Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Chapter I: My home and babyhoo...
 Chapter II: My first journey
 Chapter III: My broken leg
 Chapter IV: A wet night
 Chapter V: My education
 Chapter VI: Disowned
 Chapter VII: "Poke him out!"
 Chapter VIII: A narrow escape from...
 Chapter IX: Winter
 Chapter X: My brother's return
 Chapter XI: Robina
 Chapter XII: Nest-building
 Chapter XIII: My babies
 Chapter XIV: A prisoner
 Chapter XV: Excursions
 Chapter XVI: War
 Chapter XVII: Conclusion
 Back Cover

Group Title: Autobiography of a robin : with his Christmas greetings
Title: Autobiography of a robin
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00053758/00001
 Material Information
Title: Autobiography of a robin with his Christmas greetings
Alternate Title: Holiday adventures of a kitten
Physical Description: 79 p., 1 leaf of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 16 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Elliot, Andrew ( Publisher )
Edinburgh Printing Company ( Printer )
S. Hildesheimer & Co ( Printer of plates )
Publisher: Andrew Elliot
Place of Publication: Edinburgh
Manufacturer: Edinburgh Printing Company
Publication Date: 1885
Subject: Robins -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Birds -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Christmas -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Human-animal relationships -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Animal welfare -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1885
Genre: novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Scotland -- Edinburgh
Statement of Responsibility: by Mrs. Jarvis.
General Note: Frontispiece is a pasted on Christmas card printed in colors by S. Hildesheimer & Co.
Funding: Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00053758
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002232167
notis - ALH2559
oclc - 64613045

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
    Title Page
        Page iv
        Page v
    Table of Contents
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
    Chapter I: My home and babyhood
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
    Chapter II: My first journey
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
    Chapter III: My broken leg
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
    Chapter IV: A wet night
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
    Chapter V: My education
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
    Chapter VI: Disowned
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
    Chapter VII: "Poke him out!"
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
    Chapter VIII: A narrow escape from drowning
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
    Chapter IX: Winter
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
    Chapter X: My brother's return
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
    Chapter XI: Robina
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
    Chapter XII: Nest-building
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
    Chapter XIII: My babies
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
    Chapter XIV: A prisoner
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
    Chapter XV: Excursions
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
    Chapter XVI: War
        Page 75
        Page 76
    Chapter XVII: Conclusion
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
    Back Cover
        Page 80
        Page 81
Full Text

The Baldwin Library





Mittb bis Cbristmas Greetfnos




!Most Respecttull MDebicateb,



I. My Home and Babyhood 9
II. My First Journey 13
III. My Broken Leg. 17
IV. A Wet Night 25
V. My Education 29
VI. Disowned 32
VII. Poke him out" 36
VIII. A Narrow Escape from Drowning 39
IX. Winter 42
X. My Brother's Return 45
XI. Robina 49
XII. Nest-Building 52
XIII. My Babies. 58
XIV. A Prisoner. 67
XV. Excursions 70
XVI. War 75
XVII. Conclusion. 77


ROM the snow-covered branch of an old
elm-tree, the Author timidly ventures
to send forth this short account of his
life, trusting that all boys and girls who
read the story may think kindly of the little
birdies that hop about in the gardens, in the
fields, on the roads, and even on the house-
tops, singing their sweet and varied melodies,
morn, noon, and night, summer and winter,
interfering with no one, but helping to cheer
and brighten, by their beautiful plumage and


charming music, many sad and sorrowful lives,
and always grateful for every kind word and
look, and in cold weather thankful for a few
crumbs to keep them alive until the frost and
snow disappear.



in 1Ibome anb 'abpboob.

" A HAT a delightful garden to live in!"
sang out a blackbird as he ran
along the tennis lawn and kept his
bright eye fixed on the surrounding slopes,
ready to pounce upon any unwary worm that
might show itself. "A fine old garden," said
a starling, who was sitting on the top of a
withered ash-tree that was covered with ivy.
"Pretty! pretty!" said the chaffinches, as they
hopped about the hedges in search of a place


to make a little home in. "Charming spot,"
said my father, as he hopped by my mother's
side in search of a cosy hidden hole or nook
in which to build a nest, and discovered a
hollow place in the stump of an old tree
which lay in the Manse garden, in Kirk-
liston, in the month of April 1883.
The stump had beautiful ferns growing all
round it and over it, and the hole was just
the right size for little birds to make a home
in. So my father and mother took possession
of it, and there I lived with my two brothers
and two sisters before we could hop or fly,
for we were all baby-birds at the same time,
and could do nothing but open our mouths
and call chirp! chirp!! chirp!!! when we
were hungry. Our mother used to stay near
the nest, or sit on it with her wings spread
out over us to keep us warm before we were
covered with feathers, while our father was
busy all day looking for food for us. He
was more fortunate than most little birds, as


he knew a lady he called Curl," who kept on
a sideboard in her kitchen plenty of minced
meat and crumbs ready for him to carry away.
He knew he might go as often as he pleased
and help himself, but sometimes the kitchen
door was shut, and then he had to peep
about among the bushes for caterpillars and
grubs, and he had to try and find something
very quickly, as we wanted to be fed about
ten times an hour. When he came to the
nest we all opened our mouths as widely as
we could, and he put the food down our throats.
If there was the least noise or rustle near
our house, we all shut our big brown eyes
and lay quite still for fear anybody should
know where we lived, and touch us. There
was an old dog named Help that used often
to come sniffing round the tree stump, but if
he knew we were there he never tried to hurt
us, so we did not mind Help; but we were
very often afraid of cats, which came wandering
among the bushes looking for birds to eat.


One of my brothers did not live to fly about.
Poor little fellow, he lay dead one morning just
outside the nest. We all looked at him, and
wondered why he did not open his mouth like
the rest of us when father brought our break-
fast. "Curl" knew where we lived, and when she
came to see us she took his body away and
buried it. After that we did not stay very long
in that house.



N ofiret 3ourne .
W HEN we were nearly two weeks old
my father took my brother and me
out for a walk, or rather hop, that we
might know how to go about and find some-
thing to eat. He hopped among the cabbages
and examined the leaves, taking a drink from the
drops of water which were on them if he felt
thirsty, and we did the same; indeed we seemed
to be playing at "Follow the Leader," as we
tried to do everything that father did. When


he turned over a dead leaf to see what was
underneath it, we did so too; if he hopped on
a twig, so did we. When he stood still and
listened to passing footsteps, we listened also.
Whatever he did we tried to imitate, but we
could not pick up anything and swallow it for
nearly a week, although we tried every day.
So our father gave us plenty of worms, grubs,
and earwigs, which we liked very much. When
we were tired, or if he knew that a cat was
prowling about, he took us up into the middle
of a thick hedge, where we were quite safe, and
we could sit on the thin twigs to rest or sleep.
One day he took us to see his friend "Curl."
She was working in her garden, which was
very near the one we lived in. If you had
been there you might have seen my father
who had a beautiful red breast and fine smooth
wings and tail, hopping along quite proudly
between his two sons, who were not at all like
him, but were dumpy, fluffy little things, with
large brown spots on their grey breasts, and


with eyes and mouths much larger than his.
When Curl saw us coming to her she said-" So,
my dear little Robin, you have brought your
boys to let me see them. They are neat little
dots !" And she gave him some biscuit crumbs
which he took from her lap and put into our
mouths while we were standing looking at
her, and wondering what she would do to us;
but our father told us not to be afraid of Curl,
as he was quite sure she would not hurt us,
and then he flew away and left us with her.
When he had gone we hopped close to Curl,
and she gave us little worms and called us
her dear wee pets," and by and by our father
came back and took charge of us again. He
showed us a great many pretty places, and a
hedge where we could sit to rest when we
were not hungry, and beautiful large rhubarb
leaves which would shelter us from the rain
when there was a heavy shower, and on our
way home we looked at everything, so that we
might know the way to Curl's garden again.


When we were too big to stay in the nest
at night, our father and mother looked for
snug little holes and corners among the old
trees or outhouses where we could sleep, and
when they had put us to bed we dare not
move away from the place until they came
and chirped for us in the morning.
Father took us into Curl's garden every day
until we were old enough to pick up for our-
selves, and then we never thought of going
anywhere else, but watched for her opening
the door in the morning and at once flew to
her for our breakfast, and stayed among her
flowers and bushes all day, flying to her every
time she came out, and following her as she
worked at her flower-beds.




fDi :Broken leg.

MY brother and I were very happy little
birds, and we began to sit on the
twigs of large trees just in the same
way as old birds do, when one day I was
sitting on a beautiful branch, thinking, and
wondering at all the trees and water I saw,
and a number of boys on their way to school
looked up and caught sight of me. "Ah
there's a wee robin," said one. I11 hit it,"
said another; and as I was only a simple baby


birdie, I did not know that they were going
to hurt me, so I sat still, until a stone knocked
me down, and I fell among some bushes. I
lay a long time, and could only say chirp!
chirp! chirp! so sadly. My poor unfortunate
leg was hanging by the skin. Oh, how
frightened I was, and how I trembled! I think
if the boy who threw the stone had seen me
lying there so helpless and in such pain, he
would have been sorry and resolved not to hurt
any more birds.
I tried to hop, but I fell so many times that
I did not know what to do. My dear kind
brother hopped round me and tried to put
my leg right, but all in vain. My father and
mother were nearly broken-hearted, and my
sisters looked at me and chirped their pity.
At last my father said, We must try and take
you to-Curl;" so he helped me as well as he
could into her garden, and then he went and
told her about my broken leg. She did not
know what he said, but she knew that some-


thing was wrong, from his frightened appearance
and hurried manner, and she went with him
to see what it was. When she came, I was
trying to steady myself on my one foot, and
the other was lying behind quite useless. "My
poor little pet, how sorry I am for you! she
said, and she cried because the boy had been
so cruel as to hurt me; then she said, I must
try and do something for you, my bonnie little
birdie." So she went into her house for a cage,
put some biscuit crumbs in it, also a tuft of
grass with worms on it to entice me in. My
father and brother went in first, and had a good
feast, and when I saw them getting something
to eat, I scrambled in as well as I could, and
at once the door was shut. My father and
brother were allowed to fly out again, but Curl
took me in the cage up to her bedroom, and
saying, "Now, my little dot, I must try and
mend your leg," she got a piece of soft wool
and taking me very gently in her hand she
bound up my broken leg. I was not at all


afraid of her, but lay on my back and watched
how she wound the wool round and round my
leg, and when she had finished she kissed me
and said, "You are a good little birdie, and I
shall call you Bobby I." And she made a nice
bed of flannel at one end of the cage and put
me on it; but I did not like being put to bed,
so I examined my tied-up leg, and pecked at
the wool until I got it all off, and when Curl
came back to look at me, my leg was hanging
down just the same as at the first, so she took
me out of the cage a second time, and bound
up my leg again, telling me that I was a sick
little bird, and that I must not take off the
bandage; and as I was- rather tired I left it
alone, and after eating some biscuit fell asleep.
Every day, while I lived in the cage, a nice
fresh tuft of grass with several worms on it
was given to me, with a clean saucer of water
and plenty of biscuit. Curl knew what I liked
just as well as if she had once been a bird
herself. I heard her tell a lady, that I ate


twelve worms every day, besides grubs, earwigs,
and maggots. Just fancy, one little robin having
such an appetite. In the morning, very early,
Curl used to get out of bed and open the
window to let my father come in to see how
well I was, so that he might not be unhappy
about me; and a little later when she went
into the garden, she took me with her and
put my cage near the hedge, so that my mother
and brother and sisters might come and talk
to me. My brother, named Bobby II., used
to sit on the top of the cage and look wistfully
at all the good things I had inside, and my
father often brought me caterpillars, but when I
saw all the birds flying about, I wished so much
to get out of the cage that I tried to push
myself through between the wires, but I could
not, and after a few days I became more con-
tented and amused myself by playing "Peep
bow," the same as Frisky," Curl's pet canary,
did. It used to hop from one perch to another
ever so many times when she said Peep bow.


As I had only one perch near the bottom of
my cage (the others had been taken out for
fear I should hurt my leg), I popped quickly
from my perch to the bottom of my cage and
up again in a moment, which pleased Curl
very much, and made her laugh, as I did it
on one foot twenty or thirty times without
stopping. When I heard Frisky praised for
singing, I tried to sing too, but I could not
sing like him at all, and Curl said my song
was just like my father's, very sweet and
plaintive, so I often sang to her when she said,
" Sing, Bobby."
Sometimes I took off my bandage to see if
my leg was getting better, but Curl always
put another on until she saw that I could stand
properly on my two feet, and at the end of
three weeks I was pronounced quite well, and
allowed to hop and fly about the bedroom
nearly all day, to strengthen my wings, and
Curl told me I might fly into the garden on
the first warm sunny day. Oh, I was glad,


for I had been longing every day to sit on
a tree, and to fly about among the other bird;.
The long-wished-for day came at last. One
fine morning about eleven o'clock I was taken
down to the kitchen, and out at the back door,
then Curl called loudly, "Sparrow Sparrow "
and at once the birds flew to her from every
part of the garden. There were sparrows,
robins, chaffinches, tits, and blackbirds, all round
her eating, chattering, and snatching pieces from
each other, and having such a feast. Then
turning to me, she said, "Bobby I., I am going
to let you free, but you must come here when
you are hungry, and you will always get plenty
to eat," and she opened my cage door and out
I hopped. I saw my brother among the other
birds, so I went with him to look at all the
things in the garden. What a happy little
fellow I was! How I flapped my wings, and
stuck up my short tail, which had grown while
I was living in the cage! My brother knew
where to find earwigs in the pailings, cater-


pillars on the cabbages, and worms in the
ground, and when Curl called, "Bobby! Bobby !!"
he flew to her as fast as he could, and sat on
her knee, while she gave him biscuit crumbs.
I went too, and she was so pleased when we
both sat in her lap without being afraid. She
never tried to catch us, but allowed us to stay
as long as we liked and then fly away.



i Wet eight.
WHILE I was hopping about so merrily
all day, I did not think of looking for a
cosy place to sleep in at night, and when
the darkness came on I could not find a good
corner that had not already been taken posses-
sion of. One little hole in an old tree I thought
a very nice place, and was just going to sleep in
it, when my brother turned me out, saying,
"That is where I always sleep." Another hole
I went to, and my father said, I sleep there,


and there is no room for you." Then I went
to the ivy, which covered the Manse, but the
sparrows, whose first sleep I had disturbed,
pecked me and would not let me sit near any of
them. They knew I had no lodging-place
among them, as many of them had slept on the
same branches for years. Not being able to get
lodgings anywhere, I flew to a tree, and settling
myself on one foot, on a thin twig, I soon fell
asleep, but I awoke in a short time, so cold and
wet, that I did not close my eyes again that
night. The rain fell in torrents, and as I could
not go anywhere in the dark, I sat and shivered
and longed for morning. At last a little streak
of daylight appeared, and I went down and
hopped-I could not fly, I was so wet-round to
Curl's back-door. I stood a long time under a
wallflower, waiting for the door to be opened;
but as it was too soon for any one to be in the
kitchen, I must have remained there shivering
for more than an hour, when I heard the latch
lifted, and Curl came out and called her birds


for their breakfast. I went timidly out of my
hiding-place and stood before her. Surely this
is not my little Bobby I.," said Curl, as she looked
with pity on the dejected object at her feet.
" Poor wee fellow, how wet he is!" She then
brought my cage, and placed it on the ground
near me. I was glad to get back to my old
home on such a wet morning, so I went in at
once, and Curl carried me into the kitchen and
put me near the fire, as I had not one dry
feather. She then gave me nice minced meat,
biscuit, and everything she thought I would like,
and in a short time I felt so well and happy
that I began playing "Peep bow." For two
days I did not go out, as Curl said the garden
was too wet and cold for me, even although the
rain had ceased falling, so I hopped about the
kitchen and scullery, and sat up on the high
shelves, or looked out at the window, and at
night I sat on a long nail which had a picture
hanging from it. The third morning was warm
and bright, so I was told I might go out if I


wished to and look for worms. I flew out and
stayed a short time, and then I came back and
sat again on the high shelves. While there I
decided that I would sleep every night on my
favourite long nail, over the fire-place, for I had
not forgotten the cold outside; so I flew in and
out as often as I pleased, and every night for
more than a week, when I felt sleepy I flew
to my nail to roost. I should have stayed
longer, but I could not get out soon enough in
the morning. Robins are all very early risers.
They may be heard singing on the trees long
before daylight, and they hop about and pick
up worms and slugs while many other birds are
asleep. I sleep now in a cosy little hole in one
of the old ash-trees in the Manse garden, and I
can pop out at four o'clock in the morning or
earlier if I wish to do so.



flM Ebucation.

HAVE never been to school, yet I have had
many lessons to learn such as most little
birds know nothing about, for Curl has
always made a pet of me and tried to teach me
a great deal. She said she wanted me to come
to her every day at certain hours for my biscuit
crumbs, as she could not stay in the garden all
day, and she did not like me to be hungry, so
she told me to come at seven o'clock in the
morning, at nine o'clock, at twelve o'clock, at


three o'clock in the afternoon, at five o'clock,
and as soon as the sun disappeared from view.
Now, not knowing anything about clocks and
watches, it was not very easy for me to learn
about the hours, and I could never have remem-
bered them if Curl had not come out each time
and called, Bobby! Bobby!!" but after a few
weeks I knew the proper times so well that I
always flew to the place where she sat to feed
me, exactly at the right minute, and if she
happened to be speaking to any one and did not
see me I sang as loudly as I could, and then she
looked at her watch, and said, "That is my
Bobby calling for his biscuit; I must not keep
him waiting," and she fed me at once.
Another lesson I had to remember was, that
after my twelve o'clock meal I had to sing Curl
a song. I used to fly into the middle of the
hedge and sit on a thin twig which grew across
between two thick branches near an old for-
saken nest. I always sat on the same twig, and
as soon as Curl stood in her place close to the


hedge, I began to sing, and sometimes sang
such a long time that Curl used to say, Thank
you, Bobby, that will do," and leave me to finish
my song without an audience. And every
night after most other birds had gone to roost,
Curl used to come into the garden and say,
" Bobby, sing your good-night," so I sang good-
night and then flew off to bed. There was one
lesson I never could learn, although I was
taught it every day; that was-to let my brother
sit on Curl's knee and eat, at the same time that
I was there, without fighting him. I always
used to make him wait until I had finished
eating, or drive him off her knee, so that he had
to sit on the ground and take his pieces.



ONE bright summer morning I saw my
father hopping about among the rasp-
berry bushes and picking up something,
so with delight I flew to the same place, for I loved
my father with all a little birdie's pure affection
and liked to be beside him just as much as boys
are pleased and proud to go out walking with
their fathers. My mother I did not know so
well, as she took little notice of me from the
time I was able to leave the nest. My brother


and I were left entirely to my father's care,
while my mother took charge of my sisters.
Therefore you may imagine my surprise and
grief when my father, instead of talking kindly
to me, as he had always done before, jumped on
my head and stuck his claws firmly into my
neck, causing me such pain that I could not
repress a shrill cry of agony, then he jumped
off, telling me as he did so that he would treat
me in the same manner every time I came near
him, and thus we parted. My brother and I
had quarrelled a few days before, and saw very
little of each other, sometimes for several hours,
and although there were a great many birds of
different kinds in the garden, I seemed to be
disowned of all, and stood there, a little lonely
robin, without another birdie friend to speak to,
or sympathise with me.
About this time my red feathers began to
appear, first one and then another, until at the
end of eight days I was a beautiful red-breasted
robin. To escape my father's claws I used to


spend a great deal of time in an old greenhouse,
the door of which was left open all day. My
favourite seat was on the side of a flower pot
which held a Nile lily. I enjoyed the shade of
the large leaves, while I amused myself singing
a plaintive little melody over and over again.
I did not fly out when Curl's mother came in,
but watched her water the flowers and some-
times stood beside her and took a drink from
one of the flower-pot saucers. She often gave
me biscuit crumbs, and if she lifted a pot and
there was a centipede underneath it I darted
down at once and, picking up the many-footed
creature, swallowed it whole, whether I was
hungry or not. For nearly a month I lived in
the greenhouse, when one day, while I was
sitting singing as usual, a big famished-looking
cat came and stared in. Fortunately as the sun
was shining, it could not see very well, so I
hopped up to the top shelf and sat on a cactus
leaf where it could not reach me, and some one
passing at the time made it scamper off, no


doubt much disappointed that it had not eaten
me. I then came down saying to myself, I
see this will not be a safe place for me any
longer, I must keep outside where I can fly
away when a cat comes into the garden." So I
left all the pretty flowers and never went into
the nice warm place again.

A p-.'^-



"Pohe 1bim Out!"

SNE autumn afternoon, seeing Curl's
kitchen door wide open, I thought I
would go in and visit all my former
favourite spots ; but when I got inside I saw
another door open too, so without hesitation I
hopped into a lobby, and crossing that went
into a room where I had never been before;
therefore, there were a great many things for me
to look at and examine, for robins are very
curious birds, they take notice of everything


which is strange or new, and as there was no
one in the room I hopped where I pleased, and
at last flew up on the pole of the window
curtains, where I could have a proper bird's-eye
view of all below. I was thus occupied when I
was suddenly startled by a noise near the door,
and I darted straight across the top of an old-
fashioned tent bedstead, and there being only a
very narrow space between that and the wall, I
fell gradually down, down, down, until I reached
the floor at the back of the bed. I was not
hurt, but there were so many curtains above, and
all round, that I could not find my way out.
Whichever way I turned I was stopped by a
curtain. At last I heard a boy call, "Aunt, I
think there is a bird under the bed in Grandma's
room, I can hear it hopping." Curl came and
at once moved aside one of the curtains to let
some light in to where the bird was supposed to
be, then Willie-that was the boy's name-said,
" Here is a stick poke him out !" Just fancy
poking a little fellow like me out with a stick!


It would most likely have killed me. You must
not think that Willie was a cruel boy because
he thought that the best way to get me out was
with a stick. He was kind-hearted generally,
but like a great many other boys he did not
stop to consider how easily little birds may be
hurt. But Curl said, No! If a little birdie by
mistake has got under the bed, it will be very
glad to come out; we must not add to its fear by
touching it with a stick." As soon as I heard
Curl's voice and saw my way out, I flew to her
and sat on her knee. She then sent for a glass
of water and gave me a nice drink, and taking
me out through the kitchen told me not to
wander into Grandma's bedroom again, in case I
got lost among the curtains or poked out with a




A IRarrow cape from Drowning.
O NE bright September forenoon I was
sitting on an ash-tree singing and watch-
ing the leaves fall silently down one after
another, leaving many a bare twig and branch,
when I thought I should like a little water, and
I hopped down on to the bleaching green which
is in the corner of Curl's garden that I might
get some from a pail which always stands there.
All the little birds which live near know the
pail, and often drink out of it, and sometimes


wash in it. Now the water happened to be
rather low down at the time I went, and when
I was trying to reach it my feet slipped from the
edge of the pail, and I fell head first into the
water, which was far from clean, and there I
struggled until I was nearly drowned, when I
very fortunately chanced to get my feet upon a
piece of thin stick which had dropped from one
of the trees, and I slowly scrambled out unhurt
but much frightened. Nobody would have
known that I was Bobby I. as I sat on a goose-
berry bush, a most dejected little object, with
the water dripping from my wings and tail, and
every feather as wet as it could be, and my past
struggles had tired me so much that I did not
feel able even to shake my wings, so I began to
be very cold and stiff, when I was cheered by
hearing Curl calling, "Bobby! Bobby!!" close
beside where I was sitting. It was a few
minutes past twelve o'clock, and as I had not
gone as usual to get my dinner she had come in
search of me. When I looked up and tried to


chirp, she at once knew me, and took her pet, a
poor little wet shivering birdie, into her warm
sitting-room, and gave me my dinner there, and
kept me until I was quite dry and happy again.
I have never gone near the pail since, although
I see many birds there every day.




WINTER, cold, dreary, long winter. Trees,
hedges, and bushes stript of their leaves,
flowers, and fruit. No shelter from the
piercing blasts. Bare twigs and branches alone
remain of all our charming leafy summer
bowers. Water frozen ; snowflakes eddying up
and down in the fitful breeze, and at last find-
ing a resting-place on the cold, hard ground,
and forming a beautiful, spotless, but chilly,
carpet of white. Ah! winter is a trying time
for birdies. In vain do the blackbirds, starlings,


and robins long for a nice, soft, warm worm for
their breakfast. The worms have all wriggled
their way down into the earth beyond the reach
of frost. The beautiful blue and green tits fly
about from tree to tree, and examine every bit
of loose bark in search of an earwig, maggot, or
insect; they then go to old walls, and raising
with their bills the little tufts of moss which
grow there, peep underneath to see if they can
find any small beetles, or any living thing, to
satisfy their cravings of hunger. If they happen
to be near a house where they can get a piece
of suet, or a bone to pick, they are delighted.
Curl feeds a great many. She keeps a box out-
side her window all winter, in which she puts
bones, fat, scraps of meat, &c., every day for the
birds. The sparrows are very sad, hungry
beings in the winter time, and a great many sit
in the hedges until they are frozen to death.
Hundreds of sparrows know Curl, and in very
cold weather they generally sit where they can
see when she opens the door, and then they fly


to her and chirp around her, as delighted as if
she belonged to them. She always feeds them
and talks to them, so they like her. The chaf-
finches know Curl very well, and whenever they
are hungry they go to her window and say,
"Chick! chick!!" as loudly as they can, until
she opens the door. She then says, Come up
the step, chick, chick," and they go up one after
the other, and eat biscuit in the lobby. There
are six that go to be fed a great many times
every day. The poor crows look so black and
hungry when the snow is on the ground, and
they venture quite close to back-doors if they
think there is the least chance of them getting
a bone, potato peelings, or a morsel of any
kind of food. Blackbirds look so sad and de-
jected after a vain search through the hedges
for hips and haws in the months of February
and March. Indeed, all the birds are glad of
bits and scraps during winter. Please remember
them, and they will repay you with their sweet



1V? JBrotber'e 1Return.

p URING the months of August and Sep-
tember my brother and I used often to
fight each other for trespassing. There
was a gravel walk which divided his share of the
garden from mine, but sometimes he used to
settle on my trees or bushes, which I thought
he had no right to do, and so I fought him and
chased him back to his own territory. If I sat
on his trees he jumped on my head and hurt
me with his claws. Nearly every day during


the two months we had a little fight about
something; and we used to sit on the top
branches of the high trees and sing our war
challenge. Even Curl had to come and feed us
in our own districts, or one would have had
to go without his dinner. Upon no occasion
could we meet without fighting. At last one
day my brother disappeared, and I saw him no
more until the Ist of March 1884, when I heard
a low, sad chirp in the snow-covered hedge, and
looking to see who was in distress, I discovered
my long absent brother. Poor little fellow, how
altered in appearance he was! Not at all like
the plump red-breasted Bobby II. that went
away, but a thin, dirty-looking, sick birdie,
hardly able to look up and say chirp! I saw
at once what he needed to cheer him up, so off
I flew to Curl's door, and sang as loudly as I
could. Curl came immediately, and seeing me,
said, It is scarcely ten minutes since you were
here, Bobby! Do you want another dinner?"
She then opened the small round box, which


she always carried in her pocket, containing
birds' dinners, and I took a large piece of
minced meat out and went to my brother,
whom I had left sitting in the hedge, and put
it into his mouth. I then got him a few more
pieces, and after a little while he was able to tell
me of all the trials and hardships he had en-
dured while wandering about in different places.
He said he had neither tasted biscuit nor minced
meat since he had left. Sometimes, when the
snow was on the ground, he did not get any-
thing to eat all day, for when he went near any
other birds that were eating they drove him off,
because he was a stranger; and when he could
not find worms, or centipedes, he was often so
hungry that he did not know what to do or
where to go. I was very sorry for him when I
heard his sad tale, and saw his wearied, worn
look, so I told him not to go away again, but
begged him to stay near me, and I would feed
him and take care of him. He agreed to do so,
indeed he was very glad to find that I intended


being kind to him, and he used to let me feed
him just the same as if he had been a helpless
baby bird. For a whole month I fed him, and
on the 28th he was so well and merry that he
did not need my attentions any longer, and I
began to think of choosing a mate to live with
me, and so let my brother go to Curl for his food
just the same as I did, and as he had done
before he left the garden.




NTIL the month of April I had never taken
any notice of the lady robins, although
there were several pretty little shy
birdies always picking about in the hedges
near where I often sat; but this month they
were so lively in their movements, and hopped
about so prettily, flapping their short wings and
singing from morning till night their plaintive
love ditties, that I, as well as other robins, began
to watch them and talk to them. My favourite
was named Robina," She was a neat little


bright-eyed lady birdie. Her dress was brown,
marked with black, and every feather was
smooth and glossy. I cannot tell you how
much I admired and loved pretty Robina. I
thought there was no other lady bird like her,
and when I asked her to be my wife and
she consented, I was such a happy; proud
robin, that I could do nothing but sing all
day long at first, until Robina reminded me
that we ought to look for a place to make a
nice little home in. So we went off together
and peeped under bushes, and examined the
roots of the hedges and looked about for holes
in old stumps,-indeed there was not a bush
in the garden that we did not look into; but
the first day's search was in vain. We could
not find a place which my wife thought suitable.
So, early next morning we started off again
and peeped about the outhouses, examining
every ledge and crack, then we looked under
bundles of pea-sticks which had been thrown
into a corner of the garden. No more anxious


little couple could be seen hopping about than
my wife and I, and I was beginning to feel
quite tired, when Robina said she had found
a place which she knew would do nicely to
make a nest in. And where do you think it
was? At the root of an old wild-rose bush,
which grew on the bank at the roadside, not
two yards from the footpath where people were
continually passing and repassing, and where
we could hear the rumble of carts all day, and
worst of all, where dogs and cats often wan-
dered. But Robina was not afraid, and she
had not heard of the boy throwing the stone
at me and breaking my leg. So, as she thought
it was the very best place we could get, we
agreed to make our home there.


.. J : .-


J FTER finding a place for our house,
the next important work was to build
it, and before beginning we thought
it best to examine every part of the bank for
several yards round. We took note of all the
big tufts of withered grass to see that no
enemy lurked there. We sat on the long
straggling bramble bushes, we hopped round
the stones and clods of earth, we peeped under
the network of trailing convolvulus plants;


indeed, everything was closely examined, and
then to make quite sure that the place was
safe, we flew upon the nearest tree and took
a bird's-eye view of the locality. Being quite
satisfied with our choice, on the 15th day of
April 1884 the interesting work of nest-building
began. Robina had never made a nest before,
yet she knew all about building it, and pre-
ferred doing it herself, while I sat on a tree
near and sang to her. First she gathered a few
blades of withered grass and put them into the
hole, laying them one way and then another
until they were just where she wanted them to
be; then she went in search of bits of moss,
these she brought one or two at a time, and
put into the hole also, then she sat on the
little heap, and with her feet and bill she worked
busily until the moss and grass were twisted
into a circle. Thus she spent a whole day carry-
ing moss, grass, and small withered leaves, and
weaving them into their places; and before my
dear little wife retired to roost at night, she had


formed quite a pretty cup-shaped house with
her day's gatherings. Next morning, at the
first peep of day, we both flew to look at our
nest and admire it, and very soon Robina began
collecting again. She wanted something soft
and tough to line the nest with, so she went
to where hens were kept and picked up feathers.
She also found a good many among the hedges
and bushes which had fallen from the birds
that hopped about there. The horse-hairs,
which she wanted to make her building firm,
were not so easily obtained, but she looked
diligently among the grass which grew by the
roadside and on the heaps of road scrapings, and
picked up one here and one there until she
had enough. Curl threw out some pieces of
white wool, thinking Robina might like to work
them into her nest, but after picking up a few
pieces, she decided that, although they were
clean and soft, yet being white, they would
very likely lead to her nest being discovered.
So she left them, and they were quickly picked


up by the sparrows, who had no such fear,
as they were building their nests high up on
the trees, and did not mind who saw them when
they were far out of reach.
By evening my busy, clever, little wife had
finished her nest, and very beautiful it was.
She had made hundreds of journeys backwards
and forwards carrying every hair, feather,
thread, leaf, and blade of grass in her slender
bill, and then she had woven them wonderfully
together, and completed a structure such as not
even the cleverest person in the world could
equal. The inside was round, soft, and smooth,
the walls were thick and well suited to keep out
the cold, and the outside was so arranged that
no one would have noticed that a nest was
there. Robina did not wish the house to be
seen by any one but ourselves, and that was why
she made the outside of withered grass, leaves,
and moss, such as she saw strewn about the
bank. Oh, if boys only thought of the beauty
of birds' nests, and the trouble the birds have to


make them, I think they would not go about as
they often do, in search of them' simply that
they may tear them to pieces and scatter all the
little bits which have been gathered with so
much care and labour.
I am sure Robina was very tired after her
work was finished, and instead of going to roost
as usual she sat in the nest all night, and slept
soundly with her head under her wing. Next
morning she laid such a pretty small egg; it was
pinkish white with reddish marks on it. I had
never seen one before; so I turned it over
and over, touched it gently with my bill, and
talked to Robina about it. We were both quite
pleased to see it, and to keep it in safety Robina
hid it in the nest by covering it lightly over, but
during the day we both went a great many
times to look at it. On the following day she
laid another, and each morning she laid one
until there were five, after which she sat on them
thirteen days. Every day I used to relieve for
Robina, by sitting on the eggs for about three


hours in the morning and three hours in the
evening, while she hopped about and picked up
her breakfast and her supper. I always fed her
during the day when she wanted anything, and
there she sat so patiently day after day, taking
care of the eggs, and keeping them warm and
snug under her wings. She liked me to sing to
her while she was sitting, so I sat on a tree near
and sang to her all day, except when I had to
stop to fly to Curl for my food, and then I
always took a nice piece out of my box to
Robina, which she relished very much, although
she was too timid and shy to go to the box




nri Iabies.

O words of mine can convey to the minds
of boys and girls the intense happiness
which thrilled Robina's heart and mine,
when on the fourteenth day one little birdie that
was in an egg pushed its head through the shell
and wriggled about until it got free, then
another did the same, and another, until by the
fifteenth day instead of having eggs in the nest
we had five dear little dots of birds. They were
such funny-looking little creatures, with large


heads and long legs, and they were quite naked,
but I was proud of them indeed. I hopped
about for joy, and sang my very loudest, and
when I saw Curl standing at her gate, I flew up
close to her ear, and told her about my babies.
I know she was pleased, and understood what
I said, for she went into the house and brought
out a large basin full of linseed meal, which had
a great many maggots in it. She had been
keeping the meal in a dark place for several
months to have maggots ready for the baby
robins when they came. They were just what I
wanted, so I picked out five and flew off to my
nest, and popped one into each open mouth;
then I gathered all the pieces of egg-shell which
were lying about and carried them far away
from the nest, so that there might be no sign of
a bird's house to attract attention. From this
time my hard work began; my wife was obliged
to stay at home and look after the babies, and
cover them with her wings to keep them warm.
So I had to carry food to her, and had also to


find suitable food for my five children. For two
or three days I gave them nothing bnt maggots,
spiders, caterpillars, and very small flies. It
was no joke finding enough to feed them all,
but when they were able to take minced meat
and biscuit, my work was much easier, as I had
only to carry it from Curl's bedroom and put it
into their mouths. I went about every five
minutes for food for them from a little before
four o'clock in the morning until the evening.
So Curl opened her window at half-past three
o'clock, and set a plate full of food on a table
near the window ready for me and some other
birds. There were three chaffinches I often met
on the plate, and Fanny and Dick Sparrow, who
were all friends of Curl's. We flew in and out
as often as we liked all day, and if we wanted
our breakfast before the window was open, we
stood close to the glass and sang as loudly as
we could, and Curl came at once and opened it.
When my babies were four days old they began
to look more like birds, as they were covered


with short feathers; but, oh! they were hungry
children, always gaping for food the moment
I went near the nest; and when they were
only a week old, they trod on each other
in their eagerness to get a double share when
I was giving each one a piece. I always
carried just as many pieces at a time as
I had mouths to fill, as my father and grand-
father had done. If Robina wanted food, I
took six pieces, but when she did not want any
I only carried five. Robina was often very tired
trying to keep so many restless babies quiet,
and when people were passing along the road,
or children were going to or from school, I used
to feel so anxious and frightened, lest they
should hear the chirping and look for the nest,
and I always flew to a tree near and made a
strange sort of hissing sound, which they knew
meant hush !" or be quiet," and in a moment
every eye was shut, every chirp ceased, and all
the little heads were hidden among the feathers.
I always made the same sound when I thought


any kind of danger was near, but I never went
near the nest when I saw any one watching me;
my aim was not to let any one know where my
home was, lest it might be interfered with.
What a pity birds are so much afraid of people
in this country! I have heard that they have
no fear of any one in India, as no one ever hurts
them. When my three boys were eight days
old they became very restless, indeed, almost
unmanageable in our small house; they had
grown so big and strong, and were all anxiety
to get out to see the world, therefore I allowed
them to wander down the bank and on to a
ploughed field, where they were not easily seen,
and so were not in much danger. There they
did enjoy themselves! Dear little fellows!
Everything was so new and strange to them,
and their large eyes seemed filled with wonder
at all they saw. I picked up small worms for
them, and gave them grubs from the ground,
and showed them how to look for flies and
spiders among the bushes which grew on the


bank, and in the afternoon I enticed them to
follow me up to where the hedges were, that I
might let them rest in safety, while I looked
about for places for them to sleep in at night,
as young robins never return to the nest after
they go out of it.
One of my boys was much smaller than the
other two, and not quite so strong, so I had
to take special care of him, while the others
hopped about here and there, and wandered so far
from me sometimes, that it took me a long time
to get them all from the field, up the rough
bank, across the road and into the hedge which
is round the Manse garden. As soon as I could,
I put them into a thick bush, and told them not
to move away from it, and the dear little fellows
stayed there quite still, while I peeped about
in search of lodgings for them. There was a
thick bushy elder-tree growing in Curl's garden,
with a great many pea-sticks standing up
against it, so I took them there and fed them,
and at night stayed with them instead of going


to my usual roosting-place. No cat could get
near us, and I was not afraid of being disturbed
by anything else. Robina took charge of the
two baby-girls, and we had no more use for
our nest. At daybreak, I was out in search of
worms, and a little later, when the ground was
warmer, I took my boys to see all the things in
the garden, which had pleased me so much
when I was a baby bird, and I taught them to
fly from one bush to another, and how to
look for caterpillars among the cabbage leaves,
and when they strayed out of my sight I called
them to me much in the same way as a hen
calls her chickens; but in the evening when I
called my boys to take them to their roosting-
place, only two came, one little fellow was miss-
ing. Anxious, and sad at heart, I hid the two
little brothers in the elder bush, and went off
in search of Baby Bobby. I looked everywhere
in the garden, and on the bank for him; I even
went over to the river Almond, dreading he might
have fallen into the water. I called him, and


Robina and I wandered up and down, our
hearts bursting with grief, until it was so dark
we were obliged to go back to the others, who
were fast asleep. I could not sleep, because I
had lost one of my dear babies, and by half-
past three o'clock I was at Curl's window. She
opened it as soon as she heard me, and, setting
a cage before me, said, Bobby, is this one of
your babies?" I felt happy in a moment!
There was my boy safe and sound, sitting in
the very cage I called mine when I had a
broken leg. Curl's father had seen the little
fellow wandering a long way down the road all
alone in the twilight, calling chirp! chirp! with
no one near to take any notice of him, and
thinking a cat might perhaps find it, he lifted
it and carried it home to Curl, knowing that she
would be glad to take care of it. It was a very
little birdie, so Curl asked me to let her keep
it for a few days, until it grew stronger and
had more feathers on it; and when I saw it was
safe and well I only talked to it, but did not


try to take it out of the cage, and Curl kept it
and fed it well for four days, after which, when
she saw I wanted my baby, she opened the cage
door and I took him away to his brothers. On
the afternoon of the same day an accident
happened to me which might have proved very



8 prisoner.

TOLD you that Curl left her bedroom
window open all day that I might fly in
and out as often as I wished to get food for
my children, and about two o'clock while I was
sitting on the table I saw some flies on a pane
of glass, and in trying to catch them I slipped
down between the two panes of the upper and
lower window sashes, and I was a prisoner. I
could not get out although I tried my very best
to do so, because when I spread out my wings


to fly up, the opening was too narrow for me to
escape by, and without spreading my wings I
was simply helpless. I knew my little boys
would be waiting for me and perhaps running
into danger, but although I struggled until I
felt quite exhausted I could not possibly get out;
and after I had been shut in for about three-
quarters of an hour, in my distress I sang out as
loudly as I could for help. Curl, who was in
her room below, thinking I was in the garden,
went out and said, I thought I heard my Bobby
calling me;" but as I did not make my appear-
ance she went in and shut the door. I sang
again very loudly, which made her go into the
lobby, saying, Surely my Bobby is somewhere
in the house calling me ;" then I sang once more,
for I could hear Curl speaking, and I knew she
would help me, so she ran upstairs, and looking
round the room saw her little pet between the
two panes of glass. She was so sorry for me,
and lowered the window very carefully until she
could reach me with her fingers; then taking me


out she soothed my fears and gave me a drink
of water, which refreshed me much; and when
she saw that I was not hurt, she let me fly away.
I found my little ones quite safe in the garden,
but very hungry, as they had not yet learned to
pick up their food. After this Curl laid a towel
along the window when it was open to prevent
any more accidents.




N a few more days our children were able to
look after themselves, and Robina and I
were free to go about where we pleased,
and we used to amuse ourselves for hours by the
side of a little "burn" which flows past the
bottom of the Manse garden. That was where
we went to bathe every day, and where we
often met our children, and taught them to
bathe too. Then there were always a great
many flies buzzing about over the little pools of


water, and lots of small worms in the loose
mould of the banks, and we were quite shut off
from every danger, being far away from the
public road.
Robina began building another nest in a
bundle of pea-sticks, but when the gardener
moved them the nest was destroyed, so we did
not make another. Robins seldom fly far from
home, but I was afraid of losing my friend Curl;
besides, I always liked to be near her, so when-
ever I saw her come out with her hat and jacket
on I knew she was going somewhere, and I at
once decided to go with her. She did not
always know when I went, because I hopped
from twig to twig along the hedges, or flew from
tree to tree, but if she stopped to look at any-
thing, or sat down to rest, then I went and
hopped round her, or sat on her knee to show
how pleased I was, and she generally said,
" What a dear little birdie you are, Bobby !" and
gave me biscuit. I have been for miles with her.
I always went the same way that she did, but


when she told me she was going home I turned
back and flew the nearest way across the fields
and reached home first. One day Curl went with
two ladies into Newliston Wood, a good way off.
It was full of beautiful white and lilac foxgloves,
and they gathered large bunches, while I hopped
about near them and sang, or turned over the
leaves which lay about under the trees, to see
what was beneath them. There was a little
stream running through the wood, where I took
several drinks before leaving, and when I saw
Curl and her friends turning to go home I flew
to the top of one of the trees at the edge of the
wood and looked across the country to see
which was the nearest way home,-you know I
did not need a road to walk on,-and then away
I flew, only stopping now and then on a tree or
hedge to make sure they were coming. I have
often been to the village and the railway station
with Curl, but she said she did not like me to
follow her there, for fear a cat might catch me.
There is a delightful wood about half a mile


distant, where I have often gone with Curl
when she wanted ferns. Another lady some-
times went with her, who thought the robin
she saw was one that lived in the wood, but
Curl said, You watch when we leave the gar-
den, and you will then see that it is my Bobby
who goes with us." So as soon as I saw them
starting I was ready to go too, and away I
flew and rested on the parapet of the bridge
until I saw which way they intended going,
then I hopped along the hedge, keeping them
in view all the time until we came to cross
roads, then I waited again to see which turning
they would take, after which I flew off again
and waited on the top of a corn stack at Hall-
yards Farm, and when I saw them turn towards
the wood I went first and sat on the gate until
they came to go through, and thinking they
would be sure to go to a holly-tree which grows
in the middle of the wood I flew to it and sat
on one of the branches, and when Curl began
breaking some little twigs of holly, I hopped


close to her and sang. She then gave me
biscuit, and said to her friend, "Now, are you
convinced that this is my Bobby I.?" The lady
said, "Of course I am, but I could not have
believed that a wild bird would have done such
a thing if I had not seen it! I watched them
safely out of the wood and past the corn stack,
and then I darted over a field, across the rail-
way, over the river, and into my garden, and
sat on a table in the summer-house awaiting
their arrival as if I had never been away. A
great many people do not know how affectionate
and knowing little birds are because they do
not take any notice of them.



It a r.

| SHALL only say a very few words on this
part of my life, as it is rather unpleasant
to remember how many of my relations I
have hurt in trying to keep possession of what I
call my garden. Every year all robins fight
each other during the months of August and
September, and although my brother, my chil-
dren, and I had lived peaceably and happily
enough in Curl's garden all the summer, in
August we began fighting, and morn, noon, and


night, every time we saw or heard each other,
we fought, until they all left the garden except
Baby Bobby, my boy who was lost one night.
He fought me, and I fought him, but he was
determined that he would not go away from
Curl, so he took possession of a very small corner
of the garden near a water-tank, and promised
not to pick up worms on my ground, and I left
him in peace.



W INTER came with its cold piercing winds
and leafless trees, but there was little
snow, and no very severe frosts, so the
birds were better off than usual. Still they were
glad of crumbs and scraps from any one who
was kind enough to remember them.
On the Ist of March 1885 my brother, whom I
had not seen since September, returned quite as
forlorn-looking as he was when he came last
March. So I took care of him and fed him


exactly as I had done twelve months before,
and at the end of the month he began going
again to Curl for his food as fearlessly as if he
had never been away.
In April Robina began building again. This
year she chose the middle of a thick bush in the
Manse garden to make her nest in. I had
another family of five dear little baby birdies to
feed and take care of, and when they did not
need my protection, but were old enough to go
into the wide world and do for themselves, I
continued my excursions with Curl. And now
another winter is near. My son Baby Bobby is
still in his corner of the garden; I have met him
at Curl's knee all the summer, and he comes to
eat out of my box six times a day, at the same
hours as I do.
A great many ladies come to see me, as they
have heard that I am an educated wild robin.
Curl always calls me in when any one wishes to
see me, and I sit on her knee in her room, and
eat out of my box, and then pop back to my


favourite branch on an elm-tree. I know a
great many people, and they all speak kindly
to me. When the ladies at the Manse pass me
they say, "Is that you, Bobby?" and I often
sing to them, and they give me crumbs. In-
deed, I am a very happy well-cared-for robin ;
and hoping the short account I have given of a
birdie's life may interest many boys and girls, I
shall sing my good wishes for a Merry Christ-
mas and a Happy New Year to all.


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