Stern Winter—most unwelcome guest!—
The earth in whitest robes has drest;
And hast’ning through the crunching snow,
With tinkling bells, the sledges go.
The leafless wood looks drear and sad,
No birds sing now with voices glad;—
But children are romping far and wide,
And o’er the ice delight to slide.
When on the panes with frost encased,
The mimic fir-trees may be traced,
In spite of biting cold and snow,
Poor parents to the forest go.
And there they gather moss to form
Their children’s bed all soft and warm,
And dried up twigs to make a blaze
That cheers the hearth with kindling rays.
Their treasures next the ashes yield,
And hot potatoes lie revealed,
Which little hungry mouths invite,
With dainty smell and welcome sight
Mother Earth! Your ways are great and good!
The earth has given orphaned birds their food—
Earth’s blessing and fostering care
Alike the hut and palace share!
– Chatterbox Stories of Natural History by Anonymous
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