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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 111 pages of information about Parker's Second Reader.

15.  Don was a very large dog, of the Newfoundland species, a kind which is remarkable for its beauty and intelligence.

LESSON XXII.

Frogs and Toads.—­BIGLAND.

1.  Frogs and toads resemble one another in figure, but custom and prejudice have taught us to make a very different estimate of their properties:  the first is considered as perfectly harmless, while the latter is supposed to be poisonous.

2.  In this respect, the toad has been treated with great injustice:  it is a torpid, harmless animal, that passes the greatest part of the winter in sleep.

3.  Astonishing stories have been told of toads found in the center of solid blocks of stone, and other similar situations, without the least trace of the way by which they entered, and without any possibility of their finding any kind of nutriment.

4.  Toads, as well as frogs, are of a variety of species; and in the tropical climates they grow to an enormous size.  It is very probable that they contribute to clear both the land and the water of many noxious reptiles of a diminutive size, which might prove exceedingly hurtful to man.

5.  The toad, however, is one of the most inoffensive of all animals.  We have even heard that it has sometimes been successfully applied for the cure of the cancer, the most dreadful, and one of the most fatal, of human evils.

6.  Mr. Pennant has related some interesting particulars respecting a toad which was perfectly domesticated, and continued in the same spot for upwards of thirty-six years.

7.  It frequented the steps before the hall-door of a gentleman’s house in Devonshire; and, from receiving a regular supply of food, it became so tame as always to crawl out of its hole in an evening, when a candle was brought, and look up, as if expecting to be carried into the house.

8.  A reptile so generally detested being taken into favor, excited the curiosity of every visitant; and even ladies so far conquered their natural horror and disgust as to request to see it fed.  It seemed particularly fond of flesh maggots, which were kept for it in bran.

9.  When these were laid upon a table, it would follow them, and, at a certain distance, would fix its eyes and remain motionless for a little while, as if preparing for the stroke, which was always instantaneous.

10.  It threw out its tongue to a great distance, when the insect stuck by the glutinous matter to its lip, and was swallowed with inconceivable quickness.

11.  After living under the protection of its benefactor upwards of thirty-six years, it was one day attacked by a tame raven, which wounded it so severely that it died shortly afterward.

12.  The erroneous opinion of toads containing and ejecting poison has caused many cruelties to be exercised upon this harmless, and undoubtedly useful tribe.  Toads have been inhumanly treated, merely because they are ugly; and frogs have been abused, because they are like them.

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