The Nursery, May 1877, Vol. XXI. No. 5 - A Monthly Magazine for Youngest Readers
Author: Various
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A Monthly Magazine




Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1877, by


In the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.



The Young Lamplighter 129 Fourth Lesson in Astronomy 131 The Poor Blind Woman 133 "Good-morning, Sir!" 136 Playing April-Fool 138 The Eider-Duck 139 The Trial-Trip 141 Swaddling-Clothes 142 Drawing-Lesson 145 Fanny and Louise 146 True Story of a Bird 149 A Rough Sketch 151 Peter's Pets 153 The Strolling Bear 154 The Parrot and the Sparrow 156


"Popping Corn" 132 The Cooper's Song 135 Polliwogs 143 The Toad 148 That Fox 158 Grasshopper Green (with music) 160


ALLACE is a boy about ten years old, who lives in a town near Boston. He has a brother Charles, eighteen years of age. These two brothers are the town lamplighters.

There are at least fifty lamps to be lighted every night; and some of them are a good deal farther apart than the street-lamps in large cities. Charles takes the more distant ones for his part of the work, and drives from post to post in a gig.

Wallace, being a small boy, calls to his aid his father's saddle-horse. This horse is a kind, gentle creature, and as wise as he is kind. He and Wallace are about the same age, and have always been good friends.

So when Wallace puts the saddle on him every evening, just before dark, the horse knows just what is going to be done. He looks at the boy with his great bright eyes, as much as to say, "We have our evening work to do, haven't we, Wallace? Well, I'm ready: jump on."

Wallace mounts the horse; and they go straight to the nearest lamp-post. Here the horse stops close by the post, and stands as still and steady as the post itself.

Then Wallace stands upright on the saddle, takes a match from his pocket, lights the lamp, drops quickly into his seat again, takes up the bridle, gives the word to the horse, and on they go to the next lamp-post.

So they go on, till all the lamps allotted to Wallace are lighted. Then they trot home merrily, and, before Wallace goes to bed himself, I am sure he does not forget to see that his good horse is well fed and cared for.

This is a true story.



BECAUSE our earth has one sun and one moon, you may think all earths have only one; but wise men have looked through their telescopes, and have discovered that some of the stars which look to us like single stars are really double; and many of them are clusters of three or four, all lighting up the same planets.

Those earths, then, have more than one sun: they have two, three, or four, as the case may be. Think of two suns. How bright it must be! And imagine one of them red, and the other blue, as some of them are. Wouldn't you feel as if you were living in a rainbow?

And how would you like to look out of the window in the evening and see four moons? The wise men can see through their telescopes that Jupiter has four and Saturn eight. (You remember I told you Jupiter and Saturn are two of the earths lighted up by our sun.) Shouldn't you think so many moons would make the nights so bright that one could hardly go to sleep?

On the whole, I think we get along very well as we are; and I hope the people who live in the brightness of two suns have strong eyes given them. It must be very beautiful, though. Perhaps you can get an idea how it seems to have a red sun, if you look through a piece of red glass; but I do not believe we can any of us imagine what it would be like to have two suns of different colors.

Do you think a red sun shining on a moon makes a red moon? A colored sun or a colored moon seems very strange to us; but I suppose the people that are used to them would think our white light strange.

I wonder whether the two suns rise and set at the same time. But we may all wonder and wonder. Nobody knows much about it. I hope you will all look at a double star through a telescope, if you ever have an opportunity.

M. E. R.


BRING a yellow ear of corn, and then rub, rub, rub, Till the kernels rattle off from the nub, nub, nub! Then put them in a hopper made of wire, wire, wire, And set the little hopper on the fire, fire, fire! If you find them getting lively, give a shake, shake, shake; And a very pretty clatter they will make, make, make: You will hear the heated grains going pop, pop, pop; All about the little hopper, going hop, hop, hop! When you see the yellow corn turning white, white, white, You may know that the popping is done right, right, right: When the hopper gets too full, you may know, know, know, That the fire has changed your corn into snow, snow, snow: Turn the snow into a dish, for it is done, done, done; Then pass it round and eat—for that's the fun, fun, fun!



I HAVE a true story to tell about a colored woman who lives in the city of Salem, not far from Boston.

She is old and poor and blind. She has had a husband and six children; but they are all dead; her last remaining son was killed in the war, and she is now quite alone in the world.

But she is a cheerful old body. She does not whine, nor complain, nor beg; though she needs help much, and is very thankful for any help that is given her.

When she goes out to walk, she finds her way as well as she can by groping about with her big umbrella. Very often she loses her way, and goes in the wrong direction; and sometimes she gets bewildered: but I have never known her to be really lost or hurt. There is always somebody to set her right; and it is pleasant to see how kind every one is to her.

Many a time I have seen some gentleman, while hurrying to catch his train, stop to help her over the crossing; or some handsomely-dressed lady take her by the arm, and set her right, when she has gone astray.

Best of all it is, though, to see the children so kind to her. She comes to our square every Saturday; and, as she is very apt to go to the wrong gate, the little girls—bless their dear hearts!—seem to consider it their duty to guide her, and to help her over the slippery places.

In the picture, you may see Lily helping the poor old woman along, as I often see her from my window. Another day it may be Lina, and the next time Mamie; for they are all good to her. Even baby Robin runs to meet her, and is not afraid of her black face.

Last week, these small folks had a fair for her in Lily's house. Nobody thought they would get so much money; but they made fifty dollars out of it. This will make the old woman comfortable for a long time.

The good woman said, when she was told what they had done, that she hoped the Lord would reward them, for she could not.

I think he has rewarded them already by making them very happy while they were doing this kind deed.



I AM the cooper: I bind the cask: The sweat flows down as I drive my task; Yet on with the hoop! And merry's the sound As I featly pound, And with block and hammer go travelling round, And round and round.

I am the cooper: I bind the cask; And gay as play is my nimble task; And though I grow crooked with stooping to pound, Yet merry's the sound As with block and with hammer I journey round And round and round.

I am the cooper: I bind the cask: Am healthy and happy—what more shall I ask? Not in king's palaces, I'll be bound, Such joy is found, Where men do nothing, and still go round, And round and round.

So I'll still be a cooper, and bind the cask: Bread for children and wife is all I ask; And glad will they be at night, I'll be bound, That, with cheerful sound, Father all day went a-hammering round, And round and round.



THERE was once a little robin that grew to be so tame, that it would come to my sister Helen's door every morning for a few crumbs. Sometimes it would perch on the table.

What a power there is in kindness! It is very pleasant to form these friendships with birds; so that they learn to trust you and to love you. The sound of the human voice often seems to have a strange effect on animals, as if they almost understood your words.

My sister would say, "Good-morning, sir! Come in! Don't make yourself a stranger. Hard times these; but you will find plenty of crumbs on the table. Don't be bashful. You don't rob us. Try as you may, you can't eat us out of house and home. You have a great appetite, have you? Oh, well, eat away! No cat is prowling round."

The little bird, as if he knew that my sister was talking to him, would chirp away, and seem quite happy. As soon as the warm weather came, his visits were not so frequent; but, every now and then, he would make his appearance, as if to say, "Don't forget me, Helen. I may want some more crumbs when the cold weather comes."



IT was the last evening in March, and raining drearily out of doors; but in mamma's sitting-room all was bright, warm, and cosey. Jim and his big brother Rob were stretched out on the rug, feet in the air, watching the blazing fire, and talking of the tricks they meant to play next day.

"No, sir," said Rob, "you can't fool me! I know about every way there is of fooling; and I'd just like to see anybody try it on me!" And Rob rolled over on his back, and studied the ceiling with a very defiant air.

Poor little Jim looked very much troubled; for, if Rob said he could not be fooled, of course he couldn't be; and he did want to play a trick on Rob so badly! At last he sprang up, saying, "I'm going to ask mamma;" and ran out of the room. Rob waited a while; but Jim did not come back: so he yawned, stretched, and went to bed.

Next morning, bright and early, up jumped Jim, pulled on his clothes; wrong-side out and upside down (for he was not used to dressing himself), and crept softly downstairs.

An hour or two later, Rob went slowly down, rubbing his eyes. He put on his cap, and took up the pail to go for the milk; but it was very heavy. What could be the matter with it? Why, somebody had got the milk already. Just then, Jim appeared from behind the door, crying, "April Fool! April Fool! You thought I couldn't fool you; but I did."

Rob looked a little foolish, but said nothing, and went out to feed his hens. To his great surprise, the biddies were already enjoying breakfast; and again he heard little Jim behind him, shouting, "April Fool! April Fool!"

Poor Rob! He started to fill the kitchen wood-box; but Jim had filled it. Jim had filled the water-pails: in fact, he had done all of Rob's work; and at last, when he trudged in at breakfast-time, with the sugar that Rob had been told to bring from the store the first thing after breakfast, Rob said, "I give up, Jim. You have fooled me well. But such tricks as yours are first-rate, and I don't care how many of them you play."



DID you ever sleep under an eider-down quilt? If you have, you must have noticed how light and soft it was. Would you like to hear where the eider-down comes from? I will tell you.

A long, long way from here, there is a country called Norway. It is a very cold country, and very rocky; and there are a great many small islands all around it. It is on these islands that the dear little eider-ducks build their nests. They take a great deal of time and trouble to make them, and they use fine seaweed, mosses, and dry sticks, so as to make them as strong as they can.

When the mother-duck has laid four or five eggs, which are of a pretty, green color, she plucks out some of the soft gray down that grows on her breast, to cover them up, and keep them warm, while she goes off to find some food.

And now what do you think happens? Why, when she comes back to sit on her eggs, she finds that all her eggs and beautiful down have been taken away! Oh! how she cries, and flaps her wings, to find her darling eggs gone!

But, after a while, she lays five more, and again pulls the down out of her dear little breast to cover them. She goes away again; and again the people take the down away.

When she returns the second time, her cries are very sad to hear; but, as she is a very brave little duck, she thinks she will try once more; and this time she is left in peace, and when she has her dear little children-ducks around her, you may be sure she is a joyful mamma.

So this is where the eider-down comes from; and, as there are a great many ducks, the people get a great deal of down; and with this down are made the quilts which keep us so warm in cold winter-nights.

The eider-down quilts are very light and warm; but I always feel sorry for the poor mamma-duck.



DAVIE and Harold are two little Boston boys. They are brothers. Last summer, they had two pretty little yachts given them by a friend. Then they had a launch in the bath-tub; and their mamma named the yachts, breaking a bottle of water (a small medicine-bottle) over the bows. Davie's yacht was named the "West Wind;" and Harold's, the "Flyaway."

One afternoon, the boys went to City Point, hired a row-boat, and rowed out about halfway to Fort Independence, where they put the little vessels into the water for a trial-trip. It was a pretty sight to see the sails fill with the wind, and the tiny yachts ride the waves as if they meant to go to China before they stopped.

The "West Wind" beat the "Flyaway," and I regret to say that Davie taunted his brother with the fact, and made him cry; for Harold is a boy that takes every thing to heart.



DID the little readers of "The Nursery" ever think how thankful they should be for the free use of their arms and legs? I do not believe it ever came into their thoughts that there could be any other way than to use them freely. But in Syria, a country many miles from here, the mothers do not let their babies kick their feet, and hold out their dear little hands. They are bound very closely in what are called "swaddling-clothes."

They are seldom undressed, and are kept in a rough cradle, and rocked to sleep as much as possible. When the mother carries them out, she straps them to her back; and often, on the mountains there, one may see a woman with a baby on her back, and a great bundle of sticks in her arms.

With the sticks she makes her fire, in a room where there is no chimney, and where the smoke often makes poor baby's eyes smart; but all he can do, poor swaddled child, is to open his mouth, and cry.

This custom of binding the baby up so straight and tight is a very old one. The Bible tells us, you know, that the mother of Jesus "wrapped him in swaddling-clothes, and laid him in a manger." So the people of Syria keep on using swaddling-clothes, thinking, that, if they do not, the baby will grow crooked.

They are used in Russia also, and in other countries of northern Europe. Poor babies! We pity them.



THE cat-tails all along the brook Are growing tall and green; And in the meadow-pool, once more, The polliwogs are seen; Among the duck-weed, in and out, As quick as thought they dart about; Their constant hurry, to and fro, It tires me to see: I wish they knew it did no good To so uneasy be! I mean to ask them if they will Be, just for one half-minute, still! "Be patient, little polliwogs, And by and by you'll turn to frogs."

But what's the use to counsel them? My words are thrown away; And not a second in one place A polliwog will stay. They still keep darting all about The floating duck-weed, in and out. Well, if they will so restless be, I will not let it trouble me, But leave these little polliwogs To wriggle till they turn to frogs!



FANNY was a little pony, and Louise was a little girl. Fanny had a long black mane and tail, and Louise had long brown curls. Louise wore a gypsy-hat with blue ribbons, and Fanny wore a saddle and bridle with blue girths and reins.

Louise was a gentle little girl, and Fanny was a very headstrong pony; consequently Fanny had it all her own way. When she was trotting along the road, with Louise on her back, if she chanced to spy a nice prickly thistle away up on a bank, up she would scramble, as fast as she could go, the sand and gravel rolling down under her hoofs; and, no matter how hard Louise pulled on the reins, there she would stay until she had eaten the thistle down to the very roots. Then she would back down the bank, and trot on.

Fanny was fond of other good things besides thistles. She would spy an apple on a tree, no matter how thick the leaves were; and, without waiting to ask Louise's permission, she would run under the tree, stretch her head up among the branches, and even raise herself up on her hind-legs, like a dog, to reach the apple.

Louise would clasp Fanny around the neck, and bury her face in her mane: but she often got scratched by the little twigs; and many a long hair has she left waving from the apple-boughs after such an adventure.

Whenever Fanny smelled any very savory odor issuing from the kitchen, she would trot up, and put her head in at the window, waiting for Biddy to give her a doughnut or cooky. One day a boy named Frank borrowed Fanny, as he wished to ride out with a little girl from the city. As they were passing a farm-house, Fanny perceived by the smell that some one was frying crullers there.

She immediately ran down the lane to the house, and stuck her head in at the open window, and would not stir from the spot until the farmer's wife gave her a cruller. Then she went quickly back to the road, and behaved very properly all the rest of the way.

Fanny was such a good pony, with all her tricks, that the neighbors often used to borrow her. This Fanny did not think at all fair; and she soon found a way to put a stop to it. One warm summer day, the minister borrowed her in order to visit a sick man about two miles away. After several hours he returned, very warm and tired, walking through the dust, and leading Fanny, who came limping along, holding down her head, and appearing to be very lame.

She had fallen lame when only half-way to the sick man's house; and the good old minister had led her all the way, rather than ride her when she was lame. All the family gathered around Fanny to see where she was hurt, when Fanny tossed her head, kicked up her heels, and pranced off to the stable, no more lame than a young kitten. It had been all a trick to punish the minister for borrowing her. And it succeeded; for he never asked for Fanny again.

L. S. H.


WHAT a curious thing is the little brown toad; Do come and look at it, pray! It sits in the grass, and, when we come near, Just hops along out of our way.

It does not know how to sing like a bird, Nor honey to make like a bee; 'Tis not joyous and bright like a butterfly; Oh, say, of what use can it be?

But, since God made it, and placed it here, He must have meant it to stay: So we will be kind to you, little brown toad, And you need not hop out of our way.

E. A. B.


ONE day last spring, in looking over the contents of some boxes which had long been stowed away in the attic, I found some pieces of lace, which, though old-fashioned, seemed to me very pretty. But they were yellow with age,—quite too yellow for use.

I took them to the kitchen, and, after a nice washing, spread them on the grass to bleach. I knew that the bright sun would soon take away their yellow hue.

A day or two after, Johnnie came running in, and said, "Auntie, the birds are carrying off all your old rags out there," pointing to the place where the laces were spread. Out I went to see about my "old rags," as he called them; and I found that several pieces were missing. We knew that the birds must have taken them; but, where to look for them, we could not tell.

That afternoon, Johnny invited me and his cousins to take a row with him in his boat to Rocky Island, of which the readers of "The Nursery" have heard before. We were all glad to go. As we were passing some bushes on the bank of the river, one of us spied something white among them. We wondered what it could be.

Johnny rowed nearer; and we could see that it was a piece of lace. Rowing nearer still, we saw another piece, and another, and at the same time heard the flutter of wings. We then asked to be landed, and our boatman soon brought us to shore in fine style.

On parting the bushes, we saw a nest just begun, and a piece of lace near it, but not woven in. Close by were four other pieces; but they were all caught by the little twigs, so that the bird could not get them to the nest. We took the lace off carefully, leaving the nest as it was, and brought it away with us.

On returning to the house, the children measured the lace, and found nearly six yards, the largest piece being about two yards. It seemed quite a lift for the little birds; and it was too bad that after all they did not get the use of it. But do you think they were discouraged?

Oh, no! for they soon had a nice nest built; and one day Johnny found an egg in the nest, which, from its bright hue, he knew to be a robin's egg. This was followed by other eggs, and, in due time, by a whole brood of young birds.



HERE is a boy drawing on a wall. He is a shoemaker's boy. His name is Bob.

Tom, the baker's boy, and a little girl named Ann are looking on. "What is it?" asks Ann at sight of the picture.

"It's a fine lady, of course," says Tom. "Don't you see her head-dress and her sun-shade?" Bob is so busy that he cannot stop to talk.

He is well pleased with his work. But the man who is looking around the corner of the wall does not look pleased in the least.

It is plain that he has no love for the fine arts. Or it may be that he does not like to see such a rough sketch on his wall.

Perhaps he thinks that when boys are sent on an errand, they ought not to loiter by the way.

A. B. C.


"HOW old are they, Peter?" asked Ralph Lamson, pointing to two little guinea-pigs on a rude cage which Peter had himself made.

"I've had them about six weeks," said Peter. "I don't know how old they were then; but they were only little things: they've grown twice as big since I've had them."

"What do you give them to eat?" asked Edwin Moore.

"Oh! all sorts of things," replied Peter. "They're fond of carrots, apples, and all sorts of green leaves, and, what is queer, they are fond of tea-leaves."

"Fond of tea-leaves!" cried Ralph and Edwin.

"Yes," said Peter, "they like tea-leaves very much. I give them oats too, and bits of bread."

"And what do they drink?" asked Edwin.

"They don't want much to drink, if they get plenty of green stuff and tea-leaves," said Peter; "but they like a drop of milk now and then, if they can get it."

"Where do these animals come from?" asked Ralph.

"From Brazil and Paraguay in South America. It is thought that their odor drives away rats; and that is one reason why we keep them."

"What will you sell them for?" asked Ralph.

"Oh, I can't sell them!" said Peter. "They are my pets. Funny little fellows they are, and not so stupid as they seem. This white one I call Daisy; and the other I call Dozy, because he sleeps a good deal."



IN St. Paul, one day last winter, a big black bear was seen strolling along on the sidewalk on Third Street. He seemed to be quite at his ease, and would stop now and then, and look in at the shop-windows.

Half a dozen men and boys soon gathered behind him, following him at a safe distance. Others, going up and down the street, would stop to learn the cause of the crowd, and perhaps join it, so that they might see the end of the fun.

For a while, Bruin did not seem to care much for the crowd. But they grew to be pretty free in their speech, calling out to him, "Does your mother know you're out?" "Will you take a glass of whiskey?" and making other rude remarks. Bruin stood it for a while, then turned fiercely upon the crowd, who scattered at once, some running into shops, and others down the side-streets.

This free-and-easy bear then continued his stroll. But the crowd behind him grew larger and larger, and he again turned upon them, and made them run, all laughing and shouting, in various directions.

At last, as if he had had enough of this kind of fun, he quickened his pace, driving five or six fellows into a saloon, while he followed close at their heels. The boys on the other side of the street laughed at this: so he crossed the street quickly, and put them to flight; and the way they all ran was fun for those near the saloon, who were now the laughers, in their turn.

At last, a man with whom Bruin was well acquainted, and on good terms, came up, with a chain in his hand, and threw it about the bear's neck; and then, as if he had had quite enough of a stroll, Bruin quietly followed his guide, and was led back to his owner.



AT the "Jardin des Plantes," a famous garden and museum in Paris, there was once a parrot that took a great fancy to a little wild sparrow.

Every morning, the little bird would fly to the parrot's perch; and there it would sit almost all day by the side of its great friend. Sometimes the parrot would raise his unchained claw, and the sparrow would perch upon it.

Jacquot,—that was the parrot's name,—holding the sparrow at the end of his claw, would turn his head on one side, and gaze fondly on the little bird, which would flap its wings in answer to this sign of friendship. Then Jacquot would slide down to his food-tin, as if to invite the sparrow to share his breakfast.

Once the parrot was ill for some days. He did not eat: he trembled with fever, and looked very sad. The sparrow tried in vain to cheer him up. Then the little bird flew out into the garden, and soon returned, holding in his beak some blades of grass. The parrot with great effort managed to eat them. The sparrow kept him supplied with grass; and in a few days he was cured.

Once, when the sparrow was hopping about on the grassplot near the parrot's perch, a cat sprang out from some bushes. At this sight, Jacquot raised a loud cry, and broke his chain to fly to the aid of his friend. The cat ran away in terror; and the little bird was saved.



A LITTLE gray fox Had a home in the rocks, And most of his naps and his leisure took there; But, one frosty eve, He decided to leave, And for a short absence began to prepare.

A letter he wrote; And he brushed up his coat; And he shook out his tail, which was plumy and fine: At first break of day He galloped away, At some distant farm-house intending to dine.

How gay he did look, As he frisked to the brook, And gazed at himself in the water so clear! He looked with delight At the beautiful sight; For all was so perfect, from tail-tip to ear!

That noon, our gray fox Called on good Farmer Knox, Where some of the fattest of poultry was kept, And, sly as a mouse, Lay in wait by the house; Or, peeping and watching, he stealthily crept.

He felt very sure He should shortly secure A fat little chicken, or turkey, or goose; And his eyes were as bright As the stars are at night, As he tried to decide which his foxship should choose.

From his sharp-pointed nose To the tip of his toes, He was all expectation!—when, suddenly "Snap!" With a "click" and a "clack;" And, before he could wink, This smart little fox was caught fast in a trap.

And now that gray fox Does not live in the rocks; And just what his fate was I never have learned: This only I know, That, a long time ago, He left there one morning—and never returned.




1. Grasshopper Green is a comical chap; He lives on the best of fare; Bright little jacket and breeches and cap, These are his summer wear. Out in the meadows he loves to go, Playing away in the sun; It's hopperty, skipperty, high and low, Summer's the time for fun.

2. Grasshopper Green has a dozen wee boys, And soon as their legs grow strong, All of them join in his frolicsome joys, Humming his merry song. Under the leaves in a happy row, Soon as the day has begun; It's hopperty, skipperty, high and low, Summer's the time for fun.

3. Grasshopper Green has a quaint little house, It's under a hedge so gay, Grandmother spider as still as a mouse, Envies him o'er the way. Little folks always he calls I know, Out in the beautiful sun: It's hopperty, skipperty, high and low, Summer's the time for fun.

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Transcriber's Notes:

The January edition of the Nursery had a table of contents for the first six issues of the year. This table was divided to cover each specific issue. A title page copied from the January edition was also used for this number.


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