William Allen White (February 10, 1868 – January 29, 1944) was a renowned American newspaper editor, politician, and author. Between World War I and World War II White became the iconic middle American spokesman for thousands throughout the United States.
The woods were as the Indians had left them, but the boys who were playing there did not realize, until many years afterwards, that they had moved in as the Indians moved out. Perhaps, if these boys had known that they were the first white boys to use the Indians’ playgrounds, the realization might have added zest to the make-believe of their games; but probably boys between seven and fourteen, when they play at all, play with their fancies strained, and very likely these little boys, keeping their stick-horse livery-stable in a wild-grape arbour in the thicket, needed no verisimilitude. The long straight hickory switches—which served as horses—were arranged with their butts on a rotting log, whereon some grass was spread for their feed. Their string bridles hung loosely over the log. The horsemen swinging in the vines above, or in the elm tree near by, were preparing a raid on the stables of other boys, either in the native lumber town a rifle-shot away or in distant parts of the woods. When the youngsters climbed down, they straddled their hickory steeds and galloped friskily away to the creek and drank; this was part of the rites, for tradition in the town of their elders said that whoever drank of Sycamore Creek water immediately turned horse thief. Having drunk their fill at the ford, they waded it and left the stumpy road, plunging into the underbrush, snorting and puffing and giggling and fussing and complaining—the big ones at the little ones and the little ones at the big ones—after the manner of mankind.
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