Page images

foot of a rock, sometimes on the bare points of shattered fragments, without the smallest shelter. There, all alone, without fire, without light, with no other refreshment than the contents of his bag, he waited till morning, resting his weary head on a stone, and in broken slumbers, dreamed of the dangers he had encountered the preceding day. “Awakened by the freshness of the morning air, his limbs benumbed with cold, he would cheer himself with a drop of brandy, a necessary with which the hunters always provide themselves, and then renew the pursuit with fresh energy. Thus would he follow the bounding chamois, from day to day, till sometimes, we almost lost the hope of ever seeing him return. “One fatal day confirmed the truth of our fears; he missed his step on the brink of a precipice, and was found at the bottom, dashed to pieces. From that moment, I have looked upon these children as my own. They lost their mother in a fever, about two years ago, and have now no other protector but myself. I am too feeble to work, but I have a few cows, that assist to support us. The children sometimes collect crystals amongst the broken fragments of the rocks, which bring a little-money. “Our wants are few, and easily supplied. Janette, the eldest girl, who prepared our supper, manages our household affairs, and takes care of the dairy. She is affectionate and dutiful to me, and kind to the little ones. The eldest boy resembles his father, and will, I fear, have the same passion for the chase. He is now absent with a party of our neighbors, who are gone in quest of the marmot, a little animal that lies in a torpid state during the winter season, in holes that it has scooped out in the sides of the mountains.

“I have been conducted, by a kind Providence, through a long life, checkered by many disastrous events. There is now only one thing I have to desire, which is, to be permitted to see the elder ones grown up, sufficiently to be able to take care of their brothers and sisters. I shall then lay down my head in peace.”

The old man's story being concluded, they retired to rest; and in the morning, after recompensing the hospitality he had received, the traveller renewed his journey.



THE duties of pupils consist in docility and obedience, respect for their preceptors, zeal for study, and a thirst after the sciences, joined to an abhorrence of vice and irregularity, together with a fervent and sincere desire of pleasing God, and referring all their actions to him.

The exactness and severity of our teachers may displease sometimes, at an age, when we are not capable of judging of the obligations we owe them; but when years have ripened our understanding and judgment, we discern that their admonitions, reprimands, and a severe exactness in restraining the passions of an imprudent and inconsiderate age, are the things which should make us esteem and love them.


AN old lark, who had a nest of young ones in a field of wheat, which was almost ripe, was not a little afraid the reapers would set to work, before her lovely brood were fledged enough to be able to remove from the place. One morning, therefore, before she took her flight, to seek for something to feed them with, “My dear little creatures,” said she, “be sure that in my absence you take the strictest notice of every word you hear, and do not fail to tell me of it, as soon as I come home again.”

Some time after she was gone, in came the owner of the field and his son. “Well, George,” said he, “I think this wheat is ripe enough to cut down; so tomorrow, mind ye, I would have you go as soon as you can see, and desire our friends and neighbors to come and help us, and tell them that we will do as much for them, the next time they want us.” When the old lark came back to her nest, the young ones began to nestle and chirp about her, begging her to remove them as fast as she could. “Hush,” said she, “hold your silly tongues; for if the old farmer depends upon his friends and his neighbors, you may take my word for it, that his wheat will not be reaped tomorrow.” The next morning, therefore, she went out again, and left the same orders as before. The owner of the field came soon after to wait for those he had sent to, but the sun grew hot, and not a single man of them came to help him. “Why, then,” said he to his son, “I’ll tell you what; you see those friends of ours have left us in the lurch, so that you must run to your uncles and cousins, and tell them that I shall expect them tomorrow betimes, to help us reap.” Well, this, also, the young ones told their mother, as soon as she came home, and in a sad fright they were. — “Never mind it, children,” said the old one, “for if that be all, you may take my word for it, that his kinsmen will not be so forward to assist him as he seems willing to persuade himself. But be sure to mind,” said she, “what you hear the next time, and let me know it without fail.” She went abroad the next day, as before; but when the poor farmer found that his kinsmen were to the full as backward as his neighbors, “Why, there now,” said he, “these are your uncles and your cousins ! Hark ye, George, do you get a couple of good sickles against tomorrow morning, and we will e'en reap the wheat ourselves, my boy!” When the young ones told their mother this, “Now, my little dears,” said she, “we must be gone indeed, for when a man takes it in hand to do his own work himself, you may depend upon it that it will be done.”


THE hero of Poland once wished to send some bottles of good wine to a clergyman at Soluthurn; and as he hesitated to trust them by his servant, lest he should smuggle a part, he gave the commission to a young man of the name of Seltner, and desired him to take the horse which he himself usually rode. On his return, young Seltner said that he would never ride his horse again, unless he gave him his purse at the same time. Kosciusko inquiring what he meant, he answered; “as soon as a poor man on the road takes off his hat and asks charity, the horse immediately stands still, and will not stir till something is given to the petitioner; and as I had no money about me, I was obliged to feign giving something, in order to satisfy the horse.”


“Why do you trouble yourself to fly from flower to flower, in search of honey ’’’ said an earthworm one day to a bee; “I am sure it must be great toil; now I take my ease, and only lounge about, and can always satisfy my appetite with fine mold, and nothing can be more rich or delicious. Nor have I need to lay up in store for a future day, for the earth is all before me, and I can eat when and where I please, without the plague of filling a hive.”

“Ah,” replied the bee, “thou knowest not, poor crawling creature, how much pleasure I have in flying from flower to flower, and how much sweeter honey is than earth; and though thou boastest so much of thy large dish, all who know the taste of mine, know that for food, my hive of honey is worth more than all thy earth.

« PreviousContinue »