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to an extraordinary extreme. It bores innumerable little holes in the bark and trunks of trees, in each of which it wedges firmly an acorn with its bill. They may be heard hammering away at this work the live-long day. The whole family of squirrels--all the burrowing animals together, with many other birds besides those enumerated, have this same propensity for hiding their food in the ground or elsewhere. It is thus preserved from decay, and whether used by the creature depositing them or not, they grow into trees and renew the earth with vegetation.

Thus do these little creatures, in the economy of nature, become the planters of our forests.

So universal is the Blue Jay's reputation for mischievous and impish tricks of every kind, that the negroes of the South regard them with a strange mixture of superstition and deadly hate. The belief among them is, that it is the special agent of the devil here on earth-carries tales to him and all kinds of slanderous gossip, particularly about negroes,

, and most especially that they supply him with fuel to burn them with. Their animosity is entirely genuine and implacable.

When a boy, I caught many of them in traps, during the snows, and the negro boys who generally accompanied me on my rounds to the traps, always begged eagerly for the Jay Birds we captured to be surrendered to them, and the next instant their necks were wrung amid the shouts of laughter.

Alas, for the fate of our feathered Euphuist !—yet he was "a fellow of infinite wit !"



I do not wonder that the world is full of superstition, and that men talk vaguely, as if they were in a dream of the

“ Angels and ministers of grace"


belonging to another sphere, when they know so little of the divine realities of this!

How many of them, for instance, know anything of the Thrush—that present angel of the solemn woods ? I ven. ture, there are not ten men out of a thousand, that call themselves intelligent, who can go into the woods with you of a summer morning, and point out which is the Wood Thrush, or tell you, amidst the choir, which strain belongs to it. They may notice the right bird, but be sure they do not know it as the Wood Thrush; and they will give you some other name—as Wood Robin, Ground Nightingale, &c.; but even then, they will seldom fail to identify the notes for you --and yet they have been hearing them—unless they've lived in cities—all their live-long days, and feeling them too, if they have any souls to feel with. It is one of the most common song-birds we have in our woods—is, literally, what Wordsworth calls the little English Robin,

-a joy,
A presence like the air !

and yet I believe there is less correctly and generally known of it, than of almost any other bird within the limits of settlement on the Continent. Now, the question, why is this? admits of many a sage answer; but I say it is simply because men have sold "their birth-right for the mess of pottage.” They were born with the gift to know their angels, but, in their progressive obesity, they are worse than Abraham of old, and seldom make the mistake of entertaining them even in disguise. The clear seraphic vision of childhood, which once could see the halo and the folded wings, stares now through the dim medium of worldly grease and dust, upon what may seem a mystery or a monster. We are born in God and nature, and so long as we remain unvitiated, there is no such thing as mystery and fear-for love is our pure enlightener, and faith maketh sport of fear—but, as the world wags, the same child that could smile in confiding wonder amidst the rock of elemental war, and toy with the very bolts of heaven, as with its own rattle, would, as a man, tremble at a moon-thrown shadow, or faint if a donkey should bray of a sudden in the dark. The farther from birth the farther from nature, is almost a truism, and to the rheumy vision of age we owe the ghostly forms of superstition. As men become more and more besotted in the worship of the golden calf they have formed to themselves, so do the realities of beauty and harmony about them become as common and unclean—they cannot see them, neither can they hearand then with dim and morbid yearnings for more exalted communion, they turn to the shadow realm of sickly dream, and “call up spirits from the vasty deep” of superstition, to minister to their craven appetites, and bring them the empty visions of a servile bliss. With the best of us, those voices which spoke to our young sense in lofty themes have lost their meaning, and now they seem wise indeed in their day and generation who can invoke even the echoes of that innocent time, and name them by holy names-their comforters!

Who knows the little Wood Thrush for a comforter ? and yet, ye children of mammon, it was the first sweet singer

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that sang a cheering song from out the primeval forests here unto your fathers. The wolves had bowled their greeting in chorus to the wintry winds, but the gentle salutation of the Wood Thrush came, the earliest harbinger of Spring and hope. Seeming as though the spirit of solitude that had so long infused those hoary aisles with harmony, of whispering boughs, now clothed its dædal hymn in voice most meet for human ear, and came in that plumed form to bid the weary wanderers welcome to the new empire nature yielded. What a welcome! Conquerors never found such. A melody that haunted every shade, and filled the ear of silence, where, deep within, she leaned upon her mossy couch to listentouched their rude hearts with its tender spell, and fired their souls with loftier daring; for that clear, loud and mel. low minstrelsy was to them as the first fresh song of freedom on a new-found earth. Was not the little bird then a comforter to these, the hardy pioneers of freedom? Their stout souls found fittest inspiration in its real voice, for actual deeds that have lived after them in honor. Above the turmoil of their rough struggle with the elements, the savage beasts and more ferocious savages, that gentle song rose ever in its wild and sweet recall to win the soothed Passions back to peace and calm repose. Men, however stern and embittered by unceasing conflict, do not easily get away from the refin. ing spell of music, and notes such as those of the Wood Thrush—that fill the common air like sun-beams—will search the clefts of these rugged natures as do those same sun-beams when they pierce ice-mailed cliffs to find the Alpine Rose hidden there, and glow in blushes on its tender cheek. There is a soft spot, even in the rough hunter's heart, and the enchantment of that song will reach it somewhere, in the drear, deep solitudes of pathless wilderness, all unaware, and then the warm tears welled up with his yearnings, will leave him humanized again and is not the little bird a comforter to him ?

Aye, and it has been the angel to the weary and way-far

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ing pilgrim of loftier name and deeds than such as these. Hear what the dedicated high priest of Nature's templeAudubon !—has told us of his little comforter, the darling Wood Thrush.

“You now see before you my greatest favorite of the feathered tribes of our woods. To it I owe much. How often has it revived my drooping spirits, when I have listened to its wild notes in our forest, after passing a restless night in my slender shed, so feebly secured against the violence of the storm, as to show me the futility of my best efforts to rekindle my little fire, whose uncertain and vacillating light had gradually died away under the destructive weight of the dense torrents of rain that seemed to involve the heavens and the earth in one mass of fearful murkiness, save when the red streaks of the flashing thunderbolt burst on the dazzled eye,

, and, glancing along the huge trunk of the stateliest and noblest tree in my immediate neighborhood, were instantly followed by an uproar of cracking, crashing, and deafening sounds, rolling their volumes in tumultuous eddies far and near, as if to silence the very breathings of the unformed thought! How often, after such a night, when far from my dear home, and deprived of the presence of those nearest my heart, wearied, hungry, drenched, and so lonely and desolate as almost to question myself why I was thus situated, when I have seen the fruits of my labors on the eve of being destroyed, as the water, collected into a stream, rushed through my little camp, and forced me to stand erect, shivering in a cold fit like that of a severe ague, when I have been obliged to wait, with the patience of a martyr, for the return of day, trying in vain to destroy the tormenting musquitoes, silently counting over the years of my youth, doubting, per haps, if ever again I should return to my home, and embrace my family !—how often, as the first glimpse of morning gleamed doubtfully among the dusky masses of the forest trees, has there come upon my ear, thrilling along the sensitive cords which connect that organ with

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