Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
In this last employment she never forgot Cheri. To-day
she had fashioned croquignoles of the most fantastic and
alluring shapes for him. So when she saw the boy come trudging
across the old field with his gleaming little new rifle on his
shoulder, she called out gayly to him, "Cheri! Cheri!"
But Cheri did not need the summons, for he was coming straight
to her. His pockets all bulged out with almonds and raisins and an
orange that he had secured for her from the very fine dinner which
had been given that day up at his father's house.
He was a sunny-faced youngster of ten. When he had emptied
his pockets, La Folle patted his round red cheek, wiped his soiled
hands on her apron, and smoothed his hair. Then she watched him
as, with his cakes in his hand, he crossed her strip of cotton back
of the cabin, and disappeared into the wood.
He had boasted of the things he was going to do with his gun
"You think they got plenty deer in the wood, La Folle?" he had
inquired, with the calculating air of an experienced hunter.
"Non, non!" the woman laughed. "Don't you look fo' no deer, Cheri.
Dat's too big. But you bring La Folle one good fat squirrel
fo' her dinner to-morrow, an' she goin' be satisfi'."
"One squirrel ain't a bite. I'll bring you mo' 'an one, La
Folle," he had boasted pompously as he went away.
When the woman, an hour later, heard the report of the boy's
rifle close to the wood's edge, she would have thought nothing of
it if a sharp cry of distress had not followed the sound.
She withdrew her arms from the tub of suds in which they had
been plunged, dried them upon her apron, and as quickly as her
trembling limbs would bear her, hurried to the spot whence the
ominous report had come.
It was as she feared. There she found Cheri stretched upon
the ground, with his rifle beside him. He moaned
"I'm dead, La Folle! I'm dead! I'm gone!"
"Non, non!" she exclaimed resolutely, as she knelt beside