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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/369

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353
TRUE TALES OF BIRDS AND BEASTS.

stiff any more, but lay flat against the side of the fish, just as they ought to lie. Then the fish knew that it had found a master, and lav perfectly still. So the bird gave a great gulp, and out the bagre went on the sand, and when the tide came up it swam away, and took care never to go again where a bird could get hold of it. And the bird with the broken wing had learned something about fishes, too. But he could not fly away, so he waited to see what the boy was going to do.

The boy took the bird into his boat and brought him home. And old Ygnacio put a splint on his wing and covered it with salve, and by and by it healed. But the bone was set crooked, and the bird could not fly very well. So the boys called the bird Señor Alcatraz, which is the Spanish for Mr. Pelican, and Señor Alcatraz and all the boys and dogs and goats became good friends, and all ran about on the streets together. And when the boys would shout and the dogs bark, all Señor Alcatraz could do was to squawk and hiss and open his big mouth and show the inside of his red fish sack.

And when the boys would go fishing on the wharf, Alcatraz would go, too, and he would stow away the fishes in his pouch as fast as the boys could catch them. But if they caught a bagre fish, he would turn his head the other way and then run away home just as fast as his splay feet would take him.

And when the men drew the net on the beach Alcatraz would splash around inside the net, catching whatever he could, and having a great deal of fun in his clumsy pelican fashion. Then he would run along the street with the boys, squawking and flapping his wings and thinking that he was just like the rest of them. And if you ever go to Mazatlan, ask for Dr. Rogers, and he will show you the way to Ygnacio's cabin on the street they call Libertad. And there in the front yard, in a general scramble of dogs, goats, and little Indian boys, you will see Señor Alcatraz romping and squabbling like the best of them. And you will know which he is by the broken wing and the red sack under his throat. But if you say "Bagre" to him, he will run under the doorstep and hide his face till you go away.

 

II—THE LITTLE BLUE FOX.

Once there was a little blue fox, and his name was Eichkao, and he was a thief. So he built his house down deep among the rocks under the moss on the Mist Island, and his little fox children used to stay down among the rocks. There they would gurgle, gurgle, gurgle, whenever they heard anybody walking over their heads. Eichkao and his fox wife used to run all round over the rocks to