“Goodbye, Mother Hubbard and Pom!”
“My, my, what has happened to my family?” asked Mother Hubbard looking around the breakfast table at her little guests, Saturday morning. “Your faces are as long as umbrella handles and there isn’t a smile among you. You look as cloudy as a day in April. What shall I do to you?”
“But, Mother Hubbard,” answered the children, “today is the day we have to go home.”
“And we can’t go sledding in the city,” said Jumping Joan.
“And we cannot go hunting for holly and Christmas trees,” said Georgie Porgie.
“And we will not have Mother Hubbard to tell us stories,” said Jack Horner.
The children all looked so funny and sad that Mother Hubbard burst out laughing.
“It is too bad, of course, but Christmas week cannot stay with us always, can it?” she asked. “If it did, there never would be any summer time when we pick flowers, or spring time when the snow melts and the little violets grow in the cool woods, or autumn, when the leaves turn scarlet and the butternuts fall. Why, you never could grow up to be fine men and women if it always stayed this Christmas week. Just think what you would miss. And anyway,” she added, shaking her finger at them merrily, “if you will be good children all this next year, you can come again next Christmas week and I shall ask my dear friend, Mother Goose to come, too.”
“Hurrah, hurrah! Hurrah for Mother Hubbard and Pom and three cheers for Mother Goose!” the children shouted, jumping up from the table and running to Mother Hubbard.
“How can we wait until that time?”
“Won’t it be wonderful?”
“Oh, Mother Hubbard!” they all shouted at once, flinging their arms about the dear woman’s waist and almost lifting her off her feet.
Mother Hubbard beamed on the children and set them to work to clear off the table. But when they were not looking, she wiped the corner of her eye with her little white apron and shook her head at Pom. He looked at her sadly.
Just then Jerry’s whistle sounded down the road. The children and Mother Hubbard rushed to the door as the rattling stage coach came into view around the bend.
“Hello, hello!” shouted the jolly driver as his horses stopped at the gate. “And how is my merry Christmas party today? And my good old friend, Mother Hubbard, and her dog? You children are not so merry, I suppose, as when you came, but jump in with me, and I will see what I can do to cheer you up on your ride to the village.”
Mother Hubbard wrapped her shawl about her and went to the door of the stage. The girls clung to her, kissing her and patting her again and again. The boys piled the bags on top of the stage and then joined the circle around Mother Hubbard.
“Good-bye, Mother Hubbard. Good-bye, Pom,” they said, kissing Mother Hubbard and shaking Pom’s paw as he sat beside the gate. “We will write to you when we get home.”
Georgie Porgie and Boy Blue sat beside Jerry on his high seat as they had done when they came. The others climbed inside and made ready for the long drive over the snowy hills and through the valley to the village.
“Swish,” cracked the whip as Georgie Porgie swung it through the air.
“Toot-toot,” went Boy Blue’s old horn and the old stage coach started on its way.
“My, my, that was a good plan of ours, Pom, nice dog,” said Mother Hubbard after the last waving handkerchief had gone from sight down the road. “What a nice time we had with the house full of children. We will never have a lonesome Christmas again, so long as there are children in the world, will we, old doggie?”
“Bow-wow-wow!” said Pom, nodding his head as he helped his kind mistress into the house.