“What is hail?” asked Hal.
“Well, it’s a sort of frozen rain,” said Daddy Blake. “Often in a thunder shower the wind plays strange tricks. It whirls the rain drops about, first in some cool air, far above the earth and then whips them into some warm air. The cool air freezes the rain, and when it falls it is not in the shape of beautiful crystals, as is the snow, but is in hard, round balls, sometimes as large as marbles. Often the hail will break windows.”
“I hope it doesn’t hail in our nice garden,” said Hal.
“It will hurt your corn worse than it would my beans,” said Mab. “I hope it doesn’t hail, too, Hal.”
But two or three days after that, one evening when the Blakes were sitting on the steps after having worked in the garden, there came from the West low mutterings of thunder. Then the lightning began to flash and Daddy Blake said:
“We are going to have a shower, I think. Well, it will be good for the garden.”
And soon the big drops began splashing down, followed by another sound.
“Oh, it’s hailing!” cried Aunt Lolly. “Hear the hail stones!”
“I love to see it!” exclaimed Mab. “But I hope it doesn’t hail very big stones.”
However the stones from the sky—stones of ice that did not melt for some time after they rattled down—were rather large. They bounced up from the sidewalk and on the path around the Blake house.
“Where’s Hal?” suddenly asked his father. “I want to show him and Mab how the inside of hail stones look. I’ll run out and get some as soon as the shower slackens a little.”
It was raining and hailing hard now, and the lightning was flashing brightly, while the thunder was rumbling like big cannon.
“Hal was here a minute ago,” said his mother. “I wonder if he could have run out in the storm?”
Just then, from his porch, Mr. Porter called something to Daddy Blake. All Mab and her mother could hear was:
“Oh, I hope nothing has happened to him!” said Mrs. Blake. “You had better go look for him, Daddy!”
THE CHILDREN’S MARKET
Daddy Blake caught up an umbrella from the hallway and ran out into the storm, going around the side path toward the back yard and lot where the children had made their gardens.
“Where is he going?” asked Mab.
“To look for Hal,” answered her mother.
“Where is Hal?”
“He must have gone out in the storm to see what made it hail, I suppose.”
“Oh, if one of the big hail stones hits him on the end of his nose he’ll cry!” exclaimed Aunt Lolly.
“Well, he’ll know better than to do it again,” said Uncle Pennywait “Listen to Roly-Poly howling!”
The little poodle dog was afraid of thunder and lightning, and every time there was a storm he used to get in the darkest corner of the house and howl. He was doing this now as Daddy Blake ran to the garden to find where Hal was.