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“A crawfish!" you say, then hurry away. Just stop long enough to hear this crawfish tell its story. Read through in two minutes and decide upon the important points.
“I am a crawfish and you may find me any summer's day by looking under the stones in the bed of the creek. I am not so fierce as I look, although I can pinch your finger and make it bleed.
“What do you say? I look like a lobster! So I do, but then, you see, the lobster is my cousin! and the crab is my second cousin. Near relatives often resemble one another, you know. But the lobsters and my people parted company long ago.
The lobsters live in the sea and we live in fresh water. You are quite right; I am not a fish, although I live in the water and breathe through gills.
"You have a skeleton on the inside of your body, but I carry mine on the outside. It is a very good skeleton, and also serves to protect me from my enemies, like the armor of the warrior knights of old. Inside the skeleton, my body is somewhat like that of an earthworm; but I belong to a much higher order of animals than the earthworm, and my organs and habits are quite different.
“You would never have guessed that the little creature I was at birth would one day be a crawfish. I did not look like a crawfish at all. I had the most comical head and funniest little tail that you can imagine. After a while, I changed my appearance entirely and a shell grew on my body. In a few days I grew tired of the shell, which was too small for me, so I just crawled out of it and within a few days I grew a new skeleton a little more like my present one; but soon I tired of that, too, and cast it off. I changed shells several times, each new one a little larger than the last, before I made the one I am now wearing.
"Oh, yes; I shall discard this one, too, some day. Already I am beginning to feel cramped in it.
"Perhaps you have noticed that I have two big pincer-claws. If one of these should be broken off, I would grow a new one the next time I change my armor. You are surprised at that? If I should lose a leg or an eye, I would grow a new one when I put on a new coat.
"Have you noticed my feelers? Those two, long, whip-like strands extending forward from my head? They are very useful to me. They serve me as whiskers serve a cat. I have four pairs of legs for walking, but I am not a good walker. Sometimes I have to use my arms, or pincers, to help drag my body forward. I can swim with the help of the little paddle-like limbs under my body. My legs are of little use to me in swimming. When I want to get away from an enemy, I fold my tail under my body and poke my big claws into the sand, or mud, and push myself back
"Should you like to learn how I get my food? My favorite method is to lie within the mouth of moly burrow, in the bank of the creek, with just my big claws, feelers, and sharp eyes outside. Then, 'when a bug, insect, or baby fish comes along, one of my big claws darts out and seizes it. If it has bones, or a shell, I crush it with my pincers and then carry it to my mouth with the smaller pincers on my second pair of legs, which I use as you do your
fork. "Now, I must leave you and return to my home in the creek. I like to get on dry land sometimes, for a little while, but I cannot live long out of water.
From Compton's Pictured Encyclopaedia.
Courtesy, F. E. Compton Company.
HELPS TO STUDY
of the phrases states a fact. Which phrases are true?
1. Where do I live? In salt water, in fresh water, under stones in the bed of the creek, on the bank of a river. 2. How do I look? Skeleton outside of my body, skeleton inside of my body, an outer shell like an armor, like an earthworm, no feelers. 3. How do I change my appearance? Size of my shell always the same, lose my comical head and funny tail, grow new legs, new eyes.
THINGS TO DO 1. Secure a crawfish for observation. Note its habits. 2. Use your reference texts to learn more than this story tells.
Other Selections: The Robber Crab, White Shadows of the South Seas, O'BRIEN; The Year Out of Doors, SHARP.
How the fruit industry in California has developed.
Fruit is now the King of California crops. This new industry began to develop when the first railroad from San Francisco to Omaha was completed, in 1869. Within a few years the people of California were sending packages of excellent fruit from their gardens to eastern markets. The fruit sold well and the people of the California Valleys planted more orchards, until, finally, the fruit trade was established. The chief wealth of the state is now neither in flocks and herds, nor in the gold and wheat of former days, but in oranges, lemons, raisins, prunes, pears, plums, apricots, peaches, cherries, and other fruits, and nuts.
California sends out enough oranges to make twelve big train loads a day, for four months of the year, each train having thirty cars. In addition, many thousands of tons of canned fruit, vegetables, and dried fruit are shipped annually from California. Not long ago the people of our eastern cities were buying prunes, raisins, oranges, and lemons from Spain, Italy, and Greece. Now we get what is needed from California, and sometimes there is some left to be exported to Europe. The trees and vines to start these crops were brought from Southern Europe, where the climate is mild and the summers are dry like those of California. Gardeners, familiar with the work, were also brought from Europe.
New crops are constantly being established. A few old trees of olives, almonds, figs, and English walnuts did so well that many more such trees are being planted. The English walnut industry of California has grown very rapidly, and the almond industry is steadily increasing.
Blossom time. Nothing can be more beautiful than these valleys in the spring of the year. The valley is then green with fields of alfalfa, wheat, and barley. On the lower slopes of the mountains the orchards are covered with pink and white blossoms. Their perfume fills the air, and bees and insects buzz and hum as they fly from flower to flower. On the higher slopes flocks of sheep and cattle graze on green, flower-decked pastures. Still higher on the mountains is the darker color of the evergreen forest, reaching upward toward the snow that glistens on the mountain tops. Many travelers visit the Valleys of Central California to enjoy their beauties and to escape the harsher winters of their home states.