Caleb in the Country by Jacob Abbott
Caleb in the Country by Jacob Abbott 1803-1879
The object of this little work, and of others of its family, which may
perhaps follow, is, like that of the "Rollo Books," to furnish useful
and instructive reading to young children. The aim is not so directly to
communicate knowledge, as it is to develop the moral and intellectual
powers,- -to cultivate habits of discrimination and correct reasoning,
and to establish sound principles of moral conduct. The "Rollo Books"
embrace principally intellectual and moral discipline; "Caleb," and the
others of its family, will include also _religious_ training, according
to the evangelical views of Christian truth which the author has been
accustomed to entertain, and which he has inculcated in his more serious
CALEB IN THE COUNTRY
CHAPTER I Caleb's Discovery
CHAPTER II Trouble
CHAPTER III Building the Mole
CHAPTER IV A Discussion
CHAPTER V The Story of Blind Samuel
CHAPTER VI Engineering
CHAPTER VII The Sofa
CHAPTER VIII The Cart Ride
CHAPTER IX The Fire
CHAPTER X The Captive
CHAPTER XI Mary Anna
CHAPTER XII The Walk
CHAPTER XIII The Junk
Caleb was a bright-looking, blue-eyed boy, with auburn hair and happy
countenance. And yet he was rather pale and slender. He had been sick.
His father and mother lived in Boston, but now he was spending the
summer at Sandy River country, with his grandmother. His father thought
that if he could run about a few months in the open air, and play among
the rocks and under the trees, he would grow more strong and healthy,
and that his cheeks would not look so pale.
His grandmother made him a blue jacket with bright buttons. _She_ liked
metal buttons, because they would wear longer than covered ones, but
_he_ liked them because they were more beautiful. "Besides," said he, "I
can see my face in them, grandmother."
Little Caleb then went to the window, so as to see his face plainer. He
stood with his back to the window, and held the button so that the light
from the window could shine directly upon it.
"Why grandmother," said Caleb, "I cannot see now so well as I could
"That is because your face is turned away from the light," said she.
"And the button is turned _towards_ the light," said Caleb.
"But when you want to see any thing reflected in a glass, you must have
the light shine upon the thing you want to see reflected, not upon the
glass itself; and I suppose it is so with a bright button."
Then Caleb turned around, so as to have his _face_ towards the light;
and he found that he could then see it reflected very distinctly. His
grandmother went on with her work, and Caleb sat for some time in
The house that Caleb lived in was in a narrow rocky valley. A stream of
water ran over a sandy bed, in front of the house, and a rugged mountain
towered behind it. Across the stream, too, there was a high, rocky hill,
which was in full view from the parlour window. This hill was covered
with wild evergreens, which clung to their sides, and to the interstices
of the rocks; and mosses, green and brown, in long festoons, hung from
their limbs. Here and there crags and precipices peeped out from among
the foliage, and a grey old cliff towered above, at the summit.
Caleb turned his button round again towards the window, and of course
turned his face _from_ the window. The reflection of his face was now
dim, as before, but in a moment his eye caught the reflection of the
crags and trees across the little valley.
"O, grandmother," said he again, "I can see the rocks in my buttons, and
the trees. And there is an old stump," he continued, his voice falling
to a low tone, as if he was talking to himself,- -"and there is a
tree,- -and,- -why- -why, what is that? It is a bear, grandmama,"- -calling
aloud to her,- -"I see a bear upon the mountain."
"Nonsense, Caleb," said the grandmother.
"I do certainly," said Caleb, and he dropped the corner of his jacket,
which had the button attached to it, and looked out of the window
directly at the mountain.
Presently Caleb turned away from the window, and ran to the door. There
was a little green yard in front of the house, with a large, smooth,
flat stone for a door-step. Caleb stood on this step, and looked
intently at the mountain. In a moment he ran back to his grandmother,
"Grandmother, _do_ come and see this black bear."
"Why, child," said she, smiling, "it is nothing but some old black stump
"But it moves, grandmother. It certainly moves."
So his grandmother smiled, and said, "Well, I suppose I must come and
see." So she laid down her work, and took off her spectacles, and Caleb
took hold of her hand, and trotted along before her to the step of the
door. It was a beautiful sunny morning in June.
"There," said Caleb, triumphantly pointing to a spot among the rocks and
bushes half-way up the mountain,- -"there, what do you call that?"
His grandmother looked a moment intently in silence, and then said,
"I do see something there under the bushes."
"And isn't it moving?" said Caleb.
"Why, yes," said she.
"And isn't it black?"
"Yes," said she.
"Then it is a bear," said Caleb, half-delighted, and half afraid, "Isn't
it, grandmother? I'll go and get the gun."
There was an old gun behind the high desk, in the back sitting-room; but
it had not been loaded for twenty years, and had no back upon it. Still
Caleb always supposed that some how or other it would shoot.
"Shall I, grandmother?" said he eagerly,
"No," said she. "I don't think it is a bear."
"What then?" said Caleb.
"I think it is Cherry."
"Cherry!" said Caleb.
"Yes, Cherry," said she. "Run and see if you can find the boys."
Cherry was the cow. She had strayed from the pasture the day before, and
they could not find her. She was called Cherry from her colour; for
although she had looked almost black, as Caleb had seen her in the
bushes, she was really a Cherry colour. Caleb saw at once, as soon as
his grandmother said that it was Cherry, that she was correct. In fact,
he could see her head and horns, as she was holding her head up to eat
the leaves from the bushes. However he did not stop to talk about it,
but, obeying his grandmother immediately, he ran off after the boys.
He went out to the back door, where the boys had been at play, and
shouted out, "_David_! DA- -VID! DWI- -GHT! DA- -VID!" But there was no
reply, except a distant echo of "_David_" and "_Dwight_" from the rocks
So Caleb came back, and said that he could not find the boys, and that
he supposed that they had gone to school.
"Then we must call Raymond," said she.
"And may I ring for him, grandmother?" said Caleb.
Grandmother said he might: and so Caleb ran off to the porch at the back
door, and took down quite a large bell, which was hanging there. Caleb
stood upon the steps of the porch, and grasping the great handle of the
bell with both hands, he rang it with all his might. In a minute or two
he stopped; and then he heard a faint and distant "Aye-aye" coming, from
a field. Caleb put the bell back into its place, and then went again to
In a few minutes Raymond came in. He was a thick-set and rather tall
young man, broad-shouldered and strong,- -slow in his motions, and of a
very sober countenance. Caleb heard his heavy step in the entry, though
he came slowly and carefully, as if he tried to walk without making a
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