Caddie Woodlawn's Family, p.1Carol Ryrie Brink
An imprint of Simon & Schuster
Children’s Publishing Division
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
Originally published title Magical Melons, © revised edition © September, 2000
Copyright © 1939, 1940, 1944 by Macmillan Publishing Company
All rights reserved including the right of reproduction
in whole or in part in any form.
First Aladdin Paperbacks edition, 1990
Manufactured in the United States of America
18 20 22 24 26 28 30 29 27 25 23 21 19
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Brink, Carol Ryrie, 1895-1981.
Caddie Woodlawn’s family: more fun and adventure with Caddie / Carol Ryrie
Brink; illustrations by Marguerite Davis. — 1st Aladdin ed.
Originally published: New York, NY: Macmillan, 1939.
Summary: Fourteen tales relating the further adventures of ten-year-old Caddie
and her six siblings living on the Wisconsin frontier in the 1860s.
[1. Frontier and pioneer life—Wisconsin—Fiction. 2. Brothers and sisters—
Fiction. 3. Wisconsin—Fiction.] I. Davis, Marguerite, ill. II. Title.
[Fic]—dc20 90-144 CIP AC
MY GRANDMOTHER, who was the original Caddie Wood-lawn, died in January, 1940. In a few more weeks she would have been eighty-six years of age. On the day she died she had made doughnuts in the morning, and repaired a lock on one of the house doors which nobody else in the house knew how to mend. That was typical of her full and useful life.
But, now that Caddie is gone, why should there be another book of stories about her childhood? There are two answers to that question. One is the bundle of notes lying on my desk, in which are jotted many of Caddie’s memories of people and events that did not find a place in the first book, Caddie Woodlawn. The other answer lies in the letters which I have received from boys and girls asking for more Caddie Woodlawn stories. Nearly ten years have gone by since the first Caddie Woodlawn book appeared, and the girls and boys who were Caddie’s first readers have now grown far beyond her. But letters continue to come from new readers.
Perhaps for the sake of the very newest readers, who may not yet have read the first book and who are meeting Caddie here for the first time, it would be well to introduce the Woodlawn family once again.
In 1857 Caddie’s father brought his family from Boston to western Wisconsin, where he was to install a sawmill for the Carson and Rand Company on the Eau Galle River. At the time they came, three white families and a tribe of Indians comprised the little settlement. But after the mill was established many other settlers came, and the Woodlawns soon moved a few miles away to a farm near Dunnville on the Red Cedar River, where these stories take place.
Father, with his rough red hair and beard and his kind good humor, understood the children and was greatly beloved by them. They were a little more in awe of dark-haired Mother, whose temper was sometimes hasty and who wanted them always to remember that they belonged to Boston as well as to wild Wisconsin.
Clara, the eldest girl, was dark-haired, calm, and quiet, like her mother.
Tom, Caddie, and Warren came next, and they were the redheaded and adventurous ones. Because Caddie had been delicate as a little girl, Father had let her live an outdoor life with the boys. Instead of learning to make samplers and cook, she had learned how to ride horseback and plow. She had grown as strong and rugged as her two brothers, and as full of bright ideas.
After Caddie came Hetty, also a redhead but not quite old enough to be included in the adventures of the three inseparables. Hetty was the self-appointed newsbearer of the family, the one who always flew across the fields to be the first to tell. Behind her trotted gentle little Minnie, her faithful shadow. Last of the seven children was baby Joe. The three youngest children had all been born in Wisconsin.
We should not forget Nero, either, who was the Woodlawn’s dog and who shared most of the adventures of Caddie, Tom, and Warren.
This book is perhaps not so much a collection of stories about Caddie as about the whole family; for you will find that one story is about Warren, two are about Hetty, and some are even about their neighbors. Yet all these stories grew out of memories of her childhood which Caddie shared with me when I was a small girl and she was my grandmother.
Only one story in this book does not belong to Caddie. Once when I was at a Book Fair a gentleman came up to me and said, “My father was a circuit rider in Wisconsin. I wonder if he could have been the one your grandmother knew.” Then he told me a story which he said I might use if ever I cared to. It was a true story of something which had happened to his father. It was a good story, and I have been happy in this book to let Mr. Tanner, the circuit rider, tell it in very nearly the same way that it was told to me.
These stories cover a period of three years, from the fall of 1863 to the fall of 1866. The first book of Caddie Woodlawn covered one year, 1864–65. In the story called “Magical Melons,” Tom would be about twelve, Caddie ten, and Warren eight. As the stories go along, the children will be growing older.
CAROL RYRIE BRINK
St. Paul, Minnesota
1. MAGICAL MELONS
2. A RARE PROVIDER
3. O GENTLE SPRING!
4. THE WILLOW BASKET
5. ANIMAL KINGDOM
6. EMMA WENT TOO
7. THE CIRCUIT RIDER’S STORY
8. “GO, MY SON, INTO THE FOREST”
9. NERO PLAYS CUPID
10. MRS. NIGHTINGALE’S HOUSE
11. THE CHRISTMAS COSTUME
12. CADDIE GETS A BARGAIN
13. CONCERNING COUSIN LUCY, A CANDLE AT NIGHT, AND A HIGH SILK HAT
14. BE JUBILANT, MY FEET!
THE BARN WAS DARK and mysterious on a rainy autumn day. The horses munched and stomped in their stalls, glad of a period of rest from fall plowing and hauling. The cows switched their tails and blew softly through their nostrils.
Tom, Caddie, and Warren Woodlawn had perched on the side of the box stall watching Robert Ireton and Tom Hill, the hired men, at their milking, and they had all helped with the feeding and cleaning of the stalls. Now that the chores were done, the two hired men made a dash for the kitchen to pass the time of day with Katie Conroy, the cook.
“Mind ye get yourselves into no mischief now,” were Robert’s parting words.
“It’s a pity he said that,” said Warren, “because I feel bad today.”
“Is it your stomach or your head?” asked Caddie anxiously. “Let’s see your tongue.”
“No, I mean I feel like acting bad,” said Warren cheerfully.
“It’s the weather,” said Tom. “But there’s no use being bad about it. Let’s play ‘I Spy.’”
“Where?” asked Warren.
“In the haymow!” said Caddie.
“I wish we could find buried treasure or fight Indians or something exciting,” said Warren.
“We’d better look at his tongue, Tom,” said Caddie.
“All right,” agreed Tom.
In a moment Warren found himself pinned down and reluctantly displaying his tongue.
“A-wa-wa-wa-wa!” said Warren resentfully, trying to free himself.
“There’s something wrong with his speech, too,” said Caddie, with twinkling eyes. “Listen to what funny noises he makes when he tries to talk.”
“His tongue isn’t coated,” said Tom. “He’ll pull through if he’s careful how he behaves.”
Warren arose with wounded dignity and brushed himself off.
“If Hetty was here she’d run and tell Mother on you, and I’d just as lief do it myself if it wasn’t raining so hard.”
“Come on! We were just having fun,” said Caddie. “Let’s go to the haymow and play ‘I Spy.’”
They climbed the ladder into the vast, sweet-smelling loft. Here the rain drummed loudly on the roof and seemed to shut them completely away from the world outside. Up in the rafters, pigeons rustled and cooed. The summer’s hay, piled high, made an excellent place in which to hide.
They drew straws to see who should first be “It,” and Warren drew the unlucky straw. He put his head on his arm and leaned against the side of the barn with his eyes tightly shut.
“Five, ten; fifteen, twenty;
Twenty-five, thirty; thirty-five, forty;
Forty-five, fifty; fifty-five, sixty;
Sixty-five, seventy; seventy-five, eighty;
Eighty-five, ninety; ninety-five, One hundred!
All who aren’t ready, holler ‘I.’”
There was silence in the haymow. Warren uncovered his eyes and looked around him.
“Here I come!” he warned.
Still silence—not a straw moved. Warren began to go cautiously around the loft, trying not to get too far from the goal for fear that either of the others would steal back to it before he saw them. There was a suspicious-looking hummock of hay, and suddenly he saw a tiny edge of denim skirt sticking out of it.
“I spy!” shouted Warren. “Come out, Caddie Woodlawn! I spy!”
“How did you know I was in there?” cried Caddie, bursting out of the hay like an erupting volcano.
“One, two, three for me!” called Tom, patting the side of the barn. He had slipped into goal while Warren’s back was turned. “Caddie’s it!”
Still protesting that she couldn’t imagine how Warren had found her, Caddie hid her eyes.
“Five, ten; fifteen, twenty—” she counted.
Warren and Tom dashed away to hide themselves. Warren ran for the back of the loft. It was harder to get in free from there, but it was also harder for the one who was “It” to find you.
“Eighty-five, ninety; ninety-five—”
Warren dived into the hay and, pulling it hastily over him, lay still. He tried to stop his quick, excited breathing. To himself it sounded as loud as the railroad engine he had seen once in St. Louis. Slipping his hand down under him to make his position more secure, he suddenly encountered something smooth and rounded and very cold. Before he could stop himself he had let out a bloodcurdling yell and popped up through the straw like a jack-in-the-box.
Tom burst out of another hidey-hole, and Caddie—crying “I spy! I spy!”—came galloping over the hay after them.
“What’s the matter, Warren?” asked Tom.
“There’s something in here,” babbled Warren. “I felt it. It’s cold and slick.”
“Aw, foolishness,” said Tom. “How could there be anything cold and slick in the hay?”
“Maybe it’s a snake,” said Caddie hopefully, “or that buried treasure Warren was wanting.”
Warren was digging feverishly in the hay.
“It was over here. I felt it all right, but it didn’t wiggle. It must have been the treasure.”
They all began to dig now, tossing the hay in a loose mound behind them. Suddenly they reached the “treasure” and sat back on their heels, marveling.
“Melons!” cried Caddie. “Watermelons! However did they get here?”
“But Father sold the last of the melons in town a month ago!” objected Tom reasonably.
Yet there they were, more than a dozen beautiful green-and yellow-striped watermelons, carefully hidden under the hay. Tom tapped them with his thumb and forefinger, and they seemed to be sound and in excellent condition.
“But listen!” marveled Warren. “The few melons that were left in the field frosted and turned rotten several weeks ago.”
“I know,” said Caddie. “How do you suppose they came here?”
Tom’s eyes grew dreamy as they did when he was telling stories or reading his Hans Andersen.
“You remember about the girl in the fairy tale whose cruel stepmother sent her out in a paper dress in the snow to gather strawberries?”
“Yes,” said Caddie in an awed voice. “And she brushed back the snow, and there were strawberries!”
“Maybe it’s like that,” said Tom. “We brush back the hay, and there are watermelons!”
“Can we eat them?” shouted Warren.
“Why not?” said Tom.
“Maybe we’d ought to ask someone first,” said Caddie doubtfully.
“I think we’d better keep it a secret,” said Tom. “You go and tell about magic things like that and—whoosh!— they vanish.”
It was easy to believe in magic in the dark loft with shadows in all the corners and rain drumming on the roof. Besides, it would have been very inconvenient going to the house in the rain and hunting up someone to ask about the melons.
“And they wouldn’t believe us anyway,” said Warren sensibly. “They’d say ‘Melons in the haymow? How silly!’ We might as well enjoy ourselves.”
Tom took out his pocket knife and selected a melon.
“Can you eat a third of one?” he asked. It was only a rhetorical question.
“Of course!” said Warren, and Caddie said, “What do you think?”
The magical melon was the best one they had ever tasted, although it had been an unusually good melon year. Mr. Woodlawn had planted the seeds in new ground, which was plowed that spring for the first time, and the season had been just right to bring the melons to successful fruition. They would not have seemed magical if it had not been long past the season for them.
When they had finished eating, Warren asked an embarrassing question.
“What are we going to do with the rinds?”
“There was another story about a little girl with a wicked stepmother,” said Caddie. “She had to go out hungry to herd her goats, but, when she got there, a little table would spread itself full of wonderful food for her. When she had eaten all she wanted, she would say, ‘Little table, vanish!’ and it would disappear.”
Tom closed his eyes and spread his hands over the melon rinds.
“Little melon rinds, vanish!” he said.
But, when he opened his eyes, there were the melon rinds as big as life.
“The trouble is we don’t have a wicked stepmother,” said Warren.
“I know!” said Caddie. “The pigs!”
When the rain began to slacken, they made a dash for the pigpen and, standing under a dripping pine tree, carefully fed the melon rinds to the pigs. The pigs grunted their approval. They liked magical melons, too.
The children re-covered the treasure with a thick layer of hay, and it was over a week before they thought of the melons again. Then, cautiously looking about to see that they were not observed, they climbed once more to the loft.
“Do you suppose they’ll still be there?” asked Tom, whose firm belief in magic was founded upon its vanishing qualities.
“I dunno,” said Warren and Caddie solemnly.
But, when they dug, the melons were still there and, of course, it would have been a pity not to have another feast. It was a clear, frosty day outside, and it seemed likely that their little sisters might be out.
“Be careful Hetty doesn’t see us going to the pigpen,” said Tom. “She tells everything she sees.”
“Why don’t you want people to know, Tom?” asked Caddie.
“It would spoil all the fun to have the whole lot of them trailing up to the haymow after us. The melons would be sure to va
“Or if they didn’t,” said Warren sagely, “we’d have to cut each melon into more pieces.”
So the two boys posted themselves as lookouts on either side of the pigpen, to give warning of anybody’s approach, while Caddie hastily thrust the rinds through the slats of the pen and made sure that the pigs finished them.
Almost every week now another melon followed its predecessors down the “little red lanes” of Warren, Caddie, and Tom, and almost every week the treasure under the hay grew smaller. For, strange as it may seem, the good fairy who made watermelons grow in haylofts did not continually replenish the supply as one might expect a fairy to do.
One Sunday afternoon in late November, Robert Ireton came to the living-room door with his hat in his hand and a broad smile on his pleasant Irish face.
“Begging your pardon, ma’am,” he said to Mrs. Woodlawn, “but me an’ Tom Hill has a little treat we’ve been savin’ up for you and the children. May we bring it in to you now? And I’ll be askin’ ye just to have some plates and forks ready for it when we come in, ma’am.”
The children were all atwitter in a moment.
“A treat, Robert? What kind of treat? Tell us, please!”
But Robert and Tom Hill went out, smiling, without a word, leaving the children to scurry about after the blue willowware plates and the thin silver forks. For a mysterious Sunday-afternoon treat on a dull November day certainly deserved the best there was in the way of china and silverware.
“Father, do you know what it is?”
Mr. Woodlawn only shook his head.
Robert and Tom Hill were gone a long time, but finally they returned, looking much more sober than when they left, and each was carrying a beautiful big green-and-yellow-striped melon in his arms.
The pigs liked magical melons too
“Oh!” cried Caddie, a tragic note of disappointment in her voice. “They’ve found our melons!”
Robert put his melon on the table with a bang and looked at Caddie out of narrowed eyes.
“What do ye mean we’ve found your melons?” he demanded.
“Why, sure,” said Warren, “those are our melons. We found them in the hay.”
Caddie Woodlawn's Family by Carol Ryrie Brink / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes