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Jane Marcet

The Bee

A Fable from Pignotti

The next morning, when Mary brought her Grammar, her mother said, "No, my dear, we shall not go any farther to-day, I will read you a little story, and you shall afterwards look out for all the nouns and pronouns in it. That is called parsing."

"Oh, how I shall like that!" said Mary: "a story and nouns and pronouns too; how funny it will be to find them out!"

"It will require more painstaking than you are perhaps aware of; but now for the story."

"There was once a little girl——"

"Girl,"  said Mary, "that is a noun; and what did the little girl do?"

"She was playing alone in a pretty garden; she was very young, and ran over the beds of flowers, and rolled on the grass, filling her little hands with daisies."

"What a number of nouns and pronouns, too!" said Mary, half to herself; "but go on, mamma, I will not interrupt you again."

"All at once," continued her mother, "the little child, as she was lying on the grass, heard a buzzing noise over her head, and looking up, she saw a large yellow and purple bee. The sun shone upon its wings, and made them look as bright as gold; and she thought it was the most beautiful insect she had ever seen. The bee whirled round and round her several times, as if at play; and every time it came nearer, she stretched out her little hand to catch it; but, it was all in vain, and at length the bee flew far away. The little girl got upon her feet as fast as she could, and ran after the bee; but, it flew about above her reach, till it was weary, and then settled to rest on a full-blown rose. When the child saw it remain quiet, she went up to the rose-bush, as gently as possible, treading softly on tiptoe; and, when she came within reach, she suddenly stretched out her hand, and grasped the bee and the rose together.

"The bee, angry at being thus disturbed, thrust out its sharp sting, and pierced through the skin of the poor little hand that held it. The wounded child screamed with pain; and the mother, hearing her cries, ran to her assistance: she took the sting out of her hand, bathed it with hartshorn, and, when the child was a little recovered from the pain and fright, her mother said:—'My dear child, do not seize hold of every thing that looks pretty, without knowing what it is; for there are many pretty things which would hurt you.' "

Mary was so much taken up with the child's sufferings, that she quite forgot the nouns and pronouns; but when the story was ended, her mother desired her to read it over attentively, and to find out the nouns and pronouns it contained.

Mary made out above thirty nouns, and nearly as many pronouns; but she did not go through the whole story at once: her mamma divided it into parts, of six lines each; and Mary did it at different times, which made it easier for her.