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Old 05-14-2016, 07:05 AM   #1
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Paine, Albert Bigelow: Hollow Tree Snowed-In Book (collect,illus). v1. 14 May 2016

The Hollow Tree Snowed-In Book
By Albert Bigelow Paine (1861–1935)
Illustrated by James M. Condé (?–1918?)

First published 1910. 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. Dog at the Circus”
I know all about menageries, on the outside and the inside too, for I have been to one. I went once with Mr. Man, though I wasn’t really invited to go. In fact, Mr. Man invited me to stay at home, and tried to slip off from me; but I watched which way he went, and took long roundin’s on him, and slipped in behind him when he went into the tent. He didn’t know for a while that I was there, and I wasn’t there so very long. But it was plenty long enough – a good deal longer than I’d ever stay again, unless I was tied.

I never saw so many wild, fierce-looking creatures in my life as there were in that menagerie, and they were just as wild and fierce as they looked. They had a lot of cages full of them and they had some outside of cages, though I don’t know why they should leave any of those dangerous animals around where they could damage folks that happened to come in reach, as I did. Those animals outside didn’t look as wild and fierce as those in the cages, but they were.

I kept in the crowd, close behind Mr. Man at first, and nobody knew I was there, but by-and-by he climbed up into a seat to watch some people all dressed up in fancy clothes ride around a ring on horses, which I didn’t care much about, so I slipped away, and went over to where there were some things that I wanted to take my time to and see quietly.

There was an animal about my size and style tied over in one corner of the tent, behind a rope, with a sign in front of him which said, ‘The Only Tame Hyena in the World.’ He looked smiling and good-natured, and I went over to ask him some questions.

But that sign wasn’t true. He wasn’t the least bit tame, and I’m sure now that he wasn’t smiling. He grabbed me before I had a chance to say a word, and when I jerked loose, which I did right away, for I didn’t want to stir up any fuss there, I left quite a piece of my ear with the tame hyena, and tripped backward over the rope and rolled right in front of a creature called an elephant, about as big as a house and not as useful.

I suppose they thought he was tame, too, but he must have been tamed by the same man, for he grabbed me with a kind of a tail that grew on the end of his nose – a thing a good deal like Mr. ’Possum’s tail, only about a million times as big – and I could hear my ribs crack as he waved me up and down.

Of course, as I say, I didn’t want to stir up any fuss, but I couldn’t keep still under such treatment as that, and I called right out to Mr. Man, where he sat looking at the fancy people riding, and told him that I had had enough of the show, and if he wanted to take any of me home he ought not to wait very long, but come over that way and see if he couldn’t get the tame elephant to practise that performance on the hyena or the next dog, because I had had plenty, and was willing to go home just as I was, all in one piece, even if not very lively.

Mr. Man came, too, and so did a lot of the others. They seemed to think that I was more to look at than those riding people; and some of them laughed, though what there was happening that was funny I have never been able to guess to this day. I kept right on telling Mr. Man what I wanted him to do, and mebbe I made a good deal of noise about it, for it seemed to stir up those other animals. There was a cage full of lions that started the most awful roaring you can think of, and a cage of crazy-looking things they called monkeys that screeched and howled and swung back and forth in rings and held on to the bars, and all the other things joined in, until I couldn’t tell whether I was still saying anything or not. I suppose they were all jealous of the elephant because of the fun he was having, and howling to be let out so they could get hold of me too.

Well, you never heard of such a time. It nearly broke up the show. Everybody ran over to look, and even the riding people stopped their horses to enjoy it, too. If it only hadn’t been so dangerous and unpleasant I should have been proud of the way they came to see me perform.

But Mr. Man didn’t seem to like it much. I heard him tell somebody, as loud as he could, that I would be killed, and that I was the best dog he ever had, and that if I was killed he’d sue the show.

That made me proud, too, but I wished he wouldn’t wait to sue the show, but would do something right away, and just then a man with a fancy dress on and a stick with a sharp iron hook on it came running up and said something I didn’t understand and hit the elephant with the hook end of the stick, and he gave me an extra big swing and crack and flung me half-way across the tent, where I landed on a bunch of hay right in front of a long-necked thing called a camel – another terrible tame creature, I suppose – who had me about half eaten up with his old long under lip, before Mr. Man could get over there.

When Mr. Man did get hold of me, he said that I’d better take what was left of me home, for they were going to feed the animals pretty soon, and that I would likely get mixed up with the bill of fare.

After that he took me to the entrance and pushed me outside, and I heard all those fierce creatures in the cages growl and roar louder than ever, as if they had expected to sample me and were sorry to see me go.

That’s what a menagerie is – it’s a place where they have all the kinds of animals and things in the world, for show, and a good many birds, and maybe turtles, too, but they don’t have any fine clear pond. They have just a big tent, like the one Mr. Crow saw, and a lot of cages inside. They keep most of the animals in cages, and they ought to keep them all there, and I don’t think they feed them very much, nor the best things, or they wouldn’t look so fierce and hungry.

They just keep them for Mr. Man and his friends to look at and talk about, and if Mr. Turtle will take my advice he will keep out of a menagerie and live in the Wide Blue Water where he was born. I wouldn’t have gone there again unless I had been tied and dragged there, or unless they had put those tame animals into cages with the others. No doubt there are some very fine, strong animals in a menagerie, but they wouldn’t be there if they could help it, and if anybody ever invites any of you to join a menagerie, take my advice and don’t do it.

Wise advice indeed.

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.

The second collection of Hollow Tree tales for your pleasure.
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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