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CHAPTER I. - TALEEN.
Taleen is a little Chinese girl. She lives in China.
She goes to school. Her teacher is an American lady, and she has told me all about Taleen.
She is very sweet and gentle. She has learned her letters and can now read a little.
She is learning to sew.
Three little American girls sent some pieces of bright calico to Taleen.
She is making patchwork out of these pieces of calico.
The names of these little girls are May, Bell and Ida.
Taleen's dress is quite unlike that of a little American girl.
But it is very pretty. It is gay and it is very beautifully embroidered. Taleen's father lives in a boat. His name is Kinfan.
See the picture of Taleen's home. Is it not a pretty boat?
The shed in the middle of the boat is made of bamboo. Bamboo grows in China.
Around part of the boat is a pretty fence of wicker-work.
II. - THE DUCKS.
Kinfan has a great many ducks. They too live on the boat.
They live in the part of the boat where you see the pretty fence of wicker-work.
There they stay at night and sleep.
In the morning they wake early. They waddle about and cry "quack, quack," till they wake Kinfan.
He sleeps near by in the bamboo shed.
He opens the lattice gate, and out tumble the ducks, one over the other.
They are in a great hurry to get into the water.
They swim about in the river awhile, then the leader goes towards the shore.
They stay all day in swampy places near the shore. There they find worms and grubs and such roots as they like.
Kinfan has an ivory whistle.
When it is time for the ducks to come home at night, Kinfan gives a shrill call on the whistle.
The ducks hear the whistle. They start at once for the boat.
How they hurry!
The last duck always gets a whipping.
It is not a very hard whipping, but the ducks do not like it.
So they all try to get home first.
Taleen always watches the ducks as they come swimming down the beautiful river.
III - THE CORMORANTS.
Kinfan is a fisherman.
He has some birds that he has trained to catch fish. These birds are called cormorants.
They are brown birds with yellow bills.
These birds are tied to the sides of the boat with long strings.
They watch for the fish.
When a cormorant sees a fish down deep in the water, he dives for it.
He brings it up in his beak.
The cormorant is very fond of fish. He would like very much to eat the fish he has caught.
What do you think is the reason that he does not eat it?
A ring is fitted around his neck so tightly that he cannot swallow the fish
So he drops it into Kinfan's net.
Kinfan and the Cormorants
A great many fishermen in China catch fish in this way.
Taleen has a cousin.
He is a big boy and his name is Chel.
He is strong and spry.
He goes to market for Kinfan and sells his ducks and fish.
He carries them in two baskets.
He has a long pole resting upon his shoulders and the baskets hang at each end of the pole.
Chel is a merry little fellow.
He likes to laugh and play just as well as an American boy does.
Boys are very much alike all over the world, I think.
IV. - THE TEA-PARTY.
Here is another picture. This is a Chinese tea-party.
This Chinese lady and gentleman are taking their tea.
The maid is bringing in a tray of cakes and sweetmeats.
See what pretty garments the lady has on! They are of rich silk.
Her fan has sticks of carved ivory. The fan, too, is silk and embroidered. Do you see what queer shoes the gentleman and the maid wear?
The Chinese have two kinds of shoes; dry weather shoes and wet weather shoes.
The dry weather shoes are made of satin. They are very handsome.
A Tea Party
The shoes are made of five or six layers of soft felt sewed together.
The children's dry weather shoes are made of brown or purple calico, bound with red.
Sometimes they are made of scarlet satin.
In summer they wear shoes of open rush-work. These shoes have a gay lining.
The toes are embroidered with bits of velvet and gold thread, to look like butterflies. They are very pretty.
The wet weather shoes arc made of leather.
The Chinese do not eat with forks.
They eat with chopsticks.
These are two sticks of wood or ivory.
The Chinese can eat with chopsticks just as well as we can with forks.