Ah! How snug it was in the barn that cold November night! Farmer Gray shut all the doors as if it were winter weather, and then went away glad to think that the animals were warm and comfortable for the night. No sooner had the sound of his footsteps died away than a Cow raised her head and gave a faint bellow.
“News!” said she, “News! Something beautiful happened to me today. It was just before I was turned out into the field this morning. Little Patty came running up to me and began to stroke my forehead. ‘You good old cow!’ said she, ‘I had some milk to drink at breakfast and I know who gave it to me, and so I have come to say thank you. Mother told me this morning that this was Thanksgiving day’ and then the dear child put a delicious apple into my mouth and laughed to hear me crunch it! I am so glad that my milk is good and rich. And she thanked me for butter and cream and for her papa’s cheese, too, the grateful child!”
“You say well. Neighbour Cow; a grateful child she is,” said the farm Horse. “I was in the stall just before they harnessed me to take the family out, and little Patty came to see me, too; and she thanked me for all the rides she had had on my back and in the hay-cart, and for dragging the plough and for bringing the flour from the mill. Then, bless her heart! She reached up and gave me a big mouthful of sweet-smelling hay. I tell you, I’ll trot my prettiest the next time I have her in the carriage!”
Bob gave a pleased whinny as he said this, and, as if in response, a noise came from the sheep barn. The sheep barn joined the larger barn, and at the doorway between stood a mild-faced Sheep, who began to speak in her own way. “So little Patty went to you, too, did she? I can tell you I was surprised when she brought me and the rest of the flock an extra dish of salt this morning. ‘This is to say, thank you, good Sheep,’ said she. ‘We talked about you in the kindergarten and I know that our worsted balls are made of your wool, and my new mittens, and my flannel petticoat, and my winter coat and dress, and Jackie’s clothes, and the blankets — and oh, so many things! How funny you would look with them all on your back!’ Then she felt of my wool and patted me with her gentle little hand. I do hope that my fleece will be a good heavy one this year, and how I wish that the wool might be used for little Patty!”
“Well, well!” said the Cow, “the child did make it a real Thanksgiving day, I am sure; for besides thanking me, and you. Bob, and you, Mrs. Fleecy, I heard the Hens saying today that she has been showering corn down for them by the double handful and saying ‘thank you’ for the eggs which they had given her. She told them that she used the eggs for breakfast, and that her mamma made cake with them, too. I wonder what put it into her head to come and thank us all.”
“It was her good little heart that put it into her head,” said Bob, wisely, “and I think I know the reason why she came today, for as I was trotting along the road I heard the family talking a good deal about today being Thanksgiving Day. And when Patty’s grandpapa asked her if she knew why Thanksgiving Day was kept, she said: ‘Oh, yes! It is the day to say ‘thank you’ for everything, and that is why I hurried out to the bam this morning.'”
“And to whom did you say ‘thank you’ out there,” asked her grandpapa.
“Why, to all of them,” answered Patty, “to Bob and Moolly cow, and the sheep and the hens.”
“Very good,” said Grandpapa, “very good indeed, little Thankful heart. I am glad you thought of the kind, useful creatures from whom we get so many things for our pleasure and comfort.”
As Bob repeated what Patty’s grandpapa had said, sober Mrs. Fleecy gave a little caper of delight, and Moolly cow heaved a sigh of deep satisfaction. Kind, grateful words are pleasant to any ears.
It was now bedtime and the animals began to settle themselves for their night’s rest. Mrs. Fleecy went back to her woolly companions in the sheep barn; Moolly cow sank down restfully in her stall; and Bob, after stamping and tramping a few times, bent his long legs under him and lay down upon his fresh straw bedding. But before they went to sleep they spoke again of how happy dear little Patty had made them with her thanks and her gifts.