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THIS work was undertaken in the hope of making an agreeable companion for youth, to be consulted every day in the year. It was not intended for mere children, but for those who had advanced to the age of twelve or fourteen years, or had arrived at that degree of maturity, which would enable them to understand the language, and estimate the value of such counsel, and such entertainment, as might be drawn from the best writers in our language.
I wished to put within the reach of all youthful readers an unobtrusive friend; one that would lie upon the shelf, or remain snug in a corner, ready at all times to appear when called for, but never forward to exact attention; one that would mingle pleasure with instruction, and counsel with knowledge; one, that, when friends are absent, and companions away, would speak to them, sometimes as a parent deeply concerned for their welfare, and sometimes as a talkative old man, who likes nothing so well as a good listener.
Such a one I have attempted to prepare, and I have sought aid from a variety of sources. I have gathered legends from one author and lays from another; I have collected fables and proverbs, aphorisms and allegories; and never forgetting that my book should be useful, I have also tried never to permit it to become dull. He who undertakes to wile himself into the good graces of the young, should never allow his stories to be too long, or his homilies too frequent and prosing; and I hope I have taken due care that this little volume should not be a trangressor of this politic rule.
After all, I offer the book to the public with much diffidence; I have ventured to step beyond. the gentle and kind little audience who have so patiently listened to many of my stories; and now that I appear before more critical and knowing readers, I may not find the same indulgence as heretofore. Let them, however, consider the design of this work, which is, to furnish some useful or amusing passage for each day, and if the idle or vacant moments that occur are used in perusing them, I trust that at the end of the year, the reader will not regret that the volume has fallen into his hands.
A Vision of the Alps,
160 The Drowning Boy and Dog, 208
174 Heifer, Goat, Sheep and Lion, 224
All that 's bright must fade," 232
Old Bulfinch and young Birds, 233
ib. Despondency of Lord Corn-