The Blackbirds and Grimalkin
by W. H.
Two blackbirds had built their nest in the thick bough of a tree which
overhung a high paling. Here they fancied themselves secure from the prying eyes
of idle boys or marauding cats. The hen laid her eggs in her new abode, and in
due time several fledgelings were hatched, which her faithful mate assisted her
to rear. While in the full enjoyment of their happiness, watching over their
helpless young ones, they one day saw what to them appeared a terrific monsteróa
large católeap to the top of the paling, and begin cautiously creeping along it.
So narrow was it, however, that even Grimalkin could not venture to move fast.
The parent blackbirds watched him with beating hearts as he crept on and on,
his savage eyes turned up ever and anon when he stepped towards their nest,
where their young ones were chirping merrily, unconscious of danger. In another
instant he might make his fatal spring, and seize them in his cruel jaws. The
heart of the tender mother urged her to risk her own life for the sake of her
offspring. Downward she flew, uttering loud screams of anger almost within reach
of the marauder, but the narrowness of the paling prevented him from leaping
forward and seizing her in his claws. The brave father was not behind his mate
in courage. He too pitched on the top of the fence directly in front of
Grimalkin. As the cat crept on he retreated, hoping to draw her past his nest;
but the cruel plundererís eye was too securely fixed on that. The cock, seeing
this, darted with the courage of despair on the back of his enemy,
and assailed him with such fierce and repeated pecks on the head, that the cat,
losing his balance, fell to the ground, and, astonished at the unexpected
attack, scampered off, resolved, I hope, never again to molest the heroic
blackbirds; while they flew back to the nest they had so bravely defended.