THE TORTOISE AND THE DUCKS

“Take me with you, please,” called a tortoise to a gray duck and a white duck that were flying over.
The ducks heard the tortoise and flew down toward him.
“Do you really wish to go with us?” asked the ducks as they came to the ground near the tortoise.
“I surely do,” replied the tortoise. “Will you please take me?”
“Why, yes, I think we can do so,” said the white duck slowly.
The two ducks talked together in low tones for a few minutes. Then they flew to the woods. They soon brought back a strong twig and dropped it in front of the tortoise.
“Now,” said the ducks, “if we take you off to see the world, you must promise us one thing.”
“What is that?” asked the tortoise. “I will promise almost anything if you will let me go.”
“You must promise not to say one word while you are in the air, NOT ONE WORD,” replied the ducks.
“All right, I promise,” said the tortoise. “Sometimes I do not say a word for a whole day because there is no one to listen to me.”
“Well, take firm hold of the middle of the twig; we are ready to start,” said the gray duck.
“If you value your life, you must hold on tightly,” said the white duck.
The tortoise took hold of the middle of the twig and each duck took hold of one end.
Then they flew up! up! up! while the tortoise swung from the middle of the twig. How he enjoyed it! He had never had such a ride.
They had gone a long way safely when they came to a hayfield. The haymakers looked up and saw the ducks and the tortoise.
“Ho! ho! the tortoise has stolen some wings,” called one of the haymakers.
“What a queer carriage he has!” laughed another in a loud voice.
“I pity his horses,” said another.
This made the tortoise so angry that he cried out, “You…” but no one knows what he was going to say, for he fell to the ground and was killed.

[Footnote: Adapted from The Tortoise and the Geese, in a book of the same name published by Houghton, Mifflin Co.]

THE DUCKS SONG

mother duck and her little ducks, going into the water, for a swimm

One little black duck,
One little gray,
Six little white ducks
Running out to play.
One white lady-duck, motherly and trim,
Eight little baby-ducks bound for a swim.
One little white duck
Running from the water,
One very fat duck—
Pretty little daughter;
One very grave duck, swimming off alone,
One little white duck, standing on a stone.

One little white duck
Holding up its wings,
One little bobbing duck
Making water-rings;
One little black duck, turning round its head,
One big black duck—see, he’s gone to bed.
One little lady-duck, motherly and trim,
Eight little baby-ducks bound for a swim.
One lazy black duck, taking quite a nap,
One precious duck, here on mother’s lap.

THE OWL AND THE PUSSY-CAT by Edward Lear

paper collage of a boat on sea

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat;
They took some honey, and plenty of money
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the moon above,
And sang to a small guitar,
“O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love!
What a beautiful Pussy you are,—
You are,
What a beautiful Pussy you are!”

Pussy said to the Owl, “You elegant fowl!
How wonderful sweet you sing!
Oh, let us be married,—too long we have tarried,—
But what shall we do for a ring?”
They sailed away for a year and a day
To the land where the Bong-tree grows,
And there in a wood a piggy-wig stood
With a ring in the end of his nose,—
His nose,
With a ring in the end of his nose.
“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?” Said the piggy, “I will,”
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined upon mince and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon,
And hand in hand on the edge of the sand
They danced by the light of the moon,—
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.