Beautiful Joe
Chapter 20, Page 3

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Please be aware that this book was originally published in 1894 and may contain words, descriptions, or other passages that may be considered offensive today.


CHAPTER XX: STORIES ABOUT ANIMALS (continued)

One girl had kept her brother from shooting two owls that came about their barnyard. She told him that the owls would destroy the rats and mice that bothered him in the barn, but if he hunted them, they would go to the woods.

A boy said that he had persuaded some of his friends who were going fishing, to put their bait worms into a dish of boiling water to kill them before they started, and also to promise him that as soon as they took their fish out of the water, they would kill them by a sharp blow on the back of the head. They were all the more ready to do this, when he told them that their fish would taste better when cooked, if they had been killed as soon as they were taken from the water into the air.

A little girl had gotten her mother to say that she would never again put lobsters into cold water and slowly boil them to death. She had also stopped a man in the street who was carrying a pair of fowls with their heads down, and asked him if he would kindly reverse their position. The man told her that the fowls didn't mind, and she pursed up her small mouth and showed the band how she said to him, "I would prefer the opinion of the hens." Then she said he had laughed at her, and said, "Certainly, little lady," and had gone off carrying them as she wanted him to. She had also reasoned with different boys outside the village who were throwing stones at birds and frogs, and sticking butterflies, and had invited them to come to the Band of Mercy.

This child seemed to have done more than any one else for dumb animals. She had taken around a petition to the village boys, asking them not to search for birds' eggs, and she had even gone into her father's stable, and asked him to hold her up, so that she could look into the horses' mouths to see if their teeth wanted filing or were decayed. When her father laughed at her, she told him that horses often suffer terrible pain from their teeth, and that sometimes a runaway is caused by a metal bit striking against the exposed nerve in the tooth of a horse that has become almost frantic with pain.

She was a very gentle girl, and I think by the way that she spoke that her father loved her dearly, for she told how much trouble he had taken to make some tiny houses for her that she wanted for the wrens that came about their farm. She told him that those little birds are so good at catching insects that they ought to give all their time to it, and not have any worry about making houses. Her father made their homes very small, so that the English sparrows could not get in and crowd them out.

A boy said that he had gotten a pot of paint, and painted in large letters on the fences around his father's farm: "Spare the toads, don't kill the birds. Every bird killed is a loss to the country."

"That reminds me," said the president, "to ask the girls what they have done about the millinery business."

"I have told my mother," said a tall, serious-faced girl, "that I think it is wrong to wear bird feathers, and she has promised to give up wearing any of them except ostrich plumes."

Mrs. Wood asked permission to say a few words just here, and the president said: "Certainly, we are always glad to hear from you."