Freddy and Mr. Camphor

Overview

The Freddy the Pig books have long been considered classics of American children's literature and with each reissue by The Overlook Press, this wonderful pig is charming his way into the hearts of more and more readers, adults and children alike. Freddy's Bean Farm is a frolicking place and Freddy--whether he's a pilot, cowboy, explorer, politician, or detective--will always save the day and be sure to have fun doing it.

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Freddy and Mr. Camphor

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Overview

The Freddy the Pig books have long been considered classics of American children's literature and with each reissue by The Overlook Press, this wonderful pig is charming his way into the hearts of more and more readers, adults and children alike. Freddy's Bean Farm is a frolicking place and Freddy--whether he's a pilot, cowboy, explorer, politician, or detective--will always save the day and be sure to have fun doing it.

In Freddy and Mr. Camphor Freddy is positively worn out from his job as President of the First Animal Bank and-- as if this wasn't enough responsibility for one pig!--his position as Editor of the Bean Home News. At the urging of the farm animals, Freddy answers an ad in the Bean Home News for a position as caretaker of a large estate for the duration of the summer. Freddy is a bit overwhelmed when what was meant to be a relaxing little respite from the world turns out to be a real challenge...but the pig will muddle through!

"They are the American version of the great English classics, such as the Pooh books or The Wind in the Willows."-- The New York Times Book Review

"There's a richness to the world of Bean Farm and a strong moral code that is timeless. . ."-- Los Angeles Times

"Freddy is simply one of the greatest characters in children's literature!"-- School Library Journal

Worn out from his duties as President of the First Animal Bank and Editor of the Bean Home News, Freddy decides to relax for the duration of the summer by taking a position as caretaker of a large estate.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Freddy's readers have called him a porcine prince…Walter R. Brook's gentle genius shines even brighter." —Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times

"At my funeral, in lieu of flowers, I'd prefer that people give money to the Friends of Freddy fan club." —Deirdre Donahue, USA Today

"Freddy is blessed with courage, wit, agility and a Sherlock Holmes-like capacity for detective work." —Newsday

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780788747274
  • Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC
  • Publication date: 1/8/2002
  • Series: Freddy the Pig Series
  • Format: Other
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Age range: 8 years

Meet the Author

Walter R. Brooks (1886–1958) is the beloved author of 26 books about Freddy the Pig. He edited for magazines, including The New Yorker. In addition to the Freddy books, Brooks created the character Mr. Ed the Talking Horse.

Kurt Wiese (1887–1974) illustrated over 300 children's books and wrote and illustrated another 20 books. He received two Newbery Awards and two Caldecott Honor Book Awards.

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Read an Excerpt

Freddy and Mr. Camphor


By Walter R. Brooks, Kurt Wiese

The Overlook Press

Copyright © 1944 Walter R. Brooks
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4976-9234-3


CHAPTER 1

"I don't know why I perspire so these hot days," said Freddy, the pig. He was sitting on the shady side of the pigpen, fanning himself with a copy of the Bean Home News, the newspaper which he had started the summer before for the animals on the Bean farm.

"I expect it's because it's hot," said his Cousin Weedly, who had come over to spend the weekend with him.

"Of course it's because it's hot," said Freddy crossly. "Don't be silly."

"Well, what do you say you don't know for, then?" asked Weedly reasonably. "Either you do or you don't; you can't have it both ways."

"It's because you're too fat," said Jinx, the cat. "Golly, it makes me hot just to look at you, pig, sitting there grunting and mopping your face ..."

"Oh go away!" Freddy snapped. "My goodness," he said, "haven't you animals got anything better to do than sit around criticizing?"

They looked at each other and Weedly raised his eyebrows—or at least the place where eyebrows would have been if pigs had any—as much as to say: "There now, didn't I tell you?"

"You don't have to bite our heads off," said Jinx.

"Oh dear," said Freddy. "I'm sorry, Jinx. I don't know what's getting into me lately, I'm so cross all the time. It must be the weather. I've never known it to be so hot in April before."

"Unseasonable," said Weedly, nodding his head sagely. "That's what it is—unseasonable. My mother is the same way; it gets on her nerves something terrible."

"And then I've taken so much extra work on this last year," Freddy went on. "I sometimes think I was much happier when I was just a humble unpolished pig, living in carefree obscurity with no responsibilities on my shoulders. Now, as President of the First Animal Bank, and Editor of the Bean Home News, I am continually called upon for all sorts of things. Heading bond drives and addressing bankers' associations and women's clubs ..." He laid down the paper. "Oh, what a terrible thing is ambition" he exclaimed. "Why could I not have been content to remain in obscurity, happy in the simple quiet round of daily tasks, busy with my books and my poetry? I might in time have made quite a name for myself as a poet."

"And then you'd have had to address even more societies and women's clubs," said Jinx. "As a matter of fact, you're making a speech now, and when you begin making them even to your friends," he added dryly, "you're in a pretty bad way, if you ask me."

"I think what you need, Cousin Frederick," said Weedly, "is a change."

"Yes," said Freddy gloomily, "I do. But how can I get it? If I take a trip, who'll run the bank and edit the paper?"

"Shut your old bank up for the summer," said Jinx. "There isn't anything to do there now anyway, since all the animals have drawn their money out and put it into war savings stamps."

"And I'd gather news for the paper and take it to Mr. Dimsey, and he could print it the way he always does," said Weedly. "My mother says I'm always asking a lot of impertinent questions, and that's what a reporter is supposed to do, isn't it?"

"It sounds very nice," said Freddy. "But where could I go? I don't want to travel and have adventures. I'd like to find a nice quiet spot where I could settle down and drowse the long summer hours away. Write a line or two of poetry perhaps, if I felt like it." He looked off dreamily over the freshly ploughed fields of the Bean farm. "Maybe go in bathing to get up an appetite for my supper—there'd have to be water, of course. And then take a short stroll in the gloaming, before climbing in between the cool, lavender-scented sheets." He sighed happily. "I may try my hand at a bit of artistic work—painting, now: I've always felt that I had a talent for painting. Then we can have a show of my work when I come back ..."

"You haven't gone yet," interrupted Jinx.

"You don't have to be sarcastic," said Freddy with dignity. "Of course I haven't gone; and as far as I can see I'm not going. Where could I find such a place? I haven't money enough to rent a cottage at a summer resort, and I don't suppose there are many hotels that cater to pigs. So I think—"

"Hey! What's this?" interrupted Weedly. He had been looking at the copy of the Bean Home News which Freddy had laid aside, and now he pointed excitedly at an item on the back page.

"Don't interrupt, Weedly," said Freddy reprovingly. "As I was saying ..."

"But Cousin Frederick!" Weedly insisted. "I'm sorry to interrupt, but this may be just what you're looking for. See here."

So Freddy and Jinx bent over the paper. The item was a small advertisement at the foot of the last page. It read:

WANTED—Reliable party to act as caretaker of large estate during summer. Duties light, remuneration generous. For further details, apply to Mr. Weezer, Pres., First National Bank of Centerboro.

Freddy said, "My goodness, that does look good, doesn't it?" Then he shook his head. "But he'd want a man for that job, not a pig."

"It says 'reliable party,' not 'reliable man,'" said Jinx. "And if you're not a reliable party, I don't know where he'd find one."

"What's this—remuner—remuner—whatever it is?" asked Weedly.

"Remuneration," said Freddy. "It's a fancy name for wages. My goodness, if I could live on somebody's big estate all summer and get paid for it at the same time ...!" He jumped up. "I'm going into Centerboro to see Mr. Weezer. Want to come along?"

So the three animals went out the gate and down the road towards the village. In the excitement of a new idea Freddy had forgotten all about the heat, and he trotted along briskly, talking all the time about his plans for a summer which was evidently to be the most comfortable and luxurious summer spent by any pig that ever lived. "And you'll come to visit me," he said, "and we'll lie out in hammocks under the trees on the lawn and have ice cream and cakes and ginger ale brought to us on little trays, and—"

"Yeah?" said Jinx. "Who's going to carry the little trays?"

"H'm, that's so," said Freddy thoughtfully. "If the owner of this estate wants a caretaker, I suppose the house is closed, and all the servants will be gone. However," he said, brightening, "'remuneration generous'—remember? I'll be earning enough money to hire somebody to carry the little trays. Don't you worry, Jinx; you'll get your ice cream, all right."

"Wish I had some now," panted Weedly. "My goodness, Cousin Frederick, for anyone that complains about the heat you certainly burn up the road."

Freddy slowed down. "I'm sorry," he said. "We'll take a dip in the creek before we go into town. You don't want to go in to see a bank president all hot and sticky."

So it was a very cool-looking pair of pigs that was shown into Mr. Weezer's private office in the Centerboro Bank half an hour later. Jinx looked cool too, of course, although he hadn't gone swimming, for cats like hot weather.

Mr. Weezer was a small, thin, middle-aged man who wore very stiff white cuffs and a pair of nose glasses that always fell off when anyone mentioned a sum of money larger than five dollars. Of course, being in a bank, such sums were mentioned a hundred times a day, and so he wore his glasses on a black ribbon so that they wouldn't fall on the floor and break. Because these days even a bank president can't afford to buy new glasses every fifteen minutes or so.

To people who don't know Centerboro, it would seem surprising that a pig could be admitted to the office of the president of a bank. But the animals from the Bean farm were famous in that part of the state, and the Centerboro people were rather proud of them. Indeed, they received more invitations to dinners and parties in the village than they possibly could accept, for people thought no more of asking Freddy, or Jinx, or Hank, the old white horse, to stay to supper than you would of asking one of your own friends. And then of course as president of the first bank for animals ever opened in the United States, Freddy was a fellow member with Mr. Weezer of the State Bankers' Association.

"Well, well," said Mr. Weezer, getting up and shaking hands all around. "This is a pleasant surprise. And what can I do for you today? A little loan, perhaps?"

"No, thank you," said Freddy. "I came to enquire about this." And he showed Mr. Weezer the want ad.

Mr. Weezer read it, and then he leaned back in his chair and took off his glasses with one hand and tapped them on the fingers of the other hand and looked very serious as if he was considering thousands and thousands of dollars. "Ah, yes, I understand," he said.

Of course he didn't understand at all, and Freddy knew it. He knew that one of the first things a banker is taught to do is to look as important as possible during business hours, and always pretend to know just what the other fellow is thinking. Freddy could do that almost as well as Mr. Weezer could. But he was in a hurry to find out about the caretaker's job, and so he went right ahead and asked Mr. Weezer about it.

"Dear me," said Mr. Weezer. "This is rather unusual. It is unusual to have a pig apply for such a job, and it is unusual to have a bank president apply for it, but to have them both at once—" He shook his head thoughtfully. "I'm sure you would give satisfaction," he said, "and I'll be glad to recommend you for the job. But I don't know how Mr. Camphor will feel about hiring a pig."

"Is that Mr. C. Jimson Camphor?" Freddy asked.

"The same," said Mr. Weezer. He put on his glasses and picked up a pen and scribbled something on a card. "I suppose you know his estate?"

Freddy said he did. The Camphor estate was well known in all that part of the county. It was a big place on Otesaraga Lake, only a few miles north of the Bean farm. Mr. Camphor was a very rich man, and he had spared no expense in building himself a summer home. It was said that the house had forty rooms, and there were gardens and swimming pools and motor boats and tennis courts, and even a little outdoor theatre. Everything that Mr. Camphor had ever heard of that other rich men had, he immediately built. Freddy began to feel that he didn't have much chance of being selected to look after so magnificent a place.

Mr. Weezer handed Freddy the card. It was his personal calling card, and on the back he had written: "This will introduce my friend and colleague, Mr. Frederick Bean, President, First Animal Bank of Centerboro. I recommend him most highly. Anything you can do for him will be greatly appreciated. H. W."

"In ordinary times," said Mr. Weezer, "I don't think you'd have much chance of getting the job. But as you know, it is hard to find anyone for any kind of job nowadays. And I happen to know that Mr. Camphor, although he has advertised far and wide, has been unable to find anyone to take the position. It was as a last resort that he advertised in your paper. And may I suggest that you go to see him tomorrow? He's not home today, but he will be tomorrow, and I don't think you should lose any time."

Jinx, who so far had said nothing, now asked how much Mr. Camphor would pay.

"That I can't tell you," said Mr. Weezer. "But if you will take my advice, you will hold out for a good round sum." And as he said that, his glasses fell off.

The three animals dived at once for the spot on the marble floor where they thought the glasses would hit, with the result that their three noses came together with a painful scrunch. And the glasses, brought up short by the black ribbon, dangled unharmed above their heads.

After they had got up and their eyes had stopped watering, Mr. Weezer thanked them and said he hoped they hadn't hurt themselves, and Freddy thanked Mr. Weezer, and then they all shook hands and the animals left.

"I wonder how much old Camphor will really pay you?" Jinx said as they left the bank.

"Pooh," said Freddy, "I don't care if he doesn't pay me anything. If I can only get the job." Then he said thoughtfully: "But when Mr. Weezer spoke of a good round sum, his glasses fell off. So I'll ask at least five dollars."

CHAPTER 2

After he got back from Centerboro Freddy spent the rest of the day and most of the evening getting the pigpen in order and putting out things to take with him in case he really did get the caretaker job. He made a big pile of these things, and then he went over them one by one, saying to himself: "Now, do I really need this, or shall I leave it here?" All this was a great waste of time, for he couldn't make up his mind to do without any of the things, and the pile was just as big when he had gone over it as it had been when he started.

After that he made out a list. It looked like this:

THINGS TO DO BEFORE LEAVING

Cover up typewriter
See Mr. Bean
Give going-away party (?)
Close bank
Collect 10¢ Robert owes me
Get Mr. Bean's permission
Show Weedly about being reporter
Lock window
Explain to Mr. Bean


The list was much longer, and writing it was a good deal of wasted time too, because he could have done many of the things in the time it took to write them down. But Freddy liked making lists of things. He had a feeling of satisfaction when he had written down something to do. It was almost as if he had really done it. And of course much less trouble.

He felt specially that way about getting Mr. Bean's permission to go away. That is why he had it on his list eight times. Mr. Bean was very fond of all his animals, and proud of them too, and he very seldom refused them anything they wanted. But he had a very gruff way of speaking which made them always a little afraid of him. My private opinion is that his gruffness was all put on, to hide the affection he really felt for the animals. Or it may have been just the way his voice came out through his whiskers. He had a very bushy beard which concealed almost his entire face, and even the kindest voice coming through such whiskers might well get changed into something else. I guess you would sound pretty gruff if you had to say everything through what was almost a small haystack.

Freddy went on adding things to his list and going through his belongings until at last about eleven o'clock he decided to go to bed. "My goodness," he said as he snapped out the light, "I suppose I might just as well sit up. I'm so excited that I shan't sleep a wink!" He put his head down on the pillow and closed his eyes and sighed, and then he sighed again, but halfway through the third sigh it turned into a snore, and he didn't know anything until Charles, the rooster, woke him up the next morning.

As soon as he put his nose outside the door he knew that it was going to be an even hotter day than yesterday, so after a hurried breakfast he started out to call on Mr. Camphor. It was nearly eight miles by road to Otesaraga Lake, but if you went up the brook and through the Bean woods, and then up through the Big Woods and over the hill, you came out in a wide valley. And if you crossed that valley and went over the next hill, there was the lake. That way it was only about three miles.

Freddy walked up along the brook. When he got to the duck pond, there were Jinx and Weedly, talking to Alice and Emma, the two ducks. Under a bush near them sat the ducks' Uncle Wesley, with his head under his wing.

"Hello, Freddy," said Jinx. "Weedly and I thought we'd take the day off and go up to the lake with you if you want us to."

"Glad to have company," said the pig. "What's the matter with Uncle Wesley?" he asked. "Isn't he going to get up this morning?" For it is unusual to see any animal or bird still sleeping after the rooster has crowed three times to get them all up.

"He isn't asleep," said Alice. "He's just meditating."

"About what?" Jinx asked.

"Oh, I don't know. He says the things Emma and I talk about aren't half as interesting as his own thoughts, and he sits that way so he can think and won't have to listen to our chatter."

"You mean he's not listening to us now?" asked Weedly, looking curiously at the sleeping duck.

"I'm sure he doesn't hear a thing we say," said Alice.

"Oh, yeah?" said Jinx. He winked at Freddy, then said in a loud voice: "Well, that's good, because there's something I wanted to tell you that I didn't want him to hear." Then he lowered his voice and said very fast under his breath: "Umbly, umbly, umbly, umbly."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Freddy and Mr. Camphor by Walter R. Brooks, Kurt Wiese. Copyright © 1944 Walter R. Brooks. Excerpted by permission of The Overlook Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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