The Baldsm Llbnl
'" &-- C
IS, I;' I --i 'I!i
SOME OF MY
FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED
MRS. SALE BARKER
WITH TWENTY-FOUR FULL-PAGE PLATES BY J. B. ZWECKER,
PRINTED IN COLOURS BY EDMUND EVANS
GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS
BROADWAY, LUDGATE HILL
NEW YORK: 9, LAFAYETTE PLACE
Uniform in size and price,
SOME OF MY LITTLE FRIENDS.
BY MRS. SALE BARKER;
With 24 full-page Illustrations by M. E. EDWARDS, F. A. FRASER, MIRIAM KERNS,
and other Artists, Printed in Colours by KRONHEIM & CO.
WOLF AND SHEEP. I THE KINGFISHER 49
STARLINGS 5 BEARS 53
DONKEYS 9 THE STORK .57
THE GOLDEN EAGLE 13 BEAVERS AT WORK 61
CATS 17 DEER 65
THE SPARROW-HAWK 21 WOODPECKERS 69
SQUIRRELS 25 HARES .. 73
HERONS .29 GROUSE 77
GOLDFINCHES 33 GOATS 81
THE POLECAT 37 THE SHRIKE,OR BUTCHER BIRD 85
OWLS 41 LIONS 89
OTTERS 45 SWANS 93
WOLF AND SHEEP.
HICH of you little ones does not already
hate the very name of wolf? Since the time
dear Little Red-Riding-Hood started on
her journey, so trim and pretty, with basket
full of cakes and pats of butter, and in gay
scarlet cloak, what child among you but
has held the savage wolf in horror?
If the story of Little Red-Riding-Hood were true, that
dreadful tragedy must have happened so long ago now,
that it is not likely the savage wolf we look at in the pic-
ture can be .the same that we are told of in that history.
But it is very certain that even that wolf could not have
been more terrible and cruel than this. See with what fury
the creature fastens on the poor sheep's throat. The great
eyes are glaring, and looking so wicked, so remorseless and
greedy that one cannot help a shudder.
Shocking as the sight of the dreadful old wolf's fury and
cruelty is, it is much worse, I think, to see the young one,
with its vicious little jaws wide open, ready for a snap and
a bite in its turn. It seems worse in the young one than
the big one, because we always like to fancy-at least I
know I do-that little young things, even little wolves, are
gentle and tender; softer-hearted altogether than the large
old creatures of the same species.
2 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
Leaving this particular wicked wolf, and her young ones,
who are evidently so ready for the meal, to devour the poor
sheep; and trusting that the rest of the flock will escape,
as we can see they are trying to do with all their might,
I will tell you, children, something about wolves in general.
There are several kinds of this animal, and each kind
varies from the others in size and colour. The common
wolf of Europe is generally grey, mixed with fawn, and
sprinkled with black hairs. The under parts of the animal
are almost white,changing to grey in the inside of the legs.
There are no wolves, as I dare say you know, to be found
in England now, except in the Zoological Gardens; but
they are to be found in most other countries of Europe.
Wolves are very bold, and when hungry will not only
attack timid, harmless sheep, but large wild animals; such
as the buffalo, elk, wild horse, and even bears; and some-
times men. But they hunt in packs or herds, and this
gives them advantage over animals much stronger than
Besides the European, or common, wolf, there is the black
wolf of America, which is different rather in appearance, but
is of the same savage, dangerous nature. And again, there
is another smaller species of this animal, which is found in
great numbers upon the American prairies, and for that
reason has been named the Prairie Wolf.
These prairie wolves are the most savage and greedy ani-
mals in the world; they are found in great numbers upon
WOLF AND SHEEP. 3
the American prairies. They are always hanging about on
the outskirts of the herds of bison that roam about on the
prairies, and they are most terrible enemies when a pack of
them attack any larger animal, although each individual
wolf is small and insignificant in himself.
These creatures are a dreadful worry and trouble to the
hunters in their long journeys over the prairies; they hang
behind during the day, though always following, and at
night they creep up nearer. I know of an instance of two,
hunters shooting a large elk, and leaving it lying on the
ground, as it was too heavy for them to carry. They returned
to their tent to get knives and so forth, in order to cut it up,
intending to carry the best of the meat back and cook it
for supper. They were only a few minutes finding what
they required, and were returning to their dead game, when
one of them found he had forgotten something, and ran back
to the'tent again, the other proceeding on his way to the elk.
When the first hunter reached the deer, he found nothing but
the skeleton of the animal left, every atom of flesh had been
devoured by the prairie wolves! and they were still savagely
growlingand fighting amongst themselves over the bones.
When the second hunter came up he found his friend in
dire peril; for the wolves-although they had feasted off the
dead elk until they were swollen to double their natural
size-attacked the first hunter when he appeared on the
scene, and he was very nearly down, and at their mercy,
when the second hunter came up; as it was, he was ex-
4 AIY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
hausted with holding his own against them, and beating
them off with his knives and the butt-end of his gun. He
was bitten, too, though fortunately not badly. The second
hunter had his gun loaded and fired into the midst of them,
which scared them, and gave both the men time to reload,
and then, after one or two wolves fell dead in the pack, the
others took themselves off.
In "India there are troops of Jackals, which resemble
wolves in their manner of hunting in packs. As they scour
the country they give vent to the most terrible wailing
howls and cries. I don't know a more melancholy sound
than the cry of the jackal. These animals are too cowardly
to attack any large animal, as we sometimes hear of wolves
doing; but, woe! to the wretched goat, or turkey, or any in-
habitant of the poultry-yard if it should by any chance have
been forgotten in the general lock-up at night in India.
I know a very sad thing that happened to a lady when
she was in India. She had a lovely little skye-terrier, an
immense pet, and the little creature used to sleep at the foot
of her bed; one night the little fellow jumped off her bed
and ran into the verandah, and from thence into the com-
pound. His mistress had not missed him, and she was
awakened by the hideous cry of a pack of jackals; she called
the little dog, jumped out of bed, and, as it was a moonlight
night, saw him plainly standing close to the house; before
he could answer to her call, the frightful pack swept through
the compound and the poor little dog was devoured!
r i "Y 1
3Al;lw4 arP mraan
Id 161 :i/
T is a pleasure to me to tell you about these
handsome, clever birds. For the starling,
with his graceful form, his glossy purple-
black plumage speckled with white, and his
yellow bill, is certainly one of the most
beautiful birds common in England.
Starlings generally go about in large flocks; although in
this pretty picture we see only papa and mamma starling,
with two dear little children, feasting on someripe grapes.
Each flock seems to be under the command of one bird,
or at least to obey the will of one mind. Quite a cloud of
starlings may often be seen flying along at a great height,
almost obscuring the sky where they pass; when suddenly
the flock will become almost invisible, for every bird will
have turned on its side, so as to present only the edge of its
wings to the eyes of the people below. Then at some signal
the whole body will separate into many divisions, each one
wheeling about like a company of soldiers; afterwards,
perhaps, to join again, and go on together to the intended
The nest of the starling is built of dry grass, and is
generally placed in some old tower, in a wall, or hollow tree.
This bird has a very curious voice, and it can not only be
easily tamed, but taught to talk as well as any parrot.
6 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
Now I have given you a general account of the starling,
I will tell you about one which belonged to me when I was
I was very fond of pet birds; and on my birthday, when
I was ten years old, mamma took me to a bird-shop, to give
me a starling as a present. The woman of the shop showed
us one, but named too high a price for it; and mamma was
leaving the shop, when the woman said:
"You see, ma'am, the dear bird is almost like a child to
me; I'm so attached to him, and he to me. I've had him
since he was just out of the nest, and I've taught him all
he knows; the pretty dear! that I have."
Suddenly the starling put his head on one side, looked
wonderfully knowing, and in a strangely human voice cried
out: Don't believe it! don't believe it! don't believe it I"
which he repeated in a very indignant tone of voice several
This remark was not complimentary to the woman, but
my mother thought it such a proof of intelligence in the
starling that she turned back, saying: I think him well
worth the money," and bought the bird at once.
The delight that bird was to me it is impossible to
describe. He was loving beyond words, and would follow
me about like a dog. He could not only talk very nicely,
but he would perform all kinds of tricks; lie on his back in
my hand, for instance, with shut-up eyes and crumpled
claws, pretending he was dead; but at the magic threat of
"Policeman coming!" up Joe would jump with a very
unmusical squeak, his bright eyes opened wide, and his
head on one side. Then Joe used to get up games on his
own account. For instance, he would manage to get out of
his cage-he was a wonderfully clever hand at opening the
cage door-and perhaps I would come into my room just
returned from a walk: I would glance at Joe's cage and find
the door open again, perhaps for the twentieth time since I
had had him, and Joe gone.
Joe Joe! I would cry. "Where are you ?"
Then a curious sound would proceed from a corner of the
room, and I would go and seek there, but no starling would
I see; but I could hear, if I listened intently, the patter,
patter of Joe's little feet as he hopped off to another part of
the room-in fact, we would have a regular game at hide
and seek, started by Master Joe. Sometimes I would be
too quick for him, and find him; sometimes he would give
himself up, and come flying at me with a loud Hullo!
hullo I and kiss and love me in his way, which was a very
affectionate and demonstrative way, Ican tell you.
If I went for a walk Joe would go too, fly often to distant
trees, but soon come back and perch upon my shoulder.
Joe loved me, and I loved him very dearly; but much as I
loved him, I did not care to share all my belongings with
him, which is what he always seemed to consider his right.
If I had a box of chocolates given to me I never had half,
for Joe would manage to get at them, and when he tasted
8 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
them he never knew when to stop. Alas! poor Joe suffered
for his large appetite, for after I had had him some little
time he began to have fits!
One day he had escaped from his cage, and found his
way into the kitchen, where the cook, who was very fond of
him, winked at his stealing some pieces of raw meat. To
my surprise Joe came from the kitchen with a sedate and
somewhat sorrowful air, and instead of beginning any of his
tricks and pranks, or fluttering up to love me, he hopped
up to his cage, and sat on his perch with a downcast, and
what, I at first thought, was a sulky air. But presently I
discovered that my poor little Joe was ill. I directly feared
that little Joe was going to have a fit: he had had three
before, but not very severe ones, and my nurse had cleverly
doctored him by giving him a hot bath, and hanging him
before the fire in a flannel bag.
I went up to the cage door, and, putting my hand in,
began to stroke my poor bird. Alas! Joe's eyes was dim,
and he scarcely noticed my caresses.
Joe dear Joe! I cried, are you ill ?"
Joe gave a feeble squeak, and fell off his perch! We
picked him up, tried all the usual remedies, but they were
of no avail. Joe remained in an insensible state for some
hours, and then died a victim-alas that I should have to
say it of otherwise so dear and sweet a bird-a victim to
HERE certainly are few things prettier to
my mind than a dear little baby donkey.
Every little young thing in the world has
a great charm for me, but I particularly
like baby donkeys. See what a pretty crea-
ture this is in the picture, with its innocent-
looking little face, bright eyes, and sharp pricked-up ears,
ready for a game with its sedate mamma, who is just enjoy-
ing her thistle.
I think you children generally like donkeys, although I
am very, very sorry to say that when I have seen little
people riding them at the seaside and elsewhere, I have
almost always had cause to pity the poor gentle donkey.
If a donkey is taken care of and properly trained, and
gently and kindly used, it will answer the bit, and obey the
whip, as readily as a horse. I once had a donkey that I
drove in a basket carriage, and it was as nice to drive as
I will tell you now how this little donkey became mine. I
do not know if you children have ever heard the saying-but
there is a saying-that nobody ever sees a dead donkey.
My old nurse, I remember, used to say: Pins and dead
donkeys rolls off the earth together, I do believe."
Having had this idea instilled into me from my child-
1o MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
hood, you may suppose I was very much astonished one
morning, as I was walking along a lane close to where I
lived in the country, to see a young donkey lying right in
my path. I stooped down to look at it, and it appeared
Just then a farmer belonging to the neighboring farm
came down the lane, and, stopping, he looked at the little
thing also. "Well, ma'am," said he, "they say as no one
ever see a dead donkey: here's one, sure enough." We
could not see it breathe at all.
Presently up came a labouring man, who exclaimed:
"Hullo! this is our little Tommy. I expect he's come
from our place to look after his mother." Then I learnt
that the poor little animal's mother had been sold to the
farmer the day before, and so the little son had wandered
off that morning in search of her.
Poor little thing! I cried, I fear he is dead; do bring
his mother to him." The farmer very good-naturedly went
off to fetch Mrs. Donkey, who soon came trotting down the
lane; and when she got by the side of Tommy, what do
you think the little animal did?-Why he just jumped up,
and seemed all right directly. Then it was so pretty to see
how mamma donkey loved and caressed her little son; while
he returned all her affection with interest.
The end of this little adventure was that I bought Tom-
my and his mother too, so that they might not be separated.
The mamma used to carry my children on her back; and
little Tommy, when he grew older, was driven in my basket
carriage for many years.
One day, a- summer or two ago, I was driving in my
sister-in-law's pony-carriage. I was staying with her at her
pretty house in Kent, and one of my chief pleasures used to
be taking delightful drives about the country with her in
her pony-carriage. Such a pace we were going! Little
Winnie, the sweetest, handsomest, fastest little pony in
Kent, was trotting along bravely, on one of the few level
roads to be found in the most lovely county in England,
when suddenly she pricked her ears, sprang forward, and
pulled so hard that it was very difficult to hold her.
"Listen!" said my sister-in-law, "there must be some-
one coming behind us. Winnie hears them, and she can't
bear anything to pass her on the road "
I listened, and heard a sharp, quick pattering of tiny feet
behind us, with the roll of wheels; turning to look, I now
saw that the sound was caused by a small cart-in which,
however, were seated two men-drawn by a donkey! I am
afraid you will think I am inventing-but I assure you I
am not-when I tell you that this donkey-cart, laden with
two heavy men, overtook and passed us, although little
Winnie, indignant beyond anything at the affront, stepped
out and did her best; and, once having the advantage of us,
the donkey kept it, and we never made up our lost ground.
One reason of this, of course, being that the donkey went as
fast down hill as on the level ground, because donkeys
12 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
never stumble, therefore his master did not think of making
him walk down the steep hills, while my sister-in-law's re-
gard for her pony's pretty knees made her very careful lest
she should have a fall.
"What a wonderful donkey!" I exclaimed; "I never saw
anything like it before "
"Well," said my sister-in-law, "I have often seen this
particular donkey; but I don't think there are many like
"Who does he belong to ?" I then asked.
"To a builder in the neighbourhood," was her reply.
""Would you like to go and see it at it's home? We will drive
there one day if you like. He does not live very far off."
"Let us go to-morrow," I said, anxious to make the
acquaintance of the wonderful donkey.
Accordingly, the next day we drove over to the builder's
house and there saw not only the donkey that had passed us
on the road-who, by-the-way, was about twenty years old
-but a brother and sister of his, and a son and daughter;
in fact, a whole family of most remarkable donkeys. They
were all white or nearly white donkeys. They were clipped
and singed regularly like horses, and fed with corn like
horses; in fact, looked after, and made much of, and petted
to a great extent. The consequence was, as I had seen,
they were fleeter than a pony and more sure-footed, and
a set of the most useful creatures possible, and as docile
and gentle as they could be.
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THE GOLDEN EAGLE.
HIS is a picture of an eagle feeding her
young ones. You see the young eaglets
have been waiting hungry at home in their
nest, high up among the great solemn rocks,
while mother eagle has gone down into the
plains below to find food for them. She has
been successful, as you can see, for she has carried up in
her cruel beak a poor hare. It is dead now, so there is no
more pain for it.
Look how eagerly one of the young birds is flying at the
dead hare, while the other has its beak wide open, ready for
a bit. I think the last is the best mannered of the two,
for the greedy eaglet with its back turned has evidently not
waited to be asked to sit down and have its dinner, as well-
behaved children should.
The eagle is called the king of birds from its noble look,
its lofty flight, and its great strength. It has been known
to carry up in its talons even a sheep. The golden eagle
is found in many parts of the world; but only mountainous
parts. It builds its nest high up on some lofty rock. It is
much dreaded in places where it is common, for there are
instances of its carrying off little children.
I have heard a story of an eagle who carried off a baby,
which the mother had laid down for a minute by the sea-
14 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
shore, while she wandered to a little distance to pick up
The poor woman saw the eagle fly off with her little child
to its nest, which was not far away, and she followed it,
climbing up over the rocks, faint and breathless, and almost
dying with exertion and horror. As she approached the
nest, she saw the little eaglets with open beaks ready for
their meal. The poor mother had in her hand a shawl in
which the baby had been wrapped, and she threw it past
the old eagle over the steep rock. The great bird went
swooping after it, just as she had hoped, thinking it fresh
prey. On the instant she seized her baby, which was not
much hurt, and carried it back over the rocks and safely
The nest of the eagle is made of branches of trees, inter-
woven with smaller twigs, and lined with rushes. It lays
three eggs of a dusky colour, spotted with green; and it
will attack anything or anybody in defence of its little ones.
The golden eagle's eyes are particularly bright and piercing,
and when perched it looks very grand and majestic.
There are more than forty different kinds of eagles. All
these are quite unlike the vulture in their habits ; the latter
eat any dead things that they happen to find in their way,
while the eagles, in their wild state, always kill their food.
I have read that they are not cruel birds, for they never
torture their prey, but swoop upon it with the quickness of
lightning and kill it at one fell stroke of their deadly talons.
THE GOLDEN EAGLE. 15
It appears that eagles never make use of their beaks to
kill their prey.
If an eagle sees a bird flying and intends to kill it he
does so by the mere stroke of his own body, if it is a large
bird, striking it dead without inflicting any wound. Although
eagles are very greedy, and eat a great deal usually, yet
they can go without food for a long time. A friend of mine
had a tame one, and told me that after it was caught it
refused food for many days, and he feared that it would die
of starvation; but after it became reconciled a little, it again
took to eating very greedily.
This gentleman who had the tame eagle was a clergyman,
and he was very fond of carving, and carved most beauti-
fully. He had this eagle so that he might copy it, and
carve an eagle in oak for the church lectern. I went to see
the poor tame eagle, who was chained up to a tree, and I
must say, though he looked very grand and handsome, that
he did not impress me as being at all tame.
I don't much like the look of your model," said I to my
friend. I certainly should not like to go near him."
Oh! he's all right," was the reply. Would you like
to see me feed him ? Not realising what a very disagree-
able sight it would be, I foolishly answered "Yes."
So my friend disappeared, and presently returned with a
basket, and he went towards the eagle, who began a strange
sort of dance of expectation.
"Ah! said my friend, you see he knows what's coming.
16 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
Hie, King Cole, look out; you shall have a splendid
If King Cole knew what was coming it was more than I
did, or I should most certainly have walked off in quite
When we got near the eagle my friend put the basket on
the ground, and King Cole made many but futile attempts
to reach it. However, the basket was opened at last, and
then I discovered that it contained a quantity of raw meat.
How horrible! I said. "Are you going to feed him
Why, you didn't think I was going to give him bun
and biscuit?" was the reply. He would not thank me for
that, I can tell you."
And, so saying, he threw a large piece of the meat within
the eagle's reach. Whereupon the eagle attacked it, and
tore it up and eat it in such a horrible way that it made me
feel quite sick, and I was very sorry that I said I should
like to see him fed. You see we should always think well
before we speak.
In spite of his eating in such a nasty way, the eagle made
a very good model, I must tell you, and the carved lectern
was soon finished, and greatly admired by everyone who
saw it. I don't know what became of my friend King Cole,
but I think he was given to the Zoological Gardens, where,
amongst companions of like tastes, I fancy he would be
ELL, my little friends, I think I need hardly
describe this animal to you; for there is
scarcely a home in England, rich or poor,
which is without a pussy.
How the children all love the little kitten,
the nursery pet, with its pretty playful ways
and graceful movements! But kitty grows up too soon
into the sedate old mother-cat, like the one we see in the pic-
ture holding the poor little mouse in her mouth. Ah that
to me is a terrible drawback to Pussy-that love of killing.
I am so fond of cats that this year I went to the Crystal
Palace Cat Show, where I saw some beauties; among
others a tortoiseshell Tom, which is said to be a great
rarity. Hundreds of cats, large and small, long-haired and
short-haired, long-tailed and tailless, cats of every colour
known to catdom, filled the cages, which were arranged in
long rows. And I must say they bore their imprisonment
with wonderful patience. For three days they had been
shut up in those wire houses, like birds: and some of the
cages housed a whole family. One, I remember, contained
a mamma and her six children; the latter small, but very
rampageous. I pitied this poor mother with all my heart;
how her patience must have been tried during those three
18 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
Though we may not like to see cats kill small animals,
Puss is often valued in proportion as she can rid the house
of rats and mice. So it is, I suspect, with the cat in the
picture! She is evidently owned by a carpenter, who
perhaps found his workshop infested by rats and mice till
he possessed this handsome tabby. She will soon rid him
of them, I think: and see how she is teaching her kittens to
follow her example!
But in spite of their natural instinct to destroy mice and
birds, cats may be easily taught to live in friendship with
these very creatures; and I will tell you a story of a pet cat
which, I think, will amuse you better than hearing about
the poor little mice being killed.
A lady that I know had a fine tabby cat, and also a very
beautiful canary. The cat's name was Bijou; the canary's
-Cherry. Now Bijou had been brought up from kitten-
hood with Cherry; that is, he had been accustomed to
sit on the rug beside the fire, while Cherry sang in his
cage on the table, or hanging at the window. Bijou always
behaved perfectly well, and never attempted to molest
The mistress of these two pets used to let the canary fly
about sometimes in her bedroom, but she never had quite
confidence enough in Bijou to do this while he was there.
One day in summer the window of the bedroom happened
to be open at the top without her noticing it, and the
canary, after flying about the room a little while, passed out
CA TS. 19
of the window. It flew round and about, from tree to tree,
seeming to enjoy its liberty very much.
The lady feared she had lost it for ever, but she brought
out the cage and placed it upon the lawn, thinking there
was just a chance that the canary might come back to its
old home of its own accord. As she stood at the window
watching, she presently saw the bird alight on the lawn.
A moment afterwards she saw Bijou, who had been crouch-
ing in a bed of flowers, spring out, pounce upon the little
creature, and seize it in his mouth.
Then, to the lady's astonishment, who expected to see
the bird devoured, Bijou trotted with it up' to the cage, and
deposited the truant safely inside again. Cherry was dread-
fully frightened, but not at all hurt, and after shaking its
rumpled feathers into their places, sat on its perch as happy
Is it not wonderful to see a cat jump-how graceful they
are! And how lightly they fall, always, seemingly, upon
their feet-indeed, there is a saying that cats always fall
upon their feet. I wish it were so, but, alas I know only
too well to the contrary. I must tell you, I think, the
reason why I am sure that the saying is a mistaken one,
but in giving you my reasons I must tell you a very sad
story, that makes me feel unhappy now when I think of it.
A lady that I know has a family of beautiful long-haired
cats, and one day she made one of my children a present of
a lovely little tabby kitten. I don't think I ever saw such a
20 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOQTED FRIENDS.
little beauty. Fluff had unusually long hair, even for a
Persian, and a tail like a squirrel's in size, while she had
the proper featherlike long hairs growing out of each ear.
One summer evening, when we had had Fluff for about
three weeks, and we had all been particularly admiring her
as she had a game with our little pug Topsy, Blanchie
carried her kitten up to her room at the top of the house,
and left it there, and then went into the drawing-room.
She took great pains to shut the window, for I had noticed
a day or two before that Fluff was playing with the leaves
of some flowers, the pots of which stood on the window sill,
and I had said at the time, "When Fluff is alone here, be
sure to have the window shut at the bottom, for the little
creature might fall out, and although they say cats always
fall on their feet, it would never do to risk it."
Blanchie shut the window, but the housemaid came into
the room soon after, and, unfortunately, opened it again.
A little time after this, when I was sitting in the dining-
room, I heard a terrible sound, a thud and crash, and then
the scream of a cat. I fancied that the cook had thrown
some water at a strange cat, but one of the children who ran
to the window screamed out, "Oh, mother it is Blanchie's
kitten The poor little thing, I suppose, in playing with
the leaves, had overbalanced itself, and had fallen from the
top of the house into the area below-an immense height!
I rushed down, but nothing could be done. You may
suppose how heartbroken Blanchie was for a time!
HIS is a picture of a bird called the Spar-
row-hawk. It is rather a small kind of
hawk, and contents itself with swoop-
ing down upon poor little unoffending
sparrows, and such small game. Like
other birds of prey, it is becoming more
scarce every year in England, and being a very wild,
shy bird, it does not come near people or houses if it
can help it. Still, when it is very hungry, or has little
hungry bird-children at home in its nest, it becomes
very brave and fierce, as you will see by the story I am
going to tell you of what happened to me when I was a
It was, I remember, a cold morning. I had come out
into the garden to bowl my hoop, when old Tidyman, the
gardener, who was sweeping the paths, and who dearly
loved a little chat, said to me,-
"It's rare and cold surely, Missie, for the time of year.
The birds is eager for their food: there be a sparrer-hawk
a'hoverin over here as seems precious hungry. It have a
nesty, I know, in that there hollow tree in the park, and as
soon as ever them pore little birds you see there trying to
peck a bit, comes together, that there sparrer-hawk he
comes after them. Looky there!" exclaimed the old man,
22 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
pointing to a hawk high in the air above our heads, "if he
ain't a'hoverin over us now! "
The poor little dickies, who were pecking away at a few
crumbs, which had been thrown out to them in the garden
by some kind-hearted maid belonging to the house, seemed
suddenly to become conscious of their danger, and flew off
with a frightened, twittering cry. One only-a very young
and very foolhardy little sparrow-remained to take a last
peck. The hawk singled out this poor birdie for his prey,
and allowing the others to fly away in peace, suddenly
swooped down upon the little laggard, fastening his cruel
beak in its poor quivering body.
This took place within half-a-dozen yards of the spot
where old Tidyman and I stood talking. I was but a child
of seven years old, but I hated cruelty, and always longed to
help the weak against the strong; so I rushed at the hawk,
hoopstick in hand. The little sparrow was already dead;
but what do you think the savage hawk did ? It turned upon
me, and flew at my face. I put my hand up just in time,
and had a piece pecked out of one of my fingers instead.
When Tidyman came up, the horrid bird flew off, not for-
getting, though, to pick up and carry off the little dead spar-
row in triumph. I have no doubt the baby-hawks, in their
nest in the hollow tree, greeted him with open mouths, as
you see them in the picture, and they were fed not only with
the little dead sparrow, but also with a nice piece out of my
poor little finger.
THE SPARROW-HA WK. 23
Not very long after this my father was out shooting, and
he noticed in the distance a sparrow-hawk hovering over
his prey; my father fired at the hawk, and hit him, but did
not kill him. The bird came wheeling down and fell at
some distance off. One of the gamekeepers ran to the place
and would have finished the hawk if my father had not
called out to him to wait.
When papa reached the wounded bird he found that the
shot had broken one of his wings, but that he was not hurt
otherwise. The hawk was put into a bag and carried home;
when they got him home he made the keeper put him into
an empty rabbit hutch, and we put him some water to drink
and some scraps of meat. For several days the wounded
hawk refused his food, but at last he consented to eat, and
after a time became really tame. He would now eat out of
our hands. We used to let him out of his hutch and he
would walk about upon the lawn and pick up slugs, and
even condescend to worms, like smaller birds.
At first all the little birds in the neighbourhood seemed
inclined to desert our garden when they perceived our new,
strange pet. After a little while, however, they discovered
that he could not fly, so they advanced quite close to him,
and would impudently fly round him just beyond his reach,
chirping defiance at him. Our old gardener was sorry that
the little birds had found out the maimed state of the poor
sparrow-hawk, for he had rather counted upon him as act-
ing as a sort of scarecrow when the fruit came.
24 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
Our sparrow-hawk lived for two or three years in this state
of captivity and then he died. I dare say the confined life
was trying to such a wild creature. He gradually refused
his food, eating less and less every day, until at last the poor
thing sank, and died from exhaustion.
I have read that the sparrow-hawk still inhabits England
in great numbers, although it is not very often seen, as it is
a most wild, shy, and wary bird, and never ventures near
human beings, or their dwellings, if it can help it. Even to
get within gun-shot of a sparrow-hawk is very difficult,
though he may be taken unawares, as in the case I have
been telling you of, if he is engaged in hovering over his
prey, when his attention is entirely taken up with what he is
about. Indeed he is so eager in the chase that all his facul-
ties seem absorbed, and he seems to see and hear nothing
but the unfortunate little bird he is pursuing.
This is a most courageous bird as well as being an ex-
tremely handsome one, and if he lived in the days of hawk-
ing he would be a most useful one to train, as he dashes at
everything, and seems to be entirely without fear.
It is a bird, though, that is supposed to be impossible to
tame, as it is viciously disposed, and has been found slow
at learning and quick at forgetting. However, in the in-
stance of which I have told you, when we managed to tame
the wounded hawk, of course things were different, for the
poor bird's broken wing helped to break his spirit, and it
made him unnaturally docile.
OW pretty little squirrels look perched on
the branches of a tree! I like to watch
them as they nimbly run up the trunk, or
spring from bough to bough. One or two
are generally to be seen in a clump of great
old beeches near a house in the country,
where I usually spend some happy weeks in summer; and
I will tell you a story of a little squirrel whose acquaintance
I made there last summer.
I happened to be up very early one morning, long before
breakfast was ready, or any of the family were down, and I
went out into the garden to enjoy the fresh sweet smell of
the early day. The cows were grazing in the field beyond,
and now and then lowing a friendly "good-morning" to
each other. Some ducks were waddling in procession down
to the pond, quacking out their wise remarks as they went.
The little birds were singing lustily their welcome to the
new-born day. Even the old watch-dog came yawning,
stretching, blinking, and wagging his tail in kindly dog-
fashion, to bid me "good-day" in the summer sunshine.
As I stood under the great beech trees, taking in with
greedy eye and ear the sights and sounds of country life so
refreshing to a Londoner, I heard something fall from
one of the trees, then a scuffle, and immediately afterwards
26 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
a white Persian cat, belonging to the house, bounded
towards me in hot pursuit of a dear little squirrel. I was
just in time to save the poor little animal by stepping
between it and the cat. The squirrel passed under the
edge of my dress, and made off again up another tree; so
pussy lost her prey.
Soon afterwards, when we were at breakfast, the butler
told us that one of the little boys of the village, who had
lost a pet squirrel, had asked if he might look for it in the
garden of the house. It had first escaped into some trees
in the park, and he had traced it from them into the garden.
It at once occurred to me that this must be the little creature
I had saved from the cat. I remembered how it made
straight towards me, as if asking me for protection from its
enemy, which only a tame squirrel would do; and I pro-
posed, when breakfast was over, that we should go out and
help in the search.
Little Jack Tompkins stood under the beech-trees, looking
with tear-stained face up into the branches. Suddenly I
saw his face brighten, and he called out: I see un, ma'am;
I see un! If so be no one warn't by, I be sure he'd come
I need not say we retreated to a distance; then Jack
called up the tree in a loud whisper, Billee, Billee! and
in a minute down came the little creature on to his shoulder.
I can tell you Jack was a happier child than he had been
when he came into the garden. And when I told him what
a narrow escape Billee had had from the cat, he said:
" It would be hard if a cat eat he, for our old puss brought
he up with her own kits." Then he told us how the squirrel,
when a tiny thing, had dropped out of its nest, and been
found by him lying almost dead at the foot of a tree, and
how he had carried it home, and tried whether pussy would
adopt it as one of her own kittens. The cat was kind ; the
squirrel throve under her motherly care, and became Jack's
pet and companion.
Now, children, in this instance it was all very well to
keep a tame squirrel. "Billee seemed happy, leading the
life he was accustomed to: he had been fed and cared for
by human beings from his infancy, and might be as in-
capable of finding food, and managing for himself, in a
wild state, as a poor canary would be if let loose from its
cage. But generally it is cruel to imprison little wild birds
and animals who have known the enjoyment of liberty.
Squirrels are interesting little creatures. Besides being
so pretty, bright-eyed, and active, they are remarkably in-
telligent. They make their nests in trees as birds do, but
with even more ingenuity than most birds. The nest is
waterproof, and secure from the roughest gale of wind; it
is, besides, carefully hidden from the view of any passer-by
beneath. The food of squirrels consists of vegetables,
nuts, acorns, and other fruits and seeds. These little
animals have the forethought to lay up provisions for the
winter; and not only do they keep a little store in their
28 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
nests, but in any hole they may chance to find in the
surrounding trees. Sometimes they have a dozen secret
storehouses within a few leaps of their nest.
In India they have the prettiest little squirrels you can
imagine. I once had a little pet one when I was there; I
will tell you how I came to have it. In India the squirrels are
not content with building in the trees, as they do in England,
but build about in the rafters of the houses-and, in fact, in
all sorts of odd nooks and corners, as you shall hear.
One day I thought I would be very industrious, and knit
my baby some nice woollen socks, as the rainy season was
coming on, and I looked about for some wool which I had
brought out from England. I could not remember where I
had put it, and looked first in one place, and then the other.
At last I remembered a certain work-basket, that I had not
opened for many weeks: it happened to be standing on a
writing-table in the dining-room. I went to it; the lid was
pushed to one side, and what do you think I found. Why,
all my nice wool scraped up, and twisted and turned into a
little squirrels' nest. There were three sweet little pretty
baby squirrels lying together, but no mother was to be seen.
Whether it was my touching the basket or not that
offended the mother I don't know, but that unfeeling parent
deserted her children : two died, but I was able to save the
third, and a dear little affectionate pet Master Jerry proved.
I had him for about a year only, though, and he then fell a
victim to a cat.
HIS picture shows three very funny long-
legged birds; they look at first sight very
like storks, but these birds are herons.
The heron, though much less common
than in former days, still holds its place
among familiar British birds, being occa-
sionally seen on the banks of almost every river or lake.
The heron lives on fish, which it swallows whole, and in
great numbers. It mostly prefers to stand under the
shadow of a tree, bush, or bank ; and from its perfect still-
ness, and the sober colour of its plumage, it seems often to
escape the observation even of the fish themselves.
In old times in England, the sport called hawking, which
consisted in the chase of herons by hawks or falcons trained
for the purpose, was a very favourite one among both
gentlemen and ladies. Young hawks, procured from their
nests in Iceland or Norway, and carefully trained, were of
great value. The sport was generally enjoyed on horseback,
and both ladies and gentlemen usually carried the hawks
perched upon their wrists, the birds' heads being covered
with a hood till the moment came for letting them fly.
When the heron was discovered, he would soon become
aware of the approach of the hawking party; and spreading
his broad wings, and stretching out his long neck in front
30 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
and his long legs behind, would rise majestically in the air.
Then the hawk's hood was removed, and as soon as he
caught sight of the heron, he was let fly in pursuit.
Now a hawk cannot strike unless it is above its prey, and
the heron seems instinctively to be aware of this. It used
to be thought a fine sight to see these two birds striving to
rise each above the other. Round and round they went,
always higher and higher. At length the hawk rose high
enough to shoot down upon the heron. Sometimes he was
received upon the long sharp bill of the latter, and simply
spitted himself; but generally he would break the wing
of the heron, or clutch him with beak and claws, when
the two came fluttering down together.
This sport has now fallen into disuse, and English herons
lead a peaceful life enough. There are some at the Zoo-
logical Gardens, and I think you will laugh to see them
standing there at the edge of their pond, with heads sunk
between their shoulders, looking like long-nosed old gentle-
men in pointed tail-coats.
I have been told a funny story about a heron, though I
will not be answerable for the truth of it. There was once
upon a time an old and very rich gentleman, who was
extremely fond of animals and birds of all kinds. This old
gentleman had a regular private zoological gardens. He
lived a good way off in the country, and had very large
grounds, which were divided and arranged for the comfort
of his pets of all sorts. He had aviaries for keeping small
birds, and a large sort of enclosure for big birds, of which
latter he had a great number-amongst them being one or
Now, this old gentleman had several sons and daughters,
all of whom were as fond of animals as their father, though
I don't know if they cared as much for birds. One son I
know had a colley that lived in the house, and was a very
handsome and nice dog, and a great pet with everyone.
Indeed, it was no use going to that house if you were not
fond of dogs, for they met you at every turn, but Beau "-
that was the name of the colley-was the only really large
dog allowed in the drawing-room.
Well, a certain old maid-a very precise old lady-came
to stay with this family that I have been telling you about.
She did not really like any animals, though she used to pre-
tend to do so; and one evening, when Beau came up to her
and put his great paws on her lap, and looked with a friendly
look into her face with his gentle pretty brown eyes, she
pushed him away, and said, "Oh, get down, you great
rough creature," and gave him a little sharp kick that she
thought nobody saw. The dog's master, however, remarked
it all, and going up to her he said, I thought you were so
fond of animals, Miss Tomson; I have heard you say so to
"Oh! yes," replied Miss Tomson. "I like little dogs,
and I love all birds-sweet birds," she said, in an affected
30 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
Big ones ?" asked the dog's master, or only the little
Oh! I love them all," she said. They are so gentle,
so much nicer than any other creatures to pet-don't you
think so?" asked she of the master of the house. "I
confess," she went on, "that I am a little afraid of large
dogs sometimes, but I could never, never fear a bird." This
she said because she knew the old gentleman was passion-
ately fond of birds, and sometimes seemed to think there
might be rather too many dogs about the place.
"You're sure you couldn't be afraid of a bird ?" asked the
dog's master again.
"Quite-quite sure," replied the old maid.
Now that night, when everyone had gone to bed, the
master of the colley went into the gardens with his brother
and a couple of the gardeners, and partly by coaxing, and
partly by force, succeeded in inducing an old heron to
accompany them to the house, and they managed to get it
upstairs-how, I know not, but I tell the tale as it was told
to me-and turned it into the old lady's bedroom. She was
awakened by a noise in the room, and on opening her eyes
discovered the heron standing at the foot of her bed gazing
at her. In a minute more the most appalling screams re-
sounded through the house, and the poor old maid was
discovered almost in fits with fright.
She left the house next day, and never went there again,
and I don't wonder at it-do you ?
-"- n- i C
;-.. .i... -
9. ..., i,,
HESE pretty lively little birds are Gold-
finches; or, as they are sometimes called,
Thistle-finches; because they are so fond
of feeding on the downy seed of the thistle.
On our moors or barren commons, where
thistles abound, this beautiful little bird is
always to be found. There are few prettier sights in the
country than a cloud of goldfinches fluttering along a
hedge, chasing the thistle-down as it is whirled away by
the breeze, and singing their sweet merry song.
When I was a little girl I had a pet goldfinch given me,
which knew all sorts of pretty tricks; and it was so tame
and gentle! I called it Nugget, which, you know, means
a little lump of gold. Now, shall I tell you what it was
like? Its tiny body (goldfinches are very small) was all a
bright reddish gold colour, while its wings and tail were
marked with black and white, and its little bill was pale
Nugget seemed so happy in his cage, that it never oc-
curred to me as a child that it might be cruel to shut up
a little wild English bird in a prison, instead of letting it fly
about free and gay over the breezy commons, and through
the merry green woods. However, I fancy Nugget had
really no regret for his native woods and wilds: I believe
34 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
he was taken from his nest when he was such a tiny bird
that he could have no recollection of them.
When I opened the cage-door for my little friend to have
a fly round the nursery, and stretch his wings, he would
generally settle, after a moment-where do you think now ?
You would never guess-On my nurse's pincushion, just in
front of the looking-glass. There the vain little creature
would stay, quiet and happy, looking at his own reflection;
pluming himself, and turning his head first to one side,
then to the other, evidently admiring his own gorgeous
This was the great treat of the day for Nugget, but he
was also very fond of taking his bath. Sometimes he had
it on the dressing-table, and he would plunge into it, and
splash the water about, making such a shower all about the
place as you would scarcely believe could be made by such
a diminutive being.
Nugget was very accomplished too, I can tell you. He
used to draw up a little bucket of water, with a string, into
his cage when he wanted to drink; and there was a little
box with seed on the other side which he drew up in the
same way. So you see he was a clever little bird as well as
a very pretty one.
I suppose you, my little friends, think from what I have
told you that you could not have a much nicer pet than a
little goldfinch, and I quite agree with you. But now I must
tell you a sad tale of a goldfinch. I have a little girl called
Lily, and, partly, I suppose, from hearing me tell her about
the goldfinch I had when I was a child-she had a very great
desire to have a goldfinch for a pet. I was anxious to have
one quite young for her, because birds-as I daresay you
know-will not become so tame unless you pet them and
teach them tricks when they are quite baby ones.
At last, one day, a friend of ours called, and brought a
sweet little goldfinch as a present for Lily.
"I am sure it is quite young," she said, "for my gardener
got it for me, and he said that he took it out of the nest."
It was a lovely, healthy little bird, and very tame; in
a few days it would come out of its cage and fly about the
room, perching upon my head, and little Lily's hand, with-
out the least fear. It reminded me so much of Nugget that
if I had not been well aware that poor little Nugget had
died of old age many, many years before, I should have
been inclined to fancy it must be he. But, alas! I had
attended little Nugget's funeral, as I remembered only too
well, and had buried him, with much honour, under a rose-
bush in the garden at home, while I was yet a child!
Mamma," said Lily, "Goldy is so clever, that I should
like to get a cage for him, like the one you had for your
little bird, with a little waggon for his seed, you know, and
a bucket for the water."
I think it would give him a great deal of trouble, Lily,"
"Oh! but he is so clever, mamma!" cried Lily, and he
36 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
would learn to do it directly; and he is such a greedy little
bird, that, do you know, I think it would be a good thing
for him to have to draw his seed up in that way, because
then he would not be so likely to eat too much."
In fact Lily's heart was set upon Master Goldy's working
for his living, so she and I went off one day to buy a cage
with a waggon and bucket. We soon found one, and bought
it, and brought it home. Goldy was placed in it, and we
taught him very quickly to draw up the seed and water.
It was very funny to see him sometimes drag up his waggon
of seed, quite close to his little beak, and then suddenly,
by some awkwardness, let the string slip, when away would
go the waggon to the bottom of the hill. He used to look
surprised and disappointed, but he was a patient little bird,
not easily daunted, and he would set to work again with
a will, and generally succeed the next time, or, if he did
not, his little mistress would come to his aid, and hold his
food close for him to make a good meal.
Alas! one day Lily ran into my room in the greatest
state of distress, "Mamma, mamma!" she cried, "some-
thing has happened to Goldy, oh! come and see, pray do."
I followed her, and found that something indeed had hap-
pened to poor little Goldy. The sweet, bright little fellow
was dead. In drawing up the waggon of seed he had some-
how managed to twist the string round his little neck, and
by the time Lily had found out that something was the
matter, the poor little bird was hanged.
. .. . .......
VMS . .. . .
AM going to tell you now, little people,
about an animal which is neither very nice
in appearance nor habits, and has become
proverbial for its evil smell.
The picture on the other page is of a
Polecat: there is a mother with her two
little ones, and they have climbed into a tree to eat up the
poor dear little birds you see in that nest. How frightened
the poor little birdies are, as they see the glistening eyes
and hungry jaws close over them, ready to snap them up!-
not one pair of gleaming eyes and savage jaws, but three
pairs: for the two children polecats are every bit as savage
and dangerous as their mother.
How I wish I was a sportsman at the foot of that tree!
My gun would soon be up at my shoulder, and-bang !-
the charge would go into Mrs. Polecat. Then I would so
pepper the whole polecat family, that they should soon turn
round and beat a retreat, thankful to escape with their lives;
and leaving the tiny birdies to wait happily in their warm
comfortable nest until the papa and mamma birdies return.
Let us fancy that some kind sportsman has so saved the
tiny fledglings; and now, having comforted ourselves with
that thought, I will tell you some more about the nature
and habits of the polecat. It belongs to the weasel tribe,
38 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
which are all remarkable for their long slender bodies, their
great activity in climbing, and their power of squeezing
themselves through small openings; also for their sharp
teeth, their quickness of scent, and their singular rapacity.
So savage is the polecat that it is a dreadful pest to the
When engaged in hunting or robbing; it is wonderfully
bold, and will put on a cool and impudent air, instead of
running away at once, when discovered and disturbed.
Not only does it make victims of the smaller kinds of
poultry, such as ducks and chickens; but, although a small
animal itself, it will attack geese or turkeys. This terrible
little creature has the habit of destroying the life of every
animal it can get at, apparently only for the pleasure of
doing so. For instance, if it can make its way into a hen-
house, it will kill every cock and hen and little chicken to
be found there, although it may be impossible for it to eat a
twentieth part of its victims.
The Polecat has another name; it is also called the
It appears that there are a good many different kinds of
these creatures. Buffon, the great writer upon natural
history, whom I daresay you have heard of, has given the
name of Mouffettes to the species, and that name is given
to them because of their bad smell. The French name for
the vapour which rises out of underground places, and
which is so poisonous, is mouffette; and so these evil-
THE POLECAT. 39
smelling animals are given that name by the great French
A friend of Monsieur Buffon had an American polecat
sent as a present to him-a disagreeable sort of present, I
should say! It was about sixteen inches long, and had
dark brown hair and sharp black claws, short legs, a pointed
nose and small ears. It fed upon beetles, worms, and small
birds. It would kill the chickens if it could find its
way into the poultry-yard, but only eat their brains. It
lived in the garden for a whole summer, where it was
fastened up by a small chain. It never bit anybody; and
when it was given food it allowed people to handle it just
like a dog. It dug up the earth with its nose and forepaws,
which had long crooked claws. During the day it hid itself
in a kind of den it had made; but at night it came
out and ran about as far as its chain would allow, and
would keep up its exercise until morning. It had food
given to it every night. It did not like meat or bread, but
was very fond of boiled shrimps, caterpillars, and spiders.
At the end of Autumn it was found dead in its hole.
Now I am very fond of all kinds of pets, dogs, cats and
birds. Rats and mice, even, have had a share of my
affection; but there are certainly some creatures for whom
I could feel no liking, and polecats are amongst those
Ferrets, weasels, stoats and martens are animals of the
same kind, with whom I have no sympathy: bloodthirsty
40 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
little savages all! They kill birds, hares and rabbits, and
live by sucking the blood of all sorts of harmless creatures.
Weasels are terrible enemies to the poor birds, for they
think nothing of climbing trees, and will kill the old bird
on its nest, and suck the eggs, or carry off the tiny birds.
I have a nephew who had some pet ferrets once, and he
thought a great deal of them. He had hutches for them in
the yard, and was extremely proud of them. I said, "Jack,
I can't think how you can be so fond of your ferrets; they
are nasty cruel things, and not even fond of or obedient to
"Oh! "cried Jack, "they are splendid creatures, Aunt
Lucy. You should just see them after rabbits."
"That is exactly what I do not wish to see," said I; "but
if you like to show them to me now that they are not
actively engaged in any cruelty, I don't mind seeing them."
Come along," said Jack, and along we went to the abode
of the ferrets-nice wooden hutches, well lined with hay to
keep them warm, for they are very chilly creatures.
Jack opened the hutch door, and took out the ferret that
was his principal favourite. He put him against his breast,
and caressed him as if he was a dear little puppy or pet
kitten. "Isn't he tame?" said Jack. "See what a nice
coat he has, and pretty pink eyes "
The words were scarcely out of his mouth when Jack
uttered a sharp and angry exclamation, and I saw that the
horrid, treacherous ferret had bitten his hand most cruelly !
ERE we have a picture of Mrs. Owl feeding
her little baby owls. Not a very nice feast,
certainly, is it? You see she is bringing
them a rat for supper; and yet they look
very eager for it: the little beaks are all
wide open, quite ready.
This owl, although of the kind called the barn-owl, has
built her nest in a hollow tree in the wood. I daresay she
thinks her children safer quite away from the farmer and
his boys; but she goes into the farm-yard herself to kill a
rat now and then, and brings it to her little family for
supper, as you see.
These owls are not unwelcome guests to the farmers, for
they clear the barns of rats and mice. Sometimes, however,
they have been known to make the mistake of carrying off
a young pigeon as well; but when Mr. Owl acquires this
bad habit, he had better take care that the farmer does not
catch him, or he will be nailed up against the barn-door as
a warning to his relations.
I daresay you have never seen young owls. They are
the softest, prettiest little white woolly pets you can
imagine, with great eyes set in little round faces like a
pussy-cat. The eyes of owls are so constructed that they
can scarcely see in broad daylight, but when it is dark they
42 MIY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
see quite well. Therefore you scarcely ever find an owl
going about in the daytime ; and if by any chance one does
come out before evening, it goes blundering about, knock-
ing itself against everything that comes in its way, till
sometimes it will get a great blow on the head, and fall to
the ground. Then, of course, if you don't mind the risk of
a sharp bite, you can catch it.
I remember once a large white owl had got into a cow-
house belonging to a house in the country where I was
staying, and it remained there all night. When they went
to open the door in the morning this great white creature
flew out, but was so blinded by the strong sunlight of the
summer morning that it was easily caught by throwing one
of the fruit-tree nets over it. They managed to fasten it to
the trunk of a tree, and it sat all day blinking away at the
foot of the tree. But it was most horridly spiteful, and it
pecked viciously at everything that came near it. We could
not tame it, and at night it was allowed to fly off with a
loud "toowhit toowhoo." We heard it for a good many
I will now tell you of something that happened to some
little children I know. It is a story about owls, so it will
come in here very well. The names of these children were
Paul and Mary: Paul was six years old, and Mary eight.
They lived in a large old-fashioned country house, and they
were both of them, to say the least of it, not remarkable for
their courage. They did not like going up to bed alone,
and would not, either of them, be left alone without a light
for all the world.
One day their mamma said to them, "Do you know,
children, I think I shall change your schoolroom, as your
Aunt Bella is coming to stay here this summer for a month,
and I think I shall turn your schoolroom into a bed-room
for her: it is such a nice cool room; and I shall give you
as a schoolroom one of the rooms that we have not used
lately on the other side of the house. It is larger, and will
do beautifully. I have talked to Miss Portal, and she quite
agrees with me."
The children looked rather blank, for they did not like the
idea of going to what was considered the uninhabited side
of the house, and both said Oh! mother! in a dismal
tone of voice. However, their mamma laughed at them, and
said, "My dears, you need not look so melancholy. Remem-
ber you will only be there during the day, and will sleep in
your own little rooms opening out of mine, as usual; be-
sides, if Miss Portal does not mind, I'm sure you need not."
In about a week the change was made, and the children
took possession of the new schoolroom. The very first
afternoon after they did so they came to their mother with
very long faces. We don't like the new schoolroom," they
said. "There are odd noises in it."
Noises! Nonsense! said their mother.
Yes, mamma, there are indeed," said the children.
"Ask Miss Portal."
44 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
Miss Portal was asked, and acknowledged that there were
noises to be heard in the schoolroom, but said, at the same
time, that she did not mind them.
A day or two after this the children's mamma and aunt
were sitting in the drawing-room by the open window,
working and talking, when the door flew open, and Paul
and Mary rushed in, white, and, for the moment, speech-
Mamma!" they cried at last in a breath, when they
could manage to speak. "Such a dreadful noise in the
chimney in the schoolroom!"
It then appeared that Miss Portal had left them in the
schoolroom to learn their lessons, while she had gone to
write letters in her own room, and they, hearing the myste-
rious noise in the chimney, had been scared out of their
The chimney was very large-a regular old-fashioned
chimney-and a stable-boy at once offered to climb up it,
which he could easily do. Up he went, and came down
with-what do you think? Two little baby owls There
had not been a fire in that chimney for years, so Mrs. Owl
had fancied it a nice secure place for her to build her nest
in, and she and her little family were the cause of the
Paul and Mary made great pets of the little owls, who
grew up tame and gentle, but I never liked them on account
of their love of eating raw meat and poor little mice.
~~=s~q~~e~;,1-r -r. 1-;Z: 7~
ERE, you see, we have a picture of some
otters. I wonder if you little people have
7 ever seen an otter. Perhaps you who live
in London may have seen these creatures at
the Zoological Gardens; or if your homes
are in the country, you may have seen them
on the banks of some stream.
They are curious animals: in the face, an otter very
much resembles a seal, but there the likeness stops, for it
has four legs instead of fins. It has a long body, with
a broad long tail; it has very short legs, and is web-
footed. The otter is beautiful and graceful in the water,
and it is curious to watch how wonderfully it can dive,
remaining a long time, and going a long distance, under
Although not large animals, they are so terribly destruc-
tive to fish as to be the objects of fierce hatred to owners of
streams and to fishermen, who hunt them with dogs kept
on purpose. In some places otter-hunting is considered
excellent sport; but they are very difficult to catch, as you
may suppose, from the way in which they dive. Just as the
dogs are near him, the otter disappears suddenly from the
surface, and when he comes up again to breathe, it may be
a long way off and in quite an unexpected place.
46 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
They live upon fish, which have a great terror of them.
An otter has been observed, to circle round and round a
shoal of small fish until they have been so frightened as to
spring out of the water, and some of them on to the shore,
from sheer fright. It is so dainty an animal that it will
generally kill several fish to eat only the best parts. When
it is engaged in eating the fish it has caught, it holds the
slippery prey between its fore paws, as you see in the
picture, and beginning at the shoulders, eats away the
fleshy part till it gets near the tail; then it throws the rest
away, leaving it on the banks for the rats or birds to eat.
There are instances of this animal being tamed and taught
to catch fish and bring them home. Don't you think it
would be nice to have a tame otter, and to teach him to
fetch and carry as you walked by the river-side ?-just to
say, Hie in, sir! "-and for him to plunge in and bring
out a fine fat fish for dinner ?
I remember when I was a child that my father had a game-
keeper-a curious old man-who had a tame otter. Old
Hammond lived in a pretty cottage on the borders of the
lake, and his fishy-smelling favourite used to swim about in
the lake, and catch fish for his master, just as I suggested
Old Hammond was quite a character, and had many and
many a tale to tell of hunting adventures. I begged
Morgan, my dear nurse, to take me to see the old man, and
to myjoy one day Morgan said, "Well, Miss Lucy, you
shall come along with me down to Hammond's, and he'll
give us a cup o' tea, and you shall see that there strange pet
I was highly delighted, as you may suppose, and in a
day or two, as mamma had no objection, Morgan and I
wended our way through the wood to old Hammond's
cottage. It was a lovely summer afternoon, and we enjoyed
our walk thoroughly. Old Hammond, with whom Morgan
was a great favourite, was sitting outside his cottage door
in his little garden on the watch for us. On the arm of his
chair sat one of the largest and finest black cats I ever saw;
he was eighteen years old, but appeared as healthy and
strong as any quite juvenile pussy. Then the old man had
a splendid Gordon setter lying at his feet, and two or three
terriers frisking about in the neighbourhood of the old
He welcomed us very kindly, and took us into his neat
and pretty little cottage; for although Hammond was an
old bachelor, he managed to live wonderfully comfort-
ably. We had most delicious cakes, and home-made bread
and broiled fish. Altogether, I don't think I ever enjoyed
a tea more. Old Hammond entertained us with the most
amusing anecdotes all the while. He was a very tall old
man, with a bend in his knees, and a stoop in his shoulders,
I remember; he had a great quantity of grey hair, and
bright, blue eyes which twinkled whenever he talked.
He had some story to tell of each of his pets, but I was
48 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
most interested in and anxious to see the otter, for I had
never seen one; however, I did not like to speak about it,
as I was rather shy. Presently Morgan said to Ham-
mond-" Well, Mr. Hammond, I'm sure it's very kind of
you to tell us so much about animals, but me and my
young lady is most anxious to see the otter. We hav'n't
set eyes on him yet."
"Oh!" replied old Hammond, "he's out fishing. He
caught this fish we're having for tea, and I bade him go
fetch more. He'll bring me in one for my supper."
Here Morgan said, I think it's mighty kind of the
master to let your otter go a-fishing like that."
"He only fishes when I bids him. He is in capital
training-as obedient as a dog," said old Hammond, stand-
ing up for his favourite. "He don't do no harm."
Just as he said that, I felt something touch my knees under
the table, and putting my hand down I felt a cold wet nose.
I gave a shriek, and old Hammond, stooping down, brought
from under the table the very creature we had been talking
about-the tame otter! And very tame he was, as gentle
as the cat, and displayed immense affection for his master,
who told us how he had taken him from his nest when he
was quite a tiny little thing, and had brought him up with
great tenderness and care.
Old Hammond showed us a fine trout the otter had
brought in for supper. His name was Toby, and he
answered to it just like a dog.
s-B. I- -;--
:!i': :: . 1.
, P 1
I+; .r. ..
N my last page I told my little friends about
the gamekeeper's pet otter; now I am going
to describe a pretty little bird.
The Kingfisher is an English bird; and
I dare say those among you who live in the
country, have often seen these birds sailing
about through the air on a sunny day, or flitting over the
surface of ponds, or of some river, on the look-out for
small fish or water beetles. Sometimes you may see them
glancing along with their bright green and gold wings, like
a ray of light, under the shade of overhanging trees on the
banks of some quiet stream. There are times, however,
when they will remain quite still for hours, perched on a
low branch or stone by the water side, watching for their
prey. When the kingfisher catches a fish it beats it once or
twice upon the ground to kill it; or sometimes it tosses
the fish up into the air, catching it again in his beak, and
then swallows it whole.
I was reading the other day an account of a kingfisher
who was well punished for his greediness. He had caught
a fish, which is called a bull-head or miller's-thumb, a large-
headed fish, and when he tried to swallow it the head stuck
in his throat; he could neither get it down nor up again,
and so was choked. The kingfisher was found dead with
50 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
the fish, which was about as big as himself, sticking in that
way in his throat. He must have been a very greedy bird;
don't you think so ?
The kingfisher is very pretty; its plumage is tinted with
bright blue, green, and orange; but it has a harsh and ugly
voice. It makes a nest in some hole near the water; and,
as you see in the picture, when the mamma kingfisher has
caught a fish, she calls her little ones to her from their nest
in the hole, perches on a branch just above them, and feeds
them with it.
Sometimes these funny, pretty little birds lay up a sort of
storehouse of the fish they have caught. I was reading the
other day of one that used to take all the fish too big for
him to swallow at once, to his storehouse to keep. The
place that this little miser kept his hoard in, was a crevice
formed by the root of a tree, growing close to the water's
edge. Sometimes he would have five or six fish hidden in
this place, which was discovered by a human being, and
one or two of the larger fish, evidently just caught, were
carried off to be cooked and eaten. I wonder what the
little miser thought when he got back to his storehouse?
It was an unkind trick to serve him, but I think he de-
Kingfishers are by no means timid birds, and take no
pains to conceal their nests, even before their eggs are
hatched: and when the baby birds make their appearance,
they are so noisy, clamouring for food, with loud, angry
THE KINGFISHER. 51
voices, that their home is very easily discovered. These
birds often make journeys to the seaside in order to pick up
young crabs, or shrimps, or sand hoppers, in fact they seem
to be little creatures who think a great deal about eating.
I have heard that kingfishers are very fond of music, that
is, if it is slow and solemn. I read that once upon a time
there was an organ in a house, placed in a room looking to-
wards a stream, where the kingfishers were in the habit of
going, and it was observed, that, whenever the organ was
played the kingfishers would directly make their appearance
at the bottom of the garden, and remain, listening, as if
quite delighted with the music. I told this story to a
friend of mine, and as she was very fond of making pets of
all kinds of birds, she determined to try and tame a king-
fisher, and, do you know, she was successful, and this is
how she did it.
She had no difficulty in finding a kingfisher's nest, and
she boldly walked up to the hole in the bank, from whence
she heard a great deal of chattering and quarrelling going
on, and, thrusting in her hand, she took out a young baby
kingfisher. She had some fish ready for him, and soon
silenced all complaining by popping it into his little-or
great, rather-wide-open beak. She took him home and
put him in a basket with wool; he was quite fledged, and
almost old enough to find food for himself, I must tell
you-and she made her little brother go out fishing every
day and bring home a good and fresh supply of food for her
52 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
little pet, and then, remembering this story of the king-
fisher's love for slow music, she used to sit down to the
piano and play away the most solemn airs she could
Master Kingfisher seemed quite to appreciate her atten-
tions, took his food greedily from her hand, and would
perch on the edge of his basket, with his head on one side,
listening most intently to the mournful airs played for his
"I have tamed him! exclaimed my friend with delight;
"Well," said her brother, wait a bit and see."
She did wait a bit, and then one morning she got a wicker
cage to put the little bird in, but she found that he moped
and refused his fish that day, so the next she let him out to
hop about, and let the door of the cage remain open so that
he might perch and listen to the sad strains of music. The
morning after that her kingfisher was gone: the window was
opened for a moment, while his cage door was unfastened,
and out flew Master Kingfisher, and never, never was he
caught again. But my friend declared, that when she played
soft and solemn airs upon the piano, a little kingfisher
would fly to a branch of a tree near the window, and, with
his little head on one side, would listen to her music, as her
little pet bird had been in the habit of doing; therefore she
declared it must be he.
For myself, I think it possible; but people very often have
powerful imaginations upon such subjects.
ERE we have a picture, you see, of a large
black bear and a little black bear, mother
and daughter, I dare say. What are they
about? They have actually climbed up a
tree to find a beehive ; for in North America,
where there are great numbers of black
bears, the wild bees have no straw hives made for them, but
just have to make them for themselves up in the branches
of the trees in the forest. When the poor bees have laid up
a fine store of honey for themselves, it often happens that
the black bears find it out, climb up the tree, and as we see
in the picture, fall to, and very soon eat up all the honey.
What thieves they a.- Look at Mrs. Bear, how greedily
she is devouring the delicious sweet honey, and see how the
poor bees are swarming out of the hive, glad enough to
,escape with their lives. It is of no use that they try to
sting the bear, and so revenge themselves upon her, for her
coat is too shaggy, and her hide too thick, to be at all hurt
by the stings of the angry bees. And there is naughty Miss
Bear just following her mother's bad example, crouching
with her mouth wide open under the hive, licking up the
honey which drops from it and from the greedy old mother's
Black bears are found chiefly in North America, where
54 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
there are also what are called grizzly bears. But black
bears are not only found in America; they are also
found in Asia. When I was in India, some years ago, I
often used to see small black bears about on the rocks near
Bellary-the station where I was living; and I remember
once looking on, from a distance, at a terrible fight between
a black bear and a cheetah, or hunting leopard.
These two savage creatures, both, I imagine, very hungry,
and seeking prey, were wandering about the great arid rocks
which rise, pile upon pile, suddenly out of the plains in that
part of India. As ill luck would have it, as far as they
were concerned at least, the cheetah and black bear quite
unexpectedly met each other face to face. Then began the
most fearful growling and howling, and in a moment the
fight had commenced. It was indeed horrible! but what
surprised me was that the black bear got the best of it.
The cheetah flew savagely, with open mouth and out-
stretched claws, at his antagonist, but the black bear stood,
with arms extended, ready to squeeze his enemy in his
deadly embrace. At last they both rolled over the rock
together, and were dashed to pieces; but people who were
better judges of the matter than I was, and who watched
the battle with me, said that the black bear certainly had the
best of it.
I can tell you another story of one of the black Indian
bears. One day, when I was living in Bellary-which I
don't think I told you was a station in the Madras Presi-
dency, about five hundred miles from the town of Madras-
I was sitting in the verandah with my little girl, who was
then about two years old; she was playing with her box of
bricks, and I was reading. We were both very much taken
up with our occupations, and we were equally surprised on
looking up to see standing in the compound, under the great
portico at the foot of the steps leading from the verandah,
two natives, with very little clothing and no turbans, leading
two black bears by ropes attached to rings in their noses.
I clapped my hands, whereupon two of my servants ap-
peared; people clap their hands in India to save the trouble
of ringing a bell.
"What do those men want?" I asked, while my little
child crept close up to me, a good deal alarmed at the sight
of the bears.
The men were now salaaming away as hard as they could,
their noses nearly touching the ground each time. And the
poor bears were alternately standing on their heads and on
their feet, in order to show their respect, I suppose, as well
My butler grinned, and showed all his white teeth, as he
said: "Dese plenty good people, Missis; just coming to
show Missis and Missy Baba plenty clever tricks, dese
"Oh," I said, "they want to show off their performing
bears! Then I asked baby if she would be frightened;
but, as she had climbed up into my lap by this time-a
56 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
haven of refuge, in her eyes, from every danger-she smiled
and said No." So I told the butler to let the men know
we would see the bears do their tricks.
I can hardly tell you all the clever things the bears did;
they danced, they marched, keeping step like soldiers; they
presented arms, and went through their drill in the most
marvellous way, and appeared extremely docile and obedient.
At the end of the performance, the two men, with many
profound salaams, announced their intention of engaging in
a wrestling match, each with his own particular bear-(this
the butler interpreted to me)-and accordingly a most des-
perate struggle took place between the bears and their
masters. They hugged one another, and twisted and turned
and tumbled about in the most curious, and, to me, alarm-
I noticed that one of the bears had much longer claws
than the other; but he seemed to manage not to hurt his
master, and all appeared to end happily, when a dispute
began between the two men, and they began to wrestle
with the bears again, but this time choosing a new adversary.
The bears were now not wrestling with their own masters,
and to my horror, I discovered that the one with the long
claws was making use of them in earnest now. The poor man
was bleeding terribly! I had to make the servants rush out
with sticks, to beat him off. However, at last his own master
succeeded in making him let go. But it was only just in
time, for the poor native had been most cruelly hugged.
:r 8'="1 "-
WONDER if any of you little people are as
fond of hearing about curious birds and
animals as I used to be when I was a little
girl. I remember that I was particularly
fond of hearing stories about storks, and
when I was about five years old I tried to compose a piece
of poetry to a stork. It began-
Stork, stork, funny old stork,
What nice long legs to take a walk !
I thought that sounded like poetry, but you see I was
only five years old. The reason I liked storks so much was
because I had heard they were kind to their little baby-
storks. Once, I know, I had a good cry when my mamma
told me a story of two storks, who had built their nest
on the top of a farmhouse. Unfortunately, the farmhouse
caught fire, and the poor little children storks, being too
young to fly, could not escape. The papa and mamma flew
screaming round and round the burning house; at last they
dashed wildly into the midst of the flames and were burnt
with their little ones. Although I cried at this story, it will
be wiser of you not to do so. One may be too tender-
hearted. Besides, the sad event happened long ago-many
years before I was a little girl.
In most European countries storks are occasionally seen,
but they are found principally in Holland. At the approach
58 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
of winter they fly off to Africa and return to cool climates in
the spring. In Holland they are very kindly treated, for so
many frogs live in the marshes there, that if the storks did
not eat them, the people would hardly know what to do.
The storks are very clever at catching the poor froggies;
they snatch them up in their long bills, and go flying off,
with their great wings spread and their long legs stretched
out behind them, carrying away two or three frogs at once.
They are so gentle that they sometimes play with children
These birds regularly visit Holland, and are really looked
upon there with a sort of reverence. People are so anxious
that the storks should build on, or near their houses, that
they often stick a half barrel in the branches of a tall tree,
to make the storks take possession of it as a nest; and
there is immense rejoicing in a Dutch family if a pair of
these birds favour them with their presence.
Old Mr. Stork stands always on one leg at the edge of
his large nest, keeping guard whilst his wife is sitting; and
if he thinks danger is near he throws up his head and clat-
ters his beak in a most terrible manner, making a noise like
that of niggers playing the bones.
Not only are storks beloved in Holland, but they are
equally well thought of in Germany. In the little city of
Baden-Baden, near the river Rhine, the stork is thought
much of, and as it is a very quiet town the storks think much
of it, and are often to be seen there. The same birds, I
THE STORK. 59
have read, often come back, year after year, to the same nest
in that town.
Storks have whitish bodies, dark feathers in their wings,
long, red legs, and a red bill, and a dark circle round their
eyes. Storks' nests are generally made of coarse twigs, and
are often built on the tops of chimneys. They walk in the
tamest way about the streets and in the markets of the
towns they frequent.
Now, I must tell you a story about a stork, which I think
will amuse you, though I will not vouch for the truth of it.
Once upon a time an old woman lived in a country vil-
lage. She was a very tidy and respectable old body, but
her general knowledge was not great. She could sew and
knit, and keep her cottage very tidy, but she could not read,
and her knowledge of geography was extremely limited.
For instance, if anyone said to her "I am going to Paris,
to-morrow, Goody," or, "I'm going to Australia, to-morrow,
Goody," she would have shaken her head, and said it was
a fine thing, a rare fine thing to travel," without having the
least idea which was the farthest off, and would probably
ask you to give her best love to her nephew, Jack, if you
happened to meet him, he being just landed in New York.
Well, I must tell you that old Goody Martin was very
fond of animals and birds; she was an old maid, and had,
therefore, had no little children of her own to love, but she
dearly loved her nephews and nieces, and particularly her
nephew, Jack. Now, Jack knew of his aunt's love for birds,
60 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
and so forth, and, as he was a sailor, he had opportunities of
gratifying her, and one day he assured her that he would
bring her home a pretty bird from abroad. Well, Jack for-
got his promise more than once, and when he was going
abroad next time his old aunt begged of him to bring her
home a foreign bird, meaning a parrot, of course.
"But," said Jack, "I ain't going to the Indies, Aunt,
I'm only a-going to Rotterdam, and shall be home in a few
weeks, and in Holland, you know, they hasn't only one kind
of foreign bird, and I guess as you wouldn't care for that."
"Oh, yes, Jack, I should dearly!" cried old Goody. So
do'ee be sure and bring me home one of them."
Jack agreed; and in a few weeks, as he promised, he re-
turned from his travels. Old Goody had been looking out
for him most anxiously, and had told all her friends and
acquaintances of the "beautiful foreign bird" her "nephy,
Jack, was going to bring her, surely."
One evening, in autumn, Goody was sitting over the fire
with one favourite gossip, both enjoying their cup of tea,
when a knock came to the cottage door, and in came Jack,
carrying an enormous basket.
"Oh! there be my foreign bird! cried Goody, in delight,
expecting a parrot to appear when Jack undid the basket.
You may be sure she was not a little surprised and
alarmed when out stepped a young stork. Although she
did not expect this strange pet, the story says that Goody
and her stork got on very well together.
1? A -t .-i~~ ~~~ij-~~~- -~;
BEAVERS AT WORK.
F you look at the picture you will see three
beavers; I dare say they are papa, mamma,
and little son. They are wonderfully clever
animals; and there is a great deal to be
told about them, they have such curious,
Beavers are found chiefly in North America, but they are
also seen in the South of France and in the islands of the
Rhone, and they are plentiful in the North of Europe. But,
in the latter countries, they do not seem to show such in-
telligence as in more desert places, for the fact of European
countries being thickly inhabited prevents their collecting
together, and working in large numbers, as they do in some
parts of North America. It appears as though their clever-
ness is only fully developed when a great number act to-
gether, a proof, indeed, of the truth of the saying, that
"union is strength."
Beavers are about three-and-a-half feet long, including
the funny, flat, paddle-shaped tail, which is a foot in length.
The long, shining hair that covers the back is chestnut
coloured, while the fine, soft wool, which lies next the skin,
is greyish brown. The tail is covered with scales, and the
beaver uses it as a rudder to direct his course when swim-
ming; his hind feet are webbed, and the toes of his fore
'62 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
feet are separated like fingers, with which he takes up food
to put into his mouth. The beaver appears to be the con-
necting link between quadrupeds and fishes, just as the bat
,does between quadrupeds and birds.
They build themselves most wonderful huts to live in, and
make a great number close together, just like a town.
These are built on the banks of rivers or lakes, for beavers
swim much more easily than they walk, and always prefer
moving about in the water. They form into large bodies in
order to work together; they generally meet in the middle
of summer, their number often amounting to two or three
hundred. When they build on the bank of a running
stream or river, they are in the habit of making a sort of
wall (a dam it is called) across the stream for the purpose
of keeping up the water to the height they wish. These
dams are made of the branches of trees, stones and mud.
They are sometimes two or three hundred yards in length,
and are so cleverly constructed that they seem more like
the work of a good engineer than of poor little dumb beasts.
If they find a large tree on the bank where they are be-
ginning their dam, and they think it can be made to fall
into the water, they begin by cutting it down, to form the
most important part of their work. This tree will often be
thicker than a man's body. Now, how do you little people
suppose that these animals can cut a great tree down?
Why, by gnawing at the foot of the tree with their four
cutting teeth, as you see Mr. Beaver doing in the picture.
BEAVERS AT WORK. 63
They manage this cutting work of theirs very quickly, and
not only very quickly, but very cleverly, for they always
make the tree fall across the river. They work all together
and all seem to understand what they are to do; some are
employed in gnawing the foot of the tree, others in cutting
off the branches after it has fallen; others, again, go to a
little distance, often across the stream, and cut down smaller
trees, these they cut to a certain length, so as to make stakes
of them, and then drag them to the edge of the water, and
then swim with them to the place where the building is
going on. These stakes they manage to sink and inter-
weave the branches with the larger stakes. It is hardly to
be believed, is it, that these little creatures can have sense
and patience to overcome all the difficulties they must
encounter? Fancy that one little beaver must hold up a
stake in his mouth by the thick end while another little
fellow has to dive to the bottom of the water and dig a hole
with his paws for the thin end of the stake to be fixed
in, while other little workmen swim to shore and bring
earth in their mouths and forepaws; this they pat with
their feet, and beat firm with their funny fish-like tails,
and build a regular strong, solid wall. If by any chance this
dam gets broken, then these clever little animals know at
once how to repair it.
Their huts are built very much in the same manner as the
dams, on piles near the water. They make two openings,
one to the water and the other to the land. These houses
64 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
are generally round, some two or three stories high, and
twenty or even thirty feet round; the walls are often two
feet thick. You see large families often live in one house,
and as I dare say little young beavers are inclined to have a
romp sometimes, the old ones take care that their houses
are too strongly built to be romped down. Besides, they
take care that neither rain nor wind shall hurt them, for they
build their houses so strongly that they resist both. The
houses are neatly plastered with a sort of mortar which they
make, and put on with their tails, which answer very well as
They peel off the bark from the wood they use in build-
ing and lay it up in store for winter food. Their chief food
in summer, and, indeed, whenever they can get it, is fish.
I have heard but of one tame beaver, and that, although
very gentle, did not seem happy in captivity. He was tame,
but not loving, like a dog. He used to beg to be fed from
his master's table, uttering little plaintive cries, and holding
out his little paw when a piece of cake or bread or fruit were
given to him. He used to run off with it, and hide it, to eat
at his leisure. This little beaver would never touch meat,
whether raw or roasted. He was very mischievous, and
gnawed everything he could find, such as stuff, or wood;
indeed he did much damage to the furniture.
I think I have told you as much about beavers as you
would care to hear, my little friends; but when you get older,
I dare say you will read more about them in larger books
OOK at that fine stag in the picture, keep-
ing guard while the does and fawns are
feeding! How watchful he looks, with his
head erect; and how grandly his antlers
spread out, as we see them against the soft
twilight sky! Deer in their wild state are
timid creatures; at least, they are very much afraid of
human beings; and it is difficult to approach them. Shoot-
ing the wild deer in the Highlands of Scotland is considered
excellent sport: it is called deer-stalking. Large herds
are to be found there among the mountains, but the greatest
caution and skill are needed to get near enough to have a
shot at them without being observed. Of course, the deer
we see in parks are comparatively tame: they are generally
fallow deer; while those of the Highlands are a larger and
stronger species, called red deer.
I dare say many of you little people who read this have
been to Richmond Park, and seen the herds of graceful
fallow deer there. If you go up very gently to them, per-
haps they will come and eat bread out of your hand. At
least, I remember when I was a little girl, and passed a
summer at Richmond, I succeeded once in making two
young fawns come and share my biscuit with me. Shall I
tell you how it happened?
66 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
One morning I had not learnt my lessons as well as
usual; perhaps I had been watching the butterflies from
the window flitting about in the sunshine, instead of looking
at my book; at any rate, Miss Dobson, my governess,
thought it necessary to punish me. Now, I was too big to
be put into the corner, being nine years old; and the mode
of punishment she always adopted was to avoid speaking
to me for an hour or so, and at the same time to put on an
expression of face at once severe and sorrowful.
After school hours we went out for our walk in the park
as usual; and, as I was an affectionate and very talkative
child, you may suppose that Miss Dobson's gloomy face and
freezing silence made me very miserable. If I ventured
upon a remark, the answer never extended beyond "Yes"
or No": sometimes not even that. We had two great
dogs, which generally went out with us on our walk; but
when I was under punishment, even their companionship
was not allowed.
At last Miss Dobson seated herself under a great oak,
and began to read a book she had brought out with her.
"Then I wandered a little way off, picking the pretty wild
flowers that grew amongst the fern. The birds were sing-
ing in the sunshine, the bees were humming, everything
with life seemed to enjoy that life but me. Some deer were
lying under the shadow of the trees not far away; and I
observed that two pretty little fawns, standing nearer to me
than the rest, were watching me. I had some biscuit in my
pocket, intended for the dogs; and, taking a piece in my
hand, I walked up very softly to the little creatures. They
looked at me, as I approached, with a frightened glance from
their great dark eyes; but I fancy there must have been a
sad and subdued expression in my childish face which took
away from my appearance what might have terrified them,
and on consideration they decided to remain.
Holding out the biscuit, I dropped it near them; then up
jumped Mrs. Doe, and came forward to see what it was I
offered to her children. I threw her a piece also, which she
took and munched gladly, and the little ones followed her
example. I cannot describe to you what a comfort it was to
me in my trouble to find that these pretty creatures were
not afraid of me, and did not shun me. I no longer felt
solitary; no longer without friends or companions. Pre-
sently they took the biscuit from my fingers, and when I
had no more to give them, they still thrust their soft noses
Into my little hand, and let me stroke them.
But my pleasure did not last long. A fine stag, the leader
of the herd, who was lying in the midst of them, and who,
I suppose, had been half asleep, seemed suddenly to become
conscious of my presence, and took alarm. Jumping up,
he bounded away, followed by the rest of the herd, and my
two little friends went after the others.
Looking at them as they fled away from me, I felt more
forlorn and solitary than ever, and tears came into my eyes.
Presently Miss Dobson came up to me; she had been
68 MYI FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
watching me from a distance, and now, finding that I was
crying, her manner changed, and she was very kind. In
fact, my punishment was over for the time, and I think she
began to find that it was a kind of punishment which I felt
more than she intended.
The red deer is now very uncommon in England, though
that is the kind chiefly found in Scotland, and is what is
hunted by the deer-stalker. The stags are magnificent crea-
tures, with a perfect forest of horns upon their heads.
Formerly, any person who poached venison-that is,
killed deer-belonging to another person was sentenced to
Stags are most formidable creatures when angry; they
attack people with their fore feet, with as much force as with
their horns; and the pointed hoofs of the animal are almost
as dangerous. I read the other day of a gentleman who had
been feeding a stag with pieces of grass, and was stroking
his neck and shoulders, which caressing he seemed rather
to approve of, when suddenly the stag reared up, and struck
two blows with his fore-feet so quickly that, although the
gentleman sprang back, the second stroke caught him on
the finger, and hurt it so much that he could not use it for
Stags are wonderfully fleet, as we all know, I think; and
they are capable of undergoing immense fatigue, and keep-
ing it up for a long time. An instance has been known of
a stag swimming for ten miles.
rl:*: fc7gii*! :?
ERE we have a picture of woodpeckers.
See how they cling to the bark of the tree
with their claws, and how eager the two
little ones seem for the prize their mother
has just captured. The woodpecker is a
bird of very singular habits. It lives upon
the insects which exist in the bark of trees, and is remark-
ably adapted by nature for obtaining this kind of food. Its
bill is long and sharp and powerful; and with its hooked
claws it clings to the tree while it sways its body to and
fro, to give force to the strokes of its bill. The object of
these strokes is to shake the insects out of the tree, and they
are given with wonderful force and in rapid succession.
Then the bird thrusts its long tongue into the crevices, and
the tongue being barbed at the end and covered with a sort
of gum, it secures a vast number of insects as well as their
In the quiet of the woods the sound of the woodpecker
tapping may be heard at a great distance. I remember once,
when I was a little girl, being very much frightened by the
noise: I will tell you how it happened.
The house where I lived in the country not only had a
large garden, but beyond that was a little wood, which we
called the shrubbery. This wood had a broad walk winding
70 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
through it, with seats placed here and there. One beautiful
summer morning I and my brother, who was some years
older than I was, were sitting together upon one of these
seats under the shade of the trees. He was on his way to
go out fishing, and was only stopping to do something to
his fishing tackle. Wanting a pair of scissors, he sent me
into the house to fetch them, ordering me about in the
way in which big boys are apt to order their little brothers
I soon returned with the scissors, but no longer found
my brother where I had left him. The truth is he had gone
off on his fishing expedition without waiting for my return.
However, I looked about for him, and presently I heard a
sound like somebody hitting a tree with a stick. Ah, ah,
so you are hiding, are you, Master Maurice ?" thought I;
and I looked behind different trees, one after another,
thinking every moment to discover him. Then I began to
fancy that the sound, although so clear and distinct, was
some distance off; so I wandered on, still following it, and
looking about as I went. Now and then the tapping ceased,
but always went on again after a minute.
At last I began to be frightened, and called out:-
Maurice, dear Maurice, where are you ? You are frighten-
ing me." The tapping ceased from that moment, but my
alarm did not. That such a noise should have been made
without anybody to make it seemed to me very like some-
thing supernatural. I began to cry, and at the same time
set off running towards home. I dared not look behind
me as I ran, and when I reached the house was at first too
frightened and excited even to explain what was the matter.
I must tell you that I was only seven years old at that
I remember the old gardener said, when he heard the
story, that he suspected that it was only a woodpecker tap-
ping; but I refused to believe that a bird could make so
loud a noise. It was not till long afterwards, when I hap-
pened to both hear and see one, that I became convinced
the old gardener was right.
The woodpecker is a handsome bird, about the size of a
pigeon, of a greenish colour, with black and white marks
upon the wings, and a crimson stain upon the head. It is
heard much oftener than seen, for, being very timid, it is
ingenious in hiding itself. It does not build a nest like
other birds, but seeks for a decayed place in the trunk of
some tree, where it scoops out a hole. There Mr. and Mrs.
Woodpecker establish their little home: there the eggs are
laid, and the young ones are reared.
There is another handsomer kind of woodpecker which
is a native of North America, and which is called the ivory-
billed woodpecker. This bird is armed with a tremendous
beak, long and strong, and sharp, and as white as ivory. The
bird uses this great powerful beak as a means of obtaining
food, or as a valuable weapon to be used against his enemies.
The woodpecker is a shy bird and must be looked for in
72 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
woods, rather than in gardens, though if it thinks that there
is a garden with nice trees in it and plenty of insects, and
no noisy little people to be inquisitive and disturb it, this
curious bird will sometimes make its nest there, feeling,
perhaps, more secure than it would be in a wood where
there might be all sorts of wild enemies about.
There is another bird of the same species which is very
curious; it is the nuthatch. It is the same shy bird in its
habits as the woodpecker, though it will sometimes become
bold, and be seen in gardens where nuts are grown. This
bird also feeds upon insects which it procures from under
the bark; and most likely it chiefly relishes in the nut the
little maggot which is so often found inside. In order to get
at the inside of a nut the nuthatch fixes the nut firmly in a
crevice of the bark of a tree and then by dint of tremendous
hammering with its beak it breaks a hole in the shell.
I have heard some people say that the woodpecker does
not make the tapping noise which one is accustomed to sup-
pose is made by them; but that it is invariably the nut-
hatch which hammers so loudly. Their reason being that
the woodpecker selects in every case a soft wood to peck a
hole in; and, therefore, it would not be likely to make a loud
noise. The nuthatch will tap away loudly at some hard
nut and make such a noise that you would almost fancy that
someone was striking a tree with a hammer. This curious
little bird will sometimes cut a filbert right in two, as clean
as if it had been cut by a knife.
'1 " $'
HE picture on the opposite page shows us
a family of hares enjoying themselves in a
field of cabbages. How pretty, and yet how
queer-looking they are I think that one
standing up in the middle, with his ears so
straight up, must be Mr. Hare, while the
others are Mrs. Hare and the children. They are eating
away as fast as they can, while the good papa looks on, and
listens with those long ears of his for the sound of any ap-
proaching footsteps. If he hear any noise of a kind which
he considers alarming, he will give notice to his wife and
little ones ; then they will all scurry off so fast that they will
soon be miles away from the spot where they have been
A hare never walks or trots, because the hind legs are so
much longer than the front ones; but it goes along in a suc-
cession of bounds. Hares can take great leaps, too, in
height as well as in distance: they have been known, when
pursued, to jump over very high hedges, and even walls of
moderate size. One curious quality in a hare is that it never
becomes fat, however rich the pasture may be on which it
feeds; consequently it can go very long distances without
Though rabbits are easily domesticated, it is very unusual
74 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
to see a really tame hare; and you will be surprised to hear
that the only one I ever met with was in a house in London.
I went one day to call upon a gentleman-an artist-who
was very fond of animals: indeed, among other things, he
often painted animals. I found him in his studio, working
away at his picture, with three dogs and a cat and her kit-
tens all in the room with him. I sat for some time talking
and admiring his picture, when presently I heard an odd
sort of knocking or rubbing at the door.
I hear someone at the door," said I, after the noise had
been going on for some time, thinking my friend did not
Oh, that's only stupid old Tommy; he is such a bother;
he never seems able to settle anywhere now he's so old."
Who is he ? I asked, thinking he was speaking of some
stupid old person.
Would you like to see him ?" said the artist; he is not
particularly handsome now, and he is dreadfully impudent."
Walking to the door, he opened it, and who should come
hopping and leaping into the room but a gigantic hare. He
Lopped past me first, and then, turning round, came quite
close, and stood up on his hind legs. He made one long
ear stick forward and the other backward, looking more
comical than I can tell you; and he twisted his curious,
sensitive, moveable nose round and round, while he stared
at me with his immense prominent eyes till I thought they
were going to drop out.
"That isn't manners, Tommy," said my friend; "it's
very rude to stare so: lie down." Whereupon good, obe-
dient Tommy crouched down, with his nose between his two
front paws; laid his ears back flat on his neck, and did his
best, I am sure, not to stare-but that he could not help, by
reason of the peculiar nature of his eyes.
I caressed him, and found him as tame and gentle as a
little dog. Indeed, my friend had had him from the time
he was a very tiny creature.
I dare say you all, or most of you, if you have lived in the
country, have had tame rabbits in hutches; but I wonder if
any of you have ever had a tame rabbit running about the
house like the hare that I have been telling you of. I know
some children who have; and do you know that my own
children very nearly had one; and I dare say you little people
would like to know how it was they nearly had it, and yet
did not; so I will tell you all about it.
We live in London, you must know; and one morning
my housemaid came to me and said, If you please, ma'am,
my sister was so surprised this morning to find a large black
and white rabbit sitting on her scullery window-sill."
I do not wonder at her being surprised," said I. "Who
can it belong to?"
I must tell you that my housemaid's sister lives as cook
in a house in a street close to us; and the back of the house
where she lives looks on to the back of the houses that our
house faces. I suggested that the rabbit must have escaped
76 MY FEATHERED AND FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS.
from one of those houses; but it was supposed impossible,
as rather a high wall ran between the gardens.
My sister don't know what to do with it, ma'am," said
my housemaid. Her ladies is away, and she don't want
to keep it."
She had better let the tradespeople know," I said.
Some hours passed, and nobody appeared to own the
rabbit; and the cook said it was lying down in the kitchen
by the side of the cat, as tame as possible.
Whereupon the children cried, Oh, mamma, do let us
have it, and we can give it up if anyone claims it." And so
we did have it. The children and I made it a hutch out of
a box. How hard we worked! But when Master Bunny
came, he refused to stay in the hutch. Directly we put him
in, he tried to squeeze himself through the bars; so we let
him out, and he ran about the room just like a dog or cat.
He eat out of our hands, and was a perfect darling of a
rabbit! Alas! though, he only stayed with us one day;
for the next morning his little mistress-who did live in one
of the houses nearly opposite to us-arrived, and asked for
her rabbit; and I cannot tell you what an affectionate meet-
ing they had. I do not know which was the most delighted
of the two. It appeared that the rabbit had managed to
jump over the wall, and then had lost himself. His little
mistress ran off with him, cuddled up in her arms, across
the road, as happy as possible; and my children were left
feeling quite sad at the loss of the new pet.