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thrown at, there should be so few stones, and why all the bits of wood should be so rotten.

3. He tried to hit a blackbird, and the stick he had thrown fell back, broken into twenty pieces.

Dear me!” said the old man, startled by the sound; “is that rain ? "

“No, sir," said the boy; "it was I who threw a bit of dead wood. So it has rained umbrella handles, sir. Here is one of them.”

Always throwing, eh ?" said the old man. What pleasure do you find in trying to hurt the poor birds? I dare say you think yourself quite strong."

“I can throw ever so far when I have a good stone,” said the boy.

5.“I don't mean that,” the old man said; "but if

you are so strong, let me see you pull up that old tree."

You are laughing at me, sir," said the boy; not all the king's horses, nor all the king's men, could do that."

But try,” said the man.

It's no use," urged the boy, whose arms could not reach around the huge trunk of the tree; “I can't do it."

I knew you could not,” added the old man.

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Now I'll try you on an easier task. Are you able to pull up one of those stinging nettles yonder?" “Yes, sir,” said the boy; “of course I am strong

” enough for that; but they hurt one's fingers. I'd rather not, sir, if you please.”

Well, well; we will leave both the oak and the nettle alone.

The oak you cannot pull up, for it was old while your grandfather was yet a boy like you, and has grown stronger in all the years.

And you do not wish to pull the nettle, because it hurts you to do it.

8. “It is thus, my boy, with all bad habits. Either we cannot get rid of them because they are too strongly rooted in us, or else we do not wish to touch them because it hurts our feelings.

You do not understand this very well now, but remember it, and try to root out, when they first spring up, the ill weeds of your character.

. There's a touch of cruelty in all our natures, boy. Left to itself, it may be in time as strong as the oak and as stinging as the nettle.”

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Ways to avoid forming bad habits, and also to overcome those already formed.

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anx'ious 1. One day a bird, flying over a forest, dropped a seed. It fell into the crown of beautiful leaves that grew at the top of a palm-tree.

2. The bird flew away, and the little seed lay as if forgotten. Under the hot sun and warm rains it began to sprout. One little rootlet and then another began to fix themselves in the crown of dark, handsome leaves.

3. The tree was its home, the place given it to grow in. Presently the roots became larger and extended themselves downward. They wound round and round the tree like a net.

4. The palm-tree was in a forest, and for a time it reared its stately head among the trees. The roots clasped it more and more firmly, however, till its sap could no longer flow as it used to do.

The palm-tree drooped, and hung its head.

5. Still the roots kept their hold. They reached the ground, and were as firmly fixed there as those of the palm.

The palm was slowly dying, while the new

roots were living and thriving. They belonged to a kind of fig-tree called the banian.

6. The banian is a very curious tree. It does not often grow by being set in the ground as other trees do.

Sometimes the birds of the air drop the seed, as in the case of this one; but there is another way that is even more singular.

7. When a tree is nearly grown, its branches begin to send down long, slender shoots. They sway about in the wind till they are long enough to touch the ground. Then each slender shoot will strike rootlets into the soil and become a stem.

These soon grow thick and strong, and while they are new trees, are also like so many props to the old one.


8. Year by year the banian and its props keep on growing. Its branches spread out far and wide.

It may have a hundred props, and it is said that seven thousand men might rest beneath its shadow!

In that hot country how gladly do men and animals welcome the broad, spreading shade!

9. The poor tired Hindoo sits under it to rest. He is so anxious to have the props of a young tree grow that he ties wet moss upon the branches to make them bud.

10. Then, when the shoot has grown, he makes a little case of bamboo for it, and waxes it down to the ground. It usually takes root, and though only a slender thread, grows into a strong stem.

11. The herdsman sometimes makes the banian-tree his hut. To do this, he weaves the branches together, and fills up the space between the stems.

Thus he has a shady dwelling from which he can look out upon his flock.


Find out where India, the country of the banian, is, and what climate it has.

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