They went to the February place:
‘Twas fashioned, with curious art,
Of colored sugar and paper lace,
With a front door shaped like a heart.
A trim little, slim little maid within
Was rolling out cookies crisp and thin;
She blew them a kiss through the window wide,
And bade them step inside.
The little valentine girl in the February house was very sociable; but she
talked so much, and there were so many clocks striking all around, that
she was always getting side-tracked into a rhyme.
For example, she was just about to describe a jolly party she went to one
day last year, when a clock struck six, and she was obliged to say,
“One day last year, with hems and haws and sidelong steps and
nervous caws, the crows came mincing forth to mail gay valentines,
you know. The post box was a hollow tree. They did not know,
unluckily, that squirrels had gnawed the floor away, and owls moved
“The crows went flapping off with glee. They said, ‘Our woodland
friends will see that, though we dress so solemnly, we’re sociable
“The valentines came hurrying down, came scurrying down, came
flurrying down, and waked the owls, all fast asleep, and gave them
quite a start.
“‘What’s this, my dear, amiss, my dear?’ cried Father Owl.
“‘Oh, bliss, my dear,’ said Mrs. Owl. ‘A shower of mail for us. How
“The daughter owls were full of joy, and quick the little owlet boy
ruffed up his feathers roguishly and seized a valentine.
“Excitement reigned among those owls; but, being such nocturnal
fowls, they could not read the valentines at all in broad
daylight. They blinked a bit and winked a bit, but found them not
distinct a bit; then did not go to bed again, but waited for the
“Just after dusk a thing occurred, unfortunate for every bird: a
wild, wild wind came romping in (it was a dreadful prank), and with
a swoop, in boisterous play, swept all the envelopes away.
“The poor owls cried, ‘Alackaday, we shan’t know whom to thank!’
“Next morning all the crows came out and pranced about and glanced
about, expecting greetings from their friends, and praise, and
everything; but when they got no single word of gratitude from any
bird, they held a meeting in the trees that made the whole woods
“Oh, well, it surely seemed a shame, but no one really was to
blame; and this year all the birds around (I heard it from a wren)
will put their mail most carefully safe in a holeproof hollow tree.
And every crow is going to be a happy crow again!”
Little Ann was enchanted with the February house; she planned in her own
mind to copy it in chocolate and taffy.
“I’d like to see upstairs,–the beds and bureaus and things,–” she said
shyly, “if you don’t mind my looking–“
A big clock began to boom somewhere near.
“My looking–” repeated Ann. “Dear me suz, I’m caught again! What shall I
Then all at once she said:–
“My looking-glass is like a pool,
As still and clear, as blank and cool.
“It fronts the clean white nursery wall,
With no look on its face at all.
“But when in front of it I go,
Why, there I am, from top to toe.
“Oh, just suppose I hurried there
Some day to brush my tousled hair,
“And stood and stared, and could not see
One single, single sign of me!”
When it was nearly time to leave the February house, Ann remarked that
Amos had talked in prose straight along ever since they came.
Amos smiled proudly. “So I have,” he said. He was about to go on to say
that he wondered if he would be caught at all, when–whiz! with a scramble
and a scuffle a cuckoo rushed out of a clock just above his head and
bobbed intently up and down twelve times. Amos had got only as far as
“wonder.” “Wonder–wonder–” he stammered, as he heard the clock.
“Wonder if George Washington
Did just the way we do?
Wonder if he slid on ice,
And now and then broke through;
Slid on ice, and fought with snow,
And whittled hickory sticks,
Called his brother ‘April Fool!’
And played him April tricks?
“Wonder if he shed his shirt
Down beneath the beeches,
Kicked his buckled slippers off,
And his buckled breeches,
Jumped into the swimming-pool,
And gave a splendid shout,
Glad and wiggly, clean and cool,
Splashing like a trout?
“Wonder did he sit in school,
And try to work a sum,
With bumblebees all mumbling,
‘Summer’s come, summer’s come!’
If he used to count the days,
And give a sort of sigh,
Because–how queer!–there couldn’t be
A Fourth in his July!
“Wonder if he ever took
His history and read
Tales of mighty generals,
Glorious and dead;
Turned the leaves and wished that he
Could be a hero, too?
Wonder if George Washington
Felt the way we do?”
(Nancy Byrd Turner)
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Based on Keywords: scuffle, whittled, scurrying, bumblebees, cookies, sociable, valentines, caws, unluckily, flurrying, roguishly