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Kit and Kat.

From The Book of Stories for the Storyteller by Fanny E. Coe.

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They went down the other side of the dyke and out upon a little pier that ran from the sandy beach into the water. Grandfather showed them how to bait their hooks. Kit baited Kat's for her, because Kat said it made her all wriggly inside to do it. She did not like it. Neither did the worm! They all sat down on the end of the pier. Grandfather sat on the very end and let his wooden shoes hang down over the water; but he made Kit and Kat sit with their feet stuck straight out in front of them, so that they just reached to the edge--"So that you can't fall in," said grandfather. They dropped their hooks into the water and sat very still, waiting for a bite. The sun climbed higher and higher in the sky, and it grew hotter and hotter on the pier. The flies tickled Kat's nose and made her sneeze. "Keep still, can't you?" said Kit crossly. "You'll scare the fish. Girls don't know how to fish." Pretty soon Kat felt a queer little jerk on her line. She was perfectly sure she did. Kat squealed and jerked her rod. She jerked it so hard that one foot flew right up in the air, and one of her new wooden shoes went--splash!--right into the water! But that wasn't the worst of it! Before you could say Jack Robinson, Kat's hook flew around and caught in Kit's clothes and pricked him. Kit jumped and said, "Ow!" And then--no one could tell how it happened--there was Kit in the water, too, splashing like a young whale, with Kat's hook still holding fast to his clothes in the back!

Grandfather jumped then, too, you may be sure. He caught hold of Kat's rod and pulled hard and called out, "Steady, there, steady!" And in one minute there was Kit in the shallow water beside the pier, puffing and blowing like a grampus! Grandfather reached down and pulled him up. When Kit was safely on the pier, Kat threw her arms around his neck, though the water was running down in streams from his hair and eyes and ears. "Oh, Kit," she said, "I truly thought it was a fish on my line when I jumped!" "Just like a g-g-girl," said Kit. "They don't know how to f-f-fish!" You see his teeth were chattering, because the water was cold. "Well, anyway," said Kat, "I caught more than you did. I caught you!" Then Kat thought of something else. She shook her finger at Kit. "Oh, Kit," she said, "mother told you not to fall into the water!" "'T-t-t-was all your fault," roared Kit. "Y-y-you began it! Anyway, where is your new wooden shoe?" "Where are both of yours?" screamed Kat. Sure enough, where were they? No one had thought about shoes, because they were thinking so hard about Kit. They ran to the end of the pier and looked. There was Kat's shoe sailing away toward England like a little boat! Kit's were still bobbing about in the water near the pier. "Oh! Oh! Oh!" shrieked Kat; but the tide was going out and carrying her shoe farther away every minute. They could not get it; but grandfather reached down with his rod and fished out both of Kit's shoes. Then Kat took off her other one and her stockings, and they all three went back to the beach.

Grandfather and Kat covered Kit up with sand to keep him warm while his clothes were drying. Then grandfather stuck the twins' fish-poles up in the sand and tied the two lines together for a clothes-line, and hung Kit's clothes up on it, and Kat put their three wooden shoes in a row beside Kit. Then they ate their luncheon of bread and butter, cheese and milk, with some radishes from father's garden. It tasted good even if it was sandy. After lunch grandfather said: "It will never do to go home without any fish at all." So by-and-by he went back to the pier and caught one while the twins played in the sand. He put it in the lunch-basket to carry home. Kat brought shells and pebbles to Kit, because he had to stay covered up in the sand, and Kit built a play dyke all around himself with them, and Kat dug a canal outside the dyke. Then she made sand-pies in clam-shells and set them in a row in the sun to bake. They played until the shadows of the dyke grew very long across the sandy beach, and then grandfather said it was time to go home. He helped Kit to dress, but Kit's clothes were still a little wet in the thick parts. And Kat had to go barefooted and carry her one wooden shoe. They climbed the dyke and crossed the fields, and walked along the road by the canal. The road shone, like a strip of yellow ribbon across the green field. They walked quite slowly, for they were tired and sleepy. By-and-by Kit said, "I see our house"; and Kat said, "I see mother at the gate." Grandfather gave the fish he caught to Kit and Kat, and Vrouw Vedder cooked it for their supper; and though it was not a very big fish, they all had some.

Grandfather must have told Vrouw Vedder something about what had happened; for that night, when she put Kit to bed, she felt his clothes very carefully--but she didn't say a word about their being damp. And she said to Kat: "To-morrow we will see the shoemaker and get him to make you another shoe." Then Kit and Kat hugged her and said good-night, and popped off to sleep before you could wink your eyes.


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