"If my gentle little wife Sits so calm above, It's because she knows I'll guard This dear nest we love." Fear not, pretty bobolink, Sing your joyous song, Never will I trouble you, Sing, the whole day long.
HOW HIRAM SPENT HIS SHRIMP MONEY.
"I wish my mother had a ring like those the ladies wear at the hotel," said Hiram Green to himself one day. "There isn't one of those ladies as pretty as my mother; she ought to wear rings too."
Hiram was the son of a fisherman, but the fisherman had died when Hiram was a little boy. Hiram's mother took in sewing and fancy work to earn money to support herself and her son. He helped her what he could out of school hours, and in vacation. He had two uncles who wad taught him how to catch shrimps. With the money he earned by selling them he could buy things for his own use or pleasure. He had a bank almost full of what he called his "shrimp-money." He did not mean to count his money until the bank was full.
Now Hiram loved his mother more than anything else in the world. Whenever he dreamed of being rich some time, as boys often do, it was not for himself he wanted the money, but that his dear little mother might drive in a carriage, drawn by a pair of horses with clanking chains.
The sight of the flashing gems on the hands of some of the summer visitors at the fishing village in which he lived had added a new article to the list of beautiful things his mother was some day to own. He had heard that just one single diamond was sometimes worth five hundred dollars or more. This had discouraged him very much. But one day happening to pass a shop in the neighboring town he saw a number of rings displayed in the window. Diamond rings which flashed and sparkled, it seemed to him, just as those worn by the ladies in the hotels. He stopped fascinated, ana pressed his face against the glass eagerly to see if any prices were marked upon them. Imagine his surprise when he saw upon the largest one a tag marked $4.75. He looked again to see if he had not made a mistake. Perhaps it was $475.00. But no, he knew enough about figures to see that he was right the first time.
Home he went as fast as he could get there, and ran up into his bedroom. Then, for the first time since he had begun to save his "shrimp-money" he opened his bank and counted its contents. "Three dollars and twenty-two cents!" he cried, "almost enough. I was going to buy something for myself this time, but I'll have that ring before another week."
Hiram worked early and late for the next few days. He caught more shrimps than he had ever caught in the same length of time, and sold them readily.
"I think there must be something you are wanting, very much, my boy," said his mother.
"Yes, there is," replied Hiram.
At the end of the week he had the sum he desired. Hurrying to the shop where he had seen the ring, before going inside he gave one hasty, almost frightened look into the window. Could it be gone! No, there it was flashing and sparkling as before.
That evening, he placed it on his mother's finger. She looked at it in surprise. "It is yours, mother," he cried, proudly, "your very own, I bought it with my shrimp money. I was determined my mother should have a ring as handsome as those ladies wear."
"My dear boy," said his mother, while something as bright as the shining stone flashed in her eyes, "Not one of those ladies can value their rings as I shall value mine."
Years afterwards Hiram learned that what he had bought for a diamond was only a bit of glass.
"Did you know it then, mother?" he asked.
His mother nodded. "And you never told me."
"It was brighter to me than any real diamond," she said, "the brightness I saw flash in it was the unselfish love of my boy."
THE ANT'S HOUSE.
"What a curious picture that is at the head of this story." That is what I think I hear some of the "Little Ones" say. "What does it mean?" some one asks. It looks like a procession of ants. That is just what it is. A procession of ants all marching off to find a new home. Some one has destroyed their old one. Let us hope no one did it on purpose.
The ants are very busy and very nice little creatures. If their houses are stepped upon, or injured so as to be useless the ants immediately go to work to repair damages. They do not sit down and fuss about it first, but I have no doubt they let each other know what they think. And how do you suppose they do this? By touching each other with their tiny feelers.
After they have talked in this way, and decided what is to be done some of them take the eggs from the ruins and carry them to a safe place. Look carefully at the pictures, and you will see that almost every ant is carrying an egg. They know that if they lose the eggs all the young ants inside the eggs will be lost too.
While ants do not seem to have a very keen sense of hearing, their sense of smell is very strong. And where do you think it lies? In the same little feelers with which they talk to each other. The first ant's house seen in the round picture has been cut in two to show you how wonderfully these little creatures can build.
It was made by the ants that live in tropical countries. The house at the back of the picture has not been disturbed. Does it not look as if an architect had planned it? Ask some of the older people in your family to tell you something more about ants. There is much more of interest in regard to them than I have space to write you.
THE FOOLISH PUG.
A pompous pug once thought that he A dashing swell would try to be, And on his neighbors one and all, Sat out to make a stylish call.
He wore a glass upon one eye, And on his head a silk hat high; A wide, stiff collar around his throat, And last an English overcoat.
So fine and splendid was his air The very birds stood still to stare, As walking on his two hind feet He sauntered boldly down the street.
But oh, alas! it comes to all To learn that pride must have a fall, And e'er the corner he had turned Poor pug that bitter lesson learned.
A saucy maid with one great whack, Brought down her broom upon his back, And as he raised a frightened wail Another soused him from her pail.
Poor pug! that night he sat and thought Of all the trouble he had brought Upon himself, because that he A foolish dude had tried to be.
THE SILHOUETTE PARTY
"Children," said Grandpa, one afternoon, "I am going to build a bonfire this evening, to burn up this rubbish, so you may have a silhouette party."
"Why, what is a silhouette party?" asked Lucy, opening her eyes very wide.
"I know," said Ralph, "it is funny black pictures on something white."
"That's right," laughed Grandpa. "Now you fly round and write your friends and Grandma and I will get everything ready."
When the young people arrived at half past seven, they found a blazing fire, and in front of it was stretched a sheet between two large apple trees.
Quite a distance in front of the sheet were some seats, where Grandpa told some of the children to sit, while the others took part in the pictures.
He then disappeared with them in a tent close by where Grandma was waiting to dress them in their different costumes. Shouts of laughter came from the tent as the children put on their odd dresses; indeed there was so much fun that it took quite some time.
When all was ready Grandpa came out and addressing the children who were waiting said, "These are to be Mother Goose pictures, which you will all know. You must guess whom they represent and the one who guesses correctly the largest number will receive a prize."
He threw a large pine knot on the fire, which burned up brightly, and there the children saw a shadow on the sheet, a little bent figure with a broom over its shoulder.
"The old woman who swept the cob-webs out of the sky," cried some one.
Following this, came a figure with a long cloak and tall peaked hat, leading a dog.
"Old Mother Hubbard," guessed another.
Then came a boy and a girl carrying a pail.
"Jack and Jill," chorused the children.
After this a girl with a shepherd's crook.
"Little Bo-peep," again was guessed.
"Now," said Grandpa, "it is time the others had their turn at acting."
So the exchange being made, the pictures continued.
"Jack Horner," "Little Miss Muffet," "Old King Cole," and "Mary, who had a little lamb," followed in quick succession.
Then Grandpa announced that the pictures were over.
"As we cannot decide who has guessed the largest number of pictures," said he, "I will give you each a prize." And he passed them each a card.
It proved to be a picture of Ralph and Lucy cut from black paper and pasted on a white card.
"These," said Grandpa, "are silhouette pictures too. Will you always know what a silhouette picture is now?"
"Oh yes," said the children.
THE SNOW BIRDS.
It had snowed very hard. Ralph and Edward, who were visiting Grandma in the country, had to stay in the house all day.
When they went to bed it was still snowing, and every time they woke up during the night, they could hear the wind sighing and whistling around the house, and through he branches of the old pine tres.
But the next morning the sun was shining brightly. Such a glorious day! How the branches of the pine trees did sparkle.
"It looks as if they had been sprinkled with gold dust and diamonds," exclaimed Ralph.
"Oh Grandma! Please do hurry breakfast. We are going out to build a fort," cried the boys, bursting into the dining-room.
Grandma smiled and told them to eat a good breakfast, for building a fort was hard work.
They were soon out in the snow, and what a splendid time they did have.
The fort did not grow very fast, for they had to stop so often to snow-ball each other.
When Grandma called them in to dinner they wondered where the time had gone since breakfast.
After dinner, Ralph was looking out of the window, when he spied two little birds cuddled up on a branch of a pine-tree.
"Oh, Edward! come here," he called. "See those poor little birds. They look half frozen and so hungry."
"Poor little things," replied Edward. "Doesn't it make you feel mean to think what a jolly time we had this morning out of the snow which has covered up the places where they get their food?"
"Let us get some food from Grandma and throw it out to them," said Ralph. "Perhaps they will find it."
The little birds were soon chirpping and flying about merrily and Ralph said it sounded as if they kept saying, "thank you."
Will not other little children be as kind as Ralph and Edward?
A KIND HEART.
The day Ethel Brown was seven years old she had a tea party.
Mrs. Brown had sent tiny cards of invitation to all the little girls on the street to come and bring their dolls. She also sent one to Nellie Day, her washer-woman's little girl, at Ethel's special request.
"She is a nice little girl," said Ethel, "and doesn't ever go anywhere like me. May I have her at my party?"
"That is right, little daughter," said Mrs. Brown. "Always be kind to those who have less pleasure than yourself. Of course she may come to your party."
They all arrived at four o'clock and looked very pretty in their white dresses and bright ribbons, and the dolls looked nearly as pretty as the little girls themselves.
Ethel noticed that Nellie Day did not have a doll with her. "So," thought she, "I will ask her to pour the tea and then she won't feel bad because she hasn't one."
The little girls talked and played games and Ethel's grown up sister played on the piano and then they sang.
"Now," said Mrs. Brown, coming into the room, "if you will choose partners, Florence will play for you and you can march out to tea."
During the confusion Ethel said to her mamma, "I shall ask Nellie to pour the tea because she has not any doll."
"Very well, dear," answered Mrs. Brown.
But when they turned to find her, she was not with the others.
"Where can she be?" exclaimed Ethel.
And then began the search. Tea was delayed and they hunted the house over for her. Finally Mrs. Brown went out on a side porch seldom used, and there she found the little girl.
The child had brought a cushion to sit on, and clasped tightly in her arms were three of Ethel's dolls. Mrs. Brown persuaded her to come in with the promise that she might keep the dolls.
So Ethel rang the bell, and they all marched in to tea again, with Nellie Day leading the line, holding her three dollies.
"Mamma," said Ethel, as the little girls were going home, "may I give Nellie Day the dolls? I have so many and she has not one."
"Yes indeed," replied Mrs. Brown, as she kissed her little daughter. "I am sure it will make her very happy."
And Nellie Day went home that night, the happiest little girl in the town.
I am not a big dog and I don't know very much, but I know more than I used to. The reason why I know more than I used to is because I asked Carlo some questions once. I asked him what made him so gaunt and thin and why he had such an enquiring expression on his face and such a hump on the top of his head. He didn't answer right away, and—I noticed the enquiring expression vanished. He looked quite decided. Then something happened,—I don't know exactly what, but Mary, the cook, told the butler that it made her dizzy just to look on. And then Carlo said:—
"One reason why I am gaunt and thin is because I am not a little up-start of a pug,—of no earthly use under Heaven, and nothing to do but waddle around and accumulate fat.
"The reason I have an enquiring expression on my face is because I am ever on the outlook to anticipate my master's will and do his slightest bidding.
"As for the hump on the top of my head, that is a mark given by the Creator only to dogs that have intellect. Pray that yours may grow!"
That is all he said, but it was enough for one day and has furnished me food for thought ever since.
JUST AS SHE PLEASED.
"Now, children, I am tired of you; I am going down stairs for the rest of the morning," and Polly started to leave the nursery.
"Put your dolls away before you go," said Nurse, "I don't want them left in the middle of the floor."
"I won't. I did not put them there." Polly tossed her head and ran quickly out of the room.
Nurse had baby in her lap and could not run after her.
The little girl went to the kitchen, but cook was cross and said she would not have Polly bothering her.
Then she went to the library hoping to find her Uncle Edward, but he was not there.
She wandered from room to room and could find nothing to amuse her.
She wanted to go back into the nursery, but she had told a lie when she said she had not put the dolls on the floor, and she was afraid to.
She felt lonesome and a few tears ran down her face.
At that moment Uncle Edward entered the room, and, seeing the doleful little face, took her in his arms, tossing her into the air.
As he did so, he knocked over a vase which fell to the floor, broken.
"Oh! see what you have done," cried Polly.
"I don't care. I shall say I didn't do it," replied Uncle Edward.
"Oh! But that would be a lie," said Polly.
"Well, who put the dolls on the nursery floor?"
"Nurse must have told you. But I am sorry," and Polly began to cry again.
"There, there!" said Uncle Edward. "We will go up and tell Nurse we are sorry."
They went up to the nursery but Nurse and baby had gone and the dolls were still on the floor.
Polly wanted to play circus and Uncle Edward made believe he was the elephant and gave the dollies a ride. He kicked so once that black Diana fell off and broke her neck.
After a while Nurse came in with baby and interrupted the frolic.
When Polly told her she was sorry because she had told a lie, Nursie said she would forgive her and Polly promised not to do so again.
THE WORKING TOOLS OF INSECTS.
I wonder if you know that the smallest insects you see about you have tools given them to do their work with. There is a little fly called a saw-fly, because it has a saw to work with. It is really a very much nicer saw than you could make, if you were ever so old.
The fly uses it to make places where the eggs will be safe. What is more strange, it has a sort of homemade glue which fastens them where they are laid.
Some insects have cutting instruments that work just as your scissors do. The poppy-bee is one of them, whose work is wonderful. This bee has a boring tool, too. Its nest is usually made in old wood. This borer cleans out the nest ready for use. When all is ready the insect cuts out pieces of leaves to line the nest and to make the cells. These linings are out in the shape of the cells. You, would be surprised to see the care taken to have every piece of just the right size, so that it will fit. When they are fitted, the pieces are nicely fastened together and put into the nest.