Pussy's Adopted Children by S. D. L. H.

When I was a little girl I had a dear old pussy. She was black and white, handsome and dignified, yet a grand playfellow when she chose to put off her dignity.

Great was my delight, one lovely spring morning, to find that pussy had two beautiful little babies in an old basket under the shed steps. She was so glad to have me see them, and so proud of the little soft, plump things, that she purred her loudest.

For three weeks mamma, kitty, and I nursed those babies with increasing pleasure. Whenever she wanted to take the air, or call on a friend, I was always ready to sit by the basket till she came back.

One sad night Thomas Gray, an old enemy of pussy's, broke into her house and killed both those darlings. Their mother didn't shed a tear, but my tears fell fast. The little creatures had just begun to be very cunning, and my disappointment was sore.

Over in the brick house across the street was another mamma kitty, with five nice children. They were about the same age as our kittens. Two were very like ours; so I got the idea of begging for them, and giving them to my pussy. Away I ran to ask my mamma's friend in the brick house if she would give me two of her kittens. She laughed, and said, "I wish you would take them all."

I carried home the two I wanted, and gave them to our sad pussy as she lay by the kitchen stove. At first she sniffed at them eagerly, but they didn't smell one bit like her own sweet babies. Then she was angry at the trick I seemed to be playing. Her eyes looked fierce. She rose up, growled, and spit at the little strangers, and tried to run away. But I held her while Mary, the girl, brought some milk in a saucer. Kitty was hungry, and so were the little ones; they tried to lap the milk with her, but they could only wet their bits of noses, and nearly sneezed their ears off.

Then they cried piteously, and looked at our pussy mother in such an appealing way that it seemed to touch her. In a little while she curled down on the floor and let them take her own babies' places.

Presently she began to wash their little heads, and then to sing "gray thrums" to them. At last she made up her mind that they were very nice little things, and she would be a good mother to them. And she was. Nobody would ever guess that they were not her own children.