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Old 05-14-2016, 07:20 AM   #1
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Paine, Albert Bigelow: Hollow Tree Nights and Days (collect,illus). v1. 14 May 2016

Hollow Tree Nights and Days
By Albert Bigelow Paine (1861–1935)
Illustrated by James M. Condé (?–1918?)

First published 1915. 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.

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“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.

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EXCERPT from “Mr. Possum’s Sick Spell”
Spoiler:
Once upon a time, said the Story Teller, something very sad nearly happened in the Hollow Tree. It was Mr. ’Possum’s turn, one night, to go out and borrow a chicken from Mr. Man’s roost, and coming home he fell into an old well and lost his chicken. He nearly lost himself, too, for the water was icy cold and Mr. ’Possum thought he would freeze to death before he could climb out, because the rocks were slippery and he fell back several times.

As it was, he got home almost dead, and next morning was sicker than he had ever been before in his life. He had pains in his chest and other places, and was all stuffed up in his throat and very scared. The ’Coon and the Crow who lived in the Hollow Tree with him were scared, too. They put him to bed in the big room down-stairs, and said they thought they ought to send for somebody, and Mr. Crow said that Mr. Owl was a good hand with sick folks, because he looked so wise and didn’t say much, which always made the patient think he knew something.

So Mr. Crow hurried over and brought Mr. Owl, who put on his glasses and looked at Mr. ’Possum’s tongue, and felt of his pulse, and listened to his breathing, and said that the cold water seemed to have struck in and that the only thing to do was for Mr. ’Possum to stay in bed and drink hot herb tea and not eat anything, which was a very sad prescription for Mr. ’Possum, because he hated herb tea and was very partial to eating. He groaned when he heard it and said he didn’t suppose he’d ever live to enjoy himself again, and that he might just as well have stayed in the well with the chicken, which was a great loss and doing no good to anybody. Then Mr. Owl went away, and told the Crow outside that Mr. ’Possum was a very sick man, and that at his time of life and in his state of flesh his trouble might go hard with him.

So Mr. Crow went back into the kitchen and made up a lot of herb tea and kept it hot on the stove, and Mr. ’Coon sat by Mr. ’Possum’s bed and made him drink it almost constantly, which Mr. ’Possum said might cure him if he didn’t die of it before the curing commenced.
He said if he just had that chicken, made up with a good platter of dumplings, he believed it would do him more good than anything, and he begged the ’Coon to go and fish it out, or to catch another one, and try it on him, and then if he did die he would at least have fewer regrets.

But the Crow and the ’Coon said they must do as Mr. Owl ordered, unless Mr. ’Possum wanted to change doctors, which was not a good plan until the case became hopeless, and that would probably not be before some time in the night. Mr. ’Coon said, though, there was no reason why that nice chicken should be wasted, and as it would still be fresh, he would rig up a hook and line and see if he couldn’t save it. So he got out his fishing things and made a grab hook and left Mr. Crow to sit by Mr. ’Possum until he came back. He could follow Mr. ’Possum’s track to the place, and in a little while he had the fine, fat chicken, and came home with it and showed it to the patient, who had a sinking spell when he looked at it, and turned his face to the wall and said he seemed to have lived in vain.

Mr. Crow, who always did the cooking, said he’d better put the chicken on right away, under the circumstances, and then he remembered a bottle of medicine he had once seen sitting on Mr. Man’s window-sill outside, and he said while the chicken was cooking he’d just step over and get it, as it might do the patient good, and it didn’t seem as if anything now could do him any harm.

So the Crow dressed the nice chicken and put it in the pot with the dumplings, and while Mr. ’Coon dosed Mr. ’Possum with the hot herb tea Mr. Crow slipped over to Mr. Man’s house and watched a good chance when the folks were at dinner, and got the bottle and came back with it and found Mr. ’Possum taking a nap and the ’Coon setting the table; for the dinner was about done and there was a delicious smell of dumplings and chicken, which made Mr. ’Possum begin talking in his sleep about starving to death in the midst of plenty. Then he woke up and seemed to suffer a good deal, and the Crow gave him a dose of Mr. Man’s medicine, and said that if Mr. ’Possum was still with them next morning they’d send for another doctor.

Mr. ’Possum took the medicine and choked on it, and when he could speak said he wouldn’t be with them. He could tell by his feelings, he said, that he would never get through this day of torture, and he wanted to say some last words. Then he said that he wanted the ’Coon to have his Sunday suit, which was getting a little tight for him and would just about fit Mr. ’Coon, and that he wanted the Crow to have his pipe and toilet articles, to remember him by. He said he had tried to do well by them since they had all lived together in the Hollow Tree, and he supposed it would be hard for them to get along without him, but that they would have to do the best they could. Then he guessed he’d try to sleep a little, and closed his eyes. Mr. ’Coon looked at Mr. Crow and shook his head, and they didn’t feel like sitting down to dinner right away, and pretty soon when they thought Mr. ’Possum was asleep they slipped softly up to his room to see how sad it would seem without him.

Well, they had only been gone a minute when Mr. ’Possum woke up, for the smell of that chicken and dumpling coming in from Mr. Crow’s kitchen was too much for him. When he opened his eyes and found that Mr. ’Coon and Mr. Crow were not there, and that he felt a little better – perhaps because of Mr. Man’s medicine – he thought he might as well step out and take one last look at chicken and dumpling, anyway.

It was quite warm, but, being all in a sweat, he put the bed-sheet around him to protect him from the drafts and went out to the stove and looked into the pot, and when he saw how good it looked he thought he might as well taste of it to see if it was done. So he did, and it tasted so good and seemed so done that he got out a little piece of dumpling on a fork, and blew on it to cool it, and ate it, and then another piece, and then the whole dumpling, which he sopped around in the gravy after each bite. Then when the dumpling was gone he fished up a chicken leg and ate that, and then a wing, and then the gizzard, and felt better all the time, and pretty soon poured out a cup of coffee and drank that, all before he remembered that he was sick abed and not expected to recover. Then he happened to think, and started back to bed, but on the way there he heard Mr. ’Coon and Mr. Crow talking softly in his room and he forgot again that he was so sick and went up to see about it.

You will have to download the book to learn what happens next ...

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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.

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The third and final Hollow Tree book. Don't miss it!
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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Old 05-31-2016, 11:41 AM   #2
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I look forward to reading this.

Another BEAUTIFULLY made ebook!

Thank you!
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