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So the cunning old Cat lay down on a mat
By the fire in the servants' hall ; “If the little Mice peep, they'll think I'm asleep”;
So she rolled herself up like a ball.
“Squeak,” said the little Mouse, “we'll creep out
And eat some Cheshire cheese,
That silly old Cat is asleep on the mat,
And we may sup at our ease.”
Nibble, nibble, nibble, went all the little Mice,
And they licked their little paws;
Then the cunning old Cat sprang up from the mat,
And caught them all with her claws.
“ Aunt Effie."
The Last Dying Speech and Confession of Poor Puss
“KIND masters and misses
, whoever you be,
Do stop for a moment and pity poor me!
While here on my death-bed I try to relate
My many misfortunes and miseries great.
My dear Mother Tabby I've often heard say,
That I have been a very fine cat in my day;
But the sorrows in which my whole life has been passed
Have spoiled all my beauty, and killed me at last.
Poor thoughtless young thing ! if I recollect right,
I was kittened in March, on a clear frosty night;
And before I could see, or was half a week old,
I nearly had perished, the barn was so cold.
But this chilly spring I got pretty well over,
And moused in the hay-loft, or played in the clover,
Or till I was weary, which seldom occurred,
Ran after my tail, which I took for a bird.
But, ah! my poor tail, and my pretty sleek ears!
The farmer's boy cut them all off with his shears :
How little I thought, when I licked them so clean,
I should be such a figure, not fit to be seen!
Some time after this, when the places were healed,
As I lay in the sun, sound asleep in the field,
Miss Fanny crept slyly, and gripping me fast,
Declared she had caught the sweet creature at last.
Ah me! how I struggled my freedom to gain,
But, alas ! all my kicking and struggles were vain,
For she held me so tight in her pinafore tied,
That before she got home I had like to have died.
From this dreadful morning my sorrows arose !
Wherever I went I was followed with blows :
Some kicked me for nothing while quietly sleeping,
Or flogged me for daring the pantry to peep in.
And then the great dog! I shall never forget him;
How many a time my young master would set him,
And while I stood terrified, all of a quake,
Cry, 'Hey, cat!' and 'Seize her, boy! give her a shake!'
Sometimes, when so hungry I could not forbear
Just taking a scrap, that I thought they could spare,
Oh! what have I suffered with beating and banging,
Or starved for a fortnight, or threatened with hanging.
But kicking, and beating, and starving, and that,
I have borne with the spirit becoming a cat:
There was but one thing which I could not sustain,
So great was my sorrow, so hopeless my pain :-
One morning, laid safe in a warm little bed,
That down in the stable I'd carefully spread,
Three sweet little kittens as ever you saw,
I hid, as I thought, in some trusses of straw.
I was never so happy, I think, nor so proud,
I mewed to my kittens, and purred out aloud,
And thought with delight of the merry carousing
We'd have, when I first took them with me a-mousing.
But how shall I tell you the sorrowful ditty?
I'm sure it would melt even Growler to pity;
For the very next morning my darlings I found
Lying dead by the horse-pond, all mangled and drowned.
Poor darlings, I dragged them along to the stable,
And did all to warm them a mother was able;
But, alas ! all my licking and mewing were vain,
And I thought I should never be happy again.
However, time gave me a little relief,
And mousing diverted the thoughts of my grief;
And at last I began to be gay and content,
Till one dreadful night I sincerely repent.
Miss Fanny was fond of a little canary,
That tempted me more than mouse, pantry, or dairy;
So, not having eaten a morsel all day,
I flew to the bird-cage, and tore it away.
Now tell me, my friends, was the like ever heard,
That a cat should be killed for just catching a bird !
And I'm sure not the slightest suspicion I had,
But that catching a mouse was exactly as bad.
Indeed I can say, with my paw on my heart,
I would not have acted a mischievous part;
But, as dear Mother Tabby was often repeating,
I thought birds and mice were on purpose for eating.
Be this as it may, when my supper was o'er,
And but a few feathers were left on the floor,
Came Fanny—and scolding, and fighting, and crying,
She gave me those bruises, of which I am dying.
But I feel that my breathing grows shorter apace,
And cold clammy sweats trickle down from my
I forgive little Fanny this bruise on my side—”
She stopped, gave a sigh, and a struggle, and died !
Ann and Jane Taylor.
A JOLLY old sow once lived in a sty,
And three little piggies had she; And she waddled about, saying, “ Umph! umph! umph!”
While the little ones said, “Wee! wee!”
· My dear little brothers,” said one of the brats,
“My dear little piggies,” said he; “Let us all for the future say, 'Umph! umph! umph!'
'Tis so childish to say, “Wee! wee !'”
Then these little pigs grew skinny and lean,
And lean they might very well be; For somehow they couldn't say, "Umph! umph! umph!'
And they wouldn't say, “Wee! wee! wee !"
So after a time these little pigs died,
They all died of felo de se ;
From trying too hard to say, “Umph! umph! umph!”
When they only could say, “Wee ! wee!”
A moral there is to this little song,
A moral that's easy to see; Don't try while yet young to say, “ Umph! umph! umph !" For you only can say, “Wee! wee!”
A. S. Scott-Gatty.
Dame Duck's First Lecture on Education
LD Mother Duck has hatched a brood
Of ducklings, small and callow;
Their little wings are short, their down
Is mottled gray and yellow.