The Candy CountryLouisa May Alcott
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THE CANDY COUNTRY
LOUISA M. ALCOTT
AUTHOR OF "LITTLE WOMEN," "LITTLE MEN," "AN OLD-FASHIONED GIRL," "AUNT JO'S SCRAP-BAG," "LULU'S LIBRARY," ETC.
BOSTON LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY
_Copyright, 1885,_ BY LOUISA M. ALCOTT
_Copyright, 1900,_ BY JOHN S. P. ALCOTT
University Press JOHN WILSON AND SON, CAMBRIDGE, U.S.A.
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"Hollo, what do you want?" he asked, staring at her. PAGE 10.]
THE CANDY COUNTRY
"I shall take mamma's red sun umbrella, it is so warm, and none of thechildren at school will have one like it," said Lily, one day, as shewent through the hall.
"The wind is very high; I'm afraid you'll be blown away if you carrythat big thing," called Nurse from the window, as the red umbrella wentbobbing down the garden walk with a small girl under it.
"I wish it would; I always wanted to go up in a balloon," answered Lily,as she struggled out of the gate.
She got on very well till she came to the bridge and stopped to lookover the railing at the water running by so fast, and the turtlessunning themselves on the rocks. Lily was fond of throwing stones atthem; it was so funny to watch them tumble, heels over head, splash intothe water. Now, when she saw three big fellows close by, she stooped fora stone, and just at that minute a gale of wind nearly took the umbrellaout of her hand. She clutched it fast; and away she went like athistle-down, right up in the air, over river and hill, houses andtrees, faster and faster, till her head spun round, her breath was allgone, and she had to let go. The dear red umbrella flew away like aleaf; and Lily fell down, down, till she went crash into a tree whichgrew in such a curious place that she forgot her fright as she satlooking about her, wondering what part of the world it could be.
The tree looked as if made of glass or colored sugar; for she could seethrough the red cherries, the green leaves, and the brown branches. Anagreeable smell met her nose; and she said at once, as any child would,"I smell candy!" She picked a cherry and ate it. Oh, how good itwas!--all sugar and no stone. The next discovery was such a delightfulone that she nearly fell off her perch; for by touching her tongue hereand there, she found that the whole tree was made of candy. Think whatfun to sit and break off twigs of barley sugar, candied cherries, andleaves that tasted like peppermint and sassafras!
Lily rocked and ate till she finished the top of the little tree;then she climbed down and strolled along, making more surprising andagreeable discoveries as she went.
What looked like snow under her feet was white sugar; the rocks werelumps of chocolate, the flowers of all colors and tastes; and every sortof fruit grew on these delightful trees. Little white houses soonappeared; and here lived the dainty candy-people, all made of the bestsugar, and painted to look like real people. Dear little men and women,looking as if they had stepped off of wedding cakes and bonbons, wentabout in their gay sugar clothes, laughing and talking in the sweetestvoices. Bits of babies rocked in open-work cradles, and sugar boys andgirls played with sugar toys in the most natural way. Carriages rolledalong the jujube streets, drawn by the red and yellow barley horses weall love so well; cows fed in the green fields, and sugar birds sang inthe trees.
Lily listened, and in a moment she understood what the song said,--
"Sweet! Sweet! Come, come and eat, Dear little girls With yellow curls; For here you'll find Sweets to your mind. On every tree Sugar-plums you'll see; In every dell Grows the caramel. Over every wall Gum-drops fall; Molasses flows Where our river goes. Under your feet Lies sugar sweet; Over your head Grow almonds red. Our lily and rose Are not for the nose; Our flowers we pluck To eat or suck. And, oh! what bliss When two friends kiss, For they honey sip From lip to lip! And all you meet, In house or street, At work or play, Sweethearts are they. So, little dear, Pray feel no fear; Go where you will; Eat, eat your fill. Here is a feast From west to east; And you can say, Ere you go away, 'At last I stand In dear Candy-land, And no more can stuff; For once I've enough.' Sweet! Sweet! Tweet! Tweet! Tweedle-dee! Tweedle-dee!"
"That is the most interesting song I ever heard," said Lily, clappingher sticky hands and dancing along toward a fine palace of white creamcandy, with pillars of striped peppermint stick, and a roof of frostingthat made it look like the Milan Cathedral.
"I'll live here, and eat candy all day long, with no tiresome school orpatchwork to spoil my fun," said Lily.
So she ran up the chocolate steps into the pretty rooms, where all thechairs and tables were of different colored candies, and the beds ofspun sugar. A fountain of lemonade supplied drink; and floors ofice-cream that never melted kept people and things from stickingtogether, as they would have done had it been warm.
For a long while Lily was quite happy, going about tasting so manydifferent kinds of sweeties, talking to the little people, who were veryamiable, and finding out curious things about them and their country.
The babies were made of plain sugar, but the grown people had differentflavors. The young ladies were flavored with violet, rose, and orange;the gentlemen were apt to have cordials of some sort inside of them, asshe found when she ate one now and then slyly, and got her tongue bittenby the hot, strong taste as a punishment. The old people tasted ofpeppermint, clove, and such comfortable things, good for pain; but theold maids had lemon, hoar-hound, flag-root, and all sorts of sour,bitter things in them, and did not get eaten much. Lily soon learned toknow the characters of her new friends by a single taste, and some shenever touched but once. The dear babies melted in her mouth, and thedelicately flavored young ladies she was very fond of. Dr. Ginger wascalled to her more than once when so much candy made her teeth ache, andshe found him a very hot-tempered little man; but he stopped the pain,so she was glad to see him.
A lime-drop boy and a little pink checkerberry girl were her favoriteplaymates; and they had fine times making mud-pies by scraping thechocolate rocks and mixing this dust with honey from the wells near by.These they could eat; and Lily thought this much better than throwingaway the pies, as she had to do at home. They had candy-pulls veryoften, and made swings of long loops of molasses candy, and bird's-nestswith almond eggs, out of which came birds who sang sweetly. They playedfoot-ball with big bull's-eyes, sailed in sugar boats on lakes of syrup,fished in rivers of molasses, and rode the barley horses all over thecountry.
Lily discovered that it never rained, but snowed white sugar. There wasno sun, as it would have been too hot; but a large yellow lozenge madea nice moon, and red and white comfits were the stars.
The people all lived on sugar, and never quarrelled. No one was ill; andif any got broken, as sometimes happened with such brittle creatures,they just stuck the parts together and were all right again. The waythey grew old was to get thinner and thinner till there was danger oftheir vanishing. Then the friends of the old person put him in a neatcoffin, and carried him to the great golden urn which stood in theirlargest temple, always full of a certain fine syrup; and here he wasdipped and dipped till he was stout and strong again, a
nd went home toenjoy himself for a long time as good as new.
This was very interesting to Lily, and she went to many funerals. Butthe weddings were better still; for the lovely white brides were sosweet Lily longed to eat them. The feasts were delicious; and everybodywent in their best clothes, and danced at the ball till they got so warmhalf-a-dozen would stick together and have to be taken to the ice-creamroom to cool off. Then the little pair would drive away in a finecarriage with white horses to a new palace in some other part of thecountry, and Lily would have another pleasant place to visit.
But by and by, when she had seen everything, and eaten so much sweetstuff that at last she longed for plain bread and butter, she began toget cross, as children always do when they live on candy; and the littlepeople wished she would go away, for they were afraid of her. No wonder,when she would catch up a dear sugar baby and eat him, or break somerespectable old grandmamma