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small bell was tied about the prisoner's neck, and he was then turned loose again.
Overjoyed at being free, the rat ran into the nearest hole, and went in search of his conrpan'ions. They heard the bell tinkle, tinkle, through the dark passages. Thinking some enemy had got among them, away they scampered, some one way and some another.
The bell-bearer followed. Wherever he approached, it was all hurry-scurry, and not a tail was to be seen. He chased his old friends from hole to hole, and room to room, laughing all the while at their fears.
Presently he had the whole house to himself. "That's right," quoth he, "the fewer, the better cheer." So he rioted alone among the good things, and stuffed himself till he could hardly walk.
For two or three days this went on very pleasantly. He ate and ate, while he lost his friends. At length he grew tired of this loneliness, and longed to mix with luj companions again upon the former footing. TM
But the difficulty was, how to get rid of his bell. He pulled and tugged with his fore-feet, and almost wore the skin off his neck, but all in vain.
The bell was now his plague and torment. He wandered from room to room after his companions, but they all kept out of his reach. At last, as he was moping about, he fell in puss's way, and was dead in a moment.*
* Evenings at Home.
devoured followed stepmother inclination condemned retired adopted bustling
THE GUINEA HEN AND HER FOSTER CHILDREN.
One day a hawk pounced upon and devoured one of my ducks, which left a numerous family to mourn her loss. A curious stepmother took them in hand, however. A Guinea-fowl, whose mate had suffered death for killing young poultry, took pity on the orphan ducklings, and led them about. She tended them with as much or more care than their dead parent did.
It was a strange sight to see a Guinea-fowl walking about, followed by a brood of young ducks*
She never left them for a moment, except when she went to her nest to lay. Even then, if the ducks gave a cry on the approach of dogs or children, their stepmother came flying over the bushes in a most furious hurry.
Indeed, she became quite the terror of the children, running after them and.i pecking their legs if they came too near her foster brood. But at other times she was rather a wild and shy bird.
The ducks had a habit of hunting for worms in the dusk of the evening, and the poor Guineahen, much against her will, always went with them. When tired out, she used to fly up to roost. But she always kept her eye on the young ducks, and, on the least alarm, came bustling down to protect them at any hour of the day or night.
THE HEN AND HER DUCKS.
There was a little hen,
Very small and thick,
Never had a chick.
She hegan to scratch,
Some young ones to hatch. The farmer heard her cluck,
And he thought it best
Into Biddy's nest.
With a pretty young brood,
She never understood. Proud was the little Biddy,
When she called " Chuck! chuck!" She did not know, the niddy,
A chicken from a duck.
The ducks waddled in,
And make a loud din.
What frightened their mother;
And make such a pother. For they liked it right well
To splash in the waters, While the hen could not tell
What on earth ailed her daughters. So she spread out her wings,
And went screaming about, Till the fat little things
Had all paddled out.*
* Lydia Child.'
lion panther cameleopard hip'pcrpotamus tiger leopard dromedary rhin'oceros hyena camel elephant zoological
A VISIT TO THE ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS.
Martha, who went to take care of the children, had never been at the Zoological Gardens. So Herbert had a great deal to do before they got there. He had to explain to her what she had to see.
He told her, that long and long before she got to the gardens, miles off almost, she would hear the wild beasts roaring. As they walked through the Regent's Park, he kept list'ning for the roar of the lion. Every now and then he stopped, and said he was sure he heard it. Meggy had never been there any more than Martha, and she of course was filled with awe.
At last they were within sight of the Gardens, and then, all at once, the sound so long listened for was heard. The lion did roar, and something presently yelled—it must have been the hyena. Then a wild ass sent forth a horrid, trumpeting cry, and the lion roared again, and Herbert was dancing with joy. Meggy clung to her sister in terror, and Herbert laughed and put his arm round her, and stood like a champion. He said, in his fondest voice, "Don't be afraid, Hexey, no wild beast can get loose, and they are only glad that we have come, that's all."
To Herbert's great joy, Martha declared, "That though they had not heard it 'miles off,' yet that the lion's roar was a deal grander than she expected; and that the lion must be a terrible beast to have such a voice."
Though Herbert had been such a little boy when he had been there before, yet he seemed to remember all about the Gardens. So his sister Mary said that he should guide them, and take them just where he liked; and that made him very happy.
One thing, however, quite troubled him. His sister Mary had told him about the great sun-bear which she had seen when she was there last, how big, and silly, and sad it looked, with its strange, pale, sea-green eyes. Herbert had not seen the sun-bear; so he was bent on seeing it. His sister said she would show it to him, but when they reached the den of the sun-bear it was no longer there; another animal, quite a different one, was living there. Herbert grew quite sad:—was the sun-bear ill, or dead, or had it merely changed its lodgings? His sister gave him the hope that they might yet see it. They went on. They saw the lion who had roared so grandly, and the tigers, and all their relations, the leopards, and panthers, and cougars. Then they saw the brown bears, and fed them with buns, and saw them climb up the poles, and then come down again, and all this was very funny; but still they did not see the sun-bear.
They had great fun among the monkeys, some of whom cracked nuts; others swung and leapt about and played all sorts of pranks. But most of all were they delighted with an old. grave mother monkey nursing her little child. She was so odd and looked so serious, the only wonder was, that she did not burst out laughing. Then, after she had tossed about, and hugged, and cuffed her little one, she made it cling to her neck with its funny little black arms, and she began catering,, and frisking, and flinging herself from one side of the cage to the other. All the time the little baby-monkey clung to her neck and looked as if he were glued to her. They saw the eagles, and all those noble birds, standing gravely on their perches, and looking round them as if they were