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have assembled, the captain on each side arranges his men, appoints the goal-keeper, and then the ball is brought into the middle of the field, where the kick-off takes place. No sooner has this been done, than both teams set to work with a will. What scrambles! what mauls! what glorious runs! There's a smart little fellow, who has managed to secure the ball. Chucking it under his arm, away he goes straight for the enemy's goal. Desperate attempts are made to tackle him, but he slips through like an eel, and is just on the point of giving a drop kick, when the ball is cleverly knocked out of his hands.
The excitement becomes intense when the ball has been driven close in to goal. Sometimes half-a-dozen players are scrambling on their backs at once; at other times a maul takes place, and the pushing and roaring are wonderful to see and hear. Should a goal be obtained, caps are tossed in the air; the more spirited boys engage for a few minutes in leap-frog, until the call for a new onset is made, and then the earnest work begins again. When time is up, three cheers are given for the winning side, and those who for an hour or more had been engaged in deadly strife part good friends, and cease not for a month to talk of the runs made by the more skilful players.
QUESTIONS:-1. In what season of the year is football played? 2. When does the kick-off take place? 3. What are the goals? 4. What is a maul? 5. When do mauls most commonly take place? 6. With what feelings do the players leave the field?
If I were a sunbeam,
I know what I would do;
Stealing in among them,
If I were a sunbeam,
I know where I would go;
All dark with want and woe;
Until sad hearts looked upward,
Art thou not a sunbeam,
O child, whose life is glad
museum, but very few, indeed, have seen a living ostrich in its native deserts. There its voice may be heard so loud and deep as to be often mistaken for the lion's roar, though it often makes a loud cackling.
It is hunted chiefly for the sake of its valuable feathers, and when pursued by the hunter, it runs with amazing speed. When it first sets out it runs at the rate of sixty miles an-hour, with its wings outspread as sails; and if it had the sense to keep in a straight line, no horse could overtake it; but it has the foolish habit of running in a curve, or in a zig-zag method. So the hunter takes advantage of this, and, by keeping in a straight line, contrives to get within shot.
In South America the natives often wrap themselves up in ostrich skins, and, imitating the manner of the bird, approach near enough to kill it with poisoned arrows.
The strength of the ostrich is so great that it can easily carry two men on its back. It can strike such a blow with its foot that the leopard and other wild beasts are afraid to attack it.
The ostrich is often referred to in Scripture. Job speaks of her as a foolish bird, because she leaves her eggs scattered on the sand, and "forgetteth that the foot may crush them, or that the wild beast may break them."
Some travellers, however, explain this apparent
carelessness of the ostrich.
They say that the
greater part of the eggs is deposited in a hole scratched in the sand, and that it is only a few eggs which lie scattered on the surface, these few being left as food for the young birds.
Dr. Livingstone tells us that the ostrich sometimes breaks some of the eggs, because she knows that there is not food enough to support them all.
The Arabs still consider the ostrich to be a very stupid bird, and certainly it is sometimes foolish in its choice of food. It will swallow large stones, and when placed in confinement, it has often been known to swallow anything that comes in its way, even bricks, glass, and old shoes. One ostrich killed itself with swallowing leaden bullets scorching hot from the mould; another ate up part of a parasol, and died in consequence. In the book of Job, chapter thirty-ninth, from the thirteenth to the eighteenth verse, you will find a beautiful description of the ostrich as it was known in those ancient times.
QUESTIONS:-1. Have you ever seen a stuffed ostrich? 2. Where? 3. What sort of a place is a museum? 4. Where is the native place of the ostrich? 5. What is remarkable about its voice? 6. What is it chiefly hunted for? 7. When hunted how does it run? 8. What is its rate of speed? 9. How does it show want of cunning in its flight? 10. How do the natives of South America manage to kill it? 11. Give one proof of its great strength? 12. Name a fierce wild animal that is said to be afraid of it? 13. Give a Scripture reference to the ostrich? 14. How do travellers explain the seeming carelessness of the ostrich? 15. By whom is the ostrich considered a foolish bird? 16. In what respect is its folly seen?