The boys were all so glad to hear him and be able to play with him that they gave him all the paint and nails that they could spare, as well as string for his rigging and a lead sinker for his anchor. Of course, he had many kinds of paint, and not enough of any one color to paint his whole boat, so her hull was black, the trimming golden-yellow, the deck bright-blue, and the mast was green. She was a funny boat indeed, but Birdling liked her none the less and wanted to name her after his father’s ship, the Big Dipper.
‘‘But she isn’t big!” said the other boys. ‘She’s the smallest boat of all!”
So he called her the Little Dipper.
“What will you do for a sail?” the others asked. “We’d love to give you some muslin, but we haven’t a bit to spare.”
Here was a dilemma indeed. Then Birdling remembered that he had a patch on the seat of his trousers that he did not need at all, for his great-aunt always patched them before they went into holes (“If I didn’t,” she would say, “why bless my boots, he’d sit them through in two minutes!”); and now he did a dreadful thing, he took off the patch and used it for a sail!