I The Badvf.l. L b ary
i .. ~ .- '4
Charlie and Katie. P 34
^mnnsirg anb Instemtilb
JANE K. NEALE,
AUTHOs oP "WINaNI BA.RTON," ieO.
FREDERICK WARNE AND CO.
BEDFORD STREET, COVENT GARDEN.
CAMDEN PTESS LONDON, NW.
I. THE ENGLISH OAK TREE . 1
II. THE BABY . . 16
III. THE LITTLE COAL .. .38
IV. THE YOUNG GARDENER .. 56
V. THE HOUSE SPIDER . ... 76
VI. THE BUTTERFLY . 91
TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
THE ENGLISH OAK TREE.
ALL was ready in the village school-room for
the usual writing-lesson, and the children
awaiting the entrance of Mrs. Ainsley to take
Good afternoon, dear children," said that
lady; "before we begin our work, I have
something to say to you."
Upon this intimation, the children rose from
their seats with curious expectation marked in
"I wish to tell you, that if you will give me
a good lesson I will give you a little tale."
Oh!" exclaimed the little children, in
various tones of pleasure.
2 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
"Please, ma'am," said one little girl, what
is it about ?"
"You shall each choose a subject."
"That will be nice," said onil; "but where
will you get them, ma'am ?"
I will write them for you."
There was now a joyous shout of Hurrah!
"I have chosen the subject of the first tale,
and have brought it with me. Now, each may
tell me what he or she wishes me to write
Very various were the subjects named, as
Gardener-Baby-Coal, &c. &c.
The writing-lesson being ended, Mrs. Ainsley
began the tale-of
THE ENGLISH OAK TREE.
I am now a garden-stick, painted green, with
a white top, but I have been much bigger, and
done grander things than support flowers, as I
now do; for though you see me now with my ,
foot stuck in the earth, moving only as the,;
THE ENGLISH OAK TREE. 3
gardener sees fit to move me, the time has
been when I journeyed miles and miles away.
I was an acorn in my babyhood, and rejoiced
when the wind, one fine day in the autumn,
blew me down from my mother's arm, for I
then thought I should do as I pleased. I fell
upon the green grass, and lay very comfortably,
half hidden by the slender blades, thinking I
should be very happy; so I was, for I had
many companions around me, the sun shone
by day, and I lay in the moonlight by night-
the birds sang above me; and the grasshoppers
chirped around me. But I soon learnt my
life was not to be one of pleasure only, for one
day there came a pig, and I saw him take some
of my companions into his tremendous jaws,
and heard him crunch-crunch-munch-
munch. Oh! how much I wished myself back
again upon my mother's arm, for I expected
he would seize me. However, I escaped the
frightful munching, and continued to lie o;,
the grass. I grew older, and instead of being
"rgeen, as at first, became brown, and rolled
4 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
out of my cup. The cold winter came; the
frost beat the grass over me, and dead leaves
fell upon me; the earth became soft from the
rain, and I sank into it by degrees, till I had
earth above, beneath, and around me.
After having been a long time in this state,
I became tired of doing nothing, and of being
shut up in the earth, where I could see nothing.
"What could I do to amuse myself? Well, I
thought I would try to be a fine tree, like my
mother; so I began to push myself through
my brown case, forcing my stem upwards and
my roots downwards; but I would not grow
very quickly, lest I should be mistaken for a
foreign oak, and I determined to be an English
one, as my mother was. Though the wind
blew upon me, and the animals rubbed against
my slender stem, I tried to keep myself straight,
and put forth my branches and leaves in the
best manner-and, as I tried to do what was
right, was very happy, drawing in nourishment
through my roots, and breathing the fresh air
through'iny leaves, till, from a little wee sprig,
THE ENGLISH OAK TREE. 5
I grew and grew till I became a very fine
tree. How I delighted in living How proud
I was of myself !-thinking myself the finest
oak of the wood. It was a joyous life, and
I thought it would last for ever, but was mis-
"When I had thus lived for many summers
and winters, becoming more and more proud
of myself as I grew larger and larger, two men
stopped near me one day, and I knew they ad-
mired me, for one said, "Yes, it is a very fine
tree." This increased my pride and vanity,
and I fancied I was to live. only to be admired;
but I soon learnt otherwise. One of the men
made an ugly mark upon my noble trunk with
black paint; I would have struck him with one
of my large branches, but could not bend it
low enough. How I rejoiced when the rain
pelted in torrents, for I hoped it would wash
away that ugly disfiguring mark; but no,
there it remained as firm as at first, and
I was.obliged to bear it.. Now my troubles
began, for in the Autumn men came with
6 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
sharp knives, and stripped me of my bark.
How bitterly the wind blew upon me now!
How I mourned at the loss of my beauty,
thinking I should be left to pine away my life
unheeded and uncared for, never more to put
forth green leaves, and have the birds build
among my branches. Then came the better
thought of the use to which my bark would
be put; and when the wind blew upon my
bare trunk, or the sun scorched it, I said, cheer-
"Never mind, my bark will make excellent
I learnt to be glad to be of use to others.
I saw men at work, and horses and dogs a!l
seemed to have something to do; therefore I
said to my cousins near me-" Why should we
be idle ?"
The next Autumn men came again, and
with hatchets chopped me and my cousins
down to the ground. Alas! alas! for my
vanity and pride, what was I now? A log of
wood. I was soon carried into a large yard, in
THE ENGLISH OAK TREE. 7
company with my cousins; and again I was
proud, for I was very much praised, and under-
stood that I should be sent to the shipwright's,
while my cousins went to the cabinet-maker's;
and I said to myself, proudly, My cousin may
think it very nice to live in a smart drawing-
room, upon a soft carpet, and be polished by a
tidy housemaid; but I shall be a fine large
ship, and-who knows?-I may go into
foreign countries, and fight for my Queen. I
shall like that much better than being shut up
in a drawing-room; so I'll be a fine ship, and
sail over the broad sea !"
"Whilst I was being made into a large ship,
others of my family were being made into
boats. How proud I was over them !
"Ah !" said the boats, "you will go a long
way over the sea; but we shall not go far from
our dear home."
Yes," I returned ; but see how small you
are, and how big I am. Besides, you are going
to fish. Pha! how you will smell of fish,
while I shall be kept so clean."
8 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
Yes, that is all very well," said the boats;
"but we shall be safe, while you may get a
great cannon-ball through your side."
"Then we will mend it again. So, hurrah !
for the Queen, and her good ship Victoria !
Good-bye to you, little fishy cousins."
And away I went over the waves, with a merry
crew on deck, among whom was one called "Old
Ben," whom I particularly liked; he seemed
to know everything, and I used to hear him
talk to a young lad, Philip Wright, about allhe
would see on our voyage.' But I learnt from
their conversation, that, instead of being, as I
had hoped, a man-of-war, I was only a merchant-
man, and my pride was much hurt by the dis-
covery. Well, it could not be helped; at any
rate, it was better than being a fishing-boat.
As we passed the curious rocks called "The
Needles," which are off the isle of Wight, I
heard old Ben tell young Philip how dangerous
they are, and that many a good ship had been
wrecked against them, and many brave sailors
THE ENGLISH OAK TREE. 9
Poor creatures and within sight of home,"
said the sailor boy. "I hope that will not
happen to me."
"I hope not, my boy," answered old Ben,
" but we must leave it in the hands of Him
who knows best; and whether near home, or
far away, we know He will be with us, when
our time comes, if we try to serve Him in life."
We voyaged about to distant countries for
our cargoes-to Spain for fruit, to India for
rice, and to China for tea, and made several
pleasant trips in safety; but this was not
always to be the case, as I will tell you, for as
the thunder and lightning had passed over me
when I was a tree, so the storm came to me
when I formed part of a large ship.
We had been from home more than a year,
and were gladly returning, when a gale came
on as we neared the dangerous coast of Ireland.
It tore the sails to shreds. New ones were put
up, but the gale increasing, orders were given
to reef all but one small one, necessary to keep
the rudder in action. The carpenter made all
10 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
things fast below -deck, and the dead-light, as
it is called, was burning in the captain's cabin;
thus we prepared to meet the storm. Thick,
black, heavy clouds rolled over head; the winds
blew a hurricane; bang, bang, came the angry
waves against me, and I could not avoid creak-
ing, groaning and trembling, after every thump
of the big waves. Still, I and my companion
held together tightly, and proved ourselves to
be true English oak.
The night came on, and the wind blew
tremendously. Oh! how it whistled and roared
among the ropes. The huge waves came roll-
ing upon us as if to swallow us in anger,
foaming and roaring, as they dashed themselves
on the deck, and carried with them, as they
rolled back again, pieces of loosened wood and
empty casks. The night was pitch dark, except
when the vivid lightning flashed for an instant
from the dark clouds, and a glimpse was given
of the rocky and dangerous coast.
"This is awful, Ben," said Philip. "Did
you ever know such a storm ?"
THE ENGLISH OAK TREE. 11
Scarcely," answered the old man.
"Shall we be safe ?"
Can't say, boy," answered the old sailor.
Then, after a few minutes of silence, he added,
" Philip, my boy, remember who watches over
those at sea as well as on land. His eye is
upon us; trust in Him."
I will. My poor mother! Ben, I think
of her more than of myself; perhaps she is now
praying for me. I have always liked to know
that she thinks of me when she says that prayer
of our beautiful Litany-' That it may please
T7ee to preserve all that travel by land or by
water.' She will be so sorry to lose me, and I
am so young to die."
The young are ^taken as well as the old,
Philip. We know not which may be taken
first, therefore all ought to be prepared to die."
But I am not good enough to die, Ben."
We none of us are; but we can pray to
be forgiven. You can do so, my boy; and if
you are spared, resolve to be better, God
12 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
Philip knelt down beside his old friend, in
earnest, heartfelt prayer. While they were
thus engaged, thinking more of their sins than
of the danger they were in, the ship struck upon
a rock with terrible force. It was soon known
she had parted; she was a wreck! The storm
still raged; the clouds hid the moon; all was
dark. The waves, sometimes as high as our
quivering mast, came rolling on, and broke in
white foam over us. The timbers gave way,
and I was separated from my companions. Old
Ben bade Philip lash himself to me, while he
clung to the mast. Night still! Gradually
the storm abated, and the morning came. The
fierce waves seemed tired of rolling, and sunk
into a heavy swell. Upon them I carried young
Philip safely. Poor boy! how tightly he clung
to me. How earnestly he prayed to be spared
for his dear mother's sake, and that he might
be better prepared to die. He prayed for the
safety of old Ben, too.
The bright day came, and Philip was spared.
A fishing-boat had seen him, and had taken
THE ENGLISH OAK TREE. 13
him, with me, in. We both lay at the bottom
of the boat. Philip was insensible, but the
men were kindly careful of him; they unbound
him from me, and recovered him.
Philip looked towards the spot where the
ship had been, and knew that all was over.
All gone !" he said aloud, though speaking,
as it were, to himself.
"I fear so," said one of the men. All,
poor fellows !"
"Poor old Ben !" exclaimed Philip, and he
wept bitterly for his kind old messmate. Then
he looked at me, and knew that I had carried
him upon the angry waves. "Let me have
those planks ?" he said.
Yes, yes, my boy," returned the captain ;
"they are yours. They saved your young
And Philip was glad, so was I, for I wished
to remain with him. And now my pride and
vanity were corrected. I who had scorned and
jeered at a fishing-boat was glad to be lying
safely at the bottom of one, although-it smelt
14 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
of fish, and I was very grateful to my little
cousin, who thus returned good for evil.
My voyaging was over; so was Philip's; he
did not go to sea again, but remained at home
with his mother and became a gardener. Of
me he made sticks to support his flowers; he
cut me into various sizes, trimmed me smooth,
and painted me green, with a white top, that
he might know me from other sticks he has.
Philip is happy; he is a good son to his old
mother, talks to her of the wonders he has
seen, of that awful shipwreck, and of poor
old Ben. He has named one of his boys after
his old friend; but I do not think he will let
little Ben go to sea. I am happy, too, in
having something to do, and grateful for the
care taken of me. Again I hear the birds
sing, and the rustling of the wind through the
leaves of a neighboring wood, and wish my
relatives, the Oaks, may have as happy and
useful a life as my own.
Oh! that is a nice story," said Mary.
THE ENGLISH OAK TREE. 15
"Poor old Ben, he was a good man; I am
sorry he was drowned."
I wonder if he was washed ashore and
buried," observed John Moore.
We will hope.he was," replied Mrs. Ains-
ley, restraining a smile at finding how much
her young auditors realized her tale.
Mary Moore," she said, "your tale shall
be the next; what shall it be about ?"
About a Baby, please, ma'am."
A Baby! Not a very easy subject. Well,
you shall have it; but, as a Baby is a little
creature, you must not expect a very long story.
Now I will say good bye to you all."
16 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
WHEN the writing-day was come again, and
Mrs. Ainsley entered the school-room at the
usual time, the children looked eagerly at the
books and papers in her hand, and seeing some
of the latter tied together by a red ribbon, a
whisper of "Yes, there it is," passed from one
to the other.
You are right," said Mrs. Ainsley ; "I have
brought the Baby with me; but I think she
will be very good and quiet till our lesson is
over, and then we will hear what can be said
"Won't she speak for herself, ma'am?"
asked one of the little girls.
THE BABY. 17
"No; she is too young to talk. Now to
your places, and give me a good lessoif, or I
shall take Baby home with me without telling
you anything about her, and I do not think
you would like that."
Oh no, ma'am I think Baby would cry."
"I don't think ske would," said Mrs. Ainsley;
" but you might, Emma." Then, putting the
papers upon a shelf, she added, "There, I have
put Baby into her cradle, and now begin your
The lesson went off well, and Mrs. Ainsley,
taking the papers tied with red ribbon, began
When may I see Baby?" inquired Mary
Moore of the kind neighbour who was acting
as nurse to her mother.
Not to-day, Mary," answered Mrs. Mab-
son; your mother must be kept very quiet;
but. to-morrow perhaps you all shall see the
dear little Baby."
18 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
A Baby was a novelty in the Moore family;
there had not been one for more than three
years and though, perhaps, the father and
mother had thought five little hearty children
as many as they could comfortably provide for,
and the brothers and sisters had been quite
content at their numbers, all welcomed the
new Baby heartily, and not even the youngest
and hitherto petted little boy would consent to
part with her. All were very impatient to
see her; therefore all rejoiced when nurse
"Now then, one at a time shall go upstairs
with me; but all must be very quiet, walk
gently, just look at Baby, kiss mother, and
come down again."
All did as nurse desired, and none spoke
even in a whisper till they came downstairs
What a little thing she is," said Charlie;
"not bigger than a doll !"
"To be sure," said Mary, who, being the
oldest of the family, thought she knew much
THE BABY. 19
more about everything than the others did.
" To be sure she is; you were a little creature
Not so little as she is, though," said Charlie,
"Indeed you were, master Charles," said
his eldest brother.
"I wasn't," returned Charlie, positively;
then appealing to nurse asked, Was I, nurse ?"
"Yes, Charles; quite as small as Baby,"
answered nurse, smiling.
"Well," said the discomfited Charlie, "I
don't recollect it."
I suppose not," said Mary, laughing; "but
So do I, my boy," said the father; and
so you all like your new Baby ?"
Oh yes very much," exclaimed all the
She is such a pretty little creature," said
"Yes," replied her father; "Babies, like
all other young things, are pretty little crea-
20 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
tures; and when we look at a Baby we, even
Charlie, should remember we were Babies once,
and be grateful to our mother for the care she
took of us; for if she had not nursed us
tenderly we might not have lived. This should
make us wish to take care of our mother when
she is old and helpless."
So I will," exclaimed the eldest boy, and
of you, too, father."
Thank you, my boy."
"But," said little Charlie, anxiously, "mother
won't grow old yet, will she ?"
"Indeed I hope not, Charlie," replied his
"Not till I am a man," said Charlie, and
then I can work for her."
I think you can work for her now, my
little boy; do you wish to do so?"
"Yes," answered Charlie, looking earnestly
at his father.
"Then I will tell you what you can do for
her. When she is well enough to come down-
THE BABY. 21
stairs again, and bring the Baby with her, you
can rock the cradle."
So I will," exclaimed the delighted boy.
I think, father," said Mary, "it ought to
be my Baby."
"Why so, Mary?"
"Because you know, father, she was born
on my birthday."
"So she was, Mary; but do you think you
can do for her all that is necessary ?"
I can wash, and dress, and feed her, father,"
returned Mary, confidently.
Perhaps you can. But, Mary, there is
much more to be done for Baby besides that.
I have told you one thing we should think of
when we look at Baby; I will tell you of
another. Who gives us Baby?"
God," answered Mary, reverently.
"Yes, God gave me Baby; He gave you all
to me, and He expects that I will not only
feed and clothe you, but train you in His
ways, and lead you to obey Him in all things.
22 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
Dearly as I love you all, my children, I have
fear also-fear lest I should not do all for you
that the Almighty expects of me. He has given
you to my care, and requires that I should
teach you to be good men and women, His
grace helping me. This makes me sad when
you commit a fault, and induces me to punish
you, that you may not repeat it."
The children listened to their father very
Will you," he continued, "remember this
when you are tempted to do wrong ?"
"And now, Mary, do you think you are
wise and good enough to take Baby as your
own, should I be inclined to give her up to
"No, father," answered Mary, in a subdued
"Well, my child," said Moore, putting his
arm round his little girl and drawing her to
him, "you shall be allowed to call Baby your
baby, but you and she must remain under my
THE BABY. 23
care and teaching for many years. I must
teach you both to love and obey the Almighty.
You shall help mother to nurse Baby, and me
by setting her a good example."
Very glad were all when the mother could
again be one of their party below stairs, and
bring Baby with her. Charlie was especially
watchful of the little one, and often made
remarks upon her.
"Why," he asked, does she sleep so much ?
Why does she not look about at everything ?"
She cannot see them yet," answered his
mother. I think, Mary, you can tell me
what God created first?"
"Yes; and the first thing a Baby sees is the
light. In a little time you will see Baby look
at the fire, and at the candle as it is moved
about the room; but it will be some time
before she sees anything else."
"Well," said James, "that is almost as bad
as the kittens."
Ah but," said Mary, "when kittens are
24 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
born they cannot open their eyes for nine
days, while our Baby does open hers; see,
they are open now."
I shall be glad when she can see me," said
Charlie. "What nice little hands she has!
but why does she not open them ?"
Because she cannot use them yet," an-
swered his mother.
Charlie," said John, laughing, "I think
she wants to knock you down; see how she
throws her doubled fists about; she'll certainly
hit you," and John pretended to guard himself
from an expected blow, and to get out of
She can't hurt me, can she ?" asked Charlie,
almost doubtingly, of his mother.
No, no, Charlie, she is not thinking of you."
Then opening one of the little hands, his
mother added, "See what a pretty hand it
is, so white, and fat, and soft outside, and so
pink inside !"
"May I kiss it ?" asked the little boy; and
upon receiving leave to do so, he touched it
THE BABY. 25
with his lips very gently, and said, I love
I hope we all do," returned his mother.
"And now, Charlie, you may rock her to sleep."
Charlie, delighted and proud, fetched his
own little wooden chair, and seating himself,
rocked the cradle very gently and steadily till
his mother told him he might leave off, as
Baby was asleep.
Baby was a great amusement to all, but
more especially to Mary and Charlie; the
former proudly and fondly calling her her
Baby, while Charlie, long before she had
power to hold anything, brought her odd bits
of wood and string which formed his stock
of treasured playthings, patiently picking them
up as often as she let them fall from her weak
and uncertain grasp.
"When Mrs. Moore was sufficiently recovered,
she went to church to return thanks to the
Almighty for having spared her, and not very
long after the Baby was to be taken to church
also to be baptized.
26 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
This was a great event to the children, and
there was some consultation as to the name to
be given her.
"Name her Edward, mother," said Charlie,
at which his brothers and sisters laughed
"Why, that's a man's name," exclaimed
John, it won't do for a girl."
"Won't it, mother ?"
Not very well, Charlie."
"I should like to have it Deborah," said
Anne, because old Deb Dutton is such a nice
"Because she gives you lollypops some-
times," said John. "And you think to make
Baby a nice old Baby by naming her Deb;
now I think it a very ugly name."
"Your father and I wish to name her Cathe-
rine," said the amused mother.
"Oh yes! that will do nicely," exclaimed
all the children. It must be Catherine."
"Ah! then you come to cats again," said
John; "Kitty, Kitty, miaow."
THE BABY. 27
Charlie looked almost angry, as he fancied
his brother compared the dear little Baby to
Thus the name was fixed upon, the god-
father and god-mothers were provided, and
Mary gladly worked industriously upon the
little white frock Baby was to wear on the
My children," said Moore, you have been
very busy in finding a name for Baby, but is that
all we are to think of in her baptism? We
can call her by a name without taking her
to church; why, then, do we take her there ?"
The children did not answer.
Mary," continued Moore, "think of your
catechism, and tell me what you were before
Mary considered for a few moments, then
said, A child of wrath."
Yes, because born in Adam's sin, therefore
a child of God's wrath or anger. But when you
were baptized you received the Holy Ghost,
which cleansed you from that sin; you were
28 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
then born again of the Spirit, and became-
"A member of Christ and the child of
God," answered Mary, in the words of the
"Yes. What does the parson do when he
takes the Baby in his arms?"
Again Mary thought for a moment; then
said, He signs her with the cross."
Right; in token that from that moment
she is to obey our blessed Saviour in all
things. Will you think of this next Sunday
when Baby is baptized; and will you remem-
ber the same has been done to you?"
The children answered "Yes," and Mary
"I'm glad Baby will be baptized on a
"For what reason, Mary?'" asked her
"Because it is God's day, father."
"You are right, my dear child; we bring
Baby to Christ on the Lord's-day. It is also
THE BABY. 29
right that baptisms should take place in the full
congregation, that each person may be reminded
of his own. Think again of your catechism,
and tell me if Baby will promise anything?"
"Why, Baby can't speak !" exclaimed
"No; therefore we choose persons to speak
for her; these are her god-father and god-
mothers. What do they promise in her name,
"To renounce the devil and all his works."
"Yes. That is, to cast away sin-to believe
in God-and to obey Him. Do you think you
can tell me why I wish Baby to be baptized
while she is so young, and cannot speak for
All the children were thoughtful but silent.
You told me that till she is baptized she is
a child of God's anger, and I wish to make her
a child of God's love as soon as possible after
she is born, that if the Almighty should please
to take her from me, we may be able to think
of her as one of those little angels who are
30 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
always in the brightness of heaven, and in the
presence of the Almighty."
The children were impressed by their father's
words, and a certain degree of seriousness was
in their thoughts and manner when they spoke
of the approaching baptism.
They were very attentive during the cere-
mony, and the kisses given to the little Chris-
tian after it, had more in them than common
"God loves Catherine now," said little
Charlie gently, as he gazed lovingly upon his
little sister on his mother's knee.
"Yes, my dear little boy, and I pray He
may ever love her."
The Baby grew, and though, like all other
babies, she was sometimes fretful, would be
awake on busy days when her mother wished
her to sleep, and would sometimes show undu,
favour and dislike among her brothers and
sisters, all loved and bore with her; Charlie let
her bite his finger between her swollen and
aching gums, even after one or two white teeth
THE BABY. 31
had shown their points through them, and if
the pain brought the colour into his cheeks, he
"Oh Baby, not quite so hard, please."
He let her pull his hair with her little fat
fingers, entangled in his curls, without flinch-
ing or expressing any anger.
Mary and Charlie were certainly Baby's
favourites, perhaps merely because they played
with her and nursed her oftener than the other
Then she began to run alone, and at first
Charlie was alarmed at her many falls, but
when he found she did not really hurt herself
he laughed to see her bump down, or roll like
a ball, and by laughing taught Baby to laugh
also; he would pick her up, put her upon her
feet again, and holding out his arms, tempt her
to toddle to him, and oh! what a hug and a kiss
he gave her when she fairly reached him.
Another pleasure was when Baby began to
talk. Mum-mum, ta-ta," was all she could
say for a long time. Charlie tried very much
32 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
to teach her to pronounce his name, but it
seemed too difficult for her, and he was at
last obliged to be content with her saying,
" Ar," and to guess when it was applied to him,
of course fancying it was so a hundred times
when it was not.
Catherine was little more than a year old
when she was attacked with a very severe in-
flammation on the chest, and for some days
her safety was very doubtful. All were anxious
about her, the merry laugh was hushed and the
chattering was in sad whispers. The father's
face was grave, the mother's pale and anxious.
Mary was of real assistance in the sick room;
she could soothe the little moaning sufferer, and
relieve her mother of some painful watching,
when the many duties for the family called her
from beside the sick-bed. Charlie crept on
tip-toe as noiselessly as he could to look at his
"little darling," and never failed to pray for
her recovery in the simple words his love
prompted. He narrowly watched the counte-
nance of the surgeon when he came from the
THE BABY. 33
sick-room, and once whisperingly asked, with
Will she die ?"
We hope not," answered the surgeon.
God will take her, father, if she does, for
you know she is His child. I am so glad she
was taken to church and baptized."
The loving father patted his boy's curly
head, as he said-
God's will be done!"
The child so loved was spared. More ten-
derness and love were lavished upon her than
ever; but as Catherine's health returned, Charlie
had another sorrowful anxiety. Sorrow and
watching had worn upon his mother; she had
become very thin, pale, and weak, and poor
Charlie feared she was growing old before he
could work for her.
"Charlie," said Mrs. Moore, one day when
the little boy was earnestly scrutinizing his
mother's face; why do you look so earnestly
at me ?"
"Are you well, mother ?" asked Charlie.
31 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
"Yes, thank you, dear boy."
Charlie still looked attentively at her for
some time, then throwing his arms round her
neck, sobbed out-
"Don't grow old yet, mother; oh please
What do you mean, Charlie? I am not
growing old at present, dear."
"Oh please wait till I can work for you;
till I am a big man !" said the distressed boy.
His mother kissed him, assuring him he
would in all probability be a man before she
should be old and helpless. So Charlie ceased
to watch her countenance, and in a few weeks
or months both mother and Baby were restored
to their usual health.
Again Charlie could lead his little pet
about the lanes and fields, filling her little
pinafore with the prettiest wild flowers, which
she too often delighted in destroying; and
Charlie would say-
"Oh! fie, Katie !"
The little rosy mouth put up to his, soon
THE BABY. 35
gained her pardon, and the fault was repeated
again and again, with no more correction than
these gentle words, and with the same forgive-
ness heartily renewed.
As Catherine grew older, Charlie was her
guide and protector to school, where he was
sometimes inattentive to his own lessons in
listening to her little voice name the great
letters pointed out to her. How anxious he
was that she should get on. He tried toteach her
in the play-hours, but she would not attend as
he wished; in the midst of Charlie's teaching
she would chase a butterfly, or run to gather a
flower, so Charlie was obliged to leave her
tuition to one who had more authority over
Thus the Baby, whose arrival had given so
much pleasure, continued to be the pet of all,
till she was in a fair way to be spoiled; and she
would have been so, had not the good training
of the parents counteracted the injudicious in-
dulgence of the children. Catherine, with the
others, was brought up in the exercise of the
36 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
Christian virtues, and in love of Him to whom
we owe all our blessings.
Mrs. Ainsley closed her papers, and put the
red ribbon round them.
"Thank you, ma'amn" said Mary Moore,
" that is a nice story." >
"I am glad you like it, Mary."
It is all about my little sister Catherine,
and you know, ma'am, she really is my baby; she
sleeps with me, and I often wash and dress her."
I am very glad you can help your mother
so much; and recollect, Mary, you must not
spoil little Catherine."
"Please, ma'am," said John Beckett, whose
story is to come next ?"
"Must I really bring another on Tuesday,
our next writing-day?"
"Oh yes, please, ma'am," shouted all the
Well, I will try. But do you not think it
is rather hard work for me? It takes some
THE BABY. 37
time merely to write a story down on the paper,
and then I have to think a great deal about it."
"Oh! but you know all about it, ma'am,"
said Emma Watson.
Mrs. Ainsley smiled, and said, I am afraid
not; but I will not disappoint you if I can help
it; therefore I think you, Emma, shall have
the next story. What shall it be about ?"
I should like it to be about a Coal, please,
ma'am," answered Emma, much delighted.
Mrs. Ainsley looked painfully grave and
puzzled as she said, "A coal! that cannot be
a very easy task, though a coal is such a com-
mon thing. Now, good-bye, for the present."
The children rose and curtsied as Mrs.
Ainsley left the room.
38 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
THE LITTLE COAL.
"GooD morning, dear children," said Mrs.
Ainsley, as she entered the schoolroom.
"Emma, I have brought your tale."
About a little coal, ma'am ?" asked Emma.
"Yes, and some may wonder what a little
coal can have to say of itself; you shall hear."
THE LITTLE COAL.
You all know that coal is dug out of the
earth, and the pits or mines from which it is
dug are very deep and dark; the entrance to
them is by a perpendicular hole, called the
shaft, through which the men descend and
ascend, and the coal is drawn up in baskets.
THE LITTLE COAL. 39
We will fancy ourselves at the bottom of one
of these deep mines, which has not yet been
worked, just in the spot where our Little Coal
lies by the side of a large lump, from which
it had been by some means broken.
"Mother," said the Little Coal, "are you
very old ?"
"Indeed I am, child, very, very old."
"And have you always been in this dark
place, mother ?"
"Always as you know me, my child, but
not always as I know myself; for I was some-
thing else before I was coal, and lived in a very
different place to this, but I believe'I am still
very near it."
"What do you" mean by living, mother?
Don't you live now, and don't I live ?"
"No, child, we exist, but do not live."
Then what is living ?" curiously inquired
the Little Coal.
"To live is to breathe the pure, clear air,
and to draw in nourishment which makes us
40 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
"Oh! shall I ever grow as big as you,
"No, silly child, you will never grow, be-
cause, as I told you just now, you do not live-
Well," said the Little Coal, despondingly,
"I can't quite understand you; but will you
tell me all about yourself when you lived? I
should so like to hear it."
I will tell you all I remember," answered
the Big Coal to the curious and listening little
bit. When I lived, along, long time ago, so
long that I cannot count the years, and no
Coal can say how long it is since that time, I
was a tall thing called a tree, and had branches
which spread about on all- sides, and I was
covered with green leaves, through -which I
breathed the fresh air, which was much purer
and sweeter than that around us now."
That must have been very pleasant."
"Indeed, it was very delightful. I had a
great many companions, all more or less like
myself. The world we lived in was very
THE LITTLE COAL. 41
beautiful, the blue sky so bright in the sunshine,
and the air so warm and fresh, I enjoyed
waving my branches, and shaking my leaves in
the gentle summer wind."
"I daresay it was very delightful. Don't
you wish to be in the beautiful world
I have no wish about it, for I am content
to be as I am."
After a moment of silence the Little Coal
Did you live long so "
Yes, a long time, and enjoyed myself very
much; everything was so bright and beautiful;
the gay flowers made a carpet at my feet, and
there were smaller trees and green grass."
The Little Coal listened in amazement, but
with much attention, though all seemed so
strange that it could not understand it. Still,
as its mother seemed to think it was very de-
lightful, and to have been very happy, it
"And can I never live so, mother?"
42 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
No, my child; you were a part of me when
I lived, but will never live so again."
Was I !" said the Little Coal, in great
astonishment. Why don't I recollect it,
Because you were a very small part of me,
and were so entirely myself, that you had no
separate enjoyment of life, and therefore cannot
I should very much like to live so," sighed
the Little Coal, "and see all the beautiful
things you talk of."
The Old Coal heaved a deep sigh, as it said
sorrowfully, You may, perhaps, one day see
Oh shall I ? I am so glad," exclaimed
the Little Coal, joyfully, and if it had had
hands it would have clapped them in its joy.
Silly Little Coal, be content as you are.
To see all the things I have seen will bring
you no good or happiness. Are you not happy
"Oh yes; but I should like to be happier."
THE LITTLE COAL. 43
"That is wrong, very wrong, my child. Be
content, that is the greatest happiness. You
will never be happy anywhere, if constantly
wishing for what you have not."
"Don't you really wish to see all those
beautiful things again, mother?"
"No. I enjoyed them when I had them,
and I think there may be many more things I
have not seen, but I will not pine for them.
My place is here, at least for a time, and it is
my duty to be content, and patiently to await
what the future may bring."
But you were very happy, mother."
Yes; but to see all I have seen, far from
making you happy, will, I believe, bring misery
That is very strange," said the Little Coal,
again much puzzled by its mother's words.
My child, you must be content."
Well, I will try to be so. Only- the
Little Coal hesitated, then in a low, sad whisper
added, "I think it must be delightful to be a
44 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
And the Little Coal did try to be content
with its present happiness; but although it con-
quered the wish to be a tree, it could not avoid
sometimes thinking of the sun and air its
mother had talked of, wondering what they
were, and how seeing such beautiful things
could cause it misery, and it inquired of its
"1 My child, I cannot explain to you why these
beautiful things should cause you pain. God
made everything beautiful and very good, and
does not wish there should be pain and misery,
and yet, I have an assurance which I do not quite
understand, that if you should be thrown into
the way of these things, some great misfortune
will befall you. Therefore it is better for you
not to think so much of them, and to leave the
future, only seeking to fulfil your duty in the
"What is my duty, mother?"
"To be content. And believe me, in my
life, I was not free from pain."
Will you tell me about it, mother ?"
THE LITTLE COAL 45
And the Little Coal's mother finding it really
wished and tried to be good, told it more of
herself. How, when she was a tree, a storm
blew her down, and the water washed over her,
pressing heavily upon her, for they were deep
waters, and that the air became so hot she could
not breathe, till at last the water and heat
changed her so much, that she lost all form of
a tree, and became the Coal she then was. And
not only she, but all her companions suffered
in this manner, and formed the coal by which
they were surrounded, so that from that time
they ceased to live.
How very dreadful!" said the Little Coal.
" But you said I cannot live again, so all this
cannot happen to me."
"No, my child, but you will have misery if
ever you see the sunshine."
"Shall I?" inquired the Little Coal, sorrow-
fully, for it had not quite conquered all its
wishes. "If I see it only for a moment ?"
"If ever the sunshine should come to us,
46 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
be assured our happiness will soon end, and
great misery come."
Oh, dear then I will try not to wish to
see it, for I should not like to be less happy
than I am."
This quiet state, however, was not to last,
and the happiness the Little Coal was learning
to value was soon to be disturbed.
There was now, not far from them, a
dreadful noise, which made the Little Coal
tremble with alarm, and the place in which they
lay became less dark. More noise came; first,
a deep, thumping noise; then a crashing noise,
and a rumbling, mixed with sounds which the
Little Coal could not at all understand, and
which its mother could not explain, though she
had a dim suspicion, and much feared what
might happen. More noise came, and more
light, till the Little Coal asked of its sad
"Mother, what is that beautiful thing up
THE LITTLE COAL. 47
"The blue sky, my child," she answered
How beautifully I could look at it for ever.
Is it what you used to see when you were a
"Yes, my child, it is."
"And are you not glad to see it again,
Then the Little Coal remembered all its
mother had said of the misery that would come
if ever it saw the sunshine, and half doubting,
It cannot hurt us, it is up so very high.
Besides, mother, such a beautiful thing cannot
do any harm, it must be very good."
"The blue sky is very good, my child,
and will do us no harm; it is all that may
follow its appearance that we may have to
Still for a time no harm came, and the Little
Coal could quietly admire the blue sky, but the
delight which it had at first felt at it was now
48 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
changed to something like awe, as a dread of
the future came to it.
At last men came to the place, for a shaft
had been made to the bottom of the mine, and
the Little Coal put many questions to its
mother about these strange things, asking if
they were trees?
But the men were as strange to the Large
Coal as to the Little one, for there had been
none when she was a tree; but she had less of
wonder and more of thought than the Little
Coal, and she understood what the men were
doing, for she saw some of the coal near her
pat into the basket and hoisted up, as it seemed,
to the blue sky.
"Shall we go up to the beautiful blue sky,
"Perhaps so, my child; indeed, I fear we
"And shall I touch the blue sky?"
No, my child, I think not."
Soon the men came to them and shovelledthem
into the basket, which was drawn upward slowly.
THE LITTLE COAL. 49
"Now, mother," said the Little Coal, "I
shall see the trees and the sunshine, shall I
Alas! my dear child," said the sorrowing
mother, "you will soon wish yourself back
again in our dark home."
But the Little Coal was unwilling to believe
this, and could not help rejoicing when they
reached the top of the shaft, and were shot out
of the basket.
"Oh! how bright! how warm!" it ex-
claimed; but soon became silent in its wonder
at everything around it, and its mother seemed
so sorrowful it did not like to tease her with
questions; so it lay quietly, admiring more
and more the large, beautiful blue sky, and the
bright stars that came into it at night.
For a long time they lay at the mouth of
the mine. Then they were put into a truck or
waggon and carried a long way upon the railroad
through a country well planted with trees, at
which the Little Coal looked with admiration,
almost wishing to be one; and the Old Coal
50 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
.said they were not nearly as large as she had
been; indeed she thought them so small, she
fancied they must be only flower stems, only
they had no bright gay colours on their tops,
and their leaves were very much like what hers
At last they reached London, and were
deposited in a large yard. All this time.the
wonder of the Little Coal was aroused, but the
Large Coal was too sad to make any remarks
upon the new things around her. At last the
Little Coal became frightened; it did not like
the yard, and now seldom saw the blue sky,
while it disliked the constant noise about it.
"'Mother, mother, let us go back to our
home," it piteously cried.
"We cannot, my child."
Oh, why not? I don't like to be here.
Why did I wish to leave home ?"
Because you were discontented, my child,
and wished for pleasures you could not under-
stand, forgetting your duty to be content in
the situation in which you were placed."
THE LITTLE COAL. 51
Oh I shall never be happy any more."
I hope you will, my child."
"How can I, mother, in this dull, dirty
"By being of use to, and making others
"When shall I be able to do this?"
"I know not, my child. You must now
learn patience, and wait."
The Little Coal again tried to be good, though
it thought of its former home with a sigh.
Soon separated from its mother, it was again
shovelled into a basket, and carried away to a
wretched house, where, in a small room lighted
by a window, the broken panes of which were
stuffed with rags and paper, there was a dark
closet into which our Little Coal was thrown.
Here it had time to think of the past, how
naughty it had been in being discontented, and
resolved to do all it could to help others in
future, and try to be happy, as its mother had
said. Although the closet was as dark as its
first home had been, yet it was not like it, and
52 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
the Little Coal did not for an instant imagine
it had returned to the mine. Where was it
Frequent moaning and childish cries reached
it, and with these sad sounds came also the
loving words of a sorrowing mother trying to
soothe her sick child, whose illness caused her
Little by little the heap of coal near our
little friend was carried from the closet; and
as the door was opened, and sometimes left so,
the curiosity of our Little Coal was awakened
as to what was passing in the room. Upon a
small bed, not very far from the fire, lay a sick
and suffering child, and by its side sat the
anxious, grieving mother. The Little Coal
thought of its own mother, and became inter-
ested in the child. It listened in pity to its
wailing, and wished to be able to do something
to comfort it; but if the loving mother could
not alleviate the poor child's pain, what could
the Little Coal do ?
It was very sad, day and night, to hear that
THE LITTLE COAL. 53
piteous moaning, and to mark the tears on the
poor mother's cheek. The room seemed so
desolate-a small table, two or three old chairs,
and a mattress covered by an old coloured
counterpane, was all the furniture, besides the
sick child's little bed. And hour after hour
that poor mother was alone with her moaning,
suffering child. True, the doctor sometimes
came, but he said very little; the clergyman,
and his good lady, came, and did all they could
to comfort both mother and child; but the one
could not be relieved from pain-the sorrow of
the other could not be lightened.
It was very, very sad, and our Little Coal
forgot its own disappointments in witnessing
the distress of the inmates of that poverty-
stricken room. Soon it was taken from the
closet and put upon the fire, and then the
Little Coal was glad, for now it could do some-
thing for that poor sick child. How quickly
it put forth its cheerful blaze, and fancied it
made the pale cheek of the poor child glow!
Brightly it burned, and hugged the small, well-
54 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
worn saucepan, and rejoiced greatly to hear the
broth it contained begin to simmer; that was
its work, and the child should have a hot sup-
per that night. So on and on it blazed, forget-
ful of self, and only glad to be of use to that
pale, sick child; on and on it burned-up and
up went its gentle, steady fame-up and up
went its smoke, too, through the narrow
chimney, higher and higher, curling and danc-
ing in the sunshine, towards that blue sky it
had so much admired when first seen from the
dark mine. All was bright with the Little
Coal now, for it had done a kindness and was
happy. So ended the Little Coal, in-smoke.
Mrs. Ainsley closed her papers, and Emma
thanked her for the tale.
I did not think a Little Coal could tell so
"And I scarcely knew what it would say
when you asked me to write about it."
I shall often think of it, ma'am, when I see
the fire blaze."
THE LITTLE COAL. 55
"Think, my dear child, how wrong it is to
be discontented. John Moore, your tale shall
be the next-a Gardener, I think you said."
"Yes, please, ma'am."
"Ah, John, you know I aii fond of flowers,
therefore think I shall tell you a great deal
56 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
THE YOUNG GARDENER.
WHEN Mrs. Ainsley came to the next writing-
lesson, John Moore anxiously looked for the
red ribbon, and his countenance brightened
when he saw it. Alas! in passing him, Mrs.
Ainsley touched his elbow, and caused a blot
upon his book; the colour rose in John's face,
which became saddened, for a blot upon the
copy always produced punishment.
I am very sorry to have caused that blot,
John," said Mrs. Ainsley, "but you shall not
suffer for it. I am the person to be punished,
and as it gives me pleasure to read these little
tales to you, I think my punishment must be
THE YOUNG GARDENER. 57
to take my papers home again without reading
There was a general exclamation of Oh,
That would punish us, ma'am," said John.
"Then you will forgive me, John?" and
being assured of a full forgiveness, Mrs. Ainsley
began the tale of
THE YOUNG GARDENER.
John Moore had often declared he would be
a gardener, and was very anxious to begin his
work, therefore he begged of his father that he
might have the little front garden for his own.
"Do you think, John, you could keep it
neat? I am afraid we should soon have more
weeds than vegetables or flowers."
No, that you should not, father," said
John, much inclined to be angry at such an in-
sinuation; "I would work so hard in it."
"I must not have your schooling neglected,
"No, father, I can learn my lessons, and
58 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
work in my garden too. I will get up early
and work in it before I go to school, and at
night, and when we have a holiday."
When you have a holiday you will like to
be playing marbles, or some other game, with
No, indeed, I shall not, father."
"Well, I'll try you, Jack."
John jumped from the stool on which he
had been seated to eat his supper, clapped his
hands, and at that moment was as happy as any
little boy need wish to be. He had worked
very industriously in his garden for a week,
when his father said-
Jack, I think I must give you some garden-
tools. I must go into the town to-morrow,
and as it will be Saturday and a holiday, you
shall go with me to buy some."
John was immensely delighted, and said,
"Oh, thank you, father. How kind !"
Mother," said Moore to his wife, I think
if our young gardener produces good vegetables,
THE YOUNG GARDENER. 59
we may buy them of him at the fair market
price. What say you?"
Mrs. Moore readily assented to this proposal.
Thank you, father; that will be famous.
I shall get on well so," and John rubbed his
hands in great glee.
How glad John was to see a bright morning,
for they were to walk into the town, and return
by the carrier. He trudged off by the side of
his father, talking about many things, but most
a'out his tools-which kind of hoe he would
have, and the fineness and size of the rake;
each tool was talked of, yet John was as un-
decided as ever when they entered the iron-
monger's shop, and depended entirely on his
The tools were bought, and Moore and his
happy boy took their places in the carrier's
cart, John carefully holding the precious tools,
and fancying every one admired them.
You are a good boy to take care of your
father's tools," said one of his companions.
60 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
They are my own," exclaimed John, joy-
fully; "father bought them for me. Didn't
you, father ?"
And what will you do with them, my little
"Dig and rake in my garden, to be sure,"
answered John, rather proudly.
Have you any cauliflowers in your garden ?"
"Yes, a great many."
"Ah," said his questioner, "maybe you
wont grow them so big as one I had given to
How big was it ?" asked John, in his turn.
"Oh, so big that my missis was forced to
boil it in the copper !"
John looked astonished, and half incredulous
said, I should like to have some as big;
what would mother say ?"
She would soon heat her copper," said his
They reached their village, and John carried
his tools home in joy and pride. His mother
was the first to whom he displayed them,
THE YOUNG GARDENER. 61
and her admiration delighted him; then his
brothers and sisters praised them; James ex-
amined them very closely, and taking the spade
in his hand, said-
"Why, Jack, you'll never be able to dig with
this, it is so heavy."
"Can't I, though," exclaimed John, and
taking it from James, he went through the
action of digging to prove it was not too
heavy. "Isn't it a famous spade, Jem ?"
On the Monday morning John was up early
to try his new tools; he did not consider what
was most necessary to be done, but he dug a
little, raked a little, and hoed a little, not be-
ing particular about clearing away the weeds,
and therefore did not add to the tidiness of his
garden, and when school-time came, he could
not help thinking he had been at work some
time, but had done little good to his ground;
however, he had tried his new tools, and they
were famous ones; he would work in earnest at
John worked well, and his little brother
62 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
Charlie delighted to help him, by carrying away
the weeding basket, and occasionally weeding,
when he had learnt to know the weeds from
the plants. One unlucky day, however, Charlie,
not heeding where he was treading while he
talked to his brother, stamped very much upon
John's bed of early radishes. John's passion
rose the instant he perceived the mischief done,
and throwing down his spade, he ran to his little
brother and gave him a blow upon his head,
"upon which Charlie screamed out, as much
frightened by the suddenness of the attack, as
pained by the blow; he went crying into the
house, and John turned sulkily to his work
Moore soon came into the garden to inquire
into the matter.
John, why did you strike your brother ?"
"He trod on my radishes."
"And you dared to strike him! Could
you not have asked him to move? You have
sinned very much in giving way to passion."
"They were my earliest radishes, and I
THE YOUNG GARDENER. 63
meant to have surprised mother soon with some
for tea," said John in a low and saddened tone,
for he was now sorry for what he had done.
"I am sorry your radishes are spoiled, but
much more sorry at your passion and violence.
I must help you to correct yourself; therefore,
first beg your brother's pardon."
John obeyed his father, for his passion had
passed away, and he was ashamed to see the
red mark on his little brother's cheek which
"his hand had caused.
"I am sorry I spoiled your radishes," said
Charlie, holding up his face to be kissed by
John. "I won't do so any more, and perhaps
they are not all quite spoiled."
"Your little brother is a good example to
,,A you, John," said his father; he forgives you
the blow; from your heart you must forgive
him the injury he so unconsciously did. You
know who has commanded us to forgive even
until seventy times seven."
Yes, father, our blessed Redeemer, and in.
(leed I forgive Charlie."
64 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
"And now, John, I forbid you to work in
your garden for a week."
John looked dismayed, and Charlie taking
his hand looked'pleadingly at his father.
"Father," he said, I know Jack is sorry;
I was very naughty not to look where I put
my feet; don't punish him this time, please."
"It is painful to me to punish him, Charlie,
and I do so only for his good. I cannot grant
your request, Charlie, but I hope this will be
the last time I may have to punish John."
Poor John, with downcast looks and an
aching heart, collected his tools together and
carried them into the shed after having given a
lingering look at his garden, and sighing said,
"It will all be spoiled in a week."
It was a long sad week to our young gar-
dener, who purposely avoided looking at his
garden during the time of his punishment, but
assiduously applied himself to his lessons, and
though little Charlie's repeated efforts to make
him smile were in vain, he was obedient to his
parents and studiously kind to his brothers and
THE YOUNG GARDENER. 65
sisters. When the week was ended, he said
nothing till his father spoke.
Now, John, we will go to your garden."
John went with alacrity, and when he saw
his garden in neat order and uninjured by his
absence, he smiled joyfully, and gratefully
thanked his father, for he was convinced he had
taken care of it. Then Charlie gently drew
him to the radish-bed, and said, almost in a
whisper, They were not all spoiled, Jack, and
I have taken care of them. May I help you to
John looked towards his father, but without
"Yes, my boy, pull those that are ready for
your mother's tea."
Now was John again happy; Charlie helped
him to pull the radishes, and he put them upoit.
the tea-table near his mother, little Charliq
looking as pleased as if they had been the pio '
duce of his own little garden, while John'4
cheek was flushed and a tear stood in his eye.' "
"Thank you, my dear boy," his mother said,:
66 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
holding out her hand to him; but John could
not be contented with the hand, he threw his
arms round his mother's neck, and the hitherto
restrained tears fell plentifully down his cheeks
for a few moments; then each partook of the
radishes, declaring them to be very good, if not
the very best they had ever eaten, and John
went to bed that night a better, therefore a
This was the only pain the garden caused
John; it did him much good, for he became in-
dustrious and self-denying, and he learnt to
govern his temper. 'His great friend, Dick
Brown,was also benefited; he had formerly been
John's playmate, and they had spent many an
idle hour together; now, however, it was very
different: Dick had been roused to industry,
and had begged of his father, who was Squire
Westerbury's gardener, a piece of ground to
cultivate, as John had done, and the boys were
now as inseparable in their work as they had
been in their play, and the gardens formed a
stronger link between them than ever the games
THE YOUNG GARDENER 67
at marbles had. If either had fine seed it was
shared with the other, and they helped each
other in every way they could; while Brown
gave to each equally the benefit of his experi-
ence and advice.
Squire Westerbury took note of the boys'
proceedings, and, wishing to give them encour-
agement, promised a prize of a beautiful book
on gardening to him who should bring him on
a certain day the six finest and best cauli-
I know we shall have it, Jack," said little
"I am not at all sure of that, Charlie, but
we will try all we can."
The cauliflowers were chosen, twelve of equal
size and thickness, and were planted in each
garden precisely at the same time, and thus the
boys started fairly in the competition. Charlie
gave his undivided attention to these particular
plants, and seemed to think any care bestowed
upon the other vegetables as so much robbed
from the important cauliflowers.
68 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
Charlie," said his brother, we must take
care of the peas and beans, or we shall have
none to eat with the bacon of that fat pig in
"But I would rather go without the peas
than that you should not have the prize."
You may, my good little man," said John,
patting Charlie's head; "but father and mo-
ther expect the peas, so we will take care of
Many were the visits the boys paid to the
gardens of each other, to watch the progress
of the cauliflowers, again and again were they
measured, and their sizes and whiteness com-
pared. Time passed, and it now wanted only
one week of the day mentioned by the squire
for his decision. That week passed, and the
important day came. It was a bright and
beautiful morning, and John and Charlie rose
early; but not earlier than their friend Dick,
for before they were quite ready to go down-
stairs, they saw him come into the garden.
THE YOUNG GARDENER. 69
Ah! there's Dick," exclaimed Charlie; we
are coming, Dick," and downstairs they ran,
"Why, Dick," said John, "what is the
matter, is anyone at home ill ?"
"No, no, they are very well, but--" and
poor Dick seemed unable to speak.
"Do tell me what is the matter ?" said John,
very sorry to see his friend's distress.
My cauliflowers," at last said Dick; "they
are all spoiled."
Oh, how? They were all right last
night when we looked at them; and so
"Yes, but the pig has eaten them," said
Dick, in a sad and broken voice. He then told
them, that when he went into the garden that
morning, he saw a strange pig among his beau-
tiful cauliflowers; the three best were de-
stroyed, and the others so broken about as to
be good for nothing.
I hope it is not our pig," said Charlie, and
away he ran to the sty, and soon returned,
70 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
exclaiming, all right; I am very glad it was
not our pig."
"I will go with you to look at them."
They went forthwith to Dick's garden; it
was indeed a sad scene of devastation. John
endeavoured to console his friend; and Charlie,
taking his hand, said, in a gentle voice, with
tears in his eyes,
"I am very, very sorry, Dick, but glad it
was not our pig."
The mischief could notb e repaired, and at
noon Squire Westerbury came to Moore's,
carrying the prize-book in his hand. He went
with Moore and John, followed of course by
Charlie, to view the cauliflowers, and expressed
pleasure at seeing such good ones.
You have succeeded very well, John," he
said; "these are very fine plants. Now we
will look at Dick Brown's."
"It will be of no use, sir," said John, in a
subdued voice, and looking very sad.
"Why so, John ?"
THE YOUNG GARDENER. 71
His were destroyed this morning, sir. A
pig got into the garden and ate them."
"Then the prize must be yours, John."
"No, sir," replied John, "Dick's cauli-
flowers were as good,, if not better than mine,
and but for this accident, the prize would have
been his. I cannot take the book."
Is this indeed the case ?" inquired the
squire, turning to Moore.
It is quite true, sir, that Dick's were very
fine plants, though I do not think they were
better than John's; however, I should like, if
you please, sir, that you should ask Brown's
opinion of them."
"Very well, then we will go to Brown's."
Accordingly they went to Brown's and saw
poor Dick's garden, where some half-eaten
leaves and headless stalks told where the cauli-
flowers had been.
"I am very sorry for your accident, my
boy," said Mr. Westerbury, kindly; "I
hear they were very fine plants. Brown
72 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
which do you think were the finer, John's or
your son's ?"
"Well, sir, there was not much difference
between them, but if any, I am bound to say,
that to my thinking, John's were rather the
"Then I abide by your opinion. The prize
is yours, John; and let me say how very much
it pleases me to see your industry and the good
feeling between you. Continue to be good
friends. Take the book, John, and I hope you
will find it useful."
It was a beautiful book, and as the squire
put it into John's hands, little Charlie looked
as delighted as if it had been his own, while
John, thanking the squire, said,
If it is mine, please, sir, may I do as I like
"Certainly, my lad."
John immediately held the book out to Dick,
saying, Dick, I wish you to have it, for I
think your cauliflowers were the best."
THE YOUNG GARDENER. 73
"Oh, no, no, John," exclaimed Dick, in.
deed I can't."
Moore seeing the tears in Charlie's eyes, and
he doleful countenances of the other boys,
swished to cheer them; so, turning to his little
;boy, he said, in a half whisper, "Charlie, I
Think piggy should have the prize, as he had
the finest cauliflowers."
"Oh, father," exclaimed Charlie, smiling,
Though somewhat shocked at the idea.
John smiled also, and going to a little dis.
tance, left the book in Dick's hand.
SCharlie was, perhaps, the only one of the
,party who had less pleasure than pain in the
Arrangement, he so much wished his brother to
Shave the beautiful book, and wondered why he
'had given'it up. The other. boys were both
happyr .though regretting the destructive act
of the pig; and it was some little time before
,they could look at that part of Dick's garden
KBithout pain. However, they turned to work
in, .and repeated competition did, not de-
74 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
S stroy their friendship, but rather tended to
Is that all, ma'am ?" asked a young voice
as Mrs. Ainsley closed her papers.
"Indeed it is. I hope you. have liked it,
Very much, and thank you, ma'am."
S"I hope you will recollect the faults our
little gardener corrected, and try to do the
John promised to do so.
"? I am sorry it is finished," said Emma.
Please, ma'am, whose is to be the
"I think Susan shall choose it. What
shall it be, Susan?"
The little girl thus appealed, to duld not
determine, and Mrs. Ainsley said, ;
"Shall I choose for, ya ?"
Yes, please, ma'am
"Then I think it will be about a spider."
'. i "
I THE YOUNG GARDENER. 75
"A spider exclaimed more than one little
voice; "what can a spider have to say ?"
"You shall hear," said Mrs. Ainsley, "on
our next writing day."
76 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
THE HOUSE SPIDER.
ON the next writing daVSlu n exclaimed
Have you brought the Spider, ma'am ?"
Yes, Susan, I have him here," said Mrs.
Ainsley, holding to view the well-known papers
tied with a red ribbon $j and when the children.
had arranged themselves after the lesson, M^
Now you must fancy I am a Spider.
What a big one 1" sai n Mpore, in a
A'aughing tone. '
Yes, a very big one. 4 e, brbiwn
Spider; but you need not be of me."
THE EBO SPIDER
Tiare is a nursery rhyme about a Spide.
which I have heard; it is thi,- .
THE HOUSE SPIDER. 77
Little Miss Moffet,
Sat on a toffit
Eating ourds and whey;
There came a brown spider,
And sat down beside her,
Anq frightened Miss Meffet away."
'I can't tell why Miss Moffet should have run
away; she was very silly to be frightened, for
we should do her no harm, and I am not sure
we should have eaten the curds and whey, for
we dou't like such things. But some people
are so foolish as to be afraid of us, though
why I don't know, and don't think they.can
Well, my name is Tegeneria, my colour is
an ash, with a band of dark spots on my back,
and though of such a quiet, sober colour, I do
not think myself ugly.
I remember I made my way out of a very
delicate and silky covering one bright and
warm day, and wondered where I could .be.
Everything around me seemed so large; it' '.
I ; was so light and warm; I thought it must be
a very beautiful world, and I must surely be
78 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
Very happy in it. Yet one thing paint me
much. I had no parents, at least none that I
knew, and my brothers and sisters who came
out of the silky covering at the same time with
myself ran away from me; and there I was
alone-a little young creature newly-born into
a large strange world, alone. I could see many
flies sporting about me, and thought they must
be very happy in having companions, while I
"had none; and I own that at first I felt low-
Some people think we are ugly, but I must
think they are wrong. I am not ugly. I have
S.a plump body, long, slender legs, and sharp
eyes. Another mistake I wish to' correct.
Those who know nothing of my family call us
iBects, which much offends my dignity. We
're not insects; we are animals, as is proved
by the more complicated form of our bodies;
Iean we have mor members; and internal
organs.than insects h ve; they have only six
legs, we have eight; our bodies are not dividqA
like the wapf or bee's, we have no such send
THE HOUSE SPIDER. 79
waist; and our eyes are not like those of the
fly, who has four thousand all huddled together,
we have eight separate ones; and sometimes I
wonder the use of so many to the fly, for it
cannot see the web I make to catch it. To be
sure, the fly's eyes are at the back of its head,
while ours are in the front. Of course these
many eyes are of use, only I am content with
my eight, and don't wish for more. Then
again, we don't undergo the changes that in-
sects do. 'Take the butterfly as an example.
First there is the egg, then the larva, or little
black worm; the larva changes to a caterpillar,
the caterpillar to a chrysalis, and at last the
chrysalis becomes the butterfly, and very beau-
tiful it certainly is; but think of the time and
trouble necessary to go through so many
changes, and then to live only a short time
at last I
Well, after I had looked about me and
stretched my legs, I began to feel hungry.
How tempting the flies were I How I longed
"* to eat one! But how was I to catch him?
,, -. *
"80 T TALES: FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
Must spin my. web; so out of the fourth, title .
protuberancesori spinnerets that are under, my
body, each of which has a thousand, very small
holes, I: foreed,a thick liquid, which hardened
inta; threads. Twisting all these threads to-
gethdrmade.my first web, and from the centre
of .it I formed a hollow tube which led to my
home in the centre of the wall.
How beautiful my web.was! I was now
ery hungry, so from my chink I kept a sharp
look-out upon my web. "Oh I when.would it
eatch a fly?" I waited long, and with fatigue
auadhunger had well-nigh fallen asleep, when
I heard a peculiar noise coming from my web;
so I peeped,out, and, oh! my joy, there, was.a
Large plump fly caught,
Well done, beautiful web Quickly.,! ran
Sidownzmy hollow tube or funnel, ,ieired my
victim, spun a little fresh silk round hi lest
heshould escape, then urned ta.ty chink to
waitill he should be dea4; when, assured of
this 1 came out again, sueedi juices, and
thus made my first meal. I. .hve eate$4
THE HOUSE SPIDER. 81
more, but my hunger was so far satisfied that
I could wait till my next meal, so I retired to
my snug home and slept soundly.
When I awoke, of course I looked at my
web; it was all right, and I continued to
catch flies, and seldom was very hungry,
though my appetite is a very good one, in-
deed it is said that we are very voracious, that
Sis, eat a great deal.
I had very little trouble or work, only to
mend my web when it chanced to be broken
by the struggles of the flies to get away. How
silly I thought them to come near me. Why
did they not tell one another that I would eat
them? Ha ha silly little things, there
they were always dancing about upon their
wings, the great bluebottles humming their
little songs; sometimes resting for a moment
on the window pane, then darting off again
"upon a fresh' dance, while I lay snug in my
corner, thinking I could eat them all. It
puzzled me, that though I ate so many there
Seemed to be no fewer; where could they all
82 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
come from ? How big was the world in which
we lived? and what other creatures were there
in it besides my family and the flies ? I was
soon to know another, and a cross, ill-natured
I had awakened one bright morning after a
comfortable sleep, thought of my friends the
flies, and that I should like my breakfast, when
I heard a strange noise close to my home; it
was something between a rustling and a thump-
ing, such as I had never before heard, and I
was slightly alarmed, and when I gained
courage to look out of my chink, what a
terrible and strange creature I saw. Not at
all like myself, nor like the flies; it was tall,
so tall that if I had stood at its feet my neck
would have ached very much in looking up at
its huge head, in which there were two such
eyes With its paws it whisked about to the
terror of the flies as well as myself, and I soon
found the noise I had heard was occasioned by
the bristles of one of its paws being rubbed
against the wall. I was dreadfully frightened,
THE HOUSE SPIDER. 83
and crept far into my chink, determined to be
very quiet, and in my terror forgot my break-
fast and my hunger.
After the terrible creature had rubbed its
bristles all over the room, to my great joy it
went away. Now I breathed freely, but for
some time was afraid to venture from my own
home, and waited till I saw the flies dancing
happily again; then my hunger returned, and
I wished for a good meal, so came out of my
hole. But--oh! my vexation and distress!
"Where was my beautiful web ? Gone---quite
gone. How was this? Had that ugly monster
taken it away? What could it want it for? Not
to catch flies, for all the flies I had ever seen
would not make a meal for such a huge crea.
ture; besides, if it wished, it surely could
catch them without my web. Well, it was of
no use to fret; my web was gone, and I must
spin another before I could have my dinner.
Much valuable time is often lost in fretting
over little mishaps that can be remedied with-
out a vast deal of trouble. It is much better,
8- TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
when an accident occurs, to set to work to
remedy it, than to waste time in useless lamen-
tations; so, instead of fretting, I set to work,
and soon spun another web, quite as beautiful
as the first, and rather larger. I soon caught
my flies-six fat, fine flies, and an excellent
meal they made me; but the last I caught
gave me a great trouble. How he fought with
me I declare it was some little time before I
recovered from the effects of that battle, for the
creature tore off one of my legs while strug-
gling with me. It certainly was a pinch, and it
ached very much-I mean the stump did; but
I was determined to master him, and did so at
last. Then, when I had spun a quantity of
silk over him-backwards, and forwards, and
round about-I felt I was sure of him, so only
laughed to see him struggle, till, being quite
exhausted, he could make no further resistance
to my piercing him, and after having sucked
his juices, I felt refreshed, but could not exert
myself much on account of my poor stump.
I did not grieve at losing my leg, for I knew
THE HOUSE SPIDER. 85
it would grow again; therefore I waited pa-
tiently, and while able to travel only a short
distance, I chatted with my cousin Diadema,
who lives in the garden near me; of the sixty-
seven families of cousins belonging to me, he
is the only one with whom I have an intimate
acquaintance. He is a very fine fellow, reddish
in colour, with spots of a yellowish white on
his back. He always sleeps under a leaf, which
I think cannot be as snug as my chink; but
he likes it, and assures me he is protected from
rain well enough. It is quite right to be con-
tented with one's home; and I would not
change with Diadema, notwithstanding all the
fine things he says about the bright dew-
drops, sweet scent of flowers, and the nightin-
I inquired of Diadema how he and some
other little cousins manage to spin their webs
from one tall tree to another-I thought it
must be so fatiguing to climb them, to say
nothing of the distance between; also how he
contrived to cross water when it came in his path.
86 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
"Why, I do it thus," he replied: "I
mount upon a twig high above the water, turn
my face to the wind, spin plenty of silk, and
the wind blows it over the water to some twig
on the other side, to which it adheres; then,
fixing my end, I can travel upon it to the other
side of the water."
A very ingenious method, cousin, and cer-
tainly not a fatiguing one."
"In the same manner I spin and travel from
tree to tree."
"I suppose," I said, "it is rather pleasant
to travel about; I never go far from home."
"Rather pleasant! It is delightful, I can
tell you. I see a great deal in my travels-
such beautiful flowers; I am sure you would
like to travel as I do."
Perhaps I should; but I am not fond of
being always in the open air. Can you tell me
how our little cousins spin those fine webs
which are called gossamer, and seem to float in
"Just as I spin mine: they but turn their
THE HOUSE SPIDER. 87
faces to the wind, which, by a gentle puff,
carries their fine silk a long, long way behind
them, and it hangs in the air sparkling in the
I was very much entertained by my chat
with Diadema; but being rather fatigued, I
bade him "good-night," and we retired to our
All has gone well with me since my leg has
grown again. I have changed my skin, and
feel as lively and well as any spider can wish.
My web is uninjured; and, in addition to flies,
I have feasted upon two moths and a butterfly.
How very much handsomer they are than the
flies!-the butterfly especially; I admire her
wings so much that I have left them in my
web as ornaments. I wonder if the birds and
flowers that Diadema talked of are as beauti-
ful; it must be a wonderful world-so full of
beautiful things. But then, that monster-
I had almost forgotten all about her-I have
been so very happy.
"Why did I mention that monster ? She has
88 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
been again, and brought a companion with her
very much like herself.
Betty," said her companion, "there's a
cobweb in that corner."
"So there is, I declare!" exclaimed the
monster; "yet how I swept yesterday! But
it shan't be there long;" and immediately she
destroyed my new web again.
I was very much alarmed at Betty; but I
felt safe when in my chink, and I don't think
she has seen me yet, or I suppose she would
kill me. I heard her tell her companion,
She wished she could catch the nasty little
I wonder what right she has to call me "a
nasty little thing ?" It is very wrong to call
each other names and Betty ought to know
better. I wish I could give her just a little
prick for saying so. Shall I try? There she
is, very busy; I'll just run down the wall;
if she should see me I can soon run into
some crack near. I wonder if I can spin my
web about her as I do about the flies? But
THE HOUSE SPIDER. 89
what a lot it will take to go over her! She
moves-she sees me. Quick-quick i Ah,
Mrs. Betty, I am safe in my chink, so you
have not caught the 'nasty little thing.'
Take care he does not catch you; you will
give me food enough for all my life. I shall
not need to catch any more flies if I get
Poor Spider! I am afraid he made a bold
attempt to catch Betty, and was caught him-
self instead, for here his history ends.
"I do like that tale," said one of the little
I am glad you do. Will you think of it
when you see the gossamer?"
Yes, ma'am, and I can tell mother how it
is made. I should like to see the little Spider
You must look about very carefully to find
the little creature, Susan."
Did you ever see it spin, ma'am?"
"No; but I have often watched the House
90 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
Spider spin its web, and am reluctant to destroy
But it is so untidy to leave it," said Mary.
"Yes; and if we left all the cobwebs day
after day, year after year, we should at last
be somewhat like the flies, covered by cobwebs." i
Please, ma'am, what will the next tale be
"I have a Butterfly that wishes to tell its
tale; do you think you will like it ?"
Oh! yes ma'am, please."
"Very well; then it shall come with me on
Tuesday. Now, good-bye."
THE BUTTERFLY. 91
"I WAs a House Spider to you, my dear
children, on our last writing day, and John
thought me a big one. To-day you must fancy
me a Butterfly."
The children smiled, and Mrs. Ainsley, ex-
tending her arms, enveloped in her shawl, con-
tinued, A very big Butterfly, also, am I
The House Spider scorned to be called an
insect. I own myself to be one, and am con
tent and happy. My name is Vanessa Ata-
92 TALES FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS.
lanta, or Red Admiral; but I must tell you of
much before I speak of myself as a Butterfly.
I know nothing of my parents, except that my
kind mother provided for me and my brothers
and sisters as well as she could, by laying her
eggs upon the leaf of the nettle, that being the
plant we should want for food when we pushed
our way out of the eggs, through the flap at
one end, provided for the purpose. Out I
crawled, a little black worm or larva, and im-
mediately began to make a hearty meal, eating
away the leaf round the edge, but carefully
avoiding the veins; the holes I left seemed
very large to me then, but, dear me! they were
nothing compared to those I made when I be-
came a caterpillar; and this was before very
long, for I grew quickly, and from that time I
saw nothing more of my brothers and sisters.
We each took our way in the world without
grief at parting.
I was very handsome as a caterpillar. My
black skin was changed for a very smooth one,
of a dark-green colour, with a yellow line on
THE BUTTERFLY. 93
each side of my body. My body was divided
into twelve parts, and I could bend it as I
pleased. I had sixteen legs; six, having a claw,
were on the first three divisions of my body, the
remaining ten were upon the hinder divisions,
leaving the centre of my long body free. from
any. My hinder legs terminated in flat feet
set round with hooks, alternately long and
I did not want to catch my food, as it con-
sisted of leaves and seeds of plants, so there was
no occasion for me to make a web like the
spiders; but spinning fine silk was very
necessary to me, therefore I had one spinneret
just below my mouth, and when I wished to
crawl up a smooth surface, as of glass, I spun
my silken thread very closely together in the
form of true lovers' knots, as they are called, then
holding upon it by the claws of my forelegs,
and drawing my hinder ones close up to them,
I could go up, and up, as I continued to spin.
"When I was a caterpillar I ate a very great
deal; indeed I did nothing else but eat and