The Animal Story Book - online children's book

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

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weak and feeble, and so carrieth her own weight more lightly.
There is a certain pie, of nothing so great reckoning and account as the parrot, because she is not far set, but here by near at hand: howbeit, she pronounces that which is taught her more plainly and distinctly than the other. These take a love to the words that they speak; for they not only learn them as a lesson, but they learn them with a delight and pleasure, insomuch that a man shall find them studying thereupon, and conning the said lesson; and by their careful thinking upon that which they learn they show plainly how mindful and intentive they be thereto. It is for certain known that they have died for very anger and grief that they could not learn to pronounce some hard words; as also unless they hear the same words repeated often unto them, their memory is so shittle, they will soon forget the same again. If they miss a word and have lost it, they will seek to call it again to remem­brance ; and if they fortune to hear the same word in the meantime, they will wonderfully joy thereat. As for their beauty, it is not ordinary, although it be not very lovely. But surely amiable enough are they in this, that they can so well resemble man's speech. It is said that none of their kind are good to be made scholars, but such only as feed upon mast; and among them, those that have five toes to their feet. But even these also are not fit for that purpose, after the first two years of their age. And their tongue is broader than ordinary; like as they be all that counterfeit man's voice, each one in their kind, although it be in manner general to birds whatsoever to be broad-tongued.
Agrippina the Empress, wife to Claudius Caesar, had a black-bird or a throstle at what time I compiled this book, which could counterfeit man's speech; a thing never seen or known before. The two Caesars also, the young princes (to wit, Germ aniens and Drusus,) had one stare, and sundry nightingales, taught to parle Greek and Latin.
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