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The Lark and Her Young Ones

Fables

Aesop

A Lark, who had young ones in a field of corn almost ripe, was under some fear lest the reapers should come to reap it before her young brood was fledged and able to remove from that place. She, therefore, upon flying abroad to look for food, left this charge with them—to take notice what they heard talked of in her absence, and tell her of it when she came back again.

When she was gone, they heard the owner of the corn call to his son: "Well," says he, "I think this corn is ripe enough. I would have you go early to-morrow, and desire our friends and neighbours to come and help us to reap it." When the old Lark came home, the young ones fell a quivering and chirping round her, and told her what had happened, begging her to remove them as fast as she could. The mother bid them be easy: "For," said she, "if the owner depends on his friends and neighbours, I am pretty sure the corn will not be reaped to-morrow."

Next day, she went out again, leaving the same orders as before. The owner came, and staid, expecting his friends; but the sun grew hot, and nothing was done, for not a soul came to help them. Then says he to his son, "I perceive[41] these friends of ours are not to be depended upon; so you must go to your uncles and cousins, and tell them I desire they would be here betimes to-morrow morning, to help us to reap." Well, this the young ones, in a great fright, reported also to their mother. "If that be all," says she, "do not be frightened, dear children; for kindred and relations are not so very forward to serve one another; but take particular notice what you hear said next time, and be sure you let me know it."

She went abroad next day, as usual; and the owner, finding his relations as slack as the rest of his neighbours, said to his son, "Harkee, George; get a couple of good sickles ready against to-morrow morning, and we will even reap the corn ourselves." When the young ones told their mother this, "Then," said she, "we must be gone indeed; for, when a man undertakes to do his business himself, it is not so likely he will be disappointed." So she removed her young ones at once, and the corn was reaped next day by the good man and his son.

MORAL.

Never depend on the assistance of others. No business is so sure to be done as that which a man sets about doing himself.

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