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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Bobbsey Twins At Home - Chapter 14. After Chestnuts
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The Bobbsey Twins At Home - Chapter 14. After Chestnuts Post by :adambm Category :Long Stories Author :Laura Lee Hope Date :May 2012 Read :709

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The Bobbsey Twins At Home - Chapter 14. After Chestnuts


Bert, Nan, Flossie and Freddie all came down to breakfast together.

"Well, well!" exclaimed Mother Bobbsey, smiling at the children. "What does this mean? Saturday morning, and you are all up as early as though it were a school day. You haven't looked at the wrong date on the calendar; have you?"

"No, Mother," answered Freddie. "But we're going after chestnuts, and we must get to the woods early."

"So the squirrels won't get all the nuts, Bert says," put in Nan.

"But we'll leave some for them; won't we?" asked Flossie. "I wouldn't want the squirrels to go hungry."

"I guess there'll be enough for all of us," said Bert. "But there will be a lot of fellows after the nuts this morning, on account of the frost which has cracked open the prickly burrs, and let the nuts fall out. So if we want to get our share we'll have to start soon. Nan and I will look after Flossie and Freddie, Mother."

Mrs. Bobbsey thought for a moment.

"Yes, I guess it will be all right," she said. "The woods are safe, and there are no snakes this time of year."

"I'm not afraid of snakes," exclaimed Freddie. "They only stick out their tongues at you."

"Some snakes bite," said Bert. "But, as mother says, there are none in the woods now. When it gets cold snakes crawl inside hollow logs and go to sleep. So get ready to go after chestnuts!"

The Bobbsey twins finished their breakfast, and while Bert found some old salt bags which he put in his pocket to hold his chestnuts, Flossie and Freddie went out to the kitchen where Dinah was working.

"Dinah, where is the biggest basket you have?" asked Freddie.

"And I want the next biggest!" exclaimed Flossie.

"Mah goodness, honey lambs! What am all de meanin' ob big baskets?" asked the colored cook.

"We're going after chestnuts," explained Freddie, "and we want something to put them in. Here's just the basket I want," and he took a big one, that Dinah used sometimes when she went to market.

"I'll take this one," said Flossie, as she picked up one in which Sam, Dinah's husband, used to bring in kindling wood for the fire.

"Well, if yo' honey lambs brings dem baskets home full ob chestnuts yo' shore will hab a lot," laughed Dinah.

Flossie and Freddie, with their big baskets, went out in the side yard where Nan and Bert were waiting for them.

"Oh, look at what those children have!" Nan exclaimed. "You two surely don't expect to fill those baskets with chestnuts; do you?" she asked, laughing.

"Of course we do," said Freddie, very seriously.

"No, no!" cried Bert. "Those baskets are too big. There aren't that many chestnuts in the woods, and, if there were, and you filled the baskets you couldn't carry them home. Get smaller baskets, or do as Nan and I do--take salt bags. They're easier to carry, and you can stuff them in your pocket while you're going to the woods."

Flossie and Freddie still thought the big baskets would be best, but their mother told them to do as Bert said, and finally the four twins started off down the road, each one carrying a cloth salt bag.

About a mile from the Bobbsey home was a patch of woodland, in which were a number of chestnut trees.

"Oh, look! There goes Charley Mason!" called Nan to Bert as they were walking along the road. "I believe he's going chestnutting, too."

"It looks so," returned Bert. "I say, Charley!" he called, "are you going to the woods?"

"Yes," came the answer.

"Come along with us," cried Bert.

"All right," Charley answered. "I promised to call for Nellie Parks and her brother George, though."

"We'll stop and get them on our way past their house," said Nan, "and then we'll all go on together."

"It will be a regular party; won't it?" cried Freddie.

"It surely will," laughed Nan.

"Only we haven't anything to eat," said Flossie.

"We can eat chestnuts," declared Freddie.

"Too many of them, raw, before they are boiled or roasted, aren't good for you," said Nan. "So be careful."

Charley Mason crossed the street to join the Bobbsey twins, and a little later they reached the house where Nellie Parks and her brother lived. These two were on the steps waiting.

"Oh, hello, Nan!" cried Nellie. "I didn't expect to see you. Charley said he'd stop for us, but I'm glad you did, too. The Bobbseys are going with us, Mother," Nellie called back to her mother who was looking out of a window.

"It's a regular chestnutting party," said Flossie.

"Only we haven't anything to eat," added Freddie, and all the others laughed.

"That's so!" exclaimed Nellie's brother George, who was older than any of the others. "It isn't much of a party, even to go after chestnuts, unless you have something to eat. Wait a minute."

He hurried back into the house, and soon came out with a pasteboard box.

"What's in there?" asked his sister.

"Lunch for the chestnutting party," George answered. "Now you won't have to worry, Flossie and Freddie."

"That's nice!" said the two little twins in a chorus.

Together the children walked down the street, past Mr. Bobbsey's lumber yard, and then they were out in a part of the city where there were very few houses. It was almost like the country. A little later they came to the woods. The woods were on both sides of a broad road, and before the children reached the clump of trees they could see other boys and girls scurrying around, poking in among the leaves on the ground to get the nuts which had fallen down when the frost cracked open the burrs.

"I hope they'll leave some for us," said Nellie Parks.

"Oh, I guess there will be plenty," returned her brother.

The Bobbsey twins and their friends hurried into the woods. Flossie and Freddie were the first to begin poking among the leaves with sticks which they picked up.

"Have you found any nuts yet?" asked Freddie, after a minute or two.

"Oh yes, I've got one!" cried Flossie. "I've got two--three--a whole lot," and she showed some brown things in her fat little hand.

"Let's see," called Bert, and when Flossie held them out to him he laughed and said:

"Those aren't chestnuts. They are acorns. You have been looking under an oak tree, Flossie. You must look under a chestnut tree."

"Aren't these all chestnut trees?" asked Freddie.

"Oh, no," replied Bert, whose father had told him something of the different kinds of trees, from which lumber is made. "There are oak, hickory, maple and elm trees in these woods. Here, I'll show you a chestnut tree."

He pointed one out to the little twins, showing them how they could always tell it afterward by the leaves and bark.

"Look there for chestnuts and maybe you'll find some," said Bert. Flossie threw away the acorns, and she and Freddie began poking in among the leaves again, while the others went to different trees.

Freddie soon called:

"I've found some! I've found some!"

He hurried over to Bert with some shiny brown nuts in his hand. Each nut had a little "tail" fastened to it.

"Yes, those are chestnuts," Bert said. "Now see whether you or Flossie will fill a bag first."

"I've got a whole lot of nuts!" Flossie cried. "Oh, such a lot. Come on Freddie and--Ouch! Oh dear!" she suddenly cried.

"What is it?" asked Nan, quickly running over to her little sister. "Did you hurt yourself?"

"Something stuck me in the fingers," Flossie answered, holding up her chubby hand.

"Maybe it's a snake," said Freddie.

"No, it's only chestnut burr stickers," said Nan. "I'll get them out for you, Flossie. After this, open the burrs with a stick. Oh, look here!" she cried, as she glanced down at the ground. "Flossie _has found a whole lot of nuts in a pile!"

They all came over to look at Flossie's find. Surely enough, there were a number of the brown nuts in a little hollow in the ground.

"How did they get there?" asked Nellie.

"Some squirrel or chipmunk must have gathered them in a heap, ready to carry to its nest," said George. "Well, we'll just take them, as it will save us the trouble of hunting for them. Put them in your bag, Flossie."

"But won't the squirrel be hungry?" asked the little girl.

"Well, don't take quite all of them. But there are lots of chestnuts this Fall, and the squirrels can find and gather them more easily than we can. Take them, Flossie."

"I'll give Freddie some too," she said, and the two small Bobbsey twins divided most of the nuts between them.

By this time Nan, Bert and Nellie had also found some of the nuts under different trees, though none were nicely piled up like those Flossie happened upon. The nuts were down under the dried leaves, which had fallen from the trees earlier in the season. By brushing the leaves to one side with a stick the nuts could be seen.

"This is too slow for me," said George Parks at last. "I want to pick nuts up faster than this."

"How can you do it?" asked Charley Mason.

"By shaking some down from a tree. Let's find a tree that has a lot of nuts on it, and shake it. Then the nuts will fall down, and they won't get under the leaves. We can easily pick them up then."

"Good!" cried Bert Bobbsey. "We'll do it."

They searched through the woods until they found just the tree they wanted. Looking up they could see the burrs clinging to the branches. The frost had opened the burrs and the brown nuts could be seen, just ready to fall.

"If there was a good wind," said George, "that would blow the nuts down: but, as there isn't, we must shake the tree."

"It's too big to shake," remarked Nan. "Why, you never could shake that tree. I can't even reach around it."

"You can't shake it by standing on the ground and pushing against it," said George. "I'll climb up among the branches and shake them. I've often done it."

"How are you going to climb such a big tree, when you can't get your arms around it?" Bert demanded.

"I'll show you," answered George. "Do you see this little thin tree, growing close to the big chestnut?"

"Yes," Bert answered.

"Well, I'm going to climb up the little tree until I get high enough to step from it into the branches of the big one," went on George. "Then we'll have plenty of nuts."

"And after we pick up all we want, can we eat?" asked Freddie.

There was a laugh at this.

"Hungry already; are you?" asked George. "Well, it does give one an appetite to come out on a crisp, cold day like this. Yes, after we gather up the nuts I'm going to shake down we'll see what mother put in the box."

George started to climb up the small tree. This was easy for him to do, for he could put his hands and legs around it. Up and up he went, just as you boys have often climbed trees. He was about ten feet from the ground when Bert suddenly saw the little tree beginning to bend over.

"Look out, George!" Bert called. "That tree is going to break with you!"

George looked down. And, just as he did so, there was a sharp, cracking sound and the tree broke and bent suddenly over. George fell toward the ground. Nan, Flossie and Nellie were screaming.

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