The Thanksgiving Goose by Fannie Wilder Brown
How a little boy learned to be thankful. A charming story even
though it has a moral.
"BUT I don't like roast goose," said Guy, pouting.
"I'd rather have turkey. Turkey is best for
Thanksgiving, anyway. Goose is for Christmas."
Guy's mother did not answer. He watched her while
she carefully wrote G. T. W. on the corner of a pretty
new red-bordered handkerchief. Five others, all alike,
and all marked alike, lay beside it. The initials were
"Why didn't you buy some blue ones? I'd rather
have them different," he said.
Mrs. Wright smiled a queer little smile, but did not
answer. She lighted a large lamp and held the marked
corner of one of the handkerchiefs against the hot
chimney. The heat made the indelible ink turn dark,
although the writing had been so faint Guy hardly
could see it before.
"Oh, dear," he cried, "there's a little blot at the top
of that T! I don't want to carry a handkerchief that
has a blot on it."
"Very well," said his mother. "I'll put them away,
and you may carry your old ones until you ask me to
let you carry this one. I don't care to furnish new
things for a boy who doesn't appreciate them."
"I don't like old——"
"That'll do, Guy. Never mind the rest of the things
that you don't like. I want you to take this dollar
down to Mrs. Burns. Tell her that I shall have a day's
work for her on Friday, and I thought she might like to
have part of the pay in advance to help make Thanksgiving
with. Please go now."
"But a dollar won't help much. She won't like that.
She always acts just as if she was as happy as anybody.
I don't want to go there on such an errand as that."
Mrs. Wright smiled again, but her tone was very
"Mrs. Burns is 'as happy as anybody,' Guy, and she
has the best-behaved children in the neighbourhood.
The little ones almost never cry, and I never have seen
the older ones quarrel. But there are eight children,
and Mr. Burns has only one arm, so he can't earn
much money. Mrs. Burns has to turn her hands to all
sorts of things to keep the children clothed and fed.
She'll be thankful to get the dollar—you see if she isn't!
And tell her if she is making mince pies to sell this year,
I'll take three."
Guy walked very slowly down the street until he came
to the little house where the Burns family lived.
"I'd hate to live here," he thought. "I don't see
where they all sleep. My room isn't big enough, but
I don't believe there's a room in this house as big as
mine. I shouldn't have a bit of fun, ever, if I lived
here. And I'd hate to have my mother make pies and
send me about to sell them."
Then he knocked on the front door, for there was
no bell. No one came. He could hear people talking
in the distance, so he knew some of the family were
at home. Some one always was at home here to look
after the little children. He walked around to the
kitchen door: it stood open. The children were talking
so fast they did not hear his knock.
They were very busy. Katie, the eleven-year-old,
and Malcolm, ten, Guy's age, were cutting citron into
long, thin strips, piling it on a big blue plate. Mary and
James, the eight-year-old twins, were paring apples with
a paring machine. The long, curling skins fell in a
large stone jar standing on a clean paper, spread on the
floor. Charlie, who was only four years old, was watching
to see that none of the parings fell over the edge of
the jar. Susan, who was seven, was putting raisins,
a few at a time, into a meat chopper screwed down on
the kitchen table. George, three years old, was turning
the handle of the chopper to grind the raisins. Baby
Joe was creeping about the kitchen floor after a kitten.
Mrs. Burns was taking a great piece of meat from a
steaming kettle on the back of the stove. Every one
was working, except the baby and the kitten, but all
seemed to be having a glorious time. What they were
saying seemed so funny it was some time before Guy
could understand it. At last he was sure it was some
kind of a game.
"Mice?" asked Susan. Mary squealed, and they all
"Because they're small," said Mary. "Snakes?"
"They can't climb trees," Mrs. Burns called out from
the pantry. The children fairly roared at that. "A
pantry with no window in it?"
"Oh, we've had that before," Katie answered. "I
know what you say. It's a good place to ripen pears
in when Mrs. Wright gives us some."
Guy knocked very loudly at that. He had not thought
that he was listening.
The children started, but did not leave their work.
They looked at their mother. "Jamie," she said.
Then Jamie came to meet Guy, and invited him to walk
"What game is it?" asked Guy, forgetting his errand.
"Making mince pies," said Jamie. "It's lots of
fun. Don't you want to play? I'll let you turn the
paring machine if you'd like that best."
Guy said "Thank you" and began to turn the parer
"But I don't mean what you are doin'," said Guy.
"I knew that was mince pies. I thought that was
work. I meant what you were saying. It sounds so
funny! I never heard it before."
"Mamma made it up," explained Malcolm. "It's
great fun. We always play it at Thanksgiving time.
You think of something that people don't like, and the
one who can think first tells what he is thankful for
about it. We call it 'Thanksgiving.'"
Guy stayed for an hour, and played both games.
Then, quite to his surprise, the twelve o'clock whistles
blew, and he had to go home. But he remembered his
errands and did them, to the great pleasure of the whole
In the afternoon Guy spent some time writing a note
to his mother. It was badly written, but it made his
mother happy. It read:
:—I am Thankful the blot isent any bigger.
I am Thankful the hankershefs isent black on the borders. I
would like that one with the Blot on to put in my pocket when
you read this. But my old ones are nice. The Burnses dont
have things to be Thankful for but they are Thankful just the
I am Thankful for the Goose we are going to have. The best
is I am Thankful I am not a Goose myself, for if I was I wouldent
know enough to be Thankful.
Guy Theodore Wright.