Bessie Curtis was in a great deal of trouble. She was spending a year in the country while her father and mother were in Europe. It was not that which was troubling her. She liked the country, she loved her uncle and aunt with whom she lived, and she heard every week from her father and mother. But something disturbed her. As the summer passed, and the autumn came, she had moments when she looked very sober. What was the reason?
I will tell you.
Early in the spring her uncle had given her a young turkey.
"There, Bessie," he had said, "that is one of the prettiest turkeys I have ever seen. I will give him into your care, and on Thanksgiving Day we will have him on the dinner-table."
For some time Bessie fed the turkey every day without feeling particularly fond of him. Very soon, however, he began to know her; he not only ran to meet her when she brought him his corn and meal, but he would follow her about just the way Mary's little lamb followed HER about.
Her uncle often called after her: "And everywhere that Bessie goes, the turkey's sure to go."
Yes, round the garden, up and down the avenue, and even into the house itself the turkey followed Bessie.
Then why was she so sad?
Alas! she remembered her uncle's words when he gave her the turkey, "On Thanksgiving Day we will have him on the table."
Thanksgiving Day would be here in a week.
Now, if Bessie had been like some little girls, she would have told her trouble to her uncle. But she never mentioned it to any one, although she cried herself to sleep several nights before Thanksgiving Day.
At last the day came, and Bessie, instead of going out to the fowlyard as usual, kept in the house all the morning. She was afraid that, if she went, she would not find her beloved friend. Dinner-time came, and, with a heavy heart, she seated herself at the table. Her uncle and aunt noticed her sober face, and thought that she missed her father and mother.
"Come, come, said her uncle, "we must cheer up; no sad looks on Thanksgiving Day. Maria, BRING IN THE TURKEY."
Poor Bessie! she could not look up as the door opened, and something was brought in on a big platter. But, as the platter was placed on the table, she saw that it did indeed hold her turkey, but he was alive and well.
She looked so astonished that suddenly her uncle understood all her past troubles.
"Why, Bessie," he said, "did you think I would kill your pet? No, indeed, but I told you he should be on the table Thanksgiving Day, so here he is."
Then Bessie's uncle struck the turkey gently with his carving-knife, the way the queen strikes a man with a sword when she makes him a knight.
"Behold!" said Bessie's uncle, "I dub you 'Sir Gobble;' you shall never be killed, but die a natural death, and never be parted from Bessie."