8. Pranks And Plays
As there is no particular plan to this story, except to describe a few scenes in the
life at Plumfield for the amusement of certain little persons, we will gently ramble
along in this chapter and tell some of the pastimes of Mrs. Jo's boys. I beg leave
to assure my honored readers that most of the incidents are taken from real life,
and that the oddest are the truest; for no person, no matter how vivid an
imagination he may have, can invent anything half so droll as the freaks and
fancies that originate in the lively brains of little people.
Daisy and Demi were full of these whims, and lived in a world of their own,
peopled with lovely or grotesque creatures, to whom they gave the queerest
names, and with whom they played the queerest games. One of these nursery
inventions was an invisible sprite called "The Naughty Kitty-mouse," whom the
children had believed in, feared, and served for a long time. They seldom spoke
of it to any one else, kept their rites as private as possible; and, as they never
tried to describe it even to themselves, this being had a vague mysterious charm
very agreeable to Demi, who delighted in elves and goblins. A most whimsical
and tyrannical imp was the Naughty Kitty-mouse, and Daisy found a fearful
pleasure in its service, blindly obeying its most absurd demands, which were
usually proclaimed from the lips of Demi, whose powers of invention were great.
Rob and Teddy sometimes joined in these ceremonies, and considered them
excellent fun, although they did not understand half that went on.
One day after school Demi whispered to his sister, with an ominous wag of the
"The Kitty-mouse wants us this afternoon."
"What for?" asked Daisy, anxiously.
"A sackerryfice," answered Demi, solemnly. "There must be a fire behind the big
rock at two o'clock, and we must all bring the things we like best, and burn them!"
he added, with an awful emphasis on the last words.
"Oh, dear! I love the new paper dollies Aunt Amy painted for me best of any
thing; must I burn them up?" cried Daisy, who never thought of denying the
unseen tyrant any thing it demanded.
"Every one. I shall burn my boat, my best scrapbook, and all my soldiers," said
"Well, I will; but it's too bad of Kitty-mouse to want our very nicest things," sighed
"A sackerryfice means to give up what you are fond of, so we must," explained
Demi, to whom the new idea had been suggested by hearing Uncle Fritz
describe the customs of the Greeks to the big boys who were reading about them
"Is Rob coming too," asked Daisy.
"Yes, and he is going to bring his toy village; it is all made of wood, you know,
and will burn nicely. We'll have a grand bonfire, and see them blaze up, won't