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Candy City
by [?]

Just then a little bird began to sing:

“In the valley, green and neat,
I see the print of little feet,
And way, way yonder in the glen
I see a host of little men.”

“Dear me!” sighed Mary Louise. “I am too tired to walk any further.”

“Jump on my back!” cried a happy voice, and up trotted a little pony named Dapple Gray.

“Oh, how nice,” laughed Mary Louise, and climbing up on the saddle, rode off on this pretty little pony, and pretty soon, not so very far, they came to the place where the little men were at work. And what do you suppose they were doing. Why, you’d never guess if I gave you until the 4th of July.

They were making maple sugar out of the sap from the maple trees. First they boiled the sap in great big pots and then put it away to cool in queer little dishes of various shapes, and when the sugar hardened it was in the forms of funny little fish, queer little houses, strange animals, and, goodness knows, what not.

“Oh, we are the Sugar Candy Men,
And we work all day in the snow
To make the maple sugar cakes
To sell in the town below,”

sang one little man who wore a red peaked hat and long turned-up pointed shoes.

But when little Mary Louise rode up, they all stopped their work and looked at her, and the little man with the long turned up pointed shoes pulled off his red peaked cap and asked:

“What brings you here, Mary Louise? Are you fond of maple sugar candy?”

“I know lots of little boys and girls who are,” answered Mary Louise with a smile.

“Well, hold open your pockets,” said the little man, and he stood up on a stump alongside Dapple Gray and filled her pockets to overflowing. Wasn’t that nice of him?

“You’re very generous,” said Mary Louise. “What can I do for you?”

“Go to yonder town and tell the dear old lady who keeps the ‘Goody Sweet Tooth-Shop’ that we will bring her candy tomorrow morning just as–

“The little red rooster
From his home on the hill
Sounds his merry cock-a-doo
Like a whistle shrill.”

“All right,” answered Mary Louise, and off she went to the little town down in the valley.

Well, by and by, after a while, and many a mile, and a song and a smile, for Mary Louise felt very happy with all those nice candies in her pocket, she came to a bridge over a river, on the other side of which nestled a little town among the trees.

Now there was a toll keeper, a funny little old lady with a crutch under her arm, at the entrance to the bridge.

“Give me a penny, Mary Louise,
For that is the toll you must pay,
If you would cross over the river to Dover,
Dover, just over the way.”

sang the little old lady toll keeper.

“Here is the penny,” laughed Mary Louise, leaning down from Dapple Gray and dropping it into the old lady’s apron, which she help up in both hands.

“Pass on, little girl,” she said, opening the gate, and in a few minutes Dapple Gray was clattering over the bridge. And pretty soon he drew up before the Goody Sweet Tooth Shop.

“I bring you good news from the little men of the glen,” cried Mary Louise to the little old woman who just then looked out of the door.

“What is the news, dearie?” she asked, shading her eyes with her withered hand.

“Tomorrow morning, just at dawn,
When the little red rooster blows on his horn,
The maple sugar candy hearts,
Cute little cupids and candy darts,
In a great big box will be laid at your door
to give to the children who come to your store.”