Three Guesses

Once upon a time there was a grandmother who went to spend Thanksgiving day with her children and grandchildren.

She had three grandchildren, Isabel, Jack, and Jamie, and as soon as she had taken off her cloak and bonnet she sat down in Mamma’s big rocking-chair, and called them to her.

“I have a present for each one of you in my brown bag,” she said, “but before I give them to you, you must guess what they are.”

“Oh, Grandma!” said Isabel and Jack and Jamie; and they watched her with wondering eyes as she opened the bag, and took out a bundle.

“Jamie’s present is in this bundle,” said she. “It is red on the outside, and white on the inside and in the middle there is something brown.”

“I believe I know what it is,” said Jack.

“So do I,” said Isabel; but Grandma would not let them guess.

“Jamie must guess it himself,” she said. So Jamie guessed a ball, and a flower and a piece of candy and everything else he could think of; but he could not guess what was in the bundle till Grandma let him smell it. Then he knew.

“An apple, a red apple,” he cried; and when he opened the bundle, there, sure enough, was a big, round apple. It was red on the outside, and white on the inside; and when he had eaten it he found in the middle, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven brown seeds.

The next bundle was for Jack. Grandma shook it up and down, and something rattled inside.

“Marbles,” guessed Jack; but Grandma shook her head.

“Listen to this,” she said:—

“Riddle me, riddle me, what can it be,
Hickory, dickory fell from a tree.
Run for a hammer, and crickety crack
Here are some goodies for little boy Jack.”

“Nuts, nuts!” cried Jack. “Hickory nuts from the big hickory tree that grows in your front yard.” And he was right, too.

“Now it is my turn,” said Isabel; “and I am going to try to guess my present with my very first guess.”

But when Grandma took out a little bundle wrapped in tissue paper, and put it into Isabel’s hands, she was as puzzled as the others had been.

“Be very careful,” said Grandma; “for if you break your present you will never be able to mend it, no matter how hard you try.”

“May I ask questions about it?” asked Isabel.

“Yes,” said Grandma, “you may ask three questions; but when I have answered those I will close my lips, and will not answer another one.”

Then Isabel asked the three questions:—

“What color is my present?”

“White,” said Grandma.

“Where did it come from?”

“The haystack,” said Grandma.

“Who told you it was there?”

“The old white hen,” said Grandma; and she closed her lips just as she had said she would; but Isabel knew what her present was without another word.

“I knew as soon as you said it came from the haystack,” she said. “It is an egg.”

And so it was, a beautiful fresh white egg. Isabel had it for her breakfast the very next morning.

“My!” said Grandma, as the children gathered around her to kiss her and thank her. “What good guessers my grandchildren are!”

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