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Man on the chimney.

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

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Once upon a time some workmen were repairing the tall chimney of a factory. It was so tall that no ladder could reach its top, so the men went up and down on a rope. The rope passed through a pulley which was firmly fixed to the top of the chimney. At last the work was ended. The workmen came down quickly, glad to be safe on the ground once more. When the next to the last man reached the ground, by mistake he pulled the rope from the pulley. Then he looked back and saw another man standing alone on the chimney. "Oh! what have I done!" he cried. "Poor fellow, what will become of him? He cannot get down! He will die!" The workmen were so alarmed that they could think of no way to help their comrade. They stood helpless, looking first at the coil of rope at their feet and then at their friend high in the air. "He will starve if he stays there, and he will be killed if he tries to climb down," they said sadly. Just then the wife of the man appeared. She did not cry, scold, or fret. Instead, she said to herself, "What can I do to save him? There must be some way." Soon a bright idea came to her, and she shouted to her husband: "John! John! Unravel your stocking! Begin at the toe!"

John understood at once. He took off the coarse yarn stocking that she had knitted for him, cut off the toe, and began to unravel the yarn. When he had pulled out a long piece, he tied the end around a small piece of brick. This he very carefully let down to the ground. How eagerly the men below seized upon it. They fastened the yarn to a ball of twine which John's wife had fetched. Then they shouted: "Pull up the yarn till you get the twine." Soon John called to them: "I have it." They next fastened the twine to the heavy rope and shouted: "Pull up the twine till you get the rope." "All right," said John, and in a very few minutes he held the stout rope in his hand. With its aid, he let himself safely down to the ground. How they all cheered as his foot touched the earth! Do you think he left the remnant of his stocking on the chimney-top? No, indeed. He brought it down, buttoned under his coat. It was a precious keepsake. He often showed it to his children, as he told them the wonderful story of how his life had been saved by their mother.


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