Where is it? Where is it? Why, it is in the water! Isn't tbat

funny? But you see it isn't a real fire, but only a fire-fish.*

Sweet creature, isn't he? Suppose you were a little, innocent

mermaid, swimming alone for the first time; how would you feel if

you were to meet this fellow darting towards you with his great

red mouth open? Why, you would scream with fright, and swim to

your mother as fast as you could, and catch hold of her tail for

protection. At least, that is what I should do if I were a

mermaid. But Mrs. Mermaid won't tell you that the fire-fish will

not hurt you unless you hurt him first, in which case he will

prick you dreadfully with his long, sharp spines.

*Project Gutenberg ed. note: The picture is of a fish also known

as a scorpionfish.

I never see his picture without thinking of a red Indian in his

warpaint and feathers. Perhaps--who knows?-perhaps when Indians

are greedy, and eat too much fish, they may turn into fire-fish,

and have to swim about forever under water, and never see a green

forest again. If you are an Indian I advise you to be careful, my


Nobody knows why this fish has such enormous, wing-like fins.

Wise men used to think that he could raise himself out of the

water with them, like the flying-fish; but it is now proved that

he cannot, and there seems to be no reason why a set of plain,

small fins would not serve him just as well for swimming. He

prefers warm water to cold; so he lives in the tropical seas,

swimming about the coasts of India, Africa, and Australia. The

natives of Ceylon call him Gini-maha, and they think he is very

good to eat. They take great care in catching him, for they are

very much afraid of him, thinking that his sharp spines are

poisoned, and can inflict a deadly wound. But in this they are

too hard upon the fellow. He can prick them deeply and painfully,

and he will if they meddle with him; but he is a perfectly

respectable fish, and would not think of such a cowardly thing

as poisoning anybody.

Fire! Fire! Burn stick! FIVE LITTLE WHITE HEADS facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail