Sunday, January 12, 2014

"The Oak and the Mistletoe-Seed" in 1883's The Fourth Reader

This wonderful illustration, "The Oak and the Mistletoe-Seed," serves as the frontispiece in the 1883 textbook The Fourth Reader, which was part of Butler's Series, published by E.H. Butler & Co. of Philadelphia.

"The Oak and the Mistletoe-Seed" is one of 84 stories in the 256-page textbook. In the tale, which deals with the importance of kindness, the seed is given a voice and there are no children present. It begins this way:
"The seed of the beautiful mistletoe was separated from its parent. It went forth in search of a home wherein it might receive protection and care. 'Perhaps,' said the little seed to itself, 'I may one day be a large and beautiful plant like that from which I have sprung.'"
Other stories in The Fourth Reader include:
  • "The Faithful Spaniel"
  • "The Cocoanut-Tree"
  • "Marjorie's Almanac"
  • "The Caliph and the Weaver"
  • "How King Olaf Built his Church"
  • "The Banana"
  • "Your Rate of Travel"
  • "Vision of Belshazzar"
  • "The Seven Sleepers of Ephesus"
  • "The Tower of the Black Douglas"

Here's a closer look at part of the frontispiece.

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