Show me a man who, when a boy, did not hold a Buttercup under his own or another's chin that he might, by the reflection of its brilliant yellow cup, determine to what degree his subject "liked butter," and I will show you a man who has not experienced a full share of the joyous thrills of a genuine, glorious childhood. The custom is an old and popular one, and comes of a "Knowledge never learned of schools Of the wild bee's morning chase, Of the wild flower's time and place."
The month of June finds the Buttercups at their best, and in the greatest profusion of bloom. The snappy, yellow cups fairly scintillate with the sun's radiance, and as the breezes tilt them, its golden glory is flashed and re-flashed with dazzling brightness, lending a charm and cheerfulness to the grassy fields and roadsides where they sparkle, that defies description. You have probably noticed in pasture lands, when the grass is smooth and closely cropped by grazing cattle, that it was dotted here and there with small tufts of tall grass and foliage from which spread the glittering, golden flowers of the Buttercup, as if they had been purposely placed there for ornamental and decorative effect. Perhaps they were, but if so, why not the Clover or Forget-me-not, or any of a dozen and one other equally pleasing flowers? Why was the Buttercup alone selected. I will tell you why. It is because, as the gossips say, the Crowfoot clan has a family "skeleton in its closet." Some of its kind, the Aconite and Larkspur, have developed certain highly poisonous qualities, and the Buttercup, though happily free from such deadly contamination, still betrays its kinship by the very acrid and caustic juice which it conceals. For this reason, horses and cattle intentionally avoid the Buttercups, and that is why they stand out boldly and fearlessly in every pasture, bidding a pretty defiance to their four-footed enemies who might otherwise ruthlessly obliterate them. Many farmers destroy the Crowfoot with marked vengeance, and look upon their coming hay crop with more or less concern and depreciation, if their timothy is brightened with these brilliant blossoms. Their fears should cease, however, when they learn that the Buttercup loses its objectionable qualities with the drying or curing process of hay-making, and then it is relished as a fodder.