Royal Alden and The Goose Quill
by William F. Alden, Sr.
Goshen Trail's, Oct. 1969

          IT SEEMS THAT Schoolmaster Alden was in the habit of leaving the classroom for about twenty minute, each day for the purpose of smoking his pipe and "limbering up" his stiffened and crippled leg.

          During these absences from his bench, the school children would cut-up and make mischief.

          "Aunt Het" Davis remembered that she was about 9 years old when she "got into mischief" one afternoon, while the Schoolmaster had absented himself from the schoolroom.  She took a goose-quill (form which the pioneer used to fashion their writing pens), and inserted it into a crack in the Schoolmaster's bench.  She then bent the sharpened point up--about an inch--directly under the place where the Schoolmaster would sit down on the seat.  After a few minutes, the Schoolmaster returned to the room and found everything in apparent order, with the students quiet, and diligently at their studies.  He mounted the platform, where his bench was, and with his crippled leg thrown forward (in order to seat himself), he dropped the full weight of his tall, lanky, body onto the bench, and the "barblike" point of the goose-quill pen!!!

          With a cry of mingled surprise and pain, he leaped into the air, and pulled the torturesome quill from his hindparts, where it had imbedded itself fully an inch.  The students roared with laughter at the comical sight of the Schoolmaster hopping around on one leg and gingerly rubbing his rear-end.

            Then it was (Aunt Het, recalled) that he burst forth into a rage of temper such as she had never seen before.  In his "bull-like" fury, he commenced throwing everything he could get his hands on and charged through the schoolroom like a wild buffalo, striking boys and girls alike and soundly flailing any luckless head that happened to be in his furious path.  As he came to the bench where she was fearfully waiting for the fullness of his wrath to fall upon her (because she was the most guilty), he abruptly halted his tempestuous assault upon the scampering students and flaring at her with angry eyes, then his face softened.  He reached out with one of his big hands and patted her gently on the top of her head and bent down and kissed her tear stained face.  He then straightened up and went back to "knocking the daylights out of the other students" as though there had been no interruption whatever in the disciplinary action he had been taking.  He soundly thrashed every kid in the school that day, except her!!

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