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St. Nicholas Magazine for Boys and Girls, Vol. 5, July 1878, No. 9
written by "Dodge, Mary Mapes, 1830-1905"
...ys that, as preaching is warm work just now, he will do no more than give you a text, this time, and you can have a try at the sermon all by yourselves. Here is what he sends you as the text: Ariosto, the Italian poet, tells a story of a fairy, whose fate obliged her to pass certain seasons in the form of a snake. If anybody injured her during those seasons, he never after shared in the rich blessings that were hers to give; but those who, in spite of her ugly looks, pitied and cared for her, were crowned for the rest of their lives with good fortune, had all their wishes granted, and became truly blessed. "Such a spirit," adds the Deacon, "is Liberty. And neither we nor our country can be kept safe without her. Since, too, Liberty cannot be kept safe without sincerity and manhood—" There, my dears, this gives you a good start. Now go on with the sermon. A CONGRESS OF BIRDS. Brooklyn, N.Y. Dear Jack-in-the-Pulpit: I have something to tell you about some of your friends the birds, and perhaps your chicks can help answer the questions the anecdote raises. One summer evening of 1846, at Catskill Village, vast numbers of whip-poor-wills and swallows began to gather from all directions about an hour before sunset, and in a few minutes the sky was dark with their wings. They assembled above a high hill, and over the cemetery which was on this hill they circled and wheeled and mixed together, calling and twittering in a state of great excitement. They were so many that, standing anywhere in the cemetery, which covered about forty acres, one might have knocked them down by hundreds with an ordinary fishing-rod. The birds, though of such opposite natures, mingled in a friendly way, and seemed to be trying to settle some question of importance to both parties. Soon, the sun sank behind the mountains, and, while his last rays were fading, the birds went...

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