Gateway to the Classics: The Golden Ladder Book by E. Hershey Sneath
The Golden Ladder Book by  E. Hershey Sneath

The Pond

There was a round pond, and a pretty pond too,

About it white daisies and butter-flowers grew;

And dark weeping willows that stoop'd to the ground,

Dipped in their long hrauclies and shaded it round.

A party of duclts to this pond would repair,

To feast oil the green water weeds that grew there

Indeed, the assembly would frequently meet

To talk o'er affairs in this pleasant retreat.

Now, the subjects on which they were wont to converse,

I'm sorry I cannot include in my verse;

For though I've oft listened, in hopes of discerning,

I own 'tis a matter that baffles my learning.

One day a young chicken who lived there-about

Stood watching to see the ducks pass in and out;

Now standing tail upwards, now diving below;

She thought of all things she should like to do so.

So this foolish chicken began to declare,

I've really a great mind to venture in there;

My mother oft tells me I must not go nigh,

But then, for my part, I cannot tell why.

"Wings and feathers have ducks, and so have I too;

And my feet, what's the reason that they will not do?

Though my beak is pointed, and their beaks are round,

Is that any reason that I should be drowned?

"So why should not I swim as well as a duck?

Suppose that I venture, and e'en try my luck!

For," said she (spite of all that her mother had taught her),

"I'm really remarkably fond of the water."

So in this poor ignorant animal flew,

But soon found her dear mother's cautions were true;

She splashed and she dashed and she turned herself round,

And heartily wished herself safe on the ground.

But now 'twas too late to begin to repent,

The harder she struggled the deeper she went;

And when every effort she vainly had tried,

She slowly sunk down to the bottom and died!

The ducks, I perceived, began loudly to quack,

When they saw the poor fowl floating dead on its back;

And by their grave looks it was very apparent

They discoursed on the sin of not minding a parent.

Jane Taylor


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