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I am often unthinking and idle, 'tis true,
Relax not your cares, dearest Father, I pray;
THE PET SPARROW.
BY THE EDITOR.
ONCE knew a little boy who had a curious kind of a pet-a pet sparrow. Now, you all know, my dear children, that sparrows are bold, daring, saucy birds, and not very likely to make any one fond of them. The prettily marked goldfinch, with its sprightly “twit-twit,” pleases us and makes us attached to it. The slender, brightyellow canary delights us with its shrill notes and its form. The lark and the linnet charm us with their songs, and so do the blackbird and thrush; but the saucy, impudent, and daring sparrow, who flies about in the dusty roads and streets, and seems to despise the green hedges and pleasant fields—who would ever think of making a pet of him ?
But this little boy had a sparrow to which he was
attached, and the sparrow knew him and seemed fond of him, and perched on his shoulder, and ate out of his hand. And sometimes this little boy, when the sparrow was too bold, would pretend to beat him, and would lay him quietly on his back, and the little culprit appeared very sorry for his offence, and when restored to his legs by his young master, would chirp out aloud, and seem quite pleased.
Now, I dare say you will not be able to guess what this little bird chose for its bed. I must tell it did not live in a cage, but it flew about the house, and was as much at home as any one there; but, like all other sensible creatures, you must know it wanted
You will, perhaps, say,
it perched on the window ledge, or perhaps it perched on the little boy's bedstead, or on the chair by his bedside.” But no; this little fellow was an odd fellow : nothing would do for him to go to bed in but an old shoe. The first night that he had been admitted into the house he retreated, as soon as it was dark, into the old shoe, and the next night, when roosting-time came, he hopped about and seemed quite fidgety for
some place to rest in, till at last his young master thought of the shoe, which he brought into the room, and in popped Master Sparrow, and his young master allowed him to live there, rent free. He paid no taxes, and, living entirely on his master's charity, he paid no poor-rates, but lived like a happy, independent bird.
But I must say of this little bird, that he was rather an upstart sort of a fellow, for he would not let any other sparro
sparrow come near the house without flying out of the door or window, and making a loud boisterous noise, “chirr! chirr! chirr !” and seeming to scream with passion, as much as to say, “What business have you here, you poor dependent birds ! you common sparrows !" and they, being startled by his impudence, flew away.
You may take a lesson, my children, from this act of the sparrow. It is like the conduct of some persons in this world, who will carry all before them, against right and reason, by clamor and uproar.
But I don't wish to give you an unkind opinion of our particular friend, the sparrow. I suppose we must think all he did was right, because we cannot
exactly say that it was wrong; and it is a much pleasanter feeling to believe all persons innocent till we know them to be guilty.
I wish you particularly to think of this, my little friends, in your daily intercourse with
brothers and sisters, and playfellows. Whenever any one speaks evil of another, be sure to ask whether the person is quite certain of the truth of what he says.
But let us return to Master Sparrow. I suppose some of you have before this wished to know how this little boy got the sparrow, and this I think will please you, so I will tell
you. Johnny (for that was his name), lived in a house with a garden behind it, and his bed-room window was facing the garden. Johnny would often in the fine summer mornings get up and dress himself long before any of the rest of the family were up, and would amuse himself by looking out of the window, or by looking over his lessons for the forthcoming day. His parents had told him not to leave his room till some one else in the house was up, and he was a very obedient child, and very happy, because he was so, for he very seldom got into trouble.