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EVERY year, when the apple-trees put on their pink-and-white spring dresses, Betty and Polly went to Uncle John's farm for a long visit.
Betty and Polly were just the same age and the same size, and each had blue eyes and red lips that parted very often to let a bubbly laugh come through. But Betty's hair was curly and brown, and Polly's hair was curly and yellow; if you did n't notice this, it was hard to tell which was Betty and which was Polly.
Each morning they went together and fed the chickens, and then Betty went to feed the pigeons and Polly went to feed the ducks. The chickens soon grew used to them, and would come and take the grains of corn from their hands. But the ducks and the pigeons were shy, and always waited until Betty and Polly had gone away before they would come and eat the breakfast that had been brought to them. Betty and Polly often wished they were as tame as the chickens.
But one warm day, as Brown Wing, the mother duck, was floating about in the shade of the bridge with her three little ducklings, Downy and Fluffy and Topsy, she said to them: “Duckie dears, that seems to be a very kind little girl who brings you such a nice breakfast every morning. I think it would be quite safe, and much better manners, for you to meet her politely when she comes instead of waiting for her to go away before you eat the food she brings you.”
Just then one of the pigeons was flying by and perched on the bridge for a moment, in time to overhear what Brown Wing was saying; the pigeon turned this over in his mind and decided she was quite right, so he flew back home and told the rest of the pigeon family, and all agreed that the idea did her credit.
The next morning Polly pattered down the garden path to the brook to watch the little ducks for a few minutes. As soon as they saw her, Downy and Fluffy and Topsy paddled toward her as fast as they could. Then they scrambled up the stone steps to where Polly sat, quacking and stretching their necks to see what she had brought them for breakfast. And then, while Polly, who could scarcely believe her eyes, held the dish, they ate up everything in it.
At the same time, Betty had carried the dish of corn and crumbs to the low bench beside the rain-water barrel, where she could look up at the pigeons in their house on top of the pole.
The pigeons stood in their tiny doorways watching her, cocking their heads from side to side. Then one very brave pigeon flew down and perched on the bench. As Betty did not move, two more flew down, and began to eat the crumbs from the dish; and then, best of all, Silver, the prettiest pigeon, spread his white wings, and came and picked the crumbs from Betty's hand.
As soon as their dishes were empty, Betty ran to find Polly, and Polly ran to find Betty, to tell each other the wonderful things that had happened to them.
comrades “stormed” his castle, and tried to push him from his stronghold. The one that suc
ceeded had a chance to defend the position as the ANIMALS AT PLAY
former one had done, and the performance was “The faculty of amusement comes early in ani- kept up until all were tired out. A steeplechase mals given to play," writes the author of "Ani- was another exciting amusement. In this they mals at Work and Play," and he adds, “Many jumped over a row of old feed boxes as they animals make it part of their maternal duty to ran back and forth across the barn-yard. amuse their young. Even a ferret will play with For genuine amusement in the home, select two her ferocious little kittens, just as a cat will with well-matched kittens and set them to playing-or hers."
they will do it without urging. The saucy "faces" The same author very interestingly describes they make, with ears turned back, as they wait to the game of "I 'm the King of the Castle," as he close in with each other, are very amusing. It
seems strange that they can keep such serious faces themselves while carrying on such funny performances. But we must remember that all their quick attacks and stealthy actions while at play are training them for more serious business in later life.
Dogs get a great deal of exercise in their play, but they are not so sly nor so graceful as members of the cat family. My dog has “killed" many a rag while playing at rat-catching. Dogs seem to obtain great enjoyment from their play. Their capers with a stick thrown for them to bring back from the land or the water have amused many a small master.
Little pigs play with as much vigor and dex
terity as any animals that I have ever seen; but saw it played by some lambs. One lamb mounted later in life, this capacity entirely disappears. a pile of straw and rubbish, and immediately his While some young animals enjoy playing with
each other at close quarters, or, with heads jerking up and down in a lively manner, were trying to stare each other out of countenance.
In the Zoo, the bear cubs tussle with each other, and the polar bears wrestle while standing
in their pool, three feet deep, or try to see how LAMBS COMBINE "FOLLOW THE LEADER" AND "RING AROUND A-ROSY.
long one can hold another under the water. The
graceful but grotesque gnu, in performing his anwith a leap in the air, and snap about again for tics, cuts up the ground of his yard with his sharp another run in another direction. Suddenly they hoofs. He runs about his inclosure with great
BIRDS NESTING IN NOISY PLACES Many birds that are shy and retiring in other respects, show very little fear of the creaking and groaning of heavy machinery, or the thunderous roar of heavy trains. I recall reading some years ago of a pair of courageous little sparrows that started a nest at one end of a large turn-table in a roundhouse. This turn-table was the same at both ends, and the birds built two nests-one on each end, working one day on one end, and the next day on the other, as the turntable was reversed. Here, in the midst of din and confusion, they finally selected one of the nests, and raised a happy brood of young.
In the western States, the mourning-dove is wild enough to be considered a game-bird, yet the accompanying picture shows the frail nest of a dove with its two delicate, white eggs, resting on the sloping side of a railroad grade, and barely three feet from the rails over which a dozen heavy trains thundered every day. Less
than a mile from this nest, was the nest of a pinrooks often go through an elaborate perform- tail, the wildest and wariest of all wild ducksance of ‘killing' a biscuit before eating it, and within eighteen feet of the rails; and the mother tame sea-gulls play a game with sticks and stones, duck, as she brooded her eleven great clay
THE OSTRICH DANCES IN A LAUGHABLE MANNER.