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enjoy your play the more, for you will be happy in your own heart, and pleased with yourselves, because you have tried to please God.
THE STINGING NETTLE.
his own way.
Alfred saw a beautiful flower growing on the other side of a deep ditch; and he ran forward to get it for his sister Mary. Mary begged him not to do so, lest he should tumble into the ditch. But Alfred would have
As he was getting down the bank his foot slipped; and he would have fallen into the ditch, had he not caught hold of some nettles which grew on the bank. He was not long in getting up the bank again; for the sharp sting of the nettles made him forget the beautiful flower.
“There now ! ” said he; “ talk of everything being useful! I am quite sure a stinging nettle is of no use in the world. See how it has stung my fingers! They are all over white blisters, and tingle terribly. I am quite sure grandpapa was wrong when he said that everything was useful.”'
Perhaps not !” said the old gentleman, who at that moment peeped over the hedge; “but I will go round by the gate, and come to you.'
In a few minutes the old gentleman was with them, examining the smarting fingers of his grandson.
Well now, grandpapa, please to tell me of what use
nettles are—for I cannot think that they are of the least use whatever."
“ The nettle has, no doubt, many uses,” replied the old gentleman, “ of which I am ignorant; but I will point out a few which may show you that God has not formed it in vain. And I may begin with the use the nettle has been of to you, Alfred.”
“ To me, grandpapa. I am quite sure it has been of no use to me."
“No!” said the old gentleman, smiling; “why, did it not save you from tumbling into the ditch?” Here Alfred looked rather foolish, while his grandpapa went on; “ It is not a very long time ago, Alfred, since you were praising your nettle porridge. The porridge is made of the tender tops of young nettles; and I dare say you remember it very well.”
“Oh yes !” said Mary. was old Esther Hodges who told
my mother to give it to us; she said it would a power
of good."" “I am glad you remember it; but let us look at the nettle a little nearer.” Just then a bee alighted on one of the nettle flowers. “ Do you think that bee, if he could speak, would say that the nettle was of no use ? See, he is gathering honey from it, and, perhaps, finds it as useful as the blooming rose.
The old gentleman then set himself down on the bank; and, having his gloves on, he turned over some of the nettle leaves. “Look here,” said he; “here is the insect called the ladybird, with its red back spotted with black: I dare say this ladybird finds the nettle of some use, or it would not take shelter under its leaves. Then, again, here is a spider who has woven his web from one leaf to another; no doubt the spider finds the nettle of some use too; so that the bee, the ladybird, and the spider are all against you."
Here Alfred and Mary looked at each other, as if now
quite satisfied that the nettle had not been made in vain. But their grandfather still went on:-“Nettles are often useful in keeping young people in the right path. When your sister begged you, Alfred, not to go near the ditch, you heeded her not; but when the nettle pointed out your error, you were convinced of it in a moment. The nettle. moreover, teaches a useful lesson. Look at Alfred's fingers; they are not stung where he grasped the nettle firmly, but only in the parts that touched it lightly. Many little trials of the world are of the same character: Give way to them, they annoy you; meet them bravely, they injure you not, for you overcome them. Another excellent lesson to be got from the nettle is, to mind your own business, and not to meddle with that of other people. Let the nettle alone, it never stings you; trespass upon it, you must take the consequences. I might say a good deal more ; but if the nettle assists in forming a wholesome foodif it affords honey to the bee, shade and shelter to the ladybird and the spider,-if it keeps young people in the proper path, and furnishes us with lessons of useful instruction, you must allow that the stinging nettle has not been made in vain.”
THE DAISY AND THE LARK.
La-ment'-ed Out in the country, close by the road, stands a handsome house. Before it there is a garden with flowers, and a painted railing; and just outside the railing, among beautiful green grass, grew a little daisy. The son shone upon it as warmly and kindly as upon the large, splendid flowers in the garden, and so it grew from hour to hour, till one morning it stood fully unfolded, with its small pure white petals in a ring round the little yellow sun in the middle. The daisy did not think at all that no one saw it there among the grass, and that it was a poor despised flower; no, it was very contented, turned its face to the warm sun, looked up to it, and listened to the lark singing high in the
Inside the railing stood a great many stiff, genteel flowers: the less fragrance they had the prouder they were of their fine dress.
The peonies blew themselves up, in order to be bigger than the rose, but size is nothing! The tulips had the most beautiful colours, as they very well knew, and, therefore, they held themselves very straight up, that people might have a good sight of them. They never looked at the little daisy outside; but the daisy looked all the more at them, and thought within itself: “How rich and beautiful they are; certainly the lark will come down and pay them a visit; how glad I am that I am so near them, for then I shall see that fine musician too.” Just at that moment-tee-wheet! down flew the lark, but not to the peonies and tulips; oh no, down into the grass beside the poor daisy, which was so astonished and so delighted that it did not know what to think. The bird danced round about it, and sang: “FIow soft the grass is; and see, what a lovely little flower, with a golden heart, and a silvery white dress!”
Nobody can imagine how happy the little daisy was. The lark kissed it with its bill, sang to it, and then flew ap to the blue sky again. It was a full quarter of an hour before the daisy could compose itself, then it turned round to see what the garden flowers were doing; surely, it thought, they must have been delighted to see a little flower so happy. But the tulips stood as stiff as before, and their lips were drawn together in a pout, and they were red in the face, for the fact was, they had been angry. The peonies hung their heavy heads in a very sulky manner, and it was as well they could not speak, otherwise the daisy would have got a thorough scolding. Just then a little girl came into the garden with a bright sharp pair of scissors, and went straight to the tulips all which she snipped off one after the other. “Oh, dear,” sighed the daisy, “it is all over with them now.” The girl went away with the tulips, but the daisy was glad that its head had not been snipped off, and very thankfully folded up its petals as the sun was setting, and fell asleep, and dreamed the whole night about the sun and the lark.
Next morning, as the flower was stretching out all its white petals, like so many little arms, to the air and light, it recognised the bird's voice, but the voice was very mournful now.
lark had, indeed, good reason for singing a sad song, for it had been taken prisoner, and put into a cage, which hung beside an open window of the house. The little daisy wished very much to help its friend the lark, but how was it to manage that? Yes, it was a difficult affair, the flower quite forgot how beautiful everything was all around it, and how warmly the sun shone, and could think of nothing but the captive bird.
Two little boys now came out of the garden, one of them with a knife in his hand, and they came directly towards the daisy, which could not conceive what they meant.
“Here we can cut out a beautiful piece of turf for the lark," said the boy with the knife, and immediately began to cut out a square turf, with the daisy exactly in the middle of it.