Rollo got his little basket to pick his blueberries in, all ready the night before, and he got a string to tie around his neck, intending to hang his basket upon it, so that he could have both his hands at liberty, and pick faster. He also thought he would take all the heavy things out of his pocket, so that he could run the faster, in case he should see any bears. He put them all on a window in the shed. The things were a knife, a piece of chalk, two white pebble stones, and a plummet. When he got them all out, he asked Jonas, who was splitting wood in the shed, if he would not take care of them for him, till he came back.
“Why, yes,” said Jonas, “I will take care of them if you wish; but what are you going to leave them for?”
“O, so that I can run faster,” said Rollo.
“Run faster? I do not think you will run much, up old Benalgon, unless he holds his back down lower than when I went up.”
Rollo did not mean that he was going to run up the mountain, but he did not explain what he did mean, for he thought that Jonas would laugh at him, if he told him he was afraid of the bears. So he said, “Jonas, don’t you wish you were going with us?”
“I should like it well enough, but I must stay at home and mind my work.”
“I wish you could go. I will go and ask my father if he will not let you.”
Rollo ran into the house with great haste and eagerness, leaving all the doors open, and calling out, “Father, father,” as soon as he had begun to open the parlor door.
“Father, father,” said he, running up to him, “I wish you would let Jonas go with us to-morrow.”
Now, Rollo’s father had come home but a short time before, and was just seated quietly in his arm-chair, reading a newspaper, and Rollo came up to him, pulling down the paper with his hands, and looking up into his father’s face, so as to stop his reading at once. Heedless boys very often come to ask favors in this way.
His father gently moved him back and said,
“No, my son, it is not convenient for Jonas to go to-morrow. Besides, I am busy now, and cannot talk with you;—you must go away.”
Rollo turned away disappointed, and went slowly back through the kitchen. His mother, who was there, and who heard all that passed, as the doors were open, said to him, as he walked by her, “What a foolish way that was to ask him, Rollo! You might have known it would have done no good.”
Rollo did not answer, but he went and sat down on the step of the door, and was just beginning to think what the foolishness was in his way of asking his father, when a little bird came hopping along in the yard. He ran in to ask his mother to give him some milk to feed the bird with. She smiled, and told him milk was good for kittens, but not for birds; and she gave him some crumbs of bread. Rollo threw the crumbs out, but they only frightened the little thing away.