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The Lark and Her Young Ones

The Lark and her Young Ones

A Lark had made her nest in the young green wheat. The brood had almost grown, when the owner of the field, overlooking his crop, said: "I must send to all my neighbors to help me with my harvest." One of the young Larks heard him, and asked his mother to what place they should move for safety. "There is no occasion to move yet, my son," she replied. The owner of the field came a few days later, and said: "I will come myself to-morrow, and will get in the harvest." Then the Lark said to her brood: "It is time now to be off—he no longer trusts to his friends, but will reap the field himself."

Self-help is the best help.

The Lark and Her Young Ones


A Lark made her nest in a field of young wheat. As the days passed, the wheat stalks grew tall and the young birds, too, grew in strength. Then one day, when the ripe golden grain waved in the breeze, the Farmer and his son came into the field.

"This wheat is now ready for reaping," said the Farmer. "We must call in our neighbors and friends to help us harvest it."

The young Larks in their nest close by were much frightened, for they knew they would be in great danger if they did not leave the nest before the reapers came. When the Mother Lark returned with food for them, they told her what they had heard.

"Do not be frightened, children," said the Mother Lark. "If the Farmer said he would call in his neighbors and friends to help him do his work, this wheat will not be reaped for a while yet."

A few days later, the wheat was so ripe, that when the wind shook the stalks, a hail of wheat grains came rustling down on the young Larks' heads.

"If this wheat is not harvested at once," said the Farmer, "we shall lose half the crop. We cannot wait any longer for help from our friends. Tomorrow we must set to work, ourselves."

When the young Larks told their mother what they had heard that day, she said:

"Then we must be off at once. When a man decides to do his own work and not depend on any one else, then you may be sure there will be no more delay."

There was much fluttering and trying out of wings that afternoon, and at sunrise next day, when the Farmer and his son cut down the grain, they found an empty nest.

Self-help is the best help.


A Lark, who had Young Ones in a field of corn which was almost ripe, was under some fear lest the reapers should come to reap it before her young brood were fledged, and able to remove from the place: wherefore, upon flying abroad to look for food, she left this charge with them—that they should take notice what they heard talked of in her absence, and tell her of it when she came back again. When she was gone, they heard the owner of the corn call to his son—'Well,' says he, 'I think this corn is ripe enough; I would have you go early to-morrow, and desire our friends and neighbours to come and help us to reap it.' When the Old Lark came home, the Young Ones fell a quivering and chirping round her, and told her what had happened, begging her to remove them as fast as she could. The mother bid them be easy; 'for,' says she, 'if the owner depends upon friends and neighbours, I am pretty sure the corn will not be reaped to-morrow.' Next day she went out again, upon the same occasion, and left the same orders with them as before. The owner came, and stayed, expecting those he had sent to: but the sun grew hot, and nothing was done, for not a soul came to help him. 'Then,' says he to his son, 'I perceive these friends of ours are not to be depended upon; so that you must even go to your uncles and cousins, and tell them, I desire they would be here betimes to-morrow morning to help us to reap.' Well, this the Young Ones, in a great fright, reported also to their mother. 'If that be all,' says she, 'do not be frightened, children, for kindred and relations do not use to be so very forward to serve one another; but take particular notice what you hear said the next time, and be sure you let me know it.' She went abroad the next day, as usual; and the owner, finding his relations as slack as the rest of his neighbours, said to his son, 'Hark ye! George, do you get a couple of good sickles ready against to-morrow morning, and we will even reap the corn ourselves.' When the Young Ones told their mother this, 'Then,' says she, 'we must be gone indeed; for, when a man undertakes to do his business himself, it is not so likely that he will be disappointed.' So she removed her Young Ones immediately, and the corn was reaped the next day by the good man and his son.


Never depend upon the assistance of friends and relations in any thing which you are able to do yourself; for nothing is more fickle and uncertain. The man, who relies upon another for the execution of any affair of importance, is not only kept in a wretched and slavish suspense while he expects the issue of the matter, but generally meets with a disappointment. While he, who lays the chief stress of his business upon himself, and depends upon his own industry and attention for the success of his affairs, is in the fairest way to attain his end: and, if at last he should miscarry, has this to comfort him—that it was not through his own negligence, and a vain expectation of the assistance of friends. To stand by ourselves, as much as possible, to exert our own strength and vigilance in the prosecution of our affairs, is god-like, being the result of a most noble and highly exalted reason; but they who procrastinate and defer the business of life by an idle dependance upon others, in things which it is in their own power to effect, sink down into a kind of stupid abject slavery, and show themselves unworthy of the talents with which human nature is dignified.

Illustration 041

The Lark and Her Young Ones

A lark  who had her nest conceal'd,

Says Esop, in a barley field;

Began, as harvest time drew near,

The reaping of the corn to fear;

Afraid they would her nest descry,

Before her tender brood could fly.

She charged them therefore every day,

Before for food she flew away,

To watch the farmer in her stead,

And listen well to all he said.

It chanced one day, she scarce was gone,

Ere the farmer came and his son.

The farmer well his field survey'd,

And sundry observations made;

At last, "I'll tell you what," said he,

"This corn is fit to cut, I see;

But we our neighbor's help must borrow,

So tell them we begin to-morrow."

Just after this the lark returned,

When from her brood this news she learned.

"Ah! dearest mother," then, said they,

"Pray, let us all begone to-day."

"My dears," said she, "you need not fret,

I shall not be uneasy yet;

For if he waits for neighbor's aid,

The business long will be delay'd."

At dawn she left her nest once more,

And charged her young ones as before.

At five the farmer came again,

And waited for his friends in vain,

"Well," said the man, "I fancy, son,

These friends  we can't depend upon;

To-morrow early, mind you go,

And let our own relations  know."

Again the lark approach'd her nest,

When round her all her young ones press'd,

And told their mother, word for word,

The fresh intelligence they heard.

"Ah, children, be at ease," said she

"We're safe another day, I see;

For these relations, you will find,

Just like his friends, will stay behind."

At dawn again the lark withdrew,

And did again her charge renew.

Once more the farmer early came,

And found the case was just the same.

The day advanced, the sun was high;

But not a single help drew nigh.

Then said the farmer, "Hark ye, son—

I see this job will not be done,

While thus we wait for friends and neighbors;

So you and I'll commence our labors:

To-morrow early, we'll begin

Ourselves, and get our harvest in."

"Now," said the lark, when this she heard,

"Our movement must not be deferr'd;

For if the farmer and his son

Themselves begin, 'twill soon be done."

The morrow proved the lark was right;

For all was cut and housed by night.


Hence, while we wait for other's aid,

Our business needs must be delay'd;

Which might be done with half the labor

'Twould take to go and call a neighbor.

Illustration 044

The Lark and Her Young Ones

A LARK had made her nest in the early spring on the young green wheat. The brood had almost grown to their full strength and attained the use of their wings and the full plumage of their feathers, when the owner of the field, looking over his ripe crop, said, "The time has come when I must ask all my neighbors to help me with my harvest." One of the young Larks heard his speech and related it to his mother, inquiring of her to what place they should move for safety. "There is no occasion to move yet, my son," she replied; "the man who only sends to his friends to help him with his harvest is not really in earnest." The owner of the field came again a few days later and saw the wheat shedding the grain from excess of ripeness. He said, "I will come myself tomorrow with my laborers, and with as many reapers as I can hire, and will get in the harvest." The Lark on hearing these words said to her brood, "It is time now to be off, my little ones, for the man is in earnest this time; he no longer trusts his friends, but will reap the field himself."

Self-help is the best help.