• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Dedication
 Preface
 Table of Contents
 How the children came to Edgeh...
 Where the dragon fly found...
 Under the oak-trees
 Auntie's songs on a rainy day
 The dragon fly teaches the children...
 The dragon fly's long story
 Gladys has a birthday
 Papa quotes poetry
 A Sunday at Edgehurst
 "Good-by, Mr. Dragon Fly!"
 Index of first lines
 Back Cover
 Spine






Title: What the dragon fly told the children
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00085057/00001
 Material Information
Title: What the dragon fly told the children
Physical Description: 146, 2 p. : ill., ports ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Coursen, Frances Bell
Brooks, Amy ( Illustrator )
Lothrop Publishing Company ( Publisher )
Publisher: Lothrop Publishing Company
Place of Publication: Boston
Publication Date: c1896
 Subjects
Subject: Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Cousins -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Dragonflies -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Aunts -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Poetry -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Poets -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Storytelling -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Animals -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Insects -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Fantasy literature -- 1896   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1896
Genre: Fantasy literature   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- Massachusetts -- Boston
 Notes
General Note: Includes index.
General Note: Contains poetry.
Statement of Responsibility: by Frances Bell Coursen ; illustrated by Amy Brooks.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00085057
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002223235
notis - ALG3484
oclc - 233698021

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Page 1
    Frontispiece
        Page 2
    Title Page
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Dedication
        Page 5
    Preface
        Page 6
        Page 7
    Table of Contents
        Page 8
    How the children came to Edgehurst
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
    Where the dragon fly found them
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
    Under the oak-trees
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
    Auntie's songs on a rainy day
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
    The dragon fly teaches the children a new game
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
    The dragon fly's long story
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
    Gladys has a birthday
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
    Papa quotes poetry
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
    A Sunday at Edgehurst
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
    "Good-by, Mr. Dragon Fly!"
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
    Index of first lines
        Page 147
        Page 148
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
    Spine
        Spine
Full Text























N


." ",r .' .

THEY ALL MARCHED AFTER HER THROUGH THE WOODS."
Seepage 78.








WHAT THE DRAGON FLY


TOLD THE CHILDREN







BY
FRANCES BELL COURSE.






Illustrations by Amy Brooks





BOSTON
LOTHROP PUBLISHING COMPANY






































COPYRIGHT, 1896,
BY
LOTHROP PUBLISHING COMPANY.

All rights reserved.































TO HER
LITTLE NIECES AND NEPHEWS
FROM
AUNT FRANCES

















PREFACE.


TO THE CHILDREN'S GROWN-UP FRIENDS.


EARLY all children are poetic.
They live near to the heart of things
in the early spring-tide of life when "'birds and
9 l._. buds and they are happy peers."
They have also a natural love of rhyme and
rhythm and the melody of verse. Mother Goose
ministers to this need of their natures for the
first two or three years of life; but, immediately
after that, comes, generally, nothing in the way
*of poetry. Why should not the God-given instinct be further culti-
vated by reading to them at such an age, selections from the poets,
culling here and there, where in simple, lovely words the great
singers have sung simple, lovely thoughts fit for children's ears, and
likely to delight their imaginations ? There is, in later years, an
.added charm to verses that have associations running back through
.a lifetime, even to nursery days.
It would indeed be well to have the names of our greatest poets
familiar household words even to the children. In the belief that
such a thing could be, and should be, and that the children would
enjoy, and be greatly benefited by such reading, this little book of
selected bits from the poets is offered.









PREFACE.


Its design will be happily accomplished if it shall assist children
to an early love for real poetry.
It is not a book to be read through in one or two sittings; any
child would tire of poetry in such quantities as that. It is meant to
lie on the table, ready to be picked up when the children beg
mamma or Auntie to read to them "just a little bit." It is hoped,
too, that the older children will love to glance in it, once and again
and often; and that all of them will come to have their favorite
poems and poets, to which they will return with increasing apprecia-
tion and affection.
Though a slight thread of continuous narrative runs through the
book, by which to hold the attention of the youngest readers, it is
only a thread on which to string the poems; the poetry itself is the
bait by which we hope to catch the children.
The bits of decorative illustration scattered through the text will,
it is believed, increase interest by attracting the eye; while the por-
traits of the poets quoted from in the book may result in acquainting
children, early in life, with the faces of those who, later, should be-
come even as familiar friends.
Thanks are due to Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Roberts
Brothers and D. Appleton & Co., for their courtesy in allowing the
use of extracts from their publications. F. B. C.
















CONTENTS.




CHAPTER I.

HOW THE CHILDREN CAME TO EDGEHURST 9

CHAPTER II.

WHERE THE DRAGON FLY FOUND THEM .12

CHAPTER III.

UNDER THE OAK-TREES 25

CHAPTER IV.

AUNTIE'S SONGS ON A RAINY DAY 51

CHAPTER V.

THE DRAGON FLY TEACHES THE CHILDREN A NEW GAME 69

CHAPTER VI.

THE DRAGON FLY'S LONG STORY 92

CHAPTER VII.

GLADYS HAS A BIRTHDAY 112

CHAPTER VIII.

PAPA QUOTES POETRY .

CHAPTER IX.
A SUNDAY AT EDGEHURST 33

CHAPTER X.

"GOOD-BY, MR. DRAGON FLY!" 139










WHAT THE DRAGON FLY

TOLD THE CHILDREN



CHAPTER I.

HOW THE CHILDREN CAME TO EDGEHURST.

S NCE upon a time there were six friendly
-little cousins.
A Five of them were girls; so there
Swas only one boy. I am sorry there
was not one other boy among them;
because two boys could have had such good
SA times together; but there was, really, only one.
Two of the girls were quite big, so that
there were only four truly little ones to whom the dragon
fly told all the wonderful things I am going to tell you.
These six children, although they were cousins, did not
all live together in the same place. Two of them- the
oldest girls -lived on a far-away Western prairie. When
they came East to visit Grandpa and Grandma and Auntie,
they were called "our little prairie flowers by their fond
relatives. Their real names were Mabel and Edith, and
they were inclined to laugh at that fancy name.
Chester and Edith lived in a large, handsome city. At









10 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

Grandpa's, they called that city "out West"; but when
Mabel and Edith were at home, they were so much farther
West, they called the city in which Chester and Edith lived
" back East." Of course, when different people say such
different things about it, I can't tell you where it really was.
Marion and Gladys lived in a charming country village
not far from Grandpa's or Bampa's house," as they called
it. And Bampa's house," or Edgehurst, where all these
children came together and saw each other was in the coun-
try, too, not a hundred miles from New York.
Now I must tell you how old the children were. Gladys,
the baby, was two, Marion was four, Edith Number Two, was
just five, and Chester, the only boy, was six. Then, there
were the two Western cousins; Mabel was thirteen, a very
"big girl," the little ones thought, and she thought so, too;
Edith Number One was ten, but she was quite small for her
age and didn't look more than eight. Nevertheless, she
generally preferred the company of her sister and her sister's
and her own older friends to that of the babies," as they
called the four little ones.
One day all the children and all their papas and mam-
mas, came to Bampa's house "; and there they had a big
dinner party.
The table was so long that it reached almost into the
hall. Grandma and Grandpa looked quite far apart as they
sat at either end, with all the uncles and aunts and cousins
between. The children all behaved very well at that party;








WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


they sat still and didn't say much, and were very happy,
even though they couldn't understand what the grown-up
people were talking and laughing about.
But they all understood, except perhaps Baby Glay, when
Chester lifted up his voice and made the first remark that
had been heard from the children by the whole company
through all that long dinner.
Grandma was cutting the ice cream "brick" ; it was yet
a long way from Chester's turn and the cream was almost
all gone ; he didn't see that one of the maids was bringing
on another form.
"O, there won't be enough!" he cried in dismay, but
even more in astonishment; for such a thing as "not
enough had never yet happened at Grandpa's. Even then,
the children didn't understand why the grown people laughed.
They seldom did exactly understand just why grown people
laughed.
After the day of the big dinner party, some of the uncles
and aunts went home; but all the children staid through
that whole beautiful summer. In those sunshiny days a
great many wonderful things happened to them, and, of
some of these, I am going to tell you.
But, if it ever happened that the four little children
wanted the same toy at the same instant and quarrelled
over it, I am not going to tell about that; I don't think
quarrelling ever sounds pleasant, do you? And in this
book I want only pleasant things.




























,. ., *









THE TABLE UNDER THE TREE.

CHAPTER II.


WHERE THE DRAGON FLY FOUND THEM.


IT was the morning after the dinner party. The nurses
took Chester, Edith, Marion and Gladys out into the
woods behind the house. There were a number of pretty,
winding paths cut through the underbrush, and these paths
all led to a spot which was cleared, under a spreading tree.
12








WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


Around the trunk of the tree a low table had been built;
for the children were going to have picnics and play store
and do all manner of delightful things around that table.
To begin with, the little girls took their dollies out of
their baby carriages and put them on the table, leaning
them up against the trunk of the tree; then they began to
unpack and set out their china dishes, thinking they would
have a party. But, you see, Chester was a boy and did not
care as much as the girls about dolls' parties. He thought it
would be much better fun to call the four sides of the table
four counters and play store.
I don't know how they would have settled the matter
if a wonderful thing had not made them forget all about
what they had been planning. A slender blue dragon fly
came sailing up to the tree on his gauzy wings. Poising in
the air he looked at the four little children with his tiny
bright eyes. He seemed to like them; for he suddenly
began to sing, what they knew to be, when they were grown
up, Amiens's song in Shakspere's play of As You Like It:

Under the Greenwood tree
Who loves to lie with me,
And tune his merry note
Unto the sweet bird's throat ?
Come hither, come hither, come hither:
Here shall he see no enemy
But winter and rough weather."








14 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

The children stopped talking and listened in amazement
- all but the baby. She did not think it any more surpris-
ing that a little
blue dragon fly -
should sing
Shakspere's
poetry, than
that white and
yellow and pink
and blue flow-
ers ("pitty fol-
lies," she called
them), should
spring up out
of the brown Ii
earth at her


7-


AMIENS SINGING "UNDER THE GREENWOOD TREE," IN SHAKSPERE'S PLAY.


ME








WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


feet; nor half so wonderful as that the great trees should
grow up so big and wave their green leaves in the bright,
glorious sunshine far, far up above her head.
Well," said the dragon fly when he had finished sing-
ing, do you like that song ? "
"Yes," said Chester, who, being a boy, of course wasn't
afraid of anything and certainly not of a tiny dragon fly-
even if it did sing, as dragon flies generally do not; "do
you know any more? "
Yes, plenty of them," said the dragon fly.
Why, that's pretty queer," Chester went on; for the
little girlies just looked and listened and never said a word.
Usually, they say, girls do most of the talking; but perhaps
not when they are making their first acquaintance with a
talking dragon fly.
How do you come to know songs; and why do you sing
to us ? questioned the boy.
"0, I know them as I know so many, many things; because
I fly all over the world and see and hear everything. I sing
to you, because, once "- here the dragon fly wheeled around,
and the shining rainbow colors in his wings glistened in the
sunlight; then he stopped and began to sing again:

Piping down the valleys wild,
Piping songs of pleasant glee,
On a cloud I saw a child,
And he, laughing, said to me:








.16 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


i


-: ;
I ,,. L I *


4'



\s .


r -


1.IP L


~-
t.3 ,

it',


"'Pipe a song about a lamb!'
So I piped with merry cheer.
SPiper, pipe that srong again ; '
So I piped : he laughed to hear.

Drop thy pipe, thly 1hppy pipe :
Sing thli slong of appy cheer '
So I san:i' the same again,
\While lie Wiept with jov to hear.


Piper, sit thee dl:\ 1-1 a dl \\write
In a book tl-hat all ma y read.'
=S So lie vanished froni my sight,
And I plucked a hollow reed;

"And I made a rural pen.
And I stained the water clear,
And I wrote my happy songs
Every child may joy to hear."



i -I
r* i.. ,:-"'
"- ,'; 'C, '

0 n '. = ,2 -.' .- "








WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


"A queer old poet named William Blake wrote that song,"
said the dragon fly. The children seem to like my songs,"
he continued, so I go flying about and singing them to good
little boys and girls, like you."
Oh! that's nice," exclaimed
Edith and Marion together, find-
ing their tongues at last. "'Will
you sing us some more, Mr.
Dragon Fly? And will you
come every day and sing to us ? "
"Maybe not every day," an-
swered the dragon fly. But
what's the matter with to-day ? "
he asked. It makes me think
of a verse by a poet called' H.
H.' -her real name was Helen
WILLIAM BLAKE.
Hunt Jackson. Do you know,LIA AKE.
I think it just fits to-day." And the dragon fly sang:

Was there ever a day like to-day
So clear, so shining, so tender ?
The old cry out; and the children say,
With a laugh aside that's always the way
With the old in Spring, as long as they stay
They find in it a greater splendor
When the birds fly past, and the chimes ring fast
And the long Spring shadows sweet shadow cast."









WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


There! how do you like that ?" asked the dragon fly.
" I'll tell you what; I'll come and see you again, and maybe
I'll tell you about some of the things I see when I am fly-
ing around the world, if you'll be good."
"Yes, we did been dood," said little Edith eagerly, while
Marion smiled and said nothing.
"But I can't stay long to-day," the dragon, fly said







'1

-- .... ...


THE LITTLE NEST-BUILDER.

briskly, fluttering his wings as if he were in a great hurry to
be off.
0, please sing just one more, good Mr. Dragon Fly,"
came in an imploring chorus of three.
P'ease sing one more, dood Mitter Dagger F'y," echoed
the baby.
Just one, then," consented the dragon fly. Did you
ever think about how many little live things there are in the
woods, besides yourselves ?"


































































"WAS THERE EVER A DAY LIKE TO-DAY."


C_


1


:rl









WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


No, the children had never thought about that.
"Well, I do," he said; "because I can fly up high and
down low and see them all. Don't you know that up in
these trees there are cunning little nests? They are made
of bits of sticks, and are lined soft, inside, with hairs that
have dropped out of the horses' tails, or, perhaps, with feath-
ers the chickens have dropped around their yard, or with


" WHERE THE WILD FLOWERS BLOSSOM."


whatever soft things the mother-bird can find; and, don't
you know that, after she has sat for weeks on her little
speckled eggs, there will be three, or perhaps five, little
birds in each nest? And -why! look here at the edge of
the bushes in the grass; don't you see the little wild flowers
blossoming? They're all alive, though they don't know as








22 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

much as you do. And didn't you see the tall white lilies in
the garden, before you came in here? One thing I am
sure you did see the strawberries tucked away under their
green leaves and getting red and ripe in the strawberry bed ?
Here's a song about them by a poet named Jean Ingelow.
You can all learn it and say it to your auntie when you go
into the house. She'll like to hear it, I'm sure!

O, so many, many, many
Little homes above my head !
0, so many, many, many
Dancing blossoms round me spread!

O, so many, many, many
Lilies bending stately heads!
And so many, many, many
Strawberries ripened on their beds !"

As soon as he had sung this song that was written by
Jean Ingelow, Mr. Dragon Fly flew away; so the children
said it over and over while they went on with their play.
And when they were called into the house to wash their
hands and get ready for dinner, they all rushed up to Auntie
the very first thing, and shouted it out to her. To be
sure the dragon fly was right, and Auntie was very much
pleased.
They told her, too, about William Blake's poem, and









WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


Auntie told them it was in a funny little book printed long
ago, called "Songs of Innocence." She told them what
a hard time poor Blake had, trying to get his book printed;


THE WAY THE PAGE LOOKED IN THE OLD COPY OF BLAKE'S "SONGS
OF INNOCENCE" THAT AUNTIE FOUND.


and, she said, she thought there was a copy of that little old
book in Grandpa's house. The children begged her to find








24 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

it; so she hunted until she did and on the other page of this
book you can see the way the page of that looked, on which
was the song that the dragon fly sung.
But, all you little boys and girls who are reading this book
in which I have written down the songs the dragon fly sung
and the stories he told, and all of you whose mammas or
aunties are reading it to you because you are not yet big
enough to read, can learn all of the songs yourselves, and
then you can please papa or anyone else whom you love,
by saying them.
















s* J


"0 CHANTICLEER! YOUR CLARION BLOW."


CHAPTER III.


UNDER THE OAK-TREES.


A WIND came up out of the sea
And said, 0, mists, make room for me."


It hurried landward far away
Crying, Awake it is the day!"
It said unto the forests, Shout!
Hang all your leafy banners out."
25








26 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

It touched the wood-bird's folded wing
And said, 0, bird, awake and sing,"
And o'er the farms, 0, chanticleer!
Your clarion blow, the day is near."

But all this that Longfellow tells us, in his poem about
"daybreak," of course happened before the children were
awake. In their little beds they lay with their eyes shut,
fast asleep; while the mists and the breezes blew over sea
and land, and the leaves on all the trees shook themselves
awake, and the flowers opened, and the birdies lifted their
heads in their little nests and began to chirp and then to
sing, all of them together, and the roosters in the barnyard
crowed aloud, they are what Longfellow called chanticleer,"
you know, and the sun sailed high up in the blue sky. And,
at last, when the children stretched their little arms up over
their heads and opened their blue eyes and looked out of
the window, the sun was shining and everything was awake.
It didn't take them long, after that, to climb out of their
cribs and scamper about in bare white feet, till they were
caught up in somebody's arms and the little feet hidden
away in slippers; then they had their baths and were dressed.
Edith wore a cambric that had gay little flowers all over
it; Marion had a blue-and-white gingham, and Gladys a. pink
one. Chester had on just his play suit." It doesn't mat-
ter much about boy's clothes, you know; they don't care as
much about them as girls do about their pretty dresses and









WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


"flower hats" and all that. Why, when Edith was only
three, she was much distressed, once, because her auntie
wished her, on a very warm afternoon, to play around
upstairs for a little while without any dress on.
Den I'll look like a fight, won't I ?" she asked with
great, appealing eyes, because she could not bear to forego
the pretty dress.
After the dressing, came breakfast; and, while the chil-
dren were eating their hominy and milk, they were so busy
they quite forgot to wonder what the dragon fly would tell
them that morning.
But when they, and their carts and spades, their dolls
and baby wagons all tumbled down the piazza steps to-
gether, ready for a day of fun, there, the very first thing, was
their lively little friend waiting for them, humming and buz-
zing away over the flowers. He seemed to be singing to
himself; but he flew straight over the grass to a great shady
spot on the lawn under some oaks, where the children ran
shouting after him.
Under the trees, there, he seemed to be singing this
song, which he afterwards told them was written by an
English poet named Charles Kingsley:

I cannot tell what you say, green leaves,
I cannot tell what you say;
But I know that there is a spirit in you
And a word in you this day,









WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


"I cannot tell what you say,
rosy rocks,
I cannot tell what you say,
But I know that there is a
spirit in you,
And a word in you this day.


s" I cannot tell what you say;
brown streams,
I cannot tell what you say;
But I know that in you a spirit doth live,
And a word doth speak this day."

"Why! don't you know what they say, Mr. Dragon Fly ? "
asked Edith, much astonished; she supposed, of course, he
knew it all.
"No, I don't know exactly what it is they are saying;
but I think it sounds like something very pleasant, don't
you ?" he replied, good-naturedly. But, see here, do you








WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


know which of these big trees, right near you, is an oak,
and which is a maple ?"
No."
"You don't! why, you or anybody can know that, even if
you don't know what the leaves are saying to each other
when they rustle softly in the breeze. See; this darker,
larger leaf, with deep scallops along the edge, belongs to an
oak tree; this light-green one, cut out in three jagged-edged
points, is a maple leaf. Every little girl should know an
oak tree from a maple tree; so take a good look."
Yes," said Edith.
Say 'thank you,' Edith," said Chester, who thought it
was very polite in the dragon fly to take the trouble to
explain to them about the leaves of different trees. Then
he asked: What is that tree over there with a long stem
and leaves growing opposite each other all the way down ? "
"That is a black walnut," explained the dragon fly.
"Next Autumn there will be plenty of nuts on that tree. The
squirrels know it and they will be after them; but I think
they will leave some to fall on the ground for you to pick
up. See; its leaf looks something like those of the locust
trees in the little clump yonder on the edge of the woods.
This tree right here, with a small oval leaf," went on the
dragon fly, is a beech.. It will have little bits of beech-
nuts on it, which the squirrels like, too. Do you see the
leaves have creases that look as if they had been folded up
tight, as you might fold and crease a piece of tissue paper ?








WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


Well, they have been creased. In the Spring, each leaf
was rolled up in a fine wisp and when the sun first
unfolded them they looked very crinkled and creased,
indeed."
How did the sun unfold them? asked Chester.
He didn't come right down to the tree and do it with
his hands," laughed the dragon fly; I don't suppose he
has any hands; but he shone on them till they felt so warm
and comfortable they just unrolled themselves."
"Won't you sing us a song, Mr. Dragon Fly? asked
Marion.
Yes, my dear; here is a pretty one that you will like,
I think. It is by a man named Thomas Westwood, and
tells about a little girl," and the dragon fly repeated this
song-story about Little Bell:

Piped the blackbird on the beechwood spray,
'Pretty maid, slow wandering, this way
What's your name?' quoth he.
What's your name ? O, stop and straight unfold,
Pretty maid with showery curls of gold.'
'Little Bell,' said she.

Little Bell sat down beneath the rocks,
Tossed aside her gleaming golden locks,
'Bonny bird,' quoth she,
'Sing me your best song before I go.'









WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

'Here's the very finest song I know,
Little Bell,' said he;

" And the blackbird piped you never heard
Half so gay a song from any bird,
Full of quips and wiles;
Now so round and rich, now soft and slow;
All for love of that sweet face below,
Dimpled o'er with smiles.













"SING YOUR BEST SONG," QUOTH LITTLE BELL.

"And the while that bonny bird did pour
His full heart out freely, o'er and o'er
'Neath the morning skies,
In the little childish heart below,
All the sweetness seemed to grow and grow
And shine forth in happy overflow
From the brown, bright eyes.









32 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

Down the dell she tripped, and, through the glade,
Peeped the squirrel from the hazel shade,
And from out the tree,
Swung and leaped and frolicked, void of fear,
While bold blackbird piped that all might hear -
'Little Bell!' piped he.


Little Bell sat down amid the fern,
'Squirrel, squirrel! to your task return;
Bring me nuts,' quoth she.
Up, away the frisky squirrel hies,
Golden woodlights glancing in his eyes,
And down the tree,
Great ripe nuts kissed brown by July sun
In the little lap drop, one by one;
Hark! how blackbird pipes to see the fun-
'Happy Bell,' pipes he.


Little Bell looked up and down the glade:
'Squirrel, squirrel, from the nut tree shade,
Bonny blackbird if you're not afraid,
Come and share with me!'
Down came squirrel eager for his fare;
Down came bonny blackbird; I declare,
Little Bell gave each his honest share,
Ah! the merry three!









WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

" And the while those frolic playmates twain,
Piped and frisked from bough to bough again
'Neath the morning skies,
In the little childish heart, below,
All the sweetness seemed to grow, and grow
And shine out in happy overflow
From her brown, bright eyes.


"KNELT SWEET BELL TO PRAY."


" By her snow-white cot at close of day,
Knelt sweet Bell, with folded palms to pray.
Very calm and clear,
Rose the praying voice to where, unseen,
In blue heaven, an angel shape serene
Paused awhile to hear.









34 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

"' What good child is this ? the angel said,
'That with happy heart beside her bed,
Prays so lovingly ?'
Low and soft, oh very low and soft,
Crooned the blackbird in the orchard croft,
Bell, dear Bell,' crooned he.

"' Whom God's creatures love,' the angel fair
Murmured, 'God doth bless with angel's care;
Child, thy bed shall be
Folded safe from harm ; love deep and kind
Shall watch round and leave good gifts behind,
Little Bell, for thee.' "

Marion smiled; she liked that story very much. But,
dear me children always want more," even if you have told
them five hundred stories already; so, of course, they all
instantly asked for another one."
Little Mr. Dragon Fly was most good-natured. At
once, he began to recite again:

Heigh ho daisies and buttercups,
Fair yellow daffodils, stately and tall!
When the wind wakes how they rock in the grasses,
And dance with the cuckoo-birds slender and small!
Here's two bonny boys and here's mother's own lasses
Eager to gather them all.








WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


"Heigh ho! daisies and buttercups!
Mother shall thread them a daisy chain;
Sing them a song of the pretty hedge sparrow,
That loved her brown little ones, loved them full fain;
Sing heart thou art wide tho' the house be but narrow,'
Sing once and sing it again.

Heigh ho! daisies and buttercups!
Sweet wagging cowslips, they bend and they bow;
A ship sails afar over warm ocean waters,
And, haply, one, musing, doth stand at her prow;
0, bonny brown sons, and 0, sweet little daughters,
Maybe he thinks on you, now.

Heigh ho! daisies and buttercups,
Fair yellow daffodils, stately and tall!
A sunshiny world full of laughter and leisure
And fresh hearts unconscious of sorrow and thrall!
Send down on their pleasure, smiles, passing its measure,
God that is over us all !"

That is by Jean Ingelow, a delightful poetry-maker,"
said the dragon fly, when he had finished. "Now, how
many flowers does that song tell about ? "
Two or three," said Chester.
More than three," said the dragon fly. Let's count.
How many in the first line ? "








36 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

Daisies and buttercups," said the children all together,
for they all remembered those dear common flowers that
they knew so well.
"And in the next ? No one could tell, so the dragon
fly had to answer himself.
"One: 'yellow daffodils'; then the next line has only
'grasses ': you'll hardly call them
flowers, though grasses do have
flowers. And the next has 'cuck-
oo-buds -'
S"And the next!" broke in
i h. Chester. "The next has only
the little boys and girls who
wanted to pick them all."
The next verse has only the
same flowers over again; but
then it has the little hedge spar-
-a r row, you remember, with her tiny
JEAN INGELOW. nest full of brown birdlings, and
they all loved each other so much
they didn't mind if they were packed in tight together, with
hardly room enough to stir."
Has the next verse got any new flower in it? asked
Edith, who couldn't herself remember whether it had or not.
"Yes, the sweet wagging cowslips,' that' bend and bow'
in the wind: and then the mother told the children,
you know, about their father who was on a big ship sail-








WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD,


ing far away on the ocean, and thinking about his little
boys and girls.
"And the last verse has the daisies and buttercups over
again, and the 'daffodils, stately and tall,' and a 'sunshiny
world' and 'laughter and
leisure and 'fresh hearts'
and pleasure.' And all
those beautiful things made
them think of the good God
who made them all. Did
you ever know of so many
lovely things crowded into
one song i"
After talking it over, in
this way, the children THE PRETTY HEDGE-SPARROW.
thought they would like to hear the song again; so the
dragon fly repeated it, and you, little readers, may turn back
and read it again, if you like.
Now, tell us about where you've been," demanded the
children next.
"Oh! I've been everywhere. I am like the fairy- his
name was Ariel; you can read about him in Shakspere's
play of The Tempest. This is what he said:

"' Where the bee sucks, there suck I;
In a cowslip's bell I lie;
There I couch when.owls do cry.









38 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


On the bat's back I








"WHERE THE WAVES SPLASH UP. hangs on
the bough.'"

Do you ever fly to the seashore ? "
0, yes And the sea fairies see me coming and call to
-AfU-Ift-r Suinmer mi -











me to come and fly with them to where the waterfalls tumble
I live Now,


"WHERE THE WaVES SPLASH UP."h
the bough.'"

Do you ever fly to the seashore? "
0, yes And the sea fairies see me coming and call to
me to come and fly with them to where the waterfalls tumble
into the river and the river runs to the sea; where the gales
blow softly as if they were singing carols, and rainbows
hang over the waves and the waves splash up into the
hollow caves and shallow pools around the great rocks, and
shine in colors as lovely as the rainbows themselves."










































































































































"HE HAD SEEN THE LITTLE MERMAIDS AND MERMEN PLAYING,"


.- .i ''
..




"
''

ji


~---- ---~~~~- ---


i











WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


Do they ? what do they say ? "
This is what they say. Lord Tennyson put their songs
into words for us:

" Whither away, whither away, whither away, fly no more,
Whither away from the high green fields and the happy
blossoming shore.
Day and night to the billow the fountain calls,
Down shower the gambolling water-falls.
0, hither, come hither, and furl your sails,
Come hither to me and to me
Hither, come hither, and frolic and play;
We will sing to you all the day,
While merrily, merrily carol the gales
Hither, come hither, and see

How the rainbow hangs on the poising wave,
And sweet is the color of cove and cave,
And sweet shall your welcome be ;
We will kiss sweet kisses and speak sweet words;
0, listen, listen, your eyes shall glisten
With pleasure and love and jubilee.
Who can light on as happy a shore
All the world o'er, all the world o'er ?"

This made the children laugh and clap their hands, it
was so full of glee; so the dragon fly, seeing they liked it,
told them how he had hovered back and forth over the sea-








42 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

green waves and looked down through the shining waters
and had seen the little mermen and mermaids playing above
and beneath them. Oh he cried, growing enthusiastic
over his happy recollections, "it made made me think of
another of Tennyson's songs, for I felt like singing, almost
in the same words that he used:

Who would be
A merman bold,
Sitting alone,
Singing alone
Under the sea,
With a crown of gold,
On a throne ?

I would be a merman bold,
I would sit and sing the whole of the day.
But at night I would roam abroad and play
With the mermaids in and out of the rocks,
Dressing their hair with the white sea-flower,
And holding them back by their flowing locks.
I would kiss them often under the sea
And kiss them again, until they kissed me,
Laughingly, laughingly.
And then we would wander away, away,
To the pale-green sea-groves straight and high
Chasing each other merrily.








WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


We would call aloud in the dreamy dells
Call to each other, and whoop and cry
All night merrily, merrily.
They would pelt me with starry spangles and shells,
Laughing and clapping their hands between,
All night merrily, merrily.
Oh what a happy life were mine,
Under the hollow-hung ocean green."

The dragon fly seemed lost in thought awhile after this,
remembering all the merry times he had enjoyed under the
sea; but, presently, he looked up in the sky, where white
clouds were sailing by, drawing long shadows over the grass
as they passed. That made him think of something else.
Now look at those soft, fleecy clouds !" he said; just
think of all you would see if you could lie on their downy
masses, as if they were heaped up pillows, and float along
over all the world with them, looking down on all the farms
and gardens, seeing the children at play, rolling hoops or
chasing butterflies; and the men at work in the fields, cut-
ting down the grass, or reaping the grain, and then piling
it upon wagons and drawing it into barns; wouldn't you
see many things ?
"That's what I do, flying about all over the world."
Then the dragon fly suddenly remembered a poem, by the
American poet Bryant, about this very thing. He recited
it to the children. It was called To a Cloud ":








WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


Beautiful clouds with folds so soft and fair,
Swimming in the pure, quiet air,
Thy fleeces bathed in sunlight, while below
Thy shadow o'er the vale moves slow,
Where, midst their labor, pause the reaper train
As cool it comes along the grain;
Beautiful cloud I would I were with thee
In thy calm way o'er land and sea,
To rest on thy unrolling skirts and look
On earth, as on an open book."

Let me tell you of what I saw, once, when I was flying
about," the dragon fly continued. I used, often, to see a
little girl sitting on the grass on the edge of a brook. I
learned that her name was Ellie. First, she would take off
her hat and throw that on the grass; then, pretty soon,
she would take off her shoes and stockings, too; and then
she would paddle her bare feet in the water and lift them
out all shining and wet and hold them in her hands and
rock slowly back and forth, and smile to herself. I used
to wonder what the dear little girl was thinking about to
make her smile so happily. I watched her come there to
the brook many a day; and, after paddling awhile, she
always dried her feet, put on her shoes and stockings, and
took up her hat (it hung by its string from her arm almost
as often as it was seen on her head). She walked off a long
way around to her home; and she always stopped at one








WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


certain point on the edge of the stream and knelt down and
peered in among the grasses, looking at something. I won-
dered what she was so interested in; for she would shake
back her hair, when it tumbled over her face and into her
eyes; she would lean far over the water's edge, and push the
grasses away with her little hands, and never give up until
she saw whatever it was she was looking for. So one day,















THE BEAUTIFUL WHITE SWANS.

after she had peeped into her little grassy corner and had got
up and gone home, I flew down to see what it was she
came to look at, every day. I couldn't find anything at
first, even though I could fly right over the water and didn't
have to take care, as Ellie did, not to tumble in. But I
looked closely and saw a little spot where Ellie had
trampled down the grass, kneeling on it so often; and 'way








46 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

in by a stone, and almost in the brook, I saw -what do you
think?- a flat, wide nest, and I could just see one or two
big, white eggs in it. I couldn't see to count how many eggs
there were, without flying right into the nest; and I didn't
want to do that for fear its owner might come home and
find me there and be disturbed by it. And who do you
think its owner was ? Why, I do believe it was no less a
personage than the beautiful white swan that used to float
up and down the stream. So that was what little Ellie came
far out of her way every day to watch. She kept it a great
secret that she had found the swan's nest, and never told
anybody at home, but there she little thought that I knew
it all the time!
One day, I was flying through a garden and by an open
window, and looking in I saw, lying back in a low chair, a
tiny, delicate lady. She had curls hanging over her face,
like Ellie, and great dark eyes that shone very bright and
looked as if they saw everything, everything. They saw me
quick enough and smiled a little. I thought she would
like to hear about Ellie, so I told it all to her, and she wrote
it out in a poem. You see, she was a great poet. Her
name was Elizabeth Barrett Browning. This is how she put
into verse my story about little Ellie and the swan's nest:

Little Ellie sits alone
'Mid the beeches of a meadow,
By a stream-side on the grass,









WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


And the trees are showering down
Doubles of themselves in shadow
On her shining hair and face.

She has thrown her bonnet by
And her feet she has been dipping
In the shallow water's flow,
Now she holds them, nakedly,
In her hands all sleek and
dripping,
While she rocket to and fro.

"Little Ellie sits alone, L.
And the smile she softly uses
Fills the silence like a speech
While she thinks what shall be
done
And the sweetest pleasure
chooses
For her future within reach. ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWING.

Little Ellie with her smile
Not yet ended, rose up gaily,
Tied the bonnet, donned the shoe,
And went homeward 'round a mile
Just to see as she did daily
What more eggs were with the two."









48 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

When the dragon fly had finished this long story he
looked down and saw that Baby Gladys had fallen asleep, so
he sang, very softly indeed, one of Shakspere's beautiful lull-
abies. It was the fairies' chorus in A Midsummer Night's
Dream:










BABY, WHAT DO THE BLOSSOMS SAY ? "

Philomel with melody
Sing in our sweet lullaby
Lulla, lulla lullaby,
Lulla, lulla lullaby,
Never harm, nor spell, nor charm,
Come our lovely lady nigh,
So good-night with lullaby."

Then he flew away.
That evening after tea, when the children were having
their last romp around the grounds, Auntie came out for
Gladys to take her in to bed, and as she held the tiny hand
and guided her along the gravel path past the flower bor-









WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 49


ders, baby's eyes, dewy and large with sleep, looked so wise,
and baby's little hand touched the folded blossoms so gently,
With loving little good-night taps as she passed them, that
Auntie stooped down and asked her almost the same ques-
tions that Mrs. Henshaw put into verse:


" Baby, what do the blossom
Down in the garden wall
They nod and they bow in
Pray can you hear them


ns say
k?
the twilight gray,
talk ?









I: :.
p o7;;r .:-;.7=~~~4


< "..


"BABY, WHAT DOES THE ROBIN SAY?"

They say, '0, darling baby bright,
We are going to sleep; good-night, good-night!
For the lullaby breezes have come to sing
How God takes care of everything.
Sleep! sleep !'


e
I
-~
-J
:~lp~q
~I:, ;rS
la









50 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

Baby, what does the robin say ?
Do you hear his evening song ?
He sits and sings his sunset lay
With a heart all blithe and strong.
He sings, Good-night, my baby dear,
Sleep soft, sleep well, and do not fear,
For somehow I know, as I sit and sing,
That God takes care of everything.
Sleep! sleep !'"










-? I'.
-rit..


CHAPTER IV.

AUNTIE'S SONGS ON A RAINY DAY.

WHAT does little birdie say
In her nest at peep of day?
'Let me fly,' says little birdie,
Mother, let me fly away.'
'Birdie, rest a little longer,
Till the little wings are stronger.'
So she rests a little longer
Then she flies away.

"What does little baby say
In her bed at peep of day ?
Baby says like little birdie,
'Let me rise and fly away.'
51








WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


'Baby, sleep a little longer,
Till the little limbs are stronger,
If she sleeps a little longer
Baby, too, shall fly away.' "

So sang Tennyson "In Sea Dreams;" and so sang
Auntie, low and sweet, as the day came in. But that morn-
ing, when the children woke up, it was raining! It was a
great disappointment, to open their eyes and see rain drops
pouring down the windows, instead of seeing sunshine danc-
ing on the walls. Some of the little ones felt almost like
crying and being a little bit cross about it.
You see, they did so want to play outdoors, and see their
dear dragon fly and hear some more of his stories. But cry-
ing about it wouldn't do any good. It only made it look as
if it were raining inside the house as well as outside, so
Auntie said, when she saw the teardrops almost brimming
over in some of the childish eyes.
"Why, the rain is lovely, too," she cried, "though not
quite so lovely as sunshine; just see it come pattering
down and plashing along and making everything so clean
and shiny. I know a song about the rain, almost as pretty
as any one of your dragon fly's. Maybe he doesn't know
this one. It was written by our own dear poet Longfellow.
I'll tell it to you, as you can't go out to find Mr. Dragon Fly
just this minute. Auntie picked out from Longfellow's
lovely verses Rain in Summer: "








WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


" How beautiful is the rain!!
After the dust and heat,
In the broad and fiery street,
In the narrow lane,
How beautiful is the rain!

How it clatters along the roofs,
Like the tramp of hoofs!
How it gushes and struggles out
From the throat of the overflow-
ing spout!
Across the window pane.
It pours and pours;
And swift and wide,
With a muddy tide,
Like a river down the gutter roars "IT POURS AND POURS."
The rain, the welcome rain!"

"Why, of course we want the rain very much," Auntie
went on, "to make the peas and the beans grow in the
garden, and to give a good drink of water to the thirsty
flowers. Poor little flowers, how they want it! They like
sunshine and they like rain too. Let me tell you about
' Little White Lily':

Little white lily sat by a stone
Drooping and waiting till the sun shone;








54 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

Little white lily, sunshine has fed;
Lilly white lily is lifting her head.

Little white lily said, 'it is good '-
Little white lily's clothing and food;
Little white lily, dressed like a bride,
Shining with whiteness and crowned beside i

Little white lily droopeth with pain,
Watching and waiting for the wet rain;
Little white lily holdeth her cup,
Rain is fast falling and filling it up.

Little white lily said, 'Good, again,
When I am thirsty to have the nice rain:
Now I am stronger, now I am cool,
Heat cannot burn me, my veins are so full.'

Little white lily smells very sweet,
On her head sunshine, rain at her feet;
Thanks to.the sunshine, thanks to the rain,
Little white lily is happy again."

But even these charming lines by George Macdonald did
not make the little faces look quite satisfied to have it rain
and spoil their fun, even if it did do little white lily so much
good.





























,I 'U


"LITTLE WHITE LILY."








WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


Where does the rain come from, Auntie ?" asked a
rather fretful little voice.
It comes all the way from the great ocean. The sun
shines on the waves and draws up little thin veils of mist
which really is water; it draws them up, up, clear up to the
sky, as far as Chester used to think he could jump. When
he was a two-year-old baby in white dresses, he used to hold
my hand and jump off the last
step of the piazza and say, Tettie
dump way up to de 'ky!' But
this is what we call a digression.
The sun just rolls them all up to-
gether, these gauzy veils, into the
white clouds you saw sailing in the
blue yesterday, and then melts
them down into little raindrops (or
else he stops shining and the cold
air squeezes or condenses the rain-
drops out of the clouds; I believe
that is the way), and then they fall GEORGE MACDONALD.
to the ground and on the leaves
of the trees, and on all the flowers and won't they sparkle
and shine by and by when the sun comes out again! The
clouds bring us the rain and we ought to be much obliged to
them for it. This is what a great and beautiful English poet,
named Shelley, makes one of the clouds say in a famous
poem of his called 'The Cloud:'









58 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

"I bring fresh showers for the
thirsting flowers,
From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves
when laid
In their noon-day dreams.
From my wings are shaken the
dews that waken
The sweet buds every one,
When rocked to rest on their
mother's breast,
As she dances about the sun.
PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY. I wield the flail of the lashing hail,

And whiten the green plains under;
And then again I dissolve it in rain;
And laugh as I pass in thunder."

It laughs pretty loud, sometimes," said Chester.
"Yes, indeed it does; but not when it is a soft, gray
cloud; it is not until it becomes a black thunder cloud that
it does that," said Auntie.
Tell some more, please" the children said; so Auntie
saw she had got herself into the dragon fly's business, and
must keep right on.
"Well, here's a lovely little poem, by Mrs. Helen Hunt
Jackson, about April. April is the month that is most like
a child of all the twelve, we say, because like a child it laughs


















































I" ::~ Y.6
11.1"Wl 'IT N I 1 [ l' 1 A A ,,"lnl'. I I I,,,iJ M,,,rl iiI D S L VE I 'IT n RAI N T l'll,"ll''' '"', 1 '
''",; 1' IW'n .1ifii." l' t. IIr'.'.",i i' I' ', '., illl i LI i '1 .:.,. j '' '
L z .I.





"'AND THEN AGAIN I DISSOLVE IT IN RAIN


I,''












WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


one minute and cries the next. Don't you know how, on a
day in April, the sun will be shining bright, when all of a
sudden, up comes a cloud and down comes a shower. And
then, in another minute, the sun peeps laughing out again
from behind the cloud ?"


















"A ROYAL ROAD WITH SEALS OF GOLD."

Robins call robins in tops of trees,
Doves follow doves with scarlet feet,
Frolicking babies sweeter than these
Crowd green corners where highways meet.

Violets stir and arbutus wakes,
Claytonia's rosy bells unfold,








62 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

Dandelion through the meadow makes
A royal road with seals of gold.

Golden and snowy and red the flowers,
Golden and snowy and red in vain;
Robins call robins thro' sad showers,
The white doves, feet are wet with rain.

For April sobs while these are
glad,
April weeps while these are
gay
Weeps like a tired child who had,
Playing with flowers, lost its
way."

"But perhaps you will like
this better," for the children did
not look quite so appreciative as
Auntie thought they might over
HELEN HUNT JACKSON.
(,, H.") H. H.'s" charming verses ; so,
trotting Gladys up and down on her knees, keeping time to
the rhymes, Auntie caroled this forth in a sing-song manner.
" It is by the famous Scotch poet, Robert Burns," she said :

0, Mally's meek, Mally's sweet,
Mally's modest and discreet,








WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


Mally's rare, Mally's fair,
Mally's every way complete.

"As I was walking up the street,
A barefit maid I chanced to
meet,
But 0, the road was very hard
For that fair maiden's tender
feet.

" It were mair meet that those fine
feet
Were weel laced up in silken
shoon,
And 'twere more fit that she
ROBERT BURNS.
should sit
Within yon chariot, gilt aboon.

Her yellow hair, beyond compare
Comes twinkling down her swan-like neck,
And her two eyes,.like stars in skies,
Would keep a sinking ship frae wreck."

The children laughed at that, and asked a dozen ques-
tions at once, as their manner was, and Auntie tried to tell
them, all in the same breath, that silken shoon was Scotch
and meant silk shoes, and that Bobbie Burns, the poet who








64 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

wrote the verses, thought the little maid was so pretty she
ought to have a pair of them to put on her bare feet and
that she ought to have a carriage with a gilt top to ride in,
instead of walking on the hard stones.
But did she have it? "
No, she didn't."
"And how could her eyes keep a ship from going down
in the water? "
They couldn't, any more than two stars could."
Then what made the man say so ? "
"Oh! to make some poetry! Dear, dear!" cried
Auntie, almost out of breath with trying to answer the
questions of four children at once. Now, let me ask you
another of 'H. H.'s' questions:

What did the sparrows do yesterday ?
Nobody knew but the sparrows.
He were too bold who should try to say;
They have forgotten it all to-day."

What did the sparrows do? asked all the children in
chorus.
Auntie laughed; I told you, 'they have forgotten it all
to-day;' and I'm sure I never knew, on any day."
"Well, then, tell another story."
"Yes, yes; let me think a minute; oh! here's one, by
Charles Kingsley:








WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

I once had a sweet little doll, dears,
The prettiest doll in the world,
Her cheeks were so red -
and so white, dears,
And her hair was so
charmingly curled. ,
But I lost my poor little -
doll, dears, ~
As I played in the heath
one day,
And I cried for her more
than a week, dears,
But I never could find
where she lay.

"I found my poor little
doll, dears,
As I played in the heath
one day.
They say she is terribly
changed, dears, ( l
For her paint is all
washed away, "I LOST MY POOR LITTLE DOLL, DEARS."
And her arms trodden off by the cow, dears,
And her hair not the least bit curled;
Yet for old sake's sake, she is still, dears,
The prettiest doll in the world."








66 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

That's a pretty one; tell another, Auntie."
Auntie drew a long breath. Another ? she said.
"Well, here is one by a German poet, named Heinrich
Heine, put into English for us by Mrs. Browning:

My child, we were two children,
Small, merry by childhood's law,
We used to crawl to the hen house
And hide ourselves in the straw.

We crowed like cocks, and whenever
f ", The passers near us drew,
^' Cock-a-doodle they thought
'', 'Twas a real cock that crew

The boxes about our courtyard
We carpeted to our mind;
And lived there both together,
Kept house in a noble kind.

The neighbor's old cat often
Came to pay us a visit;
We made her a bow and a curtsy,
Each with a compliment in it.

"After her health we asked,
Our care and regard to evince;








WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


We have made the very same speeches
To many an old cat since."

Auntie! said 'big Edith,' Mabel and I used to
have a play like that with our dolls, in the grove; we had
lots of box houses a whole vil-
lage of them."
"Did you? Tell us about
it! "
"Oh! it would take a long
time to tell about all the things
we did."
Would it ? Well, we should
like to hear it, even if it does
make a long story. But, see
there! the sun is coming out:


WILLIM WORDSWOTH. The cock is crowing,
The stream is flowing,
The small birds twitter,
The lake doth glitter,
The green field sleeps in the sun.
The oldest and the youngest
Are at work with the strongest.
The cattle are grazing,
Their heads never raising.
There are forty feeding like one.








68 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

Like an army defeated
The snow has retreated,
And now doth fare ill
On the top of the bare hill;
The plough boy is whooping, anon, anon,
There's joy in the mountains,
There's life in the fountains,
Small clouds are sailing,
Blue sky prevailing,
The rain is over and gone."

Gladys slid down from Auntie's lap, as she finished this
poem it was written by Wordsworth and, amid a grand
clapping of hands, all ran for their overshoes and hats and
rushed out on the piazza; for the sun was shining again.
So, Edith's story was postponed, and Auntie slipped away
to her own room for a little rest.





























"COME BACK TO DREAM ON THE RIVER."


CHAPTER V.


THE DRAGON FLY TEACHES THE CHILDREN A NEW GAME.


61 CWEET, sweet, sweet, 0, Pan,
Piercing sweet by the river,
The sun on the hill forgot to die,
And the lilies revived, and the dragon fly
Came back to dream on the river."


The dragon fly met them that day, singing these verses by
Mrs. Browning, to greet them. lie was a great rover, he told
69








70 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

them; he flew everywhere, he said, up and down. the world,
so that it was not every day that he came where our chil-
dren were playing. Sometimes, they looked for him in vain,
and had to content themselves with their own games without
him. But they were always delighted to see him when he
did come back to the.p, for he always had something to tell
them; he knew so many sohgs, too, and children do love to
hear songs.
I'll sing you some songs about birds to-day," he said
to them that morning.
The birds were singing all around, over their heads,
which made him think of the birds' songs, I suppose.
I'll tell one first about the gentle dove," he said; "how
he sits on a branch and coos lovingly to his little mate while
she sits all the time on the eggs in her nest and keeps them
warm, till the baby doves are hatched out. She gets very
tired sitting still so long, when she would like to stretch her
pretty wings and fly away; but she mustn't let her eggs get
cold; so she sits there quite still, and only wishes the time
would come when those little birds will be ready to peck
and knock at their shells; then she will help them open a
wide door in their tight little houses and let them out.
Listen the first story is by Jean Ingelow:

Coo, dove, to thy married mate,
She has two warm eggs in her nest;
Tell her the hours are few to wait,








WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


E'er life shall dawn on their rest
And thy young shall peck at the shells elate
With a dream of her brooding breast.

Coo, dove, for she counts the hours,
Her fair wings ache for flight,
By day the apple has grown in the flowers,
And the moon has grown by the night;
And the white drift settled from hawthorne bowers,
Yet they will not seek the light.

I love to peep into all the little nests as I go flying by,
over the trees, and see the mothers sitting patiently there to
keep the eggs warm under their breasts, or else, later on, to
see them flying back and forth with little bugs or bits of
worms in their bills, feeding the little ones that have come,
at last, out of their shells. Sometimes, I fly across the
Atlantic Ocean to the rocky coasts of England and look
into holes in the cliffs up above the high-water mark, but
not too far up for the highest waves to sometimes dash a
little of their salt foam almost into the nests which are there;
and I see birds called sand-martins, because, after they are
hatched, the little ones and the parent birds take their exer-
cise, very naturally, on the sands for awhile; and I can
just see the tops of their tiny black heads; and hear them
chatter about the time when their little ones will all be
hatched, and then how it will soon be time, after that, for








72 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

them all to fly away to warmer southern countries, for
winter will be coming.
But they would be far away before the first snow fell, in
lovely lands where the hot days end in red sunsets, and the
fireflies come out and flash like little diamonds all through
the night. Here is another song about them, by Jean
Ingelow. Listen to this:

" I passed an island cliff precipitate,
From tiny caves peeped many a sooty poll;
In each, a mother-martin sat elate,
And of the news delivered her small soul.

" Fantastic chatter hasty, glad and gay,
Whereof the meaning was not ill to tell:
Gossip, how wags the world with you to-day ?
Gossip, the world wags well, the world wags well.

" And, hearkening, I was sure their little ones,
Were in the bird talk ; and discourse was made;
Concerning hot sea bights and tropic suns;
For a clear sultriness the tune conveyed.

" When should the young be fledged and with them hie
Where costly day drops down in crimson light ?-
Fortunate countries of the firefly
Swarm like blue diamonds all the sultry night.








WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


"Now come! let us play a bird game! Here is one
made up by the poet Tennyson:

You be Queen of the wrens;
We'll be birds of a feather;
I'll be King of the Queen of the wrens,
And all in a nest together."

Oh what fun," and the children jumped up and stood
ready.
How do you play it, Mr. Dragon Fly ? "
"First, you must count to see who is It.' All join
hands in a circle and one stand in the middle."
There aren't enough," cried Chester; "let's call Mabel
and Edith."
The two big girls were on the piazza- Edith swinging
in the hammock and Mabel sitting in a large piazza chair,
doing some fancy work; so little Edith ran after them.
Edith Number Two, we have called her, though she was
really Edith Number Three, for both Ediths were named
after an Aunt Edith who was the real Number One. But
as Aunt Edith doesn't come into this story, we will call the
two Ediths who are'in it, just Number One and Number Two.
Come, come! called little Number Two; the dragon
fly is going to teach us a new game; come and see it."
So, merely to oblige her, for of course they were much
too big for little children's plays, the girls came.








74 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

They all took hold of hands, and they held the dolls in
the circle, too, and Chester being the only niece-boy (as
his sister called him, to distinguish him from all the niece-
girls! ") was in the middle. Only boyhood among a lot of
little girl cousins has some advantages.
Then the dragon fly began again.
"You be Queen of the wrens "-and here he had to
stop and explain what kind of a bird a wren is. It is a
little bit of a bird," he said; one of the smallest birds there
is, but a jolly, plucky little fellow notwithstanding; he hops
about in his dark gray Quaker coat and vest of lightest
gray and a cinnamon brown cap on the top of his lively
little head, which head turns quickly from side to side to
see whatever is going on, and he doesn't appear to be in the
least afraid of the other bigger birds, even of bold Robin
Redbreast. But now listen, and I will teach you something
new to count by; I found it in Shakspere's play of Macbeth.

Double, double, toil and trouble;
Fire burn; and caldron bubble.
Black spirits and white,
Red spirits and gray,
Mingle, mingle, mingle,
You that mingle may.
By the pricking of my thumbs
Something wicked this way comes;
Open locks! whoever knocks."
























QUEEN BIABEL AND HER COURTIERS.
QUEEN MABEL ANd) HElt CUUETIEES.


P 4


t


- al~~








WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


It might seem to some people a little irreverent, to put
the rhymes of the immortal Shakspere to such a simple use
as a counting spell to be rattled off by youngsters, instead
of a spell to provoke solemn discussions among learned
professors in spectacles; but the children did not in the
least mind using then in play; so Chester said them after
the dragon fly; and, at each word he spoke, he pointed his
finger to each one, dolls and all, around the circle. When
he came to the last word, knocks," his finger was pointing
to Edith Number One.
"Now," said the dragon fly, "the one whom the word
'knocks' comes to, must start and run around the circle,
and the one who was counting must run after her to see
which can first reach the place she leaves empty; they
must both run around in the same direction; the one that
reaches the space last must be It' in a game of I spy' or
tag, or whatever you choose -blind-man's-buff if you like-
for one round. Then you come back and count over again
in the same way for another It.' If at the end of a game a
little boy and little girl have not been 'It' once -that is,
have not been last in reaching the space in the circle, they
are King and Queen of the wrens; and then they must be
crowned with wreaths of oak leaves or of flowers; and a
scepter put in their hands, made of a long branch of golden
rod or a mullien stalk, or whatever you can find, that will
look like a golden, or jewel-tipped scepter. After that, all
the other children must obey their commands for the space








78 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

of ten minutes, and they can hold a game of forfeits and
impose tasks upon those who were 'It' the most, or do
whatever else they like. And everybody does whatever he
is told to do, according to the pleasing fiction that birds in
their little nests agree.' "
So they played the game, and Mabel was the only one
who wasn't caught at all. They made her a crown of oak
leaves, pinning them together with little twigs; and she took
a long stick and tied a bunch of red geraniums on the end
of it and put another bunch in the front of her crown, and
then they all marched after her to the woods, Mabel looking
and walking as much like a queen as she could; there they
made a throne for her of a stump with a red shawl spread
down before it, and Queen Mabel held her court and made
her little courtiers do all the funny and ridiculous things she
could think of; Chester had to turn somersaults, and the lit-
tle girls had to dance jigs, and the dragon fly flew back and
forth over their heads and laughed to see such fine sport."
After the play was ended the dragon fly asked them all
to sit down on the stumps, around them. Then he said he
would give them a lecture on birds, and tell them all he
knew about the different kinds and how they built their
nests, and where they lived in Winter and where in Summer,
and what they ate, and all about them.
So they all sat very still, and the dragon fly began. As
usual, he started with a quotation. It was from The Vision
of Sir Launfal," by our American poet, Lowell.








WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


Ladies and gentlemen," said the dragon fly:

The little bird sits at his door in the sun
A-tilt like a blossom among the leaves
And lets his.illumined being o'errun
With the deluge of summer it receives;
His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings
And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings;
He sings to the wide world and she to her nest.
In the nice ear of Nature, which song is the best ? "

After this introduction, the
dragon fly continued, I will take
first my friend the little titmouse.
He is one of the few birds: that
isn't afraid of snow and cold
weather, but will stay up North,
sometimes, even through the Win-
ter. One cold day, I was flying
through the woods when the trees
were all bare of leaves and the
ground was hard and frozen, so
you wouldn't suppose a little bird
JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL.
could find a bug or a worm to eat
anywhere. (I don't often fly about in cold days myself, but
I did at that time), when pop! all of a sudden there
piped, as Ralph Waldo Emerson says:








80 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

A tiny voice hard by,
Gay and polite a cheerful cry:
Chic, chic-a-dee-dee saucy note
Out of sound heart and merry throat,
As if it said, Good day, good sir!
Fine afternoon, old passenger!
Happy to meet you in these places
Where January brings few faces.' "

-Then the dragon fly went on
i .to talk about the great advan-
tages in meeting the hardships
and difficulties of life with cour-
age and cheerfulness after the
example of the cheery titmouse.
But his audience soon grew
: restless; they didn't really want
to listen to a lecture, even from
the dragon fly. They only
wished to listen to stories, sto-
ries forever.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON. Very well, then," said the
Dragon Fly; "but you won't
know half as much as little Hiawatha did."
"Who was Hiawatha?" they asked.
He was only a little Indian boy. Longfellow told his
story in a celebrated poem. He lived in a tent called a




































































































"MY FRIEND THE LITTLE TITMOUSE."


1-








WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


wigwam, far off in the midst of great woods, but he used to
sit at the door of his father's tent, and listen and watch and
notice everything that passed in the woods; until he had
found out a great deal about the birds and the bugs and the
animals, just by sitting still and watching them, so patiently.

At the door on summer evenings
Sat the little Hiawatha;
Heard the whispering of the pine trees,
Heard the lapping of the waters,









Sounds of music, words of wonder;
'Minne-wawa !' said the pine trees,
Mudway-aushka !' said the water.
Saw the firefly, Wah-wah-taysee,
Flitting through the dusk of evening,
With the twinkle of its candle
Lighting up the brakes and bushes.

'Wah-wah-taysee, little firefly,
Little flitting, white-fire insect,








84 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

Little, dancing, white-fire creature,
Light me with your little candle,
*E'er upon my bed I lay me,
E'er in sleep I close my eyelids '

Then the little Hiawatha
Learned of every bird its language,
Learned their names and all their secrets,
How they built their nests in Summer,
Where they hid themselves in Winter.

Of all beasts he learned their language,
Learned their names and all their secrets,
How the beavers built their lodges,
Where the squirrels hid their acorns,
How the reindeer ran so swiftly,
Why the rabbit was so timid,
Talked with them whene'er he met them,
Called them Hiawatha's Brothers.' "

he was 'mart!" remarked little Edith, with utmost
nonchalance, not thinking it worth her while to try at all to
imitate his example. Please tell another 'tory, Mister
Dragon Fly."
I will tell you about one other poor little bird I saw
once. I was flying around when I happened to see a cage
hung out of a window, and in it was a little wild-wood bird.








WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


He wasn't a canary; canaries have been used to living in
cages so long that maybe they don't mind it now; it is
to be hoped they don't. But this
little bird was used to living in
the woods and flying from tree
to tree, rocking on the branches
in the wind, and soaring far up
into the sky, whenever he wanted
to; so I knew he couldn't be .
happy in that cage, where he
could only hop up and down from
one perch to another, and I felt
very sorry for him. Several other
days, when I flew by, I saw him I'
there; but one day, when I THE CAGE IN THE WINDOW.
passed, I looked and saw that the cage was empty. It was
all twined and hung with green leaves, and the door was
open, in hopes that Birdie would fly back, and in it, again,
but he never did. 0, no! he was too happy to be free to fly
as he pleased through the bright summer air. Here is a
song about it, written by Mrs. Hemans, a celebrated English
poet:

Return, return, my bird;
I have dressed thy cage with flowers;
'Tis lovely as a violet bank
In the heart of forest bowers.








WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


I am free! I am free! I return no more;
The weary time of the cage is o'er;
Through the rolling clouds I can soar on high;
The sky is around me, the blue, bright sky!

"The hills lie beneath me,
spread far and clear,
With their glowing heath flow-
ers and bounding deer.
I see the waves flash on the
sunny shore -
I am free! I am free! I return
no more.

..: "My home is high amidst rock-
ing trees;
My kindred things are the star
FELICIA DOROTHEA HEMANS. and the breeze,
And the fount unchecked in its lovely play,
And the odors that wander afar away."

And when the dragon fly finished that song, he spread
his own four beautiful wings and flew away, too.
That afternoon the children went with their nurses for a
long ramble through the fields. They saw the lambs play-
ing about on the grass; and the cows, too, far over at the
other end of the field; they saw bumble bees and butterflies








WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


sucking honey out of the clover blossoms; and they pulled
their hands full of wild flowers and grasses; and Chester
stuffed his pockets full of plenty of other queer things, such
as are treasures to boys. They saw dragon flies, too; but
they thought none of them could have been their dragon fly,
because not one of them stopped to speak to them that
afternoon.
"Auntie," said Chester that evening, when his auntie
came to kiss him good-
night, after he was in
bed, did anybody ever
know as much as the
dragon fly said Hiawatha
did ?"
"Yes, dear; there
have been men who
have looked and watched .'
and studied so carefully
the wonderful things that are all
around us, that they have come to '
know more about animals and flow-
ers, and even about the stones and
the dirt. than Hiawatha did. These men who look and look
and watch and study until they learn so much about all these
things are called scientists, or knowers. Then, there are the
poets, or seers; they see the loveliness of so many, many
things that other people don't notice, and they love them









88 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

so, because they are so beautiful that they seem to see what
all these lovely things mean, when other people don't stop
to think whether they mean anything or not. To the
knowers and the seers, the whole world is like a great
picture book spread open before them, full of wonderful
stories and lovely songs of the great things God has done
and the beautiful things He has made. This is what one of
our own poets has written about one of the most famous
scientists. This knower's name was Louis Agassiz; he was
born in Switzerland, but he lived here in America. When
Agassiz was fifty years old, Longfellow wrote these verses
and sent them to him on his birthday:

"It was fifty years ago
In the pleasant month of May,
In the beautiful Pays de Vaud
A child in its cradle lay.

And Nature, the old nurse, took
The child upon her knee,
Saying: 'Here is a story book
Thy Father has written for thee.'

And he wandered away and away
With Nature, the dear old nurse,
Who sang to him, night and day,
The rhymes of the universe.









WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


And whenever the way seemed long,
Or his heart began to fail,
She would sing a more wonderful song,
Or tell a more marvellous tale.

Oh! how I should like to have you watch and notice
things as little Hiawatha did, so that, when you grow to be
a man, you might be either a
scientist, like Agassiz, or a poet,
like Longfellow; or, at least,
know enough and care enough to
read and enjoy what the scientists
and poets write, so that you
would be something of a seer
and a knower; then, you would
not go through God's wonderful
world all your life with your
eyes tight shut, or as if you were
a blind man. But now I will
repeat another poem, by Mrs. HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW.
Hemans and then you must go to sleep:

Hast thou been in the woods with the honey bee,
Hast thou been with the lamb, in the pastures free,
With the hare through the copses and dingles wild,
With the butterfly over the heath, fair child ?
Yes, the light fall of thy bounding feet,












90 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.



Hath not startled the wren from her mossy seat,

Yet hast thou ranged the green forest dells,

And brought back a treasure of buds and bells.


6 1- T


II ,


}ati I


M'r-* 8~


.., ~
~---
i. .;















4r'* :


"WITH THE BUTTERFLIES "


0~ happy child in thy fawn-like glee,

What is remembrance or thought to thee ?

Yet be thy portion the bliss to look,

With a reverent spirit, through Nature's book.









WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD. 91


By fount, by forest, by river's line,
To trace the paths of a love divine;
To read its deep meanings, to see and hear
God in earth's garden and not to fear -


Now good-night, darling And, after twenty hugs and
kisses, auntie left the little boy to his sleep.


~LIt~B~;
''''e













CHAPTER VI.


THE DRAGON FLY S LONG STORY.

W HITHER away, thou little careless rover
VV With Roger true ?
Whither away, across yon bents and clover
Wet, wet with dew ?
'Roger here! Roger dear,
Roger come! he cried."


So sang the dragon fly,
songs to suit the occasion.


adapting one of Jean Ingelow's


"Having a good time this morning? What are you
after? he asked, when he had
finished this song, cocking his
pretty little head to one side
and flying after Chester, who
was romping over the lawn
with Grouse, the handsome red
__ Setter.
"I LIKE THE GRAY-HAIRED ONES." O, nothing answered
Chester; only picking dandelions. I like the gray-haired
dandelions." He held up one that had gone to seed, and, to
be sure, the golden locks on the little flower head had all
92








WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD,


turned gray with age. "But I'd rather stop and hear
another song, if you will please sing one, Mr. Dragon Fly.
Wouldn't you, Edith? for his little sister had skipped
down with her jumping rope and joined them.

Sure, never yet was antelope
Could skip so lightly by,
Stand off, or else my skipping-rope
Will hit you in the eye.
How lightly whirls the skipping-rope,
How fairy-like you fly."

Thus, eying Edith's jump-rope, he quoted from Tenny-
son; then, in his ever-obliging manner, he immediately
began to sing another of his favorite Jean Ingelow songs:

Piping, fluting, bees are humming,
April's here and Summer's coming,
Don't forget us when you walk a man with men in pride
and joy,
Think on us in alleys shady, when you step a graceful lady,
For no fairer day have we to hope for, little girl and boy.

Laugh and play, 0, lisping waters,
Lull our downy sons and daughters,
Come, 0, wind, and rock their leafy cradle in thy wander-
ings coy;









94 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

When they wake we'll end the measure
With a wild, sweet cry of pleasure,
And a 'hey down derry, let's be merry! little girl and
boy!'"


Oh I don't like that one very much," said Edith, with
the outspokenness belonging to the age of five.
Well, my dear, perhaps you will like this better," said
the dragon fly, anxious to please. This is by Jean
Ingelow, too:

Old Albion sat on a crag of late
And sung out: 'Ahoy! ahoy!
Long life to the captain, good luck to the mate,
And this to my sailor boy !
Come over, come home,
Through the salt sea foam
My sailor, my sailor boy.' "

Who is 'Old Albion,' asked Chester; "is it a man or a
woman? "
Neither, my child," said the dragon fly; "it is a personi-
fication."
Oh !" said Chester.
It means Old England,' the dragon fly explained.
Did he come home, her sailor boy." asked Edith.









WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.


" MY SAILOR, MY SAILOR BOY "


Well, I don't know; I never heard whether he did or
not; but Old England's sons are apt to think of their
mother when they are far away from her, and like to come
back to her when they can. Here is what one of the
noblest of all her sons, Robert Browning, once sang, when
he was away from home:








96 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

Oh! to be in England
";. Now that April's there,
While the chaffinch sings on the
orchard bough
In England now.
And, after April, when May
follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and
all the swallows!

And the wise thrush, he sings
each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never
ROBERT RROWNING.
could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And, though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children's dower.

But this great poet did not generally sing for children,
I must admit; so you must wait until you are older to read
some more of his grand poems. He did write one, though,
that most of the children know. It is called the Pied Piper
of Hamelin. It's long; but I don't think it would tire you,
though my voice might give out before I got through."
"Tell it to us," said Chester; so the dragon fly repeated
the queer old story, in Browning's wonderful verse:








WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

" Hamelin Town's in Brunswick,
By famous Hanover city;
The river Weser deep and wide
Washes its walls on the southern side;
A pleasanter spot you never spied;
But, when begins my ditty,
Almost five hundred years ago,
To see the townsfolk suffer so
From vermin, was a pity.

" Rats!
They fought the dogs and killed the cats,
And bit the babies in their cradles,
And ate the cheeses out of the vats,
And licked the soup from the cook's own ladles,
Split open the kegs of salted sprats,
Made nests inside men's Sunday hats,
And even spoiled the women's chats,
By drowning their speaking
With shrieking and squeaking
In fifty different sharps and flats.

"At last the people in a body
To the Town-hall came flocking:
''Tis clear,' cried they, 'our Mayor's a noddy:
And as for our Corporation -shocking,
To think we buy gowns lined with ermine








98 WHAT THE DRAGON FLY TOLD.

For dolts that can't or won't determine
What's best to rid us of our vermin!
You hope, because you're old and obese,
To find, in the furry civic robe, ease !
Rouse up, Sirs Give your brains a racking
To find the remedy we're lacking;
Or, sure as fate, we'll send you packing !'
At this the Mayor and Corporation
Quaked with a mighty consternation.

An hour they sat in council,
At length the Mayor broke silence:
'For a guilder I'd my ermine gown sell;
I wish I were a mile hence!
It's easy to bid one rack one's brain -
I'm sure my poor head aches again,
I've scratched it so, and all in vain.
Oh for a trap, a trap, a trap !,
Just as he said this, what should hap
At the chamber door, but a gentle tap ?
Bless us,' cried the Mayor, 'what's that ?
Anything like the sound of a rat
Makes my heart go pit-a-pat

"'Come in!' the Mayor cried, looking bigger;
And in did come the strangest figure!
His queer long .coat from heel to head




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