Five birds perched on a rail. The bird in the centre is looking straight ahead. The other four birds are turned and looking towards the bird in the centre. 1/3 page.

The One in the Middle.

Five very plump birds met one pleasant Spring day,1
And seated themselves in a row on a rail ;2
The two biggest sat with their backs turned this way,3
And straight as an arrow hung each little tail.4
Then four of them merrily sang, “ Summer’s coming,5
And soon we shall hear the brown honey-bees humming,6
And see brightest sunshine—oh ! hey, diddle, diddle ! ”7
Except when it rains,” said the one in the middle.8
And there will be roses, red, yellow, and pink,”9
Sang the four in a chorus once more ; “ and the rill10
Will give us the sweetest of water to drink,11
And grass-seed be plenty in field and on hill,12
And a host of our kindred their way will be winging13
Toward our home, all the news of the sunny South bringing,14
And we’ll feast them on berries—oh ! hey, diddle, diddle ! ”15
Some berries are poison,” said the one in the middle.16
Then, “ Don’t be so cross,” said the four coaxingly,17
As they looked kindly at her, “ for certainly, dear,18
There is not the least reason that glum you should be19
When the time that we’ve wished for all winter is here.20
Come, be happy and gay and cease trouble to borrow,21
Take good care of to-day—hope the best for to-morrow,22
And join in our singing—oh ! hey, diddle, diddle ! ”23
I won’t, and that’s flat,” said the one in the middle.24