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fell upon him; on which his master had him taken care of, and ever after paid him great regard as the faithful animal which had saved his life.
Moral.—The poorest man may do something to show that he is grateful for the favours of those who support or relieve him. The meanest creature, by being grateful and humble, can obtain the favour and the regard of the Creator.
THE SEASONS, Who is this beautiful virgin that comes near, clothed in a robe of light green? She has a garland of flowers on her head, and flowers spring up wherever she sets her foot. The snow which covered the fields, and the ice which was in the rivers, melt away when she breathes upon them. The young lambs frisk about her, and the birds warble in their little throats to welcome her coming; and when they see her, they begin to choose their mates and build their nests. Youths and maidens, have ye seen this beautiful virgin ? If ye have, tell me who she is, and what is her name.
Who is this that cometh from the south in a light garment ?
Her breath is hot and sultry. She seeks the cool shade to refresh herself, and the clear streams in which to bathe her languid limbs. The brooks and rivers fly from her, and are dried up at her approach. She cools her parched lips with berries and various kinds of fruit—the apple, the pear, the plum, and the cherry. The tanned haymakers welcome her coming, and the sheep-shearer, who clips the fleeces off his flock with his sounding shears. When she cometh, let me lie under the thick shade of a spreading beech tree,-let me walk with her in the early morning, when the dew is yet upon the grass,-let me wander with her in the soft twilight when the shepherd shuts his fold, and the star of evening appears. Who is she that cometh from the south? Youths and maidens, tell me, if ye know; who is she, and what is her name?
Who is he that cometh with sober pace, stealing upon us unawares ? His garments are red with the blood of the grape, and his temples are bound with a sheaf of ripe wheat. His hair is thin, and begins to fall, and the auburn is mixed with mournful grey.
He shakes the brown nuts from the tree. He blows the horn, and calls the hunters to their sport. The gun sounds; the trembling partridge and pheasant flutter, bleeding in the air, and fall dead at the sportsman's feet. Who is he that is crowned with the wheat sheaf? Youths and maidens, tell me, if you know; who is he, and what is his name?
Who is he that cometh from the north, clothed in furs and warm wool ? He wraps his cloak close about him. His head is bald; his beard is made of sharp icicles. He loves the blazing fire piled upon the hearth, and the wine sparkling in the glass. He binds skates to his feet, and
skims over the frozen lakes. His breath is piercing and cold, and no little flower dares peep above the surface of the ground when he is by. If he were to strike you with his cold hand, you would be quite stiff and dead, like a piece of marble. Youths and maidens, do you see him? He is coming fast upon us, and soon he will be here. Tell me, if you know; who is he, and what is his name?
THE FOX AND THE HORSE. A farmer had a horse that had been a good and faithful servant to him, but he was now grown too old to work, so the farmer would give him nothing more to eat, and said, “I want you no longer, so take yourself out of my stable. I shall not take you back again till you are stronger than a lion." Then he opened the door and turned him adrift.
The poor horse was in a very sad plight, and walked up and down in the wood, seeking some shelter from the cold wind and rain. Soon after a fox met him. “What's the matter, my friend ?". said he; "why do you hang down your head, and look so lonely and woe-begone?" *« Ah !" replied the horse, "justice and avarice never dwell in one house; my master forgets all I have done for him for so many years, and because I can no longer work he has turned me adrift, and says unless I become stronger than a lion he will not take me back again. What chance can I have of that ? He knows I have none, or he would not talk to me so."
However, the fox bid him be of good cheer, and said, “I will help you; lie down there, stretch yourself out quite stiff, and pretend to be dead.” The horse did as he was told, and the fox went straight to the lion, who lived in the cave close by, and said to him, “A little way off lies a dead horse; come with me, and you may make a good meal of his carcase."
The lion was greatly pleased, and set off at once; and when they came to the horse, the fox said, “ You will not be able to eat him here with any comfort; I'll tell you what, I will tie you fast to his tail, and then you can draw him to your den and eat him at your leisure.”
This advice pleased the lion, so he laid himself down quietly for the fox to make him fast to the horse. But the fox managed to tie his legs together, and bound him so hard and fast, that with all his strength he could not set himself free. When the work was done, the fox clapped the horse on the shoulder, and said, “Jip! Dobbin ! Jip!” Then up he sprang and moved off
, dragging the lion behind him. The beast began to roar and bellow, till all the birds of the wood flew
for fright; but the horse let him sing on, and made his way quietly over the fields to his master's house.
“Here he is, master," said he, “I have got the better of him.” When the farmer saw his old servant, his heart relented, and he said, “Thou shalt stay in thy stable, and be well taken care of.” And so the poor old horse had plenty to eat, and lived_till he died.
KING JOHN AND THE ABBOT OF
PART 1. An ancient story I'll tell you anon, Of a notable prince that was called King John; And he ruled England with main and with might, For he did great wrong, and maintained little right. And I'll tell you a story, a story so merry, Concerning the Abbot of Canterbury; How, for his housekeeping and high renown, They rode post for him to London town. An hundred men, the king did hear say, The Abbot kept in his house every day; And fifty gold chains, without any doubt, In velvet coats waited the Abbot about. “How now, father Abbot, I hear it of thee Thou keepest a far better house than me; And, for thy housekeeping and high renown, I fear thou work'st treason against my crown.' “My liege," quoth the Abbot, "I would it were
known, I never spend nothing but what is my own; And I trust your grace will do me no deer, For spending of my own true-gotten geer." “Yes, yes,” father Abbot, “ thy fault it is high, And now, for the same, thou needest must die; For, except thou canst answer me questions three, Thy head shall be smitten from thy body.