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1. When Grace Greenwood was in England, she visited a family who lived in a large house in the country, around which were beautiful gardens, and green lawns," and a great many peto animals, such as dogs,
rare white kittens, gay parrots, canaries, and silver pheasants.
2. One of these pets was an owl, that sat all alone by himself in a large green cage. He was a cross and surlyd old fellow. Grace Greenwood says, in her book called the Little Pilgrim, “I tried very
hard to make friends with this owl, but it was of no use: he never treated me with decent civil. ity.
3. “One day, when I was offering him a bit of cake, he caught my finger, and bit it till it bled; and I said to Mrs. M
'Why do you keep that cross old creature? I noticed that my friend looked sad when she answered me, saying, “We only keep him for our dear little Minnie's sake: he was her pet.' I had never heard of little Minnie, so I asked about her, and was told the following story.”
4. Minnie was a sweet, gentle little girl, who loved every body and every creature that God has made; and every body and every creature she met seemed to love her. Rough people were gentle to her, and cross people were kind. She could go up to vicious horses, and fierce dogs, and spiteful cats, and they would become quiet and mild. I don't think any thing could resist her loving eyes, unless it were a mad bull or a setting hen.
5. One night, as Minnie lay awake in her little bed, in the nursery, listening to a summer rain, she heard a strange fluttering and scratching in the chimney, and she called to her nurse, and said, “Biddy'! what is that funny noise up there ??? Biddy listened a moment, and said, “Sure, it's nothing but a stray rook! Now he's quite gone away-so go to sleep wid ye, my darling'!"
6. Minnie tried to go to sleep, like a good girl ; but after a while she heard that sound again, and presently something came fluttering and scratching right down into the grate, and out into the room! Minnie called again to Biddy; but Biddy was tired and sleepy, and would'nt wake up.
7. It was so dark that Minnie could see nothing, and she felt a little strange; but she was no coward; and as the bird seemed very quiet, she went to sleep again after a while, and dreamed that great flocks of rooks were flying over her, slowly, slowly, and making the darkness with their jet-black wings.
8. She awoke very early in the morning, and the first thing she saw was a great gray owl, perched' on the bed-post at her feet, staring at her with his big, round eyes. He did not fly off when she started up in bed, but only ruffled up his feathers and said, “Who!" Minnie had never before seen an owl; but she was not afraid, and she answered merrily, “ You'd better say Who! Why, who are you yourself, you queer old Wonder-eyes' !"
9. Then she awoke Biddy, who was dreadfully frightened; and Biddy called up John, the manservant, who caught the owl, and put him into à cage.
10. This strange bird was ill-natured and gruffk to every body but Minnie: he seemed to be fond of her from the first. So he was called “Minnie's Pet.” He would take food from her little hand: he would perch on her shoulder, and let her take him on an airing around the garden; and sometimes he would sit and watch her studying her lessons, and look as wise and solemn as a learned professor, till he would fall to winking and blinking, and go off into a sound sleep.
11. Minnie grew really fond of this pet, grave and unsocial as he was; but she always called him by the saucy name she had first given him—Old Wonder-eyes.
12. In the winter-time little Minnie was taken ill, and she grew worse and worse, till her friends all knew that she was going to leave them very soon. Darling little Minnie was not sorry to die. As she had loved every body and every creature that God had made, she could not help loving God, and she was not afraid to go to Him when He called her.
13. The day before she died she gave all her pets to her brothers and sisters; but she said to her mother, “ You take good care of poor old Won. der-eyes, for he'll have nobody to love him when I am gone."
14. The owl missed Minnie very much; and whenever he heard any one coming, he would cry, “Who!" and when he found it wasn't his friend, he would ruffle up his feathers, and look as though he felt himself insulted. He grew crosser and crosser every day, till there would have been no bearing with him, if it had not been for the memory of Minnie.
15. Such was the story told me of the old owl. When I next saw him, sitting glaring' and growl. ing on his perch, I understood why he was so unhappy and sullen. My heart ached for him—but so did the finger he had bitten; and I did not venture very near to tell him how sorry I was for him. When I think of him now, I don't blame him, but pity him for his crossness; and I always say my. self, “Poor old Wonder-eyes.”
* LAWN, a space of ground covered with i No'-TICET), observed ; saw.
& VI''-cious, untamed; unruly.
H SPITE'-FUL., malicious.
PERCI'ET), roosting or sitting as a bird. d Sur'-LY, gloomily cross or morose; sullen. * Gruff, stern; surly ; ill-natured. e CI-VIL'-I-TY, politeness.
GLAR ING, looking with fierce eyes. [Lesson XXXVIII. The interesting story of “oid Wonder-eyes” sets forth the beautiful character of a gentle little girl, who loved all God's creatures, and who seemed to be loved by them in return.
There is a charm about gentleness and goodness which is not lost, even upon the brute creation, as is shown in the attachment which the ill-natured and gruff owl formed for little Minnie. Let the teacher illustrate the principle farther, by narrating other instances of affection, on the part of animals, for those who treat them kindly. Such is the story of “ Androcles and the Lion,” etc.]
1. Is the man asleep'? Why do you think he is asleep?" His eyes' are closed';' and is not that a sign that he is sleeping' ?' Perhaps he shuts his eyes because they are weak! Do you think that is the reason' ? Who thinks that is the reason'?"
2. I think he is listening to the little girl who is reading. But who is this little girl' ? Do
you think she is his daughter'? What book do you