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Manuel and Rita - Earning a Holiday
The Children's Own Readers - Book Three
by Mary E. Pennell and Alice M. Cusack, Illustrated by Maurice Day and Harold Sichel
Boston: Ginn and Company 1929

Earning a Holiday

     The early morning sun was just beginning to shine through the bamboo trees. It was peeping into the windows of a queer little house almost hidden by banana plants and bamboo.
     This house looked as if it were standing on stilts. That was because it was built up on poles. No matter how hard it rained, the house would always be dry.
     The framework of the house was made of bamboo poles tied together with strong vines. Between the bamboo poles was a matting made of leaves. The windows seemed like holes in the walls, for the windows of the queer little house were all open. The roof looked as if the top of a big haystack had dropped down upon the walls.
     This queer little house was on one of the Philippine Islands far out in the Pacific Ocean.
     As the sun peeped into the window it shone on the face of Rita, fast asleep on her mat on the floor. Rita stirred in her sleep.
     "Cock-a-doodle-doo," went the rooster under the house. "Cluck, cluck," went the hens. "Wee, wee," squealed the pig, as he ran out from under the house.

Rita rubbed her eyes. Then she heard Mother calling, "Come, Manuel! Come, Rita! Get up! There is much to do today. Remember what is to happen tomorrow."
     Jumping from her bed Rita quickly put on her clothes. It did not take her long to dress, for she did not need many clothes in such a hot land.

     Finally Manuel got up. Sleepily he pulled on his trousers. Then he slipped on the loose shirt which he wore outside his trousers.
     By this time breakfast was ready. Mother had cooked the rice in a big clay pot over a fire which she had made in a big red clay bowl.
     Manuel had taken his large knife and gone out into the yard. There he had cut off a bunch of ripe bananas. Bananas and rice make a fine breakfast.
     As soon as breakfast was over Father said, "I must go fishing today. Manuel, you must not forget to give the carabao some hay. Then drive him down to the water hole where he can get a drink and roll in the mud. Rita, this morning I noticed that the rice plants in the seed bed looked green. It is time to plant them in the field."
     Then Father, taking his fish net, went down to the shore. He put the fish net into his boat. Then, pushing out from the shore, he jumped in and rowed away.
     After the carabao had eaten his hay, Manuel untied him, jumped on his back, and drove him down to the water hole. When the carabao saw the water hole he began to run. Before Manuel could get off his back, into the water hole splashed the carabao and over in the mud he rolled. Over into the mud rolled Manuel, too.
     When Mother saw Manuel coming into the yard she knew what had
happened. "Change your shirt and trousers as quickly as you can, Manuel," she said. "You must help us with the rice plants today."
     When Manuel was ready, Mother, Rita, and Manuel went down to the seed bed. All day long they took the crowded rice plants from the seed bed and planted them in the mud of the rice field, where the roots would have room to grow.
     As they worked the children talked about the good time they were going to have the next day. Every once in a while they sang this song, which they had learned at school:
     Planting rice is no fun,
     Work from morn to the set of sun,
     Cannot stand, cannot sit,
     Cannot rest for a little bit.
     Once as Rita was putting a rice plant into the mud, she saw the mud move. Quickly she reached down into the mud and brought up a big fish. "Manuel, Manuel," she called. "See what I have. I have caught a big mud fish without a fish trap."
     At last the day's work was over. Father returned with a fine catch of fish, the carabao was tied up in the yard, the pigs, the hens, and the rooster went to sleep under the house.
     After a dinner of fish and rice, Mother said, "Now, children, get to bed quickly. We start to town early in the morning."
     Two tired little children lay down on their mats. Soon they were dreaming of the happy time they should have the next day.