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LITTLE FOLKS IN HOLLAND.
Gretel is a little Dutch girl.
She lives in Holland.
The people who live in Holland are called Dutch.
When Gretel was born a pink silk ball covered with lace was hung at the front door.
Then all the neighbors knew there was a girl-baby in the house.
When her brother Peter was born a red silk ball covered with lace was hung at the front door.
Then everybody who passed by the house knew there was a boy-baby.
Peter and Gretel have a little sister named Hilda.
Babies in Holland are wrapped round and round with bands of cloth.
They can hardly move their legs and arms.
But Hilda is now beginning to walk.
See her papa hold out his hands to her.
See them all watch her.
She wears a little cushion on her head. It is made on a stiff frame.
If she falls and bumps her head, this cushion saves her head from bumps.
Hilda is just beginning to Walk
Peter and Gretel and Hilda live in a queer little house.
It is painted blue. There is a stork's nest on the roof.
The floors are made Of tiles. They shine like china plates.
There is not a speck of dirt anywhere.
The handsome old furniture is trimmed with brass. The brass is scoured so bright you can see your face in it.
The Dutch women' scour the, outside of the house as well as the inside.
If you should visit Gretel you would wonder where the beds are.
You would look all about the house and not find them.
At night Gretel's mamma opens a sliding-door in the wall.
There are the beds, like shelves. Peter sleeps in the top one. Gretel sleeps in the lower one.
Peter and Gretel wear wooden shoes.
They leave their shoes outside the door when they come in.
They must not bring any dirt into the house.
A traveller once visited a school. in Holland.
At the schoolhouse door he saw a great pile of wooden shoes.
The children wore only their thick stockings on their feet during school-time.
The trunks of the trees near Gretel's house are painted blue.
There is one tree cut so as to look like a peacock. Another tree is shaped like a deer.
Outside of the window little mirrors are hung. They are hung in a way that people in the house can see what is going on in the street.
Every year Gretel visits her cousin Katrina.
Katrina lives near the city of Amsterdam.
Gretel goes on a steamer.
There are a great many canals in Holland.
Sometimes the water in these canals is higher than the land. Great banks of earth are built to keep the water from flowing over the land.
These banks are called dykes.
Sometimes as Gretel sails along on the steamer, she looks down on the tops of the houses.
She sees vessels from all parts of the world sailing on the canals.
The canal boats are painted in pretty colors. The windows of the boats have curtains of white lace, tied with bright ribbons.
There are pots of flowers, a cat, a dog and a bird.
Whole families of children live on these boats. I think they have good times.
There are a great many drawbridges on these canals.
They are raised by machinery; and the great ships and steamers pass through.
Katrina lives on a dairy-farm.
Gretel never tires of looking at the handsome black and white Dutch cattle.
I wish you could see the cow-stable.
When you go in you have to wipe your feet on a mat at the door.
The floor is of brick, and is very clean. The walls are whitewashed.
There is not a cobweb or a speck of dirt to be seen.
The windows have white curtains and pots of flowers.
The cows are washed and combed, and their tails are tied by a cord to the ceiling, so as not to get dirty.
The air of the stable is sweet. Katrina feeds the cattle in the yard every morning.
At this dairy-farm they make "pine-apple" cheeses.
Perhaps you may have seen these cheeses in the market. They are sent from Holland to the United States.
Many of the women of Holland wear queer dresses.
You will see one dressed in a short blue petticoat and black jacket.
The sleeves are red, and she wears a long embroidered apron.
She wears a wide band of gold around her head. She hangs long gold ear rings from this band of gold.
Katrina feeding the Cattle
Then she puts a beautiful lace veil over the gold band.
Over the lace she wears a bonnet; and on the bonnet there is a big bunch of flowers.
Some of the Holland women wear bonnets with great flapping wings like birds.
Some of the women wear gold or silver helmets which cover the head and hide the hair.
The little girls are dressed like the women.
Holland is a flat country. There are no hills.
The little Dutch boys do not know how to skip a stone on water.
There is plenty of water in Holland, but there are no stones.
Both boys and girls have great fun in the winter. Then the canals are frozen.
Everybody in Holland skates. Little children toddle along on skates. Old men skate.
You will see market-women skate to market.
They carry their baskets on their heads.
The doctor skates to visit his patients.
The children skate to school. The school-teachers skate to school.
The mothers skate too. They tie their babies on their backs with a shawl.
There are hundreds of great windmills in Holland.
The great sails swing round and round in the wind and work the machinery.
Some of these wind-mills grind grain.
Some of them lift the water from the lowlands into the canals.
A great many ducks and geese swim about in the waters.
Let me tell you a pretty story about a Dutch goose.
People say geese are stupid. But that is not true.
The mistress of this Dutch goose was old and blind.
Every Sunday the goose led her to church.
She would seize her gown in her bill and so pull her mistress gently along.
When her mistress was seated in her pew, the goose would walk out and wait till the service was over.
Then she would come back and lead her mistress home.