THE SPARROW AND HIS YOUNG ONES. 501
in good things, but there is great danger, and it requires you to be very careful, especially when people are walking in these gardens. Sometimes you will find a long green twig like a perch placed ready for you, but inside it is hollow, and underneath is a little hole."
" Yes, my father, and little green leaves are stuck all over the hole with bird-lime," said the son.
" Where have you seen this ?" asked the old bird.
" In a merchant's garden," replied the young one.
" Ah, my child," cried the father, w merchant people are fast people; if you had been brought up in the world you would have learned enough of their smooth deceitful ways; however, you must take care not to want more than is right, and do not be too confiding."
Then the old bird questioned another of his children. " Where have you been living ?" he asked.
11 At court," was the reply; " sparrows and other simple birds know nothing of the place where there is so much gold, velvet, silk, harness, hawks, and all sorts of good and wonderful things in the stables. There they measure oats and thresh wheat, so that we are always lucky enough to find a few grains of corn for breakfast, and every day, indeed, more than we can eat. Yes, father, and when the stable boys measure out the corn, or make a mash for the horses, we have such a feast."
" Where did you find all this ?" asked the old bird.
" Oh, in the court of the castle and with the stable boys."
" Oh, my son, stable boys are often unkind and wicked, but if you have been to court and associated with great people without even losing a feather, you may think yourself well off. You have also learnt a great deal no doubt of the ways of the world which will help you to defend yourself bravely; but take care, the wolf often eats the most sensible little dog."
The father after this called the third son before him and asked: "Where have you been trying your fortune, little one?"
"On the streets and highways," he replied, "for there they draw up large sacks full of corn by ropes, and a few grains a wheat or barley are sure to be dropped for us."
" I can quite understand," said the father-bird, " but still you must keep a sharp look-out, for otherwise, if a stone should be thrown; there would be an end of you."