The Garden of the Plynck
60 pages
English

The Garden of the Plynck

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60 pages
English
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The Garden of the Plynck
COPYRIGHT 1920 BY YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS
TO TOMBY AND CHARLOTTE MY COLLABORATORS AND TO ALL MOTHERS WHO READ STORIES TO CHILDREN
Contents
Grown people have such an exasperating way of saying, "Now, when I was a little girl—" Then, just as you prick up the little white ears of your mind for a story, they finish, loftily, "I did—or didn't do—so-and-so." It is certainly an underhand way of suggesting that you stop doing something pleasant, or begin doing something unpleasant; and you would not have thought that Sara's dear mother would have had so unworthy a habit. But a stern regard for the truth compels me to admit that she had. You see, Sara's dear mother was, indeed, most dear; but very selfwilled and contrary. Her great fault was that she was always busy at something. She would darn, and she would write, and she would read dark-colored books without pictures. When Sara compared her with other mothers of her acquaintance, or when this very contrary ownmother went away for a day, she seemed indeed to Sara quite desperately perfect. But on ordinary days Sara was darkly aware, in the clearest part of her mind—the upper right-hand corner near the window —that her mother, with all her charm, really did need to be remoulded nearer to her heart's desire. She was especially clear about this on the frequent occasions when she would come into the room where her mother was sitting, and plump
down upon a chair with a heart-rending sigh, and ...

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Publié par
Publié le 08 décembre 2010
Nombre de lectures 20
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

Exrait

The Garden of the Plynck
C
O
P
Y
R
I
G
HT 1920 BY
Y
A
LE
U
N
I
V
E
R
S
I
TY PRESS
TO
T
O
M
BY
A
ND
C
H
A
R
L
O
T
TE
MY
C
O
L
L
A
B
O
R
A
T
O
RS
A
ND
TO
A
LL
M
O
T
H
E
RS
W
HO
R
E
AD
STORIES TO
C
H
I
L
D
R
EN
Contents
Grown people have such an exasperating way of saying, "Now, when
I was a little girl—"
Then, just as you prick
up the little white ears of
y
o
ur mind
f
or a
story, they finish,
l
o
f
t
i
l
y, "I did—or didn't do—so-and-so."
It is certainly an
u
n
d
e
r
h
a
nd way of suggesting that you stop doing
something pleasant, or begin doing something
u
n
p
l
e
a
s
a
n
t; and you
would not have thought that Sara's dear mother would have had so
u
n
w
o
r
t
hy a habit. But a stern
r
e
g
a
rd
f
or the
t
r
u
th compels me to
a
d
m
it
that she had.
You see, Sara's dear
m
o
t
h
er was, indeed, most
d
e
a
r; but very self-
willed and contrary. Her
g
r
e
at
f
a
u
lt was that she was always busy at
something. She would darn, and she would write, and she would read
dark-colored books without pictures. When Sara compared her
w
i
th
other mothers of her acquaintance, or when this very contrary own-
m
o
t
h
er went away
f
or a day, she seemed indeed to Sara quite desper-
ately
p
e
r
f
e
c
t. But on
o
r
d
i
n
a
ry days Sara was darkly aware, in the
clearest
p
a
rt of her mind—the
u
p
p
er right-hand corner near the window
t
h
at her
m
o
t
h
e
r, with all her charm, really did need to be remoulded
nearer to her
h
e
a
r
t
's desire.
She was especially clear
a
b
o
ut this on the
f
r
e
q
u
e
nt occasions when
she would come into the room where her mother was sitting, and plump
down upon a chair
w
i
th a
h
e
a
r
t
-
r
e
n
d
i
ng sigh, and say, "I wish I had
somebody to play with!"
For
t
h
en her dear
b
ut most contrary
m
o
t
h
er would glance up
f
r
om
her book or her
d
a
r
n
i
ng and
r
e
m
a
r
k, with a calm smile,
"When I was a little girl—"
"Ah!"
"I used to go inside my head and play."
And Sara would answer with a poor, vindictive satisfaction, "There's
n
o
t
h
i
ng in
my head to play with!"
A
nd
h
er kind-hearted mother would snip off her thread and say
gently, in a tone of polite regret, "Poor little girl!"
Then Sara would gnash the little milk-teeth of her mind and have
a
w
f
ul thoughts. The worst she ever had came one day when Mother,
who had already filled about
f
o
u
r
t
e
en pages of paper with
n
o
t
h
i
ng in
the world but words, acted that way again. And
j
u
st as she said, "Poor
little girl!" Sara thought, "I'd like to take that sharp green pencil and
stick it into Mother's
f
o
r
e
h
e
a
d, and watch a story
r
un out of her head
t
h
r
o
u
gh the hole!"
But
t
h
at was such an
a
w
f
ul thought that she sent it scurrying away,
as
f
a
st as she could. Just the same, she said to herself, if Mother ever
acted that way again—
And,
a
f
t
er all, Mother did.
A
nd that was the
f
a
t
al time—the
f
o
u
r-
thousand-and-fourth. For, after Mother had suggested it
f
o
ur thousand
and
f
o
ur times, it suddenly occurred to Sara that she might try it.
So she shut the doors and went in.
Yes, I said shut the doors and went
i
n;
f
or
that is what you do when you go into your
head. The doors were of ivory, draped
w
i
th
tinted damask curtains which were
t
r
i
m
m
ed with
black silk
f
r
i
n
g
e. The curtains
f
e
ll noiselessly
behind Sara as she
e
n
t
e
r
e
d.
A
nd there in the Gugollaph-tree by the pool
sat the Plynck, gazing happily at her Echo in
the water.
She was larger than most Plyncks; about the
size of a small peacock. Of course you would
know
w
i
t
h
o
ut
b
e
i
ng told that her plumage was
of a delicate rose color, except
f
or the lyre-shaped
t
u
ft on the top of her head, which was of the
exact color and texture of Bavarian cream. Her
beak and
f
e
et were golden, and her eyes were
golden, too, and
v
e
ry
b
r
i
g
ht and wild. The wild-
ness and brightness of her eyes would have been rather
f
r
i
g
h
t
e
n
i
n
g, if
her voice, when she spoke, had not been so soft and sweet.
"I
t
h
i
nk a little girl has
f
o
r
g
o
t
t
en something," she said gently, looking
down into her Teacup.
Sara examined herself anxiously. She knew it was something about
herself, because the Plynck's tone was exactly like Mother's when she
wished to remind Sara, without seeming officious, that she had not wiped
her
f
e
et on the mat, or spread out her napkin, or remembered to say
"Thank you" at the exact psychological moment.
Sara was extremely anxious to please the Plynck, because she thought
her so pensive and pretty; but, try as she would, she
couldn't
t
h
i
nk what she had
f
o
r
g
o
t
t
en to do.
"Does a little girl wear her dimples in The House?"
asked the Plynck, still
m
o
re gently.
"Oh, of course not!" said Sara, taking them off
hastily. But she could not help adding, as she looked
a
r
o
u
nd appreciatively at the silver bushes and the blue
plush grass and the alabaster moon-dial
by the
f
o
u
n-
tain, "But this isn't The House, is it?"
"Isn't
i
t
?" asked the Plynck, glancing uneasily
about her. What she saw startled her so much that
she dropped her Teacup. Of course it flew up to a
higher branch and balanced itself there instead of fall-
i
n
g;
b
ut the poor little thing was so round and
f
a
t,
3
2
that—especially as it
h
a
d
n
't any
f
e
e
t
it had some
d
i
f
f
i
c
u
l
ty at
f
i
r
st in
perching. As
f
or the
P
l
y
n
c
k, she seemed so embarrassed over her
m
i
s
t
a
ke
that Sara
f
e
lt
d
r
e
a
d
f
u
l
ly
u
n
c
o
m
f
o
r
t
a
b
le
f
or her. Recovering
h
e
r
s
e
l
f,
however, in a
m
o
m
e
n
t, she said in
h
er sweet, gentle way,
"Well, dear, you wouldn't want the Zizzes to
f
a
ll into them, even if
this isn't The House—would
y
o
u
?"
Sara
h
a
d
n
't noticed
u
n
t
il
t
h
en
t
h
at the
a
ir was
f
u
ll of Zizzes; but the
m
i
n
u
te she saw
t
h
e
ir darling little vibrating wings she
k
n
ew
t
h
at she
w
o
u
l
d
n
't
f
or
a
n
y
t
h
i
ng have one of
t
h
em come to grief in her dimples.
They were
m
o
re like
h
u
m
m
i
n
g
b
i
r
ds
t
h
an
a
n
y
t
h
i
ng she had ever seen
outside of her head, but of course they
w
e
re not nearly so
l
a
r
g
e; most
of them were
a
b
o
ut a millionth-part as large as a small
m
o
s
q
u
i
t
o. She
noticed, too,
t
h
at their tails were bitter. If it had not been
f
or the bitter-
ness of their tails, she would not have
f
e
lt so uneasy about
t
h
e
m; as it
was, she held the dimples tight in her hand, with the concave side
n
e
xt
h
er palm.
"Avrillia's at home," said
t
he Plynck gently,
w
i
th her eyes on her
Teacup, which she was gradually charming back into her hand. (Her
h
a
n
ds
w
e
re
f
e
e
t, you know, like a nightingale's, only
g
o
l
d
e
n;
b
ut she
called them
h
a
n
ds in the
a
f
t
e
r
n
o
o
n, to match
h
er Teacup.) The
t
i
m
id
little
t
h
i
ng was
f
l
u
t
t
e
r
i
ng back, coming nearer
t
w
ig by
t
w
i
g; and it
trembled
up to the Plynck
j
u
st as she said, softly and absent-mindedly,
"Avrillia's at home."
"Oh, is she?" exclaimed Sara, clapping her
h
a
n
ds with joy. She did
not know who
A
v
r
i
l
l
ia
w
a
s; nevertheless, it somehow seemed delightful
to hear
t
h
at she was at home. But alas and alas!
w
h
en she clapped her
h
a
n
ds she
f
o
r
g
ot all about
t
he
d
i
m
p
l
es she had been
h
o
l
d
i
ng so
c
a
r
e
f
u
l
l
y.
To tell the
t
r
u
t
h, she had never taken them
o
ff
b
e
f
o
r
e; but she was
ashamed to let the Plynck know about that, especially as she had lived
in The House all
h
er
f
o
r
m
er
l
i
f
e. Her first
t
h
o
u
g
h
t, indeed, when she
realized
w
h
at had happened, was to conceal the catastrophe
f
r
om
t
he
P
l
y
n
c
k;
b
ut
b
e
f
o
re she could get her
b
r
e
a
th that gentle
b
i
rd startled
h
er
almost out of
h
er wits by shrieking,
"Watch
o
u
t! the Snimmy will get it!"
And there, at Sara's
f
e
e
t, where a bit of the
d
i
m
p
le lay on the
t
a
f
fy
(looking
v
e
ry
m
u
ch like a
f
r
a
g
i
le
b
it of a Christmas-tree ornament), was
a real Snimmy, vest-pocket and all. His tail was longer
t
h
an that of
most Snimmies, and his nose was sharper and more debilitating,
b
ut you
4
would have
k
n
o
wn
h
im at once, as Sara did,
f
or a Snimmy. She thought,
too, that he trembled more
t
h
an most of them, and
t
h
at
he was
w
h
i
t
er
and more slippery. Ordinarily, she had never
f
e
lt
a
f
r
a
id of
S
n
i
m
m
i
e
s;
b
ut the startling shriek of the Plynck, and the exposed position of her
dimple, set her to
j
u
m
p
i
ng wildly
up and down.
A
n
d, indeed, the worst
would have happened, had not the Echo of the Plynck, with great pres-
ence of mind, cried out, "Cover it! Cover it!" And at that cry the Teacup
f
l
u
t
t
e
r
ed hastily down and
t
u
r
n
ed itself upside down over the piece of
dimple. And there it sat,
p
a
n
t
i
ng a little, but looking as
p
l
u
mp and
pleased as possible,
t
h
o
u
gh the Snimmy was still dancing and
s
n
i
f
f
i
ng
ferociously around its rim.
"There!" said the Plynck in her own gentle voice, though it still
shook with excitement. "It's a mercy you settled without breaking."
Then,
t
u
r
n
i
ng to Sara, "And goodness knows how we'll ever get it
out, Sara. It will take at least three onions to anaesthetize the
Snimmy."
Now, this was indeed
d
r
e
a
d
f
u
l. Sara had been conscious enough
b
e
f
o
re
this announcement of the havoc she had wrought by her carelessness;
and now to have brought down upon herself a word like
t
h
a
t! She was
almost ready to
c
r
y; and to keep
f
r
om being quite ready, she suggested,
tremulously, "Do you suppose I could go
a
f
t
er the onions?"
The Plynck looked at her in surprise. "Why, didn't you
b
r
i
ng them
w
i
th
y
o
u
?" she said. Then, suddenly, she noticed how threateningly the
Snimmy was dancing and
s
q
u
e
a
k
i
ng around Sara's
f
e
e
t, and how Sara
was shrinking away from him.
"He won't hurt you," she began. "He's
p
e
r
f
e
c
t
ly
k
i
nd and harmless,
aside
f
r
om his mania
f
or dimples. He still smells the piece
u
n
d
er the
Teacup." Then, all at once, she grew rigid, and her golden eyes began
to leap
up and down like frightened flames.
"It's the ones in your hand!" she shrieked. "In your
h
a
n
d! Sit down
f
or
y
o
ur
l
i
f
e
!"
Sara at
f
i
r
st
t
h
o
u
g
ht she had said, "Run
f
or your life," and had
i
n
d
e
ed
t
a
k
en two-elevenths of a
s
t
e
p; but when she realized
t
h
at the Plynck
had said, "Sit down
f
or
y
o
ur life," she sat down precisely where she was,
as if
J
i
m
my had pulled a chair out
f
r
om
u
n
d
er her, on the
v
e
ry ice-cream
brick her feet stood on. She realized that in a crisis like this obedience
was the only safe thing. And the
i
n
s
t
a
nt she touched the pavement, the
Snimmy gave a great gulping sob and hid his
f
a
ce in his
h
a
n
d
s; and
5
small, grainy tears
t
he size of gum-drops began to
t
r
i
c
k
le
t
h
r
o
u
gh them
and
f
a
ll into his
v
e
s
t
-
p
o
c
k
e
t.
The Echo of the Plynck in the
w
a
t
er gave a
r
i
p
p
l
i
ng laugh of relief.
"Well," she said, "it's a mercy you remembered that.
P
e
r
h
a
ps you don't
know, my dear," she said,
t
u
r
n
i
ng to Sara, "that no Snimmy can
e
n
d
u
re
to see a mortal sit down. It simply
b
r
e
a
ks their hearts. See, he's even
f
o
r
g
o
t
t
en
a
b
o
ut the dimples."
A
nd
i
n
d
e
e
d, the
S
n
i
m
my was
s
t
a
n
d
i
ng
b
e
f
o
re her, overcome by re-
morse. He was holding his shoe in his
h
a
nd in the most
g
e
n
t
l
e
m
a
n
ly
manner, and Sara
f
o
r
g
a
ve him at once when she saw how sorry and
ashamed he was.
"I—hope
y
o
u
'
ll
t
ry to—to—to excuse me, Miss," he sobbed,
h
u
m
b
ly
o
f
f
e
r
i
ng her a
h
a
n
d
f
ul of gum-drops. "Them dimples—" here,
f
or a
m
o
m
e
n
t, his nose began to
w
i
nk and his
f
e
et
p
r
a
n
c
ed a little,
b
ut he
looked closely to see
t
h
at she was still
s
i
t
t
i
ng down, and controlled
himself. "Them dimples—" he began
a
g
a
i
n;
b
ut
he could say no more.
The gum-drops began
f
a
l
l
i
ng all around like hail-stones, so
f
a
st that
Sara
f
e
lt
t
h
at she
o
u
g
ht to help
h
im all she could—without getting up—
to get
t
h
em into his vest-pocket.
The clatter of the gum-drops again
a
t
t
r
a
c
t
ed the
a
t
t
e
n
t
i
on of the
Plynck's Echo, who said, kindly, "Go and
t
a
ke a nap, now, Snimmy, and
you'll feel better."
The Snimmy lifted his shoe and
t
r
i
ed to reply,
b
ut he only gave a
r
e
s
p
e
c
t
f
ul sob. So he
t
u
r
n
ed away and crept
b
a
ck to his
h
o
me in
t
he
prose-bush—where, all this time, his
w
i
fe had been sitting in plain sight
on her own toadstool, grimly
h
e
m
m
i
ng
the doorknob. At her
f
e
et lay her
f
a
i
t
h-
f
ul Snoodle.
Up to this time, Sara had not ven-
t
u
r
ed to address the Teacup. But, as
she looked around and saw her still
sitting there, so pleasant and bland and
f
r
a
g
i
l
e, and with such a consanguin-
eous handle, she
f
e
lt a sudden cer-
tainty that the Teacup would always
be kind and
h
e
l
p
f
u
l; so she suggested
timidly,
"Then we shan't need the onions?"
"Oh, dear, yes," answered the Tea-
cup, in a soft, wrinkled voice. "We'd
never in Zeelup be able to get the
pieces of the dimple to Schlorge with-
out first anaesthetizing the Snimmy."
Sara
j
u
m
p
l
e
d:
t
h
at awful word
a
g
a
i
n! Her head reeled (exactly as
heads do in grown-up stories) as she realized how
m
a
ny things
t
h
e
re
were in this strange place
t
h
at she didn't know. Who was Schlorge,
f
or
e
x
a
m
p
l
e? And how was she to get
a
n
y
t
h
i
ng to anybody without getting
u
p? And "anaesthetize"?
She hated to disturb the
T
e
a
c
u
p; she was
k
n
i
t
t
i
ng so placidly, and
m
u
r
m
u
r
i
ng over and over to herself, "Never in Zeelup." She looked
up
into the
t
r
e
e; the Plynck, too, had
f
a
l
l
en asleep,
w
o
rn out by the un-
wonted excitement of the
m
o
r
n
i
n
g; and her lovely Echo also slept in
the amber pool. Sara now noticed that, though the Plynck was rose-
colored,
h
er Echo was cerulean.
The great,
s
o
f
t, curled plumes of the Plynck and her Echo rippled as
they
b
r
e
a
t
h
ed and slept,
r
a
t
h
er like
w
a
t
er or
f
i
re in a little
w
i
n
d; and
w
i
th every ripple they seemed to shake out a
f
a
i
nt
p
e
r
f
u
me
t
h
at
d
r
i
f
t
ed
across Sara's
f
a
ce in waves. And they both looked so lovely
t
h
at she
could not think of disturbing them, either. So she looked about to see if
there might be any one else who could enlighten her.
A
nd there at
h
er elbow, as luck would have it, stood a Koopf.
Up to
this time, Sara had not been able to tell a Koopf
f
r
om a Gunkus. To be
sure, there isn't any
d
i
f
f
e
r
e
n
c
e,
r
e
a
l
l
y;
b
ut you would
t
h
i
nk that any
7
6
f
a
i
r
ly
i
m
a
g
i
n
a
t
i
ve child ought to be able to tell one. However, Sara now
saw that the ground was swarming with Gunki.
"Do you
k
n
ow who Schlorge is?" asked Sara, rather
t
i
m
i
d
l
y.
At
f
i
r
st the Koopf only
g
r
i
n
n
e
d. "Guess I do," he
m
a
n
a
g
ed to say at
last.
T
h
en he surprised and
r
a
t
h
er startled
h
er by
w
i
n
k
i
ng his
l
e
ft ear
at her. "He's the best dimplesmith ever," he said at last. "He's—he's—"
he began looking all about him, vaguely and a little wildly. But, just as
Sara was growing a little
a
f
r
a
id of him,
h
is attention suddenly came
back to her
w
i
th a
k
i
n
d, businesslike interest. "Need some repairs?" he
asked. "Some
f
r
a
c
t
u
r
ed dimples,
m
a
y
b
e
?"
"Yes, sir," said Sara, earnestly. "I have most of
t
h
em here in my
hand." She
o
p
e
n
ed
h
er hand and showed him the pretty little pieces.
"Where's the rest?" he
i
n
q
u
i
r
e
d, with
a
n
o
t
h
er grin. "Your
p
l
u
mp
f
r
i
e
n
d, here, sitting on
'
e
m
?"
Sara nodded.
The Koopf stooped and picked
up one of the
g
u
m
-
d
r
o
ps
t
h
at had
rolled out of the Snimmy's vest-pocket. "Thought so," he said. "Happens
every now and then. Only lately
t
h
e
re ain't been anybody here
t
h
at was
d
i
m
p
l
i
f
e
r
o
u
s, to speak of."
Then, suddenly, as if somebody had told
h
im
his house was on fire, he
t
u
r
n
ed and set off down
the
p
a
th as
f
a
st as he could run. "Bring 'em to
the shop!" he shouted back over his shoulder,
excitedly. "Bring 'em to the shop!"
W
h
i
le Sara was looking
a
f
t
er him, and wonder-
ing where the shop might be, and
w
h
e
t
h
er she
dared
t
ry to get
up
w
i
t
h
o
ut
w
a
k
i
ng the Snimmy,
the Koopf suddenly stopped running, and started
t
h
o
u
g
h
t
f
u
l
ly back
up the
p
a
th toward her.
"Don't
k
n
ow how I happened to
f
o
r
g
et it," he
said, "but I—well,
f
a
ct is, I'm—where's a
s
t
u
m
p?
Where's a
s
t
u
m
p
?" He looked hastily about him,
and this time, seeing a stump near by, he clam-
bered
u
p
on it,
t
h
r
u
st one
h
a
nd
i
n
to his bosom
and
t
he
o
t
h
er behind his back, like the
p
i
c
t
u
r
es
of Napoleon, and repeated, solemnly,
"I am Schlorge the
K
o
o
p
f, King of Dimple-
smiths.
8
"Under the gright Gugollaph-tree
The Dimplesmithy
s
t
a
n
d
s;
The smith is harder than the sea
And
s
o
f
t
er than the
l
a
n
d
s;
He mends cheek-dimples
f
r
a
nk and free,
But will not work on hands."
And as soon as he had finished he started wildly down the path again,
shouting back, "Bring 'em to the shop!"
Sara sat looking down the path, then at the dimples in
h
er hand.
"Well," she said aloud, "I'm glad they're cheek-dimples, anyhow. But
w
h
at in the world shall I do about the onions?"
"What in Zeelup," corrected the Teacup gently, counting her stitches.
"Milder than swearing, my dear, more becoming, and quite as effective."
Sara wanted to tell her she wasn't swearing,
b
ut
j
u
st at that moment
the
w
i
fe of the Snimmy remarked, with some disgust in her voice,
"Well, if you'd of asked me sooner, I could of told you. I have them in
the sugar-bowl, of course. Do you suppose I'd be without, and him
subject to such
f
i
t
s
?"
And so saying, she replaced the doorknob, which was now neatly
hemmed, on the
f
r
o
nt door of the prose-bush, and came down the steps
to Sara, carrying three large onions. She was not a bad-looking person,
though an amnicolist.
She then proceeded to slice the onions very deftly with a tuning-fork,
a
f
t
er which she rubbed the ice-cream of the pavement with the slices,
m
a
k
i
ng a circle all around the Teacup, and another all around Sara,
somewhat like the ring they used to
b
u
rn about a
f
i
re in the grass, to
keep it
f
r
om spreading. All this time she was talking to
t
h
em grum-
blingly, though she never once looked up.
"I should
t
h
i
nk anybody'd
k
n
ow
b
e
t
t
er
t
h
an to
b
r
i
ng dimples around
where he is," she said, "and I have my opinion of such. A poor, hard-
w
o
r
k
i
ng man like him,
t
h
at tries to act moral. I should think—"
She
k
e
pt on saying things like this, that made Sara
f
e
el very uncom-
f
o
r
t
a
b
l
e. But at last she finished her work, and looking
w
a
t
c
h
f
u
l
ly back
over her shoulder at the sleeping Snimmy, she said grudgingly to them
both, "Now get
up careful."
Sara rose to her
f
e
e
t, and the Teacup
l
i
f
t
ed
h
er dainty little skirt
ever so slightly. The minute the
p
e
r
f
u
me
f
r
om the dimples reached the
Snimmy (he couldn't smell those in Sara's hand, of course, so long as
9
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