THE SKATING PARTY, AND Other Stories.
NEW YORK: GEO. A. LEAVITT.
THE SKATING PARTY.
One cold winter's morning, Willie's mother promised to take him to see the skaters on the river. Willie was in great glee, and when they arrived at the river, he wanted to go on the ice but his mother was afraid to venture. The river was frozen very hard, and the merry skaters seemed almost to fly, they went so fast over the glib ice. Now and then one of them would fall down, causing a burst of laughter from the others; but he would jump up and go it again. Skating is a pleasant and healthful exercise, but sometimes dangerous, for should the ice break many would probably be drowned. Little boys should be careful how they venture, and not go near air holes.
As Harry Somers and his father were one day walking along the street, they saw a policeman leading a poor ragged little boy, who seemed very much frightened. Mr. Somers asked the policeman, what he had been doing. The man told him, that the little boy had been caught in the act of stealing cakes and apples, from the stand of a poor woman. Mr. Somers told Harry, that it was very likely that miserable boy had drunken parents who encouraged him to lie and steal, and that when he grew up, he would be likely to turn out a bad man, and cautioned Harry not to keep bad company.
Hark! What noise is that? I surely heard a drum. Look there is a company of boys dressed up like soldiers. One playing the fife, another the drum, while at the side of the company, stands a boy, with his drawn sword over his shoulder, for all the world like a captain. And then there is another, with the flag flying, as proudly as if he was in reality bearing the colors of a real troop. Well, boys will be boys. And this little company, have had their minds filled with brave thoughts from infancy perhaps. It may be, that in that little company of boy-soldiers, there is one whose name will be yet heard of in the history of his country.
Here is a picture of a rail-road depot, and passengers awaiting the arrival of the cars. There are many very handsome depots in the United States furnished with every thing that will afford comfort for travellers. The cars too are sometimes very beautiful. Accidents very often happen on rail-roads, and lives are often lost by the the carelessness of those having charge of the locomotive. They go very fast; indeed so fast, that you cannot see the houses, or trees along the road.
In olden times, in country towns, they had no post offices, as we now have; but a man was appointed by the authorities, whose duty was to travel on horseback from one village to another, with his bag of letters, and deliver them to the persons to whom they are directed. His arrival was always anxiously looked for, and men, women and children, ran to meet him, all wanting letters, and feeling greatly disappointed if he had not one for them. But now we have post offices in almost every little town, where the mails arrive regularly.
See that slow and solemn procession. What does it mean? Ah! there is a coffin, carried by four persons, called pall bearers. Some one has been called upon to die; to return to the God who made him. See his friends weeping, as slowly the coffin is born to the grave. Death is a very solemn affair, children. We all have to die some time, and after a-while, your turn will come, and you will be laid in the cold dark earth to rise again at the day of judgment.
THE SCISSORS GRINDER.
Oh! here he comes, his little bell tinkling, and inviting those who have knives or scissors that want sharpening to give him a call, as he won't charge them much, and will sharpen the ladies' scissors, so that they will cut like razors. See that little dog, how he watches the operation, and then there is a little boy hastening with his mother's scissors, no doubt as well pleased with the importance of his errand, as if he was a great man. Poor old man he has a hard time to make an honest penny and yet he is as cheerful, as if he was wealthy.
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After the grass is cut, it is spread out to dry and then put up in heaps, called stacks. If it should happen to rain, it has again to be spread out, and subjected to the heat of the sun, for if it was put into the barn wet it would all rot, and be good for nothing. As soon as it is thoroughly dried the farmers take their hay-wagons and go out into the field and gather it up. This is anxiously waited for by the children, who delight to ride home on the top of the loads of sweet hay, pleased with the success of the farmers.
Harry Smith was a very mischievous little boy, and delighted to tease his sister Sarah who had a very quick temper. This only made him worse, and he was often punished for his rude behavior. One day he took his sister's doll, a present from her father, and was in the act of hiding it in a drawer when the door opened, and in walked his sister. He was caught in the very act; he ran and she after him, crying loudly, until their mother who had been reading, interfered, scolding Harry for his mischievous tricks, and Sarah for her temper. The doll was restored, and she was pacified.
This is a sport that most boys really love. Most of them are impatient for the snow to fall, as then they anticipate enjoying themselves in a game of snow-ball. For this purpose they go to some open lot, and form parties. Oftentimes, however, they become excited, especially when one of them is hit in the eye, and the sport becomes earnest and leads to bad results. This should not be; the balls of snow, should be soft, so that no one may be hurt; though we are sorry to say some little boys put in their snow-balls, stones and pieces of ice, which is a very dangerous practice.
Some boys are very venturesome, and will rush into danger, no matter how often they read of accidents that happen to others, and constantly disobey the commands of their parents. George Harris, was one of these. His father had told him again and again, not to climb trees in search of bird's nests; but George thought there would be no danger. So one day he got up a tree, after a bird's nest, lost his balance, and fell into the creek, and would have been drowned, had not one of his playmates nobly rescued him from a watery grave. He never tried it ever again, however; it was a lesson he never forgot.
BURIAL OF POOR KITTY.
Poor little Kitty died. Little Mary cried, as if her heart would break. Kitty was her only pet, and one which she had loved very dearly. She asked her brother George, if he would not make a coffin, and dig a grave to bury it in. Her brother pitied her distress and readily promised to do as she wished. At last the day came, on which it was to be put in the cold damp earth, and all the children attended the funeral, sobbing, and feeling very solemn, as the coffin was slowly lowered into the grave prepared for its reception. All was over and with slow and reluctant steps they departed for home, little Mary, weeping violently.
BLIND MAN'S BUFF.
This innocent amusement, is familiar to all children, and scarcely needs a description. It causes a great deal of laughter, and as laughter is a very healthy exercise, we can heartily recommend this play. One of a number of children is blind folded, and led into the middle of the room, while the rest softly go to distant parts of the room, and he tries to find them. He cuts a funny figure, as with his arms out-stretched he feels his way and very often stumbles against a chair, or over one of the boys, who to add greater zest to the sport, stoops down on the floor.
THE MAGNETIC SWAN.
As Willie had been a very good boy, and learned his lessons well, his father bought him a magnet and swan. Willie was delighted, and procured a large basin of water in which he put the swan, and taking the magnet in his hand, the swan followed the magnet around the basin, to the wonder and astonishment of his little sister, who could not understand how it was. Her father tried to explain, but she could not understand.
THE STUDIOUS AND IDLE BOY.
As George was one day deeply engaged studying his lessons, his cousin Charles came in and asked him why he sat there all day, and wanted to know whether he would not join him in his sports. George told him, that he could not, though he would like to very much; he had his lessons to study, and if he did not learn them well, he would be punished for his idleness. Charles laughed at him and called him a mope; but his conscience told him that George was right, and that he ought to like him; but he was too full of play to think much about his lessons.