We count by tens because we have ten fingers—five on each hand. Nature is very fond of counting by fives. Five fingers on each hand; five toes on each foot; five petals in an apple blossom; five rays in a star-fish. In the Story of Life you will find a whole chapter on how nature counts in making the parts of plants and animals. When men became bright enough to want to count, they counted on their fingers, because they always had those ten little counters with them. Children count in that way at first, and it is several years before they can think numbers inside their curly heads, without using these lively little counters. Here is a curious thing. Men got so very, very wise after awhile that they thought they could improve on nature's way of counting. In England the money system is all mixed up. A penny is two cents; a sixpence, twelve cents; a shilling, twenty-four cents ; a crown, two and a half shillings, or sixty cents; a pound, twenty shillings, or four dollars and eighty cents. You see your fingers don't help you a bit. Measurements are made by twelve inches in a foot, three feet in a yard, and so on up to acres of land. Milk is measured by pints, quarts and gallons. English "tables" are terrible things to learn in school, and there is really no rule or sense in them.

In America we use these English tables, except for money. There we go back to nature's tens. Ten cents one dime, ten dimes one dollar, ten hundreds one thousand, and so on. A "nickel" is half a dime, or five cents, the same as the pink fingers baby learns to count with. In France everything—money, land, potatoes, ribbon, gold at the jeweller's, quinine at the drug store, gas out of a pipe, is measured and counted by tens. This is called the metric system. Already this French metric system is used by scientific men, and it is thought, some day, as the peoples of the earth travel and trade more and more, we will all adopt this way of counting and measuring everything. So you see, it is pretty hard for men to be wiser than old Mother Nature.