THE STORY OF EPAMINONDAS AND HIS AUNTIE





Epaminondas used to go to see his Auntie 'most every day, and she nearly

always gave him something to take home to his Mammy.



One day she gave him a big piece of cake; nice, yellow, rich gold-cake.



Epaminondas took it in his fist and held it all crunched up tight, like

this, and came along home. By the time he got home there wasn't anything

left but a fistful of crumbs. His Mammy said,--



"What you got there, Epaminondas?"



"Cake, Mammy," said Epaminondas.



"Cake!" said his Mammy. "Epaminondas, you ain't got the sense you was

born with! That's no way to carry cake. The way to carry cake is to wrap

it all up nice in some leaves and put it in your hat, and put your hat

on your head, and come along home. You hear me, Epaminondas?"



"Yes, Mammy," said Epaminondas.



Next day Epaminondas went to see his Auntie, and she gave him a pound of

butter for his Mammy; fine, fresh, sweet butter.



Epaminondas wrapped it up in leaves and put it in his hat, and put his

hat on his head, and came along home. It was a very hot day. Pretty soon

the butter began to melt. It melted, and melted, and as it melted it ran

down Epaminondas' forehead; then it ran over his face, and in his ears,

and down his neck. When he got home, all the butter Epaminondas had was

_on him_. His Mammy looked at him, and then she said,--



"Law's sake! Epaminondas, what you got in your hat?"



"Butter, Mammy," said Epaminondas; "Auntie gave it to me."



"Butter!" said his Mammy. "Epaminondas, you ain't got the sense you was

born with! Don't you know that's no way to carry butter? The way to

carry butter is to wrap it up in some leaves and take it down to the

brook, and cool it in the water, and cool it in the water, and cool it

in the water, and then take it on your hands, careful, and bring it

along home."



"Yes, Mammy," said Epaminondas.



By and by, another day, Epaminondas went to see his Auntie again, and;

this time she gave him a little new puppy-dog to take home.



Epaminondas put it in some leaves and took it down to the brook; and

there he cooled it in the water, and cooled it in the water, and cooled

it in the water; then he took it in his hands and came along home. When

he got home, the puppy-dog was dead. His Mammy looked at it, and she

said,--



"Law's sake! Epaminondas, what you got there?"



"A puppy-dog, Mammy," said Epaminondas.



"A _puppy-dog_!" said his Mammy. "My gracious sakes alive, Epaminondas,

you ain't got the sense you was born with! That ain't the way to carry a

puppy-dog! The way to carry a puppy-dog is to take a long piece of

string and tie one end of it round the puppy-dog's neck and put the

puppy-dog on the ground, and take hold of the other end of the string

and come along home, like this."



"All right, Mammy," said Epaminondas.



Next day Epaminondas went to see his Auntie again, and when he came to

go home she gave him a loaf of bread to carry to his Mammy; a brown,

fresh, crusty loaf of bread.



So Epaminondas tied a string around the end of the loaf and took hold of

the end of the string and came along home, like this. (Imitate dragging

something along the ground.) When he got home his Mammy looked at the

thing on the end of the string, and she said,--



"My laws a-massy! Epaminondas, what you got on the end of that string?"



"Bread, Mammy," said Epaminondas; "Auntie gave it to me."



"Bread!!!" said his Mammy. "O Epaminondas, Epaminondas, you ain't got

the sense you was born with; you never did have the sense you was born

with; you never will have the sense you was born with! Now I ain't gwine

tell you any more ways to bring truck home. And don't you go see your

Auntie, neither. I'll go see her my own self. But I'll just tell you one

thing, Epaminondas! You see these here six mince pies I done make? You

see how I done set 'em on the doorstep to cool? Well, now, you hear me,

Epaminondas, _you be careful how you step on those pies_!"



"Yes, Mammy," said Epaminondas.



Then Epaminondas' Mammy put on her bonnet and her shawl and took a

basket in her hand and went away to see Auntie. The six mince pies sat

cooling in a row on the doorstep.



And then,--and then,--Epaminondas _was_ careful how he stepped on those

pies!



He stepped (imitate)--right--in--the--middle--of--every--one.



* * * * *



And, do you know, children, nobody knows what happened next! The person

who told me the story didn't know; nobody knows. But you can guess.





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