I love these little stories and poems. They weren’t watered down and censored like so many children’s stories today. I mean, what poem written for kids today tells us the Uncle will shoot the crows? What seems like animal cruelty today was just necessity of a farmer’s life.
Crow, crow, though you wear a black coat,
And utter by no means a musical note,
For all your grave looks, it is our belief
That you are no better to-day than a thief.
You come to our fields, and you rob us of corn:
You don’t mind the scarecrow we set up to warn.
You cunning old fellow, those pieces of tin
Don’t frighten you off from committing a sin.
If you do not act better; if you and your folks
Don’t go away quickly, and cease from your jokes, —
My uncle will come with a big loaded gun,
And fire it off, and so stop all your fun.
The story for today is a curiosity, because it mentions the New York Times. No, it does not specifically say ‘New York’, but I have a feeling it is the newspaper that is referred to. It’s written in simple words, almost over-simplified. Read on to learn…..
How a Dog Took in “the Times”
“What will you tell me now?” said Trottie.
“I will tell you,” said his aunt, “how my friend’s dog Dash takes in the news’pa-per called ‘The Times.'”
“But why should a dog take in ‘The Times’? He cannot read it, — can he?”
“No: I do not think that Dash can read ‘The Times;’ but I will tell you what he does. He takes his seat on the steps of the front door; and he looks till he sees the boy come down the street with ‘The Times.’
“When the boy comes near the house, Dash gets up, and wags his tail, and barks, as much as to say, ‘Here you are, boy: now give me ‘The Times.'”
“And the boy gives him ‘The Times;’ and Dash takes it in his mouth, and runs off quite fast: and, when he comes to the door of the room in which his mas’ter takes his meals, he peeps in; and, if his mas’ter is not there, he goes on to the next room, and peeps in there.
“If his mas’ter is not in the next room, Dash will not give up ‘The Times’ to the wife of his mas’ter, — no, not if she says to him, ‘Dash, give me “The Times”‘; but the wise dog will shake his head, and growl, as much as to say, ‘No, no: this newspaper is not for such as you. What do you want with a newspaper?’
“And so, off he will run once more; and this time he goes to the door of his mas’ter’s bed-room, and gives a tap on the door with his paw. ‘Tap, tap, tap — scratch, scratch, scratch,’ goes the paw.
“Then, when his mas’ter comes to the door, Dash gives a loud bark for joy, as much as to say, “see, here is the newspaper for you. See, here it is quite safe. They tried to make me give it up, but I would not do it. You shall be the first in the house to read the news.’
“And then Dash will put ‘The Times’ in his mas’ter’s hand, and like a good, bright dog, lies down still at the foot of the bed, while his mas’ter reads the news.”
“I should like such a good, bright dog as that,” said Trottie.
“Yes: Dash is a rare dog; and, one of these days, I will take you to see him and play with him.”
I thought this line was a weird inclusion in the story towards the wife ‘what do you want with a newspaper?’ Surely some women read the news back then? Maybe it was just customary for the man of the house to read the news first.
What do you think?