« AnteriorContinuar »
1. Little Flora, the daughter of a poor countryman, was sitting one morning by the side of the road, holding in her lap a porringer of milk for her breakfast, in which she sopped a few slices of coarse brown bread. Just then a farmer was passing the road, who had in his cart about a score of lambs which he was going to sell at the market.
2. These poor creatures, crouded one upon the other, with their feet tied together, and their heads hanging down, filled the air with plaintive bleatings, which pierced the heart of Flora, but were heard by the farmer with an air of unconcern.
3. When he came opposite to the little coun. try girl, he threw down before her a lamb, which he was carrying across his shoulders. There, my girl, said he, is a good for nothing creature that has just died and made me five shillings the poorer. Take it, if you will, and make a stew of it.
4. Flora quitted her breakfast, laid down her porringer and bread, and taking up the lamb, began to examine it with looks of compassion. But, said she, immediately, why should I pity you? To-day, or to-morrow, they would have run a great knife through your throat, while you now have nothing more to fear.
5. While she was speaking thụs, the lamb revived by the warmth of her arms, opened its eyes, made a slight motion, and cried baa faintly, as if it was calling for its mother,
6. It would be difficult to express the little girl's joy. She covers the lamb with her apron, bends her breast down towards her lap to warm it the more, and blows with all her force into its mouth.--She felt the poor animal stir by degrees, and at each of its motions she felt her own heart throb.
7. Encouraged by this first success, she crumbles some soft bread into her porringer, and taking it up in her fingers, with some difficulty forced it between its teeth, which were shut fast.
8. The lamb, which was dying only through hunger and cold, felt itself a little strengthened by this treatment. It began to stretch its limbs, to shake its head, and to prick up its ears. It had soon strength enough to support itself upon its legs and then went of its own accord to Flora's porringer, who smiled to see it drink np her breakfast. In short, before a quarter of an hour was past, it actually began to jump and play its little gambols around its pre
9. Flora, transported with joy, took it up in her arms, and running to the cottage, showed it to her mother. Baba (for so she named it) became from that moment the object of all her
She shared with it the little bread which was given her for her meals, and would not have exchanged it for the largest flock in the neighbourhood.
10. Baba was so gratefully sensible of her fondness, that she never quitted Flora a single step : she would come and eat out of her hand,
would frisk around her, and whenever she was obliged to go out without her, would bleat most pitifully.
11. This was not the only recompense with which Providence repaid Flora's benevolence. Baba brought forth young lambs, and these brought forth others, in their turn : so that in a few years, Flora had a pretty flock, that nourished all the family with their milk, and clothed them with their wool.
WILLIAM AND THOMAS.
1. In a village, at a small distance from the metropolis, lived a wealthy farmer, who had two sons, William and Thomas, of whom the former was exactly a year older than the latter. On the day that the second was born, the farmer set in his orchard two young apple trees of an equal size, on which he had bestowed the same care and cultivation, and they throve so much alike, that it was a difficult matter to say which claimed the preference.
2. As soon as the children were capable of using garden implements, their father took them on a fine day, early in the spring, to see the two trees he had reared for them, and which he had called after their names. William and Thomas having much admired the beauty of these trees, now filled with blossoms, their father told them, that he made a present of them in good condition, and that they would
continue to thrive or decay, in proportion to the labour or neglect they received.
3. Thomas, though the younger son, turned all his attention to the improvement of his tree, by clearing it of insects as soon as he discovered them, and propping up the stem that it might grow perfectly upright. He dug all around it to loosen the earth, that the root might receive nourishment from the warmth of the sun and the moisture of the dews. No mother could nurse her child more tenderly in its infancy, than Thomas did his tree.
4. His brother William, however, pursued a very different conduct; for he loitereti away all his time in the most idle and mischievous manner, one of his principal amusements being to throw stenes at people as they passed.
5. He kept company with all the idle boys in the neighbourhood, with whom he was continually fighting, and was seldom without a lack eye, or a broken shin.
6. His poor tree was neglected, and never thought of, till one day in the autumn, when, by chance, seeing his brother's tree loaded with the finest apples, and almost ready to break down with the weight, he ran to his own tree, not doubting but he should find it in the same pleasing condition. But great indeed was his disappointment and surprize, when, instead of finding the tree loaded with excellent fruit, he beheld nothing but a few withered leaves, and branches covered with moss.
7. He instantly went to his father, and complained of his giving him a tree that was worth
less and barren, whilst his brother's was laden with fruit. He therefore thought that his brother should, at least; give him one half of his apples.
8. His father told him that it was by no means reasonable, that the industrious should give up part of their labour to feed the idle. “ If your tree (said he) has produced you nothing, it is but a just reward of your indolence, whilst you see what the industry of your brother has gained him.
9. “ Your tree was equally thrifty and grew in the same soil ; but you paid no attention to the culture of it. Your brother suffered no visible insect to remain on his tree ; but you neglected that caution, and left them to eat up the very buds.
10. “ As I cannot bear to see even plants -perish through neglect, I must now take this tree from you, and give it to your brother, whose care and attention may possibly restore it to its former vigour. The fruit which it shall produce will then be his property, and you must no longer consider yourself as having any right to it.
11. “ However, you may go to my nursery, and there chuse any other which you may like, and try what you can do with it; but if you neg: lect to take proper care of it, I shall also take that from you, and give it to your brother, as a reward for his superior industry and attention.”
12. This had the desired effect on William, who clearly perceived the justice and propriety of what his father had said to him, and instantly