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or mask. They took these articles to their father's barn, and by
stuffing them with straw and putting a few extra touches of paint on the
mask, they made a hideous looking Guy. To the back of this figure, near
the shoulders, the boys fastened a string, and when it began to grow
dark they carried it out into the yard and placed it in a sitting
posture on the front fence, to fool people who were passing by. Holding
to the string they hid themselves behind the fence intending when any
one passed to let the figure fall forward as if it were about to drop
from the fence. But they failed to fool anybody, for the first one to
come along was Mike, their father's hostler, who at once discovered the
boys, and, saying "Ah! see the little laddie-bucks over the fince!" he
grabbed the guy and took it along with him.

So the boys themselves were the only ones April fooled.

[Illustration]




IN A STORM ON THE SEA.


Little David Loomis, only eight years old, was permitted by his father,
Captain Loomis, to accompany him on a whaling expedition. While out at
sea the body of a dead whale was discovered at some distance from the
boat, floating in the water. Several of the crew manned one of the
smaller boats and rowed away over the glassy sea to secure the carcase.
David was allowed to go with them. Before the boat reached the floating
whale, however, a fearful squall suddenly arose; the wind screamed and
whistled round their little boat; the waves, lashed to sudden fury,
hissed and foamed, breaking over them like a deluge, whilst a terrible
peel of thunder broke right overhead. David was scared almost out of his
senses. He had never before seen such a storm. But he sat still, as one
of the crew had told him to do, looking out, oh! how eagerly, for some
signs of his father's vessel. Nothing was to be seen, however, but a
wild waste of heaving, tumbling billows, over which the boat seemed
actually to fly. Suddenly the clouds lifted, the wind ceased, and all
was as calm as before the storm. Nothing was to be seen of the dead
whale, and the crew was content to let it float where it would, while
they rowed in search of their vessel. Ere long they were safe and sound
on board with Captain Loomis. David could not help repeating from a poem
he had recited at school, the words: "Isn't God upon the ocean, just the
same as on the land?"

[Illustration: IN A STORM ON THE SEA.]




THE JAGUAR.


The jaguar, or American tiger, as he is sometimes called, is a native of
South America. He is beautifully spotted with rings containing smaller
spots on a deeper ground tint. He is a ferocious and destructive beast,
inhabits the forests, and seeks his prey by watching, or by openly
seizing cattle or horses in the enclosures. His depredations among the
herds of horses which graze on the prairies of Paraguay are vast and
terrible. Swift as lightning he darts upon his prey, overthrows it by
weight, or breaks its neck by a blow of his paw. His strength is so
great, he can easily drag off a full-sized horse. He is an expert
climber, and the prints of his claws have been seen on the bark at the
top of trees fifty feet in height and without branches. He sometimes
feeds on monkeys, but they are generally too active for him; having the
power to swing themselves from branch to branch with wonderful
swiftness, they are soon beyond his reach. After horses, oxen and sheep
are his favorite prey, and his devastations among them are often very
extensive. On account of this, efforts are constantly made to destroy
him. He is hunted with dogs, which run him to bay, or force him to seek
safety in a tree, where he is kept till the approach of the hunters, who
shoot him, or disable him with their long spears.

[Illustration: THE JAGUAR WAITING FOR HIS PREY.]




MILITARY DOGS.


Big dogs, little dogs; black dogs, white dogs - all sizes and sorts of
dogs are now carefully trained for use in the military service of France
and Germany as messengers, scouts, and sentinels.

These "dog-children of the regiment" are not chosen from any special
breed of dogs, because that would at once cause then to be recognized,
and so become a target for the foe whenever seen.

These military dogs are chosen on account of the promise they give of
"individual merit," and their education is begun as early as possible.
All are trained to silence - a most difficult lesson, and only learnt by
long and patient teaching. In fact, it is at all times difficult to
insure obedience when music strickes up, for the training poodles,
fox-terriers, and collies are sorely tempted to give vocal
accompaniment. Dogs selected for this service are thoroughly children of
the regiment. They are never allowed to associate with civilians, or to
let any man wearing an unknown uniform approach them. They must not
attack strangers, but are to keep at a respectful distance from all
such. Thus their fidelity as letter-carriers is secured.

When on sentry duty they are taught to warn their human companions of
the approach of any strangers within three hundred yards. Each dog has
his regimental number on his collar.

[Illustration: DOG CHILDREN OF THE REGIMENT.]




TRUE TO HIS WORD.


At the conquest of Susa, Harmozan, a Persian prince, the satrap of
Ahwaz, was taken prisoner by the Arabs. When about to be taken before
Omar, the Commander of the Faithful, he arranged himself in his most
gorgeous apparel, wearing a crown on his head, and his embroidered silk
robe being confined by a splendid jeweled girdle. When his conductors
brought him to the mosque he saw Omar stretched on the ground, taking a
mid-day sleep. When he awoke he asked their business, and they replied,
"We bring you here the king of Ahwaz."

"Take hence the infidel," said Omar, averting his gaze. "Strip him of
his robes, and array him in the garb of El Islam."

This was done, and when Harmozan was again brought into the presence of
Omar he wore the striped garments of the Arabs. After conversing a while
he complained of being thirsty; but when a cup of water was brought he
expressed a fear that he might be killed while drinking it.

"Be of good courage," said Omar! "your life shall be safe till you have
drunk this water."

Harmozan instantly dashed the cup on the ground, claiming fulfillment of
the Caliphs word. Omar declared that this conduct deserved punishment as
deceitful, but out of regard for his word he pardoned the Persian, who
became a convert to the faith of El Islam.

[Illustration: "TAKE HENCE THE INFIDEL," SAID OMAR]




HUNTING A LION.


Some hunters near the Cape of Good Hope went in search of a lion which
had carried off a number of cattle from the neighborhood.

They discovered him in a thicket or jungle, and at once proceeded to
pepper him with slugs and bullets. Regardless of the shower of balls the
lion bounded forward, and in an instant turned the chase upon them. All
took to their horses or their heels. One huge fellow, not nimble enough
to mount his horse in time, was left in the rear, and was speedily run
down by the rampant lion. He had the prudence to fling himself flat on
the ground and lie quiet as a log. The lion sniffed at him, scratched
him with his paw, and then quietly sat down upon his body. His routed
companions, collecting in a band, took courage at length to face about;
and, seeing the lion on the prostrate body of the hunter, they imagined
that their comrade was killed, and began to concert measures for
avenging him. After a short pause, however, the lion resigned of his own
accord his seat of triumph, relieved his panting capture, and retreated
towards the mountains. The party, on coming up, found their friend
shaking his ears, unharmed, except what he had suffered from a very
ungentlemanly piece of conduct on the part of the lion.

[Illustration: THE LION SITS DOWN ON THE HUNTER.]




PURSUED BY INDIANS.


Two young men who had been attached to an exploring party, out West, but
had unwisely strayed away from their companions, were leisurely riding
along the prairie, trying to track the footsteps of their friends, when
they saw on the brow of a hill in their rear about a dozen Indian
warriors, who were rapidly approaching them. There was not a moment to
lose. The white men were unarmed, save for their hunting-knives, while
the lances of the red men gleamed in the light of the afternoon sun.
Putting spurs to their horses the two young men tried to escape by
flight, but the derisive cries of the enemy showed that the distance was
rapidly lessening between them. Nothing could have saved them had it not
been that, just at the most critical moment, they reached a "windrow," a
strip of ground upon which a storm had hurled down the trunks of trees
in wild confusion. Hastily abandoning their horses to their fate, the
two friends got in among the thick fallen timber, where they concealed
themselves, and listened breathlessly while the Indians with shouts
pursued, and attempted to capture the coveted animals. But they did not
succeed. A cloud of dust heralded the approach of a party of men, who
with shouts and cries galloped into the midst of them.

It was the exploring party, whose opportune appearance saved their
companions' lives.

[Illustration: PURSUED BY NORTH AMERICAN INDIANS.]




THE TRUANT'S SOLILOQUY


My schoolmates all are blessed to-day,
Their lessons conning o'er;
O, how I wish that I were now
Within that school-room door!

My teacher sits beside her desk,
With a smile upon her face,
Until she looks around the room,
And sees my vacant place.

My heart is aching while I walk
Along the mountain glade;
I love the trees, the rippling stream,
But sigh that I have strayed.

O, there's no joy in the hours of play,
If snatched from the study-time;
No music in the wild-bird's song,
While I hear the school-bell chime.

O, then, I'll seek my school again,
My teacher's rules obey,
Nor wander, as a truant boy,
And waste another day.

[Illustration: "ALONG THE MOUNTAIN GLADE"]




A QUEER FISH.


Little May's father is a fisherman. One day he brought home the funniest
fish May ever saw. She was a little bit frightened and didn't know
whether to laugh or cry. Her papa took her up in his lap, put an arm
around her waist and held her fast with one hand while he kept a tight
hold on the fish with the other.

"See, May," he said, "what a queer fish this is. Would you think it
followed the same kind of business that papa does for a living?"

"Oh, papa!" said May; "that horrid thing a fisherman? - surely you are
joking."

"No, my daughter," said the fisherman, "it is no joke. With that queer
looking rod and line fastened to its nose it angles for other fishes. It
hides amongst the sea-weed at the bottom of the sea, and the fleshy
shreds attached to its nose, floating about in the water, act as natural
bait, and attract the unwary little fishes in its neighborhood, but the
instant one of them makes a bite at the tempting morsel it is whisked
away, and the poor fish is caught in the huge mouth of the fisherman
fish, and crushed up by its sharp teeth."

"Oh, papa!" said May, "what horrid big eyes it has; what a huge mouth,
and such awfully sharp teeth! Ugh! Put it down, please, papa, for I
really believe I am going to be frightened."

The fisherman laughed heartily, and threw the queer fish into the
basket.

[Illustration: A QUEER FISH.]




A PROUD MONARCH.


Theodore, Emperor of Abyssinia, was raised to the throne from a very
humble position in life. He was one of the proudest of monarchs, was
styled "King of Kings," and boasted a descent from King Solomon and the
Queen of Sheba; a fiction devised to flatter the vanity of the royal
house of Ethiopia.

When this mighty emperor gave an audience he was surrounded by several
large and fierce-looking lions, and he made a great display of his
command over the savage creatures; but, notwithstanding their ferocious
aspect, the animals were said to be in reality as tame as dogs. Anyway,
they must have made a timid ambassador feel rather nervous when first
introduced to the royal presence.

The Abyssinians are very vain, and King Theodore thought himself greater
than all the sovereigns in the world, and this led to his fall. Thinking
he was not treated with sufficient respect by the British envoy and
other Europeans, he imprisoned them all. In 1867 an expedition was
fitted out under the command of General Napier. After encountering great
difficulties on the march, the British troops stormed and took
possession of Magdala without losing a single man; and the Emperor
Theodore, seeing that all was lost, slew himself to avoid falling into
the hands of the enemy. The captives were liberated, and for his
services in this campaign General Napier received the title of Lord
Napier of Magdala.

[Illustration: A PROUD MONARCH]




BABY'S ANSWERS.


"Where did you come from, baby dear?"
"Out of the every-where into the here."
"Where did you get your eyes so blue?"
"Out of the sky as I came through."

"What makes the light in them sparkle and spin?"
"Some of the starry spikes left in."
"Where did you get that little tear?"
"I found it waiting when I got here."

"What makes your forehead so smooth and high?"
"A soft hand stroked it as I went by."
"What makes your cheek like a warm white rose?"
"Something better than any one knows."

"Whence that three-cornered smile of bliss?"
"Three angels gave me at once a kiss."
"Where did you get that pearly ear?"
"God spoke, and it came out to hear."

"Where did you get those arms and hands?"
"Love made itself into hooks and bands."
"Feet, whence did you come, you darling things?"
"From the same body as the cherubs' wings."

"How did they all just come to be you?"
"God thought about me, and so I grew."
"But how did you come to us, my dear?"
"God thought of you, and so I am here."

GEORGE MACDONALD.

[Illustration: "WHERE DID YOU COME FROM?"]




DEAR LITTLE BROWN-EYED BESS.

A True Experience of Child-life.


I was working in my garden one day in the end of June,
The sun shone high in the clear blue sky, and the clock had just
struck noon;
I mused o'er my earliest childhood - my earliest friends, and lo,
There rose up the picture of a child in the dear dim Long-ago:
She holds in her arms a puppy, and smilingly shows it to me,
Her cheeks they are rosy and chubby, all dimpled with baby glee;
Her hair is dark and wavy, her brown eyes full of fun,
And she wears a blue straw bonnet to shelter from the sun.

She gathers daisies and kingcups till her pockets are more than
full,
And dreams of the far-away city where she soon must go to school;
Her home it is rustic and lonely in the land of the river Ness,
But she loves her rural dwelling, does dear little brown-eyed Bess.
One time - ah! how well I remember, it seems like yesterday,
Dear Bessie came to visit me, just nine years past last May:
Beneath the hawthorn blossoms, hearts full of childish bliss,
We vowed eternal friendship, and sealed it with a kiss;
And I plucked a bright pink rosebud to fasten in her dress -
She was six years old that summer, was dear little brown-eyed Bess.

I remember very little of all she said to me,
But I know we loved each other with childish love and free;
I remember romping gaily around some little ricks,
And fondly giving Bessie a tiny box of bricks;
I remember our long, long parting one autumn afternoon,
And Bessie softly whispering, "Come back and see me soon."
But alas! some wicked fairy was present with us then,
For during the days of childhood we never met again.

Six years went by, and I happened to look at my toys one day.
When I came across a wooden horse with which I used to play,
A little wooden pony I found in the old toy "press,"
That I once had got in a present from dear little brown-eyed Bess
'Mongst the flowers I was dreaming and thinking - Was I ever to see
her more?
When roused by a sound I looked and saw a carriage before the door
I ran right out of the garden and up the wooden stair,
Till I came to my own pink bedroom where I quickly smoothed my hair;
At my heart came a rush of rapture as I hastened to brush my dress
For who was down in the parlor? 'Twas dear little brown-eyed Bess.

Once more does our friendship flourish like the flowers in the
garden-bed,
And a tall young stately maiden is in little Bessie's stead.
When I look at this stately maiden I think of the bright pink moss,
I think of a foaming brooklet with a bridge of stones across;
I think of a waste of heather, a collie pup, and a cat,
In the arms of a rosy baby with a blue straw sun shade hat.
When I look at this stately maiden I cannot a smile suppress.
While I bless in my heart the good old times when I knew her
as little Bess.

JEANIE P. H. SIMPSON

[Illustration: DEAR LITTLE BROWN-EYED BESS.]

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

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Online LibraryVariousFun and Frolic → online text (page 2 of 2)