Sod and Stubble: The Story of a Kansas Homestead

By John Ise | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXVI
Trouble in School and Church

"T HEY'RE not so much trouble when they're little. Washing a few diapers won't hurt you. It's when they get big that they make real trouble -- the kind that keeps you awake at night. When they're little, they're little troubles; and when they're big, they're big troubles."

Rosie was talking about the children. Billy was no longer in school, and Laura and Alice had graduated from the country school; but the rest of the children went to the little schoolhouse across the pasture, and occasionally the girls would tattle on the boys, who were in open conflict with the teacher much of the time.

School troubles were not usually very serious. One day Joe and some of his playmates painted mustaches and beards on their faces with yellow crayon that they found on the teacher's desk. On noting the adornment, the teacher promptly ordered the boys to come to the desk and let her wipe the chalk off. The other boys marched up to the desk, and docilely permitted her to wipe their faces with her handkerchief -- a most humiliating spectacle, it seemed to Joe; and he refused to submit to any such degradation. Since he was lame, Joe was humored at home, and not accustomed to accept dictation from others. The teacher promptly accepted the challenge, and soon had Joe on the floor, with her knee on his chest.

Here came the tragedy. Joe had a shingle dart in his inside coat pocket, a treasured possession, one of the best darts in school, and as the teacher's knee bore down on this, it broke with a snap. This was too much! Humiliating enough indeed to have her wiping his face with her handkerchief, or even

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