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    Mary’s Little Lamb, by Edith Francis Foster

    Mary’s Little Lamb – A Picture Guessing Story for Little Children

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    Marys Little Lamb

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    MARY’S LITTLE LAMB

    CONTENTS

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    Mary's Little Lamb.

    I.

    When little Mary Moffett’s mother asked her to go up to the Clover Farm for some fresh eggs, Mary felt a little sorry, for she was very busy making her doll a dress, but she laid down her thimble and scissors and thread, tied on her pink bonnet, and set off up the hill, with her little basket on her arm. As she was coming home she heard a queer little patter, patter, behind her. She looked back and saw something white! Mary felt a wee bit afraid, and began to run but her foot struck a rock and down she tumbled on her nose! Before she could get up something soft and woolly was rubbing gently against her face, saying “Ba-a-a!” “Oh you darling lamb!” cried Mary, hugging it—and the little lamb snuggled close, and said “Ba-a-a! Take me home with you, little Mary.” Mother was astonished.

    “Whose lamb is it?” she asked. “Oh Mother, I think it’s just a wild lamb! Mayn’t I keep it?” begged Mary. But Mother said she must ask Farmer Clover if it was one of his sheep, first. So back they went, and found Farmer Clover mending his fence and Mary asked him. But there were two big tears in her eyes—she did so want that dear lamb—and the kind old farmer saw them. “Well, yes,” he said, “that’s my lamb—but it’s an extra one, that I haven’t any room for. If I knew anybody who would be willing to take it and treat it well—” “Oh, Mr. Clover!” cried Mary, her eyes dancing, now, and her feet dancing, too. “I’d be willing! I’d treat it well! May I have it?” So Mary and the little lamb went dancing home together. And kind old Mr. Clover watched them and laughed till his axe danced in his hand, and his glasses danced on his nose.


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    II.

    “Mother! Mother!” cried little Mary, running into the house. “Mr. Clover says he doesn’t need this lamb—it’s extra—and I may have it for my very own!” Yes, now it was Mary’s little lamb—and how they loved each other! They went together everywhere—in the house and the barn, and over to Grandfathers, to play with little Aunt Hannah. Mary’s Aunt Hannah was only three years older than Mary herself and they played together all the time. The two little girls thought the lamb was beautiful, but it was not very clean. “I don’t want a dirty, dusty little lamb,” said Mary; “I want a nice, clean, white lamb.” “Then we must wash it.” said little Aunt Hannah. “Father washes all his sheep in the river every spring.” Out by the barn stood the faucet with the big wooden

    trough where the

    cows drank. The trough was full of water, standing in the

    sun. Mary leaned over the edge and dipped her hand. “It’s nice and warm,” she said. “Now, dear little lamb jump right in!” But the lamb wouldn’t jump—so Mary and little Aunt Hannah lifted him, and dropped him into the trough. Then they rubbed him with soap, and squeezed his fur with their hands. The poor little lamb didn’t like it, and kept trying to get out—till, as Mary tried to hold him her foot slipped and in she fell, head first! Oh, how she screamed! And Aunt Hannah screamed, too, and the lamb cried “Ba-a-a!” as loud as he could. Little Aunt Hannah’s mother came running from the house fished them out of the water, and carried them into her living room one under each
    arm. There she rubbed them dry, wrapped them both in towels and set them by the fireplace, to get warm.

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    How they fed him.

    III.

    Mary’s lamb was too young to eat grass, as old sheep do. He wanted milk, but he did not know how to drink from a bucket. He was just a baby sheep, you see. So Mary’s mother found an old tin teapot and filled it with warm new milk. Then she tied a cloth over the spout, and Mary held it while the little lamb sucked up every drop of the milk. Three times a day they filled the teapot, and he drank it all, while Mary tilted it up for him. One day Mary and little Aunt Hannah went up Clover Hill to pick berries for their mothers to put in pies. They took their luncheon in the berry- pail, and each had a tin cup to pick into. Mary’s lamb went too, and of course he would want his luncheon, so
    Mary carried the old teapot in a basket. When the pail and basket were full of berries, they started home. Along the roadside grew white flowers, and they made a wreath for the lamb’s neck. Then Mary said “The sun shines so, he must be hot. He shall wear my bonnet.” So they tied it snugly over his ears. Then they sat under a tree to finish their luncheon, and afterward Mary gave the lamb the rest of his milk. Two women came past, in a low carriage, and they laughed to see the little lamb drinking from the teapot. Mary did not notice that one woman held up a little black leather camera and pointed it at her. But next week a flat, square package came from the postoffice marked “For the Little Girl and Lamb who live near Clover Hill.”
    Mary cut the string with her scissors, and unfolded the package—and what did she find inside it? A beautiful photograph of herself, feeding her lamb by the roadside!

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    How he went to school.

    IV.

    Mary didn’t like to go to school and leave her lamb at home. She knew he would not be happy all alone; and how could she study her books and do sums on her slate, without her dear little woolly lamb close beside her? But schooltime came, and she had to start. If she had looked back, she would have seen the lamb trotting along behind, all so pretty, with a blue bow on his neck. He loved to follow little Mary, and he didn’t know lambs mustn’t go to school. Before he caught up with her, the bell rang, the children all ran in, and the door was shut; but he stood on the door- step and heard them singing. Then the arithmetic class began, and the teacher said: “Mary, if you had three apples, and gave one apple to Hannah, how many would you have left?” Mary was not thinking of apples. “Four,” she said, “but please teacher, did you know I had a lamb?” and the lamb heard her voice and called “Baa!” outside the door, as loud as he could. “Why, there he is!” cried Mary. “He must go home,” said the teacher; and she opened the door to send him away. But the little lamb came right in, and ran to Mary, so glad to see her again! “Oh, please let him stay!” said she: “I am sure he will be good!” But all the other children laughed—it was so funny to see a lamb in school—and the teacher had to turn him out. But the lamb would not go home. He wanted to stay near Mary; So he waited on the step and every time he heard her voice he cried “Ba-a-a!” At last the teacher said Mary must take him home; so she put away her books, and the little lamb jumped and danced, he was so happy, as they ran home together.


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    How he Wouldn't Jump.

    V.

    All the week the little lamb had to stay at home while Mary went to school; but on Saturday they had such good times! First, Mary had her tasks to do. She wiped all the cups and plates and spoons, dusted the chairs and made her own bed. Then she went out to play. The nicest place to “play house” was the roof of a hut by the barn. Mary and little Aunt Hannah climbed up by the fence, with their dolls and tea set but the lamb couldn’t climb. They tried to carry him, but he was too heavy—and he kicked, too. So they took him up on the straw in the barn and dropped him out of a window onto the roof. Then they all had a good time playing “party”, with some caraway
    biscuits and a little jug of milk. But at noon, when Mary’s Mother blew the dinner- whistle, the lamb couldn’t get down! They couldn’t lift him up to the window, and he was afraid to jump to the ground. Little Aunt Hannah stood on the wheelbarrrow, but could not reach him. Then they brought out armfuls of straw and made a big soft haystack and Mary stood on the roof and tried to push him off into the straw but he wouldn’t budge. “Come to dinner, children,” called Mary’s Mother. “It is getting cold.” “Oh dear!” said little Mary, almost crying. “He’ll have to stay up here and starve! But he’s had three caraway biscuits, anyway.” At last Hannah's big brother came out to find them. He laughed when he saw the lamb and the haystack but he went for a ladder, and very quickly brought the little lamb safely down to the ground. Then they all went in and had their dinner together.


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    How little Mary spun.

    VI.

    “When my lamb is big enough” said Mary to little Aunt Hannah, “my father will shear him with the clippers, like the old sheep and Mother will teach me to spin, and knit the wool; and so my little lamb will give me my gloves and socks.” “Let’s shear him now.” said Aunt Hannah. “I can teach you to knit.” “Well.” said Mary. “He is very little—but we will only take a little of his wool.” So she got the scissors, and they cut some wool from his back. But they found it must first be spun into yarn—and they didn’t know how: so they went to ask Mary’s mother. She laughed at the poor little lamb with the big bare spots in his pretty white fleece. “If you are in such a hurry for gloves and socks,” she said, “we will begin them at once. First, you must learn to spin.” So she brought out the big spinning wheel and some tiny soft threads of wool and showed her how to spin the rolls into yarn. Mary liked to walk backward and forward, and twirl the great spinning wheel with a clothes-pin; but her yarn was all uneven, and kept snarling and breaking. Soon she grew tired—and cross, too, and then the yarn snarled worse than ever. As last Mary gave the spinning wheel a great whirl, as hard as she could, and ran off to the barn. There she hid in the straw and cried, until the little lamb found her and rubbed his head against her hair. Then she stopped crying to laugh, his ragged fleece looked so funny! Pretty soon she went back to the house and said she was sorry for being cross. Then Mother gave her a nice ball of yarn and some knitting needles and Aunt Hannah taught her to knit a
    sock.


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    How he went boating.

    VII.

    When the time really came to wash and shear the sheep, Mary’s father said the lamb wasn’t big enough to spare any more wool—but he did get washed in the river. Mary and little Aunt Hannah went down in the meadow to gather cowslips—not for the pretty flowers but to boil in a pot for dinner. They took off their shoes and socks and splashed about in the wet grass, filling their bucket with cowslips. They picked some tall blue flowers too, and pulled sweet-flag to eat. To get the sweet flag, they had to cross a little bridge over the brook. The lamb followed them, but he stepped on a loose board, and it tipped him off into the water! It wasn’t deep enough to be over his head, but he waded the wrong way and scrambled out on a little island in the middle of the brook. They couldn’t coax him to wade ashore;—he didn’t like water, and would only shake his head and say “Ba-a-a! No-o-o!” “We must build a bridge for him” said Mary. “No,” said Aunt Hannah “we will get the boat. The boys keep it at the mill.” They followed the brook up to the mill and untied the boat. There were no oars, but they found a long pole and pushed it along to the island. The little lamb was very glad to jump in with them. But they could not push the boat ashore, for the water ran too fast. So they floated along, dipping their fingers in the water, and watching the little fish swimming below, till they ran into a fence across the brook. Then they climbed ashore and went back for their bucket and shoes and socks. “Oh, you funny lamb!” said Mary, “What good times you do make us have!”


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    How Dollabella took a ride.

    VIII.

    Dollabella, Mary’s biggest doll, had had the measles, but she was getting better. “When people get better” said Mary, “they always go to ride.” So she tried to give her doll a ride on the lamb‘s back, but he danced up and down and she fell off. Then Mary took a string and tied her on, so when the lamb danced again he couldn’t shake Dollabella off. He didn’t like that, so he thought he would run away from her, and off he went! The gate was shut, but he squeezed through a gap in the fence, and tore Dollabella’s dress on a nail. Mary squeezed through the gap, too, and her skirt caught on the nail, and tore a great big three-cornered hole. The lamb ran across a field and jumped over a stone wall into the bushes and Mary ran after him, laughing. Dollabella’s hat fell off her head, and so did Mary’s bonnet. The branches of the trees caught her hair and tangled them and almost pulled the doll from the lamb’s back. At last they came out into a wheatfield and saw Farmer Clover at work with his hoe. “Hello!” said he. “Who’s running away—you or your lamb?” “Oh, we aren’t running away,” said Mary, all out of breath. “We are just giving my doll a ride. She is sick!” “Well, that’s a pretty fast ride for anybody that’s sick!” said Farmer Clover. “Now I am going to the barn, to get a jug of molasses. Don’t you want to ride home in my buggy?” Mary and the lamb were tired, and glad to have a ride—and I think the poor sick doll must have been just as glad. But when they got home Mary had to take a sewing needle and thimble out of her basket and mend her dress and Dollabella’s too.


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    How Bossy bunted him.

    IX.

    As the lamb grew big and strong he got very frisky, too. He found out that when he ran at things with his hard little head down and bunted them, the things would fall down. He thought that was funny, so he bunted everything. In the house he bunted over chairs and the shovel and tongs, and nobody dared set a bucket or tub on the floor. Outdoors, he ran at the hens and chicks, to see them flutter and scream. Once he bunted little Aunt Hannah’s cat—but she didn’t fall down; she stood up and cuffed him with her paw, and scratched him! But Mary fell down when he bunted her, and so did Hannah, although they were bigger than the cat. One night he ran at Mary’s father, bringing in the pail, and spilled all the milk over his boots. Then Mary’s father said if the lamb didn’t stop bunting he must be tied up. So Mary tried to teach him better, but he didn’t understand it was naughty, and kept right on bunting. At last one day, he bunted the cow which was tied to the fence by a long rope. Now Bossy liked to bunt, too; so when the lamb ran at her she put her head down and ran at him! And she was the biggest, so it was the little lamb himself that fell down that time! First he flew right over the fence and fell on his head,—then he rolled over and over into the duck- pond. All the ducks began to flap their wings and quack, and the big gray goose hissed at him and chased him. The poor naughty little lamb was so frightened that he ran to Mary, all wet and muddy, and hid his head in her dress. After that, he didn’t bunt things any more!


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    How they played hide and seek.

    X.

    One day Mary and her lamb were playing in the barn. He would lie still as a mouse while she buried him in the hay, but when she clapped her hands he jumped up and ran to her like a dog. Then Mary began to pull out hay from the mow, and made a deep hole where they could both creep in out of sight. After supper they played hide-and-seek with Hannah. So many nice hiding-places—under the flower-bushes, behind the rain- barrel, and around the wood by the woodshed. At last Mary remembered her hole in the hay and crept in, with the lamb which followed her everywhere. Then they waited, keeping very still, till by and by Mary grew sleepy—for it was almost bed-time. She laid her head on the lamb‘s soft neck, as they cuddled down together in their nest, and before they knew it they were fast asleep! Hannah hunted and hunted, till she thought Mary must have gone in the house, to play a trick on her; so she went into her own house a little vexed. Bed-time came and her Mother came to the door to call Mary in. “I guess she’s gone home with Hannah,” said father, as he came from the barn with his lamp. The girls often slept together, and Mary’s mother didn’t hear the “I guess,” so she only said “It is naughty to go without telling me. She mustn’t again.” So nobody knew where Mary was, all night! But next morning she didn’t come home—she was not at Hannah‘s—and how frightened everybody was! They hunted everywhere, and at last started to drive to the neighbor’s houses. The noise of the carriage and of the horse trampling on the street waked Mary—and how astonished everybody was, when she and the lamb came creeping out of the
    hay!


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    How he saved Mary!

    XI.

    Once little Mary and her lamb really did get lost—and something dreadful almost happened! They had been picking berries in the bushes up Clover hill, and couldn’t find the way out. The sun was setting, and Mary thought of snakes and bears! She was tired and hungry, too. She was eating blueberries from her pail, and crying, and the lamb, who would not eat berries and wanted his milk in the old coffepot was crying, too—”Ba-a-a!”—when a big, tall boy with a rifle in his hand broke through the bushes behind them. He sat down on a stump and stared at them, looking so white and scared that Mary felt sorry for him. “Did a bear chase you?” she asked. “Oh no,” said he, “It’s only I’m so glad you are alive!” He didn’t dare tell her he had mistaken her little brown head bobbing among the leaves, for a bird, and raised his gun to shoot it when he saw a little white lamb bobbing beside it and stopped to look closer! So her little lamb had saved Mary’s life—but she never knew it. “Now how came you up here?” the boy asked. “Are you lost?” “Oh no,” said Mary, winking away the tears, and smiling; “We aren’t exactly lost—only we can’t just find our home. And we want our supper, too.” “You shall have it!” said the boy. “You are little Mary—I know your house—and I’m going to carry you there, quicker than a horse can trot!” So he took Mary in one arm and the lamb in the other, and the gun he left hidden in the forest under a tree. Then he quickly found the road (it was close by, after all,) and in ten minutes they were safe home again; and Mary’s mother thanked the big boy and gave them all some supper.


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    How he won the prize.

    XII.

    Now Mary and the big boy with the gun became great friends. He used to bring her candy in his satchel; once he took her out in his boat to gather flowers; and he promised to take her to the County Fair. Early on that day he came for her with his horse and carriage. Mary was all ready, in her new hat, with bows on her shoes. “Where is the lamb?” he asked. ” Father says he mustn’t go,” said Mary sadly, “so I shut him up in the barn“. “Oh but he must go!” cried the boy. “He’s entered—they expect him.” Mary didn’t understand that, but she was very glad to take her dear lamb with her. They walked about the Fair grounds and saw the horses and cows and sheep and pigs in the pens; and visited the tent where the rabbits and chickens were, in their cages. And everywhere 79 that Mary went the lamb kept close beside her; and all the people looked at them and smiled. At last the boy said, “Now we are going into the exhibit hall so we will leave our lamb in this nice little pen beside all the other lambs to wait for us.” They looked at the fruits and flowers and the quilts and preserves in the exhibit hall. Then they found Marys father and mother and had dinner together; and afterward they saw the horse race, and the hot-air balloon go up, and heard the marching band play. It was a long time before they went for the lamb. Some people were looking at him, and just as Mary ran up they fastened a blue ribbon on his head. “Oh, thank you! How pretty!” she said. “Hurrah!” cried the boy. “Our lamb has won first prize! That means he’s the best
    lamb in town!” “Of course!” said little Mary. “He’s the best lamb in the whole world!”


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