**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

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!


Under the Lion’s Paw
by [?]

“Oh, I think—I hopewe’ll have a good crop, Tim; and oh, how good the people have been to us!”

“Yes; I don’t know where we’d be t’-day if it hadn’t been f’r Council and his wife.”

“They’re the best people in the world,” said the little woman, with a great sob of gratitude.

“We’ll be in the field on Monday sure,” said Haskins, gripping the rail on the fences as if already at the work of the harvest.

The harvest came bounteous, glorious, but the winds came and blew it into tangles, and the rain matted it here and there close to the ground, increasing the work of gathering it threefold.

Oh, how they toiled in those glorious days! Clothing dripping with sweat, arms aching, filled with briers, fingers raw and bleeding, backs broken with the weight of heavy bundles, Haskins and his man toiled on. Tommy drove the harvester, while his father and a hired man bound on the machine. In this way they cut ten acres every day, and almost every night after supper, when the hand went to bed, Haskins returned to the field shocking the bound grain in the light of the moon. Many a night he worked till he staggered with utter fatigue; worked till his anxious wife came out to call him in to rest and lunch.

At the same time she cooked for the men, took care of the children, washed and ironed, milked the cows at night, made the butter, and sometimes fed the horses and watered them while her husband kept at the shocking. No slave in the Roman galleys could have toiled so frightfully and lived, for this man thoughthimself a free man, and that he was working for his wife and babes.

When he sank into his bed with a deep groan of relief, too tired to change his grimy, dripping clothing, he felt that he was getting nearer and nearer to a home of his own, and pushing the wolf of want a little farther from his door.

There is no despair so deep as the despair of a homeless man or woman. To roam the roads of the country or the streets of the city, to feel there is no rood of ground on which the feet can rest, to halt weary and hungry outside lighted windows and hear laughter and song within—these are the hungers and rebellions that drive men to crime and women to shame.

It was the memory of this homelessness, and the fear of its coming again, that spurred Timothy Haskins and Nettie, his wife, to such ferocious labor during that first year.


“‘M, yes; ‘m, yes; first-rate,” said Butler, as his eye took in the neat garden, the pig-pen, and the well-filled barnyard.”You’re gitt’n’ quite a stock around yeh. Done well, eh?” Haskins was showing Butler around the place. He had not seen it for a year, having spent the year in Washington and Boston with Ashley, his brother-in-law, who had been elected to Congress.

“Yes, I’ve laid out a good deal of money durin’ the last three years. I’ve paid out three hundred dollars f’r fencin’.”

“Um h’m! I see, I see,” said Butler, while Haskins went on:

“The kitchen there cost two hundred; the barn ain’t cost much in money, but I’ve put a lot o’ time on it. I’ve dug a new well, and I—”

“Yes, yes, I see. You’ve done well. Stock worth a thousand dollars,” said Butler, picking his teeth with a straw.

“About that,” said Haskins, modestly.”We begin to feel’s if we was gitt’n’ a home f’r ourselves; but we’ve worked hard. I tell you we begin to feel it, Mr. Butler, and we’re goin’ t’ begin to ease up purty soon. We’ve been kind o’ plannin’ a trip back t’ her folks after the fall ploughin’s done.”

“Eggs-actly!” said Butler, who was evidently thinking of something else.”I suppose you’ve kind o’ calc’lated on stayin’ here three years more?”

“Well, yes. Fact is, I think I c’n buy the farm this fall, if you’ll give me a reasonable show.”

“Um—m! What do you call a reasonable show?”

“Well, say a quarter down and three years’ time.”

Butler looked at the huge stacks of wheat, which filled the yard, over which the chickens were fluttering and crawling, catching grasshoppers, and out of which the crickets were singing innumerably. He smiled in a peculiar way as he said, “Oh, I won’t be hard on yeh. But what did you expect to pay f’r the place?”