The Baldwin Lbrary
AND OTHER STORIES.
AND OTHER STORIES
FOR CHILDREN YOUNG AND OLD
TOLD IN PEN AND PENCIL
F. CARRUTHERS GOULD
PrinteJ by Hazell, Watson, & Viney, Ld., London and Aylesbury.
HE stories in /his little book are collected
from the pages of the PALL MALL BUDGET
and the WESTMINSTER BUDGET. For jermis-
sion to reprint those zwhiic appeared in the
former journal I am indebted to the kind
courtesy of the proprietors of the PALL MALL
F. C. G.
"WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?' I
THE GREAT BEETLE WAR 63
MR. AND MRS. HEDGEHOG'S CHRISTMAS DINNER III
THE LITTLE JACKDAW 29
QUAINT PETS 149
A NIGHT IN A NURSERY (BY AN INDIA-
RUBBER MAN) 63
FIVE LITTLE PIXIES 89
THE MISCHIEVOUS PUFFINS 203
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
"WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
THE VICTIM .
JOHN SPARROW, THE ACCUSED 5
ARRIVAL OF THE JUDGE 7
MR. JUSTICE OWL 13
COUNSEL FOR THE PROSECUTION 14
SIR PEREGRINE FALCON, Q.C. 16
THE PRISONER CONSULTS WITH HIS SOLICITOR. 19
MR. JAY, THE FOREMAN 23
MR DRAGON FLY 25
FATHER ROOK 27
POLICE CONSTABLE BULLFINCH 35
JENNY WREN 40
"EXTRY SPESHULS. 45
BROWN OWL, THE GRAVE DIGGER 47
x LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
THE JURY. 52
SIR PEREGRINE ADDRESSING THE JURY 53
SIR HONEY BUZZARD IS NOT PLEASED 57
ACQUITTED !. 59
THE GREAT BEETLE JWAR.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
MR. AND MRS. HEDGEHOG'S CHRISTMAS
THE INVITATION 115
MR. AND MRS. HEDGEHOG SET OFF TO THE SQUIRRELS' 120
A VERY SLOW PARTY 123
THE JOLLY MOLES 127
THE LITTLE JACKDA W
THE OTHER CHAP
"HE'LL NEVER THINK OF L
A GOOD HIDING-PLACE
GOING UPSTAIRS TO DRY
JACK AND THE JUNGLE CAT
COOKING HERE FOR IT"
THE LUCID INTERVAL
AFTER THE THUNDERSTORM
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
"MY TURN NOW"
THE GAMECOCK AND THE TRAMP
MOLLY'S TUB .
MOLLY AND HER MISTRESS
A NIGHT IN A NURSER Y
By an India-rubber Man.
JUMBO AND I
" UGH HE WAS UGLY! "
TWO AND TWO .
"TALLY HO PIERROT "
" SCREAMING MURDER '
FIVE LITTLE PIXIES.
PIXIES AT PLAY 191
"THEY FOUND A HOLE IN A MOSSY BANK" 192
"OUT CAME A BEE WITH A PIN IN HER TAIL" 193
"AND RUBBED THEMSELVES HARD WHERE THE BEE-
STINGS BURNED" .
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. xiii
"AND TATTERED THEIR COBWEBS ALL TO BITS" 195
" THEN WITH A SCREAM DID THE PIXIE JUMP" 196
" HE WISHED HE NEVER HAD BEEN BORN" 197
"AND TURN TOPSY-TURVY A SLEEPING SNAIL" 197, 198
"'HURRAH FOR A SPREE!' THE PIXIES CRIED" 198
"'WE'LL MAKE THEM TAKE US OUT FOR A RIDE'". 199
" LIKE SHOOTING STARS THE MANNIKINS FELL" 200
" STOLE FIVE OF THE PINKY SPOTTED EGGS" 201
" FIVE LITTLE TOMBSTONES ALL IN A ROW" 202
THE MISCHIEVOUS PUFFINS.
PUFFINS IN A ROW 205
"NOBODY AT HOME! WE'LL GO IN !" 206
" HOME, SWEET HOME 207
"MURDER! WHAT'S THAT!" 207
THIS LITTLE BOOK IS DEDICATED TO
"DASH," THE DOG,
PATRICK" AND SANDIE,"
"FLOPSY," "TOPSY," KIKITIKITAVI," MOWGLI,"
ALL THE OTHERS OF THE FLUCTUATING FAMILY
(WHOSE NUMBERS ARE UNCERTAIN),
AND TO THE MEMORY OF
" DASH is a Spaniel puppy with glossy coat as red as a Devon
cow, and long pendent ears crimpled in the latest fashion. He
has not yet grown up to the size of his paws, and so he stumbles
over them in going upstairs, and he tumbles over them in going
He eschews nothing in the way of food, but he chews everything,
from a water-colour cake to a collar. He galumphs about with
a wondering look in his brown eyes, for he cannot understand
why all the birds that fly overhead are not shot for him to carry
to his master.
Patrick" is a kitten with a coat as black and glossy as velvet,
and golden eyes. He is as lithe as Bagheera, the Black Panther,
with a profile like an Egyptian cat-god. But with all his beauty
he has no moral principles.
Sandie is a bright tabby, a nervous little sprite, with a snub
nose and great honest eyes that fill up nearly all his face. He
is conscientious and grateful for notice, although he never seeks
it. He catches the mice, and Patrick steals them. When
Patrick finds Sandie in a comfortable place, he stands on him
and pretends to be very fond of him, and so he squeezes him
out and takes the place himself.
As for the Guinea-pigs, they live in a stable. When they came
first, they were few in number, and their relationships "were
known to the children; but now the family tree is complicated.
" Flopsy" is Abyssinian, with long woolly locks, "Topsy" is
smooth and piggy, and of the rest some are French and curly.
As for the Jackdaws, I can only say
De mo/rlius nil nisi bolnumN,"
which the boy (who learns Latin) translates,
Of the dead there is nothing left but bones."
F. C. G.
"WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
21 aragebl in JBtr Litfe.
" HO killed Cock Robin ?"
That was the question which
agitated all Featherland !
Ever since the unfortunate
victim of this dreadful crime
had been found in a dying
state, with his bright red vest
stained crimson by the life-blood flowing from
a wound where an arrow was deeply em-
bedded in his breast, nothing else had been
talked of. The rooks discussed it noisily
from morn to eve, and even in the night
they sometimes woke up and argued with
each other. The jays screamed and yelled
so excitedly over it that the owls complained
to the police that their rest was disturbed.
The starlings met every morning early and
whistled and chattered over every fresh rumour
connected with the tragedy.
4 WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
The nightingales, who were musical, were
so much affected by the event that they sat
up all night in the moonlight singing mournful
and sentimental songs about Love and
Death." And the consequence was that they
caught bad colds, and by the end of June
they had lost their voices and could only croak.
----- .. ...
The swifts and the swallows and the martins
darted about here, there, and everywhere,
picking up news. The warblers chatted about
the murder in the hedgerows and the woods,
and as for the members of the great finch
family, they went fairly mad. For suspicion
had fallen upon a certain Jack Sparrow, and
WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?" 5
he had been arrested and charged with the
crime, and was now lying in prison awaiting
his trial. The sparrows generally were furious
that any one of their number should have
been suspected; they insisted that it was a
class persecution, because Cock Robin had
influential friends, whereas
Jack Sparrow was of humble
birth and had not the best
And desperate were the
wranglings and the scrim-
mages which went on every
day in Featherland when
parties happened to meet who
held different views as to JOHN SPARROW, THE
"Who killed Cock Robin." ACCUSED.
As the day fixed for the trial drew near
the excitement increased, and every item of
gossip which related in any way to the case was
eagerly seized upon and elaborated by those
who catered for the public-the journalists.
This much was known for certain : Lord Chief
Justice Owl would be the presiding judge; Sir
Honey Buzzard, Q.C., the Attorney-General,
would be the leading counsel for the prosecution,
" WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
and with him would be Mr. Goshawk, Q.C.,
the standing counsel for the Treasury.
For the defence, the only name which had
transpired was that of Sir Peregrine Falcon,
Q.C., but the prisoner's case was in the hands
of Messrs. Kite and Co., the eminent criminal
lawyers, and there would be no lack of legal
At last the day arrived for the commence-
ment of the trial, and all Featherland gave
itself up to the study of the historic drama
about to be played. Every approach to the
court was crowded to suffocation long before
the doors were opened. Once or twice some
mischievous little rascal of a tomtit would raise
a scream of "Cats!" and then a wild rush
of feet and feathers would ensue; but that
dangerous amusement was soon stopped when
a bullfinch policeman caught one of the little
scamps, and running him to the outskirts of
the crowd, hit him sharply in the small of his
back and sent him off screeching.
And when the doors were opened the crowd
found that the court was already quite full, for a
lot of privileged ones had obtained tickets from
an alderman, and had been admitted the night
" WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
before. The crowd howled at these favoured
ones, but it was no use, so they relieved their
feelings by hooting and jeering Mr. Alderman
Puffin when he arrived in his carriage.
The wigged and gowned counsel made their
way through the press without much difficulty,
and no one interfered with them.
ARRIVAL OF THE JUDGE.
Then the Lord Chief Justice arrived, in a
neat carriage drawn by a white rabbit, and
driven by a jackdaw in dark livery. And the
old judge looked so benevolent and so harmless
as he blinked through his spectacles, that the
crowd cheered him.
Outside the court the crowd waited patiently
all day, eagerly questioning every policeman
8 WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
and every messenger who showed himself.
And they even tried to waylay the little blue-
tits who had to take slips from the reporters
to the newspaper offices; but when they found
that the slips were written in shorthand they
left the messengers alone, and they waited on
until the first editions of the evening papers
came out. The Evening Twitter was the first.
This paper had all through espoused the
Sparrow cause, and stood up stoutly for the
prisoner's innocence. And when, early in
the afternoon, a horde of young spadgers came
rushing frantically from the Twitter office with
thick, damp folds of printed paper stowed
away over their shoulders and under their
wings, the crowd caught sight of the contents
bills, which the spadgers carried displayed from
their beaks, and in five minutes every paper
was bought up at double price. And no
wonder! for the bills ran thus in big lettering :-
MURDER OF COCKY ROBIN.
TRIAL THIS DAY.
DISGRACEFUL ATTEMPT TO PACK THE JURY.
THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL OPENS THE CASE.
THE SCENE IN COURT.
WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?" 9
Then another shouting, yelling mob of news-
paper urchins came rushing on with the first
edition of The Beak, a paper devoted to the
interests of the upper classes, and which had,
ever since the murder, called on the Govern-
ment every day to discover the murderer and
bring him to justice.
And the contents bill of The Beak ran
THE MURDER OF MR. COCK ROBIN.
THE ACCUSED IN THE DOCK.
POWERFUL SPEECH BY THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL.
SCENES IN COURT.
The curtain rose on the drama of this
memorable trial when, at ten o'clock precisely,
Lord Chief Justice Owl took his seat, after
gravely responding to the obeisance of the
court. The next moment all eyes were
directed to the dock as the prisoner was
brought in guarded by two stalwart bullfinch
to WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
warders. He looked coolly round before
seating himself with an easy, almost defiant
The jury list was then called over, and as
each one answered to his name and stepped
forward the prisoner Sparrow was evidently
Although he had the right of challenging
any of the jurymen, he made no sign as, one
after the other, the fateful twelve were selected.
Messrs. Jay, Jack Daw, Magpie, Starling,
Thrush, Blackbird, Cuckoo, Lark, Goldfinch,
Swallow, and Linnet passed into the box; but
when the twelfth name was called, House
Martin!" the prisoner eagerly motioned to Mr.
Kite, his solicitor, and the next moment Sir
Peregrine Falcon was on his legs challenging
on Sparrow's behalf.
"My lud," he said, "Mr. House Martin
and the prisoner have been on unfriendly terms
for a considerable period in. consequence of a
disputed title to certain property, and it would
be impossible to prevent the influence of
prejudice caused by such personal feeling."
The Attorney-General immediately sprang
up and informed the court that the dispute
WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?" Ii
about certain property referred to by his
learned friend was nothing more nor less than
the fact that the prisoner at one time took
forcible possession of a dwelling-house, the
property of Mr. Martin, and that a writ of
ejectment had to be obtained in order to evict
Sir Peregrine Falcon angrily protested
against this attempt to prejudice the character
of his client. Sir Honey Buzzard retorted,
and there was every prospect of a scene thus
early, when the Lord Chief Justice intervened
and checked the rising storm, suggesting that
it would be well in the interests of justice that
another juror should be substituted who had
no interest either for or against the prisoner.
Mr. Woodpecker was then called, and the
jury being complete, the twelve were solemnly
sworn in, and Mr. Jay was chosen as foreman.
Sir Honey Buzzard, as we know, was the
leading counsel for the prosecution, and with
him were Mr. Goshawk, Q.C., Mr. Kestrel,
and Mr. Shrike, whilst the prisoner was repre-
sented by Sir Peregrine Falcon, Q.C., Mr.
Merlin, Q.C., and Mr. Sparrow Hawk.
OT guilty," pleaded the prisoner,
and then Sir Honey Buzzard
solemnly rose and, hitching his
gown on to his shoulders with
a characteristic movement, began
his opening address. With low,
impressive tones and dramatic
gestures he unfolded the gruesome details of
the crime which he said had murderously
and foully cut short a life of bright promise
and deprived Featherland of one of her bright-
The court was thrilled into horror-stricken
silence as the Attorney-General described the
finding of the victim's body lying stretched on
the blood-stained grass, the bright eyes dimmed
with the glaze of approaching death, the dainty
legs drawn up in agony, and the scarlet vest
stained with the fast ebbing life-stream, with
" WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
the cruel murderer's weapon still quivering in
the martyred breast. The shuddering audience
listened in silence-a silence only broken now
and then by the scratching of the judge's quill
pen and the rustling of the counsel's papers.
But as the Attorney-General proceeded the
strain became too great for some of the gentler
sex; and one after another hysterical cries rang
through the Chamber of Justice, and five or
six females had to be carried out in fits.
The Lord Chief Justice was visibly annoyed
by these interruptions, and at last he could not
14 "WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN? '
restrain his impatience, and he sternly re-
marked that if "people had so little control
over their feelings as to make these unseemly,
although perhaps involuntary, demonstrations
he would have the court cleared." This threat
had the desired effect, and the case proceeded.
Who killed Cock Robin ? declaimed Sir
Honey as he glared indignantly round the
CO()',SEL K5 FI k lqe
court, and then, leaning forward, he looked at
the jury and, with extended forefinger, told
them that it was for them to say, when the
time came, whether or no the prisoner standing
in the dock, Sparrow, with his bow and arrow,
had killed Cock Robin. He would, he said,
produce evidence which would prove beyond
the shadow of a doubt that the wretched
prisoner was the murderer. That there was
"WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
a motive for the crime he would prove by the
evidence of a young widow lady, of whom the
prisoner was evidently violently enamoured,
and who, refusing his suit, had confided her
trusting heart and had promised her little hand
to the lover who now lay stark and dead in his
premature tomb. However painful it might
be for this unhappy and bereaved young
woman to give her evidence, she would not
shrink from her task, and she would be un-
deterred from this melancholy duty by any of
the foul machinations of enemies or by the
lying innuendoes of malicious tongues.
Here Sir Honey Buzzard turned .partly
round and glared fiercely at Sir Peregrine and
the row of the prisoner's counsel. They,
however, took no notice of the shaft and smiled
sweetly in Mr. Attorney's face, while their
leader calmly took a pinch of snuff. Then Sir
Honey Buzzard turned to the jury again, and,
lowering his voice to an impressive whisper,
said, I shall put into the witness-box-and
you will be able to judge for yourselves as to
the witness's veracity-a priest who knelt by
the side of the dying victim, and who heard his
last words. These last words, gentlemen,
16 WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
constitute an awful and, I venture to say,
an unanswerable indictment of the prisoner."
(Sensation.) "And, gentlemen, although no
eye saw the prisoner's hand launch the fatal
arrow from the bow, yet I shall put before you
evidence that will leave no doubt on the minds
SIR PEREGRINE FALCON, Q.C.
of any jury, more especially of such an excep-
tional jury as I see before me now, of John
The jurymen looked at each other approv-
ingly, and it was evident that an impression
had been made. Mr. Jay, the foreman, in
"WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
particular, appeared highly gratified, and his
topknot rose and swelled with pride.
After lunch, the Attorney-General resumed
his speech, and when the shades of evening fell
upon the court his flow of eloquence appeared
still undiminished, and thetrial was adjourned
to the next day.
The Evening Twitter came out with big
posters and headlines of phenomenal size :
THE PRISONER CALM AND CONFIDENT.
THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL IS VENOMOUS BUT
THE CASE FOR THE PROSECUTION.
POOR JENNY WREN!
And later a Fifth Edition was heralded by
"THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL STILL MAUNDERING."
i8 WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
But the evening editions of The Beak
announced its matter very differently :-
JACK SPARROW IN THE DOCK.
IMPRESSIVE SPEECH BY THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL.
At ten o'clock punctually the next morning
the Lord Chief Justice resumed his seat, and
Sir Honey Buzzard rose to continue his speech.
In his peroration he made an earnest appeal in
a voice broken by emotion that the jury would
fearlessly do their duty, so that the sanctity
of life might be preserved inviolate in Feather-
land, and that justice might be enabled by
stern vindication to purge this horrible blood-
stain from the outraged soil on which Cock
Robin's weltering corpse had been stretched by
the vile assassin's hand.
As Sir Honey Buzzard spoke these con-
cluding words he faltered, and for a moment
almost broke down, whilst two large tears
slowly coursed down the slope of his aquiline
"WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?" 19
nose, and dropped over the point with a splash
on to his papers. Mr. Goshawk, Mr. Kestrel,
and Mr. Shrike covered their faces with their
robes and silently wept, and even the Lord
Chief Justice Owl was observed to blink, and
Mr. Jay, the foreman of the jury, sobbed un-
restrainedly. And a small butcher bird in the
gallery burst out crying, and was indignantly
\YIu Wvisonac consults Wit
expelled by one of the officials. But the effect
of this painful scene was somewhat marred at
the critical moment by the fact that Sir
Peregrine Falcon, who had just before taken
an extra large pinch of snuff, flourished a big
bandana handkerchief and gave a tremendous
sneeze, and Mr. Sparrow Hawk, who had been
busy caricaturing Sir Honey on the back of his
brief, showed it to Mr. Merlin, who imme-
20 WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
diately went into a fit of suppressed laughter.
And the Attorney-General sat down, glancing
a look of indignation at the learned counsel on
the other side.
Mr. Goshawk, Q.C., then rose, and, address-
ing his lordship, said that the first witness he
should call would be somewhat out of the order
of the evidence to be adduced, but it was
necessary to call that particular witness at
once, for reasons the justice of which, he felt
convinced, his ludship" would recognize.
Thomas Trout, whom he would now call, was
a waterman, who was on the fatal spot imme-
diately after the murder had been committed.
Unfortunately he suffered from extreme short-
ness of breath when he was removed for any
length of time from his natural element, and
therefore it was important that he should not
be kept waiting to give his evidence any longer
than was absolutely necessary. The prisoner's
counsel offering no objection to this course, the
usher called Thomas Trout."
A singular-looking figure responded to the
summons, and clambered with difficulty into
the witness-box. He was dressed in nautical
attire, and he stared round the court with eyes
WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?" 21
that seemed to be almost starting from his head.
His breath was evidently painfully short, and
he absolutely gasped for breath as he answered
the opening questions put to him by Mr.
E spoke with an accent which
rendered him almost unin-
telligible, and the reporters
had the greatest difficulty in
following him, whilst the judge
remarked once or twice, with
evident irritation, that he could
not hear a single word. This was the
evidence-in-chief of Thomas Trout as nearly
as possible as he gave it:-
My name is Thomas Trout. I am a
waterman, residing at Waterside. Ees, I
minds the day of the murder. I were in the
water as usual about dree o'clock, when I yurd
a kind o' screechin' and a hollerin' ashore like,
and when I looks up the bank I sees there was
summat up. There was Cock Robin a lyin' on
his back with the legs o' mun a stickin' up in
the air, and I seed a gurt beg dart like in his
WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?" 23
stummick, and sez I to myself, Blest if it
b'aint a murder!'
Anybody near? Ees, surely, there was
Mr. Dragon Fly a kneelin' down alongside and
a holding' up 'is 'ead. Whose 'ead? Why,
MR. JAY, THE FOREMAN.
Cock Robin's, o' coorse. Well, I slithered up
the bank, and- "
The Lord Chief Justice : I couldn't catch
that word, the witness said he 'something' up
the bank- "
Slithered, yer 'Onour! said the witness.
24 "WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
"What!" said the judge, holding his hand
up to his ear and leaning forward.
Slithered, my lud! he says he slithered up
But what does he mean by 'slithered'?"
demanded the Lord Chief Justice somewhat
Mr. Woodpecker, one of the jury, timidly
remarked that it meant to scramble. Then the
witness proceeded, gasping painfully, for the'
delay was visibly telling on his breath:-" I
slithered up the bank and got alongside the
corpse. He was moanin' and groanin' like,
and I got some water in a pannikin and guy
'im, and then I caught the blood which was a
running' down and dirtyin' of the water. I
didn't zee nobody 'cept Mr. Dragon Fly at
fust, and dree or vour minutes arterwards I zee
Vather Rook a rinnin' up, and I good back to
the water. I wos that short o' breath."
The cross-examination was very short.
"You are sure you saw no one anywhere
about except Mr. Dragon Fly, and subse-
quently Father Rook?"
I didn't zee nobody but them two," was
"WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?" 25
Did you see the prisoner there?"
No, zur! I never zeed 'un at all."
One more question, Mr. Trout," said Sir
Peregrine Falcon. When you arrived on the
scene, was the arrow still sticking in the breast
of the deceased ? "
"He worn't diseased, as I knows on,"
MR. DRAGON FLY.
replied the witness, "but the arrow was a
stickin' in 'is stummick, as I said avore."
Was the arrow removed whilst you were
there?" was the next question.
No, zur, it wor still a stickin' up when I
good away back to the waterr"
That will do," said Sir Peregrine Falcon as
he sat down, and Thomas Trout waddled out
26 "WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
and hurried away, for his breath was nearly
exhausted by this time.
Dragon Fly was the next witness called, and
a slim, elegant figure, dressed in bright-
coloured clothes with alternate blue and yellow
stripes, stepped airily and jauntily forward.
The most striking feature about him was that
he had a pair of abnormally large eyes and
rather a fierce expression of countenance.
There was nothing in his evidence to throw
any light upon the authorship of the crime.
He stated that he suddenly came upon the
body of Cock Robin lying on the grass near
the waterside. An arrow was sticking in his
breast, and he was evidently dying. He (the
witness) shouted for help, and the last witness,
Mr. Trout, came up, but nothing could be
done. When Father Rook came on the scene,
he himself hurried away to inform the police
and to get medical assistance, if possible.
In his cross-examination he stated that he
did not attempt to remove the arrow, for he
feared it would only increase the bleeding.
Then Mr. Dragon Fly disappeared, and Father
Rook succeeded. He was a big, swarthy-
faced priest, dressed in clerical garb. He
WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?" 27
claimed to be sworn upon a Darwin version of
the Testament, and some delay was caused by
a difficulty in obtaining one. When Sir Honey
Buzzard rose to examine, it was evident that
Father Rook was looked upon as an important
"ft dti 7 o0cour t~ rc t
The reverend gentleman, who gave "The
Elms as his address, stated in substance that,
hearing cries for assistance, he hurried towards
the scene of the murder, and found the two
former witnesses by the side of the deceased.
Thomas Trout, who complained of his breath,
left immediately after he, Father Rook, arrived,
and he subsequently sent Mr. Dragon Fly
28 WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
away to summon the police. The deceased
died a few minutes afterwards. He was sen-
sible to the last.
Was he able to speak ?" asked the
He was just able to speak faintly," replied
Did you ask the deceased who had com-
mitted the outrage on him?"
I did," answered the witness.
His reply produced a profound sensation in
court, and there was breathless silence as the
next question fell in measured tones from Sir
"Tell the court, Father Rook, exactly what
was the question which you put to the deceased
and what his reply was."
I said to the deceased, 'Who has done
this ?' and he replied Sparrow!' "
A thrill of sensation ran through the crowded
court. But, although this answer seemed to
the audience to seal the prisoner's doom, John
Sparrow sat perfectly unconcerned, and not a
muscle of his face moved,
N %,N HEN Sir Peregrine Falcon rose
is to cross-examine. He elicited
from the witness that the de-
ceased could only speak with
Q. You have stated, Father
Rook, that the fatal arrow had
not been extracted from the wound ?"
A. Yes, that is so."
Q. In your opinion, did the wound
interfere with the deceased's power of
speech ? "
A. Undoubtedly it did."
Q. Did the deceased speak in a strong
voice, or weakly, as if the wound obstructed
A. "He spoke very faintly and with
Q. "A fatal wound in the chest with the
30 WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
arrow still embedded in the chest would
naturally impede clear utterance; was the
utterance of the deceased at all impeded ?"
A. "Certainly, the unfortunate gentleman
was gasping painfully for breath."
Sir Peregrine exchanged a triumphant glance
with Mr. Merlin.
Q. "Was Cock Robin gasping when he
replied to your question, Father Rook ? "
A. "He brought out the word Sparrow'
with a gasp."
Q. "He gasped when he uttered the word
'Sparrow.' Very well. Now, Father Rook,
what were the exact words of your question to
the deceased ?"
A. I said, Who has done this ?'"
Q. "Are you prepared to swear that you
used those exact words ? "
A. Certainly? To the best of my belief
those were.the words I uttered."
Q. You were naturally agitated at the dis-
tressing scene ?"
A. I was dreadfully distressed."
Q. "Did you make any written record of
those words ? "
A, No; but I remember them distinctly."
WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?" 31
Q. "Now, Father Rook, you say that you
were in a state of great agitation ? "
A. I was."
Q. Of extreme agitation ?"
Q. And although you were in this state of
extreme agitation, you are able to remember
precisely every single word of the question
which you asked the deceased ? "
A. I remember distinctly that I asked the
deceased how his death was caused."
Q. "You asked him what was the cause of
his death ? "
Q. You swear to that ?"
A. "I do, undoubtedly."
Q. But you swore just now that you asked
the deceased Who has done this?' now you
swear that your question was Whal was the
cause of his death ?'"
A. "I see no difference."
Q. So that you are not prepared to swear
whether you asked the deceased 'Who has
done this ?' or What is the cause of this?' "
A. I am under the impression that I asked
him, Who has done this?'"
32 "WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
Q. But you will not swear positively? "
A. No, certainly. I see no importance in
Q. "Very well. Now you say that when
the deceased spoke to you he was gasping for
Q. And you say that the arrow was stick-
ing in his breast ?"
A. It was."
Q. "In your opinion, did the unfortunate
gentleman suffer pain from the presence of
this arrow ?"
A. "He evidently suffered intense pain
Q. He only uttered one single word in
reply to your question?"
A. Only one."
Q. And that was?"
Q. Now, Father Rook, attend to me-will
you swear that the word which the deceased
spoke was Sparrow and not Arrow ?"
A. It was Sparrow."
Q. "There is a similarity of sound between
the two words ? "
WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?" 33
Q. He spoke faintly? "
Q. And with gasps ?"
Q. Now, sir, suppose that instead of
asking 'Who has done this?' you had asked,
What is the cause of this?' would you
have been surprised if the answer had been
A. "No, I suppose not. I dare say it
would have been a natural answer."
Q. Suppose, again, that the deceased had
desired to utter the word 'Arrow,' would it
not have been natural in his then state,
speaking faintly and with gasps, that you
might have mistaken the word 'Arrow' for
' Sparrow '? "
A. It did not occur to me."
Q. You knew that there had been ill-feeling
between the deceased and the prisoner ?"
A. Yes, I knew that there had been some
Q. You were not surprised, then, to hear
the word Sparrow ? "
A. No, I was not."
34 WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
Q. "Your knowledge of this quarrel rendered
the supposed statement of the deceased more
probable ? "
Q. "But if you put the question which I
have suggested, what was the cause? 'Arrow'
would not have seemed to you unnatural,
seeing that the cause of death was an
A. No, perhaps not unnatural."
Q. "Then,. Father Rook, are you, in the
presence of this natural- suggestion, still pre-
pared to swear solemnly that the deceased
Cock Robin used the word 'Sparrow,' and not
'Arrow'? Remember, sir, that the life of
a fellow-creature may depend upon your
A. I would not swear positively."
Q. Then you will not swear that the
deceased said Sparrow' ?"
A. I would rather not swear positively."
Q. He may have said 'arrow' ? "
A. He may possibly have."
Q. You will not swear that he did not ? "
A. No, I will not swear that he did
" WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
Sir Peregrine Falcon promptly sat down,
with a significant glance at the jury.
Sir Honey Buzzard rose to re-examine, but
the witness had evidently been startled by the
possible new light thrown on his evidence, and
he refused to commit himself further to any
The next witness was William Bullfinch,
a sturdy, stolid-looking- police-officer, whose
number was B.24. He gave his evidence in
the concise, official manner peculiar to the
members of the force. He deposed, in answer
36 WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
to questions, that from information received
he went to the prisoner's residence and arrested
him for the murder of the deceased. He made
no resistance. He told the prisoner it was
no use denying the charge. He said to the
prisoner, You had better come along quietly,
for you know you did it." Prisoner replied,
" I, with my bow and arrow, I killed Cock
Robin." Prisoner showed no signs of remorse.
Sir Honey Buzzard sat down with a com-
placent smile, and Sir Peregrine Falcon at once
rose to cross-examine. He elicited from the
witness that he had himself referred to the
bow and arrow as the weapons by which the
deceased had met his death. And further,
that although the prisoner had certainly used
the words deposed to-namely, I, with my
bow and arrow, I killed Cock Robin," he did
not take any notice of any particular tone in
which he spoke. He understood it to be a
confession, but the remark might have been
made in indignation or in surprise.
Did the prisoner," asked Sir Peregrine
Falcon, raise his voice at the end of the
sentence as if in surprise at the nature of the
charge ? "
" WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
The police constable replied stolidly that
under the code of police regulations it was no
part of his duty to note any details of that
Didithe prisoner," persisted Sir Peregrine,
"speak that sentence as if there were a full
stop at the end, or a note of interrogation ? "
The witness looked bewildered, and doggedly
answered that it was not his duty to know any-
thing about full stops or notes of interrogation,
all he had to do was to arrest the prisoner;
and he did it.
Now, sir, said Sir Peregrine Falcon,
sternly, "answer me this question. Did you,
when you arrested the prisoner, and previously
to this remark which you say the prisoner
made, caution him that anything which he
might say would be used in evidence against
P.C. Bullfinch fidgeted uncomfortably and
grew very red in the face.
The relentless counsel stood with his eyes
firmly fixed on the witness's face.
At last the answer came reluctantly, No,
sir, I did not."
Then said Sir Peregrine, addressing the
38 "WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
judge, I shall submit, my lord, at the proper
time that under the circumstance of that
omission, the evidence of the witness shall not
be received as implicating the prisoner."
T" t certainly, said the Lord Chief
Justice, was an omission of a
remarkable character, and I shall
instruct the jury on the point
when I sum up the case."
Sir Peregrine Falcon bowed, and
the prosecuting counsel looked blankly at each
other, and pretended to be very busy with their
briefs. Jenny Wren! the Usher then called,
and there was a great sensation in the court
when a small trembling widow crept timidly
into the witness-box. She was dressed in deep
mourning, and the tiny little hand which held
a delicate white lace handkerchief shook with
agitation as she repeatedly wiped away the tears
which trickled down her face.
Sir Honey Buzzard was very gentle as he
drew the evidence from the interesting witness,
40 "WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
and she replied in a thin, almost inaudible
voice, broken every now and then by sobs.
Yes, she was a widow; her late husband's
name was Jimpo Wren. He was killed in
Ireland last St. Stephen's day by the Wren boys,
who murdered him with sticks and stones."
Yes, she was engaged to be married next
spring to the deceased Cock Robin." Here
Ten n VVYrert
the poor little widow broke down entirely for
a few minutes, but she was restored by a burnt
feather which the kind-hearted Usher applied
to her nose.
"Yes," she said, when the examination
was resumed, "she was acquainted with the
prisoner. He had pursued her with his atten-
tions for some time, and had tried to induce
her to break off her engagement to Cock
WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?" 41
Robin and marry him, Jack Sparrow. When
she refused him definitely Mr. Sparrow flew
into a great rage. Yes, he spoke very bitterly
about his rival and threatened him. When
he went away he said that 'he would get a new
string to his bow.' She did not understand
at the time what he meant, but when Cock
Robin was found to have been killed by a bow
and arrow she understood the meaning of the
threat only too well."
This evidence naturally created a great sensa-
tion, and all ears were eagerly strained when
Sir Peregrine Falcon began his cross-examina-
tion. He treated the witness with great con-
sideration, but he "was evidently impressed
with the necessity to weaken or counteract,
if possible, the damaging testimony which she
I have no desire," Sir Peregrine said gently,
" to harrow your feelings unnecessarily, but my
duty to my client compels me to ask you one
or two questions. Was the prisoner, in your
opinion, in paying his attentions to you, actuated
by a sincere affection for you ? "
Yes," replied the witness, "he was evi-
dently deeply in love."
42 WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
Very naturally so," said the counsel.
Very well! Now, did he show any resent-
ment towards you as well as. towards his more
fortunate rival ? "
Yes," said Mrs. Wren, he was very angry
and said some very rude things to me-"
Exactly so!" Sir Peregrine broke in, inter-
rupting an apparent inclination on the part
of the witness to expand her reply.
Exactly so! Now you have told us that
the prisoner, when he left you in anger, made
use of the remark that he would get a new
string to his bow."
He did," replied the witness.
Sir Peregrine paused, took a pinch of snuff,
and then quietly, in a conversational tone of
voice, asked Mrs. Wren whether she had ever
heard of a well-known expression of a lady
having two strings to her bow ?"
Yes, certainly ; the witness had often heard
the expression used."
In reply to further questions, she said that
she understood the meaning of the saying
to be, "A lady having two admirers at the
"Very well," said Sir Peregrine. Now,
" WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
did the prisoner, during that interview, accuse
you of having encouraged his suit, whilst you
were engaged to another ?"
He did," answered the witness indignantly,
" but it was utterly untrue. I never did such
It was extremely wrong of him, no doubt,"
said Sir Peregrine, but he gave you to under-
stand that he was under that ungenerous
Yes, he certainly did," replied the witness ;
" and I can't understand what could have made
him think so."
But he did think so," persisted the
"Yes, he did," was the reply, and he
ought to have been ashamed of himself for it,"
replied the widow, casting a scornful glance
at the impassive face of the prisoner in the
That being the case," Sir Peregrine Falcon
quietly remarked, looking fixedly at the wit-
ness, you would not have been surprised if
the prisoner had said to you in his anger, You
have two strings to your bow!' "
I should not have been in the least sur-
' WHO KILLED COCK ROBTN?"
prised; it is just what I should have expected
from him," replied Mrs. Wren, with an indig-
nant toss of her little head.
You were naturally angry and agitated at
this ungenerous treatment of you by the
prisoner, Mrs. Wren ?"
I was, and any lady would have been upset
if she had been in my place! "
Now, Mrs. Wren, does it not strike you
that there is great similarity of sound between
the words 'a new string to my bow,' and two
strings to your bow ?'"
Yes, there is a certain sort of similarity,
Sir Peregrine Falcon : Very well now,
Mrs. Wren, I must ask you to remember that
the life of a fellow-creature may depend upon
your answer, and a fellow-creature whose only
fault towards yourself has been that he loved
you not wisely but too well.' Will you swear
that the prisoner did not in his ungenerous
anger say to you, 'You have two strings to
your bow' ? "
The witness evidently was impressed with
the possibility of the alternative presented to
her, and hesitatingly she faltered out :
" WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN? "
No, I would rather not swear."
Then," said Sir Peregrine, raising his voice
and looking sternly for the first time at the
trembling little widow, you will not swear
whether the prisoner said, I will get a new
string to my bow,' or-whether he said, 'You've
got two strings to your bow ?'"
The witness flushed, and looked timidly
round as if to seek escape from the question,
but Sir Peregrine Falcon's blazing eyes were
fixed upon her, and at last the significant reply
fell from her lips, No, I can't swear."
Very well was the satisfied comment of
the great advocate as he sat down, and then the
The several editions of the Evening Twitter
advertised in huge type-
THE GREAT TRIAL.
46 WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
THE WIDOW HAS TWO STRINGS TO HER BOW.
BRILLIANT CROSS-EXAMINATION BY SIR PEREGRINE
THE END NEAR.
But The Beak still stuck to its colours, and
its contents bill gave the following headings :-
THE MURDER TRIAL.
PAINFUL SCENE IN COURT.
THE MOTIVE FOR THE IIMURDER.
The next morning the court was more
crowded than ever, for there was a general
impression abroad that the case for the prosecu-
tion was drawing to a close.
The first witness called was Brown Owl," a
" WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
russet-faced old creature, who described himself
as a grave-digger. He deposed that whilst he
was digging a grave for the corpse of the de-
ceased he overheard a conversation between two
of the Sparrow family, relatives of the prisoner.
But at this point Sir Peregrine Falcon in-
BROWN OWL, THE GRAVE-DIGGER.
tervened, and energetically objected to the
reception of this evidence, which could not, he
said, be admitted against the prisoner.
The Lord Chief Justice decided at once that
such hearsay evidence could not be received.
There was a hurried consultation between
the counsel for the prosecution, and then Sir
48 WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN? "
Honey Buzzard rose with a somewhat dejected
air and asked for a short adjournment, in order
that he might consult with his colleagues as to
the course they should pursue.
The Lord Chief Justice assenting, the court
adjourned for half an hour.
O one but the judge and the
counsel engaged in the case left
the court, but the moment the
Lord Chief Justice had disap-
peared behind the curtains of his
retiring-room a very Babel of voices
arose, chatterings and twitterings,
as the interested audience eagerly discussed the
position of affairs.
Silence !" shouted the usher, at the expira-
tion of the half-hour, and again the stately
figure and thoughtful face of the Lord Chief
Justice appeared, and an instantaneous silence
succeeded to the confusion of tongues.
Sir Honey Buzzard rose and announced with
a feeble attempt at nonchalance, That is the
case for the prosecution, my lud."
A thrill of surprise ran through the court,
and even the stolid prisoner was observed to
50 WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
smile. The little tomtit messengers were
instantly flitting out of court with hurriedly
scribbled flimsies, and in a quarter of an hour
the Evening Twitter was being shouted out
in every street-
THE GREAT TRIAL.
COLLAPSE OF THE PROSECUTION.
SIR HONEY BUZZARD THROWS UP THE SPONGE.
There was a momentary pause in court, and
then amid a breathless silence Sir Peregrine
Falcon rose and applied to the Lord Chief
Justice for an adjournment until the next morn-
ing, in order to arrange his defence, in con-
sequence of the unexpected close of the case
for the other side.
There was no objection raised to this course,
and the sitting was immediately adjourned.
In the evening edition of The Beak the only
allusion to the great case was in small type:-
THE COCK ROBIN MURDER.
CLOSE OF THE CASE FOR THE PROSECUTION.
W" WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
and then in large type-
ANOTHER OUTRAGE BY A SPARROW.
A MARTIN'S HOUSE SEIZED AND WRECKED.
The next morning, at ten o'clock, the second
act of the great drama opened with the rising
of Sir Peregrine Falcon to address the jury for
It was an address which, from beginning to
end, fully sustained the brilliant reputation of
the great advocate, the greatest, perhaps, of
modern times. Step by step he followed the
evidence put forward by the prosecution, and
piece by piece he tore that evidence into shreds
and tatters, and flung the fragments aside in
a burning torrent of indignant eloquence. He
analysed one by one the different witnesses
who had appeared in the witness-box, and
his peroration held his audience in breathless
suspense until the very last word had been
uttered, and then the pent-up feelings of the
court burst forth into a volume of cheers, which
even the stern officialism of the sacred precincts
failed to check.
52 WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
In indignant tones he denounced the
monstrous conspiracy which lurked under the
cloak of this State prosecution, a conspiracy of
the classes against the masses, of a flaunting
aristocracy against a humble and plebeian
democracy, of the scarlet-vested Robin against
the fustian-garbed Sparrow. Had it been a
common brown spadger who had been found
dead, and had suspicion fallen upon a dainty
Robin, would there have been this great out-
burst of moral indignation? No! the body
would have been quietly consigned to the
obscurity of a casual grave, and Robin would
still have flaunted his sleek respectability in the
gilded halls of the upper ten of Birdland.
Jack Sparrow was a common fellow! ergo--
hang him! Cock Robin was a gentleman-
WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?" 53
ergo, canonize him! But he, Sir Peregrine
Falcon, felt confident that the law-which
recognized no distinctions of caste, no difference
between rich and poor-the law was safe in
the hands of such an intelligent jury as that to
which the interests of justice in this important
case had been confided.
SIR PEREGRINE ADDRESSING THE JURY.
Gentlemen of the jury," cried the great
advocate in conclusion, the scales of justice
are in your hands; let no prejudice blind your
moral vision; let no passion bias your judg-
ment. If the humble prisoner at the bar did,
in your opinion, commit this dreadful crime,
your duty is clear; but if, after carefully
54 WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
weighing the evidence, every link of which I
have shown you conclusively is rotten to the
core, you come to the conclusion-and I
respectfully submit that you can come to no
other conclusion-that the prisoner is innocent,
then you will fearlessly pronounce him Not
guilty,' and you will have the proud satis-
faction of knowing that you have rescued from
the web of a tangled conspiracy a victim whose
only crime is that he is humble and poor, that
he is a Sparrow, and not a Robin."
When the ushers at last succeeded in reducing
the excited occupants of the court to silence,
Sir Honey Buzzard rose to reply for the
But he spoke hesitatingly and without
confidence. He referred deferentially and with
overstrained humility to the brilliant speech of
his learned brother Sir Peregrine Falcon, and
expressed his sense of his own inferiority. He
drew out the dry bones of his case, dusted
them over, and tried to rearrange them, but the
skeleton had been so ruthlessly dislocated by
the breakdown of the evidence and by the
oratory of the great counsel for the defence
that his task was a hopeless one, and when he
", WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
sat down every one felt that the conclusion was
a foregone one. But Mr. Justice Owl, to the
surprise of every one, gravely announced that
he should adjourn the court for a week, to
enable him to arrange his voluminous notes
before he commenced his summing-up. In the
evening paper the Twiltter announced in
glowing phrases and double-leaded headings
IT WAS OVER EXCEPT THE SHOUTING.
UTTER COLLAPSE OF THE CONSPIRACY.
WHO ARE THE REAL CRIMINALS?
and The Beak put it-
BRILLIANT SPEECH OF THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL.
ADJOURNMENT OF THE COURT.
During the week which ensued the partisans
of both sides were busy. The Robin party
went to and fro declaring that there could be
56 WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
no doubt of Sparrow's guilt. Everything, they
said, had been proved up to the hilt, and
they darkly hinted that the prosecution, had it
chosen, could have proved many other crimes,
even blacker still, against the prisoner.
The Sparrow party, on the other hand,
boldly denounced the prosecution, and argued
that if things were as they ought to be Sir
Honey Buzzard himself should be in the dock.
Mr. Justice Owl retired with his twenty
volumes of notes to his country seat, Oak
Hall, and every now and then a rumour came
to the outer world that the old judge had been
seen in the dead of night writing busily. A
nightjar declared that he had seen him walking
to and fro in his room learning his speech
by heart, and a society journal--The Flea-
published an article, Mr. Justice Owl at
Home," in which it was stated that so con-
scientious and painstaking was the judge that
since the commencement of the Robin murder
case he had been seen by moonlight practising
archery. The week passed away, and again
the court assembled. Mr. Justice Owl com-
menced his summing up at once, and in a
speech which lasted from ten o'clock until four
"WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?" 57
reviewed the whole case. There was nothing
remarkable in the matter of the address. He
told the jury that it was for them to weigh
the value of the evidence adduced by the
prosecution. If they believed it, they would
undoubtedly be obliged, however reluctantly,
to return a verdict in accordance with their
SIR HONEY BUZZARD IS NOT PLEASED.
finding; but if they considered the evidence
inconclusive or untrustworthy, then they were
bound to give the prisoner the benefit of the
doubt. This was the substance of the summing
up, although it took a long time to express
it. And, indeed, there were some carping
critics in Featherland who said that the learned
judge need not have consumed a whole week
in preparing so little.
58 WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
There was a murmur of excitement in the
court as the jury retired to consider their
verdict. Mr. Justice Owl disappeared into
his private room to dine, and presently a
pungent odour of roast mice pervaded the
Would the jury agree? Would they find
a verdict quickly, or would they have to be
locked up all night without food and water?
Every now and then from the jurymen's
retiring-room came a clatter and a jabber of
tongues. The strident voice of Mr. Jay could
be clearly distinguished, and the rapid chatter-
ing of Mr. Starling.
Half an hour only had passed when there
was a sudden hush, and it was whispered that
the jury were coming back. Mr. Justice Owl
resumed his seat, and every eye was fixed
on the jury box as one by one the twelve
jurymen filed in and took their places. The
usual formalities were quickly gone through,
and then every ear was strained to hear the
fateful words as Mr. Jay pronounced the
A wild scene of excitement ensued, which
the ushers strove in vain to control. The
" WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?"
Sparrows were frantic in their expressions of
delight at the result. They screamed and
yelled and chattered, while the Warblers
slipped quietly out with angry scowls. The
court dissolved away, and the great trial was
over. 'A large crowd waited outside for the
appearance of the ex-prisoner, and when he
came out he was seized upon and carried off
shoulder high by an enthusiastic crowd. The
Beak announced the result that evening in
very small type:-
THE ROBIN MURDER.
60 WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?'
But the Evening Twitter came out with
gigantic lettering :-
THE CONSPIRACY SMASHED!
JACK SPARROW ACQUITTED.
SIR HONEY BUZZARD BAFFLED!
So ended the great trial; but even to-day the
Warblers and all the Robin party darkly hint
that they could have brought more evidence
had they thought it necessary, and they
express their conviction that even if Jack
Sparrow did not actually murder Cock Robin
yet he was quite capable of committing that
or some other crime, and, in fact, that he ought
to have done it in order to sustain his evil
But the Sparrow party hold stoutly by the
verdict, and if any foolish Warbler should
WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?" 61
chance to refer to the old tradition that John
Sparrow with his bow and arrow feloniously
slew Cock Robin he will be hunted and jeered
at throughout Featherland, and he will be
lucky if he escape with undamaged plumage.
THE GREAT BEETLE WTAR.
Little Longicorn is murdered by a Calasoma (sycophanta).
HHERE was great excitement
in Beetleland. A most foul
murder had been done. A little
Longicorn, as harmless as any of
his diminutive tribe, had been
-brutally beaten to death by a
truculent chief of the Calasomae beetles, and
his body dragged away. But for an accident
the murderer would, perhaps, never have been
known, and the crime would have been only
one more case of mysterious disappearance.
It chanced, however, that another of the
Longicorn tribe was an eye-witness of the cruel
deed; he came upon the scene just as the
Calasoma had beaten the life out of his victim
and was dragging the corpse away by the hind
legs into the tangled recesses of the forest.
THE GREAT BEETLE WAR.
It was too late for help, so the little Longi-
corn prudently hid himself amidst the wood
sorrel, and when the murderer had disappeared
he hurried away with breathless haste to bear
the tidings of the brutal deed to the Longicorn
village. Trembling with fear lest he might
cross the path of any of the bloodthirsty tribe,
he threaded his way through the thick under-
growth until he came to the place where his
tribesmen had their camp.
They had captured a fine, fat caterpillar that
morning, and were dragging it with united
effort to their larder in the root of a rotten tree,
when the messenger rushed out of the wood
and told them the dismal tidings.
In an instant the Longicorn camp was in a
state of wild and angry excitement. The deed
must be avenged, but how ? It was useless for
such little beetles as they were to attack so
ferocious a tribe as the Calasomae, every one
of whom was a giant by comparison with their
Some one suggested that the Bombardier
beetles, the hereditary enemies of the
Calasomae, would help them; but, alas! the
Bombardiers were far away on a raiding ex-
An eye-witness brings the news to the Longicorn Village.
The Longicorns meet in Council and resolve to solicit aid from the Stag Beetles.
War Dance of the Ambassadors.
petition, and they had taken all their artillery
There was only one hope possible, and that
was that the Stag beetles, who had befriended
them more than once, would once more help
and enable them to avenge the murder.
THE ADVENTURES OF THE AMBASSADORS.
O they resolved to send ambas-
sadors to Coleopteron, the King
of the Stag beetles, to beg for
his aid, and, for this purpose,
they selected six of their
strongest and best warriors for
the perilous duty-for perilous
it was likely to be.
The palace of King Coleopteron was at least
two long days' journey distant, and the way
was through the tangled forest, where lurked
many deadly foes, and across wide and danger-
ous rivers, too deep to wade and full of fearsome
But the ambassadors were armed with spears
and shields, and before they departed they
performed a vigorous war dance, in which
they went through a pantomimic slaying of
The Ambassadors on the March crossing Hemlock Bridge.
THE ADVENTURES OF THE AMBASSADORS. 77
all possible enemies, whether of air, earth, or
And then, full of enthusiasm and courage,
they started on their adventurous march.
Cautiously they threaded their way through
the intricate mazes of the vegetation, ever on
the look-out for the enemy; they hurried
through the aisles of the tall fern forests,
shadowed by the gigantic fronds which waved
overhead far up the towering stems.
Once they heard a great rustling among the
dead leaves, and they had only just time enough
to conceal themselves, when a great mottled
snake glided swiftly across their path. Another
time they heard a scrunching noise as if some
great wild beast were devouring his prey, and
peering through between the openings in the
tall grass they caught a glimpse of a huge grey-
brown bristly monster, and seeing it to be
Hedgehog, the great beetle-killer, they fled
for their lives.
At last they came to a ravine at the bottom
of which flowed a river, and they were at their
wits' end to know how to cross it. In vain
they 'explored the banks to right and left to
find some crossing-place. They would have
78 THE GREAT BEETLE WAR.
made a raft and floated across, but a great
water-newt was watching them with hungry
eyes, and, like a great slimy alligator, he kept
abreast of them as they moved up and down
the side of the river, every now and then
raising his flat, ugly head above the surface
of the stream, and following them with his
cold, cruel-looking eyes.
And they could see, too, every now and
then, Dyticus, the great blood-thirsty water-
beetle. He would come to the surface, pro-
trude his shiny back, and then dive again, and
they knew what their fate would be if he should
rise under their raft and upset it.
But, at last, to their great joy, they came
to where a broken branch of a hemlock-tree
lay across the river from bank to bank, and
they clambered across carefully. And Triton,
the great water-newt, raised himself head and
shoulders on to a rock in the middle of the
stream down below, and he opened his mouth
and angrily lashed his tail in his disappointment.
But the perils had only begun, for as they
passed through a dense jungle in the Ant
Country a crowd of those fierce, venomous
little warriors suddenly rushed out from one
The party is suddenly attacked by Ants, and one of the Longicorns is wounded.
THE ADVENTURES OF THE AMBASSADORS. 81
of their subterranean strongholds and fero-
ciously attacked the Longicorn ambassadors.
They hurled myriads of little, keen-pointed
spears, they clung to the legs of the beetles,
and bit them savagely, trying to bear them to
the ground. The Longicorns fought valiantly,
but no matter how many of the fierce little
creatures they killed, fresh hordes always took
their places and renewed the attacks. So they
fled, fighting as they went. All. the six Longi-
corns were wounded, and one so seriously that
his companions had to carry him.
At last they managed to outstrip their pur-
suers, and as evening was coming on they
came to the banks of a wide, swift stream,
and they resolved to dare the perils of the
water rather than spend the night on land, for
they knew that there were shrew mice about-
those noisome, long-snouted beetle-slayers,
who would show them no mercy if they should
fall into their clutches.
And just as they had completed their raft,
on which they laid their wounded companion,
and had raised a feather sail to waft them
across the water, one of these great beasts
came out of the wood towards them, with his
82 THE GREAT BEETLE WAR.
nose twitching, and they hastily pushed away
from shore, and launched out on the bosom of
the swiftly-running river.
But they were out of the frying-pan only to
fall into the fire.
-- __ ,-
Dreading the perils of the shore, they make a raft and take to the water just in time
to escape from a Shrew.