Owl Frightens Teacher in One-Room Schoolhouse

Teacher scared by owl that got into stove in one-room schoolhouse.

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One bitter cold morning when I arrived at my little one-room schoolhouse to make the fire in my big old cast-iron stove, I heard a noise inside the stove. It sounded like something scratching. My first thought was rats. I just didn't know what to do, but I had to get that fire started so I opened the door of the stove a crack, and out flew a big old owl.

It flew up on the stovepipe that went across the room. I couldn't reach it, or I should say I was too big a coward to get near the thing, so I just let it sit, hoping it would fly out the door.

I went in the old coal shed and got cobs and coal to get the fire going. After a bit the pipes got hot and the poor old thing got hot feet and flew to the back of the recitation bench.

About that time the children started to arrive and I asked them what I should do, as I knew they had more experience with owls than I ever had. They really encouraged me by saying, "Don't go near it or it will pluck out your eyes."

After a time another little boy arrived and without saying much came to my rescue and went up behind the bench and grabbed the thing and carried it out. Poor owl was more frightened than I was, I'm sure, after the experience he had.

I never will forget it. I could have hugged that little boy for coming to the rescue of a frightened teacher.

Hester Arentson
Harlan, Iowa


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.