CERTAIN plants and trees which spring up in dry and sun burnt soils have the wonderful power of secreting pure water for the use of birds and animals, and even human beings who reside in or pass through these regions. The most remarkable is the Pitcher Plant. 

From the end of each of the large leaves there hangs a pitcher with a lid moving on a hinge. The lid is wide open when the weather is moist, and shut up quite close when it is dry. 

In each of these pitchers is about a pint of pure water, which is not received from the summer shower, or from without, but is distilled from within the plant itself. When full of water, the pitcher might turn over from the weight, and its contents be spilled; but behind the lid there is placed a little hook, which, with marvelous sagacity, catches hold of some twig or tendril, and thus obtains the required support.

What a wonderful and merciful provision of Providence is this for the benefit of the creatures which live in or pass through those regions of Southern China, India, Africa, and other tropical countries, in which, during a portion of the year, the streams are dried up! The following story well illustrates this: 

"Two brothers who were traveling in South America, one day found by the roadside a little monkey which had broken one of its legs. The elder brother immediately with his handkerchief and a small stick bound up the broken leg, and taking the small creature in his arms, went on his way. Though sharply ridiculed by the younger for wasting his time and strength on 'only a monkey,' he persevered, knowing the animal would die if left to itself.

"After some days the travelers found themselves in a region destitute of water. The burning sun seemed to dry up the very blood in their veins.

A whole day passed, and another, and no water was to be found. At last the younger brother threw himself upon the ground, declaring that he could go no farther; he would lie down on the hot sand and die. At this critical moment the sagacious little monkey started up and hobbled away as fast as his crippled legs could carry him, but soon returned and tried to induce his preserver to follow him. The man did so, and the monkey led the way to a large, open field, covered with the pitcher plant, each cup filled with pure, fresh water.

"With eagerness the thirsty travelers took the cooling draught, and they thanked God, then and ever after, for the means by which he had preserved their lives; for the monkey every day led them to these natural reservoirs, until they 'reached their journey's end in safety."

There are many different kinds of the pitcher plant. That represented in the picture is from a tree, which grows to the height of twenty or thirty feet, and the pitchers are twelve inches long by six broad. They vary in size from these trees to the small plants with very little pitchers, specimens of which are sometimes seen in florists' windows.