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THE MOUNTAIN AND THE SQUIRREL
The mountain and the squirrel
RALPH WALDO EMERSON.
bunn or bunny: name given to a
rabbit or a squirrel disgrace (dis grās'): shame doubtless (dout'less) occupy (ok'kū pī): fill prig: a person who thinks he is nicer
than other people
quarrel (kwor'rel): dispute
HELPS TO STUDY
1. What name does the mountain call the squirrel ? 2. When the squirrel “talks back," what does he say? 3. What is the last point he makes ?
4. Which do you think gets the better of the argument ? 5. Have you ever watched squirrels in the woods or in a city park ? Did they seem dignified or frisky? 6. Why sh yuld the mountain call the squirrel a “prig”? 7. What things can a squirrel really do? 8. What things can the mountain do that are really useful? 9. The title that the author gave to this poem was
“A Fable.” Do you see why? 10. Three of the rhymes are not correct; find them.
1. What tricks did Jack Frost play, and what beautiful inings did he make?
2. What sort of creature was Brownie ? How did he show himself friendly to the children ?
3. What did the Mountain and the Squirrel talk about ? ' What did they say ?
TOM AND THE LOBSTER
This selection is from Kingsley's Water-Babies. Little Tom was a chimney-sweeper, overworked and cruelly treated. He was drowned in a river, changed into a “water-baby,” and carried out to sea, where he saw and learned many strange things.
Tom was very happy in the water. He had been sadly overworked in the land-world; so now, to make up for that, he had nothing but holidays in the water-world for a long, long time to come. He had nothing to do now but enjoy himself, and 5 look at all the pretty things which are to be seen in the cool, clear water-world, where the sun is never too hot, and the frost is never too cold.
One day among the rocks he found a playfellow.
It was not a water-baby, alas! but it was a lob- 10 ster, and a very distinguished lobster he was; for he had live barnacles on his claws, which is a great mark of distinction in lobsterdom, and no more to be bought for money than a good conscience or the Victoria Cross.
Tom had never seen a lobster before, and he was mightily taken with this one, for he thought him the most curious, odd, ridiculous creature he had ever seen; and there he was not far wrong, 5 for all the ingenious men, and all the scientific men, and all the fanciful men in the world, with all the old German bogy-painters into the bargain, could never invent, if all their wits were boiled
into one, anything so curious, and so ridiculous, as 10 a lobster.
He had one claw knobbed and the other jagged; and Tom delighted in watching him hold on to the seaweed with his knobbed claw, while he cut up salads with his jagged one, and then put them into his mouth, after smelling at them like a monkey. And always the little barnacles threw out their casting nets and swept the water, and came in for 5 their share of whatever there was for dinner.
But Tom was most astonished to see how he fired himself off — snap! like the leap-frogs which you make out of a goose's breastbone. Certainly he took the most wonderful shots, and 10 backwards, too. For, if he wanted to go into a narrow crack ten yards off, what do you think he did ? If he had gone in headforemost, of course he could not have turned round. So he used to turn his tail to it, and lay his long horns straight 1 down his back to guide him, and twist bis eyes back till they almost came out of their sockets, and then made ready, present, fire, snap! — and away he went, pop into the hole! and peeped out and twiddled his whiskers, as much as to say, “You 20 couldn't do that."
Tom asked him about water-babies. · Yes," he said. “He had seen them often. But he did