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these she had been enjoying a very tolerable dinner, all alone in her glory, when hearing the children call 'Snow, Snow,' she waddled out to meet them.
“There, Miss Snow,' cried Annie, as she threw snail after snail to her favourite, who, with a quack quack of eager delight at the sight of such delicacies, swallowed them as fast as ever she could. You'll be a fat Snow after a little while,' laughed Annie.
“Yes,' said Charlie, but it is not fair to give all to one;' and he ran to open the garden gate, outside which the other ducks were waiting, longing to be let in to share the feast.
One would have thought that Snowball would have gone away then, having already had more than enough; but she went on eating, snapping up every morsel, and scarcely allowing her relatives to have any. But she could not carry on that game for ever, and after a little while she began to feel the effects of her greediness,indeed, she found that she really could not manage to swallow another morsel; so she resolved to go down to the pond and have a drink. This she did very slily, for she was beginning to be ashamed of her appearance. Her crop was swollen to such a size, it looked like a small bag of potatoes under her chin ; for you could actually see the shape of the snail shells, which she had devoured so hastily, that they were not even crushed in the process of swallowing.
Slowly and ungracefully did she move along towards the pond; but alas ! when she reached it, she found that she could not bend forward in the least, so there was no chance of her tasting the water.
What a sad state to be in! thirsty, and close to plenty of water, and yet to be quite unable to drink! It was really terrible; and poor Snowball, in great pain and suffering, sank down by the side of the pond.
A little while after, her relatives coming down to refresh themselves with a swim, found her lying motionless on the bank.
Dear me!' said good Mrs Duck, all in a flutter, 'what can be the matter with Snowball?'
She is either dead, or she has eaten herself stupid,' said one of her cousins, who bore Snowball no good-will.
No—I-am-not-dead,' gasped Snowball; 'but Ifeel-50-ve-ry-ill!'
• Indeed, you seem to be,' said her good-natured mother; "and I shall go and find the doctor at once.'
This Dr Drake was a very handsome fellow, with such a beautiful shining green head and wings, lovely bright eyes, and a jet black curl on the top of his tail, and wore orange stockings as gay as Miss Snowball's own. He had been a great admirer of hers too, for he liked to see her sailing beside him on the pond; and being a creature of taste, he thought they made a very pretty picture on the water, his shining green feathers contrasting so nicely with the snowy white dress of his consort. All this considered, you may believe that he was very much shocked when he came up with her mother, and found her lying there, apparently in a dying state. It was very awkward indeed for him; for though he, of course, quickly discovered the cause of her illness, he was so very polite, that he did not like to hurt her feelings by expressing his opinion aloud. So, when he saw her distended crop, and perceived the great difficulty she had in breathing, he could only look very wise, shake his head sadly, and relieve his feelings by a very long and dismal quack.
Old Mrs Duck was very much alarmed; but being also a very plain-spoken old body, she did not conceal what she believed to be the matter with her daughter.
I fear, doctor,' said she, 'poor Snowball is in a very bad way; you see, she will always be eating sadly too much.'
How-cruel-to-say-so!' gasped Snowball. 'I only picked-a-few-bits-in-the-garden, then a snail
-or-two; it-must-have-been-a-poi-son-ous—fly, for-I-do-feel-50-bad. Oh!' and with one long groan, shivering all over, she stretched out her legs-and died!
• Dear me !' said Dr Drake, as he brushed away a tear (or a raindrop perhaps, for it was raining very heavily) with the corner of a dock leaf, 'what a pity that such a beautiful creature should have cut short her existence by over-indulgence in eating! Indeed it is a lesson to us all, my friends;' and with a solemn bow to the assembled family, he quacked a farewell, stepped into the pond, and sailed off to the opposite side.
And now, my little friends, don't you think it was a pity that pretty Snowball should have eaten herself to death? I assure you Charlie and Annie thought so, when they found her lying stiff and cold among the weeds by the pond. They both felt very sorry as they buried their favourite ; and Annie looked particularly grave when her mamma, coming up at the time, pointed out to her how dangerous as well as disgusting it is to be greedy in food. You must know that, before this, Annie was much fonder of cakes and sweetmeats than any nice little girl ought to
but from that day, when inclined to eat too many good things at a time, she would stop short and put them away, for she could never forget the sad consequences of over-eating, as shown in the fate of greedy little Snowball.
UNT KATE appeared at the door of the
schoolroom one wet morning, and with a very grave face announced, in the most business-like manner, that she was very unusually
busy, and wished to engage three housemaids to assist her; if any one present wished to take the situation, she begged she would meet her in the library at twelve o'clock. Without another word she left the room.
How the little tongues began to talk as the door shut ! Did Auntie mean us?' ‘How delightful !' “Three