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138   IN THE ACADIAN LAND.

Dryden writes :

" Amidst our arms as quiet you shall be As halcyon brooding on a winter sea."

 

Milton says :

"While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed wave."

The kingfisher of the myths is a very different fellow from the rough-and-ready, practical, every-day bird of that name. So far is she from nesting on the charmed" sea that she digs a long tunnel in a bank and there the eggs are laid. As a family they are birds of fine feather, but their grating, loud voice is against them, with many, and there is no elegance of form. Their feet are deformed into palms for grasping a fish while eating it. Their bills are large and powerful, adapted to seizing the nimble and struggling fish, on which they depend altogether for food. When a kingfisher quits his perch by a river or brook side he always starts, and keeps up a clattering, horse-fiddle outcry, as if he de-sired to let everybody know of his coming. I do not object to his announcement ; it fits him exactly, for he comes, low down and direct on-ward, like a feathered express. LT fact, I am so far away from good taste in musical sounds that I am more moved by the loon's long midnight


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