The Interesting Life of squirrels
1 Squirrels are rodents that are indigenous to the Americas, Eurasia, and Africa, and have been introduced to Australia. There are 280 different species of squirrels among which ground squirrels, tree squirrels, chipmunks, flying squirrels, marmots and prairie dogs.
2 Squirrels are born blind and have perfect vision as adults. They can have two to eight babies (called kittens) at once. The kittens depend on their mother for food and drink for a couple of months before they become mature enough to find food for themselves. When squirrels decide to mate, they look for nests. Before that, they live in the holes of trunks or in the treetop.
3 Everyone knows that squirrels love nuts but the other things they like eating are roots, tree bark, small insects, leaves and acorns. Squirrels gather and save their food through the whole year but mostly in the autumn. This way they get ready for the winter. The squirrels bury their food, then hibernate in winter and when they wake up out of hibernation they go look for the food they buried.
4 Squirrels vary in size and color. The smallest representative of the family is the African pygmy squirrel which is about 10 centimeters long and the biggest one is the Alpine Marmot which could size up to 73 centimeters. Some of them have grey, brown or black fur and others have white stripes. But they all have big eyes, bushy tails, chunky front teeth and long nails and claws so that they can easily climb up trees.
5 Squirrels can jump up to 4 to 5 feet vertically, and they can leap 8 to 10 feet between objects. The flying squirrels can’t fly like birds but they can glide between trees for distances of up to 90 meters (295 ft.), which is amazing taking into consideration their size.
Teddy Bear, by A.A. Milne
A bear, however hard he tries,
Grows tubby without exercise.
Our Teddy Bear is short and fat,
Which is not to be wondered at;
He gets what exercise he can
By falling off the ottoman,
But generally seems to lack
The energy to clamber back.
Now tubbiness is just the thing
Which gets a fellow wondering;
And Teddy worried lots about
The fact that he was rather stout.
He thought: "If only I were thin!
But how does anyone begin?"
He thought: "It really isn't fair
To grudge me exercise and air."
For many weeks he pressed in vain
His nose against the window-pane,
And envied those who walked about
Reducing their unwanted stout.
None of the people he could see
"Is quite" (he said) "as fat as me!"
Then with a still more moving sigh,
"I mean" (he said) "as fat as I!"
Now Teddy, as was only right,
Slept in the ottoman at night,
And with him crowded in as well
More animals than I can tell;
Not only these, but books and things,
Such as a kind relation brings -
Old tales of "Once upon a time",
And history retold in rhyme.
One night it happened that he took
A peep at an old picture-book,
Wherein he came across by chance
The picture of a King of France
(A stoutish man) and, down below,
These words: "King Louis So and So,
Nicknamed 'The Handsome!' " There he sat,
And (think of it) the man was fat!
Our bear rejoiced like anything
To read about this famous King,
Nicknamed the "Handsome." Not a doubt
The man was definitely stout.
Why then, a bear (for all his tub)
Might yet be named "The Handsome Cub!"
"Might yet be named." Or did he mean
That years ago he "might have been"?
For now he felt a slight misgiving:
"Is Louis So and So still living?
Fashions in beauty have a way
Of altering from day to day.
Is 'Handsome Louis' with us yet?
Unfortunately I forget."
Next morning (nose to window-pane)
The doubt occurred to him again.
One question hammered in his head:
"Is he alive or is he dead?"
Thus, nose to pane, he pondered; but
The lattice window, loosely shut,
Swung open. With one startled "Oh!"
Our Teddy disappeared below.
There happened to be passing by
A plump man with a twinkling eye,
Who, seeing Teddy in the street,
Raised him politely on his feet,
And murmured kindly in his ear
Soft words of comfort and of cheer:
"Well, well!" "Allow me!" "Not at all."
"Tut-tut!" A very nasty fall."
Our Teddy answered not a word;
It's doubtful if he even heard.
Our bear could only look and look:
The stout man in the picture-book!
That "handsome" King - could this be he,
This man of adiposity?
"Impossible," he thought. "But still,
No harm in asking. Yes, I will!"
"Are you," he said, "by any chance
His Majesty the King of France?"
The other answered, "I am that,"
Bowed stiffly, and removed his hat;
Then said, "Excuse me," with an air
"But is it Mr. Edward Bear?"
And Teddy, bending very low,
Replied politely, "Even so!"
They stood beneath the window there,
The King and Mr. Edward Bear,
And, handsome, if a trifle fat,
Talked carelessly of this and that ...
Then said His Majesty, "Well, well,
I must get on," and rang the bell.
"Your bear, I think," he smiled. "Good-day!"
And turned, and went upon his way.
A bear, however hard he tries,
Grows tubby without exercise.
Our Teddy Bear is short and fat,
Which is not to be wondered at.
But do you think it worries him
To know that he is far from slim?
No, just the other way about -
He's proud of being short and stout.
“Casey at the Bat”
written by Ernest Lawrence Thayer in 1888
The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day;
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play,
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.
A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, "If only Casey could but get a whack at that--
We'd put up even money now, with Casey at the bat."
But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
And the former was a hoodoo, while the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey getting to the bat.
But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despisèd, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and men saw what had occurred,
There was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.
Then from five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It pounded on the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.
There was ease in Casey's manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey's bearing and a smile lit Casey's face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt 'twas Casey at the bat.
Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt;
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance flashed in Casey's eye, a sneer curled Casey's lip.
And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped--
"That ain't my style," said Casey. "Strike one!" the umpire said.
From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore;
"Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted some one on the stand;
And it's likely they'd have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.
With a smile of Christian charity great Casey's visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the dun sphere flew;
But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, "Strike two!"
"Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered "Fraud!"
But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn't let that ball go by again.
The sneer has fled from Casey's lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go.
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow.
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville--great Casey has struck out.
by Charles Gibson
"HE SNATCHED THE LIGHTING FROM THE SKIES AND THE SCEPTRE FROM TYRANTS"
WE have first-hand information concerning the life of Benjamin Franklin, for although he did not publish an autobiography, he wrote down the story of his life in the form of a very long letter to his son.
While it is true that Franklin rose "from printer's boy to first Ambassador of the American Republic," I think that statement by itself is apt to give an impression of even a humbler origin than was the case.
Benjamin's father, who had been a wool-dyer in this country, emigrated, about the year 1682, to that part of America then known as New England, but Benjamin, who was the fifteenth in a family of seventeen, was not born till twenty-five years later. Although he was born in Boston in 1706, he was a British subject, the Americans being then but colonists of Great Britain. New England was still young, the father of Benjamin's mother having been one of the first settlers in that part.
Although Benjamin had only two years' schooling, which was between the age of eight and ten years, he must have received good tuition from his father, for he was able to read before he went to school. He tells us that his father always made it a point that the table-talk was of interest and instruction to the children. There was never any discussion of their food; that was strictly prohibited. Even if the food was not to their minds, or was extra pleasing, or was not well cooked, no remark whatever was to be made. Benjamin tells us that with this good training he found in later life that he was quite indifferent to what kind of food was set before him. He found this a great convenience in travelling; he did not envy those whose delicate tastes were often bringing them into conflict with the innkeepers. This avoidance of thinking about the food became such a habit with Franklin that he says, "Indeed, I am so unobservant of it, that to this day I can scarce tell a few hours after dinner of what dishes it consisted."
Another habit formed by Benjamin was to waste no time. No doubt he was taught this by his father, for he showed signs of this habit at a very early age, as we may gather from the following incident. When a child he felt that the very long graces which his father said before and after meals occupied a good deal of time. One day, while the little fellow was watching the winter's meat being salted and stored away in casks, he asked his father if it would not do to say grace over the whole lot once for all as it would save a lot of time.
Excerpt from Little Women
PART ONE: Chapter One - Playing Pilgrims
By: Louisa Alcott
Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents, grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.
“It's so dreadful to be poor!” sighed Meg, looking down at her old dress.
“I don't think it's fair for some girls to have plenty of pretty things, and other girls nothing at all,” added little Amy, with an injured sniff.
“We've got Father and Mother, and each other,” said Beth contentedly from her corner.
The four young faces on which the firelight shone brightened at the cheerful words, but darkened again as Jo said sadly, “We haven't got Father, and shall not have him for a long time.” She didn't say perhaps never, but each silently added it, thinking of Father far away, where the fighting was.
Nobody spoke for a minute; then Meg said in an altered tone, “You know the reason Mother proposed not having any presents this Christmas was because it is going to be a hard winter for everyone; and she thinks we ought not to spend money for pleasure, when our men are suffering so in the army. We can't do much, but we can make our little sacrifices, and ought to do it gladly.”
But I am afraid I don't and Meg shook her head, as she thought regretfully of all the pretty things she wanted.
“But I don't think the little we should spend would do any good. We've each got a dollar, and the army wouldn't be much helped by our giving that. I agree not to expect anything from Mother or you, but I do want to buy Undine and Sintram for myself. I've wanted it so long,” said Jo, who was a bookworm.
“I planned to spend mine in new music,” said Beth, with a little sigh, which no one heard but the hearth brush and kettle holder.
“I shall get a nice box of Faber's drawing pencils. I really need them,” said Amy decidedly.
“Mother didn't say anything about our money, and she won't wish us to give up everything. Let's each buy what we want, and have a little fun. I'm sure we work hard enough to earn it,” cried Jo, examining the heels of her shoes in a gentlemanly manner.
“I know I do—teaching those tiresome children nearly all day, when I'm longing to enjoy myself at home,” began Meg, in the complaining tone again.
“You don't have half such a hard time as I do,” said Jo. “How would you like to be shut up for hours with a nervous, fussy old lady, who keeps you trotting, is never satisfied, and worries you till you you're ready to fly out the window or cry?”
“It's naughty to fret, but I do think washing dishes and keeping things tidy is the worst work in the world. It makes me cross, and my hands get so stiff, I can't practice well at all.” And Beth looked at her rough hands with a sigh that anyone could hear that time.
“I don't believe any of you suffer as I do,” cried Amy, “for you don't have to go to school with impertinent girls, who plague you if you don't know your lessons, and laugh at your dresses, and label your father if he isn't rich, and insult you when your nose isn't nice.”
“If you mean libel, I'd say so, and not talk about labels, as if Papa was a pickle bottle,” advised Jo, laughing.
“I know what I mean, and you needn't be satirical about it. It's proper to use good words, and improve your vocabulary,” returned Amy, with dignity.
“Don't peck at one another, children. Don't you wish we had the money Papa lost when we were little, Jo? Dear me! How happy and good we'd be, if we had no worries!” said Meg, who could remember better times.
“You said the other day you thought we were a deal happier than the King children, for they were fighting and fretting all the time, in spite of their money.”
“So I did, Beth. Well, I think we are. For though we do have to work, we make fun of ourselves, and are a pretty jolly set, as Jo would say.”