« PreviousContinue »
it fly; but said to George, that the poor little robin would nev'-er be so hap-py in the room, as it would be in the open air. There, said she, it has more room to fly a-bout', and it has oth'-er little robins for com-pan'-ions, which sit with it in the large trees, and fly about with it, and sing with it, in the fields and gardens. It can find so man'-y things which it likes to eat, that you can'-not get for it, for you do not even know what it likes best. Be-sides' all this, it will beat it-self' a-gainst the win'-dow in trying to get out; and when it finds that it can'-not get out, it will fret and be ill; and af-ter it has suf-fered all this, and be-come' tame, per-haps' the cat may come in and teār it to pie'-ces.
George stood still a little while, and looked first at his mother, and then at the robin, just as if he had been think'-ing on what his mother had said to him. He then told his mother he would car'-ry the robin into the garden, and let it fly a-way': I will on'-ly look once more at its pret-ty eyes, said he. That, said his mother, is the thing I wish you to do, my dear boy; and it gives me more pléas'-ure that you should do it be-cause you think it right, than that you should do it be-cause' I bid you.
Little George was ver'-y much pleased that his mother praised him; and he went into the garden, and opened his waist-coat, and out flew the little robin, and was in a min'-ute on a tree. When George saw it sha'-king and pick'-ing its feath'-ers and hop-ping joy'-ful-ly from one branch to anoth'-er, and heard how it chir'-ruped, he was glad he had not kept it ; and he went and took the trap a-way', and said he never would catch an-oth'-er poor little bird as long as he lived.
EXERCISES.-What did George one day say to his mother? What was her answer? What did George then do? How did he get the robin ? What did he purpose doing with it? Did she persuade him to let it go ? To what place did he carry the robin ? What did he then do with it ?
THE ROOK AND THE PITCHER.
Two old rooks built their nest on the top of a great tree, and hatched three young ones, whose names were Jet, and Jack, and Broad-bill. Now Jet was very good ; but Jack and Broad-bill were very bad birds, and mind'-ed not a word that was said to them : they were al-ways quar'-rel-ling with each other, and were very rude and sau'-cy to their sister Jet.
One day the old rooks said to the young ones, My dear chil-dren, we are goʻ-ing out on a vis'-it to your un'-cle and aunt, who have built a
est in yon'-der wood. Take care you do not quar'-rel with each other; and, pray, do not at-tempt to Ay in our ab'-sence.
Jet said she would not leave the nest ; but Jack and Broad'-bill only cawed and flapped their wings ; for they were sad wick'-ed birds, and did not mean to be good.
The old rooks were scarce'-ly out of sight, when: Jack be-gan'to quar'-rel with Broad'-bill a-bout some non-sense or other; and they cawed and cawed, and flapped their wings in each other's eyes, and scratched with their sharp claws, till Jet was quite vexed at their bad be-ha'-vi-our, and begged them not to fight; but, in-stěad of mind'-ing what their good sister said to them, they pecked her head and pulled out some of her nice black feath'-ers.
At last Broad'-bill, who was the stron'-ger, pushed Jack over the edge of the nest ; and Jack, who had never learned to fly, fell from the top of the tree to the bottom, and broke his neck by the fall.
Oh! what a fright Broad'-bill was in when he saw what he had done! he did not mean to kill Jack; but when peo'-ple give way to an'-ger, they never know where it will end, and so Jet told him. Jet was grieved, and cried sad'-ly for the death of poor Jack; though, if he had been good like her, o he would not have come to such a bad end.
Now Broadbill was ver-y qui'-et for some time af'-ter this dis-as'-ter had taken place; and Jet began' to think he had seen the er'-ror of his con'-duct, and was goʻ-ing to be have quite well for the time to come.
Broadbill chanced to see some young crows a little big'-ger than him-self' on the next tree learn'ing to fly; and they flew from bough to bough, and then back again to the nest; and seemed to en-joy' them-selves' so well that Broadbill thought he should
like to fly like his neigh-bours ; and he said, Come, Jet, do not let us stay mo'-ping here ; see how merry our cousins the crows are ! I am sure we could fly as well as they, if we tried. Broth'-er Broadbill, said Jet, our father and mother told us not to quit the nest in their ab'-sence; and I do not think our wings are strong e-nough' to bear us, and we have not as yet learned how to use them. I mean to try my wings to-day', for all that, said this wilful bird; I long to show those crows what I can do. But the crows are old-er than we, and their wings are full-er of feath'-ers, said Jet. But mine are broad'-er and wi'-der, and I am sure I can fly bet'ter, said Broadbill as he hopped out of the nest on to a bough, and stood and flapped his wings be-fore' he took flight.
Broadbill, you will sure-ly breāk your neck, said Jet, and she begged him not to fly down; but Broadbill only laughed at her fears, and away he flew ; but the wind blew strong, the tree was high, and Broadbill's wings were weak; he strove to keep them sprčad, but his feath'-ers were not half grown and he had not learned to fly; so down he came to the hard ground, and was killed on the spot.
Poor Jet was now left quite alone; and she hid her hěad under her wing, and cried and mourned for the death of her two brothers. The old rooks came home when it grew dark; and they were very much shocked when they heard what had happened,
though they were not quite so sorry as they would have been, had Jack and Broadbill been good and du'-ti-ful birds like their sister Jet. Some time af'ter this Jet's mother fell sick, and grew so weak that she was un-a'-ble to fly a-broad' and get food as she used to do
One day, when the old rook her huş'-band was gone out to look for food, she called Jet to her, and said, Jet, bring me a little wa'-ter in your bill, for I am réad'-y to die with thirst. A-way' flew Jet to seek for some drink for her sick mother ; but the sum'-mer had been ver-y hot, and all the ponds and ditch'-es near were quite dried up. Jet flew far and wide to seek for some water, but found none. Quite tired at last, she rest'-ed on some rails on the top of a steep bank ; when look’-ing down she be-held' a pitch'-er which a shep'-herd had left by chance on the plain where he had been keep'-ing his flocks.
Full of joy Jet flew tow'-ards it. There was a lit'-tle wa'-ter, indeed, in the pitch'-er, but so near the bottom that she could not reach a sin'-gle drop; then she tried to o-ver-turn' the ves'-sel, but she had not strength to move it. She looked round with a sor'-row-ful air, think'-ing what she should do, when her eye by chance rest-ed on a heap of stones that lay near. A sud'-den thought came into her hěad; she fetched the stones one by one in her bill, and cast them in'-to the pitch'-er. Thus by de-grees' she raised the wa'-ter up to the brim, and was by