The Animal Story Book - online children's book

Edited By Andrew Lang And With Numerous Illustrations By H. J. Ford

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the nest had grown to be more than a shapeless mass, down it came, and such a quantity of soot with it, that the poor cockatoos were quite buried, and lay for a day and night nearly smothered in soot, till they happened to be found by a housemaid who had entered the room. But in spite of this mishap they were not disheartened, and as soon as their eyes and noses had recovered from their soot bath, they began again to search for a more suitable spot. To the great delight of their master, they fixed upon a box which he had nailed for this very purpose under one of the gables, and this time they managed to build a nest that was as good as any nest in the garden. Still, they had no luck, for though the female laid two eggs, and sat upon them perseveringly, never allowing them to get cold for a single instant, it was all of no use, for the eggs turned out to be both bad!
Some cousins of theirs, a beautiful white cockatoo and his lovely rose-coloured wife, were more prosperous in their arrangements. They scooped out a most comfortable nest with their claws and bills in the rotten branch of an acacia tree, and there they brought up two young families, all of them white as snow, with flame-coloured crests. The eldest son, unhappily for himself, got weary of his brothers and sisters, and the little wood on the outskirts of the garden, where he was born, and one winter day took a flight towards the town. His parents never quiet knew what occurred, but the poor young cockatoo came back severely wounded, to the great fury of all his family, who behaved very unkindly to him. It is a curious fact that no animals and very few birds can bear the sight of illness, and these cockatoos were no better than the rest. They did not absolutely ill-treat him, but they refused to let him enter their nest, and in­sisted that he should live by himself in a distant bush. At last his master took pity on him, and brought him into the garden, but this so enraged the cockatoos who were already in possession, that they secretly murdered him.
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