The Baldwin Library
OUT IN THE COLD
TIHE STORY OF A FLY
OUT IN THE COLD.
OUT IN THE COLD
THE STORY OF A FLY
AUTHOR OF "MAN'S IIEL'ERS," "NATURE'S WONDERS," AGES AGO," ETC.. ETC.
WITH PICTURES BY F. Ai COOPER
GEORGE BELL AND SONS
YORK STREET, COVENT-GARDEN
This Series is published by Messrs. Bell for the
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
OUT IN THE COLD.
OUT IN THE COLD .
THE OLD SHED .
THE STORY OF A FLY.
ROSE DID HER BEST FOR ME
SOMETHING IN A SMALL JUG
THE HONEY POT .
POOR THING-TAKE IT OUT .
WHAT SHALL I LOOK AT NEXT? .
OUT IN THE COLD.
POOR OLD BROWNIE.
" THAT a sharp night it is, Peter, to be
Assure said a pale woman to her
husband, as she sat
rocking her baby in
its cradle by the fire.
She had been but
poorly, and had felt
the cold very much.
"Very sharp, in-
deed said her hus-
band. I feel pains
in all my poor old
If you and I feel cold
here," said he, by the BROWNIE.
warm fire, after our good supper, what must
Out in the Cold.
it be outside for those poor souls that have
nothing to eat, and no fire? "
"Ah, bad indeed! said his wife. "And
for the poor animals, too. How glad I am
that we had that nice dry house made for
the cow this summer, and the new place for
the cocks and hens!
They would have been half frozen under
that broken roof as it used to be when we
first came here."
Her eldest child, a little girl, looked up
from her knitting. The hens are all quite
snug, mother, Fluffy and Biddy and the rest.
I peeped in just now, after they were gone
You are always a kind little one to the
dumb things," said her father, stroking the soft
brown head of Mercy, who had just spoken.
S' And so is my little Nelly too," he added,
looking fondly at the second child, who sat
on his knee.
"It is getting late for the children, Peter,"
Out in the Cold.
said his wife. Shall Mercy read a bit
before we go to bed ? So Mercy, who was a
good scholar, took the Bible from the shelf
and read aloud a few verses which her father
found for her.
They told of the manger, and of how the ox
and the ass stood by one bitter night like
this, when the infant Christ was laid in it
long ago. "Thank you, dear," said her
mother, when Mercy had done. Now run
up to your warm bed."
Oh look, Mercy, how nice! cried little
Nelly, we have got a new blanket! "That
is because the squire sent it to mother; a big
new thick one," said her sister. How warm
we shall be! "
Nelly began to make great haste, while
Mercy went to the window and looked out.
How thick the snow is! she said. "And
how white it looks in the moonshine!
"But what is that dark thing standing by
the old shed ? Nelly ran up and pressed
Out in the Cold.
her little face against the window to peep
out too. Why, it is a donkey! she cried.
" How did it get there ? "
I tell you what," said Mercy, it is our
poor old Brownie that father sold last week
to Mr. Smith, that he might pay the doctor's
bill with the money.
"He had spent all we had in getting
things for mother when she was ill, you
know, and in bread for us. So poor Brownie
had to go."
Why does he not go into the shed ?
How stupid of him to stand there! And
why did he not stay with Mr. Smith, I
wonder ? "
I suppose he could not help thinking
about us, and that is why he came back,"
said Mercy. Perhaps Mr. Smith has no
little girls to pet him, and maybe he is not
so good to him as father was."
Out in the Cold.
A KIND ACT.
MERCY and her little sister watched at
the window for a minute or two more,
but the creature did not move.
And Mercy cried out, Oh, I quite for-
got! Of course, the shed door is shut!
Father has put his tools there, his spade and
When Brownie was sold the straw which
was his bed was taken out, and some sacks
of corn and barley were kept there instead.
Poor Brownie! I dare say he wonders
why his nice old house is shut up so that he
cannot get in "
I will give him some bread from my
breakfast in the morning, because it is
Christmas Day," said little Nelly. "He will
like that, won't he ? "
Her sister made no answer, but, moving
from the window, she took down from a peg
Out in the Cold.
her hat and thick jacket. She put them
"Why, Mercy! said Nelly, who looked
with much surprise at what her sister was
doing, "what are you doing ? You cannot
be going out now in the snow ? "
Do not make a noise," said Mercy.
" You know that mother is not well, and
perhaps she is just dropping off to sleep. I
cannot bear to leave him freezing out there
all night,-Christmas Eve and all!
I could not creep under the warm blanket
and forget him. No one will see him but us,
for only our window looks this way. So I
am just going to run out and get the shed
open for him."
Oh, sister, you will be so cold Cannot
you ask father to go ? "
Oh, you heard him say that he had pains
in all his bones. Now be a good child, Nelly,
and get quick into bed. I shall soon be
Out in the Cold.
With these words Mercy tied a great scarf,
which was once her father's, round her neck,
crept downstairs without making the least
noise, and out at the back door.
Once out of shelter of the house, it was,
as she thought with a shiver, a bitter night."
The snow was no longer falling, but a keen
wind swept over the white face of the earth
and stirred up the snow.
It piled heaps of it up into strange shapes.
The frost was so hard that the feet of the
child did not sink into it as she ran along.
Very soon she reached the shed, outside of
which the donkey stood, a picture of patient
despair. She plunged through a great heap
of drifted snow and reached its side. She
patted his rough coat.
Oh, Brownie," she cried, how cold you
are! I must get this door open for you
somehow." She pulled it, she jerked it, she
kicked it, she shook down showers of snow
on herself, and that was all.
Out in the Cold.
It was in vain to try. It was frozen hard,
and do what she would, she could not stir
it an inch. It was hopeless. Oh, what
can I do for you, Brownie?" she thought,
ready to cry with grief.
I do so wish you were not so big, and I
could take you up the stairs into our bed-
room!" And Mercy half laughed at the
idea of taking the donkey to bed with her.
She gave one last, hard hit and a rattle at
the unkind door. "I cannot get it open,
Brownie, and I must go home again. It will
not do you any good if I stay out here with
Slowly the child moved away. If it had
seemed cold when she first came out, it
seemed ten times colder now. And she saw
the sad look which the poor beast cast after
her when she left him. Mercy could not
Out in the Cold.
THE OLD SHED.
ALL of a sudden, as Mercy had quite made
up her mind to leave Brownie, and was
half-way across the yard to her own door, a
thought struck her.
There was an old shed which had once
been the stable of a donkey, quite at the far
end of the garden.
.Her father had turned it into a pig-sty;
but he had left off keeping pigs for some
time. It was a clean place, for Peter did not
let his pigs live in a dirty sty as some people do.
Some dry straw was in it, and some roots
stored for the winter. It would be just the
place if only she could get Brownie there.
In a moment she turned back to hurry
again over the heap of snow to the place
where the donkey still stood. He could do
nothing for himself to make things better.
All that he could do was to bear them
Out in the Cold.
without any complaint. Poor thing! He was
stiffwith cold, and seemed not to wish to move.
But Mercy knew what was for his good.
She meant to do what was best for poor
Brownie, whether he knew it or not. So
she talked to him, patted him, and coaxed
him, till at last he let her lead him down to
the old shed at the bottom of the garden.
"This is lucky for you, Brownie," cried
she, feeling very proud at her success.
There was a bundle of hay in one corner, of
which she shook down a nice soft armful.
And then she gave Brownie one good
brisk rubbing with some of the straw, to
warm them both. She made him a bed of
Brownie was glad to nibble a mouthful
while this was being done. Then she took
some fine carrots from a shelf, and put them
in front of him. Oh, how Brownie did
munch those fresh juicy roots !
Lastly, she found a bucket of clean water
Out in the Cold.
which had not long been drawn from the
well, and which had only a thin coating of
ice on the top.
It had been set in the shed ready for mak-
THE OLD SHED.
ing some mortar, with which her father was
going to plaster up the cracks in the wall.
Brownie seemed almost more glad of the
water than of the food. He took a long
Out in the Cold.
drink, and turned to thank Mercy with his
great deep dark eyes.
Now, poor old fellow, I think you will do,"
said the child. I could not bear to leave
you out this bitter night, and now I must be
getting home, for the snow has soaked
through my boots."
She stopped fondling arid stroking the
donkey, but he would follow her, rubbing
his soft nose against her hand. Oh, go
back again, do, dear Brownie she said.
You really must not come out with me "
Shutting the little gate, which had once
been the front door of the pig-sty, she ran
back to the cottage.
A HAPPY CHRISTMAS.
BUT when she came to the back door at
which she had come out, Mercy found
a great trouble. She lifted the latch, but
the door did not open.
Out in the Cold.
She gave a pull, a second pull, and then a
tug with all her might; but it still held fast.
" Why," she thought, I am as badly off as
the donkey. I shall have to go into the pig-
sty with him! "
She had been out much longer than she
thought. And while she had been taking
care of Brownie her father had turned the
big key in the door and gone to bed.
What was to be done? It would never
do to wake up poor tired father, and bring
him out in the cold too. So she stood there
trying to puzzle out some plan for getting in.
The bright moonlight showed her a way
to do it. The cottage was a low one, and
just under the window of the room where
she and Nelly slept, was a bench.
Standing on tiptoe upon this, Mercy found
that she could reach the branches of an old
vine tree, which grew over the walls of the
She could climb up into this, and so get
Out in the Cold.
near the bedroom window. It was easy
enough to scramble up in summer-time, but
not so easy now.
The boughs were a sheet of ice, and her
fingers so cold that they could hardly take
hold of them. At last, after many slips and
frights, she was safely up.
But what would little Nelly think of see-
ing her sister outside the window, asking to
be let in, as their pussy-cat often did ?
She was sound asleep too, and had to be
wakened by many hard taps at the glass.
First, Nelly felt fear at seeing a face looking
in at her.
But she soon knew who it was. Oh
Mercy," cried Nelly, "how long you have
been What have you been at ? And why
did you come back this way ? "
Get into bed again, there's a dear," said
Mercy, "and I will tell you all about it."
Nelly kept awake to listen, as Mercy told
her the story.
Out in the Cold.
And she could not help clapping her
hands to think of how snug poor old Brownie
was now. Mercy knelt down to say her
prayers before she got into bed.
She felt very thankful that she had been
able to do one kindness to a creature like
that ass which once stood in the stall beside
the new-born King."
Next morning, as soon as the house was
tidy, Mercy ran out to see the donkey.
More snow had fallen in the night, and had
filled up all her footmarks, so that she might
have thought it all a dream.
But just as she reached the pig-sty she
heard a loud bray, which was Brownie's way
of saying "A Merry Christmas" to his
You did quite right, my child," said her
father, when Mercy told him of her work the
night before. I think that Smith does not
treat him well.
And I will tell you what, children, I am
Out in the Cold.
going to-morrow to see Mr. Smith and buy
our Brownie back again. I cannot get on
without him, I find.
Now that your mother is well again we
shall do better, and last week I put by the
money for Brownie. So you need never say
good-bye to him again."
You may be sure that there was a happy
Christmas at the cottage for Peter and his
wife, and for the children, as well as for poor
How very glad I am that I went out to
him that night said Mercy to her father.
" It was not much to do, only it was Christ-
mas Eve, and I thought-"
You thought what ? said her father.
Only," she said in a low voice, I could
not forget that Christ let the ox and the ass
be with Him in the stable. And I thought
that He would not be pleased if we left poor
Brownie out in the cold."
THE STORY OF A FLY.
T T-HE first time that I
t ever used my wings
was in flying from be-
hind a red curtain. It
Swas in a warm nice
Master of it was called
S I settled on a pretty white
cap on the head of his wife.
She was just making the tea, and
Sher husband was sitting on the other
side of the table.
"Well," said Mr. Sutton, when I talk of
24 The Story of a Fly.
lazy folks, of course I do not suppose that
any person thinks himself idle.
Some people think that so long as they
are doing something or other they are busy.
I suppose that I am an idle old fellow
myself, for spending time in reading the
The right thing to think is, have I been
doing what is of any use, eh ? said the old
man, pushing up his glasses and looking at
his little grandchild.
Have you done a single thing that is of
any use this morning, Rose? Rose hung
her head for a moment. Then she lifted her
face brightly, and said, Only one little
What was it, dear ?"
I am not quite sure that it was a real
good thing," Rose went on, "but I found a
poor little butterfly that had fallen into a
pool in the garden, where the rain had
The Story of a Fly. 25
Its wings were wet, and it could not fly
up. So I took it up and put it in the sun on
the wall, and soon it was well."
Mrs. Sutton looked at Rose in a loving
way. I am quite sure that it was a real
good thing' if you are not," said the old
lady. "And so that was partly why you
were late? "
Well, the little butterfly is all the better,
though you were the worse for having cold
toast. But that is not much to bear for saving
a little life, is it? "
And all this time I had been feasting on
the sweet white lumps of sugar. No -one
took any notice of me, and so I went on, till
one lump began to grow quite small.
Look, here is a little house-fly! said
Rose. He is standing quite still on a lump
of sugar. What is he doing, granny? "
He is eating it, dear."
Can he bite it up ? "
26 The Story of a Fly.
"Bite it up No," said Mr. Sutton, put-
ting down his paper and coming up to us.
" The fly has no teeth, he has a trunk. He
sends down some juice through his trunk on
to the sugar.
This juice melts it, and then he sucks it
How clever! said Rose. I wish he
would let me touch him." And she put out
one finger very softly towards me.
Now though I am a brave fly now, I could
not bear at that time to see the hand of any
person come near me. Though I would perch
on the top of it, I did not like to be touched
So I flew up in a great hurry, and pitched
on some dark stuff which smelt like new hay,
and which stood on the side table in a box.
Rose did not see where I went. Oh, how
fast he went off! she said.
The Story of a Fly.
IN THE TEA-CADDY.
" OW, granny," said Rose, whenthe break-
JN fast was done, "I will not forget, to-
day at least, to lock up the tea-caddy."
So she took up the sugar-basin, fitted it
into a little place made for it inside the box
where I sat, and, before I had any idea of
what she was doing, she shut down the lid.
I was now, for the first time, left in the
dark. And I began to think what a pleasant
thing the sunshine was, and to wonder when
I should be let out again.
But I must say that I found the sugar a great
comfort. I went on eating it as long as I
could. If I was to be locked up at all, I
could not have been locked into a better place.
The sugar-basin was full and there were
enough lumps in it to last a fly of my size all
his life. But of course one might get tired of
it, in time.
28 The Story of a Fly.
But I was not tired yet. So I ate and ate,
until I began to feel my legs ache and my
wings very heavy. Just then I heard a loud
noise, and a light broke into my prison.
It was Rose turning the key in the lock
and lifting the lid of the tea-caddy. Oh,
granny! cried she, here is a poor fly that
can hardly move."
"I am afraid, dear, that the poor fly must
thank himself for that," said Mrs. Sutton,
looking closely at me. "He has been a little
glutton, I fear, and has eaten so much sugar
that he can hardly move."
Poor little fellow," said Rose, I will
not hurt him. He shall go out of doors on
to the cool grass and get well again.
I dare say that, though he is not quite so
pretty as a butterfly, he likes to be alive."
So Rose took me up between her finger and
thumb as gently as she could, but oh, what
great big hands they seemed to be!
And my poor sides were pinched black
The Story of a Fly. 29
and blue. That is the reason why I cannot
ROSE DID HER BEST FOR ME.
bear one of the great hands which belong to
men and women to catch hold of me.
You see we tiny flies are made so lightly,
and we are so small. A mere touch will
30 The Story of a Fly.
crush our dainty wings, or break our slender
legs, or hurt our eyes.
How thankful I am that we have eyes that
can see behind and all around us as well as
We are able to get away, thanks to these
eyes, when we see a great hand coming to
catch us. Even a baby's hand seems like
that of a giant to us.
But dear Rose did her best for me, and
put me in a spoon to carry. At the same
time I did wish that the sugar had not been
quite so nice, and that I had not taken so
much of it.
The fresh air of the garden, the sunshine,
and the flowers did me a great deal of good,
after being shut up in the tea-caddy. At
night I slept in a lily bell.
The Story of a Fly.
I FALL INTO THE CREAM.
THE next morning I flew in at the window.
Rose had soon done her breakfast, and
she locked up the caddy again, with me out-
side this time.
Though I did not fancy any sweets on that
morning, I saw something in a small jug on
the table which I thought looked even nicer.
It was yellow and rather thick.
I went dpwn to see what sort of stuff it
was. It could not hurt me, at any rate, to
dip one of my feet in, or the tip of my trunk,
to see whether cream was better and more
wholesome than sugar.
I slid with care down the sides of the jug,
holding firmly on with the little soles of my
feet, which, I am thankful to say, have
suckers on them which make it easy for me
to run where I like without falling.
I tasted cream for the first time in my life.
The Story of a Fly.
What a happy moment it was! I tasted it
a second time, a third, and a fourth time,
and after that I became so greedy for more
that I lost my balance and in I went plump !
At first I kicked about as hard as I could,
and tried to keep my wings clear. But they
soon got cold, and stuck to my sides.
And then I could only go round and round
the place, looking with despair at the steep
sides of the cream-jug, which seemed far
larger and steeper than they had done before
my sad mishap.
I was growing tired of the struggle, my
body began to sink in the cream, and even
my eyes were dimmed by it, so that I could
hardly see where I was going.
Thomas the servant came in to take away
the breakfast things, and the jolt he gave the
cream-jug in moving it closer to the tea-pot
nearly drowned me. I was half dead.
But Rose was again my friend, though
she did not mean to do what she then did.
The Story of a Fly. 33
Rushing into the room to fetch a book which
SOMETHING IN A SMALL JUG.
she had left on the window seat, she ran
against Thomas, and pushed his elbow.
This jerked the cream-jug, so that it upset
and I was upset with it. I felt myself crawl-
34 The Story of a Fly.
ing along in a great white flood over the table-
cloth, but still I had land under my feet.
"My dear Rose," said Mrs. Sutton, "how
often I have begged you not to rush into
the room in that rough way. You nearly
knocked down Thomas, and see how his
sleeve is messed with greasy cream !"
I am very sorry, granny," said Rose,
" but I forgot this book, and Miss Bush is
I am sorry too," said Mrs. Sutton, and
so is Thomas, I dare say."
SWEET AS HONEY.
OSE had to go away, to finish her lessons,
and Thomas also went out of the room
to get a cloth to wipe up the spilt cream.
I was in danger of being swept away by
this, but, just as Rose was going out at the
The Story of a Fly. 35
door, she saw me still in the midst of the
In an instant I found myself nearly
drowned again in a spoonful of it, and the
next moment I was again placed on the
grass of the lawn.
Rose had scooped me up in the spoon and
carried me there. I really think that she
had a liking for me. How thankful I felt to
be in the grass!
I hid myself under a daisy flower and
took a good rest, for I felt very tired after
my struggles. A good shower of rain came
-on, and I was quite glad to hear it patter on
For I still felt a trifle sticky, and was glad
to get my legs moist, so that I might wash
myself all the better. At this time the sun
was so warm, that I lived out of doors for
I think that three days passed before I
sat again on the white cap of Mrs. Sutton.
36 The Story of a Fly.
But one morning, when she sat at the open
window, I thought I should like to pay my
old friend a visit.
It was breakfast time again. Mr. Sutton
was reading the paper through his new
glasses, and Rose was busy eating her break-
As I had had nothing but a few tastes of
dew, and such small meals as were to be had
from the flowers, for three days, I was rather
I thought that Rose would spare me a bit
of what was on her plate. But, as I was on
the way to it, I had to pass a pot of some-
thing which had a better smell than what
she was then eating.
It was honey. It made me forget all
about Rose, and her bread and butter. I
pitched on the honey pot, and began to
feast as I could.
But before I had eaten much, I saw Rose
take some and spread it on a piece of bread.
The Story of a Fly. 37
At the same moment Mrs. Sutton rose and
put the honey into a cupboard.
The flies will get at this, if it is left with-
THE HONEY POT.
out a cover," she said. I cannot think why
Thomas has brought it to table without one."
Now I thought this a most unkind speech.
They were all eating twenty times as much
38 The Story of a Fly.
as I could do in a week at each mouthful.
Yet the honey was put into a dark cupboard
out of my reach!
A NEW MISHAP.
THIS vexed me, I must say, so I went
and buzzed against the window panes
for a little while, to see if that would do me
At the end of that time I heard Rose
say, "Granny, I do not want this bread
and honey now. May I keep it for my
lunch ? "
Yes, dear," said her granny. It seemed
a wonder to me that Rose should wish to
leave her bread and honey till some hours
later, when she might have had it at once.
Mr. Sutton got up and went away to his
study. His wife rose too, and she told Rose
to put the plate of bread and honey on the
The Story of a Fly. 39
sideboard, that Thomas might take it away
till lunch time.
But Rose forgot to tell Thomas, and he
did not seem to see the plate, so there the
tempting dish was left all the morning.
The sun began to shine upon it, and I
sniffed and sniffed many times.
At last I left the white cap where I was
sitting, and went towards it. I settled upon
something far nicer now than either sugar
or cream. I sipped and sucked away for
At last I thought that I had eaten enough
and had better tear myself away before I
had taken more than was good for me. But,
to my horror, I found that when I tried to
lift up my legs I could not stir them!
In my other troubles I had at least been
able to move a little. I could climb up and
down the mountains of sugar, and I could
swim about in the ocean of cream.
IBut now I was fixed fast, either to be eaten
40 The Story of a Fly.
by Rose without her knowing it, or to die a
wretched death in the kitchen if she did not
choose to finish me off.
I had never thought very much of my out-
door cousins, the bees. It seemed to me that
they made a great fuss and took a lot of
trouble for nothing, in making honey for
men and women to take away.
How much better to eat it straight from
the flowers! And now I thought worse of
the bees than ever, because I was sticking
fast in their stuff.
I tried in vain to drag out one front leg
after the other, and next my middle and
back legs. It was just as a man would feel
if he were stuck in a bog.
The sound of the lunch bell went to my
heart. The sight of the nice bread and honey,
which Rose had left at breakfast, would be
sure to make her feel hungry. She very
soon saw me
The Story of a Fly.
THE FLY'S EYE.
I FEEL sure that she did not know me,
for she cried out, Oh, granny! here is
a nasty fly on my bread and honey. I dare
say that the horrid thing has been crawling
all over it!
"I wish a spider would come and catch
it! went on Rose, quite crossly, "for I do
not like to kill it myself! And here she
gave me a little poke with a fork. But not
hard enough to hurt me.
"Why, Rose, what is the matter ? said
her granny. I thought that you were fond
of the little, busy, useful flies that come to
dance and play in the house ? "
Well, I cannot see what good they do,"
said IPose, getting into the cream and
sticking on to the bread and honey." Some-
thing had put little Rose out of temper, But
I felt sure it would not last long,
42 The Story of a Fly.
I wish he would not get on to my plate,"
said she, bending down her face to hide it,
for she began to feel ashamed. But I will
not hurt him."
And she took one of her granny's knit-
ting needles in her hand. I shook with fear
when I saw this great spear coming; but
Rose used it in a most gentle and kind
She lifted my body out after setting my
legs free, and though I felt strained and
tired after it, I left nothing behind me, no,
not even any of the brushes and combs on my
I will put him out into the garden," said
she. But, as my wings had got no honey
on them, I saved her the trouble, by flying
If Rose had only known half the trouble I
had in washing my feet after the honey, she
would have been ready to forgive me folx
tasting her lunch.
The Story of a Fly. 43
I am glad you did not go on feeling cross
with the poor little fly, Rose," said Mrs.
Sutton. We should miss them much if we
had none, for they help to keep our houses
sweet and clean.
No maid with her broom could get at all
the tiny cracks and corners where the flies
go. The eyes of no woman in the world
could see what the fly can.
Do you know that his round ball of eye
is made up of many hundreds of bits, and
that each bit can see a new way ? "
Rose clapped her hands. Then can the
fly see a hundred ways at once ? said she.
" Oh, how I wish I could do that! "
You can move your eyes about," said
her granny, which does just as well. The
fly cannot move his. And you would not like
to be born in the kitchen sink, would you ? "
Is that where flies are born?" said Rose,
drawing near to her granny and looking into
44 The Story of a Fly.
Yes," said Mrs. Sutton, the fly is born
in a sink, or in any place where dirty stuff is
found. The young flies eat the dirty stuff
and get rid of it. I will tell you some day
how the little things come into the world."
" C OULD you not tell me now ? said
Rose, for she wanted to hear about
the little flies. And I too felt very glad to
hear more about my childhood. So I sat
still to listen.
Perhaps you think that the child of a fly
looks just like itself, only smaller," said Mrs.
Sutton. But the house-fly lays a great
many little eggs.
She finds some old dirty rubbish, like
rotten cabbage or stuff that is left by care-
less cooks lying about, In this she puts her
The Story of a Fly. 45
eggs, and then she dies. Little grubs are
born from them.
They begin to eat as soon as they are
born, and very soon they turn into flies,
after going to sleep for a while first in a
kind of little hard skin or shell. They
change into flies while they are inside this
"What do the flies do when they cannot
find any dirty rubbish ? said Rose.
Then they go to look for it in other
places," said her granny. So you see, if
we do not wish to have flies in our houses we
must have no rubbish."
Then the flies are little servants to us,
Yes, to be sure."
I wish I could see a baby-fly," said Rose.
You would not think it at all pretty,"
said Mrs. Sutton. It is a whitish maggot.
But some ugly looking things are very use-
ful to us."
46 The Story of a Fly.
"I like pretty things best," said Rose.
Well, the fly is pretty enough when he
is grown up. He has to wait, you see." I
was pleased to hear the kind old lady say
this, and I nodded my head and washed my
face with my feet.
And so it is your birthday on Monday,
Rose," went on her granny. And I sup-
pose it is time to be thinking about the party
and the fun we are to have ? "
Rose looked up, beaming with delight at
these words. Though she had not been born
as a grub in a sink, I thought that she looked
We must get Miss Bush to write the
letters for us, Rose, and ask the little girls
and boys to come and spend the day with
you. Run now and see if she will be so good
as to do it now."
Oh, very well," said Rose. And she
went out with a skip.
The Story of a Fly.
I HE ARD a little girl say, Oh, Rose, there
is a fly in your glass of wine."
Poor thing! said the little girl next
to her, take it out! "
No, no said her brother; let it alone.
Let us see how he swims."
All this time I felt very bad. I was
drowning, yet this boy could look on and
talk like that.
Something seemed to take away all my
breath and strength. I heard the boy say,
" If I fell into a pond I could not swim so
Why, no," said Rose, the fly has not a
coat and trousers, as you have. But I do
not think it is fun to see him drowning, so I
will take him out." And she pushed the
handle of a spoon with care under me.
I could hardly crawl when I got on to the
48 The Story of a Fly.
table-cloth. She saw it and placed me on
a green laurel leaf outside. I sat there
half dead, and yet I heard what they were
all saying inside the summer-house.
Lucy," said Rose to the little girl, you
would have been glad if you could have
been lifted out like that poor fly, when
you fell into the pond at home, would you
You went to the bottom before any person
came to help you. Were you in a great
fright ? How did you feel? "
Why," said Lucy, I was in a great
fright when I first fell in, but after that I
think I must have been asleep, for I for-
got it all. I knew nothing after my tumble
down the bank, till I heard my mother near
She was saying, God bless you, darling,'
and then I found myself lying in bed."
Ah," said her brother Tom, Neptune,
our dog, had a famous supper that night."
The Story of a Fly. 49
Why ? asked a little boy, from the other
end of the table.
Oh, did you not know that it was Nep-
"POOR THING-TAKE IT OUT."
tune who pulled my sister out of the water ?"
"He saw her go in," and without being
told, he got her out. She would have been
50 The Story of a Fly.
drowned without him. She had been told
not to go near the pond, but she ran down
to it, without leave, when no one was
The other little girl here grew very red.
" You need not have said that, Tom," said
she. But Tom was a bit of a tease. He only
laughed and said that his sister was always
doing what she was told not to do.
GRANNY'S CAP ON FIRE.
I DID not feel much desire to taste any
food next morning. The long swim on
the day before had taken away my wish for
eating and drinking.
I nearly flew down to the flower which
Rose had put in water, but I changed my
mind. On the whole I prefer the smell of
jam to that of roses.
I felt that a little walk would do me good,
The Story of a Fly. 51
so I went round the tray once or twice, and
then I tried to do the same thing on the tea-
urn, but it was too hot for my feet.
I left that quickly enough, and after
running across the toast on Mr. Sutton's
plate, and crawling up his paper, only to be
driven away, I went to the window.
Here I was so lucky as to meet a few of
my friends, and we had a little dance in the
sunshine, which quite brought back my health
The day thus passed by, and it was very
warm indeed later on. After tea Mr. and
Mrs. Sutton were seated in the drawing-
room, one on each side of a little table, with
a candle between them.
The old lady was knitting, and her hus-
band was reading aloud the paper to her. I
think he was reading to amuse himself more
than his wife.
I could feel, as I sat on her cap, that her
head was nodding now and then, as if she
52 The Story of a Fly.
were dozing. Mr. Sutton at last saw this.
And laying down the paper he said, two or
three times, You are sleepy, my dear."
Each time that he said this, granny woke
up, sat very upright, and said, Oh no, not
at all, my love." But she went off again to
sleep as soon as the reading began.
At length she was in so sound a nap that
she did not notice when Mr. Sutton put down
the paper, after reading a long, dull account
of something or other.
He took off his glasses, laid them on the
folded paper, and saying something to him-
self about resting his eyes, fell fast asleep
Granny's head now nodded lower and
lower. First she gave a nod, and then her
husband gave a bow, just as if they were
being most polite to each other in their
Her cap was very near the wax candle
once or twice, and there was a smell of
The Story of a Fly. 53
burning. She now began to nod sideways,
and each time that she did so there was a
great smoke and a frizzling noise.
A NARROW ESCAPE.
" J WAS afraid of losing my perch, her
I nice white cap, on which I had now
grown to feel quite at home. It seemed as
if it were turning into ashes like those in the
grate, and it felt too hot.
I flew up, for I could sit there no longer.
And then I pitched on the top of Mr. Sutton's
head, just in the bald place, and stamped
with one foot as hard as I could.
I also ran about and tickled him a good
deal. He woke up in a great hurry, for he
raised his hand to drive me away, and in
doing so, gave himself a smart tap.
This roused him. And he awoke just in
54 The Story of a Fly.
time to save the cap and the hair of his wife
from being in a blaze of fire.
Dear, dear, dear said he. "Why, my
love, what an escape you have had "
Nonsense, my dear," said the old lady,
"I have not been asleep, I assure you." But
it was of no use for her to say and think this.
There was the burnt cap on her head. I
was not quite asleep," said she. Oh no,
neither was I," said her husband, laughing.
And then, looking grave, he said, You
were in great danger though, my dear. I
read only a day or two ago, of an old lady
who had been burnt to death from setting
her cap on fire."
I had been in great danger too, though no
one seemed to think of that. What between
the flames, and the knock that Mr. Sutton
aimed at me, I might have been killed.
Thomas was now heard coming up the
gravel walk. He had been sent to fetch
Rose home. She was full of news to tell,
The Story of a Fly. 55
about all the things she had seen and heard
It is a great mercy, my dear, that you
have a bit of your granny left," said Mr.
Sutton. If it had not been for a fly, which
tickled the top of my head, your granny's
cap would have been on fire."
"Well, well, Mr. Sutton," said the old
lady, who, somehow or other, did not seem to
like hearing about the cap on fire.
"You see here I am, without even being
singed. And I was not half so sound asleep
as you were, my dear. Depend upon it I
am too old and too wise to let my cap catch
Mr. Sutton did not say any more about the
cap, since it seemed to vex his wife.
Ah," said Rose, if I had been at home
you would not both have fallen asleep."
That is very likely," said granny, smiling.
"Well, and how did you enjoy yourself?"
Rose said that she had been very happy.
56 The Story of a Fly.
She had seen Neptune dive, and she had
been drenched by the shaking which the big
doggie gave himself when he came out of the
A GLASS TO MAKE THINGS BIG.
" T HAT shall I look at next ? said Rose,
TV who had a glass thing in her hand,
next day. Oh, this fly "
The lunch was on the table, and I was just
making a hearty meal on a pat of butter. I
knew that Rose would not hurt me. So I
stood quite still.
How very strange said the little girl.
"He looks as big as a horse. His wings are
like shining lace, and he has hairy brushes on
Now he is cleaning his head with one of
them. I am glad that flies are not really so
big as he seems now.
The Story of a Fly. 57
"What a buzzing we should have, and
what should we do when such huge things
flew about the room or walked on the
WHAT SHALL I LOOK AT NEXT?
There would be no room for us to move,
and the house would be too small. Fancy
having such a creature as this fly looks now
jumping and prancing over one's bread and
58 The Story of a Fly.
I was not pleased with this speech; I
knew that my colour was rather dingy, but I
had always thought my shape to be light and
graceful, and this Rose had taken no notice
Neither had she so much as looked at my
trunk, of which I am truly proud. So I flew
away in a pet from under the glass, and
settled on the loaf in the middle of the table,
out of her reach.
But for you, dear grandfather, I should
never have thought such tiny creatures
worth taking any notice of. Why, they are
made just as well as big ones, or better."
Not better, dear, but quite as well.
They are all the work of God's hand, and so
all must be alike good. Do you know that
you owe the pretty crimson sash that you
have on to a very little creature ? "
Oh yes, the silkworm," said Rose. "Yes,
and the red colour was made from the dead
body of an insect too. There is a sort of
The Story of a Fly. 59
blight which gives this red colour after it is
Merchants bring them from abroad,
after they have been taken from the plants
on which they live. As they kill the coffee
plants they must be ,swept off, and they are
made into dye."
Grandfather would have said much more,
but just then Rose saw Tom and Lucy walk-
ing up the lawn to the open window.
Behind them walked gravely Neptune the
dog, with his master's stick in his mouth,
which he thought it a great honour to carry.
A LONG SLEEP.
ABOUT this time I began to feel a chill
in the air. I did not like this, for it
made me feel drowsy. So I kept in the
warmth of the drawing-room all day.
But I was shocked to see that many of
60 The Story of a Fly.
my friends began to get quite unfit to run
or fly about. Their wings seemed heavy,
and some of them crept into holes where
they went to sleep.
One day I went down to the table and
found one of the gayest flies I had ever
known, lying on his back upon the cloth.
He was cold and stiff. Nearly all the
friends I had made that summer were dying
or dead around me, or else they had crept
into corners out of sight.
I knew that something must be done, or
I too should one day be found lying on my
back with my legs in the air, and Thomas
would sweep me away, as he did the other
I made up my mind to choose the best
place I could, and there seemed none better
than the old red curtain fiom which I had
first come out into that pleasant room.
I therefore ran about on the wall behind
it for some time, looking for a proper hole. I
The Story of a Fly. ( 1
found just the nook I wanted, where a bit of
the wall-paper was peeling off.
I had hardly crept into it when I was fast
asleep. To my good sense and quickness I
owe my life. If I had not been a clever
fly, I should have died, I dare say, like the
As it is, here I am, alive and merry.
When I woke the next warm spring day,
there was little Rose and Mr. and Mrs.
Sutton sitting at breakfast just as they had
done when first I saw them.
Rose was perhaps a little taller, and the
bald place on her grandfather's head may
have been a wee bit wider.
But the jam was just as good, the honey
and sugar as sweet, and the white cap just
as clean and nice to sit on. The flowers in
garden, too, smell as fresh as ever-still I
prefer the jam.
If I might say one word at parting, it
would be this. Do not forget that there is
62 The Story of a Fly.
room in this big wide world for a poor little
fly as well as for boys and girls.
And if you enjoy life and like a good game
at play,-why, so do we! So let us have
our harmless games and do our tiny bit of
work for you in peace.
CHISWICK PRESS:-CHARLIES WIIITTINGIHAM AND CO,
TOOKS COURT, CHANCERY LANE, LONDON.
ANIMAL LIFE READERS.
FOR USE IN SCHOOLS, DESIGNED TO INCULCATE THE
HUMANE TREATMENT OF ANIMALS.
WVith numerous illustrations by Harrison Weir and others.
I. Our Old Friends. By
E. CARRINGTON. 8d.
Rover and his Friends,
and other Tales. 8d.
II. Tame and Wild. By Dick and his Cat, and
E. CARRINGTON. Iod. other Tales. iod.
III. From Many Lands. History of the Robins.
ByE. CARRINGTON. IS. IS.
IV. Man's Helpers. By The Animals on Strike,
E. CARRINGTON. IS. and other Tales. is.
V. Nature's Wonders.
By E. CARRINGTON. IS.
VI. The Friendship of
Animals. By E.
VII. Ages Ago: the An-
cestry of Animals.
Featherland. By MANVILLE
Tuppy, the Life of a
Poor Blossom, the Story
of a Horse. Is.
ACTING PLAYS FOR CHILDREN.
Designed to inculcate kindness to Animals.
PRICE SIXPENCE EACH.
The Tables Turned. A Midsummer Comedietta in Two
Acts. By MAUD V. VERNON. 2 M. and 3 F.
Jack and Lucy, who have not been treating their favourite cat as kindly as they ought,
imprudently express the wish on Midsummer Day to pay a visit to Pussyland. The
Fairy Titaria takes them at their word, and they presently find themselves there under
the dominion of a big Tom, with the tables completely turned, and they receive a few
practical lessons from the cat's point of view.
That Horrible Thing. In One Act. By S. L. MOSLEY,
F.E.S., Curator, Huddersfield Museum. 2 M. and 3 F.
The "horrible thing" is a newt, who uninvited makes his appearance in the house, to
the great consternation of Minnie, Annie, and the farmboy, Billy, who have all the
superstitious horror of the venomous thing." Their desperate efforts to dislodge him
are amusing but ineffectual. The elders appear on the scene and explain the folly of
The W easel's Escape. In Two Acts. By Mrs. ARTHUR
BELL (D'ANVERS), Author of "Dobbie's Little Master," Trust
Me," Science Ladders," &c., &c. 5 M. and 3 F.
A weasel is caught in a steel trap in a wood. Jack and Agnes Bolton, the children of
a widow lady, release it. Dick, a poor boy, is accused of the offence by the gamekeeper.
Jack and Agnes confess the truth to Sir John, the owner of the estate. The gamekeeper
poisons a pet dog belonging to Dick, who in revenge betrays the gamekeeper's dealings
with Black Ben, a poacher. The gamekeeper is dismissed, the children are forgiven,
Dick is taken in as stable-boy by Sir John, and the use of steel traps on his estate is dis-
Peter and Gretchen. In Three Acts. By M. M. CRAWFORD.
4 M. and 3 F.
The two children, who are very lazy and are unkind in their treatment of all animals,
are sent to the town with the donkey laden with faggots. While ill-treating the donkey they
are accosted by a witch, who takes them captive and threatens to make a feast of them
for her old cronies, who collect and dance round them. After receiving some salutary
lessons they are rescued just in time by the old woodcutter and his dame.
Sing a Song of Sixpence. A Children's Operetta in Six
Acts. By EDITH R. ILLENDEN. 5 M. and 6 F.
Prince Aziplese and Princess Iphichuse amuse themselves by throwing stones at the
birds. While getting corn to bait a trap the Prince falls in the bin and is caught Bird-
catchers and sportsmen appear on the scene, and seem likely to exterminate the birds
when Fairy Frendovall interferes. The King and Queen die from eating quails, and
Aziplese comes to the throne, but Fairy Frendovall prophesies that Aziote will reign and
Dreariland will again become Cheeriland. The people, enraged at the desolation of the
country following on the slaughter of all the birds, rise against the new King. He in the
meantime orders for his dinner a blackbird pie, which cannot be procured for love or
money. Chuzarite comes into his presence to point out how the land is being ruined by
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Chuzarite and Aziote take their place, and the unworthy pair have to confess their sins
and eat humble pie. Many songs are introduced.