Well, my dears, spring is here at last, and it is very pleasant to see the buds and flowers again. I begin to hear the voices of the children more often, too; and now and then I catch a glimpse of bright faces and new dresses.
By the way, talking of dresses puts me in mind of a paragram that came the other day, about...
Trimmings for Cows
Something quite new to you, I dare say, for which of you ever heard of trimming cows with their own horns and ears? How should you like to see a cow with her ears—poor thing!—cut to the shape of a leaf with notched edges, and horns trained in some queer shape, twisted into curls, or divided into four, with two meeting overhead, and two turned down toward the ground? It would be a dreadful sight to me, I am sure; but the Africans admire such things. They consider this trimming of cows a sort of fine art. You don't see how they manage the horns? Well, they begin when the horns are young; divide each into two, or more, and gradually train them, while growing, in any way they choose. Of course it must hurt the poor cows, and take a great deal of time; but the people who train cows' horns have not very tender feelings, and they are richer in spare time than in anything else. Besides, they do not have to trim their own clothes much—they're savages.
Feet and Wings
I have been told that flies have suckers on their feet, and climb up window-panes by using them, much as boys lift smooth stones with a piece of soaked leather and a string. Is this so, little folks?
Cetus, Not Cygnus
One of my sharp eyed chicks, S.E.S., of Canandaigua, sends word that the star Mira, of which I told you last month, is in the star-group Cetus (the Whale), not in Cygnus (the Swan). S.E.S. is right, I find, and I'm much obliged to her.
Deacon Green says that these letters were found on a wall in a church in Wales, painted, like a text, above an inscription of the ten commandments.
A Remedy for Hard Times
I have a message from a bird on the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina.
A Queer Churn
Cats in Spain
Cats have a nice time in Spain, I hear. No dismal moonlight prowlings over fences and back sheds for them! They have the roofs of the whole country for their walks, and need never touch the ground unless they choose. I'll tell you why. Grain is stored in the attics of Spain, because they are too hot for anything else. But rats and mice delight in attics, as well as in grain. So each owner cuts a small door from the roof, big enough for puss, and any homeless cat is welcome to her warm home, in return for which she keeps away rats. In a sudden rain it must be funny to see dozens of cats scampering over the roofs to their homes among the grain-bags.
Fools-Caps for Crows
My acquaintances the crows are very fond of corn, and have a way of picking it out of the ground with their bills just after it has been planted. So the farmers try all sorts of plans to keep them away. One of these plans is shown in the picture.
|Paper cones are set point downward in the ground, and baited with a few corn kernels; then some bird-lime is smeared around the insides. When a crow reaches down for the corn, the paper cone sticks to him, looking rather like a fool's-cap, and he does not get rid of it in a hurry. I'm told that it takes only a few of these cones to keep off a whole flock of crows. They are afraid of making themselves ridiculous, I suppose.
Ancients and Moderns
Now then, my dears, here's a capital chance to show your knowledge of history. Who can answer this question?
Lumber and Timber, Again
The Little Schoolma'am says that "timber" generally means "felled trees," but is used sometimes to describe trees that are yet standing and growing; "lumber" means timber that has been made ready for use, by sawing, splitting, and so forth.