THE ANIMALS SWIM ASHORE 61
let him know beforehand that you wanted him to wait till you were ready," I observed, laughing.
'" But, mother, how could I possibly suppose that the bird could fly away in less than the twinkling of an eye ? Ah, if one would but come at this very moment I"
' " A good sportsman, Ernest, always holds himself in readiness, for birds do not send messages to give notice of their coming."
'" I wish I knew," said Jack, " what bird it was ; I never saw any like it."
'" I am sure it was an eagle," said little Francis, " for I have read in my book of fables, that an eagle can carry off a sheep, and this bird was terribly large."
' " Oh, yes !" said Ernest scoffingly, " as if all large birds must be eagles ! Why, there are some birds much larger even than eagles ! The ostrich, for instance. But I must say I should like to have examined this bird closely."
' " If you had had time to examine him, you would have had time to kill him," said I; " but the opportunity is gone."
' As I spoke, a second bird, exactly like the first, except that he was a little larger, rushed out with a great noise and mounted high above their heads.