P ATTER, patter, fall the raindrops on the brown leaves in the woods. Mr. Squirrel's bright eyes sparkle as he peeps out of his queer little home, a hole in the tree; his store of nuts has been carefully hidden away. Splash comes a drop on a leaf just opposite him. Such a friendly little drop it is, for soon it tells this little woodland dweller of all its travels.
Let us listen, for we may hear too:
"My home," began the Waterdrop, "is in the wide blue sea, where I live with many, many other drops.
"One day as we rode up and down on the big waves, the sun shone down on us, and we grew warmer. Each little drop felt, 'Oh, if I could only get away from the other drops, how much cooler I should be!' Then each tiny drop separated from the others, and grew so small you could not see it.
"We, of course, grew lighter, lighter than the air. Up, up we rose into the bright blue sky. When we got pretty high, where the air was cool, we came closer together again and formed a great fleecy white cloud, that cast its shadow over everything. Then a friendly wind carried us along, and soon we left the sea behind. Far below, we could see green fields and waving woods."
"You must have been very happy," said the little squirrel.
"Yes; it was a merry life we led, as we floated hither and thither, playing with the sun-beams," replied the Waterdrop.
"But we came at last to a purple mountain, and a chill wind began to blow. How we shivered with the cold! Then we huddled close together to get warm. We were now heavy again—so heavy that we could not stay up in the air.
'I'm going down to cheer a flower,'
Cried a little drop of rain;
'I hear it sigh. It droops its head
As if in weary pain.'
'And I will go!' 'And I!' 'And I!'
Cried all the raindrops near.
So down we went in merry haste
The whole wide field to cheer.
"The drooping flowers lifted their bright faces to thank the little drops for the cool drink. Even the great tall trees nodded their heads in welcome."
"The grass on the hillside and in the valley must have been grateful, too, for your coming," said the squirrel. "It always looks so fresh and green after a shower. But, tell me, what became of you?"
"I fell where the ground was brown and bare, stopped for a moment, then went down, down into the ground, where all was dark. I met other drops trying to get out, and we went on together, turning first this way, then that way, till we burst into the sunshine again."
"We rested for a moment in a tiny pool of clear water; then I ran with the rest down the mountain side, slipping over smooth pebbles, and tumbling over sharp rocks, until I found myself in a deep, swift stream, where plants and trees grew on either bank."
"As I was hurried along, I heard a great roaring noise made by the river falling over a high ledge of rocks, as a cataract or waterfall. Suddenly we fell over the rocks so steep and high that we went leaping and dashing in all directions. We rose in the air in a fine gray mist, then sank back again into the foam-covered stream.
Suddenly we fell over the rocks.
"Soon we were in a broad, quiet river, flowing past the grassy hills and green pastures. Then we came to a big mill-wheel, upon which we jumped, and by our weight made it turn over and over, and thus move the machinery in the mill. Here we were tossed in the air, whirled around, and at last flung back into the river, where we sailed slowly and quietly as before.
Then we came to a big mill‑wheel.
"By and by, we saw large boats floating on the water. We passed towns and cities with busy streets and many people; and as our river widened, and we heard the big sea waves dashing against the shore, we knew our brothers and sisters were singing a welcome home.
We passed towns and cities.
"And now farewell, little squirrel. My story is done, and I must hasten to my home in the sea. Perhaps we shall meet again some day. I may float down to you, a white-winged snowflake, or patter down as I came this time, a tiny raindrop."
Write the following:
The water rises from the sea in vapor.
The vapor is turned into clouds, which fall in rain or snow.
The rain forms rivers, which flow back again into the sea.
Thus the water is always going round and round in its long and curious journey—up to the clouds in vapor, down in rain, back in streams to the place it started from.