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List Of Contents | Contents of The Dutch Twins, by Lucy Fitch Perkins
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the snowy fields, and the corners of the kitchen were quite dark.

"It's almost time to expect him, now," said Vrouw Vedder; and she
brought out a sheet and spread it in the middle of the kitchen
floor. She stirred up the fire, and the room was filled with the
pleasant glow from the flames.

Kit and Kat sat on their little stools. Their eyes were very big.
At five minutes of six, Vrouw Vedder said,

"He will be here in just a few minutes, now. Get up, Kit and Kat,
and sing your song!"

The Twins stood up on the edge of the sheet and began to sing:

    "St. Nicholas, good, holy man,
     Put on your best gown;
     Ride with it to Amsterdam,
     From Amsterdam to Spain."

While they were singing, there was a sound at the door, of some
one feeling for the latch. Then the door flew open, and a great
shower of sweet cakes and candies fell onto the sheet, all around
Kit and Kat! There in the doorway stood St. Nicholas himself,
smiling and shaking off the snow! His horse was stamping outside.
Kit and Kat could hear it.

They stopped singing and hardly breathed, they stood so still.
They looked at St. Nicholas with big, big eyes. In one hand St.
Nicholas carried two large packages; in the other, a birch rod.

"Are there any good children here?" said St. Nicholas.

"Pretty good, if you please, dear St. Nicholas," said Kit in a
very small voice.

"Children who always mind their mothers and fathers and
grandfathers and grandmothers?" said St. Nicholas, "and who do
not quarrel?"

Kat couldn't say anything at all, though the Saint looked right
at her! Vrouw Vedder spoke.

"I think, dear St. Nicholas, they are very good children," she
said.

"Then I will leave these for them and carry the rod along to some
bad little boy and girl, if I find one," said St. Nicholas.
"There seem to be very few about here. I haven't left a single
rod yet." And he handed one big package to Kit, and another to
Kat.

"Thank you," said Kit and Kat.

St. Nicholas smiled at them and waved his hand. Then the door
shut, and he was gone!

Kit and Kat dropped on their knees to pick up the cakes and
candies. They passed the cakes and candies around to each one.
Vrouw Vedder lighted the candles, and then they all gathered
around to see Kit and Kat open their bundles.

"You open yours first," said Vrouw Vedder to Kat.

Kat was so excited that she could hardly untie the string. When
she got the bundle open, there was a beautiful new Sunday dress
much prettier than the torn one had ever been! Oh, how pleased
Kat was! She hugged her motherand her grandmother and her father
and her grandfather.

"I just wish I could hug dear St. Nicholas, too," she said.

Then Kit opened his bundle; and there was a beautiful new
velveteen suit, with his very own silver buttons on it! It had
pockets in it! He put his hand in one pocket. It had a penny in
it! Then he put his hand in the other pocket. There was another
penny!

"I'm going to see if there's a pocket in mine," said Kat.

She hunted and hunted and hunted. By and by she found a pocket.
And sure enough, there was a penny in that too!

Then some presents came from somewhere for Father and Mother
Vedder and for Grandfather and Grandmother Winkle; and such a
time as they all had, opening the bundles and showing their
presents!

Then Mother Vedder tried on Kit's suit and Kat's dress, to see if
they were the right size. They were just right exactly.

"St. Nicholas even knows how big we are," said Kat.

"Oh, I wish St. Nicholas Day would last a week," said Kit.

"That reminds me," said Vrouw Vedder, and she looked at the
clock. "Half-past ten, and these children still up! Bless my
heart, this will never do! Come here, Kit and Kat, and let me
undo your buttons!"

"May we take our new clothes to bed with us?" Kat asked.

"Yes, just this once," said Mother Vedder, "because this
is St. Nicholas night."

They kissed their Grandfather and Grandmother good-night, and
their Mother and Father, and said their prayers like good
children; and then they climbed up into their little cupboard
bed, and Vrouw Vedder drew the curtains, so they would go to
sleep sooner.

"Good-night, dear little Twins," she said.

And so say we.





SUGGESTIONS TO TEACHERS

This book is the first of a series of stories for supplementary
reading the purpose of which is to give children a correct idea
of life in different countries, both in the spirit and atmosphere
of the story, and in the actual descriptions. These books will
also further a spirit of friendliness and good will for children
of other nationalities. Respect for and an understanding of the
life and customs of other races, are not only educationally
valuable, but are fundamentally important in this "crucible of
nations," where different races are fusing themselves together as
never before in the history of the world. Tradition is a precious
heritage, and the traditions of other nations should be the
natural inheritance of the American child, since here as nowhere
else all the nations of the earth are entering into our national
life.

The author has recognized from the start that the purpose of a
book of this kind would fail of realization if the narrative does
not appeal strongly to children. The delight with which the book
has been received by children is evidence that the important
element of interest has not been left out of the narrative.

To make the reading of this story most valuable as a school
exercise, it is suggested that children be allowed at the outset
to turn the pages of the book in order to get glimpses of "Kit"
and "Kat," in the various scenes in which they are portrayed, in
the illustrations, thus arousing their interest. With a globe, or
a map of the world, point out Holland, and tell the children
something about the unique character of the country.

The text is so simply written that any third or fourth grade
child can read it without much preparation. In the third grade it
may be well to have the children read it first in the study
period in order to work out the pronunciation of the more
difficult words. In the fourth grade the children can usually
read it at sight, without the preparatory study.

In connection with the reading of the book, have children read
selections from their readers and other books about Holland and
its people. The legend of "The Hole in the Dike" is an
illustration of this kind of collateral reading. Let children
also bring to class postcards and other pictures illustrating
scenes in Holland.

The unique illustrations in the book should be much used, both in
the reading of the story and in other ways. Children will enjoy
sketching some of the pictures; their simple treatment makes them
especially useful for this purpose. An excellent oral language
exercise would be for the children, after they have read the
story, to take turns telling the story from the pictures; and a
good composition exercise would be for each child to select the
picture that he would like to write upon, make a sketch of it,
and write the story in his own words.

These are only a few of the number of ways that will occur to
resourceful teachers of making the book a valuable as well as an
interesting exercise in reading.





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