The Baldwin Library
y^- .,000 -
PARABLES FROM NATURE.
Ze-e o-,z l-, 7'"
PARABLES FROM NATURE.
MRS. ALFRED GATTY,
AUTHOR OF PROVERBS ILLUSTRATED,"
"WORLDS NOT REALIZED, AND "THE FAIRY GODMOTHERS.'
"As hieroglyphics preceded letters, so parables were more ancient
LORD BAcoN-Preface to the Wisdom of the Ancients."
BELL AND DALDY, 186, FLEET STREET.
RICHARD CLAY, PRINTER, BREAD STREET HILL,
WHICH WERE ORIGINALLY INSCRIBED
GEORGE JOHNSTON, ESQ.
M.D. LL.D. ETC.
ARE, IN THEIR RE-ISSUE, DEDICATED TO
BY A GRATEFUL AND REGRETTING FRIEND,
A LESSON OF FAITH . . . . .
THE LAW OF AUTHORITY AND OBEDIENCE . 12
THE UNKNOWN LAND . . . . . 29
KNOWLEDGE NOT THE LIMIT OF BELIEF . 47
TRAINING AND RESTRAINING . . . 68
THE LIGHT OF TRUTH . . . . . 81
WAITING .. .. ... ... ... 94
A LESSON OF HOPE . . . . 109
*,* The Illustrations are by Mrs. Gatty.
" THERE are two books," says Sir Thomas
Browne, in his Beligio Medici, from
whence I collect my divinity: besides
that written one of God, another of his
servant, Nature-that universal and public
manuscript that lies expanded unto the
eyes of all: those that never saw Him
in the one have discovered Him in the
other." And afterwards, as if giving a
particular direction to the above general
statement, he adds: Those strange and
mystical transmigrations that I have ob-
served in silkworms turned my philosophy
into divinity. There is in these works
of Nature, which seem to puzzle reason,
something divine, and hath more in it
than the eye of a common spectator doth
Surely these two passages, from the
works of the celebrated physician and
philosopher, may justify an effort to gather
moral lessons from some of the wonderful
facts in God's creation: the more especially
as St. Paul himself led the way to such
a mode of instruction, in arguing the
possibility of the resurrection of the body
from the resurrection of vegetable life out
of a decayed seed: Thou fool, that
which thou sowest is not quickened except
it die Thou fool-fool! not to be able,
in thy disputatious wisdom, to read that
book of God's servant, Nature," out of
which there are indeed far more actual
lessons of analogy to be learned than we
are apt to suppose or can at once detect.
Assuredly, the changes of the silkworm,
and the renewal of life from the vegetable
seed, are not more remarkable than the
soaring butterfly arising from the earth
grub-a change which, were the cater-
pillar a reasonable being, capable of con-
templating its own existence, it would
reject as an impossible fiction.
It was not, however, Sir Thomas
Browne's remarks which gave rise to
these Parables; for the first was written
in an outburst of excessive admiration
of Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales, coupled
with a regret that, although he had, in
several cases, shown his power of drawing
admirable morals from his exquisite peeps
into nature, he had so often left his
charming stories without an object or
moral at all. Surely, was the thought,
there either is, or may be devised, a
moral in many more of the incidents of
nature than Hans Andersen has traced;
and on this view the "Lesson of Faith "
was written-an old story; for the ancients,
with deep meaning, made the butterfly
an emblem of immortality-yet to fami-
liarize the young with so beautiful an idea
seemed no unworthy aim.
The Sedge Warbler is open to the
naturalist's objection, that female birds
do not sing. But it suited the moralist
that they should do so in this particular
case; and one may be content to err in
such company as Spenser, Milton, Thom-
son, Beattie, and the immortal Izaak
"And in the violet-embroider'd vale,
Where the love-lorn nightingale
Nightly to than her sad song mourneth well."
Song of Comus.-MILToN.
"And Philomele her song with teares doth steepe."
The Shepherd's Calendar, No2.
But the nightingale, another of my airy creatures,
breathes such sweet loud music out of her instrumen-
tal throat, that it might make mankind to think that
miracles had not ceased."-WALTON's Angler.
-- "All abandoned to despair, she sings
Her sorrows through the night; and on the bough
Sole sitting, still at every dying fall
Takes up again her lamentable strain."
"And shrill lark carols clear from her aerial tour."
An interesting account of the first dis-
covery of the Sedge Warbler, of its
habit of singing by night as well as by
day, of its mocking notes, and of its dis-
tinctive differences from the Reed Warbler,
may be found in White's History of
Nothing but the present growing taste
for the use of the microscope, and the
study of zoophytes, among other minute
wonders of sea, earth, and sky, could justify
the selection of so little popular a subject
for a parable as will be found in Know-
ledge not the limit of Belief."
The moon that shone in Paradise,"
was the exclamation of a very melancholy
mind, which failed to recognize in the
thought the hope it was calculated to
convey, and which it has now been at-
tempted to teach.
May the Lesson of Faith and the
"Lesson of Hope each work its ap-
pointed end; and may they combine
to enforce on the mind of youth the value
of that still more excellent gift of
charity," which "hopeth all things, be-
lieveth all things, endureth all things! "
A LESSON OF FAITH.
" If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my
appointed time will I wait, till my change come."
JoB xiv. 14.
"LET me hire you as a nurse for my poor children,"
said a Butterfly to a quiet Caterpillar, who was
strolling along a cabbage-leaf in her odd lumber-
ing way. "See these little eggs," continued the
Butterfly; "I don't know how long it will be
before they come to life, and I feel very sick and
poorly, and if I should die, who will take care of
my baby butterflies when I am gone ? Will you,
kind, mild, green Caterpillar? But you must
mind what you give them to eat, Caterpillar --
they cannot, of course, live on your rough food.
A LESSON OF FAITH.
You must give them early dew, and honey from
the flowers; and you must let them fly about
only a little way at first; for, of course, one can't
expect them to use their wings properly all at
once. Dear me! it is a sad pity you cannot fly
yourself. But I have no time to look for another
nurse now, so you will do your best, I hope.
Dear dear! I cannot think what made me come
and lay my eggs on a cabbage-leaf! What a place
for young butterflies to be born upon! Still
you will be kind, will you not, to the poor little
ones ? Here, take this gold-dust from my wings
as a reward. Oh, how dizzy I am! Caterpillar !
you will remember about the food- "
And with these words the Butterfly closed her
eyes and died; and the green Caterpillar, who
had not had the opportunity of even saying Yes
or No to the request, was left standing alone by
the side of the Butterfly's eggs.
A pretty nurse she has chosen, indeed, poor
lady !" exclaimed she, 1" and a pretty business I
have in hand Why, her senses must have left
her, or she never would have asked a poor
A LESSON 01 FAITH. 3
crawling creature like me to bring up her dainty
little ones! Much they'll mind me, truly, when
they feel the gay wings on their backs, and can fly
away out of my sight whenever they choose Ah!
how silly some people are, in spite of their painted
clothes and the gold-dust on their wings "
However, the poor Butterfly was dead, and
there lay the eggs on the cabbage-leaf; and the
green Caterpillar had a kind heart, so she re-
solved to do her best. But she got no sleep that
night, she was so very anxious. She made her
back quite ache with walking all night long round
her young charges, for fear any harm should
happen to them; and in the morning says she
"Two heads are better than one. I will
consult some wise animal upon the matter, and
get advice. How should a poor crawling creature
like me know what to do without asking my
But still there was a difficulty-whom should
the Caterpillar consult ? There was the shaggy
P)og who sometimes came into the garden. But
4 A LESSON OF FAITH.
he was so rough !-he would most likely whisk
all the eggs off the cabbage-leaf with one brush of
his tail, if she called him near to talk to her, and
then she should never forgive herself. There was
the Tom Cat, to be sure, who would sometimes
sit at the foot of the apple-tree, basking himself
and warming his fur in the sunshine ; but he
was so selfish and indifferent !-there was no
hope of his giving himself the trouble to think
about butterflies' eggs. "I wonder which is the
wisest of all the animals I know," sighed the
Caterpillar, in great distress; and then she
thought, and thought, till at last she thought of
the Lark; and she fancied that because he went
up so high, and nobody knew where he went to,
he must-be very clever, and know a great deal;
for to go up very high (which she could never do)
was the Caterpillar's idea of perfect glory.
Now, in the neighboring corn-field there
lived a Lark, and the Caterpillar sent a message
to him, to beg him to come and talk to her .
and when he came she told him all her diffi-
culties, and asked him what she was to do, to
A LESSON OF FAITH. 5
feed and rear the little creatures so different
Perhaps you will be able to inquire and hear
something about it next time you go up high,"
observed the Caterpillar timidly.
The Lark said, "Perhaps he should;" but he
did not satisfy her curiosity any further. Soon
afterwards, however, he went singing upwards
into the bright, blue sky. By degrees his voice
died away in the distance, till the green Cater-
pillar could not hear a sound. It is nothing to
say she could not see him; for, poor thing! she
never could see far at any time, and had a diffi-
culty in looking upwards at all, even when she
reared herself up most carefully, which she did
now; but it was of no use, so she dropped upon
her legs again, and resumed her walk round the
Butterfly's eggs, nibbling a bit of the cabbage-
leaf now and then as she moved along.
What a time the Lark has been gone !" she
cried, at last. I wonder where he is just now!
I would give all my legs to know! He must
have flown up higher than usual this time, I do
6 A LESSON OF FAITH.
think,! How I should like to know where it is
that he goes to, and what he hears in that curious
blue sky! He always sings in going up and
coming down, but he never lets any secret out.
He is very, very close !"
And the green Caterpillar took another turn
round the Butterfly's eggs.
At last the Lark's voice began to be heard
again. The Caterpillar almost jumped for joy,
and it was not long before she saw her friend
descend with hushed note to the cabbage bed.
"News, news, glorious news, friend Cater-
pillar !" sang the Lark; but the worst of it is,
you won't believe me!"
"I believe everything I am told," observed the
1" Well, then, first of all, I will tell you what
these little creatures are to eat "-and the Lark
nodded his beak towards the eggs. "What do
you think it is to be ? Guess! "
"Dew, and the honey out of flowers, I am
afraid," sighed the Caterpillar.
"No such thing, old lady! Something simpler
A LESSON OF FAITH. 7
than that. Something that you can get at quite
I can get at nothing quite easily but cabbage-
leaves," murmured the Caterpillar, in distress.
Excellent! my good friend," cried the Lark
exultingly; you have found it out. You are to
feed them with cabbage-leaves."
"Never! said the Caterpillar indignantly. It
was their dying mother's last request that I
should do no such thing."
"Their dying mother knew nothing about the
matter," persisted the Lark; but why do you
ask me, and then disbelieve what I say ? You
have neither faith nor trust."
Oh, I believe everything I am told," said the
"Nay, but you do not," replied the Lark;
" you won't believe me even about the food, and
yet that is but a beginning of what I have to tell
you. Why, Caterpillar, what do you think those
little eggs will turn out to be ? "
"Butterflies, to be sure," said the Caterpillar.
"Caterpillars!" sang the Lark; "and you'll find
8 A LESSON OF FAITH.
it out in time ;" and the Lark flew away, for he
did not want to stay and contest the point with
I thought the Lark had been wise and kind,"
observed the mild green Caterpillar, once more
beginning to walk round the eggs, "but I find
that he is foolish and saucy instead. Perhaps he
went up too high this time. Ah, it's a pity when
people who soar so high are silly and rude never-
theless Dear! I still wonder whom he sees,
and what he does up yonder."
I would tell you, if you would believe me,"
sang the Lark, descending once more.
I believe everything I am told," reiterated
the Caterpillar, with as grave a face as if it were
"Then I'll tell you something else," cried the
Lark; for the best of my news remains behind.
You will one day le a Butterfly yourself."
"Wretched bird !" exclaimed the Caterpillar,
"you jest with my inferiority-now you are
cruel as well as foolish. Go away! I will ask
your advice no more."
A LESSON OF FAITH. 9
C" I told you you would not believe me," cried
the Lark, nettled in his turn.
I believe everything that I am told," persisted
the Caterpillar; that is "-and she hesitated,-
everything that it is reasonable to believe. But
to tell me that butterflies' eggs are caterpillars,
and that caterpillars leave off crawling and get
wings, and become butterflies !--Lark! you
are too wise to believe such nonsense yourself,
for you know it is impossible."
"I know no such thing," said the Lark, warmly.
"Whether I hover over the corn-fields of earth,
or go up into the depths of the sky, I see so many
wonderful things, I know no reason why there
should not be more. Oh, Caterpillar! it is because
you crawl, because you never get beyond your
cabbage-leaf, that you call any thing impossible."
"Nonsense!" shouted the Caterpillar, I know
what's possible, and what's not possible, accord-
ing to my experience and capacity, as well as you
do. Look at my long green body and these endless
legs, and then talk to me about having wings and
a painted feathery coat! Fool !--"
A LESSON OF FAITI.
"And fbO you! you would-be-wise Cater-
pillar !" cried the indignant Lark. Fool, to
attempt to reason about what you cannot under-
stand! Do you not hear how my song swells
with rejoicing as I soar upwards to the mysterious
wonder-world above ? Oh, Caterpillar! I what
comes to you from thence, receive, as I do, upon
That is what you call----"
Faith," interrupted the Lark.
c How am I to learn Faith ?" asked the Cater-
At that moment she felt something at her
side. She looked round-eight or ten little green
caterpillars were moving about, and had already
made a show of a hole in the cabbage-leaf. They
had broken from the Butterfly's eggs!
Shame and amazement filled our green friend's
heart, but joy soon followed; for, as the first
wonder was possible, the second might be so too.
" Teach me your lesson, Lark !" she would say ;
and the Lark sang to her of the wonders of the
earth below, and of the heaven above. And the
A LESSON OF FAITH. 11
Caterpillar talked all the rest of her life to her
relations of the time when she should be a
But none of them believed her. She never-
theless had learnt the Lark's lesson of faith, and
when she was going into her chrysalis grave, she
said-" I shall be a Butterfly some day "
But her relations thought her head was wan-
dering, and they said, Poor thing "
And when she was a Butterfly, and was going
to die again, she said-
I have known many wonders-I have faith-
I can trust even now for what shall come next !"
LAW OF AUTHORITY AND OBEDIENCE.
"Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us ?"
ACTS vii. 27.
A FINE young Working-bee left his hive, one
lovely summer's morning, to gather honey from
the flowers. The sun shone so brightly, and the
air felt so warm, that he flew a long, long distance,
till he came to some gardens that were very
beautiful and gay; and there having roamed
about, in and out of the flowers, buzzing in great
delight, till he had so loaded himself with trea-
sures that he could carry no more, he bethought
himself of returning home. But, just as he was
beginning his journey, he accidentally flew
THE LAW OF AUTHORITY AND OBEDIENCE. 13
through the open window of a country house,
and found himself in a large dining-room. There
was a great deal of noise and confusion, for it was
dinner-time, and the guests were talking rather
loudly, so that the Bee got quite frightened.
Still he tried to taste some rich sweetmeats that
lay temptingly in a dish on the table, when all at
once he heard a child exclaim with a shout, Oh,
there's a bee, let me catch him on which he
rushed hastily back to (as he thought) the open
air. But, alas poor fellow, in another second
he found that he had flung himself against a
hard transparent wall! In other words, he had
flown against the glass panes of the window, being
quite unable, in his alarm and confusion, to dis-
tinguish the glass from the opening by which he
had entered. This unexpected blow annoyed
him much; and having wearied himself in vain
attempts to find the entrance, he began to walk
slowly and quietly up and down the wooden
frame at the bottom of the panes, hoping to
recover both his strength and composure.
Presently, as he was walking along, his attention
was attracted by hearing the soft half-whispering
voices of two children, who were kneeling down
and looking at him.
Says the one to the other, This is a working-
bee, Sister; I see the wax-bags under his thighs.
Nice fellow! how busy he has been "
C" Does he make the wax and honey himself ?"
whispered the Girl.
"Yes, he gets them from the insides of the
flowers. Don't you- remember how we watched
the bees once dodging in and out of the crocuses,
how we laughed at them, they were so busy and
fussy, and their dark coats looked so handsome
against the yellow leaves ? I wish I had seen
this fellow loading himself to-day. But he does
more than that. He builds the honeycomb, and
does pretty nearly everything. He's a working-
bee, poor wretch !"
"What is a working-bee ? and why do you
call him 'Poor wretch,' Brother ?"
Why, don't you know, Uncle Collins says, all
people are poor wretches who work for other
people who don't work for themselves ? And
THE LAW OF
AUTHORITY AND OBEDIENCE. 15
that is just what this bee does. There is the
queen-bee in the hive, who does nothing at all
but sit at home, give orders, and coddle the little
ones; and all the bees wait upon her, and obey
her. Then there are the drones-lazy fellows,
who lounge all their time away. And then there
are the working-bees, like this one here, and they
do all the work for everybody. How Uncle
Collins would laugh at them, if he knew "
"Doesn't Uncle Collins know about bees "
No, I think not. It was the gardener who
told me. And, besides, I think Uncle Collins
would never have done talking about them and
quizzing them, if he once knew they couldn't do
without a queen. I heard him say yesterday,
that kings and queens were against nature, for
that nature never makes one man a king and
another man a cobbler, but makes them all alike ;
and so he says, kings and queens are very unjust
"Bees have not the sense to know anything
about that," observed the little Girl, softly.
Of course not! Only fancy how angry these
THE LAW OF
working fellows would be, if they knew what the
gardener told me!"
"What was that ?"
"Why, that the working-bees are just the
same as the queen when they are first born, just
exactly the same, and that it is only the food
that is given them, and the shape of the house
they live in, that makes the difference. The
bee-nurses manage that; they give some one
sort of food, and some another, and they make
the cells different shapes, and so some turn out
queens, and the rest working-bees. It's just
what Uncle Collins says about kings and cobblers
-nature makes them all alike. But, look! the
dinner's over; we must go."
"Wait till I let the Bee out, Brother," said
the little Girl, taking him gently up in a soft
handkerchief ; and then she looked at him kindly,
and said, Poor fellow so you might have been
a queen if they had only given you the right
food, and put you into a right-shaped house!
What a shame they didn't! As it is, my good
friend," (and here her voice took a childish
AUTHORITY AND OBEDIENCE.
mocking tone)-" As it is, my good friend, you
must go and drudge away all your life long,
making honey and wax. Well, get along with
you! Good luck to your labours!" And with
these words she fluttered her handkerchief
through the open window, and the Bee found
himself once more floating in the air.
Oh, what a fine evening it was! But the
liberated Bee did not think so. The sun still
shone beautifully though lower in the sky, and
though the light was softer, and the shadows
were longer; and as to the flowers, they were
more fragrant than ever; yet the poor Bee felt
as if there were a dark heavy cloud over the
sky; but in reality the cloud was over his own
heart, for he had become discontented and am-
bitious, and he rebelled against the authority
under which he had been born.
At last he reached his home-the hive which
he had left with such a happy heart in the
morning-and, after dashing in, in a hurried
and angry manner, he began to unload the bags
under his thighs of their precious contents, and
THE LAW OF
as he did so he exclaimed, I am the most
wretched of creatures "
What is the matter ? what have you done ?"
cried an old Relation who was at work near him;
"have you been eating the poisonous kalmia,
flowers, or have you discovered that the mis-
chievous honey-moth has laid her eggs in our
"Oh, neither, neither !" answered the Bee, im-
patiently; "only I have travelled a long way,
and have heard a great deal about myself that I
never knew before, and I know now that we are
a set of wretched creatures !"
"And, pray, what wise animal has been per-
suading you of that, against your own experi-
ence ? asked the old Relation.
I have learnt a truth," answered the Bee, in
an indignant tone, "1and it matters not who
taught it me."
"Certainly not ; but it matters very much that
you should not fancy yourself wretched merely
because some foolish creature has told you you
are so; you know very well that you never were
AUTHORITY AND OBEDIENCE.
wretched till you were told you were so. I call
that very silly; but I shall say no more to you."
And the old Relation turned himself round to
his work, singing very pleasantly all the time.
But the Traveller-bee would not be laughed
out of his wretchedness: so he collected some of
his young companions around him, and told them
what he had heard in the large dining-room of
the country house; and all were astonished, and
most of them vexed. Then he grew so much
pleased at finding himself able to create such
excitement and interest, that he became sillier
every minute, and made a long speech on the
injustice of there being such things as queens,
and talked of nature making them all equal and
alike, with an energy that would have delighted
Uncle Collins himself.
When the Bee had finished his speech, there
was first a silence and then a few buzzes of
anger, and then a murmured expression of plans
and wishes. It must be admitted, their ideas of
how to remedy the evil now for the first time
suggested to them, were very confused. Some
wished Uncle Collins could come and manage all
the beehives in the country, for they were sure
he would let all the bees be queens, and then
what a jolly time they should have! And when
the old Relation popped his head round the
corner of the cell he was building, just to inquire,
" What would be the fun of being queens, if there
were no working-bees to wait on one?" the little
coterie of rebels buzzed very loud, and told him
he was a fool, for, of course, Uncle Collins would
take care that the tyrant who had so long been
queen, and the royal children, now ripening in
their nurse-cells, should be made to wait on them
while they lasted.
"And when they are finished ?" persisted the
old Relation, with a laugh.
"Buzz, buzz," was the answer; and the old
Relation held his tongue.
Then another Bee suggested that it would, after
all, be very awkward for them all to be queens;
for who would make the honey and wax, and
build the honeycombs, and nurse the children ?
Would it not be best, therefore, that there
THE LAW OF
AUTHORITY AND OBEDIENCE.
should be no queens whatever, but that they
should all be working-bees ?
But then the tiresome old Relation popped his
head round the corner again, and said, he did
not quite see how that change would benefit
them, for were they not all working-bees already I
--on which an indignant buzz was poured into his
ear, and he retreated again to his work.
It was well that night at last came on, and the
time arrived when the labours of the day were
over, and sleep and silence must reign in the
hive. With the dawn of the morning, however,
the troubled thoughts unluckily returned, and
the Traveller-bee and his companions kept occa-
sionally clustering together in little groups, to
talk over their wrongs and a remedy. Meantime,
the rest of the hive were too busy to pay much
attention to them, and so their idleness was not
detected. But, at last, a few hot-headed young-
sters grew so violent in their different opinions,
that they lost all self-control, and a noisy quarrel
would have broken out, but that the Traveller-
bee flew to them, and suggested that, as they
were grown up now, and could not all be turned
into queens, they had best sally forth and try
the republican experiment of all being working-
bees without any queen whatever. With so
charming an idea in view, he easily persuaded
them to leave the hive ; and a very nice swarm
they looked as they emerged into the open air,
and dispersed about the garden to enjoy the
early breeze. But a swarm of bees, without
a queen to lead them, proved only a helpless
crowd, after all. The first thing they attempted,
when they had re-collected to consult, was, to fix
on the sort of place in which they should settle
for a home.
"A garden, of course," says one. A field,"
says another. There is nothing like a hollow
tree," remarked a third. "The roof of a good
outhouse is best protected from wet," thought a
fourth. "The branch of a tree leaves us most
at liberty," cried a fifth. I won't give up to any
body," shouted all.
They were in a prosperous way to settle, were
they not ?
THE LAW OF
AUTHORITY AND OBEDIENCE.
"I am very angry with you," cried the Tra-
veller-bee, at last; half the morning is gone
already, and here we are as unsettled as when we
left the hive!"
One would think you were going to be queen
over us, to hear you talk," exclaimed the dis-
putants. "If we choose to spend our time in
quarrelling, what is that to you ? Go and do as
you please yourself! "
And he did; for he was ashamed and unhappy;
and he flew to the further extremity of the
garden to hide his vexation; where, seeing a
clump of beautiful jonquils, he dived at once
into a flower to soothe himself by honey-
gathering. Oh, how he enjoyed it! He loved
the flowers and the honey-gathering more than
ever, and began his accustomed murmur of
delight, and had serious thoughts of going
back at once to the hive as usual, when
as he was coming out of one of the golden
cups, he met his old Relation coming out of
"Who would have thought to find you here
alone ?" said the old Relation. Where are your
I scarcely know; I left them outside the
"What are they doing ?"
.. Quarrelling . ." murmured the
"What they are to do."
"What a pleasant occupation for bees on a
sunshiny morning!" said the old Relation, with
a sly expression.
"Don't laugh at me, but tell me what to do,"
said the puzzled Traveller. What Uncre Collins
says about nature and our all being alike, sounds
very true, and yet somehow we do nothing but
quarrel when we try to be all alike and equal."
"How old are you ?" asked the old Relation.
"Seven days," answered the Traveller, in all
the sauciness of youth and strength.
And how old am I ?"
Many months, I amn afraid."
"You are right, I am an oldish bee. Now, my
dear friend, let us fight!"
THE LAW Or
AUTHORITY AND OBEDIENCE.
Not for the world. I am the stronger, and
should hurt you."
I wonder what makes you ask advice of a
creature so much weaker than yourself ? "
"Oh, what can your weakness have to do
with your wisdom, my good old Relation ? I con-
sult you because I know you are wise; and I am
humbled myself, and feel that I am foolish."
Old and young-strong and weak-wise and
foolish-what has become of our being alike and
equal ? But never mind, we can manage. Now
let us agree to live together."
With all my heart. But where shall we
Tell me first which of us is to decide, if we
differ in opinion ?'
You shall; for you are wise."
Good! And who shall collect honey for
U" I will; for I am strong."
"Very well; and now you have made me a
queen, and yourself a working-bee! Ah! you
foolish fellow, won't the old home and the old
queen do ? Don't you see that if even two
people live together, there must be a head to
lead and hands to follow ? How much more in
the case of a multitude "
Gay was the song of the Traveller-bee as he
wheeled over the flowers, joyously assenting to
the truth of what he heard.
"Now to my companions," he cried at last.
And the two flew away together and sought the
knot of discontented youngsters outside the
They were still quarrelling, but no energy was
left them. They were hungry and confused, and
many had already flown away to work and go
home as usual.
And very soon afterwards a cluster of happy,
buzzing bees, headed by the old Relation and the
Traveller, were seen returning with wax-laden
thighs to their hive.
As they were going to enter, they were stopped
by one of the little sentinels -who watch the
"Wait," cried he; "a royal corpse is passing
THE LAW OF
AUTHORITY AND OBEDIENCE.
And so it was ;-a dead queen soon appeared
in sight, dragged along by working-bees on each
side ; who, having borne her to the edge of the
hive-stand, threw her over for interment.
How is this ? what has happened ?" asked
the Traveller-bee, in a tone of deep anxiety and
emotion: "Surely our queen is not dead ?"
Oh, no !" answered the sentinel; "but there
has been some accidental confusion in the hive
this morning. Some of the cell keepers were
unluckily absent, and a young queen-bee burst
through her cell, which ought to have been
blocked up for a few days longer. Of course the
two queens fought till one was dead; and, of
course, the weaker one was killed. We shall not
be able to send off a swarm quite so soon as usual
this year ; but these accidents can't be helped."
But this one might have been helped,"
thought the Traveller-bee to himself, as with a
pang of remorse he remembered that he had been
the cause of the mischievous confusion.
"You see," buzzed the old Relation, nudging
up against him,-" You see even q.eens are not
28 THE LAW OF AUTHORITY AND OBEDIENCE.
equal! and that there can be but one ruler at
And the Traveller-bee murmured a heart-
-And thus the instincts of nature confirm
the reasoning conclusions of man.
THE SEDGE-WARBLERS HOME.
THE UNKNOWN LAND.
"' But now they desire a better country."
HEBREWS Xi. 16.
IT mattered not to the Sedge Warbler whether it
were night or day !
She built her nest down among the willows,
and reeds, and long thick herbage that bordered
the great river's side, and in her sheltered covert
she sang songs of mirth and rejoicing both by
day and night.
"Where does the great river go to?" asked
the little ones, as they peered out of their nest
one lovely summer night, and saw the moon-
beams dancing on the waters, as they hurried
along. Now, the Sedge Warbler could not tell her
children where the great river went to; so she
THE UNKNOWN LAND.
laughed, and said they must ask the Sparrow who
chattered so fast, or the Swallow who travelled
so far, next time one or other came to perch on
the willow-tree to rest. And then," said she,
C" you will hear all such stories as these !"- and
thereupon the Sedge Warbler tuned her voice to
the Sparrow's note, and the little ones almost
thought the Sparrow was there, the song was so
like his-all about towns, and houses, and gardens,
and fruit-trees, and cats, and guns; only the
Sedge Warbler made the account quite confused,
for she had never had the patience to sit and
listen to the Sparrow, so as really to understand
what he said about thesd matters.
But imperfect as the tale was, it amused the
little ones very much, and they tried then to sing
like it, and sang till they fell asleep; and when
they awoke, they burst into singing again; for,
behold! the eastern sky was red with the dawn,
and they knew the warm sunbeams would soon
send beautiful streaks of light in among the reeds
and flags that sheltered their happy home.
Now, the Mother-bird would sometimes leave
THE UNKNOWN LAND.
the little ones below, and go up into the willow-
branches to sing alone; and as the season ad-
vanced she did this oftener and oftener; and her
song Was plaintive and tender then, for she used
to sing to-the tide of the river, as it swept along
she knew not whither, and think that some day
she and her husband and children should all be
hurrying so onward ds the river hurried,-she
knew not whither also,-to the Unknown Land
whence she had come. Yes! I may call it the
Unknown Land ; for only faint images remained
upon her mind of the country whence she had
At first she used to sing these ditties only
when alone, but by degrees she began to let her
little ones hear them now and then,-for were
they not going to accompany her ? and was it
not as well, therefore, to accustom them gradually
to think about it ?
Then the little ones asked her where the
Unknown Land was. But she smiled, and said
she could not tell them, for she did not know.
"Perhaps the great river is travelling there all
THE UNKNOWN LAND.
along," thought the eldest child. But he was
wrong. The great river was rolling on hurriedly
to a mighty city, where it was to stream through
the arches of many bridges, and bear on its
bosom the traffic of many nations; restless and
crowded by day; gloomy, dark, and dangerous by
night! Ah what a contrast were the day and
night of the mighty city, to the day and night
of the Sedge Warbler's home, where the twenty-
four hours of changes God has appointed to nature
were but so many changes of beauty!
"Mother, why do you sing songs about another
land ?" asked a young tender-hearted fledgling
one day. "Why should we leave the reed-beds
and the willow-trees ? Cannot we all build nests
here, and live here always ? Mother, do not let
us go away anywhere else. I want no other
land, and no other home but this. There are all
the aits in the great river to choose from, where
we shall each settle; there can be nothing in the
Unknown Land more pleasant than the reed-beds
and the willow trees here. I am so happy!-
Leave off those dreadful songs! "
THE UNKNOWN LAND.
Then the Mother's breast heaved with many
a varied thought, and she made no reply. So
the little one went on,-
"Think of the red glow in the morning sky,
Mother, and the soft haze-and then the beautiful
rays of warm light across the waters Think of
the grand noonday glare, when the broad flags
and reeds are all burnished over with heat. Think
of these evenings, Mother, when we can sit about
in the branches-here, there, anywhere-and
watch the great sun go down behind the sky; or
fly to the aits of the great river, and sing in the
long green herbage there, and then come home
by moonlight, and sing till we fall asleep; and
wake singing again, if any noise disturb us, if
a boat chance to paddle by, or some of those
strange bright lights shoot up with a noise into
the sky from distant gardens. Think, even when
the rain comes down, how we enjoy ourselves,
for then how sweet it is to huddle into the soft
warm nest together, and listen to the drops
pattering upon the flags and leaves overhead!
Oh, I love this dear, dear home so much !-Sing
THE UNKNOWN LAND.
those dreadful songs about another land no
Then the Mother said--
Listen to me, my child, and I will sing you
And the Sedge Warbler changed her note, and
sang to her tender little one of her own young
days, when she was as happy and as gay as now,
though not here among the reed-beds : and how,
after she had lived and rejoiced in her happiness
many pleasant months, a voice seemed to rise
within her that said-" This is not your Rest!"
and how she wondered, and tried not to listen, and
tried to stop where she was, and be happy there
still. But the voice came oftener and oftener, and
louder and louder; and how the dear partner she
had chosen heard and felt the same; and how at
last they left their home together, and came and
settled down among the reed-beds of the great
river. And, oh, how happy she had been!
And where is the place you came from,
Mother ?" asked the little one. "Is it anywhere
near, that we may go and see it ?"
THE UNKNOWN LAND.
My child," answered the Sedge Warbler, it
is the Unknown Land Far, far away, I know:
but where, I do not know. Only the voice that
called me thence is beginning to call again. And,
as I was obedient and hopeful once, shall I be
less obedient and hopeful now-now that I have
been so happy ? No, my little one, let us go
forth to the Unknown Land, wherever it may be,
in joyful trust."
"You will be with me ;-so I will," murmured
the little Sedge Warbler in reply; and before
she went to sleep she joined her young voice
with her mother's in the song of the Unknown
One day afterwards, when the parent birds
had gone off to the sedgy banks of a neigh-
bouring stream, another of the young ones flew
to the topmost branches of some willow-trees,
and, delighted with his position, began to sing
merrily, as he swung backwards and forwards on
a bough. Many were the songs he tried, and
well enough he succeeded for his age, and at last
he tried the song of the Unknown Land.
THE UNKNOWN LAND.
A pretty tune, and a pretty voice, and a
pretty singer! remarked a Magpie, who un-
luckily was crossing the country at the time,
and whose mischievous spirit made him stop to
amuse himself, by showing off to the young one
his superior wisdom, as he thought it.
I have been in many places, and even once
was domesticated about the house of a human
creature, so that I am a pretty good judge of
singing," continued Mr. Mag, with a cock of his
tail, as he balanced himself on a branch near the
Sedge Warbler; "but, upon my word, I have
seldom heard a prettier song than yours-only I
wish you would tell me what it is all about."
It is about the Unknown Land," answered
the young Warbler, with modest pleasure, and
Do I hear you right, my little friend ?"
inquired the Magpie, with mock solemnity-
" The Unknown Land, did you say ? Dear, dear!
to think of finding such abstruse philosophy
among the marshes and ditches! It is quite a
treat! And pray, now, what is there that you
THE UNKNOWN LAND.
can tell an odd old fellow like me, who am
always anxious to improve myself, about this
Unknown Land ?"
I don't know, except that we are going there
some day," answered the Sedge Warbler, rather
confused by the Magpie's manner.
Now, that is excellent !" returned the Magpie,
chuckling with laughter. How I love sim-
plicity! and, really, you are a choice specimen of
it, Mr. Sedge Warbler. So you are thinking of
a journey to this Unknown Land, always sup-
posing, of course, my sweet little friend, that
you can find the way to it, which, between you
and me, I think there must naturally be some
doubt about, under the circumstances of the
place itself being unknown! Good evening to
you, pretty Mr. Sedge Warbler. I wish you a
Oh, stop, stop !" cried the young bird, now
quite distressed by the Magpie's ridicule; "don't
go just yet, pray. Tell me what you think your-
self about the Unknown Land."
Oh, you little wiseacre, are you laughing at
THE UNKNOWN LAND.
me ? Why, what can any body, even so clever
a creature as yourself, think about an unknown
thing? You can guess, I admit, anything you
please about it, and so could I, if I thought it
worth while to waste my time so foolishly. But
you will never get beyond guessing in such a case
-at all events, I confess my poor abilities can't
pretend to do anything more."
Then you are not going there yourself ?"
murmured the overpowered youngster.
Certainly not. In the first place, I am quite
contented where I am; and, in the second place,
I am not quite so easy of belief as you seem to
be. How do I know there is such a place as this
Unknown Land at all ?"
"1 My father and mother told me that," answered
the Sedge Warbler, with more confidence.
Oh, your father and mother told you, did
they?" sneered the Magpie, scornfully. And
you're a good little bird, and believe everything
your father and mother tell you. And if they
were to tell you you were going to live up in the
moon, you would believe them, I suppose ?"
THE UNKNOWN LAND.
They never deceived me yet!" cried the
young Sedge Warbler firmly, his feathers ruffling
with indignation as he spoke.
Hoity, toity! what's the matter now, my
dainty little cock ? Who said your father and
mother had ever deceived you ? But, without
being a bit deceitful, I take the liberty to inform
you that they may be extremely ignorant. And
I shall leave you to decide which of the two,
yourself; for, I declare, one gets nothing but
annoyance by trying to be good-natured to you
countrified young fellows. You are not fit to
converse with a bird of any experience and
wisdom. So, once for all, good-bye to you !"
And the Magpie flapped his wings, and was
gone before the Sedge Warbler had half recovered
from his fit of vexation.
There was a decided change in the weather
that evening, for the summer was now far
advanced, and a sudden storm had brought
cooler breezes and more rain than usual, and
the young birds wondered, and were sad, when
they saw the dark sky, and the swollen river,
and felt that there was no warm sunshine to
THE UNKNOWN LAND.
dry the wet, as was usual after a mid-day
Why is the sky so cloudy and lowering, and
\why is the river so thick and gloomy, and why is
there no sunshine, I wonder ?" said one.
1" The sun will shine again to-morrow, I dare
say," was the Mother's answer; but the days
are shortening fast; and the storm has made this
one very short; and the sun will not get through
the clouds this evening. Never mind the wet
has not hurt the inside of our nest. Get into it,
my dear ones, and keep warm, while I sing to
you about our journey. Silly children, did you
expect the sunshine to last here for ever ? "
"I hoped it might, and thought it would, once,
but lately I have seen a change," answered the
young one who had talked to her mother so
much before. And I do not mind now, Mother.
When the sunshine goes, and the wet comes,
and the river looks dark and the sky black, I
think about the Unknown Land."
Then the Mother was pleased, and, perched
upon a tall flag outside the nest, she sang a
hopeful song of the Unknown Land; and the
THE UNKNOWN LAND.
father and children joined-all but one He,
poor fellow, would not, could not sing; but
when the voices ceased, he murmured to his
brothers and sisters in the nest-
This would be all very pleasant and nice, if
we could know anything about the Land we talk
If we were to know too much, perhaps we
should never be satisfied here," laughed the
tender little one, who had formerly been so much
distressed about going.
"But we know nothing," rejoined the other
bird ; "indeed, how do we know there is such a
place as the Unknown Land at all ? "
We feel that there is, at any rate," answered
the Sister-bird. I have heard the call our
mother tells about, and so must you have done."
cc You fancy you have heard it, that is to say,"
cried the Brother; because she told you. It
is all fancy, all guess-work; no knowledge! I
could fancy I heard it too, only I will not be so
weak and silly; I will neither think about going,
nor will I go,"
THE UNKNOWN LAND.
[ This is not your Rest," sang the Mother, in a
loud clear voice, outside; and This is not your
Rest," echoed the others in sweet unison; and
"This is not your Rest," sounded in the depths of
the poor little Sedge Warbler's own heart.
This is not our Rest !" repeated the Mother.
" The river is rushing forward; the clouds are
hurrying onward; the winds are sweeping past,
because here is not their Rest. Ask the river,
ask the clouds, ask the winds where they go to:-
Another Land! Ask the great sun, as he
descends away out of sight, where he goes to :-
Another Land! And when the appointed time
shall come, let us also arise and go hence."
Oh! Mother, Mother, would that I could
believe you! Where is that other Land?"
Thus cried the distressed doubter in the nest.
And then he opened his troubled heart, and told
what the Magpie had said, and the parent birds
listened in silence, and when he ceased-
Listen to me, my son," exclaimed the Mother,
"and I will sing you another song."
Whereupon she spoke once more of the land
THE UNKNOWN LAND.
she had left before ; but now the burden of her
story was, that she had left it without knowing
why. She went out not knowing whither,"-
in blind obedience, faith, and hope. As she
traversed the wide waste of waters, there was no
one to give her reasons for her flight, or tell her,
"This and this will be your lot." Could the
Magpie have told her, had he met her there?
But had she been deceived ? No The secret
voice which had called and led her forth, had
been one of Kindness. When she came to the
reed-beds she knew all about it. For then arose
the strong desire to settle. Then she and her
dear partner lived together. And then came
the thought that she must build a nest. Ah!
had the Magpie seen her then, building a home
for children yet unborn, how he would have
mocked at her What could she know, he would
have asked, about the future ? Was it not all
guiess-work, fancy, folly ? But had she been de-
ceived ? No! It was that voice of Kindness
that had told her what to do. For did she not
become the happy mother of children? And
THE UNKNOWN LAND.
was she not now able to comfort and advise her
little ones in their troubles ? For, let the Magpie
say what he would, was it likely that the voice
of Kindness would deceive them at last ? No !"
cried she; "in joyful trust let us obey the call,
though now we know not why. When obedience
and faith are made perfect, it may be that know-
ledge and explanation shall be given." So ended
the Mother's strain, and no sad misgivings ever
clouded the Sedge Warbler's home again.
Several weeks of changing autumn weather
followed after this, and the chilly mornings and
evenings caused the songs of departure to sound
louder and more cheerily than ever in the reed-
beds. They knew, they felt, they ha. confidence,
that there was joy for them in the Unknown Land.
But one dark morning, when all were busy in
various directions, a sudden loud sound startled
the young ones from their sports, and in terror
and confusion they hurried home. The old nest
looked looser and more untidy than ever that
day, for some water had oozed in through the
half-worn bottom. But t]y huddled together
THE UNKNOWN LAND.
into it, as of old, for safety. Soon, however, it was
discovered that neither Father nor Mother were
there; and after waiting in vain some time for
their return, the frightened young ones flew off
again to seek them.
Oh weary, weary search for the missing ones
we love! It may be doubted whether the sad
reality, when they came upon it, exceeded the
agony of that hour's suspense.
It ended, however, at last! On a patch of
long rank herbage which covered a mud bank, so
wet that the cruel sportsman could not follow to
secure his prey, lay the stricken parent birds.
One was already dead, but the mother still lived,
and as her children's wail of sorrow sounded in
her ear, she murmured out a last gentle strain of
hope and comfort.
Away, away, my darlings, to the Unknown
Land. The voice that has called to all our race
before, and never but for kindness, is calling to
you now! Obey! Go forth in joyful trust!
Quick! Quick There's no time to be
46 THE UNKNOWN LAND.
But my Father-you-oh, my Mother !"
cried the young ones.
Hush, sweet ones, hush! We cannot be
with you there. But there may be some other
Unknown Land which this may lead to ;" and
the Mother laid her head against her wounded
side and died.
Long before the sunbeams could pierce the
heavy haze of the next autumn morning, the
young Sedge Warblers rose for the last time o'er
their much loved reed-beds, and took flight-
" they knew not whither."
Dim and undefined hope, perhaps, 'they had
that they might find their parents again in the
Unknown Land. And if one pang of grief struck
them when these hopes ended, it was but for
a moment, for, said the Brother-bird-
There may be some other Unknown Land,
better even than this, to which they may be
KNOWLEDGE NOT THE LIMIT
ZOOPHYTES AND CORALLINAS.
ALMOST everybody knows what a sea-weed is, but
many people may not know that the graceful
buff-coloured pieces, they pick up among their
favourite pink and green specimens, are not really
sea-weeds or any sort ofplants, but animal creatures,
which are known among Naturalists by the name
They look so like plants, however, to the
naked eye, that they were always supposed to be
so, until, by being examined through a micro-
scope, it was discovered that these so-called
plants were covered over with cells, in which
tiny live creatures were fixed, and from which
they were seen to put out feelers for the purpose
of catching prey for food.
But as the tiny creatures (called Polypes)
cannot leave their cell-like homes, a Zoophyte
may well be called a compound animal. It is
like a shrub, only with animal instead of vege-
table sap in all its branches, and A living creature
growing in every bud.
CORALLINAS are the common lilac-coloured
sea-weeds, with a hard limy coating, which are
picked up on all our shores, and are well known
by sight, if not by name, to all seaweed gatherers.
The only curious part of their history is, that
for more than half a century they were supposed
to be animals This strange mistake was origi-
nated by the same distinguished Naturalist,
Mr. John Ellis, a London merchant, who first
asserted in England the animal nature of the
Zoophytes. And as his statements about them
proved to be no less true than interesting, people
took for granted the correctness of what he said
INTRODUCTORY NOTE. 49
about the Corallinas. But, within the last few
years, Ellis' mistake began to be suspected; and
one of the most eminent observers of our own
day, Dr. Johnston, of Berwick, published in 1842
a History of British Sponges and Lithophytes,"
in which this question was set at rest for ever,
and their vegetable nature was proved by the
results of the closest examination and the most
KNOWLEDGE NOT THE LIMIT
Canst thou by searching find out God ?"
JoB xi. 7.
IT was but the banging of the door, blown to
by a current of wind from the open window, that
made that great noise, and shook the room so
The room was a Naturalist's library, and it was
a pity that some folio books of specimens had
been left so near the edge of the great table, for,
when the-door clapt to, they fell down, and many
plants, seaweeds, &c., were scattered on the floor.
And, "Do we meet once again ?" said a Zoo-
phyte to a Seaweed (a Corallina) in whose
KNOWLEDGE NOT THE LIMIT OF BELIEF. 51
company he had been thrown ashore,-" Do we
meet once again ? This is a real pleasure. What
strange adventures we have gone through since
the waves flung us on the sands together !"
Ay, indeed," replied the Seaweed, "and what
a queer place we have come to at last! Well,
well-but let me first ask you how you are this
morning, after all the washing, and drying, and
squeezing, and gumming, we have undergone ?"
cc Oh, pretty well in health, Seaweed, but very,
very sad. You know there is a great difference
between you and me. You have little or no
cause to be sad. You are just the same now that
you ever were, excepting that you can never
grow any more. But I! ah, I am only the skele-
ton of what I once was! All the merry little
creatures that inhabited me are dead and dried
up. They died by hundreds at a time soon after
I left the sea; and even if they had survived
longer, the nasty fresh water we were soaked
in by the horrid being who picked us up,
would have killed them at once. What are you
smiling at ?"
KNOWLEDGE NOT THE
"I am smiling," said the Seaweed, at your
calling our new master a horrid being, and also
at your speaking so positively about the little
creatures that inhabited you."
"And why may I not speak positively of what
I know so well ?" asked the other.
"Oh, of what you know, Zoophyte, by all
means! But I wonder what we do know! People
get very obstinate over what they think they
know, and then, lo and behold! it turns out to
be a mistake."
"What makes you say this ?" inquired the
Zoophyte; and the Seaweed answered, "I have
learnt it from a very curious creature I have
made acquaintance with here-a Bookworm. He
walks through all the books in this library just
as he pleases, and picks up a quantity of infor-
mation, and knows a great deal. And he's a mere
nothing, he says, compared to the creature who
picked us up-the 'horrid being,' as you call him.
Why, my dear friend, the Bookworm tells me
that he who found us is a man, and that a man
is the most wonderful creature in all the world;
LIMIT OF BELIEF.
that there is nothing in the least like him. And
this particular one here is a Naturalist; that is,
he knows all about living creatures, and plants,
and stones, and I don't know what besides. Now,
wouldn't you say that it was a great honour to
belong to him, and to have made acquaintance
with his friend the Bookworm ? "
"-" Of course I should, and do-" the Zoophyte
"Very well," continued his companion, I
know you would ; and yet I can tell you that this
Naturalist and his Bookworm are just instances
of what I have been saying. They fancy that
betwixt them they know nearly everything, and
get as obstinate as possible over the most ridi-
My good friend Seaweed, are you a competent
judge in such matters as these ?"
Oh, am I not! the Seaweed rejoined. "Why
now, for instance, what do you think the Book-
worm and I have been quarrelling about half
the morning ? Actually as to whether I am an
animal or a vegetable. He declares that I amn
KNOWLEDGE NOT THE
an animal full of little living creatures like yours,
and that there is a long account of all this written
on the page opposite the one on which I am
"Of all the nonsense I ever listened to !" began
the Zoophyte, angrily, yet amused-but he was
interrupted by the Seaweed-
And as for you-I am almost ashamed to tell
you-that you and all your family and connexions
were, for generations and generations, considered
as vegetables. It is only lately that these Natu-
ralists found out that you were an animal. May
I not well say that people get very obstinate
about what they think they know, and after all
it turns out to be a mistake ? As for me, I am
quite confused with these blunders."
"0 dear, how disappointed I am!" murmured
the Zoophyte. "I thought we had really fallen
into the hands of some very interesting creatures.
I am very, very sorry! It seemed so nice that
there should be wonderful, wise beings, who
spend their time in finding out all about animals,
and plants, and such things, and keep us all in
LIMIT OF BELIEF. 55
these beautiful books so carefully. I liked it so
much; and now I find the wonderfully wise
creatures are wonderfully stupid ones instead."
"Very much so," laughed the Seaweed, though
our learned friend, the Bookworm, would tell you
quite otherwise; but he gets quite muddled
when he talks about them, poor fellow !"
It is very easy to ridicule your betters," said
a strange voice; and the Bookworm, who had
just then eaten his way through the back of Lord
Bacon's Advancement of Learning, appeared sitting
outside, listening to the conversation. I shall
be sorry that I have told you anything, if you
make such a bad use of the little bit of knowledge
you have acquired."
Oh, I beg your pardon, dear friend!" cried
the Seaweed. "I meant no harm. You see it
is quite new to us to learn anything; and, really,
if I laughed, you must excuse me. I meant no
harm-only I do happen to know--really for a
fact-that I never was alive with little creatures
like my friend the Zoophyte ; and he happens to
know-really for a fact-that he never was a
KNOWLEDGE NOT THE
vegetable; and so you see it made us smile to
think of your wonderful creature, man, making
.such wonderfully odd mistakes."
At this the Bookworm smiled; but he soon
shook his head gravely, and said-"- All the
mistakes man makes, man can discover and
correct-I mean, of course, all the mistakes he
makes about creatures inferior to himself, whom
he learns to know from his own observation. He
may not observe quite carefully enough one day,
but he may put all right when he looks next time.
I never give up a statement when I know it is
true : and so I tell you again-laugh as much as
you please-that, in spite of all his mistakes,
man is, without exception, the most wonderful
and the most clever of all the creatures upon
"You will be a clever creature yourself if you
can prove it !" cried both the Zoophyte and Sea-
weed at once.
The idea of taking me with my hundreds of
living inhabitants for a vegetable !" sneered the
LIMIT OF BELIEF. 07
"And me with my vegetable inside, covered over
with lime, for an animal !" smiled the Seaweed.
Bookworm. Ah have your laugh out, and
then listen. But, my good friends, if you had
worked your way through as many wise books as I
have done, you would laugh less and know more."
Zoophyte. Nay, don't be angry, Bookworm."
Bookworm. Oh, I'm not angry a bit. I know
too well the cause of all the folly you are talking,
so I excuse you. And I am now puzzling my
head to find out how I am to prove what I have
said about the superiority of man, so as to make
you understand it."
Seaweed. "Then you admit there is a little
difficulty in proving it ? Even you confess it to
be rather puzzling."
Bookworm. I do; but the difficulty does not
lie where you think it does. I am sorry to say it
-but the only thing that prevents your under-
standing the superiority of man, is your own im-
measurable inferiority to him However many
mistakes he may make about you, he can correct
them all by a little closer or more patient obser-
KNOWLEDGE NOT THE
ovation. But no observation can make you under-
stand what man is. You are quite within the
grasp of his powers, but he is quite beyond the
reach of yours."
Seaweed. "You are not over-civil, with all your
learning, Mr. Bookworm."
Bookworm. I do not mean to be rude, I assure
you. You are both of you very beautiful creatures,
and, I dare say, very useful too. But you should
not fancy either that you do know everything,
or that you are able to know everything. And,
above all, you should not dispute the superiority
and powers of another creature merely because-
you cannot understand them."
Seaweed. "And am I then to believe all the
long stories anybody may choose to come and
tell me about the Wonderful powers of other
creatures ?-and, When I iniquire what those
wonderful powers are, am I to be told that I can't
understand them, but am to believe them all the
same as if I did ?
Bookworm. "Certainly not, unless the wonderful
powers are proved by wonderful results ; but
LIMIT OF BELIEF. 59
if they are, I advise you to believe in them,
whether you understand them or not."
Seaweed. I should like to know how I am to
believe what I don't understand."
Bookworm. "Very well, then, don't! and remain
an ignorant fool all your life. Of course, you can't
really understand anything but what is within
the narrow limits of your own powers; so, if you
choose to make those powers the limits of your
belief, I wish you joy, for you certainly won't be
overburdened with knowledge."
Seaweed. I will retort upon you that it is very
easy to be contemptuous to your inferiors, Mr.
Bookworm. You would do much better to try
and explain to me those wonderful powers them-
selves, and so remove all the difficulties that
stand in the way of my belief."
Bookworm. "If I were to try ever so much,
I should not succeed. You can't understand even
Seaweed. Oh, Bookworm now you are grow-
Bookworm. Indeed I am not; but you shall
KNOWLEDGE NOT THE
judge for yourself. I can do many things you
can't do; among others, I can see."
Seaweed. "What is that I"
Bookworm. There, now I knew I should
puzzle you directly! Why, seeing is something
that I do with a very curious machine in my
head, called an eye. But as you have not got an
eye, and therefore cannot see, how am I to make
you understand what seeing is ?"
Seaweed. Why, you can tell us, to be sure."
Bookworm. Tell you what ? I can tell you I
see. I can say, Now I see, now I see, as I walk
over you and see the little bits of you that fall
under my small eye. Indeed, I can also tell you
what I see; but how will that teach you what
seeing is ? You have got no eye, and therefore
you can't see, and therefore also you can never
know what seeing is."
Zoophyte. Then why need we believe there is
such a thing as seeing ?"
Bookworm. Oh, pray, don't believe it! I don't
know why you should, I am sure! There's no
harm at all in being ignorant and narrow-minded.
LIMIT OF BELIEF.
I am sure I had much rather you took no further
trouble in the matter; for you are, both of you,
very testy and tiresome. It is from nothing but
pride and vanity, too, after all. You want to be
in a higher place in creation than you are put in,
and no good ever comes of that. If you'd be
content to learn wonderful things in the only
way that is open to you, I should have a great
deal of pleasure in telling you more."
Zoophyte. And pray what way is that ?"
Bookworm. "Why, from the effects produced
by them. As I said before, even where you can-
not understand the wonderful powers themselves,
you may have the grace to believe in their exist-
ence, from their wonderful results."
Seaweed. "And the results of what you call
In man," interrupted the Bookworm, that
he gets to know everything about you, and all
the creatures, and plants, and stones he looks at;
so that he knows your shape, and growth, and
colour, and all about the cells of the little
creatures that live in you-how many feelers
KNOWLEDGE NOT Tl1E
they have, what they live upon, how they catch
their food, how the eggs come out of the egg-cells,
where you live, where you are to be found, what
other Zoophytes are related to you, which are
most like you-in short, the most minute par-
ticulars ;-so that he puts you into his collections,
not among strange creatures, but near to those
you are nearest related to; and he describes you,
and makes pictures of you, and gives you a name
so that you are known for the same creature,
wherever you are found, all over the world. And
now, I'm quite out of breath with telling you all
these wonderful results of seeing."
"But he once took me for a vegetable," mused
"Yes; as I said before, he had not observed
quite close enough, nor had he then invented a
curious instrument which enables his great big
eye to see such little fellows as your inhabitants
are. But when he made that instrument, and
looked very carefully, he saw all about you."
Ay, but he still calls me an animal," observed
LIMIT OF BELIEF.
(' I know he does, but I am certain he will not
do so long If you are a vegetable, I will war-
rant him to find it out when he examines you a
You expect us to believe strange things,
Bookworm," observed the Zoophyte.
To be sure, because there is no end of strange
things for you to believe! And what you can't
find out for yourself, you must take upon trust
from your betters," laughed the Bookworm. It's
the only plan. Observation and Revelation are the
sole means of acquiring knowledge."
Just at that moment the door opened, and two
gentlemen entered the room.
Ah, my new specimens on the floor!"
observed the Naturalist; "but never mind,"
added he, as he picked them up, here is the
very one we wanted; it will serve admirably for
our purpose. I shall only sacrifice a small branch
of it, though."
And the Naturalist cut off a little piece of the
Seaweed and laid it in a saucer, and poured upon
:it some liquid from a bottle, and an effervescence
KNOWLEDGE NOT THE
began to take place forthwith, and the Seaweed's
limy coat began to give way ; and the two gentle-
men sat watching the result.
Now," whispered the Bookworm to the Zoo-
phyte, those two men are looking closely at
your Seaweed friend, and trying what they call
experiments, that they may find out what he is;
-and if they do not succeed, I will give up all my
arguments in despair."
But they did succeed !
The gentlemen watched on till all the lime
was dissolved, and there was nothing left in the
saucer but a delicate red branch with little round
things upon it, that looked like tiny apples.
This is the fruit decidedly," remarked the
Naturalist; "and now we will proceed to ex-
amine it through the microscope."
And they did so.
And an hour or more passed, and a sort of
sleepy forgetfulness came over the Bookworm and
his two friends; for they had waited till they
were tired for further remarks from the Natural-
ist. And, therefore, it was with a start they were
LIMIT OF BELIEF.
aroused at last by hearing him exclaim, "It is
impossible to entertain the slightest doubt. If
I ever had any, I have none now; and the coraJ-
I'as must be removed back once more to their
position among vegetables!"
The Naturalist laughed as he loosened the gum
from the specimen, which he placed on a fresh
paper, and classed among Red Seaweeds. And
soon after, the two gentlemen left the room once
So he has really found our friend out !" cried
the Zoophyte; "and he was right about the fruit
too Oh, Bookworm, Bookworm would that I
could know what seeing is "
Oh, Zoophyte, Zoophyte! I wish you would
not waste your time in struggling after the un-
attainable! You know what feeling is. Well,
I would tell you that seeing is something of the
same sort as feeling, only that it is quite different.
Will that do ?"
"It sounds like nonsense."
"It is nonsense. There can be no answer but
nonsense, if you want to understand 'really for
66 KNOWLEDGE NOT THE
a fact,' as you call it, powers that are above you.
Explain to the rock on which you grow, what
feeling is! "
"How could I ?" said the Zoophyte.; "it has
No more than you have sight," rejoined the
"That is true indeed," cried the Zoophyte.
Bookworm! I am satisfied--humbled, I must
confess, but satisfied. And now I will rejoice in
our position here, glory in our new master, and
admire his wonderful powers, even while I can-
not understand them."
I am proud of my disciple," returned the
"I also am one of thema" murmured the Sea-
weed; but tell me now, are there any other
strange powers in man ?"
"Several," was the Bookworm's answer; "but
to be really known they must be possessed. A
lower power cannot compass the full understand-
ing of a higher. But to limit one's belief to the
bounds of one's own small powers, would be to
LIMIT 0 BELIEF. 67
tie oneself down to the foot of a tree, and deny
the existence of its upper branches."
"There are no powers beyond those that man
possesses, I suppose," mused the Zoophyte.
"I am far from saying that," replied the Book-
worm; "on the contrary--"
But what he would have said further no one
knows, for once more the door opened, and the
Naturalist, who now returned alone, spent his
evening in putting by the specimens in their
separate volumes on the shelves. And it was a
long, long time before the Bookworm saw them
again; for the volumes in which they were kept
were bound in Russia leather, to the smell of
which he had a particular dislike, so that he
never could make his way to them for a friendly
TRAINING AND RESTRAINING.
Train up a child in the way he should go."
PROV. xxii. 6.
"WHAT a fuss is made about you, my dear
little friends!" murmured the Wind, one day,
to the flowers in a pretty villa garden. I am
really quite surprised at your submitting so
patiently and meekly to all the troublesome
things that are done to you! I have been
watching your friend the Gardener for some
time to-day ; and now that he is gone at last,
I am quite curious to hear what you think and
feel about your unnatural bringing up."
Is it unnatural ?" inquired a beautiful Con-
volvulus Major, from the top of a tapering fir.
I . ...........- 7
.... ... .
TR AI N N . N U R E. S R A INI N i.
TRAINING AND RESTRAINING. 69
pole, up which she had crept, and from which
her velvet flowers hung suspended like purple
I smile at your question," was the answer of
the Wind. "You surely cannot suppose that in
a natural state you would be forced to climb
regularly up one tall bare stick such as I see you
upon now. Oh dear, no! Your cousin, the wild
Convolvulus, whom I left in the fields this
morning, does no such thing, I assure you. She
runs along and climbs about, just as the whim
takes her. Sometimes she takes a turn upon
the ground; sometimes she enters a hedge, and
plays at bo-peep with the birds in the thorn and
nut-trees-twisting here, curling there, and at
last, perhaps coming out at the top, and over-
hanging the hedge with a canopy of grqen leaves
and pretty white flowers. A very different sort
of life from yours, with a Gardener always after
you, trimming you in one place, fastening up a
stray tendril in another, and fidgeting you all
along-a sort of perpetual mustn't go here'-
'mustn't go there.' Poor thing! I quite feel for
70 TRAINING AND RESTRAINING.
you! Still I must say you make me smile; for
you look so proud and self-conscious of beauty
all the time, that one would think you did not
know in what a ridiculous and dependent position
you are placed."
Now the Convolvulus was quite abashed by
the words of the Wind, for she was conscious of
feeling very conceited that morning, in conse-
quence of having heard the Gardener say some-
thing very flattering about her beauty; so she
hung down her rich bell-flowers rather lower
than usual, and made no reply.
But the Carnation put in her word: What
you say about the Convolvulus may be true
enough, but it cannot apply to me. I am not
aware that I have any poor relations in this
country, and I myself certainly require all-the
care that is bestowed upon me. This climate
is both too cold and too damp for me. My
young plants require heat, or they would not
live; and the pots we are kept in, protect us
from those cruel wire-worms who delight to
destroy our roots."
TRAINING AND RESTRAINING.
Oh! cried the Wind, our friend the Car-
nation is quite profound and learned in her
remarks, and I admit the justice of all she says
about damp and cold, and wire-worms ; but,"-
and here the Wind gave a low-toned whistle as
he took a turn round the flower-bed--" but what
I maintain, my dear, is, that when you are once
strong enough and old enough to be placed in
the soil, those gardeners ought to let you grow
and flourish as nature prompts, and as you would
do were you left alone. But no forsooth, they
must always be clipping, and trimming, and
twisting up every leaf that strays aside out of
the trim pattern they have chosen for you to
grow in. Why not allow your silver tufts to
luxuriate in a natural manner ? Why must every
single flower be tied up by its delicate neck to a
stick, the moment it begins to open ? Really,
with your natural grace and beauty, I think you
might be trusted to yourself a little more !"
And the Carnation began to think so too;
and her colour turned deeper as a feeling of
indignation arose within her at the childish
72 TRAINING AND RESTRAINING.
treatment to which che had been subjected.
" With my natural grace and beauty," repeated
she to herself, '" they might certainly trust me to
myself a little more !"
Still the Rose-tree stood out that there must
be some great advantages in a Gardener's care;
for she could not pretend to be ignorant of her
own superiority to all her wild relations in the
woods. What a difference in size, in colour, and
Then the Wind assured the Rose he never
meant to dispute the advantage of her living
in a rich!-soiled garden; only there was a natural
way of growing, even in a garden ; and he thought
it a great shame for the gardeners to force the
Rose-tree into an unnatural way, curtailing all
the energies of her nature. What could be more
outrageous, for example, than to see one rose
growing in the shape of a bush on the top of the
stem of another? "Think of all the pruning
Necessaryy" cried he, "to keep the poor thing in
the round shape so much admired. And what is
the matter with the beautiful straggling branches,
TRAINING AND RESTRAINING.
that they are to be cut off as fast as they appear'
Why not allow the healthy Rose-tree its free
and glorious growth ? Why thwart its graceful
droopings or its high aspiring ? Can it be too
large or too luxuriant ? Can its flowers be too
numerous ? Oh, Rose-tree, you know your own
surpassing merits too well to make you think
this possible "
And so she did, and a new light seemed to
dawn upon her as she recollected the spring and
autumnal prunings she regularly underwent, and
the quantities of little branches that were yearly
cut from her sides, and carried away in a wheel-
barrow. It is a cruel and a monstrous system,
I fear,'" said she.
Then the Wind took another frolic round the
garden, and made up to the large white Lily, into
whose refined ear he whispered a'doubt as to the
necessity or advantage of her thick powerful stem
being propped up against a stupid, ugly stick!
He really grieved to see it! Did that lovely
creature suppose that Nature, who had done
,o much for her that the fame of her beauty
74 TRAINING AND RESTRAINING.
extended throughout the world, had yet left her
so weak and feeble that she could not support
herself in the position most calculated to give
her ease and pleasure ? Always this tying up
and restraint 1 pursued the Wind, with an angry
puff. "Perhaps I am prejudiced ; but as to be
deprived of freedom would be to me absolute
death, so my soul revolts from every shape and
phase of slavery !"
Not more than mine does cried the proud
white Lily, leaning as heavily as she could against
the strip of matting that tied her to her stick.
But it was of no use-she could not get free ;
and the Wind only shook his sides, and laughed
spitefully as he left her, and then rambled away
to talk the same shallow philosophy to the
Honeysuckle that was trained up against a wall.
Indeed, not a flower escaped his mischievous
suggestions. He murmured among them all-I
laughed the trim cut Box-edges to scorn-mali-
ciously hoped the Sweet-peas enjoyed growing in
a circle, and running up a quantity of crooked
sticks-and told the flowers, generally, that he
TRAINING AND RESTRAINING.
should report their unheard-of submission and
meek obedience wherever he went.
Then the white Lily called out to him in
great wrath, and told him he mistook their cha-
racters altogether. They only submitted to these
degrading restraints because they could not help
themselves; but if he would lend them his
powerful aid, they might free themselves from
at least a part of the unnatural bonds which
To which the wicked Wind, seeing that his
temptations had succeeded, replied, in great glee,
that he would do his best; and so he went away,
chuckling at the discontent he had caused.
All that night the pretty silly flowers bewailed
their slavish condition, and longed for release
and freedom : and at last they began to be afraid
that the Wind had only been jesting with them,
and that he would never come to help them, as
he had promised. However, they were mistaken;
for, at the edge of the dawn, there began to be a
sighing and a moaning in the distant woods, and
by the time the sun was up, the- clouds were
? -6 TRAINING AND RESTRAINING.
driving fast along the sky, and the trees were
bending about in all directions; for the Wind
had returned,-only now he had come in his
Toughest and wildest mood, knocking over
everything before him." Now is your time,
pretty flowers!" shouted he, as he approached
the garden; and "Now is our time !" echoed
the flowers tremulously, as, with a sort of fearful
pleasure, they awaited his approach.
He managed the affair very cleverly, it must
be confessed. Making a sort of eddying circuit
round the garden, he knocked over the Convol-
vulus-pole, tore the strips of bast from the stick
that held up the white Lily, loosed all the Car-
nation flowers from their fastenings, broke the
Rose-tree down, and levelled the Sweet-peas to
the ground. In short, in one half-hour he deso-
lated the pretty garden ; and when his work was
accomplished, he flew off to rave about his deed
of destruction in other countries.
Meanwhile, how fared it with the flowers?
The Wind was scarcely gone before a sudden and
-heavy rain followed, so that all was confusion
TRAINING AND RESTRAINING.
for some time. But towards the evening the
weather cleared up, and our friends began to
look around them. The white Lily still stood
somewhat upright, though no friendly pole sup-
ported her juicy stem; but, alas! it was only by
a painful effort she could hold herself in that
position. The Wind and the weight of rain had
bent her forward once, beyond her strength, and
there was a slight crack in one part of the stalk,
which told that she must soon double over and
trail upon the ground. The Convolvulus fared
still worse. The garden beds sloped towards the
south; and when our friend was laid on the earth
-her pole having fallen-her lovely flowers were
choked up by the wet soil which drained towards
her. She felt the muddy weight as it soaked
into her beautiful velvet bells, and could have
cried for grief: she could never free herself from
this nuisance. 0 that she were once more
climbing up the friendly fir-pole The Honey-
suckle escaped no better ; and the Carnation
was ready to die of vexation, at finding that her
coveted freedom had levelled her to the dirt.