Page images



In a pleasant wood, on the western side of a ridge of mountains, there lived a Squirrel, who had passed two or three years of his life very happily. At length he began to grow discontented, and one day fell into the following soliloquy.

What, must I spend all my time in this spot, running up and down the same trees, gathering nuts and acorns, and dozing away months together in a hole! I see a great many of the birds who inhabit this wood ramble about to a dis. tance wherever their fancy leads them, and at the approach of winter, set out for some remote country, where they enjoy summer weather all the year round. My neighbour Cuckoo tells me he is


just going; and even little Nightingale will soon follow. To be sure, I have not wings like them, but I have legs nimble enough; and if one does not use them, one might as well be a mole or a dormouse. I dare say I could easily

I reach to that blue ridge which I see from the tops of the trees; which no doubt must be a fine place, for the sun comes directly from it every morning, and it often appears all covered with red and yellow, and the finest colours imaginable. There can be no harm, at least, in trying, for I can soon get back again if I don't like it. I am resolved to go, and I will set out tomorrow morning,

When Squirrel had taken this resolution, he could not sleep all night for thinking of it; and at peep of day, prudently taking with him as much provision as he could conveniently carry, he began his journey in high spirits. He

presently got to the outside of the wood, and entered upon the open moors that reached to the foot of the hills. These he Crossed before the sun was gotten high ; and then, having eaten his breakfast with an excellent appetite, he began to ascend. It was heavy toilsome work serambling up the steep sides of the mountains; but Squirrel was used to climbing ; so for a while he proceeded expeditiously. Often, however, was he obliged to stop and take breath ; so that it was a good deal past noon before he had arrived at the summit of the first cliff. Here he sat down to eat his dinner; and looking back, was wonderfully pleased with the fine prospect. The wood in which he lived lay far beneath his feet; and he viewed with scorn the humble habitation in which he had been born and bred.

When he looked forwards, however, he was somewhat discouraged to observe

that another eminence rose above him, full as distant as that to which he had already reached; and he now began to feel stiff and fatigued. However, after a little rest, he set out again, though not so briskly as before. The ground was rugged, brown and bare; and to his great surprise, instead of finding it warmer as he got nearer the sun, he felt it grow colder and colder. He had not travelled two hours before his strength and spirits were almost spent; and he seriously thought of giving up the point, and returning before night should come

While he was thus deliberating with himself, clouds began to gather round the mountain, and to take away all view of distant objects. Presently a storm of mingled snow and hail came down, driven by a violent wind, which pelted poor Squirrel most pitifully, and made him quite unable to move forwards or backwards. Besides he had


completely lost his road, and did not know which way to turn towards that despised home, which it was now his only desire again to reach. The storm lasted till the approach of night; and it was as much as he could do, benumbed and weary as he was, to crawl to the hollow of a rock at some distance, which was the best lodging he could find for the night. His provisions were spent; so that, hungry and shivering, he crept into the furthest corner of the cavern, and rolling himself up, with his bushytail over his back, he got a little sleep, though disturbed by the cold, and the shrill whistling of the wind amongst the stones.

The morning broke over the distant tops of the mountains, when Squirrel, half frozen and famished, came out of his lodging, and advanced, as well as he could, towards the brow of the hill, that he might discover which way to

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »