Si The Baldwin Library
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WINGS AND STINGS
BY PALMER COX.
Author of THE BROWNIES, their book.
EDGEWOOD PUBLISHING COMPANY.
THE TURKEY IN DANGER.
WHILE turkeys roosted on a fence,
A fo. a ched with care,
"- ..." : the Christmac
CO F in
Her youngster trotting by her side,
The smallest one of three.
it made with her that early start
To exercise and run,
To take some lessons in the art,
And learn how work was done.
"You're growing old," the youngster said,
"I saw you limp, to-day;
But when you're hunting game, I see,
You've not forgot the way."
"'Tis true," she said, "of late I've hac
Rheumatics in my toe;
But. I'll not take the second place
To any fox I know.
"There may be some with quicker ear,
With sharper sight another;
But there's not one can bag a fowl
As nicely as your mother.
"I've often heard your father say,
When I was young and free,
He never saw a fox could clear
A panel fence like me.
"I think I see him sit and smile
Upon me, sweet and fond;
When he observed how quick, I could
POf goslings strip the pond.
"He said I far excelled himself,
Though he was widely famed,
And by the farmers, far and near,
For many years was blamed.
He died at last, while breaking fast,
Behind yon rocky hill,
It makes me sad to think your dad,
Mistook that awful pill.
May palsy shake the guilty hand,
That did the dose provide;
Which turned him almost inside out,
Ere I could reach his side.
Oh, never touch
Until its nature,
I've seen more
Than I can
Where rash advance,
There's not an
Put suffering crea-
O, child of mine,
And shun the
Beware of guns,
But with in-
your nose, my dear,
full and clear,
trouble in my day
or games of chance,
in their train.
hour passes by,
plans are laid,
tures, low and high,
move they've made.
avoid the trap,
that never snap
tent to kilL
Nor blindly be enticed astray,
By pleasures spread around;
To be the sport, if not the prey,
Of every yelping hound."
"I'll bear your counsel in my mind,"
The baby fox replied;
"And think of thee whene'er I see,
Temptations at my side."
"'That's good," the smiling dame remarked,
"Advice is vain indeed,
Unless the soil whereon it falls,
Is mellow for the seed."
"That's fine discourse," the turkey thought,
As there he lay in fear;
"Had I with caution thus been taught,
I hardly would be here.
A fool was I, to sit and doze,
Upon an orchard fence;
Within the reach of every nose
That cared to drag me thence.
But, if from here I ever rise,
Which I will scarcely do;
The chance I'll prize, to be more wise,
And start in life anew.
The tallest post the farm can boast,
Will not my wishes meet;
But, in the tree, each night I'll be,
And there myself secrete.
I'11 trust to neither kith nor kin,
Nor on the dog rely;
And should I roost upon a spire,
I'll keep one open eye."
Thus, while they moved upon their way,
To gain the forest green,
They reached a place where cedar rails
Were laid along between.
To mount a fence has: never been,
An easy thing to do,
When those who climb convey a load,
That must be rising, too.
S,-i But, nothing daunted by the sight,
She, step by step, arose;
At times employing elbow joints,
As well as all her toes.
But as she reached the topmost rail,
And paused, her breath to win;
The turkey, taken with a cramp,
Began to lurch within.
The fowl was not arranged with care,
According to its mind;
The head was down, the heels in air,
The tail was left behind.
The balance lost in such a place,
Was not so quickly found;
So down went basket, fox and fowl,
All rolling on the ground.
The fox was first upon her feet,
But then, what could she do?
The basket opened to the fence,
The turkey first was through.
Away they go, now high, now low,
The ditch and logs they cross;
The turkey missed his spreading tail,
But fear made up the loss.
The fox had sprained an ankle-joint,
When from the fence she rolled;
And now, although she strained a point,
Against her speed it told.
The highest rail the youngster found
From which the chase to view
-n.di A a s tis., g ai ni n g g. .o. .
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And cied, "Alas. s, gaining ground,
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I'm dreadful hungry, too."
Twas heel and toe, and grab and go.
Around the rocks and trees,
And lucky was that fowl to know
His feathers pulled with ease.
Their coming out at "clutches stout,"
Still left him free to run;
Had they been rooted fast, no doubt,
His gobbling days were done.
The turkey, when the barn was nigh,
Though out of wind, and weak.
Now summoned all his strength to fly,
And reached the highest peak.
His rise was not
Of birds of
But grace or style
When safety R
It bore him from
And from the ,
And left him look-
the graceful flight
is valued light,
lies in speed.
i/ the reaching paw,
i' shining teeth,
ing down in awe,
The fox one moment viewed the fowl,
Then turned her from the scene
And never ran so mad a rogue,
Through field or forest green.
But never since that time of fear,
At least so runs the tale,
Has man or beast that turkey found
Asleep upon a rail.
A TALE OF THE JERSEY MEADOWS.
"COME, be stirring," said the fly,
To the gnat, reposing nigh;
"There's a banquet near at hand, or deceptive is mine eye."
"I am with youl count me in,"
Said his hearer, with a grin;
"I have fasted for a week, and am getting rather thin."
"Tell old messmates where you go,"
Whined mosquitoes from below;
"And, to bring the whole brigade along, our bugles we will blow."
"I'll not tarry here alone,"
Cried the beetle with a drone;
"And, though clumsy on the wing, at a feast I'll hold my own."
Said the fly, "Then come with me,
And, ere long, you all may see,
What is now before my vision spread, as plain as plain can be;
"See, a cow has caught her tail,
In the sliver of a rail,
As she crossed the panel fence that surrounds the cultured vala.
"We can bite and we can- bore,
We can leech her o'er and o'er,
And not suffer
from that scourge,
so annoying, heretofore."
So, away before the blast,
Flew the insects, thick and fast,
Till they darkened up
the sky, as though clouds
were going past. .
Oh. the portly and the spare,
And the starving ones were there,
That, from either man or beast,
are not slow
to claim their share.
Many species were arrayed.
Do not seek their class or grade,
For your books on ento-
mology can give
you little aid.
From the hollows, from the hills,
From the streams that turn the mills,
They were coming, they were humming, and were getting ready bills.
When came dawn of morning fair,
Lo, the cow was lying there,
With her horns among the buttercups, her hoofs aloft in air.
But the story is not done,
Till a climax has been won,
And that. cow was well avenged, ere the day was scarce begun.
For she drank, as it would seem,
From a poison-tinctured stream,
Where some Paris Green had baffled the potato-beetle's scheme.
Through the night the bossy died,
From the dose the brook supplied,
And communicated bane to those boring through her hide.
But we've nothing more to do,
With the cow, her case is through,
'Tis the tribe in consternation that my muse must now pursue.
She'll have work enough on hand,
To describe that tortured band,
As they left in all directions to go staggering through the land.
There was trouble in the camp,
And complaints from every scamp,
As each member found he had his share of dizziness and cramp.
And if ever there were cries,
Or unqualified surprise,
Or repentance for an act, it was there among those flies.
How they blamed the busy friend,
Who enticed them to this end,
How they wished
that all their racking pains
S'might in the villain blend.
How they watched to see his throes,
And in part forgot their woes,
As they noticed
that he was the first
to upward turn his toes.
What a griping time was there,
What a sawing of the air,
What a grasping
at their stomachs, as
they tumbled in despair.
S Oh, the chafing of the claws,
Oh, the working of the jaws,
Oh, the stiffening up of joints,
and the wondering at the cause.
It would weary every ear,
All the facts at large to hear,
How they dropped among the daisies, never after to appear.
And the people living round,
Thus escaped the sting or sound
From a single pest of air, till the snow-flakes hid the ground.
Oft' as on through life we wend,
In disguise our gifts descend,
And, what seemed a sad misfortune, proves a blessing in the end.
THE GOBBLER AND THE GANDER.
SAID a Gobbler to a Gander, with a proud, disdainful glance,
As they met one afternoon, in a farmer's yard by chance,
"You're the most ungainly fowl that I meet throughout the day,
As you waddle, waddle round, in your slow, ungraceful way;
And, to tell the truth, my friend, if I looked as bad as you,
I would seldom walk abroad, but would hide myself from view."
Said the Gander to the Gobbler, "Oh, you needn't swell with pride,
lust because your legs are long and you spread your tail so wide,
For, in spite of all your airs, I am smarter still than you,
I can swim, and I can dive, something you can never do."
Then the Gobbler turned away, with a visage red as flame,
In a stack of barley straw to conceal his head in shame.
THE WASP AND THE BEE.
In a garden sweet and fair,
Once a bright and busy pair,
Held a brief conversation on a lily.
"Mr. Wasp," remarked the Bee,
"Your maneuvers puzzle me,
You must either be a lazy rogue, or silly."
"In the school where
you were taught,
Was the fact
before you brought,
S That our time is
equivalent to money?
Now for days and days we've met,
'Mid the pinks and mignonette,
But you never seem
to carry any honey."
Fr Said the Wasp: You make me smle
With your blunt, outspoken style,
You have many things to learn, I must declare;
For a thousand sunny hours
You've been pumping at the flowers,
And you never dreamed of poison being there.
"From the phlox and columbine,
Bleeding-heart and eglantine,
Soon your treasury of honey-comb you fill;
While I, coming in your wake,
From the self-same blossoms take
All the rankest sort of poison by the gill.
"Let me whisper in your ear:
I have found while roaming here
Over garden, over orchard, over field,
That the fairest growth of flowers, '
Which adorn these haunts of ours,
The most deadly kind of poison often yields."
"Bless my sting" exclaimed the Bee,
"Every day we live to see
Will some wonder carry with it, I suppose.
"-- ~ Who would think a nauseous drug
Could be stored away so snug,
In the heart of such a blossom as a rose?"
And, with that it flew away,
To a field of blooming hay,
On the buttercup and clover to alight;
While the Wasp set out to find
Something suited to his mind,
And was soon in a camelia out of sight.
COCK ROBIN LYING IN STATE.
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---- -- ---------- -- --,---
Who killed Cock Robin, where the lilies grow?
I, said the sparrow, with my bow and arrow,
I laid him low.
.-- I -
Who saw him die,
in the cedar top ?
I, said the frog,
as I sat on a log,
I saw him drop.
Who was at hand, to catch his blood?
I, said the owl,
with my big bowl,
I caught the flood.
Who'll make a shroud so costly and fine? '' .
I said the beetle,
With my thread and needle, "
The task \\ill be mine. .rz-
Who'll dig a grave in the'yew-tree shade?
I, said the mole, will soon make a hole,
I'll dig the grave with my pickax and spade
PA L C .C OX-
Who'll toll the bell in the chapel tower?
I said the daw, with my long claw, -
cox. I'll toll the bell for half an hour.
Who'll bear a blazing torch in the case?
I, said the kite, will carry the light,
And show the way to the burial place.
-- Who'll bear the pall, both careful and slow ?
--^ I, said the stork,
With a measured stride
My legs are long
"l and my shoulders wide,
I'll bear the pall
ALNE.C x to the plain below.
Who'll sing a psalm as the hearse goes by?
I said the thrush,
.; .. if others will hush,
S I'll sing a verse will brin. tears
to tile eye.
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;he parson with faith and trust ?
SI, said the rook,
will read from
ashes to ashes
Sand dust to dust."
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Who'll mark the songster's earthy bed?
I, said the bat, will attend to that,
I'll carve his name on the tree at his head.
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'Il e i gr :'e s I h"'
r, said the hare, will plant flowers there,
I'll keep it green through many a year.
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Who suffered for his fault, ere a week rolled by?
Who, but the sparrow, that shot the fatal arrow,
And roused the indignation of all creatures far and nigh.
THE HENS' ADVENTURE.
THREE setting hens forsook their nests, in pleasant summer weather,
And, searching for a needful bite, they started out together;
Through pasture land and stubble field, they ran a mile or more,
All struggling for the locust prize that hopped along before.
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Sometimes they climbed across a fence, at times they crowded thro',
Now one, more active than the rest, would lead the other two;
At times the race was neck and neck, with expectation high,
But when almost within their reach, away again he'd fly.
Five minutes only could they spare, in which to scratch a meal,
No wonder, then, the race they ran was carried on with zeal.
It seemed a woeful waste of time to follow such a sprite,
But hope was large and hunger keen, and nothing else in sight.
_ I --
At length a pond before them lay, and into this he flew,
And swam across its surface smooth, and that they could not do,
But ere they had a moment's time to ponder on their woes,
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From out his burrow in the ground, a cunning fox arose;
A daring rascal, that had long been plundering up and down,
And always kept the price of eggs and chickens high in town.
His Christmas lasted all the year; for eight days out of nine,
Though traps were fixed and poison mixed, he would on poultry dine.
Now, faster than they had gone forth, when urged by hunger's pain,
They homeward ran, for horrid fear now spurred them o'er the plain.
The fox was close behind their tails, but, let him yelp or growl,
And do his utmost in the race, he could not catch a fowl!
Yet not until the frightened hens in barn and s stable flew,
/ And dogs "bow-wowed!" and children | screamed,
from chase the rogue with- drc;
And then the rooster stamped around, (
And did for hours scold,
Because these poor old biddies found --
that all their eggs were cold. -
SWHAT THE BUTTERFLY SAYS.
HROUGH all the sunny, summer days
I wander here and there,
And hardly ever stop to rest
A moment anywhere.
There are so many things to see,
And time is rather short with me.
The bees, with many cares oppressed,
Do all their arts employ
To gather treasure to their nest,
That they will ne'er enjoy.
For man or beast will seize the comb
And eat them out of house and home.
It makes me sad when clouds come o'er
To hide the golden sun,
Because 'twill shine for me no more
When some few weeks have run;
And little joy comes with the hour
That hides its face and brings the shower.
I only have a month or two,
And time soon runs away
When one is seeing something new,
Or sporting every day;
And how the little people try
To catch me as I flutter by
But I know what they want me for-
It's not to use me right;
It's not to give me sunny fields,
With daisies sprinkled white;
But just to pin me on the wall
To show their friends, and that is all
A SPOILED GAME
ONE day, by chance, while roaming round,
A hollow tree old Bruin found,
That stood beside the grassy mead,
Where flocks of sheep were wont to feed,
"Well, this is luck, indeed," said he,
As, pausing there, he viewed the tree.
"Concealed within this trunk, I'll find
A splendid chance to suit the mind,
And, from my hiding-place, behold
The fattest sheep that leave the fold.
No lengthy race round stumps or trees
Will be required, for here, at ease,
I'll bide my time and keep my place
Until they graze around the base,
Then, paralyze the flock with fear,
And live on mutton half the year."
So, in the tree to try the game,
He promptly squeezed his burly frame.
And smiled a smile from ear to ear,
At thought of rarest pleasure near.
But plans, in spite of care and skill,
Are often non-productive still;
And thus it happened with the bear,
Whose prospects seemed so bright and fair;
For, in that hollow, large and round,
A swarm of bees a home had found.
And, through the summer months,
Both loyal to their cause --
And, tier on tier, II "
the sweets had stowed Y .
Around their improvised abode. --
___- So now, when Bruin's
i., shaggy hide,
-' At once the air and light
The murmuring tribes were
S,' nothing slow
Si( To issue from the depths
The strange eclipse
.ii. ..; 'to now behold
A4..:. :: That almanacs had not
It didn't take old Bruin long
To learn that something must be wrong.
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To soon convinc h, t
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To soon oince hid a th sptt
To.soon c ."vrc .i, t.s
"Iherometrs heneedd no
To~ soo covnehm htteso
Was ninety-nine degrees too hot.
Fai quicker than this line is penned,
He tried the temperature to mend;
And, filled with wonder, pain and fright,
He scrambled up as best he might.
Just how he dragged, or how he threw
His body out, he hardly knew;
But in some sure and sudden way
He reached the grass without delay,
Then through the brush and briars flew,
Escorted by the spiteful crew.
While mating birds their nests soon lined
With tufts of hair he left behind.
The flocks, from neighboring hillocks green,
In great delight surveyed the scene.
The playful lambs stood in a crowd,
And hopped, and skipped, and laughed aloud;
And sober sheep of solemn style,
That ne'er before were known to smile,
Now held their sides, and wagged the head,
And laughed until each face was red.
FAIRIES AND THE INSECTS.
0NE morn, in summer's brightest hours,
Sweet Flora, goddess of all flowers,
Above the garden waved her hand,
And called around a Fairy band.
"Protect," said she, those blossoms fair,
From plundering tribes that fill the air.
From every quarter, here they come,
With whirring song and hungry hum.
From pink to pink, from rose to rose. n A
The active bee, unwearied, goes: _
The beetle on the crocus falls, "
And in the bell the emmet crawls. .4.'
We might o'erlook the gaudy host, .*. .
Whose lease of life is brief at most;
And butterflies in mercy spare,
Who no defensive weapons bear,
But, by their actions none the best,
They set examples for the rest;
So, all alike must feel the smart,
Of severed head or bleeding heart
Around the opening blossoms stand,
With ready weapons in your hand;
And deal your blows .
on ever l,_.l, : ,
That ventures nlh -a I .u-h -r 1Il .- '' ,
The pee- i-h i nd- -" -. /. .-
you III-L t l ,.i., ,i.. i
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e.-ware th ps bra
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And test your mettle to the last.
.Beware the emmet's poison breath,
And beetles' arms that hug to death.
And in the fight, I charge you well,
Beware the bee, and hornet fell;
For swift and vicious thrusts they deal,
That soon can make the strongest reel.'
According to her strict command,
With ready weapons, stood the band,
Around the flowers, and hurled the thieves,
By thousands, from the trembling leaves.
As day advanced, and up the sky
The sun was rolling, hot and high;
The insects, thick and thicker flew,
And fiercer still the battle grew.
The hornets fell with broken stings,
With crippled legs and tattered wings;
The beetles tumbled round the beds,
With aching backs and dizzy heads;
While emmets, maddened by the blows,
Attacked, alike, their friends and foes;
And thus, unceasing, raged the fight,
Till closed around the shades of night.
Then baffled bees fled in dismay,
The hornets dragged themselves away;
The beetles crept to mossy walls,
The ants retired to earthen halls,
. "- '- ". LS" 4 -. ,- .
And then the bat of evening rose,
To guard the flowers through sweet repose.
IME TO MIGRATE.
"The times are awfully dull with us,
Here sitting on the rail;
We cannot find a thing to eat,
On mountain or in vale.
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' I i. 42
"The little birds have gone away,
We know that very well;
But where the frogs are stopping now,
Is more than we can tell.
"They're not around the pasture spring,
Nor by the trough and pail;
They're not along the meadow drain,
Nor in the lower swale.
"They're not beside the little stream
That trickles from the ledge,
Nor floating on tne shallow pond,
Nor squatting by its edge.
"They must have taken to the mud,
To hide from winter's snow;
Although it seems too early yet,
For them to hide below.
SThe mice are just as hard to find,
They've vanished, one and .all;
They're not around the pile of wood,
Nor by the garden wall.
"They must have gone into the barn,
Among the sheaves to hide;
"r-. ^ .
There's not a squeak around the fields,
Through all the country wide
"We may as well be moving South,
The crows are on their way;
The robins and the blackbirds left
A week ago to-day.
"The swallows and the meadow-larks
Have long since taken flight;
We'll take an early morning start,
And pack our trunks to-night."
THE OWL AND THE BAT.
H, lively was the group of birds that met on Beaver Flat,
The night on which the hooting owl was wedded to the bat)
It was a sight, that summer night, to see them gather there;
Some came by water, some by land, and others through the aic
The eagle quit the mountain-peak, to mix with meaner fowl,
And, like a comrade, act the part of groomsman to the owl;
The friendly stork had hastened there, with long and stately stride'
It was its happy privilege to give away the bride.
And when arrangements were complete, a circle wide they made,
And in the centre stood the pair, in finest dress arrayed.
Then out in front advanced the crow, and bowed his shining head,
And with three loud approving caws declared the couple wed.
Then kind congratulations poured from friends on every side,
As thronging round the happy pair, they kissed the blushing bride.
And soon the supper was prepared, for each had brought a share.
The crow and jay had carried corn; the eagle brought a hare;
The. curlew brought .-
a string of fish,
just taken from the lake;
The crane, a brace
of speckled frogs;
the buzzard brought a snake;
The owl and active e-
hawk procured' -" :
a dozen mice at least;
q The snipe and rail
J' ? brought water flies,
.to help along the feast
.-. 'i ', And when each bird
S u p upon the ground,
enjoyed a hearty meal,
..They whistled tunes,
-C -"ar- cand sang their songs,
S---or danced a lively reel,
Around the green, with stately mien, the dodo and curlew
Moved like a pair of lovers there, through dances old and new.
I610 While wing to wing and toe to toe,
with loud and joyous cries,
/ he stork and raven danced as though
-i- competing for a prize.
S-That night good feeling was restored
between the hawk and jay,
'-7? Who had not passed a friendly
look or word for many a day
And birds that always
Before went to roost
before the shades of night
Now hopped around upon the ground
until the morning light.
Nor felt the want
of sleep or rest,
but kept the fun alive;
And seemed as
wide awake as bees,
when some one
kicks the hive.
L-; ~ ~, :I
And people long will call to mind the scene on Beaver Flat,
The night on which the hooting owl was wedded to the bat
THE STORK'S NEW SUIT.
HE stork put on his grand new suit,
And called his friends to see;
Remarking, "'Tis a splendid fit,
And suits my mate and me."
At once the friendly group began
The clothes to criticise;
O'er every part and seam they ran
Their sharp, discerning eyes.
One thought the collar was too high,
And this or that was long;
Another thought it hung awry,
The style and cut were wrong.
And so he cut and clipped about,
And worked as best he could;
He gathered in, and loosened out,
As they advised he should.
And when the change was all complete,
And dressed again was he,
No bird that ever stood on feet
Was such a sight to see.
THE THANKSGIVING DINNER.
"Now, mother," said a turkey bold,
"May I go out and play?
You know to-morrow may be cold,
And snow-drifts block the way.
"The hens are scratching in the yard,
The geese are in the swale,
The doves are cooing on the roof,
The ducks are round the pail."
"My darling," said the mother kind,
"You're growing fat and stout,
I have misgivings in my mind,
And dare not let you out.
"I much prefer to have you here
Away from human eye;
Thanksgiving day is drawing near,
And that's the reason why."
The good advice was wasted all
Upon her wayward son; .-
She turned her head into a stall, .
And out the villain run. -
But while he wandered far and free,
The farmer sauntered by;
"A finer bird than this," said he,
Has seldom met my eye.
"I look to have my brother Jim
Come out with us to dine.
The best is not too good for him
This lad will answer fine."
Not twenty minutes by the clock
A rambling life he led,
Before he lay across the block,
The axe above his head.
We'll pass the execution act,
The plucking that he got,
The dressing that within was packed,
And oven roasting hot.
And see him when
all nicely browned,
Upon the plate
To draw the praise
from all around,
And next, in fancy hear the click
Of knives and forks at play;
And see the plates returning quick
To where that turkey lay.
Then mark the latest scene of all,
When that rich feast was through,
And children with their fingers small,
The wish-bone break in two.
THE EAGLE'S GIFT.
Thus does the Eagle speak its mind,
While sailing high before the wind,
With presents for her babies small
That in the tree-top wait her call.
"Now while the chimes of Christmas ring
And Santa Claus makes haste to bring
His toys to scatter far and near
To glad the hearts of children dear;
It seems a fitting time for me
To bear in mind my babies wee,
Who, perched aloft in 'morning air,
Are waiting for the gift I bear.
A mallard taken by the spring,
No finer ever flapped a wing.
A hare surprised in woods above
Will prove how deep a mother's love.
A turkey taken from her race
Just as the farmer showed his face.
A fish that jumped to meet the rain,
And ne'er will try that feat again.
A banner bright that ever tells,
The happy land where freedom dwells.
The tooting horns, so long and round,
To send abroad their stunning sound,
To rouse the birds and beasts as well,
That in the vales and mountains dwell,
And from his slumbers start the swain,
Before the sun has kissed the plain,-
These are the presents, great and grand,
I bring to cheer my baby band."
THE AVARICIOUS SPIDER.
HE livelong night, without a pause
To wipe his brow, or rest his claws,
The spider planned his subtle scheme,
S^, And spun his web above the stream;
SOn every side flung out his guys
To help support the weight of flies.
With care each fibre was applied,
-b And every knot securely tied,
Until the geometric net
SExhausted all his spinneret.
S1 But when the sun looked o'er the hill
1f 4 To laugh at those who slumbered still,
;.s ; ,'The active flies began to swarm,
Their daily duties to perform,
f,.f y The spider, in close ambush lay,
,. '",- Where he could view the coming prey;
.*'* And waited with an anxious air
The grand reward of skill anrd care.
Soon, one by one, and two by two,
The flies began to tumble through
L .. .--i;i -;
The caddis and the dragon ify,
\losquitco s \\ith their pllainti\ve cry,
The beetle \with his dr,\v-v strain,
The \\ec-vil bound fo'r ficids t" rain,
And hornets in their mad career
\\ere introduced to trouble here,
Until the web shook on the tree
With captives struggling to be free.
S *~ And though he might have been content
'<12 With what the Fates already sent,
S. i The spider, like some human kind,
-- Possessed an avaricious mind.
For still he sat and shook his head
S- -- And stroked his beard and smiling said,
"Though hungry to the inmost core
S I'll wait until it tangles more,
Nor feast upon a dozen flies,
A thousand only satisfies."
But while he pined with hunger there,
Still waiting for a glutton's share,
The fast increasing weight and strain
Began to rend the net in twain.
The main supports
that reached about ~ '
On either side 4
were giving out;
At last a general
Across the web,
from foot to head, '
Till with a i
ri -, Ti sudden yield- ';1
Sng now, -
,. The whole I:
forsook the 1
The spinner tangled in his nest
Then fared no better than the rest.
For down among the broken shreds,
SStill grasping at the flying threads,
!/ To find that all were loose as well,
.1. J The avaricious schemer fell;
... And soon the fish put out of view
The struggling flies and spider too.
., '... There are spiders abroad
besides those on the web
.. With far-reaching fingers
vWo .and keen biting neb,
: i Who harass and hoard
*' till they suddenly fall
In the midst of their plans,
and the grave swallows all.
THE NOISY MAGPIE.
ONCE a magpie gave a party, and invited many there,
Of the beasts that roam the forests and the birds that fly in air.
Long and fine was the procession as they journeyed to the feast;
From the north and south they gathered,
from the west and from the east.
Even insects were included in the invitation grand,
And the locust, fly, and beetle, with their cousins, were on hand.
When around the tempting dishes they assembled in delight,
Every creature there was happy, every countenance was bright.
But the guests had hardly settled down to business, with a mind
To replenish empty places
with whatever they could find,
Ere the magpie marred the pleasure-
she commenced her noisy chat.
About this she loudly gabbled,
and then chattered about that,
Till the guests became uneasy
(many wished her tongue was tied),
While their discontented glances
Were exchanged on every side.
'. They were loath
": """ -to leave their places
._.~ .till the feast
}'"'-._ was at an end,
S- But they couldn't
Sr. sit and listen
_a- to the chatter
-: of their friend.
"I remember an appointment
I must keep," remarked the coon;
"I am ailing," groaned the lion,
and must say good-afternoon."
Said the fox, "You must excuse me:
what I never did before,
Leaving home in such a hurry,
I forgot to lock my door."
"I was thoughtless," cried the spider,
"coming out to eat and dance:
I've a thread to spin this evening
that will reach across to France."
And at last all rose together,
(down their bones and bits they flung),
And in every way departed
to escape her noisy tongue.
Not a bird but quit the banquet,
not a beast but left the ground,
Not an insect but was crawling
to escape the awful sound.
So the magpie learned a lesson;
deeply wounded was her pride,
Standing there among the dishes,
with the guests all scattered wide.
And no later invitations
could induce a friend to come;
So that bird, it is reported,
ever afterward was dumb.
- I 1
THE OSTRICH AND THE MAN.
T was an ostrich of the plain,
In Afric's sunny land,
That stood alone in all its pride.
I Upon the burning sand.
It was a hunter
That to the
And crept about
to find a place,
might take his aim.
"That noble speci- -
men," said he,
While crouching lowly down,
"Will yield enough of feathers fine
To furnish London town."
The wind it blew, just as he drew,
And loosened flame and smoke;
The head _- -" it was he had in view,
The leg _t""' -"- it was that broke.
The race _^- began, the hunter ran
To maim the other limb;
And now it seemed unto that bird
It's chance was rather slim.
But in her woe, she wasn't slow
In planning what to do;
And though she seemed a stupid fowl,
She knew a thing or two.
For, while the hunter was beneath,
With head and shoulders bowed,
She settled down upon the wretch,
As might a thunder-cloud.
She crushed him flat upon the sand,
As though he were an egg,
And kept her seat, with straddled feet,
And wouldn't budge a peg!
'Tis somewhat hard to specify
The hunter's thoughts aright;
No doubt his mind was active, though
His form was out of sight.
On feathers soft, perhaps, he oft'
Had lain in happier day;
But never had them piled above
In such a lavish way.
The sun departed from the scene,
The western world to greet;
The stars came out, but still the stout
Old ostrich kept her seat,
And proved, although she trusts her eggs
To care of sand alone,
At hatching mischief for the man,
The bird could hold her own
At length she slowly raised herself
Above the heated sand,
And, turning round, with looks profound,
The flattened hunter scanned.
A pancake on the griddle laid,
For breakfast or for tea,
Is not, if truth must here be said,
More flattened out than he.
And now, as if well satisfied
That he would not pursue,
She hobbled off across the plain,
To hide away from view.
The hunter, though crushed flat and low,
And badly dazed, 'tis true,
Was not beyond the reach of aid,
And air soon brought him to,
So then, to find his gun and knife,
The sands he did explore;
But, since that day, the people say,
He hunts for plumes no rno e
,,'' sad was the song that the baby-
h sdbird sung,
---' ;."' While sitting on Cherry-tree Hill!
-The rain pelted down with force on
And ran from the point of his bill.
"My coat is wet through,
and it's small
When only pin-feathers
My head is a sop,
from my tail
I shiver and shake
in the air.
"I'd be in fine plight
if the hawk came
I neither could fly
nor could run;
I'm sick of this life,
with its struggle
Before it is fairly begun.
"I thought it was
fine, when I saw
the sun shine,
And beauty of earth
and of sky;
But rain makes me
raw, and I don't
care a straw,
Now, whether I live
or I die.
S "The vulture can soar,
when his breakfast is o'er,
The jay is as brisk
as a bee;
The swallow can skim,
which is pleasure to him,
And the woodpecker
taps on the tree.
"The grasshopper sings, and the bug is on wings,
As proud as an eagle in air;
no sorrow or care.
"The bee on the flower,
from the shower,
SAnd wait till the
clouds roll away;
The beetle can crawl far into
But here I am anchored to stay.
S"The owl may complain
to the moon and her train,
When sadly in need of some prog;
But seems quite content, and
gives over lament,
SWhen holding a mouse or a irog.
"The butterfly bright, sports round in delight, Al
And should he at any time tire; -'- .
He rests on the hollyhock, purple and white,
The buttercup, clover, or brier.
to chirrip in
While resting *-'
on his thrc
And when he Z-", fe
then soon" .- in
He creeps underneath the warm stone.
can sit among
of shore,. .
He leaps i I ,
shout of '
I must sit,
on the post
S like a ghost,
for a change
I have a surmise,
when morning does rise,
'Twill find me below on the ground.
"My parents, I know, little wisdom did show,
With all due respect, I must say,
To build the nest out on a long slender branch,
So liable ever to sway.
P -, ;-.. -
"Although in my days I am young, it is true,
I've been an observing one still;
I'd give to old heads just a pointer or two,
If I all my summers could fill.
"I've either come here much ahead of my time,
Or else I am piping too late;
There's something amiss with my coming, I wis.
I'm out of my place or my date.
"My legs they are cold, I can barely keep hold,
There's something like cramps in each claw;
I scarcely can peek, for my heart action's weak,
And breath now I hardly can draw.
"And this is the sort of a life, full of sport,
That sweetly was whispered to me;
While folded up tight, in the egg out of sight,
As quiet as quiet can be.
"Oh, why did I ever come out of the shell?
Oh, why did I pick my way through?
Or why did the wind shake me out of my nest.
Before I could fly ?---boo-hoo "
THE SQUIRREL AND THE WOODPECKER.
ALLOO, below Who's knocking so,
Upon this house of mine?
I fixed it up at great expense,
The bric-a-brac is fine.
"'Tis nice and warm, through all the storm,
I need no furnace here;
But sit and eat the gathered nuts
In comfort all the year.
"With busy teeth I scooped it out
Of maple hard and dry;
I asked no counsel of my friends,
Nor did for aid apply."
You needn't be so fierce and hard,
Or make so much to-do;
I'm simply looking round the yard,
To find a grub or two.
"Put up your gun, I like it not,
Thus pointing at my eye;
V-;h ~ ~ ill
You shouldn't be so quick to draw
On every passer-by.
"You may, sometime, when starting up
So sudden from repose,
Do, just as frightened people do,
Shoot friends instead of foes.
"I have a cozy house myself,
That's handsome, neat and new;
I fashioned it without the aid
Of friends, as well as you.
"While other creatures sought the shade,
I stuck to business still;
Until the whole concern was made,
I hammered with a wilL
"The doorway faces to the south,
So we can have the sun;
I had the plan all in my head
Before a thing was done.
"I chose with care a leaning tree,
And though the rain may fall,
A drop can seldom find its way
Beyond the outer hall.
We live as happy as you please,
It suits my wife and me;
And soon we'll have to add a room,
For babies two or three."
'Then point your bill for home, at once,
And travel through the air;
Go hunt for grubs and creeping things
Around your own affair.
'This house of mine is clean and fine,
So labor you can spare;
Go dab your nose into the pine,
And you will better fare.
"This is my sleepy afternoon,
I'll not be troubled so;
Make feathers scarce around here soon,
Or else I'll let her go l"
THE BIRDS AND THE SCARECROW.
OME birds were, sitting in a row
Upon a fence, one morn,
While anxious eyes they cast below
Upon the sprouting corn.
They knew the yellow seed was there,
Just underneath the soil,
And would their present wants supply
With very little toil.
But lo! in centre of the field,
The farmer seemed to stand,
With powder-horn upon his side,
And musket in his hand.
And, though their hunger was so keen,
They had no heart to sing;
They didn't like to run the risk
Of riddled head or wing.
So there they sat, n
And wished the din- ;
And call him -
They saw the smoke
And wondered why
When eating time
And never on the
To judge the
from hour to hour,
ner horn would blow,
From the spot.
go curling up,
he stood so still,
turn his eye,
time, by noting well
S iin the sky.
At length a crow .-jf from distant woods,
Flew over hill and vale,
And joined the group that waited there
Upon the cedar rail.
"What seems to be the matter here?"
Said he, while glancing round;
"Why are so many on the fence,
And few upon the ground?
"This corn has now been up three days;
If it's not taken soon
The seed below will not be fit
To give a diving loon."
Then promptly answered all the birds,
Their voices filled with fear,
"We would be busy, but behold
The farmer waiting near."
"How long has he been standing there?"
Inquired the cunning crow.
"Since first the sun appeared above
The mountain, as we know.
"In fact, when we came o'er the yard,
Where Emmie milks the cow,
Here was he standing, with his gun
And powder-horn, as now.
"And since that moment, like a stake
He stood, and, strange to say,
No matter what was going on,
He kept. his face this way."
Then laid the crow upon his breast
His long and shining beak,
And laughed and chuckled, till the tears
Ran streaming down each cheek.
"Let others sit with empty crops,
Afraid of flint and steel
And start at every rag that flops,
But I will have my meal."
He laughed so hard he would have dropped
Clean off the rider rail,
And fallen on the stones below,
But that he spread his tail.
'1 h e n tu rn in g to
"My friends, the man
For half a day
"Besides, I wonder at
You must be
That only some
and pow- 7
If I can
the wondering group,
voice he said,
that doesn't move
like the fly,
eight feet or so,
with his eye.
formed so queer,
Did service here last year.
"I've winged my way too many a mile,
I've been too ably schooled,
And seen too many summers smile
To be so eas'ly fooled.
"It takes more than a canvas head,
Or breeches stuffed with straw,
Or picket feet, and cedar gun,
To fill my heart with awe."
AFTER THE SLAUGHTER.
1, cOW did you manage to escape;
Oh, friend of wondrous size!
When Holidays were passing by,
And turkeys were a prize!
i "We know why we escaped the axe,
% Because we're counted mean;
SOur flesh, they say, is hard and dry,
"-z9 However fat or lean.
"But you are quite another thing,
Your flesh is counted rare;
And nothing better suits the folks,
When they for friends prepare."
said the I
trembling fowl, ', .
bony form ,
Against the fence, '
"Through trials hard :.'
I shunned -
the oven warm. 1--_.- -,,-, -. ----
"For six long weeks before those days,
In meadow, barn, or wood,
However hunger gnawed within,
All dishes I withstood.
"By day and night, through shade or light,
W \My fasting never stopped;
!.i' The beetle .
crawled around my toes, -': :N
M1! lThe locust
near me hopped.
"In vain the children shook the pan,
And rattled corn or peas;
I moped about with drooping wings,
Or crouched beneath the trees.
"This way I lived until my bones
Commenced to cut the skin,
And I was what the poulterer
Would call 'uncommon thin.'
"At last I scarce could make my way,
But still, for all of that,
I dosed myself three times a day
With madam's 'anti-fat.'
"So thus it was that I escaped
The block and heavy steel;
And now, my friends, I'm looking round
To find a morning meal."
D this is what the people fear,
A little buzzing bee;
I wonder where the danger lies,
That's hidden so from me?
"I've heard them say 'twill make a host
In consternation fly,
When it begins to charge around
With mischief in its eye.
"It favors some, and lets them pass,
While others are tormented;
I must be one of those it loves,
And feel much complimented.
"But even should it cut up snuff,
Or seek a muss with me,
One little squeeze would be enough,
And where would be the bee?
"I almost wish it would get mad,
So I might rightly know,
What awful power it has within,
That people talk of so.
"It now is anxious off to fly,
Perhaps I hurt its feet;
And,-Ow, ow, ky, yi, yi, ky yi,
Oh, thunder, mud and sleet!
" It burned me underneath the nail,
It must have taken fire;
'Tis full of brimstone to the tail,
Or I'm a monkey liar!"