The Lark and Her Young Ones

There was a brood of young larks in a field of corn, which was just ripe. The mother, looking every day for reapers, left word whenever she went out in search of food that her young ones should report to her all the news they heard. One day, while she was absent, the master came to look at the state of the crop. "It is full time," said he, "to call in all my neighbors and get my corn reaped."

When the old lark came home, the young ones told their mother what they had heard and begged her to remove them right away. "Time enough," said she. "If he trusts his neighbors, he will have to wait awhile yet for his harvest." The next day, the owner came again, and found the sun still hotter and the corn more ripe, and nothing done. "There is not a moment to be lost," said he. "We cannot depend upon our neighbors; we must call in our relations." Turning to his son he said, "Go call your uncles and cousins and see that they begin tomorrow."

In still greater fear, the young ones repeated to their mother the farmer's words. "If that be all," said she, "do not be frightened, for the relations have got harvest work of their own. But take particular notice what you hear the next time, and be sure you let me know."

She went abroad the next day and the owner, coming as before, and finding the grain falling to the ground from over-ripeness, and still no one at work, called to his son. "We must wait for our neighbors and friends no longer. Go and hire some reapers tonight and we will set to work ourselves tomorrow." When the young ones told their mother this, "Then," said she, "it is time to be off, indeed. For when a man takes up his business himself, instead of leaving it to others, you may be sure that he means to set to work in earnest."