The Baldwin Lbrary
m Un WersD)
Rm F ond
ij fr3 j
A' / .__fi,
WoRDS FOR B13Y.
BY TIIE AUTHOR OF
"AUNT MARY'S STORIES."
THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY,
56, PATERNOSTER ROW; 65, ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD;
AND 164, PICCADILLY.
MANCHESTER : 100, CORPORATION STREET.
BRIGHTON: 31, WESTERN ROAD.
JNVIN IOillE, CIWORTH AD LONDON.
UNWIN DK, O'BR EIEMS, CHILWORTH AND LONDON.
SICK ON A HOLIDAY ... ... ... ... ... 7
LAUNCHED AT LAST ... ... ... ... 15
FREDERIC AND HIS FRIENDS ... ...... 21
JOHNNY'S SUNDAY-SCHOOL ... ...... 31
TIHE NEST-ROBBERS' ALARM... ... ... 39
HOW JOHNNY BORE THE TOOTHACHE ... 48
THE BIBLE IN THE BARN ... ....... .. 56
"I CAN'T THINK WHY"... ... ...... 63
WORK AND PLAY ... ... ..... ... 72
WHAT A DONKEY MAY BE ... ... ... 79
THE COCKATOO ... ... ... ... .. 85
THE LIONESS AND HER CUBS ... ... ... 9I
AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
SICK ON A HOLIDAY.
"" ELL, never mind, boy; don't take
""on about it; plenty of patience
and water-gruel--fine things both of
'em-and you'll soon be all right again."
These were Henry Harper's parting
words, and with a hop, step, and jump
he was gone.
Arthur Wells was left alone in his
cottage, for his mother was gone out to
work, and he had the prospect of along
dreary morning, with no companion but
his toothache. "Ah, patience, yes," he
said to himself as the door closed, "that's
8 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
just the thing I want; but it don't come
quite so easy as you fancy. It's all
very well foryou, who don't want it, to
talk about it so quietly, but it is a very
different thing for me, who have got to
bear the pain. And as to the water-
gruel, I hate the sight of it, and so
would you if you had had nothing else
since Monday," And Arthur turned
wearily in his chair, his grandmother's
chair I think it was, brought out now
for his special benefit.
He had had the face-ache for a week,
and, what with want of sleep and the
fever caused by the pain, it had made
him feel bad all over, he said. And
what made matters worse was the fact
that a holiday had been approaching,
and now it was really come, and he was
no better. A whole holiday, and in fine
weather, and he sick and shut up! It
was hard to bear, certainly.
SICK ON A HOLIDAY. 9
The hedges were just showing that
there was green in their dark, closely
packed-up buds. Who would have
thought it a month ago? The blackbird
and the thrush had been trying which
could sing the loudest for ever so long,
and it was just possible that in some
thick holly-bush might be found-oh,
wondrous delight!-a nest with the
fine mottled or spotted eggs in it, which
boys love, alas! too well. The primroses
were not out much generally, but buds
by thousands were starting up from
their tufts of crumpled leaves, and here
and there on a sunny' bank a few real
genuine blossoms were shining like
stars among the dark and decaying last
The schoolmaster had promised a
prize to the boy who should bring him
the finest and fullest root of primroses,
so that they were all scampering off to
10 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
Hanger's Wood, about two miles from
the village, to see what was to be found;
and as Arthur Wells thought of all his
companions out in the free bright sun-
shine, with the fresh March wind blow-
ing upon them, it seemed to make it
more difficult not to be cross and fretful
over his toothache. Altogether, he was
decidedly in the dumps.
But all at once the door opened, and
one of his school-fellows came in: a boy
about his own age, with a pleasant smile
on his face, and an orange, a book, and
a little basket in his hand.
"Well, better to-day, are you?" he
"No; very bad," replied Arthur,
glumly; "no sleep last night, and 'tis
enough to make a fellow worse to think
of them all out enjoying themselves
while I'm so sick."
"Quite true,"said Jarvis Green, nod-
SICK ON A HOLIDAY. II
ding, and so you see I've come to sit
with you while there's nobody else in
Arthur's face brightened at the an-
nouncement. Yet Jarvis Green had not
been a favourite chum; he was what the
other boys called "too good by half,"
which meant that he would never say
what was not true, even to get them
out of a scrape; that he never would
throw stones, or break down the gates
by swinging on them; or do any of the
numberless other tricks which boys in
general call "glorious fun."
But Jarvis Green knew how to do
better things than these; he knew how
to give up his own pleasure for another's
sake, and this was what was taking
place now. So he sat down by the sick
boy, and attended to all his wants.
First he squeezed him the orange, then
he put some sticks on the fire, and
12 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
warmed the gruel; then he shook up his
pillow, and tied up his face afresh, and,
finally, he read a story-book to him till
he fell asleep. Then Jarvis got up softly
and took out of his basket a beautiful
root of primroses, not fully out, but with
just the right proportion of buds and
blossoms; enough blossoms to satisfy
you now, and plenty of buds to look
forward to by and by. He put it, wrap-
ped in moss, on the table before him,
and pinned to it a bit of paper with this
written on it, "For Arthur Wells; all
a-blowing and a-growing; please take
me and see if I am not worthy of the
prize." Then Jarvis Green slipped
After a while Arthur awoke, feeling
all the better for his nice nap, and the
first thing he saw was the tuft of prim-
roses. He rubbed his eyes. Was he
Dreaming still? or had he been out"prim-
SICK ON A HOLIDAY. 13
rosing" in his sleep ? It was a mystery;
but by degrees the truth dawned upon
him that it was Jarvis Green who had
left them for him. And by and by he
learned that the same Jarvis Green
had got up before six, gone off by him-
self in the grey morning light to
Hanger's Wood, grubbed up the finest
root he could find, and came back
straight with it to Arthur Wells's cot-
tage, and what was more, that he meant
that Arthur should have it for his own,
and put in his claim for the prize.
"Well, now, if he ain't a good fellow !"
cried Arthur, when he thoroughly un-
derstood it all; "to think of his taking
all the trouble, and giving up his own
fun for me. I'll never tease him again,
that's certain, but I'll stick by him
through thick and thin."
And when the master looked at thz
long array of primroses, and heard the
14 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
history of -this one special root, he
thought, and thought rightly, that this
was a fairer flower than all the rest,
because it shone with the light of love
and self-forgetfulness, as well as with
its own simple beauty.
So Arthur Wells won the silver six-
pence after all.
I wish there were more boys like
Jarvis Green. I don't know many,-do
you? You think it is a fine thing to please.
yourselves; but, believe me, it is a
happier thing to please others. There
was One who was a boy once, and who
therefore knows all a boy's feelings, and
He never meant to leave the boys out
when He said to all, "As ye would that
men should do to you, do ye also to
them likewise" (Luke vi. 31). "And
not to please ourselves (Rom. xv. I).
LAUNCHED AT LAST.
J, AVE you ever walked through a
I.- picture-gallery, and fixed your eye
upon one particular picture, and tried
to think of all that went on before it
came to hang up there so still and quiet,
as if it had always been there? Did
you not make a picture to yourself in
your own mind, of how the artist first
thought of his subject, then he sketched
it, then he painted it, bit by bit, over
and over again, hour after hour, week
Then did you think of his doubts as
to what people would think of it-
whether they would understand what he
16 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
meant to say by it, whether he should
ever see it where he wished to see it ?
till at length, after wakeful nights and
labouring days, the picture hung indeed
on the Exhibition walls-it was launched
Have you ever watched a ship being
built ? have you seen timber after timber
and plank after plank laid one upon
the other ? How exactly each must fit
into its neighbour, how careful the
master must be that there are no flaws;
how slowly the work grows, as month
by month passes away; but it is done
now-the water is let in, and, with one
plunge into its native element, the noble
ship is launched at last.
Well, I doubt whether painter or ship-
builder had half the anxious thoughts of
Tom Cheesman over his boat; and now
that it was fairly launched at last upon
the make-believe sea of his mother's
LAUNCHED AT LAST. 17
washing-tub, the triumph of either of
them could hardly have been greater
than his. How long it had taken him!
How eagerly he had worked at it in his
play-hours, scooping it out with his
knife-all himself! What consultations
he and Jem had had together as to the
best place for the launch The matter
was so difficult to decide, it had nearly
ended in a quarrel. The pond in the
field was so shallow, Tom had serious
doubts whether she (as he always
called his boat) would ever get afloat at
all, or if she did, whether she might not
be stranded directly. There was the
water-butt; but it was so high to clamber
up to it, the ceremony would be rather
wanting in effect. But mother's ....', -
tub seemed a bright idea; it was not
often used on a Saturday, and that being
the children's holiday, things would fit
18 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
So the washing-tub, instead of clothes
and soap-suds, was filled with clear
spring water, and had the privilege of
representing the ocean; the sisters
were called together as spectators, and
the bellows were reached down from the
peg in the corner to supply the breeze
to fill the sails.
And was there ever a more honoured
washing-tub ? or a happier company?
or a more successful ship-launch ?
Ah, it puts me in mind of how we are
all of us launched, not on a still and
quiet pool, but on a wide and stormy
ocean. If you only knew how stormy,
you would tremble to think how your
weak vessel is ever to get to the other
side. For there is a shore, where,
strange to say, there is no more sea to
toss and roar, and never a storm to
ruffle the clear bright summer air.
And this ocean is crowded with vessels,
LAUNCHED AT LAST. 19
some so tiny, you would think they
must sink at once. But no; they skim
across so quickly, that we almost sigh to
think they are at the haven before us.
There are others a little larger, but
blithe and bright, as if they were only
meant for sunshine; these, too, shoot
lightly over the waves, and with sails
full spread they anchor in the harbour.
And there are others, oh! so worn and
shattered, masts and rigging torn with
the tempests, not much better than a
wreck, but still not a wreck; these, too,
are safe at last, and so it matters little
what the perils of the voyage have been.
I have known vessels like all of these,
and so have you. The little babes whom
Jesus took so early to His bosom; the
young ones like yourselves, just entering
on the voyage so full of life and joy, but
who were called home before the strug-
gles of this world began in earnest; the
20 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
grown-up and the aged, who battled long
with trial and sorrow, but were con-
querors over the waves at last.
How will it be with you? The Pilot
is ready to take your frail bark under
His care; trust Him, make Him your
strength; remember His great love in
giving Himself for you, and then, be the
passage long or short, rough or smooth,
it will not seem far, and "the other side
FREDERIC AND HIS FRIENDS.
"REDERIC lived in a pretty cot-
tage, standing in the midst of a
large, old-fashioned garden. His father
was away in London all day, and his
mother was often ill, so that he was
left a good deal to himself. I don't think
"he was any worse off for that; it is a
good thing to learn early not to depend
on other people for our amusement.
The children who have plenty of play-
fellows and toys are always those who
are apt to say, What shall I do next ?"
His father could not afford to keep a
-gardener, but only had a man now and
then; so that there was nobody about
23 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
but Frederic, and the birds had it very
much their own way. They built their
nests and reared their little ones in
peace and quiet with nobody to disturb
them. Frederic liked to watch them at
all times, and he would lie on the grass
by the hour together, listening to their
songs and making stories to himself of
what he thought they meant to say to
each other. "Why could we not learn
their language, mamma?" he said one
day; "I'm sure it would be a great deal
easier than French or Latin."
"I'm afraid we should not get very
far, Freddie,"replied his mamma. W We
know they sing when they are happy,
just as you would; every bird when it is
in trouble has some cry or call quite
different to its song. And we know
that in some way they understand each
other, and that, though we get the
pleasure of hearing them, their notes
FREDERIC AND HIS FRIENDS. 23
are in the first place intended to express
their love to their mates, which is a
very pleasant thought. I have heard of
a person who had got beyond this, and
who had found out so much of their
language by listening that he could tell
by their songs where their nests were,
and whether there were eggs or young
in them. I can't tell you how he ma-
naged it or what his secret was, but I
believe it was only that which is the true
secret of success in anything-obser-
vation and perseverance. If you only
follow his example in these things, my
boy, you will do something, even if
you don't succeed in understanding the
But spring was the time of greatest
delight to Frederic. Hardly a day
passed without' his finding a new nest
in some odd corner, and adding to the
number of visits he had to pay to them
24 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
daily. There were plenty of sparrows'
and starlings' nests high up in the tall
old trees, where he could not getatthem,
but, besides these, there were plenty
within reach. There were six black-
birds' nests, and as many thrushes' in
the laurels and holly-trees of the shrub-
bery; several chaffinches had built their
beautiful little homes in the forks of the
apple and pear trees against the wall;
there was one robin's nest in the rubbish
heap, another in the corner of the arbour,
another in the ivy running over the
house; a tomtit's in the old pump, a
willow wren's on the bank at the end of
the garden, and a nightingale's in the
flowering currant on the front border.
The last two were his favourites,
because they were not so common. He
had watched the nightingale for a long
time, popping in and out of the bush
before he ventured to peep, and there he
FREDERIC AND HIS FRIENDS. 25
saw the nest with the five nutmeg-look-
ing eggs in it, and he ran to his mamma
to ask if she would like a new-laid night-
ingale's egg for breakfast.
When he found the willow-wren's ball
of dried grass and fern among the long
grass on the bank, the pretty little bird
darted out of it in great alarm, and when
Frederic took one of the eggs out, she
sat upon a bough uttering a reproachful
note which sounded so like "Thief,
thief!" he was almost inclined to put it
The next day, when he went to look
again, the careful mother had stopped up
the entrance at that side and made one
on the other, hoping that the thief might
not find his way in any more.
Frederic had never taken a bird's nest
in his life; his mamma was very strict
in forbidding it. "When you are as
clever as the birds, Freddie, you may
26 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
take their nests, but not before," she
would say. "If God has given them
this wonderful power, surely it is part
of our duty to God to respect their pro-
perty. A little boyonce looked with long-
ing eyes at some sparrows' nests under
the eaves of a cottage next his own.
He was forbidden to touch them, but he
looked and looked till desire for them
got the better of his obedience, and
he climbed up the roof and secured his
prize. There were bits of worsted and
scraps of paper mixed up with the moss
and hay about the nest; a bit of paper
fell off; he picked it up, and what do you
think was written on it ? That verse of
'Why should I deprive my neighbour
Of his goods against his will?
Hands were made for honest labour,
Not to plunder nor to steal.'
Ifthe sparrow could have spoken, could
it have read him a better lecture ?"
FREDERIC AND HIS FRIENDS. 27
"I wish, mamma," said Frederic, "the
birds would not be so frightened at me.
They ought to know I love them. Did
you ever know anybody who tamed
them? I don't mean in cages, but out
here, among the trees ?"
"Yes," replied his mamma; "there is
a gentleman now living in Cornwall,
who has won the birds' hearts in a won-
derful manner. When he goes -out he
is attended by a troop of robins, lin-
nets, and chaffinches, who flutter about
him, perch on his hand, and will even
take a bit of bread out of his mouth.
If he leaves his window open at night,
he is sure to find, at morning-time,
a little bird perched beside his bed."
Oh, mamma," exclaimed Frederic;
"how does he manage it? I wish I
"I believe it is only by that power of
love which is the means always of win-
28 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
ning hearts, whether of birds or men or
women. Still I think certain individuals
seem to exercise especial attraction over
living creatures. I have heard of a far-
mer who had near his house a rookery,
and he was so fond of the rooks, he en-
couraged them by every means in his
power. At last it was necessary that he
should move to another place, and much
he regretted leaving his friends the
rooks. What was his surprise to see
first one, then another take up their
abode in some tall trees near him, till
at length the whole colony established
themselves as before around him. This
is the more remarkable, as rooks are
very seldom known to change their
"Thank you, mamma. I am never
tired of hearing about birds."
"Nor will you, I hope, my dear boy,
all your life long," replied his mamma.
FREDERIC AND HIS FRIENDS. 29
" I never yet knew anybody get tired of
studying the works of God, when they
really loved them. But the pleasantest
thing about natural history is that its
pleasures don't wear out, as so many
other pleasures do; other things grow
dull and stale and tiresome, but this
will be just as fresh when you are old
as now while you are young. The Book
of Nature is the next best book to the
Bible, and it will lead you to the Bible,
and help you to understand it, and teach
you to love it more. And just as you
ask God for the Holy Spirit to enable
you to hear His voice speaking to you
in the Bible, so you need His grace
that you may hear the same voice in
nature, and know what it means. It
means that God intended every living
creature to be a stepping-stone to raise
our hearts to Him. And, Freddie, when
you grow up, and troubles and dif-
30 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
ficulties come, it may comfort you to
remember that He who guides the bird
to the food it needs, who has fitted each
for the place it occupies, will not be slow
to do the same for you. You are of
more value to Him than many such little
And when Frederic did grow up, he
was a happier and a better man for
having begun in his childhood to love
the birds. When he was alone, he could
turn to them for companionship as to
old familiar friends; when he wanted
recreation, here was a source of interest
always ready; when his trust in God
failed, he looked at the "fowls of the air"
and felt ashamed to doubt his Father's
love and his Father's care.
I DO not think Bringford Sunday-
school was different from any other;
but to Johnny's ideas there was nothing
like it in all the world. Early on
Sunday morning he might be seen get-
ting ready, while his mother tenderly
helped to wrap the tie well round his
The school was opened, and the school
was closed, and hymns were sung and
the names put down in the register
just the same as elsewhere. The super-
intendent had a little bell, and when the
bell rang everybody knew that it meant
"silence," and then the busy hum of
voices was still in a minute.
32 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
But they did not all do as they were
bid always, for sometimes a greedy, idle
boy would bring his pockets full of cher-
ries, intending to eat them one by one
when his teacher was not looking; and
sometimes a lazy, foolish girl would pull
a leaf out of her hymn-book and tear it
up in little bits and stick it on her next
neighbour's back, and then of course
they got into disgrace and had to be
-but I would rather not say what was
done to them, for I want to speak of
what is good, and am trying to find out
the reason why Johnny was so fond of
It was only a plain, square room;
there were a few Bible prints-such as
Timothy and his grandmother, and
Daniel in the lions' den, or the Good
Shepherd-hung round it, and at Christ-
mas-time it was bright with flags and
wreaths and holly-berries; but beside
JOHNNY'S SUNDAY-SCHOOL. 33
these, it was without any ornament. At
one end-for it was an infant-school-
were steps, called in school language a
gallery, where the little ones used to sit.
Johnny himself had sat there once, but
he was promoted now to sit on a form,
which made him feel years older at once,
and was, besides, much to the advantage
of his Sunday trousers.
The teachers were not very clever,
neither had the superintendent any spe-
cial gifts, yet the first question Johnny
asked every morning when he awoke
Mother, what day is it to-day ?" that
he might count up how long it was to
Sunday; and it was his firm belief that
his Sunday-school was the happiest,
best, and most successful of any to be
found in England.
The reason was because he loved it, and
so that gave a rose-coloured tint to
34 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
everything. Have you not found out
that love lights everything up like sun-
shine, and can even make the common-
est-seen people look bright and pleasant
to our eyes? And somehow or other
this same sunshine pervaded all the
The good superintendent loved the
teachers, and the teachers loved the
superintendent, and both together they
loved the children, and then it was no
wonder the children loved them. So
that at last we have got at the secret,
and have made out how it was that
Bringford Sunday-school was such a
"Please, teacher, I hope you won't
die," said Johnny, rather abruptly one
day to his teacher.
"Why, Johnny?" asked the teacher,
"Because I like you so," was Johnny's
JOHNNY'S SUNDAY-SChOOL. 35
earnest reply; and I know his teacher
prayed in his heart that he might be
able to lead the dear child who loved
him to love his Saviour.
"Well, Johnny," he said, "you seem
to have a knack of liking everybody, and
I'm sure you've a large heart-though
you are such a little boy-with plenty
of love in it. I hope you have got it
from the right source. You know if we
want love we must go to the Lord Jesus,
because He is the great fountain of all
the drops of love which flow down into
our hearts, and you and I may both take
our cups to Him and get them quite full,
though yours may be a small one and
mine a large one."
Johnny had a little sister named
Marian, who used to cry to go to school
with him, but her mother said she must
wait till she was three years old. So
Johnny would tell her what he had
36 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
learned when he got home, and he tried
to teach her his favourite hymn, "There
is a happy land, far, far away," saying
that perhaps by the time she knew it
she would be strong and big enough to
go to school.
She did learn to say it, and to sing it,
too, very sweetly in her tiny baby voice.
But God did not mean her to go to
school; He taught her Himself all she
needed to know, and then He took her
home to the happy land.
A fever broke out, and little Marian
caught it; she grew worse and worse,
but all the time she kept on asking
about school and the happy land. Then
one day she raised herself up, sang the
verses all through, fell back, and peace-
It was very sad to lose her, but Johnny
knew she was safe in the happy land
with Jesus, and better than ever before
JOHNNY'S SUNDAY-SCHOOL. 37
he loved his hymn and the school where
he had learnt it. -
Years will pass, and Johnny may grow
up to be a man. I know not what his
future may be, but I know that he has
laid up happy thoughts with holy things.
I know that there will always be a soft
place in his heart; I know that there
will be a something within which will
help to keep him right when he is
tempted to go wrong; I know that he
will be more likely to follow Christ, and
to serve Christ, because of those happy,
childish hours spent in the Bringford
Years may pass, and Johnny may grow
up to be a man. I know not what his
future may be, but I hope that the good
Spirit of God has renewed his heart, and
that there is something within which
will help to keep him right when he is
tempted to go wrong. I trust that as
38 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
he has heard of the great love of Christ
in coming into the world to seek and to
save the lost, dying for our sins on the
cross that we might be forgiven-so
Johnny may grow up to be a true follower
of Christ, because of those happy hours
spent in the Bringford Sunday-school.
THE NEST-ROBBERS' ALARM.
HE spring had come to the dark
pine forests of Germany. You
would hardly have known it, however,
as far as they were concerned. They
had borne the winter with a sort of grim
endurance, and now they stood up, stern
and solemn, looking very much as if
they would say, "We do not believe in
the spring a bit; it makes no difference
to us; and it is all a mistake, you may
depend upon it." And yet, as the sun-
shine fell in gleams through the open-
ings, and the soft west wind crept
among their heavy boughs, you could
not help thinking that there was some-
40 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
thing like a smile upon the face of those
old pine woods.
But scattered here and there through
.the forests were pleasant little valleys,
and here it was quite clear the spring
was no mistake.
In one of these valleys was a village,
and in one of its cottages lived two boys
named Karl and Conrad. The cottage
was very pretty to look at, but there
was not much comfort inside, according
to our English notions of comfort.
I am inclined to think that in the
matter of sums and reading and writ-
ing these boys might have beaten you,
but there is one point you would pro-
bably have had in common, and that is
the love of birds'-nesting.
They had never been told, as you have,
that it is wrong to take away what
belongs to another, even if that other is
only a bird, especially when it is some-
THE NEST-ROBBERS' ALARM. 41
-thing very much loved and valued; and
that when God gave His lower creatures
into the hands of man, He meant him to
be kind and just and merciful towards
them. Also that the very mention of
nests in the Bible shows that they are
not beneath His care. Allthis you have
heard told a hundred times, so there is
less excuse for you than for Karl and
Just above the village was one of the
towers which crown so many of the hills
in Germany. It was chiefly left to the
jackdaws now, and noise enough they
made, as they flew in and out and
cawed to each other about their nests
and their young ones.
It was a fine place for boys to explore,
with all its crevices and crannies. One
half-holiday Karl and Conrad set off
together to get a little nearer view of
what the jackdaws were doing up there.
42 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
They were soon climbing the boughs of
an old tree, which had been so kind as
to grow as if on purpose close under
the wall. The jackdaws flew round
their heads, making more hubbub than
ever, as if they suspected-the boys were
after no good.
"I wish they would be quiet; I can-
not hear you speak," cried Karl, from
below. "They won't frighten us away,
so they need not think it." And Karl
looked as much as to say it would take
a good deal to frighten him.
Meanwhile, Conrad, who was the best
climber, was putting his arm into all
the holes, expecting every moment to
find some of the mottled green eggs of
the jackdaw. All at once he came upon
something soft, and a mysterious hiss
gave notice that his hand was not wanted
there. He drew it out hastily, then
thrust it in again, and dragged forth, not
THE NEST-ROBBERS' ALARM. 43
an egg nor a youngjackdaw, but a funny
yellow thing, as soft as a ball of down,
and with an odd grave sort of face. He
called loudly to Karl to come and look
at the prize. There was a beak and
there were legs, so it must be a bird,-
but such a bird as scarcely anyone had
Karl was somewhat disappointed to
think he was not the first to make such
a discovery, and putting his hand into
the same hole, he produced a second.
"We will take them home, then; here
goes," he cried; and each putting one of
the downy puffs into his pocket, they
swung themselves down from the tree,
ran down the hill, and soon arrived at
The strange little creatures were now
looked at more closely, and talked about
and handled till bed-time, and were
finally placed for the night in a sort of
44 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
open coop, with a medley of cabbages,
crumbs, and scraps of meat before them,
all of which, however, they declined,
and huddled themselves together in a
corner without the least wish to be
At the first dawn of morning, the boys
hurried down to look at their charge.
What was their surprise to find the
prisoners were gone! Their supper was
there untouched; the cabbages and all
were just the same, but not themselves.
How could they have escaped?-they
could not fly; how could they have
got out? who could have stolen
Karl and Conrad now looked at one
another in blank astonishment.
"There is something not right about
it, I think," said Conrad; and he shook
"Anyhow," replied Karl, "let us just
THE NEST-ROBBERS' ALARM. 45
run up the hill, and see if we can find
some more. Where there were two,
there might be four."
Aid off they set in haste to get there
and back again before breakfast.
They soon reached the same point,
climbed up the same tree, and both put
their hands together into the same hole.
Was it empty? No! there were the
yellow balls, in their old home, as safe
"and snug as though rough hands had
never taken them away. It was more
and more strange. But there was no
time to be surprised, for at this moment
they were startled by a loud hissing
noise close above them; and suddenly,
out of one of the windows, appeared,
oh! such an awful-looking creature; its
round, goggle eyes flashing fire upon
them, its large wings and plumage all
extended, its beak open, and one of its
claws uplifted, as if just about to spring
46 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
on its foes. They were frightened
"Let us run, Karl," said Conrad, in
a hollow whisper, trembling in every
We do not know how they managed
to get down from the tree. We do not
know how they scrambled down the hill;
but they never spoke another word till
they were safe in the shelter of their
mother's cottage. From that time the
powerr was as a haunted place to them,
and all the spring they did not take a
Well, it served them right ; but it was
only a great tawny owl, after all. She
did not approve that her children should
be stolen away from her in that way.
No wonder she was angry. How she
contrived to get them back again is more
than we can tell you. We only know
that she can do it, and she did it then.
THE NEST-ROBBERS' ALARM. 47
I hope if you are tempted to go birds'-
nesting, you will think of Karl and
Conrad's fright. You cannot love the
birds too well; but never tear the help-
less little ones away from their mothers.
You cannot admire a bird's-nest too
much; but let it always be on its bough,
and not in your hand.
HOW JOHNNY BORE THE TOOTHACHE.
T dE did bear it certainly, in a way,
but that was very far from being
the best way.
We all have to bear unpleasant and
disagreeable things sometimes ; they
come to us, and we must bear them; but
the question iK, How do we bear them?
Well or ill? Aches and pains will
come, and wet days will disappoint our
plans; and thi-_:s will go contrary, even
upon holidays that have been long
looked forward to.
Do we fret and grumble, and ma'Ke
everybody near us uncomfortable? Or
do we try to meet such things cheerily,
HOW JOHNNY BORE THE TOOTHACHE. 49
making the best of them, and giving up
our own way cheerfully-remembering
that little things as well as great ones
come alike from God?
The first was Johnny Green's way,
and it failed altogether to give him any
He had had the toothache now for
more than a week, and he was as cross
and fretful as could be, yet would not
hear of having the tooth out. His
mother kindly offered him bread and
honey for his tea and a roasted potato
for his supper, but it was of no use, he
only gave way to his temper, and said
he would rather bear it.
"Try a fomentation," said a neigh-
Oh no, no !" cried Johnny, thinking
the long word meant something dread-
ful ; '' I won't try anything. Leave me
50 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
"I'll tell ye a better cure than that,"
said his father, "a plain but sensible
remedy-Go and have the tooth out, boy.
It mayn't be pleasant-like, I know; but
ain't it better than all that fuss and
fretting? Here was I reading last
night, that some grand gentleman had
said something o' this kind: 'There
are two things we should never fret
about,-what we can help, and what we
can't.' Do you take it in, Johnny?
The last is no manner of use, and for
the other, why, get up at once and find
out the way. So here's your way clear
enough. Wife, take him to Dr. Pack-
ham's to-morrow morning; and you, a
big lad, fetch up your courage and be a
man about it."
There was never any use disputing a
thing when father said it, so it was
settled that thus it was to be.
That little back-room at the doctor's
HOW JOHNNY BORE THE TOOTHACHE. 51
saw many (i'T. rent scenes. The house
stood upon a bank beside the road, and
some steps led up from the village
street to the side door, on which Dr.
Packham's name was engraved in large
But the surgery door was generally
open, and at certain hours of the morn-
ing there was Dr. Packham himself sit-
ting, listening to the many complaints,
and doing his best to cure them. It
was not a room likely to put sick people
in spirits, certainly. Two large oak
trees hanging over the window shut out
nearly all the sunshine, and inside it
was darker still.
The black horsehair chairs and sofa
and other furniture were very dingy.
On one side were shelves full of musty-
looking books, and on the other, rows of
bottles labelled with long names--for
Dr. Packham was only a village doctor,
52 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
and this was his study, surgery, and
Johnny had often peeped into the
room as he passed by, but never found
himself inside it till this very morning,
when he went to have his tooth out. I
am sorry to say, before he got fairly in
he ran twice down the steps at the door,
and had to be fetched back by the strong
arm of the doctor's boy. But at last
behold him finally settled on the chair
in the room.
Poor Johnny! he did not a bit like
the prospect; he looked shyly and with
fear at the instruments in the doctor's
hands, and as he was rather spoiled,
as you may have guessed, he had never
learned to control his own will; but a
moment more, and it was all over, and
Dr. Packham held up the tooth to assure
him it was a fact.
If you could have seen his picture
HOW JOHNNY BORE THE TOOTHACHE. 53
half an hour afterwards, you would
hardly have known that bright-looking
boy to be the same Johnny.
"Good-bye, my man," said the doctor,
kindly; "you must get a little fortitude,
by and by."
Fortitude!" thought Johnny; "what
is that ?"
He had a vague kind of idea it might
be some stuff out of one of the doctor's
bottles-at any rate, if it would help
him to have a tooth out he would like
to get some against next time.
Father," he said in the evening, with
a curious kind of look, "doctor says I
ought to have had some fortitude; will
you tell me what it is, and where I can
get it ?"
"Ah, Johnny," replied his father,
"it's the best thing to bear the tooth-
ache, sure enough. But it's none of
your doctor's doses; ye must make it up
54 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
for yourself, lad, and I only hope ye'll
do it. It's the strength and the courage
to bear things and to face things-that's
fortitude; and ye'll want it many a time
in life, I can tell ye.
If ye have got a hard duty to get
through, why, face it at once. Depend
upon it, it will never grow easier while
you are looking at it. And if you have
got anything to bear, don't flinch and
shrink away, but just put your will into
it-that's the way, and it will grow a
deal lighter. You want to be a sailor,
but you must, as the doctor says, get
some fortitude first. Why, sailors don't
live in clover: they have hardships and
plenty to bear as well as to do, and it
is all part of their duty. But, Johnny,
my boy, the only real fortitude is the
strength that comes from God. When
we want to know how to face things,
we must just notice how our Saviour
HOW JOHNNY BORE THE TOOTHACHE. 55
bore His pains and sorrows, and then we
shall feef ashamed to make a trouble of
ours. And we must remember how He
tells us to follow Him, so we can't com-
plain, if He has gone before us the same
Johnny looked thoughtfully into the
fire for a few minutes, and I think made
some good resolutions. Let us hope he
kept them, but the roast potatoes came
out of the oven just then and turned his
thoughts into quite another channel.
THE BIBLE IN THE BARN.
64,HERE was a grand commotion in
Mr. Forrester's barn. But barns
don't often get a clean out, and so per-
haps it was as well that something
urgent should happen to make it ne-
In the autumn season you might have
seen the men threshing the corn, but it
was now spring-time, and the sacks of
corn had been gradually melting away
through the winter to supply the baker's
ovens and people's hungry mouths far
However, there were a few sacks left
still, and these were piled away, in as
THIE BIBLE IN THE DARN. 57
small a compass as possible, in one
corner of the barn.
Next, all the cobwebs were brushed
away. Poor spiders! they had thought
they were safe here, but they made a
mistake, and I am afraid it cost them
Then the litter and rubbish were all
swept up, some matting put down, seats
brought in, a table placed at one end,
till it was evident the barn was going
to do duty in some way quite out of its
I don't wonder that the starlings were
astonished: they kept up an incessant
cooing, saying to each other that they
had never seen the like of this before.
They had their own place of assembly
in one corner of the roof, where all their
own affairs were discussed, and now
when they saw people gathering in be-
low them as if they were going to hold a
58 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
meeting they felt considerably annoyed,
as if their just rights were interfered
It never occurred to them that it was
Mr. Forrester's barn, and that he meant
it to keep his corn in; they considered
it private property, and intended solely
for the use of birds.
But whatever the starlings thought
of it, people did come in all the same.
There were weary men with their heavy
footsteps on their way home from the
fields; sunburnt women in their calico
bonnets come from their work too;
boys with rough yet intelligent faces;
and little girls, not decked out in ribbons
and flowers, but in print frocks and
pinafores, and they too had been weed-
ing and stone-picking-for it was a vil-
lage where everybody worked, and
where almost everybody, I am glad to
say, came to the Bible Meeting.
THE BIBLE IN THE BARN. 59
They began the proceedings of the
meeting with a humble prayer, and
then the following simple hymn sounded
through the barn:
"God is love." Delightful truth !
In the sacred page revealed:
May it from our earliest youth
On our minds and hearts be sealed.
"God is love." He sent His Son
Us to save from endless woe;
Oh! what more could God have done,
His amazing love to show?
"God is love." And when we read
How He loved us, in His Word,
Hard must be our hearts indeed,
If we do not love the Lord.
Who so worthy of our love?-
None on earth, and none in heaven;
Now, then, to the Lord above
Let hearts of young and old be given.
Take, 0 Lord, these hearts of ours
Fill them with Thy love divine:
Take our souls, with all their powers,
May they be for ever Thine.
And good men gathered in from a
distance on purpose to speak to these
simple people about God's Holy Book,
60 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
to tell them how they were spreading
it far and wide through the world, and
to ask them to help them in flinging
broadcast the precious seed. And as
they looked into the listeners' eager
faces I think they must have deemed it
well worth the trouble of coming.
The starlings, however, had not given
up without a struggle: when the meet-
ing first began they had protested
loudly against it; so had the pigs;
grunt, grunt from the adjoining stye had
fitted in to the pauses in the speaker's
voice; so had the cows in the yard,
who were determined not to be left
out of the general chorus. But in due
time the birds got tired of talking when
nobody seemed to listen; so they went
to bed, and I suppose the pigs and the
cows did the same.
But I think the starlings were wrong,
don't you ? for it seems to me that no
THE BIBLE IN THE BARN. 61
place could be better suited for a Bible
Meeting than a barn. Is it not a place
to store away the corn which is to feed
our bodies, and is not the Bible a store-
house whence comes that bread of life
which is to nourish our souls? Is it
not the best of all barns ?-the garner,
not of the food that perishes, but of that
which is to last for ever ?
And do we not go to the barn for the
seed which is to sow our fields ? We
fetch the grains of wheat out of the
granary, we bury them in the ground,
and there we leave them; that is all
that we can do.
But God, who loves His children, sends
the dew and the rain and the sunshine,
and by and by there comes the golden
ears ripening fast for the harvest.
This is just like the blessed Bible
words. We take these from the garner
-these seeds of eternal life-and we try
62 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
to plant them deep down in your hearts,
we ask for God's grace to water them,
and His Divine Spirit to blow, and His
love to shine, upon the tender plants,
then we wait: it may be a long time
first, but we have faith to believe that
in God's good time we shall yet rejoice
over you with the joy of harvest.
Willyou not fetch, too, a few grains
from the granary? Even your small
hand may scatter a few seeds of Bible
truth upon the wild waste places of the
world around us.
You, as the good sower, may not know
where the seed has fallen, you may
never see the result here, but on the
great harvest day you shall see the
golden sheaves which God has ripened,
and shall find thatyoz had planted them,
and shall hear His voice uttering those
solemn but glorious harvest words,
" Gather the wheat into my barn."
_*.; \ -T, ^ ,... r.I ., ---"
"I CAN'T THINK WHY."
"CAN'T think why lam stuck allover
With spines," said a large prickly
thistle, at the edge of the common. I
should like to be neighbourly, but no-
body comes in contact with me if they
can help it. I want to be on good
terms with everybody: but, instead of
that, whether I will or no, I am univer-
sally considered an enemy. If a child's
hand come too near me, it is snatched
away with a cry; the sheep, if they
approach me, leave some of their wool
hanging to my prickles; and the farmer,
as he passes by any of my tribe, either
sweeps off their heads with his stick, or
64 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
else sends his men to hack them and
mangle them, even if they do not dig up
their roots and kill them outright. I
can't think why I should have been born
"Stay a minute, Sir Thistle, stay a
minute! Not so fast! look here; see
those two elegant goldfinches fluttering
round your door, ask them in; they are
not afraid of you, but, perched on that
downy head of yours, from whence the
flower has departed, they will feast at
their leisure, and be in no hurry to leave
you. And here comes a butterfly, the
painted lady of brilliant colours, neither
is she afraid of you; she wants one of
your thorny leaves for her nursery, and
none other will she have; she knows
that, though rough, you are faithful,
and will guard it well. Not the fairest
rose could have fairer visitors than these,
so you may well hold up your head,
"I CAN'T THINK WHY." 65
and feel proud that you were born a
We can't think why," sighed a sting-
ing-nettle bed under the hedge, "we
can't think what we are here for. Here
we are, plenty of us, enough to take a
respectable place in society, but society
scorns us, hates us, calls us cross and
ill-tempered. Other plants have flowers
and fruit, we have neither; other plants
have soft, smooth leaves, ours are dim
and dingy; other plants are gathered
by gentle fingers, we live and die where
we are, and, so far from doing any good
to anybody, we only take up the room
of our betters, and the world would be
happier without us. We can't think
But before the nettles had finished
speaking I noticed how the dull leaves
were covered with the pretty little
striped snail-shell, which makes its
66 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
home among them, and never cares to
wander away. And I saw many of the
leaves rolled up into cunning and cosy
cradles, from which multitudes of baby-
spiders were just pouring forth to the
green nettle-world. Then a butterfly
who was known as "the red-admiral,"
still more beautiful than that which had
settled on the thistle, came down upon
the dingiest leaf in the nettle-bed; she,
too, was seeking a home for her little
ones. She had passed by every other
plant for the sake of the nettle; and,
surely, to be loved best by one, and that
one such a glorious creature of the sun-
shine, might well make a nettle content
to live; and, all this while, not yet had
died away the echo of the words, We
can't think why, we can't think why."
I can't think why I am so despised,"
said a sparrow. "The chaffinch and
the robin have many a meal of crumbs
I CAN'T THINK WHY." 67
spread for them, and they are invited
and pressed and coaxed to stay long,
and to come again soon; why must I
be scared away when I would fain
take my share? I have no song, no
beauty, no winning manners as they
have, and so I have no welcome to the
feast; I am bid to go about my business,
as I am only a sparrow, and in every-
body's way. Oh, if I could only change
my coat; but a sparrow I was born, and
a sparrow I must die."
"Is it such a hard life, friend spar-
row? Have you done nothing for the
world? When you have rear your
third family this season, have you not
done three times as much work as most
other birds ? When you cleared the
gardener's cabbages this morning of
those swarming caterpillars, were you
not doing what the chaffinch and the
robin could not do half so well? When
68 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
you pick up the scraps about our door,
and leave it clean and tidy for us, are you
not useful to us in a way no other bird
could be? Take things on trust, and
don't say again, 'I can't think why.'"
"I can't think why I should take all
this trouble about my books," said a
little boy at school, "instead of being
left at home in peace to enjoy myself.
I wish I had been a bird or a butterfly,
and then I should have had nothing to
do but play and live out in the sunshine
all daylong. But here am I pent up in
a close, hot room, and it is Latin and
Greek, and Greek and Latin, and
lessons, lessons, from morning till night.
I can't think what is the good of it all."
Just outside the schoolroom wall
there was a poor man sitting, and
though he was in the sunshine, and the
fresh summer breeze was blowing upon
him, he was not a bit more contented
"I CAN'T THINK WHY." 69
than the little boy. "I can't think
why," he said; I can't think why some
people are rich and others poor. Why
must I beg my bread while others have
plenty without begging ? Why am I so
weak and sickly, while my neighbours
are strong and hearty? I would not
have made things so unequal. It is
very strange I can't think why."
Ah, dear friends-little boy and
beggar-man both-it is the same old
story, though you are a little higher up
in the scale than the plants and the
birds. You want to know the meaning
of things; you want to see everything
mapped out before you in the sunshine;
you want a label put on each event of
your lives to tell you the reason of it.
Now when the thistle, or the stinging-
nettle, or the sparrow think themselves
aggrieved, and wonder wherefore they
are made such as they are, I can find
70 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
out the reason why for them; but I can't
so easily do this for you. Only this I
know, whether concerning the world of
nature or the varied events of your lives,
God has a purpose, and God has a reason.
Likewise, I know that as God is a
Father, that purpose must be a good
purpose, and that reason must be a
good, kind reason.
If we could always see why trials and
crosses were sent us, it would be walking
by sight instead of by faith; that is, it
would be believing our own eyes instead
of believing what God has said. It
would not be trusting God, and God
likes us to trust Him. It would be shut-
ting ourselves out from that blessing
promised to those who do not ask the
reason why. When Jesus was on earth
He always put honour on true faith.
"According to your faith be it unto
you," He said. "Blessed are they that
"I CAN'T THINK WHY." 71
have not seen, and yet have believed."
Then forget not this great gospel truth
"-"God so loved the world, that he
gave his only begotten Son, that whoso-
ever believeth in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life" (John iii.
.'- '.. "-"'.-."... '-. .. A -. } ?'T--
WORK AND PLAY;
THE YOUNG HORSE AND ITS MOTHER.
S/',., LAS, my little one, it is too true !
Your turn must come some day.
But first, like your father and mother
before you, you will have to be brcken in,
that is what our masters call making
us go the way they choose, instead of
what we should choose for ourselves.
Of course I did not like it, and I re-
sisted as long as I could, but I found it
was no use, so I gave in, and the spirit
has been all gone out of me ever since."
And the old grey horse, as she spoke,
bent her head and looked sorrowfully
down into the pond, thinking of the
WORK AND PLAY. 73
painful past, and the same hard future
in store for her hopeful offspring.
Now, the young horse had been frisk-
ing about in the meadow, as all young
creatures delight in doing, and he had
thought how pleasant the world was,
that is, the world in which he found
himself: and he was not far wrong
there, for it was the greenest of green
fields and the fairest of summer weather.
When he was tired of playing, he had
gone and put his nose over the gate
to see what was passing in the road.
Every few minutes there were horses
going by: first, there was a frisky pony
in an elegant little carriage; presently
a lean, meek-looking horse drawing a
poor man's cart; and then a team of
fat, heavy cart horses, straining hard
under a load of timber. But they were
all doing something and going some-
where, and that evidently not to please
74 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
themselves, but somebody else. This
set him thinking about a horse's life
and a horse's responsibilities, and then
he did the best thing he could have
done, he went to his mother to ask about
We have told you already what his
mother said, and the young horse sighed.
That" breaking-in" was a terrible word.
He had a strong will of his own, and
he did not like the thought of giving it
up. The world did not look so bright
as it had done half an hour ago. He
looked down at the ducks and then up
at the swallows, as if he would seek for
The ducks were too stupid and too
busy with their own affairs to take any
notice; besides, they were so slow, and
he only felt respect for creatures that
could go fast. But the swallows, oh
the swallows! they were swift enough,
WORK AND PLAY. 75
and they knew a good deal of the world;
he should like to talk to them. Oh,
you happy things," he said, well for
you, you have nothing else to do but
play. Nobody will break you in, and
you will never know what work is."
There was a grand twittering and
chattering among the swallows, and
they let off their excitement by a few
extra turns and circles round the young
Well, I suppose it does look like
play to you," said one of them, "but we
can tell you we have very serious busi-
ness on hand, and have not time to
think of amusing ourselves. We have
our own living to get by constant effort,
whereas your food lies just under your
nose; and then we have our families to
provide for-first to build a house
and make it comfortable for them,
and afterwards to rear the children,
76 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
feed them, and place them out in the
world. And not one set only, but two
sets one after the other, and very little
time to do it in. You are too young to
understand the cares of housekeeping,
but you may take our word for it, it is
real work and not play. We can't let
the grass grow under our feet as you
may do; I can't even stop my wings to
say any more." And the swallow was
out of sight in a minute.
It is all quite true, my friend," said
a second swallow, sweeping by; "you
see we have our work as well as you;
and your betters have it too, so you
need not be ashamed of it. Men have
got to work, and I notice that those who
are sensible rejoice in it and make it
their happiness; it is only the lazy and
good-for-nothing who grumble at it. I
have travelled a great deal, and I have
come to this conclusion, that there's
WORK AND PLAY. 77
something for everybody to do, and if he
wants to be happy he must not shirk it,
but do it. And sometimes, when I get
in the track of the setting sun, I catch
tidings of a fair land beyond it, and
hear that there is something to be done
even there. So, now, don't fret yourself
about breaking-in and such like, but just
think of the good that's to come out of
it, and put your own mind into it, as a
noble creature like you should do. I
call a life of labour an honourable and
useful thing, and so will you when you
come to try it; but my children will be
tired of waiting, so good-bye." And the
swallow snapped up a whole mouthful
of flies, and was off to its nest near the
Well, well," said the young horse
to his mother, "I see something of
what they mean: if a thing is to be,
why the best plan is not to struggle
78 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
against it, but to put one's own will into
it, and then that will take the hard part
out of it. So I won't even mind the
breaking-in, mother, but will look at it
as the training which is to make me fit
for the life of work and usefulness the
swallow promised me."
And was he not a very wise,- sensible
young horse, after all ?
WHAT A DONKEY MAY BE.
SWONDER why the donkey is al-
ways so ill-treated I know it is a
special pleasure to idle boys to get hold
of something they can thump; and as
idle boys grow up into thoughtless men,
the poor donkey has little chance of
kindness amongst those in whose com-
pany he is most likely to be thrown.
But even people in a higher rank of
"life, who ought to know better, however
kind they may be to other animals,
never seem to think that a donkey has
any feelings worth considering or re-
specting. It does appear rather hard
that because he is s .patient, therefore
80 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
so much is given him to bear, and that
because he is so contented, nobody
should take any trouble in providing
You think he is so stubborn, he must
be kicked: you say he is made to be put
upon, and that his skin is so thick he
cannot feel your blows. Well, I have
my own private opinion about the mat-
ter, and it is this: that if a donkey be
brought up properly, treated as if he
were somebody, patted and petted, well
housed and well fed, you would be as-
tonished to see how very different he
would be from the rough, ragged, for-
lorn-looking creature cropping the
thistles under the hedge.
And apart from the donkey's side of the
question, it is a great mistake, from our
own point of view, not to make the most
of so common and useful a companion.
Here is a little history I have just been
WHAT A DONKEY MAY DE, I8
reading, of what may be done with a
donkey under favourable circumstances.
Pedro had been carefully reared,
trained, and educated by an innkeeper.
I wish I knew his name: it ought to be
known for the sake of the good example
set in this particular. Pedro had lived,
not on the open common or in a shed,
but in a real stable, like a pony. At five
years old he was as handsome a donkey
as you would wish to see. His eyes were
bright, and his coat was sleek, and down
his back was the mysterious black cross
which is so peculiar to his race. Be-
ginning from this same age of five years,
Pedro did his work till he was thirty
(when he died), and he did it well.
This was what he had to do: to draw
a pretty little carriage, brown without
and blue within, with two kind ladies
inside, who humoured him, petted him,
and loved him to his life's end. He was
82 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
no stubborn donkey, not he; neither
was he a donkey that would not go.
He could travel (carriage and all) fifty
miles a day, and get up as fresh the
next morning as if he had never been
out of his stable.
One summer, he and the ladies, and
the brown and blue gig, started on an
expedition together for three months.
In and out of the English lanes, up and
down the Welsh hills they went, and,
when they reached home again, they
calculated they had travelled 800 miles!
Ah, you fast-going ponies! so proud of
your pace and of your powers, did you
ever think a donkey could get over the
ground like that !
Pedro had his peculiarities, it is true.
One was that he always insisted on
going down a hill full trot; however
steep it might be it made no difference,
nobody could pull him up. But as to
WHAT A DONKEY MAY BE. 83
going up hill, he always stopped at the
foot for the ladies to get out, and then
he expected them to gather flowers from
the hedge for him as they walked up
He was a most superior-minded don-
key; indeed, the only one I ever heard
of who preferred flowers to thistles; but
Pedro certainly did. He liked roses
best of all, and never lost an opportunity
of snapping a mouthful of them. Once
he actually bit off an artificial rose from
his mistress's cap as she was bending
I don't know whether all donkeys
would be as interesting as Pedro, and
as refined in their tastes, if they were
better treated; probably not, but cer-
tainly much might be done by kindness.
So take care you put out a helping hand,
and when you find a solitary donkey
left to its own devices by the road-side,
84 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
be sure you never punch, nor beat, nor
When the Lord Jesus Christ was on
earth we read that He once rode on an
ass. I think this ought to make us
honour the donkey, instead of treating
it with the contempt we do. True, the
ass in Syria was a much larger and
nobler creature than ours, and filled the
same place there which the horse does
with us. But its rough little English
cousin may still claim a share in the
Yes, it was the highest honour ever
put upon an animal, when the word
was said, The Lord hath need of him."
Dear young friends, is it not the highest
honour that could ever be put on you
or me ? Hath the Lord need of us?
Then let us at once yield ourselves to
love and serve Him in the work He has
given us to do.
" -7 7:--.
ihE candles are lighted, and the
ca h the
( curtains drawn, and the fire blaz-
ing, and all the January cold is left
outside. So we will forget the ice and
snow for awhile, and the cheery warmth
shall remind us to talk about a creature
of brightness and sunshine, one who
never in its native country perched
upon a wintry bough, nor, indeed, knew
that there was such a thing as winter.
There was a Chinaman once who
bought a piece of ice, never having
seen any before. Because it was wet
he carried it out into the sun to dry.
Coming back presently to look after it,
86 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
he sought for it in vain. Of course it
had all melted away. But so little did
he know about it, he thought his neigh-
bours had stolen it, and he went to
them right and left and accused them
of having made away with his treasure.
The cockatoo would have no more
experience of either ice or snow than
the Chinaman. It lives in the Spice
Islands and in the Indian Islands.
Summer is always round it, and the
trees where it makes its home are
The cockatoo, as you know, belongs
to the parrot tribe, but it has its own
character. It is more gentle in temper;
and though it may be taught to utter
words, it is not so quick in catching
nor so glib in speaking them as parrots
are. You know, too, the peculiar hook
in the beak which marks the whole
family; perhaps, also, you have noticed
THE COCKATOO. 87
when their mouths were open that the
tongue is very thick and fleshy, and it
is this which gives them an aptitude
for pronouncing words.
The cockatoo is often kept as a pet,
so that you may have seen it chained
to its high perch, eating nuts very com-
posedly, or hanging by its beak to the
woodwork. This is just what it does
in its native woods; it uses its beak
not only like other birds for all ordinary
purposes, but also for climbing. Its
claws are not meant for clinging to the
bark, but for grasping the bough; so as
it goes along it makes a spring, catches
hold of a bough with its beak, and then
draws its legs up after it; then the
claws take firm hold while it makes
another advance in the same way. So
it rises, quickly and easily, to the tops
of the tall tropical trees, pausing now
and then for a nut or a berry, or a bite
88 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
out of the bread-fruit, and holding on
firmly to the branch with one foot
while conveying the morsel to its
mouth with the other, just as if it were
a hand. Indeed, some people have
traced a likeness between the parrots
and the monkeys, because the claws of
the one are almost as useful as the
hands of the other, as well as their
equal cleverness in climbing and grasp-
ing. But the only likeness between
them lies in the fact that as both live
upon trees, and occupy the same
sphere, the same wants are provided
for in something of the same way.
So firmly does the cockatoo clasp
the bough, it will often be found sus-
pending itself downwards, hanging by
one foot, and even asleep in that
position. Not a very comfortable one,
we should think, but I suppose the
cockatoo knows best what suits itself.
THE COCKATOO. 89
The cockatoo is distinguished from
theparrot by its crest of long plume-
like feathers, which it can erect at
pleasure, and which at other times falls
gracefully from its head over its back.
Its colour, except in one species, is of
pure white with faint, yellow on the
wings, and a bright rose or sulphur
yellow tinging the crest. Its natural
note is a cry that sounds something
like its own name-cockatoo-and this
is what it is taken from. It is very
fond of nuts of all kinds, and its strong
beak easily finds the way in, however
hard and tough may be the shell.
When it cannot get its own native nuts
it seems well satisfied (to judge from
the number it will dispose of) with our
English hazel-nuts. We should like
to see this beautiful bird springing from
bough to bough of the stately trees in
its native home. But the seas roll
90 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
between, and, after all, our own fireside
is very comfortable, and our dear little
birds have charms of their own, and we
will comfort ourselves with our robin
and chaffinch, blackbird and thrush,
and give them an extra meal of crumbs
-" < . ,J-
',, -, -, r --.--.-.'
THE LIONESS AND HER CUB.
HE mother had been born in some
(!wild African lair, under a hot
and fiery sun, with miles and miles of
desert liberty all around her.
The little ones were born beneath
English skies, cold and grey in com-
parison, even in summer, shut in by
iron bars, with a crowd of eager human
faces peering in on them day by day, a
sound of human voices ever in their
What a difference 1 Is the lioness
thinking of it as she looks up with
a kind of fierce gravity on her face? Is
she sorrowing over her children's lost
92 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
inheritance of freedom ? We cannot,
say; we cannot give you her inner
life, only a few facts of her outward
We do not know how old she was
when she was first brought to the
Zoological Gardens a few months ago;
indeed, we have not learned yet what
age is to a lioness or lion. The grand-
looking African lion with the black
mane, who died there last year, was
supposed to be about twenty-five, but
whether that was young or old we can
hardly tell, except that he appeared to
be past his prime. But, at any rate,
about a month after the lioness was
settled in her new quarters, the little
cubs were born, giving us the rare
opportunity of watching the growth
and the early years of the fierce kings
of the forests.
The lioness, savage as she is by
THE LIONESS AND HER CUBS. 93
nature, so strong, that she could carry
away a horse or a cow as easily almost
as you might carry a kitten, and fearing
nothing on the face of the earth, is yet
gentle and tender to these babes of
hers as any mother could be. You
cannot see the inside of her paw, but if
she were to turn it up you would dis-
cover a soft springy pad of fat, nothing
more. She needs this for the silent
stealthy footfall with which she creeps
on and on towards her prey; she
needs it for the spring she makes when
about twenty or thirty yards distant,
as with one bound she fastens herself
upon it; she needs it yet more when
she is tending her cubs, and gambolling
and playing with them.
What do they know-the innocents!
-of the deadly weapons hid within that
thick cushion ? The fierce claws are
there, sure enough, and let them only
94 AUNT MARY'S WORDS FOR BOYS.
be unsheathed, so fierce are they, they
could tear open the body of a horse
in a moment; but to the cubs the
paws are round and soft, and com-
forting as mother's arms should be.
For rather more than six months
the infant family grew and flourished
beneath the maternal care. And the
old lion sire, as he looked down on
them with a fatherly air, was doubtless
proud of these young sprigs of his
But the winter came, and the new
year came, and on the 2oth of January,
1873, the lioness died, and left the
charge to others.
When the late Sir Edwin Landseer
was commissioned to design for sculp-
ture the lions which you may now see
at Trafalgar Square, how do you think
he did it? How did he manage to get
their very look and their attitude just
THE LIONESS AND HER CUBS. 95
like life ? Why, for months he went to
the Zoological Gardens, almost every
day, and he looked at them and watched
them, till he had got them by heart, as
it were, and his hand followed his eye
in repeating their noble forms in
Ah! if you and I, in this way, were
as earnest in looking at what is good,
we should do better. If you and I
were to fix our eyes upon our one
perfect Pattern-on Him who said,
" Learn of me"-we should make a
truer copy, we should reproduce Him
in our daily lives, as Sir Edwin Land-
seer has done his lions.
THE GREAT CREATOR,
.1 ,,. Lord, my Maker, I adore,
Created by His love and power;
He fashioned in their various forms
Angels and men, and beasts and worms,
And all their well-ranged orders stand
Supported by His mighty hand.
Father of lights, amidst the skies
He bids the golden sun arise;
He scatters the refreshing rain,
To cheer the grass, and swell the grain
And every day presents the food
That satisfies my mouth with good.
At home, abroad, by night, by day,
He is my guardian and my stay;
And whatsoever ills betide,
He turns all threatening harms aside;
And sure 'tis fit I early know
IHe is my Lord and Sovereign too.
Oh, may that voice which speaks His law,
My heart to sweet obedience draw,
Engage me in His ways to run,
And all the paths of vice to shun ;
That when I see the Judge descend,
I in that Judge may find a friend.
UNWIN BROTHERS, PRINTErSrs CHILWORTH AND LONDON,
SELECTIONS FROM THE CATALOGUE
io00i, for f t liouni,
PUBLISHED BY THE
RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY.
56, PATERNOSTER ROW, AND 65, ST. PAUL'S
WESTERN DEPosITORY: 164, PICCADILLY.
MAINCHESTER: 0oo, CORPORATION STREET.
BRIGHTON: 31, WESTERN ROAD.
May be /had of t/e Booksellers.