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species lives near clear brooks, and may be seen, in a fine day, swimming about, close to the water's edge. They sleep all winter; and never go far from home in their lives.
Swallows are the birds which build nests in chimneys, and in different parts of houses. The swallow seems to love the habitation of
THE TORTOISE AND THE SWALLOW.
ONE beautiful day in the spring, a tortoise crept out of his hole, where he had been sleeping all winter. He thrust his head out of the shell, to search for the new grass, and to feel the warm sun, and determined to take a turn round the garden in which he lived.
As the tortoise crawled slowly along, he perceived a swallow, who was flying far above his head, chirping the first notes he had heard. The swallow at the same moment espied the tortoise; she remembered to have seen him swimming in the brook, which flowed at the bottom of the garden, and near which stood the summer house, where her own nest had been fixed for many seasons. The swallow immediately descended to the ground, and addressed her old acquaintance.
"How fare you, my old friend? How have you lived since we parted last autumn?" "Thank you," replied the tortoise, "I've kept
house all winter, and never once stirred out, till the ice and snow disappeared. I have been very quiet and comfortable."
"I," continued the swallow, "do not love cold weather better than you; but as soon as I hear the loud wind of winter, I fly to the south; in a few days I come to fresh flowers, and green fields; there I chase the gay butterflies, and the stinging gnats. I sleep among the trees; and sing my morning song to my new friends. As soon as spring comes again, I seek my summer home; and now I rejoice to see this delightful garden once more."
"You take a great deal of trouble in your long flights," answered the tortoise; "you are always changing from one place to another; you had better, like me, go to sleep in some safe corner, and take a half year's nap."
"A pleasant nap, indeed," replied the swallow; "when I have neither wings to fly, nor eyes to see, I may follow such a bright example. The use of life is to enjoy it; the use of time is to employ it properly. One might as well be quite dead, as asleep half one's days, like you, you stupid dunce !" Saying this, away he soared, high in the sky, and left the contented tortoise to make the best of his way home.
Which, think you, is the happiest--the tortoise, or the swallow? Both are very happyeach in his own way.
EVENINGS AT HOME.
THE YOUNG MOUSE.
A YOUNG mouse lived in a cupboard, where sweetmeats were kept: she dined every day on cakes, marmalade, and fine sugar. Never any little mouse had fed so well. She often ventured to peep at the family while they sat at supper: nay, she had sometimes stolen down on the carpet to pick up the crumbs, and nobody had ever hurt her.
She would have been quite happy, but that she was sometimes frightened by the cat, and then she ran trembling to her hole. One day she came running to her mother in great joy; "mother!" said she," the good people of this family have built me a house to live in; it is in the cupboard.
"I am sure it is for me; it is just big enough; the bottom is of wood, and it is covered all over with wires; I dare say they have made it on purpose to screen me from that terrible cat, which runs after me so often there is an entrance just big enough for me, but puss cannot follow; and they have been so good as to put in some toasted cheese, which smells so deliciously, that I should have run in directly, but I thought I would tell you first, that we might go in together, and both lodge there to-night, for it will hold us both."
My dear child," said the old mouse, “it is inost happy that you did not go in, for this house is called a trap, and you would never
have come out again, except to have been de voured, or put to death in some way or other. Though man does not look so fierce as a cat, he is as much the enemy of mice."
EVENINGS AT HOME.
THE WASP AND BEE.
A WASP met a bee, and said to him, "tell me, what is the reason men are so fond of you, while they are so ill-natured to me? We are both very much alike, only the broad yellow rings round my body, make me much handsomer than you are; we have both wings; we both sting when we are angry, and we both love honey; yet men always hate me, and try to kill me, though I am more familiar with them than you are.
"I pay them visits in their houses, at the tea table, and at all their meals, while you are very shy, and hardly ever come near them, yet they build you curious houses, sometimes of wood, and sometimes of straw, and take care of you. I wonder what is the reason."
The bee answered, "because you never do them any good, but on the contrary, are very troublesome and mischievous; therefore they do not like to see you; but they know that I am busy all day long in making them honey. You had better pay them fewer visits, and try to be useful."
EVENINGS AT HOME.
THE LITTLE DOG.
WHAT shall I do," said a very little dog one day to his mother, "to show my gratitude to our good master? I cannot draw, or carry burthens for him like the horse; nor give him milk like the cow; nor lend him my covering for his clothing, like the sheep; nor produce him eggs, like the poultry; nor catch mice and rats as well as the cat.
"I cannot divert him with singing like the linnets and canaries; nor can I defend him against robbers like the great dog Towzer. I should not be fit to be eaten, even if I were dead, as the hogs are. I am a poor insignificant creature, not worth the cost of keeping; I don't see that I can do a single thing to entitle me to my master's regard." So saying, the poor little dog hung down his head.
My dear child," replied his mother, "though your abilities are but small, your good will entitles you to regard. Love your master dearly, and show him, that you love him, and you will not fail to please him."
The little dog was comforted, and the next time he saw his master, ran to him, licked his feet, gambolled before him, and every now and then stopped, wagging his tail, and looking at him in the most affectionate manner. The master observed him.
"Ha! little Fido," said he, "you are an honest, good-natured little fellow!"—and stooped down to pat his head. Poor Fido was ready to go out of his wits with joy.