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Among the Pond People by  Clara Dillingham Pierson


 

 

Front Matter



[Book Cover]



[Frontispiece]

"BADDY-BADDY!"



[Title Page]



[Copyright Page]



[Dedication]



[Header]

PREFACE

[v] DEAR LITTLE FRIENDS :— When the ten Polliwogs came to spend a day with me, some two years ago, I promised to tell you stories of how they and their neighbors live in the pond. I wanted to tell the stories at once, but this is a busy world and story-telling is only play, so there were many things to be done before I could sit down to my desk and hold my pen while the stories slid out of it onto paper. I wonder where all my ten Polliwogs are now!

One cannot come to know pond people quite so well as those who live in the forest or in the meadow, yet down in the shining water they live and build their homes and learn much that they need to know. And wherever people are living, and working, and playing, there are stories [vi] to be found. The pond people cannot be well or happy long away from the water, and you can only come to know them by watching the ponds and brooks. If you do that and are very quiet, the Minnows will swim to where you are, the Mud Turtles will waddle out on the logs in the sunshine, and you may even see a Crayfish walking backward along the sand.

But if you should see a very large, black bug with fore legs which open and shut like jack-knives—then keep away from him, for that is Belostoma. Some time you may see him under the electric lights in the city, for he likes to sprawl around there, and you can look at him on land, but let him alone.

Remember that the Dragon-Flies and many of their friends who seem to do nothing but play in the sunshine, have lived long in the dusky pond, and that this life in the air comes only after a long time of getting ready. Remember that [vii] if you pick up a Turtle or catch Minnows in a net, you must not leave the Turtle on his back or keep any water-breathing people, like the Minnows, in the air. Watch them for a little while and then let them go free.

And then remember, be sure to remember, this: that you are not to get acquainted with the pond people by tumbling into the water or by going into it with your shoes and stockings on. If you do that, your mothers will say, "We wish that Mrs. Pierson had never written about the pond people." And if they should say that, just think how I would feel!

Your friend,
CLARA DILLINGHAM PIERSON.

Stanton, Michigan,
December 22, 1900


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