Table of Contents

+ Add to Library

Previous Next

Chapter 2 Dorothy Meets Button-Bright

  • The seventh road was a good road, and curved this way and that—winding throug_reen meadows and fields covered with daisies and buttercups and past group_f shady trees. There were no houses of any sort to be seen, and for som_istance they met with no living creature at all.
  • Dorothy began to fear they were getting a good way from the farm-house, sinc_ere everything was strange to her; but it would do no good at all to go bac_here the other roads all met, because the next one they chose might lead he_ust as far from home.
  • She kept on beside the shaggy man, who whistled cheerful tunes to beguile th_ourney, until by and by they followed a turn in the road and saw before the_ big chestnut tree making a shady spot over the highway. In the shade sat _ittle boy dressed in sailor clothes, who was digging a hole in the earth wit_ bit of wood. He must have been digging some time, because the hole wa_lready big enough to drop a football into.
  • Dorothy and Toto and the shaggy man came to a halt before the little boy, wh_ept on digging in a sober and persistent fashion.
  • "Who are you?" asked the girl.
  • He looked up at her calmly. His face was round and chubby and his eyes wer_ig, blue and earnest.
  • "I'm Button-Bright," said he.
  • "But what's your real name?" she inquired.
  • "Button-Bright."
  • "That isn't a really-truly name!" she exclaimed.
  • "Isn't it?" he asked, still digging.
  • "'Course not. It's just a—a thing to call you by. You must have a name."
  • "Must I?"
  • "To be sure. What does your mama call you?"
  • He paused in his digging and tried to think.
  • "Papa always said I was bright as a button; so mama always called me Button- Bright," he said.
  • "What is your papa's name?"
  • "Just Papa."
  • "What else?"
  • "Don't know."
  • "Never mind," said the shaggy man, smiling. "We'll call the boy Button-Bright, as his mama does. That name is as good as any, and better than some."
  • Dorothy watched the boy dig.
  • "Where do you live?" she asked.
  • "Don't know," was the reply.
  • "How did you come here?"
  • "Don't know," he said again.
  • "Don't you know where you came from?"
  • "No," said he.
  • "Why, he must be lost," she said to the shaggy man. She turned to the boy onc_ore.
  • "What are you going to do?" she inquired.
  • "Dig," said he.
  • "But you can't dig forever; and what are you going to do then?" she persisted.
  • "Don't know," said the boy.
  • "But you MUST know SOMETHING," declared Dorothy, getting provoked.
  • "Must I?" he asked, looking up in surprise.
  • "Of course you must."
  • "What must I know?"
  • "What's going to become of you, for one thing," she answered.
  • "Do YOU know what's going to become of me?" he asked.
  • "Not—not 'zactly," she admitted.
  • "Do you know what's going to become of YOU?" he continued, earnestly.
  • "I can't say I do," replied Dorothy, remembering her present difficulties.
  • The shaggy man laughed.
  • "No one knows everything, Dorothy," he said.
  • "But Button-Bright doesn't seem to know ANYthing," she declared. "Do you, Button-Bright?"
  • He shook his head, which had pretty curls all over it, and replied wit_erfect calmness:
  • "Don't know."
  • Never before had Dorothy met with anyone who could give her so littl_nformation. The boy was evidently lost, and his people would be sure to worr_bout him. He seemed two or three years younger than Dorothy, and was prettil_ressed, as if someone loved him dearly and took much pains to make him loo_ell. How, then, did he come to be in this lonely road? she wondered.
  • Near Button-Bright, on the ground, lay a sailor hat with a gilt anchor on th_and. His sailor trousers were long and wide at the bottom, and the broa_ollar of his blouse had gold anchors sewed on its corners. The boy was stil_igging at his hole.
  • "Have you ever been to sea?" asked Dorothy.
  • "To see what?" answered Button-Bright.
  • "I mean, have you ever been where there's water?"
  • "Yes," said Button-Bright; "there's a well in our back yard."
  • "You don't understand," cried Dorothy. "I mean, have you ever been on a bi_hip floating on a big ocean?"
  • "Don't know," said he.
  • "Then why do you wear sailor clothes?"
  • "Don't know," he answered, again.
  • Dorothy was in despair.
  • "You're just AWFUL stupid, Button-Bright," she said.
  • "Am I?" he asked.
  • "Yes, you are."
  • "Why?" looking up at her with big eyes.
  • She was going to say: "Don't know," but stopped herself in time.
  • "That's for you to answer," she replied.
  • "It's no use asking Button-Bright questions," said the shaggy man, who ha_een eating another apple; "but someone ought to take care of the poor littl_hap, don't you think? So he'd better come along with us."
  • Toto had been looking with great curiosity in the hole which the boy wa_igging, and growing more and more excited every minute, perhaps thinking tha_utton-Bright was after some wild animal. The little dog began barking loudl_nd jumped into the hole himself, where he began to dig with his tiny paws, making the earth fly in all directions. It spattered over the boy. Doroth_eized him and raised him to his feet, brushing his clothes with her hand.
  • "Stop that, Toto!" she called. "There aren't any mice or woodchucks in tha_ole, so don't be foolish."
  • Toto stopped, sniffed at the hole suspiciously, and jumped out of it, waggin_is tail as if he had done something important.
  • "Well," said the shaggy man, "let's start on, or we won't get anywhere befor_ight comes."
  • "Where do you expect to get to?" asked Dorothy.
  • "I'm like Button-Bright. I don't know," answered the shaggy man, with a laugh.
  • "But I've learned from long experience that every road leads somewhere, o_here wouldn't be any road; so it's likely that if we travel long enough, m_ear, we will come to some place or another in the end. What place it will b_e can't even guess at this moment, but we're sure to find out when we ge_here."
  • "Why, yes," said Dorothy; "that seems reas'n'ble, Shaggy Man."