Citation
Ten tales without a title

Material Information

Title:
Ten tales without a title
Creator:
Carrington, Edith
Weekes, W ( Illustrator )
Griffith, Farran and Co ( Publisher )
Turnbull & Spears ( Printer )
Place of Publication:
London
Publisher:
Griffith Farran & Co.
Manufacturer:
Turnbull & Spears
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
212 p., [10] leaves of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 26 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Animals -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Pets -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Human-animal relationships -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Children's stories ( lcsh )
Children's stories -- 1893 ( lcsh )
Publishers' advertisements -- 1893 ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1893
Genre:
Children's stories
Publishers' advertisements ( rbgenr )
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
Scotland -- Edinburgh
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

General Note:
Date of publication from printer's mark p. 212: 5/93.
General Note:
Publisher's advertisements precede text.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Edith Carrington ; illustrated by W. Weekes.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
026613744 ( ALEPH )
ALG3325 ( NOTIS )
12428630 ( OCLC )

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Full Text




aryayes INS rs ih

ets ON Te x
Me TR fen
if PRR og

Bs
h fender

rt cent ¥ e E E
cha oon









TEN TALES WITHOUT A TITLE.







UNIFORM WITH THIS: VOLUME.



GRANNY’S STORY BOX. By the Author of “Our White
Violet.” 96 pages, all illustrated in Black and White, and 16
Coloured Plates, by Mrs SEyMour Lucas. Crown 4to, paper
boards. Price 5s.

GRANNY’S WONDERFUL CHAIR, and its Tales of
Fairy Times. By FraNcEs Browne. Illustrated with 16
Coloured and 63 Black and White Pictures, by Mrs SEYMouR
Lucas. Crown 4to, paper boards. Price 5s.

TOLD BY THE FIRESIDE. Original Stories, by E. Nrssir,
HELEN Miuman, L. T. MEADE, Mrs WORTHINGTON BLIss,
Mrs MoLeswortH, Rowe LINGSTONE, M. C. LeEE, Mrs
Mackay, G. MANVILLE FENN, ALICE WEBER, E. M. GREEN,
EDWARD GARRETT, THEO Girt, Mrs GELLIE, Rev. FORBES
E. WinsLow, EMMA MARSHALL. [Illustrated with 16 Coloured
and 80 Black and White Pictures, by Mrs SEyMouR Lucas.
Crown 4to, boards. Price 5s.

JOHN CHINAMAN AT HOME. Description versified by
Rowe Lincsrong, Fully illustrated by R. A, JAUMANN.
28 pp., allin colour, 4to, boards. Price 5s.

WEE BABIES. By Amy E. Biancnarp. With Original
Designs in Colour, by Miss IDA WAuUGH. 4to, boards. Price 5s,

SHORT STORIES ABOUT ANIMALS. By GERTRUDE
SELLON. Illustrated with 16 Coloured and numerous Black
and White Pictures, by W. WEEKES, Crown 4to, paper boards.
Price 5s.

GRIFFITH FARRAN & CO., NEWBERY HOUSE, LONDON.













Griffith Farran & Co.

Newbery House

39 Charing Cross Road, London



The Rights of Translation and of Reproduction are Reserved.



(COUN 11 IN IS

I.
TRAVELS OF A BUTTERFLY

II.
THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS

III.
COUSIN CATHERINES SERVANTS

IV.
THE UGLIEST ONE

A REAL POND

VI.
WHAT DAISY SAW ONE NIGHT

VIL.
THE WISE GOOSE

VIII.
THE STARFISH’S STORY

IX.
A GREAT EYE

A SNAIL’S RACE .

PAGE

29

49

68

go

II2

151

173

195



To

MRS) dneA de Gita

IN WHOSE GARDEN THE WRITER FOUND A WELCOME REFUGE: FROM
TOWN TUMULT AND DISTRACTING DIN BENEATH THE COOL
SHELTER OF GREEN TREES; WHERE MUCH OF
NATURE'S LORE WAS READ AND WRITTEN

DOWN FOR THE FOLLOWING PAGES.





LIST or ILLUSTRATIONS |

A THOUGHTLESS BOY—Where the Butterfly
is born—A Nourishing Meal—Blue-tit—Sand-
martins—The Bull that chased 3
Johnny—Rooks. 2

SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS—
Pleasant Fields — Gathering
Primroses—Wooden So!dier—
A Peep-Show—Little Mary.

A HAPPY FAMILY—Grubbing for
Pignuts—Cousin Catherine’s Servants—
« Ostriches—Elephants—Geese—Frog.

THE UGLIEST PUSSY—Cats and Dogs—
Farm-yard—Lassie and the Ugliest One—
Ruth and the Kitten—Fitz opening

the Door—Fitz and the Chickens.

A COOL CORNER-—Girl and Horses
—Scamp and the Cows—Mousie

dipping her Net—Water-newts—Water-
beetles—Fishes.

DAISY'S DREAM—What is it —
A Fairy Horse—An Owl—Crick, err
r-rick—Like a Butter-fly—A Mole.

THE WISE GOOSE—Bo-bo! Gaa-
S-sss!—The Farmer's Wife—Boys at
Dinner—Silly Billy—Mother Goose.

JOHNNY AND THE STARFISH
—Jamie and the Stars—A Sunfish—
A Whale—Flying Fish—Sea Weeds
—The Artist and Jamie.

(AMONG THE CORN STALKS
—Cornfield —Caught—Lark’s
Nest—Nelly in bed—He was
gone!

A GOOD GALLOP — Something
going to happen—Big White Moth
—Grasshopper and Snail—A Wide

Road and Country Cart—

Ploughman—Johnny P

and Betty.

































































Che Travels of a Butterfly.

Everything that lives
Lives not alone nor for itself. Fear not, and I will call

The weak worm from its lowly bed, and thou shalt hear its voice,
— BLAKE.

x NDERNEATH a cabbage-leaf in a gay garden, one
ly summer day, a butterfly was born.

: The cabbage-leaf was all covered with beads of dew,
which made it a most lovely thing to look at—one of the most
charming things which one could possibly fancy.

By the side of the cabbage, on a raspberry bush, a great
garden-spider, dressed in brown velvet, with pearl and silver
ornaments, had spun his web; and that was all a-glimmer with
dew-drops too, which made it look more exquisite than the
finest lady’s best lace, spark-
ling with diamonds. Only the
spider thought the dew-drops
a bother; because they made
his web wet, and he was long-
ing for the sunbeams to come
and drink them all up, so that
the net might be ready to
catch flies.

“Tt is high time that I had
my breakfast,” thought the
spider, ‘‘but not a single fly has come my way yet. Iam
anxious about the web—whether it will bear the weight of all
those heavy water-drops!” And indeed the web was quite

os \





IO THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERBLY. |

weighed down—so that one might have thought the delicate
threads must snap; but no.

Soon the sun became hotter, and the beams made quick
work of the little dew-drops. Long before mid-day there was
not a single one left to glitter anywhere, and all the little flies
came bizz! buzz! down about the raspberry-bush, just as the
spider wished.

How warm it was on the cabbage-leaf !

It was just the right birthplace for a butterfly, which loves
the sunshine better than anything else in the world. The sun
is the mother of the little butterflies, and takes care of them
from the very beginning, for there is no one else to do it. The
real mother of the baby butterflies always dies before they are
born. Poor little butterflies! And yet they are taken good
care of, although they come from such a very small starting-
place that you would hardly think it could be worth anyone’s
while to think about them.

The first sign of a butterfly is a little tiny egg—not nearly
as large as a pin’s head—scarcely larger than a grain of sand.
Yet, though it is almost too small to be seen, it is finely
carved, with a pattern outside, and carefully Shaped. Some
of these eggs are in the form of a thimble; another kind
are shaped like a bottle, the bottom sticking to a leaf, while
the neck-end stands upright, and others are round, and a little
flat. Of this sort was the egg which had been laid on the
cabbage. .

Inside this egg lay a tiny creature, one day to be a butterfly, -
but not yet, for it was obliged to be something else first.
Nobody would guess, unless they had been told, how butter-
flies begin their lives. The sunshine poured down more and
more brightly. It made the spider dance for joy. The little
flies frisked, too, but ¢hezr joy was quickly over, and their



THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERFLY. II

dancing ended as soon as they touched the sticky threads
of the cunning web.

The spider himself took care to keep out of sight, in his
den under a leaf, but he first fastened a long cord from his
lurking-place to the web, so that whenever a fly became entangled
there, the jerking of this thread told him of it. It was the
same as a telegraphic message to him, saying, ‘‘ Come down at
once! a fly is in the net,” and brought him down in a trice,
in good time to grasp the prey.

Then, after the foolish fly was dead, he rolled it up with
web, round and round like a bundle, and carried it off to
his larder, where he ate it all by himself.

“T have no family to provide for, that is one comfort,”
said the spider. ‘ Ah, I brought my children up the respectable
way—to shift for themselves. I have no one now to think of,
but my own—precious—self!”

No more he had. The spider’s children, although they
had only left the egg ten days before, knew each one how to
make his own little web; no bigger than a penny-piece, yet as
perfect as that of a grown-up spider.

“T don’t suppose now,” he went on, “that any other insect
has such sharp-witted children as mine. Those silly butterflies,
for instance, when they come out of the egg——’’ Here the
spider broke off; there was a great shaking in the web, and he
was obliged to attend to business and leave off talking. While
he was rolling up the third fly he had caught that morning,
and putting it by ‘‘for a rainy day,” something very curious
was going on among the little yellow dots upon the cabbage-
leatter

Each of the little eggs cracked, and out crawled, not a tiny
butterfly—although a young duck comes out of a duck’s egg,
and a tiny robin out of.a robin’s egg, and a wee spider out of



I2 THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERFLY.

a spider’s egg ; and you would think, a little butterfly might be
expected to come out of a butterfly’s egg. Nothing of the sort
happens. Out of each of these round specks on the cabbage-
leaf came a very small caterpillar, which could hardly be seen,
for it was so little, and so exactly the same colour as the place
on which it was born. But although it was not a perfect
butterfly yet, and had no wings, this small worm had a good
notion of what to do. It began by biting its way through the
tough egg-shell—which it ate up. As soon as that was gone
it set to work at the edge of the cabbage-leaf with little jaws,
which munched from side to side, instead of up and dawn, like
yours and mine.

Each of the tiny worms had sixteen little feet, with hooks
or hairs to cling with at the end; six eyes on each side of
its head; a good appetite and plenty to eat. What could a
caterpillar want more ?

How they did eat! One could almost see them grow;
they devoured the green food so fast. As the days went on the
cabbage-leaf was all gone, except the hard veins, which they
could not bite; and some of the little family had to travel east
while the rest went west to find a new dining-hall.

Then a mother chaffinch came down one morning and picked
up a dozen or so of the caterpillars, laying them across her
beak one after another with the heads and tails dangling out on
each side. She carried them away for her young ones in the
nest at home. ‘Twink! twink!” said she, as soon as her beak
was empty, and went back again to look for more.

She soon cleared the cabbage bed of all but a few cater-
pillars, which lay snugly hidden the wrong side of the leaf,
where her bright eyes had not yet spied them. “Twink!” she
cried again, wiping her beak. ‘‘ What a nourishing meal for
the little ones! I must go to the rose-bushes now.”



THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERFLY. 13

So she went, and she picked up a mouthful of green
blights, which were spoiling the flower-buds. After that, she
went away to make her own dinner on the seeds of groundsel,
chickweed, and sting-nettle. When she was gone a blue tit
came down to the raspberry bushes, peering with his sharp eyes
among the leaves and shoots, here and there pulling one off
because there was an insect in it, which he pecked out and
swallowed—it seemed mischievous, but the shoot would have
been killed-anyhow by the grub. He was very busy, and made



a noise all the while like a little saw being sharpened ; till the
gardener saw his blue cap and yellow breast glancing from
bough to bough as he hung on to the apple-twigs, clearing
them of many a dozen of hurtful insect plagues, and he came
out and drove the little chap away, and set up an ugly bird
made of tin, painted to look like a hawk, to frighten the little
birds,

So after that, the green caterpillars which were left had it
all their own way; and so had the blights and the grubs,



14 .THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERFLY.

They went on eating the apple-buds and the rose and raspberry
shoots, as well as the cabbages, without fear of being eaten
themselves ; for the blue tit went
away and told all the other tits
and small birds that a dreadful
hawk was come to live in the
garden, and that they must never
go there any more or they would
be caught and killed. . The eldest
of the green caterpillars soon
grew to be quite a good size. He went on feeding on the
moist, juicy cabbage until his skin became too tight for him;
and then——What happens when little boys and girls grow
out of their clothes? Why, somebody gives them new ones
of course.

Well, the caterpillar, like a few poor, sad little boys and
girls, had no one to take care of him. But, luckily, he was
able to get new clothes for himself, as he had nobody to do it
for him. He felt very uneasy for a time—his skin was so
tight that it bothered him. It was time that he began to think
about another suit, that was certain; so he made a little carpet
of silk first, on the leaf where he was feeding. This was to
give him a firmer footing than the slippery leaf, while he
twisted his body from side to side to make the old skin split.
As soon as he had got rid of his worn-out coat in this way, he
had nothing more to do, for underneath it a fresh new one had
grown beforehand to be ready when it was wanted. When this
little job was done, he began to eat again faster than ever, and
went on until ¢Za¢ skin grew too tight ; then changed again—
and so on, over again, four times in all. And the last time, the
caterpillar, which was now several weeks old and quite wise,
knew that at length the hour had come for a real change in





-THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERFLY. 15

himself—not a change of outside skins only; though how he
knew this I cannot well say.

He began to feel very restless; he did not care any longer
for his meals of cabbage—he wanted something else that was
not food, and kept stretching his head up and waving it in the
air, seeking in vain; for the eyes of a caterpillar, though he has
twelve, can only see just before his nose, so that he is obliged
to almost touch what he wishes to look at before he can find
out what it is.

The little creature crawled quite fast up and down a stem
still searching—searching—but for what it could not tell.

“Dear, dear! I wonder what I want? Iam sure I don't
know!” it said to itself, as it went rambling to and fro, aimlessly.

The fact was that the caterpillar’s life on the cabbage-leaf
was over, and he wished to hang himself up by the heels,
though he did not in the least know what for; and it was not
until he had found a place which would suit him to do this in,
that the poor caterpillar began to be at peace.

Five times he had travelled up the cabbage-stalk as far as
he could go, and finding that it ended in empty air, he swayed
his head from right to left once or twice, and went down again
to find that at the lower end the cabbage-stump ended in the
ground, which he did not want either. But the sixth time he
stopped just in a little nook where a leaf-stem branched out
over his head.

“There! Now I know what I must do!” said the cater- -
pillar to itself; and it began to bring out of its mouth long
threads of silk, which it could draw out to any length as it
pleased. ‘With these it made a sort of silken cushion on the
stem overhead, and then, turning itself upside down, clasped
the silk pad with the last pair of legs at the end of its tail, so
that it was hanging head downwards.



16 THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERFLY.

‘“So far, so good,” said the caterpillar. ‘‘ But how about
the wind ?>—if it blows it will perhaps set me swinging to and
fro so that I shall dash against the cabbage-stalk, which won't
be at all nice.”

So the shrewd caterpillar tied himself up with a silken
girdle or sash from one side to the other, close to the cabbage-
stalk, moving his head across and fastening the threads now on
the right hand, now on the left, while he hung upside down all
the while. Oh, what a clever plan!

After all this work the caterpillar rested itself. Something
was going to happen inside him—he could feel that. His body
was growing shorter and thicker, his legs were shrinking into
himself; they were going—going—gone!!!

After a day or two he had shrivelled up into a short green
thing, all over black speckles, which was hanging with the
upper end in, and the lower end out of a loose empty skin.

The task of the caterpillar was almost done—it had
changed into a chrysalis, and had only now to hang itself up
again to the silk cushion above, which it managed to do by
somehow dragging itself up inside the empty skin, which still
hung there. The old skin was rolled up something like a
stocking when it is being taken off as the chrysalis inside it
climbed upward and fastened itself by some small hooks which
grew at its tip to the firm silk pad.

When this was done the chrysalis stayed perfectly still to
~wait for what would come next.

Patiently, quietly, it hung there day after day like a dead
thing. The beetles and snails which fed in the garden took no
notice of it, for they thought it was nothing but a bit of
withered stem or dried leaf. The birds thought the same.

The rain pattered and drummed on the cabbage tent above,
but it never moved, tied fast by its silken ropes. The sun



THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERFLY. 17

poured down all day long, and as the heat grew greater towards
the middle of summer one might have seen that the colours of
the chrysalis changed and grew darker. Under the thin skin
delicate tracings were to be seen, as if wings were folded up
under the wrapper. The thing began to move. At last, one
day, it gave a sort of twist, as if it were tired of so long a sleep
and were trying to jerk itself awake.

And wake it did. First a little split—then a larger crack,
room enough for a head to peep out; next came a pair of
crumpled white wings, six black legs, and a downy black body.

Out came the prisoner—slowly at first, afterwards with a
rush upward until it found itself clinging to the edge of a leaf
in a sunny place in such a way as to let the wings spread
downwards so as to shake out the creases and crumples,
making them quiver and tremble that they might be smooth
and strong all the sooner. The wings did not take long to
become fit for flight. Dressed in creamy white, with trimmings
and fringes of the softest down, here and there a black velvet
line, or dot, or wing-tip just to set off the gold-dust sprinkled
on it, the butterfly’s wings soon took strength from the strong
sun, as she shut and opened them in the light, as if to show by
turns the beauty of the wings when opened, and their soft green
tinge when closed. Away darted the butterfly, fluttering and
skipping, to play in the meadow among the daisies and clover
blooms. .

Oh, what a happy life that was! and how different from
being obliged to crawl about with those sixteen legs and eat
cabbage all day, besides having one’s skin always growing too
tight for one.

It was a change indeed; for firstly, instead of having a
heavy body and short legs to carry it with, the butterfly’s wings
were so large and its body so small and light now that she

B



18 THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERFLY.

could float along now almost without the trouble of flapping
them.

But then, you see, she had earned a holiday now by work-
ing so hard and being so patient when she was a caterpillar.
Then, instead of twelve small eyes, that could hardly see at all,
she had now two great eyes, each made up of more than a
thousand small ones fitted into each other like the cells in a
honeycomb. Out of these the butterfly could look every way
at once without the trouble of rolling the eyes in her head.

Last of all, as to food, the butterfly was not obliged to take
any trouble about ¢#at,; for instead of jaws, she had a long
hollow trunk, no thicker than a hair, which she kept curled up
like a watch-spring when she was not using it; but when she
was hungry or thirsty she had only to straighten it out and she
could sip the honey and dew out of the flower-cups without
having even to suck; she had only to breathe out the air which
was in the trunk and dip it into a flower and the sweet juice
ran up of its own accord, so that the butterfly’s meals ran down
her throat without giving her the trouble of chewing them
even. But then the butterfly had been so hard worked as a
caterpillar. It was only fair that life should be made easy for
her now. So she had nothing to do but play in the meadow
all day long—and many other butterflies she found there all
amusing themselves too. Some were bright blue, like a bit of
the sky, others were orange or yellow, and a few had dark
wings with scarlet, white, and blue spots on them shining like
jewels.

The flowers themselves were not half so gay, yet they were
very happy, too.

“We must sit on our stems,” said the flowers, “and stay
at home to receive our visitors—that is polite.”

The humble white butterfly enjoyed herself with the rest.



THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERELY. 19

She sat upon a rose-bud to rest herself and look round, as she
closed her wings over her back you could hardly see her, the
green streaks and chequers on the outside of them made her
look so like a leaf or a twig; even the sharp-eyed hedge-
sparrows, on the look-out for what they could catch for their
nestlings, passed it over.

There was a bed of sting-nettles just below, where a batch
of butterflies’ eggs had been laid in the spring, and on one
nettle-top sat a butterfly which had just come out of its
chrysalis. The empty shell was hanging from the stalk still,
covered with sharp gilded points. The butterfly, which had
only broken through it an hour ago, was just thinking of taking
its first flight, and sat flapping its glorious wings to try their
strength.

Oh, how splendid they were! Bright crimson—orange,
each with a great eye like one of the eyes of a peacock’s tail
painted on it. The colours flashed in the sunshine as bright as
a rainbow; but when the butterfly shut his wings he, too, was
hardly to be found; for when they were shut the outsides of
them showed only, and they were brown and black, and made
him look like a bit of stick., It was a wonderful surprise, like
a conjuring trick, to watch him flash out all his painted show
and then make it vanish again by merely clapping his wings
together. That was the butterfly’s way of hiding himself; but
when you looked closely even the dull, cloudy-looking outer sides
of his wings were covered with a fine brocade pattern marked
out with the smallest possible touches and streaks of gold.

‘Oh, how beautiful!” thought the plain little white butter-
fly as the peacock-eyed beauty gave its first flitting dip into the
sunshiny air, shaking gleams of light from its wings, while the
other followed admiringly after it and settled on a daisy close
at hand.



20 THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERFLY.

At that moment several children came into the field with
baskets, which they were filling with buttercups. They seemed
very merry and playful together, as light-hearted, almost, as the
butterflies and bees; then, why could they not enjoy themselves
and let all the other glad creatures be happy too?

For a time they were too busy with their baskets to notice
much besides; but presently one little fellow caught sight of
the brilliant butterfly with the peacock-eyes. In a moment he
had snatched the red cloth cap from his head and dashed it
at the pretty thing. Up went the butterfly, frightened, and
sweeping wildly from side to side. Away went the child after it.

The little boy had only two legs, while the butterfly had
four wings, so it had the best chance after all; but then this
butterfly had not long come out of its chrysalis—its wings had
not their full power. Soon it was forced to rest on a flower ;
the boy stole towards it, and again flinging his cap, this time
he managed to toss it well over the insect. In less time than
one could count six, he had it in his hands—struggling, half
crushed, one lovely wing hanging torn and useless.

How glad the boy was! But after all, what had he got by
it? The pretty butterfly lay dead jn his small hand—its happy
little life quite spoilt and over. No one was any better off—for
a butterfly, even if you can catch it, does not last much longer
than a flower. It is not worth while to take its life for the sake
of its wings—their beauty is soon gone! Yet he set off to chase
more butterflies; even the poor little cabbage butterfly had a
marrow escape. It was once right under the cruel cap, but
managed to creep out, and, darting upward, circled away higher
and higher till it was out of reach; not daring to settle again
till it was outside the field and safely perched upon the face of a
hot sand-bank, where it stayed sunning its wings and enjoying
the sun’s blaze.



THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERFLY. 2i

How scorching it was on the sand-bank! The slope was
steep and high, and at the bottom ran a railroad where trains
rushed by every hour or so.

The bank was full of holes, and as the butterfly sat near
one_of them—whizz! popped out something, which seemed to
shoot itself away into the air.

It was actually a bird! Yes. The last thing that one
would expect to find living down a hole; and yet the little
sand-martins dig holes with their beaks and claws in a soft

oa



sand-bank and make their nests at the end all snug and safe.
This bank had hundreds of their tunnels in it. In the mouths
of some of the little caves sat the father-birds gabbling and
chattering to each other, or making short flights to catch the
flies which they took to their wives and children inside.

They were fond of gossip, that was plain; but they did
their duty too. At times they went down for a dip in the cool
stream at the bottom of the field just below, and came back
with their mouths full of flies, as well as of the latest news.



22 THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERELY.

‘Chatter, chatter, chatter! Serve him right, Z say!” said
one sand-martin to another. ‘“ What right has anybody to
chase flies but ourselves >—and we have families to feed!”

“How did he get out?” said another sand-martin,
drawing one of his wing feathers through his beak, for it was
ruffled. “I did not wait to see myself. I only saw him
splashing in the water. I didn’t think it mattered much
whether he ever got out at all!”

“It did to his father,” said another. “ Just think what I
felt last year when one of the little ones crept out to the brink
of the cave that time and fell over! His mother and I
could not get him up again—we had to feed him where he
was!”

“Snap!” said the first, and he wheeled after a fly right
down to the waterside and back again. What were the sand-
martins gossiping about? Why, about a little boy who had
fallen into the river. He had been chasing a large yellow
butterfly, and it flew over the hedge into the next field, which
was all covered with smooth green grass, with a deep stream
winding along the bottom. The boy scrambled through a gap,
thinking only of what he was chasing; away they went till
they had crossed the field, when the butterfly quietly flew across
the river and left its tormentor behind. It was not till then
that the little boy heard a kind of low growl behind him, and,
looking round, he saw standing between himself and the only
way home a huge bull. The bull began to walk slowly towards
him, making an angry sound as it came, and tossing its head.
The child stood for an instant too frightened to move, then,
with a sharp-cry, he threw up his hands and began to run.
This was the worst thing he could have done, for bulls are like
little boys in some ways—they love chasing anything that will
run away from them.



THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERFLY. 23

The more the boy ran the faster came the bull after him,
with its head close to the ground and its tail in the air.

Oh! what terror Johnnie felt now!—he found out what it
was like to be chased himself. What could he do? Over the
field faster and faster he went, the bull behind coming nearer
and nearer every
moment ;_ which
way could he
fete tiee ame WW NCHiee
should he fly ?
Oh! what would
Johnnie. have
given for a pair
of wings? The
river was in front.
thes abl ate this
heels! Splash! a cold plunge—a dreadful buzzing in his ears, and
then he was fighting with the water, which got into his mouth and
choked him. The splash frightened away all the little sand-
martins which were dipping and catching flies—it even startled
the bull, which stood on the bank staring, and whisking the
tuft at the end of its tail. After all, it was a good-natured
young bull, and wanted nothing but a game of play with
Johnnie, only it might have been rather a rough game. But it
was lucky that Johnnie’s plump into the stream had made so
loud a noise, or he might never have had a chance of playing
any more games at all with bulls or anything else; for a man
heard it on the opposite bank, along which he was strolling
with a big kind dog; and he and the dog between them fished
him out, and took him home all dripping wet. The sand-
martin came back, and he saw it all, and went to the bank to
tell his wife and little ones the story; the white butterfly heard





24 THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERFLY.

it too. ‘‘ Perhaps he won’t chase us any more,” she said, “‘ now
that he knows how disagreeable it is to be run after.”

The butterfly had rested on the steep bank long enough.
Something seemed to urge her to fly again. There was some-
thing which she seemed to be looking for and wanting—yet she
could not tell what the want was.

All day she flew about restlessly, at night she crept under
the shelter of a leaf, or into some flower-bell, or hole, or crevice
to sleep; yet she never seemed to forget that strange something
which she had still to do; no, not even when she was waltzing
flying dances with the other butterflies, in and out, round and
round, spinning, turning, and whirling up in the sunny sky.

Once a great clumsy cockchafer flew flop against the frail
little butterfly, and they both came struggling to the ground,
for their legs and wings had become entangled together.

“What do you get in my way for?” said the cockchafer,
for it was not very civil. ‘Where do you want to go?”

‘““T don’t know,” said the little butterfly meekly. ‘I want
to go somewhere—I don’t know where.”

‘“People should always know where they want to go,” said
the cockchafer.. ‘‘I know where / want to go well enough; I
want to lay my eggs—if other idle people wouldn’t get in my
way and knock me down.”

This was really too good a joke, for the butterfly weighed
as light as a feather compared to the heavy cockchafer who had
blundered against her—and the cockchafer had only fallen down
on the ground by its own weight.

‘“ However, this is a good place for eggs,” added the cock-
chafer, and it set about the business of laying them at once.
First it bored a hole, in the ground by sticking in a long spear
which was hidden in its tail, then it dropped an egg into the
hole, and began over again, so on, till all was done.



THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERFLY. 25

“There,” said the cockchafer, ‘‘that is what I call taking
care of my belongings. No one can do more than I have done
for their children, I consider. They will now be born in the
greatest comfort, with food already to hand.”

“ Awk! awk! awk!” said a big black bird which was
walking solemnly about the field with several others. The
cockchafer flew up into a small oak-tree in the hedge when it
saw them coming, and the butterfly followed. The big black
birds were rooks; and they were grubbing in the ground for
what they could find. It did not cost them much trouble to
dig, as their beaks were strong and-had a bit of leathery skin at
the top, in the rooks’ forehead; so that even if a rook were to
bury his beak in the earth as far as it would go, which he some-
times did, his feathers would not be spoilt round the root of the
beak, or rubbed off, which would have hurt‘him. They seemed
to be enjoying the food they found very much, as they walked
backwards and forwards over the furrows, routing and rum-
maging while they cawed to one another. One rook sat in the
hedge to keep watch, and presently he gave the alarm. There
was a tremendous clamour and bustle at once among the rooks.
Pop! bang! went a great sound somewhere—and suddenly one
of them fell dead. Some men came over the stile, picked up
the dead rook, and propped him upon a forked stick in the
middle of the field that the others might see it and keep away
for fear they should be shot too.

“Now,” said the cockchafer, ‘‘Ze’s done for. A good thing
too! What business had he to be eating up my brothers and
sisters? Why, I might have been eaten up myself, and what a
loss that would have been. Did you say ‘ Yes?’”

The butterfly had not said yes, but now it said, ‘‘ You lived
under the ground once then?”

“Why, you see, we are born under the ground,” said the



26 THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERFLY.

cockchafer, ‘‘and live there three years or so, feeding on the
roots of grass, or corn, or turnips, or whatever there may be.
Men try to dig us up with their clumsy tools—they do us all
the harm they can because they grudge our killing all their



crops—but the mischief men can do is nothing to the damage
the rooks can do! They can get at us and clear a field in no
time. JI am glad they are gone, and that one of them is dead.



THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERFLY. 27

Now my children will have a chance of growing up!” And the
cockchafer began to browse on the leaves of the oak-tree, and
then on the next when the first was stripped by himself and his
friends, till soon the kedgerow looked quite bare.

The little butterfly did not stay to watch him, she felt
more and more fidgety, and wanting every moment to change
from place to place.

“What can it be that I am needing?” she said over and
over again, as she flew from one scented flower to another, none
of which seemed to suit her. “Is it a rose that I pine for?”

No. She settled on the sweetest little opening cup—but
~ she cared no longer for honey, and soon left the pink blossom.

Was it that beautiful crown of honeysuckle—could that
tempt her? The scent was so sweet that it lured the little
wings to flutter towards it; but soon the butterfly turned away
unsatisfied still.

“What can it be that I yearn so to find?” thought the
tired creature, as, half borne by its wings, half wafted by the
wind which was rising into the first autumn gale, and swept the
butterfly before it like a fallen leaf, she dropped quite weak from
weariness upon a tall flower-spire tipped with purple bells,
where a bee was trying to collect honey, though nearly all the
foxglove blooms were shaken off and strewn upon the ground.

But she could have no rest there. Far and wide the
little butterfly wandered, or was tossed upon the storm that
day, thinking always of a thing which it wanted to find; with
just the same strong desire as, when a caterpillar, it had longed
to put itself away like a dead thing until the time of its change
should come.

Evening was at hand, and still she could not keep quiet.
She flew onward, always hoping to find what she was looking
for, till at last she reached a garden paling. And then, inside



28 THE TRAVELS.OF A BUTTERFLY.

the green gate, growing with many other plants of the same
kind, the butterfly saw what she had searched for so long and
so earnestly.

It was not a very fine or grand thing+-only a cabbage- leaf.

And why did the little butterfly want to find a cabbage-leaf
so much that she could know no peace, rest, or comfort, till she
had reached one? Had she in her old age taken a fancy for
eating caterpillar food again ? 7

No. The butterfly was not thinking at all about herself.

She settled contentedly upon the leaf and laid her eggs
there—that was all.

And if you want to know how it is that the poor simple —
butterfly takes so much thought and care for her young, which
she will never live even to see, that is more than.I can tell you ;
only I know that she is guided by the same Great Love which
cares for you and me.

After this was finished the little butterfly felt quite happy |
and satisfied.

‘“Now I may rest,” she said,. creeping into a comfortable
crack: in the wall. “TI. shall go to sleep, and who knows what
will happen next? Waking up is something to look forward
to

But that was the last thing she ever did—for she fell asleep
and never woke up any more.

At least so the spider said, for he found her in the crevice
when he came in to lie by there for the winter, and mistook her
for a withered rose-leaf.









Che Seven Dittle Baskets.

“Three, helping one another, bear the burden of six.”
—G. HERBERT,

S

had grown quite accustomed to it; for he had no
children of his own, and his wife was dead.

So when one morning he got a letter from India to
say that the seven little children of his brother were coming to
England for him to take care of, he wondered how he should
manage to do it.

“ What is an old fellow like me to do with seven babies ?”
he said to hmself. ‘I haven’t the least idea how to take care
of children. Seven of them! I don’t even remember all their
names; what am I to do?

Uncle Sam walked up and down the room several times,
and then he rang the bell for his old housekeeper and told her
all about it.

“Bless their little hearts!” cried the cheery dame at the
news. She had a round, rosy, kind face that seemed to keep
the remains of the smiles which she had given to her babies
long ago still shining in it. “Do with them, sir? Make ’em
happy to be sure! that’s all you need do, and they will be good
of themselves! Give ’em plenty of wholesome food and put
’em to bed early, and don’t notice one more than another.
That’s my notions. And don't say, ‘You naughty girl!’ or
‘You naughty boy!’ without a reason for it. There's many

Tia SAM had lived all by himself for so long that he
i
NG

cK



30 THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS.

a child made naughty by being told they are so, and called
names, so to speak. They take to the character you gives ’em
like.”

Uncle Samuel rubbed his hands, for he was pleased to find
that Mrs Rummage, the housekeeper, was so wise about things.

“Well, everything must be ready by next week; beds, you
know, and pinafores, and that kind of thing,” said Uncle Sam,
blinking his eyes a little anxiously.

“You leave it to me, sir!” said Mrs Rummage, smiling
rather scornfully at Uncle Sam, and bustling sturdily away to
begin her preparations, leaving him much comforted.

“I know I’ve got their names written down in a pocket-
book somewhere,” he began again to himself. “I must go and
Secu

Uncle Sam searched in his desk, and in his cupboards, and
drawers, and everywhere; at last he found the names of his
brother's seven children; and they were “ Alicia Margaretta
Theodora” the eldest; ‘Delphina Christabel Maud” the
second ; ‘‘ Rosalind Maria Theresa” the third; ‘ Clarissa ——”

“Oh, dear! oh, dear!” cried Uncle Sam, breaking off as
he read the list aloud, and crumpling up all his tidy front hair
with his hand, and knocking off his spectacles ; ‘‘ how am I to
remember all these? and which is which? Out of them all
there is only. one boy, and 4zs name is ‘ Maximilian Alexander
Ivan!’ How shall I ever get on?” .

Uncle Sam shut up the note-book in despair and walked off
into the town instead, to get things for his little nieces and one
nephew.

And when he got there he bothered the shopkeepers very
much by always wanting seven things exactly alike. For
instance, he chose a dear little wooden arm-chair, exactly what
any child would delight in having for his own, and then he



THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS. 31

said, “Send me seven of those, if you please.” Next he
pointed to a box of bricks and said, “And seven boxes of
bricks like that, and seven balls, and seven Noah’s arks, seven
hoops, seven trumpets, and seven drums; and let me see, seven
monkeys climbing up sticks, without which I couldn't be happy
when / was a child, though I don’t see any of them nowadays.
Never mind! Seven Jacks-in-the-box (Uncle Sam was getting
quitercomtused) sand ==="

Here he looked all round the shop to find something else,
not too grown-up (for the eldest of all the little people with the
long names was only eight years old), and something that the
shopman had seven of, for he remembered what Mrs Rummage
had said about making them happy and treating them all alike.

Just as Uncle Sam was coming out of the toy-shop he
caught sight of a pretty little basket, one of a dozen, hanging
up on a nail.

“And seven of those, if you please,” said he, pointing at it
with his walking-stick.

“Yes, sir,” said the shopman, answering quite politely, but
at the same time thinking that the old gentleman who lived all
alone at the Manor House must be going a little crazy to be
ordering bushels of toys for himself in that way. It was a
good thing that Uncle Sam did not ask for seven of any other
article just then, for the shopman had made up his mind that
he had better call his wife to take a look at Uncle Sam and
give her opinion about him.

However, the toys came home all right, and the time
dragged very slowly along—at least so Uncle Sam and Mrs
Rummage thought—until the day when the children were to
arrive.

On that morning Uncle Sam was quite in a flurry and
a flutter.



32 THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS.

““They won’t cry, I suppose, Mrs Rummage?” he said,
for he could not bear to see children unhappy, not even the
little ragged ones in the road; and he had spread out all
the toys in seven heaps
on the floor in front
OUMnEMc Se vena little
chairs.

“T should think not,
Siiey Gancl — bes INO
mage, hopefully; ‘and
if they do, children’s
tears is soon dry!”

Presently there was a rumbling of wheels. Uncle Sam,
who had been pretending to read, threw down his book and
went trotting out. In a minute or two he came striding back
again with a child on each shoulder, while the rest trooped
along behind with their own nurse, who was smiling and
curtseying to Mrs Rummage, as she carried the youngest in
her arms.

‘Let's see! let’s see!” said Uncle Sam, setting down the
two little girls from his shoulders and stretching out his arms
for the roly-poly baby boy, who was prattling and making



snatches at him. “I suppose that is Master Maximilian
Alexander What’s-his-name, eh?”
“Oh, dear no, sir,” said nurse, smiling. ‘“ This is only,

little Sonnie; and here is Ally and Delly, Rosie and Posie—the
twins, sir—Meg and Peg that you had on your shoulders, sir.
That's how their father names them, the precious lambs! And
Sonnie, sir, he wants to come to you. For certain he mistakes
you for his father, and you are wonderful alike, sir!”

Here nurse wiped her eyes as she thought of how the
father and mother had parted from their darlings and trusted



THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS. 33

them to Uncle Sam, and she curtseyed to him again with a
satisfied sigh, for she liked the look of Uncle Sam’s blue eyes
underneath his white eyebrows, and the way he handled Sonnie
—leading him so gently.

He kissed the little ones all round, feeling very glad to be
rid of the long names. Then he took Ally and Delly, Rosie
and Posie, Meg, Peg, and Sonnie, and showed them the seven
little chairs, the boxes of bricks and the rest of the toys. For
a short space they were all speechless from delight, but silence
did not last long after their eyes fell on the drums and
trumpets. Poor Uncle Sam! how he wished he had never
bought those!

“Never mind, sir,” said Mrs Rummage,. cheerfully,
“they'll soon be worn out; and don’t you never buy no more.”

Then Uncle Sam pulled out of his pockets seven parcels
of sweets—only nurse took them away again because she said
they must have their dinners first.

So they had a good dinner, and then they began to find
their little tongues and to run about the house shouting from
pleasure at everything they saw; riding by turns on Uncle
Sam’s back, and blowing the seven trumpets into his ear until
he thought that deafness would not be so bad a trouble after
all, besides kicking him with their fat little legs to make him
go faster, till at last he was quite thankful when bedtime came
and they were put into seven little cribs all in a row, with a
larger one for nurse at the end.

The next day they all thought of the new toys the moment
they woke up, and most of the children had a few under their
pillows. It was a fine, bright day in spring, beautiful, cool,
fresh, English spring, not sultry Indian weather, with a fierce
hot sun so strong that little children cannot play out of doors
when he is shining.

Cc



THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS.

How the children enjoyed the pleasant fields that day!
And among all the Ee which good Uncle Sam had collected



for them, there was nothing which
pleased the children so well as the
seven little baskets.

The hedges were full of prim-
roses and violets, and these little
children had never seen any
before. Juste think sof maith little
English boys and girls, that there
are poor little people born in India
who never see a primrose or a
- violet till they are six or seven

| years old, and not then unless

their parents send them home here.

They are worse off in

this way even than the sad town-bred ones, for these can,
may be, catch a glimpse of the pale golden primroses and

heaps of purple violets and nodding
daffodils, at least in show windows
or baskets in the streets. As for
the dear daisy, she grows nearly

everywhere, that no little child may 7 3
forget her sweet face, and none grow |

up without making friends with the
most charming of mother-earth’s
babies.

Ally and Delly, Rosie and Posie,
Meg, Peg, and even Sonnie soon
began to make up for lost time by
rushing at the primroses and filling



their baskets, their laps, their hats, and their hands as fast as

they could.



THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS. 35

Nurse had often told them of how, when she was a little
girl, she used to make daisy and dandelion chains; and spoken
of how, in England, the hedges and fields were covered like a
gold and silver carpet with buttercups and daisies—with freckled
cowslips and dancing bluebells. Per haps the children had hardly
believed all these anes but now they found them to be all true.

Little Sonnie, who was only two years old, could not roam
so far as the rest; but he soon filled his basket with flowers,
picked off quite short and clumpy, and then began to make a
‘“bunse” as he called it; only his bunch had half the heads of
the flowers at the stemmy end and half the right way. I
wonder how the flowers which were head-downwards liked it?

Then he wanted to fill his pocket, too, only there were some
glass marbles in it already, and a lump of sugar-candy, and a
precious wooden soldier, the last of a boxful which Sonnie had
brought all the way from India, besides his little red and white
pocket-handkerchief; so that there really was not much room,
as Sonnie said, ‘‘in mine pottit.”

He pulled out the pink handkerchief,
which was the thing he valued least, and
gave it to nurse to carry, which made
a little more space; but, sad to say, he
jerked out the beloved wooden soldier,
which fell into the grass at the bottom
of an ant-hill. The soldier lay with one
eye close to a crack in the ground, and
the other gazing across the field, for his
eyes were not painted straight on his face. He still kept his fist
clenched firmly where the gun used to be before Sonnie broke it
off, for the soldier wished to show that he was not frightened at’
being lost, but was still calm enough to shoulder his musket.
Was it his fault if the musket was not there?





36 THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS.

Sonnie crammed his pocket with cowslips and daisies ; then
he emptied them out again for nurse to make him a chain, and
finding that the soldier was gone, he began to look sorrowfully
for him. The soldier was a great favourite, and was always put
to sleep under Sonnie’s pillow. Who was to sleep there now,
if he could not be found? But Sonnie looked in vain, even
with nurse to help. They could not see him, although he was
lying among the grass stalks close by, peeping in at a hole, as
if he were amusing himself very well. And it was not dull for
the soldier; for inside the crack was an ants’ town, something
like one which he had once watched when abroad—for he was a
Swiss soldier, and had been born in a country village near
Geneva, where the stock of wood from which he had been cut
once grew.

Wonderful indeed were the ant-hills in fat country!
They had rooms in them, one built above another, just like the
stories of a house, with passages, and galleries, leading upstairs,
downstairs, and to my lady’s chamber. Some of the ants were
masters, and some were.servants. The masters went out to
fight battles with other armies of ants—and what do you think
those fights were for? Why, just for the sake of stealing each
others’ babies!

This is how it came about. In this foreign ant-hill the
ants were not able to do anything but fight—no, not even to
feed themselves ; so their plan was to steal young ones from the
other nests near by, so that they might bring them up as their
slaves. Of course, the ants whose babies were stolen came out
to fight for them, and to prevent it if they could; and so some
terrible tussles followed sometimes—two ants catching hold of
the same baby and tugging different ways!

But the slaves, once stolen and carried home, were treated
very kindly, and did not even know that they were captives, for



THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS. 37

when they were brought from their own ant-hill they were too
young to notice anything. The conquerors carried the stolen
baby ants in their mouths and put them into nurseries where
they would be taken care of by the grown-up slave ants already
in the nest, carried off sometime before, to be brought up as
servants; whose work it was to put food into their masters’
mouths and help in all the work except fighting. The baby
ants were at once carried upstairs by these, washed and taken
care of.

English ants had no slaves; but the soldier could see that
they took quite as much care of their own children, though they
were so much smaller themselves than the foreign ants. They
were busy, when the wooden soldier looked in, carrying them
into an upper room, because that morning there had been a
shower, and the nurse ants thought that it might be damp for
their charges down below; so these careful little people had
carried them all up into a_ higher
story, and would be sure to carry
them down again when they found the
sunbeams too hot. It was a pleasant
peep-show for the soldier to watch,
with his one eye pressed close to the “#
Crackin) Ile snoticedathatmine smunse=
maid ants licked the eggs all over by
way of washing them; this was all
they had to do for the mere eggs, but some which were
hatched had to be carefully fed as well. On what? Ah!
now the soldier saw something quite as strange as he could
have seen in any foreign parts. He saw that these little
yellowish dots of creatures actually kept insects smaller than
themselves, just as we keep cows, even rearing them inside their
own nest from eggs which they hunted for and found, that they





38 THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS.

might feed themselves and their babies on a sweet juice which
the ant cows gave, as a cow gives milk. Sometimes they took
their cows out to pasture, sometimes kept them in the nest,
according to the time of year. If the soldier, or anybody else,
were to tell you this you would scarcely believe him; it sounds
so like a make-up, yet it is quite true, that he saw a little ant
come out whose business it was, with many others, to drive
home the cows belonging to the ant-town, from a daisy plant
close by, where they were feeding. She milked her cows by
stroking them gently with her antennze or horns, and was very
kind and careful of them.

Away went this useful ant, up and down, in and out among
the daisy roots, one would have thought that she was only
running about with nothing to do; but all the whiles she was
minding the cows for the family at home, and looking for the
eggs of more aphides, as the ant cows are called, to carry home.
Soon she went into the nest again, for the yellow ants are not
great rovers, but like to be near their ant-hill.

Then a tiny brown ant came travelling by; she was from a
nest under the hedge. Regular passages, like tunnels, led up
to it through the grass, along which hundreds of ants were
always passing to and fro on different errands, mostly in search
of something to take home for dinner—as the brown ants are
great hunters, and do not depend on keeping cows at home so
much as the yellow ants do. Some of these little fellows were
digging a ditch which was to make some new hunting-ground
more easy to reach; and this they did more quickly and cleverly
than any workman would have made a road, although they had
neither spades nor wheelbarrows to help them. They rolled up
the clay into neat little balls as they worked, and piled these
clay bricks up into a tiny wall on each side of the trench as they
scooped it out, instead of leaving the litter all strewing about



THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS. 39

the place to get into other people’s way. Presently the little
brown ant ran up close to the soldier’s face, and touched it with
two little horns which were branching out from its head, as if to
say, ““ Well, who are you?”

Now to tell the truth, the soldier was rather sticky from
having been in Sonnie’s pocket, with the lump of sugar-candy,
after Sonnie had been sucking it.

This little ant was very fond of sweet stuff, as all ants are,
and she soon smelt, or found out somehow, that the wooden
soldier had sugar upon him, and began to lick it off.

“T must carry a mouthful of this to the children at home,”
said the little ant; so she scraped up as much as she could hold
between her jaws and ran off with it. Soon she came back with
a whole string of friends after her; they all set to work at the
soldier. First they ran all over him, trying whether it would
be possible to carry him back to the nest bodily, for they
thought that he might be made of sugar all through. But
they found that all their shoving, hauling, pulling, and pushing ©
would not stir him.

Next they began to try the plan of biting him to bits that
they might carry him piecemeal, but he was too tough; so at
length they all set to work to make the best of him where he
was, as a fine feast, but soon found out that he was only good
to eat outside, that the nice sweet candy was soon gone, and
then they left the soldier in peace and quiet. Except that one
little ant—the first which had come—lingered behind to get a
nap in a snug little hole under his wooden arm. There she lay,
tucked in, till she was quite rested, when she woke up and
started on her travels again, running very fast, but keeping an
eye always open for stray scraps of food to be carried back to
the young ones—a bit of a dead wasp, a grass-grain, or a taste
of honey, anything almost that she could find.



40 THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS.

And presently she came across something which in ant-
land is considered a great dainty, a dead fly. This was a great
catch. The little ant was so pleased at what she had found
that she danced three times round the body on her hind legs,
before she ran up and caught hold of it between her strong
jaws. The fly was not large, yet it was a dozen times as big as
the ant; and with all her tugging and pushing she could only
just manage to make it rock to and fro. She got on the top
and pulled, she ran to the front and dragged, she went behind
and shoved, she even butted at the fly, and tried to roll it along
by putting her head underneath, but it was all of no use; to
trundle the treasure all the way to her ant-hill was a thing not
to be done, but what a prize to lose! She stood and twiddled
her horns while one could count six, as if she were making up
her mind what to do, then started off very fast underneath the
grass and raced home. The soldier saw her run into the nest
to tell all the other ants about the fly; but they did not talk
with voces, they touched each others’ horns like dumb people
when they’speak on their fingers, and that was quite enough.
Eight of them set off at once with the first ant, who took the
lead to show the way, and they marched along till they came up
to the fly. Tug, tug, they went, and managed to roll the fly
over on its back, that was all. Heave ho, they went at it again,
and turned it over on one side, but it was plain to each one that
they would never get their booty home at ¢/a? rate.

They stopped and held a council. After much shaking of
horns one of them suddenly pounced on the fly and bit off its
head. The others followed this example, sawing off a leg, a
wing, and so on, working with such sharp jaws that at last
there was nothing left but the bare carcase of the fly, not worth
taking away, which they fell upon and gobbled up that no-
thing might be wasted. After the meal they all set off in a



THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS. 4I

procession towards home, each carrying his load—a limb of the
fly.

How easily and pleasantly these little things had done the
job by helping all together! -

They deserved the welcome which they received from the
rest of their companions as they all filed in at the door of the
nest with their burdens—that was clear to the soldier's eye.
He was still gazing in at the hole with that one, although the
other one looked right away over the field, for the soldier's eyes
were set all askew in his head. If the toymaker had not
painted them quite crooked he would not have been able to see
two ways at once, which shows that there is an advantage even
in having a squint, if one knows how to turn things to account.
But just as the soldier was looking with the other eye at a
stream of brown ants coming out of the nest at some distance
off, something very unpleasant happened to himself.

Somebody.stepped upon him!

“This is not at alla fitting thing for me—a soldier, and a
man of honour—to allow myself to be trampled on!” said he.
It was all very well to make fine speeches, but he was obliged to
bear it.

The foot, however, which had been set upon him was a
very small and light one; it was that of a little girl who was
crossing the field on her way to a thatched cottage by the road-
side beyond the field. Although she was small and slight, she
had with her a very heavy bag, which seemed to be full of
round things, like balls, for you could see them poking against
the sack-cloth, and making it bulge out.

There were potatoes inside the sack, and this poor little
girl had been sent to fetch them by her mother, who lay ill in
bed unable to go herself.

Having no husband to work for her and her children, they



42 THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS.

were obliged to do the best they could for themselves when she
was laid by—which often happened; and now little Mary, the
eldest, was quite like a small mother or nurse to the rest. A



neighbour had promised to give these potatoes to the poor
people at the cottage if they would send for them; and as
Mary’s mother had no garden of her own, and she and the



THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS. 43

children often tasted nothing for the day but bread, they were
glad enough of the present.

Brave little Mary had gone to fetch this half-a-sackful, and
she had managed to get it along somehow so far. But oh,
what a weight it had been for her young, tender back to bear!
—and when it ached so much from the burden that she could
endure the pain no longer, she had tried trailing the bag along
the ground instead, only to find that it hurt her poor hands still
more ; for they were small and weak, and the rough sack-cloth
almost rubbed the skin off them in time. Mary had hardly
carried the potatoes half way home yet, and now she felt as if
she could not drag them another step !

She it was who had walked upon the wooden soldier and
hurt his feelings without knowing it; and now she sat down on
the ground not far from where he was lying, and leaving the
sack, a great, sulky-looking heap, on the grass beside her, she
covered her face with her hot, sore hands, and could not help
crying just a little.

When she had set out that morning she had felt so happy
and glad to be able to do something for her sick mother !—and
she had meant to boil a dish of the potatoes for dinner; for
although Mary was a little child in years, she was quite a
woman in some ways. She knew it would tempt her mother
to eat some, if they were nicely mashed with a sprinkle
of pepper and salt, and a bit of the nice butter which the
farmer’s wife had sent down. That was what mother
could always fancy when she could touch nothing else; and
now Mary was afraid she would never get back with the
potatoes.

Besides, there was Baby Joe left at home for’ever so long
with only the youngest boy to mind him—he was sure to cry ;
as soon as he had seen Mary going he had taken his thumb



44 THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS.

out of his mouth and prepared his face to begin, what must it
be by this time?

She jumped up again and began to pull at the heavy sack
—but, oh, dear! she could not even heave it up on to her
shoulder so as to begin carrying it, and, at last, when she
swung it with all her might it came down on her back with
such a thump as to nearly knock her down. Her knees
trembled under her, and she was obliged to let it slide down
again. What should she do? Mary sat still to think. Sup-
posing that she were to take out some of the potatoes and run
home with them leaving the rest on the ground, and then come
back for more? That was a bright idea. But then supposing
that some thief were to steal the others while she was gone—
bag and all?—and the sack was not hers. It had to be
returned. The kind neighbour who had given the potatoes
had made her promise to bring back the sack at once; for he
was a poor man himself, and wanted it, for he had not many.

Mary stood up and looked round. A little way off she
could see Ally and Delly, Rosie and Posie, Meg and Peg, all
playing at tisty-tosties with the cowslip balls which nurse had
made, while Sonnie, who had forgotten all about the soldier,
was sitting close by, making, a sceptre by sticking daisies on a
thorny branch.

How happy and careless they all looked! They knew
nothing about the cares of the tiny, troubled woman, who was
gazing so sadly, first at their merry game, and then at the heavy
sack on the grass which she could not carry.

Just then Mary’s eyes caught a glimpse of something
bright among the clover leaves; this was the brilliant red coat
of the soldier, who, of course, had a handsome uniform and
was proud of it, as it is the nature of some soldiers to be, even
when a dazzling coat is not the only reason why they enlist.



THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS. A5

“What a pretty soldier! How Joey would like it!”
thought little Mary, and she remembered how Baby Joe at
home had nothing but an oyster shell and three shrivelled
acorns to play with. But then it came into her head that the
soldier must belong to somebody. ‘To the children over
there,’ she whispered to herself, and began to creep shyly
towards the gay group, holding out the toy without saying
a word.

“Why, it’s Sonnie’s soldier!” cried Ally; but she did not
say anything else because she was so surprised to see a little
girl in such an old, ragged dress, looking so tired, and sad and
forlorn. She had never seen any little girls like that before, for
there were none where she had lived in India; so she stood
looking at her with a sort of sorrowful wonder.

Then Delly and the others came running up, with Sonnie
too; and he snatched his soldier in his great hurry, while the
rest stood all round, with their fingers in their mouths, staring
at the strange little figure of Mary—a new kind of little girl.
Sonnie ran to show his soldier to nurse.

“You should say ‘Thank you’ to the kind little girl!”
said she, as she looked at Mary. ‘‘ Who are you, my dear?”

Then, as Mary looked up at nurse’s face and saw what a
kind one it was, and how the corners of her mouth turned up,
a thought came into her head. “If you please, I’m Mary,” she
said, “and would you please to mind the bag a minute while I
runs home with some ’taties, ’cause it’s heavy, and I can't get
it no farther—and I’ve got a baby at home!”

Here little Mary could not help one tear from trickling
down her face for fear nurse should say “ No.”

The other children looked more surprised than ever to see
the little girl cry. Had she lost her toys or eaten too many
sweets? It must be something of that sort they supposed, for



46 THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS.

they had. never known any little girls who cried in India except
for reasons of that kind. .

“What is it, my: child? I don’t understand. What
bag?” said nurse, gently.

Little Mary took nurse, leading her by one corner of her
shawl, and showed her the sack with the potatoes in it; and
nurse said she would gladly see that no one stole the rest, while
Mary ran home with as many as she could carry.

“ But you will never get them all home before nightfall at
that rate,” said nurse, as poor little Mary loaded her arms with
a pile of potatoes, which nearly all rolled away again as she
tried to stack them up. She could not think of any other way
to carry them, for her flimsy frock was too thin and tattered to
hold anything so heavy.

“You had best empty all out and take the bag!” nurse
called after her, but Mary did not hear; she was already
running fast with as many as she could manage to grasp.

“The poor little thing will be quite worn out with running
backwards and forwards!” said nurse, half to herself.

“What is it, nurse?” said Ally, coming up. ‘ Why is the
little girl crying ?”

“What does she want to do?” said Delly.

“Can't she carry her bag?” said Rosie.

‘‘T wish we could help her!” said Posie.

“Let us try!” said Meg.

‘I believe I could carry it!” said Peg.

“Me tarry it,” said Sonnie!

Everybody laughed at this, for Sonnie toddled up to the
big bag and gave a great tug which only made him roll over
on to the soft turf giggling with glee.

Ally gave a pull, but could only move the bag an arm’s
length; then Delly tried, next Rosie and Posie came to helps



THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS. 47

Between them they carried the load a short distance, but
found it an impossible matter to manage a bag between four of
them; they kept tumbling up against one another and could get
no proper hold of it at all, especially as Meg, Peg, and Sonnie ran
along shoving behind and tripping themselves and everybody
else up.

They all laughed till they felt quite weak, and were obliged
to let the bag fall. It split, and upset a lot of the potatoes—
they looked at one another quite disappointed.

Now—whether it was the wooden soldier in Sonnie's
pocket who had learnt from the little ants how to manage when
a heavy load was to be carried, and put it into Sonnie’s head,
or whether the idea came of its own accord, I cannot say; but
he suddenly sprang up witha shout of joy and came to the
rescue.

“Mine bastik!” cried he, and running to fetch it he began
to fill it with the spilt potatoes. Aha! that was the way! the
seven little baskets.

Ally and Delly, Rosie and Posie, Meg and Peg ran for
their’s, and in five minutes’ time they had divided the potatoes
between them. Oddly enough they found that each heap
would exactly fit a basket!

How pleased the children were! and by the time that little
tired Mary had reached the cottage, given a drink of milk to her
sick mother, and after cuddling Baby Joe, who was roaring
dreadfully for her, had set out to run again and fetch the next
lot of potatoes, the helpers were more than half way across the
meadow. She meta long row of six little girls, each with her
basket full, while nurse came behind with the sack, helping
Sonnie to carry his share, which he had soon found too heavy
for him.

Little Mary curtseyed and smiled so prettily that nurse



48 THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS.

was obliged to give her a kiss; and then she went in to see the
sick woman and Baby Joe. The cottage looked poor and bare
enough, yet how clean and tidy little Mary contrived to keep it!
besides taking care of everybody.

“T don’t know what I should do without the child! She’s
everything to me, and more!” said the poor mother, looking
fondly at her, and speaking as if there were only one child in
the world.

When nurse and the children went home that morning
they told Uncle Sam and Mrs Rummage about, the poor folk at
the cottage, and about brave little Mary.

After that the seven little baskets went to and fro almost
every day filled with nice things, and toys—not by themselves,
but carried each by a child who liked nothing she had ever done
in India half so well as going to the cottage and comforting the
people who were in trouble.

: Uncle Sam sent Mrs Rummage to see Mary’s mother, and

he went afterwards himself to find out what could be done to
make the cottage more dry and warm, and to help the poor
widow and her children. |

So it was a lucky day for little Mary when the wooden
soldier spied so’ carefully into the ants’ ways! What a good
thing it is to be trained as a military man, and to form watchful
habits! If he had not kept a careful look-out, perhaps Sonnie
and the rest would never have discovered how easily seven
willing little pairs of hands can carry the weight which would
crush one poor pair of shoulders!

“Tt is all owing to me and my ea eats said the
soldier, as he was turning in to barracks for the night under
Sonnie’s pillow; ‘all the credit is mine!”

But / think it was the clever little ants who deserved the
most praise; although they wore sober brown coats instead of
blazing red ones.







Cousin Catherine’s Servants.

More servants wait on man
Than he'll take notice of.
—HERBERT.

NE morning mother came into the room where her little
girl was playing and whispered something to nurse.

Edith could not hear anything but the words “ my
‘Cousin Catherine’s” just at the end—but they made her look
up with sparkling eyes, for she thought that mother was telling
nurse to take her there for the day, as she had often done before
—only why did mother whisper? Edith was just dressing her
dolly in some new clothes which nurse had made. She pre-
tended that Rose had grown out of the last; but really and
truly the old ones were obliged to be burnt, because poor Rose
had been dropped into the gutter the day before. She was
trying to squeeze her dolly’s china arms into the sleeves, which
were rather too small, and forgot to listen any more to what
mother and nurse were saying.

Then mother came up and kissed her, saying, ‘‘ Edith, you’
are to go to Cousin Catherine's at the cottage for a day, and
perhaps if you are very good she will let you stay there and
sleep. Would you like that?”

Edith began to jump about for joy, almost before mother
had done speaking, and then she stopped, for she thought of
how she had never been to bed in all her life without her dear
mother to come and see her before she went to sleep; and so

she said, ‘I don’t want to stay there in the night.”
D





50 COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS.

“ But listen, dear,” mother went on. ‘At first I whispered,
because I thought I would not tell you anything to make you »
sorry just as you are going away; but I think you are old
enough to know. Baby Alice is ill, and I wish you to go and
stay with Cousin Catherine for a little while until I see whether
she is going to be very much worse or not. If she became
really ill you might be ill too if you stayed here, and it makes
poor mother anxious to think of it. Bea good little girl, and
the time will go very quickly. Now good-bye, darling! I must
hurry away.”

“But couldn’t I kiss Baby Alice first?” said Edith, her lip
quivering a little; “because last night I gave her the worst
sweet—the yellow one instead of the red one—when father gave
me one for her and one for me! Oh, how I wish I hadn't done
ile

“Never mind, dearie; another time you will be able to give
Baby the best sweet, and then you will not be unhappy after.
Cheer up, my pet!” After saying a few words more to nurse
about packing Edith’s things, and giving one more kiss to her
little daughter, who was trying bravely not to cry, mother went
back as fast as she could to Baby Alice, while nurse set to work
at putting Edith’s things together.

“Now, Miss Edith,” she said, popping her head in at the
‘nursery door, ‘which of all your toys do you want to take? I
shouldn't take any if I were you—you won't need them there—
you will find plenty to amuse you.”

But Edith could not part from Florence, her oldest dolly,
although she was spoilt (not in the same way that little girls
sometimes are). She had fallen down the stairs and knocked
her nose off, as well as having cracked her chin at the same
time ; so that Edith was obliged to cuddle her a great deal when
she picked her up, and say, ‘“ Never mind, my darling Florence!



COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS. 51

I shall love you just the same.” Yet the little girls from next
door said such horrid things about her that Edith never took
her out again when they were coming in to spend the day. But
she never forgot to say to Florence the evening before, ‘“ Now,
my dearest Florence, to-morrow I am going to put you away.
You won't mind, wf you? And the day after 1 will take you
out and play with you more than ever.”

Nurse did not want Florence to go, because she took up so
much room; and she called her ‘‘a lumbering, rubbishing old
scarecrow.” Edith hoped Florence did not hear; but she was
put in at last, and soon the carriage came round to the door.
Nurse, Edith, and Florence in the trunk were soon spinning
down the carriage-drive.

Cousin Catherine lived in the very sweetest little cottage at
the other end of the park, about five miles from Edith’s home.
It was the greatest pleasure that the children had to spend a
day with her; she was the dearest old lady, with white hair and
spectacles, and everybody called her ‘‘ Cousin Catherine” with-
out exactly knowing whose cousin she was.

This had puzzled Edith at first, because her other cousins
were all little boys and girls of about her own age; and when
she heard that a new cousin was coming to live all alone in the
little thatched cottage at the park gate, Edith had wondered in
her own mind how a little girl could have a house to herself
like that.

‘But won't she have a nurse?” she had asked father; but
he only said, ‘What notion has the child got into her head?”
and laughed as he stroked her hair.

Edith had longed very much to go and see this wonderful
new cousin, but when she reached the thatched cottage there
was only a sweet-faced old lady in spectacles standing in the
doorway, underneath the honeysuckle and roses, waiting for her.



52 COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS.

A white pigeon was sitting on her shoulder, while several more
were fluttering and wheeling about her head ; a dear little woolly
lamb lay at her feet, and a cat with three kittens was licking
her paws on the doorstep.

“But where is my cousin?” Edith had run up to say, and
then the old lady had stooped kindly down to kiss her, saying
in a soft voice, ‘I am your cousin, dear. I suppose you thought
that cousins must always be little and young? Well, I am an
old woman, but I am your father’s cousin, and yours too, and
perhaps you will learn to love me a little, though I am old.”

Ever since that day Edith had loved her Cousin Catherine
more and more each time that she saw her; and she liked the
cocks and hens and the pretty cow with a bell tied to her neck
which fed in a meadow, and Cousin Catherine’s pet lamb, and
all the other free, happy creatures which she liked to have living
near her.

Edith did not love her at all less because she was not a
little girl.

On the morning when nurse, Edith, and her dolly reached
the door of her little thatched house, Cousin Catherine was very
much surprised to see them. Nurse told Edith she might run
round and look at the chickens while she spoke to the old lady
alone; and then she told her how Edith’s mother feared that
her baby Alice was going to be ill from fever, and that she
begged Cousin Catherine to keep Edith with her until she had
sent for the doctor, who would tell her whether it was safe for _
Edith to come back or not. ‘And my mistress told me to say,
ma’am, that she would send over one of the servants to take
care of Miss Edith, only she said I was to ask you first, in case
of your not wishing it.”

“No, thank you, nurse,” said Cousin Catherine laughingly.
‘No more servants for me; they are more plague than profit—



COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS. 53

all but a few old good and true ones like yourself, only I am
afraid there are none left nowadays. No, we shall do very well
as We are.”

Nurse smiled and said, ‘‘ Mistress said
she knew your ways, ma’am, and so she
did not send one.”

“T have quite as many servants as
I want, I can assure you, nurse,” said
Cousin Catherine with another smile.

As she said these last words Edith came dancing round
the corner to fetch Florence out of the box, for she wanted to
show her the pig which was grubbing for pignuts at thekedge
of the wood, and to play a game at wild beasts with him and
her dolly, pretending that the pig was a hippopotamus. Sie
was just in time to catch Cousin Catherine’s last words, about
having as many servants as she needed.

“Why, Cousin Catherine, where are theyre ve shem Said:
‘There isn’t any room in here. Oh, what a dear little house
it is, just like playing at having a hut. But where are all your
servants, Cousin Catherine? I have only seen an old woman
sitting at the kitchen window round at the back, peeling
potatoes, and she asked me how many pairs of boots I wore
out in a week, running about like that, amcepl esaideylcdicinst
know.”

“That is Mrs Jones, who comes in to cook my dinners,
and scrub my floors,” said Cousin Catherine. “ She lives over
there in the wood close by, and that is her pig which you saw.
Her husband milks my cow for me, and she makes the butter.
But she is not the only servant I have. A great many servants
wait on me, oh, an immense number, more than you can count
if you tried. They work hard for me, or else I shouldn’t have
anything to eat or to use.” |





54 COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS.

“Where are they? Where do they go to bed?” said
Edith, looking all round her, as they stood on the threshold.

“Come!” said Cousin Catherine. ‘I will tell you about
all my servants at some other time; but now, while the sun
is shining, I think you had much better be running about out-
side. A long while ago I could have run about with you, but
now you see I can only walk slowly. Once I was a little girl
and wore out boots, like you Y

Ohne youl cant hayer been said Edith, looking up into
Cousin Catherine’s face—for she did not look as if she ever
could have been young, and Edith had thought of it before.

“T was really,” said Cousin Catherine, “and now I will
tell-you something still harder to believe. If you live long
enough, one day you will be an old woman like me. So go
and run about while you can, and be as merry and happy as
the days are long. Do you see that big black cloud frowning
over there? That will bring rain before long; then if we have
to stay indoors I will tell you some stories of my servants—
of a few at least—tell you where they live, and all I know about
them. You had better not go far away from the See for one
of them has just told me aoa the rain will begin soon.’

“T didn’t see anyone,” said Edith, “ or hear anyone.”

‘Perhaps not, but I did,” said Cousin Catherine.

Edith went away to play, very anxious to know about
Cousin Catherine’s servants. ‘For perhaps one of them will
put me to bed,” she said to herself, ‘and so it will be a good
thing to know whether she is cross or not.”

It was very pleasant in the field. The pig ran away when
the little girl and her dolly wanted to play with him; but Edith
said that did not matter, for she thought it was just what a real
hippopotamus would have done, only she wished he would have
torn up the ground a little more.





COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS. 55

But it was not long before the rain really did begin.

“So that servant was right,” said Edith, as she snatched
up Florence and ran into the house. It was snug and so pretty |
inside, there were bright curtains and a smooth polished floor
with straw mats here and there; beautiful pictures hung on the
walls, which Cousin Catherine had painted herself. She could
draw anything she liked so quickly and easily that it made one
laugh with pleasure to see her do it. She often amused the
children for hours together by her drawings when they came to
see her; for she could make up story pictures about little boys
and girls, giants and fairies, or birds and flowers, or hens or
tigers, anything that the children asked for: it was all the same
to those clever fingers. She would write down words under-
neath each and pretend that the people in the picture were
telling the tale themselves. Oh, it was no hardship to spend
a whole long wet day at Cousin Catherine's and she never got
tired of it herself; as long as she had a pencil in her hand she
seemed to be quite happy and to forget that she was old.

“T do believe your pencil does it of itself!” said Edith to
leroncers ulueta7eatiyes

But when Edith held it the horses’ legs came all wrong ;
the bodies of the animals were mere lumps, and nothing was
pretty or nice; so it couldn’t have been only the pencil after all.
She was half glad to hear the rain pelting down when Cousin
Catherine took her hat off and told her to sit down beside her
at the table, where a great many pieces of paper lay ready, with
a pencil. It was so much more delightful in the house she
thought, as the splashing became louder and louder outside.

“Tt won't be dinner-time for two hours,” said Cousin
Catherine; ‘so, now, look here. I will make some drawings
of my servants, since you are so anxious to know what they are
like—shall 12 And first of all you asked, ‘Where do they



56 COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS.

sleep?’ Why, some of my servants sleep in the stables, some
in the trees, some in the fields, others in farmyards or folds.”

Edith opened her eyes very wide.

“Now, look here. These are the servants who bring me
my breakfast every morning. But I will draw them first and
tell you about them after.”

Cousin Catherine took six pieces of paper and began to
Sketch quickly. She drew and drew as fast as possible, so that
the things seemed to grow up in a minute under her fingers.
In about half an hour the six pieces of paper were well filled in,
each with a picture of its own, the name written at the top.

And what do you think the six pictures were? They were
groups of animals great and small; some were creatures which
Edith knew very well, such as cows, sheep, and horses; others
seemed to be small insects. She did not know what others
were called.

‘But where are the servants?” she said.

“Here. These are the servants, for instance; that brings
me my breakfast,’ said Cousin Catherine, taking up the first
picture. ‘We could not possibly have any breakfast to-morrow
morning without these.” |

Edith looked at the slip of paper. On it was drawn a cow,
a hen, and several long teams of horses, some ploughing, others
drawing waggons. In one corner stood a beehive with a swarm
of bees going in and out of it.

‘Oh, I know what you mean!” cried Edith, clapping her
hands. “I know what a cow does very well; it brings me milk
for my breakfast. But the others, we don’t want horses and a
hen for breakfast!”

“Don’t we? Some people like an egg for their breakfast,”
said Cousin Catherine. ‘I fancy you would like to have one
to-morrow, perhaps, if the kind hen will spare you one, to eat



COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS. 57

with your bread, and the butter and milk from the cow. You
can’t have an egg without a hen to lay it, you know.”

‘But horses?” Edith went on: ‘I don’t want a horse at
breakfast-time. Why did you draw so many?”

“You will do without bread at your breakfast then 2” said



Cousin Catherine. ‘‘ You cannot have bread unless the land is
ploughed, the corn carried to and from the mill. How is this

to be done if there are no horses?”
“But I saw them ploughing the flat field by the church

with a steam engine,” said Edith.



58 COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS.

“They do sometimes, but not always,” said Cousin
Catherine. ‘But even when they plough without horses they
cannot carry home the corn’ by steam; the baker cannot bring
the loaves round to the door in a steam engine.”

“ But why is a bee-hive here, and what are all those birds
doing up in the air?”

“Vou don’t want honey for your breakfast, then? If you
do, the bee must get it. No one else can; once, I believe, a
man did try, and it took him months to do what a bee could do
in an hour.”

“Why?” said Edith.

“Well, in the first place, the man could not fly; then he
had great clumsy fingers and tools instead of the marvellous
trunk of a bee. He soon found out that it was the bee’s place
to collect the honey, and his to eat it after.

“As to these birds, if it were not for them many a field of
corn or turnips would be wasted. That is why they are put
into the picture. When the corn is ripe they do eat some ;, that
is quite true; but then all through the winter and early spring
they go on feeding on insects which would devour five or S1X
times as much corn as the little birds do themselves. The
farmer does not think of that, or else he would be ready to
spare them a handful of the corn which they have saved for
him. . .

“There is no room to put into the picture all the other
creatures which help the corn to grow. There are earthworms,
for instance. We shouldn’t like to see one on the breakfast
table, and yet they help to get the food ready. If it were not
for the holes they make in the ground the grain would not grow
nearly so well, perhaps not at all.

“Once the sea came and washed over a piece of land,
killing all the earthworms ; afterwards that piece of land would



COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS. 59

not grow corn or anything else, until more earthworms came to
live in it by degrees.

“But there is-no time to count up a@// the servants that
help in this matter; these area few. We will look at the next
picture now.” ;

“Oh, what a lot of things this one has in it!” said Edith.
“There is quite a crowd! I see a sheep, and more horses, and
such a pretty little thing like a squirrel—and a great bird that
walks and cannot fly; I forget its name, but the bird is taller
than a horse, and it seems aN
to run faster than they can. | yr T ~D
O, Cousin Catherine, they are --\yS 8
running a race, aren’t they! 7
and the bird is in front?”

‘atisan ostrich.» Itjcan
run faster than the quickest
horse tts is sof nom use! for
people to try to outstrip it.
The people who hunt them
play tricks on the poor ostrich.
A black man dresses himself up in a bunch of feathers to look like
an ostrich as much as he can. He smears something over his
legs to make them white like the bird’s, stalks about, pretends to
feed, using his arm like the creature’s neck, and doing as nearly
as possible what he sees the real ostriches do. He creeps as
close as he can toa herd of them, in hopes that the birds will
mistake him for one of themselves. At last when he is near
enough, he takes out a bow and arrows which he has kept
hidden all the time, and shoots one, or two if he can, before the
rest find him out and run away.”

‘Why does he shoot the poor ostrich ?”

“What is that which I saw in your hat, Edith, that pretty
white thing curled round it?”



hfe wo)



60 COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS.

“A feather,” said Edith. ‘ Did that come from an ostrich ?
Perhaps it dropped off and they picked it up,” she added ; for
she did not like to think that such a great, grand bird should be
killed only that she might have a feather in her hat.

“Tt might have been picked up,” said Cousin Catherine,
“for in South Africa they have ostrich farms; and they do not
kill the birds to get their feathers, but collect those that are
dropped. This is a picture of the servants that bring clothes
for us to wear, you see—the ostrich brings us a feather, which
does not seem much.”

“What a big nest it must sit upon!” said Edith; “and
how does it find a tree large enough? And can it sing? What
a great song it must sing!”

“Tt would be a great song,” said Cousin Catherine, ‘‘ but it
doesn’t sing, it makes a sort of roar. It builds no nest, but
lays its eggs in a heap of sand, fourteen or fifteen at a time.
The sun is so hot in the land where the ostriches live that the
warm beams hatch the eggs. The mother need only sit on
them at night; but she and the father ostrich take great care
of their babies when they are hatched. The eggs have a very
strong shell; one of them would be a good meal for five people,
and afterwards the shell makes a useful cup. The Arabs cover
them with basket-work and carry them on their journeys to
drink from.”

“What does the ostrich eat?” said Edith.

“ Anything he can get,” said Cousin Catherine. “ He will
even swallow great stones, and all sorts of queer things. Once
I read a story about an old woman who was very anxious to see
some ostriches. She had never seen one, and several were to
be shown at the small town near which she lived. So she
locked up her cottage, and taking the door-key in her hand she
set off. When she came to the place where the ostriches were



COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS. 61

walking about, she was very pleased to see them, and one of
them seemed very glad to-see the old woman, for he walked
close up to her as if to say, ‘ How kind of you to come!—is that
thing in your hand some little dainty for me?’ and in an instant
he had snatched the door-key away and swallowed it! So the
old lady could not get into her house when she got back without
breaking into it like a thief; she said she never wanted to go
and see any wild beasts again.

“Now look at the sheep. He is not so large and hand-
some as the ostrich, yet he is a far more useful servant, although
he is only kind enough to give us his old clothes when he has
done with them. We should shiver in our beds, and be cold all
day in winter too, without the wool which the shears cut from
his back.”

“But what is that thing like a shell? and this like a
caterpillar?” asked Edith. ‘And horses again! What use
are they for dressing people?”

“What are those pretty little shining buttons made of in
your cuff? A sea creature gives its shell to make those. And
these other buttons, on your dress, are made of bones, and
coloured afterwards. Perhaps they are made from the bone of a
horse, or sheep. The horses are wanted for carrying too. That
caterpillar is meant for a silk-worm. I could not have my satin
gown, or you your pretty red sash without him. Then for the
leather of our boots—for the soles as well as the top parts,—we
must have the skins of animals.” |

“Let me see the next picture!” said Edith. ‘I can see
such a funny thing there! It is all made up of great serpents—
they all seem to be going into a turnip!”

“Wait a moment; finish the other picture. You have
forgotten the pretty little creature like a squirrel,” said Cousin
Catherine, “wearing that pretty gray silvery fur; I put him



62 COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS.

that you may see what pretty creatures must be killed if people
will have fur to wear—not only the fox, the bear, the monkey,
and a dozen others, but even this little fellow. He is called a
chinchilla. Look at his pretty bright eyes! He is quite harm-
less. When you grow up don’t you wear the skins of animals
on your back! Woven dresses are much better; and nothing
need die to give you cotton or woollen clothes. Poor little soft
playful things! Itisa pity to take a beautiful happy life away
for a silly reason, isn’t it? Now for the next picture—the
turnip with serpents crawling into it, as you called it, is a
cuttle-fish. This picture has portraits in it of all the servants
that help me to paint.”

“Why, there is a pig!” said Edith, “and a little thing
running along rather like a rat, only longer and thinner, and a
leaf with some grains sticking to it.” |
_ “Piggy gives me his bristles to make this stiff white brush
for painting in oils,’ said Cousin Catherine, “and the soft,
reddish-brown brush is made from the hairs of that little
creature, called a sable. That leaf is from a coffee-plant; the
things upon it which look something like tiny tortoises, are
cochineal insects; and when they are dead and ground to
powder, they make this lovely crimson coloured paint called
carmine, brighter than the brightest deep-red rose. And this
strange creature with the round body and eight long arms,
which you mistook for serpents, is a cuttle-fish. He gives this
brown colour called sepia, which is very useful, though not so
pretty as carmine. He carries it inside this round bag, which
is his body, and squirts the dusky juice out into the water when
he is frightened, to darken it all round him so that-his enemy
cannot see him in the middle of the fog then. But the fisher-
men are quick, and manage to hook him out before he has time
to empty his bag.”



COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS. 63

“ But that is only two of your paints,” said Edith. ‘Who
made all the rest?”

“It would take too long to tell. Some are made of plants,
some of stones,” said Cousin Catherine. ‘But I am much
obliged to piggy and all the other animals and plants that give
me my paints and brushes, for I should be very dull without
them. I should not know how to fill up my time.”

“Couldn't you play on the piano?”

“Oh, yes; but not unless my servants were good enough
to help me. I can play on the violin too, that is, I could once.
But I could have no music from either, if an elephant, a horse,
and a silkworm did not do something towards it.”

“Can't you play on the piano without an elephant?” said
Edith, and she laughed merrily. ‘Oh, Cousin Catherine, how
funny that is!”

“See, here in this other picture are the servants that help
about music.”

“There are two elephants in the front,” said Edith; “what
are they doing? And a silk-
worm up there—and, oh, what
a long tail that horse has got!”

“When I wasa girl I saw
elephants at work like that in
India,” said Cousin Catherine, .
“They were picking up logs
of wood. They did it so well,
andworked so cleverly—lifting
the logs with their trunks, and
stacking them neatly. Then
as soon as the pile became too tall, so that both elephants together
could not lift up the logs high enough to put them on the top,
they placed two of the largest logs side by side to lean against





64 COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS.

the stack, and rolled the others up them with their tusks ; they
could push them up quite easily that way. The wood was
ebony—what the sharps and flats are made of ina piano. The
white notes are made of slices from the tusks of elephants; so
you see we could not have such nice smooth keys without these
big, patient servants. The strings of a violin are made from
the bodies of silkworms killed before they begin to spin; this
silver one is made of silken threads twisted round with fine
wire. As for the horse, he spares the long hairs from his tail
to make that part of the bow, which draws the music out. But
I think that Mrs Jones wants to lay the
cloth for our dinner—we must hurry over
the last two pictures.”

‘“There is not much in this one; only a
goose, and some little round marbles growing
on astem with a fly crawling on one of them,”
said Edith.

“The servants which bring me my pen and
ink when I want to write a letter,” said Cousin Catherine. ‘The
goose gives me the quill feathers from her wing—she is very kind
too in letting me have the down from her breast for my pillow,
besides which her body can be eaten, and her fat is a cure for
the pains which poor old souls like me get in their joints, and
which go away sometimes when rubbed with ‘goose-grease, as
the country folk call it. Thank you, good goose, for many a
comfortable night’s rest, many an ache driven away, and many a
pleasant hour spent in writing. But I must have ink as well as
a pen, and that little fly in the picture lays her eggs in a sort of
oak-tree. The sap from the bough runs out as the fly pricks a
hole to put her eggs into, and covers it all round, hardening
into a ball like an English oak gall, only this sort does not
grow here. The egg turns into a grub and lives inside the ball





COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS. 65

until it wants to change into a fly, when it bites a passage
through its prison, finds that wings have grown upon its back,
and flutters away to lay more eggs. The best ink is made from
these galls, though other things are sometimes used instead.”

“Now the last of all the pictures is come,” said Edith with
a sigh, as Cousin Catherine took up the only one left, and said:

“You asked me how I knew that it would rain soon, and I °
told you that a servant had whispered to me that a storm was
coming. That was the swallow which went shooting past close
to the ground. Now when the flies and small spiders which he
is chasing fly or float so near the ground that the swallow is
obliged almost to brush the grass with his wings before he can
catch any, it shows that the air is damp already from the coming
rain, and that their gauzy wings or webs are weighed down by
it. That was how I learnt from the swallow that rain was at
hand, and that the clouds were already making the air moist.
Then I saw a snail peep out of her house and venture her horns
and the tip of her tail outside; her skin could feel the cooling
rain ; although it was a long way off still, she knew it was coming.
And the cat felt chilly in her back, for she was sitting as close as
she could get to the kitchen fire, turning it towards the heat.”

‘“And what is that ugly toad doing ?”

“What ugly toad?” said Cousin Catherine. ‘I am sorry
I have drawn it badly. It could not be wgly re
unless I had made it so in the drawing.”

‘John at home, the stable-boy, calls
them ugly,” said Edith.

“Then I shouldn't copy John at a
home, the stable-boy, if I were you,”
said Cousin Catherine. ‘When people are going to call any
creature wg/y it would be wiser to stop a minute and remember

Who made it.”



E



66 COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS.

“T forgot that God made toads,” said Edith in a low voice.

“Now / think that a toad has a comical, laughable beauty
of its own,” said Cousin Catherine; “it is exquisitely made for
the life it has to lead. When: that one crept out just now,
because his skin told him that rain was coming and he would
soon have a refreshing bath, I watched his eyes. They were
more brilliant than this bright jewel in my ring, and his back
was covered with fine velvety markings, something like those of
a tabby cat. He is not nice to touch, because, as he is gentle
and harmless, without any other means of defending himself, he
is able to squeeze drops of liquid out of his skin which are not
pleasant to have about one’s hands ; but as the poor toad neither
bites, scratches, pecks, nor stings, one need hardly grudge him
this one way of keeping his enemies at a distance. He makes
himself nasty because he does not wish to be meddled with. I
think I have known people with tempers of that sort. Yet,
although this is all he can do to prevent himself from being
pulled about, silly people have invented lies about him, saying
that he spits out fire and poison. No dog will take a toad into
its mouth because of the acid taste of him; but he does no other
harm to man or beast—not even that, unless disturbed and
worried. On the other hand, he does a great deal of good. I
keep one in my greenhouse to eat the flies and other creeping
things. He is tame and knows me quite well. ieireshe sam
the middle of the picture, among the other servants who give
me a hint of what sort of weather I may expect. Now, did you
count up how many servants I have got? I do not think you
could, yet I have not told you half. Another time perhaps I
will tell you about some more. But oh, dear! how I do wish
people would be kind to their servants, especially to the poor,
willing, hard-working horses,, without which they would be
puzzled how to get on at all.”



COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS. 67

Edith was not glad when the rain cleared off, for she liked
staying indoors at Cousin Catherine’s, listening to her stories or
watching her while she drew pictures.

When she went to bed that night Cousin Catherine helped
her to say her prayers, as mother was not there; and she taught
Edith to say a new prayer after she had finished her others.

It was: “O Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, whose
tender mercy is over all Thy works, be graciously pleased to bless
all men, everywhere, and to put it into their hearts to be kind to
the innocent, helpless creatures which Thou hast given them to
be their faithful servants, for the sake of the Lamb of God, Thy
dear son, Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.”

Edith remembered to say this prayer every night afterwards
at home, although she did not stay for many more days at the
thatched cottage. |

She was sorry when the carriage came to take her away
from kind Cousin Catherine’s, but how could she help being
glad too, as it was to bring her back to mother and dear little
Baby Alice?



The Ugliest One.

“T had a cat and a cat loved me,
And I fed my cat under a hollow tree ;
My cat cried miew, miew, miew !
Everybody loves their cat, and I love my cat too.” ..
—NursERY RHYME.
Ma; Y sister Ruth and I were very fond of going to see the
4: farmer's wife, Mrs Hird, who lived out at the far end
of the village beyond the church; partly because she
had a tempting duck pond where we used to sail paper boats,
and partly because there were so many cats about her place that
one or other of them was sure to have kittens to be played with.
There were cats in the house and cats in the garden; cats in the
stable and cats in the barn; although these were long and
lanky, and always ran away from you if you tried to make
friends with them, instead of coming and butting against your
petticoats as the house cats did.

There were two specially lean and hungry looking cats
which lived in the chaff-house. They were mother and
daughter; and when they had kittens the kittens seemed
somehow to be born more knowing and grown up than the
roly-poly velvet indoor kitties. |

Instead of being helpless, these little things would stagger
across the boards and try to play with one another's tails
almost before they could walk properly, or even see—and would
catch rats bigger than themselves soon ; while the house pussies
were sleeping all day, lapping milk and expecting their mothers
to wash their faces for them.

Ruth and I were fond of these kitties because no one else









THE UGLIEST ONE. 69

seemed to take much notice of them, and Ruth always picked
out things of that sort to pet. She would leave the pond and
the chickens and the lambs and go straight to the chaff-house
that she might have as long a time as possible there.

The full-grown mother and daughter cats were not allowed
to keep their babies for very long; indeed, if they had been
there would soon have been no room to hold them, there came
so many.

Once Mrs Hird was obliged to drown seven which she
found in a comfortable hole in the haystack ; and Ruth cried all
the way home that day because she had seen them in a bucket ;
but the little things were too young to feel any pain. The
eighth was left alive—but nobody knew who was the mother of
it, for the two chaff-house cats had it between them. Some-
times one would carry it about in her mouth, lick it and take
care of it, and sometimes the other, so that it was impossible to
settle whose it was.

‘But why are those two cats so thin and tall?” Ruth used
to ask pitifully—for they were not nice to cuddle; so bony;
even if you could have caught them.

“Tt's with catching of rats, miss,” Mrs Hird would say.
“They are excellent cats for catching of rats.”

This accidental rhyme of Mrs Hird’s used to please us
greatly—we. used to try to make her say it again, by leading the
conversation often up to the chaff-house cats.

As for their tempers, all I can say is that they were most
unkind to dogs; and we had to leave off taking Lassie and
Bounce and Mumps, our three dogs, up to the farm, because, if
one of them, on a sniffing expedition, happened in the most
innocent way to pass the chaff-house door, out would fly these
two indignant cats grinning and prancing in front of the dog,
and clawing at him in the most;unprovoked way, while even the



70 THE UGLIEST ONE.

kitten crumpled itself up and hissed in a whisper. The dogs
seldom came away without scratched noses, and never without
wounded feelings. .

As I said, Ruth always chose the worst things. She used
to have toothache a great deal; and somehow at home we
always used to think that was the reason of it, I am sure I do
not know why.

To this very day, if I see a little girl with her face tied up,
looking pale, I always expect that she will take the smallest
apple out of the plate, and not make any fuss about having to
stay at home when all the others go out to enjoy themselves,
and that she will always like the oldest, raggedest dolls the best,
and never seem to care if she has to do disagreeable things.

I think we used to have this fancy because Ruth was so
brave about going to have a tooth out, it used to make us think
she felt things less than the rest of us should have done.

It was too bad, but we used to put all the unpleasant
errands on her to do; such as asking for things we almost knew
we might not have, and breaking the news when anybody had
upset the ink, and things of that sort. It was always ‘“ Ask
Ruth, she will do it!” or “Get Ruth to go, she won’t mind.”

I think Ruth ad mind, only she bore the messages and
did the things just the same as if she didn’t. She would give
one little sigh, perhaps, and then go quite cheerfully.

It was one of the greatest griefs of Ruth’s life that she was
not allowed to have a kitten of her own. Mother did not care
about cats, and father had broods of pheasant and partridge
chicks which were being reared in a yard behind the stable, and
pigeons too; so that we were only allowed one serious-minded
old cat called Griffin; who was so honest and altogether above
suspicion that he thought it a crime even to look at the chickens,
although he lived in the stable close by.



THE UGLIEST ONE. 71

He was fat enough for half-a-dozen cats; Mrs O’Flaningan,
the cook, who adored him, took care of that.



She thought it very hard that she was not allowed a cat in
her kitchen, but she was obliged to put up with a trap for the
mice instead, though she was always grumbling, ‘“ Sorrow a bit,



72 THE UGLIEST. ONE.

”

thin, can the machane sit in me lap and keep me company,
while she was baiting it.

Griffin may have been an “excellent cat” in his way, but
it certainly was not as a catcher of rats that he came out strong.
He would let them run squeaking about the stables under his
very whiskers without offering to hurt a hair of their heads.

One day Ruth and I were going to Mrs Hird’s about some
raspberries which she was going to let cook have for jam. As
soon as we had seen Mrs Hird and told our errand Ruth said,
as usual, ‘‘ Let us go and see the excellent cats for catching of
rats.” So we went up the chaff-house steps, and as there were
fresh clean bundles of straw, we sat down while Ruth hugged
the kitten. Both its mothers were out, and we were glad—they
came creeping up in such a curious half-frightened, half-angry
way if you touched their baby.

I really must say that it was anything but a pretty kitten;
and yet it had an odd, sweet little face that one liked almost
better than the ordinary perfect pansy-face of pussies without a
fault. It was partly tabby and partly white; but the tabbiness
left off in such funny places. Over one eye, for instance, it had
a sort of tabby frown which made it look very wise, and a
streak ran crookedly across its forehead, just missing the left
ear, while the other was dark. Its nose was black, and it had
splotches of tabby here and there on the rest of its body, with
quite a handsome tabby tail. ‘If you were only to see its tail,”
Ruth used to say, “while I covered up the rest of it, you would
never guess what a surprise its body would be! ”

Its eyes were blue from youngness, and had as yet a blank
stare; yet when Ruth rustled an ear of corn in front of it, one
feeble paw stole out and began to pat the dangling straw in
quite an old-world way.

“Let's pretend things now,” said Ruth, that was her



THE UGLIEST ONE. 73

favourite game; ‘‘ Let us pretend that mother has told us we
may each bring home a kitten, and that Mrs Hird says we may
choose. Wait a minute, I'll go and fetch some more kittens ;
no, I don’t think I had better, because if the ‘excellent cats’
came back they might not like it. Cats don’t like other people's
kittens generally.”

‘“Now, Bessie, just think—pretending you know—would
you have that little white’ one with the blue eyes that we saw
sitting outside the front door, or the black one with yellow eyes
that was up the trellis-work, or one of those three tabbies that
were rolling together in the parsley bed? Or ‘

“What's the good of pretending when you know we
mustn’t have one?” I said.

Ohe butwislike ith” sRuthiwent one: Ican make it
seem quite real that I am going to take home a kitty—which do
you think 7 should have—if you won't have one?”

“The ugliest, I suppose,” said I, for I knew Ruth’s ways
quite well.

“ How could you guess that, Bessie? Yes, I should,” said
Ruth, kissing the kitten in her lap. ‘“ And I do think you are
the ugliest, you little dear! Yes, I would have you. Oh, how
I wish I could just put it in my pocket and take it home! Do
you know, Bessie, the other morning, when my tooth hurt so in
the night and I was in bed, I rolled up a bit of the bedclothes
to bea kitty and I am almost sure I heard it purr, only it was
not guife the same as a real one. Yes, I should have you,
darling, because, you see, I am afraid people won't like you so
much because of your smudges; and the boys will throw stones
at you perhaps, and nobody will take care of you, you are so
ugly; but I love you.”

The little kitten made a small rattle in its throat as if it
had suddenly found out that this world was meant to be purred in.





74 THE UGLIEST ONE.

“If it only wasn’t wrong to do things. without people’s
knowing it!” said Ruth after a moment’s pause. “ This kitten
would go so easily into my pocket and we could keep it in the
doll’s house and take it up to bed every night.”

“It would grow up, you see,” said I. It was always my
fate to spoil Ruth’s plans. “ Besides, it would be certain to

: miew, and Miss
Straitlace (that was
our governess) would
hear it—and besides,
Ruth, it is not nice
hiding things from
mother.”

No sad Ruth,
>, getting up with a
#) sigh, and putting
' kitty into a nest of
hay, out of which it
instantly wrigeled
in that obstinate way
that kittens always
do when you are
only thinking — of
their good.

“Come along, we



must go home now,” said I.
As we went through the yard Mrs Hird was talking to the
baker's wife and promising her a kitten to catch the rats in her
back-kitchen.
“They are excellent cats for catching of rats,” she was
saying ; and then she told the baker’s wife to send her little girl
in a week’s time to fetch the kitten, and advised that they



THE UGLIEST ONE. 75

should butter its feet well as soon as they got it inside the
house, so that it might sit down to lick its paws and so forget
to run home again to its old home.

“They are going to send the ugliest one away,” said Ruth.
“T must run back and say good-bye to it.”

Some time passed before we went to Mrs Hird’s again,
and when we did the ugliest one was gone; but its mother and
grandmother had each kittens hidden away somewhere; they
were determined to keep their families to themselves this time,
and no one had yet found out their whereabouts.

Ruth and I had not long to stay at that visit, we were
obliged to hurry back because we were going for a long walk
that afternoon ; and lessons had to be done first. The boys had
a half-holiday, and we were all going to take the dogs for a
swim in the canal. It was great fun taking the dogs there; for
Bounce, who was a water spaniel, would give himself such airs,
and try to coax Lassie, a beautiful young collie dog, to go into
the water as he did himself. She did not like it, although when
once in she could swim as easily and well as a water-snake; she
always thought that some dreadful accident had happened to her
if she ever got out of her depth. She would hurry out of the
water and come to her master to be pitied; looking up into his
face with sad, gentle, brown eyes, trying to say, “Only think!
I might never have seen you any more!” Then she would not
go near the water again for ever so long.

That afternoon we were all very merry, and we went quite
a long way; far enough for us, though the dogs were never
satisfied, but always fixed three pairs of reproachful eyes at us
when we took a turning which seemed to be leading towards
home. At last we came to some marshy fields, crossed by
trenches filled with water, where Lassie walked most warily for
fear she should slip into a stream by accident, for she had



76 THE UGLIEST ONE.

slipped into the canal, egged on by Bounce, once already that
day, and thought herself warned.

These fields led us ito the high-road. We had not gone
very far along it before we saw Lassie standing still in front of
something she had found; wagging her tail and making playful
pounces at it, then Seating back with an absurd gambol as if
she were inviting the thing, whatever it was, to come out of the
hedge and play with her.

She would do that in front of a lamb if she met one in the



fields, and look most puzzled when the lamb did not respond to
the invitation, or she would do the same to a frog, toad, or rat.
She never hurt anything; and I once knew her carry a rat
in her mouth nearly all the way home, until it squeaked,
when she set it quietly down and it ran away scot free. I
am afraid that Lassie became sterner about rats as she grew
older.

When the boys saw that Lassie had found something, they



THE UGLIEST ONE. 77

came running up to see what it was, and we came on more
slowly behind.

‘Poor beggar!” I heard Gerald say.

‘Pick up the poor little brute!” said Tom.

“I wonder whether it is a hedgehog; I do so want to see
one,” said Ruth, and she began to run.

But when we all came up to the place, we saw Tom
stroking the creature which Gerald had taken up; not holding
it as if it were prickly.

‘Whats it?” asked Ruth. “Oh poor little thing! it is
a kitten. And—oh, Bessie! I do believe—yes, it is. It is the
ugliest one!” and she stretched out her hands for it.

“How could it get here? Look at it! it’s leg is broken or
something—and how thin it is! It is the ugliest one, I know
its marks quite well. Has it run away, or what?”

“Tt has had a bad hit from a stone,” said Tom, handling it,
but not roughly. “The kindest thing to do would be to kill
lie
“That is what people always say!” said Ruth; “but I don’t
think it is at all a kind thing to do!” and she laid the kitten
against her round cheek, although its fur was all out of order,
clammy and dirty and wet from wandering in the fields.

“You know you wouldn’t like to be killed yourself!” went
on Ruth, while her tears ran over and dripped on the kitty’s
nose; ‘“‘and I don’t believe its leg is broken a bit. Just see!
it can walk up my arm quite well. It is only starved, and I
must take it home with me, and you must help!—I mean by
persuading people!”

‘Well, I don’t see how we can leave it in the road here,”
said the boys, who were not half so unkind as they sometimes
pretended to be.

“They won't let you bring it into the house, and you can’t



73 THE UGLIEST ONE.

keep it in the garden,” said Tom, leaving off whistling for a
moment to speak.

“It’s such a hideous little beast, and so dirty!” added
Gerald.

“But Pll tell you what; put it into the stable and feed it
up. It won’t look so bad in a few days then, perhaps,” said
Tom, eyeing the kitten doubtfully; “and, may be, mother
would let you keep it, or you could give it away.”

“T shouldn't say anything about it at first.”

Ruth wanted to rescue the kitten so much, and so did I,
and so did the boys, though they did not say so, that between
us we made a plan to keep it in the coach-house without
anyone's knowing it for a time; and I-am afraid we forgot that
we ought not to do things without telling father or mother.

“She never fo/d us not to keep a kitten in the coach-house,
you know,” said Ruth slowly.

“IT suppose she didn’t think we should want to,” said I.
“You could not possibly think of a/ the things a person might
want to do and tell them not to do them. You remember when
Tom fried a mushroom on that slate over the gas; when father
smelt the smell, and Tom said nobody had told him not to do
it, father said——”

“But we can tell mother by-and-bye, so perhaps it won’t
matter,” Ruth broke in cheerfully.

Then we agreed to feed kitty when the dogs were fed, and
to get milk for it ‘‘ somehow.”

I think I had it in my head that “ somehow” must mean
going about with the bottle we made liquorice water in for our
doll’s feasts, and filling it in the pantry when cook was not
looking. But as this did not seem a pleasant plan, we thought
that “somehow” when Griffin’s milk was taken up to the stable
we could get some for the kitten too.



THE UGLIEST ONE. 79

“Til tell you what!” said Ruth suddenly, “I daresay
Griffin will let it live in the stable with him and have some of
_ his meals. Perhaps he would like to pretend that the kitten is
his son. Let us try when we go in; nobody could mind that if
Griffin didn’t! Iam sure he must be very dull in the stable all
alone!”

This idea seemed such a good one that we determined to
try it, and spent the rest of the way home in inventing a name
for little pussy. We thought of a great many, but all of them
seemed too common for such an uncommon-looking animal as
he undoubtedly was. At last Ruth said, “If it is to be the son
of Griffin, we had better call it Fitz-Griffin; like Fitz-Howard,
you know, means the son of Howard, and Fitz-Allen the son of
Allen.”

This was such a bright thought! We agreed that Fitz-
Griffin should be the name of the little waif, with Fitz for
short.

“ He looks something like a Griffin, too,” said Ruth.

“Look how he spreads out his claws when he is pleased
and waves them about!” And indeed the kitten had an odd,
rampant sort of way when Ruth put it on the ground for a
moment, of sitting bolt upright and clawing the air just like the
dragon on my father’s seal. This was a queer way of begging
to be carried which that kitten always had, and which it must
have learnt of its own accord, together with many other tricks
which we found out afterwards.

We made haste home, overjoyed to think of having settled
so comfortable a home in the stable for our new pet, where it
would have the society of a respectable member of its own kind.
However, we were disappointed in this matter, for whether it
was that Griffin, being a cat advanced in life, did not care to
have young and gay friends about him, or whether he liked to



SO THE UGLIEST ONE.

have the stable to himself, or whether he had some other reason,
one thing is certain, that nothing could be less like a father’s
conduct than his, when he saw his would-be child. He swore,
he spat, he rushed at it and boxed its ears; he never rested till
he had fairly driven the stranger out of the premises.

We looked at each other; the boys chuckled. What was
to bevdoneinext 2

“There is the loft over the stable,” said Tom. ‘‘Go up the
ladder and put it up there, you can take away the ladder when
you come down, so that nothing can get up.”

The stable was empty of horses at the time, and we some-
times used that loft as a play-house in wet weather. We made
the kitten a bed there, and fetched it food and milk.

Oh how that hungry little thing ate and drank! It went
on as if it had not seen food for a week; which was about the
truth I suppose. When it had done it was as round and tight
as a little ball, instead of being flat and thin, and it soon fell
fast asleep.

We came away and left it there, Ruth lingering till the last
to move the ladder when we had all come down, lest Griffin
should go up and repeat his most unfatherly treatment. We
left the window, which was at a great height from the ground,
wide open for light and air. This window was nothing but
a sort of wooden shutter, which opened and shut on hinges like
a door, and it was ona level with the loft floor, so that kitty
could sit and bask in the patch of sunshine which came in
theres

We all went in to the house for tea, and most of us forgot
for the time all about the little puss; yet I do not think Ruth
did, because I could see her looking out at the window so often
as if she were not thinking about the cake on her plate. I, if
I thought about kitty at all, felt glad to remember that it was



THE UGLIEST ONE. SI

shut up safe and sound out of the way. “It will not be difficult
at all to keep it there for a few days, or even for all its life,”
Ruth was just whispering to me when, all of a sudden, I saw
something glide into the room just like a grey shadow after
Nurse, as she was bringing in a new plate of bread-and-butter,
run up to Ruth and jump into her lap. Nurse did not notice
it; Ruth stared in amazement. It was the kitten. How in the
world could it have come in? It seemed much pleased with
itself, and was rubbing its little sooty
face against Ruth’s arm, purring like
mad, and then beginning a desperate
attempt to clean both ears at once
before it prepared to arrange itself
comfortably ’on her knee. . Ruth looked
the picture of silent dismay all the’
time. As soon as Nurse was gone
Ruth muffled it up in her pinafore and
ran back with it to the loft. She came
back quite out of breath.

fel can't think how it could have
come,” she said, “unless it jumped down through the hole
where the ladder leads up, on to the manger, and then to the
stable door. But T have shut the trap-door now, where the
ladder goes in.”

We went on with our tea, the boys were in a hurry. Tom,
who had done first, was just getting up to pier the door when
I fancied I heard a sound outside like a “ miew.” I went across
to see, and the moment the door was ajar in rushed the kitten
and buried its head in Ruth’s lap as before.

“Oh dear! what is the good of trying to keep this kitten a
secret?” cried Ruth, looking round at every one by turns.

And indeed it did not seem easy. How did it contrive to
F



————



82 THE UGLIEST ONE.

get out? There was no way but jumping from the window,
which seemed impossible.

The little beast was put back again, and again, and again
into the loft; the ladder was moved and trap-door shut; but all
that evening wherever Ruth went she was haunted by Fitz-
Griffin, who would follow. It was the strangest thing! If we
played in front of the house, on the broad gravel-drive, there
would the kitten mysteriously appear, sitting up in front of her,
pawing the air and begging to be taken up. When we went
away to the back garden, or down all the way to the far
shrubbery, it was just the same.

As soon as it was carried back again and shut up in the
loft, it began to cry plaintively. It seemed as if it could not
bear out of its sight the little girl who had saved it from
starvation and misery. People talk of the worship of ‘a dog for
its master, but I have never seen anything like the love of that
stray kitten for my sister Ruth.

After it had been put away and had reappeared aboutt-seven
times, we hid ourselves in the lilac bushes near the stable as
soon as Ruth had once more taken it up the ladder, fastened the
trap-door, and left it. We were determined to find out how it
managed the matter.

First of all we could see little pussy come to the open
window and watch Ruth’s retreating figure with a doleful
sound. Then it began to pace up and down the opening by thie
window, its voice getting louder and more hollow every moment,
till at last with a shriek of utter despair, as if it were saying
good-bye to life, it fairly flung itself from the window; to our
horror and astonishment, legs and tail all spread Aor as if it
were trying to fly. Kitty came to the ground a trifle dazed,

seemingly, but quite unhurt; picked itself up, and _ trotted|
manfully off to the spot where Ruth’s boots were sticking out of



THE UGLIEST ONE. 83

the lilac-bush. It seemed to care nothing about the rest of
us.

My recollection of the life which that kitten led us for the
next few days makes me advise no one to try keeping a kitten
unknown to the household. But then there never was, or will
be, another kitten like Fitz-Griffin.

We tried shutting the loft window after this, for there was
plenty of light from some glass tiles in the loft roof, and it was
satisfactory for the present to hear the kitten mewing inside.
As long as you could hear its voice within, all was safe, but if
when we were in the garden, or even in the house (for you could
hear it there if you listened anxiously), the sound stopped, Ruth
would look quite pale from expectation. The kitten must be
coming; and it always did—for it soon found a hole under the
loft tiles, and oozed out at that, after the loft window was kept
shut. At last one day it came into the drawing-room, when
father and mother and everybody were there, and told its own
story, which we finished for it.

“We only meant to hide it till it was a little fatter and
prettier, mother dear!” cried every one all at once.

“We were afraid you would think it so very ugly, and that
its chance of being kept would be spoilt,” said Ruth; “but do
let us, mother, please!”

“TI don’t like cats on account of the chicks,” said father,
“but——”

“Well, it seems rather as if this kitten would not give us
any choice,” said mother, smiling. “It wi// be kept. But you
had better put it in the yard outside the scullery, in one of the
outhouses there. It surely cannot get over ¢hat wall, it is
twenty feet high. But I am afraid when it is older you must
find it a home somewhere else—it may take a fancy to pigeon
for dinner.”



84 THE UGLIEST ONE.

So we took Fitz-Griffin into the yard. The three dogs had
their kennels there; but Bounce never noticed cats, Lassie loved
everything, and Mumps leapt for joy, with all the rapture of
puppyhood at the sight of anything to romp with; so there was
no risk of harm from them to the new-comer. We made Fitz-
Griffin up a snug bed in the wood-house, but the fanciful little
fellow would not sleep there after the first night; we missed it
next evening, and found the kitten curled up like a snail on
Lassie’s back in her kennel. It always slept there after that—
having struck up a friendship with this doggie although it
hissed and arched its back at the others.

But if we supposed that Fitz-Griffin was going to live
peaceably in that yard while Ruth was in the house, it was quite a
mistake. Over the walls it could not get ; and yet in some extra-
ordinary way it still continued to appear wherever Ruth was.

If her bedroom door opened, in ran the kitten. If she was
having her music lesson, kitty howled outside, louder than the
piano, to be let in. Did it run in when cook opened the door
into the yard? She declared not; but said she was always
finding that door open when she was ‘‘certain sure” she had
shut it tight. And another very strange thing began to happen
at this same time. The dogs were always wandering into the
house—a thing which was not allowed.

The yard door opened into the scullery, the scullery into
the kitchen, through a door usually left open, and the kitchen
into the passage which led by a back staircase to the rest of the
house.

Bounce being a spoilt old friend was sometimes allowed to
lie by the kitchen fire. He could be trusted with untold legs of
mutton roasting in front of it. But as to Lassie and Mumps—
well, I am sorry to say that their consciences were not formed yet.
It grieved Bounce to see how loose their principles were; and



THE UGLIEST ONE. 85

whenever he saw them stealing he felt it his duty to tell of
them; and would bark to give warning. If cook heard him
Berane she would run to the kitchen, certain that she would
find the other two dogs there.

“Sorrow to the lot of ye! How is it ye gets in at all, at
all?” cried poor cook, as she turned the three dogs out of the
kitchen into the yard and shut the door for the fifth time one
morning. “Sure I can’t turn me back for a minute for them
bad animals!”

She went away to finish something which she was doing in
another part of her place when again ‘“‘ Bow-wow, wow!” from
Bounce. Back she hurried just in time to catch Lassie licking
out a basin of warm dripping on the kitchen table, while
Mumps was busy with a mutton chop underneath, which he
seemed to think he had caught and killed in lawful chase, for
he was shakjng it and growling.

The kitten was waiting at the door on the house-side ready
to dart upstairs and find Ruth so soon as anyone should
pass.
“Arrah! Ye bad bastes!” cried cook. ‘‘ Bad luck to
whoever let ye in!” |

She turned every one of them out and went to peel her
potatoes in the scullery. While she was doing this she heard
a very slight rattle at the latch of the door leading out into the
yard. “Click!” it went very softly; ‘click, click!” again, as if
someone were touching the handle who was not quite strong
enough, or who did not understand how to lift the latch. Cook
put down her peeling knife with one potato half scraped, and
stole noiselessly to a small side window. When she looked out
she threw up her hands with a jerk and laughed—then looked
again as if she could not believe her own eyes—muttering to
herself. ‘“Well—if ever—!” Then without wasting another



86 THE UGLIEST ONE.

minute she ran upstairs and bursting into the room where Ruth
and I ‘were doing lessons. ‘‘Come down, mem! Come down,
Miss Bessie and Miss Ruth, me darlins,” cried cook, “and _ye'll
see what ye'll see!”

We went down, pell mell, not very sorry, perhaps, for an
interruption to the multiplication table; and we met the boys
and mother, and they came too. We all stood where cook put
us to watch. This was what we saw: |

First the three dogs standing in a half-circle round the
door which led from the yard into the scullery, looking eagerly
up at it with their heads on one side, while
Lassie gave a short yelp, as if to say, “Be
quick! open sesame!” and up above, with one
front paw drawn through the loop of the
handle, and the other patting the thumb-piece,
as he kicked wildly at the doorpost with his
hind legs, the fat little round body of Fitz-
Griffin was clinging.

After much shoving, dabbing, and tugging
the door at last flew open and in rushed the
string of animals—Fitz-Griffin last, but not
least. Oh, how we laughed !

This was the kitten’s plan—its way of be-
ginning to work out its road to Ruth. First
by managing to swing this door open, and then
by waiting patiently at the other doors one by one—unless it
found them ajar. The dogs had seen their chance and
used it. }

But after the discovery a solemn council was held, and it
was determined that there was no keeping the ugliest kitten—
for, if the ugliest, he certainly was the most dreadfully clever, too;
mother and cook foresaw that there would be never any peace.



N



THE UGLIEST ONE. 87

We had often read stories of cats which opened doors
before—and had half believed them—but we had never heard of
a young kitten having such an old head upon its shoulders.
What would wot Fitz-Griffin be able to do at full age, if nature
should keep him alive? Unless we tied that kitten up, it was
plain that it would always. be too many for us. Mother said
we must find it ‘a happy home,” and so, with many sighs and
tears, Ruth took it to the postmaster’s wife, who wanted a cat,
did not care for good looks, as she said “handsome is that
handsome does” was her notions, and would be sure to treat it
kindly. I think, though, that, when it came to the parting,
Ruth was quite sorry she had not an attack of toothache—
which never would come at the right time—for she would have
made it a plea for being allowed to cuddle the kitten fora few
days longer. The post-office was at least four miles from our
house—too far for the pussy to run away home to Ruth. It
was smuggled there by night in a basket, so as not to know the.
way home.

We were just setting out for London to pay a long visit;
by the time we came back it would be accustomed to the’
change, and have forgotten us, we thought.

But was Fitz-Griffin to be got rid of so easily as all
that ? :
Not a bit of it. Nearly a year afterwards, when we had
almost left off thinking of our comical little visitor, Ruth and .

I were at the post-office buying some stamps for mother, while
she drove on to pay a call higher up the road, and left us to
-walk back.

The postmistress came in, and as she opened the door there
was arush. Something dashed at Ruth, ‘‘ swarmed” up her back,
and twisting itself round her neck like a boa, in an ecstasy of

purring, began to rub against her face and lick her cheek. “It



88 THE UGLIEST ONE.

was Fitz-Griffin—grown a large, fine cat, although no hand-
somer than before.

Ruth was as glad to see her old admirer. as he was to see
her almost, although she did not show it in the same frantic
way.

“You had better shut him up, please,” she said, when we
were coming away, “or he will follow me, I am afraid.”

So the postmistress put Fitz-Griffin the house-side of the
shop door. But when we had walked a mile or so towards
home, I heard a sound borne upon the breeze which I remem-
bered too well; and looking back, there, behind us, bedabbled
with mud, and clearly calling to us to wait for him, who but
Fitz-Griffin toiled painfully along!

‘Take no notice,” I said, “and he will turn back.” But
no such luck! The howls of the poor puss still floated to our
wor = Cs:téaa's, becoming a little fainter and more
igs he hopeless each one, but still following
*% us up; till at last, Ruth, who would
. keep turning round, whenever
_ amore woeful wail than usual
~ came, saw him sit down in the
middle of the road and give
‘it up; too footsore to go either
onward or back again.
“TI can't stand this!” said
Ruth, going rashly back
At ee, and picking up the spent
‘ REY Vs, traveller; “I shall take
him home, come what
may. He must be my
pussy born—although he is the very ugliest I ever saw!”
So as Fitz-Griffin had made up his small mind and soul














THE UGLIEST ONE. 89

_to belong to Ruth, and to no one else, we had to make the best
of it, and to overlook the occasional corpse of a chicken—though
I must say that he soon learnt to do no murder.

At the present moment he is lying on the hearthrug, with
his nose tucked in among his paws; dreaming, I dare say, of
all the housebreakings he would like to commit but cannot,
since we have been obliged to have new cat-proof locks put on
to all the doors; and Ruth declares that nothing comforts her
toothache — for she still has it sometimes —like making a
cushion for her face out of Fitz-Griffin, who seems to be fully
alive to the honour, and purrs as if his heart would break.



El tReal Pond.

| To great and small things, Love alike can reach,
And cares for each as all, and all as each.

—TRENCH.
WEATHER! I do wish you would tell me all about every-

*< thing, like you do the boys!”

“Tell you ‘all about everything,’ eh?” said father to
his little daughter, as she ran up to him in the field at the
bottom of the garden, and caught hold of his hand, looking up
into his face. ‘41 about everything? That is a great deal to
tell such a small mouse as you are,—and I shouldn’t know
where to stop. Don’t you think I had better begin by telling
you @ Little about something ?”

“Yes, do,- father! Why shouldn't I be told things, and
have a fishing-rod, and a real pond in the garden, and cobbler’s
wax, and one of those things that you look through, like Jack
and Tom? They say that little girls can’t see through it—Jack
would not let me try.”

_ “What a quantity of things you want, Mousie!” said
father, laughing. “TI don’t think you would be any happier for
having fishing-rods and cobbler’s wax, and I am not sure myself
about your being able to see much with ‘that thing you look
through,’ as you call Jack’s microscope. But I will tell you
what. If you like you shall have a little pond all to yourself.”

“A veal pond, father?” said Ethel, whose pet name was
Mousie, giving a skip of pleasure.

“Yes, a real pond. At least, it will have water in it, and
some of the things which a real pond has. I can’t promise you
the mud—is it the mud you want?”





ne

Bx:

a





A REAL POND. gli

“No, father. Where will my pond be?”
‘“What do you say to a pond in the nursery window?”
“Oh, father, you must be laughing, though I can't



see it under your moustache. Please don’t say it is only a

game!”
‘““No, Mousie. You shall really have a little wee pond in



92 A REAL POND.

your nursery window. Come here; we will go and look at the
cattle-pond under the trees while I am telling you about it.”

“Nurse won't let me go there,” said Mousie, with a
chuckle of content as her footsteps turned in the delightful
forbidden direction, ‘ because once I stepped on a lovely bit of
green, and my boots went sinking right in, and one of them
stayed behind. I wanted to sail a horse-chestnut rind, and
pretend it was a boat. But yeu may step where you like,
because you are grown-up,” went on Mousie, thoughtfully. “I
wish I was grown-up too. Grown-up people haven't to mind
about nurse, or what axydbody says to them!”

“Haven't they?” said father, smiling; “well, not about
nurse, perhaps. But I shouldn't like to leave one of my boots
behind for: my own sake—so we must go round this side where
the pond is walled up. Here, you can look over the wall and
see into the water quite plainly if I lift you upa little. Now,
Mousie, what do you see?” )

“A lot of green stuff, and mud, and some other stuff rather
like tapioca pudding.”

“ Nothing else?”

“A great many little things that look like black slugs, only
they are quicker, and go darting about and swimming to and
fro; and a drowned snail; and, oh! such a funny little thing
walking about on the bottom—two of them!—oh! a great
many. Please, father, don’t put me down for just one minute!
there is something running along on the top of the water. I
IMUSt sceaitl

“ But, Mousie, you weigh a good deal.”

“Oh, father, pretend that I am light, one instant ‘more.
I saw something red and spotted—oh, do!” Splash, splash,
splash! came three great drops of rain into the pond.* *Uhere
was a sound of thunder rolling above.



Full Text



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The Rights of Translation and of Reproduction are Reserved.
(COUN 11 IN IS

I.
TRAVELS OF A BUTTERFLY

II.
THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS

III.
COUSIN CATHERINES SERVANTS

IV.
THE UGLIEST ONE

A REAL POND

VI.
WHAT DAISY SAW ONE NIGHT

VIL.
THE WISE GOOSE

VIII.
THE STARFISH’S STORY

IX.
A GREAT EYE

A SNAIL’S RACE .

PAGE

29

49

68

go

II2

151

173

195
To

MRS) dneA de Gita

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DOWN FOR THE FOLLOWING PAGES.


LIST or ILLUSTRATIONS |

A THOUGHTLESS BOY—Where the Butterfly
is born—A Nourishing Meal—Blue-tit—Sand-
martins—The Bull that chased 3
Johnny—Rooks. 2

SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS—
Pleasant Fields — Gathering
Primroses—Wooden So!dier—
A Peep-Show—Little Mary.

A HAPPY FAMILY—Grubbing for
Pignuts—Cousin Catherine’s Servants—
« Ostriches—Elephants—Geese—Frog.

THE UGLIEST PUSSY—Cats and Dogs—
Farm-yard—Lassie and the Ugliest One—
Ruth and the Kitten—Fitz opening

the Door—Fitz and the Chickens.

A COOL CORNER-—Girl and Horses
—Scamp and the Cows—Mousie

dipping her Net—Water-newts—Water-
beetles—Fishes.

DAISY'S DREAM—What is it —
A Fairy Horse—An Owl—Crick, err
r-rick—Like a Butter-fly—A Mole.

THE WISE GOOSE—Bo-bo! Gaa-
S-sss!—The Farmer's Wife—Boys at
Dinner—Silly Billy—Mother Goose.

JOHNNY AND THE STARFISH
—Jamie and the Stars—A Sunfish—
A Whale—Flying Fish—Sea Weeds
—The Artist and Jamie.

(AMONG THE CORN STALKS
—Cornfield —Caught—Lark’s
Nest—Nelly in bed—He was
gone!

A GOOD GALLOP — Something
going to happen—Big White Moth
—Grasshopper and Snail—A Wide

Road and Country Cart—

Ploughman—Johnny P

and Betty.



























































Che Travels of a Butterfly.

Everything that lives
Lives not alone nor for itself. Fear not, and I will call

The weak worm from its lowly bed, and thou shalt hear its voice,
— BLAKE.

x NDERNEATH a cabbage-leaf in a gay garden, one
ly summer day, a butterfly was born.

: The cabbage-leaf was all covered with beads of dew,
which made it a most lovely thing to look at—one of the most
charming things which one could possibly fancy.

By the side of the cabbage, on a raspberry bush, a great
garden-spider, dressed in brown velvet, with pearl and silver
ornaments, had spun his web; and that was all a-glimmer with
dew-drops too, which made it look more exquisite than the
finest lady’s best lace, spark-
ling with diamonds. Only the
spider thought the dew-drops
a bother; because they made
his web wet, and he was long-
ing for the sunbeams to come
and drink them all up, so that
the net might be ready to
catch flies.

“Tt is high time that I had
my breakfast,” thought the
spider, ‘‘but not a single fly has come my way yet. Iam
anxious about the web—whether it will bear the weight of all
those heavy water-drops!” And indeed the web was quite

os \


IO THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERBLY. |

weighed down—so that one might have thought the delicate
threads must snap; but no.

Soon the sun became hotter, and the beams made quick
work of the little dew-drops. Long before mid-day there was
not a single one left to glitter anywhere, and all the little flies
came bizz! buzz! down about the raspberry-bush, just as the
spider wished.

How warm it was on the cabbage-leaf !

It was just the right birthplace for a butterfly, which loves
the sunshine better than anything else in the world. The sun
is the mother of the little butterflies, and takes care of them
from the very beginning, for there is no one else to do it. The
real mother of the baby butterflies always dies before they are
born. Poor little butterflies! And yet they are taken good
care of, although they come from such a very small starting-
place that you would hardly think it could be worth anyone’s
while to think about them.

The first sign of a butterfly is a little tiny egg—not nearly
as large as a pin’s head—scarcely larger than a grain of sand.
Yet, though it is almost too small to be seen, it is finely
carved, with a pattern outside, and carefully Shaped. Some
of these eggs are in the form of a thimble; another kind
are shaped like a bottle, the bottom sticking to a leaf, while
the neck-end stands upright, and others are round, and a little
flat. Of this sort was the egg which had been laid on the
cabbage. .

Inside this egg lay a tiny creature, one day to be a butterfly, -
but not yet, for it was obliged to be something else first.
Nobody would guess, unless they had been told, how butter-
flies begin their lives. The sunshine poured down more and
more brightly. It made the spider dance for joy. The little
flies frisked, too, but ¢hezr joy was quickly over, and their
THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERFLY. II

dancing ended as soon as they touched the sticky threads
of the cunning web.

The spider himself took care to keep out of sight, in his
den under a leaf, but he first fastened a long cord from his
lurking-place to the web, so that whenever a fly became entangled
there, the jerking of this thread told him of it. It was the
same as a telegraphic message to him, saying, ‘‘ Come down at
once! a fly is in the net,” and brought him down in a trice,
in good time to grasp the prey.

Then, after the foolish fly was dead, he rolled it up with
web, round and round like a bundle, and carried it off to
his larder, where he ate it all by himself.

“T have no family to provide for, that is one comfort,”
said the spider. ‘ Ah, I brought my children up the respectable
way—to shift for themselves. I have no one now to think of,
but my own—precious—self!”

No more he had. The spider’s children, although they
had only left the egg ten days before, knew each one how to
make his own little web; no bigger than a penny-piece, yet as
perfect as that of a grown-up spider.

“T don’t suppose now,” he went on, “that any other insect
has such sharp-witted children as mine. Those silly butterflies,
for instance, when they come out of the egg——’’ Here the
spider broke off; there was a great shaking in the web, and he
was obliged to attend to business and leave off talking. While
he was rolling up the third fly he had caught that morning,
and putting it by ‘‘for a rainy day,” something very curious
was going on among the little yellow dots upon the cabbage-
leatter

Each of the little eggs cracked, and out crawled, not a tiny
butterfly—although a young duck comes out of a duck’s egg,
and a tiny robin out of.a robin’s egg, and a wee spider out of
I2 THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERFLY.

a spider’s egg ; and you would think, a little butterfly might be
expected to come out of a butterfly’s egg. Nothing of the sort
happens. Out of each of these round specks on the cabbage-
leaf came a very small caterpillar, which could hardly be seen,
for it was so little, and so exactly the same colour as the place
on which it was born. But although it was not a perfect
butterfly yet, and had no wings, this small worm had a good
notion of what to do. It began by biting its way through the
tough egg-shell—which it ate up. As soon as that was gone
it set to work at the edge of the cabbage-leaf with little jaws,
which munched from side to side, instead of up and dawn, like
yours and mine.

Each of the tiny worms had sixteen little feet, with hooks
or hairs to cling with at the end; six eyes on each side of
its head; a good appetite and plenty to eat. What could a
caterpillar want more ?

How they did eat! One could almost see them grow;
they devoured the green food so fast. As the days went on the
cabbage-leaf was all gone, except the hard veins, which they
could not bite; and some of the little family had to travel east
while the rest went west to find a new dining-hall.

Then a mother chaffinch came down one morning and picked
up a dozen or so of the caterpillars, laying them across her
beak one after another with the heads and tails dangling out on
each side. She carried them away for her young ones in the
nest at home. ‘Twink! twink!” said she, as soon as her beak
was empty, and went back again to look for more.

She soon cleared the cabbage bed of all but a few cater-
pillars, which lay snugly hidden the wrong side of the leaf,
where her bright eyes had not yet spied them. “Twink!” she
cried again, wiping her beak. ‘‘ What a nourishing meal for
the little ones! I must go to the rose-bushes now.”
THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERFLY. 13

So she went, and she picked up a mouthful of green
blights, which were spoiling the flower-buds. After that, she
went away to make her own dinner on the seeds of groundsel,
chickweed, and sting-nettle. When she was gone a blue tit
came down to the raspberry bushes, peering with his sharp eyes
among the leaves and shoots, here and there pulling one off
because there was an insect in it, which he pecked out and
swallowed—it seemed mischievous, but the shoot would have
been killed-anyhow by the grub. He was very busy, and made



a noise all the while like a little saw being sharpened ; till the
gardener saw his blue cap and yellow breast glancing from
bough to bough as he hung on to the apple-twigs, clearing
them of many a dozen of hurtful insect plagues, and he came
out and drove the little chap away, and set up an ugly bird
made of tin, painted to look like a hawk, to frighten the little
birds,

So after that, the green caterpillars which were left had it
all their own way; and so had the blights and the grubs,
14 .THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERFLY.

They went on eating the apple-buds and the rose and raspberry
shoots, as well as the cabbages, without fear of being eaten
themselves ; for the blue tit went
away and told all the other tits
and small birds that a dreadful
hawk was come to live in the
garden, and that they must never
go there any more or they would
be caught and killed. . The eldest
of the green caterpillars soon
grew to be quite a good size. He went on feeding on the
moist, juicy cabbage until his skin became too tight for him;
and then——What happens when little boys and girls grow
out of their clothes? Why, somebody gives them new ones
of course.

Well, the caterpillar, like a few poor, sad little boys and
girls, had no one to take care of him. But, luckily, he was
able to get new clothes for himself, as he had nobody to do it
for him. He felt very uneasy for a time—his skin was so
tight that it bothered him. It was time that he began to think
about another suit, that was certain; so he made a little carpet
of silk first, on the leaf where he was feeding. This was to
give him a firmer footing than the slippery leaf, while he
twisted his body from side to side to make the old skin split.
As soon as he had got rid of his worn-out coat in this way, he
had nothing more to do, for underneath it a fresh new one had
grown beforehand to be ready when it was wanted. When this
little job was done, he began to eat again faster than ever, and
went on until ¢Za¢ skin grew too tight ; then changed again—
and so on, over again, four times in all. And the last time, the
caterpillar, which was now several weeks old and quite wise,
knew that at length the hour had come for a real change in


-THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERFLY. 15

himself—not a change of outside skins only; though how he
knew this I cannot well say.

He began to feel very restless; he did not care any longer
for his meals of cabbage—he wanted something else that was
not food, and kept stretching his head up and waving it in the
air, seeking in vain; for the eyes of a caterpillar, though he has
twelve, can only see just before his nose, so that he is obliged
to almost touch what he wishes to look at before he can find
out what it is.

The little creature crawled quite fast up and down a stem
still searching—searching—but for what it could not tell.

“Dear, dear! I wonder what I want? Iam sure I don't
know!” it said to itself, as it went rambling to and fro, aimlessly.

The fact was that the caterpillar’s life on the cabbage-leaf
was over, and he wished to hang himself up by the heels,
though he did not in the least know what for; and it was not
until he had found a place which would suit him to do this in,
that the poor caterpillar began to be at peace.

Five times he had travelled up the cabbage-stalk as far as
he could go, and finding that it ended in empty air, he swayed
his head from right to left once or twice, and went down again
to find that at the lower end the cabbage-stump ended in the
ground, which he did not want either. But the sixth time he
stopped just in a little nook where a leaf-stem branched out
over his head.

“There! Now I know what I must do!” said the cater- -
pillar to itself; and it began to bring out of its mouth long
threads of silk, which it could draw out to any length as it
pleased. ‘With these it made a sort of silken cushion on the
stem overhead, and then, turning itself upside down, clasped
the silk pad with the last pair of legs at the end of its tail, so
that it was hanging head downwards.
16 THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERFLY.

‘“So far, so good,” said the caterpillar. ‘‘ But how about
the wind ?>—if it blows it will perhaps set me swinging to and
fro so that I shall dash against the cabbage-stalk, which won't
be at all nice.”

So the shrewd caterpillar tied himself up with a silken
girdle or sash from one side to the other, close to the cabbage-
stalk, moving his head across and fastening the threads now on
the right hand, now on the left, while he hung upside down all
the while. Oh, what a clever plan!

After all this work the caterpillar rested itself. Something
was going to happen inside him—he could feel that. His body
was growing shorter and thicker, his legs were shrinking into
himself; they were going—going—gone!!!

After a day or two he had shrivelled up into a short green
thing, all over black speckles, which was hanging with the
upper end in, and the lower end out of a loose empty skin.

The task of the caterpillar was almost done—it had
changed into a chrysalis, and had only now to hang itself up
again to the silk cushion above, which it managed to do by
somehow dragging itself up inside the empty skin, which still
hung there. The old skin was rolled up something like a
stocking when it is being taken off as the chrysalis inside it
climbed upward and fastened itself by some small hooks which
grew at its tip to the firm silk pad.

When this was done the chrysalis stayed perfectly still to
~wait for what would come next.

Patiently, quietly, it hung there day after day like a dead
thing. The beetles and snails which fed in the garden took no
notice of it, for they thought it was nothing but a bit of
withered stem or dried leaf. The birds thought the same.

The rain pattered and drummed on the cabbage tent above,
but it never moved, tied fast by its silken ropes. The sun
THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERFLY. 17

poured down all day long, and as the heat grew greater towards
the middle of summer one might have seen that the colours of
the chrysalis changed and grew darker. Under the thin skin
delicate tracings were to be seen, as if wings were folded up
under the wrapper. The thing began to move. At last, one
day, it gave a sort of twist, as if it were tired of so long a sleep
and were trying to jerk itself awake.

And wake it did. First a little split—then a larger crack,
room enough for a head to peep out; next came a pair of
crumpled white wings, six black legs, and a downy black body.

Out came the prisoner—slowly at first, afterwards with a
rush upward until it found itself clinging to the edge of a leaf
in a sunny place in such a way as to let the wings spread
downwards so as to shake out the creases and crumples,
making them quiver and tremble that they might be smooth
and strong all the sooner. The wings did not take long to
become fit for flight. Dressed in creamy white, with trimmings
and fringes of the softest down, here and there a black velvet
line, or dot, or wing-tip just to set off the gold-dust sprinkled
on it, the butterfly’s wings soon took strength from the strong
sun, as she shut and opened them in the light, as if to show by
turns the beauty of the wings when opened, and their soft green
tinge when closed. Away darted the butterfly, fluttering and
skipping, to play in the meadow among the daisies and clover
blooms. .

Oh, what a happy life that was! and how different from
being obliged to crawl about with those sixteen legs and eat
cabbage all day, besides having one’s skin always growing too
tight for one.

It was a change indeed; for firstly, instead of having a
heavy body and short legs to carry it with, the butterfly’s wings
were so large and its body so small and light now that she

B
18 THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERFLY.

could float along now almost without the trouble of flapping
them.

But then, you see, she had earned a holiday now by work-
ing so hard and being so patient when she was a caterpillar.
Then, instead of twelve small eyes, that could hardly see at all,
she had now two great eyes, each made up of more than a
thousand small ones fitted into each other like the cells in a
honeycomb. Out of these the butterfly could look every way
at once without the trouble of rolling the eyes in her head.

Last of all, as to food, the butterfly was not obliged to take
any trouble about ¢#at,; for instead of jaws, she had a long
hollow trunk, no thicker than a hair, which she kept curled up
like a watch-spring when she was not using it; but when she
was hungry or thirsty she had only to straighten it out and she
could sip the honey and dew out of the flower-cups without
having even to suck; she had only to breathe out the air which
was in the trunk and dip it into a flower and the sweet juice
ran up of its own accord, so that the butterfly’s meals ran down
her throat without giving her the trouble of chewing them
even. But then the butterfly had been so hard worked as a
caterpillar. It was only fair that life should be made easy for
her now. So she had nothing to do but play in the meadow
all day long—and many other butterflies she found there all
amusing themselves too. Some were bright blue, like a bit of
the sky, others were orange or yellow, and a few had dark
wings with scarlet, white, and blue spots on them shining like
jewels.

The flowers themselves were not half so gay, yet they were
very happy, too.

“We must sit on our stems,” said the flowers, “and stay
at home to receive our visitors—that is polite.”

The humble white butterfly enjoyed herself with the rest.
THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERELY. 19

She sat upon a rose-bud to rest herself and look round, as she
closed her wings over her back you could hardly see her, the
green streaks and chequers on the outside of them made her
look so like a leaf or a twig; even the sharp-eyed hedge-
sparrows, on the look-out for what they could catch for their
nestlings, passed it over.

There was a bed of sting-nettles just below, where a batch
of butterflies’ eggs had been laid in the spring, and on one
nettle-top sat a butterfly which had just come out of its
chrysalis. The empty shell was hanging from the stalk still,
covered with sharp gilded points. The butterfly, which had
only broken through it an hour ago, was just thinking of taking
its first flight, and sat flapping its glorious wings to try their
strength.

Oh, how splendid they were! Bright crimson—orange,
each with a great eye like one of the eyes of a peacock’s tail
painted on it. The colours flashed in the sunshine as bright as
a rainbow; but when the butterfly shut his wings he, too, was
hardly to be found; for when they were shut the outsides of
them showed only, and they were brown and black, and made
him look like a bit of stick., It was a wonderful surprise, like
a conjuring trick, to watch him flash out all his painted show
and then make it vanish again by merely clapping his wings
together. That was the butterfly’s way of hiding himself; but
when you looked closely even the dull, cloudy-looking outer sides
of his wings were covered with a fine brocade pattern marked
out with the smallest possible touches and streaks of gold.

‘Oh, how beautiful!” thought the plain little white butter-
fly as the peacock-eyed beauty gave its first flitting dip into the
sunshiny air, shaking gleams of light from its wings, while the
other followed admiringly after it and settled on a daisy close
at hand.
20 THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERFLY.

At that moment several children came into the field with
baskets, which they were filling with buttercups. They seemed
very merry and playful together, as light-hearted, almost, as the
butterflies and bees; then, why could they not enjoy themselves
and let all the other glad creatures be happy too?

For a time they were too busy with their baskets to notice
much besides; but presently one little fellow caught sight of
the brilliant butterfly with the peacock-eyes. In a moment he
had snatched the red cloth cap from his head and dashed it
at the pretty thing. Up went the butterfly, frightened, and
sweeping wildly from side to side. Away went the child after it.

The little boy had only two legs, while the butterfly had
four wings, so it had the best chance after all; but then this
butterfly had not long come out of its chrysalis—its wings had
not their full power. Soon it was forced to rest on a flower ;
the boy stole towards it, and again flinging his cap, this time
he managed to toss it well over the insect. In less time than
one could count six, he had it in his hands—struggling, half
crushed, one lovely wing hanging torn and useless.

How glad the boy was! But after all, what had he got by
it? The pretty butterfly lay dead jn his small hand—its happy
little life quite spoilt and over. No one was any better off—for
a butterfly, even if you can catch it, does not last much longer
than a flower. It is not worth while to take its life for the sake
of its wings—their beauty is soon gone! Yet he set off to chase
more butterflies; even the poor little cabbage butterfly had a
marrow escape. It was once right under the cruel cap, but
managed to creep out, and, darting upward, circled away higher
and higher till it was out of reach; not daring to settle again
till it was outside the field and safely perched upon the face of a
hot sand-bank, where it stayed sunning its wings and enjoying
the sun’s blaze.
THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERFLY. 2i

How scorching it was on the sand-bank! The slope was
steep and high, and at the bottom ran a railroad where trains
rushed by every hour or so.

The bank was full of holes, and as the butterfly sat near
one_of them—whizz! popped out something, which seemed to
shoot itself away into the air.

It was actually a bird! Yes. The last thing that one
would expect to find living down a hole; and yet the little
sand-martins dig holes with their beaks and claws in a soft

oa



sand-bank and make their nests at the end all snug and safe.
This bank had hundreds of their tunnels in it. In the mouths
of some of the little caves sat the father-birds gabbling and
chattering to each other, or making short flights to catch the
flies which they took to their wives and children inside.

They were fond of gossip, that was plain; but they did
their duty too. At times they went down for a dip in the cool
stream at the bottom of the field just below, and came back
with their mouths full of flies, as well as of the latest news.
22 THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERELY.

‘Chatter, chatter, chatter! Serve him right, Z say!” said
one sand-martin to another. ‘“ What right has anybody to
chase flies but ourselves >—and we have families to feed!”

“How did he get out?” said another sand-martin,
drawing one of his wing feathers through his beak, for it was
ruffled. “I did not wait to see myself. I only saw him
splashing in the water. I didn’t think it mattered much
whether he ever got out at all!”

“It did to his father,” said another. “ Just think what I
felt last year when one of the little ones crept out to the brink
of the cave that time and fell over! His mother and I
could not get him up again—we had to feed him where he
was!”

“Snap!” said the first, and he wheeled after a fly right
down to the waterside and back again. What were the sand-
martins gossiping about? Why, about a little boy who had
fallen into the river. He had been chasing a large yellow
butterfly, and it flew over the hedge into the next field, which
was all covered with smooth green grass, with a deep stream
winding along the bottom. The boy scrambled through a gap,
thinking only of what he was chasing; away they went till
they had crossed the field, when the butterfly quietly flew across
the river and left its tormentor behind. It was not till then
that the little boy heard a kind of low growl behind him, and,
looking round, he saw standing between himself and the only
way home a huge bull. The bull began to walk slowly towards
him, making an angry sound as it came, and tossing its head.
The child stood for an instant too frightened to move, then,
with a sharp-cry, he threw up his hands and began to run.
This was the worst thing he could have done, for bulls are like
little boys in some ways—they love chasing anything that will
run away from them.
THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERFLY. 23

The more the boy ran the faster came the bull after him,
with its head close to the ground and its tail in the air.

Oh! what terror Johnnie felt now!—he found out what it
was like to be chased himself. What could he do? Over the
field faster and faster he went, the bull behind coming nearer
and nearer every
moment ;_ which
way could he
fete tiee ame WW NCHiee
should he fly ?
Oh! what would
Johnnie. have
given for a pair
of wings? The
river was in front.
thes abl ate this
heels! Splash! a cold plunge—a dreadful buzzing in his ears, and
then he was fighting with the water, which got into his mouth and
choked him. The splash frightened away all the little sand-
martins which were dipping and catching flies—it even startled
the bull, which stood on the bank staring, and whisking the
tuft at the end of its tail. After all, it was a good-natured
young bull, and wanted nothing but a game of play with
Johnnie, only it might have been rather a rough game. But it
was lucky that Johnnie’s plump into the stream had made so
loud a noise, or he might never have had a chance of playing
any more games at all with bulls or anything else; for a man
heard it on the opposite bank, along which he was strolling
with a big kind dog; and he and the dog between them fished
him out, and took him home all dripping wet. The sand-
martin came back, and he saw it all, and went to the bank to
tell his wife and little ones the story; the white butterfly heard


24 THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERFLY.

it too. ‘‘ Perhaps he won’t chase us any more,” she said, “‘ now
that he knows how disagreeable it is to be run after.”

The butterfly had rested on the steep bank long enough.
Something seemed to urge her to fly again. There was some-
thing which she seemed to be looking for and wanting—yet she
could not tell what the want was.

All day she flew about restlessly, at night she crept under
the shelter of a leaf, or into some flower-bell, or hole, or crevice
to sleep; yet she never seemed to forget that strange something
which she had still to do; no, not even when she was waltzing
flying dances with the other butterflies, in and out, round and
round, spinning, turning, and whirling up in the sunny sky.

Once a great clumsy cockchafer flew flop against the frail
little butterfly, and they both came struggling to the ground,
for their legs and wings had become entangled together.

“What do you get in my way for?” said the cockchafer,
for it was not very civil. ‘Where do you want to go?”

‘““T don’t know,” said the little butterfly meekly. ‘I want
to go somewhere—I don’t know where.”

‘“People should always know where they want to go,” said
the cockchafer.. ‘‘I know where / want to go well enough; I
want to lay my eggs—if other idle people wouldn’t get in my
way and knock me down.”

This was really too good a joke, for the butterfly weighed
as light as a feather compared to the heavy cockchafer who had
blundered against her—and the cockchafer had only fallen down
on the ground by its own weight.

‘“ However, this is a good place for eggs,” added the cock-
chafer, and it set about the business of laying them at once.
First it bored a hole, in the ground by sticking in a long spear
which was hidden in its tail, then it dropped an egg into the
hole, and began over again, so on, till all was done.
THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERFLY. 25

“There,” said the cockchafer, ‘‘that is what I call taking
care of my belongings. No one can do more than I have done
for their children, I consider. They will now be born in the
greatest comfort, with food already to hand.”

“ Awk! awk! awk!” said a big black bird which was
walking solemnly about the field with several others. The
cockchafer flew up into a small oak-tree in the hedge when it
saw them coming, and the butterfly followed. The big black
birds were rooks; and they were grubbing in the ground for
what they could find. It did not cost them much trouble to
dig, as their beaks were strong and-had a bit of leathery skin at
the top, in the rooks’ forehead; so that even if a rook were to
bury his beak in the earth as far as it would go, which he some-
times did, his feathers would not be spoilt round the root of the
beak, or rubbed off, which would have hurt‘him. They seemed
to be enjoying the food they found very much, as they walked
backwards and forwards over the furrows, routing and rum-
maging while they cawed to one another. One rook sat in the
hedge to keep watch, and presently he gave the alarm. There
was a tremendous clamour and bustle at once among the rooks.
Pop! bang! went a great sound somewhere—and suddenly one
of them fell dead. Some men came over the stile, picked up
the dead rook, and propped him upon a forked stick in the
middle of the field that the others might see it and keep away
for fear they should be shot too.

“Now,” said the cockchafer, ‘‘Ze’s done for. A good thing
too! What business had he to be eating up my brothers and
sisters? Why, I might have been eaten up myself, and what a
loss that would have been. Did you say ‘ Yes?’”

The butterfly had not said yes, but now it said, ‘‘ You lived
under the ground once then?”

“Why, you see, we are born under the ground,” said the
26 THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERFLY.

cockchafer, ‘‘and live there three years or so, feeding on the
roots of grass, or corn, or turnips, or whatever there may be.
Men try to dig us up with their clumsy tools—they do us all
the harm they can because they grudge our killing all their



crops—but the mischief men can do is nothing to the damage
the rooks can do! They can get at us and clear a field in no
time. JI am glad they are gone, and that one of them is dead.
THE TRAVELS OF A BUTTERFLY. 27

Now my children will have a chance of growing up!” And the
cockchafer began to browse on the leaves of the oak-tree, and
then on the next when the first was stripped by himself and his
friends, till soon the kedgerow looked quite bare.

The little butterfly did not stay to watch him, she felt
more and more fidgety, and wanting every moment to change
from place to place.

“What can it be that I am needing?” she said over and
over again, as she flew from one scented flower to another, none
of which seemed to suit her. “Is it a rose that I pine for?”

No. She settled on the sweetest little opening cup—but
~ she cared no longer for honey, and soon left the pink blossom.

Was it that beautiful crown of honeysuckle—could that
tempt her? The scent was so sweet that it lured the little
wings to flutter towards it; but soon the butterfly turned away
unsatisfied still.

“What can it be that I yearn so to find?” thought the
tired creature, as, half borne by its wings, half wafted by the
wind which was rising into the first autumn gale, and swept the
butterfly before it like a fallen leaf, she dropped quite weak from
weariness upon a tall flower-spire tipped with purple bells,
where a bee was trying to collect honey, though nearly all the
foxglove blooms were shaken off and strewn upon the ground.

But she could have no rest there. Far and wide the
little butterfly wandered, or was tossed upon the storm that
day, thinking always of a thing which it wanted to find; with
just the same strong desire as, when a caterpillar, it had longed
to put itself away like a dead thing until the time of its change
should come.

Evening was at hand, and still she could not keep quiet.
She flew onward, always hoping to find what she was looking
for, till at last she reached a garden paling. And then, inside
28 THE TRAVELS.OF A BUTTERFLY.

the green gate, growing with many other plants of the same
kind, the butterfly saw what she had searched for so long and
so earnestly.

It was not a very fine or grand thing+-only a cabbage- leaf.

And why did the little butterfly want to find a cabbage-leaf
so much that she could know no peace, rest, or comfort, till she
had reached one? Had she in her old age taken a fancy for
eating caterpillar food again ? 7

No. The butterfly was not thinking at all about herself.

She settled contentedly upon the leaf and laid her eggs
there—that was all.

And if you want to know how it is that the poor simple —
butterfly takes so much thought and care for her young, which
she will never live even to see, that is more than.I can tell you ;
only I know that she is guided by the same Great Love which
cares for you and me.

After this was finished the little butterfly felt quite happy |
and satisfied.

‘“Now I may rest,” she said,. creeping into a comfortable
crack: in the wall. “TI. shall go to sleep, and who knows what
will happen next? Waking up is something to look forward
to

But that was the last thing she ever did—for she fell asleep
and never woke up any more.

At least so the spider said, for he found her in the crevice
when he came in to lie by there for the winter, and mistook her
for a withered rose-leaf.



Che Seven Dittle Baskets.

“Three, helping one another, bear the burden of six.”
—G. HERBERT,

S

had grown quite accustomed to it; for he had no
children of his own, and his wife was dead.

So when one morning he got a letter from India to
say that the seven little children of his brother were coming to
England for him to take care of, he wondered how he should
manage to do it.

“ What is an old fellow like me to do with seven babies ?”
he said to hmself. ‘I haven’t the least idea how to take care
of children. Seven of them! I don’t even remember all their
names; what am I to do?

Uncle Sam walked up and down the room several times,
and then he rang the bell for his old housekeeper and told her
all about it.

“Bless their little hearts!” cried the cheery dame at the
news. She had a round, rosy, kind face that seemed to keep
the remains of the smiles which she had given to her babies
long ago still shining in it. “Do with them, sir? Make ’em
happy to be sure! that’s all you need do, and they will be good
of themselves! Give ’em plenty of wholesome food and put
’em to bed early, and don’t notice one more than another.
That’s my notions. And don't say, ‘You naughty girl!’ or
‘You naughty boy!’ without a reason for it. There's many

Tia SAM had lived all by himself for so long that he
i
NG

cK
30 THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS.

a child made naughty by being told they are so, and called
names, so to speak. They take to the character you gives ’em
like.”

Uncle Samuel rubbed his hands, for he was pleased to find
that Mrs Rummage, the housekeeper, was so wise about things.

“Well, everything must be ready by next week; beds, you
know, and pinafores, and that kind of thing,” said Uncle Sam,
blinking his eyes a little anxiously.

“You leave it to me, sir!” said Mrs Rummage, smiling
rather scornfully at Uncle Sam, and bustling sturdily away to
begin her preparations, leaving him much comforted.

“I know I’ve got their names written down in a pocket-
book somewhere,” he began again to himself. “I must go and
Secu

Uncle Sam searched in his desk, and in his cupboards, and
drawers, and everywhere; at last he found the names of his
brother's seven children; and they were “ Alicia Margaretta
Theodora” the eldest; ‘Delphina Christabel Maud” the
second ; ‘‘ Rosalind Maria Theresa” the third; ‘ Clarissa ——”

“Oh, dear! oh, dear!” cried Uncle Sam, breaking off as
he read the list aloud, and crumpling up all his tidy front hair
with his hand, and knocking off his spectacles ; ‘‘ how am I to
remember all these? and which is which? Out of them all
there is only. one boy, and 4zs name is ‘ Maximilian Alexander
Ivan!’ How shall I ever get on?” .

Uncle Sam shut up the note-book in despair and walked off
into the town instead, to get things for his little nieces and one
nephew.

And when he got there he bothered the shopkeepers very
much by always wanting seven things exactly alike. For
instance, he chose a dear little wooden arm-chair, exactly what
any child would delight in having for his own, and then he
THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS. 31

said, “Send me seven of those, if you please.” Next he
pointed to a box of bricks and said, “And seven boxes of
bricks like that, and seven balls, and seven Noah’s arks, seven
hoops, seven trumpets, and seven drums; and let me see, seven
monkeys climbing up sticks, without which I couldn't be happy
when / was a child, though I don’t see any of them nowadays.
Never mind! Seven Jacks-in-the-box (Uncle Sam was getting
quitercomtused) sand ==="

Here he looked all round the shop to find something else,
not too grown-up (for the eldest of all the little people with the
long names was only eight years old), and something that the
shopman had seven of, for he remembered what Mrs Rummage
had said about making them happy and treating them all alike.

Just as Uncle Sam was coming out of the toy-shop he
caught sight of a pretty little basket, one of a dozen, hanging
up on a nail.

“And seven of those, if you please,” said he, pointing at it
with his walking-stick.

“Yes, sir,” said the shopman, answering quite politely, but
at the same time thinking that the old gentleman who lived all
alone at the Manor House must be going a little crazy to be
ordering bushels of toys for himself in that way. It was a
good thing that Uncle Sam did not ask for seven of any other
article just then, for the shopman had made up his mind that
he had better call his wife to take a look at Uncle Sam and
give her opinion about him.

However, the toys came home all right, and the time
dragged very slowly along—at least so Uncle Sam and Mrs
Rummage thought—until the day when the children were to
arrive.

On that morning Uncle Sam was quite in a flurry and
a flutter.
32 THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS.

““They won’t cry, I suppose, Mrs Rummage?” he said,
for he could not bear to see children unhappy, not even the
little ragged ones in the road; and he had spread out all
the toys in seven heaps
on the floor in front
OUMnEMc Se vena little
chairs.

“T should think not,
Siiey Gancl — bes INO
mage, hopefully; ‘and
if they do, children’s
tears is soon dry!”

Presently there was a rumbling of wheels. Uncle Sam,
who had been pretending to read, threw down his book and
went trotting out. In a minute or two he came striding back
again with a child on each shoulder, while the rest trooped
along behind with their own nurse, who was smiling and
curtseying to Mrs Rummage, as she carried the youngest in
her arms.

‘Let's see! let’s see!” said Uncle Sam, setting down the
two little girls from his shoulders and stretching out his arms
for the roly-poly baby boy, who was prattling and making



snatches at him. “I suppose that is Master Maximilian
Alexander What’s-his-name, eh?”
“Oh, dear no, sir,” said nurse, smiling. ‘“ This is only,

little Sonnie; and here is Ally and Delly, Rosie and Posie—the
twins, sir—Meg and Peg that you had on your shoulders, sir.
That's how their father names them, the precious lambs! And
Sonnie, sir, he wants to come to you. For certain he mistakes
you for his father, and you are wonderful alike, sir!”

Here nurse wiped her eyes as she thought of how the
father and mother had parted from their darlings and trusted
THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS. 33

them to Uncle Sam, and she curtseyed to him again with a
satisfied sigh, for she liked the look of Uncle Sam’s blue eyes
underneath his white eyebrows, and the way he handled Sonnie
—leading him so gently.

He kissed the little ones all round, feeling very glad to be
rid of the long names. Then he took Ally and Delly, Rosie
and Posie, Meg, Peg, and Sonnie, and showed them the seven
little chairs, the boxes of bricks and the rest of the toys. For
a short space they were all speechless from delight, but silence
did not last long after their eyes fell on the drums and
trumpets. Poor Uncle Sam! how he wished he had never
bought those!

“Never mind, sir,” said Mrs Rummage,. cheerfully,
“they'll soon be worn out; and don’t you never buy no more.”

Then Uncle Sam pulled out of his pockets seven parcels
of sweets—only nurse took them away again because she said
they must have their dinners first.

So they had a good dinner, and then they began to find
their little tongues and to run about the house shouting from
pleasure at everything they saw; riding by turns on Uncle
Sam’s back, and blowing the seven trumpets into his ear until
he thought that deafness would not be so bad a trouble after
all, besides kicking him with their fat little legs to make him
go faster, till at last he was quite thankful when bedtime came
and they were put into seven little cribs all in a row, with a
larger one for nurse at the end.

The next day they all thought of the new toys the moment
they woke up, and most of the children had a few under their
pillows. It was a fine, bright day in spring, beautiful, cool,
fresh, English spring, not sultry Indian weather, with a fierce
hot sun so strong that little children cannot play out of doors
when he is shining.

Cc
THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS.

How the children enjoyed the pleasant fields that day!
And among all the Ee which good Uncle Sam had collected



for them, there was nothing which
pleased the children so well as the
seven little baskets.

The hedges were full of prim-
roses and violets, and these little
children had never seen any
before. Juste think sof maith little
English boys and girls, that there
are poor little people born in India
who never see a primrose or a
- violet till they are six or seven

| years old, and not then unless

their parents send them home here.

They are worse off in

this way even than the sad town-bred ones, for these can,
may be, catch a glimpse of the pale golden primroses and

heaps of purple violets and nodding
daffodils, at least in show windows
or baskets in the streets. As for
the dear daisy, she grows nearly

everywhere, that no little child may 7 3
forget her sweet face, and none grow |

up without making friends with the
most charming of mother-earth’s
babies.

Ally and Delly, Rosie and Posie,
Meg, Peg, and even Sonnie soon
began to make up for lost time by
rushing at the primroses and filling



their baskets, their laps, their hats, and their hands as fast as

they could.
THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS. 35

Nurse had often told them of how, when she was a little
girl, she used to make daisy and dandelion chains; and spoken
of how, in England, the hedges and fields were covered like a
gold and silver carpet with buttercups and daisies—with freckled
cowslips and dancing bluebells. Per haps the children had hardly
believed all these anes but now they found them to be all true.

Little Sonnie, who was only two years old, could not roam
so far as the rest; but he soon filled his basket with flowers,
picked off quite short and clumpy, and then began to make a
‘“bunse” as he called it; only his bunch had half the heads of
the flowers at the stemmy end and half the right way. I
wonder how the flowers which were head-downwards liked it?

Then he wanted to fill his pocket, too, only there were some
glass marbles in it already, and a lump of sugar-candy, and a
precious wooden soldier, the last of a boxful which Sonnie had
brought all the way from India, besides his little red and white
pocket-handkerchief; so that there really was not much room,
as Sonnie said, ‘‘in mine pottit.”

He pulled out the pink handkerchief,
which was the thing he valued least, and
gave it to nurse to carry, which made
a little more space; but, sad to say, he
jerked out the beloved wooden soldier,
which fell into the grass at the bottom
of an ant-hill. The soldier lay with one
eye close to a crack in the ground, and
the other gazing across the field, for his
eyes were not painted straight on his face. He still kept his fist
clenched firmly where the gun used to be before Sonnie broke it
off, for the soldier wished to show that he was not frightened at’
being lost, but was still calm enough to shoulder his musket.
Was it his fault if the musket was not there?


36 THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS.

Sonnie crammed his pocket with cowslips and daisies ; then
he emptied them out again for nurse to make him a chain, and
finding that the soldier was gone, he began to look sorrowfully
for him. The soldier was a great favourite, and was always put
to sleep under Sonnie’s pillow. Who was to sleep there now,
if he could not be found? But Sonnie looked in vain, even
with nurse to help. They could not see him, although he was
lying among the grass stalks close by, peeping in at a hole, as
if he were amusing himself very well. And it was not dull for
the soldier; for inside the crack was an ants’ town, something
like one which he had once watched when abroad—for he was a
Swiss soldier, and had been born in a country village near
Geneva, where the stock of wood from which he had been cut
once grew.

Wonderful indeed were the ant-hills in fat country!
They had rooms in them, one built above another, just like the
stories of a house, with passages, and galleries, leading upstairs,
downstairs, and to my lady’s chamber. Some of the ants were
masters, and some were.servants. The masters went out to
fight battles with other armies of ants—and what do you think
those fights were for? Why, just for the sake of stealing each
others’ babies!

This is how it came about. In this foreign ant-hill the
ants were not able to do anything but fight—no, not even to
feed themselves ; so their plan was to steal young ones from the
other nests near by, so that they might bring them up as their
slaves. Of course, the ants whose babies were stolen came out
to fight for them, and to prevent it if they could; and so some
terrible tussles followed sometimes—two ants catching hold of
the same baby and tugging different ways!

But the slaves, once stolen and carried home, were treated
very kindly, and did not even know that they were captives, for
THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS. 37

when they were brought from their own ant-hill they were too
young to notice anything. The conquerors carried the stolen
baby ants in their mouths and put them into nurseries where
they would be taken care of by the grown-up slave ants already
in the nest, carried off sometime before, to be brought up as
servants; whose work it was to put food into their masters’
mouths and help in all the work except fighting. The baby
ants were at once carried upstairs by these, washed and taken
care of.

English ants had no slaves; but the soldier could see that
they took quite as much care of their own children, though they
were so much smaller themselves than the foreign ants. They
were busy, when the wooden soldier looked in, carrying them
into an upper room, because that morning there had been a
shower, and the nurse ants thought that it might be damp for
their charges down below; so these careful little people had
carried them all up into a_ higher
story, and would be sure to carry
them down again when they found the
sunbeams too hot. It was a pleasant
peep-show for the soldier to watch,
with his one eye pressed close to the “#
Crackin) Ile snoticedathatmine smunse=
maid ants licked the eggs all over by
way of washing them; this was all
they had to do for the mere eggs, but some which were
hatched had to be carefully fed as well. On what? Ah!
now the soldier saw something quite as strange as he could
have seen in any foreign parts. He saw that these little
yellowish dots of creatures actually kept insects smaller than
themselves, just as we keep cows, even rearing them inside their
own nest from eggs which they hunted for and found, that they


38 THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS.

might feed themselves and their babies on a sweet juice which
the ant cows gave, as a cow gives milk. Sometimes they took
their cows out to pasture, sometimes kept them in the nest,
according to the time of year. If the soldier, or anybody else,
were to tell you this you would scarcely believe him; it sounds
so like a make-up, yet it is quite true, that he saw a little ant
come out whose business it was, with many others, to drive
home the cows belonging to the ant-town, from a daisy plant
close by, where they were feeding. She milked her cows by
stroking them gently with her antennze or horns, and was very
kind and careful of them.

Away went this useful ant, up and down, in and out among
the daisy roots, one would have thought that she was only
running about with nothing to do; but all the whiles she was
minding the cows for the family at home, and looking for the
eggs of more aphides, as the ant cows are called, to carry home.
Soon she went into the nest again, for the yellow ants are not
great rovers, but like to be near their ant-hill.

Then a tiny brown ant came travelling by; she was from a
nest under the hedge. Regular passages, like tunnels, led up
to it through the grass, along which hundreds of ants were
always passing to and fro on different errands, mostly in search
of something to take home for dinner—as the brown ants are
great hunters, and do not depend on keeping cows at home so
much as the yellow ants do. Some of these little fellows were
digging a ditch which was to make some new hunting-ground
more easy to reach; and this they did more quickly and cleverly
than any workman would have made a road, although they had
neither spades nor wheelbarrows to help them. They rolled up
the clay into neat little balls as they worked, and piled these
clay bricks up into a tiny wall on each side of the trench as they
scooped it out, instead of leaving the litter all strewing about
THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS. 39

the place to get into other people’s way. Presently the little
brown ant ran up close to the soldier’s face, and touched it with
two little horns which were branching out from its head, as if to
say, ““ Well, who are you?”

Now to tell the truth, the soldier was rather sticky from
having been in Sonnie’s pocket, with the lump of sugar-candy,
after Sonnie had been sucking it.

This little ant was very fond of sweet stuff, as all ants are,
and she soon smelt, or found out somehow, that the wooden
soldier had sugar upon him, and began to lick it off.

“T must carry a mouthful of this to the children at home,”
said the little ant; so she scraped up as much as she could hold
between her jaws and ran off with it. Soon she came back with
a whole string of friends after her; they all set to work at the
soldier. First they ran all over him, trying whether it would
be possible to carry him back to the nest bodily, for they
thought that he might be made of sugar all through. But
they found that all their shoving, hauling, pulling, and pushing ©
would not stir him.

Next they began to try the plan of biting him to bits that
they might carry him piecemeal, but he was too tough; so at
length they all set to work to make the best of him where he
was, as a fine feast, but soon found out that he was only good
to eat outside, that the nice sweet candy was soon gone, and
then they left the soldier in peace and quiet. Except that one
little ant—the first which had come—lingered behind to get a
nap in a snug little hole under his wooden arm. There she lay,
tucked in, till she was quite rested, when she woke up and
started on her travels again, running very fast, but keeping an
eye always open for stray scraps of food to be carried back to
the young ones—a bit of a dead wasp, a grass-grain, or a taste
of honey, anything almost that she could find.
40 THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS.

And presently she came across something which in ant-
land is considered a great dainty, a dead fly. This was a great
catch. The little ant was so pleased at what she had found
that she danced three times round the body on her hind legs,
before she ran up and caught hold of it between her strong
jaws. The fly was not large, yet it was a dozen times as big as
the ant; and with all her tugging and pushing she could only
just manage to make it rock to and fro. She got on the top
and pulled, she ran to the front and dragged, she went behind
and shoved, she even butted at the fly, and tried to roll it along
by putting her head underneath, but it was all of no use; to
trundle the treasure all the way to her ant-hill was a thing not
to be done, but what a prize to lose! She stood and twiddled
her horns while one could count six, as if she were making up
her mind what to do, then started off very fast underneath the
grass and raced home. The soldier saw her run into the nest
to tell all the other ants about the fly; but they did not talk
with voces, they touched each others’ horns like dumb people
when they’speak on their fingers, and that was quite enough.
Eight of them set off at once with the first ant, who took the
lead to show the way, and they marched along till they came up
to the fly. Tug, tug, they went, and managed to roll the fly
over on its back, that was all. Heave ho, they went at it again,
and turned it over on one side, but it was plain to each one that
they would never get their booty home at ¢/a? rate.

They stopped and held a council. After much shaking of
horns one of them suddenly pounced on the fly and bit off its
head. The others followed this example, sawing off a leg, a
wing, and so on, working with such sharp jaws that at last
there was nothing left but the bare carcase of the fly, not worth
taking away, which they fell upon and gobbled up that no-
thing might be wasted. After the meal they all set off in a
THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS. 4I

procession towards home, each carrying his load—a limb of the
fly.

How easily and pleasantly these little things had done the
job by helping all together! -

They deserved the welcome which they received from the
rest of their companions as they all filed in at the door of the
nest with their burdens—that was clear to the soldier's eye.
He was still gazing in at the hole with that one, although the
other one looked right away over the field, for the soldier's eyes
were set all askew in his head. If the toymaker had not
painted them quite crooked he would not have been able to see
two ways at once, which shows that there is an advantage even
in having a squint, if one knows how to turn things to account.
But just as the soldier was looking with the other eye at a
stream of brown ants coming out of the nest at some distance
off, something very unpleasant happened to himself.

Somebody.stepped upon him!

“This is not at alla fitting thing for me—a soldier, and a
man of honour—to allow myself to be trampled on!” said he.
It was all very well to make fine speeches, but he was obliged to
bear it.

The foot, however, which had been set upon him was a
very small and light one; it was that of a little girl who was
crossing the field on her way to a thatched cottage by the road-
side beyond the field. Although she was small and slight, she
had with her a very heavy bag, which seemed to be full of
round things, like balls, for you could see them poking against
the sack-cloth, and making it bulge out.

There were potatoes inside the sack, and this poor little
girl had been sent to fetch them by her mother, who lay ill in
bed unable to go herself.

Having no husband to work for her and her children, they
42 THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS.

were obliged to do the best they could for themselves when she
was laid by—which often happened; and now little Mary, the
eldest, was quite like a small mother or nurse to the rest. A



neighbour had promised to give these potatoes to the poor
people at the cottage if they would send for them; and as
Mary’s mother had no garden of her own, and she and the
THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS. 43

children often tasted nothing for the day but bread, they were
glad enough of the present.

Brave little Mary had gone to fetch this half-a-sackful, and
she had managed to get it along somehow so far. But oh,
what a weight it had been for her young, tender back to bear!
—and when it ached so much from the burden that she could
endure the pain no longer, she had tried trailing the bag along
the ground instead, only to find that it hurt her poor hands still
more ; for they were small and weak, and the rough sack-cloth
almost rubbed the skin off them in time. Mary had hardly
carried the potatoes half way home yet, and now she felt as if
she could not drag them another step !

She it was who had walked upon the wooden soldier and
hurt his feelings without knowing it; and now she sat down on
the ground not far from where he was lying, and leaving the
sack, a great, sulky-looking heap, on the grass beside her, she
covered her face with her hot, sore hands, and could not help
crying just a little.

When she had set out that morning she had felt so happy
and glad to be able to do something for her sick mother !—and
she had meant to boil a dish of the potatoes for dinner; for
although Mary was a little child in years, she was quite a
woman in some ways. She knew it would tempt her mother
to eat some, if they were nicely mashed with a sprinkle
of pepper and salt, and a bit of the nice butter which the
farmer’s wife had sent down. That was what mother
could always fancy when she could touch nothing else; and
now Mary was afraid she would never get back with the
potatoes.

Besides, there was Baby Joe left at home for’ever so long
with only the youngest boy to mind him—he was sure to cry ;
as soon as he had seen Mary going he had taken his thumb
44 THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS.

out of his mouth and prepared his face to begin, what must it
be by this time?

She jumped up again and began to pull at the heavy sack
—but, oh, dear! she could not even heave it up on to her
shoulder so as to begin carrying it, and, at last, when she
swung it with all her might it came down on her back with
such a thump as to nearly knock her down. Her knees
trembled under her, and she was obliged to let it slide down
again. What should she do? Mary sat still to think. Sup-
posing that she were to take out some of the potatoes and run
home with them leaving the rest on the ground, and then come
back for more? That was a bright idea. But then supposing
that some thief were to steal the others while she was gone—
bag and all?—and the sack was not hers. It had to be
returned. The kind neighbour who had given the potatoes
had made her promise to bring back the sack at once; for he
was a poor man himself, and wanted it, for he had not many.

Mary stood up and looked round. A little way off she
could see Ally and Delly, Rosie and Posie, Meg and Peg, all
playing at tisty-tosties with the cowslip balls which nurse had
made, while Sonnie, who had forgotten all about the soldier,
was sitting close by, making, a sceptre by sticking daisies on a
thorny branch.

How happy and careless they all looked! They knew
nothing about the cares of the tiny, troubled woman, who was
gazing so sadly, first at their merry game, and then at the heavy
sack on the grass which she could not carry.

Just then Mary’s eyes caught a glimpse of something
bright among the clover leaves; this was the brilliant red coat
of the soldier, who, of course, had a handsome uniform and
was proud of it, as it is the nature of some soldiers to be, even
when a dazzling coat is not the only reason why they enlist.
THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS. A5

“What a pretty soldier! How Joey would like it!”
thought little Mary, and she remembered how Baby Joe at
home had nothing but an oyster shell and three shrivelled
acorns to play with. But then it came into her head that the
soldier must belong to somebody. ‘To the children over
there,’ she whispered to herself, and began to creep shyly
towards the gay group, holding out the toy without saying
a word.

“Why, it’s Sonnie’s soldier!” cried Ally; but she did not
say anything else because she was so surprised to see a little
girl in such an old, ragged dress, looking so tired, and sad and
forlorn. She had never seen any little girls like that before, for
there were none where she had lived in India; so she stood
looking at her with a sort of sorrowful wonder.

Then Delly and the others came running up, with Sonnie
too; and he snatched his soldier in his great hurry, while the
rest stood all round, with their fingers in their mouths, staring
at the strange little figure of Mary—a new kind of little girl.
Sonnie ran to show his soldier to nurse.

“You should say ‘Thank you’ to the kind little girl!”
said she, as she looked at Mary. ‘‘ Who are you, my dear?”

Then, as Mary looked up at nurse’s face and saw what a
kind one it was, and how the corners of her mouth turned up,
a thought came into her head. “If you please, I’m Mary,” she
said, “and would you please to mind the bag a minute while I
runs home with some ’taties, ’cause it’s heavy, and I can't get
it no farther—and I’ve got a baby at home!”

Here little Mary could not help one tear from trickling
down her face for fear nurse should say “ No.”

The other children looked more surprised than ever to see
the little girl cry. Had she lost her toys or eaten too many
sweets? It must be something of that sort they supposed, for
46 THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS.

they had. never known any little girls who cried in India except
for reasons of that kind. .

“What is it, my: child? I don’t understand. What
bag?” said nurse, gently.

Little Mary took nurse, leading her by one corner of her
shawl, and showed her the sack with the potatoes in it; and
nurse said she would gladly see that no one stole the rest, while
Mary ran home with as many as she could carry.

“ But you will never get them all home before nightfall at
that rate,” said nurse, as poor little Mary loaded her arms with
a pile of potatoes, which nearly all rolled away again as she
tried to stack them up. She could not think of any other way
to carry them, for her flimsy frock was too thin and tattered to
hold anything so heavy.

“You had best empty all out and take the bag!” nurse
called after her, but Mary did not hear; she was already
running fast with as many as she could manage to grasp.

“The poor little thing will be quite worn out with running
backwards and forwards!” said nurse, half to herself.

“What is it, nurse?” said Ally, coming up. ‘ Why is the
little girl crying ?”

“What does she want to do?” said Delly.

“Can't she carry her bag?” said Rosie.

‘‘T wish we could help her!” said Posie.

“Let us try!” said Meg.

‘I believe I could carry it!” said Peg.

“Me tarry it,” said Sonnie!

Everybody laughed at this, for Sonnie toddled up to the
big bag and gave a great tug which only made him roll over
on to the soft turf giggling with glee.

Ally gave a pull, but could only move the bag an arm’s
length; then Delly tried, next Rosie and Posie came to helps
THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS. 47

Between them they carried the load a short distance, but
found it an impossible matter to manage a bag between four of
them; they kept tumbling up against one another and could get
no proper hold of it at all, especially as Meg, Peg, and Sonnie ran
along shoving behind and tripping themselves and everybody
else up.

They all laughed till they felt quite weak, and were obliged
to let the bag fall. It split, and upset a lot of the potatoes—
they looked at one another quite disappointed.

Now—whether it was the wooden soldier in Sonnie's
pocket who had learnt from the little ants how to manage when
a heavy load was to be carried, and put it into Sonnie’s head,
or whether the idea came of its own accord, I cannot say; but
he suddenly sprang up witha shout of joy and came to the
rescue.

“Mine bastik!” cried he, and running to fetch it he began
to fill it with the spilt potatoes. Aha! that was the way! the
seven little baskets.

Ally and Delly, Rosie and Posie, Meg and Peg ran for
their’s, and in five minutes’ time they had divided the potatoes
between them. Oddly enough they found that each heap
would exactly fit a basket!

How pleased the children were! and by the time that little
tired Mary had reached the cottage, given a drink of milk to her
sick mother, and after cuddling Baby Joe, who was roaring
dreadfully for her, had set out to run again and fetch the next
lot of potatoes, the helpers were more than half way across the
meadow. She meta long row of six little girls, each with her
basket full, while nurse came behind with the sack, helping
Sonnie to carry his share, which he had soon found too heavy
for him.

Little Mary curtseyed and smiled so prettily that nurse
48 THE SEVEN LITTLE BASKETS.

was obliged to give her a kiss; and then she went in to see the
sick woman and Baby Joe. The cottage looked poor and bare
enough, yet how clean and tidy little Mary contrived to keep it!
besides taking care of everybody.

“T don’t know what I should do without the child! She’s
everything to me, and more!” said the poor mother, looking
fondly at her, and speaking as if there were only one child in
the world.

When nurse and the children went home that morning
they told Uncle Sam and Mrs Rummage about, the poor folk at
the cottage, and about brave little Mary.

After that the seven little baskets went to and fro almost
every day filled with nice things, and toys—not by themselves,
but carried each by a child who liked nothing she had ever done
in India half so well as going to the cottage and comforting the
people who were in trouble.

: Uncle Sam sent Mrs Rummage to see Mary’s mother, and

he went afterwards himself to find out what could be done to
make the cottage more dry and warm, and to help the poor
widow and her children. |

So it was a lucky day for little Mary when the wooden
soldier spied so’ carefully into the ants’ ways! What a good
thing it is to be trained as a military man, and to form watchful
habits! If he had not kept a careful look-out, perhaps Sonnie
and the rest would never have discovered how easily seven
willing little pairs of hands can carry the weight which would
crush one poor pair of shoulders!

“Tt is all owing to me and my ea eats said the
soldier, as he was turning in to barracks for the night under
Sonnie’s pillow; ‘all the credit is mine!”

But / think it was the clever little ants who deserved the
most praise; although they wore sober brown coats instead of
blazing red ones.

Cousin Catherine’s Servants.

More servants wait on man
Than he'll take notice of.
—HERBERT.

NE morning mother came into the room where her little
girl was playing and whispered something to nurse.

Edith could not hear anything but the words “ my
‘Cousin Catherine’s” just at the end—but they made her look
up with sparkling eyes, for she thought that mother was telling
nurse to take her there for the day, as she had often done before
—only why did mother whisper? Edith was just dressing her
dolly in some new clothes which nurse had made. She pre-
tended that Rose had grown out of the last; but really and
truly the old ones were obliged to be burnt, because poor Rose
had been dropped into the gutter the day before. She was
trying to squeeze her dolly’s china arms into the sleeves, which
were rather too small, and forgot to listen any more to what
mother and nurse were saying.

Then mother came up and kissed her, saying, ‘‘ Edith, you’
are to go to Cousin Catherine's at the cottage for a day, and
perhaps if you are very good she will let you stay there and
sleep. Would you like that?”

Edith began to jump about for joy, almost before mother
had done speaking, and then she stopped, for she thought of
how she had never been to bed in all her life without her dear
mother to come and see her before she went to sleep; and so

she said, ‘I don’t want to stay there in the night.”
D


50 COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS.

“ But listen, dear,” mother went on. ‘At first I whispered,
because I thought I would not tell you anything to make you »
sorry just as you are going away; but I think you are old
enough to know. Baby Alice is ill, and I wish you to go and
stay with Cousin Catherine for a little while until I see whether
she is going to be very much worse or not. If she became
really ill you might be ill too if you stayed here, and it makes
poor mother anxious to think of it. Bea good little girl, and
the time will go very quickly. Now good-bye, darling! I must
hurry away.”

“But couldn’t I kiss Baby Alice first?” said Edith, her lip
quivering a little; “because last night I gave her the worst
sweet—the yellow one instead of the red one—when father gave
me one for her and one for me! Oh, how I wish I hadn't done
ile

“Never mind, dearie; another time you will be able to give
Baby the best sweet, and then you will not be unhappy after.
Cheer up, my pet!” After saying a few words more to nurse
about packing Edith’s things, and giving one more kiss to her
little daughter, who was trying bravely not to cry, mother went
back as fast as she could to Baby Alice, while nurse set to work
at putting Edith’s things together.

“Now, Miss Edith,” she said, popping her head in at the
‘nursery door, ‘which of all your toys do you want to take? I
shouldn't take any if I were you—you won't need them there—
you will find plenty to amuse you.”

But Edith could not part from Florence, her oldest dolly,
although she was spoilt (not in the same way that little girls
sometimes are). She had fallen down the stairs and knocked
her nose off, as well as having cracked her chin at the same
time ; so that Edith was obliged to cuddle her a great deal when
she picked her up, and say, ‘“ Never mind, my darling Florence!
COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS. 51

I shall love you just the same.” Yet the little girls from next
door said such horrid things about her that Edith never took
her out again when they were coming in to spend the day. But
she never forgot to say to Florence the evening before, ‘“ Now,
my dearest Florence, to-morrow I am going to put you away.
You won't mind, wf you? And the day after 1 will take you
out and play with you more than ever.”

Nurse did not want Florence to go, because she took up so
much room; and she called her ‘‘a lumbering, rubbishing old
scarecrow.” Edith hoped Florence did not hear; but she was
put in at last, and soon the carriage came round to the door.
Nurse, Edith, and Florence in the trunk were soon spinning
down the carriage-drive.

Cousin Catherine lived in the very sweetest little cottage at
the other end of the park, about five miles from Edith’s home.
It was the greatest pleasure that the children had to spend a
day with her; she was the dearest old lady, with white hair and
spectacles, and everybody called her ‘‘ Cousin Catherine” with-
out exactly knowing whose cousin she was.

This had puzzled Edith at first, because her other cousins
were all little boys and girls of about her own age; and when
she heard that a new cousin was coming to live all alone in the
little thatched cottage at the park gate, Edith had wondered in
her own mind how a little girl could have a house to herself
like that.

‘But won't she have a nurse?” she had asked father; but
he only said, ‘What notion has the child got into her head?”
and laughed as he stroked her hair.

Edith had longed very much to go and see this wonderful
new cousin, but when she reached the thatched cottage there
was only a sweet-faced old lady in spectacles standing in the
doorway, underneath the honeysuckle and roses, waiting for her.
52 COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS.

A white pigeon was sitting on her shoulder, while several more
were fluttering and wheeling about her head ; a dear little woolly
lamb lay at her feet, and a cat with three kittens was licking
her paws on the doorstep.

“But where is my cousin?” Edith had run up to say, and
then the old lady had stooped kindly down to kiss her, saying
in a soft voice, ‘I am your cousin, dear. I suppose you thought
that cousins must always be little and young? Well, I am an
old woman, but I am your father’s cousin, and yours too, and
perhaps you will learn to love me a little, though I am old.”

Ever since that day Edith had loved her Cousin Catherine
more and more each time that she saw her; and she liked the
cocks and hens and the pretty cow with a bell tied to her neck
which fed in a meadow, and Cousin Catherine’s pet lamb, and
all the other free, happy creatures which she liked to have living
near her.

Edith did not love her at all less because she was not a
little girl.

On the morning when nurse, Edith, and her dolly reached
the door of her little thatched house, Cousin Catherine was very
much surprised to see them. Nurse told Edith she might run
round and look at the chickens while she spoke to the old lady
alone; and then she told her how Edith’s mother feared that
her baby Alice was going to be ill from fever, and that she
begged Cousin Catherine to keep Edith with her until she had
sent for the doctor, who would tell her whether it was safe for _
Edith to come back or not. ‘And my mistress told me to say,
ma’am, that she would send over one of the servants to take
care of Miss Edith, only she said I was to ask you first, in case
of your not wishing it.”

“No, thank you, nurse,” said Cousin Catherine laughingly.
‘No more servants for me; they are more plague than profit—
COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS. 53

all but a few old good and true ones like yourself, only I am
afraid there are none left nowadays. No, we shall do very well
as We are.”

Nurse smiled and said, ‘‘ Mistress said
she knew your ways, ma’am, and so she
did not send one.”

“T have quite as many servants as
I want, I can assure you, nurse,” said
Cousin Catherine with another smile.

As she said these last words Edith came dancing round
the corner to fetch Florence out of the box, for she wanted to
show her the pig which was grubbing for pignuts at thekedge
of the wood, and to play a game at wild beasts with him and
her dolly, pretending that the pig was a hippopotamus. Sie
was just in time to catch Cousin Catherine’s last words, about
having as many servants as she needed.

“Why, Cousin Catherine, where are theyre ve shem Said:
‘There isn’t any room in here. Oh, what a dear little house
it is, just like playing at having a hut. But where are all your
servants, Cousin Catherine? I have only seen an old woman
sitting at the kitchen window round at the back, peeling
potatoes, and she asked me how many pairs of boots I wore
out in a week, running about like that, amcepl esaideylcdicinst
know.”

“That is Mrs Jones, who comes in to cook my dinners,
and scrub my floors,” said Cousin Catherine. “ She lives over
there in the wood close by, and that is her pig which you saw.
Her husband milks my cow for me, and she makes the butter.
But she is not the only servant I have. A great many servants
wait on me, oh, an immense number, more than you can count
if you tried. They work hard for me, or else I shouldn’t have
anything to eat or to use.” |


54 COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS.

“Where are they? Where do they go to bed?” said
Edith, looking all round her, as they stood on the threshold.

“Come!” said Cousin Catherine. ‘I will tell you about
all my servants at some other time; but now, while the sun
is shining, I think you had much better be running about out-
side. A long while ago I could have run about with you, but
now you see I can only walk slowly. Once I was a little girl
and wore out boots, like you Y

Ohne youl cant hayer been said Edith, looking up into
Cousin Catherine’s face—for she did not look as if she ever
could have been young, and Edith had thought of it before.

“T was really,” said Cousin Catherine, “and now I will
tell-you something still harder to believe. If you live long
enough, one day you will be an old woman like me. So go
and run about while you can, and be as merry and happy as
the days are long. Do you see that big black cloud frowning
over there? That will bring rain before long; then if we have
to stay indoors I will tell you some stories of my servants—
of a few at least—tell you where they live, and all I know about
them. You had better not go far away from the See for one
of them has just told me aoa the rain will begin soon.’

“T didn’t see anyone,” said Edith, “ or hear anyone.”

‘Perhaps not, but I did,” said Cousin Catherine.

Edith went away to play, very anxious to know about
Cousin Catherine’s servants. ‘For perhaps one of them will
put me to bed,” she said to herself, ‘and so it will be a good
thing to know whether she is cross or not.”

It was very pleasant in the field. The pig ran away when
the little girl and her dolly wanted to play with him; but Edith
said that did not matter, for she thought it was just what a real
hippopotamus would have done, only she wished he would have
torn up the ground a little more.


COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS. 55

But it was not long before the rain really did begin.

“So that servant was right,” said Edith, as she snatched
up Florence and ran into the house. It was snug and so pretty |
inside, there were bright curtains and a smooth polished floor
with straw mats here and there; beautiful pictures hung on the
walls, which Cousin Catherine had painted herself. She could
draw anything she liked so quickly and easily that it made one
laugh with pleasure to see her do it. She often amused the
children for hours together by her drawings when they came to
see her; for she could make up story pictures about little boys
and girls, giants and fairies, or birds and flowers, or hens or
tigers, anything that the children asked for: it was all the same
to those clever fingers. She would write down words under-
neath each and pretend that the people in the picture were
telling the tale themselves. Oh, it was no hardship to spend
a whole long wet day at Cousin Catherine's and she never got
tired of it herself; as long as she had a pencil in her hand she
seemed to be quite happy and to forget that she was old.

“T do believe your pencil does it of itself!” said Edith to
leroncers ulueta7eatiyes

But when Edith held it the horses’ legs came all wrong ;
the bodies of the animals were mere lumps, and nothing was
pretty or nice; so it couldn’t have been only the pencil after all.
She was half glad to hear the rain pelting down when Cousin
Catherine took her hat off and told her to sit down beside her
at the table, where a great many pieces of paper lay ready, with
a pencil. It was so much more delightful in the house she
thought, as the splashing became louder and louder outside.

“Tt won't be dinner-time for two hours,” said Cousin
Catherine; ‘so, now, look here. I will make some drawings
of my servants, since you are so anxious to know what they are
like—shall 12 And first of all you asked, ‘Where do they
56 COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS.

sleep?’ Why, some of my servants sleep in the stables, some
in the trees, some in the fields, others in farmyards or folds.”

Edith opened her eyes very wide.

“Now, look here. These are the servants who bring me
my breakfast every morning. But I will draw them first and
tell you about them after.”

Cousin Catherine took six pieces of paper and began to
Sketch quickly. She drew and drew as fast as possible, so that
the things seemed to grow up in a minute under her fingers.
In about half an hour the six pieces of paper were well filled in,
each with a picture of its own, the name written at the top.

And what do you think the six pictures were? They were
groups of animals great and small; some were creatures which
Edith knew very well, such as cows, sheep, and horses; others
seemed to be small insects. She did not know what others
were called.

‘But where are the servants?” she said.

“Here. These are the servants, for instance; that brings
me my breakfast,’ said Cousin Catherine, taking up the first
picture. ‘We could not possibly have any breakfast to-morrow
morning without these.” |

Edith looked at the slip of paper. On it was drawn a cow,
a hen, and several long teams of horses, some ploughing, others
drawing waggons. In one corner stood a beehive with a swarm
of bees going in and out of it.

‘Oh, I know what you mean!” cried Edith, clapping her
hands. “I know what a cow does very well; it brings me milk
for my breakfast. But the others, we don’t want horses and a
hen for breakfast!”

“Don’t we? Some people like an egg for their breakfast,”
said Cousin Catherine. ‘I fancy you would like to have one
to-morrow, perhaps, if the kind hen will spare you one, to eat
COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS. 57

with your bread, and the butter and milk from the cow. You
can’t have an egg without a hen to lay it, you know.”

‘But horses?” Edith went on: ‘I don’t want a horse at
breakfast-time. Why did you draw so many?”

“You will do without bread at your breakfast then 2” said



Cousin Catherine. ‘‘ You cannot have bread unless the land is
ploughed, the corn carried to and from the mill. How is this

to be done if there are no horses?”
“But I saw them ploughing the flat field by the church

with a steam engine,” said Edith.
58 COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS.

“They do sometimes, but not always,” said Cousin
Catherine. ‘But even when they plough without horses they
cannot carry home the corn’ by steam; the baker cannot bring
the loaves round to the door in a steam engine.”

“ But why is a bee-hive here, and what are all those birds
doing up in the air?”

“Vou don’t want honey for your breakfast, then? If you
do, the bee must get it. No one else can; once, I believe, a
man did try, and it took him months to do what a bee could do
in an hour.”

“Why?” said Edith.

“Well, in the first place, the man could not fly; then he
had great clumsy fingers and tools instead of the marvellous
trunk of a bee. He soon found out that it was the bee’s place
to collect the honey, and his to eat it after.

“As to these birds, if it were not for them many a field of
corn or turnips would be wasted. That is why they are put
into the picture. When the corn is ripe they do eat some ;, that
is quite true; but then all through the winter and early spring
they go on feeding on insects which would devour five or S1X
times as much corn as the little birds do themselves. The
farmer does not think of that, or else he would be ready to
spare them a handful of the corn which they have saved for
him. . .

“There is no room to put into the picture all the other
creatures which help the corn to grow. There are earthworms,
for instance. We shouldn’t like to see one on the breakfast
table, and yet they help to get the food ready. If it were not
for the holes they make in the ground the grain would not grow
nearly so well, perhaps not at all.

“Once the sea came and washed over a piece of land,
killing all the earthworms ; afterwards that piece of land would
COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS. 59

not grow corn or anything else, until more earthworms came to
live in it by degrees.

“But there is-no time to count up a@// the servants that
help in this matter; these area few. We will look at the next
picture now.” ;

“Oh, what a lot of things this one has in it!” said Edith.
“There is quite a crowd! I see a sheep, and more horses, and
such a pretty little thing like a squirrel—and a great bird that
walks and cannot fly; I forget its name, but the bird is taller
than a horse, and it seems aN
to run faster than they can. | yr T ~D
O, Cousin Catherine, they are --\yS 8
running a race, aren’t they! 7
and the bird is in front?”

‘atisan ostrich.» Itjcan
run faster than the quickest
horse tts is sof nom use! for
people to try to outstrip it.
The people who hunt them
play tricks on the poor ostrich.
A black man dresses himself up in a bunch of feathers to look like
an ostrich as much as he can. He smears something over his
legs to make them white like the bird’s, stalks about, pretends to
feed, using his arm like the creature’s neck, and doing as nearly
as possible what he sees the real ostriches do. He creeps as
close as he can toa herd of them, in hopes that the birds will
mistake him for one of themselves. At last when he is near
enough, he takes out a bow and arrows which he has kept
hidden all the time, and shoots one, or two if he can, before the
rest find him out and run away.”

‘Why does he shoot the poor ostrich ?”

“What is that which I saw in your hat, Edith, that pretty
white thing curled round it?”



hfe wo)
60 COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS.

“A feather,” said Edith. ‘ Did that come from an ostrich ?
Perhaps it dropped off and they picked it up,” she added ; for
she did not like to think that such a great, grand bird should be
killed only that she might have a feather in her hat.

“Tt might have been picked up,” said Cousin Catherine,
“for in South Africa they have ostrich farms; and they do not
kill the birds to get their feathers, but collect those that are
dropped. This is a picture of the servants that bring clothes
for us to wear, you see—the ostrich brings us a feather, which
does not seem much.”

“What a big nest it must sit upon!” said Edith; “and
how does it find a tree large enough? And can it sing? What
a great song it must sing!”

“Tt would be a great song,” said Cousin Catherine, ‘‘ but it
doesn’t sing, it makes a sort of roar. It builds no nest, but
lays its eggs in a heap of sand, fourteen or fifteen at a time.
The sun is so hot in the land where the ostriches live that the
warm beams hatch the eggs. The mother need only sit on
them at night; but she and the father ostrich take great care
of their babies when they are hatched. The eggs have a very
strong shell; one of them would be a good meal for five people,
and afterwards the shell makes a useful cup. The Arabs cover
them with basket-work and carry them on their journeys to
drink from.”

“What does the ostrich eat?” said Edith.

“ Anything he can get,” said Cousin Catherine. “ He will
even swallow great stones, and all sorts of queer things. Once
I read a story about an old woman who was very anxious to see
some ostriches. She had never seen one, and several were to
be shown at the small town near which she lived. So she
locked up her cottage, and taking the door-key in her hand she
set off. When she came to the place where the ostriches were
COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS. 61

walking about, she was very pleased to see them, and one of
them seemed very glad to-see the old woman, for he walked
close up to her as if to say, ‘ How kind of you to come!—is that
thing in your hand some little dainty for me?’ and in an instant
he had snatched the door-key away and swallowed it! So the
old lady could not get into her house when she got back without
breaking into it like a thief; she said she never wanted to go
and see any wild beasts again.

“Now look at the sheep. He is not so large and hand-
some as the ostrich, yet he is a far more useful servant, although
he is only kind enough to give us his old clothes when he has
done with them. We should shiver in our beds, and be cold all
day in winter too, without the wool which the shears cut from
his back.”

“But what is that thing like a shell? and this like a
caterpillar?” asked Edith. ‘And horses again! What use
are they for dressing people?”

“What are those pretty little shining buttons made of in
your cuff? A sea creature gives its shell to make those. And
these other buttons, on your dress, are made of bones, and
coloured afterwards. Perhaps they are made from the bone of a
horse, or sheep. The horses are wanted for carrying too. That
caterpillar is meant for a silk-worm. I could not have my satin
gown, or you your pretty red sash without him. Then for the
leather of our boots—for the soles as well as the top parts,—we
must have the skins of animals.” |

“Let me see the next picture!” said Edith. ‘I can see
such a funny thing there! It is all made up of great serpents—
they all seem to be going into a turnip!”

“Wait a moment; finish the other picture. You have
forgotten the pretty little creature like a squirrel,” said Cousin
Catherine, “wearing that pretty gray silvery fur; I put him
62 COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS.

that you may see what pretty creatures must be killed if people
will have fur to wear—not only the fox, the bear, the monkey,
and a dozen others, but even this little fellow. He is called a
chinchilla. Look at his pretty bright eyes! He is quite harm-
less. When you grow up don’t you wear the skins of animals
on your back! Woven dresses are much better; and nothing
need die to give you cotton or woollen clothes. Poor little soft
playful things! Itisa pity to take a beautiful happy life away
for a silly reason, isn’t it? Now for the next picture—the
turnip with serpents crawling into it, as you called it, is a
cuttle-fish. This picture has portraits in it of all the servants
that help me to paint.”

“Why, there is a pig!” said Edith, “and a little thing
running along rather like a rat, only longer and thinner, and a
leaf with some grains sticking to it.” |
_ “Piggy gives me his bristles to make this stiff white brush
for painting in oils,’ said Cousin Catherine, “and the soft,
reddish-brown brush is made from the hairs of that little
creature, called a sable. That leaf is from a coffee-plant; the
things upon it which look something like tiny tortoises, are
cochineal insects; and when they are dead and ground to
powder, they make this lovely crimson coloured paint called
carmine, brighter than the brightest deep-red rose. And this
strange creature with the round body and eight long arms,
which you mistook for serpents, is a cuttle-fish. He gives this
brown colour called sepia, which is very useful, though not so
pretty as carmine. He carries it inside this round bag, which
is his body, and squirts the dusky juice out into the water when
he is frightened, to darken it all round him so that-his enemy
cannot see him in the middle of the fog then. But the fisher-
men are quick, and manage to hook him out before he has time
to empty his bag.”
COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS. 63

“ But that is only two of your paints,” said Edith. ‘Who
made all the rest?”

“It would take too long to tell. Some are made of plants,
some of stones,” said Cousin Catherine. ‘But I am much
obliged to piggy and all the other animals and plants that give
me my paints and brushes, for I should be very dull without
them. I should not know how to fill up my time.”

“Couldn't you play on the piano?”

“Oh, yes; but not unless my servants were good enough
to help me. I can play on the violin too, that is, I could once.
But I could have no music from either, if an elephant, a horse,
and a silkworm did not do something towards it.”

“Can't you play on the piano without an elephant?” said
Edith, and she laughed merrily. ‘Oh, Cousin Catherine, how
funny that is!”

“See, here in this other picture are the servants that help
about music.”

“There are two elephants in the front,” said Edith; “what
are they doing? And a silk-
worm up there—and, oh, what
a long tail that horse has got!”

“When I wasa girl I saw
elephants at work like that in
India,” said Cousin Catherine, .
“They were picking up logs
of wood. They did it so well,
andworked so cleverly—lifting
the logs with their trunks, and
stacking them neatly. Then
as soon as the pile became too tall, so that both elephants together
could not lift up the logs high enough to put them on the top,
they placed two of the largest logs side by side to lean against


64 COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS.

the stack, and rolled the others up them with their tusks ; they
could push them up quite easily that way. The wood was
ebony—what the sharps and flats are made of ina piano. The
white notes are made of slices from the tusks of elephants; so
you see we could not have such nice smooth keys without these
big, patient servants. The strings of a violin are made from
the bodies of silkworms killed before they begin to spin; this
silver one is made of silken threads twisted round with fine
wire. As for the horse, he spares the long hairs from his tail
to make that part of the bow, which draws the music out. But
I think that Mrs Jones wants to lay the
cloth for our dinner—we must hurry over
the last two pictures.”

‘“There is not much in this one; only a
goose, and some little round marbles growing
on astem with a fly crawling on one of them,”
said Edith.

“The servants which bring me my pen and
ink when I want to write a letter,” said Cousin Catherine. ‘The
goose gives me the quill feathers from her wing—she is very kind
too in letting me have the down from her breast for my pillow,
besides which her body can be eaten, and her fat is a cure for
the pains which poor old souls like me get in their joints, and
which go away sometimes when rubbed with ‘goose-grease, as
the country folk call it. Thank you, good goose, for many a
comfortable night’s rest, many an ache driven away, and many a
pleasant hour spent in writing. But I must have ink as well as
a pen, and that little fly in the picture lays her eggs in a sort of
oak-tree. The sap from the bough runs out as the fly pricks a
hole to put her eggs into, and covers it all round, hardening
into a ball like an English oak gall, only this sort does not
grow here. The egg turns into a grub and lives inside the ball


COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS. 65

until it wants to change into a fly, when it bites a passage
through its prison, finds that wings have grown upon its back,
and flutters away to lay more eggs. The best ink is made from
these galls, though other things are sometimes used instead.”

“Now the last of all the pictures is come,” said Edith with
a sigh, as Cousin Catherine took up the only one left, and said:

“You asked me how I knew that it would rain soon, and I °
told you that a servant had whispered to me that a storm was
coming. That was the swallow which went shooting past close
to the ground. Now when the flies and small spiders which he
is chasing fly or float so near the ground that the swallow is
obliged almost to brush the grass with his wings before he can
catch any, it shows that the air is damp already from the coming
rain, and that their gauzy wings or webs are weighed down by
it. That was how I learnt from the swallow that rain was at
hand, and that the clouds were already making the air moist.
Then I saw a snail peep out of her house and venture her horns
and the tip of her tail outside; her skin could feel the cooling
rain ; although it was a long way off still, she knew it was coming.
And the cat felt chilly in her back, for she was sitting as close as
she could get to the kitchen fire, turning it towards the heat.”

‘“And what is that ugly toad doing ?”

“What ugly toad?” said Cousin Catherine. ‘I am sorry
I have drawn it badly. It could not be wgly re
unless I had made it so in the drawing.”

‘John at home, the stable-boy, calls
them ugly,” said Edith.

“Then I shouldn't copy John at a
home, the stable-boy, if I were you,”
said Cousin Catherine. ‘When people are going to call any
creature wg/y it would be wiser to stop a minute and remember

Who made it.”



E
66 COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS.

“T forgot that God made toads,” said Edith in a low voice.

“Now / think that a toad has a comical, laughable beauty
of its own,” said Cousin Catherine; “it is exquisitely made for
the life it has to lead. When: that one crept out just now,
because his skin told him that rain was coming and he would
soon have a refreshing bath, I watched his eyes. They were
more brilliant than this bright jewel in my ring, and his back
was covered with fine velvety markings, something like those of
a tabby cat. He is not nice to touch, because, as he is gentle
and harmless, without any other means of defending himself, he
is able to squeeze drops of liquid out of his skin which are not
pleasant to have about one’s hands ; but as the poor toad neither
bites, scratches, pecks, nor stings, one need hardly grudge him
this one way of keeping his enemies at a distance. He makes
himself nasty because he does not wish to be meddled with. I
think I have known people with tempers of that sort. Yet,
although this is all he can do to prevent himself from being
pulled about, silly people have invented lies about him, saying
that he spits out fire and poison. No dog will take a toad into
its mouth because of the acid taste of him; but he does no other
harm to man or beast—not even that, unless disturbed and
worried. On the other hand, he does a great deal of good. I
keep one in my greenhouse to eat the flies and other creeping
things. He is tame and knows me quite well. ieireshe sam
the middle of the picture, among the other servants who give
me a hint of what sort of weather I may expect. Now, did you
count up how many servants I have got? I do not think you
could, yet I have not told you half. Another time perhaps I
will tell you about some more. But oh, dear! how I do wish
people would be kind to their servants, especially to the poor,
willing, hard-working horses,, without which they would be
puzzled how to get on at all.”
COUSIN CATHERINE’S SERVANTS. 67

Edith was not glad when the rain cleared off, for she liked
staying indoors at Cousin Catherine’s, listening to her stories or
watching her while she drew pictures.

When she went to bed that night Cousin Catherine helped
her to say her prayers, as mother was not there; and she taught
Edith to say a new prayer after she had finished her others.

It was: “O Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, whose
tender mercy is over all Thy works, be graciously pleased to bless
all men, everywhere, and to put it into their hearts to be kind to
the innocent, helpless creatures which Thou hast given them to
be their faithful servants, for the sake of the Lamb of God, Thy
dear son, Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.”

Edith remembered to say this prayer every night afterwards
at home, although she did not stay for many more days at the
thatched cottage. |

She was sorry when the carriage came to take her away
from kind Cousin Catherine’s, but how could she help being
glad too, as it was to bring her back to mother and dear little
Baby Alice?
The Ugliest One.

“T had a cat and a cat loved me,
And I fed my cat under a hollow tree ;
My cat cried miew, miew, miew !
Everybody loves their cat, and I love my cat too.” ..
—NursERY RHYME.
Ma; Y sister Ruth and I were very fond of going to see the
4: farmer's wife, Mrs Hird, who lived out at the far end
of the village beyond the church; partly because she
had a tempting duck pond where we used to sail paper boats,
and partly because there were so many cats about her place that
one or other of them was sure to have kittens to be played with.
There were cats in the house and cats in the garden; cats in the
stable and cats in the barn; although these were long and
lanky, and always ran away from you if you tried to make
friends with them, instead of coming and butting against your
petticoats as the house cats did.

There were two specially lean and hungry looking cats
which lived in the chaff-house. They were mother and
daughter; and when they had kittens the kittens seemed
somehow to be born more knowing and grown up than the
roly-poly velvet indoor kitties. |

Instead of being helpless, these little things would stagger
across the boards and try to play with one another's tails
almost before they could walk properly, or even see—and would
catch rats bigger than themselves soon ; while the house pussies
were sleeping all day, lapping milk and expecting their mothers
to wash their faces for them.

Ruth and I were fond of these kitties because no one else



THE UGLIEST ONE. 69

seemed to take much notice of them, and Ruth always picked
out things of that sort to pet. She would leave the pond and
the chickens and the lambs and go straight to the chaff-house
that she might have as long a time as possible there.

The full-grown mother and daughter cats were not allowed
to keep their babies for very long; indeed, if they had been
there would soon have been no room to hold them, there came
so many.

Once Mrs Hird was obliged to drown seven which she
found in a comfortable hole in the haystack ; and Ruth cried all
the way home that day because she had seen them in a bucket ;
but the little things were too young to feel any pain. The
eighth was left alive—but nobody knew who was the mother of
it, for the two chaff-house cats had it between them. Some-
times one would carry it about in her mouth, lick it and take
care of it, and sometimes the other, so that it was impossible to
settle whose it was.

‘But why are those two cats so thin and tall?” Ruth used
to ask pitifully—for they were not nice to cuddle; so bony;
even if you could have caught them.

“Tt's with catching of rats, miss,” Mrs Hird would say.
“They are excellent cats for catching of rats.”

This accidental rhyme of Mrs Hird’s used to please us
greatly—we. used to try to make her say it again, by leading the
conversation often up to the chaff-house cats.

As for their tempers, all I can say is that they were most
unkind to dogs; and we had to leave off taking Lassie and
Bounce and Mumps, our three dogs, up to the farm, because, if
one of them, on a sniffing expedition, happened in the most
innocent way to pass the chaff-house door, out would fly these
two indignant cats grinning and prancing in front of the dog,
and clawing at him in the most;unprovoked way, while even the
70 THE UGLIEST ONE.

kitten crumpled itself up and hissed in a whisper. The dogs
seldom came away without scratched noses, and never without
wounded feelings. .

As I said, Ruth always chose the worst things. She used
to have toothache a great deal; and somehow at home we
always used to think that was the reason of it, I am sure I do
not know why.

To this very day, if I see a little girl with her face tied up,
looking pale, I always expect that she will take the smallest
apple out of the plate, and not make any fuss about having to
stay at home when all the others go out to enjoy themselves,
and that she will always like the oldest, raggedest dolls the best,
and never seem to care if she has to do disagreeable things.

I think we used to have this fancy because Ruth was so
brave about going to have a tooth out, it used to make us think
she felt things less than the rest of us should have done.

It was too bad, but we used to put all the unpleasant
errands on her to do; such as asking for things we almost knew
we might not have, and breaking the news when anybody had
upset the ink, and things of that sort. It was always ‘“ Ask
Ruth, she will do it!” or “Get Ruth to go, she won’t mind.”

I think Ruth ad mind, only she bore the messages and
did the things just the same as if she didn’t. She would give
one little sigh, perhaps, and then go quite cheerfully.

It was one of the greatest griefs of Ruth’s life that she was
not allowed to have a kitten of her own. Mother did not care
about cats, and father had broods of pheasant and partridge
chicks which were being reared in a yard behind the stable, and
pigeons too; so that we were only allowed one serious-minded
old cat called Griffin; who was so honest and altogether above
suspicion that he thought it a crime even to look at the chickens,
although he lived in the stable close by.
THE UGLIEST ONE. 71

He was fat enough for half-a-dozen cats; Mrs O’Flaningan,
the cook, who adored him, took care of that.



She thought it very hard that she was not allowed a cat in
her kitchen, but she was obliged to put up with a trap for the
mice instead, though she was always grumbling, ‘“ Sorrow a bit,
72 THE UGLIEST. ONE.

”

thin, can the machane sit in me lap and keep me company,
while she was baiting it.

Griffin may have been an “excellent cat” in his way, but
it certainly was not as a catcher of rats that he came out strong.
He would let them run squeaking about the stables under his
very whiskers without offering to hurt a hair of their heads.

One day Ruth and I were going to Mrs Hird’s about some
raspberries which she was going to let cook have for jam. As
soon as we had seen Mrs Hird and told our errand Ruth said,
as usual, ‘‘ Let us go and see the excellent cats for catching of
rats.” So we went up the chaff-house steps, and as there were
fresh clean bundles of straw, we sat down while Ruth hugged
the kitten. Both its mothers were out, and we were glad—they
came creeping up in such a curious half-frightened, half-angry
way if you touched their baby.

I really must say that it was anything but a pretty kitten;
and yet it had an odd, sweet little face that one liked almost
better than the ordinary perfect pansy-face of pussies without a
fault. It was partly tabby and partly white; but the tabbiness
left off in such funny places. Over one eye, for instance, it had
a sort of tabby frown which made it look very wise, and a
streak ran crookedly across its forehead, just missing the left
ear, while the other was dark. Its nose was black, and it had
splotches of tabby here and there on the rest of its body, with
quite a handsome tabby tail. ‘If you were only to see its tail,”
Ruth used to say, “while I covered up the rest of it, you would
never guess what a surprise its body would be! ”

Its eyes were blue from youngness, and had as yet a blank
stare; yet when Ruth rustled an ear of corn in front of it, one
feeble paw stole out and began to pat the dangling straw in
quite an old-world way.

“Let's pretend things now,” said Ruth, that was her
THE UGLIEST ONE. 73

favourite game; ‘‘ Let us pretend that mother has told us we
may each bring home a kitten, and that Mrs Hird says we may
choose. Wait a minute, I'll go and fetch some more kittens ;
no, I don’t think I had better, because if the ‘excellent cats’
came back they might not like it. Cats don’t like other people's
kittens generally.”

‘“Now, Bessie, just think—pretending you know—would
you have that little white’ one with the blue eyes that we saw
sitting outside the front door, or the black one with yellow eyes
that was up the trellis-work, or one of those three tabbies that
were rolling together in the parsley bed? Or ‘

“What's the good of pretending when you know we
mustn’t have one?” I said.

Ohe butwislike ith” sRuthiwent one: Ican make it
seem quite real that I am going to take home a kitty—which do
you think 7 should have—if you won't have one?”

“The ugliest, I suppose,” said I, for I knew Ruth’s ways
quite well.

“ How could you guess that, Bessie? Yes, I should,” said
Ruth, kissing the kitten in her lap. ‘“ And I do think you are
the ugliest, you little dear! Yes, I would have you. Oh, how
I wish I could just put it in my pocket and take it home! Do
you know, Bessie, the other morning, when my tooth hurt so in
the night and I was in bed, I rolled up a bit of the bedclothes
to bea kitty and I am almost sure I heard it purr, only it was
not guife the same as a real one. Yes, I should have you,
darling, because, you see, I am afraid people won't like you so
much because of your smudges; and the boys will throw stones
at you perhaps, and nobody will take care of you, you are so
ugly; but I love you.”

The little kitten made a small rattle in its throat as if it
had suddenly found out that this world was meant to be purred in.


74 THE UGLIEST ONE.

“If it only wasn’t wrong to do things. without people’s
knowing it!” said Ruth after a moment’s pause. “ This kitten
would go so easily into my pocket and we could keep it in the
doll’s house and take it up to bed every night.”

“It would grow up, you see,” said I. It was always my
fate to spoil Ruth’s plans. “ Besides, it would be certain to

: miew, and Miss
Straitlace (that was
our governess) would
hear it—and besides,
Ruth, it is not nice
hiding things from
mother.”

No sad Ruth,
>, getting up with a
#) sigh, and putting
' kitty into a nest of
hay, out of which it
instantly wrigeled
in that obstinate way
that kittens always
do when you are
only thinking — of
their good.

“Come along, we



must go home now,” said I.
As we went through the yard Mrs Hird was talking to the
baker's wife and promising her a kitten to catch the rats in her
back-kitchen.
“They are excellent cats for catching of rats,” she was
saying ; and then she told the baker’s wife to send her little girl
in a week’s time to fetch the kitten, and advised that they
THE UGLIEST ONE. 75

should butter its feet well as soon as they got it inside the
house, so that it might sit down to lick its paws and so forget
to run home again to its old home.

“They are going to send the ugliest one away,” said Ruth.
“T must run back and say good-bye to it.”

Some time passed before we went to Mrs Hird’s again,
and when we did the ugliest one was gone; but its mother and
grandmother had each kittens hidden away somewhere; they
were determined to keep their families to themselves this time,
and no one had yet found out their whereabouts.

Ruth and I had not long to stay at that visit, we were
obliged to hurry back because we were going for a long walk
that afternoon ; and lessons had to be done first. The boys had
a half-holiday, and we were all going to take the dogs for a
swim in the canal. It was great fun taking the dogs there; for
Bounce, who was a water spaniel, would give himself such airs,
and try to coax Lassie, a beautiful young collie dog, to go into
the water as he did himself. She did not like it, although when
once in she could swim as easily and well as a water-snake; she
always thought that some dreadful accident had happened to her
if she ever got out of her depth. She would hurry out of the
water and come to her master to be pitied; looking up into his
face with sad, gentle, brown eyes, trying to say, “Only think!
I might never have seen you any more!” Then she would not
go near the water again for ever so long.

That afternoon we were all very merry, and we went quite
a long way; far enough for us, though the dogs were never
satisfied, but always fixed three pairs of reproachful eyes at us
when we took a turning which seemed to be leading towards
home. At last we came to some marshy fields, crossed by
trenches filled with water, where Lassie walked most warily for
fear she should slip into a stream by accident, for she had
76 THE UGLIEST ONE.

slipped into the canal, egged on by Bounce, once already that
day, and thought herself warned.

These fields led us ito the high-road. We had not gone
very far along it before we saw Lassie standing still in front of
something she had found; wagging her tail and making playful
pounces at it, then Seating back with an absurd gambol as if
she were inviting the thing, whatever it was, to come out of the
hedge and play with her.

She would do that in front of a lamb if she met one in the



fields, and look most puzzled when the lamb did not respond to
the invitation, or she would do the same to a frog, toad, or rat.
She never hurt anything; and I once knew her carry a rat
in her mouth nearly all the way home, until it squeaked,
when she set it quietly down and it ran away scot free. I
am afraid that Lassie became sterner about rats as she grew
older.

When the boys saw that Lassie had found something, they
THE UGLIEST ONE. 77

came running up to see what it was, and we came on more
slowly behind.

‘Poor beggar!” I heard Gerald say.

‘Pick up the poor little brute!” said Tom.

“I wonder whether it is a hedgehog; I do so want to see
one,” said Ruth, and she began to run.

But when we all came up to the place, we saw Tom
stroking the creature which Gerald had taken up; not holding
it as if it were prickly.

‘Whats it?” asked Ruth. “Oh poor little thing! it is
a kitten. And—oh, Bessie! I do believe—yes, it is. It is the
ugliest one!” and she stretched out her hands for it.

“How could it get here? Look at it! it’s leg is broken or
something—and how thin it is! It is the ugliest one, I know
its marks quite well. Has it run away, or what?”

“Tt has had a bad hit from a stone,” said Tom, handling it,
but not roughly. “The kindest thing to do would be to kill
lie
“That is what people always say!” said Ruth; “but I don’t
think it is at all a kind thing to do!” and she laid the kitten
against her round cheek, although its fur was all out of order,
clammy and dirty and wet from wandering in the fields.

“You know you wouldn’t like to be killed yourself!” went
on Ruth, while her tears ran over and dripped on the kitty’s
nose; ‘“‘and I don’t believe its leg is broken a bit. Just see!
it can walk up my arm quite well. It is only starved, and I
must take it home with me, and you must help!—I mean by
persuading people!”

‘Well, I don’t see how we can leave it in the road here,”
said the boys, who were not half so unkind as they sometimes
pretended to be.

“They won't let you bring it into the house, and you can’t
73 THE UGLIEST ONE.

keep it in the garden,” said Tom, leaving off whistling for a
moment to speak.

“It’s such a hideous little beast, and so dirty!” added
Gerald.

“But Pll tell you what; put it into the stable and feed it
up. It won’t look so bad in a few days then, perhaps,” said
Tom, eyeing the kitten doubtfully; “and, may be, mother
would let you keep it, or you could give it away.”

“T shouldn't say anything about it at first.”

Ruth wanted to rescue the kitten so much, and so did I,
and so did the boys, though they did not say so, that between
us we made a plan to keep it in the coach-house without
anyone's knowing it for a time; and I-am afraid we forgot that
we ought not to do things without telling father or mother.

“She never fo/d us not to keep a kitten in the coach-house,
you know,” said Ruth slowly.

“IT suppose she didn’t think we should want to,” said I.
“You could not possibly think of a/ the things a person might
want to do and tell them not to do them. You remember when
Tom fried a mushroom on that slate over the gas; when father
smelt the smell, and Tom said nobody had told him not to do
it, father said——”

“But we can tell mother by-and-bye, so perhaps it won’t
matter,” Ruth broke in cheerfully.

Then we agreed to feed kitty when the dogs were fed, and
to get milk for it ‘‘ somehow.”

I think I had it in my head that “ somehow” must mean
going about with the bottle we made liquorice water in for our
doll’s feasts, and filling it in the pantry when cook was not
looking. But as this did not seem a pleasant plan, we thought
that “somehow” when Griffin’s milk was taken up to the stable
we could get some for the kitten too.
THE UGLIEST ONE. 79

“Til tell you what!” said Ruth suddenly, “I daresay
Griffin will let it live in the stable with him and have some of
_ his meals. Perhaps he would like to pretend that the kitten is
his son. Let us try when we go in; nobody could mind that if
Griffin didn’t! Iam sure he must be very dull in the stable all
alone!”

This idea seemed such a good one that we determined to
try it, and spent the rest of the way home in inventing a name
for little pussy. We thought of a great many, but all of them
seemed too common for such an uncommon-looking animal as
he undoubtedly was. At last Ruth said, “If it is to be the son
of Griffin, we had better call it Fitz-Griffin; like Fitz-Howard,
you know, means the son of Howard, and Fitz-Allen the son of
Allen.”

This was such a bright thought! We agreed that Fitz-
Griffin should be the name of the little waif, with Fitz for
short.

“ He looks something like a Griffin, too,” said Ruth.

“Look how he spreads out his claws when he is pleased
and waves them about!” And indeed the kitten had an odd,
rampant sort of way when Ruth put it on the ground for a
moment, of sitting bolt upright and clawing the air just like the
dragon on my father’s seal. This was a queer way of begging
to be carried which that kitten always had, and which it must
have learnt of its own accord, together with many other tricks
which we found out afterwards.

We made haste home, overjoyed to think of having settled
so comfortable a home in the stable for our new pet, where it
would have the society of a respectable member of its own kind.
However, we were disappointed in this matter, for whether it
was that Griffin, being a cat advanced in life, did not care to
have young and gay friends about him, or whether he liked to
SO THE UGLIEST ONE.

have the stable to himself, or whether he had some other reason,
one thing is certain, that nothing could be less like a father’s
conduct than his, when he saw his would-be child. He swore,
he spat, he rushed at it and boxed its ears; he never rested till
he had fairly driven the stranger out of the premises.

We looked at each other; the boys chuckled. What was
to bevdoneinext 2

“There is the loft over the stable,” said Tom. ‘‘Go up the
ladder and put it up there, you can take away the ladder when
you come down, so that nothing can get up.”

The stable was empty of horses at the time, and we some-
times used that loft as a play-house in wet weather. We made
the kitten a bed there, and fetched it food and milk.

Oh how that hungry little thing ate and drank! It went
on as if it had not seen food for a week; which was about the
truth I suppose. When it had done it was as round and tight
as a little ball, instead of being flat and thin, and it soon fell
fast asleep.

We came away and left it there, Ruth lingering till the last
to move the ladder when we had all come down, lest Griffin
should go up and repeat his most unfatherly treatment. We
left the window, which was at a great height from the ground,
wide open for light and air. This window was nothing but
a sort of wooden shutter, which opened and shut on hinges like
a door, and it was ona level with the loft floor, so that kitty
could sit and bask in the patch of sunshine which came in
theres

We all went in to the house for tea, and most of us forgot
for the time all about the little puss; yet I do not think Ruth
did, because I could see her looking out at the window so often
as if she were not thinking about the cake on her plate. I, if
I thought about kitty at all, felt glad to remember that it was
THE UGLIEST ONE. SI

shut up safe and sound out of the way. “It will not be difficult
at all to keep it there for a few days, or even for all its life,”
Ruth was just whispering to me when, all of a sudden, I saw
something glide into the room just like a grey shadow after
Nurse, as she was bringing in a new plate of bread-and-butter,
run up to Ruth and jump into her lap. Nurse did not notice
it; Ruth stared in amazement. It was the kitten. How in the
world could it have come in? It seemed much pleased with
itself, and was rubbing its little sooty
face against Ruth’s arm, purring like
mad, and then beginning a desperate
attempt to clean both ears at once
before it prepared to arrange itself
comfortably ’on her knee. . Ruth looked
the picture of silent dismay all the’
time. As soon as Nurse was gone
Ruth muffled it up in her pinafore and
ran back with it to the loft. She came
back quite out of breath.

fel can't think how it could have
come,” she said, “unless it jumped down through the hole
where the ladder leads up, on to the manger, and then to the
stable door. But T have shut the trap-door now, where the
ladder goes in.”

We went on with our tea, the boys were in a hurry. Tom,
who had done first, was just getting up to pier the door when
I fancied I heard a sound outside like a “ miew.” I went across
to see, and the moment the door was ajar in rushed the kitten
and buried its head in Ruth’s lap as before.

“Oh dear! what is the good of trying to keep this kitten a
secret?” cried Ruth, looking round at every one by turns.

And indeed it did not seem easy. How did it contrive to
F



————
82 THE UGLIEST ONE.

get out? There was no way but jumping from the window,
which seemed impossible.

The little beast was put back again, and again, and again
into the loft; the ladder was moved and trap-door shut; but all
that evening wherever Ruth went she was haunted by Fitz-
Griffin, who would follow. It was the strangest thing! If we
played in front of the house, on the broad gravel-drive, there
would the kitten mysteriously appear, sitting up in front of her,
pawing the air and begging to be taken up. When we went
away to the back garden, or down all the way to the far
shrubbery, it was just the same.

As soon as it was carried back again and shut up in the
loft, it began to cry plaintively. It seemed as if it could not
bear out of its sight the little girl who had saved it from
starvation and misery. People talk of the worship of ‘a dog for
its master, but I have never seen anything like the love of that
stray kitten for my sister Ruth.

After it had been put away and had reappeared aboutt-seven
times, we hid ourselves in the lilac bushes near the stable as
soon as Ruth had once more taken it up the ladder, fastened the
trap-door, and left it. We were determined to find out how it
managed the matter.

First of all we could see little pussy come to the open
window and watch Ruth’s retreating figure with a doleful
sound. Then it began to pace up and down the opening by thie
window, its voice getting louder and more hollow every moment,
till at last with a shriek of utter despair, as if it were saying
good-bye to life, it fairly flung itself from the window; to our
horror and astonishment, legs and tail all spread Aor as if it
were trying to fly. Kitty came to the ground a trifle dazed,

seemingly, but quite unhurt; picked itself up, and _ trotted|
manfully off to the spot where Ruth’s boots were sticking out of
THE UGLIEST ONE. 83

the lilac-bush. It seemed to care nothing about the rest of
us.

My recollection of the life which that kitten led us for the
next few days makes me advise no one to try keeping a kitten
unknown to the household. But then there never was, or will
be, another kitten like Fitz-Griffin.

We tried shutting the loft window after this, for there was
plenty of light from some glass tiles in the loft roof, and it was
satisfactory for the present to hear the kitten mewing inside.
As long as you could hear its voice within, all was safe, but if
when we were in the garden, or even in the house (for you could
hear it there if you listened anxiously), the sound stopped, Ruth
would look quite pale from expectation. The kitten must be
coming; and it always did—for it soon found a hole under the
loft tiles, and oozed out at that, after the loft window was kept
shut. At last one day it came into the drawing-room, when
father and mother and everybody were there, and told its own
story, which we finished for it.

“We only meant to hide it till it was a little fatter and
prettier, mother dear!” cried every one all at once.

“We were afraid you would think it so very ugly, and that
its chance of being kept would be spoilt,” said Ruth; “but do
let us, mother, please!”

“TI don’t like cats on account of the chicks,” said father,
“but——”

“Well, it seems rather as if this kitten would not give us
any choice,” said mother, smiling. “It wi// be kept. But you
had better put it in the yard outside the scullery, in one of the
outhouses there. It surely cannot get over ¢hat wall, it is
twenty feet high. But I am afraid when it is older you must
find it a home somewhere else—it may take a fancy to pigeon
for dinner.”
84 THE UGLIEST ONE.

So we took Fitz-Griffin into the yard. The three dogs had
their kennels there; but Bounce never noticed cats, Lassie loved
everything, and Mumps leapt for joy, with all the rapture of
puppyhood at the sight of anything to romp with; so there was
no risk of harm from them to the new-comer. We made Fitz-
Griffin up a snug bed in the wood-house, but the fanciful little
fellow would not sleep there after the first night; we missed it
next evening, and found the kitten curled up like a snail on
Lassie’s back in her kennel. It always slept there after that—
having struck up a friendship with this doggie although it
hissed and arched its back at the others.

But if we supposed that Fitz-Griffin was going to live
peaceably in that yard while Ruth was in the house, it was quite a
mistake. Over the walls it could not get ; and yet in some extra-
ordinary way it still continued to appear wherever Ruth was.

If her bedroom door opened, in ran the kitten. If she was
having her music lesson, kitty howled outside, louder than the
piano, to be let in. Did it run in when cook opened the door
into the yard? She declared not; but said she was always
finding that door open when she was ‘‘certain sure” she had
shut it tight. And another very strange thing began to happen
at this same time. The dogs were always wandering into the
house—a thing which was not allowed.

The yard door opened into the scullery, the scullery into
the kitchen, through a door usually left open, and the kitchen
into the passage which led by a back staircase to the rest of the
house.

Bounce being a spoilt old friend was sometimes allowed to
lie by the kitchen fire. He could be trusted with untold legs of
mutton roasting in front of it. But as to Lassie and Mumps—
well, I am sorry to say that their consciences were not formed yet.
It grieved Bounce to see how loose their principles were; and
THE UGLIEST ONE. 85

whenever he saw them stealing he felt it his duty to tell of
them; and would bark to give warning. If cook heard him
Berane she would run to the kitchen, certain that she would
find the other two dogs there.

“Sorrow to the lot of ye! How is it ye gets in at all, at
all?” cried poor cook, as she turned the three dogs out of the
kitchen into the yard and shut the door for the fifth time one
morning. “Sure I can’t turn me back for a minute for them
bad animals!”

She went away to finish something which she was doing in
another part of her place when again ‘“‘ Bow-wow, wow!” from
Bounce. Back she hurried just in time to catch Lassie licking
out a basin of warm dripping on the kitchen table, while
Mumps was busy with a mutton chop underneath, which he
seemed to think he had caught and killed in lawful chase, for
he was shakjng it and growling.

The kitten was waiting at the door on the house-side ready
to dart upstairs and find Ruth so soon as anyone should
pass.
“Arrah! Ye bad bastes!” cried cook. ‘‘ Bad luck to
whoever let ye in!” |

She turned every one of them out and went to peel her
potatoes in the scullery. While she was doing this she heard
a very slight rattle at the latch of the door leading out into the
yard. “Click!” it went very softly; ‘click, click!” again, as if
someone were touching the handle who was not quite strong
enough, or who did not understand how to lift the latch. Cook
put down her peeling knife with one potato half scraped, and
stole noiselessly to a small side window. When she looked out
she threw up her hands with a jerk and laughed—then looked
again as if she could not believe her own eyes—muttering to
herself. ‘“Well—if ever—!” Then without wasting another
86 THE UGLIEST ONE.

minute she ran upstairs and bursting into the room where Ruth
and I ‘were doing lessons. ‘‘Come down, mem! Come down,
Miss Bessie and Miss Ruth, me darlins,” cried cook, “and _ye'll
see what ye'll see!”

We went down, pell mell, not very sorry, perhaps, for an
interruption to the multiplication table; and we met the boys
and mother, and they came too. We all stood where cook put
us to watch. This was what we saw: |

First the three dogs standing in a half-circle round the
door which led from the yard into the scullery, looking eagerly
up at it with their heads on one side, while
Lassie gave a short yelp, as if to say, “Be
quick! open sesame!” and up above, with one
front paw drawn through the loop of the
handle, and the other patting the thumb-piece,
as he kicked wildly at the doorpost with his
hind legs, the fat little round body of Fitz-
Griffin was clinging.

After much shoving, dabbing, and tugging
the door at last flew open and in rushed the
string of animals—Fitz-Griffin last, but not
least. Oh, how we laughed !

This was the kitten’s plan—its way of be-
ginning to work out its road to Ruth. First
by managing to swing this door open, and then
by waiting patiently at the other doors one by one—unless it
found them ajar. The dogs had seen their chance and
used it. }

But after the discovery a solemn council was held, and it
was determined that there was no keeping the ugliest kitten—
for, if the ugliest, he certainly was the most dreadfully clever, too;
mother and cook foresaw that there would be never any peace.



N
THE UGLIEST ONE. 87

We had often read stories of cats which opened doors
before—and had half believed them—but we had never heard of
a young kitten having such an old head upon its shoulders.
What would wot Fitz-Griffin be able to do at full age, if nature
should keep him alive? Unless we tied that kitten up, it was
plain that it would always. be too many for us. Mother said
we must find it ‘a happy home,” and so, with many sighs and
tears, Ruth took it to the postmaster’s wife, who wanted a cat,
did not care for good looks, as she said “handsome is that
handsome does” was her notions, and would be sure to treat it
kindly. I think, though, that, when it came to the parting,
Ruth was quite sorry she had not an attack of toothache—
which never would come at the right time—for she would have
made it a plea for being allowed to cuddle the kitten fora few
days longer. The post-office was at least four miles from our
house—too far for the pussy to run away home to Ruth. It
was smuggled there by night in a basket, so as not to know the.
way home.

We were just setting out for London to pay a long visit;
by the time we came back it would be accustomed to the’
change, and have forgotten us, we thought.

But was Fitz-Griffin to be got rid of so easily as all
that ? :
Not a bit of it. Nearly a year afterwards, when we had
almost left off thinking of our comical little visitor, Ruth and .

I were at the post-office buying some stamps for mother, while
she drove on to pay a call higher up the road, and left us to
-walk back.

The postmistress came in, and as she opened the door there
was arush. Something dashed at Ruth, ‘‘ swarmed” up her back,
and twisting itself round her neck like a boa, in an ecstasy of

purring, began to rub against her face and lick her cheek. “It
88 THE UGLIEST ONE.

was Fitz-Griffin—grown a large, fine cat, although no hand-
somer than before.

Ruth was as glad to see her old admirer. as he was to see
her almost, although she did not show it in the same frantic
way.

“You had better shut him up, please,” she said, when we
were coming away, “or he will follow me, I am afraid.”

So the postmistress put Fitz-Griffin the house-side of the
shop door. But when we had walked a mile or so towards
home, I heard a sound borne upon the breeze which I remem-
bered too well; and looking back, there, behind us, bedabbled
with mud, and clearly calling to us to wait for him, who but
Fitz-Griffin toiled painfully along!

‘Take no notice,” I said, “and he will turn back.” But
no such luck! The howls of the poor puss still floated to our
wor = Cs:téaa's, becoming a little fainter and more
igs he hopeless each one, but still following
*% us up; till at last, Ruth, who would
. keep turning round, whenever
_ amore woeful wail than usual
~ came, saw him sit down in the
middle of the road and give
‘it up; too footsore to go either
onward or back again.
“TI can't stand this!” said
Ruth, going rashly back
At ee, and picking up the spent
‘ REY Vs, traveller; “I shall take
him home, come what
may. He must be my
pussy born—although he is the very ugliest I ever saw!”
So as Fitz-Griffin had made up his small mind and soul











THE UGLIEST ONE. 89

_to belong to Ruth, and to no one else, we had to make the best
of it, and to overlook the occasional corpse of a chicken—though
I must say that he soon learnt to do no murder.

At the present moment he is lying on the hearthrug, with
his nose tucked in among his paws; dreaming, I dare say, of
all the housebreakings he would like to commit but cannot,
since we have been obliged to have new cat-proof locks put on
to all the doors; and Ruth declares that nothing comforts her
toothache — for she still has it sometimes —like making a
cushion for her face out of Fitz-Griffin, who seems to be fully
alive to the honour, and purrs as if his heart would break.
El tReal Pond.

| To great and small things, Love alike can reach,
And cares for each as all, and all as each.

—TRENCH.
WEATHER! I do wish you would tell me all about every-

*< thing, like you do the boys!”

“Tell you ‘all about everything,’ eh?” said father to
his little daughter, as she ran up to him in the field at the
bottom of the garden, and caught hold of his hand, looking up
into his face. ‘41 about everything? That is a great deal to
tell such a small mouse as you are,—and I shouldn’t know
where to stop. Don’t you think I had better begin by telling
you @ Little about something ?”

“Yes, do,- father! Why shouldn't I be told things, and
have a fishing-rod, and a real pond in the garden, and cobbler’s
wax, and one of those things that you look through, like Jack
and Tom? They say that little girls can’t see through it—Jack
would not let me try.”

_ “What a quantity of things you want, Mousie!” said
father, laughing. “TI don’t think you would be any happier for
having fishing-rods and cobbler’s wax, and I am not sure myself
about your being able to see much with ‘that thing you look
through,’ as you call Jack’s microscope. But I will tell you
what. If you like you shall have a little pond all to yourself.”

“A veal pond, father?” said Ethel, whose pet name was
Mousie, giving a skip of pleasure.

“Yes, a real pond. At least, it will have water in it, and
some of the things which a real pond has. I can’t promise you
the mud—is it the mud you want?”


ne

Bx:

a


A REAL POND. gli

“No, father. Where will my pond be?”
‘“What do you say to a pond in the nursery window?”
“Oh, father, you must be laughing, though I can't



see it under your moustache. Please don’t say it is only a

game!”
‘““No, Mousie. You shall really have a little wee pond in
92 A REAL POND.

your nursery window. Come here; we will go and look at the
cattle-pond under the trees while I am telling you about it.”

“Nurse won't let me go there,” said Mousie, with a
chuckle of content as her footsteps turned in the delightful
forbidden direction, ‘ because once I stepped on a lovely bit of
green, and my boots went sinking right in, and one of them
stayed behind. I wanted to sail a horse-chestnut rind, and
pretend it was a boat. But yeu may step where you like,
because you are grown-up,” went on Mousie, thoughtfully. “I
wish I was grown-up too. Grown-up people haven't to mind
about nurse, or what axydbody says to them!”

“Haven't they?” said father, smiling; “well, not about
nurse, perhaps. But I shouldn't like to leave one of my boots
behind for: my own sake—so we must go round this side where
the pond is walled up. Here, you can look over the wall and
see into the water quite plainly if I lift you upa little. Now,
Mousie, what do you see?” )

“A lot of green stuff, and mud, and some other stuff rather
like tapioca pudding.”

“ Nothing else?”

“A great many little things that look like black slugs, only
they are quicker, and go darting about and swimming to and
fro; and a drowned snail; and, oh! such a funny little thing
walking about on the bottom—two of them!—oh! a great
many. Please, father, don’t put me down for just one minute!
there is something running along on the top of the water. I
IMUSt sceaitl

“ But, Mousie, you weigh a good deal.”

“Oh, father, pretend that I am light, one instant ‘more.
I saw something red and spotted—oh, do!” Splash, splash,
splash! came three great drops of rain into the pond.* *Uhere
was a sound of thunder rolling above.
A REAL POND. 93

“We must run, Mousie,” said father, “‘or we shall get a
ducking.”

“What is a ducking?”

“What the ducks get, I suppose, when they go head over
heels into the water. Look at them all coming, waddling down
to the brink! They think that the rain will stir up all the
worms and leeches—all ready for them to gobble up. Come,
come, we shall be soaked through,” and father took his little
girls hand. They ran as quickly as they could to get to the
house; but as they were on the way, father opened the door of
the nearest greenhouse and let Mousie run in.

“T have something to do here,” he said, and taking a
trowel, he filled a good-sized: flower-pot with earth; then going
to a corner of the house, where a row of large bell-shaped
glasses, with knobs to hold them by, had been put to cover up
some seeds, he took up one of them, and turning it upside
down, fixed the knob firmly into the pot of earth, so that the
glass stood steady and upright

Mousie had not been watching, for she was looking. out
and longing for the rain to stop, while she said to herself, sadly,
“The worst of ponds is that they are out of doors.”

‘Well, we will see if we can’t bring one in,” said father.
‘Look here, Mousie. Now I am going to carry this glass and
pot upstairs to the nursery window, then we will see what is to
be done next.”

As he was speaking, father was busily filling in the crack
which was left between the edge of the flower-pot and the sides
of the glass with some bright green moss and little ferns.
These drooped prettily down over the pot, almost hiding it.
Then he began to carry it carefully.

/ Yow cam-come jwith:ime,\or stay here,’ said he. And
Mousie chose to come. Father set the pot, glass, and all in
04 A REAL POND.

7

the nursery window. ‘“ What do you think of that for a pond ?”
said he.

“ But there is nothing in it,” said Mousie.

No. Wer will soonemllieit ithoughe Tet has Vléft off
raining now, but the grass will be wet. We shall have to
wait until the afternoon, then you shall go out fishing with
me

“Oh! fishing!” cried Mousie, dancing from delight.
“Shall I have a fishing-rod, father?”



“No, my little woman. We shall have a net. You see,
we do not want to catch fishes to eat—we don’t want to hurt
them or kill them for food, as men and boys must do sometimes,
although I am afraid they oftener do it from a love of mischief,
which they are fond of calling ‘a love of sport.’ We only want
to get the little people out of the pond that we may be able to
watch how clever and pretty they are more easily; we must
make them as happy and comfortable as we can while we are
getting a good look at them. We must take care to have a
A REAL POND. 95

good home ready for them, where they can enjoy themselves
almost as much as in their own.”

“T shouldn't like to live in that pond down by the wall,”
said Mousie; “why it is as dirty as anything. When Scamp
(that’s the dog at the corner cottage, you know) goes into the
water to fetch the cows out, he gets all covered with black stuff,
so that his yellow legs aren’t yellow any more. He jumped on
me once, and nurse said I shouldn’t grow up to be a young lady
if I came in with such black dabs on my frock. Do you think
I shall, father? But I don’t much mind, so long as I grow up
somehow ; I was only pretending it was the sea, and that Scamp
was a whale.”

“The pond is all right if people let it alone,” said father,
“and the water would be quite clear, unless you stirred it up.
It was not meant for dogs to live in,—or little girls to dabble
in. The creatures which were made on purpose to live there
find it very pleasant though—for they haven’t boots to stick in
the mud, or any chance of growing up to be young ladies to
lose. Now I am going to get this glass ready. You will see
what we shall find to live in it then.”

First father fetched two or three handfuls of gravel and
pebbles, which he washed clean in a bucket of water. He put
this into the bottom of the glass, and on the top of it a little
silver sand spread smooth. Then he brought several bits of
pretty sparkling stones and shells out of Mousie’s toy-cupboard,
where she had stored them up after her last visit to the sea-side,
and built a sort of little cave or grotto on the sand.

“That is a place for the little water-creatures to take shelter
in—out of the way of the sunshine or if they are chased by one
another; for water-creatures will hunt one another,” said father,
‘so it is only fair that there should be a place of refuge where
the little ones can escape from the big ones. Besides, they
96 A REAL POND.

want rest, and often die if people keep them always in a light
place without a hiding-place. They die from tiredness—after
swimming round and round their prison looking for one. And
now, just as when we build a house we like to have a garden,
and pretty trees, so in the water-world the water-folk want
water-plants too. There are land plants on the ground, ¢hey
won't grow under water—and there are water-plants in the pond
which would not grow in the air. You wait here, Mousie, and
I will go down to the pond and hook out some water-weed with
my stick. I shan’t be long.”

In a few minutes he came back again with something
moist, which looked like tufts of green hair growing on a white
stem; this he tied to a stone, and fixed the stone firmly
into the gravel at the bottom.

“This kind of weed will grow in water anywhere—you
have only to see that it is made fast,” said he; “but it would
die if it were to be left floating loosely about. It will soon send
out long silvery-looking roots among the gravel and grasp it;
while it is growing it will help to keep the water clear and pure,
just as trees do the air, which you will understand better,
Mousie, when you are older. Animals would not be able to
live long—either in water or on land—without plants.”

After the plant was ready, father told John to bring upa
large can of the cleanest rain-water.from the open butt in the
stable yard, telling him to be sure not to fetch it from the
covered-up rain-water cistern, because that water was not whole-
some for creatures: and he poured the can of water gently into
the bell-glass till it was full, nearly, but not quite, to the brim.

Oh, how pretty it looked when this was done! The green
weed spread out like some beautiful water-tree—the colours of
the gravel, sand, and shells looked so bright in the crystal water,
that Mousie clapped her hands at the sight of her little pond.
A REAL POND. 97

But there was nothing alive or moving in It, except some
things like silver beads, which kept coming up from the weed.
Some of these clung to the branches like clusters of pearls, and
others floated up to the top of the water and vanished. They
were air bubbles, although they looked more like precious
stones.

“That is what I put the weed in for,” said father. ‘“ You
will often see these beads of air hanging on it. The plant
breathes out air in these
bubbles. Youdidn'tknow
that plants breathed?
Well, they do. And that
fresh air helps to keep
the fishes alive and well,
for fishes want air as
well as water. If there
were no. water - plants,
every fish would die after
a time. Now, there is
the>-dinner-belll = Afters:
dinner the meadow will
have dried up, and we
can go out and find some
creatures to live in this
little world which we
have got ready for them.”

Mousie was not long
over her dinner, even although neon was her favourite pudding.
She was soon dressed, and waiting for father, who came out of
his study with a long stick in his hand, at the end of which a
round loop of thick iron wire had been fixed, with a little green
muslin net sewn on to it.



G
98 A REAL POND.

“While you were having your dinner, Mousie, I went to
the blacksmith, and got him to bend this bit of wire for us, and
to fasten it to the end of this hazel stick, which I cut from the
hedge,” he said; ‘‘then mother found a bit of muslin, which she
sewed on. We don’t want anything else now but an empty
pickle-bottle, which we must beg from cook.”

Very soon they were by the side of the pond, and Mousie
was very anxious to fish with the net herself.

In one place there was a large trunk of a tree, which had
fallen right across the mud at the edge of the pond. It made a
firm footing, so that she could either walk or sit on it without
fear of sinking over her boots.

She dipped her net into the water, making a dash with it;
she dragged it through as quickly as she could, as far as her
arms could reach, and brought it to land again. Mousie
thought that the net would be quite full of fishes, or of
something ; but oh, dear! there was nothing inside it at all but
a little scrap of floating dead leaf which had fallen from a
tree.

She tried another sweep with the net, a harder one than
before, this time plunging it into the middle of a crowd of small
moving black things. But no sooner did they find the net
coming in among them with a great flop, than they all disap-
peared like magic, darting away right and left as swiftly as so
many little dancing shadows ; and once more poor Mousie drew
in her net quite empty.

“IT never shall catch anything!” she said, sorrowfully, “if
they would only come a little nearer, and keep still for one
minute! I can’t see so much as one of those little things
walking about at the bottom now—there is not one left!”

This was true. Mousie had frightened them all away with
her splashing and plunging. Every living creature in the pond
A REAL POND. 99

was hiding, either in the mud below, or in the great forests of
tangled weed, or under the grass roots beneath the bank.

Father had been looking on quietly all the while; at last
he said, “Wait a minute. Don’t give it up yet. You see,
Mousie, you must go about it more gently. Look at me—keep
quite still until some of the little creatures come peeping out
again, and then watch how I shall manage.”

Father took the net, and after waiting a few minutes, he
slipped it sideways into the water without making the least
splash, and then moved it quite slowly towards a tuft of water-
weed; drew it lightly through the green tufts, and brought out
the net almost without making a ripple upon the pool.

" Mousie stretched out her neck eagerly, to see what father
had caught. In the bottom of the net lay quite a dozen little
black beings, wriggling about. Poor little things! they could
not make out how it was that they could not get away. They
twisted their tails in the proper way—just in the way that sent
them gliding so quickly along when they were in the water—
but somehow it seemed to do them no good in this strange new
place.

“Look at them, Mousie,” said her father, holding out the
net; “these are what you thought were slugs,” and he began
to pick them gently up and to drop them one by one into the
bottle of water ; ‘but you never saw a slug move in that pretty,
merry, lively way; and you never saw a slug all over gold
specks either, or with such a droll head, and eyes, and mouth;
or a tail to wag, as these little fellows have.”

Father held up the bottle, and Mousie could not help
laughing at the comical black balls, each with a frisking tail,
which went bobbing about inside. How absurd their heads
were! with bright eyes and a little mouth. Some of them
were dark all over, and others, as father said, were covered
100 A REAL POND.

with gold-dust as it seemed, as fine as a sprinkling of
pepper. ss

“Ohi itathen, swhat ware ethey 2ivened wiMousie. - “Can “we
take them home for my pond ?”

“ They are tadpoles,” said father. ‘‘ Once upon a time some
frogs laid their eggs in this pond. Did you know that froggies
could lay eggs? Yes, they lay eggs in the water in. spring-
time. That lump of jelly over there that you said was like
tapioca pudding, is really some frogs’ eggs—though I don’t
know how it comes to be there so late, after the rest has turned
into tadpoles. We will take a little of it home and put it in
with the tadpoles. And you will see that in the jelly-looking
stuff there are black specks. When the sun warms those specks
they begin to live, and in a few days they will become tadpoles.
They will grow and grow till they are as big as these tadpoles
here. These have not been hatched out for so very long—they
will become much larger. By-and-bye their tails will go away,
two hind legs will come instead; that great round bundle that
looks like a head will send out two front legs, and the whole
will turn into a little baby froggie and come out of the water to
jump about on the grass.”

1 Oli how cant sy scricdMousie cand: she lookcd=upyat
father, for she could hardly believe this, and thought it must be
a fairy-story of his.

“You will see. We will take these home, and you: shall
watch them every day, and notice what happens. We will put
in some of the frogs’ eggs, too, that you may see some tadpoles
from the very beginning; although I am rather afraid the big
ones may eat the little ones.” .

‘“ But how unkind—when perhaps they are brothers!”’ said
Mousie.

“They don’t mind about that sort of thing under the
A REAL POND. IOI

water,” said father, “they don’t even know their brothers when
they sée them. They only think whether they are good to eat
or not. Iam afraid these tadpoles, when they turn into frogs
—but the speckled ones will turn into toads, though—will
not be at all particular. I have seen a big frog eat a little
one, and enjoy it, without stopping to ask whether it was his own
child or not. Now for another try with the net. Look down
there, Mousie—just by that bit of stone at the bottom. Do you
see those two little creatures strolling along side by side? Just
watch.”

Father tried to dip down the net very skilfully this time.
As it came near to the two little
animals which were at the bottom—
just as if they were taking a walk
arm-in-arm —one of them started,
gave a dart, and was off like a flash .
of lightning; but father got the net |
under the other one and managed to
coax him into it.. He had almost
drawn it out of the water when the
little thing inside took fright and was
quickly gone too.

Mousie, who had been quite °
breathless with excitement and glee, now Menken very crestfallen.

“There!” said father. ‘“ No matter—we must try again.
Now, Mousie, here is a chance for you. Sit down on the tree-
trunk; dip the net in slowly—slowly, mind—without disturbing
the water. So! draw it cautiously under that long trail of
weed ; the two little efts—the two little ones which were walking
at the bottom—are sitting on it. Be steady, and you will have
them both. Ah! take time! Now! All right—pull out the
net now.”


102 A REAL POND.

Mousie did exactly as she was told; she guided the net
anxiously to the bank; and sure enough when she pulled it out
at the end of it lay two pretty little creatures. They were not
much longer, each of them, than one of her fingers.

Father lifted them softly into the bottle, where they could
be seen clearly.

“Why, they are little crocodiles!” said Mousie, for she had
seen a picture of one in a book at home, and thought these were
like it, only much prettier.

“No,” laughed father, “they are not crocodiles, although
they are not so very unlike them either, except that crocodiles
have a horny skin. A crocodile is nothing but a big water-
lizard, and these are little water-lizards—or newts—or some
people call them efts.”’

‘‘ But one is much prettier than the other!” said Mousie.
“Look, he has a frill on his back, and such lovely white and
scarlet underneath, with black spots on it, just like that lily in
the greenhouse.”

“That is the father-eft. The other
plain-looking little body is his wife.
She lays the eggs, and does all the
business, while the husband makes
himself smart and enjoys life. Now,
Mousie, we shall not have much more
room in your pond, for we must
not put in too many creatures; but
look just there—do you see something
‘running about on the top of the
water,’ as you said just now? That
is a water-boatman; it is really a beetle, with a body shaped
like a boat, and long legs like oars. He rows himself about
with those. He is a fierce fellow, and I am afraid that if we


A REAL POND. 103

were to put him into the pond with the baby tadpoles, he would
put his long oars round them, hug them to death, and then
feast upon them. But there is another thing we must have, if
we want to keep the water clear—some snails.”

Father made several quick sweeps of the net through the
weeds, and brought out a good many shells, of a dusky gold or
brown colour—and some curly black ones.

“Poor snails!” said Mousie, ‘how did so many of them
fall in?”

Father had dropped them all carefully into the bottle, and
he called his little girl to look. Instead of being drowned and
dead, the snails were beginning to poke their heads out of their
shells and to crawl about, sticking on to the sides of the bottle
and gliding quickly over the glass. They seemed to be quite
comfortable.

“They don’t look drowned, do they?” said father. “ Look
at this large one; his head has two broad-pointed things like
fins on it instead of horns shaped like pins, as a land snail
would have. You can see that he is a water-creature from
that.”

“ Then they didn’t fall in by accident ?” said Mousie.

“No. They were born in the water on purpose to live in
it,” said father. ‘Why, do you think? To prevent the weed, by
eating it, from growing too fast and filling up the pond alto-
gether. That is why we must take some home for your little
pond ; because small weeds would soon begin to grow all over
the glass and make it look dim and green. The snails will
prevent that by feeding on them as fast as they can. The
tadpoles will eat weeds, too, for the present.”

‘What will the efts eat?” said Mousie.

“They will. eat worms—and I am rather afraid that they
will pounce on the young tadpoles as soon as they come out of
104 A REAL POND.

the frogs’ egys—even if they do not eat the eggs first. But we
must try to find them something else. If I fish with the net in
the bottom of the soft-water butt at home, I shall find plenty of
small red water-worms. That will do for their dinnerrvora
small earth-worm from the garden, but they will not eat any-
thing unless they see it moving. Besides, I can get a net full
of things in a minute here, which we can put into the pond at
home for them to eat at their leisure,” said father; and he
skimmed the net across the top of a patch of weed.

On drawing it out he showed Mousie a great many water-
insects, most of them with six legs
each, and three hairy branches at
the end of their tails.

“These would all turn into flies
in time if we left them where they
are,” said he, ‘and these are what
the efts feed upon when they can-
not get worms. As the pond is
crowded with these things, it will
always be quite easy to keep your
efts supplied; and it is not cruel,
because every fly lays so many
eggs on purpose that some of these
creatures, which are hatched from
them, may be for food.” As father
said this a great green and gold
dragon-fly settled on a rush which
was springing upfrom the pond,and
began quivering its gauzy wings,

“Oh, what a beauty!” cried Mousie. “Oh! it will be
drowned! Do save it in the net!”

“It will not be drowned, although it flutters so close to the


A REAL POND. 105

water,” said father. ‘That dragon-fly is laying its eggs.
Afterwards the sun will hatch them, and a curious grub will
come out, and will grow big. It catches its meals—any living
thing that it sees—with a long pair of pincers which it snaps
out of its mouth. It creeps and crawls in the mud, and is of
the same colour. Then, after a long time spent there, it climbs
up a stem or rush, into the air; cracks its skin, and turns into
a splendid dragon-fly.”’

“ But why does everything in the water eat everything else?
I think it is a pity,” said Mousie.

“What did you have for dinner to-day?—a bit of a poor
little- lamb!” | .

Mousie looked very grave and was silent. At last said,
“ But I don’t run out and catch one in the fields and eat it.”

“No. But animals are killed for you to eat all the same,”
said father. ‘It is a pity, as you say. But it cannot be helped
—and they must die in any case. And the poor efts must have
something to eat as well as you; it is not cruel of them to catch
other creatures for their food any more than it is wrong for us
to eat beef and mutton.”

“Why, there is a stick walking along at the bottom Of thie
pond!” cried Mousie, who had been looking closely into a
shallow part of the water. “Iam sure; yes! Iam quite sure
that a head poked out at the end of it.”

“We will have that gentleman,” said her father; ‘‘and two
or three more like him. He is a caddis—and something of the
same kind as those other water-insects which we caught just
now—and which I told you would turn into flies; only I suppose
he does not like the idea of being eaten by efts or water-boat-
men, so he makes that house for himself out of bits of stick,
and shells and small pebbles. He joins them together with
silky threads out of his mouth, and marches about inside his
106 A REAL POND.

building quite safe and sound. We will put him into the bottle
with one or two others; he can stay in your pond till he turns
into a caddis fly. It will amuse you to see how he will alter his
shell when he gets there. He is sure to cut pieces of weed and
stick on, for they change the fashion of their cases so as to make
them match the places they live in, that they may hide more
easily. It is time to go in now.”

Mousie was delighted with her new pets, and prattled all
the way home about all the wonderful things she meant to do
“now that she had a real pond.”

The pair of efts, the tadpoles, and the other creatures
seemed very pleased to be taken out of the narrow bottle and
let loose in the wide bell-glass. They swam round and round
it, and soon seemed as contented as possible.

For many days Mousie’s dollies must have felt themselves
very much neglected, for she did not play with them at all, but
sat watching her clear water globe; the tadpoles flapping and
waggling so merrily, the pretty efts as they spread out their four
dainty little hands, climbed up the weed and breathed at the top
of the water, or sat in the little cave, their bright eyes shining
like jewels. She was never tired of looking at them, or at the
queer caddises, which began to ornament themselves all over
with bits of fresh weed and new stones as soon as they got into
' Mousie’s pond—and one of them made his house smart with
some glass beads which father told her to drop in, to see if they
would use them. |

In a few weeks Mousie found out that what her father had
said about the tadpoles was quite true; each of them grew two
little hind-legs under his tail, then two front ones up above.
Their tails grew smaller as their legs grew bigger. At last one
morning when Mousie came down, there was one tiny fairy
A REAL POND. 107

froggie, no larger than her finger-nail, perched on the edge of
the bell-glass.

“Oh, you little dear / What a little sweet!” cried Mousie,
running to fetch her father. ‘Do let me keep him always!”
and she gave the froggie a small gentle touch with the top of
one finger to make him hop back into the water again. But
froggie gave a great spring and came down sitting in Mousie’s
workbox.

“You see this won’t do,” said her father. ‘“ We can’t keep
a houseful of frogs. You must let them go, one after another,
in the meadow by the pond-side. They will be happier there;
besides, they want to feed now on the small flies and gnats
which are always coming up out of the water—they won't live
in water any longer now.”

Mousie looked rather rueful at losing her little frogs—for
the rest of the large tadpoles soon changed as the first had done,
and she had to part with them. There were no more to come,
for the newts had eaten all the frogs’ eggs.

“Never mind, Mousie. You know all about how a little
froggie is born now,” said father, “and next year you can have
some more.”

“ But my pond will be nearly empty!” said she, half ready
LORI: .

“Well, Iam afraid it will, for I see that those eggs which
the mother-eft laid and wrapped up so carefully in the weed have
disappeared. I suppose the tadpoles found them out. Another
time we must take out the eft’s eggs and keep them in another
glass. I should like you to see how lovely the little efts are,
first like the tiniest fish, then with perfect hands no thicker each
than a thread, and with bodies shining all over like mother-of- ©
pearl. They soon grow to be just like their parents, and they
are delightful things to watch. The grown-up efts will want to
108 A REAL POND.

get out of your pond soon. You will have to say good-bye to
them; for as it gets later in the year they too leave off living
under water and want to walk about on the land instead.”

“TI shan’t have anything hardly left then!” said Mousie,
regretfully. ‘‘ Why do they want to get out—do they want to
get out so very much? Couldn't I keep putting them back
again and shut them in with something ?”

“That would be unkind, and they would die,” said father.
“Listen—I will try to explain to you how it is. Mousie,
you know Who made the pretty water-creatures, and the birds,
and all the living things ?”

‘Wes: said Mousie). “Olt was God.”

“Well then, my little girlie, when Almighty God made the
deep sea with big waves that never dry up, He put great fishes
to live there because He did not want the sea to be useless and
empty. He wanted to have as many happy creatures there as
He could; for He loves happy things. But you know although
rivers and the sea never dry up, there are pools and ponds made
by the winter rains, which go quite away in summer-time.
Even that pond where you and I fished is sometimes quite dry
by autumn; and Ned the cow-boy has to fetch bucketfuls from
the river, you know.”

“Yes. And once we played—the gardener’s little boy and
I—at who could run across the dry mud without sinking in;
until nurse saw us, and came running down. She brought me
into the house and made me sit on a chair for ever so long,
because She said it was a wonder I could think of such a thing.
But it was very nice,” added Mousie. ‘The mud was just like
pie-crust on the top, you know, and under quite soft and
squashy. So if you stopped running for a moment you went
Legh ;

“TI shouldn't have thought that was very nice, but your
A REAL POND. 109

ideas are different from mine,’ smiled father. ‘Well, but
Mousie, what do you think can become of all the thousands of
living creatures who have swarmed in a pond of that sort?
When the water dries up do they all die? No. For the Great



Father and God has planned a set of creatures on purpose for
‘such places as those, because He would not have even a ditch or
a way-side pool, or a cattle-pond, without something to live in
IIo A REAL POND.

it, and be happy. So frogs, and efts, and caddises, and too
many other things to speak of now, are born to fill up the empty
spaces and to make each a complete little world full of glad life.
They enjoy themselves in the water as long as the pools last, but
after the heat of summer has dried them up they all grow
legs for themselves, get out and walk or hop, or else they grow
wings and turn into flies. The snails and a few other things
bury themselves in the mud and wait till the pond fills again.
So then none of them want the pool any more.”

“Why doesn’t the pond in the garden dry up?” asked
Mousie.

“Because I had that made where a stream would run into
it,” said father. ‘It is not supplied by rain or little springs like
the hedge-side pools. Jack and Tom wanted to keep gold-fish,
and as I hate to see them going gasping round and round a
dirty glass globe I let the boys have a place made here, where
the fish could be healthy and happy. As to your pond, we must
stretch a bit of muslin over the top, or else both the efts may take
a fancy for a walk, and we shall be finding them all shrivelled up
in a corner. And we will put this flat bit of cork to float like a
little island or raft on the top. When you see the efts sitting
on that it is a sign that they are tired of your pond and are
asking you to let them go.”

It was only the next morning after father had put in the
cork-island that Mousie found both her little friends upon it.

“You see, Mousie, they have an uneasy feeling that it is
the proper time for pools to dry up, and although the water is
still there they want to be on dry land just the same,” said
father. “They will always be restless now; we must take them
away into the field and let them go.”

So very soon Mousie’s little pond was quite empty. As for:
the caddis, he changed into a handsome fly with three long hairs
A REAL POND. {il

on his tail, and flew out at the open window, leaving his house
behind him; the snails were taken to the pond in the garden;
so there was nothing left of all her favourites ; and the bell-glass
was washed out and put back into the green-house.

But it had lasted long enough; it was high time for the
poor dollies and the Noah’s Ark to be thought ofa little, yet
Mousie said it was not half so much fun playing with dolls.
You had to pretend so many things; and with the toy pond
everything was alive, and “the eating and drinking so very
realun:
What Daisy Saw One Wight.

On the bat’s back I do fly
After sunset merrily.
—SHAKESPEARE,

‘ [OME, Miss Daisy, it is bedtime.”
\ ce But Daisy did not want to go to bed—she never
my
did,—it was really remarkable to hear how many good
reasons she could always find for sitting up a little longer.

Although she had been running about all day long, and was
often so sleepy that she was obliged to hold her eyelids up with
her fingers to keep them from shutting, yet she would do anything
rather than go to bed when nurse came for her, and always had
something or other to do before she could possibly go.

Things which she did not at all like doing in the day-time,
such as tidying her toy-cupboard, or learning her geography, or
practising her scales—all of which she had been glad enough to
forget until that moment—suddenly became quite a pledsure to
do when bedtime arrived, and Daisy was sure that it was her
duty to do them before to-morrow morning: and all this only
that she might put off the idea of bed, if only for a few
moments.

One evening she had been allowed, as a great treat, to stay
up much later than usual that she might hear a lady sing, who
was visiting her mother, and was sitting at the drawing-room
piano.

This lady sang such a lovely song! the piece of music had
a bright picture on the back, which made it all the better. The
picture was of a blue sky with the moon shining in it, and bats

WHAT DAISY SAW ONE NIGHT. 1l3

flying about; and on the back of one bat stood the sweetest
little fairy with stars on his wings. It was as good as a
picture in her own fairy-tale book, arid the Song itself was all
about a little elf which lived in a cowslip bell by day and came
out to fly on a bat’s back in the night.

“Oh, let me stay—do mother! do, do, do!” said Daisy,
clinging to her dress, and standing on tip-toe to whisper into
mother’s ear, as the lady sat down to sing the song over again,
because everyone liked it so much.

“My darling, it is too late for you already,” said her
mother. “Go to bed now, like a good little woman. The
lambs and the birds and the daisy-buds are all asleep long ago
—they do not keep saying to the sun, ‘Oh, let us sit up, do!”
they go to bed when he bids them without making any fuss.
Come! run away with nurse, my little daisy-bud, and mind
you are fast asleep when I come in to peep at you before I go
tombedes |

Daisy walked slowly across the room after she had said
good-night to mother, and then it was that she remembered
about her poetry—that she had not learnt it quite yet—and
that it must be read over once more before she could think of
going to sleep.

What a good little girl to think so much about her lessons!

But nurse wished that the goodness would come on at an
earlier time, and not always save itself up until the exact
minute when she wanted to put Daisy to bed.

The poetry was rather long, it took Daisy ten minutes to
read it through. It was all about a feast which had been given
in the woods; to which a frog, a mole, and a great many other
creatures had been invited. It began :—

Come, take up your hats and away let us haste,
To the butterfly’s ball and the grasshopper’s feast.
H
II4 WHAT DAISY SAW ONE NIGHT.

“Tt ought to be ‘/asze,’ nurse,” said Daisy, as she repeated
the first lines aloud. ‘“ Don’t you think so?—‘/east’ doesn’t
sound enough like ‘ Zas¢e’ ?”

“Come, Miss Daisy! I wish you would ‘haste’!” said
MUtseqee se a little quickermndo: las

“ But don’t you think so, nurse?”

“Tt doesn’t matter about them things in poetry, miss.
Now do put your book down!”

Daisy put away her book, but her little mind was still
quite full of what she had been reading.

“T wish I could go to that feast, nurse, don’t you? The
hornet came—and the wasp—only they promised not to sting,
just for that one evening, you know. What is a hornet,
TEESE

“Tt is something like a great wasp, miss,” said nurse.
“T used to see a plenty when I was young. They built a nest
in an old hollow apple tree that my father had in his orchard
—and father had to burn the tree down to get rid of them.
Three hornet stings will kill a man, they say.”

“And the mole and the dormouse and the frog came.
They had a mushroom for their table, and everybody brought

omething to eat.

The bee brought his honey to crown the repast.

“T can say it all now, nurse.”

“Come, come, miss! You must put it all out of your
head now, and say your prayers. Hark! There’s the little
birds under the roof. Can you hear them? They are all
snug in bed.”

‘Are they saying their prayers, nurse?”

“Maybe,” said nurse; but she was too busy folding up
Daisy's clothes to think much about the matter ; and very
WHAT DAISY SAW ONE NIGHT. II5

soon she tucked her little charge into the small white crib and
went away into the next room to sit at her work till Daisy
should fall asleep.

This seemed to take longer than usual—her eyes were so
very large and bright, and wide-awake that night. There was
a rustling among the eaves above Daisy's window, and she
could see a swallow drop from the nest to take one last flight,
for she had asked nurse to draw aside the curtain so that she
might look out at the pretty moon and stars as long as she
could. Fora moment she began to feel sleepy, and the little
star on which her eyes were fixed seemed to be dancing, and
then to go out like a candle. Daisy had a little nap—but that
did not last long. She lay thinking about her poem for
to-morrow's lesson, and wishing that she knew how to be
invited to just such another feast; when, all of a sudden, she
noticed that her bedroom window was open at the top, and
that something was flitting into the room—something which
flew from side to side and round and round so silently that one
could not hear its wings rustling at all, yet so quickly that
one could hardly catch a glimpse of it so as to notice its shape,
it darted so fast just as a shadow does when the light is being
moved from place to place. The thing seemed now here, now
there, and it never settled or rested for an instant.

“Tt isa bird,” thought Daisy, and then, ‘‘ No, it is a big
butterfly!” and then, ‘‘ No, I don’t know what it is!”

She lay watching for a while. “If only it wouldn’t fly so
fast,” she said to herself, ‘‘ I should be able to see it properly.”

Once it swept across her face so close as almost to touch
it—but the next instant it was far at the other end of the
room, never brushing anything with its wings, however near
it‘came, but steering itself always clear of everything.

At last Daisy sat up in bed to watch; and she had hardly
116 WHAT DAISY SAW ONE NIGHT.

clambered on to her feet when she heard a sweet, clear voice
at her ear say, ‘(I invite you to the concert and supper to-night

at sunset punctually. Bats ordered at four!”
Daisy looked all around. The shadow-looking, swift-

winged being had skimmed close by her head—had the voice
come from that?



‘““Well—do you accept the invitation?” said the voice
again. ‘It is a small early party—that is to say, it goes on
till sunrise to-morrow morning. As I said—bats ordered at
four. R.S.V.P. That means, please answer.”

“T don’t know how to answer,” said Daisy, ‘‘when you
keep going away so. Couldn’t you keep still for a minute ?”’

phouibemsune:! WHAT DAISY SAW ONE NIGHT. II7

Wa-a-ay then, Woa!” and in the air in front of her Daisy
saw alittle fairy riding on a bat’s back—patting and speaking
to it just as her father did to his horse when it was skittish,
and he was coaxing it to stand quiet. The bat seemed to
listen and to obey, for it tried to hang poised in the air, only
just quivering its wings to keep balance there, while they
shook so fast as to make a slight booming sound.

The little fairy had a blue-bell for his cap, and his dress
was made of. the black and gold velvet of bumble-bees killed
in the chase; he held a bridle of twisted cobweb thread, by
which he reined in the bat and turned its head easily which-
ever way he pleased.

“Oh, how pretty!” said Daisy, laughing and clapping her
hands.

“Don’t do that!” cried the fairy; “you'll frighten my
horse! He is a good one to go, but he shies sometimes.
Answer my question—R.S.V.P. Will you come to the ball ?
It is given on purpose for you.”

“Of course I will!” said Daisy, scrambling out of bed in
a great hurry, for she liked parties very much. ‘Which is
the way?”

“Well, I had better get you a horse,” said the fairy. “It
is a good way off, but there are plenty of horses hanging up in
the stables.”

“Hanging up?” thought Daisy to herself, for she was a
little puzzled at this last speech.

“Ves,” added the fairy, just as if she had spoken aloud.
“We fairies manage our riding better than you do. Our horses
have no legs to be always getting tired ; they can fly about as
long as ever we want them in the night, and then by day we
just hang them up till we want them again. Come along with
me, and I'll show you.”
118 WHAT DAISY SAW ONE NIGHT.

In an instant Daisy felt her feet rise from the ground, and
she was floating, she did not know how, out at the open
window; yet she was not in the least frightened ; she only
wondered how it was that she had taken the trouble to walk
all her life long before, since it was plain that she was able to
get along quite as well without touching the ground at all.,
“And to-morrow I shall do this when I go out with nurse,”
she thought ; ‘‘ how surprised she will be!”

Outside the window it was delightfully cool. The moon
was shining so brightly the colours of the flowers showed quite
plain and well; hundreds of winged insects were fluttering,
whirling, playing round them as they sucked honey and enjoyed
themselves, just as the butterflies do by day. The balmy air
was filled with sweet scents ; the ground was covered too with
gay moving things, and about the lilac and syringa trees by
the gate there was a perfect crowd of flying creatures—birds,
Daisy thought, going round in dizzy rings.

“Those are the fairies exercising their horses and feeding
them at the same time,” said Daisy’s companion. “ Here I'll
borrow a spare one for you, you will be more comfortable so,
than just floating about in the air loosely as you are now.
Who knows where the wind might carry you?”

No sooner said than done. Daisy found herself seated on
a fairy horse like that which glided at her side.

“ How can they feed in the air?” said Daisy.

‘The same way as the swallows do, of course,” said the
fairy. “They catch flies as they go along. Listen, and you
will hear their jaws go snip-snap! like a pair of scissors. Some
of them have little ones at home to feed. AMJ/zve is a mother-
bat. Here we are at the place where my bat lives when she
is at home; she has been working her way there while we
were talking.”
WHAT DAISY SAW ONE NIGHT. 119

As the fairy spoke they came to a large barn, which had
deep straw eaves, and a hole in the wall beneath them in one,



place. There were swallows’ nests under the thatch, but the
swallows were sound asleep inside, or roosting below the
120 WHAT DAISY SAW ONE NIGHT.

Sheltering straw. The bat on which the fairy rode went
straight to this place, where it was let loose, and crept instantly
into a crevice; a cracked stone had given way, leaving a sort
of little cave in the wall. This was her home, and she had
her little ones there.

‘Get off your bat,” said the fairy, ‘and I will hang him
up outside. It is not convenient having such a crowd here.”

Then Daisy noticed that the bat had neat little hooks on
his wings, by which he could hang himself up to the thatch head-
. downwards, hiding his bright eyes aud furry nose between his
wings, which folded themselves across his face. The fairy’s
bat moved in a way of its own, hooking itself warily along till
it managed to get into the hole. Daisy and the fairy stayed
outside to watch, and they saw the bat give milk to her young
ones just as the cow feeds its calf.

‘““T thought bats were a kind of bird, they foal just aS a
said Daisy. ‘‘ I thought they made nests and laid eggs

“Then you thought wrong,” said the fairy. ‘I advise
you not to think, if you can’t think any wiser than that.”

“They have wings, anyhow,” said Daisy, rather in-
dignantly.

‘“ You have legs,” said the fairy, ‘‘and so has a goose. So
you must be a goose according to ¢hat way of settling things.
You might as well say that everything with legs must be a little
girl, as say that everything with wings must be a bird. A bat
lays no eggs, and is covered with fur instead of feathers. It is
no more a bird than I am. But while we are wasting time
here the ball will be beginning. Ill saddle your bat if you
will wait a moment.”

The fairy went away and came back again very fast, carry-
ing a velvet dock-leaf, which he doubled up and placed on the
bat’s back, where it made a lovely soft saddle. |
WHAT DAISY SAW ONE NIGHT. I2I

Away and away through the air they went, sometimes
flying in sharp zig-zags, sometimes in long sweeps straight
forward, till Daisy felt almost bewildered and ready to tumble
off. She was quite glad when at last they came down to the
ground underneath a great spreading oak-tree at the border of
a wood. When they reached this spot what a wonderful sight
was to be seen! |

Under the oak-tree was a sloping mossy bank, which was
thickly covered with pale blue lights as the sky is spread with
Stars on ae ‘Clear! omigait
These were glow-worms.
Round the huge tree trunk
several large birds were
chasing white moths, mak-
ing a burring sound all
the while like the roll of
a drum coming from a dis-
tance. A great owl sat on
a lower branch, throwing .
in a deep bell-note from —
time to time, while above,
two or three nightingales
made the whole wood ring
again in echo to their sweet
music. It was the best
concert Daisy had ever
heard.

-A-big mushroom grew
close to the foot of the tree
(juste likes my “poem”
thought the little girl), but there was nothing by way of food
to be seen—only crowds of creatures; a frog, a dormouse, a


122 WHAT DAISY SAW ONE NIGHT.

mole, a cricket, beetles, and spiders, each and all seemed
to be running about in a great state of excitement.

“Why I thought everything went to bed in the night,”
said Daisy ; ‘‘nurse always says so.”

“These creatures have been to bed all day, and so they
get up at night,” said the fairy. ‘They are all busy about the
ball supper now.”

“And what a noise they make!” said Daisy; which was
true, for every bird, beast, and insect made each its own peculiar
sound at the very top of its voice; the whole air sounded like
a toy-shop when several dozen children are all trying which
trumpet, whistle, or rattle they like best because it will make
the worst noise. One could hardly hear oneself speak, and
Daisy was obliged quite to scream when she wanted to say
anything. The fairy did the same. ‘‘ What a noisy party it
is!” thought Daisy to herself. ‘ What bad manners they
have! Nurse wouldn’t let me speak at home like this! How
they do yell!”

Olcounse, caidgene waimyeat hemmear i Wnatiis wily It
is called a daw/—because everybody shouts so—don’t you see?”

‘““O-o-h!” said Daisy slowly. ‘Then there isn’t any
dancing ?”’

Noy esaidithe dana, ahere 1s¢movoneshere but the trog:
who understands it, and he will only dance the hornpipe when
nobody is looking.”

Daisy wondered very much what there would be for supper ;
but she did not like to ask. That would not have been polite;
so she stood looking on silently until the jingling and tinkling
of bells began to sound through the uproar, which was hushed
at once. Looking round, she saw that the chime came from
a tall blue-bell, which was swinging wildly to and fro. She
could not see anyone moving it.

?
WHAT DAISY SAW ONE NIGHT. 123

“I do believe those bells ring of themselves!” she began
to say, but then she caught sight of a spider’s thread fastened
to each bell, while a spider was pulling at the other end.

‘That is the supper-bell,” said the fairy. ‘Come and sit
down.”

~The beautiful white shining top of the mushroom made a
clean damask tablecloth as smooth as satin, and there was a
row of acorn-cups set all round the edge. By the side of each
acorn-cup was a neat round plate made of a slice from the
middle of the acorn itself. A ring of toadstools, just the right
height for sitting upon, were placed round the table, but Daisy
did not see anything to eat there yet.

The guests were all crowding up in a great hurry to take
their places, when the fairy cried, ‘Order, order! Room for
this little girl!”

‘“There doesn’t seem to be much room,” said Daisy politely,
as the crowding and pushing ceased for a moment, and the
fairy led Daisy to a pretty little fawn-coloured toadstool quite
strong enough for her to sit upon, while the other visitors
huddled up to the table as best they could.

‘Of course there isn’t,” said the fairy; ‘that is why it is
called a mushroom to be sure, because there isn’t much room
ateitas

“JT didn’t think of that .before,” thought Daisy, and she
laughed merrily, although it did not seem quite a good reason
either. All the other guests looked very grave.

What a fantastic set they were!

Next to Daisy, on one side, sat a cricket with six legs,
the queerest face, and two enormously long whiskers, which
stuck out like horns right across the table.

‘IT suppose you are a grasshopper?” said Daisy, for she
could not think of anything else to say.
124 WHAT DAISY SAW ONE NIGHT.

“Crick crr-r-rick!” said he in a loud rasping way. The

sound did not come out of his mouth at all: he talked by
rubbing. his legs against his sides, so that he could talk with
aut .. his mouth full, which was very con-
venient for him; but as he was only
able to repeat his own name over and
over again, his conversation was, per-
haps, a trifle dull, and wanted variety.
On her other side was an empty
/_ stool, which was being kept for
someone.
“The moth is late,’ said the
_ fairy, who was sitting on it in the
meantime. “He has a trunkful of
honey to bring, and I suppose he has
not been able to find it easily to-
night.”

Daisy was glad to hear of honey, for she liked it very
much, and as yet no one had offered her anything, although
all the company present were gobbling. They seemed to bring
out their food from under the table.

Opposite to her sat a frog, a dormouse, and a great blue-
back beetle. The dormouse was clasping a nut between his
fore-paws, while he ground out a neat little round hole in the
shell so that he might scoop the kernel with his long front
teeth. The frog was staring up at the sky, looking as. if he
had never danced a hornpipe in all his life, and waiting till a
fly should settle on his nose, when he would snap it up in
half no time—gulp it down, and pretend that nothing had
happened. The beetle was cramming something into his
mouth with both his front pincers (for like pincers they looked
more than feet) in an. unmannerly and greedy way. He


WHAT DAISY SAW ONE NIGHT. 125

seemed to enjoy his supper, which looked like decayed wood ;
and the cricket was munching clover leaves just as you would
chew bread and butter, only in a more jerky way, because he
was going to chew the cud afterwards, or so some folks said.
But whether crickets chew the cud or not is more than wise
men can tell us yet, having, perhaps, more important matters
to settle first.

Every guest ate his food at that feast after his own
manner, while each acorn-cup became filled with dew of its
own accord, so that everyone had something to drink without
the least trouble.

“You see the rule at these feasts is that everyone brings
his own supper,” said the fairy. ‘ The guests are not particular
about the cooking, but each one has his own particular fidgets
and fancies as to the food itself. The ones that like. nasty
things sit outside; there is the mole, for instance, he prefers
earth-worms to anything else, and is not a pleasant feeder.
The bat prefers to take his meal flying about, and the glow-
worms will take a little something when we have done. What
would you like to try? First course, flies; second course,
clover leaves with dew sauce; third course, a nut-kernel, or
would you prefer waiting for the sweets? The moth will be
here presently, and he will spare you a taste of the honey, I
dare say.”

“TJ should think he would, if he has a whole trunk full,”
thought Daisy, for she expected to see the moth arrive with a
portmanteau all packed full of honeycomb with the honey in it.

“JT will wait for the honey, please,” said she.

As she spoke something like a dim shade hovered over
the table; one could only just make out that it was some
winged being. It was of the same kind of shape as a butterfly,
only it had a large thick body. It moved its wings so fast
126 WHAT DAISY SAW ONE NIGHT.

as to make them seem a mere mist, and yet it did not make
the least sound. It had upper wings of a dusky smoke-colour
and under wings of delicate rosy-pink with a white fringe: its
body was pink too. Soon it settled
down by Daisy’s side, closing its
upper over the lower wings as a fan
shuts up, instead of putting them
upright, tip to tip, over its back as
butterflies do. All the pretty pink
was hidden away now, and you could
only see a quiet, grey-looking creature
with a fluffy face, something like that
of a tiny owl, two fringed horns
coming from above its two large
sparkling eyes, and a curious thing
like a long tongue curled round and round a great many
times where its mouth ought to be.

‘But where is the trunk?” thought Daisy, for she was
looking forward to tasting the honey, and was disappointed at
seeing no signs of any except a little stickiness at the end of
the moth’s curly tongue.

“Tt is not the sort of trunk you are expecting,” said the
fairy close to her ear; ‘“¢hat is his trunk twisted up there,
and I see that he has emptied it. But if you want honey
there is no need to fret. He will show us the way to some;
bring your acorn-cup, and come along.”

Before the fairy had done speaking, they were spinning
through the air, the moth soaring in front, and Daisy quickly
found herself in what she thought was her father’s hot-house.
There stood a great prickly plant with a lovely white star-
flower growing on it, open and wide awake, instead of being
fast asleep and closed as all the other flowers were. This one


WHAT DAISY SAW ONE NIGHT. 127

had waited till night-fall to come out. Daisy remembered how
that one night she had been allowed to “sit up” and see it.

The moth poised itself noiselessly near it in the air, and
Daisy could see that he uncurled his long tongue, which was
not much thicker than a thread, and so long that when it was
stretched out the moth could suck up honey from the flower
without perching on it, just as a humming bird does; and,
indeed, you could just hear a faint hum from his wings as he did
this. There was a sort of look about him which reminded
Daisy of an elephant—she could not tell why; but perhaps
because of his thick head and the trunk; yet he flew like a
hawk, so swiftly and strongly. When she said so, half aloud,
the fairy answered, ‘He is called an elephant-hawk-moth
because of that,” and although it seemed that such a very odd
name must have been made up by the fairy on the spur of the
moment, he really and truly was called so.

“Now,” said the fairy, ‘since you have not such a con-
venient long tongue, dip your cup here into the very middle of
the flower, where you see that clear pool of honey and dew,
and you will find the sweetest drink you ever tasted in your
lites

Daisy did this, and her little cup was quickly filled with
nectar and spice. It was soon empty, but she filled it over
and over again.

“Let us go back to the supper-table now,” said the fairy
at length, ‘‘or the visitors will be offended, as they asked you,
and had the ball and supper on purpose to give you a treat.”

“JT wonder that none of them offer me any of their food
then,” said Daisy, as she suddenly found herself sitting at the
mushroom-table again, not knowing exactly how it came to

pass.
In an instant a great clamour arose at her words all round.
128 WHAT DAISY SAW ONE NIGHT.

“ Pray walk into my parlour!” cried a spider, letting him-
self down from the oak-tree above with a plunge just in front of
Daisy’s nose. “I have a fine blue-bottle all ready—you are
most welcome toa slice!”

“ Crick—crrrick!” grated the cricket’s rusty note, so loud
that it sounded like the hinge of the nursery door when it
wanted oiling. Daisy could hardly endure the noise without
putting her fingers in her ears. ‘“Crrick crr—ick!” he went
again, and began trying
to shove half a clover
leaf into her mouth at
the same time in a way
that was more intimate
than polite.

The dormouse ran up
to her as well, and
drawing Daisy's arm
through his own, half
dragged, half led her
close up to the trunk of
the oak-tree, where he
hag eas Stone snOlmmuts,
acorns, and chestnuts
hidden away.

“Only look at them!”
Saige ne. so eeamennit
them “all “for” myself;
but I will spare you
half a nut or a quarter
of an acorn, or even one bite out of a chestnut !—if you won’t
make it a very big bite.”


WHAT DAISY SAW ONE NIGHT. 129

“Only one bite?—well, that isn’t much!—half a nut?
I think you are rather stingey,” said Daisy.

“But just think of the trouble it took to get them
all together!” squeaked the dormouse, wringing. its fore-
paws. “Nothing but the thought of eating it all after-
wards could have kept me up. I don’t want any now—for I’m
not hungry; but I 2zow I shall be—to-morrow, or next year.”

“T don’t think about being hungry next year!” said Daisy.
“T only think about being hungry to-day.”

“You are only a poor human being, you see; while I am
a glorious dormouse! Think what it is to be me!-—able to lay
up a store for the future and then to have nothing to do but go
to sleep and dream about it! ”

Daisy could not help laughing—it was all so funny. The
dormouse was peering into her face in a comical, earnest way,
yet seemed somehow to be talking such nonsense! But as she
looked he seemed to be changing and growing larger. His
brown fur melted into a silver grey suit—his nose became long
and tapering, his eyes buried themselves deeply in his head,
and his neat little pink paws swelled into broad strong hands,
with the palms turned outwards, with which he began to dig
frantically in the ground so fast and well that he appeared
almost to be sinking into it.

‘“ He has turned into a mole!” said a voice overhead—the
fairy's—as he stood upon the bat’s back again. ‘‘ Unless you
mean to stay out all night,” it went on to Daisy, “you had
better follow him into his castle.”’

“But I want to go home!” said Daisy, for her head began
to feel all in a fluster at the things she had seen—the changes,
the rapid flight, and the noise. She could hear the cricket still
somewhere in the distance—even now the sound was deafening,
although he was out of sight.
130 WHAT DAISY SAW ONE NIGHT. —

“The rule is, you don’t go home till morning,” said the
fairy ; ‘no one knows where your bat may be by this time, and
he wasn’t ordered to come for you till four”—and before Daisy
could say that she did not like that rule at all, the fairy was
at her side again, leading her along behind the mole into his
tunnel.

Tt was certainly the strangest place!—the mole went on
ahead quickly and easily, for he knew all about it.

In a perfectly straight line, as straight as an arrow—all
through the dark, although he had to plough his way through
the earth.

Nobody knows how a mole can do it; you could not even
walk blindfold across a field in a direct line, let alone having to
burrow a passage for yourself as you went.

It did not matter to the mole which way his fur was
rubbed ; and it seemed to keep quite clean and glossy, though
he was always pushing it through the damp soil. His eyes
were safe from harm—deeply sunken in his head.

When he was thirsty he dug wells for himself; when he
was hungry he hunted for worms; when he was sleepy he had
a castle to rest in—a safe castle, with rooms to choose from,
each with a passage leading a different way from it, so that he
could run off in either direction in case of a fright.

“Vou cannot do better than sleep here,’ grunted the mole,
turning round at last, when the tunnel he was digging led into
another—which was an old, well-beaten track, as one could see
from the shiny sides where the mole had polished them with
his fur by running backwards and forwards so often. “ This
is one of the high roads to my castle. It is a splendid place!
—no disagreeable sunshine to disturb you—and perfectly safe.
If you hear a noise—anything scratching or digging overhead,
for instance—you can run whichever way you like—down either
WHAT DAISY SAW ONE NIGHT. I3I

of five paths!” Here the mole tried to wave his hand, but
could not, because it was too short; so he waved his snout
instead.

‘“Good-night!” he said, ‘‘ pleasant dreams!”

“But I don’t want to stay down here!” cried little Daisy,
beginning to be in a great fright, for the fairy was gone, and she
did not at all like the idea of being shut up in the dark under
the earth with nothing but a mole; besides, she could hardly
breathe.

“T wowt stay here !—oh dear, oh dear, what shall I do!”
she cried, as the air in the mole’s cavern grew every moment
more stifling. ‘‘ Which is the way to run, I wonder?” and she
began to grope along the earthen walls trying to find her way
out.

But she only bumped her head and lost herself more hope-
lessly than ever. Then she began to fight and struggle and
scream, till at last she broke through the earthen wall into
another passage. The air was fresher—that was one comfort ;
but still she was imprisoned.

Even the mole had vanished now, and there was no one to
help her—all was dark and all was silent, except that sound of
“crrick crrr-ick!” of the cricket somewhere in the distance.

“If I could only manage to get where he is,” said Daisy,
‘“T should be safe—at least I should be above ground!”

And in her terror she began to beat at the sides of the
mole’s palace, when——

The noise of the cricket suddenly changed into that of
nurse’s creaky shoes as she stepped to and fro across the
nursery floor getting Daisy’s things ready for her dressing,—
and a comfortable voice said, “‘ Why, miss! how you have been
thumping the poor pillow to be sure!—and just now you was
down right under the clothes with your head all in a smother!
132 WHAT DAISY SAW ONE NIGHT.

Come, now—will you please to get up, miss? It is high
time!”

Oh, how glad Daisy felt! she could not be pleased enough
to find herself in her own little bed, and that the bright morn-
ing had come with gay sunshine to stream in at her window,
instead of being down in a dark hole.

“Vet the feasting part was very nice,” she thought; “if
only there had been just a 4¢¢/e more to eat, and not such
uninteresting food, and the creatures not quite so NOIS Yea
must save up that dream to tell mother. How she will laugh
about the ‘glorious dormouse!’”

But when Daisy remembered the jokes about the mush-
room and the “bawl” they seemed the worst she had ever
heard in all her life, and quite too idiotic to be repeated,
although in her dream they had been brilliant.

Ah, it is wonderful how easily contented the folks in
dreamland are, with a very small scrap of wit! When they
wake up it is quite different. Perhaps it is a pity that they are
so much harder to amuse then.

“T shouldn’t mind going to bed half so much,” said Daisy
to nurse, as her boots were being laced, “if I could always
make sure of doing such amusing things after I was asleep as
I did last night. You will see to-night, nurse dear, that I shall
quite want to go.”

But nurse found nothing of the kind; for long before bed-
time came Daisy had forgotten the whole matter, and was as
difficult to persuade as ever.

“Tt is so very, very dull in bed!” said she.
The Ulise- Goose.

“Geese have goose-thoughts.”
—R. BROWNING.

My) O-BO-BO-BO-BO-BO!”” said the goose, stretching out
) her long grey and white neck and orange beak from a
corner of the shed. ‘‘ My eggs are laid. What is to
be done next? I want to think.”

So she put her head a little on one side to ponder; for
although it is the law among birds that everyone must do
exactly the same things as his grandfather and grandmother
have done before him, this goose was young, and her grand-
mother was—well, it is better to say dead, for geese do not like
to have details mentioned. And her mother was dead too.

These were the first eggs that she had laid, and for the
moment she really could not remember what more ought to be
done with them.

‘“Bo-bo! Gaa S-sss!” screamed the goose, as two strange
little boys passed through the yard. She ran out after them
with her neck stretched out in front of her, and her mouth so
wide open that the little boys ran for their lives to the farmer’s
kitchen door. They had bare legs above their socks to take
care of, and the goose seemed so very warlike, although if one
of them had just turned round and said ‘‘ Bo!” to her again,
she would have scuttled off directly.

These two little boys were the children of a poor widow
who sometimes sent them up to the farm to gather sticks.
The elder of the two was no taller than his brother, and most


134 THE WISE GOOSE.

people would have thought him the younger, because he was
not half so clever and sharp as little Harry. He could only
speak very slowly—it took him a long time to understand you
when you spoke to him, and at school Harry could do three
sums while he was doing one; so sometimes the boys called him
“ Silly Billy,” and used to tease him and laugh at him.

But when they laughed, Silly Billy laughed too—for he
was very good-tempered, and had always a smile ready, even
though the only thing he could think of to say was ‘‘ Aw,” when
he was spoken to,—which might mean anything.



Yet Silly Billy’s mother loved him very much, for he was a
very dear little child to her, although he was not clever.
Mothers, however, are not particular about that.

The farmer’s wife was kind to everything and everybody.

The horses and the cows and the pigs, the geese, the ducks,
even the cocks and hens all knew her voice well—would come
when she called them, and seemed to understand what she said.
If one of the ducks drove away the hens from their supper, and
she came out and scolded it, that duck would hang its head and
walk off, looking every feather of it, a duck in disgrace. When
THE WISE GOOSE. 135

a rat came into the hen-coop and stole one of her chicks, the hen
went straight to the farmer’s wife and told her all about it. If
one of the cows were in trouble because her calf had been taken
away or shut up from her, she would turn her head with a low
moan towards the farmer’s wife, as if she would be certain to
know what was the matter, and to be the proper person to give
her baby back again. And the big cart horses in the field would
let her catch them by the shaggy lock of hair on their foreheads,
and would follow quite meekly when she led them to be
harnessed to the plough, although they kicked and bit at the
men who came near to do the same thing.

As the little boys took to their heels with the goose behind
them, the farmer’s wife came out of the dairy, where she was
making butter ; for she had heard the yelling of the goose.

Geese are as good as watch dogs on a farm; they have
such quick hearing, and they set up so loud a screaming and
cackling directly anyone comes near.

“What is it, my dears?” she called out. And when she
said ‘My dears,” she meant the goose too, for she always spoke
to her animals in that way—and as soon as the goose heard her,
she was quiet directly. .

The little boys stood holding one another timidly by the
hand. They felt rather shy.

“Did your mother send you here to pick up sticks ?”’ said
the farmer’s wife in a loud, kind voice. ‘“ Eh?”

Mest said) Panny:

“¢ Aw,” said Silly Billy, like an echo.

“Well, run along then,” said the farmer's wife, for she
often let these two little boys gather the fallen sticks in her
orchard and round the side of the wood, and tie them into
bundles to take home for their mother because she was so poor.
She would lend her little cart with Jenny, the donkey, who was
136 THE WISE GOOSE.

so good and gentle that a child could lead her, for the children
to take home the sticks in.

“Run up to the field beyond the orchard, and if you are
good boys you can get enough sticks there to fill the little
cart, I shouldn’t wonder, before evening—the wind has broken
off a fine lot. And come in presently, my dears, and I'll
find you a bit of dinner; and here, take this drink of milk
and piece of cake. You can eat a bit, I'll warrant. Young
things mostly can.”

peVies. dsaldela ari:

“ Aw,” said Silly Billy, smiling very much when he saw the
cake. So the little pair trotted off to their work, while the
goose went back to the shed and looked wonderingly at the
eggs.

There was a comfortable whisp of hay in the corner, in
which the eggs were-half buried, for somehow the goose seemed
to have a dreamy sort of idea that in her grandmother's days
eggs had to be kept warm.

“The question is, what to do next?” said the goose to
herself. “I really must ask the advice of the farmer’s wife.
There is no one so wise as she is, excepting myself.”

So she waddled away to the dairy door, where the busy
woman was scouring her milk-pans.

‘“ Bo-bo-bo-bo-bo-bo !” said the goose quietly, in her throat,
without opening her beak to hiss as she did at strangers.

‘What is it you wants then, my dear?” said the farmer’s
wife, in a comforting tone, for she knew that the goose was
uneasy about something ; and she put down her milk-can and
began to look about her; for she could understand from
the goose’s manner that she had eggs hidden somewhere.

She crossed the yard, and goosie followed close at her
petticoats. When the farmer's wife took a wrong turning, the
THE WISE GOOSE. nar

bird stopped and said ‘‘ Bo-bo-bo!”’ till she was in the right way
again, so that at last they reached the spot where the six precious
eggs were shining in the hay. Then the farmer’s wife knew the
meaning of the young goose—that she had forgotten her mother
and grandmother’s ways, and wanted to be told what to do next.

“Why, sit
on them, to be
sure, there’s a
good maid!”
said the far-
mer’s wife, and
she took up
the goose kind-
ly and cleverly
and popped her
on to the eggs.
And the wise
goose —under-
Seb O1O.Cap ieiieg nel
moment how it
Wasmtowben ton
she sat there as
patiently and as
still as if she
had been accus-
tomed to hatch-
ing eggs all her |
life, and nestled ©

her head fondly
against the hand of the farmer's wife as she stroked the long,
smooth neck of the bird before she went back to her dairy

work.


138 THE WISE GOOSE.

It was a good thing that the goose did not know at the
beginning for how many long days she would have to sit there
before anything happened to the eggs.

Thirty weary days! But she was not thinking of anything
but the present moment, which was fortunate.

Every now and then people passed the open doorway of the
shed. If they were new-comers, the goose screamed and
hissed from fright and anger without getting off her nest, but
if it was the farmer’s wife she made a pleasant murmur in
answer to her greeting, to say how pleased and glad she was to
see a friend.

The goose had other company, too, for there was a little
wren, which had made a mossy ball under the roof for a nest,
in which she had seventeen eggs, not much bigger than peas.
And the sparrows built under the thatch too; besides which,
Jenny, the donkey, often put her nose and ears inside the door
because of the cool shade, although there was a bar put across
to prevent her from coming in. She seemed to fancy that her
whole body was in shadow because her head was.

Every now and then the goose would get up from her nest
and walk across the yard to the pond, that she might refresh
herself with some sips of water and stretch her legs. Or she
would even take a paddle for a moment on the top of the pond ;
but she never wanted to follow the other geese out to the
meadow however loudly they might cackle to her to come.

“When one has had a grandmother who did her duty,”
said she to the other geese, ‘“‘one is bound in honour to do as
she did. That was not my grandmother’s way when she was
sitting.”

And she took care to arrange her six eggs in the old family
pattern; one in the middle and the rest neatly packed all round
it, so that no space might be wasted, and each might have an
THE WISE GOOSE. 139

equal share of the warmth from her breast. She covered them
carefully up with hay, all snug and cosy, before she left the nest,
for she recalled all the ancient habits of her race now.

The little wren in the roof was sitting too; her wee mate
came to and fro with insects and fed her. The sparrows kept
up a noisy chatter; they were as perky and proud as possible
because they were the parents of large broods.

From time to time the gander strolled in with a lordly
strut to pay his wife a visit. He held up his head, and made
a proud rattle in his throat, as if the nest and eggs were all his
doing, as he stood by the edge of it giving himself no end of
airs. After that he went away to see after all his other wives,
with the look of a bird that has done his duty and is perfectly
contented with himself.

Jenny, the donkey, swished her tail to keep off the flies,
while the swallows flew round and round her catching them.
Sometimes she gave herself a rub against the door-post and
left some of the hairs sticking to it, which made the wren and
other little birds think how useful donkeys were, for their hairs
did so beautifully to line nests with. They gathered every one
of them up.

“J am thankful,” said the wren to his mate, as he looked
down out of his twinkling eye at the goose sitting below, “that
our grandmother was too sensible to build on the ground. We
should have had to do it too. How anxious I should have
been about you.”

“TJ should never have left the eggs with a quiet mind,” said
his wife; “for though the farmer’s wife fed us in the winter, it
makes my heart beat when she comes near as if it would make
my feathers fly off. I could not bring myself to let her handle
my eggs as the goose does down there |i

“Tt’s dinner-time, I believe!” said the goose; for I
140 THE WISE GOOSE.

suppose she had the same sort of clock inside her which tells
little children when it is hungry-time—for they generally know,
although they have no watches. So she got off her nest,
covered up the eggs well, and toddled away to the kitchen
door for some barley-meal.

“There she goes!” chirped a father-sparrow, who had a
row of little fluffy bundles, his young ones, sitting on the roof
while he gave them a lesson in conversation; “that is the way
to get on in the world. Always go where men are. Then you
will always find something to eat.”

“But don’t go within arm’s-length of them—they are
worse than cats!” shrieked the little mother-sparrow, quivering
her wings anxiously, as she hovered near.

“Hold up your beaks!” said the father. ‘‘ Now! all
together! Say it after me.
Chirrup! chirrup !”

“Sirrip! Sirrip!” lisped
the little ones, for they could
not speak plain yet.

Just inside the kitchen
door sat the two little boys
. with a smoking bowlful of hot
_ potatoes, and something smell-
“ing very savoury which the
good farmer’s wife had given






them.
She herself stood at the
4 Ve edoot talking ttova neighbour
who had come in to find out what o'clock it was. “ For

my clock has stopped,” said she; ‘and I am afraid of
having dinner late for my man when he comes in from
the hayfield.”
THE WISE GOOSE. I4I

“That’s funny too!” said the farmer's wife, glancing at
the tall clock in the corner. ‘‘There’s something gone wrong
with mine too. Howsomever I can tell you the time of day
by farmer’s watch. He always leaves it at home when he goes
out to the sheep-washing for fear of getting the water to it.
Sit ye down a minute. I’Il get it out.”

The farmer’s wife took a key from inside a china cup on
the mantel-shelf, and unlocking a drawer, took out a handsome
gold watch and chain.

‘When we first took to keeping geese,’ she said, after
telling the time, ‘I was all for letting the geese pay the rent.
But farmer, he said ‘No. You'll have all the trouble with
‘em, Missus; with the eggs and that—and it’s nothing but
right you should do as you like with the money they'll
fetch,

‘“So I have saved up the money ever since—and bought
many a thing. And last year I bought him this gold watch
and chain, for he had naught but a silver one afore. He is
proud of it too! He says there isn’t a handsomer watch and
chain in all the market-town where he goes—let alone that it
goes so well. The old silver one was always wanting a knock
or something to keep it going. He says the farmers joke about
my geese, and tell him his wife’s geese lay golden eggs!”

The farmer's wife looked pleased and proud too, as she
held out the rich heavy chain, letting it slip through her fingers
till she came to the large seal at the end—before she locked
away the gleaming watch in its drawer again.

“Golden eggs! to be sure they must!” said the neighbour,
as she smiled admiringly at the thought of the watch. ‘“ And
have you got any sitting now?”

“Only one as yet,” said the farmer’s wife. ‘There she is
—pretty dear !—waiting for me to scatter her some barley-meal.
142 THE WISE GOOSE.

It is her first sitting, but I think she’ll bring them out. If I
find she is not taking to the eggs I must sell them—or put
another goose to them. But she took so pretty to the nest this
morning. Come now! She’s had enough—she'll go back to
her golden eggs now. Come and see how set up she is about
Gein ae

And the farmer’s wife, with her friend, followed the goose
across the yard, after telling the two children to finish their
dinner and run out to their work again.

As little Harry had been eating his food, he had been very
much surprised at what the farmer’s wife had been saying, for
he had listened to every word.

He had no idea, until then, of what wonderful things geese
could do—for he and his brother had been born in London,
and had lived there all their lives until a few months ago, when
their father died and their mother brought them to live in the
country. Like many poor little London children, they had
never seen a duck or a goose except lying without any feathers
on them in the shops—and they had not any idea of a country
poultry-yard, and of ducks and geese walking about and
enjoying themselves.

What! could geese pay the rent? How did they do it?
And lay golden eggs? What useful birds. How Harry wished
that he had one such bird to take home to his mother! Or even
an egg!

He could hardly believe it, and yet he had seen that
wonderful watch and chain with his own eyes. It must be
true—no doubt it was made out of one of the golden eggs—
and there was a goose actually sitting on some now in the shed.

“Did you hear what the farmer’s wife said, Billy,” said
Harry.

“Aw,” said Silly Billy. But he was too busy smiling at
.THE WISE GOOSE. 143

the last bit of his dinner to think much about what his brother
meant.

The two boys went out into the field again and set to
work.

Billy went to and fro, quite pleased and content every time
that he found a stick. And, indeed, it was he who gathered
the whole pile, for Harry was always seeing something or other
which he wanted to run after, or to look at, and while Silly
Billy went patiently backwards and forwards with his load,
Harry was doing very little but amusing himself.

He had not been doing much in the morning, but it was
even worse now that he had taken the notion into his head
about the goose’s golden eggs. He sat down to think about
them. How much better it would be to carry home one such
egg than whole cart-loads of sticks!

How happy the farmer’s wife was, to have a goose of her
own!

Just then a beautiful bird flew by, with a bright red tail,
which it kept dipping up and down. It flew into a hole in the
wall, and Harry guessed that it had a nest there; for he knew
that birds did make nests, although he was a little cockney.

He thought so much about the golden eggs, that his head
was quite filled with the idea, and he followed the bird and
tried to put his hand in at the hole—but he could not push
itn

The little redstart,—for that was the name of the bird,—
with his mate, perched on the wall close by to watch him,
making a noise rather like two pebbles being knocked together,
with a “tu-whit” now and then. Harry had never seen such
a gay bird before, except in a picture. Its head was black, with
a white spot on the top, and his breast and tail were bright red,
the rest of him was soft grey and black and white.
144 THE WISE GOOSE.

The redstart was anxious to see that Harry did not squeeze
his hand down the hole, for he had four beautiful blue eggs
down there. But Harry soon turned away and began to peer
into the hedge. A blackbird flew out chuckling ; she had been
sitting on her nest, and Harry could scarcely help finding it.
There were eggs in the nest, greyish-green, speckled and warm,
but not made of gold at all.

Near that place he found the nest of a thrush, yet he could
see ina minute that the thrush’s eggs were not golden either,
but sky-blue, spotted with a few black dots.

Foolish Harry! All the day was going by while he was
idling.

The birds were all busy—the robin fetching dainties for
his wife as she sat on her nest in the quarry taking care of her
pretty white eggs, each with a crown of pink speckles at the
large end; the yellow-hammer, with a head the colour of a
primrose, was flitting back to hers, which were covered all over
with scribbles, as if some one who didn't know how to write
properly had been scrawling on the dim coloured shells with a
pen and ink. No two kinds of birds had eggs alike, but each
his own sort, and yet among them all Harry could not find a
single nest which had golden eggs in itor even silver iones,
although he searched for hours, while Silly Billy, hardly raising
his eyes from the ground, went on with the stick gathering.

Presently, as he was loitering along the hedge-side, he
came to a gap through which he could plainly see the shed, in
a corner of the orchard, where the goose was sitting.

“JT am sure she could spare one egg,” said Harry to
himself.

He stepped through the gap and began to walk towards
the shed, treading quietly on tiptoe, for he did not want to
make the goose angry.
THE WISE GOOSE. 345

‘Perhaps,’ he thought, “she will not be there, and. I
might take one without her knowing it. I am’sure she would
not miss one.’

The shed was used to ne a waggon in, and it was nearly
dark inside, while the sunlight outside was dazzling, so that
Harry could not see whether there was anything in the far-away
corner or not. He stole carefully in.

Bo-bo-bo-bo-bo-bo — BO! Gaa, gaa, screech, cackle!
S-s-s-s-s-s! said something, and a long white neck, like a
serpent, jerked out at him.

‘Harry ran as fast as his legs would carry him, but stopped
as soon as he had got a few steps from the shed. It was only
the goose after all, and she was not following. She was sitting
in the corner, he could see her plainly now. .

He came cautiously back again.

‘“ His-s-s-sss—S!” said the goose. She looked very big
and terrible and fierce to a small boy like Harry, yet he wanted
just one egg so very much! How pleased his mother would
be with it; she would be quite rich, able to have a gold watch
and chain of her own like the farmer’s wife.

Harry sat down just outside the shed to wait. He knew
that the goose must get off her nest sometimes to feed; he had
seen her do it. So he would sit down and watch, just peeping
round the corner of the shed from time to time.

No one else was there. Jenny, the donkey, even had been
fetched away some time before to be harnessed into her little
cart. She was helping out in the lane to carry faggots for the
farmer. j

The silence was broken by the sparrows only, who were
having a little squabble up in the thatch about a big spider they
had found there.

Harry was not so patient as the goose. He found the

els
146 THE WISE GOOSE.

sitting still very tedious and tiresome. He watched the sun,
it was sinking down very near to the top of the hill, and he
wondered where his little brother was, and whether he would
go home alone.

The wish for the golden egg had grown so strong that he
really felt as if he could not leave the place ;—the longer he
stayed the more he felt that have one he must |

At last he could hear a rustling inside the shed. The
goose was stirring—pushing up the hay with her beak over the
eggs before she left them.

Harry shrank back behind the wall and peeped.—Yes.
Out she came! She
stretched out her neck
and looked all around,
then she begantomarch
away straight to the
pond for one dip before
nightfall.

In darted Harry—
right into the dark
corner! — rummaged
with both hands till
he found the eggs;
clutched one and
stuffed it into his



pocket, and then tore from the shed!

A sort of frightened feeling had come over him, he could
not tell why. Without so much as looking at the egg he
dashed off through a hole in the hedge—over the fields—
jumping the ditch—scrambling over the stile as if the goose
were flying after him to get back the egg.

He almost fancied he could hear the beating of her wings—
THE WISE GOOSE. 147

or was it something going thump thump inside his own
chest ?

Away through the long grass.in the hay-meadow—ah! he
has caught his foot in a bramble at the top of the steep bank!

Down came Harry! and rolled over and over. Never
mind. Up again. His mother’s cottage was in sight now—he
ran breathlessly up to it.

In front of the pretty porch with the honeysuckle trailing
over it stood his mother, in her blue apron. She was shading
her eyes with her hand as she looked down the road at a little
cart which was coming along, quite filled with sticks. |

It was drawn by Jenny, the donkey—and mother’s own
little boy was walking by the side leading it slowly along.

“And did my boy gather all those sticks?” said she, as
the little cart stopped before her door.

“ Aw!” said Silly Billy, smiling more sweetly than ever, and
raising his blue eyes to his mother's face.

“ And where is Harry, then—why didn’t he help?”

“Here Iam, mother!” cried Harry, bursting through the
hedge close by; “I have brought you something better than a
few sticks!—You shall be rich now, and have a gold watch and
chain like the farmer's wife. Here!—I’ve brought you——"

And Harry put his hand into his pocket,—but he pulled it
out again in a great hurry, looking very much disgusted.

“Oh!” said he, ‘ what’s all this nasty stuff?”

Harry’s hand was covered with yellow slime, and his pocket
was full of it too; for in his tumble and roll the goose’s egg
had been broken !

So all that he brought home to show for his day’s work
was a pocketful of squash ; while poor Silly Billy had collected
enough sticks to light his mother’s fire with through the
winter.
148 THE WISE GOOSE:

Yet he had often called his brother a little goose, and joined
in the laugh against him!—but which do Pos think was the
silly boy now?

~ Harry stood stock still, looking the very picture of surprise
and vexation; then he walked slowly into the cottage after his
mother and told her the whole story.

The first thing she did was to take Harry by the hand,
lead him to the farm, and ask to see the farmer’s wife.

Harry cried all the way there.

‘My little boy has come to say he is very sorry, but he has
been stealing,” said the poor widow to her kind friend. “I
never knew one of my children do such a thing before—not
even little Bill, bless him! Harry’s stole one of your goose’s
eggs. The child had some notion about its being made of
gold; how he got such trash into his head I don’t know—but
I’m sure it’s.a sad trouble to me. I hope you'll forgive him.
He has broke the egg—he can’t give it back.”

“Tam very sorry, too,” said the farmer's wife, ‘ because I
couldn't have a little thief to work on my farm. Harry must
never come Bo any more, because [eants trust: hime soll,
Billy may come.’

Harry buried his head in his mother’s petticoats and cried
very much when he heard this. He had not thought before
that he was a thief!—or that it was stealing to take a goose’s
egg. 3 :
A I thought it belonged to the goose!” sobbed he.

The farmer’s wife laughed.
“Well —for sure!—And so it did,” said she, gently.
“Well—we will let bygones be bygones this time! Farmer
wants a boy to weed in the turnip fields—only remember if you
come about my place that you must not rob even a goose ora
hen—not the little birds in the hedges even. Farmer won't
THE WISE GOOSE. 149

have the birds’ eggs taken on his land, the small birds do so
much good, eating insects in the winter.” is

Harry’s mother now looked happier. She and the farmer’s
wife had a chat together, while one of the men showed Harry
the field where he was to begin weeding the next day; and
Silly Billy was to help with the bonfires, which he.liked, for
the weeds were to be burnt as soon as a heap was made.

The goose did not miss the egg when she came back, for
geese are not clever at counting—her grandmother had not
taught her to count up to six. Yet there are many far more
silly things in the world than a goose, and there are other
things to be done besides arithmetic.

She sat as contentedly on the five eggs as she had done on
the six, and she waited, and waited, and waited. The wee wren
in the roof hatched out her seventeen little ones, and they Bee
to leave the nest, but still she sat on.

The farmer’s wife brought strangers sometimes to pole at
her goose sitting, and they laughed at some joke among them-
selves about ‘golden eggs.”
What they meant the goose did
not know. She only arched
her neck proudly when the
farmer's wife stroked her back
and called her ‘‘a good maid.”

The young sparrows learnt
to talk quite as loud and as fast
as their parents, and to be most
knowing about looking after
their own comfort; but still the
goose was on her nest.

“When wz you have done?” twittered the sparrows.
‘It is quite a waste of that hay you are sitting on, which would
do nicely for our nests!”


150 THE WILD GOOSE.

And the impudent little rascals would actually snatch at .
the hay-stalks and carry off a piece or two now and then right
from under the goose, besides filching her cast-off feathers, for
they were setting about a:second set of nests, as if there were
not enough sparrows in the world already. But the goose sat
calmly on.

“Tt all comes of laying golden eggs,” said she to herself.
‘They cannot be expected to burst out all in a minute like any
common wild bird’s eggs!” At the end of each day she said,
“Only one day more,” and by the end of the long thirty days
she had forgotten the beginning.

At last one morning cr-r-rick! crack! went one of the egg
shells; then another and then another! Out came five of the
sweetest little downy yellow goslings.

“Golden eggs, indeed? Golden birds! That is better,”
said the delighted mother. ‘I must take them at once to the
farmer’s wife, who has never seen anything like ¢/zs before.”

‘ Bo-bo-bo-bo-bo-bo!” said the mother goose, as she stood
at the back kitchen door with the troop of little ones all round
her, to show them to the farmer’s wife, and to have a little talk
with her about the goslings before she took them to the pond
for their first dip.

The young geese could swim as well as if they had been
accustomed to the water for a hundred years instead of having
been born that morning only.

“Give your babies a swimming-bath in the nearest pond
the moment they are born,” muttered the mother-goose. She
was quite sure it was the right thing to do, because it had been
her grandmother's way.

And the safest thing that anyone can do is to follow the
example of his grandfathers and grandmothers, if it is a good
one. Therefore, she was a wise goose.

The Starfish's Story.

Let the mere starfish in his vault
Crawl in a wash of weed indeed
Rose-jacynth to the finger-tips.

—R. BrRowninc.

3AGF Jamie, the fisherman’s little son, had been as wise as
some little boys are, he would not have thought that

the stars fell down into the sea; but then he had never
been to school, and he did not know much.

His father was obliged to stay out in the boat for whole
days, and often all night long too, and his mother was busy
helping to sell the fish after they were caught. Jamie helped,
too, at catching shrimps or selling them, so that what with
one thing and another no one had time to teach him, or he to
learn,—that was why he fancied such strange things.

Besides, one night when he was out late with his father,
he had seen a bright star dip down and down until it seemed
to be quenched in the great waters far away. Jamie had often
seen the sun do the same thing; but then it always came back
again the next morning. As for the stars, there were so many
of them that the loss of a few could not matter much,—plenty
more were always coming up on the opposite side to take their
place if they were put out like candles.

He asked his father about it, but he was turning over the
monster fishes in the bottom of the boat, and counting up how
much money he had earned by his night’s work,—he did not
answer. Poor father! he was tired, and wanted to go home
to rest. Jamie thought a great deal about the stars as he
152 THE STARFISH’S STORY.

trudged home by father’s side holding his hand; and that
night as he was falling asleep after one last look at the sky
all glittering with their sparkling lights, he felt sorry that the.



vast sea put out all the little stars when they sank into it. It
was a good thing, he said to himself, that the big sun was too hot
and blazing. He came out of the waves again safe and sound.
THE STARFISH’S STORY. 153

The next. morning, when Jamie went down to paddle on
the beach with his little bare toes and to catch as many
shrimps as he could for his mother to sell, he found lying on
the sand a great, golden-pink starfish. It was spreading ‘its
five beautiful finger-points out in a tangle of green weed, just
where the tide had left it a few hours ago, and it was trying to
creep back again into the sea with its wonderful rays, which
underneath were quite covered with thousands of little knobs—
something like pins made of clear glass—only they were all
alive. It knew the way to the water’s edge well enough, but
the getting there was a slow business, and the starfish began
to be afraid that he should be quite dried up and dead from
the’ heat. of the sun before’ he.could reach it. It was the
biggest starfish Jamie had ever seen,'and he stooped down to
look at it more closely. He was not a board-school boy, that
was certain, or such a very odd idea could never have come
into his head—but he whispered: “It’s one of the stars that
fell in and was put out last night!” And what was more,
he believed it too; so you see what comes of not going to
school.

Yet Jamie was very hardworking and very useful. He
waded all day with his little shrimping net, whether he wanted
to leave off or not; and earned enough to pay for his own
dinner and for his baby brother's too, so as to be some good
in the world, although he ad believe that the stars fell into
the sea and turned into starfishes. It was true that he had
seen the star dip down below the water-line, which was some
excuse, and never appear any more, while a star-shaped thing
with the light put out was lying quite plain to be seen on the
shore next morning—but then one must not always believe
everything that one sees., Jamie, being a little man. of
business, had not much time to stay bending over the starfish ;
154 THE STARFISH’S STORY.

but ran off to the sandy reaches, leaving the question for
anyone to settle who could.

Meanwhile the pretty starfish lay on the beach and longed
for the wash of the cool waves, which it knew were not far
off; and presently someone else saw it lying there, and taking
it gently by one point dropped it into a rock-pool close by,
where it could enjoy itself and find some food; which was
needful, for however lovely to look at folk may be, they must
have something to eat that their fine looks may be kept going ;
and the handsome starfish had a big mouth in the centre of
his painted points —a mouth which led straight into his
stomach, so that it did not give him much trouble to swallow.
He sucked at the little shrimps in the pool, and shut himself
up tight into a ball over the small shell-fish, closing his rays
firmly like a flower-bud, and only sending out the shells again
from his embrace when they were quite empty. It was an
artist, on his way down to finish a picture of the sea and the
rocks, who had found the starfish and had put it into the
rock-pool. He now sat and watched it, wondering what the
curious creature was thinking of, or whether it could think at
all—or only eat.

“What a tale that fellow could tell if he could speak—all
about the sea-depths and the unseen wonders there! Ah, it
would astonish some of us to see half what he has seen!” said
the artist, as his clever, nimble hand began to paint the figure
of little Jamie on the canvas—with his scarlet cap and bare
white legs as he stood, a wee lonely laddie, reflected on the
wet yellow sands, the blue ripples kissing his feet. By the
time that the picture was complete, and the paint-brush with
five delicate firm touches had laid a starfish on the mimic
sea-shore, as a finish to the whole, the real starfish had floated
away upon his travels, and the artist never saw him any more.
THE STARFISH’S STORY. P55

He could only guess at its history as he sat listening and
resting after his work while a little wave went prattling in and
out of the tiny pool where the starfish had been lying. It was,
perhaps, the
chatter of the
restless ripple
which wove it-
self into a fairy
tale half true,
half fable, like
all the stories
which the sea-
music makes.
Far away in
ticeeadecp acicen=:sea—-
deep, deep down, where
all is so still that storms
up above cannot shake
the everlasting peace—
the great sea-mother
carries on her wonderful works,
and there the starfish was born
from an egg and grew larger
and larger, living a pleasant
life; sometimes creeping over
the silver and golden sands,
sometimes swimming through
the clear water, sometimes float-
ing idly on the top and letting
the waves carry it where they pleased.
There was always plenty for dinner, and nothing to do
but eat it; and the starfish had not the least care on his




156 THE STARFISH’S STORY.

mind; so he spent:his time very contentedly and quietly, until
one evening, when dusk was spreading down into the deep,
he could see up above him a large round globe of something
bright and shining. At first the starfish thought this must be
the sun in the sky; for it shone like a great copper-coloured
ball, just as the sun did when it was setting ; but then the real
sun had set half an hour ago, and the starfish knew better than
little Jamie; he knew that the sun stayed always in the sky
and never came near the sea at all.

He managed to float up at once close to this mysterious
light—and then he saw that it was something very extra-
ordinary indeed! A great fish,—shaped almost round like a
huge ball, and gleaming brightly by some radiance which
seemed to spread all over its body: if indeed it had a body,
for it was more like a great sparkling head with nothing joined
£OnIE:

Round this strange fish, some floating near it, and others
swimming round and round, to and fro, in and out in a sort
of maze, were countless starfish, all gazing at it and trying to
draw closer and closer.

“What is it—what are they all doing?” asked the star-

fish who had just come to see, of another one who was there
already. ‘‘ What is that bright thing?”
_ “Why, where can you have come from?” said the other,
“not to know the sunfish—the king of all the fishes—when
you see him? The starfishes have come to him to learn the
way to shine, of course !—every starfish wants to shine, but
we can’t shine. If we could only shine we should be real
stars—as it is, we are only starfishes. The sunfish knows the
secret, only he won't tell it, but you can.ask him if you like.”

“You can ask him ‘if you like!” echoed all the other
starfishes together. They were anxious that the newcomer
THE STARFISH’S STORY. 157

should put the question, for they had hopes of perhaps over-
hearing the answer.

‘“Why don’t you ask him yourselves?” said the first
starfish.

MMetall@iiay cll aecaidether otherse masVoul. sceywei telall
tired of asking. It isn’t of the least use—he is so dreadfully
deep—and only answers by bringing out other questions.”

“Well, I can but try,” said the starfish, and it swam by
waving its five arms in the water, as a starfish can do quite
fast, till it came quite near to the great glowing face of the
sunfish. And when he was quite close, he found that the
sunfish did look very knowing—so shrewd that the star-
fish was afraid to speak first. He waited a moment in case
the king of the fishes should notice him,—which, however,
he was very slow in doing.

At length he spoke, out of a small mouth which was some-
thing like a cat’s, and said slowly—

“Did you come here like all the rest, to learn how to
shine? Then you must find out these five things first. Count
them on your five fingers, there is one for each finger, so you
can’t forget. When you have found out the five riddles, come
back to me and I will tell you how to shine. You can find
the way back to me by my bright light.”

Then the sunfish stared lazily with its goggle eyes and
turned itself over for a nap, for it could go to sleep floating in
the water when it chose—and so many starfishes had bothered
him about the way to shine that he had been kept awake the
whole night before.

‘But what are the five questions ?”’ asked the starfish.

“Oh—ah—lI forgot!” said the sunfish, waking up with a
yawn. ‘ Besides, I thought you were gone. Most of ’em go
away when they find there is, anything to be done before they
158 THE STARFISH’S STORY.

can shine. They want to shine and have done with it. Let me
see. You must find out a fish that is not a fish, and a bird that
is not a bird,—which is two things,” said the sunfish, sleepily ;
“and a plant that is not a plant. And who it is that can mend
holes so well that the patched thing shall be worth more after it
is mended than it was before. And—that’s four, isn’t it?
This is hard work. Let me think—there isone more. Oh, yes!
you must find out what is the smallest living creature in the
world.”

Then the sunfish dropped into a sound sleep, and as he
slept he shone more brightly than ever, for it was becoming
darker, and his light shone further and further down into the
sea-depths, so that the little fishes, and great ones too, came from
east and west, north and south, to wonder at it.

But the little starfish crept away rather sad, and went up-
ward, till it came to the top of the water where it could rock
silently upon the waves.

Up above in the midnight sky a thousand twinkling eyes
sent their trembling beams down as they gazed upon the
slumbering sea.

“ How delightful to be a real star and to shine up there
like one of those!” thought the poor dim sea-star. And then
it began to count over the five difficult riddles which the sun-
fish had asked.

How could he find a fish that was not a fish, and a plant
that was not a plant; a bird yet not a bird, a patched thing
which should be more valuable than a new one, and what was
the smallest living thing in the world? One difficult task for
each of the starfish’s five fingers—and each one seemed more
hard than the one before it.

But as he lay rising and falling upon the heaving water
while he watched the bright stars above him, the starfish longed
THE STARFISH’S STORY. 159

so much to shine as they did, that he made up his mind at least
to try, beginning with the first question.

“T shall set out on my travels the first thing to-morrow
morning,” it said; ‘and I shall go on looking until I find a
fish that is not a fish. I will ask every creature I pass until I
come to the right one, even if I have to question each animal
lemects

So the starfish set out next day.

He struck out a pathway through the green waves in as
straight a line forward as possible; sometimes resting on the
top of one, and whenever he passed by anything which was
alive, he asked, ‘“‘ Are you a fish or not a fish?”

The first to whom he put the question was a great cod-fish,
who only answered, ‘“‘Can’t you see? I am covered all over
with scales, so I must be a fish, stupid!” and then he would
not say another word.

The starfish sank down to the sand at the bottom to rest
and think. There he found a big flat fish which was flopping
about. It had both eyes on the same side of its face, because
it swam always on one side, and kept so near the bottom that
one eye would have been always getting full of sand as it
flopped down.

“Are you a fish?” said the starfish to him.

‘Of course I am!” answered the sole, shouldering his
way through the water much as a kite does through the air.
‘SEiivein the water,don til 24

“ Everything that lives in the water must be a fish!” said
the sea-star, beginning to swim on again quite in despair. “It
must be a trick that the sunfish has played to get rid of me!”
he thought, after vainly asking the same question of several
dozen fishes.

Just as he said this, and was beginning to think of giving
160 THE STARFISH’S STORY.

up the journcy, something like a grey cloud seemed to gather
in the water near him., It was as large as the shadow which
a big ship made, and the: starfish felt sure that it must be one.
He went up to float on the top that he might look at it; for he
thought that perhaps a ship, as. it lived in the water, might be
a sort of fish, yet not a fish. :

But when he rose to the surface no ship was there only
an enormous dark creature. lay half in, half out of the waves.
It was floating with its head and part of its body quite out of
the sea, and it was blowing a tall fountain of water up into the
air. . ee .

The starfish went a little nearer; he had never seen a
fish do that before—he had never even dreamed of so large
a water-beast, or one which could do such marvels. He
wondered whether it would, be safe to steer close to it; but he
need not have been afraid,
for the huge whale was as
gentle as gentle could be.
She had come up to the top
of the water to breathe, and
the starfish could. see that
she had a young one be-
neath her fins, which she
was’ feeding with milk, as
a sheep does its lambs, and
taking care of the baby-whale as it frisked aroune oe vast
sides. ' es i 0g
" ) leases are va a fish?” asked the starfish, as it allowed
itself to drift near, yet not too near, the yawning mouth of the
mighty sea-monster.

“TI am a fish—and yet not a fish,” said the whale, tee
piping, squeaky voice; for though its body was’as. big as a


THE STARFISH'S STORY. 161

church, it had a throat so narrow and small that a herring
could not have swam down it. ‘Come close to me, my little
dear, and you will feel that I am warm—while fishes are cold;
and I take care of my baby, instead of just laying eggs about
the place—anyhow—and letting them shift for themselves as
your precious fishes do—nice mothers they must be!”

Here the whale rolled round and shovelled as much water
into its lower jaw as would fill a hundred buckets; then,
closing its mouth, sent it all hissing out through a fringe of
whalebone, which it used as a sort of strainer. The torrent
from the whale’s mouth sent the starfish spinning away—but
the whale invited it back.

‘“Come near me—don't be afraid!” she said.

‘But perhaps you will eat me if I do,” said the starfish,
who did not know how small the whale’s throat was. ‘What
a lot of big fishes you must want when you are hungry!”

“Big fishes ?” said the whale. ‘Not at all. The smaller
the better to please me. I have no teeth to chew with—only
the whalebone net—and what would be the use of a big fish to
me, when I couldn't either bite it up or swallow it? I feed on
the smallest creatures I can find!”

The starfish quite sprang out of the water for joy when he
heard this; for he had already, he thought, found a fish which
was not a fish—now he was perhaps going to find an answer to
another question—what was the smallest living thing? Sure
enough the water was filled everywhere with swarms of the
tiniest beings, hardly large enough to be seen, which were
skipping, jerking, or rowing themselves about. Some of them
were so small, a single water-drop would have been to them a
world to swim in. These surely must be the smallest of all
the creatures alive—and those which the sunfish meant!

How many millions of them must it take to feed a whale!

iL
162 THE STARFISH’S STORY.

—and yet the sea-giantess looked plump, and had a covering
of oily blubber like an india-rubber coat all over her, at least
a foot thick, to keep her warm in the water.

“Swish!” went the rushing stream again through the
whale’s net—all the little creatures stayed behind in her mouth,
caught fast in the whalebone fringe which let nothing but the
water itself pass through; and soon they were sent down the
narrow red lane which was her throat. After the whale had
taken a meal of them and also had a good breath of fresh air
she disappeared into the depths once more. But it was very
easy for her to come up again when she wished to, for her tail
was made so that it did not part the water from side to side
like the tails of real fishes; but it moved up and down; this
helped her to raise her heavy load of flesh.

The starfish was sucked under for a moment by the
whirlpool which the great whale made in sinking, but he soon
came up again none the worse, and thinking how lucky it was
that the whale was not fierce like some fishes are ;—for if a
creature of such a size as that were to be as hungry and grim
as they, there would be hardly anything left alive in the seas—
so it is a good thing that they are so harmless, and contented
with such small morsels.

After this the starfish floated calmly along. The sun was
shining brightly, and all at once he saw coming towards him
what looked like a glittering flock of white birds; their bodies
and wings shining like silver. They skimmed over the waves
and then vanished—seeming to plunge or drop into the water.

This sight puzzled the starfish very much, and he felt
sorry for the poor birds. He had seen a dead sea-gull floating
on the waves once, and it was a dismal, draggled, and wretched-
looking object, instead of being brisk and merry and comfort-
able as a fish always is in the water. He knew that a bird’s
THE STARFISH’S STORY. 163

feathers would not do for the water, any more than a fish's
scales would suit for a creature which was meant to live in
the air; he supposed that all those pretty birds which he had
seen dip below the water would be drowned.

But in a moment, he saw close to the place where they
fell in a host of small fishes, which were being chased by a
larger one. These were rather strange fishes ; they had fins as
long as their bodies, which they spread out in the water as
wide as they could to get away from their enemy.

But he was big and they were small. Do what they could
he came nearer every moment ; till at last, after rising higher



and higher in the water, the small fish were driven fairly out
of it, and with wild leaps they sprang into the air, their lovely,
lustrous fins outspread, shot themselves along for quite a
distance till at last they were obliged to drop into the sea again,
for they could not flap their fins as a bird does its wings.
They could only play at being birds for a few minutes, then
sink into the sea and be fishes again, until they could make a
fresh spring from it. In a second or two, every single one was
gone—and the big fish came half out of the water after them,
but he could not do as they did, having no fins like theirs.
164 THE STARFISH’S STORY.

So he had to do without his meal that time, and the little
flying-fishes escaped; only one was snapped up by a white
sea-gull which pounced on it and swallowed it as it was
darting over the waves.

Presently one of them passed by just over the starfish as
he lay on the water.

“Do you call yourself a bird, or what?” he called to it.

“Dear, dear!” panted the flying-fish, dropping down
again. “I wish I wasa bird. But the fact is I am, yet I am
not. Birds can swim in the air—they call it flying—and so
can I. Well, but fishes can fly through the water—we call it
swimming—and so can I; so I must be a bird—because I can
fly, and a fish because I can swim—don’t you think so? I
leave you to settle it. Oh dear me! “Here comes one of those
tunnies after me again! There’s no peace anywhere! Well,
I can fly and he can’t—that is one comfort!”

And away he went for another flight as gaily as possible.
His life was happy enough after all—and if he was one of those
people who like excitement, he certainly had it.

“The flying-fish must be a bird that is not a bird!” said
the starfish. ‘Three questions an-
swered—and I never thought I should
have found out one! This encourages
me to look for a plant that is not a
a plant. Plants grow on roots at the
2 : bottom of the sea; I must sink down

i ®: “ff as low as possible to find them.”

It was so far down to the sandy sea-
bed that it took the starfish a long while to reach it, although
he had nothing to do but let himself go.

Oh, what an exquisite garden the sea had, hidden away
down below! There were carpets of starry flowers—some red,

te


THE STARFISH’S STORY. 165

some golden with blue dots like gems, some white or green—
nothing ever trod on these sea-flowers, for all that ever passed
through the paths of the seas had a gliding motion, or so soft
a footfall that it could not crush even the most fragile blossom.
Forests of seaweed waved over these scentless tranquil blooms
which spread out and fluttered their dainty frills in the still
deep water just as daisies and anemones do, up in the land-
world. Yet they had no leaves—and shorter stems—and were
in truth imitations and not real flowers.

For if you came near and touched one of them it would
shrink up and close its petals like lightning, into a mere lump
of jelly—and then again could toss them out into a flower-
shape once more. Besides, they could crawl about like snails,
and they ate and drank tremendously. Supposing that a rose
were to catch and eat the butterfly or rose-beetle which nestled
in its cup, or that a lily were treacherously to shut up over a
poor black and yellow velvet bee, and never to let it go, but
hold it fast till it was all gobbled up?

That was what the sea-flowers
were doing all day long; only
instead of butterflies, beetles, and
bees, they trapped the small crabs
and shrimps, or the tiny shell-
fish — anything which crept or
crawled or floated within reach of
their deceitful petals. Their prey
they swallowed whole, and after-
wards pushed out the empty shells
and husks back again into the sea,
from their great round mouths. Were they plants or not plants
—that was the question which the starfish asked, as he went
wonderingly from rock to rock all decked with these gaysea-stores.




166 ; THE STARFISH’S STORY.

All over the rocks oysters were sticking so firmly by their
under shells that it seemed as if nothing could move them ;
other shells anchored themselves to the stones with silken
ropes of their own spinning, as they preferred to float loose.

A thousand wonderful beings—unspeakably strange—lay
or crawled or hid in the holes; too many to count, or remember,
or think of; for this was the great treasure-house of the sea,
which it keeps a secret and makes such a murmuring about
when it sends the waves to fling a few scattered shells or scraps
of weed for the little children on the beach to pick up; keeping
all the while the best hidden away for itself.

“ Are you a plant?” asked the starfish of a glorious scarlet
sea-anemone.

“No!” said the anemone. “I enjoy life far more than
the seaweeds, which I pity!—to be always rooted to one spot
and unable to eat or drink—what a fate!”

“Are you a plant?” asked the starfish of a tuft of weed,
green as a string of emeralds, which was growing from a cleft
in the rock.

_ “To be sure lam!” said the seaweed. ‘‘I live pleasantly
here, streaming out my green arms to float in the clear water,
and am never disturbed except when the sea-snails or the other
water creatures come and nibble me. But I can spare them a
meal well enough, for more green branches soon grow, and I
don’t mind being bitten.”

Then the starfish turned to something shaped like a cup
which was growing on a short stem planted on the rock. It
stayed quite still, never moving in the least; there were
others growing near it of the same kind—only some were fan-
like—others more like balls, while the rest were mere masses
without any particular shape.

Each form was pierced through and through by hundreds
THE STARFISH’S STORY. 167

of holes. They were sponges—and as everybody knows what -
a sponge is, there is no need to describe them.

“ Are you a plant?” said the starfish to the largest cup-
shaped sponge. But the sponge answered never a word—and
yet he was alive, though he had no particular mouth, but was
made of mouths all over. If one looked closely, one could see
that the sponge was making fountains of water go in and out
through the net-work of holes which made up his body. He
sucked the water in, and after feeding on whatever he could
find there, spirted it out again, after the same fashion as the
whales. But he could neither move nor feel. If you cut him
up into pieces he did not know or care in the least; when he is
in the sea he is alive and has jelly in his holes; when you take
him out he dies, and people squeeze his body when they have
baths.

The starfish lay watching the sponge. “It is a plant,” he
said; “it must be—it is rooted and does not move—and it has
buds too!”

This was true. The sponge was covered with small buds,
and just then one of them cast itself free from the old. sponge
and began to move through the water—for it had a great many
things like hairs which it moved as an insect does its legs,
and rowed itself through the water with them. The young
sponge floated away till it found a firm place on which it could
plant itself—when, in a short time, its hair-like feet dropped
off — it gained a stem, and became just like the parent
sponge.

“Tt is not a plant after all,” said the starfish, as he saw
the young sponges swimming by, just as if they knew where
they were going. ‘I do believe this is what the sunfish meant
to puzzle me by, when he said, ‘ A plant that is not a plant.’
That must be an answer to the last riddle but one. I have
168 THE STARFISH’S STORY.

only one more to find out and then I shall shine—I shall
shine!”

It did not take long to find out this last mystery ; for just
at hand was an old bearded oyster, who had been at work for
a long while—doing, what do you think? Cobbling a hole in
his shell, which a tiresome little boring-worm had made, and
through which a grain of sand had been washed in.

The grain of sand teased the oyster, and so he had set to
work in earnest to mend the hole and cover over the grain of
sand. And as the only thing he knew how to make was a
pearl, he had patched his house roof with a beautiful round
one about the size of a small pea.

It took him some time certainly to make it—not so long
though as it would take you or me—because we could never
make a fair smooth pearl with a light upon it like a fairy moon,
no, not if we tried all our lives long, and asked the cleverest
man who ever was born to come and help. As men cannot
make pearls themselves they have to steal from the oyster when
they want them; so this one was not allowed to keep his shell —
over his head for very long. A diver came down and took him
away, house and all; and somebody put the oyster’s patch-work
into a ring for a fine lady to wear; for it was worth a great deal
of money; but the oyster got nothing, and the diver very
little.

The starfish knew nothing about men and their money.
He only knew that among oysters it is considered grand to
have as many pearls as possible sticking to one’s roof; so he
considered the question settled—that the oyster’s shell was a
matter more valuable when mended than when whole.

“And now shall I shine?” thought the starfish— To be
sure I shall learn now.”

That same night as he drifted he could see the great ball
THE STARFISH’S STORY. 169

of light glowing above him in the sea; for the fact was that the
starfish had merely travelled round in a circle and come back to
the place he had started from.

“Tell me how to shine!” he said to the sunfish, as soon as
he saw him near. ‘I have found out your five riddles.

‘“ By a fish not a fish you mean a whale; a sponge is what
you call a plant yet not really a plant; a flying fish is like a bird
yet is not a bird.

‘An oyster knows how to patch his roof so that it shall be
more precious than before it was broken, and the smallest living
creatures in the world are those which the whale eats by millions.
They must be, for they are too small even to be seen without
looking very closely.”

“Not right!” said the sunfish. ‘‘ The last question is not
answered—what is the smallest living creature in the world ?—

“Go and ask the prawns and shrimps! They have eyes as
sharp as needles—but it’s my belief you ‘ll never find out. No
one has ever come to me with that question rightly answered
vere

And the great lazy sunfish winked his eyes and went to
sleep again, for he did not know the answer himself and did not
care.

Perhaps nobody does, and perhaps nobody ever will.
Although the poor starfish floated, and wandered, and roamed,
and voyaged all his life long, asking people about it, he never
could find out.

The prawns and shrimps did not know; not even the king
of all the prawns, who sat in a crevice all day with the sword on
his nose sticking at least an inch and a half out of the hole with
teeth on it like a saw—which might have pried and poked into
most concerns.

‘““Ask the sprats!” was all he would say. ‘They travel
170 THE STARFISH’S STORY.

into deep water and carry nets inside their mouths for catching
fishes smaller than themselves—perhaps they know!”

But the sprats only answered that they ate whatever they
could find—-small fry. The small fry, when the starfish asked
them, said that they fed on the same tiny beings that the whale
ate—he could see for himself that the water swarmed with
them.

The starfish watched these tiniest things for hours ;. they
were chasing and eating something in the water; something
smaller far than they ;—creatures which could not be seen ;—
minute beings which in their turn feasted upon others yet more
minute, which devoured living specks even tinier still, which—

But there is no end to it—people are able to find out a great
deal by looking through microscopes, but not quite everything.
They can only tell that the smallest of creatures which they
discover must be fed upon by those a degree less small; that
these, in their turn, are the food of others a little larger, which
are fed upon by the smaller fishes, such as the sprats. Sprats
are the food of herrings, and herrings are the food of the larger
fishes still, and also of men. So that we see plainly that we
could not have fish for breakfast without the hosts of sea-
creatures which seem to dwindle away in size to almost nothing
at all.

The starfish never learnt to shine, because of this riddle
which he could never find an answer to. He came back to tell
the king of the prawns about his failure, and the old fellow took
such a keen interest in the affair that he actually shot himself
backwards two feet out of his hole to look for a fish with
sharper eyes which should be able to find out the smallest
living creature that is, and he went straight into Jamie's fishing
net by mistake. So he was done for, and no one will ever reap
the advantage of what he might have found out. But the starfish
THE STARFISH’S STORY. 171

roamed restlessly here and there upon the ebb and flow of the
tide like the rest of his family, and this is why one is always
finding them stranded on the beach looking so forlorn—at least,
if that is not the reason, somebody else had better find out
another one.

The artist came down to the shore for many days. He
wished to paint a larger picture of Jamie with his shrimping



net—and while he was doing it they used to talk. That is to
say at first it was only Jamie who talked while the artist
listened ; Jamie told the artist what he thought about the stars,
and of how he was sure they went down into the sea and were
lost, while lots of new ones came up behind; but that the sun
dipped in and rose out again all right on the other side.
Afterwards the artist told Jamie what e thought him-
self ;—that the sun stood still while the earth went round it—
172 THE STARFISH’S STORY.

this world and many many other worlds—and that every star
was a sun, with worlds going round it too; and he spoke of
how the moon went round the earth while the earth itself was
always turning round too with Jamie on it, till the little boy
began to feel quite giddy at thinking of so much turning round
and round.

Presently he said, “But what do the sun and the stars go
round ?”

“They go round the throne of God,” replied the artist,
lifting his cap for an instant as he looked up at the hay aa aut
the heaven is too big and far away—we cannot find out much
about the sky in our short lives and with our weak sight, even
with telescopes to help. We may learn much of Him Who is
the centre of everything from what we see close to us ; for ielenS
down here too at work among the daisies and grass, and you
may listen to His voice through the song of the waves-—as lale
teaches the smallest sea-mite, while He holds up the sun and
the stars at the same time. Run away, Jamie, laddie, before it
gets dark—I forgot I was talking to you.”

And indeed it seemed as if the artist were speaking to him-
self—for he stayed pacing up and down the beach long after the
stars came out, gazing at them, as he murmured, ‘‘ Lo, these
are a part of His ways, but how little a portion Is heard of
Him !—but the thunder of His power, who can understand ?”

“HH Great Bye.

“A skylark wounded on the wing
Doth make a cherub cease to sing.”
—BLakE.

#LL was grey and quiet one morning early in June; the
mother lark was sleeping with her wings spread out
over her little ones, while her husband stood on one leg
by her side with his head tucked under his wing.

He was stirring in his sleep, for it was nearly time for him
to wake up, and he knew it. Presently there was a soft flutter,
the lark pruned his feathers, shook them, and with a leap,
darted upward into the air which was still dusky. While his
little wife still slept he flew higher and higher, singing so
sweetly that soon she woke to listen.

Far, far up soared the lark, as the sky began to grow like
silver, and the great sun rose over the hill. The bright golden
ball was hasting to begin the day’s work—of opening all the
little flowers, calling all the small birds and insects into life,
as well as men, women, and children; for that is the sun’s
duty, besides giving light to all the wide world which he looks
down upon with his great eye.

Oh, how far the sun’s great eye could see!

There was no corner or cranny anywhere into which he
did not peep. Although he was looking down on the vast
earth and could see many other worlds—and could take in at
a glance the whole of the wide sea, the great forests and huge
mountains too—yet at the same time he noticed how every
little daisy-bud was unfolding.


174 A GREAT EYE.

He did not forget the tiny eggs which the butterfly had
laid on the nettle-leaf a week ago, but took care to send down
a long ray to keep them warm, so that the little caterpillars
might creep out to feed,—until in the end they could turn into
butterflies.

“We must be like a mother to the eggs of millions of
living things,” said the dancing sunbeams. ‘‘ For the butter-
fly, and the velvet bee, and all the other small insects trust to
us to rear their little ones long after they themselves are dead.
and gone.”

So the sun had a great deal of business to do, besides
keeping guard over the world of men. He did it all well—the
great things and the little things too; never once thinking that
it was not worth while to attend to trifles.

How glad the song of the lark sounded! As the sky
grew more dazzling he was lost in the light almost, so
that his little wife on the ground very nearly lost sight of
him, but not quite. There were other larks singing in the
wheat-fields all over the world. The sun’s great eye watched
them every one—and by-and-bye he missed one among the
many songs.

So much music was rising into the air from so many
thrilling throats, one would hardly think that the hushing of
a voice could matter, or that the sun would notice so slight a
thing as the loss of a single song; yet he did.

And this was how it happened.

The gay skylark’s wings were growing a little tired, and
he wanted to come down for a rest. His eyes were not dazzled
by the sun’s light, because he had an extra eyelid on purpose
to shut out the glare—which you and I have not got. Besides
the lids that shut up and down, he had a sort of filmy curtain
which he could draw across his eyes when the light was too
A GREAT EYE. 175

strong for them. The lark could have borne the sun’s bright-
ness for ever if it had not been for the flagging of his wings,
and for the thought of the little patient wife on the nest below,
who wanted some comfort and conversation sometimes. So



he dropped down’ with closed wings till he
was near the! ground, and then took one
or two short flights before he came to
the nest ; for he saw a ploughman working
at the other end of the field, and a lark
has sense enough to settle on the ground some
little way from its home, and to creep towards
pee a it through the grass, so that no one may find out
where he lives.
“Little mother, how do you get on?” said the father lark.
“Jt is time that you left the nest for a while and took a turn
to refresh yourself.”
“That is just the way you talk!” said the mother lark,
tossing her head; “I don’t think much of husbands!” (but she
176 A GREAT EYE.

did—she thought her own husband the most wonderful creature
in the world, only her wings were a little cramped just then,
which made her peevish). You go sky-larking up there as if
you had nothing to do with the children and myself. Just
look at the great scarlet flag that is hanging over the nest on
purpose to point out the spot to everybody! it is enough to
make one wish one had never mated. How could you choose
such a foolish place to build in?”

“Twit, twit!” answered the father lark. ‘‘ How could I
tell that those hairy, green balls would burst open and turn
into such glaring red flowers? But cheer up! The nest is
safe enough; and look, the wind is breaking up the red flowers
and carrying them away!”

“What is the use of that, when more keep coming?” said
the mother bird, snappishly. And, indeed, the scarlet poppy
blooms were a danger to the nest; for the field had a path
running through it, along which the village children often came
to gather the brightest flowers they could see—some of them
would have been almost sure to find the hidden household
of the lark in trying to reach the brilliant poppies. Indeed,
there were a couple of idle boys, who ought to have been
at school, lurking about the place now, trampling carelessly
upon the young wheat wherever they saw a flower which took
their fancy growing a little way out of the track; ready with a
stone to throw at any living moving thing they saw, out of
pure mischief, without thinking of the harm or pain they might
give to pretty harmless creatures.

They did not know or care what would become of the
shy little shrew mouse which their hard stone hit and
wounded, and which crept away to die in pain, or what the
poor bird could do with its broken leg or wing after they
had struck it; or whether they left the harmless toad dead
-A GREAT EYE. nea

or alive after they had chased it with blows as it hopped across
their path.

The two little larks were feeding together on the
seeds of different weeds which grew among the corn—with
ants’ eggs for a second course. The change had taken
the ache out of the little wife’s wings, and she was as fresh
and gay and happy again as she could be—as she cracked
the heads of the overblown poppies to get at the black
seeds inside, and thought that on the whole it was very
handy to-have such a feast close to one’s own door, although
she did not say so. The mother was beginning to think
of her babies as she snatched her hasty meal. It was time
to be going back to fill their little hungry mouths. The
father was chatting to her—giving a look up at the clouds
from time to time as he planned another flight, for his wings
were rested.

“ Be sure not to rise from the ground too near the nest!”
said the little mate. ‘It is more important than ever to be
careful now that tiresome poppy has chosen to spread out just
thei es

“Twitter twitter tweet!” said the lark, which was his way
of saying ‘‘ Good-bye, my sweet!” and he made a short flutter
or two away from the nest before he rose.

The two boys heard the chirp of the larks among the blades
of young corn, and each stooped to pick up a stone.

The great eye of the sun looked down and saw them.

“Bet you Ill have that'chap down!” said one, flinging
his stone at the rising lark.

“Ha! missed him!” cried the other.

“ Better luck this time!” said the first, picking up another
stone.

The pretty birdie was just poising itself for an instant

M
178 A GREAT EYE.

like a butterfly, over the spot where its nestlings were,
before it darted with a glad spring upward towards the ~
sun. It had begun to ruffle out its speckled throat and
to pour out a stream of clear merry notes — when — there
was a sudden dreadful stunning blow;—a dull crash and
then a sharp pain—a gasping for breath, and-a fall through
the air with scarcely an attempt to save itself by spreading
out the light strong brown wings, for one of them hung
bruised and useless.

On the ground lay the panting bird, half dead from fright,
pain, and surprise—for it had been made for happiness, and had
never felt sorrow and trouble before.

What did it all mean? Nothing had happened to the sun
at least, for he was gazing, gazing down and saw it all.

The wounded lark fluttered a few yards off, and tried to
creep away back to its nest and mate; but a terrible loud noise
seemed to shake the ground, and something was dashing aside
the wheat-stalks right and left.

“He’s hiding in there, somewhere,” cried a loud rough
voice, as the foremost of the two boys came beating down
the corn on each side with his cap to drive out the helpless
bird.

The boy was so busy about his job that he did not
notice the silent figure following him, which he had taken
to be his brother’s, as it crept quietly up behind without
speaking: till it was within arm's length; until he felt a
heavy hand upon his collar, a hand which would not be shaken
off; a firm fist which only held him all the tighter the more
he struggled.

It was the farmer.

“ Now, you come along, my fine fellow! It ‘Sal! Bivioyiic Oe
good your twisting like an eel. I’m going to march you along
A GREAT EYE. 179

to the constable’s and give you in charge for trampling down
my wheat. My man will have your brother too presently—for



I saw him go under the hedge to hide when he caught sight of
me, and I sent Biggs after him. It’s not the first time you've
180 A GREAT EYE.

been and done damage here—but I’ll cure you both of it now
—a pair of lazy young scamps!”

The farmer meant to be as good as his word Boone as he
and his man were taking the two boys up the village street they
met their father; who vowed to give them each the soundest
thrashing they had ever dreamt off, if Farmer Stubbs would
hand them over to him.

The farmer did so with a grin; and the father kept his
promise. The boys howled loud enough when their own skins
smarted—so let us hope that it taught them to be more careful
about giving pain now that they had found out what a nasty
thing it was.

But all this did not cure the wounded lark.

Poor little suffering birdie! Its wing trailed limp and
full of pain—yet it managed somehow to creep back to its
mate, to the nest under the poppy-flowers, where the two
grieved together. No more sweet song—the sun listened in
vain for it—the useless wing could only drag feebly along the
ground—the bird could only gaze up at the great eye and long
LOvily Teareratondts

Towards evening a sound of people talking was heard
coming up the cornfield path. It was not at all like the shouts
of the rude boys, yet the lark shivered from fear—for he had
learned to dread the human voice; thinking the noise would be
followed by the sharp stinging pain and weakness the stone
had brought last time he heard it. Yet he need not have been
afraid; for it was only a gentle little girl going for a walk with
her nurse—chattering as she gathered a: bunch of flowers to take
home to her mother, who was ill and obliged to stay at home.

“Miss Nelly! Miss Nelly! how many times must I
tell you not to tread on the corn!” her nurse was saying ;
“and what ave you doing with all them dock-seeds ?—what-
A GREAT EYE. ISI

ever will the farmer say—scattering them all over the field like
that!”

Nelly looked rather serious.

“ But if the farmer stings himself?” she began. ‘‘ Mother
rubs a dock-leaf on my hand when I do, and it cures me. I am
sure Farmer Stubbs will be glad of some dock-leaves; I saw
him cutting the hedge, and it was full of nettles, and I said
‘Mind you don’t sting yourself, Mr Stubbs.’ But he only
laughed.”

“T don’t think he will thank you to be sowing weeds
among his corn, miss. And—bless us!—how you do run
about! Can’t you walk by my side and hold my hand?”

But Nelly couldn't. She let Nurse hold her hand for
about half a minute, and then off she darted again—first to
see if she could not keep pace with a swallow, and next to race
a great black and yellow bee; that she might see which would
get to the flower first. Her bright eyes caught sight of the
waving scarlet tuft of poppies among the wheat just by the
lark’s nest.

“Oh! Nurse! I haven’t got one of those! I know mother
would like them. Please, please, please, dear Nurse—only this
- once. I won't want to go in again !—look, there is a little path
between two rows of corn. I am sure there’s room for me if
I squeeze my petticoats tight with both hands,” said Nelly,
almost tearful, she wanted the poppies so much.

“T’ll get them for you, missie,” said a voice behind. It
was Farmer Stubbs, with whom little Nelly was a great
favourite, as, indeed, she was with most people. ‘That sprack
little maid,” he called her, by which a Wiltshire farmer means
“that lively little girl,’ and he says “maid” so as to rhyme
with “ hide.”

Farmer Stubbs’s red face looked very pleasant when he
182 A GREAT EYE.

smiled, as he did now at the little girl who was so eager for
the poppies. He had little girls of his own at home who were
always coaxing him for something.

He made three or four great strides up to the place where
the poppies grew—almost setting his great boot on the nest on
which the mother lark sat.

How her heart beat!—but she sat bravely still — for
she knew that if she moved she would show this dreadful
monster where her children sat huddling all together safe and
warm.

As the farmer put down his hand to gather the flowers, the
poor lark with the hurt wing scrambled away as well as it
could; but could only move slowly. Farmer Stubbs easily
caught it in his hand, and closing his fingers over it he carried
it gently back to Nelly as well as the poppies.

“Here’s a little bird, missie!—look! see! It has been
hurt or summat, I s’pose. Now there’s summat for ‘ee to
take home—they sings fine, that sort does, if you puts ’em in
a cage with a bit of grass.”

Nellie was quite silent with delight. She forgot to take
the poppies, and she dropped all her other flowers as well, as
she put up both her little hands to take the small speckled bird
which was half dead from fright; touching it as lovingly as she
possibly could.

The good-natured farmer went on his way up the field
whistling, and thought no more about the matter.

“Oh, Nurse—may I?” said Nelly, almost in a whisper.
“Do you think mother will let me keep it? I never had a
bird of my own in all my life!”

“You can take the little thing up to the house and see,
miss,’ said Nurse.

Nelly ran so fast towards home with her treasure ‘that it
A GREAT EYE. 183

was a hard matter for Nurse to keep up with her; and very
soon she broke into her mother’s dressing-room, where she was
lying on the sofa reading, to show her what the farmer had
found. .

“Poor little thing!” said mother, as she watched the eyes
of the lark, looking hither and thither, quite dim from terror,
while its pointed beak was half open because it was breathing
so hard. “You might keep it a day or two, dear, till its poor
lame wing is well, but if I were you I should not like to shut
it up longer. There is no fear of its flying away to-night—
poor creature! it has had a blow. We will put it into an
empty room at the top of the house, and Nurse shall go to the
village shop and buy some hemp-seed and poppy-seed for it.
And it must have a saucer of water. Then you had better
come away and leave the poor little thing alone; it is terrified
at the sight of us.”

“How I do wish it wouldn’t be,” said Nelly sadly, as she
carried the small prisoner upstairs, her mother following.

When Nurse came back from the village, where she had
been to buy the seed, Nelly was in bed, so she did not see
that Nurse was carrying a cage in her hand. The woman at
the seed shop had an empty lark’s cage, and had lent it.

This kind of cage has a place in front where a piece of
green sod can be put, and is roofed in at the top so that it can
be hung up out of doors. The.wooden shelter above prevents
the sun’s rays from being able to shine on the bird within.
Perhaps this is done because the people who shut up larks in
cages are ashamed for the bright sun to see such cruel deeds,
but his great eye does watch them all the same.

The poor lark had gone to sleep and was standing on one
leg upon the floor like a ball of feathers, resting on the strong
hind claw which is given to the lark to help him in roosting on
184 A GREAT EYE.

a flat place—a thing which would tire the feet of most birds.
He had forgotten all his sorrows and fancied himself roosting
by the side of his little wife in the field again. Nurse easily
put him inside the cage and shut the door, and went away to
her bed, thinking how pleased Nelly would be in the morning
at what she had done.

The first thing which the little girl thought of on awaking
was her birdie; and she ran up to the empty room to peep in.

‘“Oh what a pretty little house!” she cried, when she saw
the cage. She ran to ask: Nurse about it. The lark was
sitting quite quiet at the bottom, for he was too much surprised
and too miserable to be able to make out what the matter was
—why everything looked so gloomy, and why the sun did not
rise in the proper way; above all, how it was that he could find
no room to spread his wings.

A long night’s rest had almost cured the bruise which the
stone had made, for the bone had not been broken. He could
use the wing now almost as well as ever, except that it felt a
little stiff and sore. On first waking he had tried to soar
. upward as usual, but had only struck and battered himself
against the top and sides of the cage, and fallen back again
and again. Oh how dreadful it all was! The room was half-
dark—what had become of the green fields ? .

After breakfast Nurse cut a bit of turf and fitted it into the
floor of his cage; but what was the use of that, save to remind
the poor lark of his far-away home—to make him pine for it
the more? It seemed like a hard-hearted mockery.

Then Nurse hung his cage up outside the kitchen door
on a nail, while she took Nelly for a walk.

The bird made a little mournful twitter, looking up at the
blue sky which it could not reach. This was a sad, sad sound!
and the shining angels who are always going to and fro with
A GREAT EYE. 185

wings that sound like the rustle of the breeze, although we
cannot see them, sorrowed as they heard it, although the cook
said, ‘What a merry song! Well, I likes a bird in a cage
myself—it’s always such a cheerful thing.” .

Meanwhile out in the fields the little mate sat patiently
waiting. She missed the cheery song up in the sky that made

j



the time pass quickly as she sat down below. She missed the
pleasant whirring of her mate’s wings as he used to bring her
a seed or two now and then.

Who was to help her to feed the little ones now ?

“Five of them!” whispered she to herself, ‘and not one
able to get his own living yet!”
186 A GREAT EYE.

The swallows darted to and fro across the waving wheat ;
the tiny spiders on which ‘they fed were floating low down that
day, and so were the little flies, for their gossamer threads of
web were clogged and weighed down by the dew, and so were
the wings of the tiny flying insects—they were obliged to come
down near the ground in damp weather.

On dry days the swallows flew high up in the air—for then
the clever little spiders were dancing rope-dances on their webs
far away up—above the church spire; and the small flies were
there too, enjoying the lightness of the air and of their dry
gauzy wings.

The swallows rushed so fast that one could hardly see
them, and a gay lively swallow, the swiftest of them all, came
fast as lightning over the tops of the corn-ears, just above
where the lark’s nest was.

His beak went “Snap, snap,” every moment, and he
caught a little spider or fly at every snap. When his mouth
was quite crammed, he carried the mouthful away to feed his
young ones with, for he did not eat them all himself.

“Swallow!” cried the mother lark to him as he swept
past, “you travel far and wide, have you seen my husband?”

“Snap snap!” went the swallow; “snip snap! Perhaps
he is gone to Egypt. That is where all sensible people will be
going soon.” And the swallow, with a couple of flaps of his
wing, was a dozen yards away, his blue back flashing in the
light. He went to dip himself in the pond and to catch gnats
on the top of the water; in this way he could take his bath and
his breakfast at the same time—which is more than either you
or I could do—as well as taking a good look at himself in the
mirror if he chose, for the clear water reflected his silvery and
chestnut throat and breast, till it looked like another swallow
coming up out of the pool to meet him.
A GREAT EYE. 187

“What is Egypt?” said the mother lark to herself. “Is
that where the swallows go in winter time to live? They take
their little ones with them. I have seen them all sitting ina
row on the rail between the big posts down by the roadside,
and twittering while the young ones tried whether their wings
would carry them. I am sure my husband would never go and
leave me and the children behind.”

“ Qui-vit! vit-vit!” screamed the swallow, as he whirled
by once more. He. knew many foreign languages, and that
was perhaps Egyptian for ‘‘ Keep up your spirits ! I dare say
~ your husband will soon be back. I don't call it anything myself
to run across to Egypt; why, my wife and I can do it in four-
teen hours, or thereabouts!”

And off went the swallow to settle on the ground and scoop
up a beakful of mud ; for his house had a leak in it after the
rain, and he wanted to patch it up.

He was cleverer than any mason, for he could cling to the
side of the wall by his claws, while he set to work plastering
and daubing, using his beak for a trowel, and keeping up a
stream of small talk all the while with the other swallows which
had their nests under the Rectory eaves.

Swooping and darting in and out, the swallows seemed
never quiet, and close by were the long-winged black swifts,
which never perched on the ground at all for the whole six
weeks they spent in England, but ate as they flew, drank as
they flew, collected feathers wafted by the wind, and mud
without perching on the ground, to make their nests, and hung
themselves up at night by their hooked feet like bats.

“T think they overdo it,” said the swallow, as he nestled
in a cosy way up to his wife; ‘a hundred and twenty miles an
hour is enough to make respectable people dizzy. Besides, I
am fond of a rest myself on those wires between poles which
188 A GREAT EYE.

they have all over this country, on purpose for us no doubt.
Depend upon it that our own ways are best,” and his wife
agreed with him. She poked out her round black head and ©
bright beady eyes from the nest, and her husband came and fed
her, for her eggs were not hatched yet and she could not leave
them often.

Down below her the swallow’s wife could spy something
hanging up against the house-wall. It was the lark’s cage; she
could hear the lark’s note coming from it.

peVat, vite vit! usaidyshess thing to build one’s nest against, but I for one would not trust
them. Look how they have caught that poor bird down there
Wala) Weey oy

“Qui-vit!” cried her husband, as he made one sharp
circling flight round the cage of the captive, and after pausing
for an instant near the place he Swept away over the garden
right into the green corn-field.

“IT have seen your husband,” he said to the mother laisse
“he is not gone to Egypt. He is——”

But just as the swallow was beginning to tell what he had
seen, a tempting white-winged moth caught his sharp eyer tlw
was his wife’s favourite dinner, and forgetting all that he meant
to say, he made off to chase it, never thinking of the matter any
more till he got back to her again with the moth in his beak.

The lark’s cage was gone, for Nelly had taken it round to
the other side of the house to hang it under the branches of a
green vine, where she thought that the lark would be happier.

“Tam suve he will be happy, mother dear! I shall love
him so dearly. He shall have different seeds every day, and .
the freshest water and grass and everything that I can think of.
And oh! the gardener says that larks like spiders and little
beetles, and he will dig for some. I will find something new
A GREAT EYE. 189

every day for him. Don’t you think he will be happy—almost
happier than in the fields? Nurse says birds get used to cages.”

But mother only smiled.

“Oh, mother! I do wish you wouldn’t smile like that.
I know what you mean always—that you don’t believe it. But
may I keep the lark and try?”

“T would not if I were you,” said mother. ‘“ Do you know
early last spring when I was in town one day, something nearly
made me cry.”

“ Did you tumble down ?” said Nelly.

“No,” said mother, laughing. “I didn’t tumble down.
It was something I saw in a shop window. I saw a cage some-
thing like that one which Nurse borrowed for you—hardly any
larger. And inside it there were as many as twenty dear sky-
larks huddled together, hopping to and fro in great distress.
And on the top of the cage a card was stuck, with the words
written on it, ‘All good singers, one shilling each.’ I should

have liked to go in and buy all those poor pretty birds and to
have let them go. But if I had done that what do you think
would have happened? Men would only have gone out with
nets in the night when the poor larks were asleep in the grass,
and have caught twice as many more to fill up the cage because
the last sold so quickly. I could not stop the men from doing
it; they will never stop so long as selfish people buy the birds
and like to see them fastened up in cages. But I did not think
my little daughter would be one of those unkind, cruel people,
who get pleasure for themselves by shutting up a bird, which
was meant to fly free, made with wings on purpose.”

Mother stooped down and kissed Nelly, for she was

hanging her head.
. “Run away and get ready for your walk now, deary, and
think about what I have told you,” said she.
190 A GREAT EYE.

‘Yes, but, mother!” began Nelly, “I am suve the lark
will Ze staying with me! He could not have such nice things
to eat in the fields as I shall give him. And I do want him so
very, very much!”

Mother did not say anything more, but she turned away
rather sadly, and Nelly ran to get ready for her walk.

She was soon running about in the meadows as gaily as a
squirrel, and had quite forgotten everything but how bright
and happy it all looked out of doors. First she would run—
then she would jump—then try to do both together, she felt so
full of life and gladness.

“Do mind what you are about, Miss Nelly!” cried Nurse,
for Nelly was clambering up the field-gate and spreading out
her arms wide, ready to take a flying leap from the top.

‘Take care |——”

Away went Nelly. How nice the jump was! She ran
back again to do it once more while Nurse was climbing slowly
and soberly over the stile.

This time Nelly thought she should like a higher jump
still—so would try balancing herself on the top of the gate
while she stepped from it to the gate-post. She was just
bringing her left foot from the rail below to set it beside the
other, when she slipped and her foot caught in one of the bars.
She staggered.

“Mind, mind!” cried Nurse. ‘Oh, Miss Nelly! was
there ever such a child?” Nurse hurried up and tried to catch
hold of her, but she was not in time. Nelly fell forwards on
to the ground. Nurse looked quite pale—she was so frightened
—as she ran to pick the child up; she was afraid that some
bones were broken or that her head was hurt.

Nelly got up trying to laugh—at least she laughed at first ;
but when she tried to stand she found that one ‘of her feet hurt
A GREAT EYE. Ig!

her very much. She could hardly bear to put it to the ground.
She had given the ankle a violent twist, and it was all that she
could do to hobble home clinging to the arm of kind Nurse.

Nelly was a brave little girl, and did not make any fuss or
cry; but when mother looked at her leg, it was all black and
swollen and blue; after putting a cold water bandage on it she
sent for the doctor.

“Tt is nothing but a sprain,” said he. ‘We shan’t have
to cut it off this time;” and he smiled good-naturedly at the
little girl who looked so solemn. ‘ But this little woman will
have to be a prisoner, and to lie down for at least a week.
After that I will come and look at the foot again.”

So there Nelly had to lie.

Father was so sorry when he came home. For days he
used to bring her every evening some new pretty toy. Mother
used to let her choose her own dinners each day—and all her
friends, little and big, brought her every kind of nice and
delightful thing they could think of. But somehow, Nelly
could not be made happy. Why? JVothing could make up to
her for not being able to run about and enjoy her liberty.

The days seemed never-ending! and she got an ache in
her back and the fidgets all over, from lying still. She grew
so weary and cross that she could not help crying, because she
longed to be outside the house again.

Nurse had brought the caged lark and had hung its cage
up in the nursery window where Nelly could see it from her
bed. The lark had left off dashing himself against the bars
now—he had found out that it was all of no use; and now he
sat murmuring a sweet low warble in his throat, or else crouched
silent in a corner with his eyes shut.

One morning as mother was sitting by the side of the bed
reading aloud to her little girl, this plaintive song began, and
192 A GREAT EYE.

mother put down the book to listen, while the same sad look
came into her face—she looked as she did when speaking of the
caged larks in the shop.

Nelly gave a long sigh—and then she turned round as well
as she could without hurting the bad foot and hid her face in
mother’s lap.



“Please, mother,” she said in a very low voice, “will you
open the window and let the lark go? Now! Quick! Before
Tunmake up my mind again. I think I can know how much
he wants to get out. Almost as much as I do.”

“Poor little pet! The foot will be well very soon now!”
said mother, stroking Nelly’s golden head and stooping to kiss
A GREAT EYE. 193

it. “I thought that my Nelly could not want to do an unkind
thing for long. I was waiting till she should let the lark go
of her own free will; and then the sprained ankle came to help ;
for it showed Nelly that zothzng—not love, or sweets, or toys,
or food, or anything else in the world—can make up for not
being free. It will not have hurt the birdie to be there for a
few days till his wing was well—but now! see how gladly he
will dart away!”

Mother set the cage in the open window and threw back
the wire cage-door. At first the lark could not believe that it
was true; then with a leap, a
spring, and a short flight, he
was gone! And in a few
moments a shrill joyful cry
came streaming back as he flew
far away over the fields to find
his mate.

“You would never believe
what things have happened to
me!” he said to her, as they
made themselves cosy for the
night, after they had talked
everything over.

“To-morrow you shall see how the little ones have grown,”
said his mate. ‘They can take a walk behind me among the
corn-stalks now, and begin to peck for themselves!”

“The little ones are all you think of, I believe,” said the
father lark; but he thought about them a great deal himself,
too.



That evening, when all the larks were singing their last
hymn in the dusk, the sun, as he was setting, peered over the
hill and did not miss one. And there was a greater Eye than

N
194 A GREAT EYE.

the sun’s which watched the world and noticed everything—as
It always does. It notices even what becomes of every little
bird—whether a sparrow falls to the ground or not. For
nothing is too great or too small for that Eye to see, and it
sees by night as clearly as by day.

Fl Snail’s Race.

‘Not to the swift shall be the race, who tire ere noon be past ;
The fleetest foot may flag midway and many first be last.”

a quantity of small things which seemed to be grains.
They were about the size of carraway seeds, only white
and rather soft, and although so much like seeds they were eggs.

A little grasshopper had dug that tiny pit for them with a
sharp-pointed spear which grew at her tail on purpose; but the
cold breath of winter had killed her, so she had been obliged to
leave her eggs to take care of themselves.

Although the frost crystals and the deep snow had covered
them for months they were not a bit the worse; and now that
the warm May sunshine poured down on the earth they came
to life;—a small creature crept from each one, and: began to
feed on the roots and leaves nearest to it.

You would not think when you looked at these young
grasshoppers how much larger they would grow in time! They
did not think about it themselves, but went on eating while
they waited patiently for their legs to grow longer, so that
instead of being able to hop only a paltry inch, they would be
able to leap a yard or more, as their parents had done in past
times.

But before this happy day could come, a good deal of
trouble lay in front of the young grasshoppers.

They were obliged to change their skins as often as these
grew too tight ;—which was a very difficult thing to do, as you
will own.

i a small hole underneath some grass roots in a field lay
196 A SNAIL’S RACE.

“TI want to split!” cried one of them, as he sat on a grass-
stem, making a shrill sound by scraping his thighs against his
sides, which were rough; “I cannot stand this jacket any longer
—I must get rid of it!”

So he crept into a place of shelter, and there began to
struggle hard and to twist his body about, panting fast all the
while, because he was so anxious to jump out of his skin.

After it was over, and he was quite free from the old husk,

the merry fellow sprang away to enjoy himself till next time,
when the business would have to be got through over again.
At last he grew to be quite a large
_ size, and had gay yellow stripes on
# his green body, but even this was not
Paral:

“T am sure something new is
going to happen!” he chirped, as
he felt his skin wearing out for the
last time and wanted to be quit of
it; and sure enough a better state of things was in store.

Just when the grasshopper least expected it—for he found
the job of getting rid of his skin for the last time a tough one
—some beautiful gauzy wings grew upon his shoulders. They
had been folded up inside him for a long while, only he had not
known it ;—so that when he sprang upwards and spread them
out, he was able to skim along in the air, coming down just
where and how he pleased.

“What a jolly life I shall have now!” sang the grass-
hopper ;—but it had no voice really ;—only the pleasant little
rattle of its legs against its ribs, which is a very cheerful
sound, as you may hear on any warm August day if you will
go out into the meadows and listen for it, and watch the wee
makers of it jumping for joy.


2
A SNAIL’S RACE. 197

“ Grig—egrig—erig!” their tune sounds like. And perhaps
that is why some country people call the pretty green grass-
hoppers by that name, and say of anyone who is enjoying
himself very much, ‘“ He is as merry as a grig.”

Near the hole in the ground where the little grasshopper
had been born, and had gone springing out to begin his gay life,
there was a wall of. loose stones. A sunny bank of sweet wild
thyme sloped up to it, and a little forest of small blue harebells
went ‘“Tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,” there all day long, as the wind
whispered to them that a bee’s wedding was taking place, or
told them some other good news.

Among the piled-up stones of the wall, just where one had
fallen out and had made a desirable cool fairy cave, carpeted
and hung with fresh mosses, golden, brown, and green, a
mother snail had laid her eggs, each one with a tiny perfect
snail inside, shell and all, although the egg was no larger than
a grain of mustard-seed.

When the time came for the baby snail to come out, it
crept forth, and its body looked almost as if it were made of
clear glass, it was so frail and transparent. The young ones
came into the world with appetites ready made, and knew the
way to poke out their horns and how to browse upon the dainty
mosses the moment they were born.

“ But we cannot go on living all together,” said the eldest
of the brood; “there will be nothing left to eat here soon.
We must divide and go each a different way to seek our
fortunes.”

And it really was high time, for the family of snails had
eaten up all that was to be found in the little wall-cave, besides
many of the small plants which fringed the mouth of it.

“ We must wait till the cool of the evening,” they all said.
“Tt will never do to set out while the sun is high—we know
198 A SNAIL’S RACE.

what comes of that, and do not wish to be all shrivelled up—it
is a bad end!”

So they took a comfortable snooze till sunset, and then the
oldest and most venturesome of them put out his horns to see
what was going on. He had a pretty shell, painted pink and
black, with a yellow border, which he felt was a credit to any
snail. So were his long horns—he could stretch them out or
draw them in, whichever he pleased, just as a telescope can be
shut or opened, only he could do it more quickly and neatly.
And his eyes grew at the tips of his horns—or at least if they
were not eyes like ours, they did quite as well.

“Tt is a nice damp evening,” thought the snail; ‘what a
delicious chilly feeling there is in the air. Up there is the
night sun which shines so cold!—how much better than that
blaze which goes on by day!” The snail meant the moon,
which was peeping over the trees on the opposite side of the
high road. The little harebells had clusters of diamond drops
like earrings, weighing down their drooping heads, and every
blade of grass was tipped with a small bead of water which
glittered at its point, for this was the time when the thirsty
plants all drank the sweet evening dews that they might be
refreshed after the long parching heat of the sun, although they
had enjoyed it while it lasted, and were looking forward to it
again to-morrow.

All the butterflies and the lively grasshoppers had crept
away out of the cold and damp into warm cracks and corners.
Their hum, buzz, and musical murmur was silent; only the
mole-cricket was awake. He sat at the mouth of his hole
twiddling his whiskers and crying “Crick! crick!” which was
his mode of talking to his wife.

“Now the question is, which way?” said the watchful
snail, as she pushed out her long grey body from the shell in
A SNAIL’S RACE. 199

front and her tail behind, and began to move along ina slow
and stately manner upon a great flat slab by way of foot, which
she had underneath her.

This was her plan of proceeding. First she planted this
soft flat foot on a convenient moist bit of stone, spreading it
out as wide and thin as she could; then she drew the back part
of it towards the front, closing the whole foot together and
sliding the front side forward at the same time. By doing this
over and over again, she managed to work herself along, slowly,
it is true, but still at an honest, respectable pace, and always
leaving a silver track behind her.

All night long the snail kept perseveringly at her travels,
abandoning her brothers and sisters without saying good-bye or

_caring a straw, though she was leaving them in the lurch ;—for
the fact is that snails do not trouble themselves about their
relations very much.

As she went on she grazed sometimes, cropping the tender
lichens or smooth green growth on the stones, much as a cow
eats the grass in a meadow as she walks along.

“There is no better feeding than this sort of thing to be
found anywhere, I believe,” said
the snail. ‘I shall not turn
to the right hand or to the left,
but go straight up and up and
up, till I reach the top of this
wall, where I shall live always
out of harm’s way, in peace
and quiet, rest and safety.”

A big white moth settled
for an instant on the wall, and
began to shake off the yellow dust,‘from the ‘middle of a lily,
which was clinging to its wings.


200 Av SNAIL SURACE:

“Where are you going, snail?” said the moth.

“To the top of the wall,” said the snail.

“Well, if ever!” said the moth, darting away again and
floating in circles round the spot. ‘What ideas some folks
have! How soon do you expect to get there at that rate—in a
hundred years?” And he disappeared into the darkness,
leaving the snail alone again.

“JT am glad he is gone. His way of behaving makes me
quite giddy,” said the snail. ‘I hate a break-neck pace. That
reminds me that I must on no account overdo myself. I
mustn't hurry. I think I had better take a good rest now
until the morning.”

So the little snail drew in her horns and tucked herself
comfortably into her shell, thinking, as she did so, ‘I’m glad
I’ve got a house, and was not born a slug.”

Then she went off into a sound sleep inside a handy little
chamber in the wall.

After a time the sun sent a long rosy arrow across the sky
as a message that he was going to get up. All the grasshoppers
knew it and woke up too. Among them was the brisk little
one which had been born under the grass root in the month of
May, and had been so pleased to find his wings. He began
to dance jigs with the small blue butterflies, and to try skipping
as high as ¢hey could.

“Woomatamel, hesened, with, his«shrillinotes-ohishall
jump right up to the sky, and touch that great fiery ball up
there soon. One, two, three, and away!”

And he sprang as far as he could, but was forced to come
down again without singeing his wings by going too near the
sun, and he found himself sitting upon the top of a tall stem of
flowering grass, which waved and nodded just opposite the
hole where the small snail was.
A SNAIL’S. RACE. 201

Just then a heavy black cloud swept across the sun’s face,
and the little grasshopper shivered. Then the fall of a few
drops of rain made him creep into the hole for shelter, side-by-
side with the snail.

The patter of the rain, or the fresh scent of the pink clover,
or the nice easy feeling of her skin from the moisture, woke up
the snail and made her feel all alive, as snails do when it is wet.

“Dear me!” she cried, poking out her head (quite in a
hurry for her). ‘What a lovely
day for my journey! Let me
make the most of the time!”

“Lovely, do you call it?”
quivered the grasshopper, and ,
his teeth would have chattered
in his head if he had had any:
as) it was the platesimof @hise,
armour clattered together as he
shuddered. He was covered
with a coat of mail which made him look something like a
fairy’s war-horse—



“A war-horse barbed and chamfroned too.”

“I shall stay in here till better times,” went on the grass-
hopper, “as any sensible person would. What! you surely
are not going to turn out in such weather as this? Where are
you going?”

“To the top of the wall,” said the snail.

“Grig, grig!” said the grasshopper ; for he was trying not
to laugh as he thought of the wall’s height. “The top, indeed !
and how soon do you expect to get there at your pace?”

“I think perhaps if this splendid weather goes on, I might
reach it before the night sun goes into its shell again,” said the
202 A SNAIL’S RACE.

little snail; for it thought the sun had a shell, and the moon
too, and that the world grew dark because the sun went inside
as she hid herself when she liked.

The grasshopper chuckled.

‘“What sort of rate do you call ¢hat¢ to go along at?” said
he. ‘Why, you should just look at the butterflies and me—up
to the sun and down again—close up to the sky, where it is
warm, I can tell you, and the right place for a person of my
disposition. No crawling on the ground or sticking to mouldy
old walls for me!” And the grasshopper tried to strut proudly,
for to tell the truth, he thought rather too much of himself.

“It’s a disgrace to me to call the thing a race—it’s so
unequal,” he went on; ‘“ but when the weather is bearable again
I'll just show you what / think of your day’s toil. I should
think nothing of doing that distance in a single jump. I shall
have plenty of time to play all day and needn’t worry myself
till the moment comes.”

The little snail did not answer; she was patiently toiling
up the first large stone and minding her own business.

“Ts it to be a race, then?” called the grasshopper after her.
“Very well then! we will see which of us will be sitting on the
top of the wall by sunset!”

Then, feeling a little hungry, he went away to have his
dinner. After that, he played a couple of games at leap-frog ;
for although everything was still soaking from the rain, the sun
was shining through the clouds, and making a sultry heat ;—the
grasshopper's spirits began to rise. ‘I should just like to take
the conceit out of that old snail—and I will by-and-bye—a mere
silly old slug in a box! But there is plenty of time to enjoy
myself in first,” quoth he.

So he went frisking about to his heart’s content, thinking
about nothing at all.
A SNAIL’S RACE. 203

Every now and then a country cart would pass along the
wide road; or a ploughman would go whistling by, leading his
horses; or some market woman with her large basket would
make her way to the country town near by.

They stepped along, some slowly, some quickly ;—it was
a warm day for walking, but the rain had laid the dust. Some
of the passers-by preferred the smooth strip of roadside ‘turf



to the harder beaten track, and among these was an old woman
who could be seen at some distance off in her white sun-bonnet,
toiling slowly along. It was old Betty Ball; she was very
feeble, and was obliged to make the best of her way with a
crutch, for she was lame as well as weak. She was going out
to buy herself a loaf of bread and some other things, so she
carried a big basket on the arm that was not moving the crutch;
—she lived in a lonely cottage, near nothing but the church,
204 A SNAIL’S. RACE;

with no neighbours at hand to help her, and no baker’s shop
within easy distance.



“Stump, stump!” went old Betty’s crutch, with a dull thud
upon the ground as she came firmly along without stopping to
A SNAIL’S RACE. 205

take breath or put the basket down, although it was heavy,
and she would have been glad of a rest.

“T must get on,” she said to herself. “It is a long way
for an old slow-coach like me, and I have no time to waste.”

She was a cheerful old body, and everyone liked her,
especially all the children, for she had such fine stories always
ready to tell them at a minute’s notice.

Johnny, the doctor’s little boy, was never tired of going
to see Betty in her pretty cottage, and of listening to her;
especially as Betty knew how to make the most delightful black-
and-white bull’s-eyes, which she stuck up in a great glass pickle-
jar in her window, and sold to the boys and girls of the village
when they had pennies ; and when they had none, if they came and
looked in at Betty’s window very hard, they got them without.

Besides, on her high chimney-piece old Betty had a. little
house made out of grey, gritty cardboard, with a garden in front
of it and real dried flowers and grasses round a looking-glass
pond, where a waxen duck was swimming. The house had two
open doors ;—out at one of them a man sometimes came of his
own accord, and out at the other a woman. When the man
came out it was a sign that the wéather was to be wet; but if
he stayed at home, and the woman came out instead, then most
likely it would be a fine day.

Now and then you could see both the man and the woman
half-way out together, as if they could not make up their minds
what was going to happen; but no one knew what the pair
did inside the house or how they agreed in their private life:
although many little folks had often come to look at them, and
wished to pull the house to pieces to see what there was within.
Two china cats sat on the mantel-shelf staring stonily at each
other, and Betty’s real pussy purred in front of the fire, taking
no notice of them.
206 A SNAIL’S RACE.

There were damson trees in the garden which sent down
purple showers when they were shaken. It was a cosy cottage;
Betty had the key of it in her pocket, and she wanted to make
haste back again.

As she went along the road as fast as she could, she heard

a light patter of footsteps behind her;—in a minute a small



hand touched hers, and Johnny's bright face was looking up
into her own.

“Oh, Betty!” he cried, “what do you think? Father has
trusted me to run all the way to the town by myself to post this
letter for him. Bob is gone out with the horses and there was
no one else, for father is so tired. And I am to have a bright
new sixpence if I get there in time for the post. I have run
so fast!—as fast as—as anything. I am sure to be there long
A SNAIL’S RACE. 207

before the time when the post-box shuts up, and father will see
how quick I can be!”

Johnny stopped to draw breath. “Iam sorry I can’t wait
for you, Betty,” he panted, “I must run!”

“Eh, laddie,” said Betty, looking down at him kindly,
“my running days are over, or else I would have run a race
with you!”

“Did you ever have any running days?” said Johnny; he
thought that they must have been a long while ago, and that
it was a pity they were gone by ;—to be sure, old Betty could
not have been born with a crutch. He felt so sorry for old
Betty because she could never run races any more, that he -
stopped for two whole minutes and walked slowly by her
side.

‘My legs are a’most worn out now,” said Betty, half to
herself; ‘the next thing will be for me to have wings.”

What could old Betty mean? She went on just as if she
were alone, murmuring some words which had been said in
church the Sunday before; something that sounded like,
“Figual unto the angels, being the children of the Resurrec-
tion.” Johnny might have heard the clergyman read them, too,
if he had not been so very busy watching the great stone angel
carved over the font, and wondering how it would look and
how far those long wings would reach if the angel stretched
them out, and wishing that he could see a real one.

A very sweet smile came into the old woman’s face as she
said the words, and she hobbled along bravely.

“Run, laddie, run!” she said to Johnny. ‘“ Don’t wait
for an old crawling soul like me; use your legs while they ’re
young.”

‘Good-bye, Betty,” said Johnny. “I wish I could wait
for you, but you see I must go on.”
208 A SNAIL’S RACE.

“Good-bye, laddie; never mind me. Sooner or later I'll
get to town—slow and steady wins the race.”

Away went Johnny. How fast he could run when he was
going anywhere that he liked!

If he were going up to Betty’s cottage, for instance, with
a penny for sweets, or down to the meadow to play, or round
by the mill to watch the miller turn on the water, which was
great fun, or along the road to meet father coming home and
ride his horse back to the stable;—when bound on either of
these errands Johnny’s feet hardly seemed to touch the ground,
they went along so fast.

But in the morning, when he was going to school, you
would not have known him for the same boy; he scarcely went
along any more nimbly-than old Betty then, because he was
not at all anxious to get there.

Soon Johnny was perfectly out of breath, and had a red-
hot feeling in his chest from running so far and at full speed.

“IT shall certainly be there quite soon enough,” he said to
himself, as he looked round and saw that he had left old Betty
so far behind as to be almost out of sight in the distance;
“there is no good in running aM the way. I can go a little
slower now. What jolly grasshoppers! I should like to see if
I could catch one.”

Johnny pulled off his straw hat and began to chase the
mirthful trills which sounded here and there along the roadside,
but he found that the grasshoppers themselves were not half so
easy to follow as the gleeful sounds, which seemed to dodge
him hither and thither. When he had thrown his hat right
over one, as he thought, nothing was ever there when he began
to look under it. The songsters were so exactly the same
colour as the grass they dwelt in that it helped them to hide
away. It was provoking, when he wanted so very much to
A SNAIL’S RACE. 209

have one near enough to look at it close and see how it
managed that clever “click, click,” and spring.

The letter which he held in his hand was in the way, so he
put it into his pocket, and began to walk along the grass
border, chasing the quick little jumpers as they skipped here
and there.

The sun had come out again, and, although it was evening,
the rays were blazing hot. Johnny’s legs dragged heavily, his
feet ached from tiredness. Presently he came to a place where
a quarry had been dug out of the side of a high bank, and there
were shady bushes and some large moss-grown stones lying
about beneath a great spreading fir tree. It was an inviting
spot for a tired traveller.

“T will just sit down fora minute and rest in this little
thicket,” said he. “I can run all the faster afterwards, and
make up for lost time.”

So Johnny sat down ona stone and leaned back against a
small thick juniper-bush.

The bees and birds were humming and singing a soft
lullaby ; the gentle air fanned him; the sweet scent of the wild
thyme, and the slow ‘drip, drip,” of some water in a cave close
by, all was soothing ; in a few minutes Johnny went—where ?

Ah, where! Into that land where all little folks go when
nurse puts out the candle or mother has bidden good-night, and
the heavy eyelids close together, and they forget everything
except the dreams which the fairies, or, better still, the angels,
bring them.

Johnny fell fast asleep. He remembered nothing about
the letter; he was fancying himself to be a butterfly, and
thought that he could flit along without the least trouble; and
then he dreamt that he was a grasshopper, and could jump

easily over the church spire.
O
210 A SNAIL’S RACE.

The sun began to sink lower in the sky, and to cast long
grey shadows across the road, but still his nap went on.

The little snail, who had been resting while the heat was
too strong for her, crept again on her upward way, and now her
gleaming trail lay on the highest stone, within an inch of the
longed-for top of the wall.

The giddy grasshopper, half weary of his day’s unbroken
sport, suddenly caught sight of her there.

“Aha!” he cried. ‘“ Grig! grig, grig! look out, lazybones.
You shall see a good joke now. I’ll be there before you yet!”

He set his long crooked legs firmly against a daisy leaf,
and sprang with all his might. What a leap that was !—and
he spread his wings as soon as he was fairly off the ground.
But, alas! he was in such a hurry that he did not pause to
measure the distance properly. In his hurry he jumped up too
high, made his leap too wide, and, instead of coming triumph-
antly down on the top of the wall, as he had meant to do—flop! .
there he was landed on the other side, sitting on the ground
below the wall, as far as ever from the lofty perch which he had
aimed at, and, like people who have had what is called “a come
down,” he felt very small indeed.

The humble snail took no notice as she glided quietly up
amid the forest of refreshing green cushion moss which crowned
the summit of the wall, but began to enjoy her supper.

“TI hate a bustle,” said she. “I never da’ see the good of
people's making haste.”

A very hearty meal she ate while Johnny dreamt his dream
out.

He still thought he was a grasshopper, but that someone
was coming to chase him, and waking up in a great flurry and
fright, he started to his feet and looked wildly around.

The sun was turning the clouds all golden and orange, a
pale moon like a faded rose-petal was beginning to show itself
A SNAIL’S RACE. 211

on the opposite side, a mist was beginning to rise over the
grass and veiling the distance, and, coming along the road to-
wards him, with her back to the town, moved a bent figure, which
laboured wearily but steadfastly nearer, leaning on a crutch.

It was not—surely it could not be—old Betty coming back!

It was. Johnny had been so deeply lost in sleep that he
had neither seen nor heard her go by, nor had she seen ae
hidden as he was by the broken ground and bushes.

There he had stayed dreaming while the precious
moments—always awake! for time never goes to sleep—went
flying by. And the postman had gone by, too, with his bag of
letters, after locking the post-box for the night. It was too
late; there was no chance for any more letters, however
important they might be.

“Why, you haven’t got very far,” said Betty, smiling, as
she came up to Johnny; but she soon left off smiling when she
saw how woe-begone poor Johnny looked.

He had taken out the letter from his pocket, and was
turning it over and over in his hands. What would father say ?

“He will never send me again,” thought the boy; and the
tears felt as if they were only a very little way behind his eyes.
He had been so proud at. the trust put in him !—besides, there
was the sixpence.

Johnny plodded dolefully along by Betty's side, and after a
time he said, ‘Let me have your basket, Betty, and help you
with it. I wish I had stayed with you at first; I should have
had lots of time. It was going so fast that made my feet ache
so, and then I sat down to rest.”

“ Never mind, little lad,” said Betty; and she let him have
one handle of the basket while she held the other. ‘‘ We can’t
put grey heads upon green shoulders’: they wouldn’t look half
so pretty as golden ones if we did. Go in and tell father about
the letter, and then you shall come along with me and help me
212. A SNAIL’S RACE.

to tie up my bundles of mint that I gathered by the brookside
yesterday for a new lot of bull’s-eyes.”

So Johnny ran and told his father how sorry he was, and
his father said, ‘‘ Tut, tut, tut! I wanted that letter to go too;
see what comes of trusting a feather-pate like you!”

But he patted the feather-pate, and smoothed the trouble-
some yellow curls that wouldn’t be grey for so long, saying
gently, as Johnny’s blue eyes looked up full of trouble, “ Next
time, my dear little son, don’t run quite so fast at first, then
you will be able to hold out longer. Don't you See Peatthateis
what you must learn to do before you are a big boy, if you
want to be a famous runner, as your father was before you, and
win races, and have half-a-dozen silver cups like those on
the shelf up there, which I was proud enough to get long before
you were born. There! hold up your head! Cheer up, old
man! You shall take the letter the first thing to-morrow
morning instead, and I hope it will get there safely then. As to
the sixpence—I daresay an old shabby one will do as well, when
it is going to burn a hole in your pocket and change into marbles
and toffee directly—won’t it? Well, we'll see to-morrow.”

So Johnny went, to help Betty make her sweetmeats—and
ate plenty; after which he went home and slept all thenpetiers
So did old Betty; and sweet were the slumbers of the snail
upon the lofty wall after her long journey.

The snail was a sober housekeeper for the rest of her life.
It lasted many years.

As the gay grasshopper, on the other hand, has but a few
short summer weeks to live, we may wish him to jerk them
away as gaily as may be, before the first frost cuts short his
simple ditty amid the flowering turf.



TURNBULL & SPEARS, PRINTERS, EDINBURGH.

to M.—W. -5/93-