Page images
PDF
EPUB

adviser ; he has prescribed for you ten guineas, to be paid to the bearer at the bank, and signs himself Joseph. Do you know who it is ? Such balm for sore hearts and aching limbs I could not have prescribed for you."

The poor widow looked up to the sky speechless, she was so overcome with feelings of thankfulness. The money was duly paid on receipt of the cheque, and the nourishing diet which the poor woman was now enabled to indulge in soon restored her to health.

She married again, and lived happy and comfortable ; while she had the satisfaction of seeing her boy grow up into an honest and well-to-do mechanic.

From the German.

TRUE BLOOD. A CERTAIN good King had a son, whose mind was so contrary to that of his father, that he despised all those who were beneath him, thinking himself better than they were. Those whom fortune had placed under him seemed to him unworthy of his notice, or fit only to be the slaves of his will. Unfortunately his education had been left to men who had not had enough of courage to correct his quick and haughty temper, and he arrived at the age of manhood with a character and opinions which, if ever he came to reign, would change his faithful subjects to enemies, and make his throne a seat of thorns instead of roses. • At length the Prince married a foreign Princess and became a father, and the King, by the advice of one of his faithful courtiers, thought this a favorable opportunity to give him a lesson on the nobility of birth. For this purpose, the morning after his child was born, another infant of the same age, dressed exactly in the same manner, was placed in the cradle by the side of it.

The Prince, on rising, went to see his little son; but what was his surprise on finding two children resembling each other so much, that he could not distinguish his own! He called the servants, and finding them equally embarrassed, he gave way to his rage, vowing that they should all be discharged, and severely punished. The King, his father, arrived at the same instant, and hearing the complaints of the Prince, he said smilingly to him, “How is it possible you should mistake and not recognise your own child ? Is there any other of such noble blood ? can any other child resemble him so as to deceive vou? Where then is your natural superiority ?" Then taking the infant Prince in his arms, he said, “This, iny son, is your child ; but I should not have been able to distinguish him from the other little innocent, if precautions had not been taken, by tying a ribbon around his leg. In what then, I ask you again, consists our superiority ? It arises only from good conduct and good fortune."

The Prince blushed, owned he was wrong, and promised to entertain more philanthropic sentiments; but the King, fearing he might relapse, took an opportunity of giving him another lesson. One day, the Prince being ill, the doctor advised him to be bled, and having to bleed one of the pages on the same day, the King ordered the blood to be preserved in separate bowls.

A few hours after, when his son was with him, the King sent for the doctor, and having ordered the two bowls to be brought, desired him to examine the blood, and tell him which was the purest. The doctor, pointing to one of the bowls, said, " That is far more pure than the other.”

“ That blood,” said the King to his son, “was taken from the veins of your page. It appears purer than yours, because, no doubt, he lives more simply, and obeys the laws of nature. You see then that by birth all men are equal; they become greater in proportion as they improve their minds and niake themselves useful to mankind."

A SPIDER'S WEB. “DID you see the whole process of making the web from beginning to end?”

“Yes, and I will tell you how it was. The spider first made three long lines of silk in the shape of a triangle, and fastened them firmly at the three corners. Two corners were fastened to opposite parts of the woodwork of the green-house, and the third

corner to a tall spike of blossoms of a plant, which was quite pulled out of shape by it.

“ Then the spider began making a line across the triangle, which she did by fastening her silk to one side, and then walking along the triangle till she came to the place opposite; and as she walked, the silk, still came out of her spinners. She held it away from the triangle with one of her feet until she was at the right spot to fasten it, and then she pulled it into the right length, and made it very firm.

“When she had got this one line across, she very soon made others; and she had a nice way of marking out the place where all the lines were to meet.”

“What way was that ?"

“She put a little bit of white flossy silk in the middle of the line, and then, wherever she was, she could see where to come. So she made a great many lines, all meeting at the white spot in the middle, and looking like the spokes of a wheel.

“After that, she began the prettiest part of her work; for she walked round and round, where all the spokes met, drawing her thread after her, and fastening it to every spoke. At first it was very easy work for her, because the spokes were so near together that she could easily step from one to another; but as she made larger and larger rounds, she could not step across, but was obliged to run down the spoke a little way and fasten her thread, and then come back again, and walk along the line to the next spoke.

"I wondered very much why she made her outer rounds so wide apart as not to be able to reach from one to the other ; but I saw the reason of it when she came to the last of them; for then, after waiting an instant to rest herself (poor thing !), she turned round, and went back again, spinning a new bright thread, and filling up all those wide spaces. The old thread served her for a scaffolding, so that she got ou much better going back. Sne was very careful to measure the distance between every round! It was just the length of her leg between one round and another. That was at the outside, but she made it closer in the middle.

"Another very curious thing she always did just as she fastened her line to the spoke, and that was, she pressed her foot upon it, and stretched it a little to prevent its straining too tight. I think this helped to keep the web in its beautiful shape.

“She then settled down on the spot in the middle, and did not move for some time. But at last she began biting off all the little threads that held the bit of floss silk in the middle, and then she rolled it up in a ball, leaving a small round place in the middle of the web without any lines at all in it.”

“And what did she do with the ball of silk ?”

“She seemed to gather it up under her body; but I suppose she must have been holding it in her mouth; for while I was looking, a fly was caught in her web, and as she was running towards the fly, she let fall the ball of silk. The fly struggled, and tore the new web, but the spider soon mended it again, though not very cleverly, for you could see where it was joined. She filled up the space in the middle, too, after a time, and made it all complete.”

“No doubt you saw how the fly was secured ?”

“Yes; the spider rolled it up in its silky film till it could not move its legs or wings, and then left it, not being hungry I suppose."

First Steps to General Knowledge.

THE SPIDER.
The treach'rous spider, when her nets are spread,
Deep ambush'd in her silent den does lie,
And feels, far off, the trembling of her thread,
Whose filmy cord should bind the struggling fly;
Then, if at last she find him fast beset,
She issues forth, and runs along her loom;
She joys to touch the captive in her net,
And drags the little wretch in triumph home.

Dryden.

THE SPIDER AND THE BEE. UPON the highest corner of a large window there dwelt a certain Spider, swollen up to the first magnitude by the destruction of infinite numbers of flies, whose spoils lay scattered before the gates of his palace, like human bones before the cave of somer giant. The avenues to his castle were guarded with embrasures and palisades. After you had passed several courts you came to the centre, wherein you might behold the constable himself in his own lodgings, which had windows fronting each avenue, and ports to sally out upon all occasions of prey or defence. In this mansion he for some time dwelt in peace and plenty, without danger to his person by swallows from above, or to his palace by brooms from below. At length it was the pleasure of fortune to conduct thither a wandering Bee, to whose curiosity a broken pane in the glass had discovered itself, and in he went. Humming about awhile, he at last happened to alight upon one of the outward walls of the Spider's citadel, which, yielding to his weight, sank down to the very foundation. .... Thrice he endeavoured to force his passage, and thrice the centre shook. The Spider within, feeling the terrible convulsion, supposed at first that nature was approaching her final dissolution. However, he at length valiantly resolved to issue forth and meet his fate. ..... Meanwhile the Bee had freed himself, and, posted securely at some distance, was employed in cleansing his wings, and disengaging them from the rugged remnants of the cobweb. By this time the Spider, beholding the ruins and dilapidations of his fortress, was very nearly at his wits' end; he stormed like a madman, and swelled till he was ready to burst.

At length, casting his eye upon the Bee, and wisely gathering causes from effects (for they knew each other by sight), “A plague split you,” said he, "for a giddy puppy! is it you that has made this litter here? Could you not look before you? Do you think I have nothing else to do but to mend and repair after you." ...."Good words, friend,” said the Bee (having now pruned himself, and being disposed to be droll); "I'll give you my hand and word to come near your kennel no more. I never was in such a pickle since I was born.” .....

“Sirrah," replied the Spider, “if it were not for breaking an old custom in our family, never to stir abroad against an enemy, I should come and teach you better manners.” .... “I pray have patience,” said the Bee, “or you'll waste your substance, and for aught I see, you may stand in need of it all toward the repair of your house.” ....

“Rogue, rogue,” replied the Spider, "methinks you should

« PreviousContinue »