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Grandfather Goodfield’s

WHAT HAPPENED ON THE ROAD TO GRANDFATHER GOODFIELD’S

“Oh, I wonder, I wonder, I wonder,” said Alice, as she trudged along
the dusty road, a bright tin pail held tightly in her hand. “Why do
you wonder, little maid?” said a deep, deep voice. On looking up,
Alice saw close beside her a great tawny lion. At first she was
afraid, but the great beast looking kindly upon her, placed his great
paw softly on her arm and once more said, “why do you wonder, Alice?”

“Ah!” cried the girl crossly, “I wonder what is in this pail. Mamma
has promised me a pretty red sash if I do but carry it safely to
Grandfather Goodfield, who lives under the hill by the great dark
forest yonder, but oh! it has grown so heavy, and my feet have grown so
tired. I must go quickly and I must not even peep inside. Just
listen! such a funny noise.” Alice held the pail close to the great
lion’s ear,–“Buzz z z z z z z” came a muffled sound. “Oh, I wonder
what can be inside!” she said.

“Do not wonder, little maid,” said the great lion, “but hurry thy
little feet as thy mother hath bidden thee, else the sun will be in his
bed ere thy journey be ended, and thy little bed will be empty and thy
mother’s heart will be heavy with watching.”

So Alice hastened on. Soon again her little feet were lagging; and
once more her eyes turned curiously upon the pail she carried and again
she said, “Oh, I wonder, I wonder, I wonder.” “Why do you wonder,
little maid?” said a deep, gruff voice. On looking up once more Alice
saw close beside her, not her friend the tawny lion, but a shaggy black
bear. At first she was afraid; but the great beast, looking kindly
upon her, placed his great paw softly on her arm and once more said,
“Why do you wonder, Alice?”

“Ah!” cried the girl crossly, “I wonder what is in this pail. Mamma
has promised me a pretty red sash if I do but carry it safely to
Grandfather Goodfield, who lives under the hill by the great dark
forest yonder, but oh! it has grown so heavy, and my feet have grown so
tired. I must go quickly, and I must not even peep inside. Just
listen! such a funny noise.” Alice held the pail close to the great
bear’s ear,–“Buzz z z z z z z z” came a muffled sound. “Oh, I wonder
what can be inside!” she said.

“Do not wonder, little maid,” said the great bear, “but hurry thy
little feet as thy mother hath bidden thee, else the sun will be in his
bed ere thy journey be ended, and thy little bed will be empty and thy
mother’s heart will be heavy with watching.”

So Alice hastened on. Soon again her feet were lagging and once more
her eyes turned curiously upon the pail she carried and again she said,
“Oh, I wonder, I wonder, I wonder.” “Why do you wonder, little maid?”
said a harsh strong voice. On looking up, Alice saw close beside her,
not her friend the shaggy bear, but a gaunt gray wolf. At first she
was afraid, but the great beast, looking kindly upon her, placed his
great paw softly on her arm and once more said, “Why do you wonder,
Alice?”

“Ah!” cried the girl crossly, “I wonder what is in this pail. Mamma
has promised me a pretty red sash if I do but carry it safely to
Grandfather Goodfield, who lives under the hill by the great dark
forest yonder, but oh! it has grown so heavy and my feet have grown so
tired. I must go quickly and I must not even peep inside. Just
listen! such a funny noise.” Alice held the pail close to the great
wolf’s ear,–“Buzz z z z z z z z” came a muffled sound. “Oh, I wonder
what can be inside!” she said.

“Do not wonder, little maid,” said the great wolf, “but hurry thy
little feet as thy mother hath bidden thee, else the sun will be in his
bed ere thy journey be ended, and thy little bed will be empty and thy
mother’s heart will be heavy with watching.”

So Alice hastened on. Soon again her feet were lagging and once more
her eyes turned curiously upon the pail she carried and again she said,
“Oh, I wonder, I wonder, I wonder.” “Why do you wonder, little maid?”
said a sweet soft voice. On looking up, Alice saw close beside her,
not her friend the gaunt gray wolf, but a little child like herself.
The boy placed his hand softly upon her arm; and with his great dark
eyes looking straight into her own he said, “Why do you wonder, Alice?”

“Ah!” cried the girl crossly, “I wonder what is in this pail. Mamma
has promised me a pretty red sash if I do but carry it safely to
Grandfather Goodfield, who lives under the hill by the great dark
forest yonder, but oh! it has grown so heavy and my feet have grown so
tired. I must go quickly and I must not even peep inside. Just
listen! such a funny noise.” Alice held the pail close to the boy’s
ear,–“Buzz-z z z z z z z” came a muffled sound. “Oh, I wonder what
can be inside!” she said.

“Do not wonder but let us look and see,” said the boy. “No! no!” cried
Alice. “My mother has forbidden it.” “She will never know,” said the
boy. “Only one little peep. Surely it can do no harm. See, I will
raise the cover for you.” “No! no!” said Alice and, tightly clasping
the pail, she started again upon her journey.

“You are so tired,” called the boy running after, “do but stop and rest
awhile. See, your feet are really bleeding from the sharp stones you
have traveled over. Look, what a soft green bank yonder under the
shade of that great tree. Do but sit down upon it for a moment. You
will be able to go on all the faster after a quiet rest, then I will go
with you.”

Now Alice was really very tired indeed; and the bank with its cool
shade looked so tempting that at last she seated herself upon it,
letting her feet sink deep into its mossy side. She clasped the
precious pail tightly in her hands, but the noise inside grew louder,
and now it had an angry sound. “Oh, I wonder what it can be!” said
Alice.

“Do let me take the pail for a moment,” said the boy drawing it gently
from her hand. “Now I will peep inside. What harm can it do? See, I
will lift the cover ever so gently.” He put his eye to the crack, when
suddenly the cover slipped from his hand and rolled away upon the bank.
A great swarm of angry, buzzing creatures flew into his face. He
struck at them with his hands, but it was of no use. They stung and
stung him. “Alice! Alice!” he cried, “oh, I am stung! I am stung!”
The girl sprang quickly to help him but the angry bees flew at her also
and stung her tender hands and face until she cried out with the pain.
“Oh, what have we done! What have we done!” and, snatching the cover,
Alice tried to place it upon the pail again–but too late, for not a
single bee was left inside. For a little time the air was filled with
angry buzzing, but soon the bees flew far away into the wood and Alice
and her friend were left alone.

Smarting with pain the girl turned toward her home. Her little feet
moved wearily, and the empty pail hung loosely on her arm. That night
she cried herself to sleep in mother’s arms, but the pretty red sash
was never worn by Alice, except sometimes in her dreams.