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Occurrence, anything that has happened, event.
THE TWO ROBINS.
Many years ago at my country house, I met with the following strange occurrence. Beside the house just opening into a court-yard, is a room provided with two windows, one of which is grated and open, and the other is glass. Through this open window robins and other small birds were in the habit of passing into the room, where they would come for shelter.
At times you might see two robins, one of them being within and the other one without the room, pecking at each other, with the glass window between them, and apparently much amused with their play. One day in the summer time I had occasion to look for something in this room, and, along with one of my sons, I unlocked the door and entered. Two robins which were both within the room being disturbed, flew out through the open window, and then, alighted together on the ground of the court in which we were standing, and at about ten yards from us. They then began a seemingly furious fight with each other, and shortly one of them fell on his back, stretched out his legs, and appeared quite dead.
The other instantly seized him by the back of the head, and dragged him several times round and round in a circle of about eight or ten feet. My son, with a view to stop this cruel sport, was about to spring forward, when I gently stopped him to see what would happen next. Much to my astonishment, after being dragged a few rounds, the fallen and ap-parently dead bird sprang up with a bound, while the other fell in his turn upon his back, and stretched out both legs very cleverly, just as if he were dead. The late seemingly dead robin then seized him by the head, and dragged him a few rounds the same way as he had been dragged. Then they both sprang up and flew away.
I have seen strange sights in my life, in which birds and beasts have been the actors; but none equal to this.
Suppliant, beggar, petitioner. Guile, harm.
Passport, permission to pass, or enter.
Secure his suit, i.e. confident his application will be successful. Stomacher, an ornament or support to the breast, worn by females.
THE WINTER ROBIN.
A Suppliant to your window comes,
Who trusts your faith, and fears no guile,
He claims ad-mittance for your crumbs,
For cold and cheer-less is the day,
No berry hangs upon the spray,
Nor worm nor ant-egg can be found.
Secure his suit will be preferr'd,
No fears his slender feet deter;
That wears the scarlet stom-acher.*
* Charlotte Smith.
Accompany, go along with, attend.
THE DANGEROUS TERRIER.
A Gentleman travelling to London on business was accompanied by a terrier dog. He did not wish to run the risk of losing his dog in the streets of London, so he left it at an inn in St. Albans.
On his way back again, he asked for his dog. The landlord of the inn answered that the dog had gone away. He then gave the gentleman the following account of his dog:—
"Soon after you left, sir, my big watch-dog attacked your little terrier, and bit him severely. The terrier saw he was no match for such a monster, and he disappeared.
"Well, sir, he returned in two days, bringing with him a large, black dog—a. stranger to the place. The injured terrier took his friend straight to the yard, and began yelping and looking fierce at my watch-dog. He of course growled at the little fellow, and then the large black dog sprang upon him, and laid him low in a second, laming him in the left fore-leg.
"After this, the two dogs trotted off, looking much pleased with the issue of the encounter, and they have not been seen since."
The gentleman went on his way home, which was forty or fifty miles distant. There he found the terrier, quite happy and snug; and on enquiry, he was told that on a certain day he had returned and invited the black dog away. They were absent for two days,—on what business you already know.
Tempt, induce, allure. Retreat, hiding-place, seclusion.
Owing to, on account of.
THE LITTLE SPAKKOW.
One evening in the spring, two children were sitting in their nursery, when, feeling cold, they asked the nurse to light the fire. As soon as it was lighted, a young sparrow fell down the chimney and through the bars of the fireplace; and, in so doing burnt off its tail. It then hopped out of the fender, and went under a bed which was near.
Nothing could tempt the little creature to come out of its retreat, and it remained there all night. The next morning, the nurse heard a tapping at the window, and, looking out, she saw two sparrows knocking at the window with their beaks. Thinking they might be the parents of the little captive, she opened the window. Then they both hopped in without showing any signs of fear.
As soon as they had entered, the two sparrows began chirping; and the little one under the bed presently answered them. In this way the three birds talked a while, until the young one hopped out towards the window-sill, the other two sparrows following it.
On this the nurse again opened the window, and the parents contrived to take the little one away with them. This was not an easy thing to do, for, owing to its tail having been burnt off, it was not able to fly well.
How was it that the young sparrow came down the chimney?*
'* Children's Friend.
Do one's utmost, do one's best. Commands, calls, orders. Neighbouring, near. Timely, in time, opportune.
Prey, victim. Fate sealed, doom or death certain.
Victory, success in overcoming, triumph, conquest.
A COURAGEOUS HORSE.
Two men were going across a field attended by a fierce mastiff. The savage dog broke away from them and pounced on a harmless donkey. He seized the poor animal by the throat and dragged him off his feet.
The dog then began to worry the donkey in a way that seemed to give small hopes of his ever being able to rise again. The men did their utmost to call off the dog; but he would give no heed to their commands or their sticks.
Now, a horse in a neighbouring field saw the whole affair, and he apparently made up his mind that, without timely help, the donkey's fate was sealed. At once he bounded over the hedge and made for the spot.
On reaching it, he seized the dog with his teeth and tore him from his prey. He then wheeled