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    Chapter 6

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    Chapter 6
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    PICKING CURRANTS



    If there was one sort of work that Johnnie Green had always disliked more than another, it was picking currants. Of course he didn't object to strolling up to a currant bush and taking a few currants for his own use, on the spot. What he hated was having to fill pail after pail full of currants for his mother to make jelly and jam.

    It was queer. He certainly liked jelly. And he liked jam. But he had never found currant picking anything but dull. He always groaned aloud when his mother told him that the currants were ripe enough to be picked. And he always had a dozen reasons why he couldn't pick them just then.

    Now, however, currant picking didn't seem such a bore to Johnnie. When his mother announced at the supper table one evening that Johnnie would have to begin picking currants right after breakfast the next morning he didn't make a single objection. And he had intended to go swimming the next day!

    "I think--" Johnnie remarked--"I think some of the boys would like to help. After supper I'll ride Twinkleheels over the hill and ask the boys to pick currants with me in the morning."

    Farmer Green and his wife listened to this speech with amazement.

    "I never heard of a boy that liked to pick currants," said Johnnie's father. "Still, you can try if you want to."

    "Come home before it gets dark!" said his mother.

    "Look out for that pony!" Farmer Green exclaimed. "I don't know what's come over him. I stepped into his stall to-day and he kicked at me. I've never known him to do that before."

    Johnnie Green promised to be careful, and to come home early. Having important business on his hands, he hurried away without a second piece of cake. And that was a most unusual oversight on his part.

    In the morning three boys appeared before Johnnie had finished his breakfast. Though they had already eaten theirs, they accepted Mrs. Green's invitation to sit at the table and have some griddlecakes and maple syrup. "If you boys are going to pick currants you'll want a good, big breakfast," she told them.

    There was no doubt that they agreed with her.

    "If they're as lively at picking as they are at eating you'll have all the currants in the kitchen by noon," Farmer Green remarked to his wife with a laugh as the boys trooped off toward the barn with their tin pails.

    A few minutes later a noise as of terrific pounding reached the ears of Farmer Green as he stood talking with his wife.

    "What's that?" he muttered. "It sounds as if the barn was falling down."

    He ran out of doors. The racket came from the barn. There was no doubt of that. And he could hear Spot barking.

    Farmer Green hurried across the yard. Somehow he guessed that Johnnie and his helpers had a hand in whatever was going on. Farmer Green did not run toward the broad front door of the barn. Instead he circled to the back of the barn and peeped around the corner. What he saw caused him no great surprise.
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