FRISKIE, THE PONY; or, Do No Harm to Harmless Animals, by Jacob Abbott.
(NY: Sheldon & Company, Publishers, 1865)
CHAPTER I. The Tame Toad, ... 5
CHAPTER II. Friskie, ... 32
CHAPTER III. Birds' Nests, ... 53
CHAPTER IV. A Ride, ... 66
CHAPTER V. Snowdrop and Pearl, ... 82
THE TAME TOAD.
Paulina was a bright and pretty girl, who lived a very joyous and happy life until she was between nine and ten years old, and then her father and mother both fell sick within a short time of each other. The neighbors came in and did every thing for them that they could, and a doctor visited them every day, and gave them medicine. They only grew worse, however; and at last they both died on the same day, and were buried in the same grave. Thus poor little Paulina was left an orphan.
For a time it was uncertain where she should go to live. At length it was determined that she should go to her grandfather's. Her grandfather was a farmer. He had a large farm near a village. His house, in fact, was on the borders of the village; and the school-house, where all the children went to school, was pretty near.
On the morning after Paulina came to her grandfather's house, she rose from her bed and dressed herself alone, and went down to breakfast. She felt very sorrowful and sad, but she struggled hard to keep from crying, because she thought it would trouble her grandfather and grandmother to see that she had been crying, when she went to breakfast.
Her grandfather and grandmother did not say much to her while she was at breakfast. They felt very kindly towards her, and were willing to give her a home at their house, and to furnish her with food and clothing, and to render every other necessary service. But it had been a long time since they had had any children in their house, and they did not know any thing about cheering and comforting Paulina in her sorrow, or doing any thing to gratify or amuse her, in respect to her feelings as a child.
After breakfast Paulina went back to her little room, feeling more lonely and sorrowful than ever. It seemed to her, as she said to herself, that her eyes were all swelled up with tears, and that she should feel better if "some of them came out." So she sat down in the window, and giving up to her sorrow, she cried a long time.
Then she rose, saying,--
"There! I've cried enough. I won't cry any more. Now I'll go down stairs and go out of doors, and see if I can't find some good to do."
Paulina had been taught by her Sunday-school teacher, that whenever we are sad and unhappy, from any cause that we can not help, the best way is to go and find some trouble or sorrow in other people that we *can* help, or some good that we can do to them.
So, after wiping her eyes, and waiting a few minutes for the redness to pass away, Paulina went down stairs in hopes to do something to assist her grandmother.
She found her grandmother in the kitchen, ironing.
"Grandmother," said she, "could not I help you about the ironing?"
"Oh, no," said her grandmother. "*You* could not iron, child. You'd only scorch the clothes, and burn your fingers. You'd better run out and play."
Paulina felt somewhat discouraged at this response, but she put on her bonnet and went out.
She stood at the step of the door for a few minutes, looking up and down, and presently she saw two boys coming along the road with a little wagon which they were drawing. Paulina went down to the great gate, which was open, and stood there to see them go by. Just as they came opposite to her, in the road, one of the wheels of the wagon came off, and the boys suddenly stopped.
"There, now!" exclaimed one of the boys, in a tone of vexation; "we have lost one of our thole pins, and the wheel has come off."
"Thole pins!" repeated the other boy, contemptuously. "It is not a *thole* pin. A thole pin belongs to a boat. It is a linch pin."
"Well, linch pin, then," said the other boy. "At any rate, it is gone, and we can't get along without it."
Paulina, on hearing this, went down into the road, and asked the boys if she could not help them find the pin that was lost.
"No," said one of the boys. "It's no use to hunt for it in the sand along the road. A nail will do, if we only had a nail."
"I have not got any nail," said Paulina, disconsolately.
"Or a peg made of hard wood," said the boy, "if we only had a knife to make one. Have you got a knife?"
"No," said Paulina, shaking her head.
"Then we must carry the wagon the rest of the way," said the boy.
And so saying, he took up the wagon itself, while the other boy took the wheel, and they went away.
"Never mind," said Paulina; "I shall find some good that I can do some body by and by."
So saying, Paulina looked along the street a little way to a place where she saw some children, opposite a school-house.
"Ah!" she said to herself; "that's the school-house where I am going to school, I suppose. I am going to begin to-morrow."
The children were walking slowly along, with their heads all together, as if they were looking at something that one of the boys was carrying in his hand. Paulina went to the place. There were three small boys and two girls in the group. One of the boys had a toad tied by a string. The string was tied round one of the toad's feet, and the poor thing was hanging by it, head down, as the boy walked along.
"You ought to tie the string to both of his feet, Jukes," said one of the boys, "and then he could n't kick."
"That's nothing," said Jukes; for this, it appears, was the name of the boy who had the toad.
As Paulina came up near the group, Jukes and the other boys looked toward her, with a sort of stare, which seemed to say, Who can you be?
Paulina, partly by way of answering this question, and partly, as it were, to show her right to take part in what was going on, without being considered an intruder, said, meekly,--
"*I* am coming to this school to-morrow."
Jukes stared at her for a moment, and then said, roughly,--
"Who cares for that?"
Under almost any other circumstances such a repulse would have disheartened Paulina entirely, and she would have gone away; but she felt so much pity for the pooor toad, that she could not bear to abandon him.
"What are you going to do with that toad?" she asked.
"Kill him!" said Jukes. "We are going to put him on top of a post, and then fire at him for a mark."
"I would not kill him," said Paulina. "He does not do any harm."
"Yes, he does," said one of the boys; "he spits poison."
"Oh, no!" said Paulina.
"He does," said the boy. "I've seen it on the bushes."
"But it is not poison," said Paulina. "Don't let us kill him. Let us make a house for him, and keep him."
The curiosity of the boys was excited by this suggestion, and they asked Paulina how they could make a house for a toad. The boys were quite small, being not more than seven or eight years of age; and as Paulina was one or two years older, she felt a certain superiority over them, which made her much more courageous in interposing to save the life of the toad than she would otherwise have been.
"I will show you how to make a house," said she.
So she led the way to a pretty place in the corner of a green yard, by the side of the school-house, and there the boys, under her instructions, dug a hole in the ground with sharp sticks. It took them some time to dig the hole, for Paulina told them it must be pretty large. In digging this hole, after getting off the sods from the top, they loosened the ground with their sharp sticks, and then pawed the earth out with their hands, laying it all carefully in a heap on one side.
The hole was pretty large and deep when it was done. It was about large enough to hold two water-pails put in side by side. The top of it was an oblong-square in shape, with the corners a little rounded.
"Now," said Paulina, "we must find a board to put over the top, for a roof."
So the boys looked about, and at length found a short board, long enough and wide enough, however, to cover the hole.
"But how will the toad get in and out," said one of the children, "if we cover his hole all up with this board?"
"We must make a door for him," said Paulina. "I'll show you how."
So Paulina dug away a little place in the turf, in the middle of one side of the hole at the top, in such a manner that, when the board was put on, this opening made a sort of door leading down into the hole. She made also a sloping descent from this opening down to the bottom of the hole, so that the toad could go up and down.
Then the children put the board on, taking care to adjust the edge of it, on the front side, in such a manner as just to come to the edge of the opening made for the door, without covering the opening. Then they pawed all the earth in the pile back upon the board, and then rounded it over in the form of a mound, and patted it down. Then they packed the sods which they had taken off from the top of the ground, when they began to dig, upon the top of this mound, fitting them in carefully, and smoothing them down in every part,--and the house was done.
"Now," said Paulina, "you must untie the string from the toad's foot, and put him in."
"No," said Jukes. "If we do, he'll climb up out by the door, and get away."
"But we will put a flat stone over it," said Paulina, and so keep the door shut."
"Then, when we are in school, you'll come and take away the stone, and let him out," said Jukes.
"Oh, no!" exclaimed Paulina. "That would not be fair. I would not play you any such a trick as that for all the toads in the world."
Jukes was so impressed with the honest and earnest air with which Paulina said this, that his suspicions were entirely allayed. So he untied the string, and poked the toad into the door. The toad hopped in, but the slope was so steep, that he tumbled head over heels in going down. He was so fat, however, that the fall did not hurt him in the least. So, as soona s he recovered himself, he took, deliberately, three or four hops about the floor of his house,--stopping at every hop, for a moment, and making a pause, as if gravely reflecting in his mind, upon some subject that absorbed his attention. Finally, he squatted down in one of the corners, and composed himself to take a nap,--apparently perfectly satisfied with himself, his house, his keepers, and, in fact, with all the world.
The next morning, Paulina took her books and slate under her arm, and went to school. She found the boys assembled around the toad-house. They wanted to contrive some way by which they could peep in and see the toad.
So Paulina helped them to pry up the forward edge of the board, and then put two small stones under the corners of it, to keep it up. The contrived to do this without disturbing much the mound of earth and sods on the top. They thus made an opening through which they could peep in and see the toad, and Jukes could even reach his arm in and take him out, so as to let him hop about on the grass outside, for a while, in order to give him a chance to find something to eat. They would have given him something to eat themselves, only they did not any of them know what toads liked.
Jukes was very much pleased with his toad-house and with his toad. He would not allow any body to hurt the toad, or to tease or trouble him in any way.
That afternoon, at Paulina's suggestion, the boys made a yard for the toad, by settling up boards on their edges, in such a manner as to inclose a space. The boards were wide enough to make a fence so high that the toad could not jump over it, and they were kept in an upright position by stakes which the boys drove in the ground, one on each side of each board, at both ends.
All this was done in the recess, and when the bell rung for the children to go into school again, they left the toad out in the yard. After school was done they found him there safe, hopping about in the grass. Jukes caught him and put him down in his hole, and then laid the flat stone over the door to keep him in until morning.
"Now," said Jukes, "let us go and give Friskie a run."
The boys, on hearing this, all began to pick up sticks and stones. They put the stones in their pockets, and held the sticks in their hands. Paulina wondered what they were going to do. She asked Jukes, but all that he would say in reply was, that he was going to give Friskie a run. So Paulina resolved to go with them and see.
The boys, all abundantly supplied with sticks and stones, went off rapidly along the path, which led through a green lane behind the school-house. Paulina went with them. After going on for a time among thickets of tangled bushes, and crossing a brook on a log, they came to a high bank. They went up to the top of this bank, and there climbed up upon the lower stones of a wall there was there, so as to look over the top of it.
"*I* see him!" said Jukes, as soon as he got his head level with the top of the wall. "I see him! Here he is, out this way!"
So saying, he jumped down from the wall, and ran along by the side of it, in the direction in which he had pointed, followed by all the other boys, each with his store of sticks in his left hand, and one stone in his right hand, all ready to be thrown.
Paulina climbed up and looked over the wall, and there, a little farther on, where the boys were running, she saw a young and gay-looking horse, with a long, flowing tail, peaceably feeding. Just at this instant the whole troop of boys went clambering together over the wall, and immediately assailed the horse with a volley of sticks and stones, and with the most terrific shrieks and outcries. The horse seemed greatly terrified at this sudden and frightful onset, and he set off at once on the run, whisking his tail about, and kicking up his heels. The boys pressed on after him a few steps, throwing more sticks and stones, and redoubling their hideous yells. They soon found, however, that it was useless to pursue the horse, and so they gave up the chase. The horse went bounding on, until, at length, he disappeared behind one of the thickets of trees and bushes, which grew here and there in the pasture.
The boys then came slowly back all out of breath, but each eagerly trying to tell the others where and how he hit Friskie with his stick or his stone.
After this the boys scattered in different directions, and Paulina went home.
That evening, at supper, Paulina asked her grandfather if that was *his* pasture behind the school-house.
"Yes," said her grandfather.
"And is Friskie your horse?"
"Yes," said her grandfather; "he is one of my horses. You might have him to ride on sometimes, if he was not so wild. I don't know what makes him so wild. My other horses are plough-horses, and they are not fit to ride upon."
Paulina immediately determined that she would make friends with Friskie. Accordingly, the next morning, after breakfast, and before it was time to go to school, she took a crust of bread which her grandmother gave her, and went to the pasture. Friskie was there feeding near a pretty grove of trees. As soon as he saw Paulina coming, he pricked up his ears, and went cantering away.
"That's just what I expected," said Paulina. "But he does not know me yet. When he knows me, he will wait where he is till I come and put my hand on him."
Paulina then walked along very slowly in the direction toward Friskie, and went to work gathering flowers. Friskie watched her out of one eye, as he fed upon the grass, and finding that she did not advance very rapidly, and perceiving, moreover, that she was occupied in gathering something in the grass, and, indeed, for aught he knew, engaged, like himself, in *eating* the grass that she gathered, gradually grew less and less suspicious of her, and finally allowed her to approach pretty near. Paulina then sat down upon a flat stone, and held her crust out toward Friskie, calling out, at the same time,--
"Co'Jack! Co'Jack! Co'Jack!"
Friskie stopped eating, and looked intently at her, but would not come.
Then Paulina broke up her crust of bread into small pieces, and laid the pieces down by her side, upon the stone, and then went away.
After having receded from the place for a short distance, she turned round, and said,--
"Good-by, Friskie. We've done very well, for the first beginning. I will come and see you again to-morrow."
After going along a little farther, she turned round again, and to her great joy she found that Friskie had gone up to the flat stone, and was just beginning to smell of the crusts of bread which she had left there for him.
The next day Paulina went again to pay a visit to Friskie. This time he seemed much less afraid of her than before, and he allowed her to approach pretty near. She, however, did not attempt to go too near, but tossed pieces of bread to him on the grass, while he picked them up with his lips and ate them, apparently with great satisfaction,--though he watched Paulina all the time with a look of suspicion, as if he was not sure that it was all right.
Paulina continued this practice for some time, until, at length, she and Friskie became the best friends in the world. He would advance toward her, and meet her whenever he saw her coming into the pasture, and he would eat whatever she brought him, from any flat stone that Paulina put it upon, while she stood by patting his head and neck as he ate. Sometimes she brought him crusts of bread, sometimes a handful of corn or of salt, and sometimes an apple, which last, however, she always cut in halves, before giving it to him, in order to enable him better to manage it with his tongue. If an apple or a potato is given whole to a horse or a cow, there is danger of its slipping down into their throats, and choking them.
In her rambles about the fields and woods, Paulina always managed it so as to pass through the pasture, either going or returning, in order to pay Friskie a visit. She found him sometimes in very wild and solitary places, and if she did not happen to have any thing else to give him, she would feed him with a little tuft of grass, which she had gathered near by.
Friskie always took the grass thus offered him with great apparent satisfaction. It was, of course, just such grass as he might have gathered for himself, but he seemed to like any thing better that came from Paulina's hand.
One afternoon a little girl, named Annie, came to play with Paulina. As they were rambling about the fields, suddenly a little bird sprang up out of the grass before them, and went flying away with a *whirr*.
"She's got a nest here," said Paulina, "I verily believe."
So saying, Paulina advanced to the spot, and, pushing away the grass a little, there she found, concealed in a little hollow in the ground, a small nest with four speckled eggs in it.
Annie was greatly delighted. She wanted at once to take up the nest and carry it home.
"Ah, no!" said Paulina; "we must not take *this* nest. This nest and these eggs belong to the little bird that flew away. She is a ground-sparrow, and her name is Bobalinda. But I will make you a nest when we get home, and put stronger eggs in it than these. These little eggs will break too easily."
Accordingly, when they returned to the house, Paulina went in and borrowed a cup out of the kitchen to fashion her bird's nest in. First she placed a layer of hay all around the inside of the cup. Then she made some clay, as she called it, though it was really only mud. She made it by digging a hole in the ground near the pump, and pouring in a little water, and stirring up the earth and water with a stick, until it was very thick.
With the "clay" thus made, Paulina plastered over the hay in the cup, and then put in a fresh layer of hay. Thus she had in the cup two layers of hay, and a layer of mud between, to cement them together.
Then she turned the cup over, bottom side up, upon a board, and the nest came out. She left it on the board in the sun, some time, to dry. When it was dry she lined the inside with wool, which she gathered from the bushes in the lane behind the barn. The sheep, in passing to and fro to the pasture along this lane, would leave some of their wool on the little sprigs where it got caught, and the birds had found out the place, and used to go there a great deal to get wool to line the insides of their nests. So Paulina went there, too.
After the nest was thus finished, Paulina and Annie went down to the brook, and there, after a great deal of search, they selected four small, white stones, of an oval, or egg-like form, and put them in the nest, and the work was done.
While Paulina was sitting with Annie on the steps of the kitchen-door, arranging their eggs in the nest, Thomas, their grandfather's man, came by, and stopped a moment to see what they were doing.
"I know where there is a real bird's nest," said he, "only it has not got any eggs in it."
"Where?" asked Paulina.
"Up in the dove-house there," said Thomas.
So saying, Thomas pointed up to one of the out-buildings, where there was a row of small holes in the wall, high up, with a narrow, level board below them, and a sloping one above.
"Yes," said Paulina; "I saw that dove-house, and I watched one day a long time, to see it any doves would go in."
"There are no doves there now," said Thomas; "only the old nests."
"Can we go up and see them?" asked Paulina.
"Yes," said Thomas; "if you can find the way."
The children set off eagerly to go to the dove-house. They went into the building and looked about. Presently they found the stairs, and went up. The stairs led them to a sort of loft, and in one corner of the loft was a very steep stair,--more like a ladder than a stair,--leading up higher still.
"This must be the way," said Paulina.
So she went up the ladder, and Annie followed her. When they reached the top they turned along a little passage-way, and presently came to a small door. They opened this door, and on going in they found themselves in the dove-house.
It was a very small place, and only high enough for such children as they to stand upright in. On one side was the row of windows, or, rather, doors, for the doves to go in and out at, and on another was a row of boxes against the wall, where the doves had made their nests. One of the boxes had a nest still remaining in it.
"Ah!" said Paulina; "what a nice place. If we only had some doves now, in this place, how we should like to come up here and see them, and their nests, and their eggs, and all. We would n't hurt them, would we, Annie?"
"No," said Annie.
"Nor frighten them, either," said Paulina.
"No, indeed!" said Annie.
One way by which a child can do good to children younger than herself, is by just expressing kind and good feelings in their hearing. If they like you, then when they find you have any particular feeling, good or bad, they adopt it at once from sympathy, and feel in the same way themselves.
CHAPTER IV. A RIDE.
One morning, soon after this, Paulina's grandfather said at breakfast, that he wanted very much to get a message to Mr. Furrows, for him to come that day and work for him, with his team, but he had nobody to send. Thomas cuold not go, he said, because he was very busy.
"Let me go, grandfather," said Paulina.
"Oh, you could not go, child," said her grandfather. "You could not walk so far: it is two miles. It is at least a mile and a half if you go across the pasture, the shortest way."
"I can ride on Friskie," said Paulina.
"Very well," said her grandfather. "If Thomas is willing to catch Friskie, and saddle him for you, you may go."
Her grandfather said this in jest, having no idea that Thomas would do any such thing.
After breakfast Paulina went out to find Thomas, and told him that her grandfather said, that if he was willing to catch Friskie, and saddle him for her, she might have him to ride to Mr. Furrows'.
"Ah!" said Thomas, "that is not so easily done. It would take me half an hour to catch Friskie."
Thomas was, in fact, somewhat surprised at the idea of Paulina's having Friskie for a ride. He supposed that it was a ride for pleasure that she intended, and that what her grandfather meant was, that at some time when he was at leisure, he might saddle the horse for her. But it was not convenient for him to attend to it then.
"*I* can go and catch him," said Paulina, "if you will only saddle him for me."
"Well," said Thomas; "if you'll go and catch him, *I* will saddle him."
Thomas said this in jest, too, having no idea whatever of Paulina's being able to catch Friskie. Paulina, however, said nothing, but went into the house to get a string. Then she ran off into the pasture,a nd in a very short time returned, leading Friskie by the string, which she had contrived to throw over his neck, and tie in such a manner as to make it serve the purpose of a halter.
Thomas was veyr much surprised. He, however, could not now well refuse to put on the saddle. He asked Paulina, first, whether her grandfather had really said that she might take a ride, and she said, yes.
So he put on the side-saddle, and mounted Paulina upon the top of it. The saddle was too large, and the stirrup too long. But Paulina put her foot in the strap, as she had often done before in riding her father's horse, when she lived at home. When all was ready she set off across the pasture to Mr. Furrows'.
When she got to the end of the pasture, and just as she was going out of it, into the main road, she saw the teacher of the school coming down another road, at a little distance, on her way to school.
"Ah!" said Paulina; "here comes the teacher! She lives out here. That is the reason why she always brings her dinner and stays at noon, because she lives so far away. she has got her bag, with her dinner in it, in her hand. She will go by the pasture path, I know, and so I will do my errand quick, and ride on and overtake her."
Paulina went to Farmer Furrows' and delivered her message, and then hurried back. She overtook the teacher when she had got about half through the pasture. The teacher was much surprised to see her, and asked her where she had been. She said she had been out to Mr. Furrows' to do an errand.
After talking together for a little time, as they went along the road, the teacher said to Paulina,--
"Jukes told me that it was you who showed the boys how to make a house for the toad."
"Yes, ma'am," said Paulina; "because I did not want them to kill the poor thing."
"A toad is a harmless animal," said the teacher; "but I don't think it is a very pretty one."
"No, ma'am," said Paulina; "but then I did not want him to be killed."
"I should think you would like a prettier animal for pet," said the teacher.
"I should, ma'am," said Paulina; "but I have not got any. We have got a dove-house at my grandfather's, but there are no doves in it."
"We have got doves at our house," said the teacher; "and I can give you a pair, if you like."
Paulina was of course delighted at this idea, and she said that as soon as she got home, she would ask her grandfather if she might have them.
Her grandfather was, of course, greatly surprised when he found that Paulina had been to Farmer Furrows', but he was much pleased, for in less than half an hour Farmer Furrows arrived with his team ready to go to work. He said, moreover, that he had no objection to Paulina's having a pair of doves, and that he would go himself with her, in his wagon, the next Saturday afternoon, and get them.
So they went. The teacher lived at her father's, who was a farmer. The doves which she gave to Paulina were very young and small, and she said the Paulina would have to feed them for a week or more, until they grew big enough to fly out of the windows of their dove-house, and take care of themselves.
Paulina put the little doves in a basket which she had brought with her for the purpose, and in which she had made a nest of hay and wool. In this she brought the doves home safely, and put them in the nest in the dove-house. She used to go up every day, for some time, to feed them, and to give them water. Thomas showed her how to do it. After a while, the doves got big enough to climb out of their nest and run about the floor, and then, in about a week after that, they could fly out of their windows, and come down into the yard, where Paulina stood ready to feed them with corn and crumbs of bread. They played about in the yard all day, and then flew up to the windows, and went to their nest at night.
One of the doves was white; the other was of bluish-pearl color, with a beautiful irridescence about his neck.
SNOWDROP AND PEARL.
Paulina named her doves Snowdrop and Pearl. She took a great deal of pains to make them very tame. It required some pretty wise and careful management to do this; for the doves, when they first learned to fly, were very wild, and appeared much afraid of Paulina, whenever she came near them.
It seems, at first view, very singular that they should have been afraid of Paullina, since she had never done them any harm. In fact, nobody had ever done them any harm. They did not even know what harm was,--so why should they be afraid of it? We can not say; except that their timidity was an instinctive feeling, one which they had inherited from their ancestors.
When the doves were down in the yard, therefore, Paulina never ran after them or molested them in any way; but she would take a little tin basin, filled with corn, in her hand, and seat herself upon the step of the door, where the doves could see her. Then she would take up a little of the corn, and throw it out to them upon the grass, and they, watching her all the time very narrowly, and looking at her first out of one eye, and then out of the other, would creep cautiously up nearer and nearer, picking up the kernels of corn as they came.
They were both very careful, however, not to come too near.
One day, when Paulina was feeding her doves in this way, and had enticed them up almost within her reach, she happened to raise her eyes, and saw little Annie coming along the road toward the house. Annie was just turning to come into the yard when Paulina first saw her.
"Annie," said Paulina, "stop a minute where you are."
So Annie stopped. She asked, at the same time, what Paulina wished her to stop for.
"Because I am feeding my doves," said Paulina, "and I am afraid you will frighten them."
"But I want to see you feed them," said Annie.
"You *shall* see me," replied Paulina; "and I'll tell you what to do. Go round in front of the house to the other door, and so come in through the house to me here, and then you won't frighten the doves."
Annie was very willing to take these precautions, and in a few minutes Paulina heard her opening the door leading from one of the rooms into the entry behind her.
"Sit down here now, quietly by the side of me," said Paulina, "and you shall see me feed the doves."
"And you must give me some corn, too," said Annie, "so that I can feed them myself."
Paulina gave Annie some corn, and the children threw out the kernels to the doves alternately, that is, by turns, first one, and then the other.
The doves came nearer and nearer. They did not seem to be any more afraid on account of Annie's being there.
"I expect to get them so tame by and by," said Paulina, "that they will come up near enough for me to catch them."
"Snowdrop is near enough now," said Annie.
Just at this moment Snowdrop came so near as almost to touch Paulina's fingers.
"Now!" exclaimed Annie, eagerly; "now's the time. Make a grab at her now, and you'll have her!"
"No, indeed!" said Paulina. "Do you expect that I mean to catch them by making grabs at them. No, indeed. That would frighten them so that they would not come near me again."
Paulina contented herself with seeing the doves come almost close to her hand that day, and after a while, when the doves thought that they had corn enough, they flew away, first Snowdrop, and then Pearl, and went into the dove-house.
By proceeding in this way, Paulina, in process of time, made her doves so tame, that whenever she appeared in the kitchen-door, with the little tin basin in her hand, they would both immediately fly down and alight upon the margin of the basin, and there proceed to help themselves to the corn that was in it. From that they learned, after a while, to alight upon Paulina's finger, when she held her finger out to them, or upon a long stick which she would hold in her hand for this purpose.
Paulina taught her doves, too, to follow her about, wherever she went, that is, when she wished them to go, and called them. She almost always took them with her in this way when she went out into the pasture to pay Friskie a visit. The doves liked very much to go out into the pasture to see Friskie, because Paulina generally carried crusts of bread to feed him with, and she always gave the doves some of the crumbs. And they liked crumbs of bread better than they did corn.
Sometimes, even, the doves did not wait for Paulina to give them the crumbs of bread, but the moment that she had put some upon the grass for Friskie, down they would fly to get their share. It is wonderful that they were not afraid of Friskie's biting them; for they were so eager to get the bread, that they hopped in close to his lips, and seemed almost to take the crumbs out of his mouth.
Friskie, however, appeared not to make any objection to their taking these liberties. He went on eating the bread with an expression of great contentment and satisfaction upon his countenance. Whether it was because he knew that the doves were friends of Paulina, and so did not feel inclined to trouble them, or whether he thought they only picked up such crumbs as were too small for him to eat, or whether he did not pay any attention to them at all, I can not say.
Thus Paulina, Friskie, Snowdrop, and Pearl, were four excellent friends, and they lived together a long time very happily.
Scanned by Pat Pflieger for 19th-Century Girls' Series website; please do not use on other sites without permission
Friskie, the Pony appears courtesy of Pat Pflieger.
Visit her Nineteenth-Century American Children and What They Read site for more works by Abbott and his contemporaries or for more information on nineteeth-century children's culture.