1. On a summer day, a man sitting on the bank of a river, in the shade of some bushes, watched a flock of ducks on the stream.

2. Soon a branch with leaves came drifting among them, and they all took wing. After circling in the air for a little time, they settled down again on their feeding ground.

3. Soon another branch came drifting down among them, and again they took flight from the river; but when they found the branch had drifted by and done them no harm, they flew down to the water as before.

4. After four or five branches had drifted by in this way, the ducks gave little heed to them. At length, they hardly tried to fly out of their way, even when the branches nearly touched them.

5. The man who had been watching all this, now began to wonder who had set these branches adrift. He looked up the stream, and spied a fox slyly watching the ducks. 'What will he do next?' thought the man.

6. When the fox saw that the ducks were no longer afraid of the branches, he took a much larger branch than any he had yet used, and stretched himself upon it so as to be almost hidden. Then he set it afloat as he had the others.

7. Right among the flock drifted the sly old fox, and, making quick snaps to right and left, he seized two fine young ducks, and floated off with them.

8. The rest of the flock flew away in fright, and did not come back for a long time.

9. The fox must have had a fine dinner to pay him for his cunning, patient work.

Teaching Guide:

Step 1: Study the New Words

  • Listen to the new words.
  • Recite each of the new words aloud.

Step 2: Examine the Lesson Image

Describe the image, its setting, and its characters.

Step 3: Read the Lesson Passage

  • Find each new word in the passage.
  • Practice reading the passage, both silently and aloud.
  • Upon mastering the passage, recite it aloud to your instructor.

Step 4: Complete Lesson Copywork, Narration, and Dictation

Complete the associated copywork, narration, and dictation for this lesson. Click the icon to access the page.   

Step 5: Discuss the Lesson

  • Describe how the fox conditioned the ducks to ignore floating branches.
  • How might a burglar similarly condition people to ignore a burglar alarm?