Page images
PDF
EPUB

He is supposed to spend seventeen years of his life underground. Whether he does or not, I cannot tell you, but I know he has caused a great deal of arguing and quarreling between people who believe he does, and others who believe he does not. • You will be sure to know him if you see him, for he is smaller than Pruinosa, and has his wings trimmed with red instead of green. Sometime the question about him may be settled by some one who is patient enough to observe him for seventeen years.

TRUE LOCUSTS “AND the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts of Egypt: very grievous were they; before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall there be such.

“For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened ; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left; and there remained

not any green thing in the trees or in the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt.”

The true locusts spoken of in the Bible and the locusts which cause such destruction to the grainfields in the far West are really grasshoppers.

How could the cicada or harvest fly cause so much damage? It has no jaws; it cannot bite the tenderest leaf; its beak is useful only in sucking sap.

But the true locust or grasshopper is a biting insect; it has two horny jaws with little notches, which look like teeth along the edges. When it eats, it moves its jaws sideways instead of up and down.

It is a happy, cheerful little creature as we see it hopping or flying around the summer fields and meadows, with the crickets, katydids and other insects. It seems very innocent and harmless.

But sometimes these same creatures gather in swarms, and fly through the air, darkening the sun like a cloud. The farmer dreads them, for, alighting on his corn or wheat fields, they eat not only his grain, but the grass, vegetables, fruit and

every living green thing — just as they did in the Bible story.

But there are some people who like to see the locusts coming.

The Arabs roast them over hot fires, steep them in butter, and consider them great delicacies. Some of the people of Africa dry them on their roofs, and eat them, either smoked or broiled. The Hottentots dry them and grind them into a kind of meal, from which cakes are made, and merchants sell them in their shops at low prices.

The Indians are the only people in America who like to eat them, but American chickens and sheep are said to be very fond of grasshopper diet.

A RIDDLE I'm a strange contradiction ; I'm new and I'm old, I'm often in tatters and oft decked with gold. Though I never could read, yet lettered I'm found; Though blind, I enlighten; though loose, I am

bound, I'm always in black, and I'm always in white;

I'm grave and I'm gay, I am heavy and light —
In form, too, I differ, — I'm thick and I'm thin,
I've no flesh and no bones, yet I'm covered with

skin ; I've more points than the compass, more stops

than the flute; I sing without voice, without speaking confute, I'm English, I'm German, I'm French and I'm

Dutch ; Some love me too fondly, some slight me too

much; I often die soon, though I sometimes live ages, And no monarch alive has so many pages.

(Answer: A book.)

THE BOOK OF POOR THINGS LEONARD and his father were seated side by side at a table in the library. The dog lay at their feet.

They were very busy, the master of the house working under Leonard's direction, who, issuing his orders from his wheel chair, was so full of anxiety and importance that when Lady Jane opened the library door, he knitted his brow and put up one thin little hand in a comically oldfashioned manner.

"Don't make any disturbance, mother dear, if you please. Father and I are very much engaged.”

“Don't you think, Len, it would be kind to let poor mother see what we are doing, and tell her about it?”

Leonard pondered an instant. “ Well — I don't mind.”

Then, as his mother's arm came round him, he added impetuously :

“Yes, I should like to. You can show, father dear, and I'll do all the explaining."

The master of the house displayed some sheets of paper, tied with ribbon, which already contained a good deal of his handiwork, including a finely illuminated capital L on the title-page.

“It is to be called the Book of Poor Things,' mother dear. We're doing it in bits first; then it will be bound. It's a collection — a collection of Poor Things who've been hurt, like me; or blind

« PreviousContinue »