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A MOTHER-MOUSE, when her children had nearly One time the whole family of younger mice came reached the age at which it became time for them upon a trap. “This, I suppose," said the eldest to seek their own fortunes in the world, cautioned and wisest, “is the trap against which our mother
so carefully warned us. And yet,” continued he, “the cheese looks very tempting. I doubt extremely if there be any real danger in it. And even if there be, I think that, by a proper amount of selfcontrol and wariness, one might avoid all ill' consequences. Because some have been caught, it does not necessarily follow that a like fate must overtake all. At least I shall inspect the trap to satisfy myself whether there is really as much danger in it as our mother said. You know, she is apt to be over-cautious very often.” And with this remark, in spite of the urgent warnings of his brothers, the over-wise mouse deliberately entered the trap.
“I cannot see,” said he, when he was within, “ that there is any real danger, and it is very pleasant here. One need not eat of the cheese, you know."
But even as he spoke the delicious smell
of the cheese overcame his caution ; he them concluded there could be no danger in taking the partic- smallest nibble. No sooner, however, had he
ularly touched the tempting morsel, than the trap fell against the traps and dangers and he was a prisoner. that would lie in their paths. “Alas !” said he to his weeping mother, who “My children,” said she, “the had hastened to the trap upon learning the fate of
cheese looks very tempting, her son, “I now discover, when it is too late to and is even sometimes toasted, but beware of it; repent, that the experience of age is safer than the for it will bring misfortune to you."
presumptuous wisdom of youth."
THROUGH THE REGISTER.
(A Christmas Story.)
HAT is Christmas All the doors were locked, and all the windows without Santa Claus? closed, and Papa was just shutting the iron door Itlooked very much of the great furnace in the cellar, when he was as if Jack and startled by voices which seemed to come from Effie Hillscombe the furnace itself. For a moment he amused were soon to find himself with the fancy that Santa Claus was really out what such a making his way in by the furnace; then he thought Christmas would he might have left a door unlocked.
be; for it was al- The thoughts of Santa Claus or other less welready Christmas-eve, and come visitors were, however, soon forgotten when
the house where the two he heard the sound of children's voices, and found children lived was filled with the usual good that it was Jack and Effie who were talking. cheer, and all the bustle of preparing for the Papa opened the furnace door again, and listened. great event. Papa Hillscombe sat in the big
WESTERNOR arm-chair putting on his slippers, and doing his best to imagine himself before the great log-fire he had known so well as a boy; for there were no grates in the Hillscombe house. Jack and Effie lived in a city where, at the time of my story, very few families had open fire-places in their houses; and little Effie had asked her Papa, as she kissed him good-night: “Why, Papa, how is Santa Claus goin' to det in when there is no fireplace ?” This question really puzzled Papa Hillscombe, but he told the children that Santa Claus would find his way in, and that it would be all right in the morning.
But after the children had gone to bed, a queer look came over their papa's good-natured face, and it was plainly to be seen that he was thinking of little Effie's question.
It happened, too, that the children were not satisfied with the answer he had given them; and while Papa was locking up the house for the night, and attending to the furnace, they were still exchanging opinions on this weighty subject from their little cots.
Suddenly Jack sat bolt upright. He had an idea! And in another moment he had toppled out of bed and made his way on tip-toe to Effie's cot. A whispered consultation followed,
TWO WHITE FIGURES CREPT NOISELESSLY DOWN THE STAIRCASE. and in a few minutes later both little cots were deserted, and two tiny white figures were They were evidently talking near the register, creeping noiselessly down the staircase.
for what they said was plainly heard through the furnace pipe by Papa Hillscombe. Jack was figures in white scampered upstairs and back to saying:
their cots. “O Effie ! how can Santa Claus ever bwing my T he next morning (as bright a Christmas-day big sled through the wegister?”
as ever dawned) found two little figures, not in “Or my doll's house?” said Effie.
white this time, standing over a pile of pretty There was a pause, then Jack exclaimed triumph- presents heaped up around the register; among antly, “I know ! let's take the top off.”
which might be seen a brightly painted sleigh with “But,” said Effie, " we're not bid enough." “Effie and Jack,” in big gold letters, on the side, “Oh! you 're only a dirl; I can do it.”
and a wonderful three-story doll's house; and Then followed quite a struggle between Jack and the “wegister,” but it was only after the “dirl” had come to his aid that Jack was able to lift the iron plate; and then Papa heard her say, in a solemn tone: “Do you fink, Jack, he could det a doll's house through dat?"
“Oh, Santa Claus can do anything !" was Jack's comforting reply.
The two little people were on their knees, peering intently down the dark opening, when suddenly they were startled by a voice, which seemed to come up through the hole in the floor. The voice said:
“It's time little children were in bed! Santa Claus can't bring his presents up till everybody is Jack was exclaiming in triumph: “ Did n't I tell fast asleep!”
you Santa Claus could do anything !". The children could not tell the voice, as it came So Santa Claus came into the Hillscombe parlor,afup through the pipe, and with a cry of “He 's ter all, and it was Effie and Jack who settled for themtumming! Santa Claus is tumming!” two little selves the difficult question of how he was to get in.
FIVE LITTLE BOYS.
By E. V. S.
FIVE little boys went out to sea,
A-sailing in a dory:
Thus ends my thrilling story.
almost entirely of “fjords "and mountains, which is the reason, I suppose, why the pastures are so steep. As I said before, too, it is a very cold country, and so valuable is the pasturage on the mountains rising steeply from the “fjords,” that every small patch of grass, no matter how high up on the mountain, is occupied. The peasants will build little farm buildings, and live there two or three thousand feet above the water, all the year through, despite the snows and cold of the long northern winter, just for the sake of having a little patch of green for a part of the year. And these meadows are so slanting that the cattle have to be tethered as they feed, and the little children are fastened by ropes to stakes as they play, lest they slip and fall down the hillside to their certain destruction.
"LOOK IT UP!”
The Little School-ma'am wishes me to announce from my pulpit, so to speak, the following piece of good advice written by Mr. Eggleston in a book
called “ The Big Brother”: SEJACK-IN-THE-PULPIT.
“It will not harm you, boys and girls, to learn a little accurate geography, by looking up these places before going on with the
story, and if I were your school-master, instead of your story-teller, I 6.CHRISTMAS comes but once a year,' eh?" should stop here to advise you always to look on the map for every
town, river, lake, mountain, or other geographical thing mentioned said the Deacon, the other morning, and he added,
in any book or paper you read. I should advise you, too, if I were “Well, it seems to me the saying would apply as your school-master, to add up all the figures given in books and well to any other of the great holidays. Who ever
newspapers, to see if the writers have made any mistakes; and it
is a good plan, too, to go at once to the dictionary when you meet a heard of two Fourths of July in one year? Why, word you do not quite comprehend, or to the encyclopadia or hisall the bright youngsters who have studied frac- tory,
tory, or whatever else is handy, whenever you read about anything
and would like to know more about it." tions would straightway begin to claim that twofourths were equal to one-half, and that therefore one-half of the whole month should be given over
SILVER THIMBLES. to fire-crackers and rockets and torpedoes and general tintinabulation? It would never do, I'm sure, DEAR JACK: I was very much interested in the to have more than one Fourth of July in the year — letter from your friend, printed last month, about no, indeed!”
the vegetable needle and thread. That needle has Now, you may decide this question for yourselves; an advantage over our steel needles, for I supbut the Deacon's remarks remind me that I am pose it can be used without a thimble. I read commissioned by the Little School-ma'am to say somewhere, not long ago, an elaborate eulogy on to you all, that Mr. W.D Howells — a famous teller “the needle,”- the “wonder-working needle," of good stories, I hear — is to give you, in the as it was called; and I could n't help thinking very next number of ST. NICHOLAS, the full par- that this same worker of wonders would be a very ticulars concerning Christmas every day in the year. obstinate, unmanageable thing, were it not for its The Little School-ma'am wishes me to bid you all long-time companion, the thimble. to pay special heed to this announcement, and to And speaking of thimbles, I wonder if the St. look out for some very interesting points on this NICHOLAS boys and girls have any idea how those momentous subject.
useful little articles are made. At all events,
I've a mind to tell them a thing or two about STEEP PASTURES.
it. In the first place, a quantity of brand-new,
spick-and-span clean silver is melted down into I HAVE heard of some pretty steep pastures solid ingots. After being rolled into the desired myself, but none that begin to equal those that thickness, they are then cut into circular forms, the Little School-ma'am was talking about the and a bar moved by machinery bends these round other day. There is somewhere, it seems, a forms into the thimble shape. They are now very cold country called Norway ; and according ready for polishing and decorating, which work is to her account, it must be a peculiar land in many done on a lathe. The indentations on the end ways. Among other peculiarities the people there and sides of the thimble are made by means of a seem unable to get along without a "j" or two in wheel with sharp points. When everything is every name, and there are in that country, the complete, the thimbles are boiled in strong soapLittle School-ma'am says, many inlets from the sea, suds, which removes all the oil and gives them a which are there called by the queer title of “fjords." peculiar brightness.
This strange country, it appears, is composed So much for the little thumb-bell. E. M. C.
A LIVING BAROMETER.
ago I was fortunate enough to catch a tree-toad,
and having heard of his ability as a weatherDEAR JACK: Do you know that several of our prophet, I put him into my glass tube and made smaller animals are so sensitive to changes from from matches a small ladder so that he could heat to cold, and from dry to moist, that they fore- climb up or down within the tube. I soon found tell those changes some time in advance?
that the approach of a change in the weather was
In the Smithsonian Institution's list of animals always noticed by the little prisoner, who climbed valuable to man, the tree-toad is mentioned as an toward the top whenever the air grew moist or beexcellent weather-prophet, and I can testify to its fore rain, and as invariably descended toward the power of foretelling the change in the weather. I bottom of the tube in advance of the coming of have in my possession a paper-weight in the form dry weather. I send you a picture of my little of a bronze frog supporting upon its back a glass captive, whom I call “ my living barometer.” tube with a bulb at the bottom. Some months
Your friend, C. F. H.