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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Frank Baum > Fairy tale "Aunt Jane's Nieces"

Aunt Jane's Nieces

He released his hold, and swung in mid-air just beneath the plank,

where the girl lay holding him by his wrists.

"Now, then," she said, quietly, "when I lift you up, grab the edges of

the plank."

Patricia's strength was equal to her courage, and under the excitement

of that desperate moment she did what few other girls of her size

could ever have accomplished. She drew the boy up until his eager

hands caught the edges of the plank, and gripped it firmly. Then she

released him and crept a little back toward the roof.

"Now swing your legs up and you're safe!" she cried.

He tried to obey, but his strength was failing him, and he could do no

more than touch the plank with his toes.

"Once more," called the girl.

This time she caught his feet as they swung upward, and drew his legs

around the plank.

"Can you climb up, now?" she asked, anxiously.

"I'll try," he panted.

The plank upon which this little tragedy was being enacted was in full

view of the small garden where Aunt Jane loved to sit in her chair and

enjoy the flowers and the sunshine. She could not see Kenneth's wing

at all, but she could see the elevated plank leading from the roof to

the oak tree, and for several days had been puzzled by its appearance

and wondered for what purpose it was there.

Today, as she sat talking with John Merrick and Silas Watson, she

suddenly gave a cry of surprise, and following her eyes the two men

saw Kenneth step out upon the roof, fall, and slide over the edge.

For a moment all three remained motionless, seized with fear and

consternation, and then they saw Patsy appear and run down to the

plank.

This they watched her move, and saw her lie down upon it.

"She's trying to save him--he must be caught somewhere!" cried the

lawyer, and both men started at full speed to reach the spot by the

round-about paths through the garden.

Aunt Jane sat still and watched. Suddenly the form of the boy swung

into view beneath the plank, dangling from the girl's outstretched

arms. The woman caught her breath, wondering what would happen next.

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