The Drinking Gourd
By F.N. Monjo
A boy named Tommy Fuller was at church. He had been there all day long. He was wiggling around. He had some fishing line in his pocket and an apple in the other pocket. He took a big bite out of his apple in church. Out of the window Tommy saw a flock of geese. He took his fishing line and tied one end around the apple core. He opened the window and threw the apple core out. A goose got the apple and started to fly with it in his mouth. Tommy pulled the string and was flying the goose like a kite. These made such a racket that it bothered the people in church.
Tommy got in big trouble. He had to leave church.
Tommy was sad because he thought he might get spanked. He walked to the barn and gave an apple to the horse. Tommy saw the hay piled up high in the wagon. It made him think he wanted to jump off the hayloft into the hay wagon. So he went up the ladder to the hayloft and hollered down to the horses. Then he jumped into the hay wagon..
Tommy heard a baby crying. He was scared. He found a family hiding in his barn. They were running away because they were slaves. They were from Carolina and they were going to Canada. The family was following the drinking gourd which was the Big Dipper. The Big Dipper is up in night sky. It is made of stars.
The family’s names were Little Jeff, Vinnie, Pearl and Big Jeff. They were going to Canada to be free.
Tommy’s father came and told him to help hitch up the horses. Deacon Fuller and Tommy put Little Jeff, Big Jeff, Vinnie and Pearl in the hay to hide them. They headed toward the river. Jeff told Tommy that he had been a slave all his life and now he was running away on the underground railroad..
Father told Tommy about the Underground Railroad. It was a secret group of people that think slavery is wrong and helped slaves get north to Canada. Tommy’s father told him that it was very important to keep the Underground Railroad a secret.
Soon they came to a riverbank where there was a boat hidden. Tommy heard horses coming on the road. Four men on horseback stopped Tommy and his dad. They were looking for the runaways. They wanted to search the wagon for the slaves, Tommy was scared. He was afraid Little Jeff and others would be found and then they would never be free.
Tommy told the men that he was afraid of getting a spanking so he was the one running away. The men knew what he did in church and they believed him. The men told Tommy to go home to his Pa and they left without finding the slaves.
Tommy’s dad told him he did “just fine” and to take the wagon back alone. Deacon Fuller had to row across to the station on the Underground Railroad. Tommy said goodbye and then went home. He could not sleep so he waited for his father to come home.
Father came up to his room and they talked about the law being wrong. The law was wrong because God doesn’t want people to own other people. Deacon Fuller hated the law and was trying to change it.
Tommy went sleep thinking about Little Jeff and the Drinking Gourd.
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