He pointed back, as he said this, to a little tuft floating round and round in a small eddy, made by a turn of the brook, just above where they had crossed. He turned his horse towards it. “It is a bird’s nest,” said he.
“So it is,” said Rollo; “and I verily believe there is a little bird in it.”
Jonas jumped off of the horse, handed the bridle to Rollo, and took up a long stick lying on the ground, and very gently and cautiously drew the nest, in to the shore. He took it up with great care, and brought it to Rollo.
There was a little bird in it, scarcely fledged. Jonas said he believed it was a robin, and that it must have been washed off from its place on some bush, by the freshet in the brook. The bottom of the nest was soaked through by the water, as if it had been floating some time; and the little bird kept opening its mouth wide. The poor little thing was hungry, and heard Jonas and Rollo, and thought they were its mother, come to give it something to eat.
“What shall we do with him?” said Rollo.
“He will die if we leave him here,” said Jonas, “for he has lost his mother now. I think we had better carry him home, if we can, and feed him, till he is old enough to fly.”
“He is hungry,” said Rollo; “let us feed him now.”
“We have not any thing to feed him with. Perhaps I can catch a fly, or a grasshopper.”
“O, that will not do,” said Rollo; “you might as well kill him as kill a grasshopper.”
Jonas could not reply to this, and they concluded to carry nest and all carefully to the mill, and show it to Rollo’s father there. But how to carry it was the difficulty. If either of them undertook to hold it in one hand, he was afraid the bird might be jolted out; and neither of them had but one hand to spare, for Rollo must have one hand to hold on with, and Jonas one to drive. At last Jonas took off his cap, and placed it bottom upwards on the saddle before him, and put the nest, with the bird in it, in that, and then drove carefully along. The road grew much smoother and better after they passed the brook; and, after going on a short distance farther, they came in sight of the mill.
They had been detained so long that the chaises had reached the mill before, them; and the party in the chaises were looking out down the path where they expected the boys were to come out, watching for them with considerable interest:
“There they come at last,” said Lucy, as she perceived a movement among the bushes, and saw Old Trumpeter’s white head coming forward.
“Yes,” said Rollo’s mother, “but they have met with some accident. Jonas has lost his cap.”
By this time the boys had emerged from the bushes, and were coming along the path slowly, Jonas bareheaded, and Rollo holding on carefully. Lucy saw that Jonas was holding something before him, on the saddle, and wondered what it was. Rollo’s mother said she was afraid they had got hurt.