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Piute squaw to have a marble fountain in her Jacques got up a little later and was surtepee as for us to rig up a Christmas tree.” prised when Ah Yee, the Chinese cook, told
Tom Barton looked at him, a determined him the men were already gone. light in his eyes.
"Heap muchee work to-day," he said, as “And I tell you it 's got to be done, because he set the boy's breakfast before him, “so the boy expects it. Besides,” he added, "the they start long time ago. But you no care,” boss left him in our care, and if he could be he added, when a look of disappointment here himself, he'd see to it that we made the came into the dark eyes. “We have velly day a real Christmas."
good time." The men nodded as he said that, for they They did have a good time. As the Orienknew it was the truth. But William Dexter tal cleared away the dishes and began to cook was sick in a Los Angeles hospital, and it and stir with a vim, he told Jacques of his would be many weeks before he could get home by the Yellow River, where poppy fields back to the cattle country. If Jacques had a were red as blood throughout the summerhappy Yule-tide, they themselves would have time and where his brothers and sisters to provide it, and loyalty to their employer worked in the rice-fields. He meant to go and for ess for the Belgian lad ecided back and see them some day; and when he them to attempt the impossible.
came again, he would bring his little friend All at once a light flashed in Bud Nelson's a pair of silk trousers and an embroidered blue eyes. “There 's a young cottonwood coat and a luck god that would chase trouble over on the bluff above the slough," he said, out of his path as long as he lived. "and there's mistletoe, too-lots of it."
They talked about Christmas and the comJack Rankin whirled and looked at him. ing of Père Noël, too; and while they talked,
“Cottonwood!” he exclaimed. “Cotton- Ah Yee worked with the easy, quiet dexterity woods are bare as our bunk-house wall this of his race.
Jacques had never seen him fill time of year.
Who ever heard of setting up a so many pans with batter or dress so many scarecrow and calling it a Christmas tree?" chickens; and when he asked about it, the
But as Nelson explained his idea, they moon-shaped face beamed. thought the suggestion brilliant, and began "You velly funny boy," he chuckled, "not planning how to carry it out.
to know Ah Yee make heap big pie and cake "Somebody 'll have to go to Barstow to get when Clismus come.” presents," Tom Barton remarked. “I guess Rankin and Bud Nelson came back at sunthat little stunt is up to me, because Pluto is down, the wagon filled with some curiousthe only cayuse on the place that can make looking green stuff. Tied behind it was a the trip there and back in a day.”
young cottonwood, bare of leaves and the So it was decided. The foreman would signs of life that give beauty to a tree, but ride to town to make the necessary purchases, straight and symmetrical as an Indian chief. and the others were to do everything else Jacques knew the green stuff was mistletoe, toward preparing for the holiday.
for they had it in Belgium. But why were Every one was up earlier than usual next they bringing so much of it? In his overseas morning, which is early indeed on a cattle- home, they had thought it enough just to ranch. Shortly after daybreak, Rankin and have a sprig or two, or a wreath to hang in the Bud Nelson drove away in the wagon. The window. He started to follow as they carother men rode out to the range to look after ried it into the house, but Bud Nelson said he the cattle, while Barton went to the corral must not try to find out what they were goand saddled Pluto, the fleetest, most fiery ing to do, because it was a big secret. So he mustang in the region. "A regular terror in stayed outside, looking wistfully toward the horse-flesh,"Sid Watkins called him, because, ranch-house until Ah Yee called him in to even in a land of fractious mustangs, his feats supper.
The men seemed too busy to come, of bucking, kicking, and striking were con- so he ate alone. But it was not at all unsidered extraordinary.
pleasant. While he ate, the cook told him a The spirited animal whinnied as his owner Chinese story about a dragon. When the approached him, sniffing the air impatiently meal was over, he sat on a chair beside the while he tightened the surcingle and adjusted kitchen table and begged for tale after tale; the saddle-bags. As the cow-boy leaped to and they were such long stories and so interhis seat, he gave a sudden lunge into the esting that he forgot all about what the men air, then broke into a gallop toward the open were doing; and when it was dark he went to range.
Over in the ranch-house, the men talked "She looks like a real, civilized Christmas and worked. Seventeen cow-boys make a tree,” he drawled; "and just think how we've lot of chatter even when discussing ordinary patched her together!" happenings on the range. But when the con- And patched together that Christmas tree versation is about anything as unusual as a was, made with twine and green by the finChristmas tree, it sounds like the conference gers of the cow-boys, as very likely a Christof a hundred. If there had been neighbors, mas tree had never been made before.
Hoof-beats sounded beyond the windows, and a moment afterward Barton came in with a bag of gifts. There was not much of an assortment, although he had bought the best the little fronTier store afforded. But they knew that what he had would please Jacques. One package held several pounds of candy. There were some neckties and a lot of gay handkerchiefs of the kind cow-boys like and of which they never can have too many. There was a watch, too, a big silver one, that Bud Nelson tied at the top of the tree.
“When I was youngster, Mother always put a star there,” he said. “This looks more like a star than anything else we have.”
Then Jack Rankin unwrapped what seemed to be miles of straps.
“Shades of the Piute chiefs!" he exclaimed. “What have you got here?"
“It 's a set of har
ness,” the foreman anEDWIN JOHN-PRITTIE:
swered; "and I'm going "THE SPIRITED CREATURE BROKE INTO A GALLOP TOWARD THE OPEN RANGE"
to give him my sorrel
pony. The cart won't they would have wondered what it was all be here for a week yet, because they had to about. But the Rio Bravo Ranch buildings send to Los Angeles for it. But he'll sure were miles from any human habitation, and be a happy youngster when it comes. the only visitors who came there by night “Pile it here on the floor beside the tree?'' were coyotes slinking down from the hills in Rankin asked, as he moved to put it in place. search of fine fat chickens or a juicy young “No siree!" Barton objected. “This here calf. So the noise in the house went on un- strap arrangement is going on the tree, so he heeded, and, about nine o'clock, Bud Nelson can have a lot of fun taking it off piece by gave a happy shout.
Piece by piece the harness was tied to the as a dispensing Santa Claus moved on his tree, each blinder, rein, and strap having a rollicking way. And if you had lived in a place of its own. Then seventeen tired cow- country that suddenly had become war torn, boys went to bed, where Jacques had long so war torn that the gladness of Yule-tide been dreaming of the good Père Noël, and was not a part of life any more, and then when they all awokeit was Christmas morning. had gone to a place where it all came back,
would n't your heart have been just as full of joy as it could hold?
And so a Belgian lad from Louvain, in a ranch-house in the Sierra foot-hills, shrieked with delight when he beheld the wonder of it all. The tree was a leafless cottonwood, but it was green from tip to base with sprigs of mistletoe tied there by the rough hands of the cow-boys. And although it was decked with no tinsel ornaments or artificial snow to bring bits of fairyland into the room, it was as redolent of real Christmas cheer as if it glittered with manycolored baubles. When Jacques saw the watch shining where Bud Nelson said his mother always hung a star, and found bags of candy with his name upon each dangling from the boughs, he gave such a happy shout that the men felt repaid a hundred times for all their work.
"Le bon Père Noël!!"
he exclaimed; then EDWIN TO
breaking from French ***THIS WATCH LOOKS MORE LIKE A STAR THAN ANYTHING ELSE WE HAVE'"
to English, "Good,
good Père Noël, that Don't you remember them yet, you boys the Prussians drove away! He has come and girls who are now almost grown, the back! I knew he would find me here in Christmas times when you were five or seven America!” or nine, when it seemed as if all the good folk And then the sight of those straps, straps, of the universe had united in an effort to straps! He was still what cow-boys call a make you happy? There was a glitter of
There was a glitter of tenderfoot, but he knew a set of harness when tinsel and sparkle of gilded ornaments and he saw one, and realized that it meant many the glow of many-colored candles among happy rides for him. boughs of green. There was the laughter of "There is a cart coming too,” Barton exmerry voices and perhaps the sound of a carol plained, as he watched the boy's happy
CHRISTOPHER CRANE and Cheerful Ben
And Hal of the Helping Hand
When snow lay over the land. “Who knows what fun we may meet,”
said they, "Or who may travel along the way?"
Ellen Manly Now, strange to say, on that selfsame day,
Young Bob, whose manners were bad,
And Larry, the lazy lad,
When they came to the cross-roads, deep
He had slipped on the ice and dropped
his pack, And thick on the frosty ground Were bundles little and bundles big
All scattered galore around. “Good day, my lads!" the traveler cries, "You 're a welcome sight to my poor