permission to walk in the garden. They talked a great deal about the
bird. Frank said he would make a coffin for it, and Fanny picked
mullen leaves to wrap around it.
The next morning they woke up very early, and Frank nailed some pieces
of shingles together, and Fanny folded the leaves about the bird, and
laid it in. Then she picked rose buds, and put them around, and every
thing was prepared for the little bird's funeral.
But their grandmother said there was too much dew on the grass for
them to go down through the meadows that morning; so they borrowed a
piece of black cambric from Sally, and spread it over the little box,
which they called the coffin; and Frank darkened the windows, as he
remembered they had done when his mother died. Then they left the bird
alone, and went down stairs to breakfast, after which they studied
their lessons until school time.
At school, they looked very solemn all the forenoon. Their teacher
noticed it, and asked Fanny what was the matter.
"We are going to a bird's funeral, Miss Norton," said Fanny, "and we
feel very afflicted." The teacher had to bite her lips to keep from
smiling. Frank noticed it, and said,
"It was Sally, Miss Norton, that put that into Fanny's head; but we
have reason to feel badly, for if it had not been for us, the little
bird would have been alive now."
When they had told Miss Norton about it, she said that she did not
wonder that they should feel bad, and the children saw that they had
her sympathy also.
At noon, their grandmother thought there would scarcely be time for
them to go down to the woods, and back, between dinner and school
time; so the funeral was again postponed.
But after school was out in the afternoon, the children hastened home,
and bearing the little box, still covered with the black cambric, they
walked slowly down through the meadows, stopping just at the edge of
the woods, a few rods from the tree that contained the nest, from
which Frank had taken the little bird only two days before.
When they heard the notes of the brother and sister birds, Fanny
thought, that had it not been for her, the little one that they
carried would have been chirping as merrily as they, and this made her
She sat down on a little mount of grass, and watched Frank as he
prepared the grave. It was a beautiful spot. The broad, green boughs
of a noble oak shaded them from the sun, and a placid little brook
wound along through the long grass and brake leaves at their feet.
Tall stems of blue-bells blossomed around, and modest little daisies
sprang from the turf every where. After Frank finished burying the
bird, he heaped up the green moss, all about it, and then sat down
beside his sister. Putting his arm around her neck, he drew her close
to him, while he clasped both of her hands in his.
[Illustration: FRANK AND FANNY.]
Her eyes still rested upon the little mount of moss beneath which the
bird was buried, and the tears were still welling from them.
"Don't cry any more, dear Fanny," he said; "don't cry any more, I am
sure we have both repented doing so wrong, and we never shall forget
how unhappy it has made us. Grandmother has often said that every
thing is for the best; and perhaps, this will make us more careful to
try to do right - so don't cry any more."
"I do try not to cry, Franky, and then I think how sweetly the little
bird would have been singing to-day, if it had not been for me, and
how badly the papa and mamma birds must have felt, when you took it
away, and I can't help crying. And perhaps, the little bird will go
to heaven, Frank, and it might see our mamma, and tell her how naughty
we had been to take it from its nest, and then she would think we were
such bad children - oh, dear;" and Fanny breathed another long sigh.
For some time the children sat very quietly, occupied with their own
thoughts, but at length Frank proposed that they should gather twigs,
and make a fence around the grave. Alter this was completed, it looked
very neat, and Frank thought that if the birds could see it, they
would think it was a very nice little grave.
COUNTRY AMUSEMENTS AND OCCUPATIONS.
Frank and Fanny were permitted to keep pigeons. They had a pigeon
house at the back of the barn, with windows opening into the yard,
which could be entered by going up into the hay loft, and opening a
little door. Fanny often went up there to look at the eggs, and play
with the young pigeons. Indeed, the old ones were quite tame, and not
at all afraid of her.
[Illustration: FANNY IN THE PIGEON HOUSE.]
All the various occupations of the neighboring farmers were observed
by these children with great attention; because they were desirous of
gaining information by their own observation. The ploughing of the
ground in the spring, and the breaking of it up with the harrow, to
prepare it for receiving grain, such as barley, rye, and wheat, were
operations which interested them very much, as well as the sowing of
the wheat, and harrowing it so as to cover the seed.
[Illustration: HOEING CORN.]
Then, again, the culture of Indian corn, or maize, was another curious
operation. They saw the farmer, after ploughing up the ground, making
it into little hillocks with his hoe; each hillock, or hill, as he
called it, received a shovel full of manure, before the corn was
dropped in, which last operation, Frank and Fanny sometimes assisted
their neighbor, Farmer Baldwin, to perform. Afterwards they saw the
farmer hoe the corn, loosening the soil round the plant, and cutting
up the weeds with his hoe. In summer, they often enjoyed a feast of
green corn, roasted or boiled, and when it was gathered, in autumn,
they assisted the farmer in husking it.
[Illustration: SHEEP WASHING.]
Farmer Baldwin's sheep were objects of great interest to the children,
and the little lambs they very justly regarded as types of purity and
innocence. When the season of sheep washing and shearing came, they
went over to the farmer's, and witnessed these amusing operations with
[Illustration: SHEEP SHEARING]
Very sorrowful were they when they heard of the disaster which
happened to the good farmer's flock, by the great snow storm. The
sheep were in a pasture quite distant from the village, late in
autumn, when just before night there came up a sudden and violent
storm of snow, and Farmer Baldwin and his hired men got the flock home
with some difficulty, losing several lambs in the snow.
[Illustration: FARMER BALDWIN'S DISASTER.]
When the season for harvesting the grain arrived, the children's
services were sometimes required by the farmer, to carry the dinner to
the reapers, out in the field where they were reaping the wheat with
sickles, and binding it into sheaves. An expedition of this kind was
quite delightful to Frank, who always felt proud of being useful, and
never neglected an opportunity of rendering good service to the
farmer. His good conduct in this respect, not only gained him the
respect and good will of Farmer Baldwin, but it was well requited,
when the apples and pears were gathered, when the potatoe crop came
in; and when the festive occasions of Thanksgiving day, Christmas, and
the New Year, served to remind the worthy farmer, that a brace of
fowls, or a turkey, might be acceptable to Frank's grandmother. Very
light was Frank's step when he carried the reapers their dinner.
Sometimes he was accompanied by his sister on this useful errand, but
he went oftener alone. But before he returned home, he made a point of
picking up a few dry sticks for kindling wood, which he brought home
on his shoulder.
This was not the only service which Frank rendered to the farmer. He
often ran of errands for him when out of school, and the farmer was
kind to him in return. He predicted that Frank would turn out a useful
and industrious man. He was also useful to his parents. One of his
regular occupations was to drive the cow to pasture, early every
morning, and to drive her home again in the evening, after school was
Farmer Baldwin had a large hop field, which, when the hops were in
full bloom, was a very beautiful sight. Here the children were allowed
to wander about at pleasure, their favorite resort being under a
spreading oak in the hop field. Here they often spent a Saturday
afternoon, reading, or making rush baskets, or wreaths of flowers, and
listening to the sweet singing of the redstart, whose nest was in the
top of the oak. Very sweet and plaintive was the music of the
[Illustration: THE REDSTART.]
When the season for hop gathering came, the children had a grand
frolic, as this kind of labor, in which they took a part, was a real
pleasure to them. The hops were so light and fragrant, and the picking
of them was such fun, and so many men and women assisted at the work,
and the long summer day was closed with such a grand rural
entertainment, when the great table was spread in the farmer's
orchard. Frank and Fanny wished that there might be a dozen hop
picking frolics every year.
[Illustration: HOP PICKING.]
I should not omit to tell you, Mrs. Hamilton was bringing Fanny up to
be very industrious, both with her sewing and knitting, and
Mr. Hamilton taught Frank to weed the garden, and saw wood, and gather
chips; and the children were as busy as bees, when at work, and as
happy as birds, when at play.
I have told you that Frank seldom played with any one beside his
sister; but sometimes when she was busy, after his work was dune, he
would cross over a corner of the orchard, to a little brown house that
stood near by, to play with a boy that lived there, with his mother.
Mrs. Mills was a widow; but Jack was very rough and wild, and Frank's
grandmother did not like to have him go there often.
One day Jack called to him from the orchard, and Frank, who had just
finished his work, ran over to meet him.
"Look here," said Jack, "see what I've got," and he held out his cap,
which was nearly half full of bird's eggs. Frank looked at them with
"You certainly couldn't have been so wicked as to rob the birds' nests
of all those," said Frank.
"Couldn't I?" said Jack, and he gave a long, low whistle; "may be
_you_ never did nothing of the kind."
"I never took eggs away from a bird in my life," said Frank; but he
held his head down, for he thought of the little bird he had taken
only a few weeks before. So he told Jack about it, and how sorry he
had felt ever since; but Jack laughed at him, and said:
"Ah, you are nothing but a chicken-hearted fellow, any way; if you
wasn't always tied to your sister, you might come with us fellows, and
have some fun. Me, and Joe Miller, and Sam White, is going down the
meadows, to hunt for more this afternoon, and if you'll come, we'll
give you some."
"No, indeed; I wouldn't go for any thing; and I do wish you would let
the poor birds be. Just think how badly you'd feel if you was a bird,
and had a nice little nest of your own, to find your eggs all stolen."
"Ho, ho," laughed Jack, "here's a young parson, preaching to me, who
wasn't too good to help himself to a bird, a few weeks ago, when the
old ones did all they could to keep him away from the nest. Why didn't
you think then how you'd feel if you'd been the bird? - ha?"
Frank did not answer; but he thought that he had suffered sufficiently
for his thoughtlessness, without being taunted with it. He tried to
persuade Jack not to rob any more birds' nests; but Jack only laughed
at him, and told him to run home to his sister, like a good little
boy. Frank was the oldest, and he felt rather vexed at the sneering
way in which Jack spoke; but he made no angry answer.
At school time, Frank and Fanny went to school again; but Jack played
truant, as he had done in the morning, and went down in the meadows,
with the boys, whom he had told Frank he was going with.
Miss Norton asked Frank, if he knew what had kept Jack away from
school all day, and he repeated to her, as nearly as he could, the
conversation which had taken place between them that noon.
The next morning, when Jack came into school rather late, Miss Norton
called him up to her, and told him to read out loud, this piece, from
the Village Reader.
"HAVE YOU SEEN MY DARLING NESTLINGS?"
A Mother robin cried:
"I cannot, cannot find them,
Though I've sought them far and wide
"I left them well this morning,
When I went to seek their food;
But I found upon returning,
I'd a nest, without a brood.
"Oh, have you naught to tell me
To ease my aching breast,
About my tender offspring,
That I left within my nest?
"I have called them in the bushes,
And the rolling stream beside:
Yet they come not at my bidding
And I fear they all have died."
"I can tell you all about them,"
Said a little wanton boy,
"For 'twas I that had the pleasure
Your nestlings to destroy.
"But I did not think their mother
Her little ones would miss,
Or ever come to hail me
With a wailing sound like this.
"I did not know your bosom
Was formed to suffer woe,
And mourn your murdered offspring,
Or I had not grieved you so.
"I ever shall remember,
The plaintive sounds I've heard;
And never'll kill a nestling
To pain another bird."
Jack was very much confused when he commenced reading. As he read on,
he looked more and more ashamed, and when he finished, his face was
Miss Norton was glad to see this, for she thought that it showed, that
he was not entirely hardened; so she suffered him to go to his seat,
without saying any more to him, hoping that this would be a sufficient
reproof. Before school was out, at noon, however, all Jack's
mortification had vanished, and in its stead, he indulged in very
angry feelings towards Frank for he was sure that Frank had told of
"I'll fix him," he said to his seat-mate, Harry Day, a merry little
fellow, whose roguish blue eyes looked quite capable of assisting
where there was any mischief going on.
"What'll you do?" said Harry.
"Why, I'll get him mad, and then I'll lick him; and I know how I'll
get him mad." So Jack, in accordance with his wicked resolution, wrote
in very large letters upon a slip of paper, 'BOY-GIRL;' on another
slip, he wrote, 'GIRL-BOY,' and giving Harry the one he had first
written, he told him to pin it on to Fanny's back, when they stopped
in the entry, to get their bonnets and caps. At the same time, he
slily pinned the other on Frank's roundabout. So when Frank and Fanny
went along out of school, as usual, the little children, amused by the
slips of paper, ran after them, some calling, 'boy-girl,' and others,
Frank did not know what all this meant; but he kept on without looking
"Look behind you," cried Harry Day, as he ran up to Fanny. Jack kept
some distance behind, and said nothing.
"Look behind you, I say," shouted Harry again.
Fanny was turning to look, when Frank said to her in a low tone,
without moving his head,
"Don't look around, Fanny, and don't mind what they call us, for I
[Illustration: JACK MILLS'S TRICK.]
So they kept on, side by side, the children still calling after them,
and when they got away from the school house, Jack's voice was heard
among the rest, shouting, 'tell-tale,' 'girl-baby,' and other
Frank took no notice of them, until his sister stooped down to pick a
flower, and as she did so, he saw the paper on her back.
"Who did this?" he said, and as he turned toward the children, he saw
Jack throwing a stone. The stone flew past him, hitting his sister in
the face. Fanny screamed, and the blood started from her nose.
Jack ran, and Frank's first impulse was to spring after him; but he
did not know how badly his sister might be hurt, and so he staid with
her, and wiped the blood from her face. The children crowded around,
and Harry Day unpinned the pieces of paper, for he felt ashamed, for
the part he had taken.
All the while, Frank's heart was full of angry feeling toward Jack,
and he could not have kept them down, if he had not had his sister to
take care of. He was very glad to find that she was not seriously
hurt; for the stone had not hit her with its full force, only grazing
her nose, between the eyes.
When they got home, Fanny told her grandmother all about it; but Frank
did not say a word. It was plain to be seen by the way in which his
head moved, as he walked the floor, that he was striving to obtain a
mastery over his passions. After a while he said,
"I wish I could fight Jack Mills, grandmother."
"My dear Frank," she answered, "you have forgotten the golden rule."
"No, I haven't forgotten it, grandmother; for if Jack Mills had a
sister, and I had thrown a stone at her, he might have fought me, and
"But now that Jack has thrown the stone, cannot you set him the
example of overcoming evil with good?"
"I don't know, grandmother; I think it would be very hard."
At dinner, Frank asked his grandfather, why kings went to war with
each other. He told him, that it was generally to defend their rights.
"Well, grandfather," said he, "if it isn't wrong for them to fight,
then I don't see why it wouldn't be right for me to fight Jack Mills,
and I know I should feel a great deal happier after I had done it."
His grandfather told him, that it would be very wrong for him to fight
with Jack, and that it would make him no happier. He also told him,
that Jack had not had the same influences around him, which he had
always had, and that if he retaliated, he would be even worse than
Jack, who had never been instructed so faithfully in what was right
and wrong. Frank listened without appearing to be convinced.
Then his grandmother read him the last eleven verses of the fifth
chapter of Matthew; but Frank still said, that he was afraid he could
not pray for Jack, and he knew he could not love him.
Mrs. Mills was very poor. She took in washing when she could get it,
and when she could not, she went around from house to house, to wash
by the day, where she was wanted. Mrs. Hamilton often sent the
children to her, with vegetables, or a loaf of fresh bread, or some
warm cakes; and sometimes a pie, or a piece of meat, and many other
little niceties. That afternoon, she prepared a basket, with a paper
of tea, and some eggs, and when the children came from school, she
told them that they might go and carry it to Mrs. Mills.
Frank did not look very much pleased at first, but when he saw Fanny
lift the basket so willingly, he took it from her, and said,
"You do right, grandmother, to send me to do good for evil, and I will
try not to say any thing naughty to Jack."
His grandmother told him, that she was not afraid to trust him. So the
children went along through the orchard, and when they came in sight
of the low, brown house, they saw, that the door which generally stood
open, was closed. Frank opened it, and looked in. There was a bed in
the room, and Mrs. Mills was lying down. She looked very pale and
tired; but when she saw the children, she welcomed them, and asked
them to come in.
She tried to sit up in bed, but her head ached so, that she was
obliged to lie down again, and give up the attempt. She was really
When Fanny found Mrs. Mills was sick, she said,
"Do let me make a nice cup of tea for you. Sally says it is so good
for a head ache."
"I haven't any tea, my child," she answered, "or I should have made
some when I finished my washing."
"But grandmother has sent you some, and here it is, just the very
thing you want; now, do lie down, and let us fix it for you, it would
make me _so happy_."
Mrs. Mills thought Fanny was too young; but she could not resist her
pleading tones, and so Frank raked the embers of the fire together,
picked up some chips, and heaped them on, and then filled the little
tea kettle, which was soon singing away merrily.
Fanny took down a cup and saucer from the dresser, and drawing a
little stand near the bed, she placed them on it, then measured out
her tea into an earthern tea pot, as she had often seen her
grandmother do; and the water boiled, Frank poured it on for her, and
they put it down to draw, as Mrs. Mills told them.
After a while, Jack came whistling into the house; but when he saw
Frank and Fanny there, he looked as though he wished he was any where
Fanny went towards him, holding one little finger up.
"Hush, Jack, don't whistle so," she said, "your mother has the sick
head ache, and we are making a cup of tea to cure her."
Jack looked at her in surprise. He did not know what to make of it
all. There was the mark on her face, where the stone which he had
thrown that noon, had grazed the skin, and yet, here she was, making
tea for his sick mother.
He did not say a word, but turned and went out of the house. Frank
thought he saw something very like tears glistening in his eyes, and
he acknowledged to himself, that his grandmother was right, when she
had told him that he would be happier if he returned good for evil.
Mrs. Mills sat up, and drank her tea, and then Fanny washed the cup
and saucer, and she felt very large to think she was able to do
it. Then she put her bonnet on, and Mrs. Mills told her that she
should tell her grandmother what a kind little girl she was, and how
much good she had done her, and Fanny and Frank both felt very happy.
As they went out of the door, Fanny bent her head down to smell of a
beautiful damask rose that was blooming on a bush near the house. They
walked along without seeing Jack, but he saw them. When they were half
way through the orchard, he came running up behind them, and reaching
out his hand, and touching Fanny, said:
"Won't you take this rose." She turned around, and saw that he had
picked for her the very rose that she had admired so much, and as she
took it from him, he whispered,
"I hope you don't think that I meant to hurt you this noon, when I
threw that stone - I wouldn't hurt you for the world. I only threw it
to make you look around."
Fanny answered him very pleasantly, and then he bade them good night,
and went back to his mother.
When the children reached home, they told their grandmother what a
happy time they had had, and Fanny said if she was a king, and another
king wanted to fight with her, she would send some eggs and tea, and
see if that wouldn't make them good, just like it made Jack Mills.
THE NUTTING EXPEDITION.
One Saturday afternoon, Frank and his sister went into the woods,
provided with little baskets and bags, to gather walnuts. As they left
the village, they were regaled with a song from the Golden Crested
Wren, who was perched on the branch of an apple tree, and seemed to be
lamenting the rapid approach of winter.
[Illustration: THE GOLDEN CRESTED WREN.]
Scarcely had they got into the thick part of the woods, where the
walnuts were abundant, when they found that they were not the only nut
gatherers on the ground. The grey squirrels were on the alert,
scampering about upon the tall trees, where they were quite at
home. Their nests are in hollow trees, high up from the ground, and
here they delight to store up the sweet nuts, and acorns, for their
subsistence. Frank told Fanny some wonderful stories about these
squirrels, which he had heard from Farmer Baldwin: how some thousands
of them once set out in company, on an expedition from New York State,
to Vermont, and swam across the Hudson; and how they were so fatigued
and wet, after crossing the river, that many of those who escaped
drowning, were killed with clubs by the people, on the eastern shore
of the river.
[Illustration: THE GREY SQUIRREL.]
Fanny also knew some stories about the grey squirrel, which she had
read in a book, which she got out of the school library - how they
sometimes crossed rivers on chips, and bits of bark, using their large
bushy tails for sails. Frank doubted this; but they both agreed to
believe what is really the fact, that these animals sometimes migrate
from one part of the country to another, in very large numbers.
[Illustration: THE YELLOW THROAT.]
When the children had half filled their baskets and bags, they sat
down under the shade of a walnut tree, to eat some dinner, which they