When John took the hoe, he hoed up the corn and left the weeds.
The angry squaws made signs to him that he must not do so.
Then John threw the hoe far from him.
“Hoeing is fit for squaws, not for warriors,” he shouted. He had learned this from the Indian boys.
The old men were pleased. They thought John would make a fine warrior.
John had lived with the Indians a year.
He had learned to speak their tongue, but they did not trust him.
Some of them were always with him, for they were afraid he would run away.
All this time John had kept his skates carefully hidden.
One day the ice froze clear and smooth. John brought his skates down to the river bank.
Many of the Indians followed to see what he was going to do.
They crowded around him on the ice.
John thought he would play a trick on them.
He strapped the skates upon the feet of an Indian boy.
The boy tried to stand up, but his feet slipped out from under him, and down he bumped upon the ice.
How the Indians laughed!
They thought it was a great joke.
Each of them in turn tried on the skates.
How they sprawled and fell upon the ice!
What fun it was for the other Indians!
When they were tired of the sport they held out the skates to John and asked him to put them on.
John strapped on the skates with great care. He was a good skater, but he made believe that he could not skate at all.
He fell down and bumped his head.
He tripped over his toes and made great fun for the Indians.
They did not see that each time he fell he was a little farther out on the ice.
All at once John jumped up.
Away he flew, skating for his life.
Down the river he went, swift as a bird.
The Indians rushed after him, but he had too great a start.
The Indians were swift runners, but John, on his skates, was swifter still.
He knew that the river must flow toward the ocean, and that near the ocean lived the white people.
On and on he skated.
Two days later he saw the smoke of a white man’s cabin and knew that he was safe.
John soon found his father and mother.
How glad they were to see him!
A GOOD PLAY
We built a ship upon the stairs,
All made of the back-bedroom chairs,
And filled it full of sofa pillows,
To go a-sailing on the billows.
We took a saw and several
And water in the nursery pails;
And Tom said, “Let us also take
An apple and a slice of cake,”—
Which was enough for Tom and me
To go a-sailing on, till tea.