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The Bald' Library
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BIRDS AND BABIES
BIRDS AND BABIES
TVITf THIRD TY-TIHREE ILL USTRATIONS
KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, & CO., I PATERNOSTER SQUARE
(The rights oj translation and of reproduction are reserved)
THE BEST THING IN THE WORLD
SECOND THOUGHTS ARE BEST .
THE CONCEITED PUPPY 22
MUD PIES 26
CASTLES IN THE AIR .30
THE SAD FATE OF A DEMON 37
THE NEW SISTER. 48
THE TOMTIT AND THE FAIRY 51
A THREEPENNY-BIT 55
THE MOTHER DUCK 57
THE SELFISH GOBLIN 6r
IN A CAGE 72
THE ELFMAN'S WOOING 78
TOO LATE 82
DOLLY AND DICK. 87
THE BEST THING IN THE WORLD.
OUT in the cool green forest a little brown bird
Perched on a swaying bramble, his happy, clear
Into the air with gladness, a song of pure delight,
In the sweet spring of blossoms when all the world
THE BEST THING IN THE WORLD.
He sang, 'It is no wonder with all my heart I
I have for my own, really, the best and truest
It lives and grows for ever; it gives me perfect
And any one can have it-that is what makes it
' Nuts ?' said a tiny dormouse, as she went past the
' Nuts I think are more perfect than anything to
Or some ripe corn hid safely until the winter
I ask for nothing better, my head curled in my
THE BEST THING IN THE WORLD. 3
'It is not nuts,' he answered; 'oh! it is better
It is more lovely even than the first darling
And it is much more precious than corn or any
It leads to worlds of beauty through such a tiny
A child came through the forest, and he was six
His hair was long and tangled, as red as autumn
He stopped to hear the linnet, this chubby little
His tiny chin was dimpled, his eyes were full of
4 THE BEST THING IN THE WORLD.
'The best thing of all others ?' he said: I am so
When I am knocked down playing I have not far
There are not many things mine, under the wide
But I am very happy, and I will tell you why.
'Last night, half in the darkness, before God lit the
There came the dearest baby, dropped over heaven's
The dearest baby sister for me to love and kiss:
Could anything be better for all of us than
THE BEST THING IN THE WORLD. 5
Out of the wood he hurried, the linnet watched him
The sunbeams through the branches fell broken on
The bird flew to a thicket, and a soft nest he knew,
Where a brown hen sat brooding; her eggs were
small and blue.
All belonged to the linnet-the nest, the eggs, the
To guard them well and safely, and love for all
Gently the twilight deepened, the flowers shut up,
I think Love is the truest and best thing in the
JACOB went for a walk in the morning,
A little old hat on his head,
His mouth was as round as a berry,
And his hair was curly and red.
He had gathered a bunch of Sweet-William,
Old man and blue pansies and stocks,
He scarcely would stop to button
The strap of his shoe round his socks.
For he thought, 'I will give this bright nosegay
To dear pretty Jane at the mill,
And ask her to come and play with me,
And oh I expect that she will,
'When she knows I've been given by granny
This big apple turnover tart;
And then, when alone in the woodshed,
I'll ask her to be my sweetheart.'
With a smile on his mouth, little Jacob
Ran gaily along by the brim
Of the bright little brook in the sunshine,
And all the white ducks looked at him;
Till he came up at last to the mill-house,
And little Jane ran to the door,
Her hair all a-blowing about her,
In her clean little pinafore.
And she waved in the air a big nosegay
Of roses-white, yellow, and red-
And Jacob could see she was holding
A thick slice of brown gingerbread.
But when Jacob peeped through the doorway,
And saw little Robin inside
(Big Robin, who wore knickerbockers !)
He crept away sadly and cried;
For Jane said, with no thought of his sorrow,
Oh, Jacob, dear, isn't it nice ?
I've promised to be Robin's sweetheart
In exchange for a pair of white mice.'
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Of the clever things he knew.
SECOND THOUGHTS ARE BEST.
IN among the mountain bracken,
Where a nodding foxglove grew,
Sat a little goblin thinking
Of the clever things he knew.
'I can gather mountain berries,
I can make them into jam;
Bumble-bees will give me honey
If I tell them who I am.
SECOND THOUGHTS ARE BEST.
'For I know the mountain valleys
Where the berries grow on trees,
And I know the way to conquer
Cross and angry bumble-bees.
' But, although I am so clever,'
Cried the goblin with a sigh,
'There is one thing makes me wretched,
And almost inclined to die.
'For a horrid little creature
Comes each day into my house,
Eating up my wild-bee honey,
And I think it is a mouse.
12 SECOND THOUGHTS ARE BEST.
'I have set a trap to catch it,
But it never will go in.
I believe it does not reckon
Stealing honey is a sin.
'But to-night I have determined
To keep watch below the bed;
I shall surely catch the robber
Spreading honey on my bread.'
When the evening shadows darkened,
And the house was all in gloom,
Underneath his bed the goblin
Lay and listened in the room.
SECOND THOUGHTS ARE BEST. 1
Soon he saw a fairy enter
By the dim light of the moon,
Take the loaf up from the table,
Help the honey with a spoon.
'It is most extremely thoughtful,'
Said the fairy, 'to give me
Such delicious bread and honey
Every evening for my tea.'
'Give you honey!' cried the goblin ;
'Why, you came into my house
And stole all my best provisions,
While I thought you were a mouse.'
14 SECOND THOUGHTS ARE BEST.
'But you left them on the table,'
Said the fairy, with a sob;
Left the barley-bread and honey,
And the kettle on the hob.
'And I thought you meant them for me
When you left them every day.
You must know it is untidy
Not to put your things away.
As she spoke the goblin softened:
I confess your words are true.
If you please, don't cry,' he whispered;
'I will share the house with you.'
SECOND THOUGHTS ARE BEST. 15
' You shall have the mountain honey
And the berries ripe and red.
If you'll take me for your husband,
We'll divide the barley-bread ;
'For your hair is long and shining,
And your eyes are soft and grey,
And I know that you will always
Put the honeycomb away.
'It is well to wed a fairy
With a round face, white and pink;
Better still if she is frugal,
And will save our meat and drink.'
16 SECOND THOUGHTS ARE BEST.
'Thank you,' said the fairy crossly;
'I would rather be unwed.
I could never love a goblin
Who would hide below a bed,
'And insult me by suggesting,
With a face as black as ink,
I should take him for a husband
To save up his meat and drink.'
'Very well,' replied the goblin,
'I shall buy at once a key,
And lock up the wild-bee honey,
If you will not marry me.
SECOND THOUGHTS ARE BEST. 17
'Though I love you very dearly;
If you will not be my wife
Then I cannot give you supper
Every evening of your life.'
When the fairy had departed,
After all,' the goblin said,
'I expect she would have eaten
More than half the barley-bread.
'There is very little honey-
Only just enough for one.
I am sure we should have quarrelled
When the comb was nearly done.
S SECOND THOUGHTS ARE BEST.
'For I know that she is greedy,
And her temper must be bad.
I am thankful,' cried the goblin,
'For the great escape I've had.'
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WHAT are the wild birds singing in the hush when
the sky is red ?
Do you think they are sorry night has come and
they have to go to bed ?
I think they are telling each other all they have
done in the day:
How they have worked at their nests and sung-
the fun they had, and the play:-
How the sparrow fought with the robin because
the robin took
A white duck's feather to line his nest which the
sparrow had found by the brook:
How the wrens hatched fourteen nestlings in their
house on the blackthorn tree,
Which the cuckoo said were too many by far-
cuckoos lay only three:-
How the 'goldfinch dreamt a dreadful dream, that
he had been caught by a cat,
And would -somebody explain at once what could
be the meaning of that ?
Then the blackbird told him crossly he had eaten
too much seed,
And made himself sick by filling his crop with
thistledown and chickweed:-
How the tomtit flirted for a day with a dear little
Till he got tired of the poor little bird, and went
and married a wren.
How the siskin preened her feathers, and made
herself pretty and slim:
'If he does not care for me,' she said, 'I am very
well rid of him.'
Thus they whistle and chatter and sing of all they
have done in the day,
Till the sun goes down and the blue of the sky
fades into quiet grey.
Then each small bird hops into a tree: 'Good-bye
till to-morrow,' they sing;
And each small bird tucks a little warm head
under a downy wing.
A LITE dg ran aut gaiy-
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THE CONCEITED PUPPY.
A LITTLE dog ran about gaily-
A little dog yellow and grey.
He pricked up his ears in the garden
In a very insulting way.
THE CONCEITED PUPPY. 23
For he saw in the sunshine blinking,
On the top of the wall there sat,
Curled up, half asleep, in the ivy,
A dear little tortoiseshell cat.
'Oh, my!' said the rude little puppy,
'Cats are an inferior race.
I'm sure I should never survive it
If I had a round furry face.
' A cat is ridiculous, really :
She wags, in a temper, her tail!
They would think I was mad if I did it,
And I should be drowned in a pail.
24 THE CONCEITED PUPPY.
'That kitten has no right to stare so:
Her eyes are as green as the sea.
And why should she curl up her back so ?
Is she really spitting at me ?
And off rushed the little dog, barking,
Determined, whatever might befall,
To kill the impertinent kitten
Who dared look at him from the wall.
The cat, though a small one, was valiant;
She never ran off from her foes.
She jumped from the wall in a fury,
And flew at the little dog's nose.
THE CONCEITED PUPPY. 25
She rolled him about in the gravel;
The dust nearly blinded his eyes;
He was forced to confess that the kitten
Was fearfully strong for her size.
And after she left him, the kitten
Said, 'This is a lesson to you.
Little dogs should not boast of.courage
Unless they are sure it is true.'
WVILLIAM, Eliza, and dear little Jane
Played in the garden after the rain;
The ground was wet with the rain from the skies
SLet us make,' said Eliza, 'some little mud pies.'
The mud was deliciously brown and thick,
Each little pink finger was used for a stick,
And stirred the wet earth again and again;
Happy Eliza, William, and Jane!
MUD PIES. 27
' When this little pie,' said William, 'is done,
I think I shall put it to bake in the sun.'
' Perhaps,' said Eliza, 'a goblin will see,
And eat it dishonestly up for his tea.'
Little Jane answered, 'That would be a treat,
If mud pies really were good to eat.
But I think a goblin would rather be fed
On plain cold water and crusts of bread.'
Woe to William, Eliza, and Jane
Nurse came quickly along the lane;
Great was her anger and great her surprise
At William's, Eliza's, and little Jane's pies.
28 MUD PIES.
Eliza remembered that she had been told
Playing with mud was exceedingly bold;
William got red, but pretended to look
Careless and brave, while his little legs shook.
Jane stood up and began to cry,
As she thought of leaving her little mud pie.
'It is such a pretty mud pie,' sobbed she,
'And nurse has thrown it under a tree.'
They dared not look into nurse's face
As they went to the nursery in disgrace;
Into three corners she put them all,
And they sobbed with their faces turned to
MUD PIES. 29
She left them alone and shut the door,
Their tears dripped down on the nice clean floor
' Oh, dear !' cried William,' when nurse was small,
Do you think she ever did wrong at all ?'
" My beautiful little pie !' sobbed Jane;
' I shall never, never see it again.'
'Alas !' said Eliza, I wish I knew
Why pleasant things are so wrong to do.'
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CASTLES IN THE AIR.
HID in the apple-tree branches
Dolly and little Dick sat;
Dicky had torn his jacket,
And Dolly had dropped her hat.
CASTLES IN TiE AIR. 31
Like little brown birds they twittered
In low confidential tones,
While far in the distance murmured
The streamlet over the stones.
'When I am grown up,' said Dolly,
'Then I shall live in a house,
With ponies and birds and rabbits,
And one little darling mouse.
'I shall keep a piebald puppy,
A dog with a shiny nose;
It will be a sort of mongrel
With a sandy head and toes.
3" CASTLES IN THE AIR.
'Of course it will love me dearly,
For I shall love it so much.
I shall have a chaffinch also,
And guineapigs in a hutch.
'We shall have apples for breal,f.at,
And cake at dinner and tea;
And nurse will never be angry,
And scold either you or me.'
SHow nice it would be!' said Dicky;
But people would make a fuss.
It would be so very jolly,
It could not happen to us.'
CASTLES IN THE AIR.
'It will,' said Dolly sincerely.
'You forget we shall be old;
We shall not always be worried
To do whatever we're told.'
'Oh then I know what will happen,'
Cried Dick, with a little smile;
' In the big bath in the nursery
I shall keep a crocodile.'
'Oh listen to me,' said Dolly.
'We shall both know how to fly;
We shall be just like the swallows
Who flutter about the sky.'
CASTLES IN THE AIR.
Dick shook his little head wisely-
'Only the birds can do that.
'I'm afraid that human beings
Are far too heavy and fat.
'Granny can't fly in the least, Dolly.
If she was learning, you know,
We should see her long wings sprouting,
And the little feathers grow.'
The daisies shut up their petals,
The sun went down to its rest,
While the great white clouds grew purple
And red and gold in the west.
CASTLES IN THE AIR. 35
The children sat silent, watching
The way the little birds flew,
Till the sunset glory faded,
And a star peeped from the blue.
Then Dolly said in a whisper,
'Angels have wings in the sky.
When we're as old as the angels
Perhaps we shall learn to fly.
' It will be a long time, Dicky,
And we must be very good,
Or the angels won't be able
To teach us how, if they would.
CASTLES IN THE AIR.
'We must be older than granny-
Old enough even to die;
And then perhaps God will give us
Little wings to help us fly.'
The wind blew the apple-blossoms
And shook them on Dolly's head;
Then the children left the orchard,
And the brown birds went to bed.
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... .. OS- -TA I LOR
THE SAD FATE OF A DEMON
ONCE there was a little demon
With a black and shiny skin,
With green eyes and ragged red locks,
And particularly thin.
He would never wear a garment,
Even of the lightest kind.
All his friends were very angry,
But the demon did not mind.
THE SAD FATE OF A DEMON.
He had for his dinner simply
Every day a roasted snipe.
Afterwards he smoked tobacco
In an old tobacco-pipe.
Till one day he met a fairy
Who was very small and fair,
With a voice that thrilled the demon,
With blue eyes and yellow hair.
And he loved this pretty fairy
With his beating blackie heart,
Just as I love you, or you love
Gooseberry and cherry tart.
THE SAD FATE OF A DEMON.
All that day he had no dinner,
Left untouched a dainty snipe;
Hurried out and bought some trousers,
Red and yellow in a stripe.
Bought a scarlet coat with flounces,
Combed his hair and washed his face,
Put on shoes and purple stockings,
And a clean shirt trimmed with lace.
But the little fairy's parents
Did not see at all the fun
Of a skinny, black, and shiny
Little demon for a son ;
40 THE SAD FATE OF A DEMON.
And refused in strongest language
To allow their darling child
To give him her true affection,
Or do anything so wild.
So the woful demon languished,
Quite refused to eat his dinner,
Could not sleep a wink for weeping,
Grew most sorrowfully thinner.
Till at last he felt so weary
That he lay down on his side,
And shut up his tired red eyelids
And went fast asleep and died.
THE SAD FATE OF A DEMON. 41
Then his friends came in, and, crying,
Buried him with solemn state;
Though their tender care and pity
Were perhaps a little late.
He was put with tears and sorrow
In a grass-grown daisy bed,
And a tiny monumental
Stone was placed above his head-
With this epitaph engraven:
'Here a weary demon lies.
Tucked up underneath the clover,
He has gone to lullabies.'
UNDERNEATH the great green ocean,
Where the white ships sail in motion,
And the wind blows wild and free,
And the big waves roll in thunder
When the storm is on the sea,
There is peace and quiet under,
Down below the restless swell,
Where the little mermaids dwell.
Where the little mermaids dwell.
S YMPA THY. 43
But one little mermaid, weeping,
Would not join the others leaping,
Dancing, singing at their play ;
And the crabs all thought about it
At the ending of the day.
While the others laughed and shouted
She sat all alone and cried,
No companions at her side.
Then one little crab crept near her;
Ile was wishing he could cheer her,
But he did not do it well:
For he asked what was the matter.
He said, 'I wish you would tell.'
But she told him not to chatter,
And to leave her quite alone
On her solitary stone.
Then the little crab, offended
At the kindness he intended
Being rudely thrust away-
For the mermaid answered curtly:
Said she wished he would not stay-
Went on speaking very pertly:
'Oh! I would not stop with you
Even if you asked me to.'
'There is no one loves me dearly,'
Sobbed the little mermaid; 'really,
That's the reason I am sad.
There is no one who will kiss me;
All the other ones are glad,
For they do not even miss me.
It is always just the same,
And I think it is a shame.'
'Oh I really do not wonder,'
Said the crab; ''T would be a blunder
If the mermaids cared for you,
For you do not love them either;
And I know that this is true:
If we do not give love, neither
Shall we have love given to us;
So you need not make a fuss.'
'Little crab,' said a mermaiden
Who swam past them, seaweed-laden,
'It is very wrong indeed
To repeat a true thing wrongly
That might help us in our need.
I must tell you very strongly
It is worse to be unkind
Than be silent, you will find.-
'Little sister dear,' she ended,
'Let your broken heart be mended,
For the crab is right, you know;
Our own love is the beginning,
And the ending may be slow;
But we are quite sure of winning
Other love to meet our own,
For no love is left alone.'
So the little mermaid kissed her,
And she whispered, 'Darling sister,
I had never thought of that:
I believed they did not love me.
On the little stone I sat,
And I watched them swim above me
While I cried; but now I see
That the fault was all in me.'
Then together off they wandered,
And the crab stood still and pondered
How truth may be truth indeed,
But there are two ways of speaking
Even truth, and one will lead
To the truth we have been seeking;
But the other way is long
When we make a true thing wrong.
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THE NEW SISTER.
IN the silent room they whispered,
Little Rose and tiny Jack;
Pressing close behind the curtains
In the shadows dim and black.
They were talking to each other,
Looking out into the gloom,
Of the wonderful new baby
Who was sleeping in the room:
THE NEIW SISTER. 49
'When it came down out of heaven,
All alone out of the sky,
Who came with it here ?' asked Jacky ;
'It is much too young to fly.'
' Why, of course,' said Rose, the angels
Brought it safely through the blue,
For God sent it as a present
Down to mother, me, and you,
' It was in the dusky twilight,
As the stars began to peep,
That they came in very softly,
For the baby was asleep.
0 THE NEW SISTER.
And they laid her in the cradle;
But of course they could not stay,
So she woke and cried a-little
When the angels went away.'
'She was lonely,' cried out Jacky.
We must give her so much love
That she may not miss the angels
Till she meets them up above.'
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bright black eyes ;
There was nothing he cared to look at under the
A friendly fairy was passing who was very kind
And she asked what it was that made him sit
sulking in the wood.
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52 THE TOMTIT AND 7HE FAIRY.
The little tomtit made answer: 'Last night it was
wet and cold,
And I heard a goblin sobbing below. He was not
It seemed so selfish to leave him; and I really
could not rest
Till I hurried down to the goblin, and carried him
up to my nest.
'It was all I could do to lift him-he was in a
He ruined my nest's soft lining, which I'd made so
warm for my mate.
No wonder she did not like him, and thought he
was very free,
For supper had just been finished, and the goblin
asked for tea.
THE TOMTIT AND THE FAIRLY 53
' We treated him very kindly, though he made a
We covered him with our feathers, and he spent
the night with us.
Then in the morning early the goblin climbed
down from the tree,
And went off without saying Thank you," or any-
thing else, to me.
'What is the good of kindness ? I will never be
Not if a hundred goblins should cry and be lost
in the rain-
Please will you mind your own business!'-he
pushed the fairy away ;
'I really don't want people near me in the sunniest
part of the day.'
54 THE TOMATIT AND THE FAIRY.
Sadly the poor little fairy flew back into fairy-
She thought to herself of something the bird would
Of something we all ought to know, dear, just
because it is true,
For the tomtit and the fairy, and me, my darling,
That the beauty of Love is loving, with not a
thought beyond :
If we measure giving and taking, the beautiful
Love is wronged;
That the only reward to look for in goodness is
But the tomtit would not believe it, and sat and
sulked in the wood.
THERE once was a child, and his hair was wild,
But his joy you could not miss,
Though his face was dirt-lined and you could not
One little clean place to kiss.
His tiny bare feet in the dirty street
Were muddy and red and cold,
But his big blue eyes were full of surprise,
And the wonder of six years old;
56 A TIIREEPANNY-BIT.
For a threepenny-bit has three pennies in it:
And think of the rapture and joy
Of the buns or a pie that three pennies will buy
For a poor little hungry boy.
Delighted and glad with the gift he has had,
A minute he stands to decide;
No longer forlorn, though his clothes are all torn,
And the rents in his jacket are wide.
With a heart full of pleasure, he flies with his
As gay as a little bird linnet.
Just think upon this-on the joy and the bliss
That a threepenny-bit has got in it.
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THE MOTHER DUCK
SHALL I tell you a true story ?
In a distant northern land,
Where the skies are grey and cloudy-
Where the purple mountains stand-
Very early in the spring-time,
By a pool, a wild duck laid
Ten green eggs she guarded fondly
In the nest which she had made.
58 THE MOTHER DUCK.
One cold evening, in the twilight,
When the sun had set behind
The long range of misty mountains,
Down there swept a bitter wind,
Fiercely rushing through the darkness
On the little pool below,
On the bare and open moorland
Beating clouds of blinding snow.
Other birds and wild ducks, frightened,
Left their nests and flew away,
Seeking shelter from the tempest
Till the dawning of the day;
THE MOTHER DUCKA 59
But this duck remained to brave it
On her roughly woven nest;
Felt her warm eggs underneath her--
Pressed them closer to her breast ;
Crouched down from the blinding snowstorm,
Quite resolved she would not stir ;
Resolute to do her duty
With a mother's love in her.
When the storm died off in silence,
And the morning sky was red,
On her nest the duck lay frozen,
With her eyes shut-cold and dead.
6o THE MOTHER DUCK.
Just a little common wild-duck
Lying stiff, without a breath;
But whose heart was brave and faithful,
And whose love had conquered death.
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THE SELFISH GOBLIN
UPON the open moorland
The rain was falling fast,
As through the dripping heather
A goblin hurried past.
His eyes were small and cunning,
His hair was very red;
He had a green umbrella
He held above his head.
62 THE SELFISH GOBLIN.
He chanced to see a fairy
Whose clothes were very wet;
As she had no umbrella
He wished they had not met.
SOh, please will you allow me,'
The weary fairy cried,
To share your green umbrella
By keeping near your side ?
'I wandered from the pathway
As I was going home.
Oh, dear oh, dear I'm frightened-
Don't leave me all alone !'
THE SELFISH GOBLIN. 63
'Pooh! nonsense!' said the goblin;
Can you not plainly see
That under my umbrella
Is only room for me ?
'Good-bye.' He went on gaily,
His clothes completely dry.
lie left the little fairy
To sit alone and cry.
But as he crossed the heather
The wind, with angry din,
Caught hold of his umbrella
And blew it outside in.
64 THE SELFISH GOBLIN.
Hurrah !' exclaimed a hedgehog,
I am extremely glad.
I saw your mean behaviour;
It nearly drove me mad.
'I know a clever manner
To make umbrellas new,
But I should never think of
Describing it to you.
'My back is sharp and prickly,
My spines are very strong.
I'll run you through the body :
It will not take me long.'
T HE SELFISH GOBLIN.
He rolled the goblin over,
And then he hurried back
To guide the little fairy
Upon her homeward track;
And left the selfish goblin
Trying, with labour vain,
To mend his green umbrella,
Which let in all the rain.
"" 1 ."
UPON a bending bough of willow, by a pool,
A blackbird sang aloud. The air was fresh and
A little summer wind blew softly through the
The blackbird tried to still a thrush hid in the
The thrush sang out in praise of the good mother
The fairy mother-whom all little birds revere.
The blackbird praised her, too; but told the
Their songs were not the same, and so he'd better
'You ought to try to sing exactly as I do.
The mother will not care,' the blackbird cried, 'for
Unless you copy me; my voice is clear and
Besides, the way you flirt your tail is very
'I sing, and in my song I thank her for the
With which she makes me find such nice
I praise her for the snails and little spiders fat
I swallow every day. You never think of that.'
'Ah, no the brown thrush said, I praise her for
That wakes me in the dawn before the east is
I thank her for the spring, when green leaves are
And for the dark cool night, that comforts all the
'You think of nothing but your greedy self, I
I'm sure the mother dear will listen more to me,
Because I honour her for beauty she lets fall
Upon the whole green earth, and gifts that come
The blackbird answered back. The sparrows
The jackdaws and the jays, who love to gossip,
'See how the songbirds fight about a silly
How thankful we should be that none of us
can sing !'
At last a little lark dropped gently from the
He wanted to make peace before the day went
For the red sun was low, the hills were touched
Slowly along the west the evening shadows
'The sky is blue,' he sang, 'the earth is wide and
There are more things in it than little birds have
We cannot be quite right, nor altogether wrong :
No bird can sing the whole of one thing in
'It is a pleasant thought, should some of us be
That other birds can see what we have left behind.
That nothing may be missed the world goes round
And what the blackbird lost the speckled thrush
*? *.' 4 -5
IN A CAGE.
ONCE there was a hen canary
Married to a linnet dear;
For the linnet was a boy-bird,
And his voice was sweet and clear.
He was dressed in soft brown feathers,
Always smooth and very clean;
Was perhaps the neatest linnet
That I think was ever seen.
IN A CAGE. 73
She was round and soft and yellow,
Rather like a downy ball
Of a thistle in the autumn
Just before the red leaves fall.
Well, one day it was the spring-time-
They could feel it, though you see
They were not, as other birds are,
In the forests flying free.
They could not enjoy the blossoms
Scattered over field and wood ;
Still they always were contented-
For they both were verygood.
74 IN A CAGE.
So the little hen said, 'Really,
I will do as you think best;
But, my love, I think that truly
We should try and build a nest.
'Some one in our cage has fastened
Bundles of the nicest kind :
Such delicious moss and feathers;
And the wool just suits my mind.
'So I feel it is our duty.
Clearly no one could excuse
Our behaviour, if we waited
When the things are there to use.'
IN A CAGE. 75
Then the linnet chirped an answer,
Pecking at his little legs :
'Wife, I'll help you build a round nest,
If you'll truly lay the eggs.'
So the nest was nicely finished:
It was warm and soft and neat;
And the cock-bird murmured 'Jolly !'
And the hen-bird whispered 'Sweet!'
Then the time passed very quickly;
Soon a small blue egg was laid;
And the linnet felt astonished,
And admiringly afraid.
76 IN A CAGE.
He sang loud triumphant ditties
Made in honour of his wife;
He had never been as happy
As he then was, all his life.
When four eggs were safely added
In the little hollow nest,
The canary sat and brooded
With them warm below her breast;
Till the thin shells cracked and opened,
And the little birds crept out-
Small and downy, with no feathers-
Tumbling helplessly about.
IN A CAGE.
"The canary thought them lovely :
Spoke with all a mother's pride,
' They must be extremely clever
For their mouths to be so wide.'
'And all birds,' exclaimed the linnet,
If they're candid, must confess
That our first nest and our children
Are a very grand success.'
So .- ..:.. .' ":,- . ^,
>^ -1^ .
," x .. ~" ,
",-, ,. ---. ^] .,
THE ELFMAN'S WOOING.
ONCE there was a little elfman
With a tiny turn-up nose,
Living in the dewy centre
Of a fragrant yellow rose.
Opposite there grew a lily
In the sunny morning light;
And there dwelt a little fairy
In its blossoms sweet and white.
THE ELFMAN'S WOOING. 79
She had yellow hair like sunshine,
And a dainty crimson mouth,
While her voice was like the rustle
Of a low wind from the south.
So the elfman loved her dearly;
Gave his faithful heart away.
Then the night grew far more lovely-
Far more beautiful the day.
But he did not dare to tell her,
For he felt extremely shy;
Till at last he gathered courage,
And determined he would try.
So THE ELFMAN'S WOOING.
He was frightened she would scorn him-
Think him far too rude and rough;
But he said, 'I love you truly,
Though I am not good enough.
'I will draw your water for you,
I will kneel to honour you;
I will be through life for ever
Always loving, good, and true.
'I will be your faithful servant;
You shall rule within the house;
I will be as low and humble
As a brown and tiny mouse.'
THE ELFMAN'S WOOING. 8
But the fairy interrupted,
And her laugh was sweet and clear:
'Will you be my precious husband ?
For I really love you, dear!'
L '- '-
, . P 1 ., -,
"__ .- ; I I
TIE children talked in the nursery with voices
hushed and low;
The swallows flying across the sky were clear in
the evening glow;
The sunbeams lay on the grass aslant, and new
little buds awoke
To fill the garden with sweetness, as poor little
Katherine spoke :
TOO LATE. 83
'Yes, I heard the doctor speaking to nurse, and I
heard him say
That Molly was very ill; he said that she was
They did not know that I was there; and, standing
close to the door,
I heard mother sob and whisper, There is no hope
'And Barbara,' Katherine added, with tears in her
big grey eyes,
'Just think-for the doctor must know, of course-
if little Molly dies,
How often we teased and vexed her, and said she
was far too small
To play with us in the wood, and climb, for she
would be sure to fall.
84 TOO LATE.
' I know we were very unkind, for we often made
She is only four years old, you know; we did not
think she would die.
And now she won't know that we cry, and are
sorry because we miss her.
If she would only get well again, how we would
love and kiss her !'
SLet us pray to the Lord and ask Him,' Barbara
said through her tears,
'To make Molly better, and leave her with us for
a few more years.
He will be sure to hear us, and I know it will be
lie will come Himself to Molly, and make her well
in the night.'
TOO LATE. 85
So the children knelt down gravely, and little
While a sunbeam stole from the quiet sky and
rested on her head-
' God, make Molly better; please, dear God,
take away her pain;
For the Lord Christ's sake we ask you to make
her well again.'
Next morning the sun shone gladly; the dew lay
wet and white
On the grass and leaves; they sparkled in the early
But the children were crying bitterly; their eyes
were swollen and dim;
God had taken dear little Molly in the night to
live with Him.
86 TOO LATE.
' Oh, Barbara,' Katherine sobbed, as they stood by
the open door,
'If we only had thought of asking God a little
We were just too late ; God had sent a white angel
down from the sky
Before He knew that we asked Him not to let
.'/ ,C/ .
: .. .^ .^5 --. -i-.
' i,,,.,;. "' > " .' -...
DOLLY AND DICK.
DOLLY came into the meadow,
And sat on the grass to cry;
Her tears made the daisies wither
And the yellow buttercups die.
The little birds heard her sobbing;
Their songs broke off in surprise.
What could have happened to Dolly,
That she had such sorrowful eyes ?
88 DOLLY AND DICK.
'I am unhappy,' cried Dolly,
Sobbing aloud in despair :
'I fought with Dick in the garden,
And pulled out a lot of his hair.'
Softly there flew down a robin-
A dear little redbreast bird;
His voice was clear as the ripples
Of a pool which the wind has stirred
'After the night comes the morning,
After the winter the spring;
We can begin again, Dolly,
And be sorry for everything.
DOLLY AND DICK. 39
" It is a pity to quarrel;
I think it never is right;
But if you fight in the daytime
You can make it up in the night.
" We love, and so we are happy.
No beautiful thing ever ends.
'Tis good to cry and be sorry,
But better to kiss and be friends.'
Dolly stopped crying to listen,
But the robin had flown away.
'I'll go and say I am sorry
I quarrelled with Dick to-day.'
DOLLY AND DICK.
'What made you come back ?' asked Dicky,
As they kissed on the nursery stairs.
'I met,' said Dolly, 'a robin
Who, I think, was saying his prayers.'
-CA.-- / ,.
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