MAMMA," said little Robbie Wood one day at the dinner table, "how does butter grow?"

“Oh, ho!" cried his brother Harry before mamma could answer; “What a goose you are," Rob! Butter doesn't grow.” Mamma looked across the table, and saw a little lip quivering, for Robbie hated to be laughed at. Harry saw it too, and was sorry.

"No matter, Rob," said he; "I had no business to laugh at you; but it was so funny;" and Harry had hard work to keep back another shout.

"I suppose you would think it was very funny,"

said mamma, putting some milk into her cup," if I told you that there is a country where the people get milk from trees."

The great tears in Robbie's eyes forgot to roll out, and Harry stared at his mother to see if she was joking.

"It is true," said she.

"Now, mamma," said Harry, "you are going to tell us about it, aren't you? It will make such a nice story."

"I haven't time now," mamma said; "but come to me after supper, and you shall hear it."

The boys went out to play that afternoon, and perhaps you think they forgot all about the story; but they didn't do any such thing, and just as soon as supper was over, and mamma had taken her sewing and sat down by the table, the boys brought their chairs and sat down in front of her.

"Now, mamma, for the story."

"Well," said mamma, "far away from here—so far away that people go in ships, tossing up and down on the waves—"

"That must be great fun. I'd like to go," said Harry.

"Don't talk, Harry," said Robbie, with his eyes on mamma's face.

"So far away," continued mamma, "that very few travelers go there, there is a country very different from ours. There is never any cold weather, never any snow or ice. There are wonderful things there. The fishes are of beautiful colors, blue and yellow and orange and red; you can see them shining far down in the clear water.

There are sharks, and alligators, and crocodiles, too, and they are not lovely at all."

"Don't they eat people sometimes?" asked Harry.

"Sometimes," said mamma.

Rob looked frightened, so mamma hurried on.

"But the birds are even more beautiful than the fishes; some of them are as white as snow, and some are as pink as baby's cheeks, and some have bright red wings; some of them are green and gold, with drooping tail-feathers a yard long.

One of them has a cry that sounds just like a child in trouble—it would make you sad to hear it; and there is one that has a spur as sharp as steel under his wing, so he can fight his enemies.

There are a great many gay little humming-birds that fly in and out among the trees, and every-where green and purple dragon-flies dart about in the bushes.

"But the plants and trees are the most wonderful of all. There is a flower called the fever flower, because at certain times in the day it gives out heat; and there is a plant called the pitcher-plant, because its leaves are folded up into little green pitchers that hold water. One of the plants has a very large flower that just before it blossoms looks like a swan held by its bill; but when it is all open, it turns into a liberty-cap with a violet lining. The vines climb away up to the tops of the tall trees, and blossom there; and ferns, that grow close to the ground here, grow there till they are as high as trees. You would like to go to walk there, and see the strange trees: coffee-trees, with shining evergreen leaves, and little white flowers, very sweet to smell; cocoa-trees, very tall and straight, with a Ouster of leaves at the top—great leaves twenty feet long; and orange-trees, with leaves and blossoms and green and ripe oranges all on the trees at once. But I think you would like best of all to see the cow-tree—only you would have to climb up very high, for it likes to live on high places."

"I wouldn't mind that," said Robbie; "I can climb."

"Guess you would get tired," said Harry.

"No, I wouldn't, either," said Robbie." Would I, mamma?"

"If you lived down in the valley, it would be a long walk," said mamma; "for, these trees grow far up on the sides of the mountains. Sometimes it doesn't rain in that part of the country for weeks, and weeks, and months, and the leaves droop, and the poor cow-trees look as if they were dead; but if you were to cut a little place in the trunk of one of them, what do you think would come out?

—Nice, sweet milk!"

"Is it just like cow's milk?" asked Harry.

"Not just exactly like it," said mamma, "but almost like it, and just as good to drink. You would think so if you could see the little boys and girls there drink it. The milk runs fastest at sunrise;

and so when the sun rises over the mountains, the people come,—men, and women, and children,—with their bowls in their hands, to get the milk. They only have to hold the bowl close to the tree, and the little white stream soon fills it. If they like, they can set it away when they get home, and in a little while it will turn thick like cream."

"What a wonderful tree!" said Harry. "Does it look like any common tree?"

"Yes," said mamma; "only it is very tall—a great deal taller than any of the trees here. It has beautiful dark green leaves, pointed at the end, and longer than my hand; and tiny little flowers, and small, round fruit with a little leaf on the top like a cap."

"But, mamma," said Harry, "you haven't told us where the country is where all these strange things are."

"It's among the Cordilleras, on the coast of Caracas," answered mamma.

"But I don't know any better now," said Harry.

"I never heard of that place before."

"I know it," said mamma, smiling; "but you can take papa's big atlas tomorrow and find it."

"Oh, please tell us now," begged Robbie.

But mamma only shook her head and smiled again.

"That's just like you, mamma," said Harry.

"You always leave something for us to find out for ourselves, and I like it. Rob and I will have a good time tomorrow hunting up that place."

"Very well," said mamma.' "Now scamper to bed, little men."



Mrs. Carbee