The Project Gutenberg eBook of Harry's Ladder to Learning, by Anonymous
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Title: Harry's Ladder to Learning
Horn-Book, Picture-Book, Nursery Songs, Nursery Tales,
Harry's Simple Stories, Country Walks
Author: Anonymous
Release Date: February 19, 2008 [eBook #24644]
[Most recently updated: January 7, 2021]
Language: English
Character set encoding: UTF-8
Produced by: The Online Distributed Proofreading Team



Two Hundred and Thirty Illustrations.


Printed by G. Barclay, Castle St. Leicester Sq.





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[Pg 65][Pg 64]

[Pg 66]




[Pg 67]


Look at the Cow and her little Calf.

[Pg 68]

Aunt Mary and Maria gathering Flowers.

[Pg 69]

Betty is taking Eggs to Market.

[Pg 70]

See how the Hen is feeding her Chickens.

[Pg 71]

Little Maria is saying her Lessons.

[Pg 72]

The Horse is leaping over a Rail,

[Pg 73]

And the Dog is hunting a Deer.

[Pg 74]

Tom is trying to catch Fish in the River.

[Pg 75]

John runs fast with his Hoop.

[Pg 76]

Harry and Herbert are flying a Kite.

[Pg 77]

Ellen is swinging on a Rope.

[Pg 78]

Harry is riding on his Pony.

[Pg 79]

Ann is feeding the Chickens.

[Pg 80]

Two Cows are drinking in the Pond.

[Pg 81]

Charles and Edward are playing Marbles.

[Pg 82]

Maria is feeding her pretty Pigeons.

[Pg 83]

Aunt Mary is riding on a Donkey.

[Pg 84]

Walter is feeding his Rabbits.

[Pg 85]

Ann and Betsey are gleaning Corn.

[Pg 86]

Mamma is dancing Baby.

[Pg 87]

Look at Betty milking the Cow.

[Pg 88]

These two Boys are playing at Leap-frog.

[Pg 89]

James is digging with a Spade.

[Pg 90]

Harry is giving some Bread to a poor Man.

[Pg 91]

Benjamin is feeding a Robin.

[Pg 92]

Teddy is playing at Trap and Ball.

[Pg 93]

Here is Bob the Shepherd and his Dog.

[Pg 94]

Betty is churning the Milk into Butter.

[Pg 95]

Mamma and her Sons going to Church.

[Pg 96]

Eliza and Mary are playing at Shuttlecock.

[Pg 97]

Nelly is nursing her Dolly.

[Pg 98]

George is making Hay.

[Pg 99]

The Fox is going to steal a Chicken.

[Pg 100]

The Magpies have built their Nest in a Tree.

[Pg 101]

What a steady old Cart-horse!

[Pg 102]

See how the pretty Pigeons fly to their Cote!

[Pg 103]

The Donkey is looking at the two Rabbits.

[Pg 104]

Papa is reading a new Book.

[Pg 105]

John is carrying Straw in his Barrow.

[Pg 106]

A Goose and three Ducks are swimming.

[Pg 107]

Here is a Mare and her little Foal.

[Pg 108]

Frank is going out with his Dog and Gun.

[Pg 109]

What a nice Sheep with her two pretty Lambs!

[Pg 110]

This is a pretty Tree! it is an Ash.

[Pg 111]

Look at the Cattle in the Farm-yard.

[Pg 113][Pg 112]




[Pg 115][Pg 114]


Rock-a-bye, baby, thy cradle is green;
Father’s a nobleman, mother’s a queen;
And Betty’s a lady, and wears a gold ring;
And Harry’s a drummer, and drums for the king.
[Pg 116]

Hush-a-bye, baby, on the tree-top!
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock;
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall,
Down will come baby, cradle, and all.

Bye, oh, my baby!
When I was a lady,
Oh then my poor babe didn’t cry!
But my baby is weeping
For want of good keeping.
Oh, I fear my poor baby will die.
[Pg 117]

Hush-a-bye, babby, lie still with thy daddy;
Thy mammy is gone to the mill
To get some wheat, to make some meat,
So pray, my dear babby, lie still.

How many days has my baby to play?
Saturday, Sunday, Monday,
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.
Saturday, Sunday, Monday.

Hush-a-bye, baby,
Daddy is near,
Mammy’s a lady,
And that’s very clear.

Dance to your daddy
My bonny laddy,
Dance to your ninny,
My sweet lamb;
You shall have a fishy
In a little dishy,
And a whirligiggy,
And some nice jam.

Dance to your daddy
My bonny laddy,
Dance to your ninny,
My sweet lamb;
You shall have a fishy
In a little dishy,
And a whirligiggy,
And some nice jam.
[Pg 118]

Dance, little baby, dance up high,
Never mind, baby, mother is nigh;
Crow and caper, caper and crow;
There, little baby, there you go,
Up to the ceiling, down to the ground,
Backwards and forwards, round and round;
Dance, little baby, and mother will sing,
With the merry coral, ding, ding, ding!

Here we go up, up, up,
And here we go down, down, downy,
And here we go backwards and forwards,
And here we go round, round, roundy.

Danty baby diddy,
What can mammy do wid’e?
Sit in her lap,
And she’ll give you some pap,
Danty baby diddy!

Bye, baby bunting,
Father’s gone a-hunting,
To get a little rabbit-skin
To wrap the baby bunting in.
[Pg 119]

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall,
Not all the king’s horses, nor all the king’s men,
Could set Humpty Dumpty up again.

A Long-tail’d pig,
Or a short-tail’d pig,
Or a pig without a tail?
A sow-pig, or a boar-pig,
Or a pig with a curly tail?

Little Tom Tucker
Sings for his supper:
What shall he eat?
White bread and butter.
How shall he cut it
Without e’er a knife?
How will he be married
Without e’er a wife?

Pat a cake, pat a cake, baker’s man;
So I will, master, as fast as I can;
Pat it, and prick it, and mark it with B,
And toss it in the oven for baby and me.
[Pg 120]

See-saw, Margery-daw,
Harry shall have a new master;
He shall not have but a penny a-day,
Because he won’t work any faster.

The man in the moon
Came down too soon,
And ask’d his way to Norwich;
He went by the south,
And burnt his mouth
With eating cold plum-porridge.

Little Jack Horner
Sat in a corner,
Eating a Christmas pie;
He put in his thumb
And pull’d out a plum,
And said, “What a brave boy am I!”

See-saw, sacaradown,
Which is the way to London town?
One foot up, the other foot down,
That is the way to London town.
[Pg 121]

One, two, buckle my shoe;
Three, four, shut the door;
Five, six, pick up sticks;
Seven, eight, lay them straight;
Nine, ten, a good fat hen;
Eleven, twelve, who will delve?
Thirteen, fourteen, draw the curtain;
Fifteen, sixteen, the maid’s in the kitchen;
Seventeen, eighteen, she’s a-waiting;
Nineteen, twenty, my plate’s empty;
Please, mamma, give me some dinner.

Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross,
To see an old woman ride on a white horse,
With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,
And she shall have music wherever she goes.
[Pg 122]

There was an old woman lived under a hill,
And if she ben’t gone she lives there still.

1. This little pig went to market;
2. This little pig stayed at home;
3. This little pig had roast meat;
4. This little pig had none;
5. This little pig said, “Wee, wee, wee,
I can’t find my way home!”

⁂ Addressed to the five toes.

The girl in the lane,
That couldn’t speak plain,
Cried gobble, gobble,
The man on the hill,
That couldn’t stand still,
Went hobble, hobble,

Bah, bah, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes, marry, have I,
Three bags full:
One for my master,
And one for my dame,
And one for the little boy
Who lives in the lane.

[Pg 123]

A Dillar a dollar,
A ten o’clock scholar,
What makes you come so soon?
You used to come at ten o’clock,
But now you come at noon.

One, two, three, four, five,
I caught a hare alive;
Six, seven, eight, nine, ten,
And let it go again.

Hark! hark! the dogs do bark,
Beggars are coming to town,
Some in jags, and some in rags,
And some in velvet gown.

Four little mice sat down to spin,
Pussy pass’d by and she peep’d in;
“What are you at, my fine little men?”
“Making coats for gentlemen.”
“Shall I come in, and cut off your thread?”
“No! no! Miss Pussy, you’ll bite off our head.”

To market, to market, to buy a plum bun.
Home again, home again, market is done.
[Pg 124]

There was a piper who had a cow,
But he had no hay to give her;
So he took his pipes and played a tune,
Consider, old cow, consider!

There was an old woman
Who lived in a shoe,
She had so many children
She didn’t know what to do;
She gave them some broth
Without any bread,
She whipp’d them all soundly
And sent them to bed.

Lady-bird, lady-bird,
Fly away home,
Your house is on fire,
Your children will burn.

Rain, rain,
Go away,
Come again
Another day,
Little Harry
Wants to play.
[Pg 125]

The man in the wilderness asked me
How many strawberries grew in the sea?
I answered him, as I thought good,
As many red herrings as grew in the wood.

Hiccory, diccory, dock,
The mouse ran up the clock;
The clock struck one,
The mouse ran down,
Hiccory, diccory, dock.

Daffy-down-dilly has come up to town,
In a yellow petticoat and a green gown.

Hey, my kitten, my kitten,
And hey, my kitten, my deary,
Such a sweet pet as this
Was neither far nor neary.

Hey diddle diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jump’d over the moon;
The little dog laugh’d
To see such craft,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.

[Pg 126]


Jack and Jill
Went up the hill
To fetch a
Pail of water;
Jack fell down
And cracked
His crown,
And Jill came
Tumbling after.

Two little dogs were basking in the cinders;
Two little cats were playing in the windows;
When two little mice popped out of a hole,
And up to a fine piece of cheese they stole.
The two little dogs cried, “Cheese is nice!”
But the two little cats jumped down in a trice,
And cracked the bones of the two little mice.
[Pg 127]

Wee Willie Winkie
Runs through the town,
Up stairs and down stairs,
In his night-gown;
Tapping at the window,
Crying at the lock,
“Are the babes in their bed?
For it’s now ten o’clock.”

Little boy blue, come blow me your horn,
The sheep’s in the meadow, the cow’s in the corn;
Where is the little boy tending the sheep?
Under the haycock fast asleep.

Pussy-cat, pussy-cat, where have you been?
I’ve been to London to see the queen.
Pussy-cat, pussy-cat, what did you there?
I frightened a little mouse under the chair.
[Pg 128]

High diddle doubt, my candle’s out,
And my little dame’s not at home:
So saddle my hog, and bridle my dog,
And fetch my little dame home.

As I was going up Pippen Hill,
Pippen Hill was dirty,
There I met a pretty miss,
And she dropp’d me a curtsey.

Little miss, pretty miss!
Blessings light upon you!
If I had half-a-crown a-day,
I’d spend it all upon you.

I had a little husband, no bigger than my thumb,
I put him in a pint-pot, and there I bid him drum;
I bought him a little handkerchief to wipe his little nose,
And a pair of little garters, to tie his little hose.

There was a little boy went into a barn,
And lay down on some hay;
An owl came out and flew about,
And the little boy ran away.
[Pg 129]

I’ll sing you a song,
It’s not very long:
The woodcock and the sparrow,
The little dog has burnt his tail,
And he shall be hang’d to-morrow.

There were three crows sat on a stone,
Fal la, la la lal de.
Two flew away, and then there was one,
Fal la, la la lal de.
The other crow finding himself alone,
Fal la, la la lal de.
He flew away, and then there was none,
Fal la, la la lal de.

1. Let us go to the wood, says this pig;
2. What to do there? says that pig;
3. To look for my mother, says this pig;
4. What to do with her? says that pig;
5. To kiss her and love her, says this pig.

⁂ This is said to each finger.

[Pg 130]

Cold and raw the north wind doth blow,
Bleak in the morning early;
All the hills are cover’d with snow,
And winter’s now come fairly.

Needles and pins,
Needles and pins,
When a man marries
His trouble begins.

Cock a doodle doo!
My dame has lost her shoe;
Master’s broke his fiddling stick,
And don’t know what to do.

Diddle, diddle, dumpling, my son John
Went to bed with his breeches on;
One shoe off, the other shoe on,
Diddle, diddle, dumpling, my son John.

Dingty, diddledy, my mammy’s maid,
She stole oranges, I am afraid.
Some in her pocket, some in her sleeve,
She stole oranges, I do believe.
[Pg 131]

There was a man of our town,
And he was wondrous wise:
He jump’d into a bramble-bush,
And scratch’d out both his eyes;
And when he saw his eyes were out,
With all his might and main
He jump’d into another bush,
And scratch’d them in again.

Sing! sing! what shall I sing?
The cat’s run away with the pudding-bag string.

Snail! snail! come out of your hole,
Or else I’ll beat you as black as a coal.

Two little blackbirds sat upon a hill,
One named Jack, the other named Gill;
Fly away, Jack; fly away, Gill;
Come again, Jack; come again, Gill.
[Pg 132]

If all the world was apple-pie,
And all the sea was ink,
And all the trees were bread and cheese,
What should we have for drink?
It’s enough to make an old man
Scratch his head and think.

There was an old man,
And he had a calf;
And that’s half:
He took him out of the stall,
And put him on the wall;
And that’s all.

Mary, Mary,
Quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
Silver bells,
And cockle-shells,
And pretty maids all of a row.

We’re all dry with drinking on’t,
We’re all dry with drinking on’t;
The piper kiss’d the fiddler’s wife,
And I can’t sleep for thinking on’t.
[Pg 133]

I had a little wife, the prettiest ever seen,
She wash’d all the dishes and kept the house clean;
She went to the mill to fetch me some flour,
She brought it home safe in less than half an hour;
She baked me my bread, she brew’d me my ale,
She sat by the fire and told a fine tale.

Handy-spandy, Jack-a-Dandy
Loves plum-cake and sugar-candy.
He bought some at a grocer’s shop,
And pleased, away went, hop, hop, hop.

Here stands a fist,
Who set it there?
A better man than you,
Touch him if you dare!

Four-and-twenty tailors
Went to kill a snail,
The best man among them
Durst not touch her tail.
She put out her horns
Like a little Kyloe cow:
Run, tailors, run,
Or she’ll kill you all e’en now.
[Pg 134]

Long legs, crooked thighs,
Little head, and no eyes.
What’s that?

Great A, little A, bouncing B!
The cat’s in the cupboard, and she can’t see.

The north wind doth blow,
And we shall have snow,
And what will poor Robin do then?
Poor thing!
He’ll sit in a barn,
And keep himself warm,
And hide his head under his wing.
Poor thing!

When I was a bachelor,
I lived by myself,
And all the bread and cheese I got,
I put upon the shelf.
The rats and the mice they made such a strife,
I was forced to go to London to buy me a wife:
The roads were so bad, and the lanes were so narrow,
I was forced to bring my wife home in a wheelbarrow.
The wheelbarrow broke, and my wife had a fall,
Down came wheelbarrow, wife, and all.
[Pg 135]

A little boy and a little girl
Lived in an alley.
Said the little boy to the little girl,
“Shall I? oh, shall I?”
Said the little girl to the little boy,
“What will you do?”
Said the little boy to the little girl,
“I will kiss you.”

Bless you, bless you, bonnie bee:
Say, when will your wedding be?
If it be to-morrow day,
Take your wings and fly away.

Taffy was a Welshman,
Taffy was a thief,
Taffy came to my house,
And stole a piece of beef.
I went to Taffy’s house,
Taffy wasn’t at home,
Taffy came to my house,
And stole a marrow-bone.
I went to Taffy’s house,
Taffy was in bed,
I took the marrow-bone,
And beat about his head.
[Pg 136]

As I was going to sell my eggs,
I met a man with bandy legs,
Bandy legs and crooked toes,
I tripp’d up his heels, and he fell on his nose.

Tell-tale, tit!
Your tongue shall be slit,
And all the dogs in the town
Shall have a little bit!

Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet,
Eating of curds and whey;
There came a little spider,
Who sat down beside her,
And frighten’d Miss Muffet away.

Robin and Richard were two pretty men,
They lay a-bed till the clock struck ten;
Then up starts Robin and looks at the sky,
“Oh! oh! brother Richard, the sun’s very high;
You go before with bottle and bag,
And I’ll follow after on little Jack Nag.”

“Come, let’s to bed,” says Sleepy-head;
“Let’s stay awhile,” says Slow:
“Put on the pot,” says Greedy-sot,
“We’ll sup before we go.”
[Pg 137]

Robin the Bobbin, the big-bellied Ben,
He ate more meat than fourscore men;
He ate a cow, he ate a calf,
He ate a butcher and a half;
He ate a church, he ate a steeple,
He ate the priest and all the people!

Tom, Tom, the piper’s son,
Stole a pig and away he ran.
The pig was eat, and Tom was beat,
And Tom ran crying down the street.

Shoe the horse, shoe the colt,
Shoe the wild mare;
Here a nail, there a nail,
Yet she goes bare.

Goosey goosey gander,
Whither dost thou wander?
Up stairs, down stairs,
In my lady’s chamber:
There I met an old man
Who would not say his prayers;
I took him by the left leg,
And threw him down the stairs.
[Pg 138]

There was an old woman went up in a basket,
Seventy times as high as the moon;
What she did there I could not but ask it,
For in her hand she carried a broom.
“Old woman, old woman, old woman,” said I,
“Whither, oh whither, oh whither, so high?”
“To sweep the cobwebs from the sky,
And I shall be back again by and by.”

Pease-pudding hot,
Pease-pudding cold,
Pease-pudding in the pot,
Nine days old.
Some like it hot,
Some like it cold,
Some like it in the pot,
Nine days old.
[Pg 139]

Little Nan Etticoat,
In a white petticoat,
And a red nose;
The longer she stands
The shorter she grows.

Little Jack Jingle,
He used to live single:
But when he got tired of this kind of life,
He left off being single, and got him a wife.

Little Robin Red-breast sat upon a tree,
Up went Pussy-cat, and down went he;
Down came Pussy-cat, and away Robin ran:
Says little Robin Red-breast, “Catch me if you can.”
Little Robin Red-breast hopp’d upon a wall,
Pussy-cat jump’d after him, and almost got a fall.
Little Robin chirp’d and sang, and what did Pussy say?
Pussy-cat said, “Mew,” and Robin flew away.

There was an old woman, and what do you think?
She lived upon nothing but victuals and drink;
Victuals and drink were the chief of her diet,
Yet this grumbling old woman could never be quiet.
[Pg 140]

There was a little man,
And he had a little gun,
And his bullets were made of lead, lead, lead;
He went to the brook,
And saw a little duck,
And he shot it through the head, head, head.
He carried it home
To his old wife Joan,
And bid her a fire for to make, make, make;
To roast the little duck
He had shot in the brook,
And he’d go and fetch her the drake, drake, drake.

I had a little pony,
His name was Dapple Gray,
I lent him to a lady,
To ride a mile away.

She whipp’d him,
She lash’d him,
She rode him
Through the mire;
I would not lend
My pony now
For all the lady’s hire.

[Pg 141]


ROSS patch, draw the latch,
Sit by the fire and spin;
Take a cup, and drink it up,
Then call your neighbours in.

Jack Sprat would eat no fat,
His wife would eat no lean;
Now was not this a pretty trick
To make the platter clean?

A pie sate on a pear-tree,
A pie sate on a pear-tree,
A pie sate on a pear-tree,
Heigh O! heigh O! heigh O!
Once so merrily hopp’d she,
Twice so merrily hopp’d she,
Thrice so merrily hopp’d she,
Heigh O! heigh O! heigh O

A cat came fiddling out of a barn,
With a pair of bagpipes under her arm;
She could sing nothing but “Fiddle de dee,
The mouse has married the humble bee.”
[Pg 142]

Remember, remember,
The fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot;
I see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

Girls and boys, come out to play,
The moon is shining bright as day;
Leave your supper, and leave your sleep,
And come with your playfellows into the street;
Come with a whoop, and come with a call,
Come with a good will, or come not at all.
Up the ladder and down the wall,
A halfpenny roll will serve us all:
You find milk and I’ll find flour,
And we’ll have a pudding in half-an-hour.

I’ll tell you a story
About Jack-a-Nory,
And now my story’s begun;
I’ll tell you another,
About Jack and his brother,
And now my story’s done.
[Pg 143]

The Studio Door
The Studio Door

Ding, dong, bell,
Pussy’s in the well!
Who put her in?—
Little Johnny Green.
Who pull’d her out?—
Little Johnny Stout.
Oh! what a naughty
Boy was that,
To drown his poor
Grand-mammy’s cat,
Which never did him any harm,
But kill’d the mice in his father’s barn.

[Pg 145][Pg 144]


[Pg 146]



[Pg 147]


Girls and boys come out to play,
The moon is shining bright as day;
Leave your supper and leave your sleep,
And come with your playfellows into the street;
Come with a whoop, and come with a call,
Come with a good will, or come not at all.
Come, let us dance on the open green,
And she who holds longest shall be our queen.
[Pg 148]

Little Bo-peep has lost her sheep,
And cannot tell where to find ’em;
Leave them alone, and they’ll come home,
And bring their tails behind ’em.

Little Bo-peep fell fast asleep,
And dreamt she heard them bleating;
When she awoke, she found it a joke,
For still they all were fleeting.

Then up she took her little crook,
Determin’d for to find them;
She found them indeed, but it made her heart bleed,
[Pg 149]For they’d left their tails behind them.

It happen’d one day, as Bo-peep did stray
Unto a meadow hard by:
There she espied their tails side by side,
All hung on a tree to dry.

She heaved a sigh, and wiped her eye,
And over the hillocks she raced;
And tried what she could, as a shepherdess should,
That each tail should be properly placed.

[Pg 150]

A carrion crow sat upon an oak,
Fol de rol, de rol, de rol, de ri do,
Watching a tailor cutting out his cloak
Sing heigh ho! the carrion crow,
Fol de rol, de rol, de rol, de ri do.

Wife, wife! bring me my bow,
Fol de rol, de rol, de rol, de ri do,
That I may shoot yon carrion crow;
Sing heigh ho! the carrion crow,
[Pg 151]Fol de rol, de rol, de rol, de ri do.

The tailor he shot and miss’d his mark,
Fol de rol, de rol, de rol, de ri do;
And shot his own sow quite through the heart;
Sing heigh ho! the carrion crow,
Fol de rol, de rol, de rol, de ri do.

Wife, wife! bring me brandy in a spoon;
Fol de rol, de rol, de rol, de ri do,
For our old sow has fall’n down in a swoon,
Sing heigh ho! the carrion crow,
Fol de rol, de rol, de rol, de ri do.
[Pg 152]

Three children sliding on the ice,
Upon a summer’s day;
It so fell out, they all fell in,
The rest they ran away.

Now, had these children been at home,
Or sliding on dry ground,
Ten thousand pounds to one penny,
They had not all been drown’d.

You parents that have children dear,
And eke you that have none,
If you would have them safe abroad,
Pray keep them safe at home.
[Pg 153]

Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard,
To give her poor dog a bone;
But when she came there
The cupboard was bare,
And so the poor dog had none.
She went to the baker’s
To buy him some bread,
And when she came back
Poor doggy was dead.
She went to the joiner’s
To buy him a coffin,
And when she came back
The dog was a-laughing.
She took a clean dish
To get him some tripe,
And when she came back
He was smoking his pipe.
She went to the ale-house
To get him some beer,
And when she came back
Doggy sat in a chair.[Pg 154]
She went to the tavern
For white wine and red,
And when she came back
The dog stood on his head.
She went to the hatter’s
To buy him a hat,
And when she came back
He was feeding the cat.
She went to the barber’s
To buy him a wig,
And when she came back
He was dancing a jig.
She went to the fruiterer’s
To buy him some fruit,
And when she came back
He was playing the flute.
She went to the tailor’s
To buy him a coat,
And when she came back
He was riding a goat.
[Pg 155]
She went to the tailor’s
To buy him a coat,
And when she came back
He was riding a goat.
She went to the sempstress
To buy him some linen,
And when she came back
The dog was a-spinning.
She went to the hosier’s
To buy him some hose,
And when she came back
He was dress’d in his clothes.
The dame made a curtsey,
The dog made a bow;
The dame said, “Your servant,”
The dog said, “Bow, wow!”
[Pg 156]

Simple Simon met a pieman
Going to the fair:
Says Simple Simon to the pieman,
“Let me taste your ware.”

Says the pieman to Simple Simon,
“Show me first your penny.”
Says Simple Simon to the pieman,
“Indeed I have not any.”

Simple Simon went to town
To get a piece of meat;
He would not buy a calf’s head,
Because it had no feet.

Simple Simon went a-fishing,
For to catch a whale:
All the water he had got
Was in his mother’s pail.

Simple Simon went to look
If plums grew on a thistle
He pricked his fingers very much,
Which made poor Simon whistle.
[Pg 157]

Sing a song of sixpence, a pocket full of rye,
Four-and-twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened the birds began to sing,
And was not that a dainty dish to set before the king?

The king was in the parlour, counting out his money;
[Pg 158]

The queen was in the pantry, eating bread and honey
The maid was in the garden, hanging out the clothes;
There came a little blackbird and peck’d off her nose.

[Pg 159]

There was an old woman, as I’ve heard tell,
She went to the market her eggs for to sell,
She went to the market, all on a market day,
And she fell asleep on the king’s highway.

There came a little pedler, his name it was Stout,
He cut off her petticoats all round about;
He cut off her petticoats up to her knees,
Until her poor knees began for to freeze.

When the little old woman began to awake,
She began to shiver, and she began to shake;
Her knees began to freeze, and she began to cry,
[Pg 160]“Oh lawk! oh mercy on me! this surely can’t be I.

If it be not I, as I suppose it be,
I have a little dog at home, and he knows me;
If it be I, he will wag his little tail,
But if it be not I, he’ll bark and he’ll rail.”

Up jump’d the little woman, all in the dark,
Up jump’d the little dog, and he began to bark;
The dog began to bark, and she began to cry,
“Oh lawk! oh mercy on me! I see it is not I.”

[Pg 161]

There was a little man,
And he woo’d a little maid,
And he said, “Little maid, will you wed, wed, wed?
I have little more to say,
Than will you, yea or nay,
For least said is soonest mended-ded, ded.”

The little maid replied,
Some say a little sighed,
“But what shall we have for to eat, eat, eat?
Will the love that you’re so rich in
Make a fire in the kitchen?
Or the little god of Love turn the spit, spit, spit?”

I had a little wife, the prettiest ever seen,
She wash’d all the dishes and kept the house clean
She went to the mill to fetch me some flour,
She brought it home safe in less than an hour;
She baked me my bread, she brew’d me my ale,
She sat by the fire and told a fine tale.
[Pg 162]

Did you not hear of Betty Pringle’s pig?
It was not very little nor yet very big;
The pig sat down upon a dunghill.
And there poor piggy he made his will.

Betty Pringle came to see this pretty pig,
That was not very little nor yet very big;
This little piggy it lay down and died,
And Betty Pringle sat down and cried.

Then Johnny Pringle buried this very pretty pig,
That was not very little nor yet very big.
So here’s an end of the song of all three,
Johnny Pringle, Betty Pringle, and little Piggy.
[Pg 163]

Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard,
To give her poor dog a bone;
But when she came there
The cupboard was bare,
And so the poor dog had none.
The queen of hearts,
She made some tarts,
All on a summer’s day;
The knave of hearts
He stole those tarts,
And with them ran away:
The king of hearts
Call’d for those tarts,
And beat the knave full sore;
The knave of hearts
Brought back those tarts,
And said he’d ne’er steal more.
The king of spades
He kiss’d the maids,
Which vex’d the queen full sore;
The queen of spades
She beat those maids
And turn’d them out of door;
The knave of spades
Grieved for those jades,
And did for them implore;
The queen so gent,
She did relent,
And vow’d she’d ne’er strike more.
[Pg 164]
The king of clubs
He often drubs
His loving queen and wife;
The queen of clubs
Returns him snubs,
And all is noise and strife:
The knave of clubs
Gives winks and rubs,
And swears he’ll take her part;
For when our kings
Will do such things,
They should be made to smart.
The diamond king
I fain would sing,
And likewise his fair queen,
But that the knave,
A haughty slave,
Must needs step in between.
“Good diamond king,
With hempen string
This haughty knave destroy,
Then may your queen,
With mind serene,
Your royal love enjoy.”
[Pg 165]

There was a little guinea-pig,
Who, being little, was not big;
He always walk’d upon his feet,
And never fasted when he eat.

When from a place he ran away,
He never at that place did stay;
And while he ran, as I am told,
He ne’er stood still for young or old.

He often squeak’d, was sometimes violent,
And when he squeak’d he ne’er was silent:
Though ne’er instructed by a cat,
He knew a mouse was not a rat.

One day, as I am certified,
He took a whim and fairly died;
And, as I’m told by men of sense,
He never has been living since.

The king of France, with twenty thousand men,
March’d up the hill, and then—march’d back again.
[Pg 166]

When good King Arthur ruled this land,
He was a goodly king;
He stole three pecks of barley-meal,
To make a bag-pudding.

A bag-pudding the king did make,
And stuff’d it well with plums:
And in it put great lumps of fat,
As big as my two thumbs.

The king and queen did eat thereof,
And noblemen beside;
And what they could not eat at night,
The queen next morning fried.
[Pg 167]

My dears, do you know
That a long time ago,
Two poor little children,
Whose names I don’t know,
Were stolen away on a fine summer’s day,
And left in a wood, so I’ve heard people say.

And when it was night,
How sad was their plight!
The sun it went down,
And the moon gave no light!
They sobb’d and they sigh’d, and they bitterly cried,
And the poor little things they lay down and died.

And when they were dead,
The Robins so red
Brought strawberry leaves,
And over them spread;
And all the day long,
They sung them this song,
“Poor babes in the wood! poor babes in the wood!
Ah! don’t you remember the babes in the wood?”
[Pg 168]

When I was a bachelor,
I lived by myself,
And all the bread and cheese I got
I put upon the shelf.
But the rats and the mice
They made such a strife,
I was forced to go to London
To get myself a wife:
The roads were so bad,
And the lanes were so narrow,
I was forced to bring my wife home
In a wheelbarrow.
The wheelbarrow broke,
And my wife had a fall,
Down came the wheelbarrow,
My wife, and all.
[Pg 169]

Gay go up and gay go down,
To ring the bells of London town.

Oranges and lemons,
Say the bells of St. Clement’s.

Bull’s eyes and targets,
Say the bells of St. Marg’ret’s.

Brickbats and tiles,
Say the bells of St. Giles’.

Halfpence and farthings,
Say the bells of St. Martin’s.

Pancakes and fritters,
Say the bells of St. Peter’s.

Two sticks and an apple,
Say the bells of Whitechapel.

Pokers and tongs,
Say the bells of St. John’s.
[Pg 170]
Kettles and pans,
Say the bells of St. Ann’s.

Old Father Baldpate,
Say the slow bells of Aldgate.

You owe me ten shillings,
Say the bells of St. Helen’s.

When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey.

When I grow rich,
Say the bells of Shoreditch.

Pray when will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney.

I do not know,
Says the great bell of Bow.

Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
And here comes a chopper to chop off your head.
[Pg 171]

We’re all dry with drinking on’t,
We’re all dry with drinking on’t;
The piper kiss’d the fiddler’s wife,
And I can’t sleep for thinking on’t.

I have a little sister, they call her Peep, Peep,
She wades in the water, deep, deep, deep,
She climbs up the mountains, high, high, high;
My poor little sister—she has but one eye!

(A Star.)
[Pg 172]

Old King Cole
Was a merry old soul,
And a merry old soul was he;
He called for his pipe,
And he called for his bowl,
And he called for his fiddlers three.
Every fiddler, he had a fiddle,
And a very fine fiddle had he;
Twee tweedle dee, tweedle dee, went the fiddlers.
Oh, there’s none so rare,
As can compare
With King Cole and his fiddlers three!
[Pg 173]

Old Mother Goose, when
She wanted to wander,
Would ride through the air
On a very fine gander.

Mother Goose had a house,
’Twas built in a wood,
Where an owl at the door
For sentinel stood.

This is her son Jack,
A plain-looking lad,
He is not very good,
Nor yet very bad.

She sent him to market,
A live goose he bought;
“Here, mother,” says he,
“It will not go for nought.”

Jack’s goose and her gander
Grew very fond,
They’d both eat together,
Or swim in one pond.

Jack found one morning,
[Pg 174]As I have been told,
His goose had laid him
An egg of pure gold.

Jack rode to his mother,
The news for to tell;
She call’d him a good boy,
And said it was well.

Jack sold his gold egg
To a rogue of a Jew,
Who cheated him out of
The half of his due.

Then Jack went a-courting
A lady so gay,
As fair as the lily
And sweet as the May.

The Jew and the Squire
Came close at his back,
And began to belabour
The sides of poor Jack.

They threw the gold egg
In the midst of the sea;
But Jack he jump’d in,
[Pg 175]And got it back presently.

The Jew got the goose,
Which he vow’d he would kill,
Resolving at once
His pockets to fill.

Jack’s mother came in,
And caught the goose soon,
And, mounting its back,
Flew up to the moon.

[Pg 177][Pg 176]




[Pg 178]

From Mrs. Barbauld’s “Lessons for Children.”

[Pg 179]


Good morning, little boy; how do you do? Bring your little stool and sit down by me, for I have a great deal to tell you.

I hope you have been a good boy, and read all the pretty words I wrote for you before. You have, you say; you have read them till you are tired, and you want some more new lessons. Come, then, sit down. Now you and I will tell stories.[Pg 180]


It is very cold. It snows. It freezes. There are no leaves upon the trees. The oil is frozen, and the milk is frozen, and the river is frozen, and everything in the fields is frozen.[Pg 181]

All the boys are sliding: you must learn to slide. There is a man skating. How fast he goes! You shall have a pair of skates. Take care! there is a hole in the ice. Come in. It is four o’clock. It is dark. Light the candles: and, Ralph! get some wood from the wood-house, and get some coals, and make a very good fire.

Now get the large picture-book, and let us look at the pretty pictures, and I will tell you stories about them.

[Pg 182]


It is still very cold, but the days are longer, and there is the yellow crocus coming up, and the mezereon tree is in blossom, and there are some white snow-drops peeping up their little heads. Pretty white snow-drop, with a green stalk! May I gather it? Yes, you may; but you must always ask leave before you gather a flower.[Pg 183]

When spring comes again there will be green leaves and flowers, daisies and pinks, and violets and roses; and there will be young lambs, and warm weather. Come again, spring!

What a noise the rooks make! Caw! caw! caw! and how busy they are! They are going to build their nests. There is a man ploughing the field. In a few days the farmer will sow it with barley. Wheat is sown in the autumn. In some places oxen draw the plough instead of horses.

[Pg 184]


Now the wind blows. It will blow such a little fellow as you away, almost. There is a tree blown down. Which way does the wind blow? Take out your handkerchief. Throw it up. The wind blows it this way. The wind comes from the north.[Pg 185] The wind is north. It is a cold wind. The wind was west yesterday: then it was warmer.

Here is a lady-bird upon a leaf. It is red, and has black spots. Ah! it has wings: it has flown away. There is a black beetle. Catch it. How fast it runs! Where is it gone? Into the ground. It makes a little hole and runs into the ground.

There are some young lambs. Poor things! how they creep under the hedge. What is this flower? A primrose. Where is Harry? He is sitting under a tree.

[Pg 186]


Now the birds sing, and the trees are in blossom, and flowers are coming out, and butterflies, and the sun shines. Now it rains. It rains and the sun shines. There is a rainbow. Oh, what fine colours! Pretty bright rainbow! No, you cannot catch it; it is in the sky. It is going away.[Pg 187] It fades. It is quite gone. I hear the cuckoo. He says, Cuckoo! cuckoo! He is come to tell us it is spring. Do you know the nursery rhyme about the cuckoo?

The cuckoo’s a bonny bird,
He sings as he flies;
He brings us good tidings,
And tells us no lies.
He sucks little birds’ eggs
To make his voice clear,
And always sings “Cuckoo”
When spring-time is near.

[Pg 188]


Oh, pleasant May! Let us walk out in the fields. The hawthorn is in blossom. Let us go and get some out of the hedges. And here are daisies, and cowslips, and crow-flowers. We will make a nosegay. Smell, it is very sweet! What has Harry got? He has got a nest of young birds. He has been climbing a high tree for them.[Pg 189] Poor little birds! they have no feathers. Keep them warm. You must feed them with a quill. You must give them bread and milk. They are young goldfinches. They will be very pretty when they have got their red head and yellow wings.

We will drink tea out of doors. Bring the tea-things. It is very pleasant. But here is no table. What must we do? Oh, here is a large round stump of a tree! it will do very well for a table. But we have no chairs. Here is a seat of turf, and a bank almost covered with violets: we shall sit here, and Harry may lie on the soft grass carpet.

[Pg 190]


What noise is that? It is the mower in the field whetting his scythe. He is going to cut down the grass. And will he cut down all the flowers too? Yes, everything. Now we must make hay. Where is your fork and rake? Spread the hay. Now make it up into cocks. Now tumble on the haycock. There, cover Harry up with hay. How sweet the hay smells! Oh, it is very hot. No matter; you should[Pg 191] make hay while the sun shines. You must work well. See! all the lads and lasses are at work. They must have some beer, and bread and cheese. Now put the hay in the cart. Will you ride in the cart? Huzza!

It is a pleasant evening. Come here, Harry: look at the sun. The sun is in the west. Yes, little boys say he is going to bed. How pretty the sun looks! We can look at him now; he is not so bright as he was at dinner-time, when he was up high in the sky. And how beautiful the clouds are! There are crimson clouds, and purple and gold-coloured clouds. Now we can see only half of the sun. Now he is gone.

[Pg 192]


It is very hot, indeed, now, and the grass and flowers are all burnt, for it has not rained a great while. You must water your garden, else the plants will die. Where is the watering-pot? Let us go under the trees. It is shady there: it is not so hot. Come into the arbour. There is a bee upon the honey-suckle. He is getting honey. He will carry it to the hive.

Will you go and bathe in the water?[Pg 193] Here is the river. It is not deep. Pull off your clothes. Jump in. Do not be afraid. Pop your head in. Now try to swim. Do you see that little frog? You should swim just as the little frog swims.

Now you have been in the water long enough. Come out, and let me dry you with this towel.

[Pg 194]


Let us go into the corn-fields to see if the corn is almost ripe. Yes, it is quite brown; it is ripe. Farmer Diggory! you must bring a sharp sickle and cut down the corn; it is ripe. Now it must be tied up in sheaves. Now put a great many sheaves together, and make a shock.

There is a poor old woman picking up some ears of corn; and a poor little girl with her. They are gleaning. Give them[Pg 195] your handful, Harry. Take it, poor woman, it will help to make you a loaf.

Look, there are black clouds. How fast they move along! Now they have hid the sun. There is a little bit of blue sky still. Now it is all covered with black clouds. It is very dark, like night. It will rain soon. Now it begins. What large drops! The ducks are very glad, but the little birds are not glad; they go and shelter themselves under the trees. Now the rain is over. It was only a shower. Now the flowers smell sweet, and the sun shines, and the little birds sing again, and it is not so hot as it was before it rained.

[Pg 196]


Hark! somebody is letting off a gun! They are shooting the poor birds. Here is a bird dropped down just at your feet. It is all bloody. Poor thing! how it flutters! Its wing is broken. It cannot fly any further. It is going to die. What bird is it? It is a partridge. Are you not sorry, Harry? It was alive a little while ago.

Bring the ladder, and set it against the tree. Now bring a basket. We must gather apples. No, you cannot go up the ladder; you must have a little basket, and pick up apples under the tree. Shake the[Pg 197] tree. Down they come. How many have you got? We will have an apple-dumpling. Come, you must help to carry the apples into the apple-chamber. Apples make cyder. You shall have some baked pears and bread for supper, and some cyder. Are these apples? No, they are quinces; they will make marmalade. Do not be in such haste, little boy; you shall have some cyder directly. You must not drink much.

[Pg 198]


The leaves are falling off the trees now, and the flowers are all gone. No, here is an African marigold, and a China-aster, and a Michaelmas daisy. And here are a few roses left.

Will you have any nuts? Fetch the nut-crackers. Peel this walnut. I will make you a little boat of the walnut-shell, and you can swim it in a pan. We must get the grapes, or else the birds will eat them all. Here is a bunch of black grapes. Here is a bunch of white ones. Which will you have? Grapes make wine.[Pg 199]

What bird have you got there? It is dead, but it is very pretty. It has a scarlet eye, and red, and green, and purple feathers. It is very large. It is a pheasant. He is very good to eat. We will pull off his feathers, and tell Betty Cook to roast him. Here is a hare too. Poor puss! the hounds did catch her.

[Pg 200]


How dark and dismal it is! No more flowers! no more pleasant sunshine! no more haymaking! The sky is very black: the rain pours down. Well, never mind it; we will sit by the fire, and read, and tell stories, and look at pictures. I wonder what poor little boys do that have no fire to go to, and no shoes and stockings to keep them warm, and no victuals to eat? Here is a halfpenny, Harry, and when you[Pg 201] see one of those poor boys you shall give it to him. He will say, “Thank you, you are very good!” and then he will buy a roll.

Where are Billy, and Harry, and Betsy? Now tell me who can spell best. Good boy! Now you shall all have some cake. That is right, Jane, shut the cupboard door.

[Pg 202]


Christmas is coming, and Betty is very busy. What is she doing? She is paring apples, and chopping meat, and beating spice. What for, I wonder? It is to make mince-pies. Do you love mince-pies? Oh, they are very good!

Look! a pretty little robin is flying against the window. Open the window. Well, what do you want, little robin? Only a few crumbs of bread. Give him some crumbs, and he will hop, hop about the parlour, and sit upon the top of the screen, and sing—oh, he will sing all day long![Pg 203] Now pray do not let that wicked cat take him. No, puss! you must go and catch mice; you shall not eat poor robin.

Little boys come from school at Christmas. Pray wrap them up warm, for it is very cold. Well, spring will come again some time.

[Pg 204]



There was a little boy; he was not a big boy, for if he had been a big boy I suppose he would have been wiser; but this was a little boy, not higher than the table, and his papa and mamma sent him to school. It was a very pleasant morning; the sun shone, and the birds sung on the trees. Now this little boy did not much love his book, for he was but a silly little boy, as I told you; and he had a great mind to play instead of going to school. And he saw a[Pg 205] bee flying about, first upon one flower, and then upon another; so he said, “Pretty bee! will you come and play with me?” But the bee said, “No, I must not be idle; I must go and gather honey.” Then the little boy met a dog, and he said, “Dog! will you play with me?” But the dog said, “No, I must not be idle; I am going to catch a hare for my master’s dinner: I[Pg 206] must make haste and catch it.” Then the little boy went by a hay-rick, and he saw a bird pulling some hay out of the hay-rick, and he said, “Bird! will you come and play with me?” But the bird said, “No, I must not be idle; I must get some hay to build my nest with, and some moss, and some wool.” So the bird flew away. Then the little boy saw a horse, and he said, “Horse! will you play with me?” But the horse said, “No, I must not be idle; I must go and plough, or else there will be no corn to make bread of.” Then the little boy thought with himself, “What! is nobody idle? then little boys must not be idle neither.” So he made haste, and went to school, and learned his lesson very well, and the master said he was a good boy.[Pg 207]



See, here is Mamma, and here are Maria, and Harry, and Herbert. They are in the[Pg 208] orchard gathering apples to put into puddings. See, Mamma is shaking the tree, and Maria is catching the apples in her frock. And look, how busy Harry and Herbert are! I hope they will not eat too many apples.[Pg 209]




[Pg 211][Pg 210]


ARLY one morning during last summer, Harry and I put on our hats, and taking some cake in our pockets for lunch set out for a good long walk. First we went through the Home Meadow, where the tall elm-trees are, and then through the gate at the bottom of the valley into the corn-fields. The sun was shining bright and clear, and a lark was singing high up in the blue sky[Pg 212] almost beyond our sight. Harry and I stood still to watch its descent, and after many minutes we saw it alight near a tuft of grass by the hedge-side. We walked a little nearer, and then we found that there was another bird there with some young ones; so we thought that this lark had been singing its long, sweet song in the air[Pg 213] to cheer its mate, who was feeding their little ones in the nest.

We then walked on, and soon came to the skirts of the wood, through which runs a little stream. We thought there must be some one in the wood, for we heard a smart tapping sound, like the noise of a little hammer. I climbed on the top of a hedge-bank, and, after a little while, found that the noise came from over our heads. On the trunk of a tree were two wood-peckers pecking with their long beaks at the bark of a fir-tree, in which they find a number of little insects, which serve them for their food. I lifted Harry up to see them at their work, but he did not frighten them, and at some long way off we could still hear them tapping away.

Just at the corner of the wood, as we were turning round by the side of the[Pg 214] fence, we saw two hares and a rabbit feeding among the clover; one of them pricked[Pg 215] up his ears and looked at us for a moment, and then all of them ran away across the field much faster than Harry, who tried all he could to catch them.

We had not walked much further when we heard a great chattering, and when we came to a young beech-tree close by the stile, we soon found the cause of the noise.[Pg 216] About two dozen or more of a little bird called the titmouse had all perched on one tree, where they were pecking, and fighting,[Pg 217] and love-making, and noise-making, all at the same time. Except the noise made by sparrows when they go to bed on a summer’s evening, I never heard the like.

While I was amusing myself by watching the titmice, Harry, who had rambled on a little way, came running back to ask me what the funny thing could be that he had[Pg 218] found. It was a mole that had been caught in a trap, and was dangling in the air with a swarm of bees around. I told Harry that the moles are blind, or nearly so, and that they live under the ground, and do great good to the farmers by eating the slugs and other things that destroy the corn; but that they turn up such great mounds of earth when making their tunnels, that the farmers are often glad to get rid of them, and therefore set traps to kill them.

In the next field we came to, the young wheat had grown up higher than my knees, and Harry was greatly pleased at running down the furrows and making the blades of corn bend before him. Presently he stopped and peeped through an opening, whence he discovered a whole covey of partridges, the two old birds and seven young ones; they all rose with a whirring noise,[Pg 219] and flew into the field we had just left.

Soon after the partridges had flown away, Harry was delighted to hear the well-known voice of the cuckoo; it sounded so near us that we both started at the first voice, and we soon found out where the cuckoo was. Like a lazy tyrant, instead of making a house for himself, the cuckoo[Pg 220] takes the first little bird’s nest he can find, and turns the poor occupant away. When we reached the tree where the cuckoo was, we saw it sitting on a small nest throwing out the eggs of a poor little bird, who was screaming in anger at the intruder.

When I told Harry what the cuckoo had been doing, he wanted to throw a stone at it, but I told him that this cuckoo[Pg 221] was only doing what all other cuckoos did, and that the poor little bird would soon build itself another nest. As we walked on, still by the side of the wood, Harry saw something jumping about in the boughs of a tree; and presently another followed it: they were two squirrels, with their long bushy tails curled over their backs, and their ears pricked up to hear the slightest noise. As soon as they saw Harry looking at them they both leaped away, and we lost them in the branches of a large[Pg 222] oak. To look after the squirrels we had climbed over the hedge, so we were walking a little way in the wood. Presently I heard the call of a pheasant; and as we walked further, we came to some brush-wood, under which were two old birds and[Pg 223] their young ones. They all flew away at our approach; but the old cock-pheasant left two of his tail-feathers in the brush-wood, which Harry soon picked up to decorate his hat with.

The next bird that caught our notice was a fly-catcher. It was sitting on a bramble catching bees and flies, and so[Pg 224] intently was it watching for them, that it did not even notice our presence, till Harry tried to put his hand on it, but then away it flew with a fine chattering.

We now left the wood, and taking the foot-path to the left, went along till we came to the road. Just by the stile sat a girl, who had been gathering dried sticks in the wood, where her father was cutting down trees. She had tied up the sticks into a bundle, and was sitting on them to rest herself, because they were so heavy. She asked me to help her to put them on her head; this I did, and then she thanked me, and trudged on, singing as merrily as a lark in the sky.

Now we came to a bridge over a wide river. I mounted Harry astride the parapet, and there we stopped for some minutes to look at the boats as they passed under[Pg 225] us, and to watch two swans which were sailing up the river with their great wings[Pg 226] spread out for sails, and their necks so proudly bent that they looked like the king and queen of the river. Harry would have stayed for hours to look at them, but we could not stop long.

We next turned down the pathway by the river-side, and soon we came to the[Pg 227] wide marshes, which are only two miles off the sea. There we were standing under a willow, watching for the fish which were swimming down the river in little shoals, when we heard a splash on the opposite bank; it was an otter that had dived into the river, and caught a fish, with which we saw it climb on to the bank again. Men[Pg 228] used to hunt the otter with dogs and spears; and sometimes otters have been trained to catch fish and bring them to land, but we do not often find them in England.

As we walked on by the river-side, we noticed a hawk flying swiftly over us; afterwards we saw him balance himself on his wings, and keep for many minutes in exactly the same place. Presently, with a loud scream, he darted down into some rushes a little way before us, and then we heard a most furious quacking, as if there were fifty ducks there. We ran on and saw a drake flying at the hawk and pecking at its wings, and the duck, quacking in the utmost alarm, tried to get all her little ducklings under her wings; but, alas! one little truant ran into the weeds, and the hawk caught it in his claws, and, in spite of all the efforts of the poor drake, flew away with it.[Pg 229]

Harry was greatly excited at this scene, and cried to see the hawk carry away the poor little duck; but he soon laughed again, for as he watched the robber in his flight through the air, he saw a number of little birds fly after him,—sparrows, swallows,[Pg 230] finches, all chirping at him and mocking him; then a tribe of bigger birds, blackbirds, magpies, rooks, and jays, flew after him also; and as the hawk could not fly fast with the duckling in his claws, they soon overtook him, and we saw them peck at his wings and his tail, and pull his feathers[Pg 231] out; and they all screamed and chattered at him till at last the hawk let the poor duckling down into the marsh, and then, rising much higher than the other birds, flew away so quickly that he was out of sight in a minute. Harry clapped his hands with delight to see the hawk thus treated, and said that he was rightly served.

Now we walked on again by the river[Pg 232]-side. The swallows skimmed along the surface of the water, and caught the insects that hovered over it, and now and then a sea-gull came with its great wings, and diving into the river, bore away a poor fish in its beak to swallow at its leisure.

Then we came close to a solemn-looking[Pg 233] heron, who stood so still that we could hardly tell if he were alive, till we saw him suddenly dive his head in a pool of water and pull out a frog, which he swallowed at one mouthful; and then he stood as still and solemn as ever. He flew away when we walked near him, flapping his immense wings slowly, and giving a mournful cry.

Then we turned away from the river, and took a path across the meadows, where Harry ran about and gathered cowslips and buttercups until he was quite tired; therefore it happened very luckily that just as we reached the gate into the high-road, who should we see but Uncle George driving past in his gig! He stopped his horse when he saw us, and both Harry and I were very glad to have a nice ride home with him.

In the evening Harry and I went for a[Pg 234] stroll in the fields near home, and presently we came to one where the sheep were feeding. The shepherd was just calling them home to be put in the fold, and we were very much amused to see the antics of some of the young lambs that would skip about instead of going to bed with their mothers. This put me in mind to tell Harry Mrs. Barbauld’s story about


There was once a shepherd, who had a great many sheep and lambs. He took a great deal of care of them, and gave them sweet fresh grass to eat, and clear water to drink; and if they were sick he was very good to them; and when they climbed up a steep hill, and the lambs were tired, he used to carry them in his arms; and when they were all eating their suppers in the[Pg 235] field, he used to sit upon a stile, and play them a tune, and sing to them. And so they were the happiest sheep and lambs in the whole world. But every night this shepherd used to pen them up in a fold. Do you know what a sheepfold is? Well, I will tell you. It is a place like the court; but instead of pales there are hurdles, which[Pg 236] are made of sticks that will bend, such as osier twigs; and they are twisted and made very fast, so that nothing can creep in, and nothing can get out. Well, and so every night, when it grew dark and cold, the shepherd called all his flock, sheep and lambs, together, and drove them into the fold, and penned them up, and there they lay as snug and warm and comfortable as could be, and nothing could get in to hurt them, and the dogs lay round on the outside to guard them, and to bark if any body came near; and in the morning the shepherd unpenned the fold, and let them all out again.

Now they were all very happy, as I told you, and loved the shepherd dearly that was so good to them—all except one foolish little lamb. And this lamb did not like to be shut up every night in the fold; and she[Pg 237] came to her mother, who was a wise old sheep, and said to her, “I wonder why we are shut up so every night? the dogs are not shut up, and why should we be shut up? I think it is very hard, and I will get away if I can, I am resolved; for I like to run about where I please, and I think it is very pleasant in the woods by moonlight.” Then the old sheep said to her, “You are very silly, you little lamb, you had better stay in the fold. The shepherd is so good to us, that we should always do as he bids us; and if you wander about by yourself, I dare say you will come to some harm.” “I dare say not,” said the little lamb. And so when the evening came, and the shepherd called them all to come into the fold, she would not come, but crept slily under a hedge and hid herself; and when the rest of the lambs were all in the[Pg 238] fold and fast asleep, she came out, and jumped, and frisked, and danced about; and she got out of the field, and got into a forest full of trees, and a very fierce wolf came rushing out of a cave and howled very loud. Then the silly lamb wished she had been shut up in the fold, but the fold was a great way off. And the wolf saw her and seized her, and carried her away[Pg 239] to a dismal den; and there the wolf had two cubs, and the wolf said to them, “Here, I have brought you a young fat lamb.” And so the cubs took her, and growled over her a little while, and then ate her up.

Harry said that was a very naughty lamb.

It now began to be quite dark, so Harry and I returned home. Then we had a long talk about what we had seen during the day; and then Harry had his bread and milk for supper, and then he said his prayers and went to bed.

[Pg 241][Pg 240]








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Transcriber’s Note: The Table of Contents was added by the transcriber.
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