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Contents > Author > Sara Cone Bryant > Little Jack Rollaround 1873- Unknown
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Sara Cone Bryant
Little Jack Rollaround
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[ Based on Theodor Storm's story of Der Kleine Hawelmanu
(George Westermann, Braunschweig). Very freely adapted from
the German story.]


Once upon a time there was a wee little
boy who slept in a tiny trundle-bed near
his mother's great bed. The trundle-bed
had castors on it so that it could be rolled
about, and there was nothing in the world
the little boy liked so much as to have
it rolled. When his mother came to bed
he would cry, "Roll me around! roll me
around!" And his mother would put out
her hand from the big bed and push the
little bed back and forth till she was tired.
The little boy could never get enough; so
for this he was called "Little Jack Rollaround."

One night he had made his mother roll
him about, till she fell asleep, and even then
he kept crying, "Roll me around! roll me
around!" His mother pushed him about
in her sleep, until she fell too soundly
aslumbering; then she stopped. But Little
Jack Rollaround kept on crying, "Roll
around! roll around!"

By and by the Moon peeped in at the
window. He saw a funny sight: Little
Jack Rollaround was lying in his trundle-
bed, and he had put up one little fat leg
for a mast, and fastened the corner of his
wee shirt to it for a sail, and he was blowing
at it with all his might, and saying,
"Roll around! roll around!" Slowly,
slowly, the little trundle-bed boat began
to move; it sailed along the floor and up
the wall and across the ceiling and down
again!

"More! more!" cried Little Jack
Rollaround; and the little boat sailed faster up
the wall, across the ceiling, down the wall,
and over the floor. The Moon laughed at
the sight; but when Little Jack Rollaround
saw the Moon, he called out, "Open the
door, old Moon! I want to roll through
the town, so that the people can see me!"

The Moon could not open the door, but
he shone in through the keyhole, in a broad
band. And Little Jack Rollaround sailed
his trundle-bed boat up the beam, through
the keyhole, and into the street.

"Make a light, old Moon," he said; "I
want the people to see me!"

So the good Moon made a light and
went along with him, and the little trundle-
bed boat went sailing down the streets
into the main street of the village. They
rolled past the town hall and the schoolhouse
and the church; but nobody saw
little Jack Rollaround, because everybody
was in bed, asleep.

"Why don't the people come to see me?"
he shouted.

High up on the church steeple, the
Weather-vane answered, "It is no time for
people to be in the streets; decent folk are
in their beds."

"Then I'll go to the woods, so that the
animals may see me," said Little Jack.
"Come along, old Moon, and make a
light!"

The good Moon went along and made
a light, and they came to the forest. "Roll!
roll!" cried the little boy; and the trundle-
bed went trundling among the trees in the
great wood, scaring up the chipmunks and
startling the little leaves on the trees. The
poor old Moon began to have a bad time
of it, for the tree-trunks got in his way so
that he could not go so fast as the bed, and
every time he got behind, the little boy
called, "Hurry up, old Moon, I want the
beasts to see me!"

But all the animals were asleep, and
nobody at all looked at Little Jack Rollaround
except an old White Owl; and all
she said was, "Who are you?"

The little boy did not like her, so he
blew harder, and the trundle-bed boat
went sailing through the forest till it came
to the end of the world.

"I must go home now; it is late," said
the Moon.

"I will go with you; make a path!" said
Little Jack Rollaround.

The kind Moon made a path up to the
sky, and up sailed the little bed into the
midst of the sky. All the little bright Stars
were there with their nice little lamps. And
when he saw them, that naughty Little
Jack Rollaround began to tease. "Out of
the way, there! I am coming!" he shouted,
and sailed the trundle-bed boat straight at
them. He bumped the little Stars right
and left, all over the sky, until every one
of them put his little lamp out and left it
dark.

"Do not treat the little Stars so," said
the good Moon.

But Jack Rollaround only behaved the
worse: "Get out of the way, old Moon!"
he shouted, "I am coming!"

And he steered the little trundle-bed
boat straight into the old Moon's face,
and bumped his nose!

This was too much for the good Moon;
he put out his big light, all at once, and
left the sky pitch-black.

"Make a light, old Moon! Make a
light!" shouted the little boy. But the
Moon answered never a word, and Jack
Rollaround could not see where to steer.
He went rolling criss-cross, up and down,
all over the sky, knocking into the planets
and stumbling into the clouds, till he did
not know where he was.

Suddenly he saw a big yellow light at
the very edge of the sky. He thought it
was the Moon. "Look out, I am coming!"
he cried, and steered for the light.

But it was not the kind old Moon at all;
it was the great mother Sun, just coming
up out of her home in the sea, to begin her
day's work.

"Aha, youngster, what are you doing
in my sky?" she said. And she picked
Little Jack Rollaround up and threw him,
trundle-bed boat and all, into the middle
of the sea!

And I suppose he is there yet, unless
somebody picked him out again.


 

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