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imagined he saw among the twisted branches something like a tuft of hay. As his curiosity was raised to know what it was, he went up close to the hedge, and found this tuft of hay was hollow like a bowl.
4. On putting aside the branches, he saw something like little balls within it, which were spotted, and of an oval shape. They lay close to each other, on something very soft. “Bless me, (said Gregory) this must be certainly what I have heard some people call a bird's nest, and the balls must be eggs. They are indeed less than our eggs, but then our hens are larger than these birds."
5. He had some thoughts, at first, of taking away the whole nest; but upon second consideration, he contented himself with taking only one of the eggs, with which he instantly ran home. In the midst of his haste, he met his sister. “ See this little egg, (said he to her) I have just now found it in a nest in which were five others.”
6. She desired to have it in her hand, examined it attentively, and then returned it to her brother. At last they began rolling it up and down a table, just as they would a ball,
One pushed it one way and the other à different way, till at last they pushed it off the table, when it fell on the floor and broke. This set them a crying, and each mutually accused the other of being the cause of this sad disaster.
7. Their mother happening to hear them cry, came to inquire into the cause of it, when both began at once telling their sorrows; and having heard their different stories, she took them affectionately by the hand and led them to a tree, whose stately boughs afforded a pleasant shade to a verdant bank, on which they all sat down together.
8. “My dear children, said their mamma) make yourselves easy. You have broken the
and that, to be sure is a misfortune ; but it is of too trifling a nature to suffer it to make you so unhappy. After all,
Gregory, there is some room for complaint against you, as se it was an act of injustice to rob the poor bird of its egg. ok
9. “You must have seen how the hen places her eggs in a nest on which she sits to warm and animate them. In 16 about three weeks, from the eggs proceed chickens,
which pierce the shell, and in a few days come and feed out of hand. This
have just now i broken, had you left it in the nest, would have become a e sort of chick.
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10. “ The bird you saw fly out of the bush, was probably the mother, which will, very likely, return again, to see what mischief you have done her, and perhaps she will forsake it altogether, which birds frequently do when disturbed.
11. “Though the loss is only a single egg, yet that perhaps will inform them that their habitation is discovered, when they have every thing to be afraid of from our violence. They guess, perhaps, that when their little ones shall be hatched, those that robbed them of an egg,
will return and seize
their infant family. If this nest you have been robbing, for I cannot call it any thing less than a robbery, should be on that account forsaken, I think you will be very sorry for it.”
12. Gregory replied, that it would indeed give him much uneasiness, and seemed very sorry that he had meddled with the egg. “But, said he to his mamma, I had not the least thought of what you have been telling me, nor did I
ab suppose there could be any harm in bringing it to my sis
the ter, for it was principally on that account I took it.'
13. His mamma replied, that she readily believed him; for she told him she was sensible, that he had too good a heart to wish to do mischief merely for the sake of tormenting others. Gregory was, indeed, a very good boy, and was remarkable for his duty to his parents, his tender attachment to his sister, and his universal benevolence to
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14. The little girl observed to her mamma, that the nest which her brother had shown her, did not, in any degree, resemble the swallows' nests which were seen about the corners of the windows of some houses.
15. “My dear, replied her mamma, every nest is not alike, any more than every bird, some being great and others little; some are never seen to perch on trees,
while others are hardly ever out of them; some are bulky and inactive, others slim, and full of cunning and industry; the for plumage of some is beautiful beyond description, with an amazing variety of colours, and others have a plain and thich homely appearance; some subsist on fruits, some feed upon insects, and many live by making a prey of, and devouring the smaller birds."
16. Here her little daughter exclaimed, “O, what wicked the creatures! I am sure I should think it no crime to destroy the nests of such unnatural birds!"_“Very true, replied
her mamma, and there are many more of your way of thinking; and therefore these great birds, which live upon the smaller class, build their nests in places where they cannot be easily disturbed, such as in woods, in crevices of rocks, and in other places most unfrequented by men, or at heights beyond our reach.
17. “Since, therefore, my dear children, these birds are greatly different from each other, as well in size as in their mode of living, and in the variety of their plumage, it will naturally follow, that their nests must also differ. The lark never perches on a tree, and sings only when mounting in the air, and builds her nest on the ground.
18. “The swallow builds about the roofs of houses, under what we call the eves, and sometimes in the corners of windows and chimnies. The owl, which flies abroad only in the night, seeks out deserted habitations or some hollow tree, wherein to deposit her eggs, and the eagles, that soar above the clouds till absolutely out of sight, bring forth their young in the cliffs of craggy rocks.
19. Those little birds which so prettily sport round our houses, and hop from branch to branch, make their nests in trees and hedges. Those which sport on the water, and find their living therein, build their nests among the rushes that grow on the banks.
20. “We will, one fine day, take a walk into the little valley that terminates our large meadow, and you will there see a number of these pretty creatures busy in selecting the materials of which they compose their nests. You will observe one employed in carrying off a wheaten straw, another with wool or feathers in its beak, another with a dried leaf, and perhaps with a little moss.
21. “You may frequently notice the swallow, on the borders of a limpid stream, moistening in the water a little bit of earth which she holds in her beak, and with this she builds her habitation ; and, though the outside of her nest is formed of hard and durable materials, the inside is lined with the softest and warmest. There are even some birds, which pull off their own feathers to make up a comfortable bed, wherein to secure their young from every inclemency of the elements.
22. “Their nests are made large or small, in proportion to the number of eggs they are to contain. Some birds hang up their nests by a kind of thread, which they have the skill to form of flax, of different sorts of weeds, and of
the webs of spiders. Others place it in the middle of a soft and gluey substance, to which they carefully stick many feathers. All birds seek retired and solitary places, and use every endeavour to make their nests strong and solid, to secure them from the attacks of enemies of various species. 23. “ It is in this kind of habitation they lay their eggs,
, where the female, or at times the male, sits upon them, puts every thing within them in motion, and at last produces little creatures, which break through their shell and come forth. 24. I doubt not but
have often seen a fly in winter, which appeared to have no life in it; yet, upon taking it in your hand, the warmth proceeding from it has brought it to life. It is nearly the same thing with birds, the perseverance of whose parents, in brooding upon their eggs, converts them into living creatures.
25.“ While the mother is sitting, the male is her constant attendant, and amuses her with music. When the from young birds are hatching, the old ones endeavour to release them from the confinement of the egg. At this period, their diligence is redoubled, they do every thing to nourish and defend them, and are constantly employed in that interesting pursuit.
26. “No obstacle deters them from seeking their food, of which they make an equal distribution, every one receiving in turn what they have been enabled to procure. So long as they continue young and helpless, they contrive to procure such food as is adapted to their delicacy; but as soon as they are grown stronger by age, they provide for them food of a more solid nature.
27. “The pelican, which is a very large bird, is obliged to go a great distance for food for her
and therefore nature has provided her with a sort of bag, which she fills with such food as she knows is most agreeable to the palate ha of her young ones. She warms what she
and by such means makes it fitter for their tender stomachs.
28. “While they are thus acting the parental part, they seem to be forgetful of themselves, and attentive only to their little family. On the approach of either rain or tempests, they hasten to their nests, and cover them as well as They can with expanded wings, thereby keeping out the wind and water from hurting their infant brood.
29. “ All their nights are employed in keeping them
raduct shall 1
warm. The most timorous among the feathered race, ces which will fly away on the least noise that approaches and them, and tremble at the most trifling apprehensions of
danger, become strangers to fear as soon as they have a
young family to take care of, and are inspired with courage SA and intrepidity.
30. “ We see an instance of this in the common hen, 3 which, though in general a coward, no sooner becomes a sparent, than she gives proofs of courage, and boldly stands
forth in defence of her young. She will face the largest dog, and will not even run from a man who shall attempt to rob her of her chickens.
31. In nearly a similar manner, the little birds endeavour to protect their infant family. When an enemy ap02: proaches, they will flutter round the nest, will seem to call
out for assistance, will attack the invader, and pursue him. - The mother will frequently prefer confining herself with the them to the pleasure of rambling through the woods, and reu will not quit her little progeny:' peo 32. Here their mamma ended, and her two children
promised they never would any more disturb those pretty i feathered animals. They promised only to look at their
nests, without being so cruel as to do them any harm.
They said they would be satisfied with gazing on them, * while employed in the delightful task of attending on their So young, and comforting and caressing their helpless off10 spring
33. “My dear children, said their mamma, this is the or conduct you ought to pursue. Keep your resolutions, and
I shall love you the more tenderly for it. Do no injury :to any creature, for he who made you made them also.
Take no delight in giving pain to the most insignificant creatures; but endeavour, on all occasions, to contribute to their happiness."
SECTION VIII, Returning good for evil, the noblest revenge. 1. “I will be revenged on him, that I will, and make him heartily repent it,” said little Philip to himself, with a countenance quite red with anger. His mind was so engaged, that as he walked along, he did not see his dear friend Stephen, who happened at that instant to meet him, consequently heard what he had said.