“I can tell you another curious thing,” added he; “it’s about a fox this time. It didn’t happen anywhere about here, but in a part of the country where there’s a deal of hunting going on. This poor fox was being hunted, and away he went through woods, over ploughed land and meadows, the pack of hounds and the huntsmen in full cry after him, when they came to a small village. Up the street ran the fox, the dogs at his heels, when he saw the open door of a house and ran inside, up the stairs, and crouched under a cot where a little child lay fast asleep! The mistress of the house saw the fox rush in, and she instantly shut the front door, as she knew she would have the whole pack of hounds in her house. As it was, two dogs, a little in front of the others, rushed past her through the hall into the kitchen, then into the yard; so they at once shut the kitchen door, and the dogs just missed the fox. There was a sight all round the house; the dogs were just mad to get in, and trampled down the flower-beds—for there was no keeping them out of the front garden—making such a yelling and barking as you never heard. At last one of the huntsmen came into the house, caught the fox, and carried him away in a bag. The next day a gentleman sent his gardener to put the garden straight again, after the dogs; but the crocuses, which were just showing nicely for bloom, were quite spoiled. They sent the fox’s brush—that’s his tail, you know—to the mistress. I’ve been inside this very house, and seen where the fox went to hide himself. It’s not the way of the creatures that live in the woods to come into houses, but the poor fox was hard drove; he was.
“But now, Master Jack, I’ve finished my job in this shed, and I must go.”
HIVING THE BEES.
“Busy bee, busy bee, where do you go?”—
“To meadows and gardens whose sweets I know;
Filling my baskets with spoils from the flowers,
Working hard for the hive in sunny hours.”—C. H.
In a sunny corner of the kitchen garden stood a row of bee-hives. Many a time did the children stand to watch the busy workers, flying out of the hive to gather honey from the flowers, either to feed the bees or to store it into cells for future use.
They would watch them returning laden, not only with honey, but with pollen, the yellow dust found in the inside of flowers.
Bees get covered with this powder while they are sucking the honey out of the flowers; and they carefully brush it off their bodies with their hairy legs, make it into lumps, and then place it in a curious kind of basket or pocket which every bee has in the middle of each of its hind legs. The children often saw the bees with these yellow lumps piled up so high that it seemed a wonder they did not fall off. And so they might have done, had it not been for the fringe of long hairs at the edge of the basket, which, by making a kind of lid, kept the precious load safe. They watched the bees fly into the hive, but they could not see what happened next and what became of their treasure.