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And there came the moth, in his plumage of down ; And the hornet, with jacket of yellow and brown; Who with him the wasp, his companion, did bring; But they promised that evening to lay by their sting.
And the sly little dormouse crept out of his hole, And led to the feast his blind brother the mole; And the snail, with his horns peeping out from his
shell, Came from a great distance, the length of an ell.
A mushroom their table, and on it was laid
There, close on his haunches, so solemn and wise,
Then out came the spider, with fingers so fine,
But just in the middle, oh! shocking to tell !
Then the grasshopper came with a jerk and a spring, Very long was his leg, though but short was his wing;
He took but three leaps, and was soon out of sight, Then chirped his own praises the rest of the night.
With step so majestic the snail did advance,
Then as evening gave way to the shadows of night, Their watchman, the glowworm, came out with his
light; Then home let us hasten, while yet we can see, For no watchman is waiting for you and for me.
THE UGLY DUCKLING.
ONE fine summer's day in the country, a duck was sitting in her nest hatching her eggs; but of this important task she was almost tired, for scarcely a friend had paid her a visit. The other ducks were all swimming about in the pond, minding their own business, and did not want to gossip.
At last one egg cracked, then a second, then a third, and so on. “Piep! piep!” went one, “ Piep! piep!” went another, until a dozen had cracked, and the little, downy brood popped their heads out of their narrow, brittle dwelling, as out of a window. “Quack ! quack !” said the mother, as the little ducklings bustled out as fast as they could, looking about them in great wonder. “How big the world is !” said the little ones.
“Do you think that this is the whole world ?” said the mother; “oh, no; it stretches far away beyond the garden. But are you all here?" continued she, with true motherly care. “No, they are not all hatched yet,” added she ; "the biggest egg lies there still ! How long will this last ? I begin really to be quite tired.”
However, she sat down on the nest again.
"Well, how are you to-day ?” quacked a fussy old duck, who came to pay her respects.
"Oh, there is no end to hatching this one egg, grumbled the mother; "the shell must be too hard for the duckling to break. But now you shall see the others. There is my pretty little family !"
“Show me the egg that will not break," chimed in the old duck; “it's a turkey's egg, I'll be bound. The same thing happened to me once, and I had a precious trouble with it, let me tell you. Yes, I am quite right, it is a turkey's egg! So get off your nest, and mind the others, as soon as you like." “I shall sit a little longer," said the mother.
Oh, very well! that's none of my business,” said the old duck, rising to leave ; “but take my word for it, the changeling will be a fine trouble to you."
At last the great egg cracked. “Piep! piep!” cried the little terrified new comer, as he broke through the shell. Oh, how big and how ugly he was !
The mother scarcely dared to look at him ; she knew not what to think of him. At last she exclaimed, in a puzzled tone, “ This is certainly a curious young drake.
turn out to be a
turkey, but we shall give him a fair trial. Into the water he must go, even should I be obliged to push him in."
The next day was very beautiful, and the sun shone delightfully on the green fields. The mother duck left home, her whole family waddling about her. Splash, she went into the water. Quack ! quack !” she exclaimed, and one duck after the other followed her example; not one remained behind, — even the ugly gray last-born swam merrily about with the rest.
“He is no turkey, after all, and will not disgrace my family," said the old duck. Really, if one examines him closely, he is good-looking enough, after all. Quack! quack! now come all with me, and I will show you the world, and introduce you to the farm-yard,
They soon reached the yard; but the other ducks viewed them with a sneering air, saying, “Here comes another brood, as if we were not plenty enough already. But see, what a fright that duckling is; he is not to be suffered
us.” At these words an impudent drake bit the poor duckling in the neck.
“Leave him alone,” exclaimed his mother; "he doesn't harm any one.”
"Perhaps not,” replied the offending drake ; " but he is much too big for his age, and a beating will do him good.”
The mother smoothed his ruffled feathers, but the poor, ugly-looking duckling was pecked at, pushed, and made fun of by both ducks and chickens. So the poor thing, knowing not where to stand or where to go, was quite cast down.
Thus the first day passed ;. but every succeeding one was more and more full of trouble and annoy
The duckling was hunted by all like a wild animal; even his brothers and sisters behaved very badly to bim—the hens pecked him, and the girl who fed the fowls pushed him roughly away.
Then he ran and flew over the palings, and away across the fields, until he at last alighted on a hedge. The little singing-birds in the bushes flew away in dismay. “ That is because I am so ugly,” thought the young duckling, shutting his eyes. Nevertheless he continued his flight onwards till he reached a large inarsh, where wild ducks had flocked together. There he remained the whole night, sorrowful and tired to death. Early in the morning the wild ducks noticed their new comrade.
“You are ugly enough, certainly,” said they ; “ but that is no matter, if you do not marry into our family."
The poor outcast was safe enough on that score; he only wanted to be let alone,—that was all.
Bang, bang,” sounded at this moment over them, and the spokesman lay dead on the water. bang,” it went again, and whole flocks of wild geese rose out of the reeds.
The sportsman beat about the marsh on all sides, and the dog dashed through the thick reeds.
It was a terrible fright for the poor ugly duckling when the fearful dog opened his jaws and showed his teeth ; but, splash, splash, he darted off, without troubling himself about the little duckling, who