Reading Made Easy for Foreigners - Third Reader eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 107 pages of information about Reading Made Easy for Foreigners.

The elephants slain in Africa and India in the course of a year could not furnish half the ivory used in the great markets of the world during that time.  Vienna, Paris, London and St. Petersburg keep the elephant-hunters busy, yet it is impossible for them to satisfy all the demands made upon them, and the ivory-diggers must be called upon to add to the supply.

Every spring, when the ice begins to thaw, new mines or deposits of fossil ivory—­a perfect treasure of mammoths’ tusks—­are discovered in the marsh-lands of Eastern Siberia.  There are no mammoths now—­unless we call elephants by that name; yet their remains have been found upon both continents.  In the year 1799, the perfect skeleton of one of these animals was found in an ice-bank near the mouth of a Siberian river.  As the vast ice-field thawed, the remains of the huge animal came to light.

The traders who search for mammoths’ tusks around the Arctic coasts of Asia make every effort to send off, each year, at least fifty thousand pounds of fossil ivory to the west along the great caravan road.  So great is the demand, however, that this quantity, added to that sent by the elephant-hunters, is not large enough to make ivory cheap in trade or in manufacture.

SELECTION XII

  WOODMAN, SPARE THAT TREE

  Woodman, spare that tree! 
    Touch not a single bough! 
  In youth it sheltered me,
    And I’ll protect it now. 
  ’Twas my forefather’s hand
    That placed it near his cot: 
  There, woodman, let it stand;
    Thy ax shall harm it not.

  That old familiar tree,
    Whose glory and renown
  Are spread o’er land and sea,—­
    And wouldst thou hew it down? 
  Woodman, forbear thy stroke! 
    Cut not its earthbound ties! 
  Oh, spare that aged oak,
    Now towering to the skies!

  When but an idle boy
    I sought its grateful shade;
  In all their gushing joy,
    Here, too, my sisters played. 
  My mother kissed me here,
    My father pressed my hand: 
  Forgive this foolish tear,
    But let that old oak stand.

  My heart-strings round thee cling,
    Close as thy bark, old friend;
  Here shall the wild bird sing,
    And still thy branches bend. 
  Old tree, the storm still brave! 
    And, woodman, leave the spot! 
  While I’ve a hand to save,
    Thy ax shall harm it not.

  George P. Morris.

LESSON XXXI

FLOWERS

He who cannot appreciate floral beauty is to be pitied, like any other man who is born imperfect.  It is a misfortune not unlike blindness.  But men who reject flowers as effeminate and unworthy of manhood reveal a positive coarseness.

Many persons lose all enjoyment of many flowers by indulging false associations.  There are some who think that no weed can be of interest as a flower.  But all flowers are weeds where they grow wild and in abundance; and somewhere our rarest flowers are somebody’s commonest.

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Reading Made Easy for Foreigners - Third Reader from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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