A White Heron


  • Narrator

    The woods were already filled with shadows one June evening, just before eight o'clock, though a bright sunset still glimmered faintly among the trunks of the trees.

    Profile Picture of Narrator in A White Heron
  • A little girl was driving home her cow, a plodding, dilatory, provoking creature in her behavior, but a valued companion for all that.

  • They were going away from whatever light there was, and striking deep into the woods, but their feet were familiar with the path, and it was no matter whether their eyes could see it or not.

  • There was hardly a night the summer through when the old cow could be found waiting at the pasture bars;

  • on the contrary, it was her greatest pleasure to hide herself away among the huckleberry bushes, and though she wore a loud bell she had made the discovery that if one stood perfectly still it would not ring.

  • So Sylvia had to hunt for her until she found her, and call Co' !

  • Narrator

    Co' !

    Profile Picture of Narrator in A White Heron
  • with never an answering Moo, until her childish patience was quite spent.

  • If the creature had not given good milk and plenty of it, the case would have seemed very different to her owners.

  • Besides, Sylvia had all the time there was, and very little use to make of it.

  • Sometimes in pleasant weather it was a consolation to look upon the cow's pranks as an intelligent attempt to play hide and seek, and as the child had no playmates she lent herself to this amusement with a good deal of zest.

  • Though this chase had been so long that the wary animal herself had given an unusual signal of her whereabouts, Sylvia had only laughed when she came upon Mistress Moolly at the swamp-side, and urged her affectionately homeward with a twig of birch leaves.

  • Narrator

    The old cow was not inclined to wander farther, she even turned in the right direction for once as they left the pasture, and stepped along the road at a good pace.

    Profile Picture of Narrator in A White Heron
  • She was quite ready to be milked now, and seldom stopped to browse.

  • Sylvia wondered what her grandmother would say because they were so late.

  • It was a great while since she had left home at half-past five o'clock, but everybody knew the difficulty of making this errand a short one.

  • Mrs. Tilley had chased the hornΓ©d torment too many summer evenings herself to blame any one else for lingering, and was only thankful as she waited that she had Sylvia, nowadays, to give such valuable assistance.

  • The good woman suspected that Sylvia loitered occasionally on her own account;

  • Narrator

    there never was such a child for straying about out-of-doors since the world was made!

    Profile Picture of Narrator in A White Heron