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The Weasel and the Frogs, from Harper's


"I think the weasel is a mean, wicked murderer," said Harry, as he came rushing into his mother's room, his face flushed and his little fists clinched tight together: "My white rabbit lies all in a little dead heap in his house, and Mike, the gardener, says the weasel has killed him. He saw it prowling round the barn last night, and why he didn't set a trap and catch it I don't see."

Mamma put aside her sewing, and went to comfort Harry, who began to cry bitterly for the loss of his pet.

"Poor Bunny!" said mamma; "he should not have been left out when Mr. Weasel was around. But we will buy another Bunny, two Bunnies, a white one and a black one, and they shall have a nice little house in the wood-shed, where no weasel can find them."


Harry brightened up at once at the prospect of having two Bunnies, while mamma said: "Now let us talk a little about the weasel. It is not so much to be blamed, after all, for killing Bunny, for it was born with the instinct to catch rabbits and squirrels, rats, mice, and many other small animals, as well as chickens and birds of all kinds. Weasels are very sly little beasts, although if captured when very young they can be tamed, and taught to eat out of their master's hand. If you will listen, and not cry any more, I will tell you what I saw and heard one summer afternoon over by the pond in the meadow. You know it is a very small pond, and that afternoon the water was so still that it looked like a glass eye in the midst of the great green meadow. I sat down on the bank to rest, and to watch the reflection of the bushes and tall water-grasses which overhung the pond. Suddenly the surface of the water was disturbed by a hundred circling ripples, in the centre of which appeared a small dark spot. As I watched, these dark spots became visible all over the pond. The sun was setting, and the beautiful summer twilight coming on, and it was so still it seemed as if Nature and all her pretty minstrels were fast asleep. All at once I heard a hoarse voice, which seemed at my very feet. 'Chu-lunk, chu-lunk, chu-lunk,' it said. It must have been the chorister calling his frog chorus together for their evening song, for in a moment a multitude of voices were answering from the long grasses, the bushes, the water—indeed, the whole neighborhood, a moment before so quiet, was alive with little frog people. They evidently had some cause of complaint against a very wicked person, as my little Harry has just now, for I distinctly heard one say, 'Stole a rabbit, stole a rabbit;' while another answered, 'I saw him do it, I saw him do it.' Then the whole chorus burst out,'We'll pull him in, we'll pull him in.' 'Plump, plump, plump,' added one voice more revengeful than all the rest. I sat very still, waiting to see what was to be pulled plump into the water. I did not have long to wait, but I fancy things took a turn contrary to the one desired by the frog people. There was a sudden rustling in the bushes, a sharp, quick sound like the springing of a cat. The chorus was still in an instant, but the entire shore of the little pond was covered with rushing, springing, jumping frogs. Pell-mell they tumbled over each other in headlong race for the water, to escape their cruel enemy, which now appeared, and showed himself to be a slender little weasel. He darted here and there among the helpless frogs, which made no attempts to 'pull him in,' but bent their whole efforts toward self-preservation. At length, seizing a fat frog in his mouth, the weasel turned and disappeared noiselessly among the bushes. Peace reigned once more, but the little frog people had all jumped into the water, and not a voice was heard protesting or uttering farther threats."

"And did the weasel get more than one poor little frog, mamma?" asked Harry.

"No, he carried off only one frog," replied mamma; "but he killed several more, which he left lying dead in the grass. I dug a hole in the mud with a sharp stick and buried them, so that their companions should not find them when they ventured on shore again."

"Well," said Harry, after thinking a few moments, "now I guess I'll go and bury my poor dead rabbit."