Page:Poor White.djvu/62

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hobbled along Main Street with his lower jaw hanging down. Allie carried a large club, partly for the sup- port of his weak legs and partly to scare off dogs and mischievous boys. He liked to sit in the shade with his back against a building and whittle, and he liked to be near people and have his talent as a whittler appreci- ated. He made fans out of pieces of pine, long chains of wooden beads, and he once achieved a singular me- chanical triumph that won him wide renown. He made a ship that would float in a beer bottle half filled with water and laid on its side. The ship had sails and three tiny wooden sailors who stood at attention with their hands to their caps in salute. After it was con- structed and put into the bottle it was too large to be taken out through the neck. How Allie got it in no one ever knew. The clerks and merchants who crowded about to watch him at work discussed the mat- ter for days. It became a never-ending wonder among them. In the evening they spoke of the matter to the berry pickers who came into the stores, and in the eyes of the people of Bidwell Allie Mulberry became a hero. The bottle, half-filled with water and securely corked, was laid on a cushion in the window of Hunter's Jew- elry Store. As it floated about on its own little ocean crowds gathered to look at it. Over the bottle was a sign with the words " Carved by Allie Mulberry of Bidwell " prominently displayed. Below these words a query had been printed. " How Did He Get It Into The Bottle?" was the question asked. The bottle stayed in the window for months and merchants took the traveling men who visited them, to see it. Then they escorted their guests to where Allie, with his back against the wall of a building and his club beside