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N a sunny spot stood an old country house, encircled

by canals. Between the wall and the water's edge there grew huge burdock-leaves, that had shot up to such a height that a little child might have stood upright under the tallest of them; and this spot was as wild as though it had been situated in the depths of a wood. In this

In this snug retirement a duck was sitting on her nest to hatch her young; but she began to think it a wearisome task, as the little ones seemed very backward in making their appearance; besides, she had few visitors, for the other ducks preferred swimming about in the canals, instead of being at the trouble of climbing up the slope, and then sitting under a burdock-leaf to gossip with her.

At length one egg cracked, and then another. “Peep!


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peep!” cried they, as each yolk became a live thing, and popped out its head.

Quack! quack !” said the mother; and they tried to cackle like her, while they looked all about them under the green leaves; and she allowed them to look to their hearts content, because green is good for the eyes.

“How large the world is, to be sure !” said the young ones. And truly enough, they had rather more room than when they were still in the egg-shell

. “Do you fancy this is the whole world?” cried the mother. Why, it reaches far away beyond the other side of the garden, down to the parson's field ; though I never went to such a distance as that! But are you all there?" continued she, rising. “No, faith! you are not; for there still lies the largest egg. I wonder how long this business is to last-I really begin to grow quite tired of it!" And she sat down

once more.


"Well, how are you getting on?” inquired an old duck, who came to pay her a visit.

“This egg takes a deal of hatching,” answered the sitting duck: "it won't break. But just look at the others; are they not the prettiest ducklings ever seen ? They are the image of their father, who, by-the-bye, does not trouble himself to come and see me.”

“Let me look at the egg that won't break," quoth the old duck. "Take my word for it, it must be a guinea-fowl's egg. “

. I was once deceived in the same way, and I bestowed a deal of care and anxiety on the youngsters, for they are afraid of water. I could not make them take to it. I stormed and raved, but it was of no use. Let's see the egg. Sure enough, it is a guinea-fowl's egg. Leave it alone, and set about teaching the other children to swim.”

"I'll just sit upon it a bit longer,” said the duck; “for, since I have sat so long, a few days more won't make much odds.”

Please yourself,” said the old duck, as she went away.


At length the large egg cracked. “ Peep! peep! peep squeaked the youngster as he crept out. How big and ugly he was, to be sure ! The duck looked at him, saying, "Really, this is a most enormous duckling! None of the others are like him. I wonder whether he is a guinea-chick after all ? Well, we shall soon see when we get down to the water, for in he shall go, though I push him in myself.”

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On the following morning the weather was most delightful, and the sun was shining brightly on the green burdock

leaves. The mother duck took her young brood down to the canal. Splash into the water she went. “Quack! quack!"

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