One May day
Avonlea folks were mildly excited
over some "Avonlea
Notes," signed "Observer," which
appeared in the Charlottetown
`Daily Enterprise.' Gossip ascribed
the authorship thereof to Charlie
Sloane, partly because the said
Charlie had indulged in similar
literary flights in times past,
and partly because one of the
notes seemed to embody a sneer
at Gilbert Blythe. Avonlea juvenile
society persisted in regarding
Gilbert Blythe and Charlie Sloane
as rivals in the good graces
of a certain damsel with gray
eyes and an imagination.
Gossip, as usual, was wrong.
Gilbert Blythe, aided and abetted
by Anne, had written the notes,
putting in the one about himself
as a blind. Only two of the notes
have any bearing on this history:
it that there will be a wedding
in our village ere
the daisies are in bloom. A new
and highly respected citizen
will lead to the hymeneal altar
one of our most popular ladies.
our well-known weather prophet,
predicts a violent
storm of thunder and lightning
for the evening of the twenty-third
of May, beginning at seven o'clock
sharp. The area of the storm
will extend over the greater
part of the Province. People
traveling that evening will do
well to take umbrellas and mackintoshes
"Uncle Abe really has predicted
a storm for sometime this spring," said
Gilbert, "but do you suppose
Mr. Harrison really does go to
see Isabella Andrews?"
"No," said Anne, laughing, "I'm
sure he only goes to play checkers
with Mr. Harrison Andrews, but
Mrs. Lynde says she knows Isabella
Andrews must be going to get
married, she's in such good spirits
Poor old Uncle
Abe felt rather indignant over
the notes. He
suspected that "Observer" was
making fun of him. He angrily
denied having assigned any particular
date for his storm but nobody
Life in Avonlea
continued on the smooth and
even tenor of
its way. The "planting" was put
in; the Improvers celebrated
an Arbor Day. Each Improver set
out, or caused to be set out,
five ornamental trees. As the
society now numbered forty members,
this meant a total of two hundred
young trees. Early oats greened
over the red fields; apple orchards
flung great blossoming arms about
the farmhouses and the Snow Queen
adorned itself as a bride for
her husband. Anne liked to sleep
with her window open and let
the cherry fragrance blow over
her face all night. She thought
it very poetical. Marilla thought
she was risking her life.
"Thanksgiving should be celebrated
in the spring," said Anne one
evening to Marilla, as they sat
on the front door steps and listened
to the silver-sweet chorus of
the frogs. "I think it would
be ever so much better than having
it in November when everything
is dead or asleep. Then you have
to remember to be thankful; but
in May one simply can't help
being thankful. . . that they
are alive, if for nothing else.
I feel exactly as Eve must have
felt in the garden of Eden before
the trouble began. IS that grass
in the hollow green or golden?
It seems to me, Marilla, that
a pearl of a day like this, when
the blossoms are out and the
winds don't know where to blow
from next for sheer crazy delight
must be pretty near as good as
Marilla looked scandalized
and glanced apprehensively around
to make sure the twins were not
within earshot. They came around
the corner of the house just
"Ain't it an awful nice-smelling
evening?" asked Davy, sniffing
delightedly as he swung a hoe
in his grimy hands. He had been
working in his garden. That spring
Marilla, by way of turning Davy's
passion for reveling in mud and
clay into useful channels, had
given him and Dora a small plot
of ground for a garden. Both
had eagerly gone to work in a
characteristic fashion. Dora
planted, weeded, and watered
carefully, systematically, and
dispassionately. As a result,
her plot was already green with
prim, orderly little rows of
vegetables and annuals. Davy,
however, worked with more zeal
than discretion; he dug and hoed
and raked and watered and transplanted
so energetically that his seeds
had no chance for their lives.
"How is your garden coming
on, Davy-boy?" asked Anne.
"Kind of slow," said Davy with
a sigh. "I don't know why the
things don't grow better. Milty
Boulter says I must have planted
them in the dark of the moon
and that's the whole trouble.
He says you must never sow seeds
or kill pork or cut your hair
or do any 'portant thing in the
wrong time of the moon. Is that
true, Anne? I want to know."
"Maybe if you didn't pull your
plants up by the roots every
other day to see how they're
getting on `at the other end,'
they'd do better," said Marilla
"I only pulled six of them
up," protested Davy. "I wanted
to see if there was grubs at
the roots. Milty Boulter said
if it wasn't the moon's fault
it must be grubs. But I only
found one grub. He was a great
big juicy curly grub. I put him
on a stone and got another stone
and smashed him flat. He made
a jolly SQUISH I tell you. I
was sorry there wasn't more of
them. Dora's garden was planted
same time's mine and her things
are growing all right. It CAN'T
be the moon," Davy concluded
in a reflective tone.
"Marilla, look at that apple
tree," said Anne." Why, the thing
is human. It is reaching out
long arms to pick its own pink
skirts daintily up and provoke
us to admiration."
"Those Yellow Duchess trees
always bear well," said Marilla
complacently. "That tree'll be
loaded this year. I'm real glad.
. .they're great for pies."
But neither Marilla nor Anne
nor anybody else was fated to
make pies out of Yellow Duchess
apples that year.
The twenty-third of May came.
. .an unseasonably warm day,
as none realized more keenly
than Anne and her little beehive
of pupils, sweltering over fractions
and syntax in the Avonlea schoolroom.
A hot breeze blew all the forenoon;
but after noon hour it died away
into a heavy stillness. At half
past three Anne heard a low rumble
of thunder. She promptly dismissed
school at once, so that the children
might get home before the storm
As they went out to the playground
Anne perceived a certain shadow
and gloom over the world in spite
of the fact that the sun was
still shining brightly. Annetta
Bell caught her hand nervously.
look at that awful cloud!"
Anne looked and gave an exclamation
of dismay. In the northwest a
mass of cloud, such as she had
never in all her life beheld
before, was rapidly rolling up.
It was dead black, save where
its curled and fringed edges
showed a ghastly, livid white.
There was something about it
indescribably menacing as it
gloomed up in the clear blue
sky; now and again a bolt of
lightning shot across it, followed
by a savage growl. It hung so
low that it almost seemed to
be touching the tops of the wooded
Mr. Harmon Andrews came clattering
up the hill in his truck wagon,
urging his team of grays to their
utmost speed. He pulled them
to a halt opposite the school.
"Guess Uncle Abe's hit it for
once in his life, Anne," he shouted. "His
storm's coming a leetle ahead
of time. Did ye ever see the
like of that cloud? Here, all
you young ones, that are going
my way, pile in, and those that
ain't scoot for the post office
if ye've more'n a quarter of
a mile to go, and stay there
till the shower's over."
Anne caught Davy and Dora by
the hands and flew down the hill,
along the Birch Path, and past
Violet Vale and Willowmere, as
fast as the twins' fat legs could
go. They reached Green Gables
not a moment too soon and were
joined at the door by Marilla,
who had been hustling her ducks
and chickens under shelter. As
they dashed into the kitchen
the light seemed to vanish, as
if blown out by some mighty breath;
the awful cloud rolled over the
sun and a darkness as of late
twilight fell across the world.
At the same moment, with a crash
of thunder and a blinding glare
of lightning, the hail swooped
down and blotted the landscape
out in one white fury.
the clamor of the storm came
the thud of torn branches
striking the house and the sharp
crack of breaking glass. In three
minutes every pane in the west
and north windows was broken
and the hail poured in through
the apertures covering the floor
with stones, the smallest of
which was as big as a hen's egg.
For three quarters of an hour
the storm raged unabated and
no one who underwent it ever
forgot it. Marilla, for once
in her life shaken out of her
composure by sheer terror, knelt
by her rocking chair in a corner
of the kitchen, gasping and sobbing
between the deafening thunder
peals. Anne, white as paper,
had dragged the sofa away from
the window and sat on it with
a twin on either side. Davy at
the first crash had howled, "Anne,
Anne, is it the Judgment Day?
Anne, Anne, I never meant to
be naughty," and then had buried
his face in Anne's lap and kept
it there, his little body quivering.
Dora, somewhat pale but quite
composed, sat with her hand clasped
in Anne's, quiet and motionless.
It is doubtful if an earthquake
would have disturbed Dora.
Then, almost as suddenly as
it began, the storm ceased. The
hail stopped, the thunder rolled
and muttered away to the eastward,
and the sun burst out merry and
radiant over a world so changed
that it seemed an absurd thing
to think that a scant three quarters
of an hour could have effected
such a transformation.
Marilla rose from her knees,
weak and trembling, and dropped
on her rocker. Her face was haggard
and she looked ten years older.
"Have we all come out of that
alive?" she asked solemnly.
"You bet we have," piped Davy
cheerfully, quite his own man
again. "I wasn't a bit scared
either. . .only just at the first.
It come on a fellow so sudden.
I made up my mind quick as a
wink that I wouldn't fight Teddy
Sloane Monday as I'd promised;
but now maybe I will. Say, Dora,
was you scared?"
"Yes, I was a little scared," said
Dora primly, "but I held tight
to Anne's hand and said my prayers
over and over again."
"Well, I'd have said my prayers
too if I'd have thought of it," said
Davy; "but," he added triumphantly, "you
see I came through just as safe
as you for all I didn't say them."
Anne got Marilla a glassful
of her potent currant wine. .
.HOW potent it was Anne, in her
earlier days, had had all too
good reason to know. . .and then
they went to the door to look
out on the strange scene.
Far and wide was a white carpet,
knee deep, of hailstones; drifts
of them were heaped up under
the eaves and on the steps. When,
three or four days later, those
hailstones melted, the havoc
they had wrought was plainly
seen, for every green growing
thing in the field or garden
was cut off. Not only was every
blossom stripped from the apple
trees but great boughs and branches
were wrenched away. And out of
the two hundred trees set out
by the Improvers by far the greater
number were snapped off or torn
"Can it possibly be the same
world it was an hour ago?" asked
Anne, dazedly. "It MUST have
taken longer than that to play
"The like of this has never
been known in Prince Edward Island," said
Marilla, "never. I remember when
I was a girl there was a bad
storm, but it was nothing to
this. We'll hear of terrible
destruction, you may be sure."
"I do hope none of the children
were caught out in it," murmured
Anne anxiously. As it was discovered
later, none of the children had
been, since all those who had
any distance to go had taken
Mr. Andrews' excellent advice
and sought refuge at the post
"There comes John Henry Carter," said
John Henry came wading through
the hailstones with a rather
this awful, Miss Cuthbert?
Mr. Harrison sent me
over to see if yous had come
out all right."
"We're none of us killed," said
Marilla grimly, "and none of
the buildings was struck. I hope
you got off equally well."
quite so well, ma'am. We was
struck. The lightning
knocked over the kitchen chimbly
and come down the flue and knocked
over Ginger's cage and tore a
hole in the floor and went into
the sullar. Yas'm."
"Was Ginger hurt?" queried
"Yas'm. He was hurt pretty
bad. He was killed." Later on
Anne went over to comfort Mr.
Harrison. She found him sitting
by the table, stroking Ginger's
gay dead body with a trembling
"Poor Ginger won't call you
any more names, Anne," he said
Anne could never have imagined
herself crying on Ginger's account,
but the tears came into her eyes.
"He was all
the company I had, Anne. .
.and now he's dead. Well,
well, I'm an old fool to care
so much. I'll let on I don't
care. I know you're going to
say something sympathetic as
soon as I stop talking. . .but
don't. If you did I'd cry like
a baby. Hasn't this been a terrible
storm? I guess folks won't laugh
at Uncle Abe's predictions again.
Seems as if all the storms that
he's been prophesying all his
life that never happened came
all at once. Beats all how he
struck the very day though, don't
it? Look at the mess we have
here. I must hustle round and
get some boards to patch up that
hole in the floor."
Avonlea folks did nothing the
next day but visit each other
and compare damages. The roads
were impassable for wheels by
reason of the hailstones, so
they walked or rode on horseback.
The mail came late with ill tidings
from all over the province. Houses
had been struck, people killed
and injured; the whole telephone
and telegraph system had been
disorganized, and any number
of young stock exposed in the
fields had perished.
Uncle Abe waded out to the
blacksmith's forge early in the
morning and spent the whole day
there. It was Uncle Abe's hour
of triumph and he enjoyed it
to the full. It would be doing
Uncle Abe an injustice to say
that he was glad the storm had
happened; but since it had to
be he was very glad he had predicted
it. . .to the very day, too.
Uncle Abe forgot that he had
ever denied setting the day.
As for the trifling discrepancy
in the hour, that was nothing.
Gilbert arrived at Green Gables
in the evening and found Marilla
and Anne busily engaged in nailing
strips of oilcloth over the broken
"Goodness only knows when we'll
get glass for them," said Marilla. "Mr.
Barry went over to Carmody this
afternoon but not a pane could
he get for love or money. Lawson
and Blair were cleaned out by
the Carmody people by ten o'clock.
Was the storm bad at White Sands,
"I should say
so. I was caught in the school
with all the children
and I thought some of them would
go mad with fright. Three of
them fainted, and two girls took
hysterics, and Tommy Blewett
did nothing but shriek at the
top of his voice the whole time."
"I only squealed once," said
Davy proudly. "My garden was
all smashed flat," he continued
mournfully, "but so was Dora's," he
added in a tone which indicated
that there was yet balm in Gilead.
Anne came running down from
the west gable.
have you heard the news? Mr.
old house was struck and burned
to the ground. It seems to me
that I'm dreadfully wicked to
feel glad over THAT, when so
much damage has been done. Mr.
Boulter says he believes the
A.V.I.S. magicked up that storm
"Well, one thing is certain," said
Gilbert, laughing, "`Observer'
has made Uncle Abe's reputation
as a weather prophet. `Uncle
Abe's storm' will go down in
local history. It is a most extraordinary
coincidence that it should have
come on the very day we selected.
I actually have a half guilty
feeling, as if I really had `magicked'
it up. We may as well rejoice
over the old house being removed,
for there's not much to rejoice
over where our young trees are
concerned. Not ten of them have
"Ah, well, we'll just have
to plant them over again next
spring," said Anne philosophically. "That
is one good thing about this
world. . .there are always sure
to be more springs."