The Louisa Alcott Reader - for Children
The Candy Country
"I shall take mamma's red sun-umbrella, it is so warm, and none of the children at school
will have one like it," said Lily, one day, as she went through the hall.
"The wind is very high; I'm afraid you'll be blown away if you carry that big thing,"
called Nurse from the window, as the red umbrella went bobbing down the garden walk
with a small girl under it.
"I wish it would; I always wanted to go up in a balloon," answered Lily, as she struggled
out of the gate.
She got on very well till she came to the bridge and stopped to look over the railing at the
water running by so fast, and the turtles sunning themselves on the rocks. Lily was fond
of throwing stones at them; it was so funny to watch them tumble, heels over head, splash
into the water. Now, when she saw three big fellows close by, she stooped for a stone,
and just at that minute a gale of wind nearly took the umbrella out of her hand. She
clutched it fast; and away she went like a thistle-down, right up in the air, over river and
hill, houses and trees, faster and faster, till her head spun round, her breath was all gone,
and she had to let go. The dear red umbrella flew away like a leaf; and Lily fell down,
down, till she went crash into a tree which grew in such a curious place that she forgot
her fright as she sat looking about her, wondering what part of the world it could be.
The tree looked as if made of glass or colored sugar; for she could see through the red
cherries, the green leaves, and the brown branches. An agreeable smell met her nose; and
she said at once, as any child would, "I smell candy!" She picked a cherry and ate it. Oh,
how good it was!--all sugar and no stone. The next discovery was such a delightful one
that she nearly fell off her perch; for by touching her tongue here and there, she found
that the whole tree was made of candy. Think what fun to sit and break off twigs of
barley sugar, candied cherries, and leaves that tasted like peppermint and sassafras!
Lily rocked and ate till she finished the top of the little tree; then she climbed down and
strolled along, making more surprising and agreeable discoveries as she went.
What looked like snow under her feet was white sugar; the rocks were lumps of
chocolate, the flowers of all colors and tastes; and every sort of fruit grew on these
delightful trees. Little white houses soon appeared; and here lived the dainty candy-
people, all made of the best sugar, and painted to look like real people.
Dear little men and women, looking as if they had stepped off of wedding cakes and
bonbons, went about in their gay sugar clothes, laughing and talking in the sweetest
voices. Bits of babies rocked in open-work cradles, and sugar boys and girls played with
sugar toys in the most natural way. Carriages rolled along the jujube streets, drawn by the
red and yellow barley horses we all love so well; cows fed in the green fields, and sugar
birds sang in the trees.
Lily listened, and in a moment she understood what the song said,--