Friday, July 21, 2017

An October Pumpkin Story

 One afternoon in late October, father went down to the field to get a  pumpkin.  The children went along too. They wanted to see that father picked out  a large pumpkin. They wanted to help bring it back to the house.
 Although it was October, there were still some pumpkins to be found in  the field.  Father led the way. The children came trooping after. The pumpkins grew down in the cornfield. Their long, coarse stems lay  sprawling on the ground. Their big, rough leaves looked like green  umbrellas. The boys saw a very large pumpkin. They were just going to pick it,  but father said, “Not that one.”  Father looked around until he found a deep, yellow pumpkin. He told  the children that deep, yellow pumpkins make the best pies.
 The children soon found another pumpkin, somewhat smoother than the  others. They picked that to use for a Jack-o’-lantern.  Then they went back to the house, carrying the huge yellow fruit with
 them.  The girls went into the house, to see mother make pumpkin pies.  Mother cut open the yellow pumpkin. Oh, how thick the meat was! Oh,  how the fat, white seeds came tumbling out! Mother said the flesh was  good because it had a nice fine grain.  Mother cut the flesh into small pieces, after she had peeled off the  thick rind.  Then she put the pieces into a large iron pot to boil.  When the girls had seen the pieces disappear into the pot they went to  see what the boys were doing.  Out by the barn they found the boys with a jack-knife, working away at  the other pumpkin. The boys were making a Jack-o’-lantern.  They had cut a round hole in the top of the pumpkin, so as to leave
 the stem for a handle. In this way they could lift out the round piece  like a cover. They dug out all the seeds with their hands, to make it  hollow.  Then they cut a small hole, shaped like a triangle, in the side of the  pumpkin. They bored two round holes, one each side of the triangle.  Below it they cut a funny hole shaped like a new moon.  It looked like a huge grinning face. When the boys had finished it,  they put the pumpkin away in the barn.  Then they all remembered about the pumpkin that was cooking in the  kitchen, so they ran back to the house as fast as they could.  By this time the pumpkin in the pot was done, and mother took it from  the stove. She poured off the water, and then put the cooked pumpkin  into a colander.  While mother was rubbing the soft pumpkin through the colander, the  boys ran off to hunt for eggs. When they came back, mother took eight  of the eggs, and about three pints of the soft pumpkin. She stirred it  very fast, while the children stood around and watched, with open eyes  and mouths. Then she put in milk, and spice, and brown sugar.  Oh, didn’t it look good! The children smacked their lips as each  separate thing went in. Mother gave it all such a beating with her big  spoon that the children said it would be good ever after.  Next came the pie tins lined with soft crust, and last of all the pies  went into the oven.  That night as father and mother sat in front of the fire-place  talking, a strange noise was heard. What could it be? Was it a groan?
 Was somebody hurt? There it was again, again, and again! It came from  the front porch.  Father went to the window and drew aside the curtain. Then they saw  something that made the smaller children shiver, but the older girls  only laughed. The boys were not in the house.  There at the window, staring in and grinning horribly--was--well, what do you suppose? Yes it was the Jack-o’-lantern.

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