Johnny Appleseed

Topics: Johnny Appleseed, Apple, Orchard Pages: 3 (1023 words) Published: January 4, 2002
Jonathan Chapman, orchardist, was possibly the only man living in Pittsburgh who should be counting his grains at the end of the day, although no other had such attractive wares to offer as he. But he could not honestly sell young apple trees that would die on the long, slow journeys into the wilderness of the Northwest Territory, so he was obliged to discourage men from buying. Nevertheless he would have as busy as a day as any, just in being a brother to wayfaring man and beast.

His nursery and orchard lay on the main traveled road, on the blow of Grant's Hill, the very first bit of rising ground eastward of town. From that green and flowery slope the ancient woods had long since retreated, so from rude doorways below, from forest clamps above, and from boats on the flanking, bluff boarded streams Johnny's blossoming trees were visible that morning as a drift of dawn. To the nearer view of passes-by the nurseries made and his orchard offered a moment of rest and refreshment from the feverish activities of the day. Every traveler stopped at his gate, for in a never failing spring that bubbled up, cold and clear in cobble-lined basin by the roadside, Johnny had "next water" in and out of Pittsburgh.

Johnny had lost no time in getting to work. From soil as soft as loose as an ash-heap he pulled forest seedlings and weed-stalks by hand. Tough bushed, briars, and saplings he cut down with his hatchet, grubbed out the roots; and with his hoe he destroyed the inumberable cones of annuals that, pushing through the blanket of drifted leaves, ran up every rise in flickers of pale-green fire. The ground cleared over a fraction of an acre on the well-drained slope that faced westward toward the river, he raked it free of clods, opened orderly rows of trenches, and put in and covered up his seeds.

Until his trees were in bearing he must pay his way by other services in that land of bitter toil and privation, so, in return for food and shelter, he lent a hand...
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