27 JUNE 1896, Page 10

The Story of an Old Oak - Tree told by Himself. By

C. Thorpe Fancourt. (Elliot Stock.)—The title of this little book led us to expect a book of popular natural history ; but it is hardly this. It is a story of a little boy sent home from India to the care of two old aunts. The oak-tree, which grew on the lawn, had been a great friend of his father's ; and the tree gives him a kindly welcome, and introduces him to the flowers, squirrels, rooks, and other inhabitants of the garden, not excepting the Moon and the Breeze. The oak's stories relate rather to them than to himself, and he relates many legends about the names and qualities of the birds and flowers, most of them dating back to the Creation, and others from the time of the Crucifixion, or of later date still, as, for instance, Sir John Manndeville's story of the origin of the rose. One story, however, related by the oak as a fact, that of the origin of the Barnacle goose seems rather out of place in the book, which, on the whole, is a pleasing little story, though it is hardly disparaging to say that it cannot stand comparison with the bestknown of all the stories of its class—" The Story Without an End."