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Age Rating 8 Plus.

Kit and Kat.

By LUCY FITCH PERKINS
From The Book of Stories for the Storyteller by Fanny E. Coe.

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This is a story of Kit and Kat, twins who lived in Holland. Their real names were Christopher and Katrina, but their mother, Vrouw Vedder, says that they are not to be called Christopher and Katrina until they are four and a half feet high. So they are Kit and Kat while they are on the way to four and a half feet. Kit is the boy and Kat is the girl. Here is the story of the day they went fishing. One summer morning, very early, Vrouw Vedder opened the door of her little Dutch kitchen and stepped out. She looked across the road which ran by the house, across the canal on the other side, across the level green fields that lay beyond, clear to the blue rim of the world, where the sky touches the earth. The sky was very blue; and the great, round, shining face of the sun was just peering over the tops of the trees, as she looked out. Vrouw Vedder listened. The roosters in the barnyard were crowing, the ducks in the canal were quacking, and all the little birds in the fields were singing for joy. Vrouw Vedder hummed a slow little tune of her own, as she went back into her kitchen. Kit and Kat were still asleep in their little cupboard bed. She gave them each a kiss. The twins opened their eyes and sat up.



"Oh, Kit and Kat," said Vrouw Vedder, "the sun is up, the birds are all awake and singing, and grandfather is going fishing to-day. If you will hurry you may go with him! He is coming at six o'clock; so pop out of bed and get dressed. I will put up some lunch for you in the yellow basket, and you may dig worms for bait in the garden. Only be sure not to step on the young cabbages that father planted." Kit and Kat bounced out of bed in a minute. Their mother helped them to put on their clothes and new wooden shoes. Then she gave them each a bowl of bread and milk for their breakfast. They ate it sitting on the kitchen doorstep. Soon Kit and Kat were digging for worms. They did just as their mother said, and did not step on the young cabbages. They sat on them, instead. But that was an accident. Kit dug the worms, and Kat put them into a basket, with some earth in it to make them feel at home. When grandfather came, he brought a large fishing-rod for himself and two little ones for the twins. There was a little hook on the end of each line. Vrouw Vedder kissed Kit and Kat good-bye. "Mind grandfather, and don't fall into the water," she said. Grandfather and the twins started off together down the long road beside the canal. The house where the twins lived was right beside the canal. Their father was a gardener, and his beautiful rows of cabbages and beets and onions stretched in long lines across the level fields by the roadside.



Grandfather lived in a large town, a little way beyond the farm where the twins lived. He did not often have a holiday, because he carried milk to the doors of the people in the town, every morning early. Some time I will tell you how he did it; but I must not tell you now, because if I do, I can't tell you about their going fishing. This morning, grandfather carried his rod and the lunch-basket. Kit and Kat carried the basket of worms between them, and their rods over their shoulders, and they were all three very happy. They walked along ever so far, beside the canal. Then they turned to the left and walked along a path that ran from the canal across the green fields to what looked like a hill. But it wasn't a hill at all, really, because there aren't any hills in Holland. It was a long, long wall of earth, very high--oh, as high as a house, or even higher! And it had sloping sides. There is such a wall of earth all round the country of Holland, where the twins live. There has to be a wall, because the sea is higher than the land. If there were no walls to shut out the sea, the whole country would be covered with water; and if that were so, then there wouldn't be any Holland, or any Holland twins, or any story. So you see that it was very lucky that the wall was there. They called it a dyke.



Grandfather and Kit and Kat climbed the dyke. When they reached the top, they sat down a few minutes to rest and look at the great blue sea. Grandfather sat in the middle, with Kit on one side, and Kat on the other; and the basket of worms and the basket of lunch were there, too. They saw a great ship sail slowly by, making a cloud of smoke. "Where do the ships go, grandfather?" asked Kit. "To England, and America, and China, and all over the world," said grandfather. "Why?" asked Kat. Kat almost always said "Why?" and when she didn't, Kit did. "To take flax and linen from the mills of Holland to make dresses for little girls in other countries," said grandfather. "Is that all?" asked Kit. "They take cheese and herring, bulbs and butter, and lots of other things besides, and bring back to us wheat and meal and all sorts of good things from the lands across the sea." "I think I'll be a sea captain when I'm big," said Kit. "So will I," said Kat. "Girls can't," said Kit. But grandfather shook his head and said: "You can't tell what a girl may be by the time she's four feet and a half high and is called Katrina. There's no telling what girls will do, anyway. But, children, if we stay here we shall not catch any fish."

       



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