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Title: Stories about Animals: with Pictures to Match
Author: Francis C. Woodworth
Release Date: July 6, 2006 [eBook #18767]
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK STORIES ABOUT ANIMALS: WITH PICTURES TO MATCH***
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n the following pages are grouped together anecdotes illustrative of the peculiarities of different animals—mostly quadrupeds—their habits, dispositions, intelligence, and affection. Nothing like a scientific treatise of any of these animals has been attempted. I do not even give a generic or specific history of one of them, except so far as they are all casually and incidentally described in these anecdotes. Their natural history, in detail, I leave for others, as the historian or biographer of men, bent only on a record of the thoughts, words, and acts of men, passes by the abstract details, however interesting they may be, of human physiology, and the general characteristics of the species. I have not aimed to introduce to the reader, in this volume, all the animals belonging to the race of quadrupeds, who have a claim to such a distinction. I have preferred rather to make a selection from the great multitude, and to present such facts and anecdotes respecting those selected as shall, while they interest and entertain the young reader, tend to make him familiar with this branch of useful knowledge.
I ought, in justice to myself, to explain the reason why I have restricted my anecdotes almost exclusively to animals belonging to the race of quadrupeds. It is seldom wise, in my judgment, for an author to define, very minutely, any plan he may have, to be developed in future years—as so many circumstances may thwart that plan altogether, or very materially modify it. Yet I may say, in this connection, that the general plan I had marked out for myself, when I set about the task of collecting materials for these familiar anecdotes, is by no means exhausted in this volume, and that, should my stories respecting quadrupeds prove as acceptable to my young friends as I hope, it is my intention eventually to pursue the same, or a similar course, in relation to the other great divisions of the animal kingdom—Birds, Reptiles, Insects, Fishes, etc.
The stories I tell I have picked up wherever I could find them—having been generally content when I have judged a particular story to be, in the first place, a good story, and in the second place, a reliable one. I have not thought it either necessary or desirable, to give, in every case, the source from which I have derived my facts. Some of them I obtained by actual observation; quite as many were communicated by personal friends and casual acquaintances; and by far the greater portion were gleaned from the current newspapers of the day, and from the many valuable works on natural history, published in England and in this country. Among the books I have consulted, I am mostly indebted to the following: Bingley's Anecdotes illustrative of the Instincts of Animals; Knight's Library of Entertaining Knowledge; Bell's Phenomena of Nature; the Young Naturalist's Rambles; Natural History of the Earth and Man; Chambers' Miscellany of Useful and Entertaining Knowledge; Animal Biography; and the Penny Magazine.
The task of preparing this volume for the press has been an exceedingly pleasant one. Indeed, it has been rather recreation than toil, in comparison with other and severer literary labors. I trust my young friends will take as much pleasure in reading these stories as I have taken in collecting them. I hope too, that no one of my readers will fail to discover, as he proceeds, the evidences of the wisdom, power, and goodness of the Being who formed and who controls and governs the animal kingdom. Here, as in every department of nature's works, these evidences abound, if we will but perceive them. Look at them, dear reader, and in your admiration of nature, forget not the love and reverence you owe to nature's God.
|The Panther and Leopard||103|
|The Rat and Mouse||173|
|The Monkey Tribe||311|
|The Ox and Cow||328|
|Rover and his Play-fellow||14|
|The Dog at his Master's Grave||16|
|Nero, saving Little Ellen||19|
|The Servant and the Mastiff||23|
|The Child discovered by the Indian's Dog||27|
|The Dog of St. Bernard, rescuing the Child||33|
|Exploit of the New England Dog||43|
|A Shepherd Dog feeding a lost Child||48|
|A Newfoundland, saving a Child from drowning||53|
|An Encampment of Gipsies||57|
|The Russian Sledge||61|
|The Skirmish with Wolves||68|
|A Scene in the old Wolf Story||74|
|The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing||76|
|The Horse watching over the Trumpeter||82|
|Parting with the Favorite Horse||85|
|Alexander taming Bucephalus||91|
|Uncle Peter and his queer Old Mare||97|
|The Horse sentenced to die||99|
|The Leopard and the Serpent||102|
|The Lioness and her Cubs||146|
|The Convention of Animals||150|
|The Brown Bear||159|
|The Juggler and his Pupils||171|
|The Rabbit Trap||190|
|Portrait of Cowper||201|
|Wonderful Feat of a Goat||205|
|The Wounded Traveler||258|
|Giotto, sketching among his Sheep||263|
|The Invalid and the Sheep||266|
|The Ferret Weasel||285|
|A Hawk pouncing on a Weasel||290|
|Cows, taking their comfort||329|
hatever may be thought of the somewhat aristocratic pretensions of the lion, as the dog, after all, has the reputation of being the most intelligent of the inferior animals, I will allow this interesting family the precedence in these stories, and introduce them first to the reader. For the same reason, too—because they exhibit such wonderful marks of intelligence, approaching, sometimes, almost to the boundary of human reason—I shall occupy much more time in relating stories about them than about any other animal. Let me see. Where shall I begin? With Rover, my old friend Rover—my companion and play-fellow, when a little boy? I have a good mind to do so; for he endeared himself to me by thousands of acts of kindness and affection, and he has still a place of honor in my memory. He frequently went to school with me. As soon as he saw me get my satchel of books, he was at my side, and off he ran before me toward the school-house. When he had conducted me to school, he usually took leave of me, and returned home. But he came back again, before school was out, so as to be my companion homeward. I might tell a great many stories about the smartness of Rover; but on the whole I think I will forbear. I am afraid if I should talk half an hour about him, some of you would accuse me of too much partiality for my favorite, and would think I had fallen into the same foolish mistake that is sometimes noticed in over-fond fathers and mothers, who talk about a little boy or girl of theirs, as if there never was another such a prodigy. So I will just pass over Rover's wonderful exploits—for he had some, let me whisper it in your ear—and tell my stories about other people's dogs.
"Going to the dogs," is a favorite expression with a great many people. They understand by it a condition in the last degree deplorable. To "go to the dogs," is spoken of as being just about the worst thing that can happen to a poor fellow. I think differently, however. I wish from my heart, that some selfish persons whom I could name would go to the dogs. They would learn there, I am sure, what they have never learned before—most valuable lessons in gratitude, and affection, and self-sacrifice—to say nothing about common sense, a little more of which would not hurt them.
There is an exceedingly affecting story of a dog that lived in Scotland as long ago as 1716: This dog belonged to a Mr. Stewart, of Argyleshire, and was a great favorite with his master. He was a Highland greyhound, I believe. One afternoon, while his master was hunting in company with this dog, he was attacked with inflammation in his side. He returned home, and died the same evening. Some three days afterward his funeral took place, when the dog followed the remains of his master to the grave-yard, which was nearly ten miles from the residence of the family. He remained until the interment was completed, when he returned home with those who attended the funeral. When he entered the house he found the plaid cloak, formerly his master's, hanging in the entry. He pulled it down, and in defiance of all attempts to take it from him, lay on it all night, and would not even allow any person to touch it. Every evening afterward, about sunset, he left home, traveled to the grave-yard, reposed on the grave of his late master all night, and returned home regularly in the morning. But, what was still more remarkable, he could not be persuaded to eat a morsel. Children near the grave-yard, who watched his motions, again and again carried him food; but he resolutely refused it, and it was never known by what means he existed. While at home he was always dull and sorrowful; he usually lay in a sleeping posture, and frequently uttered long and mournful groans.
In the western part of our own country, some years since, an exploit was performed by a Newfoundland dog, which I must tell my readers. It is related by Mrs. Phelan. A man by the name of Wilson, residing near a river which was navigable, although the current was somewhat rapid, kept a pleasure boat. One day he invited a small party to accompany him in an excursion on the river. They set out. Among the number were Mr. Wilson's wife and little girl, about three years of age. The child was delighted with the boat, and with the water lilies that floated on the surface of the river. Meanwhile, a fine Newfoundland dog trotted along the bank of the stream, looking occasionally at the boat, and thinking, perhaps, that he should like a sail himself.
Pleasantly onward went the boat, and the party were in the highest spirits, when little Ellen, trying to get a pretty lily, stretched out her hand over the side of the boat, and in a moment she lost her balance and fell into the river. What language can describe the agony of those parents when they saw the current close over their dear child! The mother, in her terror, could hardly be prevented from throwing herself into the river to rescue her drowning girl, and her husband had to hold her back by force. Vain was the help of man at that dreadful moment; but prayer was offered up to God, and he heard it.
No one took any notice of Nero, the faithful dog. But he had kept his eye upon the boat, it seems. He saw all that was going on; he plunged into the river at the critical moment when the child had sunk to the bottom, and dived beneath the surface. Suddenly a strange noise was heard on the side of the boat opposite to the one toward which the party were anxiously looking, and something seemed to be splashing in the water. It was the dog. Nero had dived to the bottom of that deep river, and found the very spot where the poor child had settled down into her cold, strange cradle of weeds and slime. Seizing her clothes, and holding them fast in his teeth, he brought her up to the surface of the water, a very little distance from the boat, and with looks that told his joy, he gave the little girl into the hands of her astonished father. Then, swimming back to the shore, he shook the water from his long, shaggy coat, and laid himself down, panting, to recover from the fatigue of his adventure.
Ellen seemed for awhile to be dead; her face was deadly pale; it hung on her shoulder; her dress showed that she had sunk to the bottom. But by and by she recovered gradually, and in less than a week she was as well as ever.
But the Glasgow Chronicle tells a story of the most supremely humane dog I ever heard of—so humane, in fact, that his humanity was somewhat troublesome. This dog—a fine Newfoundland—resided near Edinburgh. Every day he was seen visiting all the ponds and brooks in the neighborhood of his master's residence. He had been instrumental more than once in saving persons from drowning. He was respected for his magnanimity, and caressed for his amiable qualities, till, strange as it may be considered, this flattery completely turned his head. Saving life became a passion. He took to it as men take to dram-drinking. Not having sufficient scope for the exercise of his diseased benevolence in the district, he took to a very questionable method of supplying the deficiency. Whenever he found a child on the brink of a pond, he watched patiently for the opportunity to place his fore-paws suddenly on its person, and plunged it in before it was aware. Now all this was done for the mere purpose of fetching them out again. He appeared to find intense pleasure in this nonsensical sort of work. At last the outcry became so great by parents alarmed for their children, although no life was ever lost by the indulgence of such a singular taste, that the poor dog was reluctantly destroyed.
Mr. Bingley, an English writer, has contributed not a little to the amusement and instruction of the young, by a book which he published a few years ago, relating to the instinct of the dog. Among the stories told in this book, are several which I must transfer for my own readers. Here is one about the fatal adventure of a large mastiff with a robber. I shall give it nearly in the words of Mr. Bingley.
Not a great many years ago, a lady, who resided in a lonely house in Cheshire, England, permitted all her domestics, save one female, to go to a supper at an inn about three miles distant, which was kept by the uncle of the girl who remained at home with her mistress. As the servants were not expected to return till the morning, all the doors and windows were as usual secured, and the lady and her companion were about to retire to bed, when they were alarmed by the noise of some persons apparently attempting to break into the house. A large mastiff, which fortunately happened to be in the kitchen, set up a tremendous barking; but this had not the effect of intimidating the robbers.
After listening attentively for some time, the maid-servant discovered that the robbers were attempting to enter the house by forcing their way through a hole under the sunk story in the back kitchen. Being a young woman of courage, she went toward the spot, accompanied by the dog, and patting him on the back, exclaimed, "At him, Cæsar!" The dog leaped into the hole, made a furious attack upon the intruder, and gave something a violent shake. In a few minutes all became quiet, and the animal returned with his mouth full of blood. A slight bustle was now heard outside the house, but in a short time all again became still. The lady and servant, too much terrified to think of going to bed, sat up until morning without further molestation. When day dawned they discovered a quantity of blood outside of the wall in the court-yard.
When her fellow-servants came home, they brought word to the girl that her uncle, the inn-keeper, had died suddenly of apoplexy during the night, and that it was intended that the funeral should take place in the course of the day. Having obtained leave to go to the funeral, she was surprised to learn, on her arrival, that the coffin was screwed down. She insisted, however, on taking a last look at the body, which was most unwillingly granted; when, to her great surprise and horror, she discovered that his death had been occasioned by a large wound in the throat. The events of the preceding night rushed on her mind, and it soon became evident to her that she had been the innocent and unwilling cause of her uncle's death. It turned out, that he and one of his servants had formed the design of robbing the house and murdering the lady during the absence of her servants, but that their wicked design had been frustrated by the courage and watchfulness of her faithful mastiff.
There is another anecdote told of a wild Indian dog which I am sure my young friends will like. It is from the same source with the one about the mastiff.A man by the name of Le Fevre, many years ago, lived on a farm in the United States, near the Blue mountains. Those mountains at that time abounded in deer and other animals. One day, the youngest of Le Fevre's children, who was four years old, disappeared early in the morning. The family, after a partial search, becoming alarmed, had recourse to the assistance of some neighbors. These separated into parties, and explored the woods in every direction, but without success. Next day the search was renewed, but with no better result. In the midst of their distress Tewenissa, a native Indian from Anaguaga, on the eastern branch of the river Susquehannah, who happened to be journeying in that quarter, accompanied by his dog Oniah, happily went into the house of the planter with the design of reposing himself. Observing the distress of the family, and being informed of the circumstances, he requested that the shoes and stockings last worn by the child should be brought to him. He then ordered his dog to smell them; and taking the house for a centre, described a semicircle of a quarter of a mile, urging the dog to find out the scent. They had not gone far before the sagacious animal began to bark. The track was followed up by the dog with still louder barking, till at last, darting off at full speed, he was lost in the thickness of the woods. Half an hour after they saw him returning. His countenance was animated, bearing even an expression of joy; it was evident he had found the child—but was he dead or alive? This was a moment of cruel suspense, but it was of short continuance. The Indian followed his dog, and the excellent animal conducted him to the lost child, who was found unharmed, lying at the foot of a great tree. Tewenissa took him in his arms, and returned with him to the distressed parents and their friends, who had not been able to advance with the same speed. He restored little Derick to his father and mother, who ran to meet him; when a scene of tenderness and gratitude ensued, which may be easier felt than described. The child was in a state of extreme weakness, but, by means of a little care, he was in a short time restored to his usual vigor.
In one of the churches at Lambeth, England, there is a painting on a window, representing a man with his dog. There is a story connected with this painting which is worth telling. Tradition informs us that a piece of ground near Westminster bridge, containing a little over an acre, was left to that parish by a pedler, upon condition that his picture, accompanied by his dog, should be faithfully painted on the glass of one of the windows.The parishioners, as the story goes, had this picture executed accordingly, and came in possession of the land. This was in the year 1504. The property rented at that time for about a dollar a year. It now commands a rent of nearly fifteen hundred dollars. The reason given for the pedler's request is, that he was once very poor, when, one day, having occasion to pass across this piece of ground, and being weary, he sat down under a tree to rest. While seated here, he noticed that his dog, who was with him, acted strangely. At a distance of several rods from the place where he sat, the dog busied himself for awhile in scratching at a particular spot of earth, after which he returned to his master, looked earnestly up to his face, and endeavored to draw him toward the spot where he had been digging. The pedler, however, paid but little attention to the movements of the dog, until he had repeated them several times, when he was induced to accompany the dog. To his surprise he found, on doing so, that there was a pot of gold buried there. With a part of this gold he purchased the lot of ground on which it had been discovered, and bequeathed it to the parish on the conditions mentioned above. The pedler and his dog are represented in the picture which ornaments the window of that church. "But is the story a true one?" methinks I hear my little friends inquire. I confess it has the air of one of Baron Munchausen's yarns, and I am somewhat doubtful about it. But that is the tradition in the Lambeth parish, where the picture may still be seen by any body who takes the trouble to visit the place. The story may be true. Stranger things have happened.
Those who have studied geography do not need to be informed that there is a chain of high mountains running through Switzerland, called the Alps. The tops of some of these mountains are covered with snow nearly all the year. In the winter it is very difficult and dangerous traveling over the Alps; for the snow frequently rolls down the sides of the mountain, in a great mass, called an avalanche, and buries the traveler beneath it. On one of these mountains there is the convent of St. Bernard. It is situated ten thousand feet above the base of the mountain, and is on one of the most dangerous passes between Switzerland and Savoy. It is said to be the highest inhabited spot in the old world. It is tenanted by a race of monks, who are very kind to travelers. Among other good services they render to the strangers who pass near their convent, they search for unhappy persons who have been overtaken by sudden storms, and who are liable to perish.
These monks have a peculiar variety of the dog, called the dog of St. Bernard, or the Alpine Spaniel, which they train to hunt for travelers who are overtaken by a storm, and who are in danger of perishing. The dog of St. Bernard is one of the most sagacious of his species. He is covered with thick, curly hair, which is frequently of great service in warming the traveler, when he is almost dead with cold.
One of these dogs, named Barry, had, it was reckoned, in twelve years saved the lives of forty individuals. Whenever the mountain was enveloped in fogs and snow, away scoured Barry, barking and searching all about for any person who might have fallen a victim to the storm. When he was successful in finding any one, if his own strength was insufficient to rescue him, he would run back to the convent in search of assistance.
I think I must translate for my young readers an affecting story about this dog Barry, which I read the other day in a little French book, entitled "Modèles des Enfans." It seems that a great while ago there was a poor woman wandering about these mountains, in the vicinity of the convent of St. Bernard, in company with her son, a very small boy. The story does not inform us what they were doing, and why they were walking in such a dangerous place. Perhaps they were gathering fuel to keep them warm; and very likely when they left home the weather was mild, and that they did not anticipate a storm. However that may be, they were overtaken by an avalanche, the mother was buried beneath it, and the child saw her no more. But I must tell the remainder of the story in the language of the French writer.
"Poor boy! the storm increased; the wind howled, and whirled the snow into huge heaps. In the hope that he might possibly meet a traveler, the child forced his way for awhile through the snow; but at last, exhausted, benumbed with the cold, and discouraged, he fell upon his knees, joined his hands devoutly together, and cried, as he raised his face, bathed in tears, toward heaven, 'O my God! have mercy on a poor child, who has nobody in the world to care for him!' As he lay in the place where he fell down, which was sheltered a little by a rock, he grew colder and colder, and he thought he must die. But still, from time to time, he prayed, 'Have mercy, O my God! on a poor child, who has nobody in the world to care for him!' At last he fell asleep, but was wakened by feeling a warm paw on his face. As he opened his eyes he saw with terror an enormous dog holding his head near his own. He uttered a cry of fear, and started back a little way from the dog. The dog approached the boy again, and tried, after his own fashion, to make the little fellow understand that he came there to do him good, and not to hurt him. Then he licked the face and hands of the child. By and by the child confided in his visitor, and began to entertain a hope that he might yet be saved. When Barry saw that his errand was understood, he lifted his head, and showed the child a bottle covered with willow, which was hanging around his neck. This bottle contained wine, some of which the little fellow drank, and felt refreshed. Then the dog lay down by the side of the child, and gave him the benefit of the heat of his own body for a long time. After this, the dog made a sign for the boy to get upon his back. It was some time before the boy could understand what the sign meant. But it was repeated again and again, and at last the child mounted the back of the kind animal, who carried him safely to the convent."
Here is a capital story about a bloodhound, taken from the excellent book by Mr. Bingley, to which I have before alluded. Aubri de Mondidier, a gentleman of family and fortune, traveling alone through the Forest of Bondy, in France, was murdered, and buried under a tree. His dog, a bloodhound, would not quit his master's grave for several days; till at length, compelled by hunger, he proceeded to the house of an intimate friend of the unfortunate Aubri at Paris, and, by his melancholy howling, seemed desirous of expressing the loss they had both sustained. He repeated his cries, ran to the door, looked back to see if any one followed him, returned to his master's friend, pulled him by the sleeve, and with dumb eloquence, entreated him to go with him. The singularity of all these actions of the dog, added to the circumstance of his coming there without his master, whose faithful companion he had always been, prompted the company to follow the animal. He conducted them to the foot of a tree, where he renewed his howling, scratching the earth with his feet, and significantly entreating them to search the particular spot. Accordingly, on digging, the body of the unhappy Aubri was found.
Some time after, the dog accidentally met the assassin, who is styled, by all the historians who relate the story, the Chevalier Macaire, when, instantly seizing him by the throat, he was with great difficulty compelled to quit his victim. In short, whenever the dog saw the chevalier, he continued to pursue and attack him with equal fury. Such obstinate violence, confined only to Macaire, appeared very extraordinary, especially to those who at once recalled the dog's remarkable attachment to his master, and several instances in which Macaire's envy and hatred to Aubri de Mondidier had been conspicuous.
Additional circumstances increased suspicion, and at length the affair reached the royal ear. The king accordingly sent for the dog, which appeared extremely gentle, till he perceived Macaire in the midst of several noblemen, when he ran fiercely toward him, growling at and attacking him, as usual. Struck with such a combination of circumstantial evidence against Macaire, the king determined to refer the decision to the chance of battle; or, in other words, he gave orders for a combat between the chevalier and the dog. The lists were appointed in the Isle of Notre Dame, then an unenclosed, uninhabited place. Macaire was allowed for his weapon a great cudgel, and an empty cask was given to the dog as a place of retreat, to enable him to recover breath.
Every thing being prepared, the dog no sooner found himself at liberty, than he made for his adversary, running round him and menacing him on every side, avoiding his blows till his strength was exhausted; then springing forward, he seized him by the throat, threw him on the ground, and obliged him to confess his guilt in presence of the king and the whole court. In consequence of this confession, the chevalier, after a few days, was convicted upon his own acknowledgment, and beheaded on a scaffold in the Isle of Notre Dame.
The editor of the Portland (Maine) Advertiser relates the following anecdote: "A gentleman from the country recently drove up to a store in this city, and jumping from his sleigh, left his dog in the care of the vehicle. Presently an avalanche of snow slid from the top of the building upon the sidewalk, which so frightened the horse that he started off down the street at a furious run. At this critical juncture, the dog sprang from the sleigh, and seizing the reins in his mouth, held back with all his strength, and actually reined in the frightened animal to a post at the side of the street, when apparently having satisfied himself that no danger was to be apprehended, he again resumed his station in the sleigh, as unconcerned as if he had only done an ordinary act of duty."
A few years ago a little girl, residing in an inland village in Connecticut—without the consent of her mother, be it remembered—went alone to a pond near by, to play with her brother's little vessel, and fell into the water. She came very near drowning; but a dog belonging to the family, named Rollo, who was not far off, plunged in and drew her to the shore. She was so exhausted, however, that she could not rise, and the dog could not lift her entirely out of the water. But he raised her head a little above the surface, and then ran after help. He found a man, and made use of every expedient in his power to draw him to the spot where he had left the child. At first the stranger paid very little attention to the dog; but by and by he was persuaded something was wrong, and followed the dog to the pond. The little girl was not drowned, though she was quite insensible; and the man lifted her from the water, and saved her life, to the great joy of Rollo, who seemed eager to assist in this enterprise.
Here is a capital story about a shepherd's dog in Scotland. I take the liberty of borrowing it from Bingley's admirable book. The valleys, or glens, as they are called by the natives, which intersect the Grampians, a ridge of rocky and precipitous mountains in the northern part of Scotland, are chiefly inhabited by shepherds. As the pastures over which each flock is permitted to range, extend many miles in every direction, the shepherd never has a view of his whole flock at once, except when it is collected for the purpose of sale or shearing. His occupation is to make daily visits to the different extremities of his pastures in succession, and to turn back, by means of his dog, any stragglers that may be approaching the boundaries of his neighbors.
In one of these excursions, a shepherd happened to carry with him one of his children, an infant some two or three years old. After traversing his pastures for some time, attended by his dog, the shepherd found himself under the necessity of ascending a summit at some distance to have a more extended view of his range. As the ascent was too fatiguing for his child, he left him on a small plain at the bottom, with strict injunctions not to stir from it till his return. Scarcely, however, had he gained the summit, when the horizon was suddenly darkened by one of those thick and heavy fogs which frequently descend so rapidly amid these mountains, as, in the space of a few minutes, almost to turn day into night. The anxious father instantly hastened back to find his child; but, owing to the unusual darkness, and his own trepidation, he unfortunately missed his way in the descent. After a fruitless search of many hours among the dangerous morasses and cataracts with which these mountains abound, he was at length overtaken by night. Still wandering on, without knowing whither, he at length came to the verge of the mist, and, by the light of the moon, discovered that he had reached the bottom of the valley, and was now within a short distance of his cottage. To renew the search that night was equally fruitless and dangerous. He was therefore obliged to return home, having lost both his child and his dog, which had attended him faithfully for years.
Next morning by day-break, the shepherd, accompanied by a band of his neighbors, set out again to seek his child; but, after a day spent in fruitless fatigue, he was at last compelled by the approach of night to descend from the mountain. On returning to his cottage, he found that the dog which he had lost the day before, had been home, and, on receiving a piece of cake, had instantly gone off again. For several successive days the shepherd renewed the search for his child, and still, on returning in the evening disappointed to his cottage, he found that the dog had been there, and, on receiving his usual allowance of cake, had instantly disappeared. Struck with this singular circumstance, he remained at home one day, and when the dog, as usual, departed with his piece of cake, he resolved to follow him, and find out the cause of this strange procedure. The dog led the way to a cataract at some distance from the spot where the shepherd had left his child. The banks of the waterfall, almost joined at the top, yet separated by an abyss of immense depth, presented that abrupt appearance which so often astonishes and appalls the traveler amid the Grampian mountains, and indicates that these stupendous chasms were not the silent work of time, but the sudden effect of some violent convulsion of the earth. Down one of these rugged and almost perpendicular descents the dog began, without hesitation, to make his way, and at last disappeared in a cave, the mouth of which was almost on a level with the torrent. The shepherd with difficulty followed; but, on entering the cave, what were his emotions, when he beheld his infant eating with much satisfaction the cake which the dog had just brought him, while the faithful animal stood by, eyeing his young charge with the utmost complacency! From the situation in which the child was found, it appeared that he had wandered to the brink of the precipice, and either fallen or scrambled down till he reached the cave, which the dread of the torrent had afterward prevented him from quitting. The dog, by means of his scent, had traced him to the spot, and afterward prevented him from starving, by giving up to him his own daily allowance. He appears never to have quitted the child by night or day, except when it was necessary to go for his food, and then he was always seen running at full speed to and from the cottage.
The following story is related on the authority of a correspondent of the Boston Traveler: A gentleman from abroad, stopping at a hotel in Boston, privately secreted his handkerchief behind the cushion of a sofa, and left the hotel, in company with his dog. After walking for some minutes, he suddenly stopped, and said to his dog, "I have left my handkerchief at the hotel, and want it"—giving no particular directions in reference to it. The dog immediately returned in full speed, and entered the room which his master had just left. He went directly to the sofa, but the handkerchief was gone. He jumped upon tables and counters, but it was not to be seen. It proved that a friend had discovered it, and supposing that it had been left by mistake, had retained it for the owner. But Tiger was not to be foiled. He flew about the room, apparently much excited, in quest of the "lost or stolen." Soon, however, he was upon the track; he scented it to the gentleman's coat pocket. What was to be done? The dog had no means of asking verbally for it, and was not accustomed to picking pockets; and, besides, the gentleman was ignorant of his business with him. But Tiger's sagacity did not suffer him to remain long in suspense; he seized the skirt containing the prize, and furiously tore it from the coat, and hastily made off with it, much to the surprise of its owner. Tiger overtook his master, and restored the lost property, receiving his approbation, notwithstanding he did it at the expense of the gentleman's coat. At a subsequent interview, the gentleman refused any remuneration for his torn garment, declaring that the joke was worth the price of his coat.
One day, as a little girl was amusing herself with a child, near Carlisle Bridge, Dublin, and was sportively toying with the child, he made a sudden spring from her arms, and in an instant fell into the river. The screaming nurse and anxious spectators saw the water close over the child, and conceived that he had sunk to rise no more. A Newfoundland dog, which had been accidentally passing with his master, sprang forward to the wall, and gazed wistfully at the ripple in the water, made by the child's descent. At the same instant the dog sprang forward to the edge of the water. While the animal was descending, the child again sunk, and the faithful creature was seen anxiously swimming round and round the spot where he had disappeared. Once more the child rose to the surface; the dog seized him, and with a firm but gentle pressure, bore him to land without injury. Meanwhile a gentleman arrived, who, on inquiry into the circumstances of the transaction, exhibited strong marks of interest and feeling toward the child, and of admiration for the dog that had rescued him from death. The person who had removed the child from the dog turned to show him to the gentleman, when there were presented to his view the well-known features of his own son! A mixed sensation of terror, joy, and surprise, struck him mute. When he had recovered the use of his faculties, and fondly kissed his little darling, he lavished a thousand embraces on the dog, and offered to his master five hundred guineas if he would transfer the valuable animal to him; but the owner of the dog felt too much affection for the useful creature, to part with him for any consideration whatever.
A boatman on the river Thames, in England, once laid a wager that he and his dog would leap from the centre arch of Westminster Bridge, and land at Lambeth within a minute of each other. He jumped off first, and the dog immediately followed; but as he was not in the secret, and fearing that his master would be drowned, he seized him by the neck, and dragged him on shore, to the great diversion of the spectators.
Some years ago, a gentleman of Queen's College, Oxford, went to pass the Christmas vacation at his father's in the country. An uncle, a brother, and other friends, were one day to dine together. It was fine, frosty weather; the two young gentlemen went out for a forenoon's recreation, and one of them took his skates with him. They were followed by a favorite greyhound. When the friends were beginning to long for their return, the dog came home at full speed, and by his apparent anxiety, his laying hold of their clothes to pull them along, and all his gestures, he convinced them that something was wrong. They followed the greyhound, who led them to a piece of water frozen over. A hat was seen on the ice, near which was a fresh aperture. The bodies of the young gentlemen were soon found, but, alas! though every means were tried, life could not be restored.
There is another story which places the sagacity of the greyhound in still stronger light. A Scotch gentleman, who kept a greyhound and a pointer, being fond of coursing, employed the one to find the hares, and the other to catch them. It was, however, discovered, that when the season was over, the dogs were in the habit of going out by themselves, and killing hares for their own amusement. To prevent this, a large iron ring was fastened to the pointer's neck by a leather collar, and hung down so as to prevent the dog from running or jumping over dikes. The animals, however, continued to stroll out to the fields together; and one day, the gentleman suspecting that all was not right, resolved to watch them, and, to his surprise, found that the moment they thought they were unobserved, the greyhound took up the ring in his mouth, and carrying it, they set off to the hills, and began to search for hares, as usual. They were followed; and it was observed that whenever the pointer scented the hare, the ring was dropped, and the greyhound stood ready to pounce upon the game the moment the other drove her from her form; but that he uniformly returned to assist his companion, after he had caught his prey.
Some of the dogs belonging to the gipsies possess a great deal of shrewdness. The gipsies, you know, are a very singular race of people. They are scattered over a great portion of Europe, wandering from place to place, and living in miserable tents, or huts. You can form a pretty correct notion of a gipsy encampment, by the picture on another page. Here you see the gipsy men and women, sitting and standing around a fire, over which is a pot, evidently containing the material for their meal. If you notice the picture carefully, you will observe, also, a little, insignificant looking dog, who is apparently asleep, and, for aught I know, dreaming about the exploits of the day. You will no doubt smile, and wonder what exploits such a cur is able to perform; but I assure you that if he is at all like some of the gipsy dogs I have heard of, he has been taught a good many very shrewd tricks. The dogs of the gipsies are sometimes trained to steal for their masters. The thief enters a store with some respectably dressed man, whom the owner of the dog will commission for the purpose, and—the man having made certain signals to the animal—the gipsy cur, after loitering about the store, perhaps for hours, waiting a favorable opportunity, will steal the articles which were designated, and run away with them to his master's tent.
I made the acquaintance of a dog at Niagara Falls, last summer, who was an ardent admirer of the beautiful and grand in nature. The little steamer called the "Maid of the Mist" makes several trips daily, from a point some two miles down the river, to within a few rods of the Canada Fall. I went up in this boat, one morning, and the trip afforded me one of the finest views I had of this inimitable cataract. Among the passengers in this boat, at the time, was the dog who was so fond of the sublime. He walked leisurely on board, just before the hour of starting, and during the entire excursion seemed to enjoy the scene as much as any of the rest of the passengers. As the boat approached the American Fall, he took his station in the bow, where he remained, completely deluged in the spray, until the boat passed the same Fall, on its return. This, however, is not the most remarkable part of the story. The captain informed me that such was the daily practice of the dog. Every morning, regularly, at the hour of starting, he makes his appearance, though he is not owned by any one engaged in the boat, and treats himself to this novel excursion.
There is a dog living on Staten Island, who has for some time been acting the part of a philanthropist, on a large scale. He makes it a great share of his business to administer to the necessities of the sick and infirm dogs in the neighborhood. As soon as he learns that a dog is sick, so that he is unable to take care of himself, he visits the invalid, and nurses him; and he even goes from house to house, searching out those who need his assistance. Frequently he brings his patient to his own kennel, and takes care of him until he either gets well or dies. Sometimes he has two or three sick dogs in his hospital, at the same time. I have these facts on the authority of my friend Mr. Ranlett, the editor of the "Architect," a gentleman of unquestionable veracity, who has seen the dog thus imitating the example of the Good Samaritan.
Captain Parry, an adventurous sailor, who went out from England on a voyage of discovery in the northern seas, relates some amusing anecdotes about the dogs among the Esquimaux Indians. These dogs are trained to draw a vehicle called a sledge, made a little like what we call a sleigh. In some parts of Russia many people travel in the same manner. Here is a picture of one of the Russian sledges. It is made in very handsome style, as you see. The greater portion of them are constructed much more rudely. The Esquimaux Indian is famous for his feats in driving dogs. When he wants to take a ride, he harnesses up several pairs of these dogs, and off he goes, almost as swift as the wind. The dogs are rather unruly, however, sometimes, and get themselves sadly snarled together, so that the driver is obliged to go through the harnessing process several times in the course of a drive of a few miles. When the road is level and pretty smoothly worn, eight or ten dogs, with a weight only of some six or seven hundred pounds attached to them, are almost unmanageable, and will run any where they choose at the rate of ten miles an hour.
The following anecdote we have on the authority of the Newark (N. J.) Daily Advertiser: An officer of the army, accompanied by his dog, left West Point on a visit to the city of Burlington, N. J., and while there, becoming sick, wrote to his wife and family at West Point, in relation to his indisposition. Shortly after the reception of his letter, the family were aroused by a whining, barking and scratching, at the door of the house, and when opened to ascertain the cause, in rushed the faithful dog. After being caressed, and every attempt made to quiet him, the dog, in despair at not being understood, seized a shawl in his teeth, and, placing his paws on the lady's shoulders, deposited there the shawl! He then placed himself before her, and, fixing his gaze intently upon her, to attract her attention, seized her dress, and began to drag her to the door. The lady then became alarmed, and sent for a relative, who endeavored to allay her fears, but she prevailed upon him to accompany her at once to her husband, and on arriving, found him dangerously ill in Burlington. The distance traveled by the faithful animal, and the difficulties encountered, render this exploit almost incredible, especially as the boats could not stop at West Point, on account of the ice, it being in the winter.
There is a dog in the city of New York, who, according to unquestionable authority, is accustomed every day not only to bring his mistress the morning paper, as soon as it is thrown into the front yard, but to select the one belonging to the lady, when, as is frequently the case, there is one lying with it belonging to another member of the family.
An unfortunate dog, living in England, in order to make sport for some fools, had a pan tied to his tail, and was sent off on his travels toward a village a few miles distant. He reached the place utterly exhausted, and lay down before the steps of a tavern, eyeing most anxiously the horrid annoyance hung behind him, but unable to move a step further, or rid himself of the torment. Another dog, a Scotch colly, came up at the time, and seeing the distress of his crony, laid himself down gently beside him, and gaining his confidence by a few caresses, proceeded to gnaw the string by which the noisy appendage was attached to his friend's tail, and by about a quarter of an hour's exertion, severed the cord, and started to his legs, with the pan hanging from the string in his mouth, and after a few joyful capers around his friend, departed on his travels, in the highest glee at his success.
The Albany Journal tells us of a dog in that city, who has formed the habit of regarding a shadow with a great deal of interest. In this particular, he is not unlike some people that one occasionally meets with, who spend their whole time following shadows. The story of the Albany editor is thus told: Those who are in the habit of frequenting the post-office, between the hours of six and eight in the evening, have doubtless noticed the singular wanderings of a dog near the first swing door, without knowing the cause of his mysterious actions. The hall is lighted with gas, and the burner is placed between the two doors. When the outer door swings, the frame-work of the sash throws a moving shadow on the wall, beneath the structure, which, from its peculiar movement toward the floor, has attracted the notice of this dog. He watches it as sharp as if it were a mouse, and although his labors have been fruitless, yet he still continues nightly to grace this place with his presence. Several attempts have been made to draw his attention from the object, with but little success; for though his attention may be diverted, it is soon lost, as the instant his eye catches the shadow, he renews his watchings. In all his movements he is very harmless, and he neither injures nor even molests those who have occasion to pass through the hall.
As a farmer of good circumstances, who resided in the county of Norfolk, England, was taking an excursion to a considerable distance from home, during the frosts in the month of March 1795, he at length was so benumbed by the intense cold, that he became stupefied, and so sleepy that he found himself unable to proceed. He lay down, and would have perished on the spot, had not a faithful dog, which attended him, as if sensible of his dangerous situation, got on his breast, and, extending himself over him, preserved the circulation of his blood. The dog, so situated for many hours, kept up a continual barking, by which means, and the assistance of some passengers, the farmer was roused, and led to a house, where he soon recovered.
rom an authentic source I have obtained an incident of recent occurrence, which painfully illustrates the fury of the wolf, while engaged at a favorite meal. Near Lake Constance, in Canada, two men observed some wolves engaged in eating a deer. One of them, named Black, went to dispute the prize with these ravenous animals, when he unfortunately fell a victim to his rashness, the wolves having devoured him, leaving only a small portion of his bones.
Some three years since, while traveling in Canada, I met a lady who resided with a brother in the employ of the Hudson's Bay Company, a few hundred miles north of Montreal. This lady informed me that she had not unfrequently been chased by wolves, while proceeding to the house of her nearest neighbor—about ten miles distant—and that a pack of them, unusually hungry, once seemed very much determined to pull her from her horse, though they finally made up their minds that they would try their fortunes in another direction.
It sometimes, though not very frequently happens, that several wolves together attack men who travel on horseback, and fight furiously. A story is told of two men who were traveling in this manner in Mexico, when two or three wolves, who, one would suppose, had fasted a good while, fell upon the men and their horses, and it was a matter of some doubt, for a time, who would be the victors, the travelers or their assailants. The former were armed with pistols, too. The wolves got the worst of the battle, however, at last, and they retreated, as men very often do when they go to war with each other—having gained nothing but a broken limb or two, which they boast of for the remainder of their lives.
A peasant in Russia was one day riding along, when he found that he was pursued by eleven wolves. Being about two miles from home he urged his horse to the very extent of his speed. At the entrance to his residence was a gate, which being shut at the time, the frightened horse dashed open, and carried his master safely into the yard. Nine of the wolves followed the man and his horse into the inclosure, when fortunately, the gate swung back, and caught them all as it were in a trap. Finding themselves caught in this manner, the wolves seemed to lose all their courage and ferocity. They shrunk away, and tried to hide themselves instead of pursuing their prey, and they were all killed with very little difficulty.
The following story of an encounter with a saucy wolf in the south-western part of the United States, is taken from the journal of a Santa Fe trader: "I shall not soon forget an adventure with a furious wolf, many years ago, on the frontiers of Missouri. Riding near the prairie border, I perceived one of the largest and fiercest of the gray species, which had just descended from the west, and seemed famished to desperation. I at once prepared for a chase; and being without arms, I caught up a cudgel, when I betook me valiantly to the charge, much stronger, as I soon discovered, in my cause than in my equipment. The wolf was in no humor to flee, however, but boldly met me full half way. I was soon disarmed, for my club broke upon the animal's head. He then 'laid to' my horse's legs, which, not relishing the conflict, gave a plunge, and sent me whirling over his head, and made his escape, leaving me and the wolf at close quarters. I was no sooner upon my feet than my antagonist renewed the charge; but being without a weapon, or any means of awakening an emotion of terror, save through his imagination, I took off my large black hat, and using it for a shield, began to thrust it toward his gaping jaws. My ruse had the desired effect; for after springing at me a few times, he wheeled about, and trotted off several paces, and stopped to gaze at me. Being apprehensive that he might change his mind, and return to the attack, and conscious that, under the compromise, I had the best of the bargain, I very resolutely took to my heels, glad of the opportunity of making a drawn game, though I had myself given the challenge." A friend of mine, who visited Texas a little while ago, gives quite an interesting account of a ride he had through an uninhabited part of that country, where wolves were abundant. He says: "As there was no road, I was obliged to take the prairie. My conveyance was a mule, which is, by the way, the best for a long journey in this country, as it is far more capable of endurance than a horse. When I had rode about five miles, I found that I had lost my course; and as the sun was clouded, I had no means of guessing at the route. But I pushed on, and soon found myself in a dense grove of live oak. Here I heard a distinct barking, and thought I must be near a house. I rode toward the place whence the noise seemed to proceed, but soon found that I had committed a most egregious error; for I was in the very midst of a pack of wolves, consisting of about a dozen. As you may suppose, I was terribly frightened, though I had heard that wolves in the country seldom molest any one traveling on horseback. Still, this interesting party appeared singularly fierce and hungry, and I opened a large clasp knife, the only available weapon I had, in order to be prepared for the contemplated attack. In this way I rode on about a mile, with the wolves after me, when the whole force quietly dispersed. After riding about three hours more, I discovered that I had been on the wrong track all the time, though I was not sure where I was; but it was so dark it was not safe to go further. So I spread my cloak on the grass, tied my mule up to a tree, made my saddle into a pillow, and, thus prepared, lay down for the night. I thought of wolves and snakes for some time, but being very tired, soon went to sleep."
The wolf is capable of strong attachments, and has been known to cherish the memory of a friend for a great length of time. A wolf belonging to the menagerie in London, met his old keeper, after three years' absence. It was evening when the man returned, and the wolf's den was shut up from any external observation; yet the instant the man's voice was heard, the faithful animal set up the most anxious cries; and the door of his cage being opened, he rushed toward his friend, leaped upon his shoulders, licked his face, and threatened to bite his keepers on their attempting to separate them. When the man ultimately went away, he fell sick, was long on the verge of death, and would never after permit a stranger to approach him.
Captain Franklin, in his journal of a voyage in the Polar seas, mentions seeing white wolves there, and gives an account which shows the wolf to be quite a cunning animal. A number of deer, says the captain, were feeding on a high cliff, when a multitude of wolves slily encircled the place, and then rushed upon the deer, scaring them over the precipice, where they were crushed to death by the fall. The wolves then came down, and devoured the deer at their leisure.
When I was quite a little boy, it used to be the fashion for many people to fill children's heads with all manner of frightful stories about wolves, and bears, and gentry of that sort—stories that had not a word of truth in them, and which did a great deal of mischief. I remember to this day, the horror I used to have, when obliged to go away alone in the dark. Many a time I have looked behind me, thinking it quite likely that a furious wolf was at my heels. The reason for this foolish fear—for it was foolish, of course—was, that a servant girl, in the employ of my mother, used to tell me scores of stories in which wolves always played a very prominent part. I remember one story in particular, which cost me a world of terror. The principal scene in the tale, and the one which most frightened me, was at the time pictured so strongly on my imagination, that it never entirely wore off. It was much after this fashion. The wolf's jaws were opened wide enough to take a poor fellow's head in, and fancy pictured that event as being about to happen scores of times. Indeed, the nurse told me, over and over again, that unless I kept out of mischief—which I did not always, I am sorry to say—I should be sure to come to some such end. Boys and girls, if you have ever heard such stories, don't let them trouble you for a moment. There is not a word of truth in them. I know how you feel—some of you who are quite young, and who have been entertained with stories of this class—when any body asks you to go alone into a dark room. You are afraid of something, and for your life cannot tell what. I should not wonder very much if some of you were afraid of the dark. I have heard children talk about being afraid of the dark. You laugh, perhaps. It is rather funny—almost too funny to be treated seriously. Well, if it is not the dark, what is it you are afraid of? Your parents, and others who are older than you, are alone in the dark a thousand times in the course of a year. Did you ever hear them say any thing about meeting a single one of the heroes of the frightful stories you have heard? Do you think they ever came across a ghost, or an apparition, or a fairy, or an elf, or a witch, or a hobgoblin, or a giant, or a Blue-Beard, or a wolf? It makes you smile to think of it. Well, then, after all, don't you think it would be a great deal wiser and better to turn all these foolish fancies out of your head, just as one would get rid of a company of saucy rats and mice that were doing mischief in the cellar or corn-house? I think so.
Before I have done with the wolf, I must recite that fable of Æsop's, about one who dressed himself up in the garb of a sheep, to impose upon the shepherd, but who shared a very different fate from the one he anticipated.
A wolf, clothing himself in the skin of a sheep, and getting in among the flock, by this means took the opportunity to devour many of them. At last the shepherd discovered him, and cunningly fastening a rope about his neck, tied him up to a tree which stood hard by. Some other shepherds happening to pass that way, and observing what he was about, drew near and expressed their amazement. "What," says one of them, "brother, do you make a practice of hanging sheep?" "No," replies the other; "but I make a practice of hanging a wolf whenever I catch him, though in the habit and garb of a sheep." Then he showed them their mistake, and they applauded the justice of the execution. The moral of this fable is so plain, that it is quite useless to repeat it.
 A drawn game at chess, as some of my readers may not be aware, is one in which neither party is the victor.
f all the animals which have been pressed into the service of man, the horse, perhaps, is the most useful. What could we do without the labor of this noble and faithful animal? Day after day, and year after year, he toils on for his master, seldom complaining, when he is well treated, seldom showing himself ungrateful to his friends, and sometimes exhibiting the strongest attachment.
The following story is a matter of history, and is told by one who was a witness of most of the facts connected with it: During the peninsular war in Europe, the trumpeter of a French cavalry corps had a fine charger assigned to him, of which he became passionately fond, and which, by gentleness of disposition and uniform docility, equally evinced its affection. The sound of the trumpeter's voice, the sight of his uniform, or the twang of his trumpet, was sufficient to throw this animal into a state of the greatest excitement; and he appeared to be pleased and happy only when under the saddle of his rider. Indeed he was unruly and useless to every body else; for once, on being removed to another part of the forces, and consigned to a young officer, he resolutely refused to perform his evolutions, and bolted straight to the trumpeter's station, and there took his stand, jostling alongside his former master. This animal, on being restored to the trumpeter, carried him, during several of the peninsular campaigns, through many difficulties and hair-breadth escapes. At last the corps to which he belonged was worsted, and in the confusion of retreat the trumpeter was mortally wounded. Dropping from his horse, his body was found, many days after the engagement, stretched on the ground, with the faithful old charger standing beside it. During the long interval, it seems that he had never left the trumpeter's side, but had stood sentinel over his corpse, as represented in the engraving, scaring away the birds of prey, and remaining totally heedless of his own privations. When found, he was in a sadly reduced condition, partly from loss of blood through wounds, but chiefly from want of food, of which, in the excess of his grief, he could not be prevailed on to partake.
In a book called "Sketches of the Horse," is an anecdote which exhibits the intelligence of this animal in perhaps a still stronger light. A farmer, living in the neighborhood of Bedford, in England, was returning home from market one evening in 1828, and being somewhat tipsy, rolled off his saddle into the middle of the road. His horse stood still; but after remaining patiently for some time, and not observing any disposition in his rider to get up and proceed further, he took him by the collar and shook him. This had little or no effect, for the farmer only gave a grumble of dissatisfaction at having his repose disturbed. The animal was not to be put off by any such evasion, and so applied his mouth to one of his master's coat-laps, and after several attempts, by dragging at it, to raise him upon his feet, the coat-lap gave way. Three individuals who witnessed this extraordinary proceeding then went up, and assisted the man in mounting his horse.
My father had a horse, when I was a little boy, that was quite a pet with the whole family. We called him Jack, and he knew his name as well as I did. The biography of the old veteran would be very interesting, I am sure, if any body were to write it. I do not mean to be his biographer, however, though my partiality for him will be a sufficient apology for a slight sketch.
Old Jack was a very intelligent horse. He would always come when he heard his name called, let him be ever so far distant in the pasture; that is, if he had a mind to come. Of course, being a gentleman of discernment, he sometimes chose to stay where he was, and enjoy his walk. This was especially the case when the grass was very green, and when the person who came for him chanced to be a little green also. Jack had his faults, it cannot be denied, and among them, perhaps the most prominent one was a strong aversion to being caught by any body but my father, whom he seemed to regard as having the sole right to summon him from the pasture. I used occasionally to try my hand at catching him. In fact, I succeeded several times, by stratagem only. I carried a measure containing a few gills of oats with me into the field; and his love for oats was so much stronger than his dislike of the catching process, that I secured him. But after a while the old fellow became too cunning for me. He came to the conclusion that the quantity of his favorite dish was too small to warrant him in sacrificing his freedom. He had some knowledge of arithmetic, you see. Certainly he must have cyphered as far as loss and gain. One day I went into the pasture with my bridle concealed behind me, and just about enough oats to cover the bottom of my measure, and advanced carefully toward the spot where old Jack was quietly grazing in the meadow. He did not stir as I approached. He held up his head a little, and seemed to be thinking what it was best to do. I drew nearer, encouraged, of course. The cunning fellow let me come within a few feet of him, and then suddenly wheeled around, threw his heels into the air, a great deal too near my head, and then started off at full gallop, snorting his delight at the fun, and seeming to say, "I am not quite so great a fool as you suppose."
Still, old Jack was kind and gentle. My father never had any trouble with him, and many a long mile have I rode after him, when he went over the ground like a bird. I loved him, with all his faults; I loved him dearly, and when he was sold, we all had a long crying spell about it. I remember the time well, when the man who purchased our old pet came to take him away. I presume the man was kind enough, but really I never could forgive him for buying the horse. He was rather a rough-looking man, and he laughed a good deal when we told him he must be good to Jack, and give him plenty of oats, and not make him work too hard. I went out, with my sister, to bid our old friend a last sad good-bye. We carried him some green grass—we knew how well he loved grass, he had given us proof enough of that—and while he was eating it, and the man was preparing to take him away, we talked to old Jack till the tears stood in our eyes; we told him how sorry we were to part with him; and he seemed to be sad, too, for he stopped eating his grass, and looked at us tenderly, while we put our arms around his neck and caressed him for the last time.
I have had a great many pets since—cats and dogs, squirrels and rabbits, canary birds and parrots—but never any that I loved more than I did old Jack; and to this day I am ashamed of the deception I practiced upon him in the matter of the oats, when trying to catch him. I don't wonder he resented the trick, and played one on me in return.
But I am transgressing the rule I laid down for myself in the outset of these stories—not to prate much about my own pets. According to this rule, I ought to have touched much more lightly upon the life and times of old Jack.
A correspondent of the Providence (R. I.) Journal, gives an account of a horse in his neighborhood that was remarkably fond of music. "A physician," he says, "called daily to visit a patient opposite to my place of residence. We had a piano in the room on the street, on which a young lady daily practiced for several hours in the morning. The weather was warm, and the windows were open, and the moment the horse caught the sound of the piano, he would deliberately wheel about, cross the street, place himself as near the window as possible, and there, with ears and eyes dilating, would he quietly stand and listen till his owner came for him. This was his daily practice. Sometimes the young lady would stop playing when the doctor drove up. The horse would then remain quietly in his place; but the first stroke of a key would arrest his attention, and half a dozen notes would invariably call him across the street. I witnessed the effect several times."
There was a show-bill printed during the reign of Queen Anne, a copy of which is still to be seen in one of the public libraries in England, to the following effect: "To be seen, at the Ship, upon Great Tower Hill, the finest taught horse in the world. He fetches and carries like a spaniel dog. If you hide a glove, a handkerchief, a door key, a pewter spoon, or so small a thing as a silver twopence, he will seek about the room till he has found it, and then he will bring it to his master. He will also tell the number of spots on a card, and leap through a hoop; with a variety of other curious performances."
The story of Alexander the Great, and his favorite horse Bucephalus, doubtless most of my readers have heard before. Bucephalus was a war-horse of a very high spirit, which had been sent to Philip, Alexander's father, when the latter was a boy. This horse was taken out into one of the parks connected with the palace, and the king and many of his courtiers went to see him. The horse pranced about so furiously, that every body was afraid of him. He seemed perfectly unmanageable. No one was willing to risk his life by mounting such an unruly animal. Philip, instead of being thankful for the present, was inclined to be in ill humor about it. In the mean time, the boy Alexander stood quietly by, watching all the motions of the horse, and seeming to be studying his character. Philip had decided that the horse was useless, and had given orders to have him sent back to Thessaly, where he came from. Alexander did not much like the idea of losing so fine an animal, and begged his father to allow him to mount the horse. Philip at first refused, thinking the risk was too great. But he finally consented, after his son had urged him a great while. So Alexander went up to the horse, and took hold of his bridle. He patted him upon the neck, and soothed him with his voice, showing him, at the same time, by his easy and unconcerned manner, that he was not in the least afraid of him. Bucephalus was calmed and subdued by the presence of Alexander. He allowed himself to be caressed. Alexander turned his head in such a direction as to prevent his seeing his own shadow, which had before appeared to frighten him. Then he threw off his cloak, and sprang upon the back of the horse, and let him go as fast as he pleased. The animal flew across the plain, at the top of his speed, while the king and his courtiers looked on, at first with extreme fear, but afterward with the greatest admiration and pleasure. When Bucephalus had got tired of running, he was easily reined in, and Alexander returned to the king, who praised him very highly, and told him that he deserved a larger kingdom than Macedon. Alexander had a larger kingdom, some years after—a great deal larger one—though that is a part of another story.
Bucephalus became the favorite horse of Alexander, and was very tractable and docile, though full of life and spirit. He would kneel upon his fore legs, at the command of his master, in order that he might mount more easily. A great many anecdotes are related of the feats of Bucephalus, as a war-horse. He was never willing to have any one ride him but Alexander. When the horse died, Alexander mourned for him a great deal. He had him buried with great solemnity, and built a small city upon the spot of his interment, which he named, in honor of his favorite, Bucephalia.
An odd sort of an old mare, called by her master Nancy, used to go by my father's house, when I was a child. She was the bearer of Peter Packer—Uncle Peter, as he was sometimes called by the good people in our neighborhood—and he was the bearer of the weekly newspaper, and was, withal, quite as odd as his mare. As long as I can remember, Uncle Peter went his weekly rounds, and for aught I know, he is going to this day. No storm, or tempest, or snow-bank, could detain him, that is, not longer than a day or two, in his mission. He was a very punctual man—in other words, he always paced leisurely along, some time or another. Speaking of pacing, reminds me that the mare aforesaid belonged to that particular class and order called pacers, from their peculiar gait. I should think, too, that the mare was not altogether unlike the celebrated animal on which Don Quixote rode in pursuit of wind-mills, and things of that sort. But she had one peculiarity which is not set down in the description of Rozinante, to wit: the faculty of diagonal or oblique locomotion. This mare of Uncle Peter's went forward something after the fashion of a crab, and a little like a ship with the wind abeam, as the sailors would say. It was a standing topic of dispute among us school-boys, whether the animal went head foremost or not. But that did not matter much, practically, it is true, so that she always made her circuit; and that she did, as I have said before. Sometimes she was a day or two later than usual. But that seldom occurred except in the summer season; and when it did happen, it was on this wise: she had a most passionate love for the study of practical botany; and not being allowed, when at home, to pursue her favorite science as often as she wished, owing partly to a want of specimens, and partly to her master's desire to educate her in the more solid branches—he was a great advocate for the solid branches—she frequently took the liberty to divest herself of her bridle, when standing at the door of her master's customers, and to pace away in search of the dear flowers. Oh, she was a devoted student of botany! so much so, that her desire to obtain botanical specimens did sometimes interfere a good deal with her other literary and scientific engagements. She used to do very nearly as she chose. Uncle Peter seldom crossed her in her inclinations. If she was pacing along the highway, and felt a little thirsty, she never hesitated to stop, whether her master invited her to do so or not, at a brook or a watering-trough. Uncle Peter used to say, that he never tried to prevent these liberties but once, and he had occasion to repent bitterly of that. A thunder-storm was coming on, and he was in a hurry to get to the next house. But the mare was determined, before she went any further, to stop at a stream of water and drink. He set out to have his way—Nancy set out to have hers. The result was, that Peter was obliged to yield. But that was not the worst of it. The old mare was so much vexed because her master disputed her will, that while she was standing in the brook, she threw up her hind feet and let him fall over her head into the water. That gentle correction cured Uncle Peter. She had her own way after the ducking.
Horses have been known to cherish a strong attachment for each other. In one of the British wars called the peninsular war, two horses, who had long been associated together, assisting in dragging the same piece of artillery, became so much attached to each other as to be inseparable companions. At length one of them was killed in battle. After the engagement was over, the other horse was attended to, as usual, and his food was brought to him. But he refused to eat, and was constantly turning his head to look for his former companion, sometimes neighing, as if to call her. All the attention which was bestowed upon him was of no avail. Though surrounded by other horses, he took no notice of them, but was continually mourning for his lost friend. Shortly after he died, having refused to taste any food from the day his companion was killed.
An old Shetland pony was so much attached to a little boy, his master, that he would place his fore feet in the hands of the boy, like a dog, thrust his head under his arm, to court his caresses, and join with him and a little dog in their noisy rompings. The same animal daily carried his master to school. He would even walk alone from the stable to the school-house, to bring the boy home, and sometimes he would wait hours for him, having come much too early.
But I have occupied the reader's attention long enough with stories of the horse, interesting and noble as this animal is. I must, however, before I pass to another subject, recite a touching ballad, from one of our sweetest bards.
And hast thou fixed my doom, kind master, say?
For much it glads me to behold this place,
For oh! to think of what we have enjoyed,
Thrice told ten happy years have danced along,
Ah, years sweet smiling, now forever flown!
For still the olden times are dear to thought,
And hast thou fixed my doom, sweet master, say?
But oh! kind Nature, take thy victim's life!
eopards and panthers are very similar in their appearance and habits; so much so, that I shall introduce them both in the same chapter. The engraving represents a panther. He is in some danger from the serpent near him, I am inclined to think.
A panther is spoken of by an English lady, Mrs. Bowdich, who resided for some time in Africa, as being thoroughly domesticated. He was as tame as a cat, and much more affectionate than cats usually are. On one occasion, when he was sick, the boy who had charge of him slept in his den, and held the patient a great part of the time in his arms, and the poor fellow appeared to be soothed by the care and attention of his nurse. He had a great partiality for white people, probably because he had been tamed by them; and the lady who gives this account of him was his especial favorite. Twice each week she used to take him some lavender water, which he was very fond of, and seized with great eagerness. He allowed the children to play with him; and sometimes, when he was sitting in the window, gazing upon what was going on below, the little urchins would pull him down by the tail. It would seem to be rather a dangerous experiment. But the panther let his play-fellows enjoy the sport. I suppose he thought that though it was not very pleasant to him, he would make the sacrifice of a little comfort rather than to get angry and revenge himself. Besides, he might have said to himself, "These boys like the sport pretty well; I should guess it was capital fun for them; it is a pity to rob them of their amusement it does not hurt me much, and I will let it go; they don't mean any harm; they are the kindest, best-natured children in the world; they would go without their own dinner, any day, rather than see me suffer." If the panther said this to himself, it was a very wise and sensible speech; and if he did not say it, my little readers may consider me as the author of it. I am satisfied, whether the panther has the credit of making the remarks or whether I have it, so that my young friends get the benefit of the lesson.
In their wild state these animals are very destructive. The same lady who tells the story about the tame panther, says that in one case a panther leaped through an open window near her residence, and killed a little girl who happened to be the only occupant of the house at the time, except a man who was asleep.
The tame leopard is often used in India for the purpose of hunting antelopes. He is carried in a kind of small wagon, blindfolded, to the place where the herd of antelopes are feeding. The reason they blindfold him is to prevent his being too much in a hurry, so that he might make choice of an animal which is not worth much. He does not fly at his prey at once, when let loose, but, winding along carefully, conceals himself, until an opportunity offers for his leap; and then, with five or six bounds, made with amazing force and rapidity, overtakes the herd, and brings his prey to the ground.
I have read a very serious story of an American panther. The lady, who is the heroine of the story, and her husband, were among the first settlers in the wilderness of one of our western states. They at first lived in a log cabin. The luxury of glass was unknown in that wild place among the forests, and consequently light and air were admitted through holes which were always open. Both husband and wife had been away from home for a day or two; and on their return, they found some deer's flesh, which had been hanging up inside, partly eaten, and the tracks of an animal, which the gentleman supposed were those of a large dog. He was again obliged to leave home for a night, and this time the lady remained in the house alone. She went to bed; and soon after, she heard an animal climbing up the outside of the hut, and jump down through one of the openings into the adjoining room, with which her sleeping apartment was connected by a doorway without a door. Peeping out, she saw a huge panther, apparently seeking for prey, and of course very hungry and fierce. She beat against the partition between the rooms, and screamed as loudly as she could, which so frightened the panther that he jumped out. He was, however, soon in again, and a second time she frightened him away in the same manner, when she sprang out of bed, and went to the fire-place, in the hope of making a sufficient blaze to keep the panther from entering again. But the embers were too much burned, and would send out but a slight flame. What could the poor woman do? She thought of getting under the bed; but then she reflected that the animal would find no difficulty in getting at her in that situation, in which case he would tear her in pieces before she could make any resistance.
The only plan which then occurred to her mind for perfect security, was to get into a large sea-chest of her husband's, which was nearly empty. Into that she accordingly crept. But there was danger of her being smothered in this retreat; so she put her hand between the edge of the chest and the lid, in order to keep the chest open a little, and admit the air. Fortunately this lid hung over the side of the chest a little, which saved her fingers. The panther soon came back again, as was anticipated; and after snuffing about for some time, evidently discovered where the lady was, and prowled round and round the chest, licking and scratching the wood close to her fingers. There she lay, scarcely daring to move, and listening intently to every movement of her enemy. At last, he jumped on the top of the chest. His weight crushed her fingers terribly; but she was brave enough to keep them where they were, until the panther, tired of his fruitless efforts to get at her, and finding nothing else to eat, finally retreated. She did not dare to come out of the chest, however, until morning; for she feared, as long as it was dark, that the beast might come back again. So there she sat, ready to crouch down into her hiding-place, if she heard a noise from her enemy. There she remained till after daylight. She was a heroine, was she not?
A horse was killed one night by an American panther; but the body was not disturbed until the next day, when some gentlemen living in the vicinity, had an opportunity of watching the motions of the panther when he returned to his prey. He seized the body of the horse with his teeth, and drew it about sixty paces to a river, into which he plunged with his prey, swam across with it, and drew it into a neighboring forest.
The American panther is very fond of fish, and instances have been known of these animals catching trout with their paws. Humboldt says that he saw a great many turtle shells which the panthers had robbed of the flesh. The manner in which the panther performs this operation, this traveler informs us, is to run with all speed when he sees a number of turtles together on land, and to turn them, or as many of them as he can catch before they reach the water, upon their backs, so that they cannot escape, after which he feasts at his leisure.
Two children, a girl and a boy, were playing together near a small Indian village, in the vicinity of a thicket, when a large panther came out of the woods and made toward them, playfully bounding along, his head down, and his back arched after the fashion of the cat when she chooses to put on some of her mischievous airs. He came up to the boy, and began to play with him, as the latter at first supposed, although he was convinced of his mistake when the panther hit him so severe a blow on his head as to draw blood. Then the little girl, who had a small stick in her hand, struck the panther; and matters were going on in this way, when some Indians in the village, hearing the cries of the children, came to their rescue.
A gentleman who was formerly in the British service at Ceylon, relates the following anecdote: "I was at Jaffna, at the northern extremity of the island of Ceylon, in the beginning of the year 1819, when, one morning, my servant called me an hour or two before my usual time, with 'Master, master! people sent for master's dogs; leopard in the town!' My gun chanced not to be put together; and while my servant was adjusting it, the collector and two medical men, who had recently arrived, in consequence of the cholera morbus having just then reached Ceylon from the continent, came to my door, the former armed with a fowling-piece, and the two latter with remarkably blunt hog spears. They insisted upon setting off without waiting for my gun, a proceeding not much to my taste. The leopard had taken refuge in a hut, the roof of which, like those of Ceylon huts in general, spread to the ground like an umbrella; the only aperture into it was a small door about four feet high. The collector wanted to get the leopard out at once. I begged to wait for my gun; but no, the fowling-piece (loaded with ball, of course) and the two spears were quite enough. I got a stake, and awaited my fate from very shame. At this moment, to my great delight, there arrived from the fort an English officer, two artillerymen, and a Malay captain; and a pretty figure we should have cut without them, as the event will show. I was now quite ready to attack, and my gun came a minute afterward. The whole scene which follows took place within an inclosure, about twenty feet square, formed on three sides by a strong fence of palmyra leaves, and on the fourth by the hut. At the door of this the two artillerymen planted themselves; and the Malay captain got at the top, to frighten the leopard out by unroofing it—an easy operation, as the huts there are covered with cocoanut leaves. One of the artillerymen wanted to go in to the leopard, but we would not suffer it. At last the beast sprang; this man received him on his bayonet, which he thrust apparently down his throat, firing his piece at the same moment. The bayonet broke off short, leaving less than three inches on the musket; the rest remained in the animal, but was invisible to us: the shot probably went through his cheek, for it certainly did not seriously injure him, as he instantly rose upon his legs, with a loud roar, and placed his paws upon the soldier's breast. At this moment the animal appeared to me to about reach the centre of the man's face; but I had scarcely time to observe this, when the leopard, stooping his head, seized the soldier's arm in his mouth, turned him half round, staggering, threw him over on his back, and fell upon him. Our dread now was, that if we fired upon the leopard we might kill the man: for a moment there was a pause, when his comrade attacked the beast exactly in the same manner as the gallant fellow himself had done. He struck his bayonet into his head; the leopard rose at him; he fired; and this time the ball took effect, and in the head. The animal staggered backward, and we all poured in our fire. He still kicked and writhed; when the gentlemen with the spears advanced and fixed him, while some natives finished him by beating him on the head with hedge-stakes. The brave artilleryman was, after all, but slightly hurt. He claimed the skin, which was very cheerfully given to him. There was, however, a cry among the natives that the head should be cut off: it was; and, in so doing, the knife came directly across the bayonet. The animal measured scarcely less than four feet from the root of the tail to the nose."
Captain Marryatt had a pretty serious adventure with a huge panther in Africa, while his vessel lay at anchor in a river there, and he and his men were busy in taking in a cargo of ivory. As they were thus engaged one day, by some accident a hole was made in the bottom of the boat, and they were unable to proceed with it. The captain told the men to remain by the boat, and started himself to obtain assistance from the vessel. He thought that if he could force his way through the canes which abounded in that vicinity, a short distance down the river, he could make signals to those on board, and that some of them would come to their help. This expedition, however, proved a much longer one than he anticipated, and much more perilous. He lost his way. "At first," he says, "I got on very well, as there were little paths through the canes, made, as I imagined, by the natives; and although I was up to my knees in thick black mud, I continued to get on pretty fast; but at last the canes grew so thick that I could hardly force my way through them, and it was a work of exceeding labor. Still I persevered, expecting each second I should arrive at the banks of the river, and be rewarded for my fatigue; but the more I labored the worse it appeared for me, and at last I became worn out and quite bewildered. I then tried to find my way back, and was equally unsuccessful, when I sat down with any thing but pleasant thoughts in my mind. I calculated that I had been two hours in making this attempt, and was now quite puzzled how to proceed. I bitterly lamented my rashness, now that it was too late. Having reposed a little, I resumed my toil, and again, after an hour's exertion, was compelled, from fatigue, to sit down in the deep black mud. Another respite from toil and another hour more of exertion, and I gave myself up for lost. The day was evidently fast closing in, the light over head was not near so bright as it had been, and I knew that a night passed in the miasma of the cane swamp was death. At last it became darker and darker. There could not be an hour of daylight remaining. I determined upon one struggle more, and reeking as I was with perspiration, and faint with fatigue, I rose again, and was forcing my way through the thickest of the canes, when I heard a deep growl, and perceived a large panther not twenty yards from me. He was on the move as well as myself, attempting to force his way through the thickest of the canes, so as to come up to me. I retreated from him as fast as I could, but he gained slowly upon me, and my strength was fast declining. I thought I heard sounds at a distance, and they became more and more distinct; but what they were, my fear and my struggles probably prevented from making out.
"My eyes were fixed upon the fierce animal who was in pursuit of me; and I now thank God that the canes were so thick and impassable. Still the animal evidently gained ground, until it was not more than twenty yards from me, dashing and springing at the canes, and tearing them aside with his teeth. The sounds were now nearer, and I made them out to be the hallooing of some other animals. A moment's pause, and I thought it was the barking of dogs, and I thought I must have arrived close to where the schooner lay, and that I heard the barking of bloodhounds. At last I could do no more, and dropped exhausted and almost senseless in the mud. I recollect hearing the crashing of canes, and then the savage roar, and the yells, and growls, and struggle, and fierce contention, but had fainted.
"I must now inform the reader that about an hour after I had left the boat, the captain of an American vessel was pulling up the river, and was hailed by our men in our long boat. Perceiving them on that side of the river, and that they were in distress, he pulled toward them, and they told him what had happened, and that an hour previous I had left the boat to force my way through the cane brakes, and they had heard nothing of me since. 'Madness!' cried he, 'he is a lost man. Stay till I come back from the schooner.' He went back to the schooner, and taking two of his crew, who were negroes, and his two bloodhounds, into the boat, he returned immediately; and as soon as he landed, he put the bloodhounds on my track, and sent the negroes on with them. They had followed me in all my windings—for it appeared that I had traveled in all directions—and had come up with me just as I had sunk with exhaustion, and the panther was so close upon me. The bloodhounds had attacked the panther, and this was the noise which sounded on my ears as I lay stupefied at the mercy of the wild beast. The panther was not easily, although eventually overcome, and the black men coming up, had found me and borne me in a state of insensibility on board my vessel. The fever had set upon me, and it was not till three weeks afterward that I recovered my senses, when I learned what I have told to the reader."
everal hunters once surprised a male and female elephant in an open spot, near a thick swamp. The animals fled toward the thicket, and the male was soon beyond the reach of the balls from the hunters' guns. The female, however, was wounded so severely, that she was not able to make her escape; and the hunters were about to capture her, when the male elephant rushed from his retreat, and with a shrill and frightful scream, like the sound of a trumpet, attacked the party. All escaped but one, the man who had last discharged his gun, and who was standing with his horse's bridle over his arm, reloading his gun, at the moment the furious animal burst from the wood. This unfortunate man the elephant immediately singled out, and before he could spring into his saddle, he was prepared to revenge the insult that had been offered to his companion. One blow from his trunk struck the poor man to the earth; and without troubling himself about the horse, who galloped off at full speed, the elephant thrust his tusks into the hunter's body, and flung him high into the air. The unfortunate man was instantly killed. After this act, the elephant walked gently up to his bleeding companion, and regardless of the volleys with which he was assailed from the hunters, he caressed her, and aided her in reaching a shelter in the thicket.
A tame elephant had a great affection for a dog; and those who visited the place where the animal was exhibited, used to pull the dog's ears, to make him yelp, on purpose to see what the elephant would do. On one occasion, when this cruel sport was going on at the opposite side of the barn where the elephant was kept, she no sooner heard the voice of her friend in distress, than she began to feel the boards of the partition which separated her and the dog, and then, striking them a heavy blow, made them fly in splinters. After this she looked through the hole she had made, which was large enough to admit her entire body, with such threatening gestures, that the miserable fools who were teasing the dog concluded that it would not pay very well to continue the sport.
At an exhibition of a menagerie in one of our principal cities, not long since, when the crowd of spectators was the greatest, a little girl, who had fed the elephant with sundry cakes and apples from her bag, drew out her ivory card-case, which fell unobserved in the saw-dust of the ring. At the close of the ring performances, the crowd opened to let the elephant pass to his recess; but instead of proceeding as usual, he turned aside and thrust his trunk in the midst of a group of ladies and gentlemen, who, as might be expected, were so much alarmed that they scattered in every direction. The keeper, at this moment, discovered that the animal had something in his trunk. Upon examination, he found it to be the young lady's card-case, which the elephant picked up, and it now appeared that he was only seeking out the owner.
A person in the island of Ceylon, who lived near a place where elephants were daily led to water, and often sat at the door of his house, used occasionally to give one of these animals some fig leaves, a kind of food which elephants are said to be very fond of. One day this man took it into his head to play one of the elephants a trick. He wrapped up a stone in fig leaves, and said to the man who had the elephants in charge, "This time I am going to give him a stone to eat; I want to see how it will agree with him." The keeper replied, that the elephant would not be such a fool as to swallow the stone—he might make up his mind to that. The other, however, reached out the stone to the elephant, who took it in his trunk, but instantly let it fall to the ground. "You see," said the keeper, "that I was right, and that the beast is not so great a fool as you took him to be;" and drove away his elephants. After they were watered, he was conducting them again to their stable. The man who had played the elephant the trick was still sitting at his door, when, before he had time to think of his danger, the insulted animal ran at him, threw his trunk around his body, dashed him to the ground, and trampled him to death.
At the Cape of Good Hope, it is customary to hunt these animals for the sake of the ivory they obtain from them. Three horsemen armed with lances, attack the beast alternately, each relieving the other as they see their companion pressed, and likely to get the worst of the contest. On one occasion three Dutchmen, who were brothers, having made large fortunes at the cape by elephant hunting, were about to return home to enjoy the fruits of their toil. They determined, however, the day before they started, to have one more hunt by way of amusement. They went out into the field, and soon met with an elephant, whom they began to attack in their usual manner. But unfortunately, the horse of the man who was fighting with the elephant at the time fell, and the rider was thrown to the ground. Then the elephant had his vengeance, and it was a terrible one—almost too terrible to think upon. He instantly seized the unhappy man with his trunk, threw him up into the air to a vast height, and received him upon his tusks as he fell. Then, turning toward the other two brothers with an aspect of revenge and insult, he held out to them the mangled body of his victim, writhing in the agony of death.
At Macassar an elephant driver one day had a cocoanut given him, which, in order to break it, he struck two or three times against the elephant's head. The next day the animal saw some cocoanuts exposed in the street for sale, and taking one of them up in his trunk, beat it about the driver's head until he fractured his skull.
Mr. Colton, the author of that admirable book called "Lacon," tells a similar anecdote of an elephant in Madras. It was a war elephant, and was trained to perform an act of civility called the grand salam, which is done by falling on the first joint of the fore-leg at a given signal. The elephant was to make the salam before a British officer. It was noticed at the time that he was rather out of humor. The keeper was ordered up to explain the cause, and was in the act of doing so, when the elephant advanced a few steps, and with one stroke of his trunk laid the poor man dead at his feet. He then retired to his former position, and made the grand salam with the utmost propriety and apparent good will. The wife of the unfortunate man said that she had always been afraid something of that kind would happen, as her husband had been constantly in the habit of robbing the elephant of his rations of rice.
It is said that when once wild elephants have been caught, and eluded the snares of their adversaries, if they are compelled to go into the woods they are mistrustful, and break with their trunk a large branch, with which they sound the ground before they put their foot upon it, to discover if there are any holes on their passage, not to be caught a second time. "We saw two wild elephants," says a traveler, "which had just been caught; each of them was between two tame elephant; and around the wild elephants were six men, holding spears. They spoke to these animals in presenting them something to eat, and telling them, in their language, take this and eat it. They had small bundles of hay, bits of black sugar, or rice boiled in water with pepper. When the wild elephant refused to do what he was ordered, the men commanded the tame elephants to beat him, which they did immediately, one striking his forehead with his; and when he seemed to aim at revenge against his aggressor, another struck him; so that the poor wild elephant perceived he had nothing to do but to obey."
A sentinel belonging to the menagerie at Paris, was in the habit of telling the spectators not to give any food to the elephant during the exhibition. One day, after a piece of bread had been presented to the animal, the sentinel had commenced making the usual request, when the elephant violently discharged in his face a stream of water, so that he could not utter the admonition in his confusion. Of course the spectators roared with laughter, and the elephant seemed to enjoy the joke as well as they. By and by, the sentinel having wiped his face, found himself under the necessity of repeating the request which he had made before. But no sooner had he done this, than the elephant laid hold of his musket with her trunk, wrested it from his hands, twirled it round and round, trod it under her feet, and did not restore it until she had twisted it nearly into the form of a cork-screw.
Elephants are occasionally taught to work on a farm, like horses and oxen. Any one visiting Singapore, may see a small elephant, named Rajah, working daily on the estate of J. Balestier, Esq., American Consul; and, although the animal is only five years and a half old, he will plough his acre of land a day, with ease. One man holds the plough, and another walks beside the animal, and directs him in his duty. The docile little creature obeys every word that is said to him, and will plough all day between the cane rows, without plucking a single cane.
An elephant was once wounded in battle, and rendered so furious by the pain she endured, that she ran about the field, uttering the most hideous cries. One of the men was unable, in consequence of his wounds, to get out of her way. The elephant seemed conscious of his situation, and for fear she should trample upon him, took him up with her trunk, placed him where he would be more safe, and continued her route.
A young elephant received a violent wound in its head, from which it became so furious that it was utterly impossible to come near it to dress the wound. A variety of expedients were tried, but in vain, until at last the keeper hit upon this plan: he succeeded in making the mother understand, by signs, what he wanted, and she immediately seized the young one around the neck with her trunk, and held it firmly down, though groaning with anguish, until the wound was dressed. This she continued to do every day, for some time afterward, until the service was no longer necessary.
Elephants are said to be exceedingly susceptible of the power of music, and some curious experiments were tried at Paris, with a view of observing the effect of it upon them. In one instance, a band was placed near their den, while some food was given to a pair of elephants, to engage their attention. On the commencement of the music, the huge creatures turned round, and appeared alarmed for their safety, either from the players or the spectators. The music, however, soon overcame their fears, and all other emotions appeared absorbed in their attention to it. According to the character of the music, so were their feelings. If it was bold, they were excited, or manifested signs of approaching anger. If it was brisk, they were lively; if it was plaintive, they were soothed by its effects. The female seemed to express the most lively emotions of the two.
A merchant in the East Indies kept a tame elephant, which was so exceedingly gentle in his habits, that he was permitted to go at large. This huge animal used to walk about the streets in the most quiet and orderly manner, and paid many visits through the city to people who were kind to him. Two cobblers took an ill will to this inoffensive creature, and several times pricked him on the proboscis with their awls. The noble animal did not chastise them in the manner he might have done, and seemed to think they were too contemptible to be angry with them. But he took other means to punish them for their cruelty. He filled his trunk with water of a dirty quality, and advancing toward them in his ordinary manner, spouted the whole of the puddle over them. The punishment was highly applauded by those who witnessed it, and the poor cobblers were laughed at for their pains.
have read a thrilling story of a poor Hottentot, who was sent to take his master's cattle to water at a pool not far off from the house. When he came to the watering-place, he perceived that a huge lion was lying there, apparently bathing himself. He immediately ran, with the greatest terror, through the midst of the herd of cattle, hoping the lion would be satisfied with one of the cattle, and allow him to escape. He was mistaken, however. The lion dashed through the herd, and made directly after the man. Throwing his eyes over his shoulder, he saw that the furious animal had singled him out. Not knowing what else to do to get clear of his enemy, he scrambled up an aloe-tree, that happened to be near. At that very moment the lion made a spring at him, but unsuccessfully, and fell to the ground. There was in the tree a cluster of nests of the bird called the sociable grosbeak; and the Hottentot hid himself among these nests, in hopes that he could get out of the lion's sight, and that the beast would leave him. So he remained silent and motionless for a great while, and then ventured to peep out of his retreat. To his surprise, he perceived that he was still watched. In this way, he was kept a prisoner for more than twenty-four hours, when, at last, the lion, parched with thirst, went to the pool to drink, and the Hottentot embraced the opportunity to come down, and run home as fast as his legs would carry him.
There is a thrilling anecdote told of a settler in the back districts of the Cape of Good Hope, who was a hunter. Returning, one day, with some friends, from an excursion, they suddenly came upon two large full-grown lions. Their horses were already jaded, and the utmost consternation for a moment seized them. They immediately saw that their only hope of safety lay in separation. They started in somewhat different directions, at the top of their speed, holding their rifles on the cock. Those who were most lightly loaded made good way, but the third was left behind, and, as his companions disappeared below the brow of a hill, the two beasts came directly after him. He quickly loosed a deer which was tied to his saddle, but the prey was not sufficient to distract them from their purpose. Happily, as is the custom, both barrels of his piece were loaded with ball—a most timely precaution in that country—and he was a good marksman. Turning for a moment, he leveled his gun with as much precision as at such a time he could command, and fired. He waited not for the result, but again scampered off as quickly as his horse could carry him, but he heard a deep, short, and outrageous roar. The ball was afterward found to have entered the animal's breast, and lodged in his back. His work, however, was but half done. The time he had lost sufficed to bring the other within reach, and, with a tremendous bound, he leaped upon the horse's back, lacerating it in a dreadful manner, but missed his hold, for the poor creature, mad with agony and fear, kicked with all his force, and hurried forward with increased rapidity. A second attempt was more successful, and the hunter was shaken from his seat; the horse, however, again escaped.
The poor fellow gave himself up for lost, but he was a brave man, and he determined not to die without every attempt to save his life should fail. Escape he saw was hopeless; so planting himself with the energy of despair, he put his rifle hastily to his shoulder, and just as the lion was stooping for his spring, he fired. He was a little too late; the beast had moved, and the ball did not prove so effective as he hoped. It entered the side of the wild beast, though it did him no mortal harm, and he leaped at his victim. The shot had, nevertheless, delayed his bound for an instant, and the hunter avoided its effect by a rapid jump, and with the butt-end of his gun struck at the lion with all his power, as he turned upon him. The dreadful creature seized it with his teeth, but with such force, that instead of twisting it out of the hunter's hand, he broke it short off by the barrel. The hunter immediately attacked him again, but his weapon was too short, and the lion fixed his claws in his breast, tearing off all his flesh, and endeavored to gripe his shoulder with his mouth, but the gun-barrel was of excellent service. Driving it into the mouth of the beast with all his strength, he seized one of the creature's jaws with his left hand, and, what with the strength and energy given by the dreadful circumstances, and the purchase obtained by the gun-barrel, he succeeded in splitting the animal's mouth. At the same time they fell together on their sides, and a struggle for several minutes ensued upon the ground. Blood flowed freely in the lion's mouth, and nearly choked him. His motions were thus so frustrated that the hunter was upon his feet first, and, aiming a blow with all his might, he knocked out one of the lion's eyes. He roared terrifically with pain and rage, and, during the moments of delay caused by the loss of his eye, the hunter got behind him, and, animated by his success, hit him a dreadful stroke on the back of the neck, which he knew was the most tender part. The stroke, however, appeared to have no effect, for the lion immediately leaped at him again; but, it is supposed from a defect of vision occasioned by the loss of his eye, instead of coming down upon the hunter, he leaped beside him, and shook his head, as if from excess of pain. The hunter felt his strength rapidly declining, but the agony he endured excited him, and thus gave new power to strike the lion again across the eyes. The beast fell backward, but drew the hunter with him with his paw, and another struggle took place upon the ground. He felt that the gun-barrel was his safeguard; and though it rather seemed to encumber his hands, he clung tenaciously to it. Rising up from the ground in terrible pain, he managed to thrust it into the throat of the lion with all his might. That thrust was fatal; and the huge animal fell on his side, powerless. The hunter dragged himself to a considerable distance, and then fell exhausted and senseless. His friends shortly afterward returned to his assistance.
A lion had broken into a walled inclosure for cattle, and had done considerable damage. The people belonging to the farm were well assured that he would come again by the same way. They therefore stretched a rope directly across the entrance, to which several loaded guns were fastened, in such a manner that they must necessarily discharge themselves into the lion's body, as soon as he should push against the cord with his breast. But the lion, who came before it was dark, and had probably some suspicion of the cord, struck it away with his foot, and without betraying the least alarm in consequence of the reports made by the loaded pieces, went fearlessly on, and devoured the prey he had left untouched before.
The strength of the lion is so prodigious, that a single stroke of his paw is sufficient to break the back of a horse; and one sweep of his tail will throw a strong man to the ground. Kolbein says, that when he comes up to his prey, he always knocks it down dead, and seldom bites it till the mortal blow has been given. A lion at the Cape of Good Hope was once seen to take a heifer in his mouth; and though that animal's legs dragged on the ground, yet he seemed to carry her off with as much ease as a cat does a rat.
One of the residents in South Africa—according to the Naturalist's History—shot a lion in the most perilous circumstances that can be conceived. We must tell the story in his own words. "My wife," he says, "was sitting in the house, near the door. The children were playing around her. I was outside, busily engaged in doing something to a wagon, when suddenly, though it was mid-day, an enormous lion came up and laid himself quietly down in the shade, upon the very threshold of the door. My wife, either stupefied with fear, or aware of the danger attending any attempt to fly, remained motionless in her place, while the children took refuge in her lap. The cry they uttered immediately attracted my attention. I hastened toward the door; but my astonishment may well be conceived, when I found the entrance to it barred in such a way. Although the animal had not seen me, unarmed as I was, escape seemed impossible; yet I glided gently, scarcely knowing what I meant to do, to the side of the house, up to the window of my chamber, where I knew my loaded gun was standing, and which I found in such a condition, that I could reach it with my hand—a most fortunate circumstance; and still more so, when I found that the door of the room was open, so that I could see the whole danger of the scene. The lion was beginning to move, perhaps with the intention of making a spring. There was no longer any time to think. I called softly to the mother not to be alarmed; and, invoking the name of the Lord, fired my piece. The ball passed directly over the hair of my boy's head, and lodged in the forehead of the lion, immediately above his eyes, which shot forth, as it were, sparks of fire, and stretched him on the ground, so that he never stirred more."
Nothing is more common than for the keepers of wild beasts to play with the lion, to pull out his tongue, and even to chastise him without cause. He seems to bear it all with the utmost composure; and we very rarely have instances of his revenging these unprovoked sallies of cruelty. However, when his anger is at last excited, the consequences are terrible. Labat tells us of a gentleman who kept a lion in his chamber, and employed a servant to attend it, who, as is usual, mixed blows with his caresses. This state of things continued for some time, till one morning the gentleman was awakened by a noise in his room, which at first he could not tell the cause of; but, drawing the curtains, he perceived a horrid spectacle—the lion growling over the man's head, which he had separated from the body, and tossing it round the floor! He immediately flew into the next apartment, called to the people without, and had the animal secured from doing further mischief.
We are told of the combat of a lion and a wild boar, in a meadow near Algiers, which continued for a long time with incredible obstinacy. At last, both were seen to fall by the wounds they had given each other; and the ground all about them was covered with their blood. These instances, however, are rare; the lion is in general undisputed master of the forest.
It was once customary for those who were unable to pay sixpence for the sight of the wild beasts in the tower of London, to bring a dog or a cat, as a gift to the beasts, in lieu of money to the keeper. Among others, a man had brought a pretty black spaniel, which was thrown into the cage of the great lion. Immediately the little animal trembled and shivered, crouched, and threw himself on his back, put forth his tongue, and held up his paws, as if praying for mercy. In the mean time, the lion, instead of devouring him, turned him over with one paw, and then with the other. He smelled of him, and seemed desirous of courting a further acquaintance. The keeper, on seeing this, brought a large mess of his own family dinner. But the lion kept aloof, and refused to eat, keeping his eye on the dog, and inviting him, as it were, to be his taster. At length, the little animal's fears being somewhat abated, and his appetite quickened by the smell of the food, he approached slowly, and, with trembling, ventured to eat. The lion then advanced gently, and began to partake, and they finished their meal very quietly together.
From this day, a strict friendship commenced between them, consisting of great affection and tenderness on the part of the lion, and the utmost confidence and boldness on the part of the dog; insomuch that he would lay himself down to sleep, within the fangs and under the jaws of his terrible patron. In about twelve months the little spaniel sickened and died. For a time the lion did not appear to conceive otherwise than that his favorite was asleep. He would continue to smell of him, and then would stir him with his nose, and turn him over with his paws. But finding that all his efforts to wake him were vain, he would traverse his cage from end to end, at a swift and uneasy pace. He would then stop, and look down upon him with a fixed and drooping regard, and again lift up his head, and roar for several minutes, as the sound of distant thunder. They attempted, but in vain, to convey the carcass from him. The keeper then endeavored to tempt him with a variety of food, but he turned from all that was offered, with loathing. They then put several living dogs in his cage, which he tore in pieces, but left their carcasses on the floor. His passions being thus inflamed, he would grapple at the bars of his cage, as if enraged at his restraint from tearing those around him to pieces. Again, as if quite spent, he would stretch himself by the remains of his beloved associate, lay his paws upon him, and take him to his bosom; and then utter his grief in deep and melancholy roaring, for the loss of his little play-fellow. For five days he thus languished, and gradually declined, without taking any sustenance or admitting any comfort, till, one morning, he was found dead, with his head reclined on the carcass of his little friend. They were both interred together.
A lion, when about three months old, was caught in the forests of Senegal, and tamed by the director of the African company in that colony. He became unusually tractable and gentle. He slept in company with cats, dogs, geese, monkeys, and other animals, and never offered any violence to them. When he was about eight months old, he formed an attachment to a terrier dog, and this attachment increased afterward to such an extent, that the lion was seldom happy in the absence of his companion. At the age of fourteen months, the lion, with the dog in company, was transported to France. He showed so little ferocity on shipboard, that he was allowed at all times to have the liberty of walking about the vessel. When he was landed at Havre, he was conducted with only a cord attached to his collar, and attended by his favorite play-fellow, to Versailles. Soon after their arrival, the dog died, when the lion became so disconsolate, that it was found necessary to put another dog into his den. This dog, terrified at the sight of such an animal, endeavored to conceal himself; and the lion, surprised at the noise, killed him by a stroke with one of his paws.
M. Felix, some years since the keeper of the national menagerie at Paris, added two lions to the collection, a male and a female. He had become endeared to them by kind treatment, so that scarcely any one else could control them, and they manifested their regard in a great many ways. The gentleman, however, was taken very sick, and was confined for some time to his bed. Another person was necessarily intrusted with the care of these lions. From the moment that M. Felix left, the male sat, sad and solitary, at the end of his cage, and refused to take food from the hands of the stranger, for whom, it was evident, he entertained no little dislike. The company of the female seemed to displease him. In a short time he became so uneasy, that no one dared to approach him. By and by, however, his old master recovered, and with the intention of surprising the animal, he crept softly to the cage, and showed only his face between the bars. But the male lion knew him at once. He leaped against the bars, patted him with his paws, licked his hands and face, and actually trembled with pleasure. The female also ran to him; but the other drove her back, and was on the point of quarreling with her, so jealous was he lest she should receive any of the favors of M. Felix. Afterward, however, the keeper entered the cage, caressed them both by turns, and pacified them.
Sir George Davis, who was English consul at Naples about the middle of the seventeenth century, happening on one occasion to be in Florence, visited the menagerie of the grand duke. At the farther end of one of the dens he saw a lion which lay in sullen majesty, and which the keepers informed him they had been unable to tame, although every effort had been used for upward of three years. Sir George had no sooner reached the gate of the den, than the lion ran to it, and evinced every demonstration of joy and transport. The animal reared himself up, purred like a cat when pleased, and licked the hand of Sir George, which he had put through the bars. The keeper was astonished and frightened for the safety of his visitor, entreated him not to trust an apparent fit of phrensy, with which the animal seemed to be seized; for he was, without exception, the most fierce and sullen of his tribe which he had ever seen. This, however, had no effect on Sir George, who, notwithstanding every entreaty on the part of the keeper, insisted on entering the lion's den. The moment he got in, the delighted lion threw his paws upon his shoulders, licked his face, and ran about him, rubbing his head on Sir George, purring and fawning like a cat when expressing its affection for its master. This occurrence became the talk of Florence, and reached the ears of the grand duke, who sent for Sir George, and requested an interview at the menagerie, that he might witness so extraordinary a circumstance, when Sir George gave the following explanation: "A captain of a ship from Barbary gave me this lion, when quite a whelp. I brought him up tame; but when I thought him too large to be suffered to run about the house, I built a den for him in my court-yard. From that time he was never permitted to be loose, except when brought to the house to be exhibited to my friends. When he was five years old, he did some mischief by pawing and playing with people in his frolicsome moods. Having griped a man one day a little too hard, I ordered him to be shot, for fear of myself incurring the guilt of what might happen. On this a friend, who happened to be then at dinner with me, begged him as a present. How he came here, I do not know." The Grand Duke of Tuscany, on hearing his story, said it was the very same person who had presented him with the lion.
Part of a ship's crew being sent ashore on the coast of India for the purpose of cutting wood, the curiosity of one of the men having led him to stray to a considerable distance from his companions, he was much alarmed by the appearance of a large lioness, who made toward him; but, on her coming up, his fear was allayed, by her lying down at his feet, and looking very earnestly, first in his face, and then at a tree some little distance off. After repeating these looks several times, she arose, and proceeded toward the tree, looking back, as if she wished the sailor to follow her. At length he ventured, and, coming to the tree, perceived a huge baboon, with two young cubs in her arms, which he immediately supposed to be those of the lioness, as she crouched down like a cat, and seemed to eye them very steadfastly. The man being afraid to ascend the tree, decided on cutting it down; and having his axe with him, he set actively to work, when the lioness seemed most attentive to what he was doing. When the tree fell, she pounced upon the baboon, and, after tearing her in pieces, she turned round, and licked the cubs for some time. She then returned to the sailor, and fawned round him, rubbing her head against him in great fondness, and in token of her gratitude for the service done her. After this, she carried the cubs away one by one, and the sailor rejoined his companions, much pleased with the adventure.
A French gentleman relates a remarkable anecdote about a combat which he saw on the banks of the Niger, between a Moorish chief and a lion. The prince took the Frenchman and his company to a place adjoining a large wood which was much infested with wild beasts, and directed them all to climb the trees. They did so. Then, getting upon his horse, and taking three spears and a dagger, he entered the forest, where he soon found a lion, which he wounded with one of the spears. The enraged animal sprang with great fury at his assailant, who, by a feigned flight, led him near the spot where the company were stationed. He then turned his horse, and in a moment darted another spear at the lion, which pierced his body. He alighted, and the lion, now grown furious, advanced with open jaws; but the prince received him on the point of his third spear, which he forced into his throat. Then, at one leap, springing across his body, he cut open his throat with his dagger. In this contest, the Moor's skill was such, that he received only a slight scratch on the thigh.
Allow me, in concluding these stories about lions, to recite one from the French. It is fabulous, as you will perceive; but fables are not to be despised. The design of the fable is to illustrate the truth that in a community, every one may be more or less useful. "War having been declared between two nations of animals (for, notwithstanding their instinct, they are as foolish as men), the lion issued a proclamation of the fact to his subjects, and ordered them to appear in person at his camp. Among the great number of animals that obeyed the orders of their sovereign, were some asses and hares. Each animal offered his services for the campaign. The elephant agreed to transport the baggage of the army. The bear took it upon him to make the assaults. The fox proposed to manage the ruses and the stratagems. The monkey promised to amuse the enemy by his tricks. 'Sire,' said the horse, 'send back the asses; they are too lazy—and the hares; they are too timid, and subject to too frequent alarms.' 'By no means,' said the king of the animals; 'our army would not be complete without these. The asses will serve for trumpeters, and the hares will make excellent couriers.'"
rom a recent English periodical, I have obtained some interesting facts in relation to an animal to which naturalists have given the name of the Galago. In the picture on the opposite page you have a portrait of the animal, drawn from life. He is a very singular looking fellow, as you perceive. Not long ago he was brought to England from Zanguebar, in Africa. The specimen, now being exhibited in London, is the first of this race of quadrupeds which has ever been introduced from its native country into any part of Europe, and it is exciting a great deal of interest among naturalists. Very little is known of the genus to which the animal belongs, all its species being found only in the barbarous countries, very little known, on the eastern coast of Africa. They all climb upon trees, like the squirrel. Their habits are strictly nocturnal. They never venture from their retreats while the faintest gleam of daylight is visible; but at the approach of night they become exceedingly active, springing from tree to tree with all the dexterity of the squirrel. In the day time, they remain, for the most part, in the holes of decayed trees. Their food is gum and pulpy fruits. The country where they live is one of the hottest regions on the globe. On this account, the animal sent to England is very sensitive to the sudden changes of that comparatively northern latitude, and it requires much care to preserve him from the influence of the cold. One of the striking peculiarities of the animal is the appearance of his feet. They resemble the hands of a man, as will be seen by the engraving. This peculiarity admirably fits the galago for the life it leads, as it spends a great part of its time in leaping on the boughs of trees. The specimen in England is remarkably tame and frolicksome, and does not seem altogether happy except when he is fondled and petted, when he enjoys himself immensely. During the night he delights in active motion, climbing and playing like a kitten, often uttering a loud, clucking noise, which ends with a sharp, shrill call, of astonishing volume. The animal is not so large as a fox.
hat distinguished author, Oliver Goldsmith, in his "Animated Nature," has given a most interesting account of the habits of the bear, which I wish, for the benefit of my readers, might be embodied in this chapter, though, on the whole, I think the entire account is too long, and I am forced to omit it. Besides, I suppose it would hardly be just to accord such a civility to the bear, while it is denied to the other animals. According to the description of this eminent practical naturalist, the bear is not by any means the unamiable monster he has been represented to be; but has, on the contrary, a great many good traits of character. He has been slandered, grossly slandered, if we may credit Mr. Goldsmith; and for one, I do credit him. He is exceedingly reliable in most of his statements. Now that I am speaking of Mr. Goldsmith, I can scarce refrain from adding that I have been greatly assisted, in the preparation of this volume, by the work of his above alluded to. It is, and ever will be, a valuable book in the library of those who are interested in becoming acquainted with nature, in her varied aspects.
There are three species of bears—the black, the white, and the brown or Syrian bear. The latter, represented in the engraving on the opposite page, is the one to which allusion is made in Scripture.
The bear is capable of strong and generous attachment. Many years ago, Leopold, Duke of Lorraine, in Europe, owned a bear which had become very tame, and which was remarkable for the strength of his love for those whom he happened to fancy. In the winter of 1709, a poor Savoyard boy had been placed in a barn to stay over night. This boy, finding that he was near the hut occupied by the duke's bear, took it into his head to go and pay the bear a visit. It was a singular fancy, to be sure. But as the old proverb says, "There is no accounting for tastes." He had no sooner formed the determination, than off he started to see Marco—for that was the name of the bear. He was cold, I think; and not having any other way of warming himself, he thought he would see if Marco could not be prevailed upon to let him share in the benefit of his shaggy coat for awhile. So in he went, and he and the bear were soon on the best of terms. Marco took him between his paws, and warmed him, by pressing him to his breast, until the next morning, when he allowed him to depart, to ramble about the city. In the evening, the young Savoyard returned to the bear's den, and was received with the same marks of kindness and affection. For several days, the boy made this den his home. The bear saved a part of his food for his companion, and they lived together on the most intimate and friendly terms. A number of days passed in this manner, without the servants knowing any thing about the circumstance, the boy not being in the den when the bear's food was brought. At length, one day, when some one came to bring the generous animal his supper, rather later than usual, the boy was there. The servant then saw the fondness of the bear for the young Savoyard. The boy was asleep. The bear rolled his eyes around, in a furious manner, and seemed to intimate that as little noise as possible must be made, for fear of awaking the child, whom he clasped to his breast. The bear did not move when the food was placed before him. This extraordinary circumstance was related to Leopold, the owner of the bear, who, with a good many others, went to the bear's hut, where they found, with surprise, that the animal never stirred as long as his guest manifested a disposition to sleep. When the little fellow awoke in the morning, he was very much ashamed and alarmed to find that he was discovered, thinking that he should be punished; and he begged the duke's pardon for the liberty he had taken with the bear. The bear, however, caressed his new friend, and tried to prevail upon him to eat a part of the supper which had been brought the previous evening, and which seemed untouched.
Bruin is famous for hugging his enemies so desperately, that they are glad to get clear of him. But in these hugging fights, he sometimes gets the worst of it, as in the following instance. Some years since, when the western part of the State of New York was but slightly settled, some enterprising emigrant from New England had built a saw-mill on the banks of the Genesee river. One day, as he was eating his luncheon, sitting on the log which was going through the sawing operation at the time, a huge black bear came from the woods, toward the mill. The man, leaving his bread and cold bacon on the log, made a spring, and climbed up to a beam above, to get out of the way of the bear, when the latter, mounting the log which the sawyer had left, sat down, with his back toward the saw, and commenced eating the man's dinner. After awhile, the log on which he sat approached so near the saw, that he got scratched a little, and he hitched away a few feet from the saw, and resumed his dinner. But the saw scratched him again soon, of course, and this time rather more seriously. Bruin got angry, and his anger cost him dearly. He wheeled about, and throwing his paws around the saw, he gave it a most desperate hug. In this position he remained, until he was sawn into two pieces, as if he had been a log. Poor fellow! we ought to pity him, I suppose; but it is pretty difficult to avoid a hearty laugh over his misfortunes.
Here is a story of an encounter between a bear and a bull, which is also rather laughable, although there is a good deal of the tragic in it. A bull was attacked in the forest by a rather small bear, when, striking his horns into his assailant, he pinned him against a tree. In this situation they were both found dead; the bull from starvation, the bear from his wounds.
Some years ago, a New Hampshire boy found a very young cub near Lake Winnepeg, and carried it home with him. It was fed and brought up in the house of the boy's father, and became as tame as a dog. At length, it learned to follow the boy to school, and by degrees, it became his daily companion. At first, the other scholars were somewhat shy of Bruin's acquaintance; but before a great while, it became their constant play-fellow, and they delighted in sharing with it the little store of provisions which they brought for their own dinner. However, it wandered off into the woods again, and for four years, nothing was heard of it. Changes had taken place in the school where the bear used to be a welcome guest. Another generation of pupils had taken the place of the bear's old companions. One very cold winter day, while the scholmistress was busy with her lessons, a boy happened to leave the door open, and a huge bear walked in. The consternation of the mistress and her pupils was very great, of course. But what could they do? Nothing but look on, and see what would come of this strange visit. However, the bear molested no one. It walked quietly up to the fire, and warmed itself. Then it walked up to the wall, where the dinner baskets hung, and standing on its hind feet, reached them down, and made free with their contents. By and by, it went out. But the alarm was given, and the poor fellow was shot, when it was found out, by some marks on its body, that it was the identical bear that had used to visit the school four years before.
In one of the expeditions from England to the Polar seas, a white bear was seen to perform an ingenious feat in order to capture some walruses. He was seen to swim cautiously to a large, rough piece of ice, on which these walruses were lying, fast asleep, with their cubs. The wily animal crept up some little hillocks of ice, behind the party, and with his fore feet loosened a large block of ice. This, with the help of his nose and paws, he rolled along until he was near the sleepers, and almost over their heads, when he let it fall on one of the old walruses, who was instantly killed. The other walrus, with her cubs, rolled into the water; but the young one of the dead animal remained with its mother. On this helpless creature the bear then leaped down, and completed the destruction of two animals which it would not have ventured to attack openly.
It often happens, that when a Greenlander and his wife are paddling along out at sea, by coming too near a floating field of ice, a white bear unexpectedly jumps into their canoe. Provided he does not upset it by the weight of his body, he sits calmly and demurely in one end of it, like any other passenger, and allows himself to be rowed to the shore. The Greenlander would very cheerfully dispense with the company of the bear; but dares not dispute his right there—it might cost him a pretty rough handling. So he makes a virtue of necessity, and rows his bearship to the shore.
In the early part of the settlement of this country, an expedition was sent to explore a part of the territory now called Missouri. Bears were found there, at that time, in great abundance, and of very large size. Some of the men belonging to the expedition were in a canoe one day, when they discovered a bear lying in the open grounds, about three hundred paces from the river. Six of the men, all good hunters, immediately went to attack him, and concealing themselves by a small eminence, came within forty paces of him before they were perceived. Four of the hunters now fired, as nearly as they could at the same instant, and each lodged a ball in his body, two of which entered the lungs. The furious animal then sprang up, and ran upon the men, with his mouth wide open, ready for a terrible attack. As he came near, the two hunters who had reserved their fire gave him two rounds, one of which, breaking his shoulder, retarded his progress for a moment; but before they could reload, he was so near that they were obliged to run to the river. Before they reached it, he had almost overtaken them. Two jumped into the canoe; the other four separated, and concealing themselves among the willows, fired as fast as they could reload. They hit him several times; but instead of weakening the monster, each shot only seemed to direct him toward the hunters, till at last he pursued two of them so closely, that they threw aside their guns and pouches, and jumped down a perpendicular bank of some fifteen feet into the river. The bear sprang after them, and was within a few feet of the hindermost, when one of the hunters on the shore shot him in the head, and finally killed him. They dragged him to the shore, and found that eight balls had passed through him, in different directions.
While a British frigate was locked in the ice of the Polar seas, three bears were discovered one morning, directing their course toward the ship. They had undoubtedly been attracted by the scent of a part of the carcass of a sea-horse that the crew had killed a few days before, which had been set on fire, and was burning on the ice at the time of their approach. They proved to be a female bear and her two cubs; but the cubs were nearly as large as the mother. They ran eagerly to the fire, and drew out of the flames a part of the flesh of the sea-horse which remained unconsumed, and ate it voraciously. Some of the crew threw large pieces of the flesh from the ship upon the ice, which the old bear took, one by one, and laid before her cubs. Then she divided each piece, and reserved only a very small portion for herself. As she was carrying away the last piece, several of the men on board the ship aimed their muskets at the two cubs, and shot them dead; after which they shot at the old bear, and wounded her, though not mortally. One of the gentlemen who witnessed this spectacle says that it would have drawn pity from any but the most unfeeling hearts, to mark the affectionate concern expressed by this poor beast, as she saw that her young were dying. Though she was sorely wounded herself, and could but just crawl to the place where they lay, she carried the last piece of flesh to them, as she had done with the others, and divided it for them. When she perceived that they refused to eat, she put her paws first upon one and then upon the other, and endeavored to raise them up. All this time it was deeply affecting to hear her moans. When she found she could not stir her dying cubs in this manner, she went away some distance from them, looking back occasionally, and moaning, as if in the utmost distress. This means not availing to entice them away from the spot, she returned, and commenced smelling around them, and licking their wounds. Then she went off a second time, as before, and having crawled a few paces, looked again behind her, and for some time stood still, uttering the most piteous cries. But still her cubs did not rise to follow her, and she returned to them, and with signs of the greatest fondness, went around them separately, placing her paws upon them tenderly, and giving utterance to the same cries of distress. Finding, at last, that they were cold and lifeless, she raised her head toward the ship, and growled in indignation for the murder. Poor creature! the men on board returned her angry cry with a shower of musket balls. She fell between her cubs, and died licking their wounds.
Hans Christian Andersen, in his "Picture Book without Pictures," relates an anecdote, in his droll way, about a tame bear, who got loose, when the man who was exhibiting him was at dinner, and who found his way into the public house, and went straight to a room where there were three children, the eldest of whom was only some six or eight years old. But, Hans, you may tell the rest of the story in your own peculiar language: "The door sprang open, and in stepped the great rough bear! He had grown tired of standing out there in the yard, and he now found his way up the steps. The children were very much frightened at the great, grim-looking beast, and crept each one of them into a corner. But he found them all out, and rubbed them with his nose. He did them no harm, not the slightest. 'It is certainly a big dog,' thought they; and so they patted him kindly. He laid himself down on the floor, and the smallest boy tumbled over him, and amused himself by hiding his curly head in the thick black hair of the animal. The eldest boy now took his drum, and made a tremendous noise; and the bear rose up on his hind legs, and began to dance. It was charming. Each boy took his weapons—for they had been playing at soldiers before their visitor arrived. The bear must have a gun too, and he held it like a regular militia man. What a fine comrade they had found!—and so they marched about the room—'one, two! one, two!' Presently, however, the door opened. It was the children's mother. You should have seen her—her face as white as a sheet; her half-opened mouth, her staring eyes. The smallest of the children ran up to her mother, and shouted with all her might, 'Mama, we are playing at soldiers!'"
Bears have frequently been taught a great many funny tricks. I remember seeing one, when a boy, that would stand on his head, and dance, and perform sundry other feats of skill. His master was an old man, who passed himself off among the little folks as a conjurer. He was dressed in a most grotesque manner, and played on a drum and some kind of wind instrument at the same time. Besides the bear, who seemed to be the hero in the different performances, the juggler had some dogs, which he had trained to dance to his music, and a cock which would walk and dance, after his fashion, on stilts. But I should not care to witness any such performances now. I should not be able to keep out of my mind the thought that the different animals engaged in these exhibitions must have been subjected to a great deal of pain and ill treatment before they could have arrived at such a stage of proficiency, and that thought would imbitter the entertainment, I imagine.
very body, almost, entertains a sort of hostility to the rat family, and considers himself licensed to say all manner of hard things about them. They are a set of rogues—there is no doubt about that, unless they are universally slandered. But they are shrewd and cunning, as well as roguish; and many of their exploits are worth recording.
There were several slaughter-houses near Paris, where as many as thirty worn-out horses were slaughtered every day. One of these slaughter-houses was regarded as a nuisance, and a proposition was made to remove it at a greater distance from the city. But there was a strong objection made to its removal, on account of the ravages which the rats would make in the neighborhood, when they had no longer the carcasses of the horses to feed upon. These voracious creatures assembled at this spot in such numbers, that they devoured all the flesh (that was not much, perhaps, in many cases) of twenty or thirty horses in one night, so that in the morning nothing remained of these carcasses but bare bones. In one of these slaughter-houses, which was inclosed by solid walls, the carcasses of two or three horses were placed; and in the night the workmen blocked up all the holes through which the rats went in. When this was done, the workmen went inside with lighted torches and heavy clubs, and killed two thousand six hundred and fifty rats. In four such hunts, the numbers destroyed were upward of nine thousand. The rats in this neighborhood made themselves burrows like rabbits; and to such an extent was the building of these underground villages carried, that the earth sometimes tumbled in, and revealed the astonishing work they had been doing.
That is rather a tough story, but I guess we shall have to believe it. It comes to us on the authority of Mr. Jesse, who, in his excellent work on Natural History, is pretty careful to say nothing which cannot be relied upon as true. As to the battle which those men had with the rats in the slaughter-house, it must have been a desperate one. I should not have fancied it much. I had a little experience in fighting with rats once, when I was a boy. They were in a room occupied with meal and flour. The door was closed, so that they could not get out. I was armed with a fire shovel, or something of that sort, and I fought, as I thought at the time, with a good deal of bravery and some skill. But the rats got the better of me. They won the victory. They would jump upon a barrel, and from that upon a shelf, and then down they would fly into my face, ready to gripe me with their teeth. I was glad to beat a retreat soon, I assure you.
They are a shrewd set of fellows, these rats. Some years ago, the cellar of the house in which I resided was greatly infested with them. They devoured potatoes, apples, cabbages, and whatever came in their way; for they are not very particular about their diet, you know. Well, we set a trap for them. It was a flat stone set up on one end, with a figure four. We scattered corn all about the trap, and placed a few barrels on the end of the spindle under the stone. The first night these midnight robbers ate up all the corn around the trap, but did not touch a morsel under it. This they repeated several nights in succession; and all at once, there was not the trace of a rat to be found in the cellar. They no doubt held a council (rats are accustomed to hold councils, it would seem; they once held a council to deliberate upon the best mode of protection against their enemy, the cat, and concluded to put a bell on her ladyship—so the fable says)—they held a council, as I said before, and came to the unanimous conclusion that those quarters were no longer safe. So they decamped forthwith; and the very next day after we missed them, one of our neighbors complained that they were suddenly besieged by a whole army of rats.
A German succeeded in training six rats so that they would go through astonishing exercises. He kept them in a box, which he opened, and from which they came out only as their names were called. This box was placed on a table, before which the man stood. He held a wand in his hand, and called by name such of his pupils as he wished to appear. The one who was called came out instantly, and climbed up the wand, on which he seated himself in an upright posture, looking round on the spectators, and saluting them, after his own fashion. Then he waited the orders of his master, which he executed with the utmost precision, running from one end of the rod to the other counterfeiting death, and performing a multitude of astonishing feats, as he was bidden by his master. After these performances were finished, the pupil received a reward for his good behavior, and for his proficiency in study. The master invited him to come and kiss his face, and eat a part of the biscuit which he held between his lips. Immediately the animal ran toward him, climbed up to his shoulder, licked the cheek of his master, and afterward took the biscuit. Then, turning to the spectators, he seated himself on his master's shoulder, ate his dinner, and returned to his box. The other rats were called, one by one, in the same manner, and all went through the several parts with the same precision.
I have read a pretty tough rat story in the "Penny Magazine," but it is said to be authentic. "An open box," says the narrator, "containing some bottles of Florence oil, was placed in a room which was seldom visited. On going into the room for one of the bottles, it was perceived that the pieces of bladder and the cotton, which were at the mouth of each bottle, had disappeared; and that a considerable quantity of the contents of the bottles had been consumed. This circumstance having excited surprise, some of the bottles were filled with oil, and the mouths of them secured as before. The next morning the coverings of the bottles had again been removed, and part of the oil was gone. On watching the room, through a small window, some rats were seen to get into the box, thrust their tails into the necks of the bottles, and then, withdrawing them, lick off the oil which adhered to them."
Another story about these animals, almost as wonderful, I have upon the authority of a clergyman in England. He says that he was walking out in the meadow one evening, and he observed a great number of rats in the act of emigrating. He stood perfectly still, and the whole army passed close to him. Among the number he tells us was an old rat who was blind. He held a piece of stick by one end in his mouth, while another rat had hold of the other end of it, and was conducting him.
The Chicago Democrat tells the following, prefacing it with the remark that the rats of Chicago are "noted for their firmness and daring." A few nights since, a cat belonging to a friend, while exercising the office of mother of a family of kittens, was attacked by a regularly organized band of rats, which, sad to relate, contrived to kill the parent, and make a prey of the offspring. In the morning the cat was found bitten to death by the side of nine of her assailants, whom she slew before she was overpowered by superior numbers.
The following story about a rat extremely fond of good living, was told me by a clerical friend residing in the city of New York. The family in which this rat lived, had just purchased some round clams, and they were placed in the cellar. One night all the inmates of the house were alarmed by an unusual noise. It appeared as if some one was stamping about the house with heavy boots on. It was a long time before they found out how the matter stood; but when they did find out, an old rat was discovered dragging one of these clams about with him. It appeared that this fellow, thinking it would be nice to have a supper from one of the clams, which he saw open, thrust in his paw, and got caught.
This story reminds me of a French fable about the rat who got tired of staying at home, and went abroad to see something of the world. "A rat with very few brains"—so runs the fable—"got tired of living in solitude, and took it into his head to travel. He had hardly proceeded a mile, before he exclaimed, 'What a grand and spacious world this is! Behold the Alps and the Pyrenees!' The least mole-hill seemed a mountain in his eyes. After a few days, our traveler arrived at the sea-coast, where there were a multitude of oysters. At first he thought they were ships. Among these oysters, was one lying open. The rat perceived it. 'What do I see?' said he. 'Here is a delicate morsel for me, and if I am not greatly mistaken, I shall have a fine dinner to-day.' So he approached the oyster, stretched out his neck, and thrust his head between the shells. The oyster closed, and master Nibble was caught as effectually as if he was in a trap." I believe the moral of this fable is something as follows: "Those who have no experience in the world, are often astonished at the smallest objects, and not unfrequently become the dupes of their ignorance."
In 1776, one of the British ships engaged in the war with this country, became infested with rats to such a degree, that they at last devoured daily nearly a hundred weight of biscuit. They were at last destroyed, by smoking the ship between decks, after which several bushels of them were removed.
In the Isle of France rats are found in prodigious swarms. There were formerly so many, that, according to some accounts, they formed the principal cause for abandoning the island by the Dutch. In some of the houses, thirty thousand have been known to be killed in one year.
In Egypt, when the waters of the Nile retire, after the annual overflow, multitudes of rats and mice are seen to issue from the moistened soil. The Egyptians believe that these animals are generated from the earth; and some of the people assert, that they have seen the rats in a state of formation, while one half of the bodies was flesh and the other half mud.
The following anecdote is related by a correspondent of one of the English newspapers: "This morning," says he, "while reading in bed, I was suddenly interrupted by a noise similar to that made by rats, when running through a double wainscot, and endeavoring to pierce it. The noise ceased for some moments, and then commenced again. I was only two or three feet from the wall whence the noise proceeded; and soon I perceived a great rat making his appearance at a hole. It looked about for awhile, without making any noise, and having made the observations it wished, it retired. An instant after, I saw it come again, leading by the ear another rat, larger than itself, and which appeared to be much advanced in years. Having left this one at the edge of the hole, it was joined by another young rat. The two then ran about the chamber, collecting the crumbs of bread which had fallen from the table at supper the previous evening, and carried them to the rat which they had left at the edge of the hole. I was astonished at this extraordinary attention on the part of the young rats, and continued to observe all their motions with a great deal of care. It soon appeared clear to me that the animal to whom the food was brought was blind, and unable to find the bread which was placed before it, except by feeling after it. The two younger ones were undoubtedly the offspring of the other, and they were engaged in supplying the wants of their poor, blind parent. I admired the wisdom of the God of nature, who has given to all animals a social tenderness, a gratitude, I had almost said a virtue, proportionate to their faculties. From that moment, these creatures, which I had before abhorred, seemed to become my friends. By and by, a person opened the door of the room, when the two young rats warned the blind one by a cry; and in spite of their fears, they did not seek for safety themselves, until assured that their blind parent was beyond the reach of danger. They followed as the other retired, and served as a sort of rear-guard."
There are several species of mice. The engraving represents the field mouse, an animal which sometimes makes great havoc with the farmer's grain. The common domestic mouse is perhaps better known. He is generally, and I think I may say justly, regarded as a pest in the house where he becomes a tenant. But he is an interesting animal, after all. I love to watch him—the sly little fellow—nibbling his favorite cheese, his keen black eye looking straight at me, all the time, as if to read by my countenance what sort of thoughts I had about his mouseship. How much at home he always contrives to make himself in a family! How very much at his ease he is, as he regales himself on the best things which the house affords!
A day or two ago, a friend of mine was telling me an amusing story about some mice with which he had the pleasure of a slight acquaintance. He lived in the same house with a gentleman who kept a sort of bachelor's hall, and who was a great lover of pets. This gentleman took him into his room one day to see a mouse which he was educating to be a companion of his lonely hours. The bachelor remarked that he had been a pensioner for some time, that he fed him bountifully every day, and that he had become very tame indeed. "But," said the mouse's patron, "he is an ungrateful fellow. He is not content with eating what I give him; he destroys every thing he can lay hold of." A short time after this, my friend was called in again, when he was told by the bachelor, that, the mouse having become absolutely intolerable by his petty larcenies and grand larcenies, he set a trap for him and caught him. But still the larcenies continued. He set his trap again, and caught another rogue, and another, and another, till at last he found he had been making a pet of thirteen mice, instead of one, as he at first supposed.
The field mouse, represented in the engraving, lays up a large store of provisions in his nice little nest under ground, which he keeps for winter. These mice are very particular in stowing away their winter store. The corn, acorns, chestnuts, hickory nuts, and whatever else they hoard up, have each separate apartments. One room contains nothing but corn, another nothing but chestnuts, and so on. When they have exhausted their stock of provisions before spring, and they have nothing else to eat, they turn to, and eat one another. They are regular cannibals, if their manners and customs have been correctly reported. Sometimes the hogs, as they are roaming about the pasture, in the autumn, soon after a family of field mice have laid in their provisions, and before the ground has frozen, come across the nest, and smell the good things that are in it. Then the poor mouse has to suffer. The author of the Boy's Winter Book thus graphically and humorously describes the misfortunes of such a mouse: "There he sits huddled up in a dark corner, looking on, as the hog is devouring the contents of his house, saying to himself, no doubt, 'I wish it may choke you, you great, grunting brute, that I do. There go my poor acorns, a dozen at a mouthfull. Twelve long journeys I had to take to the foot of the old oak, where I picked them up—such a hard day's work, that I could hardly get a wink of sleep, my bones ached so. And now that great glutton gobbles them all up at once, and makes nothing of it! What I shall do in the winter, I'm sure I don't know. There goes my corn, too, which I brought, a little at a time, all the way from the field on the other side of the woods, and with which I was often obliged to rest, two or three times before I reached home; and then I sometimes had to lay my load down, while I had a battle with another field mouse, who tried to take the corn away from me, under pretence of helping me to carry it home, which I knew well enough meant his own nest. And after all this fighting, and slaving, and carrying heavy loads from sunrise to sunset, here comes a pair of great, grunting pork chaps, and make a meal from my hard earnings. Well, never mind, Mr. Pig. It's winter now; but perhaps by next harvest time, I shall creep into some reaper's basket, and have a taste of you, when he brings a part of you, nicely cured and cooked, and laid lovingly between two slices of bread and butter. I'll be even with you then, old fellow—that I will, if I am only spared!' And so he creeps out, scarcely knowing whether he should make up his mind to beg, borrow, or steal, half muttering to himself, as he hops across the way, to visit some neighbor for a breakfast, 'I declare such infamous treatment is enough to make one dishonest, and never be industrious and virtuous any more!'"
riend reader, did you ever see the rabbit bounding along through the bushes, when you have been walking in the woods? When a boy, I used often to be amused at the gambols of the rabbits, in the woods near my father's house. They do not run very gracefully or very fast, and a dog easily overtakes them. It seems cruel to hunt them, and set snares for them; and yet if they are wanted for food, doubtless there is no harm in taking their life. The way in which I used to catch them, years ago, when the sources of my enjoyment were widely different from what they are at present, was by means of a box-trap with a lid to it, so adjusted that the poor rabbit, when he undertook to nibble the apple, attached to the spindle for a bait, sprung the trap, and made himself a prisoner. Another method we used to employ to catch the rabbit, was something like this: a fence was made of brush-wood, about three feet high, and reaching some rods in length. The brush in this fence was interlaced so closely, that rabbits and partridges could not get through except at intervals of a few yards, where there was a door. At this door was a noose connecting with a flexible pole, which was bent down for the purpose. The unsuspecting rabbit, in his journeyings from place to place, comes to the fence. He could leap over, if he should try. But he thinks it cheaper to walk through the door, especially as there is a choice bit of apple suspended over the entrance. Well, he attempts to go through, stopping a minute to eat that favorite morsel; he thrusts his head into the noose; the trap is sprung, and the elastic pole twitches the poor wayfarer up by the neck. It is rather barbarous business, this snaring innocent rabbits; and I should much rather my young friends would adopt either of a hundred other sports of winter, than this.
The father of a family of rabbits is said to exercise a very respectable discipline among the children. Would it not be well for some of our fathers and mothers to attend school, a quarter or so, in one of their villages? The father among rabbits is a patriarch. Somebody who owned several tame ones, tells us that whenever any of them quarreled, the father instantly ran among them, and at once peace and order were restored. "If he caught any one quarreling, he always punished him as an example to the rest. Having taught them to come to me," says this man, "with the call of a whistle, the instant this signal was given, I saw this old fellow marshal up his forces, sometimes taking the lead, and sometimes making them file off before him."
robably most of my readers are so well acquainted with natural history, that they do not need to be told that the hare and the rabbit are very like, in their appearance, as well as in most of their habits. The two animals, however, are sufficiently unlike to be entitled to a separate introduction in our stories.
Hares have been known to possess a good deal of cunning, which is a fortunate circumstance for them, as they often need not a little of this trait of character in their numerous persecutions. "I have seen," says Du Fouilloux, a French naturalist, "a hare so cunning, that, as soon as it heard the huntsman's horn, it started from its place, and though at the distance of a quarter of a league from it, leaped to a pond, and there hid itself among the rushes, thus escaping the pursuit of the dogs. I have seen a hare, which, after having run above two hours before the dogs, has dislodged another hare, and taken possession of its residence. I have seen them swim over three ponds, of which the smallest was not less than eighty paces broad. I have seen others, which, after having been warmly chased for two hours, have entered a sheep-cot, through the little opening under the door, and remained among the cattle. Others, again, when the dogs have chased them, have joined a flock of sheep in the field, and, in like manner, remained with them. I have seen others, which, when they heard the dogs, have concealed themselves in the earth, or have gone along on one side of a hedge, and returned by the other, so that there was only the thickness of the hedge between the dogs and the hare. I have seen others, which, after they had been chased for half an hour, have mounted an old wall of six feet high, and taken refuge in a hole covered with ivy."
An English hunter tells a very affecting anecdote about two hares which were chased by a pack of dogs. A hare which they had pursued for some time was nearly exhausted. On the way, he came across another hare, doubtless a personal friend of his. The latter, after a short conversation with the former—for there was not time for many ceremonies—took the place of the poor weary one, and allowed himself to be chased by the dogs, while the other, who must soon have fallen a victim to the dogs, was left to shift as best he could, and try to find a place of shelter.
The hares in Liberia exhibit much foresight. In the month of August they cut great quantities of soft, tender grass, and other herbs, which they spread out to dry. This hay, early in autumn, they collect into heaps, and place either beneath the overhanging rocks, or around the trunks of trees, in conical heaps of various sizes, resembling the stacks in which men sometimes preserve their hay in winter. The stacks which the hares make are much smaller, however, not usually more than three feet high. In the winter these stacks are covered with snow, and the animals make a path between them and their holes. They select the best of vegetables for their winter store, and crop them when in the fullest vigor, and these they make into the best and greenest hay.
Dr. Towson, while in Gottingen, succeeded in getting a young hare so tame, that it would play about his sofa and bed. It would leap upon his knee, pat him with its fore feet, and frequently, while he was reading, it would jump up in his lap, and knock the book out of his hand, so as to get a share of his attention.
One Sunday evening, five men were sitting on the bank of the river Mersey, in England, singing sacred songs. The field where they were had a forest on one side of it. As they were singing, a hare came out of this forest, and ran toward the place where they were seated. When she came up very near the spot, she suddenly stopped, and stood still for a considerable time, appearing to enjoy the sound of the music. She frequently turned her head, as if listening with intense interest. When they stopped singing, she turned slowly toward the forest. She had nearly reached the forest, when the gentlemen commenced singing again. The hare turned around, and ran back swiftly, nearly to the spot where she stood before, and listened with the same apparent pleasure, until the music was finished, when she again retired toward the woods, and soon disappeared.
Cowper was a great lover of pets; and I confess that I love him for this trait in his character. He has endeared himself to me, indeed, as much by the kindness he showed to the different animals which he had about him, and which he had taught to love him, as by almost any other act of his. I never think of Cowper, without thinking, too, of the interest he took in every thing that breathed; and I hardly ever see a pet hare, or rabbit, or squirrel, without thinking of him. If the reader is as much interested in the poet as I am, he will like to see a portrait of him, which I introduce in this connection. Many people take great delight in hunting such beautiful and innocent animals as the fawn and the hare. But Cowper was no sportsman. He could not bear to hurt any thing that lived. You remember, perhaps, what he says in his "Task" about being kind to animals. Let me see if I can quote it from memory. I guess I can, for I learned it at school when a little boy, and those things are always fixed in the memory more indelibly than those which are learned in maturer years. I think he says—
"I would not enter on my list of friends—
He was right—the kind-hearted poet was right. Well, as I said before,
he was not only careful about giving pain to animals, but he was very
fond of pets. First and last, he had a good many of these pets. But
there were none of them that he took so great delight in as his hares.
He had two of these pretty little creatures, and they seemed to be as
fond of him as he was of them. Cowper was subject to fits of great
despondency, or depression of spirits. With him hypochondria was a sort
of chronic disease. He would try to be cheerful. He knew the nature of
his melancholy, and often tried to remedy indirectly what could not be
reached directly. He resorted to innocent amusements in order to lead
the mind away from the contemplation of its own ills, real or imaginary.
This was well—it was philosophical—but it did not always succeed. The
disease was too deeply seated in his system. The care which he took of
his pets was no doubt one of his favorite amusements. These hares—there
were three of them at first, though one of them did not live long—had
each very different characters. The poet described them in detail in one
of his letters. Puss was the greatest favorite. He was more tractable,
tame and affectionate than the rest. Once the fellow was very sick, and
his master treated him with a great deal of kindness, gave him medicine,
and nursed him so well that he recovered. Cowper says that Puss showed
his gratitude by licking his hand for a long time, a ceremony he never
went through with but once in his life, before or afterward. Bess, who
died young, was the funny one. He had a great fund of humor and
drollery. Tiney, though very entertaining in his way, seems to have been
rather a grave and surly fellow. When he died—and he lived to a good
old age, some nine years, I think—Cowper buried him with honor, and
wrote an epitaph for him. I will copy two or three stanzas from this
epitaph, to show that Tiney got quite as good a character as he
EPITAPH ON A HARE
Here lies, whom hound did ne'er pursue,
Old Tiney, surliest of his kind,
Though duly from my hand he took
I kept him for his humor's sake,
But now beneath this walnut shade,
He, still more aged, feels the shocks,
oats have been taught to perform a great many wonderful exploits. The celebrated traveler, Dr. Clarke, gives a very curious account of a goat which he came across in Arabia. This goat would perform some most surprising feats of dexterity. "We met," he says, "an Arab with a goat, which he led about the country to exhibit, in order to gain a livelihood. He had taught this animal, while he accompanied its movements with a song, to mount upon little cylindrical blocks of wood, placed successively one above another, and resembling in shape the dice belonging to a backgammon table. In this manner the goat stood, first on the top of two; afterward of three, four, five, and six, until it remained balanced upon the summit of them all, elevated several feet above the ground, and with its fore feet collected upon a single point, without throwing down the disjointed fabric on which it stood. The diameter of the upper cylinder, on which its four feet alternately remained until the Arab had ended his ditty, was only two inches, and the length of each was six inches. The most curious part of the performance took place afterward; for the Arab, to convince us of the animal's attention to the turn of the air, sometimes interrupted the ordinary da capo, or repeat, and as often as he did so, the goat tottered, and appeared uneasy. When the man suddenly stopped, in the middle of his song, the animal fell to the ground."
A farmer in Scotland missed one of his goats, when his flock came home at night. Being afraid the missing animal would get among the young trees in his nursery, he sent two boys, wrapped up warm in their plaid cloaks, to watch all night. In the morning, these boys climbed up the brow of a hill near by, to hunt for the wanderer. They found her after a long search. She was on the brow of a hill, and her young kid was by her side. This faithful mother was defending the kid from the attack of a fox. The enemy was using all the cunning and art he was master of, to get possession of the little fellow, while the old goat was presenting her horns in every direction, as he made his sallies. The boys shouted at the top of their voices, in order to drive the fox away. But Master Renard was probably aware that they would not dare to touch him. At any rate, he kept up the assault. At last, getting out of patience with the goat, he made a more resolute effort to seize the kid; and in an instant all three of the animals rolled off the precipice, and were killed by the fall. The fox was found at the bottom of the gorge, with the goat's horns piercing his body.
A story is told by Mr. Bingley, which illustrates, in a very forcible manner, the gratitude and affection of the goat. After the final suppression of the Scottish rebellion of 1715, by the decisive battle of Preston, a gentleman who had taken a very active share in it escaped to the West Highlands, to the residence of a female relative, who afforded him an asylum. As, in consequence of the strict search which was made after the ringleaders, it was soon judged unsafe for him to remain in the house of his friend, he was conducted to a cavern in a sequestered situation, and furnished with a supply of food. The approach to this lonely abode consisted of a small aperture, through which he crept, dragging his provisions along with him. A little way from the mouth of the cave the roof became elevated, but on advancing, an obstacle obstructed his progress. He soon perceived that, whatever it might be, the object was a living one; but unwilling to strike at a venture with his dirk, he stooped down, and discovered a goat and her kid lying on the ground. The animal was evidently in great pain, and feeling her body and limbs, he ascertained that one of her legs had been fractured. He bound it up with his garter, and offered her some of his bread; but she refused to eat, and stretched out her tongue, as if intimating that her mouth was parched with thirst. He gave her water, which she drank greedily, and then she ate the bread. At midnight he ventured from the cave, pulled a quantity of grass and the tender branches of trees, and carried them to the poor sufferer, which received them with demonstrations of gratitude. The only thing which this fugitive had to arrest his attention in this dreary abode, was administering comfort to the goat; and he was, indeed, thankful to have any living creature beside him. She quickly recovered, and became tenderly attached to him. It happened that the servant who was intrusted with the secret of his retreat fell sick, when it became necessary to send another with provisions. The goat, on this occasion, happening to be lying near the mouth of the cavern, opposed his entrance with all her might, butting him furiously; the fugitive, hearing a disturbance, went forward, and receiving the watchword from his new attendant, interposed, and the faithful goat permitted him to pass. So resolute was the animal on this occasion, that the gentleman was convinced she would have died in his defence.
uch of my readers as have had an opportunity to look a little into natural history, are probably aware that the tiger belongs to the cat family. Many of its habits are very like those of the domestic cat. Did you ever see an old cat preparing to make a spring at a mouse or a bird? If you have, you have noticed that she crouches on the ground, and creeps stealthily along toward her victim, without making the least noise, until she is near enough, and then suddenly springs upon her prey. The tiger pursues the same course.
A British officer, who lived for awhile in India, where tigers abound, was returning, in the evening, to the house where he resided, after dining with another officer, when he was met by his servants, who were making a great noise, in order to frighten away a tiger which was known to be prowling about the neighborhood. Although he had been some years in India, the young officer had never seen a tiger, as it happened, except from a distance; and he determined he would gratify his curiosity, if possible, and have a good view of the animal. So he dismissed his servants, and seated himself opposite the jungle, where the tiger was supposed to be, and there looked out for the enemy. It was moonlight, and the ferocious beast soon discovered the officer. The latter could distinctly see all the motions of his savage foe. He approached so slowly as scarcely to make the least noise. Then, crouching down, he prepared to make the fatal spring at his victim. At this instant, however, the officer, taking off a bear skin cap which he wore, swung it in the air, and shouted as loudly as he could. This so frightened the tiger that he made off with himself, and was soon out of sight in the bushes.
A European gentleman, who has spent some time in Java, tells us a thrilling story about the adventure of a criminal with a tiger. The poor man was condemned, as is the custom in that country, to fight a large royal tiger, whose ferocity was raised to the highest point by want of food and artificial irritation. The only weapon allowed to the human combatant was a lance, with the point broken off. After wrapping a cloth round his left fist and arm, the man entered the arena with an air of undaunted calmness, and fixed a steady, menacing gaze upon the brute. The tiger sprang furiously upon his intended victim, who, with extraordinary boldness and rapidity, thrust his left fist into the gaping jaws, and at the same moment, with his keen, pointless dagger, ripped up the breast to the very heart. In less than a minute the tiger lay dead at his conqueror's feet. The criminal was forgiven.
Several years ago, an Englishman, by the name of Munro, was killed by a tiger in the East Indies. The particulars of this distressing scene are given by an eye-witness. "We went on shore," says the writer of the narrative, "to shoot deer, of which we saw innumerable tracks, as well as of tigers; notwithstanding which, we continued our diversion till near three o'clock, when, sitting down by the side of a jungle to refresh ourselves, a roar like thunder was heard, and an immense tiger seized on our unfortunate friend, and rushed again into the jungle, dragging him through the thickest bushes and trees, every thing giving way to his monstrous strength; a tigress accompanied his progress. The united agonies of horror, regret, and fear, rushed at once upon us. I fired on the tiger; he seemed agitated; my companion fired also, and, in a few minutes after this, our unfortunate friend came up to us bathed in blood. Every medical assistance was vain, and he expired in the space of twenty-four hours, having received such deep wounds from the teeth and claws of the animal, as rendered his recovery hopeless. A large fire, consisting of ten or twelve whole trees, was blazing by us at the time this accident took place, and ten or more natives were with us. The human mind can scarce form any idea of the scene of horror. We had hardly pushed our boat from that accursed shore, when the tigress made her appearance, almost raging mad, and remained on the sand, exhibiting signs of the utmost ferocity, all the while we continued in sight."
There is an account given of a small party who entered a cave, to seek shelter from a terrible storm, in South America. The storm raged with such violence, that they could not hear each other speak; the cedar-trees were struck down, and the torrents of rain rushed from the mountains. Suddenly a growling noise was heard at the end of the cave. They soon found, to their amazement and horror, that they had taken refuge in a tiger's cave, and that the growling proceeded from two young cubs. At this moment the Indians who attended them gave the alarm that a tiger was approaching. The Indians mounted a tree, and the party in the cave blocked up the mouth of it with a large and heavy stone, which fortunately lay near. A dreadful roar was heard, which was replied to by the growling of the two cubs, and the flaming eyes of a tremendous tiger were seen glowing with fury between the top of the stone and the rock just above it. The tiger attempted to remove the stone, but his prodigious strength was unequal to the attempt, and he howled more tremendously than before. Several of the party had leveled their muskets and pistols at the head of the tiger, through the narrow opening left by the stone; but the storm had damped the powder, and the pieces could not be discharged. The young cubs were then killed and thrust through the hole to the tiger on the outside, who, after turning them over and examining them, broke afresh into the wildest fury. The Indians discharged several arrows at the infuriated animal, but his thick skin repelled them. The storm ceased, and the thunder was heard only in the distance, but the tiger laid himself down at the mouth of the cave. In a short time a roar was heard near, which was answered by the tiger, who sprang up directly on his feet. The Indians in the tree gave a wild shriek, as a tigress bounded toward the cave. The howling of the two animals, after the tigress had examined her cubs, was truly terrible, and every one in the cavern gave himself over for lost. A powder-flask, containing their whole stock of gunpowder, had been upset in turning out the young cubs, so that they were reduced to despair. The tigress, after staring wildly at the stone at the opening of the cavern, sprang against it with all her force, and would probably have displaced it, had not the party joined together to hold it in its place. Suddenly the two tigers turned their heads toward the forest, and disappeared. The Indians descended the tree, and urged the party in the cave to take the opportunity of escaping, for that the tigers had ascended the heights to find another way into the cave. No time was to be lost; they hurried through the forest till they came to a wide chasm with a rushing stream below it. A bridge of reeds had been thrown across the chasm, and over this bridge they passed, but the tigers were close in pursuit. The last of the party who crossed the bridge cut the fastenings which tied it to the rock, and hoped by this means to secure safety, when the tigress rushed toward the chasm, made a spring, and fell down upon the pointed rocks below, and from thence into the torrent at the bottom. It was a fearful sight to see this ferocious animal for a moment in the air, without knowing whether she would be able to clear the chasm. The tiger paused not a moment, but making an amazing spring, reached the opposite side with his fore paws. As he clung to the rock, one of the party plunged his sword into the breast of the furious beast, while another struck him a blow on the head with the butt-end of his gun. The tiger let go his hold, and fell back into the abyss. This was a dreadful moment! for the man who struck the tiger on the head could not recover himself; he reeled over the edge of the fearful precipice, stretched out his hand in vain to seize hold of something with which to save himself, and then was precipitated into the horrid gulf below!
A novel exhibition was presented in the city of Boston, not long ago, which attracted the attention of every body, old and young. Herr Driesbach, the famous tamer of wild animals, made his appearance in an elegant sleigh, with his pet tiger by his side. In this manner he rode through the streets. The tiger, it is said, seemed to enjoy the sleighing mightily, and leaped upon his master, from time to time, licking his face, and showing other signs of excitement. Driesbach had to strike him several times, to keep him from making too enthusiastic demonstrations. After astonishing the citizens for a considerable time, Driesbach alighted at his hotel, with his tiger, and taking him into one of the apartments, invited gentlemen to walk in and be introduced, though there were very few who seemed willing to avail themselves of the privilege.
rom the accounts of those who are best acquainted with the rhinoceros, it appears that the animal is tamed only with great difficulty, and never to such an extent that it is always safe to approach him. Sir Everard Home gives the following account of one in a menagerie in London: "He was so savage, that about a month after he came, he endeavored to kill the keeper, and nearly succeeded. He ran at him with the greatest fury; but, fortunately, the horn of the animal passed between the keeper's thighs, and threw him on the head of the rhinoceros. The horn struck a wooden partition, into which it was forced to such a depth, that the animal, for a minute, was unable to withdraw it; and during this interval, the man escaped. By discipline, the keeper afterward got the management of him; but frequently, more especially in the middle of the night, fits of phrensy came on, and while these lasted, nothing could control his rage. He ran, with great swiftness, round his den, playing all kinds of antics, making hideous noises, breaking every thing to pieces, and disturbing the whole neighborhood. While this fit was on, the keeper never dared to come near him."
When the rhinoceros is quietly pursuing his way through his favorite glades of mimosa bushes (which his hooked upper lip enables him readily to seize, and his powerful grinders to masticate), his horns, fixed loosely in his skin, make a clapping noise by striking one against the other; but on the approach of danger, if his quick ear or keen scent makes him aware of the vicinity of a hunter, the head is quickly raised, and the horns stand stiff, and ready for combat on his terrible front. The rhinoceros is often accompanied by a sentinel, to give him warning—a beautiful green-backed and blue-winged bird, about the size of a jay—which sits on one of his horns.
The following account of the perils of a party hunting for the rhinoceros is given by Mr. Bruce, a traveler of celebrity: "We were on horseback, at the dawn of the day, in search of the rhinoceros; and after having searched about an hour in the thickest part of the forest, one of these animals rushed out with great violence, and crossed the plain toward a thicket of canes, at the distance of nearly two miles. But though he ran, or rather trotted, with surprising speed, considering his bulk, he was in a short time pierced with thirty or forty javelins. This attack so confounded him, that he left his purpose of going to the thicket, and ran into a deep ravine, without outlet, breaking about a dozen of the javelins as he entered. Here we thought he was caught in a trap—for he had scarcely room to turn—and a servant, who had a gun, standing directly over him, fired at his head. The animal fell immediately, to all appearance dead. All those on foot now jumped into the ravine, to cut him up. But they had scarcely begun, when the animal recovered himself so far as to rise upon his knees; and he would undoubtedly have destroyed several of the men, had not one of them, with great presence of mind, cut the sinew of the animal's hind leg. To this precaution they were indebted, under God, for their lives."
The rhinoceros and the elephant have been known to engage in a pitched battle, in which case the former always comes off victor. The combat, however, is a very furious one.
There are two species of the rhinoceros. The one which is represented in the engraving is the double-horned rhinoceros. It is perhaps the largest of land animals, with the exception of the elephant. When pursued, notwithstanding its large, unwieldy body, it can run with astonishing swiftness.
n the whole, though the alligator can hardly claim any attention from us in these stories, owing to his manner of locomotion, and some other circumstances, yet I think I will introduce him to the reader, as I have two or three anecdotes about his tribe, which are worth reading, and as he comes within the qualifications for introduction to our present company of animals, so far as to possess the specific number of locomotive organs.
A British medical officer, many years a resident in the East Indies, relates the following painful incident: "A native, being employed in repairing a ship lying in the Bengal river, carelessly put his legs off the stage upon which he was seated, at the side of the vessel, and being engaged in conversation with his wife and child, who were on board, forgot the danger of his situation. As he proceeded in his labors, it was necessary to lower the stage, until it came within a few feet only of the water. He had not been in this position many minutes, when a monstrous alligator rose suddenly above the surface of the river, and before the poor man perceived the animal, seized one of his legs, snapped it off, just above the knee, and descended into the water. The man then tried to get on board the ship, but in vain. The pain, the terror, the loss of his limb, so entirely prostrated his strength, that all his efforts were useless. The wife hung terror-stricken over the side of the vessel, not knowing what to do, calling for assistance, and shrieking distractedly. The boy, with more presence of mind, clung to his father, and endeavored, with all his little strength, to lift him up. The cries of the woman at length brought some persons to ascertain what was the matter. At this moment the monster appeared again. The son redoubled his exertions to drag his father from his terrible situation, but with as little success as before. Some of the people who were attracted to the spot, threw stones, sticks, or any thing that happened to be in their way, at the alligator, while the wife, thinking that the deliverance of her husband was now certain, hastened to the shore to seek the surgeon. As the monster advanced, the child became convulsed with terror, and at length was hardly able, by his exertions, to sustain the weight of his father's body. He called loudly for assistance, but either through surprise or fear, his cries were unheeded. Still continuing to defend himself in a measure from the attacks of the alligator, the sufferer became exhausted from pain and loss of blood. The terrible animal seized the other leg. The boy still kept his hold, and contrived to throw a rope round the body of his nearly expiring father, so as to prevent him from being pulled into the river. At this instant the wife returned with the surgeon. But, alas! they came too late. The poor Indian recognized his wife, gave one parting look, then sunk in death on the bosom of his child."
Mr. Audubon, the distinguished naturalist, has given some of the most interesting facts in connection with the alligator that have come to my knowledge. He says: "A friend having intimated a wish to have the heart of one of these animals, to study its comparative anatomy, I one afternoon went out about half a mile from the plantation, and seeing an alligator that I thought I could put whole into a hogshead of spirits, I shot it immediately on the skull-bone. It tumbled over from the log on which it had been basking into the water, and, with the assistance of two negroes, I had it out in a few minutes, apparently dead. A strong rope was fastened round its neck, and in this condition, I had it dragged home across logs, thrown over fences, and handled without the least fear. Some young ladies there, anxious to see the inside of its mouth, requested that the mouth should be propped open with a stick put vertically; this was attempted, but at this instant the first stunning effect of the wound was over, and the animal thrashed and snapped its jaws furiously, although it did not advance a foot. I have frequently been very much amused when fishing in a bayou, where alligators were numerous, by throwing a blown bladder on the water toward the nearest one. The alligator makes for it, flaps it toward its mouth, or attempts seizing it at once, but all in vain. The light bladder slides off; in a few minutes many alligators are trying to seize this, and their evolutions are quite interesting. They then put one in mind of a crowd of boys running after a football. A black bottle is sometimes thrown in also, tightly corked; but the alligator seizes this easily, and you hear the glass give way under its teeth, as if ground in a coarse mill. They are easily caught by negroes, who most expertly throw a rope over their heads when swimming close to shore, and haul them out instantly."
A writer in the Liberia Herald, according to his account of the matter, had a pretty good opportunity to observe some of the habits of the alligator. "Coming down the river," he says, "a few days ago, we espied an alligator lying with his body on the sloping margin of the river, his lower jaw submerged in the water, while the upper was extended in the air, showing a formidable array of teeth. We stopped to gaze at him. Anon, a hapless fish ventured within the dread chasm, when the treacherous jaws suddenly closed, and severed the fish asunder. The native boys who were with us, took the occasion to assign the reason of some of the alligator's movements. They say he lies with his mouth open, to attract a certain insect which floats upon the surface of the water. These collect in large numbers around his mouth; fishes feed upon them, and when lured by the desired prey within the vortex, they become a prey themselves."
There is a singular adventure with an alligator recorded by the captain of a vessel on the coast of Guinea. It is as follows: "The ocean was very smooth, and the heat very great. Campbell, who had been drinking too much, was obstinately bent on going overboard to bathe, and although we used every means in our power to persuade him to the contrary, he dashed into the water, and had swam some distance from the vessel, when we on board discovered an alligator making toward him, behind a rock that stood some distance from the shore. His escape I now considered impossible, and I applied to Johnson to know how we should act, who, like myself, affirmed the impossibility of saving him, and instantly seized upon a loaded musket, to shoot the poor fellow before he fell into the jaws of the monster. I did not, however, consent to this, but waited, with horror, the event; yet, willing to do all in my power, I ordered the boat to be hoisted out, and we fired two shots at the approaching alligator, but without effect, for they glided over his scaly covering like hail-stones on a tiled house, and the progress of the creature was by no means impeded. The report of the piece, and the noise of the blacks from the sloop, soon made Campbell acquainted with his danger; he saw the creature making toward him, and, with all the strength and skill he was master of, he made for the shore. And now the moment arrived, in which a scene was exhibited beyond the power of my pen to describe. On approaching within a very short distance of some canes and shrubs that covered the bank, while closely pursued by the alligator, a fierce and ferocious tiger sprang toward him, at the instant the jaws of his first enemy were extended to devour him. At this awful moment Campbell was preserved. The eager tiger, by overleaping, fell into the gripe of the alligator. A horrible conflict then ensued. The water was colored with the blood of the tiger, whose efforts to tear the scaly covering of the alligator were unavailing, while the latter had also the advantage of keeping his adversary under water, by which the victory was presently obtained; for the tiger's death was now effected. They both sank to the bottom, and we saw no more of the alligator. Campbell was recovered, and instantly conveyed on board; he did not speak while in the boat, though his danger had completely sobered him. But the moment he leaped on the deck, he fell on his knees, and returned thanks to the Providence who had so protected him; and, what is most singular, from that moment to the time I am now writing, he has never been seen the least intoxicated, nor has been heard to utter a single oath."
ats, say what you will against them, have some excellent traits of character. They are capable of the strongest attachment. A cat which had been brought up in a family, became extremely attached to the oldest child, a little boy who was very fond of playing with her. She bore with the utmost patience all the rough treatment of the mischievous child, without ever making the least resistance. As the cat grew up, she used to catch mice, and bring them alive into the room where the little boy was, to amuse him with her prey. If he showed an inclination to take the mouse from her, she let it run, and waited to see whether he was able to catch it. If he did not, she darted at it, caught it, and again laid it before him. In this manner the sport continued, as long as the child showed any taste for it.
At length, the boy was attacked with the small-pox, and during the early stages of his disorder, the cat rarely left his bed-side; but as his danger increased, it was thought necessary to remove the cat, and lock her up. The child died. On the following day, the cat, having escaped from her confinement, immediately ran to the apartment where she hoped to find her playmate. Disappointed in her expectations, she sought for him, with symptoms of great uneasiness and loud lamentations, all over the house, till she came to the door of the room in which the corpse lay. Here she lay down in silent grief, till she was again locked up. As soon as the child was buried, and the cat set at liberty, she disappeared; and it was not till a fortnight after that event, that she returned to the well-known apartment, sad and emaciated. She refused to take any nourishment, and soon ran away again, with dismal cries. At length, compelled by hunger, she made her appearance one day at dinner-time, and continued to visit the house after that, every day, at about the same hour, but always left as soon as she had eaten the food that was given her. No one knew where she spent the rest of her time, until she was found, one day, under the wall of the burying-ground, close to the grave of her favorite; and so strong was the attachment of the cat to her lost friend, that, till his parents removed to another place, nearly five years afterward, she never, except in the severest winter weather, passed the night any where else than in the burying-ground, at her little friend's grave.
Here is another story of a cat who exhibited in a similar way her love for her deceased master. The incidents of this story, which, it is believed, are strictly true, occurred in the north of Scotland. Some years ago, a poor man residing in that country, whose habits of life had always been of the most retired description, giving way to the natural despondency of his disposition, put an end to his existence. The only other inmate of his cottage was a favorite cat. When the deed was discovered, the cat was found assiduously watching over her late master's body, and it was with some difficulty she could be driven away. The appalling deed naturally excited a great deal of attention in the surrounding neighborhood; and on the day after the body was deposited in the grave, which was made at the outside of the church-yard, a number of school-boys ventured thither, to view the resting-place of one who had at times been the subject of village wonder, and whose recent act of self-destruction was invested with additional interest. At first, no one was brave enough to venture near; but at last, the appearance of a hole in the side of the grave irresistibly attracted their attention. Having been minutely examined, it was at length determined that it must have been the work of some body-snatcher; and the story having spread, the grave was minutely examined, but as the body had not been removed, the community considered themselves fortunate in having made so narrow an escape. The turf was replaced, and the grave again carefully covered up. On the following morning the turf was again displaced, and a hole, deeper than before, yawned in the side of the sad receptacle. Speculation was soon busy at work, and all sorts of explanations were suggested. In the midst of their speculations, alarmed, perhaps, by the noise of the disputants, poor Puss darted from the hole, much to the confusion of some of the most noisy and dogmatic expounders of the mystery. Again the turf was replaced, and again and again was it removed by the unceasing efforts of the faithful cat to share the resting-place of her deceased master. It was at last found necessary to shoot her, it being found impossible otherwise to put a stop to her unceasing importunities.
The enmity of the cat and dog is proverbial. Yet instances have been known in which the closest friendship has been formed between them. A French author of a work on the Language of Brutes tells the following story: "I had a cat and dog, which became so attached to each other, that they would never willingly be asunder. Whenever the dog got any choice morsel of food, he was sure to divide it with his whiskered friend. They always ate sociably out of one plate, slept in the same bed, and daily walked out together. Wishing to put this apparently sincere friendship to the proof, I one day took the cat by herself into my room, while I had the dog guarded in another apartment. I entertained the cat in a most sumptuous manner, being desirous to see what sort of a meal she would make without her friend, who had hitherto been her constant table companion. The cat enjoyed the treat with great glee, and seemed to have entirely forgotten the dog. I had had a partridge for dinner, half of which I intended to keep for supper. My wife covered it with a plate, and put it into a cupboard, the door of which she did not lock. The cat left the room, and I walked out upon business. My wife, meanwhile, sat at work in an adjoining apartment. When I returned home, she related to me the following circumstances: The cat, having hastily left the dining-room, went to the dog, and mewed uncommonly loud, and in different tones of voice; which the dog, from time to time, answered with a short bark. They both then went to the door of the room where the cat had dined, and waited till it was opened. One of my children opened the door, and immediately the two friends entered the apartment. The mewing of the cat excited my wife's attention. She rose from her seat, and stepped softly up to the door, which stood ajar, to observe what was going on. The cat led the dog to the cupboard which contained the partridge, pushed off the plate which covered it, and, taking out my intended supper, laid it before her canine friend, who devoured it greedily. Probably the cat, by her mewing, had given the dog to understand what an excellent meal she had made, and how sorry she was that he had not participated in it; but, at the same time, had explained to him that something was left for him in the cupboard, and persuaded him to follow her thither."
In Lawrence's History of the Horse occurs the following anecdote, in which the cat is quite as much concerned as the horse: "A celebrated Arabian horse and a black cat were for many years the warmest friends. When the horse died in 1753, the cat sat upon his carcass until it was buried; and then, creeping slowly and reluctantly away, was never seen again, till her dead body was found in a hay-loft."
Henry Wriothsly, earl of Southampton, having been some time confined in the tower of London, was one day surprised by a visit from his favorite cat, who must have reached her master by descending from the chimney of the edifice.
The following instance of a cat's courage and maternal affection is recorded in the Naturalist's Cabinet: "A cat who had a family of kittens, was playing with them one sunny day in spring, near the door of a farm-house, when a hawk darted swiftly down and caught one of the kittens. The assassin was endeavoring to rise with his prey, when the mother, seeing the danger of the little one, flew at the common enemy, who, to defend himself, let the kitten fall. The battle presently became dreadful to both parties; for the hawk, by the power of his wings, the sharpness of his talons, and the keenness of his beak, had for awhile the advantage, cruelly lacerating the poor cat, and actually deprived her of one eye in the conflict. But Puss, not at all daunted by this accident, strove with all her cunning and strength to protect her little ones, till she had broken a wing of her adversary. In this state she got him more within the power of her claws, the hawk still defending himself, however, according to the best of his ability. The fight continued for a long time. But at last victory favored the mother; and by a sudden movement, she laid the hawk motionless beneath her feet, when, as if exulting in her victory, she tore off the head of her vanquished enemy. Disregarding the loss of her eye, she immediately ran to her bleeding kitten, licked the wounds inflicted by the talons of the hawk, purring, while she caressed the little one, with the same affection as if nothing had happened to her."
Here is an instance of the ingenuity of a cat. Tabby was in the habit of visiting a closet, the door of which was fastened by a common iron latch. A window was situated near the door. When the door was shut, the cat, as soon as she was tired of her confinement, mounted on the sill of the window, and with her paws dexterously lifted the latch, opened the door, and came out of the room. This practice she continued for years.
A cat belonging to a monastery in France was still more ingenious. She was accustomed to have her meals served to her at the same time that the inmates of the monastery had theirs. These hours were announced by the ringing of the bell. One day it so happened that Puss was shut up in a room by herself, when the bell rang for dinner, so that she was not able to avail herself of the invitation. Some hours afterward she was released from her confinement, and instantly ran to the spot where dinner was always left for her; but no dinner was to be found. In the afternoon the bell was heard ringing at an unusual hour. When the inmates of the cloister came to see what was the cause of it, they found the hungry cat clinging to the bell-rope, and setting it in motion as well as she was able, in order that she might have her dinner served up for her. Was not this act of the cat the result of something very nearly related to what we call reason, when exhibited in man?
A French naturalist gives us an amusing incident connected with a cat in Prussia. This animal was quietly sleeping on the hearth, when one of the children in the family where she lived set up a boisterous crying. Puss left the place where she was lying, marched up to the child, and gave her such a smart blow with her paw as to draw blood. Then she walked back, with the greatest composure and gravity, as if satisfied with having punished the child for crying, and with the hope of indulging in a comfortable nap. No doubt she had often seen the child punished in this manner for peevishness; and as there was no one near who seemed disposed to administer correction in this instance, Puss determined to take the law into her own hand.
This story brings to my mind one which I saw in a newspaper the other day, about a cat who took it upon her to punish her children in a very singular manner. The story runs thus: "One Sabbath, a motherly old cat, belonging to one of our citizens, left her little family in quiet repose, while she went forth in pursuit of something to eat. On returning, she found them quarreling. She then very deliberately took the one most eagerly engaged in the combat by the nape of the neck, and not seeing any convenient place near by to administer what she considered a salutary reproof, went to a tub of water, upon the edge of which she raised her feet, and dropped the kitten into the water. She resisted all attempts at escape, and after repeatedly sousing it in the water till sufficiently punished, she took it again by the neck as before, and carried it back again, doubtless a thorough repentant for the wrong it had done. There has been no contention in the family since."
It must be a very difficult thing for a cat, when a tame bird is within her reach, to resist the temptation to make a dinner from it. But there are not wanting instances in which this disposition has been entirely overcome. More than this: a cat has been known to become the protector of a bird, when it was in danger. A lady had a tame canary, which she was in the habit of letting out of its cage every day. One morning, as it was picking crumbs of bread off the carpet, her cat, who had always before showed the bird the utmost kindness, seized it suddenly, and jumped with it in her mouth upon a table. The lady was much alarmed for the fate of her favorite; but on turning about, she instantly perceived the cause. The door had been left open, and another cat, a stranger, had just come into the room! After the lady turned out the neighbor, her own cat came down from the table, and dropped the bird, without doing it the smallest injury.
The following story was told me by my friend Dr. Alcott: A cat, in Northborough, Mass., with three very young kittens, having been removed to Shrewsbury, a distance of about four miles, continued to elude the vigilance of her mistress, and, during the hours of sleep, to transport these three kittens to their old mansion in Northborough.
Here is a story about a cat who was for some time supposed to be a musical ghost: A family residing a few miles from Aberdeen, Scotland—so says the Aberdeen Herald—and at the time consisting of females, were recently thrown for one or two successive nights into no small consternation, by the unaccountable circumstance of a piano being set a strumming about midnight, after all the inmates of the house were in bed. The first night the lady of the house rose when she heard the unseasonable sounds, thinking some member of the family had set about "practicing her music" over night. She went cautiously to the room door, which she found shut; but although she heard the tones of the instrument when her hand was upon the handle of the door, on entering she was astonished to find no one in the room. The piano was indeed open, as it was generally, for a young girl to practice when she had a mind. But where was the midnight musician? The room was searched, but to no purpose—there was no musician visible. Next night the same sounds were heard, and a search was made, but with no better success. One or two nights of quietude might intervene between those on which such sounds were heard; but they still broke at intervals through the stillness of midnight—at one time with note by note, slowly—at another, like the quick, loud thundering of a battle-piece; till the horrible conviction filled every mind, that the house was haunted. One morning, the piano was heard sounding away much louder than usual; and the dawn having begun to peep through the window-blinds, one or two of the family, summoning up the courage that comes with the light of day, resolved that, "ghost, if ghost it were," they should at all risks have a peep at it, and cautiously descended to the door of the apartment, which was slightly ajar. The musician was fingering the instrument with the greatest industry and energy, and apparently at his own entire satisfaction. Well, after much demurring, in they peeped; and most assuredly, through the dim dusk of the morning, a gray figure was seen exerting itself most strenuously. They looked closer, when, behold, there was—what think you?—the cat, pawing away, first with her fore feet, and then with her hind; now touching one note gently, and then dancing with all fours across the keys. There was a solution of the enigma—a bringing to light of the imagined ghost.
A traveler in one of the Western States relates the following humorous anecdote of a wild cat: "I was plodding once in a wagon from Toledo to Maumee, over an execrably level road, in the hot noon sun of a mid-June day. The driver was a hardy fellow, who looked as though he could outhug a bear, and loosen the tightest Maumee ague with a single shake, and yet he owned he had been frightened by a wild cat, so that he ran from it, and then he told the story, which I give you partly in his own words: 'I was driving along this road in a buggy, with as fast a horse as ever scorned the whip, when some ten rods ahead of us, just by that big oak, a wild cat, leading three kittens, came out of the wood, crossed the road, and went into those bushes on our left, and I thought what nice pets they would make, and wished I had one. When I came up, I noticed one of the young ones in the edge of the bushes, but a few feet off, and I heard, or thought I heard, the old one stealing along deep in the woods. I sprang out, snatched up the kitten, threw it into the buggy, jumped in, and started. When I laid hands on it, it mewed, and kept mewing, and, as I grasped the reins, I heard a sharp growl and a thrashing through the brush. I knew the old one was coming, and the next instant she streamed over a log, and alighted in the road. She ran with her eyes flaming, her hair bristling, and her teeth grinning. She turned as on a pivot, and gave an unearthly squall, as she saw me racing away, and bounded after, with such yells and fury, and gained on me so fast, that for very fear I threw the kitten out, and lashed the flying horse; but she scarcely paused for that, but bounded on a while, as though recovery of her young would not suffice without revenge. When I saw her at my very back, I scarcely breathed until her crying child recalled her. Here, at the top of this pitch, I looked back, and saw her standing, with her young one in her mouth, looking after me, as though she had half a mind to drop the kitten and give chase again. I gave the horse a cut, and did not feel quite safe until I had got some miles away. I made up my mind from that time forward to let young kittens alone, and mind my own business.'"
ike the hyena, the jackal derives its principal notoriety from its ferocious and untameable disposition. It is found in Southern Asia, in many parts of Africa, and, to some extent, in Syria and Persia. There is not much difference in the jackal and the dog, except in some of the habits of the two, and there is a great deal of similarity between the former and the wolf. By many Biblical commentators, it is thought that the three hundred foxes to which the sacred penman alludes in the book of Judges, as performing a singular and mischievous exploit in the standing corn of the Philistines, were jackals; and their habit of assembling together in large companies, so as to be taken in considerable numbers, seems to justify this conclusion—the fox being, on the other hand, a solitary animal, and in the habit of living for the most part in small families. To the inhabitants of hot countries, the jackal is of the same service as the vulture and the hyena. He does not scruple to feed upon putrid flesh. Wherever there is an animal in a state of putrefaction, he scents it out from a great distance, and soon devours it. In this way the air is often freed from substances in the highest degree unwholesome and deadly. Nor is this all. One of the habits of this animal is to enter grave-yards, and dig up the bodies that have been buried there. In countries where jackals abound, great care needs to be taken in protecting graves, newly opened, on this account. People frequently mix the earth on the mound raised over a grave with thorns and other sharp substances, to prevent the jackal from accomplishing the deed.
Still the jackal makes his living, in a great measure, by hunting other beasts. Indeed, he not only makes his own living, but, if the stories that are told about him are true, he helps other animals in getting their living, though it is very doubtful whether he means to do so. He has been called the "lion's provider," you know; and some have represented him as a humble slave of the lion, obeying his will in every thing, hunting for him, and only receiving for his portion what his majesty is pleased to leave. But this notion is probably somewhat fabulous. The upshot of the matter seems to be this: that the jackal, having about as much wit as some other servants of kings, chases after his prey, yelling with all his might, very industriously, and without hardly stopping to take breath, until the poor hare, or fawn, or whatever the animal may be, gets tired out, and then the jackal catches him. But the hunter, by his yelling, starts the lion, as soon as he gets upon the scent. The lion knows well enough that there is game somewhere in that region; and so he is on the look-out, while the jackal is running it down. Well, the jackal has to go over a great deal more ground than the lion—for these animals, when they are pursued, never go in a straight direction—and when the game is caught, he has had little more to do than to look on and enjoy the sport, and he comes up, at his leisure, just at the right time, to the spot where the jackals are going to have a feast over their well-earned prey. Then the lion thanks his dear friends, the jackals, and gives them liberty to retire a few moments, until he has tasted of their dinner, in order, perhaps he tells them, to see whether they have made a good selection. After satisfying his appetite, the jackals have unrestrained liberty to lick the bones, just as much and as long as they please.
In Captain Beechey's account of his expedition to explore the northern coasts of Africa, we have an interesting description of this animal. He does not give a very favorable account of the music made by a band of jackals. "As they usually come in packs," he says, "the first shriek which is uttered is always a signal for a general chorus. We hardly know a sound which is further removed from pleasant harmony than their yells. The sudden burst of the long-protracted scream, succeeding immediately to the opening note, is scarcely less impressive than the roll of the thunder clap after a flash of lightning. The effect of this music is very much increased when the first note is heard in the distance—a circumstance which frequently occurs—and the answering yell bursts out from several points at once, within a few yards of the place where the auditors are sleeping, or trying to sleep."
It sometimes happens that a jackal ventures near a house, and perhaps enters a hen-roost, to steal a hen. But in such cases, he often shows himself to be as stupid as he is impudent; for even then, if he hears the yelling of his comrades chasing their game, he forgets himself, and yells as lustily as the rest of them. The result is as might be expected. The inmates of the house are awakened, and they take such measures with the poor jackal, as effectually to prevent his repetition of the blunder.
heep, as well as many other animals, show a great fondness for music. The following anecdote in proof of such a taste, is given on the authority of the celebrated musician, Haydn. He and several other gentlemen were making a tour through a mountainous part of Lombardy, when they fell in with a flock of sheep, which a shepherd was driving homeward. One of the gentlemen, having a flute with him, commenced playing, and immediately the sheep, which were following the shepherd, raised their heads, and turned with haste to the spot whence the music proceeded. They gradually flocked around the musician, and listened with the utmost silence and attention. He stopped playing. But the sheep did not stir. The shepherd, with his staff, now obliged them to move on; but no sooner did the fluter begin to play again, than his interested audience returned to him. The shepherd got out of patience, and pelted the sheep with pieces of turf; but not one of them moved. The fluter played still more sweet and beautiful strains. The shepherd worked himself up into a storm of passion. He scolded, and pelted the poor creatures with stones. Some of the sheep were hit, and they made up their minds to go on; but the rest remained spell-bound by the music. At last the shepherd was forced to entreat the flute-player to stop his music. He did stop, and the sheep moved off, but still they continued to look behind them occasionally, and to manifest a desire to return, as often as the musician resumed his playing.
The life of a shepherd is very favorable for study and for improvement in knowledge, if one has the natural genius and the industry to make use of his spare time. Some of the most eminent men the world ever saw began their career by the care of a flock of sheep. Did you ever hear of Giotto, the great painter Giotto? No doubt you have. He was the man who made that famous design for a church, at the request of Pope Benedict IX. The messengers of the pope entered the artist's studio, and communicated the wish of their master. Giotto took a sheet of paper, fixed his elbow at his side, to keep his hand steady, and instantly drew a perfect circle. "Tell his holiness that this is my design," said he. His friends tried to persuade him not to send such a thing to the pope; but he persisted in doing so. Pope Benedict was a learned man, and he saw that Giotto had given the best evidence of perfection in his art. He invited the painter to Rome, and honored and rewarded him. "Round as Giotto's O," from that time, became an Italian proverb. But I must give a glance at the early history of this man. In the year 1276—according to that invaluable publication, "Chambers' Miscellany of Useful and Entertaining Knowledge"—about forty miles from Florence, in the town of Vespignano, there lived a poor laboring man named Bondone. This man had a son whom he brought up in the ignorance usual to the lowly condition of a peasant boy. But the extraordinary powers of the child, uncultivated as they necessarily were, and his surprising quickness of perception and never-failing vivacity, made him the delight of his father, and of the unsophisticated people among whom he lived. At the age of ten, his father intrusted him with the care of a flock. Now the happy little shepherd-boy strolled at his will over meadow and plain with his woolly charge, and amused himself with lying on the grass, and sketching, as fancy led him, the surrounding objects, on broad flat stones, sand, or soft earth. His sole pencils were a hard stick, or a sharp piece of stone; his chief models were his flock, which he used to copy as they gathered around him in various attitudes. One day, as the shepherd-boy lay in the midst of his flock, earnestly sketching something on a stone, there came by a traveler. Struck with the boy's deep attention to his work, and the unconscious grace of his attitude, the stranger stopped, and went to look at his work. It was a sketch of a sheep, drawn with such freedom and truth of nature, that the traveler beheld it with astonishment. "Whose son are you?" cried he, with eagerness. The startled boy looked up in the face of his questioner. "My father is Bondone the laborer, and I am his little Giotto, so please the signor," said he. "Well, then, Giotto, should you like to come and live with me, and learn how to draw, and paint sheep like this, and horses, and even men?" The child's eyes flashed with delight, "I will go with you any where to learn that," said he; "but," he added, as a sudden thought made him change color, "I must first go and ask my father; I can do nothing without his leave." "That is quite right, my boy, and so we will go to him together, and ask him," said the stranger. It was the celebrated painter, Cimabue. Old Bondone consented to the wish of his son, and the boy went to Florence with Cimabue. Giotto soon went beyond his master in his sketches. His former familiarity with nature, while tending his sheep, doubtless contributed a good deal to his astonishing progress. One morning the master came into his studio, and looking at a half finished head, saw a fly resting on the nose. He tried to brush it off with his hand, when he discovered that it was only painted, and that it was one of the tricks of his young pupil. It was not long before the fame of the new artist spread all over Europe.
The author of that pleasant little book, called "Stories of the Instinct of Animals," relates a pleasing anecdote of a sheep in England. "One afternoon, in summer," he says, "after an illness which had confined me some time to the house, I went out into the field, to enjoy awhile the luxury of a walk at leisure among the beauties of nature. I had not been long in the field, before my attention was attracted by the motions of one of the sheep that were grazing there. She came up close to me, bleating in a piteous manner; and after looking wishfully in my face, ran off toward a brook which flowed through the pasture. At first I took but little notice of the creature; but as her entreaties became more importunate, I followed her. Delighted at having attracted my notice, she ran with all her speed, frequently looking back, to see if I was following her. When I reached the spot where she led me, I discovered the cause of all her anxiety. Her lamb had fallen into the brook, and the banks being steep, the poor little creature was unable to escape. Fortunately, the water, though up to the back of the lamb, was not sufficient to drown it. I rescued the sufferer with the utmost pleasure, and to the great gratification of its affectionate mother, who licked it with her tongue, to dry it, now and then skipping about, and making noisy demonstrations of joy. I watched her with interest, till she lay down with her little one, caressing it with the utmost fondness, and apparently trying to show me how much she was indebted to me, for my friendly aid."
A man was once passing through a lonely part of the Highlands in Scotland, when he perceived a sheep hurrying toward the road before him. She was bleating most piteously at the time; and as the man approached nearer, she redoubled her cries, looked earnestly into his face, and seemed to be imploring his assistance. He stopped, left his wagon, and followed the sheep. She led him quite a distance from the road, to a solitary spot, and at length she stopped. When the traveler came up, he found a lamb completely wedged in between two large stones, and struggling, in vain, to extricate himself. The gentleman immediately set the little sufferer free, and placed him on his feet, when the mother poured out her thanks and joy, in a long-continued and animated strain of bleating.
I am indebted to a correspondent of mine—Dr. Charles Burr, residing in the state of Pennsylvania—for a good story about a sheep which belonged to his father a number of years ago. This sheep, he says, was a cosset, was quite tame, and very much of a pet. One day, a young lamb of hers was wounded; and "my father (I must let the doctor tell his story in his own words) being out of the door, noticed the mother upon the hill by the barn, being as near the house as she could come. She appeared to be in great distress, running about, looking toward him, and bleating; evidently wishing to attract his attention. Supposing that something must be wrong, my father started to see what was the matter. The old sheep waited till he had got almost up to her, when she started and ran a few rods from him and stopped, turned round, looked at him, and bleated. My father followed on. The old sheep waited until he had got nearly up to her again, when she ran on, and went through the same operation as before. In this way she led my father to the farthest end of the pasture, where lay her lamb, bleeding and helpless. The little thing had bled so much that it could not raise its head, or help itself in the least. My father took the lamb, stanched the bleeding wound, took it in his arms and carried it home—the old sheep, in the mean time, following, and expressing her joy and gratitude, not by words, it is true, but by looks and actions more truthful, and which were not to be mistaken. Suffice it to say, that with proper care and nursing, the lamb was saved, and restored to health and strength, to the great satisfaction of both parties concerned."
I have a mind to tell you one of my own youthful adventures, in which a poor wight of a sheep had a prominent share. The adventure proved of immense service to me, as you will see in the sequel. Perhaps the story of it will be valuable to you, in the same manner.
I shall never forget the first time I sallied out into the woods to try my hand at hunting. Rover, the old family dog, went with me, and he was about as green in the matter of securing game as myself. We were pretty well matched, I think. I played the part of Hudibras, as nearly as I can recollect, and Rover was a second Ralph. I had a most excellent fowling-piece; so they said. It began its career in the French war, and was a very veteran in service. Besides this ancient and honorable weapon, I was provided with all the means and appliances necessary for successful hunting. I was "armed and equipped as the law directs," to employ the words of those semi-annual documents that used to summon me to training.
Well, it was some time before we—Rover and I—started any game. Wind-mills were scarce. For one, I began to fear we should have to return without any adventure to call forth our skill and courage. But the brightest time is just before day, and so it was in this instance. Rover began presently to bark, and I heard a slight rustling among the leaves in the woods. Sure enough, there was visible a large animal of some kind, though I could not determine precisely what it was, on account of the underbrush. However, I satisfied myself it was rare game, at any rate; and that point being settled, I took aim and fired.
Rover immediately ran to the poor victim. He was a courageous fellow, that Rover, especially after the danger was over. Many a time I have known him make demonstrations as fierce as a tiger when people rode by our house, though he generally took care not to insult them until they were at a convenient distance. Rover had no notion of being killed, knowing very well that if he were dead, he could be of no farther service whatever to the world. Hudibras said well when he said,
"That he who fights and runs away,
May live to fight another day."
That was good logic. But Rover went farther than this, even. He was for running away before he fought at all; and so he always did, except when the enemy ran away first, in which case he ran after him, as every chivalrous dog should. In the case of the animal which I shot at, Rover bounded to his side when the gun was discharged, as I said before. For myself, I did not venture quite so soon, remembering that caution is the parent of safety. By and by, however, I mustered courage, and advanced to the spot. There lay the victim of my first shot. It was one of my father's sheep! Poor creature! She was sick, I believe, and went into the thicket, near a stream of water, where she could die in peace. I don't know whether I hit her or not. I didn't look to see, but ran home as fast as my legs would carry me. Thus ended the first hunting excursion in which I ever engaged; and though I was a mere boy then, and am approaching the meridian of life now, it proved to be my last.
here are several species of the deer—the moose, stag, rein-deer, elk, and others. Of these, the stag is one of the most interesting. He is said to love music, and to show great delight in hearing a person sing. "Traveling some years since," says a gentleman whose statements may be relied on, "I met a bevy of about twenty stags, following a bagpipe and violin. While the music continued, they proceeded; when it ceased, they all stood still."
As Captain Smith, a British officer in Bengal, was out one day in a shooting party, very early in the morning, they observed a tiger steal out of a jungle, in pursuit of a herd of deer. Having selected one as his object, it was quickly deserted by the herd. The tiger advanced with such amazing swiftness, that the stag in vain attempted to escape, and at the moment the officer expected to see the animal make the fatal spring, the deer gallantly faced his enemy, and for some minutes kept him at bay; and it was not till after three attacks, that the tiger succeeded in securing his prey. He was supposed to have been considerably injured by the horns of the stag, as, on the advance of Captain Smith, he abandoned the carcass, having only sucked the blood from the throat.
The following account of a remarkably intelligent stag, is given by Delacroix, a French gentleman: "When I was at Compiegne, my friends took me to a German, who exhibited a wonderful stag. As soon as we had taken our seats in a large room, the stag was introduced. He was of an elegant form, and majestic stature, and his aspect animated and gentle. The first trick he performed, was to make a profound bow to the company, as he entered, after which he paid his respects to each individual of us, in the same manner. He next carried about a small stick in his mouth, to each end of which a small wax taper was attached. He was then blindfolded, and at the beat of a drum, fell upon his knees, and laid his head upon the ground. As soon as the word pardon was pronounced, he instantly sprang upon his feet. Dice were then thrown upon the head of a drum, and he told the numbers that were thrown up, by bowing his head as many times as there were numbers indicated. He discharged a pistol, by drawing with his teeth a string that was fastened to the trigger. He fired a small cannon by means of a match which was attached to his right foot, and he exhibited no signs of fear at the report of the cannon. He leaped through a hoop several times, with the greatest agility—his master holding the hoop at the height of his head above the floor. At length the exhibition was closed, by his eating a handfull of oats from the head of a drum, which a person was beating all the time, with the utmost violence."
We must wind up what we have to say about this animal with a fable. Perhaps my little friends have seen it before. But it will bear reading again, and I should not be sorry to hear that many of you had committed it to memory; for there is a moral in it which you cannot fail to perceive, and which may be of service to you one of these days:
"A stag, quenching his thirst in a clear lake, was struck with the beauty of his horns, which he saw reflected in the water. At the same time, observing the extreme length and slenderness of his legs, 'What a pity it is,' said he, 'that so fine a creature should be furnished with so despicable a set of spindle-shanks! What a noble animal I should be, were my legs answerable to my horns!'
"In the midst of this vain talk, the stag was alarmed by the cry of a pack of hounds. He immediately bounded over the ground, and left his pursuers so far behind that he might have escaped; but going into a thick wood, his horns were entangled in the branches of the trees, where he was held till the hounds came up, and tore him in pieces.
"In his last moments he thus exclaimed: 'How ill do we judge of our own true advantages! The legs which I despised would have borne me away in safety, had not my favorite antlers brought me to ruin.'"
very traveler, who has seen the hippopotamus in his native haunts, and who has attempted to give a description of the animal, represents him as exceedingly formidable, when he is irritated, and when he can get a chance to fight his battle in the water. On land, he is unwieldy and awkward; so that, when he is pursued by an enemy, he usually takes to his favorite element. There he plunges in head foremost, and sinks to the bottom, where it is said he finds no difficulty in moving with the same pace as when upon land, in the open air. He cannot, however, continue under water for any great length of time. He is obliged to rise to the surface, to take breath. Severe battles sometimes take place between the males, and they make sad havoc before they get through.
Great masses of flesh, torn out by their terrible jaws, mark the spot where one of these encounters has occurred. It not unfrequently happens that one or even both perish on the spot. On the banks of the Nile, whole fields of grain and sugar cane are sometimes destroyed by these animals.
Clapperton, the enterprising traveler, informs us that, when on a warlike expedition, he had convincing evidence that the hippopotamus is fond of music. "As the expedition passed along the banks of the lake at sunrise," says he, "these uncouth and stupendous animals followed the sound of the drums the whole length of the water, sometimes approaching so close to the shore, that the spray they spouted from their mouths reached the people, who were passing along the banks. I counted fifteen, at one time, sporting on the surface of the water."
The following account of hunting the hippopotamus is given by Dr. Edward Russell: "One of the animals we killed was of an enormous size. We fought with him for four good hours by night, and came very near losing our large boat, and probably our lives too, owing to the fury of the animal. As soon as he spied the hunters in the small canoe, he dashed at them with all his might, dragged the canoe with him under the water, and smashed it to pieces. The two hunters escaped with difficulty. Of twenty-five musket balls aimed at the head, only one pierced the skin and the bones of the nose. At each snorting, the animal spouted out large streams of blood on the boat. The rest of the balls stuck in the thick hide. At last, we availed ourselves of a swivel; but it was not until we had discharged five balls from it, at the distance of a few feet, that the huge animal gave up the ghost. The darkness of the night increased the danger of the contest, for this gigantic enemy tossed our boat about in the stream at his pleasure; and it was a fortunate moment for us that he gave up the struggle, as he had carried us into a complete labyrinth of rocks, which, in the midst of the confusion, none of our crew had observed."
In Egypt they have a singular mode of catching the hippopotamus. They throw large quantities of dried peas on the bank of the river along which the animal is expected to pass. He devours these peas greedily. The dry food disposes the animal to drink; and after drinking, the peas swell in his stomach, and the poor fellow is destroyed.
"I have seen," says a traveler, "a hippopotamus open his mouth, fix one tooth on the side of a boat, and another on the second plank under the keel—that is, four feet distant from each other—pierce the side through and through, and in this manner sink the boat. When the negroes go a-fishing, the same traveler informs us, "in their canoes, and meet with a hippopotamus, they throw fish to him; and then he passes on, without disturbing their fishing any more. Once, when our boat was near shore, I saw a hippopotamus get underneath it, lift it above the water upon his back, and overset it, with six men who were in it."
"We dare not," says another traveler, "irritate the hippopotamus in the water, since an adventure happened which came near proving fatal to the men. They were going in a small canoe, to kill one of these animals in a river, where there were some eight or ten feet of water. After they had discovered him walking at the bottom of the river, according to his custom, they wounded him with a long lance, which so greatly irritated him, that he rose immediately to the surface of the water, regarded them with a terrible look, opened his mouth, and with one bite took a great piece out of the side of the canoe, and very nearly overturned it, but he plunged again almost directly to the bottom of the river."
reat numbers of weasels, it seems, sometimes unite together, and defend themselves pretty resolutely against the attacks of men. A laborer in Scotland was one day suddenly attacked by six weasels, who rushed upon him from an old wall near the place where he was at work at the time. The man, alarmed, as well he might have been, by such a furious onset, took to his heels; but he soon found he was closely pursued. Although he had in his hand a large horse-whip, with which he endeavored to frighten back his enemies, yet so eager were they in pursuing him, that he was on the point of being seized by the throat, when he fortunately noticed the fallen branch of a tree, at a little distance, which he reached, and snatching it up as fiercely as possible, rallied upon his enemies, and killed three of them, when the remainder thought it best to give up the battle, and left the field.
A similar case occurred some years ago near Edinburgh, when a gentleman, observing another leaping about in an extraordinary manner, made up to him, and found him beset and dreadfully bitten by about fifteen weasels, who still continued their attack. Both of the men being strong and courageous, they succeeded in killing quite a number of the animals, and the rest escaped and ran into the fissures of a neighboring rock. The account the unfortunate man gave of the beginning of the affray was, that, walking through the park, he ran at a weasel which he saw, and made several attempts to strike it, remaining between it and the rock, to which it tried to retreat. The animal, in this situation, squeaked loudly, when a sudden attack was made by the whole colony of weasels, who came to the rescue of their companion, determined to conquer or die.
Mr. Miller, in his Boy's Summer Book, tells us a little about what he had seen and heard of the habits and disposition of this family. He says, "They are a destructive race of little savages; and one has been known, before now, to attack a child in his cradle, and inflict a deep wound upon his neck, where it clung, and sucked like a leech. They are very fond of blood, and to obtain this, they will sometimes destroy the occupants of a whole hen-roost, not caring to feed upon the bodies of the poultry which they have killed. They will climb trees, attack the old bird on its nest, suck the eggs, or carry off the young; for nothing of this kind seems to come amiss to them. They are great hunters of mice; and their long, slender bodies are well adapted for following these destructive little animals in their rambles among the corn-stalks in the field. In this way, the weasel renders the farmer a good service occasionally, though he never asks to be rewarded with a duck or chicken, always choosing to help himself without asking, whenever he can get a chance. Oh! if you could but see a weasel attack a mouse, as I have done. By just one single bite of the head, which is done in a moment, and which pierces the brain before you can say 'Jack Robinson,' the mouse is killed as dead as a red herring, before he has time to squeak or struggle. It is no joke, I can tell you, to be bitten by a weasel; and if you thought, when you caught hold of one by the back, that you had him safe, you would soon find your mistake out; for his neck is as pliable as a piece of India rubber. He would have hold of your hand in a moment."
I have just come across a funny story about the adventure of a weasel and a hawk. It seems that a hawk took an especial fancy to a weasel that he saw prowling about a farm-yard. His hawkship happened to be pretty hungry at the time, and concluded he would carry off the weasel, and make a dinner of him at his leisure. So he pounced upon the fellow, and set out on his journey home. I should not wonder if he had a nest in the woods not far off. The weasel, however, submitted to his fate with no very good grace. He thought that two could play at that game. He twisted around his elastic neck—to use the language of the writer I mentioned—poked up his pointed nose, and in he went, with his sharp teeth, right under the wings of the hawk, making such a hole in an instant, that you might have thrust your finger in. The hawk tried to pick at him with his hooked beak, but it was no use.
The weasel kept eating away, and licking his lips as if he enjoyed himself; and the hawk soon came wheeling down to the ground, which he no sooner touched, than away ran the weasel, having got an excellent dinner at the expense of the hawk. He was not a bit the worse for the ride; while Mr. Hawk lay there as dead as a nail. The biter was bitten that time, wasn't he? It was a pretty good lesson to the hawk family not to be so greedy, though whether they ever profited by it is more than I can say. From the account that a little girl gave me of the incursions recently made upon her chickens, I judge that they did not all profit by it.
I had a pretty little red squirrel of my own, when I was a little boy. My father bought a cage for him, with a wheel in it; and Billy, as we used to call him, would get inside the wheel, and whirl it around for a half hour at a time. It was amusing, too, to see him stand up on his hind feet, and eat the nuts we gave him. Billy was a great favorite with me and my brother. By and by, we let him go out of the cage, and ramble wherever he pleased. He became as tame as a kitten. He would go out into the corn-field in autumn, and come home with his mouth filled with corn, and this he would lay up in a safe place for further use. Once the old cat caught him, and the poor fellow would have been killed, if some one had not been near and rescued him from the grasp of his enemy.
We indulged Billy a good deal. We had a box of hickory nuts in the garret, and he was allowed to go and help himself whenever he pleased. He was pleased to go pretty often, too; and he was not satisfied with eating what he wanted out of the box. The greedy fellow! One day he carried off nearly all the nuts there were in the box, and hid them away under the floor, through a hole he had gnawed in the boards.
He was a great pet though, for all that. We could not help loving him, mischievous as he was. He used to climb up often on my shoulder, and down into my pockets; and if there was any thing good to eat thereabout, he would help himself without ceremony. Sometimes, when he felt particularly frolicksome, he leaped from one person's shoulder to another, all around the room.
The more we petted this little fellow, and the more good things we gave him, the more roguish he became. At length he exhausted all my father's patience by his mischief. One of his last tricks was this. He gnawed a hole in a bag of meal, and after eating as much as he could (and this was but little, for we fed him as often as he needed to eat, and oftener too) he carried away large quantities of the meal, and wasted it. He never worked harder in his life, not even when he was trying to get away from the jaws of the old cat, than he did when he was scattering this meal over the yard. Well, we had a sort of a court about Billy, after this. My father's corn-house was the court room, and my father himself was the judge. We all agreed that Billy was guilty, though we differed as to the punishment that ought to be inflicted. The question seemed to be, according to the language they use in courts of law, whether the theft was a petty larceny or a grand larceny. Alas for Billy and Billy's friends! My father decided, in his charge to the jury, that the crime must be ranked under the head of grand larceny, and the jury brought in a verdict accordingly. My father pronounced the sentence, which was that the offending squirrel must die that same day. Billy seemed to be aware of what was going on, for he did not come near the house again till almost night; and when he did come, one of my father's men shot him, and just as the sun was going down he died. For a long time after that, I cried whenever I thought of poor Billy.
Among the many juvenile friends with whom I have had more or less correspondence, as the editor of a young people's magazine, is one who resides at Saratoga Springs. I passed a few days at this watering-place last summer, and called on Master William, for that is the name of my friend—who introduced to me a pet squirrel of his, called Dick. Dick did not perform many very surprising feats while I was present, though I did not at the time set that circumstance down as any evidence of a want of smartness on the part of the squirrel; for I well remembered that it was a very common thing for pets sustaining even a much higher rank in the scale of intelligence, to disappoint the expectations of those persons who think all the world of them, when they—the pets—are ushered into the presence of strangers, for the purpose of being exhibited, and, indeed, I have some faint recollection of thus disappointing an over-fond nurse, not unfrequently, on similar occasions. There are some propositions the truth of which it is quite as well to assent to, when one hears them stated, without waiting for proof; and among these propositions I class those which relate to the unheard-of sagacity and genius of a darling pet. I make it a point to admit, without demonstration or argument, that there never was another such a creature in all the world. Moreover, I saw plainly enough in Dick's keen, black eye, that he knew a thing or two, and I could easily understand how he might greatly endear himself to his little patron. Nor was I at all surprised when I recently heard of the death of this favorite, that my young friend cried a great deal; and I am sure I shared in some measure his grief. Poor Dick! I immediately wrote to Willy, to solicit a short biography of his favorite, for my stories about animals. The request was kindly responded to by Willy's aunt, from whom I received the following sketch:
"When Dick first became a member of the family, he was shy, resentful, and very capricious; but by degrees all these faults gave place to a sort of playful drollery, that called out many a laugh. His cage was a fine, large, commodious place, well lined with tiers, and furnished with every convenience that he could have desired in a habitation, not excepting a big wheel, which is by general consent esteemed a great luxury for a squirrel. But he often liked a change, and when the door was left loose, he would soon find his way out. Then he had many hair-breadth escapes—sometimes from dogs, who looked upon him as lawful prey; sometimes from frolicsome and thoughtless boys, who forgot how much a squirrel suffers who is worried almost to death. Sometimes he has been nearly abducted by strangers, who saw with surprise so small an individual at large, and quite unconscious of the perils of a public street in a watering-place. On one of these occasions, when he was playing with his little master, and skipping from bough to bough on the large trees that sheltered his home, he bounded from a branch to the roof of a three-storied house adjoining, and running across, jumped from one of the angles to the court below, landed on all fours, stopped a second or two to decide if he were really alive or not, then quietly trudged home to his cage. If he wanted a change, Dick had odd ways of showing himself dissatisfied with his condition. In the summer, when his house was too much exposed to the rays of the sun, he would give a queer little cry, which, if no one heeded, he would lie down flat, all extended, and gasp, as if each moment was his last; and no coaxing could bring him to himself, until he was removed, cage and all; then immediately he would jump up, frisk about, sit on his haunches, and laugh out of his eye as merrily as if he had said, 'I know a thing or two—don't I, though?' These manœuvres were a clear sham; he could fall into one in a twinkling, at any time. How many times he has led the children of the family, and the big children too, through beds of beans, beets, and cucumbers, and through the tomato vines and rose-bushes; and when we were in full chase, just ready to believe that he had eluded us quite, and was gone forever, lo! there sat Dick in his wheel, as demure as a judge, and looking as wise as possible at those very silly people, who would be running about so fast, on such a warm day. He never liked any infringement upon his personal liberty; this he always resented; but he would pretend to hide away, and come and peep at you, or jump up behind you, stand on the top of your head or shoulder, play all manner of pranks about your person, get clear into the pocket of any friend, who was likely to have a supply of nuts. He would answer to his name, follow when called, in the house, out of the house, any where, play all about the large house-dog, Tom—pat him on the ear, gently pinch his tail, poise himself on his back, and pretend to sleep by the side of him. But if any one caught him, or held him, as if he were imprisoned—alas! what a struggle ensued—and then, I grieve to say it—he would bite."
The most common squirrels in this country are the gray, the red, and the striped, or chipping squirrel. The latter is the smallest of the three; and as that species are not hunted so much as the rest of the genus, they are very abundant in the woods. Many and many a time, when a child, have I been deceived by the cunning of the chipping squirrel. The little fellow has a hole and nest in the ground. The hole is very frequently either directly under or very near the stump of a tree which has been cut down or was blown over by the wind. Well, the little fellow is accustomed, or he was accustomed, when I was a little boy, to sit good-humoredly on this stump, and sing for hours together. His song has nothing very exquisite in it—it is simply "chip, chip, chip," from the beginning to the end; and his notes are not only all on the same key—a monotony which one might pardon, if he was particularly good-natured—but they are all on the same point in the diatonic scale. However, like many other indifferent singers that I have met in my day, our striped vocalist goes on with his music, as if he thought there never was another, or certainly not more than one other quite as finished a singer as himself. Well, the boy who is unacquainted with the tricks of this little fellow, as was once my own case, steals along carefully toward the stump, thinking that the squirrel is so busy with his music, that he is perfectly unconscious of any thing else that is going on, and that it is just the easiest matter in the world to catch him. Half a dozen times, at least, I have tried this experiment, before I became satisfied that I was not the only interested party who was wide awake. "Chip, chip, chip," sings the squirrel. He does not move an inch. He does not vary his song. His eyes seem half closed. The boy advances within a few feet of the squirrel. He reaches out his hand to secure his prize, when down goes the striped vocalist into his hole, always uttering a sort of laugh, as he enters his door, and seeming pretty plainly to say, though in rather poor Anglo-Saxon, it must be confessed, "No, you don't."
Whoever takes the pains to dig into the earth, where the striped squirrel has made his nest, will find something that will amply repay him for his trouble. The hole goes down pretty straight for some feet; then it turns, and takes a horizontal direction, and runs sometimes a great distance. Little chambers are seen leading out from this horizontal passage, each chamber connected by a door with the passage, and sometimes with other chambers. In each of these rooms, the squirrel stores up different varieties of nuts and other provisions. In one you will find acorns; in another hickory nuts—real shag-barks, for our chipping squirrel is a good judge in these matters; and in another chestnuts, a whole hat-full of them, sometimes. There is quite as much order and regularity in the store-houses of the chipping squirrel, as there seems to be about the premises of some lazy and careless farmers one meets with occasionally.
Accounts are given of the ingenuity of the squirrels in Lapland, which would be too astonishing for belief, were they not credited by such men as Linnæus, on whose authority we have them. It seems that the squirrels in that country are in the habit of emigrating, in large parties, and that they sometimes travel hundreds of miles in this way, and that when they meet with broad or rapid lakes in their travels, they take a very extraordinary method of crossing them. On approaching the banks, and perceiving the breadth of the water, they return, as if by common consent, into the neighboring forest, each in quest of a piece of bark, which answers all the purpose of boats for wafting them over. When the whole company are fitted in this manner, they boldly commit their little fleet to the waves—every squirrel sitting on its own piece of bark, and fanning the air with its tail, to drive the vessel to the desired port. In this> orderly manner they set forward, and often cross lakes several miles broad. But it occasionally happens that the poor mariners are not aware of the dangers of their navigation; for although at the edge of the water it is generally calm, in the middle it is always more rough. The slightest additional gust of wind often oversets the little sailor and his vessel altogether. The entire navy, that perhaps but a few minutes before rode proudly and securely along, is now overturned, and a shipwreck of two or three thousand vessels is the consequence. This wreck, which is so unfortunate for the little animal, is generally the most lucky accident in the world for the Laplander on shore; who gathers up the dead bodies as they are thrown in by the waves, eats the flesh, and sells the skins.
I read an interesting story, awhile ago, which came from the Gentleman's Magazine, about a squirrel who was charmed by a rattle-snake. The substance of the story was something like this: A gentleman was traveling by the side of a creek, where he saw a squirrel running backward and forward between the creek and a large tree a few yards distant. The squirrel's hair looked very rough, showing that he was very much terrified about something. His circuit became shorter and shorter, and the man stopped to see what could be the cause of this strange state of things. He soon discovered the head and neck of a rattle-snake pointing directly at the squirrel, through a hole of the tree, which was hollow. The squirrel at length gave over running, and laid himself down quietly, with his head close to the snake's. The snake then opened his mouth wide, and took in the squirrel's head; upon which the man gave the snake a blow across the neck with his whip, by which the squirrel was released. You will see by this story, which comes to us well authenticated, that snakes possess the power of charming, whatever some people may think or say to the contrary. This is only one among a multitude of facts which I could relate in proof of the existence of such a power among many of the serpent race. But we are conversing about quadrupeds now, and we must not go out of our way to chase after snakes.
A squirrel, sitting on a hickory-tree, was once observed to weigh the nuts he got in each paw, to find out which were good and which were bad. The light ones he invariably threw away, retaining only those which were heavier. It was found, on examining those he had thrown away, that he had not made a mistake in a single instance. They were all bad nuts.
eaving our friends the squirrels, to whom we have certainly devoted quite sufficient attention, we pass along to quite a different race of animals—that of the giraffe or camelopard. This is a noble-looking animal, as you see plainly enough by the engraving. The tongue of the giraffe is exquisitely contrived for grasping. In its native deserts, the animal uses it to hook down branches which are beyond the reach of its muzzle; and in the menagerie at Regent's Park, many a fair lady has been robbed of the artificial flowers which adorned her bonnet, by the nimble and filching tongue of the rare object of her admiration. When attacked, notwithstanding the natural defence of horns and hoofs, the camelopard always seeks escape in flight, and will not turn to do battle except at the last extremity. In such cases, he sometimes makes a successful defence by striking out his powerful armed feet; and the king of beasts is frequently repelled and disabled by the wounds which the giraffe has thus inflicted with his hoofs. His horns are also used with effect, and a side-long sweep of his neck sometimes does fatal execution.
Some years ago, a giraffe was sent from Egypt to Constantinople. His keeper used to exercise him in an open square, where the Turks flocked daily, in great crowds, to see the extraordinary animal. Seeing how inoffensive he was, and how domestic he became, the keeper took the animal with him through the city; and wherever he appeared, a number of friendly hands were held out of the latticed windows, to offer him something to eat. When he came to a house where he had been well treated, if no one was at the window, he would tap gently against the wooden lattice, as if to announce his visit. He was extremely docile and affectionate; and if left to himself, he always frequented the streets where he had the most and best friends.
f course my readers are in some measure familiar with the tricks of this large and notorious family of animals. But one is not easily wearied with their antics. They afford us, the most sober and sedate of us, an immense amount of material for amusement. I confess I have stopped in the street, many a time, to see a sage monkey go through his grotesque manœuvres, under the direction of a tutor who ground out music from a wheezing hand-organ, and have been willing to undergo the penance of hearing the music of the master, for the sake of witnessing the genius of the pupil. I can conceive of nothing more excessively ludicrous than many of these exhibitions. But I must not detain the reader from the stories any longer.
A foreign gentleman of distinction having to attend the court of Louis XVI. of France, took with him his favorite monkey. Soon after his arrival, he was invited to attend a great ball at Versailles; and anxious to perform his part with credit in that fashionable country, he engaged one of the first dancing-masters in the city to teach him the latest mode. Every day he employed several hours in practicing his lessons with the tutor, so as to be au fait, as the French people have it—quite at home in the ball-room. Pug made his observations very attentively, watching all his motions. He also scrutinized the musician very closely, as he was engaged in instructing the gentleman, and playing on his violin. At the close of his lesson, the foreigner was in the habit of going to his mirror, and of practicing before it, by himself, for a considerable time, till he was in a measure satisfied with his performances, and pretty sure, we may suppose, that he would make a fine figure at court when the ball should come off. One day, after the gentleman had been exercising in this manner, and had just left the room, the monkey, who had been looking on with interest, as usual, left his post of observation, took up the violin, which had been left there by the musician, and commenced playing and imitating the dancing of his master, before the mirror. There is no knowing how much of a dancer he would have become, if he had been allowed to practice as much as he desired. As it was, however, his training for the ball was very suddenly terminated by the entrance of a servant into the room, while the student was in the midst of his performances.
A monkey tied to a stake was robbed by the crows, in the West Indies, of his food, and he conceived the following plan of punishing the thieves. He feigned death, and lay perfectly motionless on the ground near to his stake. The birds approached by degrees, and got near enough to steal his food, which he allowed them to do. This he repeated several times, till they became so bold as to come within the reach of his claws. He calculated his distance, and laid hold of one of them. Death was not his plan of punishment. He was more refined in his cruelty. He plucked every feather out of the bird, and then let him go and show himself to his companions. He made a man of him according to the ancient definition of a "biped without feathers."
An organ-grinder, with his monkey, being taken before the mayor of New Orleans, for exhibiting themselves without a license, the monkey was so polite to the mayor, took off his cap and made so many bows to his honor, that the two were permitted to depart in peace. It is said that no lawyer would have managed the case better than the monkey did.
A gentleman living in Bath, England, had a monkey who used to perform a great many very amusing tricks, in imitation of his master. The gentleman was a great politician, and was in the habit of reading his newspaper very punctually every morning, at the breakfast-table. One day, business having compelled him to leave the table earlier than usual, Pug was found, seated in his chair, with his master's spectacles on, and the Courier newspaper upside down, reading as gravely, and with as much apparent interest, as the politician. Once in a while he looked off his paper, and chattered, and made significant gestures, as his master was in the habit of doing, when he came across any thing very especially interesting.
A farmer in the West Indies had planted a field with Indian corn. Numerous monkeys inhabited a forest near by, who had attentively observed the planting process, and the method by which it was cultivated. They seemed to take not a little interest in the whole matter. The farmer had the pleasure of seeing his crop of corn nearly ready for harvesting. But the monkeys took care that he should not have the trouble of harvesting it. One night, they issued from the forest in vast numbers, forming themselves into long lines between it and the corn-field. All was conducted in silence. Each was intent on the business in hand. Those in front of the lines plucked off the ears of corn with great dexterity, and passed them to his nearest companion, who handed them forward from one to another, till they reached the woods. In this manner the work proceeded till daylight, when the slaves found the thieves finishing the operation. It had been a very profitable night's labor for the mischievous fellows. The corn was pretty nearly all disposed of. Before the owner of it could get his workmen together, with suitable weapons of defence, the whole troop had disappeared in the forest. What a chattering there must have been among them, when they all met at their rendezvous! How knowing they must have looked, as they said one to another, "Wasn't that thing managed pretty nicely?"
In Sierra Leone is a species of orang-outang so strong and so industrious, that, when properly trained and fed, they work like servants. They generally walk upright on their two hind feet. Sometimes they are employed to pound substances in a mortar, and they are frequently taught to go to rivers, and to bring water in small pitchers. They usually carry the water on their heads. When they come to the door of the house, if the pitchers are not soon taken off, they let them fall; and when they perceive that they are broken, the poor fellows sometimes weep like a child, in anticipation of the flogging they are to receive.
Buffon saw an orang-outang that performed a multitude of funny tricks. He would present his hand to lead his visitors about the room, and promenade as gravely as if he was one of the most important personages in the company. He would even sit down at table, unfold his napkin, wipe his lips like any other gentleman, use a spoon or fork in carrying food to his mouth, pour his liquor into a glass—for it seems he had not become a convert to the principles of total abstinence—and touch his glass to that of the person who drank with him. When invited to take tea, he brought a cup and saucer, placed them on the table, put in sugar, poured out the tea, and after allowing it to cool, drank it with the utmost propriety.
In Africa the orang-outang is a very formidable animal, and does not hesitate to attack men, when alone and without arms, in which cases he always proves himself the victor. He sleeps under trees, and builds himself a hut, which serves to protect him against the sun and the rains of the tropical climates. When the negroes make a fire in the woods, this animal comes near and warms himself by the blaze. However, he has not skill enough to keep the flame alive by feeding it with fuel. They even attack the elephant, which they beat with their clubs, and oblige to leave that part of the forest which they claim as their own. When one of these animals dies, the rest cover the body with a quantity of leaves and branches. They sometimes show mercy to the human species. A negro boy, it is said, that was taken by one of them and carried into the woods, continued there a whole year, without receiving any injury. It is said, indeed, that they often attempt to surprise the negroes as they go into the woods, and sometimes keep them against their will, for the pleasure of their company, feeding them very plentifully all the time. In respect to this latter statement, however, I confess myself a little skeptical. There have been a great many well-told stories about men of the woods, which have proved to be altogether fabulous, when the true state of the case has become known.
There were two monkeys, one of which was peculiarly mischievous, and the other pretty civil and good-natured, on board of the same ship. One day, when the sea ran very high, the former prevailed on the other to go aloft with him, when he drew her attention to an object at a distance, and when she turned to look at it, he hit her a blow with his paw, and threw her into the sea, where she was drowned. This act seemed to afford the rascal a great deal of gratification. He came down to the deck of the vessel, chattering at the top of his voice, he was so happy.
Le Vaillant, a French traveler in Africa, says of a tame baboon, which followed him in his rambles, "One day, a gentleman, wishing to put the fidelity of the animal to the test, pretended to strike me. At this the monkey flew into a violent rage, and from that time, he could never endure the sight of the man. If he only saw him at a distance, he began to cry and to make all sorts of grimaces, which evidently showed that he wished to revenge the insult that had been done to me. He ground his teeth, and endeavored, with all his might, to fly at his face."
Here is a story of a monkey who made a fool of himself, and of a British soldier at the same time. During the period of the siege of Gibraltar, when England and Spain were at war in 1779, the English fleet being at the time absent, an attack from the enemy was daily expected. One dark night, a sentinel, whose post was near a tower facing the Spanish lines, was standing, at the end of his walk, whistling, looking toward the enemy, his head filled with fire, and sword, and glory. By the side of his box stood a deep, narrow-necked earthen jar, in which was the remainder of his supper, consisting of boiled peas. A large monkey—of which there were plenty at Gibraltar—encouraged by the man's absence, and allured by the smell of the peas, ventured to the jar; and in endeavoring to get at its contents, thrust his head so far into the vessel that he was not able to get it out again. At this moment, the soldier approached. The monkey started, in alarm, with the jar on his head. This terrible monster frightened the poor soldier half out of his wits. He thought it was a bloodthirsty Spanish grenadier, with a most prodigious cap on his head. So he fired his musket, like any other valiant soldier, roaring out, as loud as he could, that the enemy had scaled the walls. The guards took the alarm; the drums were beaten; signal guns discharged, and in less than ten minutes the whole garrison were under arms. The supposed grenadier, being very uncomfortable in his cap, was soon overtaken and seized; and by his capture, the tranquillity of the garrison, as the reader might rationally conjecture, was speedily restored, without any of the bloodshed which the sagacious sentinel so much feared.
A clergyman in England, of some distinction, had a tame baboon, who was very fond of him, and whenever he could get a chance, followed him in the street. When he went to church, however, to perform the service, he preferred, of course, that his monkey should stay at home, and used to confine him accordingly. One Sabbath morning the animal escaped, and followed his master to the church; and silently mounting the sounding-board over the minister's head, he lay perfectly still till the sermon commenced. Then he crept to the edge, where he could see his master, and imitated his gestures in such a droll and amusing manner, that the entire congregation began to laugh. The minister, who did not see his favorite monkey, and who was surprised and confounded at this unaccountable levity, rebuked the audience, but to no effect. The people still laughed, and the preacher, in the warmth of his zeal, redoubled his earnestness and action. The consequence was that the ape became more animated too, and increased the number and violence of his gestures. The congregation could no longer restrain themselves, and burst into a long and loud roar of laughter.
Some of the ape-catchers of Africa have a very queer way of securing these animals. It is said that they take a vessel filled with water out into the woods with them, and wash their hands and faces in the water. The apes see this operation. Afterward, the natives throw out the water in which they washed, and supply its place by a solution of glue. Then they leave the spot, and the apes come down from the trees, and wash themselves, in the same manner as they have seen the men wash. The consequence is, that the poor fellows get their eyes glued together so fast that they cannot open them, and so being unable to see their way to escape, they fall into the hands of their enemies.
robably there is no animal so beautiful, and that possesses so much ability for being serviceable to man, that is nevertheless so useless, except for its beauty, as the zebra. One would suppose, to look at the fellow—and doubtless this is the fact—that he could perform much of the labor of the horse. But he is generally quite indisposed to any such routine of employment. He is very fond of his own way—so fond of it, indeed, that the most patient and persevering efforts to teach him to change it are generally almost fruitless. The entire race are any thing but docile. They are tamed, so as to obey the bridle, only with great difficulty; and their obedience is rather imperfect, at best. Bingley mentions one which was brought from the Cape of Good Hope to the tower of London, in 1803, who was more docile and kindly disposed than most of the species. When in pretty good humor, this animal would carry her keeper from fifty to a hundred yards; but he could never prevail upon her to go any farther. He might beat her as much as he pleased; she would not budge an inch, but would rear up and kick, until her rider was obliged to get off. When she got angry, as she did sometimes, she would plunge at her keeper, and on one occasion she seized him by the coat, threw him upon the ground, and would undoubtedly have killed him, had he not been very active, so that he got out of her reach.
The most docile zebra on record was one that was burned, accidentally, in England, several years ago, with several other animals belonging to a lyceum. This animal allowed his keeper to use great familiarities with him—to put children on his back, even, without showing any resentment. On one occasion, a person rode on his back a mile or two. This zebra had been raised in Portugal.
an any body imagine a more perfect picture of quiet contentment, than a company of cows that have finished their toils for the day, and have come at early evening to chew their cud, and to reward their patrons for the supply of green grass that has been afforded them? There are two such amiable cows represented in the engraving on the opposite page. The artist has portrayed them standing before a huge pottery, where they seem to be very much at home, and at peace with all the world. Their thoughts—if they have any, and doubtless they have, a good many of them—are those of the most tranquil and placid nature. Perhaps they are edifying each other with reflections on the great advantages of the mechanic arts, and the art of making earthen ware in particular. The old cow is a genuine philosopher. She makes the best of every thing. Seldom, very seldom, does she allow herself to get excited. As for being angry, she makes such a bungling piece of work of it, whenever she does indulge in a little peevishness, that she seems to cool off at once, from the very idea of the ludicrous figure she makes. Generally, she takes the world easy. Her troubles are few. If the flies bite her—and they take that liberty sometimes—she leisurely employs a wand she has at command, and brushes them off. Nervous and excitable men might undoubtedly learn a lesson from the philosophical old cow, if they would go to school to her. They might learn that the true way to go through the world, is to keep tolerably cool, and not to be breaking their heads against every stone wall that happens to lie between them and the object of their desire.
There are many anecdotes which prove that the ox and cow have a musical ear, as the phrase is. Professor Bell says that he has often, when a boy, tried the effect of the music of the flute on cows, and always observed that it produced great apparent enjoyment. Instances have been known of the fiercest bulls having been subdued and calmed into gentleness, by music of a plaintive kind.
There is a laughable story told of the effect of music on a bull. A fiddler, residing in the country, not far from Liverpool, was returning, at three o'clock in the morning, with his instrument, from a place where he had been engaged in his accustomed vocation. He had occasion to cross a field where there were some cows and a rather saucy bull. The latter took it into his head to assault the fiddler, who tried to escape. He did not succeed, however. The bull was wide awake, and could not let the gentleman off so cheap. The poor fellow then attempted to climb a tree. But the enraged animal would not permit him to do that. The fiddler, who had heard something about the wonderful power of music in subduing the rage of some of the lower animals, thinking of nothing else that he could do for his protection, got behind the tree, and commenced playing, literally for his life. Strange as it may appear, the animal was calmed at once, and appeared to be delighted with the music. By and by, the fiddler, finding that his enemy was entirely pacified, stopped playing, and started homeward, as fast as his legs would carry him. But the bull would not allow him to escape, and made after him. The poor fellow, fearing he should be killed, stopped, and went to fiddling again. The animal was pacified, as before. Our hero then plied the bow until his arm ached, and seizing, as he supposed, a favorable opportunity, he made another effort to run away. He was probably not accustomed to fiddle without pay, and he was pretty sure the customer he was now playing for intended to get his music for nothing. Well, the fiddler was no more successful this time than he was before. The fury of the bull returned, as soon as the strains ceased; and at last, the poor man surrendered himself to his fate, and actually played for the bull until six o'clock—about three hours in all—when some people came to his rescue. He must have been pretty well convinced, I think, while he was entertaining the bull in that manner, that
"Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast."
his animal, which belongs to the same family with the camel, is a native of some parts of South America, and is used as a beast of burden. He is capable of carrying from one hundred to one hundred and fifty pounds, and on the steep places where he is usually employed, will walk with his load twelve or fifteen miles a day. When lamas get weary, it is said they will stop, and scarcely any severity can compel them to go on. Some of the accounts of these singular animals represent them as having a bad trick of spitting, when they do not like their treatment. In this respect, they resemble a great many strange sort of men I have met with on our side of the equator, who will spit from morning till night, sometimes on the carpet, too, on account of a very nauseous weed they have in their mouths—with this difference, however, that the lamas spit when they are displeased only, and the men spit all the time.
Some one who has been familiar with the animal in South America, and who has seen it a great deal in use among the Indians there, presents a very interesting account of its nature and habits. He says, "The lama is the only animal associated with man, and undebased by the contact. The lama will bear neither beating nor ill treatment. They go in troops, an Indian going a long distance ahead as a guide. If tired, they stop, and the Indian stops also. If the delay is great, the Indian, becoming uneasy toward sunset, resolves on supplicating the beasts to resume their journey. If the lamas are disposed to continue their course, they follow the Indian in good order, at a regular pace, and very fast, for their legs are very long; but when they are in ill-humor, they do not even turn their heads toward the speaker, but remain motionless, standing or lying down, and gazing on heaven with looks so tender, so melancholy, that we might imagine these singular animals had the consciousness of a happier existence. If it happens—which is very seldom—that an Indian wishes to obtain, either by force or threats, what the lama will not willingly perform, the instant the animal finds himself affronted by word or gesture, he raises his head with dignity, or, without attempting to escape ill treatment by flight, he lies down, his looks turned toward heaven; large tears flow from his beautiful eyes; and frequently, in less than an hour, he dies."
***END OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK STORIES ABOUT ANIMALS: WITH PICTURES TO MATCH***
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