“I spec’ he wasn’t a good man ’fore he died and got to go to the Bad Place,” suggested Frances.
“I’ll betcher he never asked God to forgive him when he ’ceived his papa and sassed his mama,”—this from Jimmy, “and Doctor Sanford’s just a-keeping old Satan from getting him to toast on a pitchfork.”
“I hope they’ll have a Christmas tree at Sunday-School next Christmas,” said Frances, harking back, “and I hope I’ll get a heap o’ things like I did last Christmas. Poor little Tommy Knott he’s so skeered he wasn’t going to get nothing at all on the tree so he got him a great, big, red apple an’ he wrote on a piece o’ paper `From Tommy Knott to Tommy Knott,’ and tied it to the apple and put it on the tree for hi’self.”
“Let’s ask riddles,” suggested Lina.
“All right,” shouted Frances, “I’m going to ask the first.”
“Naw; you ain’t neither,” objected Jimmy. “You all time got to ask the first riddle. I’m going to ask the first one—
“`Round as a biscuit, busy
as a bee,
Prettiest little thing you ever did see?’—
“Humpty Dumpty set on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall,
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Can’t put Humpty Dumpty back again. ’
“`Round as a ring, deep as
All the king’s horses can’t pull it up. ’
“`House full, yard full, can’t ketch—’”
“Hush, Jimmy!” cried Lina, in disgust. “You don’t know how to ask riddles. You must n’t give the answers, too. Ask one riddle at a time and let some one else answer it. I’ll ask one and see who can answer it:
“’As I was going through
a field of wheat
I picked up something good to eat,
’Twas neither fish nor flesh nor bone,
I kept it till it ran alone?’”
“A snake! A snake!” guessed Florence. “That’s a easy riddle.”
“Snake, nothing!” scoffed Jimmy, “you can’t eat a snake. ’Sides Lina wouldn’t ‘a’ picked up a snake. Is it a little baby rabbit, Lina?”
“It was neither fish nor flesh nor bone,” she declared; “and a rabbit is flesh and bone.”
“Then it’s boun’ to be a apple,” was Jimmy’s next guess; “that ain’t no flesh and blood and it’s good to eat.”
“An apple can’t run alone,” she triumphantly answered. “Give it up? Well, it was an egg and it hatched to a chicken. Now, Florence, you ask one.”
“S’pose a man was locked up in a house,” she asked, “how’d he get out?”
“Clam’ outer a winder,” guessed Billy.
“’Twa’n’t no winder to the house,” she declared.
“Crawled out th’oo the chim’ly, like Santa Claus,” was Billy’s next guess.
“’Twa’n’t no chim’ly to it. Give it up? Give it up?” the little girl laughed gleefully. “Well, he just broke out with measles.”