The Twins helped Father Vedder a long time. They learned to count ten and to do several other things. Then their father gave them the money for the cabbage and the ten onions they had sold to Vrouw Van der Kloot, and said, "You may walk around the market and look in all the stalls, and buy the thing you like best that costs just two cents. Then come back here to me." Kit and Kat set forth on their travels, to see the world. They each held the money tightly shut in one hand, and with the other hand they held on to each other. "The world is very large," said Kit and Kat. They saw all sorts of strange things in the market. There were tables piled high with flowers. There was a stall full of birds in cages, singing away with all their might. One cage had five little birds in it, sitting in a row. "O Kit," cried Kat, "let's buy the birds!" They asked the woman if the birds cost two cents, and she said, "No, my angels; they cost fifty cents." You see, now that the Twins could count ten, they knew they couldn't get the birds for two cents when they cost fifty. So they went to the next place. There, there were chickens and ducks for sale. But the Twins had plenty of those at home. There were stalls and stalls of vegetables just like Father's, and there were booths where meat and fish and wood and peat were sold. But the Twins couldn't find anything they wanted that cost exactly two cents. At last, what should they see but Vrouw Van der Kloot's fat face smiling at them from a stall just full of cakes and cookies and bread, and chocolate, and honey cakes, and goodies of all kinds. The Twins held up their money. There on the counter was a whole row of St. Nicholas dolls with currant eyes, and they knew at once that there was nothing else in all the market they should like so much! "Do these cost two cents apiece, dear Vrouw Van der Kloot?" asked Kat. "No," said Vrouw Van der Kloot; "they cost one cent apiece." The Twins were discouraged. "I don't believe there's a single thing in this whole market that costs just two cents," said Kat. "Keep still!" said Kit. "Let me think." They sat down on the curb. Kat kept still, and Kit took hold of his head with both hands and thought hard. He thought so hard that he scowled all over his forehead! "I tell you what it is, Kat," he said at last. "If those St. Nicholas dolls cost one cent apiece, I _think_ we could get two of them for two cents." "O Kit," said Kat, "how splendidly you can think! Does it hurt you much? Let's ask Vrouw Van der Kloot." They went back to the good Vrouw, who was selling some coffee bread to a woman with a basket. "O Vrouw Van der Kloot," said Kat, "Kit says that if those St. Nicholas dolls cost one cent apiece, he _thinks_ we could get two for two cents. Do you think so?" "Of course you can," said Vrouw Van der Kloot; and she winked at the lady with the bread. "But you've got two cents, and I've got two," said Kat to Kit. "If you should get two Nicholas dolls, why, I should have my two cents left; shouldn't I? Oh! dear, it won't come out right anyway!" "Let me think some more," said Kit; and when he had thought some more, he said, "I'll tell you what let's! You get two with your two cents, and I'll get two with mine! And I'll give my other one to Mother and you can give your other one to Father!" "That's just what we'll do," said Kat. They went back to Vrouw Van der Kloot. "We'll take _four_ dolls," said Kat. "Well, well, well!" said the Vrouw. "So you've figured it all out, have you?" And she counted out the dolls--"One for Kit, and one for Kat, and one for Father, and one for Mother, and an extra one for good measure!" "O Kit, she's given us one more!" said Kat. "Let's eat it right now! Thank you, dear Vrouw Van der Kloot." So they ate up the one more then and there, beginning with the feet. Kit bit one off, and Kat bit the other; and they took turns until the St. Nicholas doll was all gone. Then they took the four others, said goodbye to the good Vrouw, and went back to Father's stall. They found that Father had sold all his things and was ready to go home. They carried their empty baskets back to the boat, and soon were on their way home. The Twins sat on one seat, holding tight to their dolls, which were growing rather sticky. The boat was so light that they went home from market much more quickly than they had come, and it did not seem long before they saw their own house. There it was, with its mossy roof half hidden among the trees, and Vrouw Vedder waiting for them at the gate. Dinner was all ready, and the Twins set the four St. Nicholas dolls in a row, in the middle of the table. "There's one for Father, and one for Mother, and one for Kat, and one for me," said Kit. "O Mother," said Kat, "Kit can think! He thought just how many dolls he could buy when they were one for one cent! Isn't it fine that he can do that?" "You've learned a great deal at the market," said Vrouw Vedder. But Kit didn't say a word. He just looked proud and pleased and put his hands in his pockets. "By and by, when you are four and a half feet high and are called Christopher, you can go with Father every time," said Vrouw Vedder. "I can think a little bit, too," said Kat. "Can't I go?" "No," said Vrouw Vedder. "Girls shouldn't think much. It isn't good for them. Leave thinking to the men. You can stay at home and help me." III MOTHER'S DAY "Yesterday was a very long day," said Vrouw Vedder on the morning after Market Day. "You were gone such a long time." Kat gave her mother a great hug. "We'll stay with you all day today, Mother," she said. "Won't we, Kit?" "Yes," said Kit; and he hugged her too. "And we'll help you just as much as we helped Father yesterday. Won't we, Kit?" "More," said Kit. "I shouldn't wonder!" said Father. "I shall be glad of help," said Vrouw Vedder, "because Grandma is coming, and I want everything to be very clean and tidy when she comes. I'm going first to the pasture to milk the cow. You can go with me and keep the flies away. That will be a great help." Vrouw Vedder put a yoke across her shoulders, with hooks hanging from each end of it. Then she hung a large pail on one of the hooks, and a brass milk can on the other. She gave Kat a little pail to carry, and Kit took some switches from the willow tree in the yard, with which to drive away the flies. Then they all three started down the road to the pasture. Pretty soon they came to a little bridge over the canal, which they had to cross. "Oh, dear," said Kat, looking down at the water, "I'm scared!" You see, there was no railing at all to take hold of, and the bridge was quite narrow. "Ho! 'Fraidy cat!" said Kit. "I'll go first and show you how." "And I'll walk behind you," said Vrouw Vedder. Kat walked very slowly and held on hard to her pail, and so she got over the bridge safely. "When I'm four feet and a half high, I'm going to jump over the canal on a jumping pole," said Kit. "O how brave you are!" said Kat. "I should be scared. And besides I'm afraid I should drop my shoes in the water." "Well, of course," said Kit, "boys can do a great many things that girls can't do." When they reached the pasture, there was Mevrouw Holstein waiting for them. Mevrouw Holstein was the cow's name. Kit and Kat named her. Vrouw Vedder tucked up her skirts--and that was quite a task, for she wore a great many of them--and sat down on a little stool. Kit and Kat stood beside her and waved their willow wands and said "Shoo!" to the flies; and Vrouw Vedder began to milk. Mevrouw Holstein had eaten so much of the green meadow grass that Vrouw Vedder filled both the big pail and the brass can, and the little pail too, with rich milk. "I shall have milk enough to make butter and cheese," said Vrouw Vedder. "There are no cows like our Dutch cows in all the world, I believe." "O Mother, are you going to churn today?" asked Kat. "Yes," said the Vrouw, "I have cream enough at home to make a good roll of butter, and you may help me if you will be very careful and work steadily." "I will be very steady," said Kat. "I'm big enough now to learn." "All Dutch girls must know how to make good butter and cheese," said Vrouw Vedder. "And boys can drink the buttermilk," said Kit. "I'll drink some too," said Kat. "There'll be plenty for both," said their mother. When she had finished milking, Vrouw Vedder shook out her skirts, put the yoke across her shoulders again and lifted the large pail of milk. She hung it on one of the hook and the brass milk can on the other. Kat took the small pail, and they started back home. The milk was quite heavy, so they walked slowly. They had crossed the bridge and were just turning down the road, when what should they see but their old goose and gander walking along the road, followed by six little goslings! "O Mother, Mother," screamed Kat; "there is the old goose that we haven't seen for so long! She has stolen her nest and hatched out six little geese all her own! They are taking them to the canal to swim." "Quick, Kit, quick!" said Vrouw Vedder. "Don't let them go into the canal! We must drive them home." Kit ran boldly forward in front of them, and Kat ran too. She spilled some of the milk; but she was in such a hurry that she never knew it, until afterwards, when she found some in her wooden shoes! "K-s-s-s!" said the old goose; and she ran straight for the Twins with her mouth open and her wings spread! The old gander ran at them too. I can't begin to tell you how scared Kat was then! She stood right still and screamed. Kit was scared too; but he stood by Kat, like a brave boy, and shook his willow switches at the geese, and shouted "Shoo! Shoo!" just as he did at the flies. Vrouw Vedder set her pails down in the road and came up behind, flapping her apron. Then the old goose and the gander and all the little goslings started slowly along the road for home, saying cross words in Goose talk all the way!
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