Little Peter: A Christmas Morality for Children of any Age

Little Peter: A Christmas Morality for Children of any Age

Lucas Malet

Lucas Malet

WHICH DEALS WITH THE OPINIONS OF A CAT, AND THE SORROWS OF A CHARCOAL BURNER.The pine forest is a wonderful place. The pine-trees stand in ranks like the soldiers of some vast army, side by side, mile after mile, in companies and regiments and battalions, all clothed in a sober uniform of green and grey. But they are unlike soldiers in this, that they are of all ages and sizes; some so small that the rabbits easily jump over them in their play, and some so tall and stately that the fall of them is like the falling of a high tower. And the pine-trees are put to many different uses. They are made into masts for the gallant ships that sail out and away to distant ports across the great ocean. Others are sawn into planks, and used for the building of sheds; for the rafters and flooring, and clap-boards and woodwork of our houses; for railway-sleepers, and scaffoldings, and hoardings. Others are polished and fashioned into articles of furniture. Turpentine comes from them, which the artist uses with his colours, and the doctor in his medicines; which is used, too, in the cleaning of stuffs and in a hundred different ways. While the pine-cones, and broken branches and waste wood, make bright crackling fires by which to warm ourselves on a winter's day.But there is something more than just this I should like you to think about in connection with the pine forest; for it, like everything else that is fair and noble in nature, has a strange and precious secret of its own.You may learn the many uses of the trees in your school books, when men have cut them down or grubbed them up, or poked holes in their poor sides to let the turpentine run out. But you can only learn the secret of the forest itself by listening humbly and reverently for it to speak to you. For Nature is a very great lady, grander and more magnificent than all the queens who have lived in sumptuous palaces and reigned over famous kingdoms since the world began; and though she will be very kind and gracious to children who come and ask her questions modestly and prettily, and will show them the most lovely sights and tell them the most delicious fairy tales that ever were seen or heard, she makes very short work with conceited and impudent persons. She covers their eyes and stops their ears, so that they can never see her wonderful treasures or hear her charming stories, but live, all their lives long, shut up in the dark fusty cupboard of their own ignorance, and stupid self-love, and self-satisfaction, thinking they know all about everything as well as if they had made it themselves, when they do not really know anything at all. And because you and I dislike fusty cupboards, and because we want to know anything and everything that Nature is condescending enough to teach us, we will listen, to begin with, to what the pine forest has to tell.When the rough winds are up and at play, and the pine-trees shout and sing together in a mighty chorus, while the hoarse voice of them is like the roar of the sea upon a rocky coast, then you may learn the secret of the forest. It sings first of the winged seed; and then of the birth of the tiny tree; of sunrise and sunset,CONTENTSWhich deals with the opinions of a Cat, and the sorrows of a Charcoal-burnerWhich introduces the Reader to an Admirer of the Ancient RomansWhich improves our acquaintance with the Grasshopper-manWhich leaves some at Home, and takes some to ChurchWhich is both Social and ReligiousWhich attempts to show why the Skies fallWhich describes a pleasant Dinner Party, and an unpleasant WalkWhich proves that even Philosophic Politicians may have to admit themselves in the wrongWhich is very short because, in some ways, it is rather sadWhich ends the StoryILLUSTRATIONS'Remember my ears are so quick I can hear the grass grow''What will happen? please tell me''Go to bed when you are told''You all despise me'Going to ChurchLostWaitingFoundThe Charcoal-burner visits Littl
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