r CHILDREN'S BOOK
LIBRARY OF THE
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
BY THE AUTHOR OF PETER PARLEY'S TALES.
I. Peter Parley's Rambles in England, Wales, Scot-
land, and Ireland, with Tales, Sketches and Adven-
tures : embellished with many Engravings.
II. Peter Parley's Tales about Christmas and Holi-
day Amusements ; Illustrated by beautiful Engrav-
III. Peter Parley's Universal History, in two hand-
some Volumes, and 200 fine Engravings.
IV. Peter Parley's Common School History, de-
signed to render the Study of General History, enter-
taining and useful.
V. Peter Parley's Cyclopedia of Botany, including
Trees, Plants, and Shrubs. 300 Engravings.
VI. Fireside Education, by the Author of Peter
Parley's Tales ; designed to aid Parents and Teachers
in training up Children, physically, morally, and men-
THE SPOILED CHILD.
COLMAN, AND WILEY AND PUTNAM.
PHILADELPHIA: H. HOOKER.
BOSTON: WEEKS, JORDAN & CO.
ENTERED according to act of Congress, in the year eighteen hundred and
thirty-eight, by S. G. GOODRICH, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court
for the District of Massachusetts.
FOLSOM, WELLS, AND THURSTON,
The Son of the Sea 1
The Owl and Magpie : a Fable x , . 39
A Riddle 43
Amusing Story of a Judge . 44
The Sage and Linnet : a Fable . . . . . . 62
The Dainty Heron . . . ... . . 65
Dr. D. and Farmer Marvin . . . . .." ,' ^ . 70
The Fly and Snufftaker . . . . " . . ., ' 84
The Monkey and Beaver : a Fable . . -V,'^. . 87
The Balm Tree and Thorn : a Fable .... 89
The Peach and Potato : a Fable . . . ... . 91
Marion Fay 93
The Bee and the Ant : a Fable 129
The Chameleon and Porcupine : a Fable .... 132
The Elephant and Fox : a Fable 135
The Spoiled Child .
The Discontented Mole : a Fable
The Violet and Nightshade : a Fable
Stories about Shells
The Fir-tree and Butterfly : a Fable .
The Bee and Butterfly : a Fable .
The Vain Search .
THE SON OF THE SEA.
REASONS FOR TELLING THIS STORY. ABOUT THE SON OF THE SEA.
His BIRTH AND OTHER MATTERS.
I AM going to tell you the story of a sailor
boy ; and my reason for telling it, is, that you
may know how sailors live ; how many of them
are brought up without instruction, and how
they are often separated from all the means
by which other people are saved from evil. I
wish you to become interested in the wel-
fare of seamen. I wish you to know, that, in
spite of their rough, words and rough manners,
they are men like ourselves, and that they
2 THE GIFT.
often have tender and kind feelings and noble
The little boy, of whom I am going to tell
you, was born on board a ship called the Dol-
phin ; his father and mother, who were poor
people from Ireland, were going to Jamaica, a
large island in the West Indies.
The ship had a long passage, and, after the
little boy was born, his mother died. His father
took care of him for a time, but in a few days
he died also.
Now there was on board the ship a rough
old sailor, who was called Bill. But, rough as
he was, he had a kind heart. So he took the
poor babe, and made a little swing, called a
hammock, for him by his own bed. He then
fed him with soft bread, and hushed him to
sleep, as kindly as if he had been his mother.
It would have pleased you to see this hardy
old sailor, taking care of the little child. He
held him gently in his hands, rocked him to
and fro, sang softly to him, and put the little
fellow to sleep as sweetly as if he had been in
his own cradle at home.
When Bill was obliged to go upon the deck
to work, he tied the boy in his swing very care-
fully, so that he could not fall out. He also
took care to come down and see him often,
and, if he cried, he hushed him to rest.
When the weather was rough, the ship would
roll about very much, but the babe swung in his
bed, as safely and quietly as a bird in a nest.
He was too young to fear the storm, and so he
fared very well.
After a while, the vessel reached the island
of Jamaica, but Bill would not let any one have
the child. He went on shore and got some
milk for him, and bought some pieces of linen ;
and, as he had little to do, he spent his time
in making them into shirts. He also made a
little bed, and filled it with soft feathers.
Now I have said before that Bill was a rough
4 THE GIFT.
sailor. He had a hand almost as hard as flint,
and a voice that sounded rough as a tin horn.
But his hard hand never was rough to the little
creature that he had in charge ; and his voice,
when he spoke to it, was softened into kindness.
How THE VESSEL SETS OUT FOR INDIA. BILL CALLS THE BOY,
BUBBLE. AND SOME OTHER THINGS.
THE vessel remained many months in Ja-
maica, and then set sail for India. This was a
long voyage, for it was necessary to cross the
Atlantic Ocean, and the great Indian Ocean.
But Bill wished very much to take the boy
with him ; and, as he was a good sailor, the
Captain permitted him to do as he liked.
Now, you would hardly think that a child so
young could live on board a ship, with none
THE GIFT. 5
but an old sailor to take care of him. But still
the little boy did very well. He had no sweet-
meats, and no paregoric, and no cake ; and yet
he grew very strong, and soon became a great
favorite with everybody. All the sailors grew
very fond of him, and, surly as they were, they
would any one of them run to him, and take
good care of him, whenever he tumbled down,
or met with any other accident.
After leaving the West Indies, the vessel
soon fell in with steady breezes, which blow for
weeks together in one direction. These are
called trade-winds. The weather was clear
and warm, and the vessel glided on for many
days, with all her sails set. Bill had not much
to do, and so he spent much of his time in
taking care of his little sailor.
He gave him the name of Bubble, and by
this title he was always called, on board the
ship. He soon learned to walk, and in a little
time he could climb like a squirrel. He was
6 THE GIFT.
often left to himself upon the deck of the ship,
and he would amuse himself there for hours
Sometimes he would lie down upon his back
and look up to the clouds, that seemed to fly
along like birds ; sometimes he would climb up
to the round-top, and look out upon the waters,
to see the whales sporting, or the porpoises
tumbling like black pigs in the waves.
Sometimes he would sit on the stern of the
vessel, and watch the little birds that came
hovering along in her track, to pick up the bits
of meat and other things that were thrown
overboard. Sometimes, at night, he would sit
by the side of Bill, high upon the mast, and
gaze at the stars, which there shone brighter
than ever they do with us.
Thus passed the life of little Bubble, until
the Dolphin reached Calcutta, a large city in
India. He had been so much accustomed to
live in the ship, that he did not like to go on
the land. Bill took him into the city once or
twice, but he was eager to get back, and, seem-
ing to think the ship his home, he felt happy
only when he was in it.
HOW THEY GO TO AN ISLAND IN THE PACIFIC OCEAN, AND HOW
BUBBLE is STOLEN.
I MUST now tell you that the Dolphin was a
ship of war, with two hundred men on board.
It carried forty guns, or cannon, and was bound
on what is called a cruise around the world.
By this, I mean, that she was to sail from one
place to another, till she had passed entirely
around the globe, just as a fly creeps around a
Well, after leaving Calcutta, the Dolphin
sailed along, and, after a few weeks, came
near to a charming island in the Pacific Ocean.
This island was shaded with beautiful trees, and
small huts, or houses, were built along the shore.
As the vessel came near the land, little Bub-
ble got upon the round-top, and looked out to
see what might happen. Pretty soon, he saw
three long boats, or canoes, full of people, put
out from the shore and come toward the ship.
The men paddled their boats rapidly, and in
a short time they came along side of the Dol-
phin. They were strange-looking people, al-
most naked, with skins of a brownish red color.
In all, there were nearly a hundred of them.
They brought many curious things to sell to
the people in the ship. Among others, there
were beautiful feathers, taken from the birds of
paradise, which they had killed on the island.
They also brought red and green parrots ;
cockatoos, looking as if they wore caps on their
heads ; sea-shells, of various forms and colors ;
and the skins of very rare birds and beasts.
The Captain of the Dolphin gave the savages
some beads and looking-glasses for some of
the things they had to sell ; and they were
very much delighted with their exchange.
They then asked the Captain to go on shore
and see their island. He accordingly went
from the vessel to the land in a boat.
Bubble did not wish to go on shore ; so leave
was given him to stay in the boat, while the
party went up among the huts. Soon after
they were gone, one of the savages came slyly
to the place, seized Bubble in his arms, and
carried him into the woods as fast as he could
The boy shouted for his friend Bill, but the
savage laid his hand on his mouth, and stopped
his noise. After a while, the Captain and his
men came to the boat and found Bubble miss-
ing. At the same time they saw the savages
preparing to attack them with spears, bows
10 THE GIFT.
Bill, as you may well suppose, was very an-
gry at the loss of the boy ; and, having no doubt
that some one had stolen him, and carred him
into the bushes, he determined in spite of any
danger to go and try to find him. He was well
armed, having a broad sword at his side, and
two heavy pistols in his belt. Taking the latter,
one in each hand, and waiting not for orders,
he rushed into the woods, where he thought he
had heard the voice of his little sailor boy a
short time before.
He was immediately pursued by several of
the savages with loud cries. At the same time
an attack was made upon the boat, and the
Captain thought it necessary to put off from
Bill saw the boat go, and saw the wild men
in pursuit ; but he had caught sight of a man
with little Bubble in his arms, and he seemed
to hear them not. He soon came near the
thief, who dropped the boy and plunged into a
The brave old sailor picked Bubble up, and
turning sharply round upon his pursuers, dis-
charged one of his pistols at the foremost man.
He instantly fell to the earth ; and the rest, in
a great fright, fled away for a moment, but soon
gathered courage and returned. Bubble was
clinging tight to Bill's neck ; but when he saw
the savages coming back, he let go, and said
to Bill, "Throw me away and run for your life,
or they will kill you ! "
" No, no, my boy," said Bill, " we 're among
the breakers, but I think we '11 get off yet.
Hold tight, lad ! hold tight ! and if we die,
we '11 sleep in one hammock."
At this moment, three or four stout savages
came in front of Bill, and, flourishing their
spears, yelled like so many fierce wild beasts,
at the same time glaring in his face like tigers.
Courage is a good thing in a time of peril,
and Bill had a large stock of it in his stout
heart. If he had any fear, it was for the boy,
12 THE GIFT.
whose heart he felt beating against his breast.
However, he looked the savages full in the face,
and in a low tone said to Bubble, "Hold on
now!" At the same moment, he fired one
of his pistols, and then with his broad sword
sprung like a lion among the savages.
One was killed by the pistol and another by
the sword. The other, who was a giant of a
man, sprung upon Bill, and pushed him with
such force that he fell ; but in an instant he was
up again, with the boy still clinging to his neck
and held tight by his left arm. The savage
was now frightened, and ran away.
Bill ran toward the sea, and though he was
a square-built, duck-legged sort of a fellow,
and apparently very ill fitted 'for a race, his legs
flew like drum-sticks, and he seemed to get
over the ground like a deer. Soon he came to
some high rocks, which overhung the water.
Thus avoiding the crowd of savages which
lined the shore where the boat had lain, he
THE GIFT. 13
leaped into the sea, and, supporting the boy
above the waves, swam boldly toward the boat.
The 'Captain saw the old sailor leap from the
rocks, and, ordering his men to direct the boat
towards him, he was soon taken in with his little
THE VESSEL CRUISES AMONG THE ISLANDS IN THE PACIFIC. ABOUT
THE NORTHWEST COAST OF AMERICA. STORY OF A WHITE
BEAR. A VISIT TO THE SANDWICH ISLANDS. BILL AND BUB-
BLE ON SHORE.
THE Captain was very angry at what had
happened on the island, but he thought it best
not to do any injury to the people. So he gave
the necessary orders, and the ship sailed away.
She continued on her cruise, and visited sev-
eral islands in the Pacific Ocean. Some of
these are very large, and are covered with in-
habitants ; some of them are small, and have
few people upon them.
14 THE GIFT.
The vessel stopped at many places, and the
Captain traded with the people. Most of them
treated him with kindness, supplying him with
water and many delicious fruits. On some of
the islands he got the bread fruit, which grows
on trees, and is as large as a small melon. He
also got cocoa nuts in abundance.
Having crossed the Pacific Ocean, the Dol-
phin reached the northwestern coast of North
America. Here she was visited by many of the
Indians, who came off from the shore in boats.
Some of them approached the side of the
vessel, and offered the Captain some skins of
beavers, seals, otters, bears, and other wild ani-
mals. These the Captain took, and gave the
savages some beads, knives, rings, and other
trinkets. With these they were greatly de-
lighted, and in their joy they danced and
Leaving this place, the vessel proceeded far-
ther to the north, and here the sailors found it
THE GIFT. 15
very cold. There were great masses of ice
floating in the sea, and one of them struck the
vessel, and she came very near filling with
The sailors, however, stopped the leak, and
the ship went on her way. One day they came
near the shore. It was covered with snow,
and along the land the sea was frozen for miles.
Here the sailors saw several white bears on
the ice. They were very large, some of them
being almost equal in size to an ox. But the
sailors went with their guns to kill them.
When they came near the animals, which were
feasting on a dead whale, they fired their guns
and wounded a young bear. Its mother would
not leave the little one, but licked its wounds
and mourned over it, and tried to get it away.
All this time the sailors shot their bullets at
the old bear, but, though wounded and bloody,
she would not forsake her young one. At
length, while she was licking its wounds, a
16 THE GIFT.
bullet pierced her heart, and she fell dead upon
the ice. The sailors then went and cut up the
bear, which was very large, and they found its
flesh pretty good.
The Dolphin continued to coast along the
northern regions for some time, and then she
turned about and sailed to the south. In a few
weeks she reached the Sandwich Islands.
Here the people came swimming around the
ship like so many ducks. There were men
and women, boys and girls, gliding and diving
about, sometimes going quite under the vessel,
and then popping out their black heads above
the water on the other side.
Little Bubble here went on shore with Bill,
and some of the other sailors. But, though he
was more than four years old, and could scam-
per about the deck of the vessel, and climb the
ropes to the top of the tallest mast, yet on the
land he could hardly walk. He seemed to feel
himself really unsafe, and clung close to Bill's
THE GIFT. 17
side ; and though not afraid of a tempest amid
the raging billows, yet he shrunk in affright
from the people and their pigs on the island.
Having spent some weeks among these
islands, the Dolphin stretched away to the
south, and going around Cape Horn, she cross-
ed the Atlantic Ocean, and finally reached
THE DOLPHIN GOES ON A LONG CRUISE. BUBBLE AT TEN YEARS
OF AGE. ARRIVAL AT THE CAPE OF GOOD HOPE. INTERVIEW
WITH AN ENGLISHMAN. BUBBLE'S EDUCATION AND CHARACTER.
THE Dolphin went into port, and there she
remained for many months. Most of the sailors
were discharged, but some remained, and among
them were Bill and Bubble.
But after a while, she was again ordered to
sea, and went upon a long cruise. Our little
18 THE GIFT.
hero and his kind old friend continued on board;
and, indeed, they were so much attached to the
ship, that they would not leave her.
Bubble, indeed, loved the Dolphin, as dearly
as any little boy ever loved the home in which
he was born. And no boy ever loved better to
roam over the hills, and thread the thickets, and
run along by the laughing brooks, than did little
Bubble to ride over the bounding billows.
He looked, indeed, upon the wide ocean with
that sort of affection, which another child might
have felt for his father's home-lot. He loved
it in all its aspects, whether shining beneath a
bright sun, or scowling amidst a storm. He
loved it when a calm was over it, and it reposed
in glassy stillness ; and he loved it when the
wind swept across its tumbling and foaming
surface, and drove the vessel like an eagle on
Thus the boy grew up a sailor, and a son of
the sea. The land to him was that dreary
waste which the ocean is to others. The ship,
the good ship Dolphin, was his home, and the
wave his boundless estate.
At length the boy reached the age of ten
years. He was very strong and active, and
knew a great deal about sailing a ship. He
could ascend to the top of the tall masts, in the
fiercest storm, and the darkest night, and assist
in taking in and securing the sails. He was
also very expert in making ropes, in mending
the rigging, and in all other business belonging
to a sailor.
He was likewise very handsome. His cheek
was red, his mouth smiling, and his forehead,
high and broad, was shaded with thick auburn
curls. No one that saw him failed to feel an
interest in him.
At one time the ship stopped at the Cape of
Good Hope, where there is an English' city
called Cape Town. All the other sailors took
every opportunity to go ashore, for it was pleas-
20 THE GIFT.
ant to them to have a frolic in the town, after
tossing about so long upon the water. But
Bubble went very seldom, and then only as
One day, however, he was obliged to go on
shore with Bill, to carry a package to a rich
Englishman that lived in the city. The Eng-
lishman seemed struck with the boy's appear-
ance, and asked him several questions. Bubble
replied in such a manner that the Englishman's
interest increased, and he went on to inquire
into his history.
Bill told the story in his own queer fashion,
but it was not the less interesting from the
manner in which he told it. After he had done,
the gentleman said kindly to Bubble, " Come,
my boy, stay with me on the shore, and I will
take care of you."
Bubble shook his head, and the Englishman
spoke as follows. "Nay, my good lad, do not
refuse my offer. I have had two sons, and
THE GIFT. 21
they were both lost in the deep. Come, live
with me, and I shall feel that the sea has given
back to me a child. I am rich, and you shall
be to me as a son."
At this moment Bubble turned his eye upon
Bill, as if to know what the old sailor would say.
"Do it, my lad!" said the good old sailor, though
it seemed as if he were choking. " Stay with
the gentleman, and I will go and take care of
"No, no," said Bubble, turning to leave the
place, " the gentleman is very kind, and I thank
him, but you and I, Bill, cannot part. Beside,
I will never leave the Dolphin. I love every
plank, and beam, and spar in her. I love the
sea, and I hate the land. I thank the gentle-
man. He means me well, but I should be un-
happy here. Let us go to the ship ! "
They soon reached the vessel, and after a
short time she proceeded on her way. Bill
and Bubble seemed always to be together
22 THE GIFT.
whenever their duty permitted. They talked,
laughed, sung, and told stories.
Though Bubble had no other teacher than
rough Bill, still he had learned to read. But I
am sorry to say, that he read no good books.
He had not even a Bible, and never saw one.
The only books he had were Robinson Crusoe,
Roderick Random, and the Sky -lark, a volume
The latter he learned by heart, and many of
the songs he sung well. And, in spite of all his
disadvantages, he had many pleasing qualities.
He had lived all his life with rude sailors, and
had been used to their profane language; but
Bill, though he swore terribly himself, had care-
fully taught Bubble never to be guilty of this
vice. The boy was also good tempered, and
he was never guilty of a falsehood.
There was another vice, common to sailors,
that Bubble did not indulge in ; I mean drunk-
enness. It is curious that sailor Bill, while he
THE GIFT. ^ 23
indulged in drinking himself, took care to warn
his little friend against it. He used to talk to
him on the subject as follows.
"I 'm an old sinner myself, boy, and my
voyage will be soon up ; so no matter for the
old hulk. But you are young, and have a long
life to live, and it 's best to look well ahead.
Beware of drinking, Bubble ! The Bible tells
us of the Evil Spirit, that 'goes about like a
roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.'
I suppose there is such a crittur, for the good
book says so. But, of all the evil spirits that
I 'm acquainted with, liquor is the worst, and
it 's of man's making.
"You need n't squint so, as if to say, that
the roaring lion gets hold of me pretty often.
That 's neither here nor there. It was the
fashion to take grog when I was a boy, and
nobody thought then that a ship^ would go
through the water without it. It 's a modern
24 THE GIFT.
discovery, boy, that rum 's the d 1. But it 's
true, for all that.
"I 've seen my messmates quarrel, get angry,
and commit murder; and it was because of
liquor. I 've seen my messmates led into theft,
and robbery, and it was because of liquor. If
the judge had hung the knowing rogue who
made it, or the knowing rogue who sold it, I
think he 'd been more just, than in hanging
him who drunk it. I 've seen my messmates
grow old before their time, and die in misery,
because of liquor. I Ve seen a messmate be-
come insane, and be suddenly launched into
t' other world, not as he should be, with all
sails snug, but with studding-sails, and top-sails,
and sky-scrapers, all flying; and it was because
of liquor. I 've seen a messmate, in a gale of
wind, ordered aloft to reef the top-sail, and be
shaken into the water, like a leaf from a tree,
never to bte seen more ; and it was because of
THE GIFT. 25
" In short, my boy, I 've made up my *mind,
that liquor is the sailor's d 1 ; and if he keeps
clear of that, he '11 generally make fair weather
of life, and reach a good harbour at last. I 've
heard Parson Taylor, of Boston, say, and he 's
pretty 'cute, that c if you could get rid of rum,
whiskey, and all the rest of the blue-ruin fam-
ily, you 'd get rid of one half the misery, and
two thirds of the crime, that take place both
by land and sea.' So keep clear of it, my boy !
Beware of them landsharks who keep sailors'
taverns, and get the good fellows drunk, be-
cause they make a profit on the grog. If
there 's any part of mankind who '11 never get
into a good berth in t' other world, I 'm think-
ing it must be they. A man who sells drink,
just for the profit on 't, may have a cool head,
but has a bad heart. If I had such a thing in
me, I 'd tear it out and throw it to the first
dog I met."
Such were the rude lessons of Bill, and such
26 THE GIFT.
was our hero, Bubble, at the age of ten years.
If he had faults, we must consider how few
advantages he enjoyed. The land boys have
kind parents, who send them to school, and see
that they are instructed in their duty towards
God and man. But, alas ! the poor sons of the
sea, what privileges have they? Their lives
are spent far away from schools and churches,
and the good institutions which mould the
characters of other men. Let us not judge
them harshly, then, but ever do what we can
to improve their condition. And let us con-
sider how many more advantages we have, and
how much better we ought to be.
I say, then, that Bubble had faults. He was
of a very hasty temper, and this often brought
him into difficulty. But his repentance soon
followed his fault, and his frankness led him
always to confess his error. Of religion, he.
knew but little. All he knew had been taught
him by Bill.
THE GIFT. 27
The old sailor, during a calm, or sailing along
with the trade-winds, would sit aloft for hours
with the boy, and tell him tales, sometimes
mingled with hints relating to his moral and
The truth is, that Bill had been brought up
by a religious mother, and it was this education
which had been the chief cause of his kind care
of the poor orphan. Nothing renders the heart
so deeply kind, nothing fits a person for sincere
and lasting friendship, like early religious edu-
cation. Indeed, I believe a person cannot be a
friend, in a high sense of the word, who has
not had a religious education.
Well, as I have told you, Bill often sat up
aloft with Bubble, and discoursed at large, as
they sailed over the waters, upon various mat-
ters. Among other things, he told him of the
existence of a God, and his scheme of salvation
for man, by means of the Saviour. He stated
these things in his own rude way, and instruct-
28 THE GIFT.
ed his listener in the duties of truth and re-
To all this, the sailor boy listened with a
flashing eye and an eager ear. He asked many
questions, and often pushed his teacher so far,
that he was obliged to confess that his learning
did not enable him to furnish answers. But,
under all these disadvantages, little Bubble
acquired considerable knowledge, and we may
believe that he had sufficient instruction to
guide him in the way of duty, if his own heart
had not sometimes led him astray.
THE DOLPHIN GOES TO THE SOUTH SEA. THEY MEET WITH AN
ISLAND, AND MEN UPON IT. A STORM. WRECK OF THE DOL-
PHIN. A SAD SCENE.
THE Dolphin stretched off to the south, and
continued sailing in that direction for several
THE GIFT. 29
weeks. At length, she came in sight of a low
rocky island, entirely destitute of trees, and
without so much as a blade of grass. It was,
in fact, strewn over with sand and pebbles,
thrown up by the billows, except in the centre,
where a few points of the rocks rose beyond
the reach of the sea.
As the ship was passing at a distance of
three or four miles from this island, the Captain,
who was looking out with his spy-glass, discov-
ered something that looked like a man on shore,
holding up a flag. He accordingly steered for
the island, and when they came within a mile
of it, something like a hut and several people
appeared on the shore. The vessel came to
anchor, and a boat was put off to the land.
When it arrived, the people found about a
dozen English sailors, in the most wretched
condition. The weather was exceedingly cold,
and the land was nearly covered with ice and
snow. But the poor men were but half clothed,
30 THE GIFT.
and their feet were some of them bare. What
clothing they had, consisted almost wholly of
sealskins. Strange looking frights were they,
indeed! The men said they were a part of
the crew of a ship, that had come out from
England two years before, for the purpose of
They reached the island in safety, but one
night, when about half the men were ashore,
and the rest in the ship, a terrible gale came
up, drove the ship from her moorings, and cast
her away upon a reef of sunken rocks, at the
distance of two miles from the island. The
vessel immediately went to pieces, and every
individual on board was drowned. A few frag-
ments of the wreck floated to the shore ; these
were picked up by the men on the island, and
converted into a cabin.
It was, however, a miserable shelter. The
men, now and then, killed a seal, which served
for food, the skin being saved for clothing.
THE GIFT. 31
The greater part of their subsistence*, however,
was derived from the birds which they killed
among the rocks.
The Captain kindly took the poor men on
board his ship, who had now been eighteen
months upon this desolate island. He however
remained at anchor, as it was evening when the
men came on board ; his intention being to send
a party of men ashore the next day, to kill some
But soon after it became dark, the wind rose
and seemed to threaten a tempest. The anchor
was therefore taken in, and orders given to
make sail. It soon began to snow, and before
the ship was under we'gh, it blew a hurricane.
It was soon found necessary to take in most
of the sails that had been set. Bill and Bubble
were sent aloft to reef the foresail, and as they
were upon the yard close together, they fell
" I never liked the land," said Bubble, " and I
32 THE GIFT.
like that island less than any other piece of
earth that I ever saw. The rocks rise upon
its back as sharp as the teeth of a shark, and
the reefs around it seem like the claws of a
lobster, spread out in every direction, to catch
whatever comes near them."
" It 's not a place I should choose to live in,"
said Bill, " but you see, it saved the lives of
these twelve men for eighteen months. It 's
better to have a rock to stand upon, than go to
Davy's locker, and feed the fishes."
"I 'm not so sure of that," said Bubble; "I
never knew any good come of the land. If it
had not been for the island, the ship that these
men came in had never run on to it and been
dashed to pieces. I never went on shore in
my life, but what some trouble happened to me.
Do you remember, Bill, how that savage stole
me out of the boat, on one of those islands in
the Pacific. Well ! that was a warning to me,
and I have determined never to quit the sea."
THE GIFT. 33
While this conversation was going on, the
wind was rising, and the snow pouring down
in myriads of flakes. The air, too, had become
very cold, and the masts, ropes, and rigging
were soon cased in ice. The ship leaned down
upon her side, and, though she had now but one
sail set, she began to fly through the water with
great swiftness. Such, however, was the dark-
ness, that nothing could be seen, and the Cap-
tain soon became aware, that he was in great
danger of running upon some of the reefs, that
projected from the island. Scarcely had this
thought occurred to him, when a sharp grating
against the bottom of the vessel was heard, and,
an instant after, she struck upon a rock. The
shock was so violent that the three masts, with
the entire rigging, bent forward and fell, with a
terrible crash, upon the deck of the vessel. A
scene of. dreadful confusion followed. Many of
the men were killed, by the fall of the masts
and rigging ; others slid from the icy deck and
34 T H E G I F T.
fell into the water. In a short time, the waves
broke entirely over the ship, sweeping every
thing from the deck. In a few minutes more,
large seams were opened in the hulk of the
ship, and she almost immediately filled with
water. Two boats, however, had been saved.
One of these was quite large, and could
hold a good many men. The Captain, per-
ceiving that the vessel must soon go to pieces,
got into this boat, and, with about forty men,
set forth upon the boiling sea. They had not
gone far, before it filled with water, and they
all perished. There were now on the hulk
but about a dozen men; these were sailors,
clinging to the prow of the ship, which was
still out of water. Bill and Bubble had been
separated, and such was the darkness, that
they could not see each other. But Bubble
heard a voice at no great distance, which he
knew to be that of his old protector. Sliding
along the bulwark, to which he was holding
THE GIFT. 35
fast, he came near to Bill, and said in a low
voice, "I told you no good ever came of the
"Are you there, my dear fellow," said Bill;
"thank God, you are alive. But the land is
our only hope now. We must take to the
boat, and, as the storm is abating, we may
laugh at the sharks yet."
" No, no," said Bubble, mournfully ; " I will
stay here. I will not desert the poor Dolphin,
in her hour of trouble. She has been a home
to me during my life, and she shall be my home
for ever. I could never sleep on the land and
think of these timbers, sunk in the deep. I
would rather rest with her spars, down among
these rocks, than live in a palace. No, Bill,
it 's hard parting ; but you must take to the
boat, and leave me with the poor Dolphin."
The boy then burst into tears.
"Pshaw, lad," said Bill, putting one arm
around Bubble, while he held on to the slip-
36 THE GIFT.
pery bulwark with the other, "don't mind it,
don't mind it ; we '11 get safe ashore yet.
There 's One above, who is always looking
about, to take care of those who are in trouble.
He can see us at this fag end of the world, as
well as if we were on the top of it, at Ports-
mouth dock. So take heart, my boy, and let 's
get into the boat."
"My good old friend," said Bubble, "don't
think that I care for myself. I was shedding
tears for the Dolphin, not for my poor carcase.
I loved her better than all the world beside,
save you. I never dreamed that she could
be wrecked. Alas ! to see her masts and yards
and ropes go over ! to hear the rocks burst
through her sides ! to see her weltering here,
as helpless as a harpooned whale ! It is too
much; it is too much!"
"It's a sad thing, no doubt," said Bill; "but
after all, she was but wood and iron ; we can
find another ship, and have many a fine sail yet,
THE GIFT. 37
if we can only get to land. So, come along
with me, and let us to the boat."
"Go you," said Bubble, taking Bill's hand,
and giving it a convulsive pressure. " Go you,
for you have a mother, and for her sake, go !
but leave me here. I have no friend on the
land. You have been a father to me, and
God bless you, Bill. I stay by the Dolphin.
Farewell ! "
Bill knew that words were vain, and there-
fore determined to get the boat ready, and then
come and take the boy on board by main force.
But by this time, the other sailors were in the
boat, and were on the point of shoving off.
Bill had only time to get on board, when she
was cast loose, and immediately separated from
the wreck, by the swaying surf. Bill com-
manded the men to put back, he told them
that Bubble was on the wreck, he strove, he
begged ; but in vain. At length he leaped into
the water, and the men in the boat saw the re-
turning wave throw him upon the wreck. Bub-
ble immediately came to him, and the last that
was seen of the two friends, they were clasped
in each other's arms. The men in the boat
were tossed about during the night, but in the
morning found themselves near the land. The
vessel had entirely disappeared, save some small
fragments, that floated upon the waves. They
landed, and, after some months, were taken off
by a ship, that came to the island in search of
THE OWL AND MAGPIE: A FABLE.
THERE are some persons who are very fond
of talking, and nothing pleases them so much,
as a good listener. If any one has the patience
to hear them, they will often rattle on for a long
time, seeming not to consider how tedious it is
to every person but themselves. I will tell a
40 THE GIFT.
fable, which may warn my young readers against
making this mistake.
I suppose you have heard of the magpie, a
gay, chattering bird, with black wings and a
long tail, very common in England. One day,
a bird of this sort was picking about to see
what she could find ; there was a castle close
by, the gate of which was open. First looking
round, and seeing that nobody was near, she
then ventured to pop into the court ; after pick-
ing up a few seeds, and poking about for a
time, she discovered an owl sitting upon the
trunk of a fallen tree.
The magpie is a sociable bird, and lets no
occasion slip for a little chat with a neighbour.
So she approached the owl, and began to talk
with him, in a very free and familiar manner.
I need not say that in fables, birds and beasts
are always imagined to have the faculty of
speech. I cannot tell you precisely what the
THE GIFT. 41
magpie said to the owl, but I will give the sub-
stance of her discourse as accurately as possible.
"Most Wise Owl! I approach you with rev-
erence. It gives me pleasure, to address my-
self to such a sober, quiet, and respectable
personage as yourself. I trust you will be
happy in making my acquaintance. My name
is Magpie. I am the principal gossip of the
village, and can tell you all the news. I neecl
not tell you, Mr. Owl, that I am a great favorite.
I flatter myself, too, that I am handsome. Look
at the length of my tail; observe the shining
of my breast and wings ! "
At this point of the interview, the owl opened
his mouth to yawn, but the conceited magpie
fancied that he was going to pay her some
compliment. Accordingly she hastened to say,
" Stop, stop, Mr. Owl, none of your soft speech-
es. I hate flattery. I was saying, that I could
tell you all the news of the village." The mag-
pie then proceeded to tell all the scandalous
42 THE GIFT.
tales of the crows, jackdaws, magpies, and other
birds of her acquaintance, which she could re-
collect. She then began to talk of herself,
which was her favorite theme. She continued
to prattle away for more than an hour, during
which time the owl sat perfectly still.
How long the loquacious bird would have
continued the discourse, I cannot tell ; but a
large rat at length came out of the wall, and
frightened her away. She, however, left the
castle greatly delighted with the owl, and en-
joying the pleasant idea, that she had made
a most agreeable impression upon that sage
and solemn bird.
But conceit is very apt to make people think
better of themselves than others do. So it hap-
pened in the present case. "I am very thank-
ful," said the owl to himself, as soon as the
magpie was out of sight, " that this old, twitter-
ing bird is gone. How impertinent of her, to
come in, just as I had eaten that mouse, and
THE GIFT. 43
was quietly taking a doze after dinner. Really,
these everlasting talkers are great bores. They
seem to me as if their tongues itched, and they
tried to allay the sensation by keeping them in
IN heaven and earth you will seek me in vain,
Yet in morn, noon, or night, my visage is plain ;
I make up at least one half of the moon,
Yet 't is easy to put me all into a spoon ;
I live in a boot, yet the fact is so,
That I 'm half in a cow and half in a crow ;
In every goose I am found for ever,
In a flock of geese, you will meet me never ;
In every room I 'm always met,
Yet into a house I never could get ;
The Bible I shun, yet dwell in each book,
And though I 've no eyes, I live in each look.
44 THE GIFT.
AMUSING STORY OF A JUDGE.
A GOOD many years ago, there lived in
Dutchess County, New York, a gentleman by
the name of Crane. He was very wealthy, and
highly respected for his public and private vir-
tues, especially for his charitableness to the
poor; but he always dressed in a plain garb,
and would hardly ever wear any overcoat,
whatever the weather might be; and it was
seldom that he rode when he went abroad,
although he owned many good horses. On the
establishment ofHhe Supreme Court, he was
appointed a judge of one of the circuits.
On the morning of the day in which the court
was to begin, the Judge set out before day-
break, and walked gently on through hail, rain,
and snow, to the appointed place. On arriving
at Poughkeepsie, cold and wet, he walked to a
THE GIFT. 45
tavern, where he found the landlady and ser-
vants were making large preparations for the
entertainment of the judges, lawyers, and other
gentlemen, whom they expected to attend the
The Judge was determined to have some
sport, and in a pleasant tone addressed the
landlady. "I have no money and was obliged
to come to court, and I have walked through
this dreadful storm twenty miles. I am wet
and cold, dry and hungry. I want something
to eat before court begins." The landlady put
herself into a majestic posture, and, with a
look of contempt, said to the Judge, " You say
you are wet and cold, dry and hot ; how can
all that be?"
"No, my dear madam," says the Judge, "I
said that I was wet and cold, and if you had
been out as long as I have been in the storm, I
think you would likewise be wet and cold. I
said that I wanted something to drink and eat."
46 THE GIFT.
"But you have no money, you say;" retorted
the landlady. " I told you the truth," says the
Judge, "the whole truth, and nothing but the
truth ; but, were I as rich as Cro3sus, I would
be willing to work for something to eat and
drink ; and were I as poor as Job, in his utmost
calamity, and had my health and strength as I
now have, I could willingly go to work a little
while, if I could only get a good bite of good
" Well, old daddy," says she, " how much do
you want to drink 1 " " Half a gill of good bran-
dy, madam," says he. " Very well," said she ;
"I will give you half a gill, and some cold vic-
tuals, if you will go into the back yard, and cut
and split three armfulls of wood, and bring it
into the kitchen, where the servants want to
make a good fire to dry the gentlemen's great
coats when they come ; and after you get your
victuals, I shall want you to go away."
The Judge drank his brandy, went into the
THE GIFT. 47
wood -yard, and soon cut and laid by the kitchen
fire, the required quantity of wood. The land-
lady placed a cold luncheon before him, re-
marking, that there it was. "And it is almost
as cold as myself," said he, "but not half so
wet, for there is neither tea, coffee, nor choco-
late to wet it."
"Beggars must not be choosers," said she.
"I am not begging of you, madam, but have
paid the full price demanded." "I told you,"
said she, "I would give you cold victuals, and
there is cold boiled ham, cold pork and beef,
and cold potatoes, and if you want any thing hot,
there is mustard and pepper, and here is good
bread, good butter and cheese, and all good
enough, for such an old ragamuffin as you are."
"It is all very good," said he, pleasantly,
"but, madam, be so good as to let me have
some new milk, warm, right from the cow, to
wet this good victuals." "The cows are not
milked," said she. " Then let me have a bowl
48 THE GIFT.
of cold milk," said he. "I would not send the
servants in this storm to the spring house to
skim it for you," said she.
"Dear madam," said he, with a pleasant
smile, " I have a good wife at home, older than
you are, who would go out in a worse storm
than this, to milk the cows and bring the milk
to the poorest man on earth, at his request ; or
bring the milk from the spring house, cream
and all, without skimming, to feed the most
abject of the human race."
" You have a very good wife at home ?" says
she. " Indeed I have," said he, " and she keeps
my clothing clean and whole ; and, notwith-
standing you called me an old ragamuffin, I am
not ashamed to appear abroad in the clothes I
wear, in any good company." " Well, I must
confess," says she, "that when you have your
broad-brimmed hat off, you look middling well ;
but I wish you to be off, for we want the fire
to dry the gentlemen's great coats and umbrel-
THE GIFT. 49
las by ; and among the rest, we expect Judge
" Judge Crane," says he, " who is Judge
Crane?" "The circuit Judge," says she; "one
of the supreme judges, you old simpleton."
" Well," says he, " I will bet a goose that Judge
Crane has not had, and will not have, a great
coat on his back, or an umbrella over his head
to-day." "I care nothing for your bets," said
she, " eat and be off ; I tell you Judge Crane
is to be here, and we have no room for you."
"I don't care," said he, "one rye straw more
for Judge Crane than I do for myself, and it has
got to be so late, that if he has to come at this
time of the day, he would be more likely to go
to the court-house, and stay until dinner time.
I know something about the old codger, and
some people say he is a rusty, fusty, crusty old
" Pretty talk, indeed ! " said the landlad}%
" about the supreme judge. Now eat and be
50 THE GIFT.
off." "I tell you," said he, "Judge Crane is
not the supreme judge, and if he were, he is no
more fit to be judge than I am." " Well now,
be off with yourself," said she.
"Don't be in so great a hurry," said he,
mildly, " I wish to know who is landlord here,
and to know where he is." " He is the high
sheriff of the county, and won't be home till
night; if he were here, you would not stay
long." "Well, madam," said he, "give me a
cup of cider to wet my victuals, if you won't
give me milk." " Not a drop," says her lady-
The Judge, who had got pretty well warmed,
and wished for his breakfast, now put on a stern
countenance, and positively declared he would
not leave the room and fire till he pleased.
"But," added he, "if you will grant my re-
quest, I will eat and be off."
The cider was immediately brought, and the
judge partook heartily of the collation before
THE GIFT. 51
him. He then took his broad-brimmed hat,
and quietly walked to the court-house, where
he found good fires and clean floors, and, during
the court hours, he presided with dignity and
When the Judge withdrew, the landlady
anxiously looked after him for some time, sup-
posing him to be some poor man, summoned
up to court as a witness, or some culprit, or
some vagabond, who might give her further
trouble, and expressed to her servants a desire
that they would see that he did not disturb the
gentlemen and the judges that might put up
To this some of the girls answered, that, if
he did come, they would return upon him some
of the expressions, which he used respecting
Judge Crane. " Let me see," says one, " rusty,
crusty " "yes, and Trusty old judge," says
When the court was adjourned, the day
52 THE GIFT.
being stormy and cold, the judges and lawyers
poured into the sheriff's tavern, where they
were sure of good fires and good fare.
Judge Crane went to a store and purchased
a valuable shawl and put it in his pocket on
the inside of his coat ; he then walked slowly
to the tavern. While he was thus detained,
the landlady entered the dining-room, and
earnestly inquired if Judge Crane had come;
but the answer was, "Not yet, madam, and
perhaps he may not come."
The landlady, who was anxious to pay the
highest respect to the supreme judge, retired
to the kitchen, not a little disappointed.
In the mean time, the Judge arrived, and
being, at proper times, very sociable, and at all
times fond of cheering the minds of those pres-
ent, he began to tell some lively anecdotes,
which set the whole company into a roar of
At this instant, one of the waiting maids en-
THE GIFT. 53
tered the room, to inform the gentlemen that
they might sit down to dinner. She did her
errand, and hastened back to her mistress with
the tidings that " the old fusty fellow, with his
broad-brimmed hat on, was right among the
bare-headed gentlemen, talking as loud as he
could, and all the judges and lawyers were
laughing at him."
" Then go," says she, " and whisper to the
old man, that I wish him to come into the kitch-
en." The errand was done, accordingly, and
the Judge, in a low tone of voice, said to the
girl, " Tell your mistress, I have a little business
to do with some of these lawyers, and when
that is done, I '11 be off in the course of two or
The girl returned, and faithfully rehearsed
the message, and added, that she believed the
old fellow was drunk, or he would not have
said, "as soon as my business is done, I '11 be
off in two or three* days."
54 THE GIFT.
"Well, Betty," says the mistress, "go back
and stand by the head of the table, and when
the gentlemen begin to sit down, do you whis-
per to some one of them, that I wish a vacant
place left at the head of the table for Judge
Crane, and then do you hasten back and see
that John has the cider and other things in
Betty again repaired to her post, at the head
of the table, and softly informed a gentleman
of the request of her mistress. " Certainly,"
said the gentleman; and Betty hastened back
to assist John. The gentlemen now sat down
to an excellent repast, and after a short address
to the Throne of Grace, delivered by Judge
Crane, the company carved and served round
in the usual form.
But as the Judge was of a singular turn in
almost every thing, and had taken a fancy, that,
if a person eats light food, and that which is
more solid, at the same meal, the light food
THE GIFT. 55
should be eaten first; he therefore filled his
plate with some pudding made of milk, rice, and
eggs, and placing his left elbow on the table,
and his head near the plate, began to eat ac-
cording to his custom, which was very fast,
although he was not a great eater.
Some of the gentlemen near the Judge, fol-
lowed his example, as to partaking of the pud-
ding before the meat. A large, deep vessel,
which contained that article, was nearly empti-
ed, when Mary approached with two additional
tureens of gravy, according to the command
of her mistress, and, as she set down the last
near the Judge, he says to her, in an austere
manner, "Girl, bring me a clean plate to eat
some salad on."
The abrupt manner in which he addressed
her, so disconcerted the poor girl, that she did
not observe that any one excepting the Judge
had partaken of the pudding, nor did she know
what he meant by salad ; but she observed that
56 THE GIFT.
the large pudding pan was empty, and then
hastened back with the utmost speed to her
mistress, and addressed her thus.
" Oh, ma'am, that old fellow 's there yet, and
he is certainly crazy or drunk, for he is down
at the table, and has eaten more than a skipple
of the rice pudding already, and he told me, as
if he was lord of the manor, to bring him in a
clean plate to eat salad on." "Bless me, where
can we get salad this time of year? And the
gentlemen have not done carving, and not one
has begun to eat meat yet, I dare say. Oh,
I '11 clear him out," said the mistress, and she
started for the dining-room.
The Judge was remarkable for not giving
unnecessary trouble to anybody where he put
up, and generally ate whatever was set before
him, without making any remarks, and seldom
made use of more than one plate at a meal ;
but at this time he observed near him a beauti-
ful dish of raw white cabbage, cut up and put
THE GIFT. 57
into vinegar, which the low Dutch at Pough-
keepsie call cold slaw, and which he called
salad; and he wished for a separate plate to
prepare some of it to his own taste.
The carving and serving of the meat were
not yet finished when he expected a clean
plate; and when the landlady arrived at the
door, and fixed her keen eyes sternly on the
Judge, he, turning his eye that way and observ-
ing her, mildly said, "Landlady, can I have a
clean plate to eat some salad on?"
" A clean plate and salad ! " retorted the
landlady, indignantly, " I wish you would come
into the kitchen until the gentlemen have dined;
I had reserved that seat for Judge Crane."
The company were struck with astonishment,
and fixed their eyes alternately on the landlady
and on the Judge, and sat or stood in mute
suspense; when the Judge replied, "You re-
served this seat for Judge Crane, did you, land-
lady?" "Indeed I did," says she. "It was
58 THE GIFT.
very kind," he then answered ; " but if you will
step to the door and see if he is coming, or send
one of the servants to call for him, with your
permission and the approbation of these gentle-
men, with whom I have some business to do,
I will occupy this seat till you have found the
"Find the Judge!" said she, with emphasis;
" go look for him yourself, not send me nor my
servants. I gave you your breakfast this morn-
ing for chopping a little wood, because you said
you had no money ; and I expected you would
go away, and now you must come here to dis-
turb these gentlemen at dinner."
Here the whole joke burst upon the minds
of the persons present, who fell into a loud fit
of laughter. After the tumult had a little sub-
sided, the Judge mildly asked, "Did I chop
wood to pay for- my breakfast ? " " Indeed you
did," said she, " and said you had no money."
"I told you the whole truth," replied the
THE GIFT. 59
Judge, "but I have a shawl here worth more
than ten dollars, which I just now bought, and I
will leave it with you in pawn, if you will only
let me eat my dinner with these gentlemen."
Here the gentlemen were biting their lips to
keep from laughter.
" How did you buy a shawl worth more than
ten dollars without money 1 " "I bought it on
credit," says he. "And where did you find
credit to that amount ? " said she. " I brought
it from home," said he. " That 's a likely story,
and something like your abuse of Judge Crane
this morning," said she. "How could I abuse
the Judge if he was not present 1 " asked he.
"Why," replied she, "you called him rusty,
fusty, fudge, and old codger, and said you
did n't care a rye straw more for him than
you did for yourself."
Here the whole company were in an uproar
of laughter, again. But as soon as it had sub-
sided a little, one of the gentlemen asked the
60 THE GIFT.
landlady how she knew that the gentleman she
was addressing was not Judge Crane? "He
Judge Crane ? he looks more like a snipe than
Here the loud laughter burst forth a third
time. After a little pause, the Judge said, " I
must confess I am not a bird of very fine
feathers, but I am a crane, and a crane is often
a very useful instrument; I was a very good
one in your kitchen this morning."
Before she had time to reply, some of the
gentlemen, with whom she was acquainted,
assured the landlady that she was talking with
the presiding Judge. Astonished and confound-
ed, she attempted some excuse, and hastily
asked his pardon for her rudeness.
The Judge had, by this time, unobserved,
taken the shawl from his pocket, and with a
subdued smile, advanced a few steps towards
the landlady, saying, " It is not my province to
pardon, but it is my business to judge ; I there-
THE GIFT. 61
fore decree that you and I shall hereafter be
friends ; and I judge also that you will, without
hesitation, receive this shawl as a present.
So saying, he gently laid it over her shoul-
ders, adding, "Take it, madam, and do not at-
tempt to return it, for it was purchased on pur-
pose for a present for you." She hastily retired
in confusion, hardly knowing what she did, but
taking the shawl with her, of course bearing no
malice toward the Judge.
And here were three parties who had each
two good things. The landlady had a good
shawl, and a good lesson to meditate upon,
which was this, be not too hasty in judging
ill of a person from a rough outside : the gen-
tlemen had a good dinner, and a good joke to
talk over ; and the Judge had good intentions
in the joke, and ability to follow up the lesson
THE SAGE AND LINNET: A FABLE.
A WISE old man, one summer's day,
Was walking in a lonely wood,
And there, upon a leafless spray,
A linnet sang in solitude.
The old man spoke ; " Come, pretty thing,
Pray tell me why you nestle here ?
And why so cheerly do you sing,
When all around is dark and drear ?
THE GIFT. 63
" Why spurn the meadow and the field,
Where blushing flowers invite thy stay,
And many a raptured bird would yield
Its willing praises to thy lay ? "
The linnet answered, " Hath a sage
Come here to learn of me the truth ?
And must I tell to hoary age
A lesson fit for blooming youth ?
" Of all the gifts that Heaven doth mete
In mercy to its creatures dear,
There 's none to me so pure, so sweet,
As peace ; and, Sage, I find it here !
" 'Mid garnished fields, and meadows gay,
There 's many a falcon, many a snare ;
I shun them all ; and, far away,
Poor, yet content, my lot I share.
" The listening of my gentle mate
Repays me for my happiest song,
And oft, from dawn to evening late,
I sing, nor find the hours too long.
"Yon rippling stream my cup supplies ;
The wild flowers yield for me their seed ;
This bowering fir, from winter skies,
Is all the shelter that I need.
"Then do not scorn my humble lot,
Nor deem that wealth alone is bliss,
For peace within the humblest cot,
With calm content, is happiness."
THE DAINTY HERON.
Two little girls once went out into a field
to gather flowers. Here they found buttercups,
dandelions, violets, and many other pretty blos-
soms. One of the children was pleased with
every thing, and began to pick such flowers as
she met with.
66 THE GIFT.
In a little while, this girl had collected quite
a bunch of flowers, and though some of them
were not very handsome, yet all together, they
made a beautiful bouquet.
The other child was more dainty, and deter-
mined to pick no flowers but such as were very
beautiful. She disdained to gather the dande-
lions, for they were so common ; and she would
not pluck the buttercups, for they were all of
one color, and did not take her fancy. Even
the blue violets were not good enough for her.
Thus, the little pair wandered on through
-the field, till they were about to return home.
J$y this time the dainty child, seeing that her sis-
ter had a fine collection of flowers, while she had
none, began to think it best to pick such as she
could get. But now, the flowers were scarce ;
not even a dandelion, a buttercup, or a violet,
was to be found. At length, the little girl beg-
ged a single dandelion of her sister, and thus
tHey returned home.
THE GIFT. 67
When the two children went to their mother,
she asked how it happened, that one had so
pretty a bouquet, while the other had but a
single flower. The children told their story,
and their mother then spoke to them, as follows.
" My dear children : let this little event teach
you a useful lesson. Jane has been the wiser
of the two. Content with such flowers as
came in her way, and not aiming at what was
beyond her reach, she has been successful in
her pursuit, and has brought back a beautiful
bunch of posies. But Laura, who could not
stoop to pick up buttercups and dandelions,
because she wanted something more beautiful"
than could be found, collected nothing from the
field, and was finally obliged to beg a dandelion
of her sister.
"Thus it will always happen, my children,
in passing through life. If you are content with
simple pleasures and innocent enjoyments, such
as are scattered freely along your path, you will,
68 THE GIPT.
day by day, gather enough to make you con-
tented and happy. If, on the contrary, you
scorn simple pleasures, and innocent enjoy-
ments, and reach after those, which are more
rare and difficult to be obtained, you will meet
with frequent disappointment, and at last be-
come dependent upon others.
" Seek not, then, my children, for costly
enjoyments or extravagant pleasures. Be in-
dustrious in gathering those which are lawful,
and which are adapted to your situation. In
this way, you will cultivate a contented spirit,
and secure your own peace. If, on the other
hand, you disdain enjoyments that are suited
to your taste and capacity, you will be hard
to please, and perpetual discontent will dwell
in your bosom. Thus you see, that one course
will result in something better than riches,
while the other will bring evils that are worse
" To impress all this on your minds, let me
THE GIFT. 69
tell you the fable of the delicate heron. This
long-legged bird was once standing on the
edge of a brook, the waters of which were so
clear that he could see every thing that was
swimming by. Pretty soon a trout came along,
but the heron thought that he would wait for
something better. Then came a perch, but
this was not good enough. Then other fishes
swam along, but still, the dainty bird could see
nothing that suited his palate. So he kept
standing by the brook, until, at length, all the
fishes were gone.
" The heron now grew very hungry, *and
would have been glad to take any one of the
fishes he had seen. Finally, as the evening
was drawing nigh, he was obliged to make a
poor supper upon a snail, that he found in
70 THE GIFT.
DR. D. AND FARMER MARVIN.
ABOUT eight miles in a southerly direction
from Northampton, there is an ancient tavern,
called "Pomeroy's, on the Plain." It is a low,
brown house, built at various times, and appears
to have grown up by the occasional addition of
a kitchen or a parlour, according to the increas-
ing wants or fortunes of the proprietor. It is,
or was a few years since, surrounded by a
broad forest of pines, and, after dragging for
miles through a path of deep sand, the hospita-
ble sign of General Washington, on horseback,
on one side, and a decanter of wine, discharg-
ing its red contents into a glass, on the other,
meets the eye of the traveller, exciting emotions
not unlike those which arise in the breast of a
wanderer over an Arabian desert, when he
discovers the long-sought fountain in the dis-
THE GIFT. 71
It was in the Autumn of 1810, that a stout
farmer drove, with a wagon and two horses,
under the shed of this hospitable inn. He was
a man about sixty, broad-shouldered, tall, gaunt,
and a little bent; but his cheek betokened
health, and his sparkling black eye, kindling
behind his coarse grey eyebrows, while it re-
minded one of a red squirrel in a hedge, indi-
cated a mind of great natural activity.
The farmer having tied his horses, went to
the inn, at the door of which he was met by
the landlord, a man of seventy years, tall,
slender, and solemn, looking as if he had seen
great things in his day ; his long, white locks
hanging from beneath a low-crowned hat, the
brim of which was enormously broad, and sup-
ported by cords running to the sides of the
crown, like the shrouds of a ship, extending
from the hulk to the mast.
The innkeeper greeted the farmer as an ac-
quaintance, calling him by the name of Marvin.
72 THE GIFT!
The latter requested a night's lodging, which
was of course granted. The horses were now
carefully attended to ; and, it being a chill even-
ing, a bright hickory fire was kindled in the
parlour. This was a low, long, narrow room,
with a good carpet, an ample rocking chair,
and a comfortable, old-fashioned sofa. A small
table was set, and a great display of beefsteak,
ham, eggs, coffee, sweetmeats, and pies, served
on a cloth as white as snow, in clean dishes,
and by a blushing, black-eyed girl of seven-
teen, made the farmer as well satisfied with the
world and himself as if he had been forty years
But just as he was about to make havoc with
the viands, he heard the wheels of some light
vehicle driven up smartly to the door. At
the same minute, he heard a sonorous voice
addressing the innkeeper. In a short time, a
large, round-faced man, in spectacles, having the
dress and air of a clergyman, but mingled with
THE GIFT. 73
somewhat more than is usual of the manners
of a gentleman, and man of the world, entered
the room. There was a lofty bearing about
him, that spoke of authority, but it was soft-
ened by the gracious bow, and smile of benig-
nity, with which he saluted the farmer.
But Marvin, be it known, was no friend to
either clergyman or gentleman. He gloried in
being a friend to liberty, and he believed that
these characters were both enemies to it. It
was habitual for him, therefore, to harp upon
priestcraft and republican simplicity, making all
vice to lie in the one, and all virtue to consist
in the other.
It was, therefore, with positive dislike thai^
his eyes returned from scanning the stranger,
but it soothed his feelings to find, by the addi-
tion of a few dishes to the table, and an am-
plification of its stores, that he was to have
the company of the stranger at his meal ; for
the farmer esteemed himself a good argufier,
74 THE GIFT.
and an overmatch, particularly as he happened
to be on the right side of the question, for any
priest or aristocrat in the country. He there-
fore looked forward to a decided triumph, and
inwardly chuckled at the foreseen discomfiture
of the parson.
The meal was now ready, and the two trav-
ellers approached the table. The farmer sat
down, but the stranger stood a moment, and
then said, mildly but firmly, " Shall I say grace,
Sir 1 " The farmer, a little abashed, instantly
arose, and the clergyman, in a few simple
words, supplicated the blessing of Heaven upon
their meal, upon their friends, and all mankind.
The clear articulation, the musical voice, and
the strikingly solemn manner of the speaker,
affected the farmer against his will, and after
he sat down to the table he stole some keen
glances at h'is companion through his eyebrows,
before he began his meal.
THE GIFT. 75
There was a pause of a few minutes, when
the following dialogue began.
Stranger. We seem to have found a com-
fortable place, after the fatigues of travelling.
We might be worse off, than under our friend
Marvin. Aye. Have you travelled far to-
Stran. No. About thirty miles.
Mar. You come from Hartford way, I sup-
Mar. Do you reside there 1
Stran. I live at New Haven.
Mar. At New Haven ? Do you know oL
Stran. I know Mr. D., Dr. D., if it is him
Mar. Aye ; it 's the same. The clargy call
him Doctor; we, hereabouts, call him Pope.
That 's a priest-ridden State of yours ; and
76 THE GIFT.
Pope D. is as cunning as the d 1. I should
like to see him ; I 'd give him a piece of my
Strati. Well, now, what would you tell him,
if you should meet him?
Mar. Why, I 'd sarve him with his own
sauce. I 'd preach him a sermon, about sartain
people who go about in sheep's clothing, and
devour widow's houses !
Stran. Well, Sir ; these are grievous charg-
es, and if Pope D., as you call him, were such
a character as you describe, no one would take
more pleasure in giving him a sharp lashing
than myself. But, Sir, do you speak of this
individual from your own knowledge?
Mar. I have never seen him, but I have
heard so much of him, that I could tell him at
Stran. Well, Sir, I am familiar with the
person of Dr. D., and I should like to hear
you describe him?
THE GIFT. 77
Mar. Why, Sir, I expect he is a pretty
considerable large man, gaunt and hungry as
a wolf, with a long nose, sunken cheeks, and
a smooth, whining voice. That 's the sort of
picture I have of him, in my mind's eye.
Stran. And a sorry picture it is. Do you
imagine the character of Dr. D. to be as ugly
as this portrait of his person ?
Mar. Worse, Sir ; worse, a thousand times !
Why, Sir, he ? s at the head of the clargy, and
the clargy rule the whole State of Connecticut
with a rod of iron. We are bad enough in
Massachusetts, but things are a great deal worse
in your State. I was there a few years ago,
but I got out of it as quick as I could. When
I crossed the line and got into this State, I felt
as if I had got rid of a load ; and I knelt down
and thanked the Lord, that he had delivered
me out of that priest-ridden State.
Stran. Your opinions seem to be very de-
cided, and, doubtless, you have well considered
78 THE GIFT.
the ground upon which they rest. No man,
it would seem, could desire to think ill of others.
You have, therefore, I suppose, been compelled
by facts well ascertained, to form these unfa-
vorable opinions of Pope D., the clergy, and
the people of Connecticut. Will you be so
kind as to state to me the facts, upon which
your opinions respecting these matters are
Mar. Facts, Sir ! what do you want of
facts to prove a thing that everybody knows ?
Stran. Excuse me, my dear Sir, but I must
be permitted to say, that I am myself so ill
informed as to be ignorant of what you affirm
to be matter of notoriety to everybody else.
I should like, therefore, some proof of the truth
of your opinions, before I adopt them. You
charge an individual with base hypocrisy. You
charge that individual, in connexion with some
hundreds of others, with a conspiracy against
the rights, peace, and happiness of their fellow-
THE GIFT. 79
citizens. Now, Sir, I presume that you would
not bring these grievous accusations against
any one, without being able to support them
by facts within your own knowledge.
As the stranger finished this sentence, he
lifted his spectacles from his nose and laid them
upon the table, fixing his full, dark eye upon
the farmer. The latter stole a sidelong glance
at him, but seemed too busy with his plate and
the piece of steak that was in his mouth, for
an immediate reply. The stranger proceeded :
"However, Sir, I have no disposition to ques-
tion your opinions, but permit me to tell you
a story. In Boston, some years since, there
was a man who had been blind from his birth.
Having never seen the light, he was of course
destitute of all ideas of color, yet he fancied
that he had as precise notions of color as any
other person. Being asked to describe some
of the principal colors, he said that green was
like the sound of the Old South bell, and red,
80 THE GIFT.
like the crowing of a cock. Now, Sir, this may
illustrate the folly of being positive upon sub-
jects with which we are necessarily unacquaint-
ed. We are never safe in any opinion which
does not rest upon knowledge. But I need not
say these things to one so intelligent as yourself."
The farmer here sat back in his chair, and
his reddening countenance indicated either
confusion or resentment. This did not escape
the observation of the stranger, over whose
face could be seen the dimpling play of sup-
pressed mirth. It seemed no part of his de-
sign to enter into controversy, so he dex-
terously changed the conversation, by mak-
ing some inquiries about the road to North-
ampton. This led to other inquiries about the
state of the crops and the modes of agriculture
in the vicinity. The farmer was soon drawn
out by the stranger, and he showed himself a
sagacious and well-informed man, in respect
to his profession. The stranger, too, entered
THE GIFT. 81
into the subject with ardor, and showed that,
if he had little practical skill, he was certainly
a nice observer, and possessed a mind stored
with reading and reflection, upon every thing
that related to the life of a husbandman. The
manner, too, in which he expressed himself
was exceedingly pleasing. The tones of his
voice were rich, his language simple but ele-
gant, and every word was uttered with that
distinct articulation which carried it home to
the heart. The farmer's aversion to the stran-
ger at length began to melt like wax in the sun,
and it was not long before he listened with
interest. As the stranger proceeded, this in-
terest was changed to admiration. At a late
hour the travellers parted, with expressions of
Early in the morning they met, and, after a
hearty breakfast, shook hands and bade each
other farewell. The farmer left the stranger,
and while he was paying his bill to the land-
82 THE GIFT.
lord, asked him if he knew the person who
was in the parlour.
" Know him 7 " said the landlord, " to be sure
I do; that's Dr. D., of New Haven."
" That Dr. D. !" said the farmer, that Pope
D. ! " He said no more, but went straight back
to the parlour, and, going up to the Doctor, ex-
tended his hand, and said ; " Sir, will you for-
" Forgive you, for what ? " said the Doctor.
"Mr. Pomeroy tells me, Sir, that you are
Dr. D. of New Haven. I have done you wrong,
Sir, and myself too. You told me a story of a
blind man, who was very positive upon the sub-
ject of colors, which, of course, he could not un-
derstand. I have been equally positive in a case
where I was equally ignorant. I now see the
force of your remark, that no opinion is safe
unless it rests upon facts. I have indulged
notions of you, which I now see to be wholly
unfounded. I have been blinded by a preju-
THE GIFT. 83
dice, which had never been indulged, if I had
followed your maxim. I hope, Sir, you will
forgive and forget my rude speech last night."
The Doctor made a suitable reply, and, at the
urgent invitation of the farmer, promised to pay
him a visit at his own house in Berkshire, be-
fore his return. This promise was fulfilled, and
the acquaintance thus begun between Farmer
Marvin and Dr. D. resulted in a friendship,
which lasted till the latter was laid in the grave.
THE FLY AND SNUFFTAKER.
I WILL tell you a curious fable of a snuff-
taker and a fly. The former was sitting upon
a bank, regaling himself with a pinch of snuff,
when a fly came along and chanced to light
upon his nose. The man was very much an-
noyed at this, and angrily brushed off the fly.
Whereupon the insect addressed him as fol-
THE GIFT. 85
" Pray, what does all this mean, Mr. Snuff-
taker ? Here you are putting into your nose,
every two or three minutes, a thousand parti-
cles of that poisonous weed, called tobacco.
This is very hurtful, for it injures the voice,
debilitates the nerves, and, at length, injures
the mind. Yet all this seems to give you great
satisfaction. But, when I chance to light on
the outer side of your nose, which does you
no harm, and only tickles a little, you fly into a
furious passion. How is it that you cannot bear
a trifling inconvenience, while, at the same time,
you take pleasure in doing yourself serious
"I thank you, Mr. Buzz," said the snufftaker,
" for your hint. You have placed this matter
in a light in which I never viewed it before. It
seems that we are very apt to become angry
and discontented because of little inconvenien-
ces that are accidental, while we bring upon
ourselves important and lasting troubles for the
sake of some vain gratification."
86 THE GIFT.
Now I think even young people may turn
this fable to good account ; for they will often
complain of little troubles which cannot be
helped, while they voluntarily bring upon them-
selves serious mischiefs, in pursuit of their own
pleasures. A child will often fret at the slight
scratch of a pin, at the same time that he will
greedily devour sweetmeats, though warned by
his parents that headache or colic will be the
result. I have known a boy to complain of
fatigue, and say that the weather was too cold,
when required to go of an errand ; while under
the same circumstances, he would cheerfully
walk two or three miles to a river or lake, for
the purpose of skating, and spend several hours
in this amusement, quite regardless of the biting
winter wind. If any of my little readers are
ever tempted to be thus inconsistent, let them
correct such folly, by adverting to the fable of
the fly and the snufftaker.
THE MONKEY AND BEAVER: A FABLE.
A MEDDLING monkey went a visit to pay,
To a hard-working beaver, one fair summer day :
Like most idle people, he freely did chat,
And made his remarks upon this thing and that.
In vain was the hint of the busy old beaver,
That she 5 d like it better if he would leave her,
For she had her task ; it must be all done,
88 THE GIFT.
And her house put in order 'ere set of the sun.
But, in spite of all caution, the monkey went on,
Till the patience of poor Mistress Beaver was gone ;
Then flapping her tail and showing her claw,
To the monkey, abashed, she laid down the law.
" Mister Monkey, I 'm busy to-day, as you see,
So your room 's more welcome than your company.
Farewell ! and remember, that we honest beavers,
Have a thorough dislike of all idle deceivers.
If you 've nothing to do, pray find some poor elf,
As worthless, as useless, as vain as yourself ;
With her spend your time, but never I warn ye,
Come here to disturb me with gossip and blarney."
Away went the monkey, a flea in his ear,
But he left us a lesson, and I '11 tell it here.
There 5 s nought more vexatious, ill-mannered, and rude,
Than for those who are idle, uncalled, to intrude
On those who are busy ; thus doing a crime,
By stealing their treasures, in stealing their time.
THE BALM TREE AND THORN : A FABLE.
A THORN bush, growing by the side of a
balm tree, thus addressed its stately neighbour.
"I observe that people frequently come and
bore holes into your sides, for the purpose of
extracting balsam; and all this you patiently
bear. This appears to me very silly, for the
great maxim of life I hold to be this ; Look out
90 THE GIFT.
for number one. Accordingly, I put out sharp
thorns in every direction, and if any one ven-
tures to touch me, I repay his impertinence by
giving him a good scratching."
" Your rule," replied the balm tree, " is very
different from mine. 'Love thy neighbour as
thyself? seems to me a far nobler maxim, than
' Look out for number one. 9 Your scheme of
caring only for yourself, would afford me no
gratification. But I derive exquisite satisfaction
from imparting, for the relief and benefit of
others, a portion of that which Providence has
bestowed upon me. I am persuaded that mine
is the wiser course, and that it yields far more
happiness than yours."
THE PEACH AND POTATO: A FABLE.
A PEACH fell one day from a tree, and chanc-
ed to fall near a potato. The blushing and del-
icate fruit was greatly mortified at finding him-
self so near his rusty neighbour, and observed ;
" If I had it in my power to move, I would not
remain here, and be seen in company with such
a poor, rusty thing as a potato."
92 THE GIFT.
The latter mildly replied; "I admit, neigh-
bour Peach, that you have a fairer covering and
a more delicious flavor than I ; but do I really
deserve this contempt at your hands 1 Remem-
ber that I furnish substantial food during the
whole year, while you only afford transient
gratification for a few weeks. I give sustenance
to thousands, while you only regale the palates
of a few. If usefulness be the test of merit,
the humble potato may, therefore, claim supe-
riority over the rich and luscious peach."
We should always judge of people, and re-
spect them, according to the good they do, and
not according to their dress or appearance.
THE GIFT. 93
ABOUT forty years ago, there lived on the
banks of the Ohio, a farmer by the name of
Fay. His house was situated a few rods from
the river, and about two miles below Marietta,
then an infant village, settled by some people
The farmer had two children, one twelve
years old, named Henry ; the other about eight,
named Marion. With these and his wife, he
had emigrated from Massachusetts two years
before. His present dwelling was a log hut, of
small size, surrounded with the wide forest,
except that about two acres of ground were
cleared, immediately around it.
It was in the afternoon of a summer day, that
little Marion went down to the boat, which was
94 THE GIFT.
drawn up on the bank of the river, at the dis-
tance of a few rods from the house. This boat
was shaped like the body of a cradle, with a
covering over one end of it, and Marion was
fond of making a baby-house of it.
But she had often been warned against doing
this by her mother, who was afraid that the
boat might get loose, and drift down the river,
with the little girl in it. She had been particu-
larly instructed not to go to the boat on the day
when our story commences, for there had been
heavy rains, and the stream was rising fast.
But Marion thought that her mother was
over timid, and as the boat was secured by a
rope, she conceived there could be no danger,
and, in spite of her mother's caution, stepped
into it. Here she began to amuse herself by
putting together a number of sticks to imitate
a fire, and collecting small stones in a row
around it, to represent people warming them-
THE GIFT. 95
At length, weary with her play, she sat down
beneath the cover of the boat, and leaning her
head in one of the corners, fell fast asleep.
Here she remained for more than an hour,
during which time, the rising waters lifted the
boat from the sand, and loosed the rope from
its fastening. The boat then gently glided
away, and, with its sleeping inmate, went down
After a while, Marion awoke, not from fright,
for there was no motion in the boat. The first
thought that came to her mind was, that she
must have been a long time absent from the
house, and then a consciousness of having dis-
obeyed her mother, oppressed her bosom with
a sense of pain. She arose, and was about to
spring over the side of the boat, when she was
startled at discovering her situation.. She was
nearly in the middle of the broad Ohio, and she
perceived at once, by the retreating forests on
96 THE GIFT.
either side, that she was rapidly drifting down
At first, she thought it must be a frightful
dream, and rubbed her eyes smartly to ascer-
tain whether she was awake. When she per-
ceived that it was a reality, she threw up her
hands, and screamed in agony. But there was
no answer to her cry. " Father, Mother, Hen-
ry, help ! " cried she, with all her might. There
was a faint echo from the sloping hills, shaded
with forests. The little girl listened, and hoped
for a moment that it was the answer of friends
to her call.
But this hope soon died away. The boat
floated on and on, speeding with the swollen
current ; the gliding banks of the stream assur-
ing her of the swiftness with which she was
proceeding farther and farther from her home.
At length, exhausted, she sank down in the
boat, covering her face with her hands, and
weeping till the tears burst through her fingers.
THE GIFT. 97
In this situation she remained for some time, and
when she looked out again, she perceived, with
increased alarm, that the evening had begun to
cast its shadows over the scene. It was already
dark beneath the forests on the western side
of the river, and only a faint purple lighted up
the top of the lofty ridge, that formed the op-
posite shore of the stream.
"What shall I do! what shall I do!" said
Marion, bursting into a fresh flood of tears.
Again she sat down and buried her face in her
hands, and at last, overpowered, she sank down
in the boat, and went to sleep.
How strange is it, that often, at home, secure
beneath the shelter of the paternal roof, a father
and a mother within call, frightful dreams will
visit us in our sleep ! How sweet is it to wake
from such a vision, and find ourselves in secu-
rity and peace !
How strange is it, when we are in real trouble,
that sweet, delusive fancies will come, seeming
98 THE GIFT.
to assure us that the evil is past, and that we
are once more happy and at home. So it was
with poor Marion; as she lay in the boat,
chilled by the night air, wet from the water that
had collected in the bottom of the boat, her
matted hair hanging over her pale face, still a
pleasant dream was passing in her mind.
She fancied that she had been rescued, that
she had reached her home, that she had con-
fessed her disobedience to her mother, and felt
a mother's kiss of forgiveness upon her cheek.
She dreamed that her father smiled on her, in
thankfulness of heart for her deliverance ; that
Henry sat by her, holding one of her hands in
both of his, too full of joy to speak ; that even
old Brag, the shaggy watch-dog, her companion
in many a woodland ramble, looked into her
face with a seeming smile, and wagged his tail
in delight ; and puss, soft, purring puss, crept
into her lap, rubbing herself back and forth
THE GIFT. 99
against her arm, seeming thus to insist upon
sharing in the general joy.
Such was Marion's dream ; but, alas ! it was
only a dream. She awoke, and all was dark-
ness around her. She rose to her feet, and
called for her mother with that wailing cry,
which betokens the extremity of sorrow. Her
voice was drowned by the surly moan of the
flowing waters. She sat down again in the
boat, and gave herself up to despair. She
looked around. It was all darkness, save that
the images of the stars flickered upon the
surface of the river. She looked above. A
thousand orbs met her view, but there was
something about their loneliness and their dis-
tance, that made her feel more sensibly her own
condition, her solitude, her separation from
home, and her desolation of heart.
She did not indeed appreciate the full extent
of her danger. She knew not the rapidity with
which she was drifting down with the tide; she
100 THE GIFT.
knew not the many long miles that now lay
between her and her parents ; she knew not
the probability that the boat would run against
some snag and be upset ; nor did she foresee,
that, if this fatal catastrophe did not happen, she
might continue to float with the heedless waves,
till she would perish for want of food. But
she knew enough almost to stupify her mind,
and sat for a long time gazing vacantly at the
At length, she saw a silvery light rising over
the eastern hills, and soon the moon was in full
view. It was but a narrow bow, but still it
lighted up the scene. It was also the same
moon at which she had often gazed from her
own home, with a mixture of wonder and de-
light. It seemed to her, therefore, almost like
a friend. It was at least something that she
had seen before, distant, indeed, yet familiar.
As she gazed upon it, an emotion like hope
stole into her little heart, and now, for the first
THE GIFT. 101
time, the idea of that good Being who dwells
above, and watches over his creatures with a
vigilance that does not permit even a sparrow
to fall to the ground unnoticed, came into her
mind. Her lips began to move, and with her
face toward the moon, as if addressing that
beautiful orb, she poured out her pathetic pray-
er to God, that he would take care of her in
Her tears flowed fast, her voice quivered, and
there was a deep sadness upon her pale face.
Yet there was something of consolation in
her heart at the moment, which painted itself
in a smile around her lips. Her feelings gradu-
ally became soothed, and again she fell asleep.
IT was many hours before Marion awoke.
The sun was shining fair and bright. The boat
102 THE GIFT.
was still. She started and looked around. Dur-
ing her sleep it had run upon a small island,
and there it rested. Marion got out with some
difficulty, for though the weather was warm,
she was chilled, from sitting so long in the wet
boat, and she was exhausted from anxiety.
She was at first obliged to creep along the
sandy shore, and it was not till after several
efforts that she was able to stand. She then
began to look around her, but her head became
giddy, and she sank upon the ground. She
soon revived, and walked up a slope to some
bushes. The sight of some berries reminded
her that she was hungry. She ate a few of
them, and was refreshed. She also found some
fruit of the pawpaw, which was now ripe, and
she ate it with great relish.
She then walked on, and pretty soon came
to an Indian wigwam, made of sticks, leaves,
and turf. It was, however, deserted, and seem-
ed to be in a state of decay. She sat down by
THE GIFT. 103
it, but as the evening was now approaching,
she crept in, and laid herself down upon the
leaves. She soon fell asleep, and did not wake
till morning. The day was again bright, warm,
and beautiful, and the little girl went forth, and
made her breakfast from the pawpaw tree. She
then went to look again at her boat, but it was
gone ; the rising tide having borne it away.
This seemed to her like a new misfortune, for
the last thing that belonged to home had now
departed, and more than ever she felt her soli-
tude and destitution. She sat down and wept,
and the flow of tears brought relief. With a
lighter heart, she rose and walked back to the
cabin. She then went farther into the island,
which seemed to be covered over with groups
of bushes. It was small in extent, and she
had soon surveyed the whole of it.
Two or three days now passed away without
incident. Young as Marion was, she compre-
hended her situation, at least to some extent.
104 THE GIFT.
She did not know the distance she had come
from her father's house, but she knew that it
must be many miles. She also knew that no
house was near, for, at that time, the towns,
villages, and cities, which now border the Ohio,
did not exist; the shores of that broad river
were then only skirted by the boundless forest.
What, then, was to be her fate? The steam-
boats, which now plough the western waters,
making almost every river boil like a pot, were
then unknown. Nor was any species of water-
craft common upon the Ohio, save the canoes
of the Indians that dwelt along its borders.
Marion looked out upon the river, day after day,
but not a solitary boat did she see floating upon
its surface, save that one evening she saw, or
fancied that she saw, a boat with two men in it,
passing up the stream. She was afraid, how-
ever, that the men were Indians, and rather
shunned than courted their notice.
I have said that Marion was a child, yet trial
THE GIFT. 105
rapidly ripens the judgment. She had now
been a fortnight from home. Thrown upon her
own resources, she had set about making her-
self as comfortable as she could upon the island,
hoping that her father might come in search of
her, or that some passing boat might take her
up. But these hopes were formed only to meet
with disappointment. Severe trials were yet
The morning was cloudy, and Marion was
still asleep, when three Indians landed upon the
island, and went straight to the wigwam, as if
accustomed to the place. Apparently, they had
thrown off their usual caution, and one of them
was about to enter the hut, when his eyes met
those of Marion, just waking from her repose.
He started back, bent his unstrung bow, drew
an arrow from his quiver, and placed it upon
the string. * He made a sign to his companions,
and they did the same. They then passed
cautiously around the wigwam several times.
106 THE GIFT.
keenly examining the ground. They then went
to the shore, and made the entire circuit of the
Seeming to be satisfied that no one beside
themselves and the little white girl was upon
the island, they went back to the wigwam.
Marion had seen the Indians at the entrance,
and, greatly alarmed, buried herself in the leaves.
But the savages soon discovered the artifice,
and one of them going to Marion, brushed away
the leaves, took her by the arm, and drew her
out into the open air.
The Indian spoke to her, but in a strange
tongue. She fell down upon her knees, beg-
ging him to save her, and promising that her
father should pay him handsomely, if he would
take her home. But he did not understand her.
The Indian saw, however, that she was in dis-
tress, and understood that she appealed to his
mercy. But savages are not kind-hearted.
Mercy with them is no virtue, and they look
THE GIFT. 107
upon gentleness and humanity with contempt.
Their looks, therefore, as well as their harsh
tones and angry gestures, when they spoke to
Marion, or conversed between themselves, led
her to expect nothing but cruelty.
After a little while the Indians signified to
Marion that she must go with them. As she
hesitated, one of them pushed her rudely for-
ward in the direction of the canoe. Thus
compelled, she went along, and the party soon
reached the canoe. One of the Indians placed
an oar in the stern of the little vessel, and, cleav-
ing the waters like a duck, it soon shot to the
western side of the river. The boat was taken
out of the water, and hid in the bushes.
The savages then plunged into the forest,
Marion being forced to follow them. Her feet
were bare, and the path was exceedingly rough.
But she was accustomed to forest rambles, and
naturally of a hardy and active frame ; though
debilitated by the want of suitable food, and
108 THE GIFT.
the weariness of anxiety, she still kept up cheer-
ily with the savages, for the distance of half a
dozen miles. She then became exhausted,
and several times fell to the ground.
The savages seeing the impossibility of her
proceeding farther without rest, now halted.
After a little consultation, two of them depart-
ed; the other made a sign to Marion to sit
down, and moving to the trunk of a fallen tree,
he sat down upon it himself. Here he remained
for about an hour, almost as motionless as the
prostrate log upon which he sat. He then rose
and went forward, beckoning Marion to follow.
She obeyed, and proceeded through the tangled
f<Mjest as well as she could.
In about two hours she heard voices at a
short distance, and, looking from the brow of a
hi 1, she saw, in the edge of a spreading prairie,
several wigwams and a number of Indians. She
and he- conductor soon reached this Indian
THE GIFT. 109
The number of people here seemed to be
about three hundred. There were men, wo-
men, and children. They appeared to be ap-
prized of her coming, for several of the older
men were collected together, and to them she
was first conducted. One of them, a grey old
man, addressed her, but she could not under-
stand a word of what he said. The Indians
then conversed together for a long time, and at
last the assembly broke up.
Marion was now taken to one of the wig-
wams, and committed to the charge of some of
the Indian women. Several of them gathered
around, gazing at her with the most intense
curiosity. They seemed greatly astonished at
her white skin, and the calico frock which she
wore. Pretty soon other women came, and
then girls and boys of all sizes. Every one
must have a look, every one must touch her
white skin. One of the boys pinched her so
sharply that she uttered a cry. This was con-
110 THE GIFT.
sidered a good joke, and several of the boys,
one after another, pinched her arms till they
were black and blue.
After a long time, Marion was left alone with
the Indian women in the wigwam. In a short
time, the grey old Indian, whom I have men-
tioned, came in, for this it seems was his hut.
Marion was then permitted to lie down upon
a bed of deer skins, and soon she fell fast
asleep, nor did she wake till late the next
Feverish from excessive toil, and her feet
torn with briers and sharp stones, she could not
rise from her bed. The Indian woman gave
her some water in a gourd shell. With this,
Marion quenched her thirst, and again lay down
upon her bed. Here she remained the whole
day and the succeeding night. In the morning,
she was better, and the Indian woman gave her
some pounded corn mixed with water, for food.
THE GIFT. Ill
From this time she recovered rapidly, and, in
a few days, was quite well.
She was now called upon to perform sundry
little offices for the Indian woman and the old
chief. She became, in short, their slave, and
for a long time was the constant subject of the
jibes and sneers of all the Indian children of
the village. Every species of malicious trick
was practised upon her by the Indian boys,
and in this they were neither checked nor
Marion had much to bear, and often the
memory of her happy home would come upon
her, and the tears would gush freely down her
cheeks. But youth is ever elastic, and Marion
was of a cheerful turn. She was also quick-
witted, and apt to learn. She soon caught the
language of the Indians, and gradually adapted
herself to their habits. She became changed
in her personal appearance ; even her white
skin assuming somewhat of the tawny com-
112 THE GIFT.
plexion of the Indians. As she grew more
like them, their contempt subsided, and her
own dislike of them gradually wore away.
Months, years passed by, and Marion was a
favorite among the Indians. She was almost
reconciled to her lot, and the memory of father,
mother, brother, and that far home upon the
banks of the Ohio, was dimmed, as if with the
mist, that obscures the hills in the distance.
WE must now go back to the day of Mari-
on's departure, in the boat, from the dwelling-
place of her parents. She had already been
gone two hours, when her absence was remark-
ed by her mother. She then called for her,
but no answer was returned. Concluding that
the little girl was on some ramble in the woods,
she felt no particular anxiety.
THE GIFT. 113
But evening at length approached, and the
mother became uneasy. At length, Mr. Fay
and Henry, who had been to the village of
Marietta, returned. The boy thought he could
soon find his sister in the woods. He went to
all her accustomed haunts, and made the forests
echo with her name. But he was obliged, after
an hour's search, to come home without her,
It was now dark, and the family were in a
state of great alarm. They did not think of
the boat, but imagined she must have got lost
in the woods. Henry and Mr. Fay spent the
whole night in a vain search for her, threading
the forest in every direction. Again and again
they called, listening with beating hearts, anx-
iously hoping to hear the voice of the wanderer
in reply. But no answer was returned, save
the hollow echoes of the hills and valleys.
They came home sick at heart, and then it
was that Henry remarked the absence of the
boat. He was confident from this moment, that
114 THE GIFT.
Marion had been carried away in it. His
parents yielded to this conclusion slowly ; but
Henry knew the habits of his sister well, and
they all, at length, settled down in the opinion
that Henry had adopted. Still, the conclusion
seemed uncertain ; for how -could the boat be
detached from its fastening? and why did not
Marion, on finding that she was going down the
stream, call to her mother, who might easily
have heard her cry 1
In this painful uncertainty, Mr. Fay went to
Marietta. The opinion of the people there
was, that Marion must have wandered in the
woods, till she had got lost, for it seemed to
them very improbable that she could have been
carried down the river in the boat. They,
therefore, concluded to have a search in the
forest, and accordingly, twelve men and boys
set out for that purpose. For three days they
ranged the hills -and valleys in every direction,
until they had passed over the whole territory
THE GIFT. 115
within several miles. The pursuit was fruitless,
and the men returned home, leaving the family
of the lost Marion, in the gloom of that anxious
sorrow, which ever attends uncertainty.
The father and mother spoke few words, but
their countenances showed the melancholy that
dwelt within. But Henry could be neither
silent nor inactive. Again and again he urged
his father to get a boat, and go down the river,
and, finally, he insisted that he would set out
alone, if no one would accompany him. Thus
urged, the heart-stricken father procured a boat,
and, leaving his wife at Marietta, went down the
river with Henry.
They had [nearly reached the island where
Marion was, when they met a boat with two
huntsmen, who had been down the river.
These men told them, that they had seen a boat
two days before, such as Mr. Fay described,
bottom upwards, floating down the stream. He
then concluded that farther search was vain.
116 THE GIFT.
Henry was still anxious to proceed and find
the boat, but his father insisted upon returning,
and the boy, giving up his sister for lost, mood-
ily yielded to parental authority.
They returned, and the family were again
gathered in their home. But to Henry it was
home no more. The companion of his sports
and his rambles was gone. The woods which he
once loved, the shady valleys, the deep-tangled
thickets, the dashing waterfalls, which had be-
come dear and familiar both to him and Marion,
had lost their charm. But still, he visited them
often, and, even when months had passed away,
he would plunge into the woods and listen in-
tently as some squirrel stirred the leaves, seem-
ing to think that the sound came from the
returning footstep of his sister.
But time softens the deepest sorrow; and
though Marion was not forgotten, yet, after a
few months, she was seldom mentioned. The
parents had now buried all hopes of seeing
THE GIFT. 117
their child, and, leaving her fate to God, they
went on, saddened, but not gloomy, in their
accustomed paths of duty. Henry, too, recover*
ed his spirits, and though his fancy was so often
busy in weaving possible adventures for his
sister, as to give his mind a romantic and dreamy
cast, still he was again a cheerful and happy
FOUR years had now passed since Marion's
departure. The village of Marietta had some-
what increased, and several small settlements
had been made along the banks of the river.
News at length came to Marietta, that the Indians
had made an attack upon one of these, burning
the corn fields, driving off the cattle, and slaugh-
tering the inhabitants. As farther hostilities
were feared, it was thought necessary to send
118 THE GIFT.
an immediate force to chastise the depredators.
About sixty men were, therefore, speedily de-
spatched in four boats, and these proceeded
down the river.
Having gone about sixty miles, they landed
on the western side, opposite to a small island
in the middle of the river. The Indians, whom
they wished to attack, were understood to have
their encampment upon the borders of a prairie,
about six miles distant.
The party was headed by Mr. Fay, who had
seen service in the revolutionary war, and had
shared in the glorious victory at Bennington,
under the gallant Stark. His^son Henry, now
a manly youth of sixteen, was of the party.
After consultation, the little band plunged into
the woods, being directed in their route by a
friendly Indian, who knew the country. They
had proceeded about three miles, when, as they
were passing at the foot of a ridge, an arrow
whistled from the overhanging rocks, and, enter-
THE GIFT. 119
ing the side of one of the men, instantly killed
him. A moment after, the wild war-whoop of
the savages burst from the shaggy hills on every
side. Mr. Fay's party were completely sur-
prised, and, for a short time, were paralyzed.
They soon collected together, however, and
began to look around them. Seeing that their
leader was undaunted, they gathered courage,
and this was not a little increased by what im-
mediately followed. Standing behind a tree,
he pointed his long fowling-piece toward one
of the high rocks, that overhung the valley.
This directed the eyes of the party to that
At first, nothing but an eagle's feather was
seen above the edge of the rock, that seemed
to stand against the sky. It gently rose, moved
forward, and a dark round mass presented itself
to view. The men knew this to be the head
of an Indian, and they turned their eyes with
intense interest upon the movement of their
120 THE GIFT.
captain. He waited but a moment, to be sure
of his aim. His finger contracted, and the
bullet sped to its mark. There was a wild
shriek, and a tall Indian leaped over the rock,
and fell almost at the feet of the men, his brain
severed by the fatal bullet.
Several shots from the white men now fol-
lowed, and the Indians were seen to leave their
lurking places, and fly. Fay's men immediate-
ly joined in pursuit. In vain their leader called
them back. They were soon scattered along
the valley, and up the sides of the hills. Henry
was among the foremost. The Indians, seeing
that the party was dispersed, concealed them-
selves in the thickets. Choosing their time,
they burst from their lurking-places, and struck
down two of the men, with their arrows. One
of them sprung suddenly upon Henry, forced
his gun from his hand, and a fierce personal
conflict ensued. The Indian, however, was an
overmatch for the lad, and as the latter had
THE GIFT. 121
fallen, he placed his knee on his breast, and was
about to despatch him with a club, which he
held in his hand ; but, at this moment, one of
the chiefs came up and commanded him to
desist. The boy's hands were then hastily tied
behind him, and he was forced to go along with
It was now evening, and the party of Indians,
consisting of about sixty warriors, had drawn
together. They pushed forward, and by a cir-
cuitous course reached their village in an hour.
In the morning, the warriors had again de-
parted, but Henry was left bound, hand and
foot, under the charge of the women. He was
confined to a wigwam, in which there sat an
aged savage, bowed with years and the decay
of nature. There was also a dark-haired girl,
who seemed to look upon the young prisoner
with peculiar interest ; but she spoke not, nor
was she indeed permitted to approach him.
He was kept apart from every one, and vigi-
122 THE GIFT.
lantly watched, by the wife of the old Indian.
The outer side of the hut was also guarded by
several women and boys.
The day passed, and no tidings came from
the war party. But there was a bustle in the
village, as if preparations were making for flight.
Henry could also perceive anxiety on every
countenance. It was in vain to ask questions,
for none seemed to understand his language,
and no one heeded his inquiries. Brooding
over his painful situation, he composed his mind
as well as he could, and waited for the result.
NIGHT came, and a death -like silence spread
over the village. The old man was asleep on
his bed of skins on one side of the wigwam,
and Henry lay on the other. He could not
THE GIFT. 123
sleep, and such was the excited state of his
nerves, that, although it was exceedingly dark,
he could distinctly see every object around him.
Beside himself and the old man, he imagined
that no one was in the hut. But, at length, he
heard a slight rustling, and, from beneath a heap
of skins, he saw a dark form rise slowly, and
creep toward him. At first, he was alarmed,
and was about to prepare for defence. For
this purpose, he rose a little, and looked steadi-
ly at the object of his apprehension. He now
saw that it was a female, and the idea crossed
his mind, that it was the Indian girl, whom he
had before noticed.
With the stealthiness of a cat, she approach-
ed him, and whispered in broken English, "No
speak! no noise!" She then took a sharp
stone and sawed the cords of bark asunder,
that bound his feet and hands. " Come ! " said
she, " follow me : no speak, walk like panther."
She crept to the low entrance of the wigwam,
124 THE GIFT.
which was open, and looked warily out. She
then went forward, and rose upon her feet.
Henry followed. He was standing by her side,
as she pointed to several Indian women and
boys that were sleeping round upon the ground.
Stepping lightly between and over them, she
led the way, and the young soldier treading in
her footsteps, followed with a beating heart.
They were soon at some distance from the
wigwam, but others were around. The maiden
proceeded, however, with a noiseless step, and
was soon within the cover of the forest.
Henry now caught her hand, and was about
to kiss it in thankfulness, but she drew it sud-
denly away, and whispered, " Still, still ! no
speak, no noise!" She continued to go for-
ward, winding among the bushes, and, with
wonderful dexterity, avoiding the branches of
the trees which might create a rustling sound,
and stepping upon the 'dry leaves in such a
manner, as to cause scarce the slightest noise.
THE GIFT. 125
Henry imitated his guide, and they proceeded
in silence, for at least an hour.
The dawn had now commenced, and the
objects around were distinctly visible. Henry
remarked that they were in the midst of a deep
forest, and knew that they must be at a con-
siderable distance from the Indian village. He
could not conceive that there was any immediate
danger, and his heart would permit him no
longer to be silent. " My dear girl," said he,
"you have saved my life. Oh! how many
thanks do I owe you ! "
The maiden started, and gazed in his face,
with a look of mingled anxiety and joy. She
was about to answer, when the crackling of a
fagot was heard at a little distance, and in a
moment an Indian sprung from the ground,
close by their path, and, rushing forward, seized
Marion by the arm. She instantly knew him
to be one of the warriors of the village.
Looking at her reproachfully, he pointed to
126 THE GIFT.
Henry, seeming to intimate, " So, maiden, you
would betray us, and take away our prisoner!"
He then drew an arrow from his belt, and was
placing it on the string, when the girl sprang
from his side, and rushed into the arms of
Henry, exclaiming, "Brother, brother, save poor
Marion ! "
At this moment, the Indian's arrow flew from
the bow, and entered her side. The savage
then rushed toward Henry, and was about to
strike him to the earth with a club, when the
sharp sound of a musket rung through the
woods, and the Indian fell to the earth, pierced
by a bullet. A moment after, the yell of the
savages was heard on every side ; several arrows
whistled over Henry and Marion, and the crack-
ing of muskets resounded through the woods.
In a few minutes, the savages fled in terror ; at
least half of their number having been slain.
In a short time, some of the white men came
to the spot where Marion lay. Henry bent
THE GIFT. 127
over her, and called anxiously for his father.
He soon came up, and Henry exclaimed, " It is
Marion ! it is Marion ! " She was sadly wound-
ed, but she instantly knew her father, and,
springing from the ground, she flew to meet
him, and threw her arms around his neck, say-
ing, " Dear father, it is true, it is true ; I am
Marion ! "
The remainder of the story I need not tell
in detail. It is sufficient to say, that Henry and
two of the men proceeded to bear the wounded
girl to the boat, while the rest of the party pur-
sued the flying Indians. Having proceeded to
their village, which they found deserted, they
returned at evening to the boats. Marion was
taken home, and soon recovered from her
I need not describe the joy, that once more
lighted up the hearts of the family in the log
house, upon the banks of the Ohio ; nor need I
tell of the pleasure, with which the news of
128 THE GIFT.
Marion's return was heard, in the village of
I cannot, however, close my story without
remarking, that the severe trials of Marion, and
the sufferings of her friends, were the conse-
quence of her disobedience. Alas ! how bitter
are the sufferings, which young people are often
called to endure, because they will not listen to
good counsel. If poor Marion's story may have
given my young readers some pain, I hope it
may, at least, persuade them never to spurn a
mother's warning to follow their own fancies.
THE BEE AND THE ANT: A FABLE.
AN ant and bee had some warm words with
each other, as to which might claim the highest
praise for usefulness. In order to settle the
dispute, they agreed to call on Apollo, who was
then a shepherd, tending the flocks of a Gre-
cian king, called Admetus.
130 THE GIF-T.
Having stated the question at issue, Apollo
preceded to pronounce judgment in the fol-
lowing words. " You are both excellent exam-
ples of industry, but this is of two kinds ; the
industry of one has no other object, and no
other result, than to benefit self; the other kind
tends not only to benefit self, but to bestow
happiness upon others. It is this species of
industry which belongs to the bee, for he pro-
duces honey beyond his own wants, and thus
dispenses a great deal of enjoyment to others.
I must, therefore, give my decision in favor of
This fable contains a beautiful and useful
moral. We see some persons who are indus-
trious, frugal, and prudent, but all their earnings,
and all their savings are for themselves. There
are others who are equally industrious, careful,
and provident, but in providing for themselves,
they are always ready and willing to bestow
something ugon others ; and are not only wil-
ling to part with their substance, but can give
up their own prejudices, and forego their own
pleasures, for the benefit of those around them.
How noble and generous is such virtue; how
poor, narrow, and selfish is the character of
those, who, like the ant, only care for them-
THE CHAMELEON AND PORCUPINE: A FABLE.
A CHAMELEON once met a porcupine, and
complained that he had taken great pains to
make friends with everybody, but, strange to
say, he had entirely failed, and now he could
not be sure that he had a sincere friend in the
" And by what means," said the porcupine,
THE GIFT. 133
" have you sought to make friends 1" " By flat-
tery," said the chameleon. "I have adapted
myself to all I met ; humored the follies and
the foibles of every one. In order to make
people believe that I liked them, I have imitated
their manners, as if I considered them models
of perfection. So far have I gone in this, that
it has become a habit with me, and now, my
very skin takes the hue and complexion of the
thing that happens to be nearest. Yet all this
has been in vain, for everybody calls me a turn-
coat, and I am generally considered selfish,
hypocritical, and base."
"And no doubt you deserve all this," said
the porcupine. " I have taken a different
course, but I must confess that I have as few
friends as you. I adopted the rule to resent
every injury, nay, every encroachment upon my
dignity. I would allow no one even to touch
me, without sticking into him one or more of
my sharp quills, I determined to take care of
134 THE GIFT.
number one, and the result has been, that, while
I have vindicated my rights, I have created an
universal -dislike. I am called Old Touch-me-
not ; and if I am not as much despised, I am
even more disliked, than you, Sir Chameleon."
An owl who was sitting by, and heard this
conversation, putting his head a little on one
side, remarked as follows : " Your experience
ought to teach two valuable lessons. One is,
that the world looks upon the flatterer with
contempt and aversion, because he seeks to
secure some selfish object, by making dupes of
others ; and the other is, that he who resents
every little trespass upon his rights and feelings,
is sure to be shunned and dreaded by all who
are acquainted with his disposition. You, Sir
Chameleon, ought to know by this time, that
honest candor is far better than deceitful flat-
tery. And you, Neighbour Porcupine, ought
never to forget that good-humor is a better de-
fence, than an armory of poisoned quills."
THE ELEPHANT AND FOX: A FABLE.
I AM sorry to say, that a great many people
listen with more pleasure to a lively tale, that is
full of cunning, wit, and scandal, than to a wise
discourse, which teaches truth and inculcates
virtue. This may be illustrated by the fable of
the elephant and fox.
136 THE GIFT.
These two animals fell into a dispute, as to
which had the greatest powers of persuasion,
and, as they could not settle the matter them-
selves, it was agreed to call an assembly of the
beasts, and let them decide it. These were
accordingly summoned, and when the tiger,
porcupine, dog, ox, panther, goat, and the rest
of the quadruped family had all taken their
places, the elephant began his oration. He
discoursed very eloquently upon the beauty of
truth, justice, and mercy, and set forth the enor-
mity of falsehood, cunning, selfishness, and cru-
elty. A few of the wiser beasts listened with
interest and approbation ; but the leopard, tiger,
porcupine, and a large majority of the audience
yawned, and showed that they thought it a very
stupid piece of business.
But, when the fox began to tell his cunning
knaveries, they pricked up their ears, and listen-
ed with a lively interest. As he went on to
relate his various adventures, how he had rob-
THE GIFT. 13:7
bed hen-roosts, and plundered geese and ducks
from the poultry yard, and how by various cun-
ning artifices he had escaped detection, they
manifested the greatest delight. So the fox
went on, sneering at the elephant and all others
who loved justice, truth, and mercy, and recom-
mending to his listeners, to follow the pleasures
of thievery and plunder. As he closed his dis-
course, there was a loud burst of applause, and
on counting noses, the majority was found to be
in favor of the fox.
The assembly broke up, and some months
passed away, when, as the elephant was quietly
browsing in the woods one day, he heard a
piteous moan at a little distance. Proceeding
to the place from which the sound came, he
there found the orator fox, caught in a trap,
with both his hinder legs broken, and sadly
mangled. "So," said the fox sharply, though
he was nearly exhausted with pain, "you have
come to jeer at me, in my hour of trouble."
"Surely not," said the elephant. "I would re-
lieve your pain if I could, but your legs are
broken, and there is no relief for you, but in
death." " True," said the fox, mournfully, " and
I now admit the miserable folly of those princi-
ples which I have avowed, and the practice
which resulted from them. I have lived a gay
life, though even my gayety has been sadly
shadowed, by perpetual fear of what has now
come upon me. Had I been satisfied with an
honest life and innocent pleasures, I had not
thus come to a miserable end. Knavery, arti-
fice, and cunning may be very good topics with
which to delude those who are inclined to be
vicious, but they furnish miserable rules to live
and die by."
THE GIFT. 139
THE SPOILED CHILD.
HAVE you ever heard of a spoiled child. No
doubt you have ; but do you know what a
spoiled child is ? I will tell you.
If a child is permitted to do as he likes, and
is not made to obey his parents, he usually be-
comes passionate, mischievous, and disagreea-
ble, and is then called a spoiled child.
There was once a little boy, whose name was
Mark. He was an only child, and his parents,
being rich, granted him every indulgence. At
length, little Mark thought himself the most
important being in the world.
If he wanted a thing, he teased, fretted, and
cried till he got it. If he wished to do a thing,
nobody could prevent him from doing it. If he
was commanded to do any thing, he refused, or
obeyed, as it suited his pleasure.
Such was little Mark, and though he was a
handsome boy, and always prettily dressed, yet
140 THE GIFT.
he was so troublesome, that almost everybody
Still, his mother continued to indulge him.
When she was asked why she did so, she said
she did not like to cross the boy's humor. Thus
she went on, permitting him to do what he
pleased, until one day, "when his father and
mother were at table, after dinner, Mark was in
a chair by himself. Pretty soon, he crept out
of it and got upon the table.
His mother told him to get down, but he said
he would not. He then got upon his feet, but
immediately slipped down upon his knees, turn-
ing over the dishes of fruit, breaking the de-
canters, and ruining his mother's new dress.
This event, which seemed so disastrous, was
very fortunate for little Mark ; for, from this pe-
riod, his father and mother determined to take
a new course, and oblige him to obey them.
This plan they carried into effect, and the
spoiled child was at length made obedient ;
though it cost him many hearty " crying spells."
THE DISCONTENTED MOLE- A FABLE.
A YOUNG mole having crept out into the sun,
one day, met with its mother, and began to
complain of its lot.
"I have been thinking," said he, "that we
lead a very stupid life, burrowing under the
ground, and dwelling in perpetual darkness.
142 THE GIFT.
For my part, I think it would be much better
to live above board, and caper about in the sun-
light like the squirrels."
" It may seem so to you," said the wise old
mole, " but beware of forming hasty opinions.
It is an old remark, that it takes all sorts of peo-
ple to make a world. Some creatures live upon
the trees, but nature has provided them with
claws, which make it easy and safe for them to
climb. Some dwell in the water, but they are
supplied with fins, which render it easy for them
to move about, and with a contrivance by means
of which they breathe where other creatures
would drown. Some creatures glide through
the air, but they are endowed with wings, with-
out which, it would be vain to attempt to fly.
The truth is, that every individual is made to
fill some place in the scale of being, and he best
seeks his own happiness in following the path
which his Creator has marked out for him. We
may wisely seek to better our condition, by
THE GIFT. 143
making that path as pleasant as possible, but
not attempt to pursue one which we are unfitted
to follow. You will best consult your interest,
by endeavouring to enjoy all that property be-
longs to a mole, instead of striving to swim like
a fish, climb like a squirrel, or fly like a bird.
Content is the great blessing of life. You may
enjoy this in the quiet security of your shelter-
ed abode ; the proudest tenant of the earth,
air, ofl ; sea, can do no more."
The young mole replied ; " This may seem
very wise to you, but it sounds like nonsense to
me. I am determined to burrow in the earth
no more, but to dash out in style, like other gay
people." So saying, he crept upon a little
mound, for the purpose of looking about, and
seeing what course of pleasure he should adopt.
While in this situation, he was snapped up by a
hawk, who carried him to a tall tree, and de-
voured him without ceremony.
This fable may teach us the folly of that
144 THE GIFT.
species of discontent, which would lead us to
grasp at pleasures beyond our reach, or indulge
envy toward those who are in the possession of
more wealth than we. We should endeavour
to fulfil the duties of that situation in which
we are placed, and not grumble that some other
lot is not assigned to us. We may lawfully
seek to better our condition, but this should
be done rather by excelling in that profession
which we have chosen, than by endeavouring
to shine in one for which we are unfitted.
THE VIOLET AND NIGHTSHADE : A FABLE.
A MODEST little violet once grew by the side
of a flaunting nightshade. This latter flower
was in full bloom, and, proud of its splendor,
could not forbear looking down with contempt
upon its humble neighbour ; at the same time,
it spoke as follows :
"Pray what are you doing down there, my
poor neighbour Violet ? It seems to me that you
146 THE GIFT.
must have a dull time of it, living such a hum-
ble life as you do. It is quite different with me.
Do you observe my proud leaves, and splendid
blossoms ? It is really delightful to possess such
rare beauty, and be conscious of the power to
extort admiration from all we meet. How hard
it must be to dwell in obscurity, and be treated
with indifference or scorn."
" Nay, neighbour Nightshade," said the violet,
in reply, "do not trouble yourself on my ac-
count. However humble my lot may be, I am
at least content. Though I have not your
splendor, and cannot expect to dazzle the eyes
of anybody, still I have the power by my per-
fume to afford gratification to those who are
fond of simple pleasures ; and if I can do no
great good, I am also incapable of doing harm.
You are, doubtless, very splendid, but I am told
that you have a mischievous disposition, and
poison those who come within your reach. If,
therefore, I cannot emulate your magnificence,
I at least have the advantage of being innocent."
THE GIFT. 147
While the two flowers thus communed with
each other, a mother with two children chanced
to be passing by. The children both noticed
the nightshade, and were about to pluck its
blossoms, when the lady told them to beware.
"That flower," said she, "though beautiful to
the sight, is a deadly poison. Remember, my
children, that what is beautiful to view, is often
dangerous to the touch. Do you see that little
violet, modestly crouching at the side of the
gorgeous nightshade. To my mind, it is much
the most pleasing of the two, for it is not only
very pretty, but it has a sweet breath, and is
"Let this little scene be a lesson to you.
When you see any one who is either rich or
beautiful, and who is yet unkind, ungenerous,
or wicked, remember the deadly nightshade.
When you see one who is innocent, pure, and
true, though humble and poor, remember the
fragrant, but unpretending violet."
148 THE GIFT.
RIES ABOUT SHELLS.
IN summer it is very pleasant to go about
the hills and valleys to study plants and flowers ;
but in winter, when we are shut in by snow
and storms, we must find amusement and in-
struction at home. For such a time, there is a
pleasant resource in Conchology, to which the
following story relates.
Mama. Come here, Emily, and tell me about
your visit to your cousin. Have you had a
pleasant afternoon. I think you must have en-
joyed yourself, she is so kind to little girls, and
has so many pretty things to show them.
Emily. Yes, mama, I have spent a delight-
ful afternoon. I have seen a great many curi-
ous things, but that which pleased me most was
what my cousin Anna calls a CABINET OF
SHELLS. Oh ! they were beautiful, and all ar-
THE GIFT. 149
ranged in order, mama. There were large ones,
and small ones, and then they had such beauti-
ful colors ; pink, brown, red, and yellqw. Oh !
I should never be tired of looking at them !
Mama. It is indeed pleasant, my dear, to
look at shells, but you would take much more
pleasure in looking at them, if you understood
something about them.
Emily. I do know a little about them, mama.
My cousin told me where they were found.
She said, that the greatest part of them came
from the sea, but that some of them are found
on the land, and some in ponds and rivers.
Mama. Did she tell you, Emily, what these
shells were called, that were found in these
different situations 1
Emily. No, mama ; she said she had not
time then to tell me about them, and remarked
that I had better ask you. Pray, mama, will you
teach me some of the names, for I cannot think
there is any thing else to tell me about ? But I
150 THE GIFT.
am afraid I should never remember them, there
is such a variety.
Mama. Well, my dear, I have half an hour
to spare, and as you seem so anxious to learn,
I will tell you something about shells. In the
first place, I must teach you the names of those
that are found on the land. They are called
terrestrial shells, from the Latin word terra,
earth. Those that live in ponds and rivers are
called fluviatile shells, from the Latin fluvius,
a river. Those inhabiting the sea are called
marine shells, from the Latin mare, the sea.
Emily. This will be easy to remember.
But, mama, why do you say those that live in
the sea? Surely shells do not live; I should
not think a shell had any more life than a stone.
Mama. Not the shell itself, my dear, but
each one contains a living animal, and what will
surprise you more, the creature makes the shell
Emily. Oh, my dear mama, you must in-
THE GIFT. 151
deed be joking. How can an animal make a
Mama. It is, indeed, almost inconceivable,
Emily ; but we know it to be a fact. Are you
not curious to know what kind of animal it is
that is so skilful an architect ?
Emily. Yes, indeed, mama; it must be a
very singular creature. Does each shell have
a different sort of animal in it ?
Mama. No, my dear, they are all alike in
their forms and habits. They are called mol~
lusca, from the Latin word mollis, soft, as their
bodies are very soft. They are also cold, fat,
Emily. Oh, mama, what disagreeable crea-
tures they must be. But what makes them
cold ? living in the water, I suppose.
Mama. No, that is not the reason, for you
know they do not all live in the water. But
they are cold, because, instead of having warm,
red blood, as we have, they have only a white,
152 THE GIFT.
cold substance in their hearts and veins. They
have no bones like most other animals, but their
shells, which are fastened in some places to
their bodies, answer for their support.
Emily. Well, mama, I am very curious to
know how such cold, fat, boneless and bloodless
creatures can make so hard a substance as a
Mama. That I will now tell you. The skins
of all the mollusca are filled with glands, which
are vessels containing a fluid, different and dis-
tinct from the blood. This is found to be car-
bonate of lime, and gelatine, which is a glutinous
substance. Of both these materials the shell
Emily. Does the animal make the shell with
his mouth, or feet, mama 1
llfama. With neither, my dear. The fluid
exudes or presses out from the skin of the mol-
lusca, and, hardening by the air, becomes a shell.
When it first leaves the egg, the animal is very
THE GIFT. 153
minute, and the shell he forms is, of course,
small ; but, as the creature increases in size, it
makes its shell larger by continued layers of
the fluid. Do you understand all this, Emily ?
Emily. Pretty well, mama ; but I do not
quite know how the mollusca makes his shell
larger, when he is inside of it. I should think
as his additions must always be inside, that that
part of the shell which he lives in would be
constantly made smaller, rather than larger.
Mama. Give me that shell that stands on
the mantle piece, Emily, and I will show you
plainly how this wonderful little architect in-
creases the size of his house. Do you see this
opening ? What do you think is the use of it ?
Emily. For the animal to breathe through,
Mama. You are right ; it is for that purpose.
This part of the shell is called the aperture or
mouth. When, therefore, the animal finds his
house too small for him, he presses out some of
154 THE GIFT.
the fluid from his glands, upon the edge of the
mouth, and leaves it to dry. Then he presses
out more and more, till he has made it as much
larger as is necessary for his comfort. Then,
in order to thicken the shell, he makes additions
Emily. How very wonderful it is, that these
poor worms have the power of mending their
shells when broken by any accident !
Mama. It is, indeed. If it were not for
this kind arrangement of Providence, many of
these poor creatures would perish, as they are
exposed to the perpetual dashing of the waves,
and are frequently thrown violently against the
Emily. Can you discover by the appearance
of a shell, mama, whether it has been either
mended, or enlarged ?
Mama. Let us examine the one I have in
my hand. Yes, look here at this ridge or seam.
THE GIFT. 155
This is the place where the addition was made.
You see it runs the whole length of the shell.
Emily. Oh ! yes. I think I now understand
the process of making and mending the shell.
But there is still another thing that puzzles me.
What gives the shells their different marks and
Mama. The skin of the mollusca, beside
the glands, containing the fluid for making the
shell, is furnished with pores, filled with matter
of different colors. This stains the shell, before
it is hard, in a regular manner, and when it has
hardened, the color remains fixed in the shell.
Emily. Thank you, mama ; I think I under-
stand. You have taught me a great deal, but I
want to know more. I wish you would tell me
all about shells, though it would take you a
great while, I know.
Mama. It would indeed, my dear. To un-
derstand shells well, it is necessary to study
them attentively and closely. There are many
156 THE GIFT.
curious facts and stories about them. All these
have been collected into books by learned men.
These have arranged them into a beautiful sys-
tem or science, called Conchology. Thus, by
conchology you will remember that we mean
the history of shells, and of the mollusca that
live in them.
Emily. I have often heard people speak of
conchology, but I never knew before what the
word meant. I shall be glad when I am old
enough to study conchology, for I like what
you have told me very much.
THE FIR-TREE AND BUTTERFLY: A FABLE.
ON a bright winter day, a gaudy butterfly
crept from its hiding-place, and began to sail
about, glancing hither and thither with great
vivacity. But soon it felt the biting breath of
winter, and, unable to continue its flight, it set-
tled upon the ground, and perished amid the
158 THE GIFT.
A tall fir that stood near, and witnessed the
fate of the butterfly, thus moralized upon the
event. "How ill-fitted are those who merely
think of pleasure, to contend with the adversi-
ties of life. It is true, that we have a season of
summer, but winter surely succeeds, and wis-
dom warns us to be provided for it. And so if
life affords us seasons of enjoyment, we know
that care, trial, and disappointment will, soon or
late, come to visit us. We should, therefore,
strengthen ourselves by reflection, and the
practice of virtue, so that we may bear the trials
that are allotted us, with fortitude and peace."
THE BEE AND BUTTERFLY: A FABLE.
A BUTTERFLY once boasted to a bee, of the
pleasant life he led, in flying about from one
flower to another, and gathering perfume from
them all. " This may seem a happy life to you,"
said the bee, " but to me it would be idle dissi-
pation. There is more true enjoyment in use-
160 THE GIFT.
ful industry, than in wanton pleasures. I have
ever before me a plan ; and it is delightful to see
my schemes, day by day, approach their accom-
plishment. In seeking my own happiness, I
promote that of others, and thus derive a double
bliss from my exertions. Every moment that I
am at work, I am filled with the idea that I am
contributing to make that home happy where
my friends and kindred dwell, and providing for
our comfort when the summer is past, and the
frost of winter no longer permits us to go abroad.
How poor, in comparison with mine, are the
fleeting pleasures of the butterfly, who lives but
to gratify himself, and, wasting his time in the
enjoyments of to-day, perishes to-morrow, be-
cause he has failed to provide for its necessi-
THE VAIN SEARCH.
MY little reader, did you ever get lost injhe
woods ? Perhaps not ; but many children have.
I knew a boy and a girl, named James and
Fanny, who lived upon the slope of a mountain,
more than a mile from a village.
A large part of the space between their house
162 THE GIFT.
and the village, was covered by forests, but
these children were accustomed to go to school
and to church through the woods, and their
parents never felt any anxiety about them.
One morning, they set out to go to school ;
it was August, and the weather was warm and
beautiful. In descending the mountain, they
came to the brow of a hill, from which they
could see a small blue lake.
This was surrounded by the forest, and seem-
ed to be at no great distance. James had often
seen it before, and wished to go to it, but, on
the present occasion, he could not withstand the
temptation to pay it a visit. Accordingly, he set
out, having persuaded Fanny to accompany him.
They pushed on through the tangled woods
for some time, in the direction of the lake, and
at length, supposed they must be very near to
it, but on coming to a little eminence, and catch-
ing a glimpse of the blue water between the
* trees, it still seemed as distant as before.
THE GIFT. 163
They were not discouraged, however, but
again went forward for some time. At length,
Fanny said to her brother, that they had better
return and go to school. James replied, that it
was too late to get to school in season, and he
thought the better way was to make a holiday
of it. They would return home at the usual
time, and their parents would know nothing
"I don't like that plan," said little Fanny,
" for our parents expect us to go to school, and
if we do not go, we disobey them. Beside, if
we spend the day in play and say nothing about
it, and let our parents think we have been at
school, we deceive them, and that is as bad as
telling a lie."
" Oh, nonsense ! " said James ; " we '11 tell
them we got lost, or something of the kind.
Don't you be afraid. I '11 manage that matter,
so come along."
Little Fanny went forward, but she was sad- "
164 THE GIFT.
at heart ; and James, too, conscious of disobedi-
ence and deception in his heart, felt unhappy ;
but he put on a brave face, and sang, or whist-
led, as he proceeded.
Again the two children came to such a posi-
tion that they could see the little lake, and,
strange to tell, it seemed about as far off now,
as when they first set out to visit it.
The fact was, they had been deceived ; for
the lake was much farther than it appeared to
be. They had already spent two hours in their
attempt to reach it ; and, after some consultation,
they concluded to give up their enterprise, and
But now their task commenced. They had
pursued no beaten path, and they had nothing
to guide them in their return. The sky, which
had been so clear in the morning, was now
overshadowed with thick clouds. Uncertain of
the course they ought to pursue, they still went
* forward, with trembling and anxious haste.
THE GIFT. 165
Coming at length to the foot of a cliff, they
paused, being overcome with fatigue. James
sat down and buried his face in his hands.
"What is the matter?" said Fanny. "We
have lost our way, and shall never find our
home again," said James. " We have lost our
way, no doubt," said Fanny, " but I hope and
trust we shall find our way out of the woods.
This is come upon us, James, because of our
" I know it, Fanny," said James, " but it was
my disobedience, and not yours, and I am so
unhappy because my wickedness has brought
you into trouble ; and beside, I intended to de-
ceive our parents. I cannot but wonder now,
that I should have thought of such a thing."
"Well, James," said Fanny, "let this be a
lesson to us both ; and now we must proceed,
and try to find our way out of the wood." Ac-
cordingly, they went forward with great dili-
gence ; but having rambled about for nearly four
166 THE GIFT.
hours, supposing all the time they were going
toward their home, they came back to the very
spot, beneath the cliff, where they had sat down
and rested themselves before.
They were now quite discouraged, and al-
most broken-hearted. They had picked some
blue-berries in their rambles, so that they were
not very hungry; but their fatigue was so great,
that, after lying side by side upon the sloping
bank, for a while, they both went to sleep.
It was about midnight, when Fanny awoke.
She had been dreaming that she and her broth-
er had wandered away, and got lost in the
forest ; that, overcome with fatigue, they had
thrown themselves down on the earth at the
foot of a cliff, and fallen asleep, and that they
were awakened from their sleep by hearing the
call of their father, ringing through the solitude.
It was at this point of her dream, that Fanny
awoke. For a moment she was bewildered,
but soon recollected where she was. She cast
THE GIFT. 167
her eye about, and saw that no shelter was over
her, but the starry canopy of heaven.
She looked around, and could see nothing
but the ragged outline of the hills against the
sky. She listened, and seemed to feel that the
voice heard in her dream was a reality, and that
she should hear it again. But she now heard only
the solitary chirp of a cricket, and the mournful
shivering of the forest leaves.
She sat some time, almost afraid to make the
slightest noise, yet feeling such a sense of deso-
lation that she must wake up her brother.
She was stretching out her hand for the pur-
pose of waking him, when she seemed to hear
the call of her father, as she had heard it in her
dream. She listened intently, her little heart
beating with the utmost anxiety.
She waited for several minutes, when, full and
clear, and at no great distance, she heard her
father call "James!" The little girl sprang to her
feet, and screamed, with all her might, " Here,
here we are, father ! " James was soon awakened,
168 THE GIFT.
and, with some difficulty, the father came down
the cliff and clasped his children in his arms.
I need not say, that this painful adventure was
remembered by James and Fanny, long after
they had ceased to be children ; and they were
both accustomed to say, that it was of impor-
tance to them through life, in impressing upon
them the necessity of obedience to parents, and
the wickedness of all attempts to deceive them.
Let me remark to my youthful readers, that
if pleasure ever tempts them to forsake the path
of duty, I hope they will remember, that, like
the blue lake which seemed so beautiful and
near to the eyes of our little wanderers, and
which was yet inaccessible to them, it will prob-
ably disappoint their efforts to obtain it.
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of subjects easy to the unfolding mind."
PETER PARLEY'S RAMBLES IN ENGLAND, SCOTLAND, AND
IRELAND. With fine Engravings. 260 pages 16mo.
PETER PARLEY'S GIFT, for 1839. Witu Engraving*.
This is an entirely original work, and abounds in useful lessons and
FIRESIDE EDUCATION. By the author of Peter Parley's Tales.
T'.is work is designed to aid parents and teachers in Physical, Moral, and
PETER PARLEY'S CYCLOPEDIA OF BOTANY, containing duscrip-
'ions of .Trees, Plants and Shrubs. Three hundred Engravings.
PARLEY'S BOOK OF POETRY, with fine Engravings, 16mo.