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poultry-girl, calling us ; come home, my children, as fast as you can.' The young turkeys, at the first call from their mother, prepared to obey her voice, all except one, and she caught her neighbour's feathers in her beak and told her to stop, for she had something to say to her. So these two remained behind, and hid in the hedge, although the head of the family, a very proud, passionate old turkey-cock, became very red in the face, and crying, gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble, seemed to be very angry indeed.
Never mind him,' said the one who had detained her companion (and whom I shall call Miss Wilful); "he has put himself into a fine passion now, but he'll have forgotten all about it long before he reaches the house. It is such a lovely evening, it would be a shame to go to bed so soon; besides, I know where there are some very nice pickings in the harvest field, a little way off.'
"Ah, but,' said her friend (whom I shall name Miss Timorous), “it is such a long way off, and I am so afraid to stop out after they have all gone home. We shall be locked out and lost, or perhaps be eaten up by a fox.'
“What a stupid you are!' said Miss Wilful. But if you have no appetite for an extra good supper, I have ; so good evening to you.'
Oh, don't leave me; I'll go,' cried Miss Timorous; and instead of following her parents home to the farm, she went with her naughty companion to have a ramble in the fields.
Well, they both set out, and presently they came to the harvest field, where they found very nice pickings indeed, -sweet grains of barley, and plenty of them too. The next field was oats; so, just for variety, they went on to it ; and so busy were they running about and enjoying themselves, that they never perceived that the sun had set, and the bright colours in the western sky had changed from gold to purple, and from purple had faded off to a dusky grey. All the birds had gone home to roost, and only the bats were flitting about, trying to catch flies for
Oh dear!' exclaimed Miss Timorous. “See, sister, the moon is rising ; do let us hasten home, as we shall be too late.'
Miss Wilful now saw that it was very late indeed, so she consented to go home; and these two naughty birds set off, running as fast as ever they could, terrified at every sound they heard, and every shadow they saw, lest it might prove to be a cruel fox watching to spring out and devour them.
There had been a heavy shower while they were enjoying their feast in the harvest field, but they were too busy then to notice it; and now, as they ran along the muddy paths, and through the wet grass, they presented a most deplorable appearance, with their long tails trailing behind them, all dirty and draggled.
How they now longed to be safe at home in the warm fowl-house, where their relatives were by this time sleeping so comfortably in the position that turkeys like best, viz., standing on one leg, all in a row, their heads covered with a cosy nightcap of feathers ! But such comfort was not in store for the disobedient young loiterers, who had very little chance of seeing the inside of the fowl-house that night; for, lo and behold! when they at last reached the farm, all was still, the great gates shut close, and every place locked up for the night. Farmer Hodgson and his wife were very regular people. “Early to bed and early to rise,' was a favourite motto of theirs ; so all the creatures over whom they had any control, were obliged to be in bed before nine o'clock. • There now,' cried Miss Timorous, 'I knew it would
Here we are shut out, with no place to sleep in. Ah, whatever shall we do?'
'Don't make such a noise at any rate,' said Miss Wilful ; ' now we are out, it is plain we must stay so. For my part I am very glad, for I shall go off again at daylight; and meanwhile, I shall sleep in that snug little hole in the hay-rick yonder.'
'I wouldn't go there on any account,' said Miss
be this way
Timorous; 'it is so low down, a fox can reach you quite easily.'
'Fox !' sneered Miss Wilful; such a coward as you are! I declare you dream of foxes.'
But there are foxes about, I know,' persisted Miss Timorous ; 'mother said so this morning, when she warned us not to stay away.'
• Why didn't you obey her then? It's rather late for you to preach now,' laughed Miss Wilful.
“Ah, I wish I had,' sighed Miss Timorous. But I mean to try and not get into any more mischief now; so you may go to sleep in the hay-rick if you like, but I shall go up into this holly-tree. It won't be very warm there, I know, but it will be safe at any rate.'
So saying, Miss Timorous flew up into the holly-tree, where she found it much warmer than she expected ; while obstinate Miss Wilful, bent on having her own way to the last, settled herself to sleep in the hay-rick.
Now, I must tell you that not very far off from the Holly-tree Farm was a large wood, near which was a thick furze cover that afforded shelter to many wild animals; and among these was a certain Mr Fox, who, with his wife and several young cubs, resided in a great hole, and were known as the greatest thieves in the neighbourhood. They loved to roam about the woods seeking for prey ; and woe to the partridge or pheasant that was so unlucky as to be caught napping by them. They delighted in game of all sorts ; but what they really
; enjoyed most was to have a fine fat goose or a turkey for supper. However, they had been rather unfortunate lately in not being able to obtain a taste of what they liked best, for the last time the moon was up, the weather was wet and stormy ; besides, as some human poachers had been seen in the wood, the keepers were out almost every night, and sly Mr and Mrs Reynard thoughtit wiser to keep out of the range of their guns.
On this fine moonlight night, Mr Fox was tempted to come out of his hole, and finding himself very much