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Chico: the Story of a Homing Pigeon   By:

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CHICO

THE STORY OF A HOMING PIGEON

By LUCY M. BLANCHARD

The Riverside Literature Series

1922

DEDICATED TO ALL WHO LOVE VENICE

FOREWORD

As is well known, the time for haphazard reading in the schools has passed. The carefully selected lists compiled by those who make the education of children their life work are adapted to the needs of every grade.

It is not enough that a book possess story interest and that it be worth while from a literary point of view. The great consideration is its influence upon the mental and moral development of the child. It must be stimulating and present to the pupil such ideals as will have a permanent influence upon the formation of character.

In CHICO, THE STORY OF A HOMING PIGEON, I believe present day requirements have been met, and that the book will prove of real value as a supplementary reader in the primary grades.

It has been my aim to depict accurately the Italian atmosphere and to give information in such a way that children unconsciously will learn much of the country form a true idea of the scenes described.

Explanations of Italian words and phrases have been given when needed.

I believe that the book will be found particularly valuable from the standpoint of visual education, and well adapted also for silent reading and topical recitations.

The story was written out of a full heart, with the hope that it might foster the love and appreciation of birds, and that the boy's sacrifice of his precious homing pigeon to his country at a time of peril might carry an ethical appeal to every young reader.

THE AUTHOR

CONTENTS

I. OLD PAOLO

II. ANDREA'S WISH

III. MARIA'S BIRTHDAY

IV. CHICO

V. THE MEANEST CAT IN VENICE

VI. TRAINING

VII. DANGER AHEAD!

VIII. A TERRIBLE EXPERIENCE

IX. "COO OO, COO OO OO. RUK AT A COO"

X. A GALA DAY

XI. A LITTLE JOURNEY IN THE WORLD

XII. THE BLUE ROSETTE

XIII. AND ALL FOR ITALY!

XIV. EVVIVA VENEZIA! EVVIVA ITALIA!

XV. THE HERO OF THE SQUARE

[Illustration: CHICO]

CHAPTER I

OLD PAOLO

Some years before the Great War, there lived in a little house on one of the side canals of Venice, an honest workman and his family. Giovanni Minetti, for such was his name, was employed in a certain glass factory in Murano, while, in all Venice, there was no one with fingers more deft in the making of beautiful lace than Luisa, his wife.

At the time of our story, Andrea, the elder child, was nearly eight, and his little sister, Maria, two years younger.

Consigning the children to the care of her uncle (old Paolo, the caretaker of St. Mark's), Luisa would go each morning to the lace factory, returning just in time to prepare the simple dinner, at eventide.

Those were wonderful days for the children, for though they missed their father and mother, they were always happy with old Paolo.

"Buon giorno" [Footnote: Good morning.] they would shout every morning when he stopped for them on his way to the famous church, and Maria, holding tight to one of the old man's hands, would trot along by his side, while Andrea, more independent, would run on ahead in his eagerness to thread the narrow streets catch the first glimpse of the Piazza, as St. Mark's Square is called.

Then, while the old man cleaned and dusted, the children wandered about the dusky interior, touching the gold mosaic figures with awed fingers, or gazing reverently at the great altar front of silver gilt.

After a little, hand in hand, they would scamper out into the bright sunshine where they never tired of the many wonderful objects that make St. Mark's Square a fairyland for young and old alike.

"'Roglo!" little Maria would cry, as she pointed upward to the great clock with its dial of blue and gold. It was the nearest she could come to pronouncing "orologio," the Italian word for clock... Continue reading book >>




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