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A LITTLE BOY FINDS AeNEST.
A Boy was once going home from school through the -woods. It was early in the season of spring, and nothing green was to be seen save the moss about the roots of the trees.
The school-boy saw a tree lying on the ground, he took it into his head to make a whistle out of one of the twigs. So up he went, laid down his satchel of books, and took out his knife. But while he was looking about, he spied a hole in the trunk of the tree.
To be sure he must needs go up and peep into it. "When he did so, what did he see? He saw something moving, so he guessed he had found a nest of young squirrels. The little boy took them out and put them in his cap to carry them home. But he had a kind feeling heart under his jacket—this little boy; so the kind heart whispered to him, "Don't! for when the mother comes home, she will be vexed. She will run about and cry all night. It will break her little heart."
Then the little boy looked at his prize. There were four nice little fellows, and their eyes were just opening. 0, such nice pets they would make for him and his sisters. What a fuss of delight there would be when he brought them home! Well, the little boy did not know what to do, so he sat down to think.
WHAT THE LITTLE BOY DOES WITH THE NEST
Well, there sits the little boy thinking, thinking, ivould he take home the little squirrels or should he not. And while he sits he sees the mother squirrel coming gaily along, and she is carrying some nuts in her mouth. She is coming quickly because she is in a great hurry to see her children, and to give them their dinner.
Now, the tree, in which her home was, had been just cut down; so the squirrel, when she came near, stopped all of a sudden. She dropped her nuts and looked round in wonder. Then she moved about carefully, smelling and sniffing at everything. Next she climbed the stump, and looked about, as much as to say, " Here for certain was the very place; but where is .the tree?"
The little boy sat very still watching the poor squirrel, and he had already made up his mind not to rob her of her children. She stood erect on her hind legs on the stump of the tree, and sniffed about her, and then she sprang down and ran along the trunk. At last she found the hole, but out she came in a moment, looking much exxited. Where were her dear pets? Ah! she spied them at last in the boy's cap on the ground.
The joyful mother stayed with her pets long enough to bid them be of good cheer. Then away she scampered as if she had something more to do. The boy was curious to see what that was, so he followed her. She searched about among the old trees, and at length she seemed content. For she had found another hole to put her young ones in.
She came back, and taking one in her mouth, made haste to the new home. And she returned for the rest, one after another, in the same way.
Every now and then, the little boy used to go to that tree and see his little friends skipping about and enjoying themselves in their own pretty way. And he was happy that he had obeyed the whisperings of his heart and let the little things be.
See, mamma, what a sweet little prize I have found!
church yourself asked continued
altar herself invited consented
THE SLY CAT AND THE SIMPLE MOUSE. A Cat struck up a friendship with a Mouse, and they agreed to keep house together. The Cat said, "We must think beforehand for the winter, or we shall starve. Then you, Mousey, will be going too far, and so find yourself in a trap."
The good ad'vice was followed, and a jar full of fat was got. But they could not tell where to put it for safe'ty.
By-and-bye, the cat said, "I know no better place than the church. No one would dare to take anything away from the church. We will place it under the altar, and not touch it until we are forced to do so."
Well, the jar was safely put by under the altar at the church, but it was not long before the Cat longed to taste the nice fat. So she said one day to the mouse, " Mousey, I am asked to be god-mother to my cousin's child. She has just had a little son,—white with brown spots. I cannot refuse her this favor. Let me go out, while you take care of the house by yourself to-day." "Oh yes!" replied the Mouse, "by all means. Think of me at the feast, Miss Pussy. I should much like a drop of nice red wine myself."
But the Cat had not spoken the truth. She had no cousin, and was not asked to be godmother. She went straight to the church, slipped quietly to the jar, and began to lick. Having licked the top off, she took a walk in the city, upon the roofs of the houses.
Stretch-ing herself in the sun, she licked her lips as often as she thought of the jar of fat. In the evening, she returned home, and was kindly greeted by the Mouse.
"Well, I am glad to see you again," said she; "you have doubtless had a merry day." "Yes," replied the Cat. "What is the child's name?" continued the Mouse. "Top-off," said the Cat. "Top-off!" ex-claimed the Mouse—"what an odd name!" "Not more odd than 'Steal-Crumb,' as your god'mother is called," replied puss.
Not long after this, the Cat felt a wish to pay another visit to the church. So she said to the Mouse, "You will again be so kind as to take care of the house alone. I am once more in'vited to be godmother: and as the child has a white ring round her neck, I cannot refuse."
The good little Mouse con-sented. The cat slipped into the church, and licked up half the contents of the jar. "Nothing is so good," said she, "as what one eats by oneself." And she felt quite pleased with her day's work.
When she returned home, the mouse asked the name of the child, "Half-gone," said the Cat. "I never heard the name before," said the mouse; "Don't you think it rather odd yourself?" But Miss Pussy only drew herself up proudly and said nothing.
The Cat's mouth soon watered for another lick at the jar. "All good things come by threes," said she to the Mouse, "Let me go out again and stand godmother, the child is quite black—only her paws are white. Such a thing does not often happen— Please let me go!"
"Top-off, Half-gone!" cried the Mouse, "they are such queer names, I cannot help thinking of them." "Oh!" said the Cat, "you sit at home in your dark grey coat, and your long hairy tail, and nurse fancies, as all people do who stop at home for days together." And off she trotted in a rage.
While the good little Mouse swept up the house, and put it in order, the greedy Cat was away licking the jar empty. "When all is gone," said she, "then one has peace." So she returned home content and sleek at night-fall.
The Mouse presently asked the name of the third child. "This will not please you more than the others," said the Cat, "it is called Quite-gone." "Quite-gone!" cried the Mouse, "What a name! I am sure I never heard it before. Quite-gone, what can it mean?" She shook her tiny head, rolled herself up, and went to sleep.