Imágenes de páginas

that his wife might be freed from the saddle; and immediately it was done.

Thus the rich man gained nothing from his wishes but vexation, trouble, scolding, and the loss of his horse; but the poor couple lived contented and happy to their lives' end.


The wind one morning sprang up from sleep
Saying, “ Now for a frolic! now for a leap!
Now for a mad-cap galloping chase !
I'll make a commotion in every place !”

So it swept with a bustle right through a great town,
Cracking the signs and scattering down
Shutters; and whisking, with merciless squalls,
Old women's bonnets and gingerbread stalls.
There never was heard a much lustier shout,
As the apples and oranges trundled about;
And the urchins that stand with their thievish eyes
For ever on watch, ran off each with a prize.

Then away to the field it went, blust'ring and humming,
And the cattle all wondered what monster was coming;
It plucked by the tails the grave matronly cows,
And tossed the colts' manes all over their brows;
Till, offended at such an unusual salute,
They all turned their backs, and stood sulky and mute.

So on it went capering and playing its pranks,-
Whistling with reeds on the broad river's banks,

Puffing the birds as they sat on the spray,
Or the traveller grave on the king's highway.
It was not too nice to hustle the bags
Of the beggar, and flutter his dirty rags ;
'Twas so bold, that it feared not to play its joke
With the doctor's wig or the gentleman's cloak.
Through the forest it roared, and cried, gaily, “ Now,
You sturdy old oaks, I'll make you bow !”
And it made them bow without more ado,
Orit cracked their great branches through and through.

Then it rushed like a monster on cottage and farm,
Striking their dwellers with sudden alarm;
And they ran out like bees in a midsummer swarm :
There were dames with their 'kerchiefs tied over their

To see if their poultry were free from mishaps ;
The turkeys they gobbled, the geese screamed aloud,
And the hens crept to roost in a terrified crowd ;
There was rearing of ladders, and logs were laid on,
Where the thatch from the roof threatened soon to be


But the wind had swept on, and had met in a lane With a school-boy, who panted and struggled in vain; For it tossed him and twirled him, then passed, and

he stood With his hat in a pool and his shoes in the mud.

Then away went the wind in its holiday glee,
And now it was far on the billowy sea ;
And the lordly ships felt its staggering blow,
And the little boats darted to and fro.

But, lo! it was night, and it sank to rest
On the sea-birds' rock in the gleaming west,
Laughing to think, in its frolicsome fun,
How little of mischief it had done.




ONCE upon a time there lived a Mrs. Wasp. She was of a handsome appearance, small waisted, large eyed, with a gold and black robe, and a pair of gauzy wings, that glittered like mother-of-pearl as she flew about in the sunshine. She might have been conceited, you see, having so much to draw attention in her little figure ; but she was too sensible a Wasp for that.

Her husband, who was of a very quarrelsome temper, and who was always darting his sting into

erybody that touched him, by chance got one day into a fierce battle with a large Blue-bottle fly, whose lump of sugar had excited Mr. Wasp's greedy appetite. After a terrible struggle Blue-bottle gained the victory, leaving on the field of battle his two legs, his right wing, and the dead body of his enemy.

Mrs. Wasp thus left a lonely widow, and expecting a young family, did not sit down in despair-not she. She immediately set to work; and if she buzzed rather mournfully over her labour at first, she soon got so interested in what she was doing that her voice began to sound as cheerily as ever.

“The Bees," said Mrs. Wasp to herself, " are very

[ocr errors]

sociable, helpful creatures ; they all work together, and get through their business very fast. I wonder why we Wasps are such unsociable insects. If I were a Bee I could go boldly and claim help from the hive; but now I must just build my house myself,—so here goes." And off she set to a rose

” tree, and snipped a little round piece out of one of its green leaves, as neatly as your mamma would cut out the round holes in her embroidery with her scissors.

Now this was the way that Mrs. Wasp built her house :

First she chose a dry hole in the side of a bank. Then she lined it carefully with little round pieces of rose leaf, till it was all like a soft green-cushioned bed. Then she flew off to a wall and got some plaster, little by little,—for, you know, she could not carry much at a time, or her gauzy wings would have broken under the weight; and this plaster she put, like a door, at the entrance of her hole, to keep out rain and wind, and meddlesome folks,—such as Worms, and Flies, and Beetles, and Spiders, who might like green cushions as much as the rightful owner herself did.

Well, having made all her preparations, Widow Wasp sat down on her soft couch, and waited for her promised little family.

In due time they all appeared, --soft, white little maggots ;—not very interesting children, you would think; but in Mrs. Wasp's eyes they were far lovelier than little boys and girls, with their curls brushed smooth, and their new knickerbockers and worsted frocks.

Mrs. Wasp was as careful of her dear little maggots as she had been to build them a cozy house and bed. Every day she went and got food for them, and watched them as they grew bigger and stronger, till her little house could no longer hold them.

Then she went and made each of them a little separate cell; and in this cell she placed just enough very green caterpillars to last a certain time, at the end of which she knew the young Wasp would change, first into a chrysalis, and then into its own handsome grown-up shape, just like herself.

You may think what a hard business she had to get all the cells ready at the right time, and to fetch all the provision, and store it up in the right places. But she was a fond, industrious mother, and she knew she was doing her duty ; so on she plodded, and at last she was able to lie down in her green bed, and go to sleep till her children should awake from their long winter trance. You may believe, after all her hard work, she slept very soundly. She did not hear the wind roaring in the wintry nights, nor the rain dashing down on the fields and roads. She did not feel the clay freezing hard in the frost, nor the snow covering up the earth in a wbite sheet; nor did she feel the plough digging down into the ground as spring came on, and the great teeth of the farmer's harrow tearing up the clods; nor the young corn stretching and swelling in its dark holes under the earth-in short, she slept on quite sound till one fine warm day in May, when there was such a noise at her door! it might have waked a dead Wasp, far less a living mother, for she knew all those merry


« AnteriorContinuar »