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Old 05-14-2016, 06:59 AM   #1
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Paine, Albert Bigelow: Hollow Tree and Deep Woods Book(collec,illus). v1. 14 May 2016

The Hollow Tree and Deep Woods Book
By Albert Bigelow Paine (1861–1935)
Illustrated by James M. Condé (?–1918?)

First published 1898~1900. This book is in the public domain in countries where copyright is “Life+70” or less, and in the USA.

Albert Bigelow Paine was an American author and biographer best known for his work with Mark Twain. He wrote fiction, humor, and verse, for children and adults. His most notable work was a three-volume biography of Mark Twain.

James M. Condé illustrated many children’s books, his work appearing from the 1890’s until 1918. No biographical data is available.

“Once upon a time, in the far depths of the Big Deep Woods, there was a Big Hollow Tree with three hollow branches. In one of these there lived a ’Coon, in another a ’Possum, and in the third a Big Black Crow.” Thus the Story Teller begins spinning the tales for the Little Lady. He narrates the adventures of a circle of animal friends, with the central characters – Mr. Crow, Mr. ’Coon, and Mr. ’Possum – sharing the spotlight with other delightful folks such as Mr. Turtle, Mr. Rabbit, and Mr. Dog. These fellows go on picnics and fishing trips, tend their gardens, indulge in chicken and dumplings, and sit around the fireplace after supper smoking their pipes, reminiscing and telling tales (not unlike many of us, I daresay).

These stories were created for children, but certainly can be appreciated by adults – written with an easy down-home humor (but no dialect here!), they often have a Twainian twang that dares the reader to keep a straight face. Share the laughter with children you know, and see which of you has more fun.

EXCERPT from “Mr. Rabbit’s Unwelcome Visitor”
…you see Mr. Polecat is so queer in some of his ways that people even don’t talk about him a great deal. He is really quite a nice gentleman, though, when he doesn’t get excited. But when he does he loses friends.

The trouble is with the sort of perfumery he uses when he gets excited, just as some people use a smelling bottle, and nobody seems to like the sort Mr. Polecat uses except himself. I suppose he must like it or he wouldn’t be so free with it. But other people go away when he uses it – mostly in the direction the wind’s blowing from – and in a hurry, as if they were afraid they’d miss a train. Even Mr. Dog doesn’t stop to argue with Mr. Polecat. Nobody does, and all the other deep woods people do their best to make him happy and to keep him in a good humor whenever he comes about, and give him their nicest things to eat and a lot to carry home with him, so he’ll start just as soon as possible.

But more than anything they try to keep him from saying anything about Mr. Dog or hinting or even thinking about Mr. Dog, for when he does any of these things he’s apt to get excited, and then sometimes he opens up that perfume of his and his friends fall over each other to get out of reach. They’re never very happy to see him coming, and they’re always glad to see him go, even when he’s had a quiet visit and goes pretty soon, which is just what didn’t happen one time when he came to call on Jack Rabbit, and it’s that time I’m going to tell about.

Mr. Rabbit looked out his door one morning and there was Mr. Polecat, all dressed up, coming to see him. He wasn’t very far off, either, and Mr. Rabbit hardly had time to jerk down a crayon picture of Mr. Dog that he’d made the day before, just for practice. He pushed it under the bed quick, and when Mr. Polecat came up he bowed and smiled, and said what a nice day it was, and that he’d bring a chair outside if Mr. Polecat would like to sit there instead of coming in where it wasn’t so pleasant.

But Mr. Polecat said he guessed he’d come in, as it was a little chilly and he didn’t feel very well anyway. So he came inside, and Jack Rabbit gave him his best chair and brought out a little table and put a lot of nice things on it that Mr. Polecat likes, and began right away to pack a basket for him to take home.

But Mr. Polecat didn’t seem to be in any hurry to go. He ate some of the nice things, and then leaned back to talk and smoke, and told Mr. Rabbit all the news he’d heard as he came along, and Mr. Rabbit got more and more worried, for he knew that just as likely as not Mr. Polecat had heard something about Mr. Dog and would begin to tell it pretty soon, and then no knowing what would happen. So Jack Rabbit just said “Yes” and “No” and began to talk about Mr. Robin, because Mr. Robin was a good friend of everybody and nobody could get excited just talking about Mr. Robin. But Mr. Polecat says: – “Oh, yes, I saw Mr. Robin as I came along, and he called to me that Mr. Dog—” And then Jack Rabbit changed the subject as quick as he could and spoke about Mr. Squirrel, and Mr. Polecat says: – “Oh, did you hear how Mr. Squirrel went over to Mr. Man’s house and saw Mr. Dog there—” And then poor Mr. Rabbit had to think quick and change the subject again to the Hollow Tree people, and Mr. Polecat said: – “Oh, yes. I stopped by that way as I came along, and they called out to me from up stairs how you were practising drawing, and that you gave Mr. Dog some dancing lessons the other day, and then made a fine picture of him just as he looked when he danced into the hot coals, so I hurried right over here for just to see that picture.”

Poor Mr. Rabbit! He didn’t know what to do. He knew right away that the Hollow Tree people had told about the picture to get rid of Mr. Polecat, and he made up his mind that he’d get even with them some day for getting him in such a fix. But some day was a long ways off and Mr. Polecat was right there under his nose, so Mr. Rabbit said, just as quick as he could say it, that the Hollow Tree people were always making jokes, and that the picture was just as poor as it could be, and that he’d be ashamed to show it to anybody, much more to a talented gentleman like Mr. Polecat. But that made Mr. Polecat all the more anxious to see it, for he was sure Mr. Rabbit was only modest, and pretty soon he happened to spy the edge of the picture frame under Mr. Rabbit’s bed, and just reached under and pulled it out, before Mr. Rabbit could help himself.

Well, he picked up that picture and looked at it a minute, and Jack Rabbit began to back off toward the door and say a few soothing words, when all at once Mr. Polecat leaned back and commenced to laugh and laugh at the funny picture Mr. Dog made where Mr. Rabbit called to him, “Dance! Mr. Dog, dance!” And then, of course, Mr. Rabbit felt better, for if his company thought it was funny and laughed there wasn’t so much danger.

“Why,” said Mr. Polecat, “it’s the best thing I ever saw! You could almost imagine that Mr. Dog himself was right here, howling and barking and dancing.”

“Oh, no, hardly that,” said Mr. Rabbit. “Of course I suppose it is a little like him, but it’s not at all as if he were here, you know – not at all – and he’s ever so far off, I’m sure, and won’t come again for a long time. You know, he’s—”

“Oh, yes, it is!” declared Mr. Polecat. “It’s just as if he were right here. And I can just hear him howl and bark, and—”

And right there Mr. Polecat stopped and Mr. Rabbit stopped, and both of them held their breath and listened, for sure enough they did hear Mr. Dog howling and barking and coming toward the house as straight as he could come.

You know what’s coming next, don’t you.

Transcription errors were corrected; punctuation, italics and diacritics formatted; illustrations manually cleaned and enhanced. Navigation links are provided at the end of each story. This ebook departs from the print layout: Illustrations were moved close to the referenced text; some captions slightly edited for length. Several "continued" titles have been merged as stories with multiple chapters.

Enjoy this first of the three Hollow Tree books.
This work is assumed to be in the Life+70 public domain OR the copyright holder has given specific permission for distribution. Copyright laws differ throughout the world, and it may still be under copyright in some countries. Before downloading, please check your country's copyright laws. If the book is under copyright in your country, do not download or redistribute this work.

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