The Larks in the Cornfield

by Sara Cone Bryant

There was once a family of little Larks who lived with their mother in a nest in a cornfield. When the corn was ripe the mother Lark watched very carefully to see if there were any sign of the reapers' coming, for she knew that when they came their sharp knives would cut down the nest and hurt the baby Larks. So every day, when she went out for food, she told the little Larks to look and listen very closely to everything that went on, and to tell her all they saw and heard when she came home.

One day when she came home the little Larks were much frightened.

"Oh, Mother, dear Mother," they said, "you must move us away to-night! The farmer was in the field to-day, and he said, 'The corn is ready to cut; we must call in the neighbors to help.' And then he told his son to go out to-night and ask all the neighbors to come and reap the corn to-morrow."

The mother Lark laughed. "Don't be frightened," she said; "if he waits for his neighbors to reap the corn we shall have plenty of time to move; tell me what he says to-morrow."

The next night the little Larks were quite trembling with fear; the moment their mother got home they cried out, "Mother, you must surely move us to-night! The farmer came to-day and said, 'The corn is getting too ripe; we cannot wait for our neighbors; we must ask our relatives to help us.' And then he called his son and told him to ask all the uncles and cousins to come to-morrow and cut the corn. Shall we not move to-night?"

"Don't worry," said the mother Lark; "the uncles and cousins have plenty of reaping to do for themselves; we'll not move yet."

The third night, when the mother Lark came home, the baby Larks said, "Mother, dear, the farmer came to the field to-day, and when he looked at the corn he was quite angry; he said, 'This will never do! The corn is getting too ripe; it's no use to wait for our relatives, we shall have to cut this corn ourselves.' And then he called his son and said, 'Go out to-night and hire reapers, and to-morrow we will begin to cut.'"

"Well," said the mother, "that is another story; when a man begins to do his own business, instead of asking somebody else to do it, things get done. I will move you out to-night."