American Sunday-School Union.

Natural history, for infant schools online

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Tetoher: To chichi diass of animals do
fish6s b<4*Mig>? '

4 €!AtMi%n. T6 the fi)#rth'clit(».
-§ Tfe«>ft«^l Whtei^ao'fohels'KtB?
U| (Mldi/^, Sottid«li^ iii^ - s«ft^, 86me ' in
rivers and lakesf abd^lMid itt'^kK streatmS
^ and ponds. •'"

N l^hek Fi«hedilivef ^ 4dttg tinlK ^ sdme


have Ifved an hundred years. Cadd yon^
or '^ ..,..,



fishes, to fit them to live in water.

Teacher. One night a little mouse, in
h^i^ting forrsometl^gto eat, tried to run
along the edge of a basin which had water
in it; but down th^ pofor mouse fell into
the water, and could not get out again.
G^n you tlunk how it managed ti> keep
itself froBQi bwig drawjied ?

Childreru No.

Teacher;. Whm it felt that tiw^ water

I 98

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was deep enough to cover its head, it fix-
edlits^ on its hind legs, to es to keep its
body upright ; and then, placing its two
fore feet under its chin, it held ks head
above the water fw three hoars. When
it was taken out of the water, it was so
tired, it could scarcely move, but was
soon rested, and ran aWay quite livelyl
How do you think diat little motive could
know that it was not madie like a fish, and
fK> would die if its head was in water ?

Children. God tiaught ft to know that.

Teacher. The wise iEind good Creator of
animals fits each kind for the place in which
he chooses that kind shall live, and gives
to each what we call instinct. The little .
tnouse had not reason, so it Could not have
l^ani^, as yon, who have reason can, the


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4 natub^ history.

Jifiiirencie Mww itsejf and a S^,;>}^

£k4,'dir&^^4^k.^y] the inOinei bB,tmd

^i»ie» to itii b(m )^ do wfcat yrould save its

lile.. J^jrpu^^Qiff if atfistil^bcmes?

. 'CffUdreHr Ye^i it hwl boaesu

. Tmh^*^ Theba«iesof afishjjure^rwg,

though ep^.tfian this hones ofotheir aQi^

taaJba^ aikl wme £^hes hare only cartilage^

tbi^ is, gij^tle, iwtead of bones. Of whal


Children. Th/sy are not all shaped alike.

Tocher* Nof .but most of them sBure

lar^r ip the fliuddle than towaids the
head and t^i),^ iiooj^ at the picture of a
fisht and you wiy ^i^r?taj(i4 vJbal I J?ay*

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JWHBak 5

.7^'sbl9f^ suits badt'fecLmoiriiig fkiH m
mU^p Moat fisbefi Imm Jaige mouths,
Wild ^;gftet many teeth. Where we your

Tmc^. SoiM fiaftes haive i» maay as
Cwio i^odfad 4wth:&^ not onlyiii the
JQjir^, lliit oil the lioof of tte mouth, and
<all over Ihe longue. SixDe are shaped
like a sugar loa^ some Uke a wedge, some
like a hook, and soma are as fine as the
hridtles of a brush. A &h, called a Cfae-
toden,bas such fme teeth; look at the
picture of it on the first page, and teU me
what does its roucd mouA look like ?

Children^ L3ia the hiH of a bird.

Teach^. It is a pretty :fi$h, witfi brawn
fapidis tdged with wkite. It Kve» in the

i2 101

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8(sas<Mrim&a« Insect are its food. When
it k hungry^it swisis to the top of the wa-
ter, i?bere ihdects are flying about^ and
from its long, round mouth, it shoots a drof)
of water, so as. to reach an insect, and
bring it down with the drop into its
mouth, where the bristling teedi hoM it
fast How does aCh^oden know in what
way it must use its mcMith, which is so
different from <^er fishes ?

CkUdren. God chooses tt shall eat in-
sects, and gives it die right kind of mouth
to catch them widi, and teaches it how to
use that mouth.

Teacher. Fishes have not as much in-
stinct as sonie oth^ animals have; but
wlraii tbey begin to live^ God gives them
as much as they need h^ve,i60 that ^

V . 102

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}K)uoge8t knows as w^ll as the oldest dbes^
how to do every thing that a fish need do ;
\mt it dpes not know any thing else. Can^

Children. Yes, a fish has eyes.

Tecuiher, The eyes of a fish are fixed
deep in its head, and are formed for see-
ing well in water. A fish has not eyelids,
to move up and down, but some have along
the eye a fine skin, which falls like a veil
when the fish has need to cover his eyes.
A fish, called an Eel, Crod chooses shaH
work its head into mad imd sand, to get
insect3 aQd worms to eat; so he kindly
fbi;ins it/3 ^es with a thin horny cover
over ^kcfa» which serves to keep out^ the
sand, and for spectacles, to see through.
Most fishes have their eyes on die sides


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of the bead, but some have both eyes<kii
one sukw Chie kind is called a filter ^
Gfa^jcr, foi^it is almrays looking towards*
the sky. Where do you think its eyes
are plac^?
Children. Om the top of its headw
Tec^her. Y^. This is the' picture of
a wolf fish, which has very bright ^es.

A fish can hear ; but beoaose sound can be
heard bettor in .waters (faan^ in air^ the ear9
of a fish :are^ inside of its head^ and the'
G^nings 091 the outside ate so smalPtliey '
can scarcely be seen^ A fish can feel with
^ end of its moutiit^anfi^^Bome liav^ little*
bair& idongi the* iHouthi- wbi^h^ diwrve* ftfe^

U 104

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feders. A fish can smeU, too*. Can you
teU what a fish ia covered with?

Childiten. A fish is covered with scales.

Teadier. A fish has a skin with a thick
slippery juice spread all over it^ to pre-
vent the water firom spoiling it. And oxt
most fishes, oval or round scales are laid
in beautifiil order. No other kind of
clothing would be so usefiil and pleasant
to a fish, for scales are very strong and
very light. The scale of a fish one year
old is very thin and small, but every year
a scale a Uttle larger is added ; so, the
age of a fish can be known by its scales.
If (me thick scale can be separated into
five thih ones, how old is the fish on which
that scale grew ?

Children. Five years old.

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Dncler. A fish, you know, has no other
limbs than fins ; they are formed of sldii,
with gristle or bone to make it stifl^ to
press against the water. Some fishes have
five fins, some six or eight, and soiro at
many as eleven. This fish

has a fin on each side of the neck ; they

are called pectoral fins. The one on die

breast, is the ventral, fin ; along the back

are the dorsal fins ; under the body, near

to the tail, is the anal fin ; on the tail, is

the cottdai fin. What use does a fish

make of its fins ?

Children. A fish uses its fins to swim

with. ''


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nSHB8. 11

Teacher. Widi its firis a fish can balance
itself, that is, can keep itself froax falling
cm one side. And as oars are used to
moye a boat, so a fish can use its fins to
move backwards, to turn round, and to
dart forward as fast as a bird can fly«
There is i. fish called a climbing perch^
because of another use it can make of its
fins; whatdo you think it can do with them?

Children. It can climb with them.

• Teacher. In its find are stiff bones with
sharp points ; they are called spines ; and
with themthe fish could climb a small tree
if it grew quite near the edge of the wa-
ter. But if a fish-hawk should see it, the
poor perch would find that it had better
use its fins to swim than to climb. What
is a fish-hawk ?


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12 NATimAL mftTOftY.

Children. A bird that catches fidu

Teacher. Several kmds of birds catdl
fish. A fish-hawk eats them, and feeds its
young ones with them ; so it must have a
nest that will hold young birds and some
fishes too. Where do you think it builds

Children. Near to a river.

Teacher. Or a sea. By the instinct
God gives it, he teaches it to choose a tall
tree there, and to build a very large nest
on it, with sticks, and chips, and dry
grass. It does not, as most birds do, build
a new one every year, but mends the old
one every spring. When the hawk is
hungiy, or has young ones to feed, it goes
to the water for a fish. This bird can see
very far; it flies slowly round and round


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quite high in the air over the water^ and
when it sees a fish, darts down and catches
it with its claws, which are very strong
and rough, that it may easily hold a slip-
pery fish, and carry it to its nest That
is the way a hawk gets fishes ; how do
men catch them ?

Children. With a hook.

Teacher. And with nets, made of strong
twine or rope. Sometimes fishermen, or
hoys, go in such a boat as this

and catch fish with a scoop net, which is

&stened to the end of a pole ; so that it
K 100

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can be dipped into the water like a ladH
to catch fiBh. Indians use such a net, to
catch very good fish, called white fish,
which are in the lakes of North America.
Indians have boats made of the bark of a
tree ; they are called canoes, and are so
light that an Indian can carry one in his
hand Uke a basket Two Indian boys jump
into a bark canoe ; one stands at one end,
' to paddle it along, and one stands at the
other end, and dips his scoop net, catcheiS
a fish, and throws it into the Ught canoe,
which dances about like a cork on the ra-
pid water. I will tell* you now about a
fish that was once caught with a hook, and
of which this is a picture.

We learn in the Bible that certain tax-
gatherers wished to know if our Lord and


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Sariour Jesus Christ would pay a tax* Pe-
ter went to tell him. He knows what all
the people in the world are going to say ;
so, before Peter spoke about the tax, Jesu^
said, ^^Go thou to the sea, and cast a hook
and take up the first fish that cometh up ;
and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou
shalt find a piece of money; that take and

give unto them for me and thee." So Je-


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sus our Lord taught Peter that he can
make whatever use he [deases of his crea-
tures. Sometimes he fed thousands of hun-
gry people with a few loaves of bread and
a few little fishes* This great and kind
Lord and Saviour loves to bless and take
care of little children. Oh ! how much
you ought all to love him and praise him^
and to try to be good, that you may go to
hve with him in Heaven when you die..
Now leam to repeat —

Let httle children come to met
The Lord our Saviour saysj

May we obey him, and good be
In aH our words and wayB.


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'Teacher. Children, if you could look
so closely at a fish, as the children in: this
picture seem to be looking at one which
the woman holds in her hand, you would
see its gills through which it breathed.
How do you think a fish gets air to breathe?

Children. It puts its head out of the

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Teacher. Some fishes rise every few mi-
nutes tq the top of the water for air. But
there is always some air in water, and a great
many fishes get all the air they need with-
out putting their heads oqjt of the water;
for with their gills they can separate air
from it. If you were to put your finger
on a fish, close behind the head, and raise
up the part which covers the gills, you
would see that there are four on each side
of the fish, formed either of bone or car-
tilage, in the shape of half a circle, with
a red fringe along the edge. In that are
little veins through which all the blood
of the fish passes. A fish is continually
moving its lips to take water into its mouth ;
the gills take air from that water, and
then open and let it out; so they are con-

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stantly opening and shutting to supply the
fish with air. A fish needs air, not only
for breath, but to fill a very useful little
bag, which is within its body. What
would you call such a bag?

Children. An air bag.

Teacher. It is galled an air-bladder:
when that is spread out with air, the fish
can float near to the top of the water, but
when it wants to sink, it can make its bo-
dy heavier, by pressing the sides of the
bag, and then down it goes as far as it
chooses to go, even in a deep sea. How
do you think it gets up again?

Children. It swims up.

Teacher. It spreads out its air-bag with
air, and then it can swim upwards. Here
is a picture of some children looking at

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fish swimming in a glass shaped like a

Fish kept in such a glass are called gold-
fish. They are natives of Chinay and a
great many have been taken into other
countries. It is very pleasing to look at
them swimming in the clear water: some
are red, and look as if they were sprin-
kled with gold dust ; some are silvery,
spotted with red; and some look like

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gold. Do you recollect whether a fish
can hear?

Children. Yes, a fish can hear.

Teacher. Kinds of fish called Carp and
Pike, are sometimes kept in a pond, and
fed, and when the person who feeds them
calls them, or rings a little bell, old and
young swim as fast as they can, to the
edge of the pond, and some will eat crumbs
out of the hand. Do you know what
most fishes like to eat?

Children. Fishes eat worms and insects.

Teacher. They are voracious, that is,
very hungry animals, and dail at every
thing that looks as if they could eat it.
Onc« a horse was drinking in a river, and
a fish caught hold of his nose, to eat it,
and held so tight that the horse had to

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shake his head very fast^ to make the fish
let go. Fishes eat each other. God chooses
that they shall do so ; if they did not, there
would not be room for all of them, in all
the water that is in the earth. But the
large fishes would eat all the smaller ones,
if God had not given them the power to
defend themselves. Look at this one:

What does its long snout look like?

Children. Like a saw.

Teacher. It is bony, and notched like
a saw. The saw-fish lives in seas, and
sometimes grows as long as a bench on
which fifteen children could sit. But
there are larger fish than it, and it uses

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its saw to strike and out th^m when they
attack it. What other use do you think
it can make of its saw ?

Children. It might use it to kill less
fishes to eat.

Teacher. It does ; for God has given it
instinct to direct it to use its saw to get
food^ and to defend itself too. He gives
a very wonderful power to some kinds of
fishes called electric fishes. They can
give an electric shocks that is, can make
any living animal feel numb all over. One
fish of that kind is called a gymnotus, or
electric eel. It lives in the rivers of South
America, has a round body, and is about
three feet long. If one was to be put into
a large tub of water, and ten of you were
to stand in a row holding each other^s

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hands^ and the one next to the gymnotus
was to touch it, even with a stick, each
one would feel pain, and as if you were
numb all over. Here is the picture of
another kind of electric fish called a Tor-
pedo. What shape is it?

Children. It looks almost round.
Teacher. It is a flat fish, with a head

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almost as large as its body ; and can hear
well through the little star-shaped open-
ings on its head. It sometimes grows so
large as to weigh sixty pounds. It lives
in seas^ but can five twenty -four hours out
of the water; so, sometimes it comes to
the shore of the sea, and hides itself there,
by flapping a shower of sand over its bo-,
dy with its tail. When it is in the deep
sea, and larger fish come near to it, the
Torpedo gives them a shock, and so can
get away while they are too numb to swim.
What other use do you think it makes of
this wonderful power which God has gi-
ven to it?

Children. It numbs little fish so that it
can catch them easily, for they cannot
swim away when they are numb.

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Teacher. There is a fish which can pop
out of the water^ and fly to escape from a
big one. What would you call such a fish?

Children. A flying fish.

Teacher. It lives in seas, is about from
ten to twelve inches in length, and is of
a blueish colour. Its ventral and tail fins
are red. Its pectoral fins are blue, edged
with yellow, and are almost as long as its
body} it can spread them, and mount in-
to the air, and fly when a large fish chases
it, but cannot fly far. It dips into the

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"Water to rest itself^ and then pops out
again. Flying fish sometimes go iu shoals;
and will often fly on board of ships at sea.
What is a shoal of fishes ?

Children. A great many together.

Teacher. Some kinds migrate in shoals ;
that is, go a great distance from one place
to another. God causes them to do so,
that a great many people in different parts
of the world may get the kinds of fish
which are best for food. And of such
fish he makes the greatest number. Her-
rings, which are very good food, live a
few months in the icy . seas ; instinct leads
them, early in the year, to swim from
there to put their eggs in shallow water,
to be hatched. Some shoals are ten miles
long, and five broad. They swim to the

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coasts of different parts of Europe ; and
some come to some of the bays and rivers
of America, Plenty of them are caught.
What we call the roe of a herring is its
eggs, and one has at least a million of
eggs. The eggs which are put in shallow
water are hatched, and the young her-
rings swim away to the icy seas, to stay
until it is time for them to come in shoals
with their eggs. What other fish come
in shoals in the spring ?

Children. Shad come in the spring.

Teacher. Some American shad grow
large enough to weigh twenty pounds ;
but most of them weigh only seven or
eight pounds. They live a part of the
year in the Atlantic Ocean. There is a
little white flower, which blooms very

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early in the springs and is called a shad-
blossom^ because^ about the time it blooms^
shad come from the sea, and swim up the
river in shoals. Thousands are caught to
be eaten fresh, and tens of thousands in
nets, to be put up into barrels with salt,
which keeps them a long time very good
to eat. Most American children know
what good food shad are, and mackerel
which swim in shoals, too. When fishes
come in shoals, it is a feasting time for the
birds which love to eat fish. An eagle
loves fish, but cannot go into the water for
them. What do you think he does when
he sees a fish-hawk with one?

Children. He takes it from him.

Teacher. He chases the hawk, which,
when the eagle comes near, screams and

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drops the fish; then down the eagle darts^
and catches the fish before it reaches the
water: so sometimes a hawk has to be a
&her for an eagle. A cormorant can be
taught to fish for men. It is a large bird
with webbed feet, and claws notched like
a saw. When this bird sees a fish deep
in the water of a river, or a lake, he
plunges in and seizes it with his notched
claws, then with his other foot raises him-
self to the top of the water, and then
throws the fish up into the air and opens
his wide bill, and catches it as it falls head
foremost, and swallows it whole. In some
parts of China, a man will tame twenty
cormorants, and when he wants fish he
ties a string round the neck of each bird,
that it may feel it cannot swallow a fish ;

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then he takes them all in hid boat on a lake
and lets them fly over the water. Each
bird soon plunges in, and catches afidh in
its claws, but feels it cannot swallow it,
and so brings it to the boat, where the
China man sits, and thus gets as many-
fishes as he wants without the trouble of
catching them himself. In some parts
of the world the people eat more fish than
any other kind of food, and there are a
great many kinds eaten which I have not
told you of. Men sometimes make a liv-
ing by catching fish. We learn in the
Bible, that many of the men who loved to
be always with our Saviour, were poor
fishermen. They listened to what he
said, and they prayed that they might be
able to do what he taught. If you wish

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to learn what Jesus said and did, and will
pray that your heavenly Father will make
you love to do what he taught, you will
be very happy, and may be more merry
than any of the liveliest little fishes which
play in the water.

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Teacher. Lodk at these animals of the
fifth class ! What are they ?

Children. Itfsects. ^

Teacher. No. 1, is a stag beetle ; 3, a


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white ant king ; 4, a labourer ; and 2, is
the house which the white ant labourers
build ; 5, a butterfly ; 7, a bee ; 8, a straw
bee hive ; 9, a bee hive of boards ; 10, is
a spider ; 11, a spider's web ; 12, a fly;
13, a musquito ; 14, shows the inside of
a wasp's nest ; 15, is a wasp; 16, is a
silk worm ; 6, the cocoon, a ball which
the worm makes round itself, of silk or
web ; and 17, is a moth fly, the mother of
the worm. Where do insects hvf ?

Children. Some insects live in the air,
some in the water, some on the earth.

Teacher. How do they move ?

Children. Some insects can fly, others
can swim, or crawl, or run, or jump.

Teacher. Insects have not bones ; but

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