Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

Janie’s School Days
by [?]

Janie was sixteen years old, but she looked as though she might be only thirteen as she sat on the front seat of the little schoolhouse far up on the mountainside of Kentucky. Her black hair was plastered tightly to her head. Her calico dress was much too long and the sleeves were much too short. Mother had made it long so that she might wear it for several years, while the sleeves were short so that she might have no excuse for not getting her hands in the dish water. Her bare feet were very dirty but her face shone from its recent scrubbing.

This was a great day for Janie, for the missionary had once again come to the schoolhouse. It had been three years since she was there before, and all that time Janie had waited for her. So she had hurried with her work in order that she might sit on the very front seat and hear every word. Last time she had told much about the school many miles away and Janie had said over and over to herself, “I shall go there; I shall go there.” But of course it was foolish to say so, for there wasn’t any chance that she ever could go. Why, there were seven brothers and sisters younger than she, and she had to work all day long to help to get them enough to eat. She could never go.

But she listened eagerly as the missionary told of all that was being done in the little schoolhouses all about the mountains and of the need of teachers to do the work.

“We like best to take a boy or girl from some hamlet and let them work with us for several years and then send them back to their own homes to serve there. I am wondering if there isn’t a girl here who would like to be the teacher here and help to make Round Creek what it ought to be. If there is such a one, send them to us and we will do our best. If you will pay $10 a term, we will do the rest.”

Janie’s little body was leaning far forward and her eyes were big with excitement. She knew a girl that would like to go. But $10 a term! Why, one dollar seemed big in their home. So she crept out into the darkness of the night without saying a word to any one about her great, big longing. But up in the loft of the log house she lay long after the rest went to sleep trying to think of a way. Auntie was coming to stay with them in the fall. If she could just get the ten dollars by that time, maybe she could be spared for a term. That would help a little, anyway.

In the morning she loosened one of the boards of the woodshed. Beneath it she placed a little tin can, and in the can she put the five pennies that she owned. It was berry time and she thought she knew of a way to earn some money that should be all her own. Near the mill, there were beautiful pieces of bark. In the woods there were many rare ferns. She would make some little baskets like she had made many times for the home, fill them with ferns and try to sell them when she went into the town with the berries. It meant getting up at four instead of five, but she could do that. It meant getting the ferns when the rest of the children were playing at lunch time–but that wasn’t hard. And after her first day in town she had fifty cents to put into the cup. Oh, how rich she felt!

An extra quart of berries here and there, some flowers sold from her little garden patch on the hill, two little kittens sold instead of being drowned–and so the money in the cup grew very, very slowly and no one dreamed it was there. But her dream grew with the contents of the cup. She could see herself all dressed in a neat dress going up the hill to the school and the little children following her and calling her teacher.