“Here I am! See, right down here!”
But will you believe it, now? The driver didn’t look at him. Perhaps the lazy clamor of the wagon and the hissing sound of the steadily gushing water made too big a noise for the voice of such a little boy to be heard.
Do you call that any way for the street-sprinkler man to act? But of course there might be some good reason for such criminal behavior. David remembered that he hadn’t consulted any fairy godmother about it; long since he would have done so, only he could never catch any fairy godmothers hanging around. They were always busy somewhere else. Even Mother herself had failed to introduce him to any competent, respectable fairy godmothers. She was all right on telling about them; she was strong on that, but somehow they never seemed to know when they were wanted. That is their great fault; they are so unreliable. Once let them get loose from a Cinderella book, and their business system is always defective.
How, then, can a little boy expect to accomplish any miracles like riding on the street-sprinkler? It is not reasonable; David himself decided that it wasn’t, and he concluded to try something more feasible, something that looked simple and easy and more natural. Next time he would do better. Why shouldn’t he? When one is four years old, nearly anything ought to be possible. All he had to do was to await another opportunity, and then pounce down on it.
This time, though, it was slow in coming, and when it did come it didn’t look much like an opportunity. It was too easy. In shape it was a very ragged man with a very dirty face and a very red nose and a very greasy hat. He came by, a-munching on an apple, a big apple, a crispy-sounding apple, a shiny ripe and luscious apple. How cool it would feel in a little boy’s hands if he were to hold it tight and then take a big, sweet, juicy bite out of it!
Should David accept the remainder of the man’s apple? No, that would not be right; little boys must not be greedy. Just the teeniest, weeniest, wee bite would be quite sufficient for him.
But, heigh-ho and alack-aday! the dirty-faced man and the red-nosed man and the man with the greasy hat passed slouchily on, a-munching and a-crunching of his apple.
That was enough. David cast himself down from the fence-post of deception and was off for the house, his arm before his eyes, and his new shoes creaking dolorously. He must find refuge in Mother’s lap; she must help him to soothe away his hurt; he must have solace for this wretched failure of great hopes.