[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
[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
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!
CLARA DILLINGHAM PIERSON.
December 22, 1900