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By Eugene Field
I AIN'T afeard uv snakes, or toads, or bugs, or worms, or mice, An' things 'at girls are skeered uv I think are awful
nice I I'm pretty brave, I guess; an' yet I hate to go to bed, For, when I'm tucked up warm an' snug an' when
my prayers are said, Mother tells me "Happy dreams!" and takes away
the light, An' leaves me lyin' all alone an' seein' things at
Sometimes they're in the corner, sometimes they're
by the door, Sometimes they're all a-standin' in the middle uv
the floor; Sometimes they are a-sittin' down, sometimes
they're walkin' round So softly an' so creepylike they never make a sound! Sometimes they are as black as ink, an' other times
they're white— But the color ain't no difference when you see things
Once, when I licked a feller 'at had just moved on
our street, An' father sent me up to bed without a bite to eat, I woke up in the dark an' saw things standin' in a
row, A-lookin' at me cross-eyed an' p'intin' at me—so! Oh, my! I wuz so skeered that time I never slep' a
mite— It's almost alluz when I'm bad I see things at night!
Lucky thing I ain't a girl, or I'd be skeered to
death! Bein' I'm a boy, I duck my head an' hold my
breath; An' I am, oh! so sorry I'm a naughty boy, an' then I promise to be better an' I say my prayers again! Gran'ma tells me that's the only way to make it
right When a feller has been wicked an' sees things at
An' so, when other naughty boys would coax me into
sin, I try to skwush the Tempter's voice 'at urges me
within; An' when they's pie for supper, or cakes 'at's big an'
nice, I want to—but I do not pass my plate f'r them
things twice! No, ruther let Starvation wipe me slowly out o' sight Than I should keep a-livin' on an' seein' things at
^ppp=5^-,OUr rare is the man who seems to know just how children feel and just what children like! If such a man can write down some of these things which he and the children understand, but which many grown-up people do not, it is very certain that children all over the world will love him. Just such a man was Eugene Field, wh'o wrote this Seein' Things at Night. He wrote a number of books for older people, but it is chiefly for his poems to children and about children that he is remembered.
We know some rather interesting tilings about Field's childhood. His mother died when he was only seven years old, and he was taken from Missouri to Amherst, Massachusetts, to be brought up by a cousin. His grandmother, who was very religious, saw that he was a bright boy, and hoped that he would be a preacher when he grew up. Just to get him into the habit, she used to pay him to write sermons, and it must have been a funny thing to see the child, who can never have been a very serious boy, bending over his sermons, bound to win his ninepence. When he became a man he used to smile at these sermons, especially at one in which he had said, "Oh, it is hard, indeed, for sinners to go down to perdition over all the obstacles God has placed in his path!"
Certainly the sermon-writing failed to make a