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Title: A Child's Primer Of Natural History
Author: Herford, Oliver, 1863-1935
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Child's Primer Of Natural History" ***

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  A Child's Primer
  Of Natural History


  By Oliver Herford
  with Pictures by
  the Author


  Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1899



  Copyright 1899, by
  Oliver Herford



  CONTENTS

  A Seal
  The Giraffe
  The Yak
  A Whale
  The Leopard
  The Sloth
  The Elephant
  The Pig-Pen
  Some Geese
  The Ant
  An Arctic Hare
  The Wolf
  An Ostrich
  The Hippopotamus
  The Fly
  The Mongoos
  The Platypus
  The Chimpanzee
  A Mole
  The Rhinoceros
  A Penguin
  The Cat
  The Dog
  A Chameleon



      A Seal.


  SEE, chil-dren, the Fur-bear-ing Seal;
  Ob-serve his mis-di-rect-ed zeal:
  He dines with most ab-ste-mi-ous care
  On Fish, Ice Water and Fresh Air
  A-void-ing cond-i-ments or spice,
  For fear his fur should not be nice
  And fine and smooth and soft and meet
  For Broad-way or for Re-gent Street
  And yet some-how I of-ten feel
  (Though for the kind Fur-bear-ing Seal
  I har-bor a Re-spect Pro-found)



      The Giraffe.


  SEE the Gi-raffe; he is so tall
  There is not room to get him all
  U-pon the page. His head is high-er--
  The pic-ture proves it--than the Spire.
  That's why the na-tives, when they race
  To catch him, call it stee-ple-chase.
  His chief de-light it is to set
  A good example: shine or wet
  He rises ere the break of day,
  And starts his break-fast right away.
  His food has such a way to go,--
  His throat's so very long,--and so
  An early break-fast he must munch
  To get it down ere time for lunch.



     The Yak.


  THIS is the Yak, so neg-li-gée:
  His coif-fure's like a stack of hay;
  He lives so far from Any-where,
  I fear the Yak neg-lects his hair,
  And thinks, since there is none to see,
  What mat-ter how un-kempt he be.
  How would he feel if he but knew
  That in this Pic-ture-book I drew
  His Phys-i-og-no-my un-shorn,
  For chil-dren to de-ride and scorn?



      A Whale.


  THE con-sci-en-tious art-ist tries
  On-ly to draw what meets his eyes.
  This is the Whale; he seems to be
  A spout of wa-ter in the sea.
  Now, Hux-ley from one bone could make
  An un-known beast; so if I take
  This spout of wa-ter, and from thence
  Con-struct a Whale by in-fer-ence,
  A Whale, I ven-ture to as-sert,
  Must be an an-i-mat-ed squirt!
  Thus, chil-dren, we the truth may sift
  By use of Log-ic's Price-less Gift.



      The Leopard.


  THIS is the Le-o-pard, my child;
  His tem-per's any-thing but mild.
  The Le-o-pard can't change his spots,
  And that--so say the Hot-ten-tots--
  Is why he is so wild.
  Year in, year out, he may not change,
  No mat-ter how the wea-ther range,
  From cold to hot. No won-der, child,
  We hear the Le-o-pard is wild.



      The Sloth.


  THE Sloth en-joys a life of Ease;
  He hangs in-vert-ed from the trees,
    And views life up-side down.
  If you, my child, are noth-ing loath
  To live in In-dol-ence and Sloth,
    Un-heed-ing the World's frown,
  You, too, un-vexed by Toil and Strife,
  May take a hu-mor-ous view of life.



      The Elephant.


  THIS is the El-e-phant, who lives
  With but one aim--to please.
  His i-vo-ry tusk he free-ly gives
  To make pi-a-no keys.
  One grief he has--how-e'er he tries,
  He nev-er can for-get
  That one of his e-nor-mous size
  Can't be a house-hold pet.
  Then does he to his grief give way,
  Or sink 'neath sor-row's ban?
  Oh, no; in-stead he spends each day
  Con-tri-ving some un-sel-fish way
  To be of use to Man.



      The Pig-Pen.


  OH, turn not from the hum-ble Pig,
  My child, or think him in-fra dig.
  We oft hear lit-er-a-ry men
  Boast of the in-flu-ence of the Pen;
  Yet when we read in His-to-ry's Page
  Of Hu-man Pigs in ev-er-y age,
  From Cr[oe]-sus to the pres-ent day,
  Is it, my child, so hard to say
  (De-spite the Scribes' vain-glo-ri-ous boast)
  What Pen has in-flu-enced Man the most?



      Some Geese.


  EV-ER-Y child who has the use
  Of his sen-ses knows a goose.
  See them un-der-neath the tree
  Gath-er round the goose-girl's knee,
  While she reads them by the hour
  From the works of Scho-pen-hau-er.
  How pa-tient-ly the geese at-tend!
  But do they re-al-ly com-pre-hend
  What Scho-pen-hau-er's driv-ing at?
  Oh, not at all; but what of that?
  Nei-ther do I; nei-ther does she;
  And, for that mat-ter, nor does he.



      The Ant.


  MY child, ob-serve the use-ful Ant,
  How hard she works each day.
  She works as hard as ad-a-mant
  (That's very hard, they say).
  She has no time to gal-li-vant;
  She has no time to play.
  Let Fido chase his tail all day;
  Let Kitty play at tag:
  She has no time to throw a-way,
  She has no tail to wag.
  She scurries round from morn till night;
  She ne-ver, ne-ver sleeps;
  She seiz-es ev-ery-thing in sight,
  And drags it home with all her might,
  And all she takes she keeps.



      An Arctic Hare.


  AN Arc-tic Hare we now be-hold.
    The hair, you will ob-serve, is white;
  But if you think the Hare is old,
   You will be ver-y far from right.
  The Hare is young, and yet the hair
    Grew white in but a sin-gle night.
  Why, then it must have been a scare
    That turned this Hare. No; 't was not fright
  (Al-though such cases are well known);
    I fear that once a-gain you're wrong.
  Know then, that in the Arc-tic Zone
    A sin-gle night is six months long.



      The Wolf.


  OH, yes, the Wolf is bad, it's true;
  But how with-out him could we do?
  If there were not a wolf, what good
  Would be the tale of RID-ING-HOOD?
  The Lit-tle Child from sin will fly
  When told the wick-ed Wolf is nigh;
  And when, ar-rived at Man's es-tate,
  He hears the Wolf out-side his gate,
  He knows it's time to put a-way
  I-dle fri-vol-i-ty and play.
  That's how (but do not men-tion it)
  This prim-er hap-pened to be writ.



      An Ostrich.


  THIS is an Os-trich. See him stand:
  His head is bur-ied in the sand.
  It is not that he seeks for food,
  Nor is he shy, nor is he rude;
  But he is sen-si-tive, and shrinks
  And hides his head when-e'er he thinks
  How, on the Gains-bor-ough hat some day
  Of some fine la-dy at the play,
  His fea-thers may ob-struct the view
  Of all the stage from me or you.



      The Hippopotamus.


  "OH, say, what is this fearful, wild
  In-cor-ri-gible cuss?"
  "This _crea-ture_ (don't say 'cuss,' my child;
  'T is slang)--this crea-ture fierce is styled The Hip-po-pot-am-us.
  His curious name de-rives its source
  From two Greek words: _hippos_--a horse,
  _Potamos_--river.  See?
  The river's plain e-nough, of course;
  But why they called that thing a horse,
  That's what is Greek to me."



      The Fly.


  OB-SERVE, my child, the House-hold Fly,
  With his ex-traor-di-na-ry eye:
  What-ev-er thing he may be-hold
  Is mul-ti-plied a thou-sand-fold.
  _We_ do not need a com-plex eye
  When we ob-serve the Household Fly:
  He is so vol-a-tile that he
  In _ev-ery_ place at once can be;
  He is the buzz-ing in-car-na-tion
  Of an-i-mate mul-ti-pli-ca-tion.
  Ah! chil-dren, who can tell the Why
  And Where-fore of the House-hold Fly?



      The Mongoos.


  THIS, Chil-dren, is the famed Mon-goos.
  He has an ap-pe-tite ab-struse;
  Strange to re-late, this crea-ture takes
  A cu-ri-ous joy in eat-ing snakes--
  All kinds, though, it must be con-fessed,
  He likes the poi-son-ous ones the best.
  From him we learn how ve-ry small
  A thing can bring a-bout a Fall.
  Oh, Mon-goos, where were you that day
  When Mis-tress Eve was led a-stray?
  If you'd but seen the ser-pent first,
  Our Parents would not have been cursed,
  And so there would be no ex-cuse
  For MIL-TON, but for you--Mon-goos!



      The Platypus.


  MY child, the Duck-billed Plat-y-pus
  A sad ex-am-ple sets for us:
  From him we learn how In-de-ci-sion
  Of char-ac-ter pro-vokes De-ri-sion.
  This vac-il-lat-ing Thing, you see,
  Could not de-cide which he would be,
  Fish, Flesh, or Fowl, and chose all three.
  The sci-en-tists were sore-ly vexed
  To clas-si-fy him; so per-plexed
  Their brains that they, with Rage at bay,
  Called him a hor-rid name one day,--
  A name that baf-fles, frights, and shocks us,--
  Or-ni-tho-rhyn-chus Par-a-dox-us.



      The Chimpanzee.


  CHIL-DREN, be-hold the Chim-pan-zee:
  He sits on the an-ces-tral tree
  From which we sprang in ag-es gone.
  I'm glad we sprang: had we held on,
  We might, for aught that I can say,
  Be hor-rid Chim-pan-zees to-day.



      A Mole.


  SEE, chil-dren, the mis-guid-ed Mole.
  He lives down in a deep, dark hole;
  Sweet-ness, and Light, and good Fresh Air
  Are things for which he does not care.
  He has not e-ven that make-shift
  Of fee-ble minds--the _so-cial gift_.
  But say not that he has no soul,
  Lest hap-ly we misjudge the Mole;
  Nay, if we mea-sure him by Men,
  No doubt he sits in his dark den
  In-struct-ing oth-ers blind as he
  Ex-act-ly how the world _should_ be.



      The Rhinoceros.


  SO this is the Rhi-no-ce-ros!
  I won-der why he looks so cross.
  Per-haps he is an-noyed a bit
  Be-cause his cloth-ing does not fit.
  (They say he got it read-y made!)
  It is not that, I am a-fraid.
  He looks so cross be-cause I drew
  Him with one horn in-stead of two.

  Well, since he cares so much for style,
  Let's give him two and see him smile.



      A Penguin.


  THE Pen-guin sits up-on the shore
  And loves the lit-tle fish to bore;
  He has one en-er-vat-ing joke
  That would a very Saint pro-voke:
  "The Pen-guin's might-i-er than the Sword-fish";
  He tells this dai-ly to the bored fish,
  Un-til they are so weak, they float
  With-out re-sis-tance down his throat.



      The Cat.


  OB-SERVE the Cat up-on this page.
  Phil-os-o-phers in ev-er-y age,
  The ver-y _wis-est_ of the wise,
  Have tried her mind to an-a-lyze
  In vain, for noth-ing can they learn.
  She baf-fles them at ev-er-y turn
  Like Mis-ter Ham-let in the play.
  She leads their rea-son-ing a-stray;
  She feigns an in-ter-est in string
  Or yarn or any roll-ing thing.
  Un-like the Dog, she does not care
  With com-mon Man her thoughts to share.
  She teach-es us that in life's walk
  'T is bet-ter to let oth-ers talk,
  And lis-ten while _they_ say in-stead
  The fool-ish things we might have said.



      The Dog.


  HERE is the Dog.  Since time be-gan,
  The Dog has been the friend of MAN,
  The Dog loves MAN be-cause he shears
  His coat and clips his tail and ears.
  MAN loves the Dog be-cause he'll stay
  And lis-ten to his talk all day,
  And wag his tail and show de-light
  At all his jokes, how-ev-er trite.
  His bark is far worse than his bite,
  So peo-ple say.  They may be right;
  Yet if to make a choice I had,
  I'd choose his bark, how-ev-er bad.



      A Chameleon.


  A USE-FUL les-son you may con,
  My Child, from the Cha-me-le-on:
  He has the gift, ex-treme-ly rare
  In an-i-mals, of sav-oir-faire.
  And if the se-cret you would guess
  Of the Cha-me-le-on's suc-cess,
  A-dapt your-self with great-est care
  To your sur-round-ings ev-er-y-where;
  And then, un-less your sex pre-vent,
  Some day you may be Pres-i-dent.



[Transcriber's Note: In this file, the ligatured oe character
is represented by "[oe]".]





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