A Monthly Magazine
FOR YOUNGEST READERS.
VOLUME XXIII.—No. 3.
PAGE In the Swing 67 How My Boys Helped Their Mother 69 "Stop That Quarrelling." 71 A Letter from Calcutta 73 Prairie Dogs 75 The Catbird 79 How to Draw a Cat 80 Playing Cook 81 How a Boy Caught a Fish with His Nose 82 An Old Fable 83 Our Fly 84 Grandpa's Watch 85 Helen's Bird 87 The Geese and the Hawk 90 Mabel's Secrets 91 The Snow Country 94
PAGE Nobody's Dog 66 The New Moon 68 The Girl Who is Always Good 72 The Street-Player 77 Three Little Chicks Born in a Shoe 89 The Little Student 93 The Froggie's Party (with music) 96
NLY a dirty black-and-white dog! You can see him any day, Trotting meekly from street to street: He almost seems to say, As he looks in your face with wistful eyes, "I don't mean to be in your way."
His tail hangs drooping between his legs; His body is thin and spare: How he envies the sleek and well-fed dogs, That thrive on their masters' care! And he wonders what they must think of him, And grieves at his own hard fare.
Sometimes he sees a friendly face,— A face that he seems to know; And thinks it may be the master That he lost so long ago; And even dares to follow him home, For he loved his master so!
Poor Jack! He's only mistaken again, And stoned and driven back; But he's used to disappointments now, And takes up his beaten track; Nobody's dog, for whom nobody cares,— Poor unfortunate Jack!
FRED B. KING.
IN THE SWING.
THE swing was hung from an old oak-tree in grandmother's grove. There Mabel and I used to go every fine summer morning before breakfast, and swing for five minutes. We did not swing longer than that because too much of this kind of exercise is not healthy.
Once, when I had swung her very high, Mabel had a fall, but it did not hurt her, for she fell among some tufts of soft grass; but, if her head had struck a stone, it might have done her great harm. After that we were both more careful.
Five years have gone by since those days. We both go to school, and I do not think you would know us, from the likenesses in the picture. But next summer we hope to visit grandmother once more, and we shall revive old times in the swing under the old oak-tree.
The sly squirrels will come out and look at us; the birds will twitter, and try to make us think that they have no nests in the trees and bushes thereabouts: but we shall say, "We shall do you no harm, birds, squirrels, beetles—no harm—for we love you all! So play on, and please let us play too."
THE NEW MOON.
PRETTY new moon, white new moon, What do you bring in your horn? Silver light to paint black night As fair as the early dawn?
Sweet new moon, pretty new moon, Where did you harvest your rays? In the deeps of dark were you but a spark Till the sun shone along your ways?
Fair new moon, kind new moon, Will my wish come true some day, When you're but a ghost of yourself, at the most, And your glory passes away?
MARY N. PRESCOTT.
HOW MY BOYS HELPED THEIR MOTHER.
WHEN we first came here to live, the lot next to ours was vacant; but afterwards a house was built on it, and the boys were very much interested in the progress of the building. Often, when obliged to stay in doors, they would sit by the window, watching the work on the "new house," as they called it.
Mr. Little, the owner of the house, was an old acquaintance of ours, and very fond of children. So occasionally, when he came to oversee the work, I would allow the boys to go up and see him; and he would give them a few nails, or some blocks to play with.
One day, Mr. Little called their attention to the wood which the carpenters had thrown aside as rubbish, and told them he was going to pick up some of it, and send it home to burn; "and now, boys," said Mr. Little, "if you would like to help your mother, here is a chance to get her some kindling-wood. You may come every day, and get all you can carry home."
They came home delighted with the plan; and the next morning, as soon as breakfast was done, they were ready to begin their work. The two oldest boys took their wheelbarrows, and the youngest one his cart, and off they started. I could see them from my window, working very diligently, and they soon came back, each with a good-sized load.
They knocked at the back-door, and asked me where I would have my wood put. I told them they could put it in the cellar, and opened the outside cellar-door for them. Each one threw out his load, and started for another; and so they kept at work nearly the whole forenoon.
They continued to work in this way for a week, sometimes getting one load a day, and sometimes four or five; and every night, when their papa came home, they invited him down cellar to see how much wood they had.
In a little room back of the parlor, there was an old-fashioned fireplace, in which, when the evenings began to grow cool, papa would build up a nice fire, just after supper. Then he would sit down in the firelight with the boys, and tell them stories till their bed-time, greatly to their delight.
So you see they had a reward for their labor, besides having the satisfaction of knowing that they helped their mother.
"STOP THAT QUARRELLING."
IN England recently, a curious incident of geese-life was witnessed. A number of very fine geese, belonging to a Mr. Woodford were having their morning ramble, when suddenly a strange noise was heard.
Two of the geese had begun quarrelling, probably over some choice morsel of food. They fought each other furiously, when they were suddenly stopped in a way that caused no little surprise to the beholders.
An old goose came flying across the road, and cackling in tones that must have meant, "Stop that quarrelling!" for they seemed to be well understood by the combatants. Having chided them well, the old goose proceeded to punish them.
Instantly the quarrelsome geese obeyed the command of the old goose; and the whole flock, that had been witnesses of the fight, began to gobble their approval of the peace that had been brought about. How much wiser they were than some bad boys, who like to see a fight, and do not try to stop it!
THE GIRL WHO IS ALWAYS GOOD.
SHE never sighs; She never grumbles; She never cries When down she tumbles.
She never soils Her pretty dresses; She never spoils Her silken tresses.
With cap on head, And wee hands folded, She's put to bed, And never scolded.
Oh, she's a pearl! No mischief scheming; There's such a girl,— Don't think I'm dreaming.
But not to tell Her name were folly: You know her well, For she's your Dolly!
A LETTER FROM CALCUTTA.
Dear "Nursery,"—Way out here, a long distance from my real home, which is not far from Boston, my grandmamma sends you; and I am so fond of hearing the stories read, that I think some of your children would like to read a story about this country.
There are many things here which would be new and strange to most of them; but few things are more funny than the crows playing their pranks. The crows are very like those at home, except that these little fellows have slate-colored necks, and are much more bold.
If a window or door is left open, it will not be a minute before one or more crows will arrive and look about in search of food. If you chance to leave any thing about that is eatable, it is seized and carried off in an instant.
There is a great park here, known as the Maidan, where dogs run with bones to pick; and this habit of the dogs suits the crows perfectly, for they always try to get away the bones, and often succeed too. This is the way they usually go to work. The first crow that sees a dog with a bone calls all his friends, and off they fly to where the dog is. There they alight, and stand around him.
Then they talk to one another. Perhaps one says, in crow language, "This is an ugly cur;" another says, "He has crooked legs;" another, "His tail is cut off;" and so they keep talking until the dog gets angry, and with a snap and a bark, tries to drive them away. This only makes them laugh; and they begin again to torment the dog by talking, and even by jumping upon his back, and pulling his tail.
Now, no dog of any spirit will stand this insult. So he springs up in a rage, to punish the saucy birds. That is precisely what the crows want; for, as soon as he turns his head around to bite one crow, another darts down, seizes the bone, and carries it away. Then how they do laugh at the poor dog! and isn't he angry!
We have also a bird commonly called a "kite," but often called the "Indian swallow," as it sails about in the air just as our home swallows do. It does not seize its food with its bill, as the crow does, but with its claws or talons, and eats as it flies. Now, the crow can't help tormenting something; and the kite often gets his share of their attention.
I have seen crows sit on a fence on both sides of a kite, and provoke him by their talk, just as one boy often provokes another by saying saucy little things. At first the kite pretends not to care; but very soon his feathers ruffle, and he flies at a crow, as if to tear him in pieces. The crow is quick and darts away, but returns just as soon as the kite flies at another crow. And in this way the crows amuse themselves for a long time.
It is believed here that crows hold meetings, and decide upon the punishment due to other crows that have been bad; for they have often been seen to gather in large numbers, and, after chattering like magpies for a time, take one of their number, and peck him severely, sometimes even killing him.
Good-by, dear old "Nursery." Your little friend,
LEON K. DAVIS.
HOW many of the bright-eyed boys and girls who read "The Nursery," or hear it read, month after month, ever saw a prairie-dog village? Ah! I see several little hands up. "The Nursery" has many readers in Western Kansas; and there is the very place where prairie-dog villages are found.
I will tell you about my first visit to one of them. As we were riding over the beautiful green prairie, we came to a place dotted here and there with hillocks about a foot high, and on each sat a funny little yellow dog.
These little hills, which have a hole in the top for a door, are the houses of the prairie-dogs. They would let us come quite close to them, when, with a comical squeak, intended, I suppose, for a bark, down they would go, head first, into the holes, giving their tails a "good-by" shake.
The noise they make sounds exactly like the noise made by toy-animals when you press them in your hands. Fifty prairie-dogs all barking together could not be heard very far.
On a number of the hills sat solemn old owls, trying to look very wise. Most of these owls sat perfectly still as we drove by; but I saw two or three fly slowly away, as if half asleep. I wonder if these sober old birds teach the little prairie-dogs any of their wisdom.
All the prairies in this part of Kansas are covered with a short, thick grass, called "buffalo-grass," and the dogs live on its roots. These roots are little bulbs, and make nice rich food for the funny little fellows.
A gentleman who has lived here for many years tells me that all their houses are connected underground by halls or passages, so that they can travel a mile or so without coming to the top of the ground.
Wherever you see a prairie-dog village, there you will find good water by digging a few feet. Sometimes boys capture these queer little dogs, and they become quite tame and make cunning pets.
MARY MAXWELL RYAN.
UNDER my window I hear a sound, The scrape of a fiddle, the clatter of feet; And a curious crowd of boys and men Has gathered there in the street.
And in their midst is a little child, With ragged shoes and a brimless hat, Not bigger than Hop-O'-my-Thumb, at most, And wan and thin at that.
I see his fingers like little claws, His berry-brown eyes, and wistful smile, As he plies the bow of his fiddle fast, And tries to sing meanwhile.
And when his shrill brief song is done, He plucks the hat from his curly head, And begs a penny from every one, Though not a word is said.
Just fit for a mother's arms to fold, Yet here alone in the heat and dust, Doing his poor, tired, baby best To earn for himself a crust.
He looks like Teddy, for all the world; Just such a tanned and rosy skin; Only he lacks the apple cheeks, The dimples, and double-chin.
And I think if Teddy were motherless, And had to wander from place to place, How quickly the twinkle would leave his eye, And the dimples leave his face.
So, Teddy, open the little bank, And give him the pennies kept for toys, And under my window let me see Two little nut-brown boys!
MRS. CLARA DOTY BATES.
THE catbird belongs to the family of thrushes, and is one of the most peculiar of our American birds. It is dark colored, with brown head and neck, and greenish-black tail. The bird is fond of society, and usually builds its nest near the dwellings of men, rather than in the quiet of the forest.
Its voice, when angry or disturbed, is harsh and shrill, but at other times, soft and sweet. It has also a cry like the mewing of a cat, from which it derives its name. It is very courageous, and will defend its young until it falls exhausted.
The catbird can be tamed, but is as mischievous as a young monkey,—meddlesome, full of curiosity, and so jealous, that it will drive any other pet bird out of the house. It dislikes to be caged, preferring the freedom of the room, so that it may look in the looking-glass, take pins off from the cushion, or perch on the plants in the window.
When Ellen makes up dough for bread, A roll like this you see.
One turnover she puts on top, Because it pleases me.
Now when I saw Miss Pussy's back As she lay upon the mat, I thought of Ellen's bread and pie It surely looks like that, So adding ears and tail I had, The rear view of my cat.
JENNY was at her little table, making a pudding for her doll's dinner, when brother Albert came in with Snap the dog, and said, "Let me be the cook, sister: I know how to make a pudding. First I will break these three eggs into the dish."
"But I can see no eggs," said Jenny.
"Look sharp," said Albert, going through the motion of breaking an egg. "Good and fresh."
"I see no eggs," said Jenny.
"You must be losing your eyesight," said the cook, taking a spoon. "Now, then, I will stir up the eggs; and now I will put in a little flour; and now I will grate in some nutmeg."
"I think you had better put in some milk," said Jenny.
"Of course, I shall," replied the cook. "Where's the basin of milk?"
"You will find it on the floor," said Jenny.
Albert looked, and cried out, "Go away, Snap!—See, Jenny, that greedy dog has lapped up all the milk!"
"No matter," said Jenny. "You can get some more where you got the eggs."
So Albert seized the little pitcher, went through the motion of emptying it, stirred the pudding once more, and then placed it on the little doll-stove.
"Oh, what a fine cook you are!" said Jenny. "But, when I am very hungry, I think I shall not come to you for my dinner."
HOW A BOY CAUGHT A FISH WITH HIS NOSE.
A FEW years ago, a little boy was out fishing with his mother, on Crooked Lake, in the western part of New York; or perhaps I should say, she was fishing, and he was looking over the side of the boat. He could see the fish darting about here and there, and liked to watch them, and he put his face as close down to the water as he could to see them more plainly.
A big trout came along, and saw something smooth and round and white close to the top of the water. It was the boy's nose. The trout was hungry, and I suppose he thought it was a piece of meat, or something else good to eat: so he gave a spring out of the lake, and caught fast hold of it with his teeth.
Very much startled, the boy jerked his head back suddenly, and landed Mr. Trout in the boat. He was a fine large fellow, and weighed several pounds. I hope he did not bite off the end of the boy's nose. I wonder if the boy would like to try to catch another trout in the same way.
Everybody thought this so funny, that the boy became, for a while, quite famous, and had his photograph taken, with the mark of the bite on his nose. This may seem a very tough story, but it is true. The thing took place only a few miles from where I live.
AN OLD FABLE.
AN ass, having put on a lion's skin, roamed about in the forest, and amused himself by frightening all the animals he met with in his wanderings. At last he met a fox, and tried to frighten him also; but the fox no sooner heard the sound of his voice than he exclaimed, "I might have been afraid, if I had not heard you bray."
This fable was written by AEsop, a famous Grecian who lived nearly three thousand years ago.
A fable is a fictitious story designed to enforce some useful lesson or moral. See if you can tell the moral of this one.
I WANT to tell "The Nursery" readers about a fly who has lived in my mamma's room all winter. At night he hides away in some warm place; but, when the sun shines, he flies all about the room, and acts as if he were very happy.
When my mamma was sick, he used to fly about her, and make a great buzzing; and, when the girl brought up her dinner, he would crawl about the tray as if he were hungry. Mamma would give him some sugar, which he liked very much.
We missed him once for a whole week. We looked all over the room, but could not find him anywhere. At last, one day, we saw him on the window trying to fly, and what do you think? The poor fellow had lost one of his wings. Mamma said that he must have flown into the gas-light, and got burnt. She gave him some sugar, and he seemed to feel better for eating it.
I watched him a long time, and when he had eaten enough he crawled on to my hand. I took him off, and put him on the window again; but he kept coming back to my hand, and I think, if he could have spoken, he would have said, "Thank you, little girl, for my nice dinner."
I will tell you more about him some time.
GEORGE is never so happy as when he is on grandpa's knee; and the first thing that grandpa has to do, when little George is seated there, is to pull out his watch.
"Watch, watch!" cries little George; and grandpa takes it out, opens it, and lets him see all the queer little wheels and the bright works, that shine and glitter so, and keep up the quick movements, and make the watch say, "Tick, tick!"
Grandpa and George are good friends, because grandpa tries to explain things to him. One day he brought home a watch and gave it to the little boy for his own, and showed him how to wind it up, and make it tick.
George is very proud of it, and will soon learn to tell the time of day. He knows now how to count ten.
A. B. C.
WHEN Helen was eight years old, a pretty little canary-bird was given to her as a birthday present. She named it "Chirp;" and she and Chirp soon got to be very fond of each other.
Helen took the whole care of him; and he grew so tame that he would perch on her hand, and take seeds from her finger, and even from her lips. He was a fine singer, and Helen liked to be waked in the morning by his music.
His cage was placed on her table near her bed, and she always began the day by having a little talk with Chirp. There was not the least risk in opening the cage, and letting him out into the room; for he would fly to Helen as soon as she called him.
So for years the little bird and the little girl lived happily together. One November day, when Helen was almost eleven years old, she had been out making a call, and, on her return, Chirp was missing. Helen saw that a window had been left open, and knew that he must have flown out.
"Oh, dear!" said she, in great distress, "my poor little Chirp is gone, and I shall never see him again."
Her mother tried to comfort her by saying that he had not been gone long, and could not be far away. "But," said Helen, "it is cold weather, and is snowing too, and he must be chilled to death."
However, without wasting time in talk, she snatched up a handful of canary-seed, and ran out of doors at once in search of her little pet. She looked up into the vine that grew on the side of the house, and called, "Chirp, Chirp!"
She could see nothing of him; but Chirp saw her, and in a moment came fluttering down among the snowflakes, and perched upon her hand. Oh, how delighted Helen was to see him! The first thing she did was to give him some seeds to eat; for she knew he must be half starved.
"You dear little venturesome thing," she said. "You wanted to see the world, didn't you? But why couldn't you wait for warmer weather? You have given me a dreadful fright. Come into the house now and be contented, and next summer you shall go out with me."
THREE LITTLE CHICKS BORN IN A SHOE.
THREE little chickens, Born in a shoe, When the freshet came, Didn't know what to do: One went on deck, Just to watch the weather, While down below The others sat together.
"Oh, what shall we do! Mother is not here: Captain there on deck! Oh, what cheer? what cheer?" "Water everywhere, Far as I can see! But the wind is fair; Let us easy be."
"Oh, we want our mother," Cried the other two: "Stop that!" said the captain,— Captain of the shoe: "We are lucky chickens In our little boat; Water-tight it is, And it keeps afloat.
"I hear mother calling From the barn-yard wall: Courage, little sisters! Don't you hear her call?" Yes, they heard it plainly; Oh, how glad they were! "Now blow fair, thou gentle wind, Bear us all to her!"
And the wind kept blowing, Fair and fair it blew, Bearing to the barn-yard wall All that little crew. When their mother saw them, She flew down apace; On her back she bore them To a nice dry place.
THE GEESE AND THE HAWK.
ONE day in May as Charles walked through the fields, he saw a large hawk hovering in the air, and heard a noise as of geese cackling. Soon an old mother-goose with a troop of little ones came running towards him.
She knew that Charles would protect her and her fledglings from the cruel hawk; and she was not mistaken. He took up a stick, and, looking up at the hawk, said, "Now come on if you dare, you old thief!"
The hawk made a swoop down to the top of a tree near by, caught sight of the goslings, and would, no doubt, have liked to clutch one of them, and carry it off; but the robber-bird was not quite bold enough to do this while Charles stood by.
At last the hawk flew off out of sight, and Charles called his good dog Fido, and pointed at the geese, and said, "Take care of them, sir." So Fido sat down near by, and watched the geese. I think if the hawk had come then, Fido would have been more than a match for him.
AND what were her secrets? She was one of the children allowed to make Christmas-gifts to their friends.
But it was hard for Mabel to keep her secrets. When her papa came home at night, she always climbed upon his knee to tell him every thing that had happened in her little world during the day; and her papa always listened to her prattle with a great deal of interest.
Now, that there was something she must not tell, Mabel could think of nothing else. She climbed upon his knee, and sat so silent, that her papa said, "Well, puss, have you nothing to tell papa to-night?"
"Oh, I mustn't tell you my secrets, papa," said wise little Mabel: "I've lots of 'em, and one is for you; and, if I tell, you will know all about it."
Now that the ice was broken, Mabel chatted on, innocently thinking that her secrets were safe in her wise little head. "Mamma knows," she continued; "but you mustn't know; and we are going to have a Christmas-tree to put 'em on, and everybody will be so sprised."
Sure enough, when Christmas Eve came, every one was surprised, but, most of all, little Mabel; for a beautiful doll and many other pretty things hung upon the tree for her. "Why, mamma," she exclaimed, "somebody else must have had secrets too!"
M. B. L.
THE LITTLE STUDENT.
IN the sun by the wall, with Lion close by, With her book in her hand, little Ruth you may spy: She is getting her lesson as fast as she can, While the birds sing their song and the soft breezes fan.
See, that is her slate lying there on the ground: She can make a square figure, and then make a round; She can add up a sum, if it's not very big; But she cannot yet draw me a cat or a pig.
But she tries to learn something, though little it be, Each day of her life,—something useful, you see: And in two or three years you will find she can spell, Read, cipher, and write, and do it all well.
"WHAT a funny looking man!" cried Harry, running to me with his book open, to show me a picture. "Where does he live, aunty? and why does he wear such clothes?"
"He is an Esquimau, and lives in the snow-country, and his clothes are made of fur."
"Tell me about the snow-country, aunty."
"Up in the far north, near the north pole, it is winter all the time. There the snow is always on the ground; and instead of having, as we do, many days and nights, they have only one day and one night in all the year.
"You will wonder if the people sleep all through the long night, and if they do not get tired of the long day. No; for they go to bed and get up about as often as we do.
"During the night they have the stars to light them, and bright flashing colors in the sky, such as we call the 'Northern Lights.' When the sun comes back, he makes them a long visit; but never gets so high in the sky as he does with us, and never makes the weather warm."
"What are those things in the picture that look like bee-hives?" said Harry.
"The picture shows you an Esquimaux village, and those are the houses. They are made of blocks of snow. Some of the houses have pieces of clear ice for windows. Others have no windows at all; only a small hole for a door, which is closed up with snow after the family have all gone in."
"A snow-house with ice windows!" said Harry. "Why, how do they keep warm?"
"They warm the houses with oil lamps, and get them very warm and very smoky too."
"Well," said Harry, "the Esquimaux are a queer people. I should like to hear more about them."
"I will tell you more some other time."
G. D. Y.
THE FROGGIE'S PARTY.
1. The frog who would a-wooing go, Gave a party, you must know; And his bride dress'd all in green, Look'd as fine as any queen. Their reception number'd some Of the best in Froggiedom: Four gray froggies play'd the fiddle,— Hands all round and down the middle; Oh! oh! oh! oh! away we go! Hopping and jumping away we go!
2. Some stern old croakers there did come, In white chokers to the room; While the belles with rush-leaf fans, Danc'd with beaux in green brogans, Flirted in the bowers there, Hidden from the ball-room's glare: Three old froggies tried a reel,— Twist 'em, turn 'em, toe and heel, With a oh! oh! oh! away we go! Hopping and jumping away we go!
3. One little Miss was ask'd to sing, But she had a cold that spring; Little frogs were sound asleep, Late hours—bad for them to keep. Each one wish'd the couple joy, No bad boys came to annoy: This next fall the news is spreading They will have their silver wedding! Oh! oh! oh! oh! away we go! Hopping and jumping away we go!
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The title page and table of contents were created for this issue following the pattern from the 1877 issues.
Page 70, period added at end of paragraph (a good-sized load)
Page 75, extra comma removed. Original read (crow, is quick)
Page 95, single quotation mark changed to double quotation mark (more about them.")