BLTC Press Titles

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Paradoxes of the Highest Science

Eliphas Levi

Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Hermenie Templeton Kavanagh

The Pictorial Key to the Tarot

Arthur Edward Waite

The Characters of Theophrastus


Danish Fairy Legends and Tales

by Hans Christian Andersen


"Do you imagine this to be the whole of the world?" said the mother; "it extends far beyond the other side of the garden to the pastor's field; but I have never been there. Are you all here?" And then she got up. "No, not all, but the largest egg is still here. How long will this last? I am so weary of it!" And then she sat down again.

"Well, and how are you getting on?" asked an old Duck, who had come to pay her a visit.

"This one egg keeps me so long," said the mother, " it will not break; but you should see the others! they are the prettiest little ducklings I have seen in all my days; they «e all like their father,—the good-for-nothing fellow, he has not been to visit me once!"

"Let me see the egg that will not break," said the old Duck; "depend upon it, it is a turkey's egg. I was cheated in the same way once myself, and I had such trouble with the young ones; for they were afraid of the water, and I could not get them there. I called and scolded, but it was all of no use. But let me see the egg—ah, yes! to be sure, that is a turkey's egg. Leave it, and teach the other little ones to swim."

"I will sit on it a little longer,'' said the Duck. "I have been sitting so long, that I may as well spend the harvest here."

"It is no business of mine," said the old Duck, and away she waddled.

The great egg burst at last. "Tchick! tchick!" said the little one, and out it tumbled—but, oh! how large and ugly it was! The Duck looked at it. "That is a great, strong creature," said she; "none of the others are at all like it; can it be a young turkey-cock? Well, we shall soon find out; it must go into the water, though I push it in myself"

The next day there was delightful weather, and the sun -warmly upon all the green leaves when Mother Duck •with all her family went down to the canal: plump she went into the -water. "Quack! quack!" cried she, and one duckling after another jumped in. The water closed over their heads, but a\\ came up again, and swam together in the pleasantest manner; their legs moved without effort. All were there, even the ugly, grey one.

"No! it is not a turkey," said the old Duck; "only see how prettily it moves its legs! how upright it holds itself! it is my own child: it is also really very pretty, when one looks more closely at it. Quack! quack! now come with me, I will take you into the world, introduce you in the duck-yard; but keep close to me, or some one may tread on you; and beware of the cat."

So they came into the duck-yard. There was a horrid noise; two families were quarrelling about the remains of an eel, which in the end was secured by the cat.

"See, my children, such is the way of the world," said the Mother Duck, wiping her beak, for she, too, was fond of eels. "Now use your legs," said she, "keep together, and bow to the old Duck you see yonder. She is the most distinguished of all the fowls present, and is of Spanish blood, which accounts for her dignified appearance and manners. And look, she has a red rag on her leg! that is considered extremely handsome, and is the greatest distinction a duck can have. Don't turn your feet inwards; a well-educated duckling always keeps his legs far apart, like his father and mother, just so—look! now bow your necks, and say,' quack.'"

And they did as they were told. But the other Ducks who were in the yard looked at them, and said aloud, " Only see, now we have another brood, as if there were not enough of us already; and fie! how ugly that one is; we will not endure it;" and immediately one of the Ducks flew at him, and bit him in the neck.

"Leave him alone," said the mother, "he is doing no one any harm."

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