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The Peacock

THE PEACOCK.

The peacock is first mentioned in the Bible in the time of Solomon. He
used to send his vessels to distant countries, and they came back once
in three years, "bringing gold, and silver, and ivory, and apes, and
peacocks." Solomon was the richest among all the kings that the Bible
tells us about. When he first became king God spoke to him in a dream,
and told him to ask for any thing he wished. If God should speak so to
you, what would you ask for?

Solomon did not pray that God would make him rich, or that he would give
him health, or let him live a great many years on the earth; but he
said, "I am a little child, I know not how to go out or come in. Give
therefore thy servant an understanding heart." Then God was pleased
with what he asked, and besides giving him great wisdom, he gave him
also riches and honor. He had forty thousand horses, and silver and
gold in abundance. All the vessels used in his house were of gold,
because silver was not good enough; it was "as stones" for plenty, and
was "nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon." In the second
chapter of Ecclesiastes, Solomon himself speaks of his riches, and after
telling us of some of his treasures, he says: "Whatsoever my eyes
desired I kept not from them; I withheld not my heart from any joy."
Perhaps you think he must have been perfectly happy, if any man in this
world ever was; but what does he say? "All is vanity and vexation of
spirit." This does not sound much like being contented. No, dear
child, these are not the things that make us happy; nothing but the true
love of God in the heart can do this.

There are many peacocks in India, and large flocks of them are sometimes
seen around the temples; they also live among the bushes near the banks
of rivers. They sometimes rest on high trees, but always make their
nests on the ground, under the shrubs.

There was once a foolish and wicked emperor who cared little for any
thing excepting "what he should eat, and what he should drink, and
wherewithal he should be clothed." He took great pride in telling how
much his dinners cost, and how much trouble it gave people to prepare
them. One of the dishes that pleased him, because it cost money enough,
and time and trouble enough, was made up of the tongues of flamingoes,
(a kind of bird,) and the brains of peacocks-do you envy such a king as
that?

The peacock is a very splendid bird; its colors are most rich and
beautiful. The feathers of the tail are often more than a yard long,
and when they are spread out in the sunlight, like a great fan, nothing
can be more elegant. Yet with all its beauty I do not believe you could
ever love a peacock, as you love a lamb or a dove. It seems selfish and
vain, and there is nothing lovely about it-its voice is very harsh and
disagreeable. There are some people who, like the peacock, are called
handsome or beautiful, but whose hearts are not pure and lovely in the
sight of God. "Beauty," in itself, "is vain;" but "the ornament of a
meek and quiet spirit is in the sight of God of great price."