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What Katy Did; What Katy Did Next; What Katy Did at School
What Katy Did What Katy Did Next What Katy Did at School Author:Susan M. Coolidge Twelve-year-old Katy Carr lives with her widowed father and her five brothers and sisters in a small town called Burnet. Her father, a doctor, is very busy and works long hours. The children are therefore mostly cared for by their Aunt Izzie, who is very particular, and something of a scold. Under these circumstances, Katy, a bright, headstrong,... more » hasty girl, can hardly avoid getting into mischief almost daily; however, she is unfailingly remorseful afterward. She dreams of someday doing something "grand" with her life - painting famous pictures, saving the lives of drowning people, or leading a crusade on a white horse. At the same time, she wants to be "beautiful, of course, and good if I can." When her mother died four years before, Katy promised to be a little mother to her siblings; however, although she leads them into all sorts of exciting adventures, she is sometimes impatient and cross with them.
When her Cousin Helen, an invalid, comes to visit, Katy is so enchanted by her beauty and kindness that on the day of her departure she resolves to model herself on Helen ever afterward. The very next day, however, Katy wakes in an ill humour, quarrels with her aunt, and pushes her little sister so hard that she falls down half a dozen steps. Afterwards, sulky and miserable, Katy decides to try out the new swing in the woodshed, even though Aunt Izzie has, for some reason, forbidden it. The swing is unsafe because one of the staples supporting it is cracked. Had Aunt Izzie explained this, "all would have been right," but she believes that children should obey their elders without question. As it is, Katy swings as high as she can and, as she tries to graze the roof with her toes, the staple gives way. Katy falls hard, bruising her spine.
The lively Katy is now bedridden, suffering terrible pain and bitterness. Her room is dark, dreary, and cluttered with medicine bottles; when her brothers and sisters try to comfort her, she usually drives them away. However, a visit from Cousin Helen shows her that she must either learn to make the best of her situation or else lose the love of her family. Helen tells Katy that she is now a student in the "School of Pain" where she will learn lessons in patience, cheerfulness, hopefulness, neatness, and making the best of things.
With Cousin Helen's help she makes her room tidy and nice to visit, and gradually all the children gravitate round it, always coming in to see Katy whenever they can. She becomes the heart of the house, beloved by her family for her unfailing kindness and good cheer. After two years Aunt Izzie dies, and Katy takes over the running of the household herself. At the end of four years, in a chapter called "At Last", she learns to walk again.« less