SUDDENLY HE SAW A SPIDER BUSY AT WORK UPON HER COUNTRY HOME

Not far from the city of ants, Tiny halted to refresh himself with an
acorn.

“This country is delightful,” he said to himself. “A squirrel does
not often see such a beautiful scene. He has little knowledge of the
great world. I was discontented not long ago, but now I am happy. I
am glad that I saw the ants and their city. They are very industrious
creatures. All have much work to do, yet they do it willingly. They
don’t seem to wish to be idle. Ants never before were interesting to
me, but now I admire them very much. You have taught me a lesson,
friend ant.”

He sat still for a few moments gazing around him. Suddenly he saw a
spider busy at work upon her country home. She wore a snuff-brown
jacket dashed with purple, and her legs were striped like those of a
tiger.

She had just finished digging a tunnel seven inches long in the earth,
and had lined it with a substance that looked like silk. Now she was
spinning a web to cover the outer door, which was really a dry oak
leaf. She left an opening large enough to pass through. Then she pulled
some blades of grass and fastened them across the leaf so securely that
the entrance to her home could not be seen. She worked very busily,
although occasionally a rude wasp came along and tried to sting her.
In spite of disturbing insects, the spider finished building her home.
Then she twined some tiny vines about the entrance, making a green
bower that looked very pretty. When her difficult task was completed,
she crawled into her silk-lined hall and went to sleep.

“Plucky wood spider!” cried Tiny in admiration. “Although the
wasps threaten her life, she never gives up. You work diligently,
little friend. I admire you very much. I have learned a lesson in
perseverance.”

[Illustration: HE SAW A DARK OBJECT SITTING DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF HIM.]




Tiny did not hunt a place in which to sleep until it was quite late.
Indeed, the moon was beginning to shine before he thought of rest. Just
as he was about to leave the path turning to the right, he saw a dark
object sitting directly in front of him. It was singing in a clear and
plaintive voice:

“Wur-r-r, wur-r-r, wur-r-r,
I never complain nor demur,
Though the fox and the bat and the weasel and cat
Are waiting to seize me and roll me out flat,
And swallow me down like a great lump of fat,
Wur-r-r, wur-r-r, wur-r-r.

“Wur-r-r, wur-r-r, wur-r-r,
I have neither feathers nor fur;
I am dusty and wrinkled and warts to me cling,
Yet I’m never unhappy, for Nature, kind thing,
Gave me such a sweet voice; so I constantly sing
Wur-r-r, wur-r-r, wur-r-r.”

“How fortunate it is that an ugly creature may have the power to sing!”
exclaimed Tiny so loudly that the toad who had been singing grew
frightened and leaped into the tall grass.

“You have taught me the song of contentment, Mrs. Toad,” he continued.
“I have many privileges that you do not enjoy, for you only venture
forth at night. Although hundreds of animals are waiting to destroy
you, your song never loses its vigor. Your only recreation is to catch
a few insects and to sit in the moonlight, singing ‘Wur-r-r, wur-r-r,
wur-r-r’.”