They rode along about a mile farther, and then came to the place where they must leave the horses, and prepare to ascend the mountain on foot. They unharnessed them, so that they might stand more quietly, and then fastened them to trees by the side of the road.
While they were thus taking care of their horses, Rollo and Lucy were standing by, with Rollo’s mother looking at the bird.
“What are you going to do with him, Rollo?” said his mother.
“Why, I should like to carry him home, and keep him, if you are willing.”
“I am, on one condition.”
“What is that?”
“You must keep him in a cage with the door always open, so that, as soon as he is old enough to fly away, he may go if he chooses.”
“Then he will certainly fly away, and we shall lose him forever,” said Lucy.
“That is the only condition,” replied Rollo’s mother.
“But why, mother,” said he, “why may we not keep him shut up safe?”
“If I were to tell you the reasons now, they would not satisfy you, you are so eager to keep him. I think you had better determine to comply with the condition, good-humoredly, and say no more about it, but try to think of a name for him.”
“Well, mother, what do you think would be a good name?”
“I do not know: you and Lucy must think of one.”
Just then uncle George finished tying his horse, and came along to where the children were standing, and, hearing their conversation, and finding that Lucy and Rollo were perplexed about a name, he told them he thought they might, not improperly, call him Noah, as, like Noah, by floating in a sort of ark, he was saved from a flood.
“I think he was more like Moses than Noah,” said Lucy.
“Why?” said her father.
“Because Moses was a little thing when they found him, and then the ark of bulrushes was something like a birdsnest. I think you had better name him Moses, Rollo,” said she.
Rollo seemed a little at a loss: he said he thought he was a good deal like Moses, but then he did not think that Moses was a very pretty name for a bird.
“Do you think it is, mother?” said he.
“I do not know but that it would do very well. You might alter it a little; call him Mosette, if you think that would be any better for a bird’s name.”
Rollo and Lucy repeated the name Mosette to themselves several times, and concluded that they should like it very much. By this time, the horses were all ready, and Jonas recommended that they should hide Mosette away somewhere, until they returned from the mountain, for it would be troublesome to them, and somewhat dangerous to the bird, to carry him up and down.
The children approved of this plan, though they were rather unwilling to part with the bird, at all. They went just into the bushes, and found a very secret place, by the corner of a large rock, where the shrubs and wild flowers grew thick, so that it would be entirely out of sight.