Babe in The Woods

A Sign of Things to Come

The majority of the mountain people believe that dreams are a revelation of things to come or a sign of one's inner most desires. Being a teacher, Christy had always rejected such ideas. But she began to wonder if perhaps the notion was true after awakening one morning after having dreamed of a crying baby. While Christy ponders her mysterious nocturnal vision, outside in the fog enshrouded woods, a young girl stares at the mission . . .

Finders Keepers

On the way to school, a group of the children finds a baby hidden in the grass. Little Burl wants to sell the child, Creed wants to trade her for a fine raccoon, and Lulu just wants to keep her. When Mountie suggests asking Christy's advice about what to do with the child, Sam Houston firmly says no. Like Moses, Sam believes that the baby's mother had to leave her and is afraid that it would be dangerous to tell anyone of her existence. Little Burl assures Sam that no one is after the child but Sam isn't convinced. When Christy appears on the mission porch to bid the children good morning, Sam tells everyone to hide the baby . . .

Teacher, I Gotta Go Bad

Christy is trying to teach the children about the government but their mind is on something much smaller. After Lulu and Ruby Mae ask to be excused to visit the privy, Christy focuses her attention on Sam Houston and asks the boy what he knows about governments. Creed Allen almost falls over when Sam tells Miss Huddleston that other governments don't seem to like babies. When Christy asks the boy to explain his statement, he quickly relates the story of Moses and the Pharaoh of Egypt. Christy finally becomes suspicious when Sam asks to be excused and she and the rest of the children follow the boy outside where she discovers the baby. Christy picks up the child and cradles her in her arms and realizes that her dream about a crying baby was real . . .

The Right Place to Be Abandoned

The children can't resist peeking in the mission window while Christy and Fairlight are changing and washing the baby. David shoos them all back to school promising the first child who returns to his seat the opportunity to help with communion on Sunday. During the course of their ministrations, Fairlight realizes that the baby has been well-taken care of. When Christy asks Mrs. Spencer if she knows of a woman who could have been full term, Fairlight points out that there are many people on the mountain who don't mix with others. Christy is appalled that someone could have just abandoned a baby but Fairlight shows her the birthmark on the baby's shoulder and tells her that some folks believe that it is the mark of the devil. She tells Christy that a family could very well abandon a child because of such a mark or too many mouths to feed or even because the child was a female. Christy cradles the child in her arms and assures the wee one that she will be well-taken care of until Miss Alice, David and she can decide what to do with her . . .

Sports Anyone?

David calls recess and joins Christy on the schoolhouse steps where Christy is racking her brains trying to figure out if the child belongs to a family that they know. Neil arrives carrying the little bundle of joy and tells them that the child is in fair condition considering what she's been through and points out that she'll require a lot of attention. Christy eagerly accepts responsibility for the care of the child and asks David to take over the lessons for the rest of the day. Neil volunteers to teach science and math but David tells the doctor that he's already covered those subjects. When Christy suggests that Neil take over the physical education class, Neil jumps at the opportunity, saying that there is no one better qualified to teach sports than a sportsman. Neil begins his instruction to the children on the importance of exercise by pointing out that competitive sports are the best form of exercise. David agrees with the doctor's statement and informs the group that baseball is the best competitive sport. Neil disagrees and says that baseball is no better than cricket, which is a sport for blue-blooded sissies. David disagrees with his disagreement and tells the children that baseball is the perfect combination of individual skill and team unity. When David proudly admits that he was the batting champion of the seminary team, Neil informs him that anyone can hit a wee ball with a stick . . .

A Baby-Sized Favor

Tentatively, Opal McHone climbs the mission steps and offers Fairlight a bottle of fresh goat milk for the baby. Fairlight thanks her for the gift and returns to her chores. When Opal asks her if she might take a quick look at the child, Fairlight tells her no, insisting that she only wants to spare her sister any more pain. After Opal points out that there is nothing sad about a newborn baby girl, Fairlight smiles and leads her inside to see the infant. Ruby Mae is perched beside the child's cradle serenading her with a lullaby. Ruby asks Mrs. McHone if she'd like to hold the baby but Opal reluctantly says no . . .

A Ghost of A Girl

When Miss Alice and Daniel Scott return from their journey, Christy eagerly greets them with the news of the finding. Christy stops in the middle of a sentence after hearing a noise and goes to investigate. She sees a young girl who runs away after being discovered. Christy calls after her but the girl is gone by the time Dan arrives. Puzzled when he sees nothing, Dan wonders if Christy has seen a ghost . . .

Forgiven But Not Forgotten

Ruby Mae leaves Opal alone to tend the baby and when she starts to cry, Mrs. McHone instinctively moves to pick her up. Christy picks this opportune moment to enter the mission and rushes over to retrieve the baby before Opal h as a chance to touch her. She thanks Opal for her assistance and tells the lady that she is free to go. As she cradles the baby outside on the porch, Christy shudders at the thought of Opal being alone with her precious bundle. Christy's memory of preparing Opal's deceased baby girl for burial is still vivid in her mind. The child had died needlessly from a nonexistent condition called "liver-growed" which Opal had tried to cure by touching the baby's feet to its head. David joins Christy on the porch and tells her that her act of pretending that nothing is wrong was very convincing. When Christy admits that she still can't bring herself to trust Opal with the baby, David assures her that Mrs. McHone is a good mother and wouldn't do anything to harm the infant. Christy agrees but can't forget that it was her ignorance that killed an innocent child . . .

A Ball, A Bat, and a Baby

David is demonstrating proper batting technique to the children. After finishing his long speech about the finer points of the game, he orders everyone to take their places in the field. He displays his batting ability with a nice hit which Miss Alice promptly catches with one hand. When David expresses amazement at her athletic ability, she assures the preacher that she did have a life before Cutter Gap. Miss Alice strolls over to Christy, who seems to be permanently attached to the baby, and announces that they are going to find the child's mother. Neil thinks that is a splendid idea and tells Alice that he will show the children some real games as soon as David is finished with his pointless baseball enterprise. With an apology to Miss Alice, Neil notes that anyone, even a woman can play baseball. Highland games, however, are something quite special . . .

You're Out

The baseball game begins and everyone has fun except Neil who strikes out when he comes to bat. When its David's turn to bat, the mighty slugger hits the ball to Neil who misses the catch but finally manages to retrieve the ball and tosses it home . . .

Mission Accomplished.

As she and Alice search for the mother of the abandoned child, Christy points out to Miss Henderson that there is no woman close to term in the area. Miss Alice informs her that Ben Pentland told her about a young unmarried woman living on Sand Mountain who was turned out by her parents when they discovered that she was pregnant. As they ride along, Miss Alice catches a glimpse of a young woman hiding in the brush. She stops her horse with the excuse that the animal has gotten a pebble stuck in its shoe and tells Christy to search for a stick in the woods in which to loosen the stone. Christy doesn't find a stick but she does find the girl who runs away before Christy has a chance to talk to her. Christy chases after her and Miss Alice manages to block her path before she can escape. Christy assures the frightened young woman that she has nothing to fear . . .

We Can Work It Out . . . Not!

The young woman, Sarah, explains to Christy and Alice that she left the baby at the mission because she is unmarried. When Christy assures Sarah that there must be a way for her and the baby's father to work things out, Sarah informs Miss Huddleston that there isn't. The baby's father and his family left town and her own family kicked her out when they discovered that she was pregnant. Sarah tells the two of them that she intends to move to the city where she can hopefully find a good job. Miss Huddleston pleads with the girl to change her mind and invites her to stay at the mission. Sarah hesitates but finally agrees to come after she retrieves her things from the cabin where she is staying. Christy tells Sarah that they will expect her for dinner and the girl nods and leaves to get her things . . .

No Show

Dinner is over and Sarah still hasn't arrived at the mission. Miss Alice watches silently Christy as she sits at the table rocking the baby while the candles burn down in their holders. Outside on the porch, Christy stares at the woods, still waiting for Sarah. When it becomes evident that the girl isn't coming, Christy assures the baby that her mother loves her and explains that sometimes people do the wrong things for the right reasons. As David eavesdrops, Christy kisses the little bundle and tells her that she'll take good care of her . . .

Let the Games Begin

Dressed in traditional Scottish garb, Neil tells the children that the time he spent in Scotland stirred up the highland traditions in his blood, the same blood that runs through each and every one of their bodies. Alice turns her back to Neil and tries to control her laughter at his speech. Neil points out that it doesn't matter where a person lives for it's their heritage that shapes them. He intends to show the children games of strength and determination with real purpose and tradition, games that were born in the glorious past when men knew the true meaning of sport. When Lulu asks the doctor if girls can play too, he assures her that they can. Just as Neil had trouble with the sport of baseball, David has equal problems with one of the highland games involving a pole toss. Likewise, his team loses the tug-of-war and ends up with a mud bath for a prize . . .

Playing House

The next morning, Alice finds Christy by the lake teaching the baby how to quack like a duck. Christy tells Miss Henderson that until the baby came into her life, she always had trouble getting out of bed in the morning. Now, Christy admits, she can't wait to get up. After Christy expresses her desire to name the child "Emma" Alice takes the baby from Christy's arms and firmly points out that it will be the new family's privilege to do so. Christy tells Miss Alice that she'd like to keep the baby at the mission and raise her to be part of their family. She offers to take full responsibility for the infant's upbringing and tells Miss Alice that it would be a lot of fun to have a baby around. Alice points out that a baby isn't a stray cat and wonders if Christy is really ready to be a mother. She tells Miss Huddleston that if they can't find a family in the area to adopt the child then they will find one at the Christian Orphanage in Knoxville . . .

And Baby Makes Three

After feeding her, Christy places the baby over her shoulder to burp her. She motions to David, who is watching from the shadows, to come closer and remarks to him how wonderful the baby is. Christy smiles when David notes that they have the makings of the perfect family . . .

A Sign From Heaven

Christy rushes over to Alice who is preparing her horse for another journey and announces that it won't be necessary to contact the orphanage in Knoxville. When Miss Henderson points out that it may be necessary to contact the organization if a suitable family isn't found to adopt the child, Christy smiles and tells Alice that she knows of a young couple who would be perfect for the job. Miss Alice's mouth drops when Christy announces that she and David are the couple and wonders if Christy is reconsidering David's proposal because of the baby. Christy assures Alice that she's been thinking about marrying David ever since he proposed but the baby has made her see things more clearly. When she tells Alice that the baby is a sign from God that she should marry David, Alice expresses her hope that Christy will have better luck in reading God than she has . . .

Opal to The Rescue

Christy is troubled after her argument with Miss Alice and so is the baby. She won't eat and her breathing begins to sound as if she is gasping for air. When Christy learns that Miss Alice hasn't returned from her trip, she urges Ruby Mae to ask David to find Neil and to search for Dan at the school. Wrapped up in her concern over the baby, Christy doesn't hear Opal who is knocking at the window. Opal lets herself in and offers Christy another gift of goat's milk. When Christy sarcastically remarks that the baby isn't very hungry at the moment, Opal feels the infants head and notes that she is burning up. She tells Christy that the baby has the croup and they must fry up a batch of onions immediately to make a poultice. Christy is reluctant to try Opal's remedy and suggests that they wait for Neil. When Opal points out that Neil passed her cabin on the way to El Pano, Christy tells her that Daniel will know what to do. Christy struggles with Opal as she tries to take the baby out of her arms. Opal pushes Christy away and tells her that she doesn't care what Miss Huddleston thinks of herself, but unless they make the poultice now, the baby will die . . .

Onions, The Miracle Drug

As Christy and Opal watch, Daniel examines the baby and announces that her breathing is fine. Christy is stunned when Daniel tells her that the onions saved the child's life by opening up the airways which were filled with fluid from the croup. Neil confirms his diagnoses and tells Opal that he wouldn't have handled the situation any differently . . .

Welcome to Motherhood

The children bring Christy, who is outside stirring a tub of wash, a list of names for the baby. Christy reads the list aloud which includes the names Iris, Lily, Rose, and Black-Eyed Susan. Lulu explains that the names of flowers were chosen because the baby was found on the ground like a pretty little flower. The children scamper away when Alice arrives and Christy shows her the list. Alice tells her that she met Neil on the road and he explained about the baby's episode with the croup. Christy shudders and tells Miss Alice that she never wants to go through anything like that again. Alice remarks that although the world is changing with the inventions of the car and airplane, some things never change like a mother's worry for a child. Christy admits that without Opal's assistance the baby would have died and tells Alice that she was frightened. Alice points out that while it's nice to play house, a baby is a real human being and sometimes love just isn't enough. She informs Christy that she payed a visit to Sarah's parents and they are unwilling to forgive their daughter's mistakes or accept the baby. Miss Alice tells Christy that since most of the families in the cove are barely able to feed the mouths that they have, it appears that they'll have to contact the orphanage in Knoxville . . .

An Answer at Last

Christy stays awake all night watching the baby and praying that Sarah's parents have a change of heart or that the girl returns for her child. As dawn breaks over the mountains, Christy has a wonderful idea . . .

A "Wee" Proposition

When Fairlight and Christy arrive at the McHone's cabin, Tom informs them that his wife has gone blackberry picking. Fairlight tells Mr. McHone that it is he that they wish to speak to. Thinking that it has something to do with the croup incident, Tom tells Christy that the matter is between her and his wife. Christy assures Tom that their business has nothing to do with the incident and informs the man that his wife was a big help. Tom smiles and notes that Opal has done nothing but talk about the baby since her arrival and a spark has rekindled in his wife that he thought would never appear again. Fairlight smiles and tells Mr. McHone that the baby is the reason why she and Christy have come to talk to him . . .

Iris McHone

When Opal and her husband arrive for church service Sunday, Fairlight tells Mrs. McHone that they've found a family to adopt the baby. When Opal becomes sad at the idea of the baby's departure, Tom breaks the suspense and informs his wife that they are the child's new parents. Opal is overwhelmed and tells the group that it is impossible for her to find the words to express what she is feeling in her heart. Christy apologizes to Opal for doubting her ability as a mother and begs her for forgiveness. Opal accepts Christy's apology and asks Miss Huddleston to be the child's godmother. After the happy couple decides on the name Iris for their new little girl, David urges everyone to take their seats inside the church. When Daniel starts to leave, Alice tells the man that he's welcome to stay. Daniel rejects Miss Alice's offer and tells her that he doesn't want to spoil the celebration for Tom and Opal. As he turns to leave, he notices Christy standing alone still cradling Iris in her arms. He remarks how unfair it is that she always seems to be giving after having sacrificed so much to be in Cutter Gap. Christy tells Mr. Scott that after a person has lived in the cove awhile they come to learn that the blessings become greater than the sacrifices. After Daniel leaves, Christy kisses the baby goodbye and wishes her luck with her new family . . .

Real Men Arm Wrestle Until Dawn

After church, everyone celebrates Tom and Opal's good fortune with food and music down by the lake. Neil and David both compete for Christy's attention by offering her a glass of punch. When David comments on the doctor's appearance at the service, Neil tells him that he was there to check up on his latest patient. David assumes that Neil must be very busy as he is working on a Sunday but Neil assures Mr. Grantland that he is through for the day. David invites Neil to resume their sporting competition and the two men proceed to demonstrate their strength and endurance to Christy by arm wrestling. Night falls and as Christy prepares for bed she laughs at the sight of Neil and David who are still wrestling. Sometimes the two acted more like little boys in her classroom then the grown men in her life. Someday, Christy would understand exactly what that meant . . .

Caroline Kent