At the other side of the runnel, the machine shrieked, groaned and rattled, and drilled. then all at once it shook and shuddered – wheezed – and stopped. Frantically, men worked to get it going again. But they couldn’t. It had collapsed! John Henry’s hammering still rang and echoed through the tunnel with a strong and steady beat.
Suddenly there was a great crash. Light streamed through the tunnel. John Henry had broken through! Wild cries of joy burst from the men. Still holding one of his hammers, John Henry stepped out into the glowing light of a dying day. It was the last step he ever took.
“At one time most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me as it does for all who truly believe.”
“Granny Bett looked at all the chaos. She hooted and snorted and slapped her leg. She shook until her bonnet slid sideways and her shoelaces popped…Now let’s have a friend-celebrating, glad-you-came, I’m-all-better-now kind of day!”