The Hole In The Canna-bed





BY ISABEL GORDON CURTIS



One evening in May, Chuckie Wuckie's papa finished setting out the

plants in the front yard. Into one large bed he put a dozen fine cannas.

They looked like fresh young shoots of corn. He told Chuckie Wuckie that

when summer came they would grow tall, with great spreading leaves and

beautiful red-and-yellow blossoms.



"Taller than me, papa?" asked the little girl, trying to imagine what

they would look like.



"Much taller; as tall as I am."



Chuckie Wuckie listened gravely while papa told her she must be very

careful about the canna-bed. She must not throw her ball into it, or dig

there, or set a foot in the black, smooth earth. She nodded her head

solemnly, and made a faithful promise. Then she gathered up her tiny

rake and hoe and spade, and carried them to the vine-covered shed to put

beside her father's tools.



Next morning, when papa went to look at the canna-bed, he discovered

close beside one of the largest plants a snug, round hole. It looked

like a little nest. He found Chuckie Wuckie digging with an iron spoon

in the ground beside the fence.



"Dearie," he said, "do you remember I told you, last night, that you

must not dig in the canna-bed?"



"Yes," said the little girl.



"Come and see the hole I found there."



So Chuckie Wuckie trotted along at her father's heels. She stood

watching him as he filled in the hole and smoothed down the earth.



"I did not dig it," said Chuckie Wuckie. "I just came and looked to see

if the canna had grown any through the night, but I did not dig it."



"Really?" asked her papa, very gravely.



"Really and truly, I did not put my foot on there," said Chuckie Wuckie.



Papa did not say another word. But he could not help thinking that the

hole looked as if the iron spoon had neatly scooped it out.



Next morning he found the hole dug there again, and Chuckie Wuckie was

still busy in her corner by the fence. He did not speak of it, however.

There were prints of small feet on the edge. He only smoothed down the

earth and raked the bed. He did this for three mornings, then he led

Chuckie Wuckie again to the canna-bed.



"Papa," she said earnestly, "I did not dig there. Truly, I didn't. The

hole is there every morning. I found it to-day before you came out, but

I did not dig it." There were tears in her brown eyes.



"I believe you, Chuckie Wuckie dear," said her father, earnestly.



That night the little girl stood at the gate, watching for her father to

jump off the car. She could hardly wait for him to kiss her. She took

his hand and led him to the canna-bed.



"Look!" she cried eagerly.



She was pointing excitedly to a hole beside the roots of a fresh, green

canna plant.



"That hole again," said her father. "There's a stone in it now, isn't

there?"



"No, that's what I thought; stoop down and look close, papa!" cried

Chuckie Wuckie.



It was the head of a fat hop-toad, but all that could be seen was its

mouth and bright eyes. It was staring at them. Papa poked it with the

point of his umbrella. It scrambled deeper into the hole, until there

was nothing to be seen but the dirt. It was slowly changing to the color

of the black earth.



"I watched him," cried Chuckie Wuckie, excitedly--"oh, for an hour! When

I found him he was just hopping on the canna-bed. He was looking for his

house. He acted as if the door had been shut in his face. Then he began

to open it. He crawled and scrambled round and round, and threw up the

dirt, and poked and pushed. At last he had the hole made, just as it is

every morning, and he crawled in. Then he lay and blinked at me."



"Clever fellow," said papa. "Well, we won't grudge him a home, and we

won't shut the door again in his face, will we, Chuckie Wuckie?"



The cannas have grown very tall now--almost as tall as Chuckie Wuckie's

papa--and so thick that you cannot see where the roots are; but a fat,

brown hop-toad has a snug, cool, safe little nest there, and he

gratefully crawls into it when the sun grows very hot.





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