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And the Squirrel, well pleased such diversions to see,
Mounted high overhead and look'd down from a tree.

Then out came the Spider, with finger so fine,
To show his dexterity on the tight-line.

From one branch to another, his cobwebs he slung,
Then quick as an arrow he darted along,

But just in the middle-oh! shocking to tell,

From his rope, in an instant, poor Harlequin fell.
Yet he touch'd not the ground, but with talons outspread,
Hung suspended in air, at the end of a thread.

Then the Grasshopper came with a jerk and a spring,
Very long was his Leg, though but short was his Wing;
He took but three leaps, and was soon out of sight,
Then chirp'd his own praises the rest of the night.
With step so majestic the Snail did advance,

And promised the Gazers a Minuet to dance;

But they all laughed so loud that he pulled in his head, And went in his own little chamber to bed.

Then as Evening gave way to the shadows of Night, Their Watchman, the Glowworm, came out with a light.

"Then Home let us hasten, while yet we can see, For no Watchman is waiting for you and for me." So said little Robert, and pacing along,

His merry Companions return'd in a throng.

T. Roscoe.

The Owl-Critic

"WHO stuffed that white owl?" No one spoke in the


The barber was busy, and he couldn't stop;

The customers, waiting their turns, were all reading
The Daily, the Herald, the Post, little heeding

The young man who blurted out such a blunt question;
Not one raised a head, or even made a suggestion;
And the barber kept on shaving.

"Don't you see, Mister Brown," Cried the youth, with a frown,

"How wrong the whole thing is,

How preposterous each wing is,

How flattened the head is, how jammed down the neck is—

In short, the whole owl, what an ignorant wreck 'tis !

I make no apology;

I've learned owl-eology.

I've passed days and nights in a hundred collections,
And cannot be blinded to any deflections

Arising from unskilful fingers that fail

To stuff a bird right, from his beak to his tail.

Mister Brown! Mister Brown!

Do take that bird down,

Or you'll soon be the laughing-stock all over town!"
And the barber kept on shaving.

"I've studied owls

And other night fowls,

And I tell you

What I know to be true:

An owl cannot roost

With his limbs so unloosed;

No owl in this world
Ever had his claws curled,
Ever had his legs slanted,
Ever had his bill canted,

Ever had his neck screwed

Into that attitude.

He can't do it, because
'Tis against all bird-laws.
Anatomy teaches,
Ornithology preaches

An owl has a toe

That can't turn out so!

I've made the white owl my study for years,

And to see such a job almost moves me to tears!

Mister Brown, I'm amazed

You should be so gone crazed

As to put up a bird

In that posture absurd!

To look at that owl really brings on a dizziness;

The man who stuffed him don't half know his business!" And the barber kept on shaving.

"Examine those eyes.

I'm filled with surprise
Taxidermists should pass
Off on you such poor glass;
So unnatural they seem
They'd make Audubon scream,
And John Burroughs laugh
To encounter such chaff.

Do take that bird down;

Have him stuffed again, Brown!"

And the barber kept on shaving.

"With some sawdust and bark
I could stuff in the dark
An owl better than that.
I could make an old hat
Look more like an owl
Than that horrid fowl,

Stuck up there so stiff like a side of coarse leather.
In fact, about him there's not one natural feather."

Just then, with a wink and a sly normal lurch,
The owl, very gravely, got down from his perch,
Walked round, and regarded his fault-finding critic
(Who thought he was stuffed) with a glance analytic,
And then fairly hooted, as if he should say:
"Your learning's at fault this time, any way;
Don't waste it again on a live bird, I pray.

I'm an owl; you're another. Sir Critic, good-day!"
And the barber kept on shaving.

James T. Fields.


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