Mother Truth's Melodies Part 19

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Once within, they peck and peck it,-- Sometimes quite a yard or more, While the nest is snugly builded, Farthest from the outer door.

But, so wise are they, this archway From the entrance to the nest, Is inclining ever upward, That no rain within may rest.

So the pink-white eggs are laid there, Safe from harm, till baby-birds Chirrup forth to take their places, 'Mongst the self-sustaining herds.


Smallest of the swallow species, Homeliest, too, yet favorites dear, For their graceful, airy movements, And their simple, social cheer.

Found are they from North to South-land, Known of every tribe and race;-- Swift in flight, yet swinging, swaying, Skimming low from place to place.

Parent-birds care less for young ones, Than do other swallow-kind;-- Push them off half-fledged and timid, Each his food and home to find.

Thus they, many a time, fall prey to Hawks and crows, their enemies;-- Even the nest sometimes is entered By the snakes and fleas and flies.

Swallows migrate in the Winter, From the cold to warmer climes, Flying back as Spring approaches, To the haunts of former times.


"Ne'er one swallow makes a Summer,"

Is a saying everywhere;-- But when swallows come in myriads, Blessed Summer-time is here.



The New World boasts the Mocking-bird And whether caged or free, His wondrous voice pours forth in songs Of rarest melody.

His notes swell out and die away, As if a joyous soul Were wrought to highest ecstacy, All music to control.


His native notes are bold and full, And then he'll imitate, Till it would seem the feathered tribe Were all arrayed in state.

He'll whistle for the dog or cat, Will squeak like chicken, hurt, And cluck and crow and bark and mew, So comical and curt.

While blue-birds warble, swallows scream, Or hens will cackle clear.

In robin's song, the whip-poor-will Pours forth his plaint so near.


Canaries, hang-birds, nightingales, He echoes loud and long; While they stand silent, mortified, He triumphs in his song.


Why do the little busy bees So dearly love their queen, And wait upon and pay respect, With watchful care and mien?


Because the queen lays all the eggs, And mothers all the young, While every father-bee that's hatched Is nothing but a drone.

The working bees might all be queens, If cared for and well-fed When they are in the larvae state, But they're half-starved instead,--

While those intended for young queens Are fattened overmuch, And nursed and petted every hour, That they full growth may reach.

For every different kind of egg That makes the different bees, A different kind of cell is made, The queen directing these.

For drones or males, six-sided cells, Quite neat, and smooth, and nice; For working-bees a smaller cell, Uncouth, and rough, and coa.r.s.e;


While those for queens are large and free, And fas.h.i.+oned fine with care, And lined with softest, silken shreds So daintily they fare.

The queen-bee lays the worker-eggs, A dozen days, I ween, And then the drones as many more, Then workers, then the queen.

Eggs, two or three, and sometimes four Are laid in worker-cell; While drones and queens have each but one, As oft is proven well.

The bluish eggs so close and warm, Hatch out with three days pa.s.sed; {199} When larvae, white, as little worms, Are watched and fed and nursed.

These larvae, when some six days old, Close in their cells are shut, And there at once begin to weave A silken web about.

They turn and twist till all around Themselves 'tis woven quite, And then they rest for twenty days,-- 'Tis such a pretty sight.

The small coc.o.o.ns of working-bees, The larger ones of drones, The large and plump and perfect ones Of all the coming queens.


In twenty days they now burst forth, Equipped from tip to toe, The working-bees and drones, I mean, For queens come forth more slow.

The queen coc.o.o.ns ope from behind, And I will tell you why, 'Tis that the reigning queen may sting The others till they die.

If mother queen leads off a swarm, A young queen they release, And she may take another swarm, And leave the hive in peace.

Another queen is then let out, Perhaps a third and fourth, As many as can raise a swarm, To follow them, not loath;


But when no more can swarm and go, Because not bees enough, As I have said, the reigning queen Stings all the rest to death.

For in each hive and everywhere, One queen alone will reign, And any interloper meets With sure and sharp disdain.

Of workers, some are strong to fly, While some are weak and small, Unfitted quite, for load or flight, Or outside work at all.

Mother Truth's Melodies Part 19

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Mother Truth's Melodies Part 19 summary

You're reading Mother Truth's Melodies Part 19. This novel has been translated by Updating. Author: E. P. Miller already has 146 views.

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