XIII. A Ride to the Miller's

Do you know about the time Johnnie Green and his grandmother and Sandy Chipmunk started for the miller's with a sack of wheat to be ground? If you never heard the story, this is the way it happened--and if you have heard it, it happened this way, just the same:

Farmer Green's wife had noticed that the flour in her flour-barrel was getting low. So one morning Farmer Green pulled a wagon from under a shed and set a big bag of wheat in it, behind the seat. Then he went into the house to get a piece of string with which to tie the bag. Farmer Green hadn't seen a pair of bright eyes that were watching him from the fence near-by. And he didn't know that as soon as he started to cross the barnyard, Sandy Chipmunk stole up to the wagon, climbed into it, and crept inside the open bag of wheat.

Now, Sandy had not had his breakfast. So he began at once to eat heartily of the wheat kernels, believing that after he had had a good meal it would be time enough to think of carrying some of the wheat away to his house. He only hoped that no one would take the bag away until he had removed all the wheat. There was enough of it--he was sure--to last him for any number of winters.

Now, you must not think that Sandy was greedy, because he wanted all that wheat. He intended all the time to leave the bag for Farmer Green.

The wheat tasted so good that Sandy Chipmunk could think of nothing else. So he never heard Johnnie Green's father when he came back from the house. And before Sandy knew what was happening, Farmer Green had reached into the wagon, drawn the mouth of the bag together, and tied it hard and fast.

There was Sandy Chipmunk, inside the bag. And he was so frightened that he couldn't eat another mouthful. He just shivered and shook, while Farmer Green went into the barn, led out an old, slow horse called Ebenezer, and harnessed him to the wagon.

Then Johnnie Green and his grandmother came out and seated themselves in the wagon. Farmer Green gave Johnnie the reins; and Ebenezer started jogging down the road toward the miller's, with Johnnie's old straw hat and his grandmother's sunbonnet bobbing from side to side, and up and down, and backwards and forwards, as the wagon jolted over ruts and stones and thank-you-ma'ams--which were small ridges built across the road, to turn the water into the ditch when it rained.

Cowering inside the bag, Sandy Chipmunk thought the earth was rocking, for he had never ridden in a wagon before.

Although the sack was a stout one, Sandy could easily have gnawed his way through it if he had not been too frightened to try. And there he stayed, while all the time old Ebenezer kept plodding along toward the grist-mill.

Johnnie Green and his grandmother, talking so near him, only alarmed Sandy all the more. And he thought he could not be more scared than he was. But all at once the wagon lurched forward and Grandmother Green screamed. And Johnnie began to cry "Whoa! whoa!" in a loud voice.

Then Sandy Chipmunk began to shake harder than ever. He had no idea what was happening.