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Artemas has come home.
JEDIDIAH’S NOAH’S ARK.
“I don’t see how we can ever get them back again,” said Mr. Dyer.
“Why should not we ask the ’grateful people’?” asked Jedidiah.
To explain what Jedidiah and his father meant, I shall have to tell how it was Jedidiah came to have a Noah’s Ark, and all about it, for it was a little odd.
Jedidiah was the son of poor parents. His father lived in a small, neat house, and owned a little farm. It was not much of a place; but he worked hard, and raised vegetables upon it, mostly potatoes. But Mrs. Dyer liked string-beans and peas; so they had a few of these, and pumpkins, when the time came; but we have nothing to do with them at present. If I began to tell you what Mrs. Dyer liked, it would take a great while, because there are marrow-squashes and cranberry-beans, though she did not care so much for tomatoes; but vegetables do help out, and don’t cost as much as butcher’s meat, if you don’t keep sheep; but hens Mrs. Dyer did keep. It was the potatoes that were most successful, for it was one summer when everybody’s potatoes had failed. They had all kinds of diseases, especially at Spinville, near which Mr. Dyer lived. Some were rotten in the middle, some had specks outside; some were very large and bad, some were small and worse; and in many fields there were none at all. But Mr. Dyer’s patch flourished marvellously. So, after he had taken in all he wanted for himself, he told his wife he was going to ask the people of Spinville to come and get what they wanted.
“Now, Mr. Dyer!” said his wife. She did not say much else; but what she meant was, that if he had any potatoes to spare, he had better sell them than give them away. Mr. Dyer was a poor man; why should not he make a little money?
But Mr. Dyer replied that he had no cart and horse to take the potatoes to Spinville with, and no time either. He had agreed to mow the deacon’s off-lot, and he was not going to disappoint the deacon, even if he should get a couple of dollars by it; and he wasn’t going to let his potatoes rot, when all Spinville was in want of potatoes. So Mr. Dyer set to work, and printed in large letters on a sheet of paper these words: “All persons in want of potatoes, apply to J. Dyer, Cranberry Lane, Wednesday, the fifteenth, after seven o’clock, A.M. Gratis.”
The last word was added after Mr. Dyer had pasted the notice against the town hall of Spinville; for so many people came up to bother him with questions as to how much he was going to ask for his potatoes, that he was obliged to add this by way of explanation, or he would never have got to the deacon’s off-lot Tuesday morning.
Wednesday morning, Mrs. Dyer sat by the front window, with her darning. She had persuaded Mr. Dyer to wait till Wednesday; for as for having all the people tramping through the yard when the clean clothes were out, she couldn’t think of it; and she might as well get through the ironing, then she could have an eye on them. And how provoked they’d all be to come down all that way to Cranberry Hollow, to find only a bin of potatoes to divide among them all.