Emilie Poulsson.

In the child's world; morning talks and stories for kindergartens, primary schools and homes online

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And begin she did, while Mr. Oriole fluttered about, — some-
times helping, sometimes looking on, and often bursting into
joyous song.

JSTed and Kitty watched — oh! so quietly — as long as they could
see, and wished that the leaves did not hide the little weaver.
Every day after this Ned and Kitty put moi'e worsted out on the
bushes — green, and then blue, and then purple — until all their
colors were used. The birds always spied the worsted very soon,
and twittered and warbled joyfully over it. Day after day they
worked busily and happily; and the strips torn from the ])lants,
the long wisps of hay, the gay worsteds and the horsehair were
woven together and soon took shape as a nest.

It was wonderful how cleverly the little birds managed and how
jiatiently they worked. The long strings caught and tangled on
the twigs of the tree sometimes, and sometimes the wind carried
off a wisp of hay just when Mrs. Oriole was going to weave it;
but the two weavers chirped and twittered gaily all the while,

At last, within a week, the happy day came when the nest was
finished, and ]\Ir. and Mrs. Oriole had arollicking jubilee of song
over its completion. No wonder they were hai)py! How safe
their little home was! No eggs could fall out of such a deep nest
as this. No rain could get through its thin but closely woven
sides to chill the eggs or the baby birds who would by and by
come from the eggs. And what could be more delightful for the
little ones than the swnying, rocking motion which even thegen-

colored zephyr yarn, which the eager artist readily appropriated. He managed it so-
that the bird used nearly equal quantities of various high, bright colors. The nest was
made unusually deep and capacious, and it may be questioned if such a thing of beauty
was ever before woveu by the cunning of a bird."

From John Burrouijhs'' '• Wakf 7?obin."


tlest breeze gave to this high swinging home? Thus far it was just
like the nest of many other orioles, for, as we often sing: —

" Of all the weavers that I know
The oriole is the best.
High in the branches of the tree
He hangs his cosy nest."

But the worsteds which Kitty and Ned had supplied made
brilliant spots and bands of color such as had never been seen
before in the nest of a bird.

"See! See! See!" carolled Mr. Oriole as he flew round and
round the nest in ecstasy. " It is as gay as a flower garden! It
must be those wonderful strings which we found on the bushes
below which make it so beautiful."

" Flower garden, do you say? " sang Mrs. Oriole. " There are
colors more dear and beautiful to me than the bright flower colors.
That soft green reminds me of the leaves which rustle about our
home and shade it and hide it. But this little spot right here, my
dear, is what I most rejoice to see; not because it is like yellow
flowers or sunshine, though it is like both; but because it is the
color of your own golden, bright feathers. I remember well when
I wove that string into the nest."

Then the two birds joined in the oriole song of " Home, Sweet
Home," which is of a different tune from tlie one we people sing,
but which has the same meaning, I am sure.

While the orioles were rejoicing thus over their beautiful home,
Ned and Kitty, with their papa and mamma, were looking up at
the completed nest. They were fllled with wonder and delight.

" Who would ever think that such a beautiful and perfect thing
as that was made without hands and without tools?" said Papa.

" I am so glad I saved the worsted!" said Kitty. " I mean to
put some out every spring."

Bmilie Poulsson.


Nay, only look what I have found!
A sparrow's nest upon the ground:
A sparrow's nest, as you may see,
Blown out of yonder old elm tree.

IN THE child's WORLD. 301

And what a medley thing it is !
I never saw a nest like this, —
So neatly wove with decent care,
Of silvery moss and shining hair.

But put together, odds and ends,
Picked up from enemies and friends:
See, bits of thread, and bits of rag,
Just like a little rubbish bag!

See, hair of dog and fur of cat.

And rovings of a worsted mat,

And shreds of silks, and many a feather

Compacted cunningly together.

Well ! here has hoarding been and living,
And not a little good contriving,
Before a home of peace and ease
Was fashioned out of things like these I

Think, had these odds and ends been brought
To some wise man reuovraed for thought,
Some man, of men the very gem.
Pray, what could he have done with them?

If we had said: " Here, sir, we bring
You many a worthless little thing.
Just bits and sci'aps, so very small
That they have scarcely size at all;

And out of these, you must contrive

A dwelling large enough for five;

Neat, warm, and snug; with comfort stored;

Where five small things may lodge and board."

How would the man of learning vast
Have been astonished and aghast.
And vowed that such a thing had been
Ne'er heard of, thought of, much less seen.

Ah! man of learning, you are wrong;
Instinct is, more than wisdom, strong;
And He who made the sparrow, taught
This skill beyond your reach of thought.

And here in this uncostly nest,
These little creatures have been blest;
Nor have kings known in palaces,
Half their contentedness in this —
Poor, simple dwelling as it is!

Mary Howitt.


To THE Teacher: —

A good time to catch the early spring butterfly is, paradoxically, the
previous autumn, when it is in its chrysalis state; or, better still, when
it is in its caterpillar childhood.* This requires forethought and some
little trouble; but, to use an expression of the Welsh peasant women,
" The trouble's a pleasure, mem." For, however familiar the fact of the
metamorphosis of in.sects may he, to watch a caterpillar through its
changes is to be present at one of nature's miracles more wonderful than
any transformation scene of fairy land.

The teacher should not defraud herself of this delight, and should
bring it to the children; for it is perfectly feasible to have the whole
cycle of chansies accomplished in kindergarten.

In the following talk it is assumed that the teacher has a butterfly and
the chrysalis from which it emerged, and the talk should surely not be
given without such specimens.

By obtaining the specimen in its caterpillar or chrysalis state cruelty
is avoided, and the considerate treatment during the short captivity and
the prompt freeing of the insect when strong enough to fly away can be
a lesson in mercy.

The butterfly could be in a glass jar, with mosquito netting over the
top, for a short time while the children observe it, after which they will
enjoy giving it its liberty. Flowers, with a drop of sugar syrup added
to their own nectar, or sweetened water sprinkled on the plants in the
window, may tempt it to eat when it is Hying about the room.

The perfected insect — the butterfly — is brought to the children first,
rather than the catei'pillar or chrysalis, because of its beauty, because it
is more common than the caterpillar at this time (mid-April), and
because it corresponds with the other spring symbols of renewed life.
But the observation of the caterpillar should follow soon and should be
extended over the whole caterpillar stage of the insect's existence,
including the dormant period, and coming again to the butterfly which
lays the eggs from which the caterpillar grows.

Caterpillars will be placidly comfortable and happy in boxes or glass
jars covered with netting, if supplied daily with enough fresh leaves of
a kind to suit their taste.

* From the latest autumn brood of the Vanessa Antiopa. etc., found on willows,
poplars and elms.

IN THE child's WORLD. 303


What season of the year is this? What signs of spring have
you noticed? Even in the city we can see some, but out in the
country we sho"uld see many more. I have brought one of the
beautiful signs of spring to show you to-day. It can fly like a
bird and is as pretty as a flower, but it is neither flower nor bird.
Here it is. What is it?

(Direct the observation by questioning so that the children
will notice the color, the number of wings — two on each side or
four in all — the slender legs — three on each side or six in all — the
large eyes which can see in all directions, the two
antenna? or feelers, the three divisions of the body.
Call attention to the rings of the abdomen, since
they will be noticed again in the caterpillar, and
to the neck, which is the distinguishing mark of
insects, the name being derived from in and sedo,
to cut. That wings and legs are both joined to
the thorax or middle part of the insect, is also im-
portant to notice.) What does the butterfly eat?
Honey from the flowers. Do you know where the
flowers keep their honey (nectar, to speak more exactly)? Deep
down in the bottom part of the flower. Tlie butterfly could not
get his mouth away in there, but he has a wonderful tongue — a
lono- tube or pipe — long enough to reach the honey in the
deepest flowers. When the butterfly is not sipping honey his
long tongue is curled up out of the way and out of sight.

What does the butterfly like to do? Fly about in the hot sun-
shine, moving its pretty wings up and down, alighting now on
this flower and now on that. Is it noisy? No, it makes no
sound, but flies about very lightly and silently. We must
remember this when we play that we are butterflies.

Did we see any butterflies in the winter? Do you know where
they were then? It is a wonderful story. Many of them were
in little cases like this (showing chrysalis). You would not

304 IN THE child's WORLD.

think a butterfly, with his four large wings, was ever in such a
little place, would you? But the first part of the story is more
wonderful still; for, although a butterfly came out of this case
(or chrysalis), a caterpillar made it!

How many children have seen caterpillars? How do they
look? Have they wings? What do they eat? Do they look
like butterflies? (Show caterpillar and compare with the but-
terfly, bringing out diiferences chiefly.)

Yet, although they are so different, a butterfly always grows
from a caterpillar. The caterpillar crawls about, eating almost
all the time, and grows very fast. In fact, it grows so fast that
it gets too large for its skin, and the skin splits open down the
back and drops off, and there is a new, bright, looser skin under-
neath. After the caterpillar has outgrown its skin three or four
times and had as many new dresses, it stops eating, fastens itself
up somewhere and shakes itself out of its skin once more. This
time there is no new caterpillar skin ready, for the caterpillar
has begun to change to a butterfly and will not need it. So, in-
stead, this covering forms all over its body and the creature stays
safely shut up in its chrysalis until its wings have grown and it
has become a perfect butterfly. As soon as this has happened it
makes a little opening in the chrysalis, puts out its head and
looks about, and at last crawls out. You would not think the
butterfly very pretty as it stands on the outside of the empty
case; for its colors are dull, and its dripping wings cling to its
wet sides, making it look very limp and forlorn. But after it
has stretched its legs, and stroked and spread and dried its
wings, the beautiful colors grow more and more brilliant; and
when the butterfly floats off in the sunshine it is so beautiful
that we almost think it is a flower on wings.


3UG IN THE child's WORLD.


The Thaw Butterflies ("Sharp Eyes"), - - W.H.Gibson

Life and iier Children (Chap. XI), - - - Arabella Buckley

Insects Injurious to Vegetation, - - - Harris

Butterflies of New England, - - - -C.J. Maynard

Butterflies of North America, - - - - C. J. Maynard

The Butterflies of Eastern United States and Canada, Samuel H. Hcudder
Insect Lives; or, Born in Prison, - - - J. P. Ballard

Worms or Caterpillars, etc. ("Kindergarten Magazine,"

October, 1891), - - - - . e. G. Howe

Paradise Lost (Book VII), - - . - . Milton

The Nomades, - - - . Lowell

To a Butterfly, - - - Wordsworth

The Butterfly's Day, - - - Emily Dickinson


Sc^ai? W^uged'^^"^'^ \ C'^^^^^^ ^ol^^ in Feathers and Fur"), O. T. Miller


The first butterflies of the spring are tliose wliicli liave hiber-
nated in their winged state — Vanessa Antiopa, Comma, Semi-
colon, and Atlanta. They are sometimes tempted out bj warm
days in March, and in April are quite common.

Here are some hints from Wm. H. Gibson, that sharp-eyed
observer and charming chronicler : —

" The butterflies are now frequenting the tender foliage of the
willows by the brook, and in a few weeks the first brood of their
black, spiny caterpillars will literally weigh down the slender
branches as they strip the leaves and leave their cast-off skins
fringing the twigs. Hundreds of the caterpillars may be gath-
ered in a few moments, and the walls of your collecting box will
soon be hung closely with chrysalids, nearly all of which will
liave been transformed into butterflies within a period of a fort-
1 ight. There are two, or, I am led to think, even three of those


caterpillar broods during the year; the butterflies from the last
in autumn, surviving the winter." ********

" Any one of thefS angle-wing butterflies (Vanessa Antiopa,
Comma, Semicolon and Atlanta), may be kept in domestication
through the winter months, becoming very tame and familiar,
and forming a pretty feature of the conservatory, or even the
window garden."

On any of the parsley family of plants will be found a black-
banded, gold-spotted, green caterpillar, with malodorous yellow
horns. Its chrysalis is gray; the butterfly, black swallow-tail —
Papilio Asterias.

On any of the milkweed family will be found a black-and-
yellow-banded caterpillar. Its chrysalis is emerald green, studded
with golden points; the butterfly, orange-red wings, veined with
black — Danais Archippus.

On spice or sassafras bushes, a strange looking caterpillar, with
horns like the Asterias caterpillar, feeds. It wears first a green
skin with blue spots, and afterwards (just before the chrysalis
stage) a skin of a rich yellow color. Its chrysalis is of pale wood
color; the butterfly, the blue swallow-tail — Papilio Troilus.



" If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time
will I wait, till my change come." — Job xiv: 14.

"Let me hire you as a nurse for my poor children," said a
Butterfly to a quiet Caterpillar, who was strolling along a cab-
bage leaf in her odd, lumbering way. '•' See these little eggs,"
continued the Butterfly; " I don't know how long it will be
before they come to life, and I feel very sick and poorly, and if
I should die, who will take care of my baby butterflies when I
am gone? Will you, kind, mild, green Caterpillar? But you
must mind what you give them to eat, Caterpillar! — they cannot,
of course, live on your rough food. You must give them early
dew, and honey from the flowers; and you must let them fly

'606 IX THE child's world.

about only a, little way at first; for, of course, one can't expect
them to use their wings properly all at once. Dear me I it is a
sad i)ity you cannot fly yourself. But I have no time to look for
another nurse now, so you will do your best, I hope. Dear I
dear! I cannot think what made me come and lay my eggs on a
cabbage leaf I What a' place for young Butterflies to be born
upon! Still you will be kind, will you not, to the poor little
ones? Here, take this gold-dust from my wings as a reward.
Oh, how dizzy I am! Caterpillar, you will remember about the
food ' —

And with these words the Butterfly drooped her wings and
died; and the green Caterpillar, who had not liad the opportu-
nity of even saying yes or no to the request, was left standing
alone by the side of the Butterfly's eggs.

"A pretty nurse she has chosen, indeed, poor lady!" exclaimed
she, " and a pretty business I have in hand! Why, her senses
must have left her, or she never would have asked a poor, crawl-
ing creature like me to bring up her dainty little ones! Much
they'll mind me, truly, when they feel the gaywings on their
backs, and can fly away out of my sight whenever they choose!
Ah! how silly some people are, in spite of their painted clothes
and the gold-dust on their wings!"

However, the poor Butterfly was dead, and there lay the eggs
on the cabbage leaf; and the green Caterpillar had a kind heart,
so she resolved to do her best. But she got no sleep that night,
she was so very anxious. She made her back quite ache with
walking all night round her young charges, for fear any harm
should happen to them; and in the morning, says she to herself:
'* Two heads are better than one. I will consult some wise
animal upon the matter, and get advice. How should a jjoor,
crawling creature like me know what to do without asking my

But still there was a difficulty — whom should the Caterpillar
consult? There was the shaggy Dog who sometimes came into
the garden. But he was so rough! — he would most likely whisk
; 11 the eggs off the cal)bage leaf with one brush of his tail, if
she called him near to talk to lier, and then she should never
forgive herself. Thei-e was tlie Tom Cat, to be sure, who would

IN THE child's WORLD. 309

sometimes sit at the loot of the apple tree, baskmg himself and
warming his fur in the sunshine; but he was so selfish and indif-
ferent! — tiiere was no hope of his giving himself the trouble to
think about Butterflies' eggs. "I wonder which is the wisest
of all the animals I know," sighed the Caterpillar in great dis-
tress; and then she thought, and thought, till at last she thought
of the Lark; and she fancied that because he went up so high,
and nobody knew where he went to, he must be very clever and
know a great deal; for to go up very high (which she could never
do) was the Caterpillar's idea of perfect glory.

Now in the neighboring cornfield there lived a Lark, and the
Caterpillar sent a message to him, to beg him to come and talk
to her ; and when he came she told him all her difficulties, and
asked him what she was to do to feed and rear the little creatures
so different from herself.

" Perhaps you will be able to inquire and hear something
about it next time you go up high," observed the Caterpillar,

The Lark said, " Perhaps he should;" but he did not satisfy
her curiosity any further. Soon afterwards, however, he went
singing upwards into the bright blue sky. By degrees his voice
died away in the distance, till the green Caterpillar could not
hear a sound. It is nothing to say she could not see him; for,
poor thing! she never could see far at any time, and had a diffi-
culty in looking upwards at all, even when she reared herself up
most carefully, which she did now; but it was of no use, so she
dropped upon her legs again, and resumed her walk round the
Butterfly's eggs, nibbling a bit of the cabbage leaf now and then
as she moved along.

'' What a time the Lark has been gone!" she cried at last.
" I wonder where he is just now! I would give all my legs to
know! He must have flown up higher than usual this time, I
do think. How I should like to know where it is that he goes to
and what he hears in that curious blue sky! He always sings in
going up and coming down, but he never lets any secret out.
He is very, very close! "

And the green Caterpillar took another turn round the But-
terfly's egus.


x\t last the Lark's voice began to be heard again. The Cater-
pillar almost jumped for joy, and it was not long before she saw
her friend descend with hushed note to the cabbage bed.

"News, news, glorious news, friend Caterpillar!" sang the
Lark; " but the worst of it is, you won't believe me."

" I believe everything I am told," observed the Caterpillar,

" Well, then, first of all, I will tell you what these little crea-
tures are to eat," and the Lark nodded his beak towards the
eggs. " What do you think it is to be? Guess! "

'•Dew, and honey out of flowers, I am afraid," sighed the

" No such thing, old lady! Something simpler than that.
Something that you can get at quite easily."

" I can get at nothing quite easily but cabbage leaves," mur-
mured the Caterpillar, in distress.

" Excellent! my good friend," cried the Lark, exultingly; " you
have found it out. You are to feed them with cabbage leaves."

^' Never !" cried the Caterpillar, indignantly. ''It was their
dying mother's last request that I should do no such thing."

"Their dying mother knew nothing about the matter," per-
sisted the Lark; "but why do you ask me, and then disbelieve
what I say? You have neither faith nor trust."

"Oh! I believe everything I am told," said the Caterpillar.

" Nay, but you do not," replied the Lark; "you won't believe
me even about the food, and yet that is but a beginning of what
I have to tell you. Why, Caterpillar, what do you think those
little eggs will turn out to be? "

" Butterflies, to be sure," said the Caterpillar.

" Caterpillars ! " sang the Lark; "and you '11 find it out in
time;" and the Lark flew away, for he did not want to stay and
contest the point with his friend.

" I thought the lark had been wise and kind," observed the
mild, green Caterpillar, once more beginning to walk round the
eggs, " but I find that he is foolish and saucy instead. Perhaps
he went up too high this time. Ah, it's a pity when people who
soar so high are silly and rude nevertheless! Dear! I still won-
der whom he sees and what he does up yonder."

IN THE child's WORLD, 311

" I would tell you if you would believe me,"' sang the Lark,
descending once more.

'' I believe everything I am told," reiterated the Caterpillar,
with as grave a face as if it were a fact.

" Then I '11 tell you something else," cried the lark; "for the
best of my news remains behind: You will one day he a But-
terfy yourself.''

" AA^retched bird!" exclaimed the Caterpillar, "you jest with
my inferiority. Now you are cruel as well as foolish. Go away!
I will ask your advice no more."

" I told you you would not believe me," cried the Lark, nettled
in his turn.

"I believe everything that I am told," persisted the Cater-
pillar; "that is" — and she hesitated — "everything that is rea-
sonable to bel'eve. But to tell me that Butterflies' eggs are
Caterpillars, and that Caterpillars leave off crawling and get
wings, and become Butterflies! — Lark! you are too wise to
believe such nonsense yourself, for you know it is impossible!"

" I know no such thing," said the Lark, warmly. " AVhether
I hover over the cornfields of earth, or go up into the depths of
the sky, I see so many wonderful things, I know no reason why
there should not be more. Caterpillar; it is because you
crawl, because you never get beyond your cabbage leaf, that you
call any thing impossible."

" Nonsense!" shouted the Caterpillar. " I know what's pos-
sible, and what's not possible, according to my experience and
capacity, as well as you do. Look at my long, green body and
these endless legs, and then talk to me about having wings and
a painted feathery coat. Fool ! " —

"And fool you! you would-be-wise Caterpillar!" cried the
indignant Lark. " Fool, to attempt to reason about what you
cannot understand! Do you not hear how my song swells with
rejoicing as I soar upwards to the mysterious wonder-world
above? Caterpillar; what comes to you from thence, receive,
as /do, upon trust,"

" That is what you call "—

" Faith," interrupted the Lark.

" How am I to learn faith?" asked the Caterpillar.

312 IX THE child's world.

At that moment she felt sonietliing at her side. She looked
round — eight or ten little green Caterpillars were moving about,
and had already made a show of a hole in the cabbage leaf
They had broken from the Butterfly's eggs!

Shame and amazement filled our green friend's heart, but joy
soon followed; for, as the first wonder was possible, the second
might be so, too. "Teach me your lesson. Lark!" she would
say; and the Lark sang to her of the wonders of the earth below
and of the heaven above. And the Caterpillar talked all the
rest of her life to her relations of the time .when she should be
a Butterfly.

But none of them believed her. She nevertheless had learned
the Lark's lesson of faith, and when she was going into her

Online LibraryEmilie PoulssonIn the child's world; morning talks and stories for kindergartens, primary schools and homes → online text (page 20 of 29)