Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

quits us long before the se-vere' weather sets in. While it remains with us, it flies about from tree to tree, and from wood to wood, and sends forth that cheerful voice which every bod'y has heard with de-light'; and then it sets off for some other part of the world, to enjoy another spring, as the only season of the year suited to its tastes and hab'its. The poet re-fers' to this, when he says, in his pretty address to the cuckoo,

“ Sweet bird ! thy bower is ever green,

Thy sky is ever clear ;
Thou hast no sorrow in thy song,

No winter in thy year."

It is only the male cuckoo, however, whose voice is here spoken of: the note of the fe'male differs from it, is very feeble, and seldom heard.

Most people know that the cuckoo does not build any nest, and does not hatch its own eggs, or rear its own young. She fixes on the nest of the tit'lark, or the water-wagtail, or some other

! small bird, but chiefly on that of the hedge-sparrow; and, in their ab'sence, she lays her egg-for she seldom or never lays more than one egg in the same nest. No sooner have the eggs been hatched, than the young cuckoo con-trives' to turn out the other young ones, and thus become the sole ob'ject of its nurse's care.

It deserves notice, that, though the body of the

row,

as

CUCKOO is many times larger than that of the spaı

its

egg is fully smaller In this there is a wise design ; for, if the egg of the cuckoo were large as it is common for birds of that size to produce, it must be laid in the nest of a large bird, and then the young cuckoo would not have the same chance of living, by freeing itself from the pres'ence of the other young birds, which would be as strong as itself, or perhaps stronger. But while the small. niess of the egg renders it easy for the sparrow to hatch it, the young cuckoo, being more powerful than the young sparrows, can with per'fect ease throw them out of the nest, and se-cure from their parents all the care and nurture which it requires.

The growth of the young cuckoo is very rap'id. It has a plaintive chirp which is not learned from its foster parent; and it never ac-quires' the note of a füll-grown bird du'ring its stay in this country. It shows a fierce temper long before it leaves the nest. When any thing pro-vokes' it, it as-sumes' the manner of a bird of prey, and pecks with great fu'ry at any ob'ject we pre-sent to it, often making a chuckling noise, like a young hawk. When fledged, it follows the sparrow, or other bird, that has reared it, for a very little time : being unlike them in its instincts and habits, it soon de-serts them, and follows its own course. All the smaller birds seem to re-gard' the cuckoo as a foe; and they are hos'tile to it in their turn. They pursue it wherever it flies, and often o-blige' it to take shelter in the thickest branches of the tree, to which it retreats for safe'ty.

QUESTIONS.

What is the colour of the cuckoo ? What bird does it resemble in size? In what season of the year does it visit us ? What does the poet say in his pretty address to the cuckoo ? Where does this bird lay her eggs? What does the young cuckoo do when the eggs are hatched ?

AIR.

Fire will not burn with-out' fresh air, nor will an'i-mals live without it. If a piece of wax taper be set in a little hole in a piece of board, and lighted, and a rum'mer be put over it, the rim being placed on a piece of thin wet leather, and a weight put on the glass to keep it close down, the light will be seen to go out in a very short time. If a mouse were to be put under the glass, in the room of the wax taper, he would soon die; so would any other living thing, if fresh air could not get to it. Many per'sons have died in wells, and in places where they have gone under ground, for want of good fresh air. When an old well is o'pened, and before any per'son goes down, the best way is to tie a string to a light'ed can'dle, and let it down to the bottom of the well. If the can'dle does not go out, a per'son may des-cend' safely; but if the can'dlo should be put out in the well, the air in the well is most likely foul; and no one ought to go down till a bush has been let down the well and drawn

up sev'er-al times, or some buckets of water have been thrown into it.

We of'ten feel the wind blow in our faces, and hear it whistle and roar. We also see things blown a-bout', and hear the leaves of the trees rustle, and we some'times see the trees them-selves' rock. But we cannot see the wind that does all this. Wind is air, and air is a thing that cannot be seen, and yet air fills ever-y place we live in. The sky is full of it, and so is ever-y house. It comes in at the doors and win'dows, and when they are shut, it rushes through the key holes and crev'i-ces; we our-selves' are filled with air. We breathe it through our mouths and nos'trils. We could not live with-out' air. If our mouths and nos'trils were 'to be stopped, we should soon die for want of air. Or if we were to shut our-selves' into a room, and stop up the fireplace, and ev'er-y hole and crev'ice, so that the air could not find its way in, we should die, just the same as a mouse put under a glass, and any light'ed can'dles in the room would

go out.

There is foul air as well as pure air, and we cannot live in air that is quite foul. The air at the bottom of deep wells is very foul and bad, and so is the air at the bottom of the large vats used by brew'ers. If we were to get into one of them when foul, we should pres'ent-ly die. Charcoal, burnt in a close room, makes the air quite foul. If we were to shut our-selves' up in a room where fresh air could not en’ter, our breath would make it the same as if char'coal were burnt in the room. It would grow so foul and bad that we could not live in it.

Air that will put out the flame of a can'dle will al'so take a-way' life; so that there is but one sort of air that keeps us a-live', which is vital air ; and vi'tal air is what is called pure air. Oth'er air is foul and bad, and if we were to breathe it by it-self, we should soon die.

The sky is called the atmo-sphere. In the atmo-sphere pure air and foul are mixed to-gether. When we breathe in the one, we al'so draw in the oth'er. But the foul air does not hurt

us,

be-cause pure air is mixed with it.

QUESTIONS

Without what will fire not burn? If a rummer were placed over a lighted taper what would happen? Can animals live without fresh air? Where have many persons died for want of good fresh air? When an old well is opened what should be done before any person goes down into it? When the candle goes out in the well what may we infer? What is wind? What is full of air? What would happen to us if our mouths and nostrils were stopped ? What makes the air quite foul in a close room? What do you call that kind of air which keeps us alive? What is the sky called ? What are mixed together in the atmosphere? Why does the foul air not hurt us?

« EdellinenJatka »