“I’ve got a boy, but he’s too young to start yet. Sammie is only five,” said Mr. Porter. “Well, doggie, I guess you’re glad to get back home,” and he gave Roly-Poly to Mr. Blake who thanked his neighbor, asking him to call again.
“Here, Hal and Mab!” called their father. “After this you must keep watch of your pet. I guess there will be many gardens on our street this Summer, and no dogs will be allowed in them until after the things are well grown. So watch Roly-Poly.”
Hal and Mab promised they would, and Mab said:
“Oh, that’s a cute little boy next door. He has red hair.”
“His name is Sammie,” said Mr. Blake. “Now off to bed with you, toodlekins!” and he made believe Roly-Poly threw kisses from his paws to Hal and Mab.
Daddy Blake had to go away early the next morning, to be gone three days, so he did not have time to tell Hal and Mab why it was that seeds grew when planted in the ground. But before going to school on Monday the brother and sister saw to it that the glass covered box in which the tomato plants were soon to grow, was put in a sunny window.
On the way to school they looked in the big yard of Mr. Porter who lived next door. He was raking up some dried leaves and grass and a small, red-haired boy was watching him.
“Hello, little ones!” called Mr. Porter. “Have you got your garden started yet?”
“Not yet,” answered Hal.
“But we got tomato seeds planted in the house,” said Mab.
“Yes, and I must do that too. We’ll see who’ll have the finest garden,” went on Mr. Porter. “How’s your poodle dog?”
“Oh, we got him shut up so he can’t hurt your garden,” Hal said.
“Don’t worry about that yet,” went on the neighbor. “I haven’t planted any seeds yet, and shall not until it gets warmer. So you may let your dog run loose.”
“All right. I guess I will,” cried Hal, running back to the house.
“You’ll be late for school!” warned Mab.
“I’ll run fast!” promised her brother. “Roly-Poly cried when I shut him up. I want to let him out.”
Soon the little dog came running out of the barn where Hal had locked him. Over into Mr. Porter’s yard ran Roly and Sammie laughed when he saw Hal’s pet rolling around in the pile of dried leaves Mr. Porter had raked together.
“Roly, you be a good dog!” warned Mab, shaking her finger at him.
“I get him a cookie!” said Sammie with a laugh as he toddled toward the house.
“Sammie likes dogs,” said his father as Hal and Mab hurried on to school.
Mr. Blake was away longer than he thought he would be, and it was over a week before he came back home. Each day Hal and Mab had placed the box of tomato seeds in the warm sun before going to school, moving it when they came home at noon and in the afternoon they also changed it so that the soil would always be where the warm sun could shine on it. They sprinkled water in the box, as their father had told them to do.