A Real Thanksgiving


THE roof-tree that shows in the attic 

Its arms bare and leafless and brown, 

To the eyes of the dear little children 

Is reaching all wistfully down 

With fruitage; they troop there and always 

Bring treasure. To night in the dusk 

They come and bring corn silver-kerneled, 

Each ear tied by silver-white husks. 

The tiny ears shelled, now the children 

Are gathered around in the glow 

To see how the small kernels blossom 

To leaves that are white as the snow. 

The eyes that are watching are eager; 

The myst'ry to them as new 

As if never before in the fire-heat 

Leaf on leaf frail white blossoms grew. 




IT was the day before Thanksgiving, and there was sore trouble among the little folks in Mrs. Lee's home. Thanksgiving Day had always been a great event to them, and they looked forward to it through the whole year; for then they either went to Uncle John's, or Uncle John's folks all came there. And they always had a roast turkey and other good things for dinner, and then in the afternoon and evening came the merry romps with their cousins. But this year had brought many changes to the Lees and things were all to be very different this Thanksgiving. Uncle John had gone away to Kansas to live in the spring, and then in September their father had sickened and died with that dreadful disease, typhoid fever. 

Mr. Lee had been a hard-working man and always gave his family a good living; yet he was poor, and his sickness had used up what little money he had saved up. And now at the beginning of a cold winter Mrs. Lee was left with four children to care for. They had a snug little home, which was theirs, but all the living had to come by the mother's sewing and the little that Eddie could earn by doing errands and chores for the neighbors. Mrs. Lee was not strong, and she looked forward very anxiously to the long winter before them. Eddie was twelve years old, the twins, Susie and Sadie, ten, and Effie six—just the ages when children think most of such things; and you, may be sure they looked pretty sober and the twins cried 'some when mamma told them that she could not get them a Thanksgiving dinner nor make the day a holiday for them in any way. 

"Now," said the mother, "you know I should be very glad to do all that you wish; but since it cannot be, if I were in your places, I should try to make the best of it, and instead of going about sad and cross, would try to see how happy a day I could have, after all. You know Thanksgiving is a day when we are to be thankful for the blessings we have, and not a time to feel bad because we have not more. Now just think of all the things you have to be thankful for, and see if you cannot make it one of the best Thanksgiving Days you ever had." 

 “What can we do?" cried they all in a breath, 

"you help us plan, mamma." 

"Well," said she, "what about that sack of nice popcorn that Eddie raised in the garden last summer?  I think it must be dry enough to pop by this time." 

"O yes!" cried Eddie, "it is in the garret, and I will go and fetch it this minute." 

The corn was brought, and found to be just right to pop out nicely, so that evening Eddie and Susie pulled out the coals from the grate and popped a large pan full of the snowy kernels, while the others stood looking on. Then their mother boiled some molasses candy. And early the next morning in came farmer Brown, who lived just 'out of the village and had known their father many years. He said he thought as he was coming down, maybe they wouldn't mind his bringing them along a nice young chicken for dinner, as he was foolish enough to think his chickens were better than any one else's. And away he went, without giving them time to thank him. So they had quite a dinner after all, but the children declared that the popcorn was the best part of it. They had more than they could eat though, and after dinner their mother told them they might carry some to a poor little lame boy and his sister who lived in the village.

In the evening their mother told them stories and among other things, how, many, many years ago, our forefathers came across the ocean in a little ship called the May Flower. They landed in December, and that winter quite a number of them died from cold and want. The next spring they planted corn and vegetables among the stumps, and in the autumn, when they had gathered in a nice harvest of provisions to last them through another winter, they appointed a day to thank God for the blessings of the season. This was the first Thanksgiving Day, and every year since then, when the harvests are all gathered in, a day is set apart as Thanksgiving -Day. We should be sure that we remember why the day is kept, and not think only of the good dinner and nice times we are to have. 

Before the children knew it, bedtime had come, and as little Effie kissed her mother goodnight, she said, "I guess this is the realest Thanksgiving Day we ever had, mamma." 

E. B. G.