him an apple. 
He was much nicer than an automobile or an aeroplane. 

David put the new harness carefully under the front seat 
and went back to Mother and Father. The nice shiny harness 
was all he wanted! And working out in the hayfield with 
other men seemed like an easy thing to do ! 

Now that the sale was over everyone was in a hurry to get 
home to do his farm work. Things were piled into autos and 
carriages until it looked like a big moving day all along the 
country roadside. 

David was helping Father tie a shovel and rake which they 


had bought to the back of their Germantown wagon. Suddenly 
he looked up and saw Katie leaping nimbly toward them. 

"It's Martha. She sticks in the Grosspappy's trunk up in the 
garret ! " she managed to gasp. 

"Run, David!" Father said. "I come then! Make fast!" 

When David reached the top of the garret steps, followed 
closely by Katie, he saw Martha standing in front of the old 
trunk, her back toward him, whimpering and talking to her- 

"Ach!" David stood still, looking almost disappointed. "I 
thought you get into the trunk. Vas iss? What is it? Why 
didn't you stay by "Mother?" 

"I — it's my shawl ! " wailed Martha softly. 

"Well, open the shawl pin and walk once. My, girls iss 
dumb ! " he added, but not as scornfully as usual. 

Martha and Katie had not thought of unpinning the shawl, 
and as it dropped from Martha's shoulders she made a quick 
step forward, only to be jerked back suddenly. 

"It's my apron, too ! O-o-h, it mustn't tear !" 

"Stand still, I fix it ! " David tugged and tugged at the straps. 
He knew he must not be rough or he would break the old 
leather, but the lid refused to budge. So he took out his pocket- 
knife, slipped the blade under the trunk's edge, and poof I 
Martha was free. 

"There, Woonerfitsil^l" he said, as he shut the trunk lid 
lightly. "You must nose into everysing. I never see such a 
woonerfitz! Now, hurry, we go home already ! " 


"Is it no sale up here?" Martha asked, struggling to repin 
her shawl with cold fingers. 

"No, they save these things," David told her as he helped her 
with her shawl. "But hurry. Come, I have something to show 

They hurried down the stairs and out into the yard. Katie 
was nowhere in sight as Martha followed David over to the 
wagon. Father had just finished tying the shovel and rake to 
the wagon as Martha rushed to him. He looked at her in aston- 

"Why I thought you — " he began, but stopped short when 
he saw Mother coming across the road carrying a small, low 
rocking chair held out in front of her. 

Father had a "crutch" against womenfolk rocking in a rock- 
ing chair on a work day. He objected to them because he 
thought it looked lazy to sit and rock, and he did not look so 
well pleased at Mother bringing home another rocker. 

Mother set the rocking chair down on the frozen ground 
with a thud. "It will be good for you to hold baby Jacob on your 
knee and play, Reite, reite, Gowliel [ride, ride a horse! ]" she 
told him. "I get it cheap !" 

" Ya, veil, Mother," and Father looked pleasant now. "Shust 
jump in the wagon. We go soon." He tied the rocker on the 
wagon with the rake and shovel, and climbed up beside David. 

David was proudly showing the fancy, shiny harness to 
Martha. "Cap likes it," he said. "I show it to him. He wears it 
to church on Sunday." 


"Giddap, Cap," said Father, and off they went. David held 
the harness partly in his lap and when Father saw his shining 
eyes he was satisfied. He chuckled. 

"It was a good sale, not, David? But Ezra Beiler must wait 
for another one if he likes to have a harness — or buy himself a 
brand new one." 





ing and David and Martha were on their way to Mrs. 
Hurst's house. Half way across the fields they sat for a 
while on the top rail of a fence over which they had to climb. 
From here they could see the scarecrow that Father had put up 
in the cornfield in the spring. Father put it there to scare the 
crows away so that they would not eat the young corn. 

The scarecrow was old and tattered now, and flapped and 
dangled about in every little breeze. It even seemed to bow to 
them across the wide field. 

"See, David, he looks the way Grandpappy's old Charlie 


tramp looked long ago, I bet ! " Martha said, pointing to the 
scarecrow with one hand and holding on to the rail fence with 
the other. "Look, his bundle hanging on the stick over his 
shoulder is full like our rag bag ! " 

"What wonders me," said David, "is why his hat is so full 
of little holes." 

"And his jacket splits up the back a lot, too," said Martha. 

"Martha Wenger!" cried David in surprised disappoint- 
ment. "There sits a crow on his shoulder ! Ach, he's no good. 
That's why his hat is full of holes. He lets the crows pick in it ! 
No wonder Shep makes so at him ! Keep quiet, Shep ! Here, 
come here ! " 

Shep was barking and pawing up the ground around the 
scarecrow that wasn't really a scarecrow at all. But when David 
called to him again, "He's no good, Shep, I tell you. He ain't 
no scarecrow. He lets the crows eat him. Keep quiet now! 
Come here!" he stopped barking and pawing and bounded 
over to David. 

"Come on, Martha," said David, as he jumped to the 
ground among some prickly blackberry vines. "Don't stick 
yourself on the bushes! Jump over there where the honey- 
suckle grows." 

He held tightly to Mother's pie plates which he carried 
under his arm. Mother was lending her pie plates to Mrs. 
Hurst to bake mince and pumpkin pies for Lizzie's wedding 
on Thanksgiving Day, so David felt that he and Martha were 
going on a very important errand to the Hurst house. Martha 
was so excited about the wedding. 


"We better make fast, David. See, the black smoke pufFs out 
her chimney and she starts the pies!" Martha knew all the 
signs. "She bakes a lot of pies for der huchzig Tad [the wed- 
ding day ] , you know ! " 

Soon they could smell cakes baking and ham cooking for 
the big day. Martha was glad that Mrs. Hurst had needed 
Mother's pie plates too, for now she would have a chance to 
see all that was going on in the Hurst kitchen at wedding time. 
The Amish people usually married in the late fall and winter, 
after the harvest was over, when they were no longer busy 
working in the fields. 

When they reached the house they saw four big turkeys 
hanging on the back porch. Then Martha knew that it would 
be a good wedding ! 

Lizzie was in the kitchen making her own wedding cake. 
Martha looked at her carefully but she seemed just the same 
as on any other day. And she had expected her to look so dif- 
ferent, after all the talk about the wedding ! 

"I come to your huchzig, Lizzie, and wear my best dress." 
Martha in her excitement almost had her nose in the cake 
batter. "Will you wear your best dress? Mom says that — " but 
Martha heard David calling her and Lizzie never did learn 
what Mother said. 

"It's time to go home," said David and started off at a brisk 
trot. Martha tried hard to keep up with him, but he moved over 
the stubbly ground too fast for her. 

"Wait once a little," she puffed behind him. "I think when 
it iss my wedding day, I'll have turkey too ! " 


David stopped then and looked at Martha, for he was not 
only surprised at what she said, but the way in which she said 
it. He was glad that she was learning to speak English so much 

"Yes, well," he answered. "You have turkey. Mebbe two of 
them ! But your turkeys have a long time to gobble yet." 

They had almost reached their own house by this time, and 
David saw Father on his way to the barn. "Here, take my 
wammus to the house, Martha. I go help Father to milk." 

Thanksgiving was a beautiful day for Lizzie Hurst's wed- 
ding. "Nippy, and a dapply sky," Father said, "but it doesn't 
look for snow. Shust warm enough for the young people to 
play 'bloom sock' in the barn." 

The wedding was to be a solemn but happy occasion, with 
plenty to eat and games the whole day long. Only the Amish 
folk were invited. Of course no pictures were to be taken be- 
cause the Amish did not believe in such worldly things. It was 
to be just like the weddings of their forefathers in Switzerland 
long ago — very, very plain. 

Hetty and Mother were working unusually fast for they had 
to be ready by nine o'clock to start to the wedding. 

"I'm so glad the goose grease makes baby Jacob better this 
morning," Mother said as she dressed him. "He crouped up 
last night and I thought he would be ailing today. There, hold 
still once, Jacob ! " 

David was finished with his morning work early too, but he 
was not so excited as Martha about the wedding. 


"Weddings is more for girls, anyhow. I sooner go to the 
County Fair or a horse sale," he told her, while he combed his 
long, silky hair in front of the little looking-glass that was 
fastened to the comb and brush case hanging by the kitchen 

"Ach, you're spited [jealous] you don't have an open-top 
buggy and get married too ! " Martha teased him. She was so 
excited and restless, racing upstairs and down again, trying her 
best to help the family get ready. She had washed her face until 
it shone like a china cup, and put on her new purple dress with 
the dark green apron. Her shiny brown braids were bound 
neatly around her head, and with her flushed round cheeks, 
she looked like a little old-fashioned Dutch doll. 

"I mustn't strubbel my hair," she said, putting on her bon- 


net carefully so that she would not disarrange the braids. "It 
must lay flat, s-o ! " 

At last they were all ready to go. Even Shep seemed to know 
that something unusual was going on today. As they went out 
to the porch he sat by the door, excited and eager, waiting to be 
told that he might go, too. When David commanded him 
sternly, "You sit by Grandpappy now and guard him," he 
looked so sad and crestfallen that David patted him on the 
head and promised, "I run home after while to see how you 
get along, and maybe stay home. Weddings is for girls any- 
how ! " Then he gave Shep another pat and closed the door. 

Father carried baby Jacob. "We walk the fields over," he 
said. "It gives more room for other wagons out on the road," 
he explained, leading the way, with Mother carrying baby 
Jacob's little black satchel, and David, Martha and Hetty trail- 
ing after. 

They walked slowly over the uneven hard ground, stepping 
carefully over the tobacco stubbles. Although it was early they 
could see that a great many horses and wagons already had 
gathered at the Hurst farm. 

Men stood around in groups in the yard. "Wie geht's, wie 
geht'sl" they greeted Father and the whole family as they made 
their way up to the house. There they all stopped to clean their 
shoes on the iron mud scraper that was fastened to the first step 
at the porch. 

"It looks like church," Martha said, as they opened the door 
into the Hursts' "best room" that was already well filled with 


"I smell the turkeys!" she whispered to David. 

"Sh! You schwetz [speak] too loud — sh-h!" he said, back 
of his hand. David spoke Pennsylvania Dutch because he too 
was really very much excited. 

Martha was right. Hursts' sunny "best room," with its pot- 
ted plants and bright colored flowers on the deep window sills, 
was filled with delicious odors ! Voices buzzed, children and 
babies laughed and fretted. Dishes clattered out in the kitchen, 
and there were sounds of hasty footsteps overhead. 

Martha kept close to Mother, twisting and untwisting her 
handkerchief around her first finger. This huchzig will be 
wonderful, she thought — as good as the schulday ! 

The room was growing quieter. Only the weak wail of a 
tiny baby upstairs could be heard. "It starts?" Martha leaned 
over to ask Mother after they had found good seats near the 
front of the room. 

The Bishop stood at one end of the room with Ezra and 
Lizzie seated before him. He announced a hymn which was 
sung in German. Then another hymn which was sung in Eng- 
lish. After this there was a long prayer. It was like church, 
thought Martha, as she tried to sit quietly, but much more 
exciting ! She could hardly wait for der huchzig part. 

At last Lizzie, looking quaint and pretty in her plain brown 
dress and dainty white mull cap, stood up with Ezra before the 
Bishop. It was a very solemn occasion, because they knew that 
their promises would last forever and ever. 

Martha could see some of the women pat their eyes with 
their crumpled handkerchiefs. Then she looked up into 


Mother's shining, happy face and snuggled close to her side. 

"Is that all?" she whispered, looking a bit disappointed 
when Lizzie and Ezra sat down again. 

But there was another long sermon and another prayer be- 
fore the wedding was over. Then the room buzzed with happy 
voices again as everybody shook hands with Lizzie and Ezra. 
And the good time began ! 

"It was shust like church," Martha said afterward to Katie 
Zook. "I liked it." 

Now the women started to set tables for the big wedding 
feast, while the young people went to the barn to play games. 

"Let's go for a walk down by the limekiln," Katie said to 
Martha and several of the other little girls. 

"No-o-o ! It's spooks at the limekiln," Martha objected. 

"Martha Wenger ! Whoever tells you such things ! " Katie 
asked her in surprise. 

"Why Hetty says it's spooks there ! " Martha felt sure that 
if Hetty said so it must be true, although she knew too that 
Hetty often joked like Father. 

"Spooks is only shadows anyway," Katie comforted her. 
"Come on, girls ! I'm going ! " and she started down the road 
toward the old limekiln. 

"Our Cap got verhext [bewitched] in front of the limekiln 
once and went lame. Then he lost a shoe," Martha insisted as 
she hurried along beside Katie. 

"He'd a lost it just as good in front of the schoolhouse — " 
Katie argued. 


Martha had never thought of her schoolhouse being be- 
witched, but for a moment now she wondered. It might get 
verhext too. 

"He'd a lost his shoe just as good in front of the schoolhouse 
if the nails had dropped out there," Katie said again, and 
Martha felt better to hear this. 

But now she remembered something else. "Sammy Fas- 
nacht's barn was verhext too when it burned down," she said, 
"because he didn't have circles or fans painted on it to keep the 
witches away. Hetty tells me that. She hears it often." 

"No, Martha, no ! " Katie was very impatient now. "Hetty 
tells you wrong — all wrong ! Sammy Fasnacht burned leaves 
too close to his barn — the witches weren't near it. Vershteh? 
The schoolhouse could come down that way, too. It has no 
circles or fans on it, either, so there." 

By this time the girls had reached the limekiln and were 
turning back to the Hurst farm again. Martha was quiet now, 
wondering if her schulhaus might burn down because it didn't 
have circles or fans painted on it. But Katie said that didn't 
count, and maybe Hetty was only teasing. 

Just as they were walking past a pile of logs stacked in the 
Hurst orchard, they saw one of the logs rolling slowly down 
toward them, although there was no one in sight. 

"It's spooks — I tell you so ! " Martha screamed in fear as she 
started to run, followed by the other two girls. But Katie was 
brave. "I'll find the spook ! " she shouted as she ran around the 
log pile to look. 


"Georgie Zook ! " she shrieked. "I've a mind to shake you ! 
How could you do such a thing?" 

For there sat Georgie on the huge chopping block, content- 
edly unraveling one of Mrs. Hurst's long woolen stockings. 
Katie remembered seeing Mrs. Hurst knitting on it last week. 
She watched him in amazement now as he gave one long pull 
and waited to see the tiny yarn loops pop up — then another pull 
as far as his arms could reach, while the gray yarn piled up be- 
side him. 

"I make a ball like the big boys have when they play corner 
ball," he told Katie, so pleased with himself. "The shoemaker 
makes a cover from leather. Then I play ! " 

"Oh, you naughty boy!" Katie snatched all that was left 


of the stocking from him, then picked up the loose pile of 
crinkly gray yarn and rolled it in her apron. 

"Now Mother has to knit it all over again for Mrs. Hurst. 
Tsk ! Tsk ! Pull up the knitting needles quick, Georgie. Don't 
bend them!" 

Georgie had stuck the four steel needles in a neat row in a 
crack in the top of the chopping block to watch them sparkle 
in the sun ! 

"Here, give them to me ! " Then grabbing Georgie by the 
jacket Katie marched him down the road after the girls. 

"Here's your spook, Martha ! " she laughed, almost bump- 
ing Martha over as she shoved Georgie up to her. "Take him 
home for Hetty — she likes spooks! See, he unraveled Mrs. 
Hurst's stocking she was just knitting. It's nothing left but the 

"Don't cry, Georgie," Martha said, when she saw him 
pucker up his face ready to burst into tears. "I don't take you to 
Hetty — she don't want you. She has a nice young man with a 
horse and buggy ! ' The others girls giggled at Martha's joke. 
"But I guess you shust don't get no custard pie for dinner, 
Georgie." Martha scolded now. "That fixes you ! " 

As they hurried along Martha remembered the other time 
she thought she heard spooks at the limekiln. Now she said to 
herself, "Last year the spooks turn into black pigs and now they 
turn into Georgie. I guess it ain't no spooks after all." 

"Come on, girls ! " Katie was calling and beckoning to them 
from farther down the road. "They lift Ezra over the fence. 
The bridegroom goes over the fence ! " 

The girls fairly flew now. They must not miss this part of 
the wedding. 

They reached the apple orchard just in time. "Watch ! Up 
he goes ! O-verl" The young unmarried men were all there to- 
gether to help toss the bridegroom over the fence to the mar- 
ried men on the other side. "Now he's married for good," 
Katie explained, "and can raise his beard like our Pops do! 
That's how they say, anyhow ! " 

"Well, he looks shust the same to me," said Martha, as she 
settled her bonnet on her head, ready to follow the crowd into 
the barn where they would play games. 

The little girls stood a long while and watched the older 
boys and girls play "bloom sock." They played this game with 
a hard knotted handkerchief that was passed from one to the 
other as they sat on a long bench on the threshing floor. When 
the one who was "it," the "hunter," tried to grab the handker- 
chief and was "socked" with the hard knot, the barn rang with 
laughter. They were having such fun ! The air was heavy with 
the odor of drying tobacco hanging overhead and choky with 
dust from well filled haymows. The singing games echoed and 
re-echoed through the barn, startling droves of pigeons from 
their perches in the cupola on the roof and bringing them flap- 
ping and cooing down through the sunlight to the ground. 

"Ouch ! " shouted David, after he had received an unusually 
hard "sock" from the knotted handkerchief he was trying to 
grab. "I guess I have enough for a while. I guess I go across now 
to see how Grandpappy keeps with Shep." 


Martha watched him go but was surprised to see him back 
in a little while. He seemed to have changed his mind about 
weddings being more for girls ! She could see he was having a 
good time. 

And now word was passed around that the big dinner was 
ready. And there was feasting the rest of the day ! Time and 
again the tables were cleared and freshly set. One group would 
eat, and then another, until finally everyone, including all the 
children, had had their dinners. Martha had three "helps" of 
turkey. There wouldn't be any leftovers for her next day, she 
knew. And David was beginning to feel uncomfortably full 
after his many "helps" by the time Father and Mother said it 
was time to go home to do the farm work. 

"I want to stay for the singing tonight," Martha begged 
Mother. "I w-a-n-t to s-t-a-y with Hetty and hear them sing!" 

"Nein, nein, that's only for the big boys and girls to get ac- 
quainted at," Mother explained. "Koom ! Lizzie and Ezra will 
visit with us soon. Then we make them a present." 

Martha could hardly believe that the big day was really over, 
but she put on her bonnet and shawl and was ready to leave 
with Mother. 

"Come, Martha, fetch the satchel and the paper tutt [bag] 
beside it." Mother was going out the door now. "Your Pop's 
in a hurry ! " 

Martha ran ahead then with David, carrying the bulging 
paper bag of cold turkey, apples, cakes and grapes which Mrs. 
Hurst was sending along for Grandpappy. 


When they reached home David was first to open the kitchen 
door. Out bounded Shep to meet them. He barked and leaped 
about gleefully, glad to have them all home again. 

"Down, Shep, down now. You dare have the bones from 
Grandpappy's turkey," David promised him. 

"Here, Grandpappy. Mrs. Hurst thinks of you," said Mar- 
tha, handing the bag of good things to him. "Oh, it was a goot 
wedding, Grandpappy. And now Lizzie Hurst cooks for Ezra 
Beiler over at his house, not?" 







enough, and I think he eats good," said Mother, 

proud of her success at turkey raising. She was 

going over the eighteen-pound bird carefully for the last time, 

getting him ready for the Christmas feast the next day. 

Martha and David crowded about closely as Mother flipped 


the breastbone once more, wiped the big turkey both inside and 
out, and then looked again to be sure that every pin feather 
was out. 

The whole house was aglow with Christmas! Hetty had 
given it a special cleaning, washed the windows, scrubbed the 
porches, and even scalloped papers for the closet shelves ! Moth- 
er's luscious fruit cake, all tied up in a white muslin cloth and 
looking like a bad case of toothache, had been mellowing in a 
big brown lard can for over a month. She had made her sprin- 
ger lies, pfeffernussen \uchen [cakes], mince pies and souse 
[pig's feet jelly] the day before, and now everything was ready 
for the great day. 

Martha and David had watched all these preparations with 
delight. But as usual, Martha showed her excitement more than 
did David, and asked a hundred questions, squealing and hop- 
ping about in glee. 

"Looks like the wedding," she said, pinching one of the tur- 
key's cold, plump legs. "Look ! How big they make ! Maybe 
the Belsnickje comes tonight, Mother, not?" she asked with 
high hope. 

David had been telling Martha again about the German cus- 
tom of boys calling themselves "Belsnic1{les," going from house 
to house on Christmas eve with their faces masked, throwing 
candy and nuts on the floor for the children to pick up. 

"Then when the children try to pick up these goodies," he 
told her earnestly, "the Belsnichjes try to switch their fingers. 
Afterwards they hand the switch to the mother who puts it on 
the mantel to use during the year if the children are bad." 


"Or, maybe the Grishtkjndl comes?" Martha asked now, 
thinking he would be gentler than the Belsnic1{les. 

"The Grishtfyndl brings the presents with his reindeer. But 
only to good girls and boys," she added. "David says so, 

But Mother and Father did not talk much about such things. 
They believed that Christmas was the day when the "inner 
light" shone bright on everyone and the true story of the Christ 
Child should be told instead. 

"Martha," said Mother, "run upstairs and bring down the 
long, brown paper bundle tied with red string. It's on top of 
my painted chest." 

Martha found four other packages on the painted chest too, 
but she picked out the long one tied with red string and carried 
it down the stairs to Mother. 

"O-o-h! such fluffy, woolly slippers!" she exclaimed, when 
Mother opened the bundle. 

"There," Mother said, smiling, as she handed a pair of lamb's 
wool slippers to Martha, "put them beside Grandpappy's bed 
tonight when he sleeps. Then he thinks the Grishtkjndl was 

Martha thought this over quietly for several seconds. Then 
she slipped her hands into the warm lamb's wool and looked at 
Mother knowingly — "He fools himself, but he likes it, not, 

"Christmas gift! Christmas gift!" Martha called over to 
David's room the next morning bright and early. 


"Christmas gift ! Christmas gift ! " David answered her, and 
then there was a race to see who would be downstairs first. 

"Christmas gift!" Mother greeted them and handed each 
one a round brown paper package. 

In David's package was a red wammus and a big penknife. 
And Martha received a shiny schoolbox with three bright- 
colored lead pencils inside, and a box of very pretty schnoop- 
duffs [handkerchiefs]. 

"Hetty and I make the dinner today," Mother reminded Fa- 
ther, when breakfast was over. "It's a long way to church, over 
to the Beilers' — so make yourself ready, David. You go to 
church by Father today." 

"It snows! It snows!" Martha was calling from the "best 
room" where she was trying out her new colored pencils. 
"Mebbe the Grishtfyndl brings his reindeer, David!" 

"Well, you tell him I'm a good boy, Martha, if he comes — I 
go to church." 

"Maybe you bring somebody back from church for dinner," 
Mother suggested to Father. "Sammy Fasnacht likes to eat, or 
the Kreider sisters — they live all alone. It's a big turkey, you 

The snow became deeper and deeper all morning, and Mar- 
tha kept wiping the steam from the kitchen windows with her 
bare hand, for every time Mother opened the oven door to see 
if the sizzling, sputtering turkey was browning properly, a 
puff of steam would blow out and cover the cold panes. Martha 
wanted to see down the road. The Grishtkjndl might come ! 

The best room was cosy and warm. Baby Jacob sat on a thick 


blanket spread on the floor near the stove, and Martha played 
with him. 

"It's Christmas, Jacob — Christmas ! " she said, bubbling over 
with joy. "See your new horsie ! David gives him to you. Look ! 
He has a shiny harness, just like Cap, and his tail is plaited with 
red string ! " But in answer baby Jacob only tried to stuff his 
calabash rattle down his throat as he gurgled and cooed. 

"Church must make out now sure," Martha thought aloud, 
trying to see through the "best room" windows this time. 

"Oh, they come! They come! Church makes out!" she 
called joyfully to Mother who was busy whipping up the 
mashed potatoes, that were to be served with the creamed on- 
ions, corn, cole slaw, turnips, and all the "fixings" of the turkey. 

"A big car comes too! Iss it the Grisht\indl, you think, 
Mother?" Martha asked excitedly. 

Mother took another look at the turkey and then slammed 
the oven door shut before running to the window to see for 
herself. With one swipe of her apron, she cleaned the window 
pane of steam. Yes, Martha was right! Father's yellow Ger- 
mantown wagon was almost at the gate, and right behind it 
was a big, gray trailer. Mother knew! She had seen trailers 
when she drove to Lancaster. 

"It's the house on wheels — I see them in Lancaster once, 

"Hetty, come," Martha squealed, beside herself now with 

Hetty ran across the kitchen floor and the three of them, 
Mother, Martha and Hetty crowded close to the window. 


Mother had to keep wiping the steam from the panes as they 

Cap stopped at the gate. The wheels of the wagon were 
clogged with snow and the top looked like a big white iced 
cake. Father and David got out just as the trailer drew up in 
back of them, and a man stepped out of the automobile part. 
Then Father and the strange man, with David helping, broke 
a path up the snow-covered walk to the door of the "best room." 

"Mebbe the Grishtfyndl sends him ! " Martha insisted, still 

"Mother," Father said, as he opened the door and stamped 
his feet to shake off the snow, "they buy some milk of us for 
their Christmas dinner. We have some?" 

"Some milk ! " she exclaimed, too surprised to say more as 
she followed Father into the kitchen. 

David and the strange man, who was tall and beardless, 
crossed the room to stand by the stove. Baby Jacob, surprised by 
the stranger, started to cry and David picked him up to com- 
fort him. Martha had forgotten all about baby Jacob, she was 
so curious about the house on wheels. She still had her face 
pressed against the cold window pane looking out through the 
storm at another little girl face pressed tightly against the small 
trailer window. Martha could hardly believe what she saw ! 

"Maybe they would eat Christmas dinner with us." Mother 
found words at last, turning to Father in the kitchen. "The tur- 
key is done and it is plenty. Sammy Fasnacht doesn't come — 

"Nein, he has it so in his back." Then he said, "Ya, veil, I 


ask dis man," and Father went back to the "best room" again. 

"Well," said the strange man whom David and Martha after- 
wards always called "Mr. Trailer," "my wife has dinner about 
ready, but it certainly would be fine to have Christmas dinner 
with a real family in a real house, and it is certainly good of 
you to invite us." 

"Ya veil, iss goot," said Father, as Mother rushed out to the 
kitchen to lay three more places at the table. 

So in another minute "Mr. Trailer" was going back down 
the snowy walk, and before long the side door of the trailer 
opened and a pair of steps unfolded and dropped to the ground. 
Then a little girl about Martha's size hopped out, followed by 
a woman. They had coats thrown over their heads and while 
the man closed the door of the trailer, the little girl and her 
mother waded up the drifted path and into the "best room." 

As Mother took their coats, "Mrs. Trailer" looked about the 
pleasant room and drew nearer the stove. "It's so cheerful and 
warm in here ! " she said. "Thank you so very much for ask- 
ing us ! " 

Martha watched Mrs. Trailer and the little girl shyly for a 
few minutes before going nearer. She thought Mrs. Trailer 
was almost as nice looking as Mother, and the dress the little 
girl was wearing was as pretty as those the Brooks twins had 
on the day she went to school with David. 

Mother gave all the coats to David who hung them in a 
row on the wall hooks. Then he hurried over to Grandpappy's 
room to help him to the window so that he could see the trailer 


"Du liever friede! [Did you ever ! ] — it makes me think of 
the old Conestoga wagons they had for hauling when I was a 
boy, before we had trains." Grandpappy was so excited he had 
to go over to the "best room" to see the strangers, and David led 
him. There he talked with Father and Mr. Trailer, telling 
them all about the old times, when they drove eight horses 
hitched to the old Conestoga wagons. 

"Eight horses to pull the heavy loads over the mountains," 
he said. "And the bells that hung over the horses' collars made 
like chimes. We could hear them far over the Valley. Times 
change ! Ya, veil — " And after this long speech Grandpappy 
tottered back to his room again to wait for dinner. 

While the men talked, Mother and Hetty were busy in the 
kitchen, putting the finishing touches to the Christmas feast. 
Mrs. Trailer played with baby Jacob, and Martha entertained 
the little girl with her dolly, Sally Ann. 

"Kann er Deutsch? [Can you talk German?]" she asked, 
handing Sally Ann over to her little visitor. 

"I'm Victoria," the little girl replied pleasantly, for she 
thought that Martha had asked her name. 

"What?" Martha asked. 

"Victoria is my name. What's yours?" 

"Martha. Martha Wenger." 

"That's a pretty name," said Victoria. "Let's play school, 
shall we?" 

"Yes," Martha agreed. "And first we sing Beautiful Snow — 
like at my school," she said in her grown-up way. "You know, 
mebbe my little schoolhouse comes down and then I go to a 
big school. But I like my little school besser." 

Victoria didn't know what to say to this. She thought a big 
school much more exciting. Most little girls wanted to go to a 
big school. 

"Why do you have tucks all around your waist and sleeves 
and at the bottom of your dress?" she asked, looking Martha 
over carefully. 

"It's to let out when I grow, see?" Martha showed her where 
Mother had already ripped out a tuck and the material was 
much brighter. "Pop says I grow like a weed ! " 

At this they both giggled and their giggles tinkled across the 
room like tiny bells, only to be silenced by Hetty calling them 
to dinner. 

"Look," said Martha, stopping in front of Victoria before 
they went into the kitchen. She pushed at a loose front tooth 
with her tongue. "It wiggles — I must eat slow." 

How nice the table looked ! Right in the middle of it Hetty 
had placed a tall glass like a vase, filled with green celery. The 
tumblers held red fringed napkins folded three-cornered, and 
Martha was delighted to see that the turkey reposed on the big 


purply meat platter that had a peacock painted in the center. 

The long quiet blessing seemed extra long to the hungry 
children, who eyed the steaming turkey over their noses. 
Mother held baby Jacob on her lap and had to keep pushing 
her plate out of reach of his clutching hands. 

At last Father stood up and carved the turkey ! And he did 
not have to count for his "seven sours and seven sweets" today. 
There they all were in front of him ! 

"Help yourself! Help yourself!" he said again and again. 
"Mother grows this turkey — it's a fine bird." 

"Yes, it is," agreed Mr. Trailer. "But we raise good turkeys 
in Canada too." 

"You are from Canada then?" Father and Mother both 
asked at the same time. 

"Many of our Amish people live in Canada now," Father 
told him. 

"Yes," answered Mr. Trailer, "we live in Canada. Now we 
are on our way to Florida for the winter — but we started a 
little late!" 

"Indeed we did," said Mrs. Trailer, "because this is a part of 
the country I should like to drive through in the summer time. 
Your Lancaster County farms must be beautiful. Such fine 
barns and houses ! " 

"Fine indeed," agreed Mr. Trailer. "No wonder Lancaster 
County is called the 'Garden Spot of America.' And I hear that 
you are going to build a big schoolhouse near here soon." 

At this Martha stopped chewing and sat with her fork raised 
in the air, while David held on to a turkey leg with both hands. 


It was a serious moment. Father crossed his knife and fork 
slowly on his plate before he spoke. 

He won't be joking now, thought David. 

"Ya-a!" Father began. "We have our little red schoolhouses 
for many years and now the Government tries to do away with 
them and build one big schoolhouse where all the children go 
together ! " 

"That is the new idea in education," Mr. Trailer assured 
Father. "The Township school, they call it." 

"But," Father argued, "the people must borrow the money 
to build the big school. That is needless — to borrow. Our Amish 
people don't believe that way. Besides, we want our little one- 
room schools near our homes. Then our children can walk 
there, and needn't ride by a bus, neinl" 

There was a silence now, broken only by a squeal from baby 
Jacob banging his pudgy hand on Mother's plate. Martha low- 
ered her fork and David started to eat the turkey leg. Father 
thought a long time before he spoke again. 

Then, "It's shust like this," he went on. "Our Amish people 
are not well known, and we are not proud and worldly. We 
keep to the old ways in everysing, and we want our children to 
do the same." 

"I see, I see," said Mr. Trailer, realizing how serious Father 

"We must keep our little schoolhouses," Father spoke again, 
"so our boys and girls will grow up in the way we think is 

After this he passed the mince pie around the table so that 


everyone could help himself. Then Christmas dinner was over ! 

"Look, Victoria, my tooth still sticks!" Martha showed her 
on their way back to play. 

"Why don't you pull it out?" Victoria suggested, very brave 
as long as it was not her tooth. 

"Huh-uh ! " Martha objected, shaking her head. "It falls out 
mebbe when I don't know it. Grandpappy tells me when der 
Grosspappy was a little boy long ago, the blacksmith pulled 
teeth. But he don't pull mine !" 

Just then Victoria's mother called to her. "We must go now," 
she said, and both little girls looked unhappy over the parting. 
"Thank everybody for such a delicious Christmas dinner, Vic- 

Mr. Trailer wanted to pay for their dinner. 

But, "Nein, nein," Father refused him, looking at Mother 
who agreed with him with a nod of her head. 

"We help spread the 'inner light' today," she said quietly 
over baby Jacob sleeping peacefully in her arms. "We have 
plenty. And maybe you stop again when you come back ! " 

Mr. and Mrs. Trailer smiled and thanked them again as 
they moved toward the door. 

Martha was off in a corner of the room looking over her new 
box of handkerchiefs. 

"Dis one," she said to herself. "Dis one with the tulip worked 
on it — it's prettiest." Then to Victoria, "Here," she said, "you 
have a pretty schnoopduff for church. I play the Grishtfyndl 
fetched it ! " 

"Thank you very much, Martha, it's lovely." Then Victoria 


stepped out into the snow behind her father and mother, and 
soon two happy little girl faces were again pressed flat against 
icy window panes, gazing out at each other until the trailer 
disappeared in the falling snow. 

The day after Christmas, which the Amish people call "Sec- 
ond Christmas," turned out to be fine and clear. The snow had 
blown and drifted high on the by-road leading out to the State 
Road, and Father and Mr. Hurst and David were opening it 
up. Martha watched them for a few minutes from her bed- 
room window. They were shoveling what were called "turn- 
outs" where the snow was piled high on both sides of the road. 
Drivers had to stop and look ahead ; then one would wait while 
the other, going in the opposite direction, would pass. 

Soon the delicious, familiar smell of "funnel" cakes reached 
Martha and sent her scurrying to the kitchen for her breakfast. 
Hetty had already made a stack of the buttered funnel cakes 
which she was keeping warm in the oven while she went on 
baking more. 

She would let the batter run out of the blue funnel onto the 
sizzling hot plate, closing the bottom of the funnel with her 
finger while she moved it to another part of the hot plate. Then 
she turned the cakes deftly with a queer-looking paddle that 
Grandpappy had made out of iron a long time ago. It had a 
paddle on one end and a fork on the other. Father joked about 
it sometimes, saying, "It is like a good rule — it works both 


Breakfast was late this morning because Father and David 
had gone right out to clear a path through the snow in the by- 
road, and Hetty was keeping the funnel cakes warm for them. 
Baby Jacob was an early bird this morning and Martha, after 
stopping to watch Hetty for a second, ran over to hug him. 

"Hetty makes funnel cakes for us this morning, Jacob. You 
must make big quick so that you can eat some too." Then, clap- 
ping her hands, she sang to Baby Jacob: 

"Botsche, botsche, \uche, 
Der Baker hot gerufe 
Wer will goot Kuche bache, 
Er muss haven sieben sache." 

Paddy, paddy the cakes, 

The baker has called 

Who wishes to bake good cakes, 

Must have seven good things in them. 

Baby Jacob was clapping his hands too, and then suddenly 
he burst out laughing — and no wonder! For Martha had 
backed right into a bag of Mother's rag carpet balls and fallen, 
rolling over and over on the floor, while Tommy, the cat, who 
hardly ever left the barn to come into the house, was scamper- 
ing wildly across the kitchen toward Martha. 

"My tooth's out! — It's out!" Martha shrieked weakly. 
"Where iss it though?" She jumped up and stuck her tongue 
through the empty space to make sure it was really gone. Then 

8 9 

she looked all over the floor. When she noticed Tommy, he was 
gracefully arched, ready to pounce on something. 

"Tommy — it's mine! Here!" And Martha snatched the 
pearly tooth swiftly from under his soft paws and clutched it 
tightly in her fist. 

"I drop it down a rat hole, Tommy," she told him. "Out in 
your barn. It gives a gold tooth then. Hetty tells me so ! " 

She ran to the window and saw Shep gamboling about and 
barking at the bright, drifting bits of snow as the men shov- 

Soon Father and David started toward the house and Mar- 
tha ran to help Hetty get the chairs to the table for breakfast. 




enough, Father decided they would go sleighing. "We 
—J take Mother to the store in New Holland," he told Mar- 
tha, who had been coaxing for a sleighride all morning. So 
after dinner he went to the barn to take out the old yellow 
sleigh that had stood so long in the wagon shed without being 
used. Its runners were rusty and rough, and the red, plush- 
covered seat was white with cobwebs and dry straws. It had not 
been out of the shed for two whole years now because Grand- 


pappy's pink goosebone had not given any snows all last 

The sleigh looked very queer to Martha. She watched Fa- 
ther from her usual place at the kitchen window, while he 
brushed it carefully before hitching Cap into the shafts. 

"B-r-r ! " Father came stamping into the house to put on his 
long heavy coat. It had a shoulder cape, just like the kind of 
cape the Pilgrims used to wear. The coat looked green from 
age, but it was good and warm and Father would wear it a 
long time. 

"Dress warm, Mother — iss \alt\" he said as he carried 
Grandpappy's brown buffalo robe from the back of the "best 
room" settle out to the sleigh. He covered the seat to make it 
warm for Mother and Martha. Only Mother and Martha were 
going with Father and they tied blue veils over their bonnets 
to keep out the cold air. Martha sat between Father and 
Mother. Though she stretched her short legs as far as she could, 
she could barely reach the brick that Mother had heated in the 
oven and Father had put on the floor of the sleigh to be sure 
their feet would keep warm. After Father tucked the blankets 
all snugly about them they were ready to start. 

From the porch where they stood to wave good-bye, Hetty 
and David could see Cap plant his feet firmly as he strained on 
the shiny, screechy harness that Father had bought for him 
at the Menno Weaver sale. The sleigh creaked as it slid along 
the first few feet of snow with a jerk. Martha thought the floor 
boards were being twisted and torn apart as she saw the shafts 


wiggle sideways with every pull. She looked into Father's face, 
expecting him to tell them to get out of the sleigh. 

But he did not. Instead he said, "It goes better when the 
runners wear smooth awhile. Soon you have to hold your bon- 
nets! Giddap, Cap!" 

And sure enough, they were going faster and faster now. 
The sleigh runners sang a merry tune as they slid ever more 
smoothly over the crunching snow. Father had no bells on Cap 
or on the sleigh. Bells were "of the world" he thought, and 
against his religion. Besides, the sleigh could be seen very easily 
in the day time against the white snow. But at night he always 
had a light, because that was the law. 

Twice on the way to New Holland Father stopped the sleigh 
and got out to knock the big balls of snow from Cap's hoofs. 
It had packed so hard on all of them that he looked as if he were 
running on stilts. And Father thought he might slip and fall, 
and perhaps break a leg. He would never want this to happen 
to Cap. 

As they rounded a long curve still some distance from the 
town Martha could see away off a long, covered Conestoga 
bridge across the Conestoga Creek. She wondered how Cap 
would ever manage to pull them through it because there 
wouldn't be any snow in the bridge. But Cap knew what to do. 
He pulled the sleigh up the little hill and stopped just at the 
entrance to the bridge. Then Father got out and, after hand- 
ing the lines to Mother, he pushed with all his strength at the 
back of the sleigh. 


E-e-e-sh-sh-e-e-sh ! The sleigh scratched and scraped over the 
dry, loose boards of the bridge. E-e-e-sh-sh-e-eh ! Mother shiv- 
ered at the squeaky sounds. "I'm glad it's over," she said, when 
she handed the lines back to Father. 

"Not so bad when we come home. Other sleighs and auto- 
mobiles carry snow in and make a track for us, Mother ! " Fa- 
ther said comfortingly. 

When at last they drew up in front of the grocery store in 
New Holland, Cap was frothing around his harness and steam- 
ing in the cold air like a basin of hot water. So Father threw 
Cap's own blanket over him to keep him from catching cold. 
Then they hurried into the store. Once inside, Martha clumped 
round and round in her heavy soled shoes, looking at every- 
thing as she tried to warm her numb feet. Her legs were so 
short it had been hard for her to keep her feet near enough the 
hot brick to keep them warm. 

But now she soon forgot all about her feet in her interest in 
the store. "It's the Grisht\indl all around ! " she whispered to 
Mother. "I like it ! He looks so kind — just like the Bishop !" 

Mother had not brought eggs today, as she very often did, to 
trade in for sugar, coffee, flour, rice or macaroni, because the 

hens did not lay as well when the weather was cold, and too, 
she had used so many eggs to bake her Christmas \uchen I 

"Now, some peppermints for Grandpappy," she said to the 
clerk after all her groceries had been bought. 

"You have one now, Martha. Grandpappy would say so !" 

Martha took one of the shiny, red-striped candies and popped 
it into her mouth as she followed Father and Mother out to the 
sleigh. All the bags of groceries were dropped under the lid of 
the seat and they bundled themselves in once more. The sleigh 
creaked and groaned again as they started off with a jerk, and 
soon the whizzing, singing sound of the runners was music in 
Martha's ears. She did not wear her veil going home, and the 
biting wind stung her cheeks until they were rosy as a Pippin 
apple. The peppermint candy, which was tucked away in her 
right cheek, made her mouth feel cold inside too. Sometimes 
the wind got up under her bonnet and almost lifted it off her 
head. But she would pull it on again and then cover her hands 
quickly under the blanket. 

"Our Martha sleeps tight tonight ! " Father was sure when 
he lifted her out of the sleigh in front of their own blue gate. 
"She's no pene$ic\ maid [sickly girl] mit such red cheeks. Look 
— David and baby Jacob hammer at the window, Martha ! " 

"Tomorrow mebbe we take baby Jacob for a ride, not?" 
Martha begged of Mother. 

"Ya, veil, mebbe," Mother agreed, "if the wind lets up. 





vid and Martha did not have to look in their 
Baer's Almanac to learn this. There were such 
lovely signs all about ! The days were much longer again and 
fragrant blossoms floated through the air, while robins hopped 
jauntily over the soft, crumbling ground. Then too, the short 
tender grass waved by the roadside, hiding bunches of "johnny- 
jump-ups" and dandelions along the rail fences, where Martha 
picked them with delight. David's school would be over in two 
weeks, and when Martha went to meet him these balmy May 


days, she pushed her bonnet far back on her head to feel the 
warm, soothing breeze fan her face. These were all signs of 
spring that were not even mentioned in the almanac ! 

Father was plowing down in the cornfield, and Mother had 
already put her "onion sets" out in her garden near the cold 
frame that nursed the early lettuce. The lettuce was coming 
along nicely and Mother hoped to have some big enough to eat 
before Mrs. Hurst did. She hadn't forgot that Mrs. Hurst had 
had the first cornmeal for mush last fall. Mothe± expected to 
have an extra fine garden this year. Away back in March, as she 
did each year, she had sprouted boxes of cabbage and tomato 
seed on the kitchen window sills, and now these tiny plants 
were ready to be set out into the garden. And they looked so 
strong and sturdy. 

Today, down on her knees in the pleasant sunshine, she dug 
hole after hole in which to "set" the early cabbage plants. Her 
trowel gritted and scraped through the mellow earth that tum- 
bled out beside her to wait to be tumbled back again after 
she had "set" a plant and patted its roots down gently but 

Martha was there in the garden with Mother, and Mother 
talked to her while she worked. 

"Next we plant the peas and beans, when the horns of the 
moon point up, Martha. Not in the Posey woman sign of the 
almanac, or they will all go to blossom, and we have no wege- 
tables. Father plants his grain when the moon waxes and grows. 
Then he thinks he reaps much more. You know that, Mar- 


Martha was tying narrow strips of muslin to the short twigs 
that Mother always put up in the garden to scare the birds away 
from the seed. 

"I know it," Martha answered, as she stood back and viewed 
her tiny white flags with satisfaction. "Mom, it's in our pretty 
seed book where the tomatoes are red as fire and big as Grand- 
pappy's mush bowl. Oh, I think our garden makes out good 
dis summer." 

She retied one slip that had loosened up a bit and then said, 
"Look, the birds scare themselves off now. It's shust like Fa- 
ther's scarecrow. He makes dis way, Mom ! " Martha extended 
limp arms, bobbed her head and twirled round and round. 
Then quick as a flash she stopped spinning. 

"I'm Dutch as sauerkraut, I'm Dutch as sauerkraut!" she 
sang out, jumping up and down in the freshly dug earth. "I'm 
Dutch as sauerkraut — David says so — but HE ain't! That's 
funny, not?" 

Mother's shoulders shook with laughter as she dug faster 
and faster. "Ya, veil, Martha, it is funny," she chuckled. Then 
she added, "When David comes from school you go along to 
the pasture with him and pick some dandelions for supper to- 
night." That will keep her busy, thought Mother. 

Martha liked the sour-bitter greens the way Mother fixed 
them and Father always said, "Dandelions make red cheeks on 
die shay Madel [the pretty girl] !" so she was eager to help 
gather some. 

"I get the big market basket and wait at the gate for David," 
she said. "There, he comes down the road now ! " 


David and Martha swung the large basket between them as 
they set out for the cow pasture that was always so yellow with 
dandelion flowers in the spring. However, no sooner had they 
started to pick the long, tooth-like leaves than David thought 
there might be more leaves on the opposite side of the pasture. 
So across the field they went to where their cows lay under an 
immense elm tree on the bank of a small stream. Here they 
picked and picked until they thought they surely had enough. 
But after they had pressed the dandelions down, the basket did 
not seem very full, so they started picking again. 

Then suddenly "Honk, honk! Qua-qua-wuawua-r'rY — 
s-s-sh ! " and David and Martha looked up with a start. Wad- 
dling toward them in a long, wavy line was Mrs. Hurst's flock 
of geese — the long-necked geese that she raised for goose 
feather beds and pillows. 

"Must have crawled under her fence again," said David. 

"I guess they flew overt" Martha replied. 

Grandpappy had a pink goosebone, and that was all she 
knew about geese. 

"No," David told her, "they can't fly high because Mrs. 
Hurst clips their wings ! But listen, Martha, don't run ! The 
old lead gander, Judas, nips your legs if you do — now mind ! 
Let them go by once. We stand still." And they stood as quiet 
as two statues, holding the basket between them. 

But when Martha saw the old gray gander step out of line 
and swagger toward her, she dropped her hold on the basket 
and ran screaming across the pasture. The gander flapped close 


behind her, until he finally grabbed the hem of her dress and 
hung on like a sand bag. 

"David ! David ! " she sobbed with fright. "Judas gets me ! 
He gets me ! " 

"I told you no running! Now, you big goose, you know 
besser," David scolded as he shooed and switched the geese 
back under the fence. 

"Listen, Martha, I tell you somesing ! Grandpappy tells me 
when he was a boy they used to make a little wooden frame of 
four sticks crossed over like a box frame, and put it around the 
geese's necks. Then they had to stay at home because they 
couldn't get under the fence; they were in jail, see?" 

"No ! " Martha answered very crossly, wiping the tears from 
her cheeks and looking down at the torn gathers of her skirt 
band. "He scares me like spooks ! " 

David laughed and picked up the basket by himself, for Mar- 
tha had enough to do to hold up her torn skirt. 

"We go home now. It's a mess for supper," he said, running 
his hand through the dandelion greens. 

"And I read in our almanac, Martha, how some geese cack- 
led and woke up the Roman soldiers, who saved the city from 
the enemy, long, long, ago. That's history ! " 

"It makes nossing out to me," Martha pouted. 

But David tried his best to put her in better humor. "And," 
he went on, "Grandpappy tells me how his teacher made goose 
quill pens with his pocket knife, to write in school. See, we 
need the geese. We need warm feather beds, not?" 


"B-z-z-z-z-z-z ! " A lazy big bumblebee flew around Mar- 
tha's head ! She put her hand up to strike it. 

"No striking — stop ! " David shouted. 

"Say, I'm glad the bumblebees are out. Now we go barefoot 
for sure. Next thing I go fishing ! I tell you somesing else, Mar- 
tha. Grandpappy says when the Indians lived here long, long 
ago, they had no bees until someone brought them over from 
England, so the Indians called the bees 'the Englishman's fly.' 
That's history, too ! " 

"Well, anyhow, he's a nasty old bumblebee!" Martha 
snorted, as she struck wildly at the big buzzer and dashed 
down the road toward home. But David soon caught up with 

"Who's at our house?" they asked each other when they 
spied an automobile in front of the blue gate. 

"Why, it's Teacher's car ! " exclaimed David. 

Martha stood still, her mouth wide open in astonishment. 
She was so surprised she spoke in Pennsylvania Dutch. "O-o-h ! 
Die Teacher \oGmt\" she said, and she started to run. Past the 
orchard, past Teacher's car at the gate, on through the back 
garden she scampered until she came to the rain barrel that 
stood by the summer-kitchen door. Hopping up on the big 
stone in front of the barrel, she looked at her tousled hair and 
tear-stained face in the deep black water. Then she pushed back 
her bonnet, dipped her fingers into the water and pasted her 
hair down very smoothly. Holding on to the barrel with one 
hand then, she leaned over and dashed the rain water up in 
her face three times. 


"H-o-oo ! " she sputtered after each dash. "I guess Teacher 
knows me now ! " 

Then she dried her face on her apron, mumbling to herself 
all the time. "The nasty gander! My, but it spites me like 
everysing. I'm glad it's not my Sunday dress! Tsk! Tsk!" 

Grabbing her skirt gathers, Martha stepped off the stone, ran 
through the kitchen and opened the door into the "best room" 
where Mother and Hetty sat talking to Teacher. 

"Why, Martha Wenger ! Ay, yi, yi!" Mother's usually calm 
voice was filled with dismay, for she saw Martha wiping the 
water that dripped down her face and ran off her nose. 

"It was Mrs. Hurst's old gander, Judas!" Martha tried to 
tell them as calmly as she could. "He chases me all over the pas- 
ture. I wish Grandpappy had him for his goosebone next win- 
ter ! " Then she thought of her torn skirt, which hung almost 
to the floor, for she had needed both hands to wipe her drip- 
ping face. Quickly she grabbed at her skirt and tucked it up. 
Mother and Teacher could not help laughing at her forlorn 
appearance, even though now her face was bright and smiling. 

"Go upstairs right away, Martha," Mother said, trying to 
smooth things out. "Put on your Sunday dress. Teacher stays 
to supper tonight." 

"What a nice surprise ! " thought Martha. She dressed as fast 
as she could, all the time wondering what she would show 
Teacher to entertain her. "Maybe she likes the Fractur piece 
embroidered in colored wool with the Lord's Prayer," she said 
to herself. "No, I'll take der Hund down," she decided. The 
little white china dog mounted on a round piece of board, un- 


der a glass case, was to Martha the most beautiful thing in the 
house. Someone had brought der Hund from the Chicago 
World's Fair to Mother when she was a little girl, and it was 
always kept on the painted chest in Mother's room. All dressed 
in her Sunday dress, which was a lovely dark red that made her 
face look glowing and bright, Martha grasped der Hund tight 
in her hands as she went down the steps. It was such a precious 
dog — and if she should break it ! 

"See, it's der Hund!" she said, holding it up before Teacher 
who had baby Jacob in her lap and was saying "Eye winker, 
Tom Tinker" to him. 

"It's beautiful ! " Teacher said, taking it in her hand to ex- 
amine it more closely. 

Baby Jacob reached for it too. 

"Nein, nein, you break it ! " and Martha set the prized dog 
over on one of the deep window sills, while baby Jacob stiffened, 
turned red in the face and let out a cry of defeat. Suddenly he 
threw up his arms and bumped Teacher's nose so hard the tears 
ran down her cheeks. 

"You bad poy ! " Martha cried, and could not get him out to 
the kitchen to Mother fast enough. Then she hurried back to 
the "best room" just in time to see Teacher open a shiny mirror 
case and powder her nose. 

"It's the way I look in the rain barrel," Martha said, wrin- 
kling up her own nose cunningly. "But I daresn't be proud ! " 

Teacher had no answer for this. 

"You want to see our date stone?" Martha asked her, trying 
to think of something interesting to do next. 


"Yes, indeed," said Teacher. So they walked through the 
yard and around to one end of the old stone house to which so 
many additions had been built. 

"Up there ! " Martha pointed with pride to the flat, square 
stone beneath the gable roof high above their heads. 

"What does it say, Martha. I can't read the German. You 
teach me, now ! " 

"Gott gesegne dieses Haus [God bless this house]," Martha 
read, "J. W. and A. W. 1820." David had told her this many 
times and she was proud to remember it for Teacher. 

"Grandpappy's pappy and mutter put it up there 1-o-n-g ago ! 
He tells me sometimes ! " 

"Thank you, Martha," said Teacher. 

"Mebbe they have it like you on the back of your car, not?" 
Martha reasoned. "It tells how old ! " 

"That's my license plate, Martha," Teacher said in an 
amused voice. "I get a new one every year, but your 'date stone' 
lasts over a hundred years ! " 

"This is Shep," Martha said as Teacher stopped to pat him. 
"He minds me shust like your boys and girls mind you in 
schul. Look ! " and Martha put her finger up before Shep's nose. 
"See, he keeps quiet ! " 

"You want to see our black 'wootsies' now?" Teacher was 
not sure what "wootsies" were, but she wanted to see them 
anyway! Martha thought Teacher was almost as much fun 
today as Katie Zook. Not at all like in the schul haus! 

They started for the barn to see the little black pigs, but just 

then Hetty called them to supper, so they turned back to the 
house. Martha was so happy ! It was only when the dandelion 
was passed around that she was reminded of her fright from 
Mrs. Hurst's old gander, Judas. 

During supper Father talked earnestly to Teacher about the 
little schoolhouses. "It's like the Christmas dinner when Vic- 
toria was here," thought Martha. 

"I hear that they will start to build the big schoolhouse this 
summer," Teacher told Father. 

"Ya, veil, somesing must be done ! " Father was sure of that — 
but what? Neither he nor Teacher could say. They had already 
tried so many things. 

"You want to see Grandpappy's sand glass?" Martha asked 
Teacher as they left the table. "He tells the time with it when 
I carry in his supper." 

Martha took Teacher in to Grandpappy who sat in his big 
chair beside a small table which held the sand glass and a pew- 
ter candlestick. Over on the window sill Teacher could see an 
old "fat lamp" — like one her mother had. In New England 
they were called "Betty lamps." 

"Wiegeht's!" she said to Grandpappy, feeling very glad that 
she could greet him in Pennsylvania Dutch. 

Martha then told her in English all that Grandpappy had to 
say about the sand glass — that it told the hours the same as a 
sun dial out in the yard did. 

"Oh, he knows a lot ! " Martha said eagerly. "But he shust 
can't say it like you ! Now he shows us the Taufscheinsl" and 


Martha helped Grandpappy lift his big Bible from under the 
table so that he could open it on his knees for them to see. In 
the back part of the Bible all the births, deaths and marriages, 
the Taufscheins, in the Wenger family were written in a beau- 
tiful hand. 

"A man comes here to write them," Martha explained. "We 
pay him. It's like vines and tulip flowers running all around 
the writing, not?" 

"Very lovely!" said Teacher. "Beautiful!" 

"Now you see the Martyr Book," Martha went on as Grand- 
pappy handed his priceless book over to Teacher, talking to 
Martha all the time. "He says it was printed up at Ephrata in 
the Cloister House. There they even made the paper for it. And 
it took a lot of men three years to make it ! " 

Teacher saw that the Martyr Book had been printed by 
Conrad Beissel long before the Revolutionary War, in 1748 — 
about the time George Washington was a boy. 

"Grandpappy says it reads about how the Plain People were 
— were — how you say it?" 

"Persecuted." — Teacher helped her. 

"Over in the old country." 

"Very, very interesting," Teacher said thoughtfully. Then 
she got up and after returning the book to its proper place 
under the table, spoke again. "I must go home now, Martha. 
Gute nacht, Grandpappy. Tell him I liked my visit, Martha, 
and I want to come again!" 

Martha and Teacher went over to the "best room" then for 
Teacher's hat and coat, and Martha hoped that she would see 


the little pocket mirror once more. But Teacher had no time 
for primping. She said "Good night" to the family and 
thanked Mother and Hetty for the good supper. 

David and Martha stood at the blue gate then and watched 
Teacher's little car chug-chug slowly out of sight. The katy- 
dids chirped all around them and the frogs croaked down by 
the pasture stream. Gray ganders and buzzy bumblebees 
seemed f-a-r away ! It was a peaceful ending to a very stirring 





/ \ from that direction, David and Martha heard the 
J_ ^carpenters hammering away on the new school- 
house out on the State Road. And all summer long they won- 
dered just what would happen in September. Would they go 
to school? And where would they go to school? Father said 
there was enough work for David to do on the farm, if he could 
not go to the little red schulhaus, but he would not allow him 
to go to the new "worldly" schoolhouse out on the State Road. 


Mr. Zook and Mr. Stoltzfus felt the same way about their 

It was hardest of all for Martha. To be six years old at last 
and then not to be allowed to go to school when the time had 

She had lost another front tooth and kept watching in the 
rain barrel to see the new teeth that looked like short white 
fringe now. She hoped they would all be out by the time she 
started to school. 

"Do they get the water-smeller to find where the water is 
in the yard at the new schulhaus?" she asked Mother as they 
shelled lima beans together on the back porch. 

Martha remembered when Father had a new well dug last 
summer. A man, a water diviner, had carried a forked willow 
stick all over the yard, measuring it on the ground and watch- 
ing for it to turn up, which was a sign that water ran under- 
ground. When the willow stick finally turned, the well-digger 
came with his big machine and found water at this very spot. 

Mother did not know whether or not they had a water- 
smeller at the new schoolhouse. 

"Does the schulhaus have a bell on it?" 

Mother was not sure about that either. 

"Will Dora and Lilly Brooks who have the 'boughten' 
dresses go to the new schulhaus?" 

Mother was sure they would. 

"Does it have a round stove in the middle of the schulhaus?" 

Mother hoped so. 

"Will the good men hang up on the wall under the flags?" 

Mother thought they would. 

"Will Teacher say when it's 'books' there?" 

"Listen, Martha, I think Grandpappy needs you." Mother 
was glad to put an end to the questions for a time. "He taps 
his cane." 

Grandpappy wanted a drink of water. It had been a trying 
summer for him because he had had to stay in bed a great deal, 
but Martha had been a wonderful comfort to him. Now he 
could sit out on his chair again. During haying time he had 
fretted a great deal when he could not watch the reaper out 
in the meadow. 

"Make the windows open wide," he had told Martha, "then 
I hear the reapers and smell the sweet hay ! " 

He breathed in the fragrant clover odor that brought back 
pleasant memories. 

"When I was a boy," he said, "we cut the hay and grain by 
hand with a scythe and sickle — no machines then — and we 
started right after sun-up. At nine o'clock we had a 'piece' — 
some pies or applebutter bread the Grossmutter makes and 
fetches us to the field with a jug of cold water. Y-a-a, ya-al" 
Grandpappy was living those days all over again. 

"How we worked! When threshing time came, we used 
a flail to beat out the grain on the barn floor near the haymows. 
No big thresher to come puffing up the road to help us ! Nein, 
nein, Martha — times change a lot!" 

"You want to make lamplighters now, Grandpappy?" 
Martha asked him. "I get the newspapers ready." Together 


they rolled up long strips of paper into pencil-like shapes so 
that Mother could light fires with them and save her matches. 

"They roll around like macaronis, not?" Martha said as she 
rolled them between her hands in the tall pewter holder. 

"Now I take a snooze," said Grandpappy, putting his head 
back and settling more comfortably into his chair. 

"You go huckleberrying tomorrow?" he asked Martha. 

"Yes, I go. Hetty takes care of you tomorrow." 

Father's Germantown wagon rolled noisily along the dusty 
roadside, as it carried Father, Mother, David and Martha over 
to the Welsh mountains for huckleberrying. Hetty was stay- 
ing at home to look after Grandpappy. 

Huckleberrying was very exciting for David and Martha 
and they had been up since dawn helping to get the work done 
in order to make an early start. 

The blistering heat of the midsummer sun beat down on 
their crinkly, dry-baked wagon top as Mother and Martha, 
sitting on the back seat, pulled off their big bonnets and fanned 
themselves desperately. 

"Whew!" Martha exclaimed. "It makes like our cook 
stove ! " 

"Ya, veil," Mother reminded her, "it's the July sun, and 
our Boer's Almanac calls for hot days now !" 

Far across the browning fields that flickered with heat waves 
and buzzed with hordes of tiny insects, Martha's little red 
schoolhouse stood in the shade of a row of tall locust trees 
at the foot of the mountains — the school which was so dear to 


all the Amish people and was now doomed to be replaced by 
a large, new Township school. 

Martha watched the little schoolhouse as far as she could 
see it. 

"I'm so glad if my schulhaus keeps for me, Mom," she said, 
fanning her flushed face harder than ever. "Oh, I had such 
fun the tryout day." Then, jumping down from the wagon 
seat, Martha stood behind Father. 

"Pop, you think I have my schulhaus next winter?" she al- 
most screamed into his ear. 

"Ya, veil, Martha, you know we try hard to save it for you. 
Don't fuss so about it!" and Father slapped the lines on Cap's 
back to give vent to his overheated feelings. 

"Mother," he asked over his shoulder, "did you bring the old 
cow bell?" 

Mother proved she had by reaching down to the wagon 
floor and picking up the heavy iron cow-bell tied to a leather 

"That's good!" — Father was joking now — "mebbe we bet- 
ter tie it on Martha, to keep her from losing in the woods, not?" 

Martha giggled, looked appealingly at Mother, and as they 
drove along she fanned briskly with her limp bonnet while she 
tried to steady herself by pushing hard with her feet on the 
bumping wagon floor. 

"Who-o-a ! " Father shouted at last, "We hitch here by the 
roadside and make our way over the clearing to the mountain." 

He tied Cap in the shade to the stake fence while Mother 
and David took the tin buckets out of the wagon. Each one had 


' ig I 

1 y 


a small bucket in which to place the berries ; besides these there 
were two big milk buckets to hold all the berries. They hoped 
to pick quarts and quarts of them for pies and canning — per- 
haps have some to sell in the Lancaster market on Saturday, 

It was not long before they were in the shade of the cool 
mountain and stripping the little blue berries from the low 
green and brown mottled bushes into their empty buckets. 

At first the berries, as they dropped into the empty buckets, 
made little pinging hollow sounds. "It makes like the rain on 
our tin roof, David!" Martha said. "It sounds ping, ping, 

David was squatted on the ground among the bushes, pull- 
ing them over to him and picking rapidly all around as far as 
he could reach. 

"Yes, well," he answered Martha, "don't run around so 
much. Stick to your bush — then you get some ! I get a big mess 
to sell round at the doors in Lancaster on Saturday." 

They could see the blue sky through the tree tops all after- 
noon, and when the sun slipped slowly under a cloud for a 
while, Father felt sure it would "give a gust soon." 

"A thunderstorm would cool the air a lot, though," he said 
to himself. "Stick together!" he shouted warningly to the 
others every once in a while when they were out of sight. 

By the time the sun's rays slanted through the trees with 
much less heat, the two milk buckets were almost full of 

"Yo-o-ho-o ! Yo-o-ho-o ! We go home soon ! " Father called 

as he emptied the berries from his small pail into one of the 
large ones again. "It's near supper time ! Look at the sun ! " 

Martha had filled her bucket and poured the berries into 
one of the big buckets only once, and now she stood in a patch 
of mountain laurel and wild honeysuckle that almost hid her 
from sight. 

"A-a-ah ! They smell so good ! " she said to herself. "I sink I 
pick some flowers for Grandpappy's room — he likes to smell 
at posies." 

Nimbly she broke her way through the white and pink 
blossoms. Snap ! Crack ! Snap ! She pulled them to the right 
and left, until her arms were filled — and when she looked up, 
to her amazement she was almost out of the woods. 

"Why-why, over there's my schulhausl It's not far either," 
she thought, as she stared at it, then started to run toward it. 

"I'll just look at it once — and hurry back." 

Her feet felt heavy in high-laced shoes after running bare- 
foot all summer, so she sat down on the ground and slipped her 
shoes off in a hurry. She tucked them under her arm and sped 
down the burning, dusty road to the row of locust trees in front 
of the schoolhouse. She spied a big, cool-looking stone and 
sank down on it, dropping her flowers and shoes beside it, just 
as an automobile stopped before her. The driver of the car 
mopped vigorously at his steaming face, while his companion 
leaned out of the car to look at Martha's flowers. 

"What school is this, little girl?" the lady asked. 

"It's my schulhaus," Martha answered proudly, digging her 
bare toes into the smooth dust. 


"You go to school here?" 

"I visit once with my David — but next winter, when I'm six 
years, I go here, Pop says." 

Martha moved closer to her then because the lady looked 
kind, and Martha wanted to talk about her schulhausl 

"You know," she said, "mebbe next winter they tear my 
schulhaus down ! " 

"No ! " The lady seemed greatly surprised. 

"Uh-huh — then I go to a great big schulhaus — but I like 
my little schulhaus best ! " 

Mardia was speaking in great earnestness, but suddenly her 
natural shyness overcame her, and she stepped back from the 
car looking a bit startled. 

"It's an Amish schoolhouse all right," the man driving said 
confidently, "and she knows all about it, too ! " 

"Will you sell me some of your flowers?" the lady asked, 
smiling down at Martha coaxingly. 

Quickly Martha gathered her flowers from the ground and 
handed them to the lady. She knew that Mother often ex- 
changed her garden flowers with the neighbors, but she never 
sold them. They were messengers of good will, followed by 
many neighborly acts. 

"Here, you take them," Martha said eagerly. "I get some 
more where I pick berries on the mountain again." 

"Ach, no!" She refused the dime being pressed into her 
hand. "Pop has lots of money — but — but" — Then she drew 
closer to the car, because the lady seemed so interested and 
kind — "Mebbe you help save my schulhaus for me. You talk 


it over in your church, like Pop does, not? That saves it!" 

The eyes of Martha's new found friends lit up with under- 
standing of her faith in their interest. "Surely," the lady said, 
"we'll be glad to help you. We'll tell your story just as you 
told it to us." 

They said good-bye then, and thanked her again for the 
lovely flowers. 

"GooJ-bye!" Martha's happy voice called after them as she 
watched the car disappear in a cloud of dust. 

"Now I put my shoes on," She talked to herself as she sat 
down on the stone again. "I must hurry back and fill up my 
bucket once. What's that?" 

She strained her ears to listen. 

"Ach, my goodness, it's our cow bell! — They hunt me!" 

Clang ! Clang ! The muffled sound of the iron bell seemed 
to be drawing nearer, as Martha started of? in a great rush. 

"Tsk, tsk ! Now I have my shoes on the wrong feet — they 
pinch like everysing ! " 

It did not take her long to change them, but when she looked 
up their Germantown wagon was almost in front of her. 

"Who-a!" There was a loud clanking of harness and jan- 
gling of empty tin buckets as Cap reared up before Martha. 

"Well, Martha," Father spoke very sternly, "why didn't you 
stay by us? We thought you got tired picking and went home 
long already — and we go home to see. Now shump in the 
wagon ! " 

"Ay, yi, yi," Mother's worried voice came from the back seat. 
She was so sure Martha had been lost. "You lose like my young 


turkeys, Martha, and you look so hot ! Sit down, I fan you ! " 
Mother was so glad to have Martha beside her that she didn't 
have the heart to scold her. But David was not so good- 

"You big goose ! " he burst out. "You make me upset the big 
buckets when I chase around with the cow bell. Now it's just 
enough berries for the pies — that's all! I tell you to stick to 
your bush ! " 

"I — I — see my schulhaus when I pick flowers," — Martha's 
lower lip trembled as she tried to explain, — "then I run over 
to look at it, and — and I g-give the flowers to the kind-looking 
lady in the great big car, and — " 


"The one we just pass?" David checked her abruptly. 

"Y-e-s, she asks about my schulhaus and promises to help 
save it for me — she liked my flowers so!" 

"Did you tell her that you sit on the boys' side with me 
the day you visit school — and you fall off the seat?" 

"That will do, David," Mother warned him and Martha 
looked up at her gratefully. 

"It is Martha's way to help keep her schoolhouse," Mother 
said, "and mebbe it makes out good — she spreads the news how 
we want to keep it for our children. They tell it all over ! " 

"Ya, Mother is right, David ! " Father spoke up. "Sometimes 
the little things count big — you sink that over ! Our Martha 
plants- a little seed — now we wait for the harvest ! " 

Father slapped the lines over Cap's back as he watched dark 
clouds gathering in the west. "Giddap! We drive fast now 
and get home yet before it gives a gust. Hold on to your bonnet, 
Martha! You have the cow bell, Mother?" 





but Martha had not yet started to school because their little 
red schoolhouse was still closed and Father would not al- 
low her and David to go to the new schoolhouse that had been 
built out on the State Road during the summer. 

Like many other Amish children, David and Martha were 
being kept at home during this time. They heard constant talk 
about what the Court would do. Although Father never went 
to law, this was such an important question that he had been 


going to many meetings to talk over the school problem with 
the other Amish men. And tomorrow Father and Mr. Zook 
and Mr. Stoltzfus were going to the Court in Philadelphia to 
learn whether their children would have to go to the new large 
schoolhouse, which the Amish people thought too worldly. 
But of course, everyone was hoping that they would be allowed 
to keep their little red schoolhouses for their children. 

"Never before," Grandpappy told David as he shook his 
white head and held on to his cane, "never before have I seen 
too many schools. When I was a boy we had only a few schools 
and a few books to learn our A B Cs from, and to write and 
cipher. And we went to school only a few months each winter 
those days," Grandpappy recalled. "Sometimes our school- 
master was the preacher too. We learned to say hymns and 
Bible verses in school, and the schoolmaster used the rod often 
on the lazy ones." 

"Ya-a-a, times change," and Grandpappy sighed. "But after 
a while then they made a school law. It said you must go to 
school a long time each winter — six months." 

"I'm glad of that," said David, "because I like school. And 
now we go longer still. But I wish I knew where I go this win- 
ter! It settles soon, though, Grandpappy. Tomorrow Father 
and Mr. Zook and Mr. Stoltzfus go to the Court in Philadel- 
phia — then we know ! The Court settles if I must go to the new 

"So-o-o!" said Grandpappy. 

"D-a-v-i-d!" Martha's shrill voice trailed across from the 
"best room." "Mom says for you to come over here and help 


her put up the quilting frames once." But David was too much 
interested in Grandpappy's talk to answer her. 

Martha waited for a minute, then she started toward Grand- 
pappy's room, with Shep on a leather strap beside her. 

"Shep trains fast, Grandpappy — shust watch him!" she 
boasted. "He takes me all around with my eyes shut tight, 
shust like the 'Seeing-Eye' dog I see one day in Lancaster. Yuh, 
Shep ! Yuh ! You take me back to the 'best room' now. Watch 
him, Grandpappy!" And Martha felt her way around the 
furniture, stumbling and pulling Shep after her. 

"Ha ! Ha ! You train him good for a 'See-Eye' dog," David 
joked. "Look out! You fall there over the quilting frames!" 

Father had brought Mrs. Hurst's quilting frames home with 
him that morning when he went to the cider mill for a barrel 
of sweet cider to use in making applebutter the next week. 
Father could not understand why Mother kept on quilting 
when she had a chest up in the garret filled to the top with 
pretty quilts. 

"You shust air them every spring, then put them back in the 
camphor balls again — then get them out and air — " 

"They're for Hetty, and you know Martha makes big soon, 
too," Mother reminded him smilingly. "You forget we paint 
our gate blue so the young men know where our Hetty and 
Martha live at ! " 

Mother and David set up the quilting frames, then screwed 
them tightly to the backs of four chairs, and put in the "tulip 
pattern" quilt, so Mother would be ready for Mrs. Zook and 
Mrs. Stoltzfus. They were coming early tomorrow morning to 


help Mother quilt, while their menfolk went with Father to 
the Court in Philadelphia to plead for their little schoolhouses. 

"It's an anxious day for us, while you go," Mother told 
Father that night, "and we work and talk together until you 
come home." 

It would be an anxious day for Father too and he hoped very 
earnestly that they would be able to persuade the Court to let 
them keep their little schoolhouse. 

The next morning the sun streamed through the cheerful 
begonias and geraniums on the deep window sills of the "best 
room" and flickered across the tulip pattern quilt, where the 
women sewed and chattered like school girls on a holiday. It 
seemed that no matter what they began talking about though, 
it always led back to talk of their schoolhouses. 

"You know," said Mrs. Zook, as she bit off a piece of thread 
and then looked over the top of her glasses, "it gave a big mov- 
ing over at the Fischers' last week, even if it did rain like every- 
sing ! We helped with a load. The Fischers rent the Schnader 
farm over by the Mill Road, you know that?" 

"S-o-o?" Mrs. Stoltzfus seemed surprised and she tried to 
talk with her mouth full of pins. "It's a cider press on that 
farm, not? Over fifty years old — and it's an old spring house 
there, too, that keeps so good." 

"And now," said Mother, "the Fischer children don't walk 
so far to school this winter — I'm glad of that ! That is if we 
keep our little schoolhouse near home. And oh, I hope we do ! " 

There were murmurs of agreement with Mother as the 
women turned over another lap of the quilt. That is, they rolled 


the finished part of the quilt up on a narrow band of wood. 
Then needles continued to flash in the sunlight, drawing tiny 
stitches after them as they quilted round and round the color- 
ful tulips. 

"I hear they put up a new blackboard in our schoolhouse," 
said Mrs. Zook, hopefully adding, "when it opens up." 

"And it needs a new stove," Mrs. Stoltzfus declared. "It's 
the gas from the old one somesing awful ! " 

So they chatted on, always about their little schoolhouse, 
while Hetty prepared their dinner. And above all the kitchen 
din the women heard Hetty singing — 

"Schpin, schpin, mein liebe Tochter" 
(Spin, spin, my lovely daughter) 

They all joined in the old lilting ballad then, while their feet 
kept time under the quilt as if they were working the treadle 
of an old spinning wheel. 

"Schpin, schpin . . ." 

Suddenly Hetty stopped singing and they heard her slam a 
cupboard door shut. 

"David! Go up to the garret and bring down a crock of 
applebutter," they heard her say. "It's all, and we need some for 
dinner. Hurry!" 

David felt he was very busy, for Father had left him in 
charge of the farm while he went to Philadelphia, but he 
bounded up the narrow steps, two at a time. In the darkening 
garret he saw row after row of applebutter crocks, all tied up 
in newspapers — some yellow with age. He picked up a crock 


to carry it down the stairs, and as he passed by the little window 
near the top of the steps he could read on the dusty yellow 
paper tied around it: 

Lancaster Daily New Era 
April i, 1917 

Why, this applebutter was older than he was! 1917! That 
was the time of the World War ! This would be something to 
talk about in the History Class when he got back to school ! 
Holding the applebutter crock carefully in front of him, he 
started jubilantly down the stairs. 

David never knew how it happened. Bump! Thump! 
Crash ! Tommy flew out ahead of him ! The applebutter crock 
rolled down the last flight and out into the "best room," split- 
ting open underneath the quilting frames at Mrs. Zook's feet. 
And David tumbled after, landing on his back at the bottom 
of the stairs ! 

Frightened Tommy sprang over the empty coal bucket, and 
with a wild leap was in the middle of the quilt. The women 
screamed as they jumped to their feet and dropped their needles 
and scissors in their hurry to reach David, who was still lying 
where he fell. He started to get up slowly then, rubbing his 
back under his jacket. 

"It's nossing wrong! Where's my history paper? Hi, Mar- 
tha. Don't tear that paper — it's history on it!" he shouted. 

Martha was under the quilt, trying her best to press the two 
halves of the broken crock together around the applebutter 
which was so thick that it had not even run out on the floor. 


"It's nossing wrong, I miss a step I sink ! " David assured the 
frightened women while he limped over to Martha to rescue 
the yellow, crumpled paper which was still rounded in the 
shape of the crock with the twine around it. 

"You nose too much, Martha ! Here, I take it ! It reads of the 
war long ago. I show it to Teacher some time ! " 

"But it's such a pretty red crock to throw away," Martha 
lamented, down on her knees, looking over the broken pieces. 
"It's all shiny inside and a big roll top to hold on to. It spites 
Mom, not?" 

But Mother was thinking only of David, and not of the red- 
ware crock that had been part of her haussteur when she was 

"Nein, nein," she said now, "it makes nossing out about the 
crock. Scat, Tommy ! Scat ! " 

When Mother was quite sure that David was all right the 
women went back to their quilting. The last "lap" of the 
tulip quilt was turned over as the fading sun lit up the west 
window of the "best room," and long shadows played over 
the porch. They took the quilt out of the frames then, unrolled 
it and spread it out on the floor for inspection. 

"It's beautiful! My, such fine stitching. I believe it is my 
prettiest quilt!" Mother so appreciated the help Mrs. Zook 
and Mrs. Stoltzfus had given her. "I sew the edges, then I put 
it up in the chest with the others, for Hetty and Martha," she 
added with motherly satisfaction. 

"We go home now," both women said, feeling that their day 
had been well spent. They knew that the menfolks would be 


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f y 


JH ' ! 

■■ JP 

late in coming from Philadelphia. "And it's the farm work 
to do," said Mrs. Zook. "But if they bring good news of the little 
schoolhouses, I don't mind ! " 

"Gute nacht, Martha. See that baby Jacob learns to walk — 
he makes big soon and then you can call him 'Jakie.' Gute 

Mother decided that they would not wait for supper until 
Father returned, but would eat as soon as David had finished 
the feeding and bedding at the barn. 

"I guess Pop eats where all the Hetties run around," Martha 
said, as she looked across the table at his empty place. "Mebbe 
he eats ice-cream or rivel soup ! Mom, what iss the Court he 
goes to see?" 

Mother gave David an appealing glance. "You tell her, 
David," she said. 

"You tell her, Hetty ! " David begged of Hetty. 

But Hetty decided they needed some butter just then and 
ran to the cellar to get it. 

"She knows when she goes to school!" David spoke im- 
patiently. "Ach, well,— -it's — it's where smart men, the men 
with high learning, settle things." 

"Like in a 'best room' at church? They sit around a table?" 

"Y-e-s, they sit around a table ! " 

"I think the smart men let me keep my schulhaus, David." 
Martha nodded her head emphatically with each word. Then 
she left the table and climbed up on the wood box, hugging 
Sally Ann in her arms, to wait for Father. She never knew 


when Mother helped her slowly up the stairs to bed, although 
it was only seven o'clock. 

"You drag so, Martha. One more step — lift your feet — I 
hold the candle away from you — that's it — now we're up — 
over there ! " and Martha sank down on her bed while Mother 
pulled off her clothes. 

Her sleepy head pressed the pillow without a turn for a 
couple of hours. Then she woke up with a start ! 

"The sun shines soon," she thought. "I sleep late." And she 
pushed down the covers to hop out of bed. 

"It makes red out the window so funny ! " 

She bounded from the bed and ran over to the window. 

"Wh-y, it's a fire ! " she whispered. "It makes like the sun-up. 
Y-e-s! Mebbe Sammy Fasnacht's barn burns again! No-o, 
it looks like it's over at my schulhaus. O-o-o-h ! Katie said it 
could just as soon come down this way. It's verhext, I guess, 
and now it burns ! I find out." 

With chattering teeth she tried to dress herself. "Where's 
my stockings? Not in my shoes — " She saw them hanging 
neatly on the back of a chair. "I guess Mom helped me to un- 
dress!" She could not remember. "I don't button up all the 
way — shust two buttons will do! They sleep tight," she 
thought of the rest of the family, and wondered if Father had 
come home yet. 

"I must keep quiet," and she stole down the steps like a 
mouse. Her bonnet and shawl, now ! 

The lamp burned low in the middle of the kitchen table, 

and cast a light on a dish of shining red and yellow apples. 

"Father ain't home. He didn't outen the light yet ! " 

She was sure he was not home, for the lock was not on the 
door either and it opened easily. 

Martha closed the door gently and stepped across the porch. 

"Be quiet, Shep!" she commanded as he stalked over the 
grass to meet her. "Quiet ! " She put her finger up before his 
nose and leaned over him, looking for his strap. "Kooml" she 
said sternly, taking hold of the strap, "we find if my schulhaus 
burns down. Be quiet ! You see for me in the dark. Quiet now ! " 
she continued to command him until they were 'way past the 
orchard. "Quiet! Quiet!" 

The red blaze ahead flared up, then died down. Shep barked 
loudly now and pulled on the strap as they flew over the ground 
toward the schoolhouse. An owl hooted mournfully from a 
hollow tree. Wh-oo ! Wh-oo ! "You don't scare me ! " said Mar- 
tha bravely. "Not so fast, Shep ! " 

Coming over the top of the hill, where she had so often first 
spied David on his way home from school, she saw now a Ger- 
mantown wagon outlined against the white limestone road 
and the dark sky. As it drew nearer Martha stopped. Chuff — 
chuff — chuff! The measured, march-like beat of the horses' 
hoofs sounded unusually loud through the still night. Chuff — 
chuff— chuff!! 

"Mebbe it's Father," she said to Shep. She listened for Cap's 
old clanking harness, forgetting that Cap wore his shiny new 
one now. The wagon was almost up to her, and she stepped 
out of the way to let it pass. 


"Whoa ! " Father's voice boomed out, frightening her, as he 
jerked Cap up on his hind legs. "Whoa ! Martha ! Vas iss?" 

He jumped down from the wagon and gripped her arm 
firmly. She had never heard him speak so sternly before. 

"Vas iss? Did Mother—" 

"The schulhaus — it burns down — look back there!" Mar- 
tha's choking voice told him, as she pointed in the dark. 

"Nein, nein, not the schoolhouse — it's a big rail pile. They 
burn leaves too near it." 

"Are you sure?" Martha asked doubtfully. 

" Y-a, it burns when I pass it — I see it. They try to outen it ! 
Shump in the wagon, Martha. It gets late. Soon it's nine o'clock 
already ! " 

Father walked up to Cap's head and looked over the new 
harness that he had jerked so roughly. Then he gave Cap a pat 
on the neck. Shep kept close beside Father, looking up into his 
face in an understanding way. 

Martha had one foot on the wagon step when she remem- 
bered what she had waited all day to hear. She stepped back 
to the ground again and ran around to Father. 

"Do the smart men say I go to my little schulhaus next 
winter?" she asked him meekly. 

"The — the — smart men?" Father did not understand. 

"Yes — David tells me it's the smart men in the Court, and 
they say if my schulhaus keeps for me ! They sit around a table 
to say it?" 

"S-o-o ! " Father understood now. " Ya, they promise us the 
little schulhaus keeps for you. Now shump in the wagon." 


"They shake your hand and promise?" 

"Er-er, nein, nein — they shust promise, Martha. They say 
we keep our little Amish schoolhouse yet a while." 

"Oh, my schulhaus keeps ! It keeps ! " chanted Martha, danc- 
ing round and round wildly with Shep barking at her heels. 
"I go to my little schulhaus this winter ! " 

Then suddenly she thought of something and was grave. 
"Maybe the kind lady who wanted to buy my flowers when 
we was huckleberrying helped keep it for me, not? She was 
such a nice lady. 

"Anyhow it keeps," she said over again, "it keeps for me 
and David — and 'Jakie' too ! " 

Then she jumped into the wagon and they drove home to 
tell the good news to Mother. 

i 3 6