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THE DAY OF THE GREAT STORM

  • EVERYTHING in the meadow was dry and dusty. The leaves on the milkweeds were
  • turning yellow with thirst, the field blossoms drooped their dainty heads in
  • the sunshine, and the grass seemed to fairly rattle in the wind, it was so
  • brown and dry.
  • All of the meadow people when they met each other would say, "Well, this is
  • hot," and the Garter Snake, who had lived there longer than anyone else,
  • declared that it was the hottest and driest time that he had ever known.
  • "Really," he said, "it is so hot that I cannot eat, and such a thing never
  • happened before."
  • The Grasshoppers and Locusts were very happy, for such weather was exactly
  • what they liked. They didn't see how people could complain of such delightful
  • scorching days. But that, you know, is always the way, for everybody cannot be
  • suited at once, and all kinds of weather are needed to make a good year.
  • The poor Tree Frog crawled into the coolest place he could find—hollow trees,
  • shady nooks under the ferns, or even beneath the corner of a great stone.
  • "Oh," said he, "I wish I were a Tadpole again, swimming in a shady pool. It is
  • such a long, hot journey to the marsh that I cannot go. Last night I dreamed
  • that I was a Tadpole, splashing in the water, and it was hard to awaken and
  • find myself only an uncomfortable old Tree Frog."
  • Over his head the Katydids were singing, "Lovely weather! Lovely weather!" and
  • the Tree Frog, who was a good-natured old fellow after all, winked his eye at
  • them and said: "Sing away. This won't last always, and then it will be my turn
  • to sing."
  • Sure enough, the very next day a tiny cloud drifted across the sky, and the
  • Tree Frog, who always knew when the weather was about to change, began his
  • rain-song. "Pukr-r-rup!" sang he, "Pukr-r-rup! It will rain! It will rain!
  • R-r-r-rain!"
  • The little white cloud grew bigger and blacker, and another came following
  • after, then another, and another, and another, until the sky was quite covered
  • with rushing black clouds. Then came a long, low rumble of thunder, and all
  • the meadow people hurried to find shelter. The Moths and Butterflies hung on
  • the undersides of great leaves. The Grasshoppers and their cousins crawled
  • under burdock and mullein plants. The Ants scurried around to find their own
  • homes. The Bees and Wasps, who had been gathering honey for their nests, flew
  • swiftly back. Everyone was hurrying to be ready for the shower, and above all
  • the rustle and stir could be heard the voice of the old Frog, "Pukr-r-rup!
  • Pukr-r-rup! It will rain! It will rain! R-r-r-rain!"
  • The wind blew harder and harder, the branches swayed and tossed, the leaves
  • danced, and some even blew off of their mother trees; the hundreds of little
  • clinging creatures clung more and more tightly to the leaves that sheltered
  • them, and then the rain came, and such a rain! Great drops hurrying down from
  • the sky, crowding each other, beating down the grass, flooding the homes of
  • the Ants and Digger Wasps until they were half choked with water, knocking
  • over the Grasshoppers and tumbling them about like leaves. The lightning
  • flashed, and the thunder pealed, and often a tree would crash down in the
  • forest near by when the wind blew a great blast.
  • When everybody was wet, and little rivulets of water were trickling through
  • the grass and running into great puddles in the hollows, the rain stopped,
  • stopped suddenly. One by one the meadow people crawled or swam into sight.
  • The Digger Wasp was floating on a leaf in a big puddle. He was too tired and
  • wet to fly, and the whirling of the leaf made him feel sick and dizzy, but he
  • stood firmly on his tiny boat and tried to look as though he enjoyed it.
  • The Ants were rushing around to put their homes in shape, the Spiders were
  • busily eating their old webs, which had been broken and torn in the storm, and
  • some were already beginning new ones. A large family of Bees, whose tree-home
  • had been blown down, passed over the meadow in search for a new dwelling, and
  • everybody seemed busy and happy in the cool air that followed the storm.
  • The Snake went gliding through the wet grass, as hungry as ever, the Tree Frog
  • was as happy as when he was a Tadpole, and only the Grasshoppers and their
  • cousins, the Locusts and Katydids, were cross. "Such a horrid rain!" they
  • grumbled, "it spoiled all our fun. And after such lovely hot weather too."
  • "Now don't be silly," said the Tree Frog, who could be really severe when he
  • thought best, "the Bees and the Ants are not complaining, and they had a good
  • deal harder time than you. Can't you make the best of anything? A nice,
  • hungry, cross lot you would be if it didn't rain, because then you would have
  • no good, juicy food. It's better for you in the end as it is, but even if it
  • were not, you might make the best of it as I did of the hot weather. When you
  • have lived as long as I have, you will know that neither Grasshoppers nor Tree
  • Frogs can have their way all the time, but that it always comes out all right
  • in the end without their fretting about it."