Little Men HTML version

12. Huckleberries
There was a great clashing of tin pails, much running to and fro, and frequent
demands for something to eat, one August afternoon, for the boys were going
huckleberrying, and made as much stir about it as if they were setting out to find
the North West Passage.
"Now, my lads, get off as quietly as you can, for Rob is safely out of the way, and
won't see you," said Mrs. Bhaer, as she tied Daisy's broad-brimmed hat, and
settled the great blue pinafore in which she had enveloped Nan.
But the plan did not succeed, for Rob had heard the bustle, decided to go, and
prepared himself, without a thought of disappointment. The troop was just getting
under way when the little man came marching downstairs with his best hat on, a
bright tin pail in his hand, and a face beaming with satisfaction.
"Oh, dear! now we shall have a scene," sighed Mrs. Bhaer, who found her eldest
son very hard to manage at times.
"I'm all ready," said Rob, and took his place in the ranks with such perfect
unconsciousness of his mistake, that it really was very hard to undeceive him.
"It's too far for you, my love; stay and take care of me, for I shall be all alone,"
began his mother.
"You've got Teddy. I'm a big boy, so I can go; you said I might when I was bigger,
and I am now," persisted Rob, with a cloud beginning to dim the brightness of his
happy face.
"We are going up to the great pasture, and it's ever so far; we don't want you
tagging on," cried Jack, who did not admire the little boys.
"I won't tag, I'll run and keep up. O Mamma! let me go! I want to fill my new pail,
and I'll bring 'em all to you. Please, please, I will be good!" prayed Robby, looking
up at his mother, so grieved and disappointed that her heart began to fail her.
"But, my deary, you'll get so tired and hot you won't have a good time. Wait till I
go, and then we will stay all day, and pick as many berries as you want."
"You never do go, you are so busy, and I'm tired of waiting. I'd rather go and get
the berries for you all myself. I love to pick 'em, and I want to fill my new pail
dreffly," sobbed Rob.
The pathetic sight of great tears tinkling into the dear new pail, and threatening to
fill it with salt water instead of huckleberries, touched all the ladies present. His
mother patted the weeper on his back; Daisy offered to stay home with him; and
Nan said, in her decided way,
"Let him come; I'll take care of him."
"If Franz was going I wouldn't mind, for he is very careful; but he is haying with
the father, and I'm not sure about the rest of you," began Mrs. Bhaer.
"It's so far," put in Jack.
"I'd carry him if I was going wish I was," said Dan, with a sigh.
"Thank you, dear, but you must take care of your foot. I wish I could go. Stop a
minute, I think I can manage it after all;" and Mrs. Bhaer ran out to the steps,
waving her apron wildly.