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Bessie's Country Stories.SIX VOLUMES.THE SHEEP AND LAMB.THE YOUNG DONKEY.THE LITTLE RABBIT-KEEPEES.THE COCK OF THE WALK.THE COWS IN THE WATER.THE YOUNG ANGLER.
Bessie's (@inlry Btories.THESHEEP AND LAMB.BY THOMAS MILLER.ILL USTRA TED.SHELDON AND COMPANY.1871.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1868,BY SHELDON AND COMPANY,In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the SouthernDistrict of New York.Electrotypd at theBOSTON STEREOTYPE FOUNDRY.No. 19 Spring Lane.
The Sheep andLamb.THE PET LAMB.HERE you see the squarechurch-tower, in the pic-ture of the " Sheep andLamb," stands the prettyvillage of Greenham, hidden behindthe trees. The sheep and lambsthat appear so little, because theyare such a way off, are grazing onGreenham Common. The two thatare so near you, and the pet lamb,round the neck of which the little(7)
8 THE SHEEP AND I BMB.boy has placed his arm, are in asmall paddock, often called a croft,close, or field, that is separatedfrom the Common by a bank, onthe top of which the little child sitswho is feeding the sheep. The girlholding the child, and the boy look-ing over his shoulder, live at Green-ham, and have come across theCommon to ask how Johnny's fatheris, and to look at his pet lamb.You will notice that Johnny looksvery grave and sad; and well hemay, for his father has met with anaccident, and has not been able todo any work for several weeks, andis so poor that he will be forced tosell his two sheep and Johnny's pet
THE PET LAMB. 9lamb to pay the rent of his cottage.You cannot see the cottage in thepicture, nor anything but a bit ofthe little field that lies at the backof it, in which the boy sits fondlinghis lamb. That girl is servant in agreat farm-house, though she doesvery little besides looking after thechildren and feeding the poultry,for they keep great strong servantgirls where she lives, to milk, andbrew, and cook, and wash, andclean, and make butter and cheesein the dairy. She is a girl with avery feeling heart, and the two boysSshe has brought across the CommonSare very fond of her, and many amerry romp do they have together.4 .., /
10 THE SHEEP AND LAMB." So, father is not. able to getabout yet," she says to Johnny,"and he is going to sell your petlamb to pay the rent? I am sosorry, Johnny, and wish I were arich lady; then your lamb shouldnot be sold. But I am only a poorgirl, and have but a shiling a weekand my victuals." The tears stoodin Johnny's eyes, and he folded thelamb tighter in his arms, and said," It's a deal fonder of me than ourGip, for he runs-away from me, andbarks at everything he sees. Itfollows me everywhere, and licksmy face and hands, and if I pre-tend to run away and hide myself,it stands and looks about, and bleats
THE PET LAMB. 11for me, just as it used to do when itwas quite a little thing, and wantedits mammy. Father says I mustn'tcry; he hopes he shall get wellsoon, and next spring I shall haveanother pet lamb, and he won't sellthat until it's a great fat sheep.But I can't help it; and I shallnever have another little lamb Ishall be so fond of as this, shallI?" And he drew the lamb closerto him, and looked very tenderly atit when he said " Shall I ?" and thelamb went " ba-a-a," as if it said,as well as it could, "No, never; "then it lay down, with its prettyhead on his arm."I'll tell you what I'll do,
12 THE SHEEP AND LAMB.Johnny," said the little boy whostood behind his brother close to thetree, "I'll give you one of mylambs, for father has given me twoto do what I like with; then yourfather can sell it, for it's biggerthan yours, and you can stillkeep your own pet lamb. ,Comewith me, Polly, and help to driveit here, and make it jump over thebank; then you won't cry, willyou, Johnny?"" No," said Johnny, crying harderthan ever, for the kindness of therich farmer's little son touchedJohnny's tender heart as much asthe sorrow he felt for the loss of hislamb, which he came to bid farewell
THE PET LAMB. 13to,, as the butcher was coming withhis cart in the cool of the evening totake it away, along with its motherand another fat sheep.Polly, who was a strong girl ofher age, at once snatched up thelittle boy, who was sitting on thebank feeding the sheep, and ran offwith him in her arms to helpCharley to drive his lamb off theCommon where it was feeding -into the little close, to be in readi-ness for the butcher when he camewith his cart. They had sometrouble with it, for it had not beenpetted like Johnny's; and Charleyhad many pets that he cared morefor than he did for his lambs.
14 THE SHEEP AND LAMB.When it was driven off the Com-mon, and made to jump over thebank into the paddock whereJohnny still sat fondling his petlamb and not until then thatartful little Polly said, "Ought notyou to have asked your father first,Master Charley, before you gaveJohnny one of your lambs?"" What should I ask father for,when he gave them to me to dowhat I liked with -sefl, or giveaway, or anything ? " asked Charley;and there was a proud expression inhis handsome face, which broughtthe color to Polly's cheeks, andmade her feel that she had no rightto interfere, though she had " aidedPI, .. ,;
THE PET LAMB. 15and abetted," inasmuch as she hadhelped to drive the lamb into thelittle close."I shall look out to-night forbutcher Page's white horse," saidCharley, " and when he passes ourdoor, cut across the corner of theCommon, and be here before him,Johnny, and help to drive the sheepand lamb out, and tie yours up tothe apple-tree until he's gone.Don't sajfanything to your fatherand mother until butcher Page hasgone."Johnny promised he wouldn't, sowent in-doors, his lamb followinghim, while the one Charley hadgiven him made himself quite at
16 THE SHEEP AND LAMB.home, and began nibbling away at alittle patch of white clover whichgrew in one corner of the field.Johnny's father was a hard-work-ing laboring man; but farm laboris so poorly paid for in most countryplaces, that it is very difficult to saveup more than a few shillings againstsickness or accidents, which oftenhappen unaware, as was the casewith him ; for the shaft-horse chancedto back suddenly, as he Was goingto fasten a gate, and the wagonwheel went over his foot and crushedit. He had not been able to workfor several weeks; and though hismaster was kind to him in sendinglittle things from the farm, he knewIV
THE PET LAMB. 17he must not expect him to pay hisrent, and to do that he had to sellhis two sheep and Johnny's petlamb for a few pounds to butcherPage. He was a kind-heartedman; for as soon as the lamb enteredthe cottage it went up to him, andas he patted its pretty head, hesighed heavily, for h? felt almost asmuch troubled at parting with it asdid little Johnny.You wvill seldom see a dumb ani-mal go up to anybody, of its ownaccord, that is not kind to all God'screatures. They seem to knowwho loves them and who does not.Dogs, more than any other animals,seem gifted with the power of find-2
18 THE SHEEP AND LAMB.ing out those who are kind andthose who are not. One strangeboy shall pat a dog, and he willbegin to wag his tail, while hegrowls if another boy only strokeshim. I always like the boy )bestthat the dog is pleased with. John-ny's lamb laid its head on hisfather's knee, and while he pattedit he shut his eyes, as if it werepainful for him to look at thepretty creature necessity compelledhim to part with. It then wentbleating up to Johnny's mother tobe noticed, and as she stooped downto kiss it she had to "button up"her eyes very tight indeed to keep inthe tears. Johnny kept his secretAl
THE PET LAMB. 19faithfully, and said not a word aboutthe lamb his friend Charley hadgiven him.Instead of running across thecorner of the Common in the even-ing, Charley and Polly, with hislittle brother sitting in her lap, cameriding up to the cottage in the cartwith the butcher; for Mr. Page hadto call at the great farm-house onhis way through Greenham aboutsome fat calves he wanted to pur-chase of Charley's father. :Pollyasked if the children might ridewith him, for she was very anxiousabout Johnny's pet lamb; and, asshe said to Charley, "I shan't feelthat it's quite safe until I see Mr.Page drive back without it."
20 THE SHEEP AND LAMB.Johnny's father was too lame toassist in getting the sheep and lambinto the cart, so Polly and Charley,drove them out of the small closebehind the cottage, while Johnnyminded the little boy, who sat withhis tiny arms round the lamb's neck,kissing it, and saying "so pitty,"for he c<uld not talk plain enoughto say " pretty."" Surely this can't be the samelamb I bargained for a week ago,"said the butcher, as he was about tolift it into the cart; "why, it's gotfour or five pounds more meat onhis back. You must give Johnnythis shilling for himself. It's amuch fatter lamb than I took it to
THE PET LAMB. 21be," and he gave the shilling forJohnny to his mother, after look-ing around, and not seeing theboy. Having paid the mother forthe sheep and lamb, he drove off,and the poor dumb animals stood, quiet, and seemed as happy in thecart as children who are only goingaway for a drive. How differentthey would look when put into theshed adjoining the slaughter-house,where so many sheep and lambs hadbeen driven in to be killed.What a blessing it is that we donot know beforehand what is goingto happen to us, for if we did, howwretched we should feel, countingthe hours and days until the evil
22 THE SHEEP AND LAMB.befell us, and living a life of miseryall the time. Nor is it ourselvesalone that would be made miserable,but our parents, and all who loveus; so that, however painful deathmay be, it is one of God's greatestmercies not to let us know whendeath, which comes to all, will come.This is not hard to understand, ifyou will be very still, and forgettingeverything else, think about it.The two sheep and the littlelamb, as they were driven along thepretty country road in the butcher'scart, could have no more thoughtthat they were carried away to bekilled, than you would that someterrible accident might happen toyou, if taken out for a ride.
THE PET LAMB. 23No sooner had the butcher drivenoff than Polly ran into the littlemeadow, clapping her hands, andexclaiming, " All right, Johnny!he's gone I " then she stooped downand kissed the pretty lamb, whichbegan to lick her brown, sun-tannedcheek, as if to shqw how grateful itwas; for the few kind words she haduttered were the means of saving itfrom the butcher's knife.When the children returned homeacross the Common, and after theyhad finished their supper of home-made brown bread and rich newmilk, Charley went and stood be-tween his father's legs, for the richfarmer was smoking his pipe, and
24 THE SHEEP AND LAMB.had a jug of ale of his own brewingbefore him. Charley was deepenough to know that when' his fatherwas enjoying his pipe and jug ofale, after the day's labor was done,he was always in a good humor, andwhile Polly stood fidgeting andwatching him, biting the corner ofher blue pinafore all the time, and" wishing it was over," Charleylooked up with his bold truthfuleyes, and said, " Please, father, Igave Johnny Giles one of mylambs to-day to sell to the butcher,so that he might keep his own,which he is so fond of; it's such apet, and he was crying so, and Mr.Page would have taken it away to-S, .. J
THE PET LAMB. 25night in his cart if I hadn't givenhim mine, for you know Johnny'sfather is lame, and poor, and can'tdo any work, and so had to sell histwo sheep and -""Johnny's pet lamb too," saidthe farmer, interrupting him, butstill stroking Charley's hair whilespeaking. " Well, Charley, it wasyour own lamb, to do what youliked with; but I should have likedJohnny's father better if he hadsent word to let me know that hehad sold your lamb instead of hisown.""Please, sir, he doesn't knowthat butcher Page didn't take awayJohnny's lamb in the cart," said
26 THE SHEEP AND LAMB.Polly, rushing to the rescue, " be-cause we kept it in the little croft,and drove Charley's lamb out in-stead, for little Johnny had beencrying so all day that it made us allsorry to see it."" I felt sure you had had a fingerin the pie, Polly," said the farmer,looking kindly on his little maid,and well knowing how fond she wasof his dear children. "And now,sir," continued the farmer, lookingat Charley as sternly as he could,while a pleasant smile played abouthis mouth, plainly showing that theknitted brows were but drawn downin make-believe anger, " this is theway I shall punish you." Polly
THE PET LAMB. 27saw the smile, and knew it was allright, and that there would be nopunishment at all, though littleCharley looked rather frightened."As you have given one of yourlambs away to please yourself, youmust give the other away to please me.Drive it into Mr. Giles's little croftto-morrow morning, and, as it mightmiss its mother, let her go with it;then, when the lamb grows to be asheep, Johnny's father will have twosheep again besides his pet lamb.Now kiss me, and say your prayersto Polly, and be off to bed." " 0,I'm so glad!" exclaimed Polly,clapping her hands, while the tearsstood in her eyes, as she came up
28 THE SHEEP AND LAMBto take Charley away from his fa-ther."I'm sure you are, Polly, foryou've a kind heart," said the farmer,kissing the little maid as well, " andnow be off with you;" and fiveminutes after he was busy examin-ing his stock-book, and seeing howmany fat bullocks, heifers, calves,sheep, and lambs he had ready formarket, and thinking no more ofthe value of the ewe he had orderedto be driven to the little croft of thelamed laborer, than he did of thesecond jug of ale he had sent one ofhis servants to draw from the cask.Now Polly, though but a poorcottager's daughter, and having only,. .. ... ..
THE PET LAMB. 29as she had said, " a shilling a weekand her victuals " as wages at therich .farmer's was a thoughtfullittle maid; and fearing that John-ny's .father and mother might be un-happy when they found that Char-ley's lamb had been sold insteadof their own, she set off full runto Mr. Giles's cottage, before shewent to bed, to tell them all aboutthe sheep and the other lamb whichshe and Charley were to drive intothe close in the morning, and howpleased her good master was atwhat Charley had done.Johnny was seated, fast asleep, ona little rush hassock, with his headon his mother's knee, and one arm
30 THE SHEEP AND LAMB.round the neck of the pet lamb,which was coiled up before the fire;and when she had made knownthe good tidings, and kissed bothJohnny and his lamb, she startedoff back as fast as she came, forthe bats were already flying about,snapping at the insects, and sheheard an owl hooting from the treesthat overhung the road she wasrunning along.No one lay down to sleep in thebeautiful village of Greenham onthat calm, sweet night, when springwas treading close on the floweryborder of summer, with a morepeaceful mind or happier heart thanPolly; for she felt that her pity for.: ,j
THE PET LAMB. 31Johnny's sorrow, caused by thethought of his so soon losing hispet lamb, had also been carried tothe heart of little Charley, and thatbut for the words she had spokenthe pet lamb would then have beenshut up at the end of the slaughter-house, where, no doubt, poor lambswere hanging up that had beenkilled. Pretty thing How couldbutcher Page find in his heart tokill them, so kind a man as he was?And Polly fell asleep while tryingto puzzle out whether it was not assinful to kill a sheep as a little lamb,and wishing that roasted lamb wasnot so nice to eat as it was, withmint sauce.
32 THE SHEEP AND LAMB.THE GREEDY DUCKLING.LTHOUGH you cannotsee her cottage, you canlook at a portion of thebrook that runs by theend of her garden, in which the oldwhite duck and three of her littleducklings are swimming, while theremainder have left the water andgot out on the grassVto be fed.That is the old woman's little grand-daughter who is holding the duck-ling in both her hands, and kissingit, and the other is her companion,who lives over the hill where you
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THE GREEDY DUCKLING. 35see a little morsel of blue sky be-tween the overhanging leaves, andwho has come all the way alongthat footpath to play with her, andfeed the little ducklings. If younotice the duckling the granddaugh-ter is petting, you will see it hasgot its eye on the food in the littlegirl's hand; and if you could readits thoughts, you would find itwas saying to itself, " 0, botheryour fuss and stew! I wish youwould put me down, and let megobble up some of that nice newbread before it is all gone.Kissing, and patting, and nursingme won't fill my belly, I can tellyou; though it's all well enough,3
36 THE SHEEP AND LAMB.when I've eaten until I'm full to thevery top of my neck, to snuggle toyou and be kept nice and warm,while I have a good long nap."You can see by its eye it's a slylittle duckling; and though it pre-tends to be so fond of the child,lying still and such like, yet it's allof a fidget to get down, and quiteenvies the little ducklings that arefeeding out of the other girl's hand'That is the Greedy duckling.Now the grandmother is such afunny little old woman, having oneleg shorter than the other, whichcauses her to go up and down as shewalks The villagers call her OldHoppity-kick, because, when she
THE GREEDY DUCKLING. 37walks with her horn-handled stickand moves it along, she goes " hop,"and when she moves both her feetshe goes "hoppity," and when shepulls up her short leg to startagain, she gives a kind of a little"kick" with it; so that what withher long leg, her short leg, and herstick, the noise she makes when shewalks rather fast sounds a gooddeal like "hoppity-kick, hoppity-kick."Then she has a sharp, hookednose, not much unlike the beak ofa poll parrot; and she wears roundspectacles with horn rims, and theseshe always calls her "goggles; "and, besides all this, she is hump-
38 THE SHEEP AND LAMB.backed, and has an old gray catthat is very fond of jumping onher hump, and sitting there whenshe goes out into her garden, look-ing about him as well as she does,as if to see how things are gettingon. She talks to her old cat, whenshe has no one else to speak to,just as she does to her granddaugh-ter.She came up one day with herstick in her hand, her goggles on,and the gray cat sitting on herhump, where he went up and down,down and up, at every "hoppity-kick" she gave, and stopped towatch her granddaughter feedthe ducklings. " Why, what a
THE GREEDY DUCKLING. 39greedy little duckling that is besideyou," said granny, pointing to itwith her horn-handled stick; " hedoesn't seem willing to let his littlebrothers and sisters have a taste ofthe food you are giving them, peck-ing and flying at them, and drivingthem off in the way he does. I'msure he is a nasty, greedy littleduckling, and when he gets bigenough I'll have him killed.""I don't think he's so greedy,granny," replied the little maid,taking him up in both her hands,and kissing him; " it's only becausehe's so fond of me, and jealous ofthe other ducklings when they comeclose to me. Look how still he
140 THE SHEEP AND LAMB.lies, and how he nestles up to me!He's very fond of me."" Humph; fond of you for what hecan get, like a good many more inthe world," said old Granny Grunt,while the gray cat gave a "mew,mew," as if to say, " Right you are,old granny;" then off she went,"hoppity-kick, hoppity-kick,." backagain into her cottage, the hem ofher quilted petticoat making bobsup and down all the way she went."You're not a greedy little thing,are you, ducky ?" said the littlemaid to the duckling, kissing itagain, when her grandmother andthe cat had gone. " It's becauseyou love me so, isn't it? and don't
THE GREEDY DUCKLING. 41like any of the other little ducklingsto be noticed, do you ? "" O, what a silly Sukey you are!"thought the Greedy Duckling, lay-ing its head on one side of her face,as if to show it was so fond of her itdidn't kn6w what to do. "Do youthink I would make such a pretendedfuss over you as I do if you didn'tgive me three time as muchto eat as any of the rest of theducklings get? Not I. I often feelas if I should like to bite a bit offthe end of your silly little nose whenyou are kissing and fondling me. Doyou know I would much rather havemy head under the water, and bepoking about among the mud for
42 THE SHEEP AND LAMB.worms, little eels, and frogs, and suchlike things, than have your lips sonear me ? Why, the other day you'dbeen eating onions; and though Idare say I shall smell strong enoughof 'em some day, and sage too, asI've heard your old granny saywhen I have to be roasted, yet thattime won't come yet for a longwhile, and P don't want to be re-minded of my end before it doescome. Why don't you empty yourold granny's jam pots, or her honeyjar; that smell wouldn't be so badto bear as onions, Fah !"Now you begin to see what adeal of truth there was in what oldGranny Grunt said, and what a
THE GREEDY DUCKLING. 43wicked and ungrateful duckling thiswas, to have such evil thoughts,pretending to be so fond of the littlegranddaughter all the time. It wasquite as bad as if a naughty child,after having as many "goodies"given it as it could eat, made fun ofthe giver behind the back, whilebefore the face it pretended to be alllove, and honey, and sugar. It'sdeceit, that's what it is, done forwhat may be got; and if anything,deceit's worse than story-telling, asyou pretend-to be what you are not,and to feel what you do not, whilea story once told is done with, ifyou don't tell another on the top ofit, and have the honesty to confess
44 THE SHEEP AND LAMB.it was a story when close questionedand you speak the truth. Butdeceit it's so dreadfully shocking !it's hypocrisy, and I know not whatbesides, as you have to keep it up,wear a mask, seem what you arenot. O, dear! O, dear! I can'tsay how bad it is, it's so very bad.Now the Greedy Duckling knewwhich way the granddaughter came,and used to watch and wait forher, often a good way from theothers, when she was comingwith food; and if the little girlin the drawn and magenta-col-ored bonnet happened to be withher, she would say, " Look at thedear little duckling! Though it's so
THE GREEDY DUCKLING. 45fat it can hardly waddle, it couldn'tstop till I came, but is so fond ofme it's come to meet me " Thenshe began to feed it, giving it asmuch as ever it could eat, while theother dear ducklings, that werewaiting so patiently by the brook,hadn't even so much as a smell, untilthat nasty, greedy little wretch hadbeen crammed full to the very throat.Let us hope he was often troubledwith a touch of the bile as a justpunishment for his greediness. Hewas now so fat that he used to fallasleep on the water, and the windblew him on like a floating feather,while his little brothers and sisterswere diving, and swimming, and
46 THE SHEEP AND LAMB.playing, and splashing about, andhaving such jolly games as made onequite wish to join them on a hotsummer's day. This was the firstjudgment that overtook him for hisgreediness : he was too fat to play,and if he tried, puffed and blewlike a broken-winded horse, andwas out of breath in no time; forhis liver was not only out of order,but what little heart he had, andthit wasn't much, was buried infat.He now took to eating out ofspite, so that there might be nextto nothing left for the other littleducklings. Whether he was hun-gry or not, he would stand in the
THE GREEDY DUCKLING. 47centre of the food that was throwndown, and though he couldn't eatit himself, bite and fly at everyduckling that attempted to touch amorsel. One of his little brothersone day went at him, and gave him"pepper," I can tell you; and whenhe found he'd met his match, whatdid the fat, artful wretch do butthrow himself on his back, quackingout, "You ain't a-going to hit mewhen I'm down?"Now, selfish and greedy althoughhe was, and disliked by the rest ofthe family, he had a little sister, -which was, that dear duckling yousee swimming at the front of itsmother, as if asking her if it may go
48 THE SHEEP AND LAMB.out of the water for a little time,and have a waddle on the grass, forit is a most dutiful duckling, andthis little sister was the only one ofthe family that treated the GreedyDuckling kindly, for she used tosay, " Bad as he is, he's my brother,and it's my duty to bear with him."After a time, when, on account ofhis selfishness and greediness, therest of the family had "sent him toCoventry," which means that theywouldn't have anything to do withhim, neither eat, drink, nor swimwith him, nor even exchange somuch as a friendly "quack,"-then it was that he began to appre-ciate the kindness and self-sacrificeL;
THE GREEDY DUCKLING. 49of his little sister, who would goand sit with him for the hourtogether, though he was too sulkyat first even to " quack " to her.It so happened one day, when hispretty little sister had been talkingto him, and telling him how muchhappier his life would be if he weremore social, and how greatly hishealth would be improved if he ateless, that after saying, " I don't careif they won't have me amongst 'em ;little Sukey gives me plenty to eat,and I can sleep well enough bymyself, and much better than if theywere all quacking about me; andthough you come and stay with me,I don't ask you, nor I don't want4
50 THE SHEEP AND LAMB.you; and I dare say you only do itto please yourself, and ," be-fore he could say another word, hislittle sister said, " Run, run I " forshe had seen a shadow on the grass,and knew that a great hawk washanging over them; and they hadonly just time to pop under thelong, trailing canes of a bramble,before down the hawk came withsuch a sweep, that they could feelthe cold wind raised by the flappingof his great wings, though he couldnot reach them for the bramble;nor did he try to get at them wherethey were sheltered, for the hawkonly strikes his prey while on thewing, picking it up and keeping
THE GREEDY DUCKLING. 51hold of it somehow, just as Bettydoes a lump of coal, which she hasmade a snap at, and seized with thetongs."He would have been sure tohave had you," said the little sis-ter, after the hawk had flown awayover the trees, " as you stood thefarthest out, and are so fat; andI was so near the bramble, hewould hardly have had room forthe full spread of his wings, if hehad made a snap at me.""I don't see that," replied theGreedy Duckling, "for as I'm soheavy, I think he would have beenglad to have dropped me before hehad reached his nest; while as for
52 THE SHEEP AND LAMB.you, you're such a light bit of athing, he would have carried youoff as easily almost as he would afly that had settled on his back.""But supposing he had droppedyou after flying with you about sixtimes the height of a tall tree; whatuse would you have been after youhad fallen?" asked the little duck-ling. "Why, there would havebeen neither make nor shape inyou, but you would have lookedlike a small handful of featherssomebody had -thrown down on theplace where oil had been spilt.Our dear old mother would nothave known you, for you would nomore have looked like what you are
THE GREEDY DUCKLING. 53now, than a snail that a wagonwheel had gone over did before itwas crushed, when he was travel-ling comfortably along the -rut, andcarrying his sharp-pointed house onhis back.""Well, as I don't care muchabout my shape now, I suppose thethought of it would have troubledme less after I'd been killed," saidthe Greedy Duckling; "all I carefor in this life is to have as much toeat as I can tuck under my wings,and not to have any noise about mewhile I'm asleep. As to washingmyself much, that's a trouble,though I do manage to give myhead a dip when I have a drink.
54 THE SHEEP AND LAMB.There was an old man used to comeand sit under the tree beside ourbrook, and read poetry; and some-times, between sleeping and waking,I used to pick up a line or two; andI liked those best of all that said, -'I just do nothing all the day,And soundly sleep the night away,'-because they just suited me to a T."In vain did the clean little sisterendeavor to persuade him to washhimself oftener, take more exercise,mingle more with his family, eatless, and try to make himself morerespected; it was all of no use:instead of becoming better, he gotworse.There was a hole under theL !* .. ^
THE GREEDY DUCKLING. 55wooden steps that led up to oldGranny's cottage, and the GreedyDuckling, having found it out, usedto creep in and watch until the oldwoman's back was turned, whenSukey would be sure to feed him;and very often he found food about,and helped himself to it, no matterwhat it was. One day Grannyhad made a custard, which she leftstanding on the table until the ovenwas hot, when the Greedy Ducklinggot at it, and after putting in hisbeak, and having had a good drink,he held his head aside, and said," Bless me though rather thick, it'svery nice not at all like muddywater. I can taste milk, and I'm
56 THE SHEEP AND LAMB.sure there are eggs, also plenty ofsugar; what that brown powder isfloating at the top I don't know;but it must be spice, I think, for itwarms the stomach. But here comesold Granny: I must hide under thetable until she goes out, or I shallhave another taste of that horn-handled stick of hers; then, if shehits me fairly on the leg, I shallhave to go hoppity kick, as she does.I should like to finish that lot verymuch, it's so good. 0, how com-fortably I could sleep after in mylittle nest under the step I'll keepa sharp eye on old Granny and hercat."The cat had been blamed for many
THE GREEDY DUCKLING. 57things it had never touched, which .the Greedy Duckling had gobbledup and as he sat washing himselfon the hob, which was beginning tobe warm, Granny having lighted afire to heat the oven, he spied theduckling under the table, and kepthis eye on him without seeming totake any notice at all."I shall be having the cat lappingup all this custard, if I don't put itsomewhere out of the way," saidthe grandmother; "it will be thesafest here; " and she put it intothe oven without quite shutting thedoor, then went out to get somemore wood to put under the oven,which was hardly warm.
58 THE SHEEP AND LAMB."I shall have time enough tofinish that lot before old Grannycomes back, for she has the woodto break into short pieces," said theGreedy Duckling, who had seenher put the custard into the oven;so he just put out his wings andwent in after it, and began peggingaway at the custard, for it was abig oven and there was plenty ofroom."I've been blamed often enoughfor things you've stolen and eaten,and I'll get out of that," said thecat; "for though I know you'll beout of the oven and hiding some-where the instant you hear herhoppity kick on the cottage floor,
THE GREEDY DUCKLING. 59yet if she looks at the custard be-fore she shuts the oven door, andfinds half of it eaten, she'll say I'vehad it." So saying, the cat made aspring from off the oven on to thefloor, and while doing so, his hinderlegs caught the oven door, and,with the force of the spring, shut itto with a loud clap and a click, forthe handle always caught when thedoor was pushed to sharp. Awayran the cat, and in came old Grannywith the stick, which she began toshove under the oven, until in timeit was so hot that she couldn'ttake hold of the handle to turnher custard without holding itwith the dishclout. "Why, I
60 THE SHEEP AND LAMB.declare, if it isn't burnt to acinder!" exclaimed old Granny,as she threw open the oven door;when there was such a smell ofburnt feathers and fat as nearlyknocked her down ; for the fatduckling first ran all to dripping,which ran all over the oven bottom,and then got burnt black, it was sohot; and she never could, nor neverdid, nor never will make out whatit was that made her oven in sucha mess and spoiled her custard, norwhat became of her Greedy Duck-ling.
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