ANIMAL LIFE READERS
EDITED BY EDITH CARRINGTON AND ERNEST BELL
WITH PICTURES BY HARRISON WEIR AND OTHERS
DICK AND HIS CAT AND OTHER TALES
DICK AND HIS CAT AND OTHER TALES
ADAPTED BY EDITH CARRINGTON
AUTHOR OF "WORKERS WITHOUT WAGE," "A NARROW, NARROW WORLD," "A STORY OF WINGS," ETC., ETC.
_WITH PICTURES BY F. M. COOPER_
LONDON GEORGE BELL AND SONS YORK STREET, COVENT GARDEN 1895
_This Series is published by Messrs. Bell for the Humanitarian League._
DICK AND HIS CAT 1
TRUSTY. By Roger Quiddam 29
OUT IN THE COLD. By Roger Quiddam 50
THE STORY OF A FLY. By Maria Jacob 67
BETTY AND SNOWDROP 106
In the Section of the Code for 1894-5, dealing with Reading Books, occur the words "Passages impressing on the children the duty of gentleness and consideration for others, and that of the humane treatment of animals may also be widely introduced."
It is in the hope of encouraging that humane treatment of animals, which in the hands of a sympathetic teacher may so easily and naturally be made the first step towards the "gentleness and consideration for others," that this series has been prepared. It is hoped now that the teaching of humanity has received official recognition, that those who have charge of the young will recognize its importance, and will realise that unless the cultivation of the heart runs _pari passu_ with that of the head, the spread of education may become a curse instead of a blessing.
The Editors are much indebted to the R.S.P.C.C. for permission to reprint "Trusty" and "Out in the Cold."
DICK AND HIS CAT.
1. UP TO LONDON.
1. In the reign of the famous king Edward the Third, there was a little boy named Dick Whitt-ing-ton, whose father and mother died when he was very young.
2. He knew nothing about them, and he was left, a poor little ragged, dirty fellow, to run about the streets of a small country village.
3. As poor Dick was not old enough to work, he was in a sad state; he got but little for his dinner, and often had nothing at all for his supper. For all the people in the village were very poor.
4. They could often spare him nothing more than an old crust of bread, or some scraps that even a dog would not have liked. One day a man who was driving a waggon came through the village.
5. He had eight fine large horses to pull it, and, as he walked by their side, he spoke kindly to them, and never whipped them. This made Dick think that he must be a good man.
6. "If he is kind to the horses," said Dick to himself, "perhaps he will be kind to a poor lad like me." So Dick went up to speak to the carter and asked him to let him walk along by the side of his waggon.
7. The two began to talk, and the man, hearing from poor Dick that he had no parents, and seeing how ragged his clothes were, took pity on him. He told Dick that he was going with the waggon to London town. "And," added the man, "you may come with me if you like.
8. "I do not think that you can be much worse off there than you are here; and perhaps you may be better off in the great city. You may ride in the waggon if you please."
9. Dick was glad enough to do this, and the good driver took care to share his food with him on the way. He took as much care of the horses and of Dick as he did of himself. Dick got safe to London.
[Illustration: SETTING OFF.]
10. Now before he had seen the streets of London, Dick had thought that they were made of gold, for an old man in the village at home had told him so. But the old man had only been in joke. He meant that folks often became rich there.
11. So Dick ran away from the waggon in a great hurry, to find the golden pavements. But he saw nothing except mud and dirt, and a crowd of people all looking very busy, who took no heed of him.
12. Instead of being able to pick up little bits of gold from the streets when he wanted money, Dick now found that he could not find even a penny to buy a loaf for himself, and no one gave him one either.
13. He stayed all night in the streets, and, next morning, he got up and walked about, asking those whom he met to give him something to keep him from starving.
14. Hardly any man or boy whom he asked gave him a copper. But at last, a woman, seeing his pale face, drew out two pence and put them into Dick's thin hand.
15. Being almost too tired and weak to buy food, Dick laid himself down on the doorstep of a big house. He almost wished to die, for he felt so lonely and forlorn in that great town, where no one had time to think about a poor little ragged boy.
* * * * *
_Write:_ Dick went to London with a man. When he was there, he could get no food. A kind woman gave him two pence.
Questions: 1. In what king's reign did Dick Whittington live? 2. In what kind of place was he born? 3. Whom did he meet going through the village? 4. How did Dick know that the driver was a good man? 5. What did he do when he first reached London? 6. What did the kind woman give to Dick?
2. THE STRAY CAT.
1. As Dick was hiding his face in his hands and thinking these sad things, he felt something very soft rubbing gently against his neck, which was close to the hard cold stone step, and he heard a pleasant sound at his ear.
2. It was the purring of a poor little stray cat, which was trying to make friends with him. Dick sat up, and stroked puss. "Why, you are just like me!" said Dick. "I believe that you have no home and no friends either, you poor little thing."
3. When the cat heard Dick speak so kindly to her, she crept into his lap, looking into his face as if to say, "Are you going to let me come, or will you drive me away, as all the rest of the world does?"
4. Finding that Dick put one arm round her she curled herself up, purring loudly, and seemed to think that she had found a home with him on the doorstep.
5. "Poor pussy!" said Dick, "how thin you are, and how rough your coat is! Come, I will go and get something for us both to eat." Dick ran along the street with the cat in his arms.
6. She could not do enough to thank him for taking care of her. For she had been hunted through the streets for many days. The people with whom she had lived were gone away and left poor puss behind to starve in an empty house.
7. They went to a shop and bought milk and bread. It was a fine feast for them both, and I do not know which of them liked it best.
8. The rude boys in the street laughed at Dick for running along with a cat in his arms. But he was too brave a boy to care for that. He only hugged his cat the tighter, and laughed at them in return. So they soon left off.
[Illustration: BOTH IN NEED.]
9. That night, Dick had again no place to sleep in but the doorway of a big house. He made himself and his cat as snug as he could, and had just fallen asleep when he heard a cross voice say, "What are you doing here, you lazy scamp?"
10. This was a cook, who was just coming out. And at the same moment her master came out behind her. He, too, saw Dick, and said: "Why do you lie there, my lad? You seem big enough to work. I fear that you must be idle."
11. "No, indeed, sir," said Dick. "I would work with all my heart, but I know no one to give me work, and I think that I am ill from want of food and a dry, warm bed."
12. "Poor fellow!" said the rich merchant, who was master of the house. "Come here to me. Let us see what is the matter with you."
* * * * *
_Write:_ A poor little stray cat came to Dick. He spoke kindly to her and went to buy bread and milk for both. They liked the food very much.
Questions: 1. What did Dick feel as he lay on the doorstep? 2. What did he say to the stray cat? 3. What did he buy for them both? 4. Who came out of the door as Dick was sleeping on the step? 5. Who came out after the maid? 6. What did the master of the house say to Dick?
3. THE CROSS COOK.
1. As Dick came up to the merchant, his knees trembled under him, and he looked very ill and weak. He had put the little cat under his jacket, so that the merchant did not notice her.
2. "You seem half starved," said the merchant. And he told the cook to give Dick a good meal at once, make him up a bed in the garret, and let him stay with them.
3. He might do what dirty work in the kitchen he could for the cook. Little Dick would have been very happy now, but for the cross cook, who was finding fault and scolding all the day long.
4. She would rush at poor Dick with her broom, and hit him hard on the head. And what was worse, she chased his poor little cat right out of the house, and said she would have no cats there.
5. Dick found his pussy again, and took her up into his own bare and empty garret, where she was safe, for the cook never went there. And pussy was his only friend at that time.
6. Dick was careful to carry food to his cat, of which there was always plenty to be had in that house. But things became worse and worse in the kitchen.
7. The temper of the cross cook was tried more and more by the little mice, which ran over all her nice pies and puddings, and spoilt them as fast as she made them.
8. She flew into a passion with Dick twenty times a day, but it was of no use to do this. She set traps for the mice, but they soon found out the trick, and would not go near them.
9. The cunning little things laughed at cook and her clumsy traps, and made merry all night long over the floor of her room, running races, and keeping her awake.
10. So she grew crosser and crosser, till at last Dick felt as if he could not stand it much longer. But his master was always kind, and he thought that he would never leave him if he could help it.
11. He thought that things might mend and he tried to be patient. And his cat was always ready with a loving greeting for Dick when he came to his room.
12. At last one day Dick's master called all his servants upstairs into his room. He said that a ship of his was going to sail for a foreign land in a few days.
13. He asked them if any of them would like to send some things out in the ship to be sold. In those days much money was to be made by selling English goods in other lands.
14. All said that they would like to send something. But poor little Dick said not a word. He had nothing in the world but the clothes he had on, and his cat.
* * * * *
_Write:_ Dick was told that he might do work for the cook. But she was very cross to him and to his cat. He kept puss in his own room and took care to feed her.
Questions: 1. What did the merchant say about Dick? 2. What did the cook say about the cat? 3. Where did Dick keep her? 4. What was he careful to carry up for his cat? 5. What did the merchant ask his servants? 6. Why did Dick say nothing when all the rest spoke?
4. WHAT THE BELLS SAID.
1. Now the merchant had a little daughter, called Alice. And she was a kind little girl. She looked at the sad face of poor Dick, and she said in a whisper to her father, "Why does not that little boy speak like the rest?"
2. "You had better ask him," said the father, giving his little girl a kiss before he went out of the room.
3. So Alice went up to Dick and asked him why he had not sent some small thing that could be sold for much money in the foreign land, though it cost only a little here.
4. "All the rest are going to send," said little Alice, "and when the ship comes back they will get the money. Why do you not send something in the ship too?"
5. "I have nothing to send," said poor Dick, looking very sad. "I am a poor boy. The cook is unkind to me, and I have nothing of my own but a cat."
6. "I have got some money in my purse, I will give it to you," said little Alice. But Dick said that he should not like to take money from the little girl.
[Illustration: ALL DICK HAD.]
7. Just then the merchant came back into the room. He had heard what Dick said about having nothing but a cat.
8. "Fetch your cat, boy, and let her go," said he. "I heard the captain of the ship say that he wanted a cat to clear the ship of mice. He will give you money for her."
9. "Oh no, sir," cried Dick, "I could not give up my poor cat. She loves me, and I love her. She has grown such a beauty, sir, and she can almost talk. I could not get on without her, please, sir."
10. "Well, if you cannot be parted, why not go too?" "So I could, sir," said Dick. "Well, you are a smart boy, and we will see. The captain lives near. You had better run and ask him what he thinks."
11. Dick was not long in fetching his cap. He almost flew along the streets, and as he did so he heard Bow bells begin to ring.
12. He felt so full of high spirits at the thought of ending his hard life in the kitchen, with the cross cook, that the bells seemed to be singing a merry tune to him.
13. Dick stopped for a moment to listen, and as he did so, their chime came to his ears like the sound of his own name. They seemed to say:
"Turn again, Whittington, Lord Mayor of London."
14. "This must be my fancy," said Dick, as he ran on to the house of the captain. "But it is very pleasant to be spoken to kindly, even by the bells. And I wonder whether good fortune is in store for me at last?"
* * * * *
_Write:_ Dick could not part with his cat. So his master said that he might go with her in the ship. He went to ask the captain.
Questions: 1. What did Alice ask Dick? 2. What did Dick answer? 3. What did his master say when he came into the room? 4. What was Dick's reply? 5. Where did he run? 6. What did he hear the bells say?
5. THE KING'S DINNER.
1. The ship, with Dick and his cat on board, was soon at sea. But Dick began to think that worse luck than ever was going to befall him.
2. For there was a heavy storm, and the ship was nearly wrecked on the coast of a land then unknown to the English. This land was filled with black people called Moors.
3. When the captain and his men, with Dick and the cat, landed on this shore, the natives came in great numbers to gaze at them. They had never seen people with white faces before.
4. As they came to know the captain and his sailors better, these black men would go on board the ship. The English sailors showed them all the goods which they had brought from England.
5. The black men wished to buy them. As they had gold in great lumps and heaps, they were willing to give a high price for what the servants had sent out from the merchant's house.
6. The captain, seeing how much pleasure the things gave, sent some of the goods to the king of the country. He was so much pleased with them that he sent for the captain and his friends to the palace.
7. As Dick and his cat had been very useful on the voyage, the captain took them with him, and they soon reached the palace.
[Illustration: THE DINNER TABLE.]
8. Here they sat on cushions and carpets made of rich silk and worked in gold and silver. And the king and queen being seated at the upper end of the table, the dinner was brought in.
9. But no sooner were the dishes set in front of them, in plates of gold and silver, than a rushing sound was heard. In an instant a whole army of mice and rats came running in.
10. They were so bold that they leaped on the table and began to devour the food from the king's own plate. In a few minutes nothing would have been left.
11. The guests had to drive them away, and snatch a few hasty morsels before they came back again. But the creatures seemed to care for nothing, for they ran back as fast as they were made to go.
12. The captain was full of surprise. "Are not these mice and rats a great trouble to you?" he asked the king. "Oh yes, they are indeed!" said he.
13. "They not only eat up almost all we have, but they disturb us even in our own bedrooms. We are sadly afraid that there will be a famine next year, for they are eating up all the seed and corn in the land."
14. The captain was ready to jump for joy when he heard this, for he called to mind the cat, which Dick had left in the ship.
15. As it was not far off, he bade Dick run and fetch her at once. "I think we can help you," he said to the king; but he only shook his head, for he had tried all ways to get rid of the rats and mice, without success.
* * * * *
_Write:_ The captain sold the goods for a good price. He went to see the king of that land. He found that there were many rats and mice at the palace.
Questions: 1. What misfortune happened to the ship? 2. What sort of people did the captain find on the coast where he landed? 3. What did they give instead of the goods? 4. Where did the captain go with his friends next? 5. What went on at the king's dinner-table? 6. What did the captain tell Dick to fetch?
6. THE QUEEN AND THE KITTENS.
1. Taking puss in his arms, Dick was surprised to find that she tried to get away from him again, and to run down to the cabin below. This was the first time that she had done so, and he could not make it out.
2. She struggled to get away each time that Dick tried to carry her out of the ship, making an odd sort of "miew," and trying to coax him to come where she led him.
3. At last he ran after puss, down the cabin steps, and at the bottom, in a dark corner, he found that puss had hidden five pretty little kittens!
4. She was purring with all her might over them, and she tried to say, "Did you ever see five such sweet little things? How could you ask me to leave them? They would die if I did. Though I love you dearly I cannot go away."
5. So Dick found a warm piece of flannel, and wrapping the baby pussies up in it, he took the whole lot with him. Puss was ready enough to come when she saw this.
6. He made as much haste as he could. Soon he came into the palace with the kittens under one arm and their proud mother purring under the other.
7. No sooner did Dick enter than the cat began to sniff the air. Then she caught a glimpse of the rats and mice, which were still feasting on the table. The cloth was black with them.
8. In one instant she sprang from his arms. She laid a dozen rats and mice dead at the king's feet in half a minute, and all the rest were scared out of their wits, and ran away.
[Illustration: SWEET LITTLE THINGS.]
9. They had never seen a cat before, for there were none in that land. The king had never seen one either; and his queen did not know what sort of beast puss was at all. But she thought her very pretty.
10. "What is this strange, useful creature; what is it called?" said the king, "and where did you get it? I will give all I have to buy it from you, rather than be left without one."
11. But though the king sent for a great sack of gold, so heavy that it took three men to bring it into the room, Dick would not hear of selling his friend.
12. "What is that bundle under your arm?" said the captain to Dick. And then the boy showed him the kittens.
13. "Why these are even more pretty than the beast itself," said the queen, and she wished to have all the kittens in her lap. Poor woman! she had never before nursed a kitten in her life!
14. "You had better sell these to the king," the captain said in a whisper to Dick. "Tell him that some day they will grow up to be cats like yours, and in due time will have little ones of their own."
15. "But it would be cruel to take them all away from their mother," said Dick, for he had seen how quickly his cat had run to the queen to beg for her little ones.
[Illustration: THE KING AND THE QUEEN.]
16. The cat was not afraid to stare even into the face of a king, and ask him bravely to put down the little kit which he had taken into his royal hands.
17. Puss had at last taken all her treasures to a mat near the door, where she was busy washing their faces. She did not care to have so many folks pulling them about.
18. "You must leave one for the mother, and sell the rest," said the captain. "She will not fret long if you leave her one child. And we cannot take them all five back on the ship. There would be too many."
* * * * *
_Write:_ Dick found that his cat had five little kits. He took them with him to the house of the king. The queen was pleased; she had never seen a kitten before.
Questions: 1. What was Dick surprised to find when he took up his cat? 2. Where did she try to lead him? 3. What had puss got in a corner? 4. How did Dick manage to bring the kittens to the palace? 5. What did his cat do when she got there? 6. What did the queen wish?
7. THE END OF PUSSY.
1. "But I should like them to stay little always," said the queen, after she had been told that the kittens would soon grow big enough to catch mice.
2. "That is a foolish remark, my love," said the king. "They are here to kill mice, and the sooner they get big, the better.
[Illustration: PUSSY'S GRAVE.]
3. "And you forget that they will have kittens by-and-by," added the king. "In time we shall have,--what is their name? oh, cats.
4. "Well, we shall have cats enough to keep the whole land free from mice and rats." And he was ready to dance and clap his hands. Only that would not have been proper for a king.
5. The end of it was that Dick and the captain set sail for England with a shipload of gold, and puss went with them, with her one baby. She did not miss the rest much after a time.
6. When Dick reached London again, he was very rich indeed. But as he grew older he learned that money cannot make people happy, unless they do good to others with it.
7. He gave his friend the captain a handsome present of gold, and he did not forget one of his old friends at home. To each one he gave what they most needed.
8. Even the cross cook was not passed over, for Dick thought that her bad temper might be made better by a gift, and so it was.
9. But there was one above all to whom he showed the greatest care. This was his cat. Of course she did not live so long as Dick did, for the lives of cats do not often last more than about sixteen years.
10. By the time that Dick was the father of some dear little children, his faithful old puss was very very old and weak. Alice was now his wife.
11. Pussy spent all her time by the warm fire, and she had all she wanted. No one was ever unkind to her, and though she was not able to catch mice any more, she was treated with great honour.
12. One day, as Dick, now a fine rich man in good clothes and in a grand house, was sitting in his arm-chair, his old puss dragged herself slowly up to his feet.
13. She begged to get on his lap once more. Dick, who knew well what she meant, though she could not speak, stooped and lifted her up.
14. Pussy purred, as she lifted her dim eyes to his face, gave one sigh, and lay quite still. She was dead, and Dick buried her himself, under a laurel tree in his garden.
15. "If it had not been for her I might have died in the streets myself," said he. "It was puss who made my fortune, and I am certain of this one thing: those who show mercy and love, will have the same shown to them."
* * * * *
_Write:_ Dick sold his kittens for gold. But he let the mother-cat keep one. At last his cat died of old age. Dick was kind to her to the end of her life.
Questions: 1. What did the Queen want the kittens to do? 2. What did Dick find out about money as he grew older? 3. To whom did he show the greatest care? 4. What about the cross cook? 5. What did the old cat do one day? 6. What did Dick say that he was quite certain of?
1. "I think that we shall have a heavy fall of snow before long," said the landlord of the little wayside inn, at which I had called to get a morsel of bread and cheese.
2. "Very likely it will snow," said I, giving a glance at the dark heavy clouds, and stopping to listen for a moment to the moaning wind.
3. "And in that case the sooner I start the better, for I have a long distance to go, and the light will fail early, in such weather as this."
4. The landlord turned and looked at me, as I began putting on my great-coat. "Do you think that it is wise of you to venture across the moor, when it is likely to be so stormy?" said he.
5. "It is a rough road at the best of times, but on a bleak night with snow there is real danger. The trap will take you over in no time when it comes in, or as soon as it is light in the morning."
6. "My friend," said I, "do not think of such a thing. I would not be away from home to-morrow for all the world. It is the birthday of my only little girl, and she would think the day quite spoilt if her father were not there.
7. "I shall step out briskly, and be at home long before dark. It is not three o'clock yet," I added, pulling out my watch.
"Well, I wish you a safe journey, sir," said the landlord. "And also, many happy returns of to-morrow."
8. "Thank you, landlord," replied I, in the same hearty tone. I shook hands with him, for his face was a beaming and kindly one, and I had known him since I was a boy.
9. As I went towards the outer door, the landlord just behind me, his man darted forward from a dark corner, and began to bustle out in front of me.
10. "Get out, you brute!" he said, in an angry voice, as he made a savage kick at something which was crouching in the shadow of the doorstep.
[Illustration: POOR DOGGIE.]
11. An instant after, with a dismal yelp of despair, a forlorn dog slunk away from the door, and ran to hide under an empty waggon which stood in the middle of the road.
12. "Get out! Be off!" again shouted the man, and he made a pretence of stooping with great fury to pick up a stone. The wretched dog, wild with terror, left his hiding-place.
13. With his drooping tail between his legs, he crept to the gate of the yard, where he again lay down and blinked his great sad eyes at us, licking his hungry mouth as if to beg for food.
14. I was deeply touched at the sight of this poor creature's distress, and I could not help thinking how warm and well fed I was myself, as well as the other two men, while this wretched dog, for no fault of his own, was starving.
15. "Poor thing!" I said, and turning to the landlord, added, "Do pray let some one bring him a few scraps and bones from the kitchen. I will gladly pay for one good meal for him."
16. "Oh no, oh dear no!" cried the landlord and the man, both in a voice of horror. "If we gave him food in this yard we should never get rid of him.
17. "We should have a bother with starving dogs here, all the year round, sir. Pray do not give him food here, I beg."
* * * * *
_Write:_ A man saw a hungry dog at an inn. He wished to feed him, but the landlord said that he should never get rid of the dog if he had food there.
Questions: 1. What sort of weather was it when the man was at the inn? 2. What did the landlord advise him to do? 3. What did the man answer? 4. What did the traveller see outside the inn door? 5. What did he wish to do for the starving dog? 6. What did the landlord and his man say?
2. A KIND MAN.
1. I now felt that this landlord was not a truly good and kind man, or he would have taken pity on the outcast dog. As I passed through the gate, the poor creature huddled close against the wall.
2. He had been taught to expect a kick or a blow from each person who passed. I stopped for a moment to look at him, and said, "Poor fellow!" in a gentle tone.
3. In an instant all the love and grief in his doggish heart welled over, and with a sharp cry of pain, which was like a prayer to me, he drew himself along the ground to my feet, yelping and wagging his tail at the same time.
4. He began to lick and fondle my feet, and made the shining polish on them quite dim with his muddy paws.
"Poor old fellow!" I said again. "Come, you shall have one good meal if money can buy it."
5. I walked out into the street, and called him to follow. He thought it was too good news to be true, and only came for a few steps, then stopped to look with a timid gaze into my face as if to question me.
6. "Come along, doggie," I replied, "do not be afraid. I shall not hurt you. I mean to be good to you, though you can hardly believe it. Come and get some dinner."
7. Made bold by my tone and manner, the dog stuck close to me, and we went along the High Street. All the shops were gay and smart, but at first I could not see one which the dog would have thought a good shop.
8. At last I found one where food of all kinds was sold, and I walked in, my humble friend at my heels giving a joyful sniff at the pleasant smells.
[Illustration: TRUSTY'S MEAL.]
9. Whole crowds of men and women were eating at the little tables of which the shop was full. I pushed my way up to a counter, and said to the master of the shop,
10. "Just look at this poor dog. I want him to have a good meal of meat. Give him plenty of scraps, and I will pay you for them."
11. The man looked at me as if he doubted what I meant, and he seemed to think that I must be crazy to wish to buy a dinner for a dog.
12. But when he saw that I was in earnest, he quickly fetched a great heap of scraps and bones, which he put down outside the door.
13. Upon these my dog friend fell, as if he had been a starving wolf, but he did not forget to glance up at me before he began with such a grateful look, and to give his tail one quick wag of thanks.
14. I could not wait to see him eat as much as he liked. "I must be off," said I to the man.
15. "Here Johnny," called the master of the shop, when I was going away, "just come here, and keep your eye on this stray dog; see that he is not driven away till he has eaten all he wants, and fetch him a drop of water."
16. I thanked the man for his kindness and paid for the meat, and I did not forget to leave a penny for the little boy who was keeping guard over the poor dog.
* * * * *
_Write:_ The poor dog was taken to a shop and well fed. The kind man who bought him a meal took care that he was not driven away till he had eaten it.
Questions: 1. How did the landlord show that he was not a truly kind and good man? 2. What did the poor dog do when the traveller passed out at the gate? 3. Where did the kind man take the dog? 4. What did he give the dog in the shop? 5. Why could not he wait to see the dog eat? 6. Who watched while the dog ate his meal?
3. LOST ON THE MOOR.
1. As I went along, more than one person who passed me on the way said, "We shall have a wild night, sir, I advise you to hurry into shelter."
2. As I set foot upon the first part of the wide, open moor, where the narrow path could hardly be seen in the twilight, a few flakes of snow began to fall.
3. For a moment I began to wonder whether it would not be better, even now, to turn back and stay in the town for that night.
4. But thinking that my wife and dear little girl would be both sorry and anxious when I did not appear, I put a stout heart into the matter, and strode boldly forward.
5. The snowflakes came down thicker and faster, my beard and the front of my coat were quite white, the great brown moor changed first to a grey, and then to pure dazzling white too.
6. The whirling flakes blinded me, I felt giddy from the cold. The storm was now upon me with full fury, the wind almost lifted me from my feet.
7. I trusted that the sudden gale would soon pass over, and folding my arms close to my body, tried to struggle forward still. But so far from getting better, the weather grew worse each moment.
8. With a dreadful feeling of despair, I found that I could no longer find my way. I did not know where my home lay, nor how I must turn my face in order to reach it. I cried to God for mercy.
9. I now felt that I had been very foolish in trying to get across the moor on such a night. Perhaps I might never see my wife and dear child again.
10. The bitter wind seemed to pierce through my clothes, I was fast getting drowsy and ready to fall down. Then the snow would soon have buried me, and no one would have seen me alive again.
11. A groan broke from my lips as I looked around at the waste of snow, but I was at the same instant startled to hear a low, plaintive whine close at hand.
12. I turned and saw a large, thin, starved-looking dog sitting close behind. He gazed in a troubled way into my face, when I turned round. It was my poor fellow of the inn door!
13. As he crept along over the snow to my feet, he seemed with the same humble love to say, "Do not send me away, let me come with you. You are the only person who has shown me mercy."
14. I stooped and patted him on the head. "Good dog!" I said, "have you found me out? Come now, I wish you could show me the way home, or else I am afraid we shall both be frozen to death."
15. He seemed to know what I meant in some strange way, and just then I heard far off a church clock strike, which I knew must be in the town I had left behind.
16. This was a help, for I now knew that if I turned my back on the place from which the sound came, I should be right in keeping straight on.
* * * * *
_Write:_ The storm grew worse. When the man had lost his way on the moor, he saw the dog which he had fed at the inn sitting behind him.
Questions: 1. What did more than one person say as the man began his walk? 2. As he began to cross the moor, what did he see? 3. Did the weather grow any better? 4. What did he see sitting close to him when he turned round? 5. What did the dog seem to say? 6. What did the traveller hear far off?
4. TRUSTY FINDS THE WAY.
1. I pointed out to the dog the way I wished to go, and with a wag of his tail, the wise creature trotted on slowly in front. He seemed to feel that he had the charge of me and had been trusted.
[Illustration: A BITTER NIGHT.]
2. We had not gone far before he gave a whine, and coming quite close to me, stared in my face, and changed his course. He seemed to beg me to turn aside to the right.
3. I went as he asked me, and as I was going, I tried with my stick to poke the ground from which the dog had wished to turn. I wanted to know why he was not willing to let me tread just there.
4. I found that a deep pond, over which a slight cover of ice and snow were spread, was close beside us. It was an old pit in which water had frozen.
5. Had I set my foot on it I must have sunk down and I never could have risen. "A few inches closer to the edge and I must have been drowned!" cried I aloud, and did not forget to thank God for the escape.
6. The dog now stopped a few feet off as if to watch whether I was coming, and again trotted forward as I praised him and began to follow.
7. Soon he gave a second whine, and again seemed to wish me to turn aside. I trod in his footprints, and again was safe. I was now nearly ready to faint from cold.
8. "Go on, good dog," said I to my faithful guide, "lead me home quickly, or I shall die." He gave a hoarse bark in reply, as if to bid me keep a good heart.
9. I was just falling down, for I could walk no further, when he gave a short, eager bark of joy; at least it seemed like joy, I thought, but my ears were deaf, and my eyes dim.
10. I gave one last hopeless glance around, and saw something large and dark in front. It was a wooden shed, the black inside of which showed plainly against the whiteness all around.
11. I knew that it must be one of the huts which the men used who were digging peat on the moor, and the thought filled me with terror, for I knew that these huts were very far away from my home.
12. But all other feelings went from me now; I had a strong wish to rest, and that was all. I crept into the hut and lay down, thinking that I would wait there till the storm was over.
13. The dog came in after me, and laid himself down close to my side. I felt more sleepy than I had ever done in my life before, my eyes ached, and bright lights seemed to be flashing in front of them.
14. I thought of my home, wife, and child, and then sleep stole upon me. Once I woke with the hoarse bark of the dog ringing in my ears. He was doing his best to wake me from the sleep which must end in death out there on the bitter moor.
15. A second time he roused me, and I felt that he had now crept very close to my breast, and with his fore paws resting on my shoulders, was licking my face with his warm tongue.
16. In the act of stroking him and speaking a kindly word, I again sank to sleep, and after that I forgot all about the dog, the shed, and the cold moor. I dreamt of home, my little girl, and my dear wife.
* * * * *
_Write:_ The dog led the man to a hut. On the way there he saved him from falling into a deep pit. The dog did his best to keep the man from falling asleep.
Questions: 1. What did the man point out to the dog? 2. What did he do to take care of the man on the way? 3. Where did he lead the man? 4. What did the man feel before he was in the hut? 5. How did the dog try to keep him awake? 6. If he had been allowed to sleep in the snow what would have happened to the man?
5. SAVED BY TRUSTY.
1. I knew nothing more about myself until I slowly waked in a warm room, and saw many strange faces round me.
[Illustration: CALLING FOR HELP.]
"Oh, thank God!" cried a voice near me, "the poor man is getting better."
2. "What is the matter?" said I, for I seemed not to know what all the fuss was about.
"Here, my dear sir, drink this," said a voice, and a cup of steaming hot coffee was placed at my lips.
3. I drank it slowly, and then all that I had gone through rushed into my mind. "What is the time?" I asked of the person who had given me the hot coffee. He held my pulse, and I thought that he was a doctor.
4. "Within ten minutes of midnight," was the answer. "And it has taken hours to bring you round. I was almost giving you up for dead."
"You found me on the moor?"
5. "Yes, half buried in the snow. You may thank your dog for your life."
"My dog? I have no dog," said I, for I did not think of my poor friend at the moment.
6. "Yes; if it had not been for his faithful barking and howling, we should not have set out to seek you. My wife heard him, and she said that some one must be lost on the moor.
7. "The dog guided us to the shed. He had kept your face clear of snow by licking it, and had kept a little warmth in your body by lying on it; if he had not, you would now have been dead. We dug you out, and brought you here."
8. I thanked the doctor for his goodness, but my mind was chiefly fixed on that other friend, who was not dumb, for he had spoken for me after his own plan.
9. How great a reward he had given me for a few bones and a friendly word!
"Where is he now?" I asked in an eager tone.
"Who?--the dog? Oh, he is tied up in the stable.
10. "He was so much in the way, and did so much to hinder us by his attempts to show his fondness for you, that we had to shut him up. Hark! Do you hear him?"
11. As the doctor spoke, a long, doleful howl was borne past the windows of the room. It seemed to speak of pain, longing, reproach: all feelings that a dog who had been ill repaid for his love could put into the sound.
12. "Oh, let him out, please! let him out, do!" cried I. "I cannot bear to hear him howl like that."
I then told them the story of the dog. And in the midst of the surprise which all felt at hearing it, he came in.
13. At a word from me, he jumped up by the side of the bed, and barked out all his joy at seeing me again. You may be sure that the dog was not left behind when I started that next day for home.
[Illustration: GRATEFUL FRIENDS.]
14. And you may guess what my wife and little girl thought of him. They gave him the name of Trusty, which he had well earned.
15. He had a share of the birthday feast, which took place a day later than the right one. No one at the table enjoyed a taste of each dish more than Trusty.
16. The fruit was the only thing which he did not care for. His looks improved day after day. He is my friend and the dearly loved playmate of my little girl.
17. I often look back with a most thankful heart to the day that I met him at the inn-door, and my wife has always a pat, a loving word, and a treat in the shape of some nice bone, for our Trusty.
* * * * *
_Write:_ When the poor man waked from his sleep he found himself in a room. The dog had been tied up in a stable, but was soon let loose.
Questions: 1. Where did the poor man find himself when he woke? 2. Where had the dog been tied up? 3. What did the man say when he heard the dog howling? 4. What did the doctor tell him about the dog? 5. When was the birthday feast held, and who enjoyed a taste of each dish? 6. What did the dog become, and what was he named?
OUT IN THE COLD.
1. POOR OLD BROWNIE.
1. "What a sharp night it is, Peter, to be sure!" said a pale woman to her husband, as she sat rocking her baby in its cradle by the fire.
2. She had been but poorly, and had felt the cold very much. "Very sharp, indeed!" said her husband. "I feel pains in all my poor old bones."
3. "If you and I feel cold here," said he, "by the warm fire, after our good supper, what must it be outside, for those poor souls that have nothing to eat, and no fire?"
4. "Ah, bad indeed!" said his wife. "And for the poor dumb beasts, too. How glad I am that we had that nice dry house made for the cow this summer, and the new place for the cocks and hens!
5. "They would have been half frozen under that broken roof as it used to be when we first came here."
6. Her eldest child, a little-girl, looked up from her knitting. "The hens are all quite snug, mother, Fluffy and Biddy and the rest. I peeped in just now, after they were gone to roost."
7. "You are always a kind little one to the dumb things," said her father, stroking the soft brown head of Mercy, who had just spoken. "And so is my little Nelly, too," he added, looking fondly at the second child, who sat on his knee.
8. "It is getting late for the children, Peter," said his wife. "Shall Mercy read a bit, before we go to bed?" So Mercy, who was a good scholar, took the Bible from the shelf and read aloud a few verses which her father found for her.
9. They told of the manger, and of how the ox and the ass stood by one bitter night like this, when the infant Christ was laid in it long ago. "Thank you, dear," said her mother, when Mercy had done. "Now run up to your warm bed."
10. "Oh look, Mercy, how nice!" cried little Nelly, "we have got a new blanket!" "That is because the squire sent it to mother; a big new thick one," said her sister. "How warm we shall be!"
11. Nelly began to make great haste, while Mercy went to the window and looked out.
"How thick the snow is!" she said. "And how white it looks in the moonshine!
12. "But what is that dark thing standing by the old shed?" Nelly ran up and pressed her little face against the window to peep out too. "Why, it is a donkey!" she cried. "How did it get there?"
13. "I tell you what," said Mercy, "it is our poor old Brownie, that father sold last week to Mr. Smith, that he might pay the doctor's bill with the money.
14. "He had spent all we had in getting things for mother when she was ill, you know, and in bread for us. So poor Brownie had to go."
15. "Why does he not go into the shed? How stupid of him to stand there! And why did he not stay with Mr. Smith, I wonder?"
"I suppose he could not help thinking about us, and that is why he came back," said Mercy. "Perhaps Mr. Smith has no little girls to pet him, and maybe he is not so good to him as father was."
* * * * *
_Write:_ Two little girls went to their warm beds. As they looked out at the window they saw a donkey. It stood out in the cold.
Questions: 1. What sort of night did Peter think it was? 2. What was his wife so glad to think of? 3. What did Mercy say about the hens' house? 4. What did the children see when they looked out at the window? 5. What did Mercy think was the reason why the donkey had come back?
2. A KIND ACT.
1. Mercy and her little sister watched at the window for a minute or two more, but the creature did not move.
2. And Mercy cried out, "Oh, I quite forgot! Of course, the shed door is shut! Father has put his tools there, his spade and rake.
3. "When Brownie was sold the straw which was his bed was taken out, and some sacks of corn and barley were kept there instead.
4. "Poor Brownie! I dare say he wonders why his nice old house is shut up so that he cannot get in!"
5. "I will give him some bread from my breakfast in the morning, because it is Christmas Day," said little Nelly. "He will like that, won't he?"
6. Her sister made no answer, but, moving from the window, she took down from a peg her hat and thick jacket. She put them on.
7. "Why, Mercy!" said Nelly, who looked with much surprise at what her sister was doing; "what are you doing? You cannot be going out now in the snow?"
8. "Do not make a noise," said Mercy. "You know that mother is not well, and perhaps she is just dropping off to sleep. I cannot bear to leave him freezing out there all night,--Christmas Eve and all!
[Illustration: OUT IN THE COLD.]
9. "I could not creep under the warm blanket and forget him. No one will see him but us, for only our window looks this way. So I am just going to run out and get the shed open for him."
10. "Oh, sister, you will be so cold! Cannot you ask father to go?"
"Oh, you heard him say that he had pains in all his bones. Now be a good child, Nelly, and get quick into bed. I shall soon be back."
11. With these words Mercy tied on a great scarf which was once her father's round her neck, crept down stairs without making the least noise, and out at the back door.
12. Once out of shelter of the house, it was, as she thought with a shiver, "a bitter night." The snow was no longer falling, but a keen wind swept over the white face of the earth and stirred up the snow.
13. It piled heaps of it up into strange shapes. The frost was so hard that the feet of the child did not sink into it as she ran along.
14. Very soon she reached the shed, outside of which the donkey stood, a picture of patient despair. She plunged through a great heap of drifted snow and reached its side. She patted his rough coat.
15. "Oh, Brownie," she cried, "how cold you are! I must get this door open for you somehow." She pulled it, she jerked it, she kicked it, she shook down showers of snow on herself, and that was all.
16. It was in vain to try. It was frozen hard, and do what she would, she could not stir it an inch. It was hopeless. "Oh, what can I do for you, Brownie?" she thought, ready to cry with grief.
17. "I do so wish you were not so big, and I could take you up the stairs into our bed-room!" And Mercy half laughed at the idea of taking the donkey to bed with her.
18. She gave one last, hard hit and a rattle at the unkind door. "I cannot get it open, Brownie, and I must go home again. It will not do you any good if I stay out here with you."
19. Slowly the child moved away. If it had seemed cold when she first came out, it seemed ten times colder now. And she saw the sad look which the poor beast cast after her when she left him. Mercy could not forget it.
* * * * *
_Write:_ Mercy went out into the cold that she might open the shed door. She wished to let the donkey in. But she could not open it.
Questions: 1. What did Mercy remember about the shed? 2. What did she put on? 3. Where did she go? 4. What was the weather like outside the house? 5. What did she find on trying to open the shed door? 6. What was it that Mercy could not forget?
3. THE OLD SHED.
1. All of a sudden, as Mercy had quite made up her mind to leave Brownie, and was half way across the yard to her own door, a thought struck her.
2. There was an old shed which had once been the stable of a donkey, quite at the far end of the garden.
3. Her father had turned it into a pigsty; but he had left off keeping pigs for some time. It was a clean place, for Peter did not let his pigs live in a dirty sty as some people do.
4. Some dry straw was in it, and some roots stored for the winter. It would be just the place if only she could get Brownie there.
5. In a moment she turned back to hurry again over the heap of snow to the place where the donkey still stood. He could do nothing for himself to make things better.
6. All that he could do was to bear them without any complaint. Poor thing! He was stiff with cold, and seemed not to wish to move. But Mercy knew what was for his good.
7. She meant to do what was best for poor Brownie, whether he knew it or not. So she talked to him, patted him, and coaxed him till at last he let her lead him down to the old shed at the bottom of the garden.
8. "This is lucky for you, Brownie," cried she, feeling very proud at her success. There was a bundle of hay in one corner, of which she shook down a nice soft armful.
9. And then she gave Brownie one good brisk rubbing with some of the straw, to warm them both. She made him a bed of straw too.
10. Brownie was glad to nibble a mouthful while this was being done. Then she took some fine carrots from a shelf, and put them in front of him. Oh, how Brownie did munch those fresh juicy roots!
11. Lastly, she found a bucket of clean water which had not long been drawn from the well, and which had only a thin coating of ice on the top.
12. It had been set in the shed ready for making some mortar, with which father was going to plaster up the cracks in the wall.
13. Brownie seemed almost more glad of the water than of the food. He took a long drink, and turned to thank Mercy with his great deep dark eyes.
14. "Now, poor old fellow, I think you will do," said the child. "I could not bear to leave you out this bitter night, and now I must be getting home, for the snow has soaked through my boots."
15. She stopped fondling and stroking the donkey, but he would follow her, rubbing his soft nose against her hand. "Oh, go back again, do, dear Brownie!" she said.
[Illustration: THE OLD SHED.]
16. "You really must not come out with me!" Shutting the little gate, which had once been the front door of the pigsty, she ran back to the cottage.
* * * * *
_Write:_ At last the little girl thought of a shed. It was at the end of the garden, and it was a clean place. She put the donkey there and fed him well.
Questions: 1. What thought struck Mercy as she was going back? 2. What sort of shed was it? 3. What did she do for Brownie first? 4. What did she give him to lie on? 5. What did she find for him to eat? 6. What did she give him besides food?
4. A HAPPY CHRISTMAS.
1. But when she came to the back door at which she had come out, Mercy found a great trouble. She lifted the latch, but the door did not open.
2. She gave a pull, a second pull, and then a tug with all her might; but it still held fast. "Why," she thought, "I am as badly off as the donkey. I shall have to go into the pigsty with him!"
3. She had been out much longer than she thought. And while she had been taking care of Brownie her father had turned the big key in the door and gone to bed.
4. What was to be done? It would never do to wake up poor tired father, and bring him out in the cold too. So she stood there trying to puzzle out some plan for getting in.
5. The bright moonlight showed her a way to do it. The cottage was a low one, and just under the window of the room where she and Nelly slept, was a bench.
6. Standing on tiptoe upon this, Mercy found that she could reach the branches of an old vine tree, which grew over the walls of the little house.
7. She could climb up into this, and so get near the bedroom window. It was easy enough to scramble up in summer time, but not so easy now.
8. The boughs were a sheet of ice, and her fingers so cold that they could hardly take hold of them. At last, after many slips and frights, she was safely up.
9. But what would little Nelly think of seeing her sister outside the window, asking to be let in, as their pussy cat often did?
10. She was sound asleep too, and had to be wakened by many hard taps at the glass. First, Nelly felt fear at seeing a face looking in at her.
11. But she soon knew who it was. "Oh Mercy," cried Nelly, "how long you have been! What have you been at? And why did you come back this way?"
12. "Get into bed again, there's a dear," said Mercy, "and I will tell you all about it." Nelly kept awake to listen, as Mercy told her the story.
13. And she could not help clapping her hands to think of how snug poor old Brownie was now. Mercy knelt down to say her prayers before she got into bed.
14. She felt very thankful that she had been able to do one kindness to a creature like that ass which once stood in the stall beside the "new-born King."
15. Next morning, as soon as the house was tidy, Mercy ran out to see the donkey. More snow had fallen in the night, and had filled up all her footmarks, so that she might have thought it all a dream.
16. But just as she reached the pigsty she heard a loud bray, which was Brownie's way of saying "A Merry Christmas" to his friends.
17. "You did quite right, my child," said her father, when Mercy told him of her work the last night. "I think that Smith does not treat him well.
18. "And I will tell you what, children, I am going to-morrow to see Mr. Smith and buy our Brownie back again. I cannot get on without him, I find.
19. "Now that your mother is well again we shall do better, and last week I put by the money for Brownie. So you need never say good-bye to him again."
20. You may be sure that there was a happy Christmas at the cottage for Peter and his wife, and for the children, as well as for poor Brownie.
21. "How very glad I am that I went out to him that night!" said Mercy to her father. "It was not much to do, only it was Christmas Eve, and I thought--"
22. "You thought what?" said her father.
"Only," she said, in a low voice, "I could not forget that Christ let the ox and the ass be with Him in the stable. And I thought that He would not be pleased if we left poor Brownie out in the cold."
* * * * *
_Write:_ Mercy was forced to get in at the window. She got up by the vine tree. Her little sister let her in. Peter said he should buy the donkey back.
Questions: 1. What trouble did Mercy find at her door? 2. How did she get up to the window? 3. What was Nelly doing? 4. What did Peter say when his child told him what she had done for the donkey? 5. What did he say about Mr. Smith? 6. What did he mean to do for Brownie?
THE STORY OF A FLY.
1. The first time that I ever used my wings was in flying from behind a red curtain. It was in a warm nice breakfast-room. The master of it was called Mr. Sutton.
2. I settled on a pretty white cap on the head of his wife. She was just making the tea, and her husband was sitting on the other side of the table.
3. "Well," said Mr. Sutton, "when I talk of lazy folks, of course I do not suppose that any person thinks himself idle.
4. "Some people think that so long as they are doing something or other they are busy. I suppose that I am an idle old fellow myself, for spending time in reading the paper.
5. "The right thing to think is, have I been doing what is of any use, eh?" said the old man, pushing up his glasses and looking at his little grandchild.
6. "Have you done a single thing that is of any use this morning, Rose?" Rose hung her head for a moment. Then she lifted her face brightly, and said, "Only one little thing, grandpa."
7. "What was it, dear?"
"I am not quite sure that it was a real good thing," Rose went on, "but I found a poor little butterfly that had fallen into a pool in the garden, where the rain had come.
8. "Its wings were wet, and it could not fly up. So I took it up and put it in the sun on the wall, and soon it was well."
9. Mrs. Sutton looked at Rose in a loving way. "I am quite sure that it was a 'real good thing' if you are not," said the old lady. "And so that was partly why you were late?"
10. "Yes, granny."
"Well, the little butterfly is all the better, though you were the worse for having cold toast. But that is not much to bear for the sake of saving a little life, is it?"
11. And all this time I had been feasting on the sweet white lumps of sugar. No one took any notice of me, and so I went on, till one lump began to grow quite small.
12. "Look, here is a little house-fly!" said Rose. "He is standing quite still on a lump of sugar. What is he doing, granny?"
"He is eating it, dear."
"Can he bite it up?"
13. "Bite it up! No," said Mr. Sutton, putting down his paper and coming up to us. "The fly has no teeth, he has a trunk. He sends down some juice through his trunk on to the sugar.
14 "This juice melts it, and then he sucks it up again."
"How clever!" said Rose. "I wish he would let me touch him." And she put out one finger very softly towards me.
15. Now though I am a brave fly now, I could not bear at that time to see the hand of any person come near me. Though I would perch on the top of it, I did not like to be touched by it.
16. So I flew up in a great hurry, and pitched on some dark stuff which smelt like new hay, and which stood on the side table in a box. Rose did not see where I went. "Oh, how fast he went off!" she said.
* * * * *
_Write:_ Rose saved the life of a butterfly. She found it in a little pool. She set it in the sun to dry its wings. It was a useful thing to do.
Questions: 1. What had Rose found in the garden? 2. What did she do for the little butterfly? 3. How did the fly eat sugar without any teeth? 4. What did Rose wish to do? 5. What did the fly think about being touched? 6. What did he do when he saw the hand of Rose near him?
2. IN THE TEA-CADDY.
1. "Now, granny," said Rose, when the breakfast was done, "I will not forget, to-day at least, to lock up the tea-caddy."
2. So she took up the sugar-basin, fitted it into a little place made for it inside the box where I sat, and, before I had any idea of what she was doing, she shut down the lid.
3. I was now, for the first time, left in the dark. And I began to think what a pleasant thing the sunshine was, and to wonder when I should be let out again.
4. But I must say that I found the sugar a great comfort. I went on eating it as long as I could. If I was to be locked up at all, I could not have been locked into a better place.
5. The sugar-basin was full and there were enough lumps in it to last a fly of my size all his life. But of course one might get tired of it, in time.
6. But I was not tired yet. So I ate and ate, until I began to feel my legs ache and my wings very heavy. Just then I heard a loud noise, and a light broke into my prison.
7. It was Rose turning the key in the lock and lifting the lid of the tea-caddy. "Oh, granny!" cried she, "here is a poor fly that can hardly move."
8. "I am afraid, dear, that the poor fly must thank himself for that," said Mrs. Sutton, looking closely at me. "He has been a little glutton, I fear, and has eaten so much sugar that he can hardly move."
9. "Poor little fellow," said Rose, "I will not hurt him. He shall go out of doors on to the cool grass and get well again.
10. "I dare say that, though he is not quite so pretty as a butterfly, he likes to be alive." So Rose took me up between her finger and thumb as gently as she could, but oh, what great big hands they seemed to me!
11. And my poor sides were pinched black and blue. That is the reason why I cannot bear one of the great hands which belong to men and women to catch hold of me.
12. You see we tiny flies are made so lightly, and we are so small. A mere touch will crush our dainty wings, or break our slender legs, or hurt our eyes.
13. How thankful I am that we have eyes that can see behind and all round us as well as in front!
14. We are able to get away, thanks to these eyes, when we see a great hand coming to catch us. Even a baby's hand seems like that of a giant to us.
[Illustration: ROSE DID HER BEST FOR ME.]
15. But dear Rose did her best for me, and put me in a spoon to carry. At the same time I did wish that the sugar had not been quite so nice, and that I had not taken so much of it.
16. The fresh air of the garden, the sunshine, and the flowers did me a great deal of good, after being shut up in the tea-caddy. At night I slept in a lily bell.
* * * * *
_Write:_ The fly was shut into a tea-caddy by mistake. He ate so much sugar that he could hardly fly. Rose put him out of doors to get well.
Questions: 1. What did Rose do after breakfast? 2. What did the fly do inside the tea-caddy? 3. What did Rose say when she opened it again? 4. What did her grandmother say? 5. What did Rose do for the fly? 6. Why does not the fly like to be touched?
3. I FALL INTO THE CREAM.
1. The next morning I flew in at the window. Rose had soon done her breakfast, and she locked up the caddy again, with me outside this time.
2. Though I did not fancy any sweets on that morning, I saw something in a small jug on the table which I thought looked even nicer. It was yellow and rather thick.
3. I went down to see what sort of stuff it was. It could not hurt me, at any rate, to dip one of my feet in, or the tip of my trunk, and see whether cream was better and more wholesome than sugar.
[Illustration: SOMETHING IN A SMALL JUG.]
4. I slid with care down the sides of the jug, holding firmly on with the little soles of my feet, which, I am thankful to say, have suckers on them which make it easy for me to run where I like without falling.
5. I tasted cream for the first time In my life. What a happy moment it was! I tasted it a second time, a third, and a fourth time, and after that I became so greedy for more that I lost my balance and in I went plump!
6. At first I kicked about as hard as I could, and tried to keep my wings clear. But they soon got cold, and stuck to my sides.
7. And then I could only go round and round the place, looking with despair at the steep sides of the cream-jug, which seemed far larger and steeper than they had done before my sad mishap.
8. I was growing tired of the struggle, my body began to sink in the cream, and even my eyes were dimmed by it, so that I could hardly see where I was going.
9. Thomas the servant came in to take away the breakfast things, and the jolt he gave the cream-jug in moving it closer to the tea-pot nearly drowned me. I was half dead.
10. But Rose was again my friend, though she did not mean to do what she then did. Rushing into the room to fetch a book which she had left on the window seat, she ran against Thomas, and pushed his elbow.
11. This jerked the cream-jug so that it upset and I was upset with it. I felt myself crawling along in a great white flood over the table-cloth, but still I had land under my feet.
12. "My dear Rose," said Mrs. Sutton, "how often I have begged you not to rush into the room in that rough way. You nearly knocked down Thomas, and see how his sleeve is messed with greasy cream!"
13. "I am very sorry, granny," said Rose, "but I forgot this book, and Miss Bush is waiting."
"I am sorry too," said Mrs. Sutton, "and so is Thomas, I dare say."
* * * * *
_Write:_ The fly wished to taste cream. He fell into the jug and was nearly drowned. Rose pushed the servant, the jug upset, and the fly crawled out.
Questions: 1. What did the fly wish to taste next? 2. What had he on his feet which helped him to walk? 3. What became of him after the fourth sip of cream? 4. Who came into the room to fetch the breakfast things? 5. Who came in next? 6. What happened to the cream-jug and to the fly?
4. SWEET AS HONEY.
1. Rose had to go away, to finish her lessons, and Thomas also went out of the room to get a cloth to wipe up the spilt cream.
2. I was in danger of being swept away by this, but, just as Rose was going out at the door, she saw me still in the midst of the cream.
3. In an instant I found myself nearly drowned again in a spoonful of it, and the next moment I was again placed on the grass of the lawn.
4. Rose had scooped me up in the spoon and carried me there. I really think that she had a liking for me. How thankful I felt to be in the grass!
5. I hid myself under a daisy flower and took a good rest, for I felt very tired after my struggles. A good shower of rain came on, and I was quite glad to hear it patter on the leaves.
6. For I still felt a trifle sticky, and was glad to get my legs moist, so that I might wash myself all the better. At this time the sun was so warm, that I lived out of doors for some days.
7. I think that three days passed before I sat again on the white cap of Mrs. Sutton. But one morning, when she sat at the open window, I thought I should like to pay my old friend a visit.
8. It was breakfast time again. Mr. Sutton was reading the paper through his new glasses, and Rose was busy eating her breakfast.
9. As I had had nothing but a few tastes of dew, and such small meals as were to be had from the flowers, for three days, I was rather hungry.
10. I thought that Rose would spare me a bit of what was on her plate. But, as I was on the way to it, I had to pass a pot of something which had a better smell than what she was then eating.
11. It was honey. It made me forget all about Rose, and her bread and butter. I pitched on the honey-pot, and began to feast as hard as I could.
12. But before I had eaten much, I saw Rose take some and spread it on a piece of bread. At the same moment Mrs. Sutton rose and put the honey into a cupboard.
13. "The flies will get at this, if it is left without a cover," she said. "I cannot think why Thomas has brought it in to table without one."
14. Now I thought this a most unkind speech. They were all eating twenty times as much as I could do in a week at each mouthful. Yet the honey was put into a dark cupboard out of my reach!
* * * * *
_Write:_ The fly was glad to clean his wings and legs. He came back to the room and sat on the cap of the old lady. He was pleased to get some honey.
Questions: 1. What did Rose do for the fly in the cream? 2. What did the fly do in the garden? 3. What did the fly find on the breakfast-table? 4. Where did he pitch next? 5. What did the old lady do with the honey-pot? 6. What did the fly think of what she said?
5. A NEW MISHAP.
1. This vexed me, I must say, so I went and buzzed against the window panes for a little while, to see if that would do me any good.
2. At the end of that time I heard Rose say, "Granny, I do not want this bread and honey now. May I keep it for my lunch?"
3. "Yes, dear," said her granny. It seemed a wonder to me that Rose should wish to leave her bread and honey till some hours later, when she might have had it at once.
4. Mr. Sutton got up and went away to his study. His wife rose too, and she told Rose to put the plate of bread and honey on the sideboard, that Thomas might take it away till lunch time.
5. But Rose forgot to tell Thomas, and he did not seem to see the plate, so there the tempting dish was left all the morning. The sun began to shine upon it, and I sniffed and sniffed many times.
6. At last I left the white cap where I was sitting, and went towards it. I settled upon something far nicer now than either sugar or cream. I sipped and sucked away for some time.
7. At last I thought that I had eaten enough and had better tear myself away before I had taken more than was good for me. But, to my horror, I found that when I tried to lift up my legs I could not stir them!
8. In my other troubles I had at least been able to move a little. I could climb up and down the mountains of sugar, and I could swim about in the ocean of cream.
9. But now I was fixed fast, either to be eaten by Rose without her knowing it, or to die a wretched death in the kitchen if she did not choose to finish me off.
10. I had never thought very much of my out-door cousins, the bees. It seemed to me that they made a great fuss and took a lot of trouble for nothing, in making honey for men and women to take away.
11. How much better to eat it straight from the flowers! And now I thought worse of the bees than ever, because I was sticking fast in their stuff.
12. I tried in vain to drag out one front leg after the other, and next my middle and back legs. It was just as a man would feel if he were stuck in a bog.
13. The sound of the lunch bell went to my heart. The sight of the nice bread and honey, which Rose had left at breakfast, would be sure to make her feel hungry. She very soon saw me!
* * * * *
_Write:_ The fly stood on a plate of bread and honey. He stuck fast and felt as a man might do in a bog. Rose took him out and set him free.
Questions: 1. What did Rose do with her bread and honey? 2. What did the fly do when he smelt it? 3. What happened to him when he settled on the honey? 4. What did he try to do in vain? 5. What did he soon hear? 6. What did Rose very soon see when she came to lunch?
6. THE FLY'S EYE.
1. I feel sure that she did not know me, for she cried out, "Oh, granny! here is a nasty fly on my bread and honey. I dare say that the horrid thing has been crawling all over it!
2. "I wish a spider would come and catch it!" went on Rose, quite crossly, "for I do not like to kill it myself!" And here she gave me a little poke with a fork. But not hard enough to hurt me.
3. "Why, Rose, what is the matter?" said her granny. "I thought that you were fond of the little, busy, useful flies that come to dance and play in the house?"
4. "Well, I cannot see what good they do," said Rose, "getting into the cream and sticking on to the bread and honey." Something had put little Rose out of temper. But I felt sure it would not last long.
5. "I wish he would not get on to my plate," said she, bending down her face to hide it, for she began to feel ashamed. "But I will not hurt him."
6. And she took one of her granny's knitting needles in her hand. I shook with fear when I saw this great spear coming; but Rose used it in a most gentle and kind way.
7. She lifted my body out after setting my legs free, and though I felt strained and tired after it, I left nothing behind me, no, not even any of the brushes and combs on my feet.
8. "I will put him out into the garden," said she. But, as my wings had got no honey on them, I saved her the trouble, by flying away.
9. If Rose had only known half the trouble I had in washing my feet after the honey, she would have been ready to forgive me for tasting her lunch.
10. "I am glad you did not go on feeling cross with the poor little fly, Rose," said Mrs. Sutton. "We should miss them much if we had none, for they help to keep our houses sweet and clean.
11. "No maid with her broom could get at all the tiny cracks and corners where the flies go. The eyes of no woman in the world could see what the fly can.
12. "Do you know that his round ball of eye is made up of many hundreds of bits, and that each bit can see a new way?"
13. Rose clapped her hands. "Then can the fly see a hundred ways at once?" said she. "Oh, how I wish I could do that!"
14. "You can move your eyes about," said her granny, "which does just as well. The fly cannot move his. And you would not like to be born in the kitchen sink, would you?"
15. "Is that where flies are born?" said Rose, drawing near to her granny and looking into her face.
16. "Yes," said Mrs. Button, "the fly is born in a sink, or in any place where dirty stuff is found. The young flies eat the dirty stuff and get rid of it. I will tell you some day how the little things come into the world."
* * * * *
_Write:_ After being set free from the honey the fly went off. He cleaned his legs and went back to the old lady. She told Rose that flies were of great use.
Questions: 1. What did Rose use to lift the fly up? 2. In what way did she use the knitting-needle? 3. What did the fly feel when he saw the knitting-needle coming? 4. What can the fly do to keep a house clean? 5. What sort of eye has the fly? 6. Tell me where flies are born?
7. BABY FLIES.
1. "Could you not tell me now?" said Rose, for she wanted to hear about the little flies. And I too felt very glad to hear more about my childhood. So I sat still to listen.
2. "Perhaps you think that the child of a fly looks just like itself; only smaller," said Mrs. Sutton. "But the house-fly lays a great many little eggs.
3. "She finds some old dirty rubbish, like rotten cabbage or stuff that is left by careless cooks lying about. In this she puts her eggs, and then she dies. Little grubs are born from them.
4. "They begin to eat as soon as they are born, and very soon they turn into flies, after going to sleep for a while first in a kind of little hard skin or shell. They change into flies while they are inside this shell."
5. "What do the flies do when they cannot find any dirty rubbish?" said Rose.
"Then they go to look for it in other places," said her granny. "So you see, if we do not wish to have flies in our houses we must have no rubbish."
6. "Then the flies are little servants to us, granny?"
"Yes, to be sure."
"I wish I could see a baby-fly," said Rose.
7. "You would not think it at all pretty," said Mrs. Sutton. "It is a whitish maggot. But some ugly looking things are very useful to us."
"I like pretty things best," said Rose.
8. "Well, the fly is pretty enough when he is grown up. He has to wait, you see." I was pleased to hear the kind old lady say this, and I nodded my head and washed my face with my feet.
9. "And so it is your birthday on Monday, Rose," went on her granny. "And I suppose it is time to be thinking about the party and the fun we are to have?"
10. Rose looked up, beaming with delight at these words. Though she had not been born as a grub in a sink, I thought that she looked pretty too.
11. "We must get Miss Bush to write the letters for us, Rose, and ask the little girls, and boys to come and spend the day with you. Run now and see if she will be so good as to do it now."
"Oh, very well," said Rose. And she went out with a skip.
* * * * *
_Write:_ A house-fly is born in the sink. The egg from which it comes is laid in dirt and rubbish. The grub which creeps out eats up the dirty stuff.
Questions: 1. Where does the house-fly lay its eggs? 2. What are the young flies like at first? 3. What do they do as soon as they are born? 4. What do they eat? 6. If we do not wish to have many flies, what must we do? 6. What treat was Rose going to have?
8. SAVED AGAIN.
1. I heard a little girl say, "Oh, Rose, there is a fly in your glass of wine."
"Poor thing!" said the little girl next her, "take it out!"
"No, no!" said her brother; "let it alone. Let us see how he swims."
2. All this time I felt very bad. I was drowning, yet this boy could look on and talk like that.
3. Something seemed to take away all my breath and strength. I heard the boy say, "If I fell into a pond I could not swim so well."
4. "Why, no," said Rose, "the fly has not a coat and trousers, as you have. But I do not think it is fun to see him drowning, so I will take him out." And she pushed the handle of a spoon with care under me.
5. I could hardly crawl when I got on to the table-cloth. She saw it and placed me on a green laurel leaf outside. I sat there half dead, and yet I heard what they were all saying inside the summer-house.
6. "Lucy," said Rose to the little girl, "you would have been glad if you could have been lifted out like that poor fly, when you fell into the pond at home, would you not?
7. "You went to the bottom before any person came to help you. Were you in a great fright? How did you feel?"
8. "Why," said Lucy, "I was in a great fright when I first fell in, but after that I think that I must have been asleep, for I forgot it all. I knew nothing after my tumble down the bank, till I heard my mother near me.
9. "She was saying, 'God bless you, darling,' and then I found myself lying in bed."
"Ah," said her brother Tom, "Neptune, our dog, had a famous supper that night."
10. "Why?" asked a little boy, from the other end of the table.
"Oh, did you not know that it was Neptune who pulled my sister out of the water?" said Tom.
11. "He saw her go in, and without being told, he got her out. She would have been drowned without him. She had been told not to go near the pond, but she ran down to it, without leave, when no one was looking."
12. The other little girl here grew very red. "You need not have said that, Tom," said she. But Tom was a bit of a tease. He only laughed and said that his sister was always doing what she was told not.
* * * * *
_Write:_ Rose took the fly out of her glass. She put him on a leaf to get dry. Tom told them about his big dog. It saved the life of Lucy.
Questions: 1. What did Rose do for the fly in her glass? 2. What did the dog do for Lucy? 3. What did Tom say that his dog could do? 4. What else would he bring out from the bottom? 5. What did Neptune have on the night when he saved Lucy's life?
9. GRANNY'S CAP ON FIRE.
1. I did not feel much desire to taste any food next morning. The long swim on the day before had taken away my wish for eating and drinking.
2. I nearly flew down to the flower which Rose had put in water, but I changed my mind. On the whole I prefer the smell of jam to that of roses.
3. I felt that a little walk would do me good, so I went round the tray once or twice, and then I tried to do the same thing on the tea-urn, but it was too hot for my feet.
4. I left that quickly enough, and after running across the toast on Mr. Sutton's plate, and crawling up his paper, only to be driven away, I went to the window.
5. Here I was so lucky as to meet a few of my friends, and we had a little dance in the sunshine, which quite brought back my health and spirits.
6. The day thus passed by, and it was very warm indeed later on. After tea Mr. and Mrs. Sutton were seated in the drawing-room, one on each side of a little table, with a candle between them.
7. The old lady was knitting, and her husband was reading aloud the paper to her. I think he was reading to amuse himself more than his wife.
8. I could feel, as I sat on her cap, that her head was nodding now and then, as if she were dozing. Mr. Sutton at last saw this. And laying down the paper he said, two or three times, "You are sleepy, my dear."
9. Each time that he said this, granny woke up, sat very upright, and said, "Oh no, not at all, my love." But she went off again to sleep as soon as the reading began.
10. At length she was in so sound a nap that she did not notice when Mr. Sutton put down the paper, after reading a long, dull account of something or other.
11. He took off his glasses, laid them on the folded paper, and saying something to himself about resting his eyes, fell fast asleep too.
12. Granny's head now nodded lower and lower. First she gave a nod, and then her husband gave a bow, just as if they were being most polite to each other in their sleep.
13. Her cap was very near the wax candle once or twice, and there was a smell of burning. She now began to nod sideways, and each time that she did so there was a great smoke and a frizzling noise.
* * * * *
_Write:_ Rose went to spend the day with Lucy. The fly sat on the cap of the old lady. She fell asleep and the cap caught on fire.
Questions: 1. Where did Rose go? 2. Where did the fly stay? 3. What were Mr. and Mrs. Sutton doing that evening? 4. What did Mr. Sutton say when his wife's head nodded? 5. What did he do himself? 6. What happened to the old lady's cap?
10. A NARROW ESCAPE.
1. I was afraid of losing my perch, her nice white cap, on which I had now grown to feel quite at home. It seemed as if it were turning into ashes like those in the grate, and it felt too hot.
2. I flew up, for I could sit there no longer. And then I pitched on the top of Mr. Sutton's head, just in the bald place, and stamped with one foot as hard as I could.
3. I also ran about and tickled him a good deal. He woke up in a great hurry, for he raised his hand to drive me away, and in doing so, gave himself a smart tap.
4. This roused him. And he awoke just in time to save the cap and the hair of his wife from being in a blaze of fire.
5. "Dear, dear, dear!" said he. "Why, my love, what an escape you have had!"
"Nonsense, my dear," said the old lady, "I have not been asleep, I assure you." But it was of no use for her to say and think this.
6. There was the burnt cap on her head. "I was not quite asleep," said she. "Oh no, neither was I," said her husband, laughing.
7. And then, looking grave, he said, "You were in great danger though, my dear. I read only a day or two ago, of an old lady who had been burnt to death from setting her cap on fire."
8. I had been in great danger too, though no one seemed to think of that. What between the flames, and the knock that Mr. Sutton aimed at me, I might have been killed.
9. Thomas was now heard coming up the gravel walk. He had been sent to fetch Rose home. She was full of news to tell, about all the things she had seen and heard that day.
10. "It is a great mercy, my dear, that you have a bit of your granny left," said Mr. Sutton. "If it had not been for a fly, which tickled the top of my head, your granny's cap would have been on fire."
11. "Well, well, Mr. Sutton," said the old lady, who, somehow or other, did not seem to like hearing about the cap being on fire.
12. "You see here I am, without even being singed. And I was not half so sound asleep as you were, my dear. Depend upon it I am too old and too wise to let my cap catch fire."
13. Mr. Sutton did not say any more about the cap, since it seemed to vex his wife.
"Ah," said Rose, "if I had been at home you would not both have fallen asleep."
14. "That is very likely," said granny, smiling. "Well, and how did you enjoy yourself?" Rose said that she had been very happy.
15. She had seen Neptune dive, and she had been drenched by the shaking which the big doggie gave himself when he came out of the water.
* * * * *
_Write:_ The fly pitched on the head of the old man. He gave a stamp with his foot to wake him up. The old man put out the fire.
Questions: 1. Where did the fly pitch on leaving the cap? 2. What did he do to the old man's head? 3. What did Mr. Sutton do when he woke up? 4. What did he say to his wife? 5. Who came home with Thomas? 6. What sort of day had Rose spent?
11. A GLASS TO MAKE THINGS BIG.
1. "What shall I look at next?" said Rose, who had a glass thing in her hand, next day. "Oh, this fly!"
2. The lunch was on the table, and I was just making a hearty meal on a pat of butter. I knew that Rose would not hurt me. So I stood quite still.
3. "How very strange!" said the little girl. "He looks as big as a horse. His wings are like shining lace, and he has hairy brushes on his feet.
4. "Now he is cleaning his head with one of them. I am glad that flies are not really so big as he seems now.
5. "What a buzzing we should have, and what should we do when such huge things flew about the room or walked on the ceiling!
6. "There would be no room for us to move, and the house would be too small. Fancy having such a creature as this fly looks now jumping and prancing over one's bread and jam!"
7. I was not pleased with this speech; I knew that my colour was rather dingy, but I had always thought my shape to be light and graceful, and this Rose had taken no notice of.
8. Neither had she so much as looked at my trunk, of which I am truly proud. So I flew away in a pet from under the glass, and settled on the loaf in the middle of the table, out of her reach.
9. "But for you, dear grand-father, I should never have thought such tiny creatures worth taking any notice of. Why, they are made just as well as big ones, or better."
[Illustration: WHAT SHALL I LOOK AT NEXT?]
10. "Not better, dear, but quite as well. They are all the work of God's hand, and so all must be alike good. Do you know that you owe the pretty crimson sash that you have on to a very little creature?"
11. "Oh yes, the silkworm," said Rose.
"Yes, and the red colour was made from the dead body of an insect too. There is a sort of blight which gives this red colour after it is dead.
12. "Merchants bring them from abroad, after they have been taken from the plants on which they live. As they kill the coffee plants they must be swept off, and they are made into dye."
13. Grand-father would have said much more, but just then Rose saw Tom and Lucy walking up the lawn to the open window.
14. Behind them walked gravely Neptune the dog, with his master's stick in his mouth, which he thought it a great honour to carry.
* * * * *
_Write:_ Rose saw the fly through her glass. She felt glad that the fly was not so big as he looked then. He was as well made as if he were large.
Questions: 1. What did Rose look at through her glass? 2. What did she think about the fly? 3. What did Mr. Sutton say about great and little creatures? 4. Whom did Rose see in the garden? 5. Who walked behind carrying his master's stick?
12. A LONG SLEEP.
1. About this time I began to feel a chill in the air. I did not like this, for it made me feel drowsy. So I kept in the warmth of the drawing-room all day.
2. But I was shocked to see that many of my friends began to get quite unfit to run or fly about. Their wings seemed heavy, and some of them crept into holes where they went to sleep.
3. One day I went down to the table and found one of the gayest flies I had ever known, lying on his back upon the cloth.
4. He was cold and stiff. Nearly all the friends I had made that summer were dying or dead around me, or else they had crept into corners out of sight.
5. I knew that something must be done, or I too should one day be found lying on my back with my legs in the air, and Thomas would sweep me away, as he did the other flies.
6. I made up my mind to choose the best place I could, and there seemed none better than the old red curtain from which I had first come out into that pleasant room.
7. I therefore ran about on the wall behind it for some time, looking for a proper hole. I found just the nook I wanted, where a bit of the wall paper was peeling off.
8. I had hardly crept into it when I was fast asleep. To my good sense and quickness I owe my life. If I had not been a clever fly, I should have died, I dare say, like the rest.
9. As it is, here I am, alive and merry. When I woke the next warm spring day, there was little Rose and Mr. and Mrs. Sutton sitting at breakfast just as they had done when first I saw them.
10. Rose was perhaps a little taller, and the bald place on her grand-father's head may have been a wee bit wider.
11. But the jam was just as good, the honey and sugar as sweet, and the white cap just as clean and nice to sit on. The flowers in the garden, too, smell as fresh as ever--still I prefer the jam.
12. If I might say one word at parting, it would be this. Do not forget that there is room in this big wide world for a poor little fly as well as for boys and girls.
13. And if you enjoy life and like a good game at play,--why, so do we! So let us have our harmless games and do our tiny bit of work for you in peace.
* * * * *
_Write:_ As soon as it felt cold the fly went to sleep. He did not wake up till the next spring. There is room in the world for flies as well as for boys and girls.
Questions: 1. What did the fly now begin to feel? 2. What did he see on the table? 3. Where did he hide himself? 4. When did he wake from his sleep? 5. What change did he see in Rose? 6. What does the fly say as a parting word?
BETTY AND SNOWDROP.
1. PEEP! PEEP!
1. There was once a young hen. She had led a very quiet life in a village until she was nearly one year old. Then, all at once, she found that people began to make a great fuss about her.
2. You will never guess why, and so, as I think you may like to hear all about her, I will begin at once and tell you. Betty,--that was the name of this hen,--was one of ten fluffy little yellow chicks.
3. She was dressed in soft bright down when she first crept out of her egg-shell. She had a sharp beak and bright clever black eyes.
4. One morning, as her mother was strutting about the yard with all her children behind her, crying "cluck, cluck!" as she scratched up bits for them among the straw, Gip, the little pet dog, ran up.
5. He was only a puppy, and he meant nothing but play. Perhaps he mistook the small round chicks for a lot of little balls rolling about. At any rate he snatched up Betty, who was the finest of them, in his mouth.
[Illustration: THE FARMYARD.]
6. With a roguish look at their fat old mother, he began to scamper off with her. "Cackle, cackle!" screamed the old hen. "Put the baby down this moment, sir!" And the mother flew at Gip before he had gone six yards.
7. She jumped upon his back, and began to flap his head with her wings as hard as she could, while she made digs at his back with her beak.
8. The pretty dog, finding himself treated in this way, soon dropped the chicken out of his mouth. Little Betty rolled out from between his white teeth and fell flop! to the ground.
9. She was not a bit hurt, for she toddled back to join her brothers and sisters, who were all crying "peep! peep!" in a great fright. They were afraid of seeing her eaten up alive.
10. But though her child was none the worse, the mother-hen began to batter and beat poor Gip as if he had maimed it for life. And she never forgave the little dog after that day.
11. When she saw him coming, even at a distance, she pushed out her head, stuck all her feathers on end, and spread out her tail like a bush.
12. Perhaps it was the dreadful fright which Betty felt while she was in the jaws of Gip, which made her so grave and thoughtful a chicken as she soon became. She walked better than the rest.
13. She held herself upright, and her mother was never heard to say, "heads up!" as she did to the other chickens. Her mistress said one morning that Betty was "the pride of the brood."
14. Her two brothers were very greedy chickens, I am sorry to say. And as they grew older, they began to fight sadly for each worm or grain of corn which they found.
15. Though Betty and the rest of the chickens grew up white as snow, one of these young cocks had a speckled breast, and the other had two black feathers in his tail. This spoilt their look.
16. They were both taken away one day by a strange man, in spite of all that their mother could say. She bustled up and tried to rescue her sons. Although they were both in the habit of eating too much, she loved them in spite of all.
* * * * *
_Write:_ A little chick was picked up by a puppy. He did not kill it, but put it down when the hen came after him. The chicken was not hurt.
Questions: 1. How many brothers and sisters had Betty? 2. What did the puppy do one day? 3. What did the old hen do? 4. What did Betty's mistress call her? 5. What sort of chickens were the two brothers? 6. What became of them?
2. BETTY IS SPOILT.
1. Time passed on, and Betty grew fast in size and beauty. Her mistress made up her mind to send her to the Poultry Show at the Crystal Palace.
2. The cook and all who saw her said that Betty ought to go, her beauty was so great. She was quite a perfect pattern of what a white hen of her sort ought to be.
3. She would be certain to win a first prize of the first class, they all thought. Poor Betty! From the day that it was settled for her to go to the Poultry Show her troubles began.
4. When first it was made known in the yard she became rather vain, in spite of all that her mother could say. The fact was that the old hen felt proud of it herself, and Betty knew it.
5. She would be always pluming the feathers of her daughter, cackling loudly, and calling to strange chickens to come and admire the lovely back and smooth wings of her child.
6. The young cocks from next door sat on the railings to chatter, and even forgot to quarrel. They stared at Miss Betty as she walked with her beak in the air, and they made rude remarks.
7. "Why don't you grow a pair of spurs and learn to crow?" they called out. When Mrs. Dorking, Betty's mother, heard these speeches from the young cocks she flew into a great passion.
8. "I will set the dog at you, you young scamps, if you do not be off this moment," cried she. So they dropped off one by one, for they did not know that the old hen was not able to carry out her threat.
9. As Betty became vain she became idle too. Instead of making her mother and sisters happy with her pretty playful ways, and making herself useful and pleasant at home, she grew pettish.
10. And instead of working to help earn her own living, by catching flies, scratching up worms, and watching under the old oak tree for cock-chafers, she would lose patience, and call loudly to the cook to bring her food.
11. And, strange to say, the cook would come too, and, not content with waiting on Betty, would drive away each fowl and chick that came up to share what she had brought.
12. She let none of them have a bit till Betty had eaten all that she pleased. Was not this enough to spoil any young hen? Betty was fast getting pert. All this was because of her good looks and her five toes.
13. You will see after a while that she would have been more happy if she had been born ugly, or with four toes, like her sisters.
* * * * *
_Write:_ Betty was to go to a show. She grew vain when she heard this. And as she became vain she grew idle too. She was spoilt.
Questions: 1. Where did Betty's mistress think of sending her? 2. What did they all think that she would get at the show? 3. What made her grow proud? 4. What did she do instead of earning her living? 5. What did the young cocks say? 6. What answer did the old hen make to them?
3. SOAP AND WATER.
1. After a little more time had passed, Betty was taken out of the yard. They did not let her stay with her sisters and the other fowls any longer, but she was placed in a large room by herself.
2. Here she was fed on all sorts of dainties. She had chestnuts, minced liver, new milk, and fresh lettuce. Life was now a feast to Betty, but she found it rather dull.
3. "I would rather have one worm or a spider," said she, with a sigh. How she longed for a good scamper with her sisters! "I am sure that we should never squabble now," said the poor, lonely little thing.
4. But this time alone did not last long. One morning a worse thing was done to her. She was taken by the cook and plunged into a warm bath. It was not of the least use for her to kick and scream.
5. The cook did not care. She rubbed Betty gently with a soaped flannel, talking to her in a soothing way all the time, and then set her down before the fire to dry.
6. But Betty's fright was soon over, and she was not at all hurt, of course. Yet she might have caught her death of cold, and all this because of the show! that her feathers might look fine.
[Illustration: A WARM BATH.]
7. If the cook had let Betty alone to clean them, she would have done it better. The soap was bad for them, so was the water.
8. Betty felt very pleased when the cook went to call all the other servants. She wished them to admire the snowy whiteness of her feathers. "If she does not win a first prize I will eat my head!" said the cook.
9. "You will have a fine big meal, then," said the housemaid, "and I should not wonder if you have not spoilt her feathers for ever by washing them. You never ought to have done it, and the poor thing may get ill."
10. But thanks to the care taken of her, Betty did not get ill, though the nasty soap made her feel sick; and the cook saw that she had made a mistake in washing Betty.
11. "All creatures can clean themselves," said the housemaid, "leastways all birds can, at any rate, and we do harm by meddling."
12. "I think we ought to keep her under a wash-tub or in a basket until the day for the show," said the cook. "She will be sure to get dirty again in that barn."
13. When a nice new hen-coop was turned over her, Betty began to think about her mother. "What a horrid time she must have spent when we were little, and she had to stay in a coop!" said the young hen to herself.
14. "And yet I think that I am even worse off than she was, for I have to stay here without any little chickens to amuse me, or to run under my wings."
* * * * *
_Write:_ The young hen was washed. It was bad for her and made her feathers rough. She grew tired of being shut up though she was well fed.
Questions: 1. Where was Betty placed alone? 2. What did she say to herself about her food? 3. What did the cook do to her? 4. What did the housemaid tell her? 5. Where was Betty put next? 6. What did she think about in the coop?
4. AT THE SHOW.
1. "No, I have nothing to amuse me," said Betty, "but the thought of how handsome I am. It is nice to think of that, and yet I am almost tired of hearing it."
2. Betty would have given one of the best feathers in her tail for a good race after a beetle, or for a good scratch for grubs down by the manure heap, which was the best place.
3. But she had hardly yet begun her trials. On the next day, the coachman took her in a hamper to the show. Betty screamed as she was put into it, for she did not like it at all.
4. "I will behave well, no matter what happens," said poor Betty. But she felt afraid of the noise, the pushing, and the crowd of people and poultry at the Palace.
5. There were Spanish cocks and hens, who were lofty and silent. There were little silver bantams who chuckled. Some hens were tiny dwarfs like the bantams, others were giants like the Cochin China fowls.
6. There were gamecocks, too, looking like fierce soldiers. Among all the smart poultry Betty found herself passed over and called "only a pullet."
7. All the other fowls were called "loves" and "dears," while hardly any people took notice of her plain white dress and rosy head-dress. But one gentle lady came by, who stopped near Betty.
8. She pointed Betty out to a child who was with her, saying that she was one of the best hens of her kind which she had ever seen.
9. The lady added, "No fowls lay better eggs than these pretty Dorkings.
"They make the best mothers, they are English in their habits, and therefore stronger than birds from foreign lands."
[Illustration: THE PRETTY DORKING.]
10. The air at the Crystal Palace was hot and close. Betty began to wish herself at home again. She could not eat, though food was there.
11. And though her feathers were all ruffled and in a mess, she did not feel able to put them to rights. Yet she knew that she ought to tidy herself.
12. One of the hens near began to mock at her. She said with a pretence of being polite: "May I put your tail tidy for you, madam, since it seems too much trouble for you to do it yourself?"
13. And then the sly thing gave a tweak and pulled out Betty's longest feather.
14. A hen near gave a dab with her beak at Betty's pink comb, and made it bleed. And though she said after that she did not mean to hurt her, that did not heal the sore place.
* * * * *
_Write:_ At the show Betty found it hot and close. She did not care to eat. The other hens played tricks with her. She wished herself at home.
Questions: 1. When Betty was in the coop what did she long for? 2. When she got to the show what did she see? 3. How did she feel? 4. How did the other hens behave to Betty? 5. What did the lady say about her? 6. What happened to her comb?
5. A SAD MISHAP.
1. After a time Betty felt better. The other fowls left off teasing her. They had only been in rough play, and did not mean to worry her too much.
2. She dipped her bill into a dish of water which was there, picked a bit of lettuce, and said to herself that she would make the best of a bad job.
3. Betty was still as vain of having five toes on each foot as any fine young lady could be of wearing new shoes. She was always holding up one foot or else the other. No doubt she meant to show off.
4. There was a great cackling and noise in some of the pens after a while, and Betty heard that the judges were coming. These were the people who were to give the prizes, and she felt now more vain than ever.
5. She made up her mind to present her foot to the judges, and even to push it out between the wires of her pen, as far as she could. "They cannot help giving me a prize when they see my five toes!" she said to herself.
6. But just as she had thrust her toe right out between the wires, after much trouble, she heard an odd voice from the next pen say, "Hullo, what's that? Is it a grub?"
7. A queer big bird with a long neck had caught sight of the foot, and he gave a great snap at it as he saw it move. Betty tried to pull her toes back, but the big bird would not let go.
8. At last it ended by his pecking off the nail and first joint of poor Betty's middle claw. She was in much pain and screamed loudly.
9. Up rushed a man, the keeper, who took Betty out in a great hurry. "We must have no wounded or sick birds here for the judges to see," he said.
10. And he put poor Betty quickly away into one of the pens which had been used for bringing fowls to the show. It was empty but for two or three poor hens who were either dead or dying.
11. These were fowls which had been hurt on the way, by being shaken or roughly used. They had been put into baskets too small for them, or had been badly used in some other way. It is bad for birds to travel.
12. Here Betty sank down on the ground. At first she could do nothing but think of her poor toe; she pushed it into some soft stuff which lay on the floor, and this stopped the bleeding.
13. How sad she felt! All her fine hopes of a prize were gone. She was a cripple now for life, and no one would care for her fine looks any more.
14. "I wonder what is the use of shows?" thought Betty. "Why do people want other people to tell them that their cocks and hens are pretty?"
15. After the bustle and fuss of the day were over, one of the keepers came with a boy to look after the dead and dying.
16. "She was as great a beauty as ever I did see," said the man. "A perfect pullet!--that she was. But, dear me! she is not perfect now that her toe is gone.
17. "She is good for nothing now but to lay eggs and bring up chicks. She was worth a couple of pounds; now she would only fetch a couple of shillings.
18. "Here, Jack, tie a bit of rag round the stump, and give her food and water in that spare box. I cannot bear to wring her neck, as we are forced to do with many, to put them out of pain."
* * * * *
_Write:_ Poor Betty had her toe bitten off. She was put into a place out of sight. Here she was in great pain, and had lost all hopes of a prize.
Questions: 1. After a time how did Betty feel? 2. What did she do with her foot? 3. What happened to one of her toes? 4. Where was she put after her toe was bitten off? 5. What was the boy told to do for Betty? 6. What did the man say that she was fit for now?
6. A NEW HOME.
1. Poor Betty had plenty of time to think over all her troubles. But after two or three days she heard a sound which made her feel very happy.
2. It was the voice of her old friend the coachman, who had come to fetch her away. She cackled to him in a most loving way; but, alas! the coachman had nothing to say to her.
[Illustration: THE NEW HOME.]
3. He was cross and sulky because Betty had not won a prize.
"Poor thing!" said the cook when Betty got home, "what an object she looks to be sure! She is as light as a feather.
4. "The mother that hatched her won't know her again. I declare that I don't believe this is our Betty at all, but some old rubbish of a bird they have sent us instead!"
5. "Oh yes," said her mistress, coming up to look, "it is our Betty. But I beg of you to get rid of her at once. I cannot bear the sight of her after thinking she would get a prize."
6. "Shall I step out and do it at once?" said the cook, calmly.
"No, no!" said the mistress. "Do not kill her. Give her away. She will be a useful hen to some one else, and is sure to lay plenty of eggs."
"Very good, ma'am," replied the cook.
7. There was no washing this time before Betty was sent away. That was one comfort. She was huddled, just as she was, into a hamper, and sent as a present to a friend of the cook.
8. This friend was the wife of a farmer, and she was such a kind, good, rosy, happy, pleasant woman, that it was quite a treat to look at her. She lived about five miles from Betty's old home.
9. The large farm-yard into which Betty now stepped from her hamper, was like a new world to her. She began at once to dig with those of her sharp claws which were left.
10. And finding chalk like that which had been under the soil at home, she nodded her head and chuckled, for she was pleased. No hen can be happy without chalk, after she is old enough to lay eggs.
11. She knew that the yard in which she now was, would be a fine place for her young brood. They would not be likely to get the cramp or catch colds.
12. The fowl-house was built on a gentle slope, and below, at some little distance, was a pond with two or three green islands in the middle of it. Here some water birds, such as Betty had never seen before, were paddling about.
13. She could not think how they did it. The yard had good shelter from rough, cold winds, for a fir wood was at the back of it. And the houses for cattle and horses stood with their backs to it on two sides.
14. The houses where the hens were to sit on their eggs, were sprinkled with chalk laid over dry coal ashes. This was to keep the floor clean and wholesome.
They were swept out often. The perches for roosting were not thin sticks, but nice stout boughs of trees, so that the feet could clasp them without slipping.
* * * * *
_Write:_ The new home to which Betty was sent pleased her. She thought that she should soon forget her sorrows. The fowl-house was nice and clean.
Questions: 1. To whom was Betty sent? 2. What sort of woman was the farmer's wife? 3. When Betty stepped out of her hamper what did she begin to do? 4. What did she find? 5. What was the hen-house like?
7. TWELVE LITTLE CHICKS.
1. Her friends at the old home had all walked on dry land. But here she found many ducks and drakes, besides odd-looking fowls with feathers down their legs.
2. Spring came, and Betty paced the yard with twelve fine chickens behind her. All of them had five toes on each little foot, as their mother had when she was born. So they were all right.
3. Down the velvet back of each chick were stripes of dark brown, which was the proper pattern for their first short coats. After a time they would put off baby-clothes, and be dressed in pure white like their mother.
4. As her chicks slept under her wings, or chirped with their merry little voices, she forgot all else but her darlings. What did it matter having one claw too few, now that she had her dear babies?
5. Betty took care to keep her children neat, and to teach them good manners. "You may gobble up a worm, children, as fast as you like, when you find it, so that no one else may get it," said she.
6. "But don't let me see two of you having a fight, or both tugging at the same worm. You must not ruffle up your feathers at each other, or fight, though you may do so if you meet a rat."
7. As Betty was such an anxious and watchful mother herself, she could not help feeling quite vexed at the way in which Snowdrop, one of the ducks, went on.
8. This big white duck did not seem to mind a bit whether her children were a credit to her or not. "See!" said this good hen, pointing to her twelve clean little chicks. "Where will you find such children as mine?
9. "I spend all my time in teaching them how to behave themselves. I show them how to walk nicely, and how to pick up their meals in a proper way.
10. "I show them how to keep their feathers combed and brushed. But you, bad mother that you are, allow your poor little yellow ducklings to shuffle in the mud up to their wings.
11. "And twice I have seen them at the very edge of the pond. It made me shudder! It will be a wonder if they do not get drowned, or catch their death of cold. How thin and pale they look!"
12. As Betty said these words to Snowdrop, the old duck shook her bill, and after a few more quacks turned her back and waddled off.
[Illustration: BETTY'S CHICKS.]
13. Soon after this, a magpie came down to tell all the fowls in the yard that one of Snowdrop's ducklings had been eaten by a rat, and that a second had been stolen by a hawk.
14. Two more of them had run away under the gate and had strayed towards a tent where some gipsies lived. As they never came back, it was thought that the gipsies had taken them off.
15. A fifth of the brood, which had been weakly from birth, had caught cold in a bitter wind and died. And the last had pined away from feeling lonely after losing all its brothers and sisters.
* * * * *
_Write:_ The hen had now twelve chicks. She took more care of her children than the duck did of hers. Betty thought Snowdrop a bad mother.
Questions: 1. What other creatures did Betty see in the yard? 2. How many chickens had she? 3. What did she teach them? 4. What was the name of the duck? 5. What sort of mother was she? 6. What did Betty say to her?
8. A VISIT TO SNOWDROP.
1. As Betty's brood was now grown old enough to go into the world, she had plenty of time to pay Snowdrop a visit. So she went off one fine morning and found her near the brink of the pond.
2. Snowdrop was using her orange bill as a shovel to catch leeches in the mud. Betty told her that she had come to have a chat with her. She wished to speak about the way in which she had brought up her children.
3. "I am sure, my dear Snowdrop," said Betty, "that cold water was the death of all your lost ducklings, no matter what you or any other bird may say.
4. "You are a strong duck, and so it has not hurt you yet. But you see that your frail little ones are all gone. It is all through your careless habit of letting them dabble in the mud all day and get their feet wet."
5. "Nonsense!" said Snowdrop, as, with an eye dark and bright as that of Betty, she glanced at her own orange legs and webbed feet.
6. "Nonsense! It is all nature, and runs in the blood," she said. "My mother before me, and her mother before that, knew that water never hurts a duck. It hurts us to be kept dry!
7. "And as for catching cold or getting fits, or cramp, or the pip--can you do this?" And as she spoke, Snowdrop waddled down the steepest part of the bank.
8. She set her breast for a moment against the tiny ripples of the pond until she was in water deep enough to swim in. Then, all of a sudden, she turned herself upside down.
9. Her head went below, and nothing of her could be seen above but a tail, and two yellow legs. She stayed so long like this, grubbing for water-snails, that Betty began to fear she should never see her head again.
10. But she popped it out again in a few minutes, and came sailing with a saucy quack back again to the bank. "Do I look any the worse?" said she.
11. Betty held her tongue. She still thought, as she had done before, that no matter what Snowdrop did, cold water was bad for ducklings.
12. A young Bantam hen, who was standing by, said to Betty, "Where can you have come from, and what sort of egg did you creep out of, not to have seen a duck swim before?" said the Bantam.
13. "All the yard knows that they are the best sailors in the world! But for you and me, our ruffles are too well starched for such a way of life."
[Illustration: UPSIDE DOWN.]
14. Here was a new wonder to Betty. Though a shower of rain soaked all her fine feathers through, and made them limp as old rags, Snowdrop came out of the pond dry and warm, her plumes crisp and neat.
15. Not a trace of water was to be seen on her. Well, to be sure! Betty could not make it out. After all there must be a thing or two which even the wisest hen does not know.
16. "I advise you to carry oil in your feathers when you learn to swim," said Snowdrop, as she skimmed off again over the pond. "That is my plan, but ducks are too wise to boast about it."
* * * * *
_Write:_ Betty went to see the duck. She felt much surprise at seeing her swim and dive. But she still thought that water was not good for ducklings.
Questions: 1. Where did Betty find Snowdrop? 2. What did Betty say to her? 3. What did the Bantam hen say? 4. What did Snowdrop do to show Betty? 5. What did Betty still think about ducklings? 6. How was it that the duck's feathers were not wet?
9. SNOWDROP'S NEST.
1. Weeks went by. Snowdrop thought that it was time for her to bring some more little ducklings into the world, instead of those which she had lost.
2. So, down among the green rushes at the very brink of the pond, she made a nest. It was not much more than a bundle of straws which the wind had swept into that place but it did very well.
3. Snowdrop had poked the straws into a heap with her beak. She trod them down with her feet, made a round hole with her breast in the middle, and put a few feathers inside.
4. In this rough nest she laid seven pale green eggs, and very pretty they looked. Betty no sooner heard of this, than she ran as fast as she could to the spot. She had a kind thought in her head.
5. She had now no little ones of her own; and somehow, though she laid an egg each day in the wicker nest, it was always gone before night. So she had nothing to sit on.
6. And so it had come into her good heart that she would offer to sit on Snowdrop's eggs for her. "I promise you to do it well," said she to the duck.
7. "If you trust me with your eggs I will treat them just as if they were my own. And when the young are hatched I will nurse the dear little things, teach them, and bring them up better than you could do yourself."
8. The duck, who just then saw her drake bowing his head to her as he swam along, thought that she would like to join him on the pond.
9. Snowdrop loved pleasure. Why should she sit cooped up on a nest for four weeks, when she might be having fun on the pond? Betty was willing to do it for her.
10. She liked hunting for slugs and worms, or swimming races with her drake, better than sitting still. So she said "yes" to Betty's offer and marched off.
11. The good little hen climbed as well as she could on to the nest; but she did not half like the look of it. Why, the eggs were ready to roll out at the sides! And her body was not so big as that of Snowdrop, neither were her wings so wide.
12. It was a great job for her to keep the large eggs under cover at all, but she shook out her feathers and spread out her wings as far as they would go, though it made them ache.
13. Then she felt nervous because the pond was so near. "It is bad for eggs to get damp!" she said to herself. "What could make that foolish Snowdrop choose such a place? And I dare say that I shall get the cramp too."
14. But she sat on bravely for all that. Betty never left the eggs of which she was taking care, except for a few moments when she was forced by hunger to run to the yard.
15. The good farmer's wife saw her racing there one day. She watched her pick up some corn in a great hurry and then rush off. She went after Betty and saw her get into the nest of the duck, to sit there after her hasty meal.
* * * * *
_Write:_ The hen wished to sit on the eggs of the duck. She did not leave them except to get food when she was hungry. The wife of the farmer found the eggs.
Questions: 1. What did Snowdrop make among the rushes? 2. How many eggs did she lay? 3. What did the hen offer to do? 4. What did Snowdrop say? 5. How did Betty get food? 6. Who saw her running back to the eggs?
10. THE WEE DUCKS.
1. "Pretty dear!" said the farmer's wife to Betty, as she saw her climb gently on to the eggs and spread out her small wings as far as she could.
2. "This will never do," she went on. "If you want to hatch them, my pretty, you had better do it in your own nest."
3. So she stooped down, stroked Betty's white back softly, and then, with a firm, gentle hand, pushed her aside while she took all the seven eggs into her apron.
4. At first Betty did not like it. She did not know what Snowdrop would say, and besides, she had a longing inside her to finish the job. She wanted to see the dear little things come from the shells.
5. "I shall love them as my own," said she, "unless the farmer's wife takes them from me." But she was quite happy when she saw the eggs placed safely in her own snug dry nest.
6. Betty sat on the eggs for three long weeks. She knew that was the proper time to wait for her own broods. But still no sign of the young ones was to be seen.
[Illustration: HER OWN SNUG NEST.]
7. "I do believe that cold water has killed them before they are born!" said poor Betty, "for they never ought to have been laid so near a pond."
8. She sat on and on, for a fourth week. And, at the end of that time, she had her reward. There was a little faint tapping sound inside the shells.
9. The baby ducks were trying to get out of prison. She helped them by picking away bits of the shell as it broke, to let the light in at their tiny windows.
10. At last seven little yellow things as soft as satin cried, "peep, peep!" in a pretty whisper round her feet. Their bills and their feet were rather flat, it is true, but what of that? Betty loved them as if they were her own chicks.
11. "Of course I do not expect that they will be quite so handsome, so clever, or so good as if born from my own eggs," said she.
12. "They will be poor weak little things. I can see that they are rather stupid, even now, from their staying in the shells a week longer than they ought.
13. "But I must take a little extra care with them!" Very proud was Mother Betty, but in spite of all her fondness, the young ducks gave her much trouble.
14. They would not come when they were called. And they would play in the gutter. They dabbled with their little yellow feet in the black mud, as often as ever they could.
15. They liked digging in a dirty ditch for worms better than feeding from a nice clean plate. And they will gobble snails, shells and all, no matter what Betty said.
* * * * *
_Write:_ It was four weeks before the eggs were hatched. Betty found that the young ducks did not like to feed as chicks did. They loved to dabble in the mud.
Questions: 1. What did the farmer's wife say when she saw Betty climb into the nest? 2. Where did she put the eggs? 3. How long did Betty sit on them? 4. Where did the young ducks want to play? 5. What did they wish to eat? 6. Why did Betty think them stupid?
11. AN AWKWARD LOT.
1. But Betty was a hopeful hen. She did not give up trying to teach the young ducklings and bring them up well. She kept them with great care from speaking to any of their own kind.
2. She would not let them play with other ducklings. They had never seen that dreadful pond yet. She would not let them waddle within sight of it.
3. As to their bad manners, their love of dirt and snails and wet, she could only think that it came from their having once laid as eggs in that old straw cradle of theirs, among the green rushes.
4. "Or else it is because their feet are the wrong shape," said Betty, as she looked down at the yellow boots of her foster-sons and daughters. On the whole they did not behave so very badly, she thought.
5. They came up with the chickens at meal times, even if they did go straight back to that vile gutter the moment they had gobbled all they could get.
6. "What a clever hen is Betty Dorking!" the others said. "She has brought up the duck's brood and will make chickens of them!" It is true that the wise old gander laughed at this notion.
7. He said, "You never see a silk purse made out of any other thing but silk," and all his wives nodded their heads and cackled. They said it was witty, though they had no idea what the speech meant.
8. As the golden ears were taken by heaps into the rick-yard, the birds felt as glad as the farmer and his wife did. The great sheaves were stacked and the fowls gleaned after them.
9. Betty, as well as the rest, picked up plenty of loose grains. There was a little squabbling once, and the turkey-cock trod on one of Betty's ducklings.
10. The great bird said nothing but "gobble gobble!" and did not even show that he was sorry. The peacock was not too proud to come walking in among the rest, in a dainty way, holding up his train.
11. He liked wheat as much as any of them. But he could not bear soiling his dress. Betty now thought it was time to take her foster-children into the world, before winter came.
12. They were grown to a fair size, and as yet no cold water had ever come near them, except a few splashes, which their nurse could not prevent.
13. After a good deal of driving and shrieking to them, she got her brood into a small crowd, to see if they were neat. She smoothed their downy heads, she plumed their soft wings with loving care.
14. Then she said, "My dears, you are all as tidy as you can be made. I am now going to take you on a visit to your own mother, whom you have never yet seen.
15. "Behave well, and give me no cause to feel shame when she sees how I have brought you up. Now, Forward! March!"
* * * * *
_Write:_ The young ducks had never seen a pond. Their foster-mother made them tidy. She wished to take them into the world and show them their mother.
Questions: 1. What did the other hens say of Betty and her brood? 2. What did the gander say? 3. What bird came to pick up wheat with the fowls? 4. What did the turkey-cock do? 5. What did Betty say to her ducklings before taking them into the world? 6. To whom did she wish to show them?
12. THEIR OWN MOTHER.
1. And where was Snowdrop to be found? At the pond, of course, swimming round and round with half-a-dozen other ducks and drakes as happy and careless as herself.
2. She swam towards the brink when she saw Betty coming. The ducklings waddled as fast as they could lay their flat feet to the ground, as soon as they caught sight of the pond.
[Illustration: THE FIRST SWIM.]
3. Betty could not keep up with them, for she had never quite lost a limp, after having her toe bitten off. "See," she said to Snowdrop, as she hobbled up, "here are your children.
4. "Look at them well! How unlike they are to any ducklings you ever brought up yourself! There are no ducks in the whole yard that can compare with them. Just watch how well they behave."
5. "Quack!" said Snowdrop. "It is all because of the pains I have taken," said Betty.
"Quack, quack!" said Snowdrop again.
6. "They have never been tempted to go into horrid cold water. They have never even seen a pond till now. What do you say to that?"
7. "Quack, quack, quack!" replied the snowy sailor, glancing her bright eye upon her little ones. The next moment the merry little ducks were sailing after her round the pond!
8. They dived head foremost, they grubbed for leeches, they paddled with their flat feet as if they had done nothing else since they were out of the shell.
9. Poor Betty with outspread wings danced round the pond crying at the top of her shrill voice, "Come back! come back! You will all be drowned."
10. But it was useless. The little ducks would obey her no longer. They went on swimming about after their own lily-white mother.
11. Snowdrop swam to the edge at last, and spoke thus to Betty. "I thank you for the good you meant to me and mine. But dry land will not give us your sharp toes to scratch with, any sooner than water will give you web-feet to swim with.
12. "All that you have taught my children on dry land, I shall be pleased to repay by teaching the next brood you have to swim and dive." At this the gander stretched out his throat and laughed.
13. "You should allow yourself more time to think," said old Dame Turkey, the wife of the turkey-cock, as she stood on one leg to listen.
14. "You are always in a hurry and a bustle. Don't mind so much about the affairs of other people, and take things calmly, as I do. If you had been more like me, you would not have made this mistake about the duck."
15. "We have not all the same habits,--the same nature," said Mistress Betty, softly. "And I see that it is of no use trying to make other folks' children like our own." Dame Turkey nodded her head in a very wise manner.
16. She must have been a very clever old dame, for she knew when to keep silent. As for Betty, she grew to be a very modest, useful hen, with no pride or conceit about her.
17. At the present time, though she is getting old, she is still a worthy fowl. She lives at the same farm, and would divide her last worm with a chicken or a friend. But she has never tried to turn ducklings into chicks again.
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_Write:_ The little ducks saw the pond. They ran to it and went in. It was of no use for the hen to call them back. They went after their own mother-duck.
Questions: 1. Where was Snowdrop to be found? 2. What did the ducklings do when they saw the pond? 3. What did the guinea-hen call out? 4. What did Betty do? 5. What did Dame Turkey say? 6. What sort of hen did Betty become?
WORDS FOR SPELLING.
DICK AND HIS CAT.
fa'-mous Whit'-ting-ton walk'-ed pave'-ments in-stead' door'-step for-lorn'
hid'-ing pleas'-ant ei'-ther
emp'-ty pas'-sion laugh'-ed pa'-ti-ent greet'-ing for'-eign
daugh'-ter whis'-per beau'-ty fetch'-ing may'-or
wreck'-ed reach'-ed pal'-ace cush'-i-on leap'-ed mor'-sel fam'-ine
sur-pris'-ed strug'-gled coax flan'-nel wrap'-ping caught glimpse feast'-ing in'-stant scar'-ed roy'-al trea'-sure
Eng'-land learn'-ed hand'-some friends need'-ed great'-est faith'-ful treat'-ed purr'-ed laur'-el
land'-lord bread cheese ven'-ture beam'-ing bus'-tle crouch'-ing shad'-ow dis'-mal blink'-ed voice
hud'-dled cra'-zy guard
ad-vise' twi'-light anx'-i-ous daz'-zling whirl-'ing strug'-gle pierce starv'-ed-looking
whine tread prais'-ed foot'-prints faith'-ful guide hoarse ea'-ger wood'-en white'-ness feel'-ings flash'-ing rous'-ed shoul'-ders tongue
steam'-ing pulse bur'-i-ed howl'-ing guid'-ed dumb friend'-ly dole'-ful re-proach' birth'-day en-joy'-ed
OUT IN THE COLD.
froz'-en roost moon'-shine stu'-pid
watch'-ed freez'-ing Christ'-mas stirr'-ed
pig'-sty com-plaint' coax'-ed car'-rots jui'-cy mor'-tar soak'-ed
puz'-zle tip'-toe scram'-ble sheet ice wak'-en-ed foot'-marks
THE STORY OF A FLY.
cur'-tain break'-fast-room pret'-ty mak'-ing la'-zy grand'-child grand'-pa house'-fly touch'-ed pitch'-ed
tea'-cad-dy sug'-ar-ba-sin com'-fort ache glut'-ton seem'-ed dain'-ty
yel'-low whole'-some gree'-dy bal'-ance des-pair' cream'-jug mis'-hap jerk'-ed crawl'-ing grea'-sy
hon'-ey lawn scoop'-ed dai'-sy tri'-fle
buzz'-ed side'-board tempt'-ing o'-cean wretch'-ed
spi'-der a-sham'-ed knitt'-ing need'-les spear strain'-ed
child'-hood list'-en ser'-vants mag'-got
drown'-ing strength trow'-sers a-sleep' Nep'-tune tease
gran'-ny seat'-ed doz'-ing po-lite' frizz'-ing
rous'-ed blaze nei'-ther knock drench'-ed dog'-gie
ceil'-ing pranc'-ing speech cof'-fee
gay'-est Thom'-as en-joy' peace
BETTY AND SNOWDROP.
qui'-et guess scratch'-ed rogu'-ish scream'-ed todd'-led maim'-ed jaws bust'-led res'-cue
spoilt beau'-ty crys'-tal cer'-tain plum'-ing ad-mire' rail'-ings quar'-rel pas'-sion catch'-ing cock'-chafers
dain'-ties chest'-nuts minc'-ed squab'-ble plung'-ed soap'-ed flan'-nel sooth'-ing white'-ness house'-maid med'-dling
bee'-tle ma-nure' poul'-try chuck'-led Dork'-ing for'-eign comb
teas'-ing let'-tuce wear'-ing prize wound'-ed rough'-ly bleed'-ing cou'-ple
cack'-led hatch'-ed hud'-dled chalk pad'-dling sprink'-led whole'-some boughs slip'-ping
pat'-tern ba'-bies feath'-ers wad'-dled mag'-pie stray'-ed gip'-sies
shov'-el leech'-es or'-ange wa'-ter-snails tongue soak'-ed skimm'-ed
pok'-ed hatch'-ed ner'-vous
re-ward' pris'-on ex'-tra ditch
awk'-ward speak'-ing daugh'-ters laugh'-ed no'-tion rick'-yard sheaves glean'-ed squab'-bling pea'-cock daint'-ty shriek'-ing plum'-ed
caught hob'-bled out'-spread calm'-ly mis'-tress si'-lent con-ceit'
CHISWICK PRESS:--CHARLES WHITTINGHAM AND CO. TOOKS COURT, CHANCERY LANE, LONDON.
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Corrected minor punctuation errors.
Moved some illustrations to avoid breaking up paragraphs of text.