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´╗┐Title: Stories about the Instinct of Animals, Their Characters, and Habits
Author: Bingley, Thomas
Language: English
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the page to which it refers.



                          STORIES

                         ABOUT THE

                   INSTINCT OF ANIMALS,

               THEIR CHARACTERS, AND HABITS.

                    BY THOMAS BINGLEY.

EMBELLISHED WITH ENGRAVINGS, FROM DRAWINGS BY T. LANDSEER.


                      [Illustration]


                         NEW YORK:
             C.S. FRANCIS & CO., 252 BROADWAY.

                          BOSTON:
           J.H. FRANCIS, 128 WASHINGTON STREET.
                           1851.



CONTENTS.


CHAPTER I.

Uncle Thomas resumes his Stories about the Instinct of Animals.--Tells
about the Horse, and of the Immense Herds which are to be found on the
Plains of South America; of their Capture by means of the Lasso; the
Arab and his Mare; the Gadshill Robber; the Benevolent Planter; the
Lawyer-Highwayman; as well as several other Curious Stories about the
Intelligence, Affection, and Docility of the Horse              Page 9


CHAPTER II.

Uncle Thomas tells about the Beaver, and the Singular Manner in which it
constructs a Dam to confine the Waters of the River; and about the Hut
which it builds for its Habitation. He tells also about the Curious
Nests of the Sociable Grosbeak; and gives a Long and Entertaining
Account of the White Ant of Africa; its Extraordinary Nest; and the
Important Part which it acts in the Economy of Nature               29


CHAPTER III.

Uncle Thomas describes the Manner in which Wild Elephants are caught,
and relates some Curious Stories of the Cunning, Affection, and
Intelligence of the Elephant                                        54


CHAPTER IV.

Uncle Thomas introduces to the Notice of the Young Folks the Ettrick
Shepherd's Stories about Sheep; and tells them some Interesting Stories
about the Goat, and its Peculiarities                               71


CHAPTER V.

Uncle Thomas relates some Very Remarkable Stories about the Cat; points
out to the Boys the Connexion subsisting between the Domestic Cat and
the Lion, Tiger, &c., and tells them some Stories about the Gentleness,
as well as the Ferocity of these Animals                            89


CHAPTER VI.

Uncle Thomas tells about the Tiger; its Ferocity and Power; and of the
Curious Modes which are adopted for its Capture and Destruction.--Also
about the Puma or American Lion, and introduces some Hunting Scenes in
North and South America, with other Interesting and Entertaining
Adventures                                                         123


CHAPTER VII.

Uncle Thomas tells about the Migrating Instinct of Animals.--Of the
House Swallow of England; and the Esculent Swallow, whose Nest is eaten
by the Chinese.--He tells also about the Passenger Pigeon of America; of
the Myriads which are found in various parts of the United States; of
the Land-Crab and its Migrations, and of those of the Salmon and the
Common Herring                                                     144


CHAPTER VIII.

Uncle Thomas tells about the Baboons, and their Plundering Excursions to
the Gardens at the of Good Hope, Calsoaep about Le Vaillant's Baboon,
Kees, and his Peculiarities; the American Monkeys; and relates an
Amusing Story about a Young Monkey deprived of its Mother, putting
itself under the Fostering Care of a Wig-Block                     174


CHAPTER IX.

Uncle Thomas concludes Stories about Instinct with several Interesting
Illustrations of the Affections of Animals, particularly of the Instinct
of Maternal Affection, in the course of which he narrates the Story of
the Cat and the Black-Bird; the Squirrel's Nest; the Equestrian Friends;
and points out the Beneficent Care of Providence in implanting in the
Breasts of each of his Creatures the Instinct which is necessary for its
Security and Protection                                            193



STORIES

ILLUSTRATIVE OF THE

INSTINCT OF ANIMALS.



CHAPTER I.

     Uncle Thomas resumes his Stories about the Instinct of
     Animals.--Tells about the Horse, and of the Immense Herds which are
     to be found on the Plains of South America; of their Capture by
     means of the Lasso; the Arab and his Mare; the Gadshill Robber; the
     Benevolent Planter; the Lawyer-Highwayman; as well as several other
     Curious Stories about the Intelligence, Affection, and Docility of
     the Horse.


"Come away, boys, I am glad to see you again! Since I last saw you I
have made an extensive tour, and visited some of the most romantic and
picturesque scenery in England. One day I may give you an account of
what I saw, and describe to you the scenes which I visited; but I must
deny myself this pleasure at present. I promised, at our next meeting,
to tell you some TALES ABOUT THE INSTINCT OF ANIMALS; and I propose to
begin with the Horse. I like to interest you with those animals with
which you are familiar, and to draw out your sympathies towards them.
After the STORIES ABOUT DOGS which I told you, some of them exhibiting
that fine animal in such an amiable and affectionate character, I am
sure it must assume a new interest in your mind. Such instances of
fidelity and attachment could not fail to impress you with a higher
opinion of the animal than you before possessed, and show that kindness
and good treatment even to a brute are not without their reward.

"I wish to excite the same interest towards the other animals which, I
hope, I have effected towards the Dog. Each, you will find, has been
endowed by its Creator with particular instincts, to fit it for the
station which it was intended to occupy in the great system of Nature.
Some of them are wild and ferocious, while others are quiet and
inoffensive; the former naturally repel us, while those of the latter
class as naturally attract our regard, although, properly speaking, each
ought equally to interest us, in as far as it fulfils the object of its
being.

"But I know you like stories better than lectures, so I will not tire
you by lecturing, but will at once proceed to tell some stories about
Horses, which I have gathered for you."

"Oh no, Uncle Thomas, we never feel tired of listening to you; we know
you have always something curious to tell us."

"Well, then, Frank, to begin at once with THE HORSE.

"In several parts of the world there are to be found large herds of wild
horses. In South America, in particular, the immense plains are
inhabited by them, and, it is said, that so many as ten thousand are
sometimes found in a single herd. These flocks are always preceded by a
leader, who directs their motions; and such is the regularity with which
they perform their movements, that it seems almost as if they could not
be surpassed by the best trained cavalry.

"It is extremely dangerous for travellers to encounter a herd of this
description. When they are unaccustomed to the sight of such a mass of
creatures, they cannot help feeling greatly alarmed at their rapid and
apparently irresistible approach. The trampling of the animals sounds
like the loudest thunder; and such is the rapidity and impetuosity of
their advance, that it seems to threaten instant destruction. Suddenly,
however, they sometimes stop short, utter a loud and piercing neighing,
and, with a rapid wheel in an opposite course, altogether disappear. On
such occasions, however, it requires all the care of the traveller to
prevent his horses from breaking loose, and escaping with the wild
herd.

"In those countries where horses are so plentiful, the inhabitants do
not take the trouble to rear them, but, whenever they want one, mount
upon an animal which has been accustomed to the sport, and gallop over
the plain towards the herd, which is readily found at no great distance.
Gradually he approaches some stragglers from the main body, and, having
selected the horse which he wishes to possess, he dexterously throws the
_lasso_ (which is a long rope with a running noose, and which is firmly
fixed to his saddle,) in such a manner as to entangle the animal's hind
legs; and, with a sudden turn of his horse, he pulls it over on its
side. In an instant he jumps off his horse, wraps his _poncho_, or
cloak, round the captive's head, forces a bit into its mouth, and straps
a saddle upon its back. He then removes the poncho, and the animal
starts on its feet. With equal quickness the hunter leaps into the
saddle; and, in spite of the contortions and kickings of his captive,
keeps his seat, till, having wearied itself out with its vain efforts,
it submits to the discipline of its captor, who seldom fails to reduce
it to complete obedience."

"That is very dexterous indeed, Uncle Thomas; but surely all horses are
not originally found in this wild state. I have heard that the Arabians
are famous for rearing horses."

"Arabia has, for a long time, been the country noted for the symmetry
and speed of its horses: so much attention has been paid to the breeding
of horses in our own country, however, for the race-course as well as
the hunting-field, that the English horses are now almost unequalled,
both for speed and endurance.

"It is little wonder, however, that the Arabian horse should be the most
excellent, considering the care and attention which it receives, and the
kindness and consideration with which it is treated. One of the best
stories which I ever heard of the love of an Arabian for his steed, is
that related of an Arab from whom one of our envoys wished to purchase
his horse.

"The animal was a bright bay mare, of extraordinary shape and beauty;
and the owner, proud of its appearance and qualities, paraded it before
the envoy's tent until it attracted his attention. On being asked if he
would sell her, 'What will you give me?' was the reply. 'That depends
upon her age; I suppose she is past five?' 'Guess again,' said he.
'Four?' 'Look at her mouth,' said the Arab, with a smile. On examination
she was found to be rising three. This, from her size and symmetry,
greatly enhanced her value. The envoy said, 'I will give you fifty
tomans' (a coin nearly of the value of a pound sterling). 'A little
more, if you please,' said the fellow, somewhat entertained. 'Eighty--a
hundred.' He shook his head and smiled. The officer at last came to two
hundred tomans. 'Well,' said the Arab, 'you need not tempt me farther.
You are a rich elchee (nobleman); you have fine horses, camels, and
mules, and I am told you have loads of silver and gold. Now,' added he,
'you want my mare, but you shall not have her for all you have got.' He
put spurs to his horse, and was soon out of the reach of temptation.

"Swift as the Arabian horses are, however, they are frequently matched
by those of our own country. I say nothing about _race horses_, because,
though some of them are recorded to have run at an amazing speed, the
effort is generally continued for but a short time. Here is an instance
of speed in a horse which saved its unworthy master from the punishment
due to his crime.

[Illustration: CATCHING WILD HORSES--Page 13.]

"One morning about four o'clock a gentleman was stopped, and robbed by a
highwayman named Nicks, at Gadshill, on the west side of Chatham. He was
mounted on a bay mare of great speed and endurance, and as soon as he
had accomplished his purpose, he instantly started for Gravesend, where
he was detained nearly an hour by the difficulty of getting a boat.
He employed the interval to advantage however in baiting his horse. From
thence he got to Essex and Chelmsford, where he again stopped about half
an hour to refresh his horse. He then went to Braintree, Bocking,
Weathersfield, and over the Downs to Cambridge, and still pursuing the
cross roads, he went by Fenney and Stratford to Huntingdon, where he
again rested about half an hour. Proceeding now on the north road, and
at a full gallop most of the way, he arrived at York the same afternoon,
put off his boots and riding clothes, and went dressed to the
bowling-green, where, among other promenaders, happened to be the Lord
Mayor of the city. He there studied to do something particular, that his
lordship might remember him, and asking what o'clock it was, the mayor
informed him that it was a quarter past eight. Notwithstanding all these
precautions, however, he was discovered, and tried for the robbery; he
rested his defence on the fact of his being at York at such a time. The
gentleman swore positively to the time and place at which the robbery
was committed, but on the other hand, the proof was equally clear that
the prisoner was at York at the time specified. The jury acquitted him
on the supposed impossibility of his having got so great a distance from
Kent by the time he was seen in the bowling-green. Yet he was the
highwayman."

"So that he owed his safety to the speed of his horse, Uncle Thomas."

"He did so, Harry. The horse can on occasion swim about as well as most
animals, yet it never takes to the water unless urged to do so. There is
a story about a horse saving the lives of many persons who had suffered
shipwreck by being driven upon the rocks at the Cape of Good Hope,
which, I am sure, will interest you as much for the perseverance and
docility of the animal, as for the benevolence and intrepidity of its
owner.

"A violent gale of wind setting in from north and north-west, a vessel
in the roads dragged her anchors, was forced on the rocks, and bilged;
and while the greater part of the crew fell an immediate sacrifice to
the waves, the remainder were seen from the shore struggling for their
lives, by clinging to the different pieces of the wreck. The sea ran
dreadfully high, and broke over the sailors with such amazing fury, that
no boat whatever could venture off to their assistance. Meanwhile a
planter, considerably advanced in life, had come from his farm to be a
spectator of the shipwreck; his heart was melted at the sight of the
unhappy seamen, and knowing the bold and enterprizing spirit of his
horse, and his particular excellence as a swimmer, he instantly
determined to make a desperate effort for their deliverance. He
alighted, and blew a little brandy into his horse's nostrils, and again
seating himself in the saddle, he instantly pushed into the midst of the
breakers. At first both disappeared, but it was not long before they
floated on the surface, and swam up to the wreck; when taking with him
two men, each of whom held by one of his boots, he brought them safe to
shore. This perilous expedition he repeated no seldomer than seven
times, and saved fourteen lives; but on his return the eighth time, his
horse being much fatigued, and meeting a most formidable wave, he lost
his balance, and was overwhelmed in a moment. The horse swam safely to
land, but his gallant rider sank to rise no more."

"That was very unfortunate, Uncle Thomas. I suppose the planter had been
so fatigued with his previous exertions, that he had not strength to
struggle with the strong waves."

"Very likely, indeed, Harry. I dare say the poor animal felt the loss of
his kind owner very much, for the horse soon becomes attached to his
master, and exhibits traits of intelligence and fidelity, certainly not
surpassed by those of any other animal: for instance,--A gentleman, who
was one dark night riding home through a wood, had the misfortune to
strike his head against the branch of a tree, and fell from his horse
stunned by the blow. The noble animal immediately returned to the house
they had left, which stood about a mile distant. He found the door
closed,--the family had retired to bed. He pawed at it, however, till
one of them, hearing the noise, arose and opened it, and, to his
surprise, saw the horse of his friend. No sooner was the door opened
than the horse turned round as if it wished to be followed; and the man,
suspecting there was something wrong, followed the animal, which led him
directly to the spot where its wounded master lay on the ground.

"There is another story of a somewhat similar description in which a
horse saved his master from perishing among the snow. It happened in the
North of Scotland.

"A gentleman connected with the Excise was returning home from one of
his professional journies. His way lay across a range of hills, the road
over which was so blocked up with snow as to leave all trace of it
indiscernible. Uncertain how to proceed, he resolved to trust to his
horse, and throwing loose the reins, allowed him to choose his course.
The animal proceeded cautiously, and safely for some time, till coming
to a ravine, horse and rider sunk in a snow-wreath several fathoms deep.

"Stunned by the suddenness and depth of the descent, the gentleman lay
for some time insensible. On recovering, he found himself nearly three
yards from the dangerous spot, with his faithful horse standing over him
and licking the snow from his face. He accounts for his extrication, by
supposing that the bridle must have been attached to his person, but so
completely had he lost all sense of consciousness, that beyond the bare
fact as stated, he had no knowledge of the means by which he made so
remarkable an escape."

"It was at any rate very kind in the horse to clear away the snow, Uncle
Thomas."

"No doubt of it, John, and perhaps he owed his life quite as much to
this act of kindness as to being pulled out of the ravine. He might have
been as certainly choked by the snow out of it as in it. Sometimes the
horse becomes much attached to the animals with which it associates, and
its feelings of friendship are as powererful as those of the dog. A
gentleman of Bristol had a greyhound which slept in the same stable, and
contracted a very great intimacy with a fine hunter. When the dog was
taken out, the horse neighed wistfully after him, and seemed to long for
its return; he welcomed him home with a neigh; the greyhound ran up to
the horse and licked him; the horse, in return, scratched the
greyhound's back with his teeth. On one occasion, when the groom had the
pair out for exercise, a large dog attacked the greyhound, bore him to
the ground, and seemed likely to worry him, when the horse threw back
his ears, rushed forward, seized the strange dog by the back, and flung
him to a distance, which so terrified the aggressor, that he at once
desisted and made off."

"That was very kind, Uncle Thomas. I like to hear of such instances of
friendship between animals."

"Such a docile animal as the horse can readily be trained to particular
habits, and does not readily forget them, however disreputable. There is
an odd story to illustrate this.

"About the middle of last century, a Scottish lawyer had occasion to
visit the metropolis. At that period such journies were usually
performed on horseback, and the traveller might either ride post, or, if
willing to travel economically, he bought a horse, and sold him at the
end of his journey. The lawyer had chosen the latter mode of travelling,
and sold the animal on which he rode from Scotland as soon as he arrived
in London. With a view to his return, he went to Smithfield to purchase
a horse. About dusk a handsome one was offered, at so cheap a rate that
he suspected the soundness of the animal, but being able to discover no
blemish, he became the purchaser.

"Next morning, he set out on his journey, the horse had excellent paces,
and our traveller, while riding over the few first miles, where the road
was well frequented, did not fail to congratulate himself on his good
fortune, which had led him to make so advantageous a bargain.

"They arrived at last at Finchley Common, and at a place where the road
ran down a slight eminence, and up another, the lawyer met a clergyman
driving a one-horse chaise. There was nobody within sight, and the horse
by his conduct instantly discovered the profession of his former owner.
Instead of pursuing his journey, he ran close up to the chaise and stopt
it, having no doubt but his rider would embrace so fair an opportunity
of exercising his calling. The clergyman seemed of the same opinion,
produced his purse unasked, and assured the astonished lawyer that it
was quite unnecessary to draw his pistol, as he did not intend to offer
any resistance. The traveller rallied his horse, and with many apologies
to the gentleman he had so innocently and unwillingly affrighted,
pursued his journey.

"They had not proceeded far when the horse again made the same
suspicious approach to a coach, from the window of which a blunderbuss
was levelled, with denunciations of death and destruction to the hapless
and perplexed rider. In short, after his life had been once or twice
endangered by the suspicions to which the conduct of his horse gave
rise, and his liberty as often threatened by the peace-officers, who
were disposed to apprehend him as a notorious highwayman, the former
owner of the horse, he was obliged to part with the inauspicious animal
for a trifle, and to purchase one less beautiful, but not accustomed to
such dangerous habits."

"Capital, Uncle Thomas! I should have liked to have seen the perplexed
look of the poor lawyer, when he saw the blunderbuss make its appearance
at the carriage window!"

"There is one other story about the horse, showing his love for his
master, and the gentleness of his character. A horse which was
remarkable for its antipathy to strangers, one evening, while bearing
his master home from a jovial meeting, became disburthened of his rider,
who, having indulged rather freely, soon went to sleep on the ground.
The horse, however, did not scamper off, but kept faithful watch by his
prostrate master till the morning, when the two were perceived about
sunrise by some labourers. They approached the gentleman, with the
intention of replacing him on his saddle, but every attempt on their
part was resolutely opposed by the grinning teeth and ready heels of the
horse, which would neither allow them to touch his master, nor suffer
himself to be seized till the gentleman himself awoke from his sleep.
The same horse, among other bad propensities, constantly resented the
attempts of the groom to trim its fetlocks. This circumstance happened
to be mentioned by its owner in conversation, in the presence of his
youngest child, a very few years old, when he defied any man to perform
the operation singly. The father next day, in passing through the
stable-yard, beheld with the utmost distress, the infant employed with a
pair of scissors in clipping the fetlocks of the hind-legs of this
vicious hunter--an operation which had been always hitherto performed
with great danger even by a number of men. Instead, however, of
exhibiting his usual vicious disposition, the horse, in the present
case, was looking with the greatest complacency on the little groom, who
soon after, to the very great relief of his father, walked off unhurt."



CHAPTER II.

     Uncle Thomas tells about the Beaver, and the Singular Manner in
     which it Constructs a Dam to confine the Waters of the River; and
     about the Hut which it builds for its Habitation. He tells also
     about the Curious Nests of the Sociable Grosbeak; and gives a Long
     and Entertaining Account of the White Ant of Africa; its
     Extraordinary Nest; and the Important Part which it acts in the
     Economy of Nature.


"Good evening, Boys! I am going to tell you about a very singular animal
to-night--singular both in its conformation and its habits. I allude to
the Beaver."

"Oh, we shall be so glad to hear about the Beaver, Uncle Thomas. I have
sometimes wondered what sort of an animal it is. It is of its skin that
hats are made--is it not?"

"It is so, Harry--at least it is of the fur with which its skin is
covered. I must tell you about the manufacture of hats at some other
time. Our business at present is with the Beaver itself. I think we
shall get on better by confining our attention to the animal now, and
examine into its habits and instincts."

"Very well, Uncle Thomas, we are all attention."

"The Beaver, which is now only to be found in the more inaccessible
parts of America, and the more northern countries of Europe, affords a
curious instance of what may be called a compound structure. It has the
fore-feet of a land animal, and the hind ones of an aquatic one--the
latter only being webbed. Its tail is covered with scales like a fish,
and serves to direct its course in the water, in which it spends much of
its time.

"On the rivers where they abound, they form societies sometimes
consisting of upwards of two hundred. They begin to assemble about the
months of June and July, and generally choose for the place of their
future habitation the side of some lake or river. If a lake, in which
the water is always pretty nearly of a uniform level, they dispense with
building a dam, but if the place they fix upon be the banks of a river,
they immediately set about constructing a pier or dam, to confine the
water, so that they may always have a good supply."

"That is an instance of very singular sagacity Uncle Thomas. I suppose
it is their instinct which teaches them to act in this manner."

"You are right, Frank. Well, the mode in which they set about
constructing the dam is this: having fixed upon the spot, they go into
the neighbouring forest, and cut quantities of the smaller branches of
trees, which they forthwith convey to the place selected, and having
fixed them in the earth, interweave them strongly and closely, filling
up all the crevices with mud and stones, so as soon to make a most
compact construction."

"That must be a work of very great labour, Uncle Thomas."

"The labour is very considerable, Boys; but the power which, for want of
a better name, we call Instinct, comes wonderfully to their aid. For
instance, it has been observed that they seek all the branches which
they want on the banks of the river, higher up than their construction,
so that having once got them conveyed to the water, they are easily
floated to it."

"Very good, Uncle Thomas."

"When the beavers have finished the dam, they then proceed to construct
a house for themselves. First they dig a foundation of greater or less
capacity, in proportion to the number of their society. They then form
the walls of earth and stones, mixed with billets of wood crossing each
other, and thus tying the fabric together just in the same way as you
sometimes see masons do in building human dwellings. Their huts are
generally of a circular form, something like the figure of a haycock,
and they have usually several entrances--one or more opening into the
river or lake, below the surface of the water, and one communicating
with any bushes and brushwood which may be at hand, so as to afford the
means of escape in case of attack either on the land or water side."

"They must be pretty safe then, Uncle Thomas, since they can so readily
escape."

"They are pretty secure so long as they have only unreasoning animals to
contend with, Frank; but when man, armed with the power, before which
mere Instinct must at all times bow, attacks them, they are very easily
overcome. Shall I tell you how the hunters capture them?"

"If you please, Uncle Thomas."

"Very well. I must first tell you that the skin of the Beaver is most
valuable during winter, as the fur is then thicker and finer than during
the summer. They are therefore very little if at all molested during
summer by the hunters. When winter sets in, however, and the lakes and
rivers are frozen over, a party of hunters set out to seek for the
beaver colonies, and, having found them, they make a number of holes in
the ice. Having done this and concerted measures, they break down the
huts, and the animals instantly get into the water as a place of safety.
As they cannot remain long under water, however, they have soon occasion
to come to the surface to breathe, and of course make for the holes
which the hunters have formed in the ice, when the latter, who are
waiting in readiness, knock them on the head."

"But, Uncle Thomas, don't you think it is very cruel to kill the beaver
so? I believe it feeds entirely on vegetables, and does no harm to any
one."

"You might say the same, John, of the sheep on the downs; the one is not
more cruel than the other: both are useful to man, and furnish him with
food as well as raiment, and both were, of course, included in the
'dominion' which God originally gave to man 'over the beasts of the
field.'"

"Is the beaver used for food, then, Uncle Thomas?"

"It is, and except during a small part of the year, when it feeds on the
root of the water-lily, which communicates a peculiar flavour to the
flesh of the animal, it is said to be very palatable. It is, however,
principally for its fur that it is hunted; the skin, even, is of little
value, being coarser and looser in texture, and of course less
applicable to general uses, than that of many other animals. I dare say
you have often seen it made into gloves.

"I will now read to you an account of a tame beaver, which its owner,
Mr. Broderip, communicated to 'the Gardens and Menagerie of the
Zoological Society.'

"The animal arrived in this country in the winter of 1825, very young,
being small and woolly, and without the covering of long hair, which
marks the adult beaver. It was the sole survivor of five or six which
were shipped at the same time, and was in a very pitiable condition.
Good treatment soon made it familiar. When called by its name, 'Binny,'
it generally answered with a little cry, and came to its owner. The
hearth rug was its favourite haunt, and thereon it would lie, stretched
out, sometimes on its back, and sometimes flat on its belly, but always
near its master. The building instinct showed itself immediately after
it was let out of its cage, and materials were placed in its way,--and
this, before it had been a week in its new quarters. Its strength, even
before it was half grown, was great. It would drag along a large
sweeping-brush, or a warming-pan, grasping the handle with its teeth, so
that the load came over its shoulder, and advancing in an oblique
direction, till it arrived at the point where it wished to place it. The
long and large materials were always taken first, and two of the longest
were generally laid crosswise, with one of the ends of each touching the
wall, and the other ends projecting out into the room. The area formed
by the crossed brushes and the wall he would fill up with hand-brushes,
rush baskets, books, boots, sticks, cloths, dried turf, or any thing
portable. As the work grew high, he supported himself on his tail, which
propped him up admirably: and he would often, after laying on one of his
building materials, sit up over against it, apparently to consider his
work, or, as the country people say, 'judge it.' This pause was
sometimes followed by changing the position of the material 'judged,'
and sometimes it was left in its place. After he had piled up his
materials in one part of the room (for he generally chose the same
place), he proceeded to wall up the space between the feet of a chest of
drawers, which stood at a little distance from it, high enough on its
legs to make the bottom a roof for him; using for this purpose dried
turf and sticks, which he laid very even, and filling up the interstices
with bits of coal, hay, cloth, or any thing he could pick up. This last
place he seemed to appropriate for his dwelling; the former work seemed
to be intended for a dam. When he had walled up the space between the
feet of the chest of drawers, he proceeded to carry in sticks, cloths,
hay, cotton, and to make a nest; and, when he had done, he would sit up
under the drawers, and comb himself with the nails of his hind feet. In
this operation, that which appeared at first to be a malformation, was
shown to be a beautiful adaptation to the necessities of the animal. The
huge webbed hind feet often turn in, so as to give the appearance of
deformities; but if the toes were straight, instead of being incurved,
the animal could not use them for the purpose of keeping its fur in
order, and cleansing it from dirt and moisture.

"Binny generally carried small and light articles between his right fore
leg and his chin, walking on the other three legs; and large masses,
which he could not grasp readily with his teeth, he pushed forwards,
leaning against them with his right fore paw and his chin. He never
carried anything on his tail, which he liked to dip in water, but he was
not fond of plunging in his whole body. If his tail was kept moist, he
never cared to drink, but, if it was kept dry, it became hot, and the
animal appeared distressed, and would drink a great deal. It is not
impossible that the tail may have the power of absorbing water, like the
skin of frogs, though it must be owned that the scaly integument which
invests that member has not much of the character which generally
belongs to absorbing surfaces.

"Bread, and bread and milk, and sugar, formed the principal part of
Binny's food; but he was very fond of succulent fruits and roots. He was
a most entertaining creature; and some highly comic scenes occurred
between the worthy, but slow beaver, and a light and airy macauco, that
was kept in the same apartment."

"I think I have read, Uncle, that beavers use their tails as trowels to
plaster their houses, and as sledges to carry the materials to build
huts."

"I dare say, you have, Frank; but I believe such stories are mere
fables, told by the ignorant to excite wonder in the minds of the
credulous. No such operations have been observed by the most accurate
observers of the animal's habits. The wonderful instinct which they
display in building their houses is quite sufficient to excite our
admiration, without having recourse to false and exaggerated
statements."

"The building instinct of the beaver is very curious, Uncle Thomas. Is
it displayed by any other animal?"

"All animals exhibit it more or less, Harry, and birds in particular, in
the construction of their nests, some of which are very curious indeed;
perhaps one of the most striking instances is that of the Sociable
Grosbeak, a bird which is found in the interior of the Cape of Good
Hope. They construct their nests under one roof, which they form of the
branches of some tall and wide-spreading tree, thatching it all over, as
it were, with a species of grass.

"When they have got their habitation fairly covered in they lay out the
inside, according to some travellers, into regular streets, with nests
on both sides, about a couple of inches distant from each other. In one
respect, however, they differ from the beaver, they do not appear to lay
up a common store of food, the nature of the climate not rendering such
a precaution necessary.

"Here is the account of one of these erections furnished by a gentleman
who minutely examined the structure.

"I observed on the way a tree with an enormous nest of those birds, to
which I have given the appellation of republicans; and, as soon as I
arrived at my camp, I despatched a few men, with a waggon, to bring it
to me, that I might open the hive, and examine the structure in its
minutest parts. When it arrived, I cut it in pieces with a hatchet, and
found that the chief portion of the structure consisted of a mass of
Boshman's grass, without any mixture, but so compact and firmly basketed
together as to be impenetrable to the rain. This is the commencement of
the structure; and each bird builds its particular nest under this
canopy. But the nests are formed only beneath the eaves of the canopy,
the upper surface remaining void, without, however, being useless; for,
as it has a projecting rim, and is a little inclined, it serves to let
the rain-water run off, and preserves each little dwelling from the
rain. Figure to yourself a huge irregular sloping roof, and all the
eaves of which are completely covered with nests, crowded one against
another, and you will have a tolerably accurate idea of these singular
edifices.

"Each individual nest is three or four inches in diameter, which is
sufficient for the bird. But as they are all in contact with one
another, around the eaves, they appear to the eye to form but one
building, and are distinguishable from each other only by a little
external aperture, which serves as an entrance to the nest; and even
this is sometimes common to three different nests, one of which is
situated at the bottom, and the other two at the sides. According to
Paterson, the number of cells increasing in proportion to the increase
of inhabitants, the old ones become 'streets of communication, formed by
line and level.' No doubt, as the republic increases, the cells must be
multiplied also; but it is easy to imagine that, as the augmentation can
take place only at the surface, the new buildings will necessarily cover
the old ones, which must therefore be abandoned.

"Should these even, contrary to all probability, be able to subsist, it
may be presumed that the depth of their situation, by preventing any
circulation and renewal of the air, would render them so extremely hot
as to be uninhabitable. But while they thus become useless, they would
remain what they were before, real nests, and change neither into
streets nor sleeping-rooms.

"The large nest which I examined was one of the most considerable which
I had seen any where on my journey, and contained three hundred and
twenty inhabited cells."

"Well, Uncle Thomas, that is very curious; I don't know which most to
admire. I rather incline to the beaver however, because of the winter
store of food which he lays up."

"There is another animal which displays the building instinct so
remarkably, that I must tell you something about it before we part."

"Which is it, Uncle Thomas?"

"It is the white ant of Africa; it is a little animal, scarcely, if at
all, exceeding in size those of our own country, yet they construct
large nests of a conical or sugar loaf shape, sometimes from ten to
twelve feet in height; and one species builds them so strong and
compact, that even when they are raised to little more than half their
height, the wild-bulls of the country use them as sentinel posts to
watch over the safety of the herd which grazes below.

"Mr. Smeathman, a naturalist fully capable to do justice to the nature
of these erections, states, that on one occasion he and four men stood
on the top of one of them. So you may guess how strong they are."

"Of what are they made, Uncle Thomas? They must be very curious
structures. How very different from the ant hills of England!"

"Very different, indeed, John. They are made of clay and sand, and as in
such a luxuriant climate they soon become coated over with grass, they
quickly assume the appearance of hay-cocks. They are indeed very
remarkable structures, whether we consider them externally or
internally, and are said to excel those of the beaver and the bee in the
same proportion as the inhabitants of the most polished European nation
excel the huts of the rude inhabitants of the country where the
_Termites_ or white ants abound; while in regard to mere size, Mr.
Smeathman calculates that, supposing a man's ordinary height to be six
feet, the nests of these creatures may be considered, relative to their
size and that of man's, as being raised to four times the height of the
largest Egyptian pyramids."

"That is enormous, Uncle Thomas?"

"It is indeed, Frank; but strange though it is, the interior of the nest
is even more remarkable, many parts of its construction falling little
short of human ingenuity. I need not attempt to describe all its
arrangements, which, without a plan, would be nearly unintelligible; but
there is one device so admirable that I must point it out to you. The
nest is formed of two floors, as it were, and all round the walls are
galleries perforated in various winding directions, and leading to the
store-houses of the colony, or to the nurseries where the eggs are
deposited. As it is sometimes convenient to reach the galleries which
open from the upper roof without threading all the intricacies of these
winding passages, they construct bridges of a single arch, and thus at
once reach the upper roof, from which these diverge. They are thus also
saved much labour, in transporting provisions, and in bearing the eggs
to the places where they remain till they are hatched."

"That is indeed admirable, Uncle Thomas; they must be very curious
animals."

"They are divided into various classes, in the same way as bees; choosing
a queen, and some of them acting as workers, &c. But the white ants have
a class to which there is nothing similar among any other race of
insects. These are what Smeathman calls soldiers, from the duties which
they perform. They are much less numerous than the workers, being
somewhat in the proportion of one in one hundred. The duty of the
soldier-insects is to protect the nest when it is attacked. They are
furnished with long and slender jaws, and when enraged bite very
fiercely, and sometimes even drive off the negroes who may have attacked
them, and even white people suffer severely,--the bite bleeding profusely
even through the stocking. Some one who observed the colony alarmed, by
having part of the nest broken down, gives the following account of the
subsequent operations. One of the soldiers first makes his appearance, as
if to see if the enemy be gone, and to learn whence the attack proceeds.
By and by two or three others make their appearance, and soon afterwards
a numerous body rushes out, which increases in number so long as the
attack is continued. They are at this time in a state of the most violent
agitation; some employed in beating upon the building with their
mandibles, so as to make a noise which may be distinctly heard at the
distance of three or four feet. Whenever the attack is discontinued, the
soldiers retire first, and are quickly followed by the labourers, which
hasten in various directions towards the breach, each with a burden of
mortar ready tempered, and thus they soon repair the chasm. Besides the
duty of protecting the colony, the soldiers seem to act as overseers of
the work, one being generally in attendance on every six or eight
hundred; and another, who may be looked upon as commander in chief, takes
up his station close to the wall which they are repairing, and frequently
repeats the beating which I just mentioned, which is instantly answered
by a loud hiss from all the labourers within the dome,--those at work
labouring with redoubled energy."

"But, Uncle Thomas, what can be the use of such animals as white ants? I
really cannot see what use they are for."

"Well, John, I confess I do not much wonder at your question, though, in
putting it, you have forgotten that God makes nothing in vain. Mr.
Smeathman, who tells us so much about these curious animals, has
answered you by anticipation; and his answer is in such a spirit that I
cannot do better than read it to you.

"It may appear surprising how a Being perfectly good should have created
animals which seem to serve no other end but to spread destruction and
desolation wherever they go. But let us be cautious in suspecting any
imperfection in the FATHER OF THE UNIVERSE. What at first sight may seem
only productive of mischief, will, upon mature deliberation, be found
worthy of that wisdom which planned the most beautiful parts of the
world. Many poisons are valuable medicines, Storms are beneficial; and
diseases often promote life. These _Termites_ are indeed frequently
pernicious to mankind, but they are also very useful and even necessary.
One valuable purpose which they serve is, to destroy decayed trees and
other substances which, if left on the surface of the ground in hot
climates, would in a short time pollute the air. In this respect they
resemble very much the common flies, which are regarded by mankind in
general as noxious and, albeit, as useless beings in creation. But this
is certainly for want of consideration. There are not probably in all
nature animals of more importance, and it would not be difficult to
prove that we should feel the want of one or two large quadrupeds much
less than of one or two species of these despicable-looking insects.
Mankind in general are sensible that nothing is more disagreeable or
more pestiferous than putrid substances; and it is apparent to all who
have made observation, that those little insects contribute more to the
quick dissolution and dispersion of putrescent matter than any other.
They are so necessary in all hot climates, that ever in the open fields
a dead animal or small putrid substance cannot be laid upon the ground
two minutes before it will be covered with flies and their maggots,
which, instantly entering, quickly devour one part, and perforating the
rest in various directions, expose the whole to be much sooner
decomposed by the elements. Thus it is with the _Termites_. The rapid
vegetation in hot climates, of which no idea can be formed by any thing
to be seen in this, is equalled by as great a degree of destruction
from natural as well as accidental causes. It seems apparent that when
anything whatever has arrived at its last degree of perfection, the
Creator has decreed that it shall be wholly destroyed as soon as
possible, that the face of nature may be speedily adorned with fresh
productions in the bloom of spring, or the pride of summer; so when
trees and even woods are in part destroyed by tornadoes or fire, it is
wonderful to observe how many agents are employed in hastening the total
dissolution of the rest. But in hot climates there are none so expert,
or who do their business so expeditiously and effectually, as these
insects, which in a few weeks destroy and carry away the bodies of large
trees, without leaving a particle behind; thus clearing the place for
other vegetables which soon fill up every vacancy: and in places where
two or three years before there has been a populous town, if the
inhabitants, as is frequently the case, have chosen to abandon it,
there shall be a very thick wood, and not a vestige of a post to be
seen, unless the wood has been of a species which from its hardness is
called iron wood."

"Thank you, Uncle Thomas. I see, I was quite wrong in supposing that the
ants are of no use. I really did not imagine that they could have been
so serviceable."



CHAPTER III.

     Uncle Thomas describes the Manner in which Wild Elephants are
     caught, and relates some Curious Stories of the Cunning, Affection,
     and Intelligence of the Elephant.


"Well, Boys, you are once more welcome!--I am going to tell you some
stories about the Elephant to-night, which I hope will interest you
quite as much as those which I told you about the dog. Next to the dog
the elephant is one of the most intelligent animals; some of his
actions, indeed, seem to be rather the result of reason than mere
instinct. But I must first tell you about the animal in its native
forests.

"In the luxuriant forests with which a large portion of Asia is covered,
this huge animal reigns supreme. Its size and strength easily enable it
to overcome the most formidable opponents. The intelligence with which
it has been endowed by its Creator would make it a most formidable enemy
to man, but that the same All-wise Being has graciously endowed it with
peaceful and gentle feelings. In its native forests it roams about
without seeking to molest any one, and even when caught and tamed it
very soon becomes gentle and obedient.

"In the East Indies the elephant is in very general use as a beast of
burden. For this purpose it is hunted and caught in great numbers by the
Natives, who employ some very ingenious devices to deceive them, and to
drive them into the ambuscades which they form for them. The manner in
which whole herds are captured is as follows:--

"When the herd is discovered by parties who are sent out for the purpose
of reconnoitering, they take notice of the direction in which it is
ranging, and as, if their food is plentiful, they generally continue to
advance in one direction for miles together, the hunters construct, at a
considerable distance in front, a series of enclosures, into which it
is their object to drive them.

"When every thing is prepared, the hunters, sometimes to the number of
several hundreds, divide themselves into small parties, and form a large
circle, so as to surround the herd. Each party generally consists of
three men, whose duty it is to light a fire and to clear a footpath
between their station and that of their neighbours, so that in this way
a communication is kept up by the whole circle, and assistance can at
once be afforded at any given point.

"New circles are constantly formed at short distances in advance, so as
gradually to drive the animals in the required direction. The hunters
are all the while concealed by the luxuriant jungle, and do not show
themselves to the elephants at all, but urge them forward by the use of
drums, rattles, &c. &c., from the noise of which the animals seek to
escape, and thus wander on, feeding as they proceed toward the toils
which are prepared for them.

"The _keddah_, or trap, as it may be called, consists of three
enclosures, each formed of strong stockades on the outside of deep
ditches; the innermost one being the strongest, because by the time they
arrive in it, the elephants are generally in a state of great
excitement, and would soon break down a fragile enclosure, and make
their escape.

"As soon as the herd has entered the first enclosure, strong barricades
are erected across the entrance; and as there is no ditch at this point,
the hunters take advantage of the remarkable dread which the animal has
of fire, to scare them from this most vulnerable part of the
fortification. Fires are gradually lit all round the first enclosure, so
that the only way of escape which is left is by the entrance to the
second.

"At first, as if profiting by their former experience, they generally
shun the entrance to the second of the series, but at last, seeing no
other chance of escape, the leader of the herd ventures forward, and the
rest follow. The gate is instantly shut, and they are in the same
manner driven into the third enclosure. Finding no outlet from this they
become desperate, scream with tremendous power, and seek to escape by
violently attacking the sides of the stockade. At all points, however,
they are repulsed by lighted fires, and the tumultuous and exulting
shouts of the triumphant hunters.

"In this place of confinement they remain for several days. When their
excitement has somewhat subsided, they are enticed one by one to enter a
narrow passage leading to the second enclosure. As soon as one enters
in, the entrance is closed, and as the passage is so narrow that it
cannot turn round, it soon fatigues itself by unavailing exertions to
beat down the barrier. Strong ropes with running nooses are now laid
down, and no sooner does the animal put his foot within one of them,
than the rope is drawn tight by some of the hunters who are stationed on
a small scaffold which has been raised over the gateway. In the same
manner his other feet are secured. When this has been effected, some of
the hunters venture to approach, and tie his hind legs together. Having
thus secured him, they can with comparative safety complete their
capture. When he is completely secured he is placed between two tame
elephants, and led away to the forest and fastened to a tree; and the
same operation is repeated, till the whole herd has been secured. At
first the rage of the captive is extreme; so long as the animals between
which he is led away prisoner remain with him he is comparatively quiet,
but when he sees them depart, he is agitated with all the horrors of
despair, and makes the most extravagant attempts to regain his liberty.
For some time he refuses to eat, but gradually becomes resigned, and
feeds freely.

"A keeper is appointed to each animal, as they are secured. His first
object is to gain its confidence; supplying it regularly with food,
pouring water over its body to keep it cool, and gradually accustoming
it to caresses. In the course of five or six weeks he generally obtains
a complete ascendency over it; its fetters are removed by degrees, it
knows his voice and obeys him, and is then gradually initiated into the
objects of its future labours."

"Thank you, Uncle Thomas. I now understand all about elephant-hunting. I
could not think how the hunters managed to secure such a huge animal. It
seems to be no such difficult task after all."

"It seems easy enough from description, Frank; but it sometimes happens
that they break loose, and, irritated by their efforts to escape, they
range about in the most furious manner, and as they are very cunning
animals, it requires all the circumspection of the hunter to counteract
their schemes. I recollect a story which displays this quality in a very
strong light.

"During the seige of Bhurtpore, in the year 1805, when the British army,
with its countless host of followers and attendants, and thousands of
cattle, had been for a long time before the city, the approach of the
warm season and of the dry hot winds caused the quantity of water in the
neighbourhood of the camps to begin to fail; the ponds or tanks had
dried up, and no more water was left than the immense wells of the
country could furnish. The multitude of men and cattle that were
unceasingly at the wells, occasioned no little struggle for priority in
procuring the supply, and the consequent confusion on the spot was
frequently very considerable. On one occasion, two elephant-drivers,
each with his elephant, the one remarkably large and strong, and the
other comparatively small and weak, were at the well together; the small
elephant had been provided by his master with a bucket for the occasion,
which he carried at the end of his proboscis; but the larger animal
being destitute of this necessary vessel, either spontaneously, or by
desire of his keeper, seized the bucket, and easily wrested it away from
his less powerful fellow-servant. The latter was too sensible of his
inferiority openly to resist the insult, though it is obvious that he
felt it; and great squabbling and abuse ensued between the keepers.

"At length, the weaker animal, watching the opportunity when the other
was standing with his side to the well, retired backwards a few paces,
in a very quiet unsuspicious manner, and then rushing forward with all
his might, drove his head against the side of the other, and fairly
pushed him into the well. It may easily be imagined that great
inconvenience was immediately experienced, and serious apprehensions
quickly followed, that the water in the well, on which the existence of
so many seemed in a great measure to depend, would be spoiled by the
unwieldy brute which was precipitated into it; and as the surface of the
water was nearly twenty feet below the common level, there did not
appear to be any means that could be adopted to get the animal out by
main force, without the risk of injuring him. There were many feet of
water below the elephant, who floated with ease on its surface, and,
experiencing considerable pleasure from his cool retreat, he evinced but
little inclination even to exert what means of escape he might himself
possess.

"A vast number of fascines (bundles of wood) had been employed by the
army in conducting the siege; and at length it occurred to the
elephant-keeper, that a sufficient number of these might be lowered into
the well, on which the animal might be raised to the top, if it could be
instructed as to the necessary means of laying them in regular
succession under its feet. Permission having accordingly been obtained
from the engineers to use the fascines, the keeper had to teach the
elephant the lesson, which, by means of that extraordinary ascendency
these men attain over their charge, joined with the intellectual
resources of the animal itself, he was soon enabled to do; and the
elephant began quickly to place each fascine, as it was lowered,
successively under him, until, in a little time, he was enabled to stand
upon them. By this time, however, the cunning brute, enjoying the
pleasure of his situation, after the heat and partial privation of water
to which he had been lately exposed, was unwilling to work any longer;
and all the threats of his keeper could not induce him to place another
fascine. The man then opposed cunning to cunning, and began to caress
and praise the elephant; and what he could not effect by threats he was
enabled to do by the repeated promise of plenty of arrack, a spirituous
beverage composed of rum, of which the elephant is very fond. Incited by
this, the animal again set to work, raised himself considerably higher,
until, by a partial removal of the masonry round the top of the well, he
was enabled to step out, after having been in the water about fourteen
hours."

"That was very cunning, Uncle Thomas. The keepers seem to attain great
ascendency over the animals."

"The attachment of the elephant to its keeper, and the command which
some of these men acquire over the objects of their care by appealing
to their affections is very extraordinary. The mere sound of the
keeper's voice has been known to reclaim an animal which escaped from
domestication and resumed its original freedom:--

"A female elephant, belonging to a gentleman in Calcutta, who was
ordered from the upper country to Chittagong, in the route thither,
broke loose from her keeper, and, making her way to the woods, was lost.
The keeper made every excuse to vindicate himself, which the master of
the animal would not listen to, but branded the man with dishonesty; for
it was instantly supposed that he had sold the elephant. He was tried
for it, and condemned to work on the roads for life, and his wife and
children sold for slaves.

"About twelve years afterwards, this man, who was known to be well
acquainted with breaking elephants, was sent into the country with a
party to assist in catching wild ones. They came upon a herd, amongst
which the man fancied he saw the long-lost elephant for which he had
been condemned. He resolved to approach it, nor could the strongest
remonstrances of the party dissuade him from the attempt. As he
approached the animal, he called her by name, when she immediately
recognised his voice; she waved her trunk in the air as a token of
salutation, and kneeling down, allowed him to mount her neck. She
afterwards assisted in taking other elephants, and decoyed three young
ones, to which she had given birth since her escape. The keeper returned
to his master, and the singular circumstances attending the recovery of
the elephant being told, he regained his character; and, as a recompense
for his unmerited sufferings, had a pension settled on him for life."

"That was an instance of rare good fortune, Uncle Thomas. How very
curious that he should fall in with the herd in which his own elephant
was!"

"It was very fortunate indeed, Frank. It was not a little curious too
that the elephant should recognise him after so long a period. But the
attachment which they show to their keepers is sometimes very great. One
which in a moment of rage killed its keeper a few years ago, adopted his
son as its _carnac_ or driver, and would allow no one else to assume his
place. The wife of the unfortunate man was witness to the dreadful
scene, and, in the frenzy of her mental agony, took her two children,
and threw them at the feet of the elephant, saying, 'As you have slain
my husband, take my life also, as well as that of my children!' The
elephant became calm, seemed to relent, and as if stung with remorse,
took up the eldest boy with its trunk, placed him on its neck, adopted
him for its carnac, and never afterwards allowed another to occupy that
seat."

"That was at least making all the reparation in its power, Uncle
Thomas."

"There is one or two other stories about the elephant, showing that he
knows how to revenge an insult, which I must tell you before you go.

"A merchant at Bencoolen 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 towards 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."

[Illustration: THE ELEPHANT AND THE COBBLERS--Page 68.]

"Ha! ha! ha! He must have been a very knowing animal, Uncle Thomas. I
dare say, the cobblers behaved better in future."

"I dare say they would, Boys. Here is another story of the same
description, but the trickster did not escape so easily."

"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
food to which elephants are very partial. Once he took it into his head
to play one of the elephants a trick. He wrapped a stone round with fig
leaves, and said to the carnac, 'This time I will give him a stone to
eat, and see how it will agree with him.' The carnac answered, 'that the
elephant would not be such a fool as to swallow a stone.' The man,
however, reached the stone to the elephant, who, taking it with his
trunk, immediately let it fall to the ground. 'You see,' said the
keeper, 'that I was right;' and without further words, 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 was aware, the animal ran at him,
threw his trunk around his body, and, dashing him to the ground,
trampled him immediately to death."



CHAPTER IV.

     Uncle Thomas introduces to the Notice of the Young Folks the
     Ettrick Shepherd's Stories about Sheep; and tells them some
     Interesting Stories about the Goat, and its Peculiarities.


"I dare say, Boys, you have not forgotten the Ettrick Shepherd's
wonderful stories about his dogs. Some of those which he relates about
sheep are equally remarkable, and as he tells them in the same pleasing
style, I think I cannot do better than read to you the chapter in 'The
Shepherd's Calendar' which he devotes to this animal."

"Thank you, Uncle Thomas. We remember very well his stories about Sirrah
and Hector and Chieftain, and the old Shepherd's grief at parting with
his dog."

"That's right, Boys; I am pleased to think that you do not forget what I
tell you. But listen to the Ettrick Shepherd."

"The sheep has scarcely any marked character save that of natural
affection, of which it possesses a very great share. It is otherwise a
stupid indifferent animal, having few wants, and fewer expedients. The
old black-faced, or forest breed, have far more powerful capabilities
than any of the finer breeds that have been introduced into Scotland,
and, therefore, the few anecdotes that I have to relate shall be
confined to them.

"So strong is the attachment of the sheep to the place where they have
been bred, that I have heard of their returning from Yorkshire to the
Highlands. I was always somewhat inclined to suspect that they might
have been lost by the way, but it is certain, however, that when once
one or a few sheep get away from the rest of their acquaintances, they
return homeward with great eagerness and perseverance. I have lived
beside a drove-road the better part of my life, and many stragglers have
I seen bending their steps northward in the spring of the year. A
shepherd rarely sees these journeyers twice; if he sees them, and stops
them in the morning, they are gone long before night; and if he sees
them at night they will be gone many miles before morning. This strong
attachment to the place of their nativity is much more predominant in
our old aboriginal breed than in any of the other kinds with which I am
acquainted.

"The most singular instance that I know of, to be quite well
authenticated, is that of a black ewe, that returned with her lamb from
a farm in the head of Glen-Lyon, to the farm of Harehope, in Tweeddale,
and accomplished the journey in nine days. She was soon missed by her
owner, and a shepherd was despatched in pursuit of her, who followed her
all the way to Crieff, where he turned, and gave her up. He got
intelligence of her all the way, and every one told him that she
absolutely persisted in travelling on,--she would not be turned,
regarding neither sheep nor shepherd by the way. Her lamb was often far
behind, and she had constantly to urge it on by impatient bleating. She
unluckily came to Stirling on the morning of a great annual fair, about
the end of May, and judging it imprudent to venture through the crowd
with her lamb, she halted on the north side of the town the whole day,
where she was seen by hundreds, lying close by the road-side. But next
morning, when all became quiet, a little after the break of day, she was
observed stealing quietly through the town, in apparent terror of the
dogs that were prowling about the street. The last time she was seen on
the road was at a toll-bar near St. Ninian's; the man stopped her,
thinking she was a strayed animal, and that some one would claim her.
She tried several times to break through by force when he opened the
gate, but he always prevented her, and at length she turned patiently
back. She had found some means of eluding him, however, for home she
came on a Sabbath morning, early in June; and she left the farm of
Lochs, in Glen-Lyon, either on the Thursday afternoon, or Friday
morning, a week and two days before. The farmer of Harehope paid the
Highland farmer the price of her, and she remained on her native farm
till she died of old age, in her seventeenth year.

"With regard to the natural affection of this animal, the instances that
might be mentioned are without number. When one loses its sight in a
flock of sheep, it is rarely abandoned to itself in that hapless and
helpless state. Some one always attaches itself to it, and by bleating
calls it back from the precipice, the lake, the pool, and all dangers
whatever. There is a disease among sheep, called by shepherds the
Breakshugh, a deadly sort of dysentery, which is as infectious as fire,
in a flock. Whenever a sheep feels itself seized by this, it instantly
withdraws from all the rest, shunning their society with the greatest
care; it even hides itself, and is often very hard to be found. Though
this propensity can hardly be attributed to natural instinct, it is, at
all events, a provision of nature of the greatest kindness and
beneficence.

"Another manifest provision of nature with regard to these animals is,
that the more inhospitable the land is on which they feed, the greater
their kindness and attention to their young. I once herded two years on
a wild and bare farm called Willenslee, on the border of Mid-Lothian,
and of all the sheep I ever saw, these were the kindest and most
affectionate to their lambs. I was often deeply affected at scenes which
I witnessed. We had one very hard winter, so that our sheep grew lean in
the spring, and the thwarter-ill (a sort of paralytic affection) came
among them, and carried off a number. Often have I seen these poor
victims, when fallen down to rise no more, even when unable to lift
their heads from the ground, holding up the leg, to invite the starving
lamb to the miserable pittance that the udder still could supply. I had
never seen aught more painfully affecting.

"It is well known that it is a custom with shepherds, when a lamb dies,
if the mother have a sufficiency of milk, to bring her from the hill,
and put another lamb to her. This is done by putting the skin of the
dead lamb upon the living one; the ewe immediately acknowledges the
relationship, and after the skin has warmed on it, so as to give it
something of the smell of her own progeny, and it has sucked her two or
three times, she accepts and nourishes it as her own ever after. Whether
it is from joy at this apparent reanimation of her young one, or because
a little doubt remains on her mind which she would fain dispel, I cannot
decide; but, for a number of days, she shows far more fondness, by
bleating and caressing over this one, than she did formerly over the one
that was really her own. But this is not what I wanted to explain; it
was, that such sheep as thus lose their lambs must be driven to a house
with dogs, so that the lamb may be put to them; for they will only take
it in a dark confined place. But at Willenslee, I never needed to drive
home a sheep by force, with dogs, or in any other way than the
following: I found every ewe, of course, standing hanging her head over
her dead lamb; and having a piece of twine with me for the purpose, I
tied that to the lamb's neck or foot, and trailing it along, the ewe
followed me into any house or fold that I choose to lead her. Any of
them would have followed me in that way for miles, with her nose close
on the lamb, which she never quitted for a moment, except to chase my
dog, which she would not suffer to walk near me. I often, out of
curiosity, led them in to the side of the kitchen fire by this means,
into the midst of servants and dogs; but the more that dangers
multiplied around the ewe, she clung the closer to her dead offspring,
and thought of nothing whatever but protecting it. One of the two years,
while I remained on this farm, a severe blast of snow came on by night,
about the latter end of April, which destroyed several scores of our
lambs; and as we had not enow of twins and odd lambs for the mothers
that had lost theirs, of course we selected the best ewes, and put lambs
to them. As we were making the distribution, I requested of my master
to spare me a lamb for a hawked ewe which he knew, and which was
standing over a dead lamb in the head of the Hope, about four miles from
the house. He would not do it, but bid me let her stand over her lamb
for a day or two, and perhaps a twin would be forthcoming. I did so, and
faithfully she did stand to her charge; so faithfully, that I think the
like never was equalled by any of the woolly race. I visited her every
morning and evening, and for the first eight days never found her above
two or three yards from the lamb; and always, as I went my rounds, she
eyed me long ere I came near her, and kept tramping with her feet, and
whistling through her nose, to frighten away the dog; he got a regular
chase twice a day as I passed by: but, however excited and fierce a ewe
may be, she never offers any resistance to mankind, being perfectly and
meekly passive to them. The weather grew fine and warm, and the dead
lamb soon decayed, which the body of a dead lamb does particularly
soon: but still this affectionate and desolate creature kept hanging
over the poor remains with an attachment that seemed to be nourished by
hopelessness. It often drew the tears from my eyes to see her hanging
with such fondness over a few bones, mixed with a small portion of wool.
For the first fortnight she never quitted the spot, and for another week
she visited it every morning and evening, uttering a few kindly and
heart-piercing bleats each time; till at length every remnant of her
offspring vanished, mixing with the soil, or wafted away by the winds."

"Poor creature! Uncle Thomas, that was very affecting."

"So much for the Ettrick Shepherd. I will now tell you a story about a
remarkable instance of sagacity in a sheep, of which I myself was an
eye-witness.

"One evening, as I was enjoying a walk through some verdant pastures,
which were plentifully dotted with sheep, my attention was attracted by
the motions of one which repeatedly came close up to me, bleating in a
piteous manner, and after looking expressively in my face, ran off
towards a brook which meandered through the midst of the pastures. At
first I took little notice of the creature, but as her entreaties became
importunate, I followed her. Delighted at having at length attracted my
notice, she ran with all her speed, frequently looking back. When I
reached the spot, I discovered the cause of all her anxiety; her lamb
had unfortunately fallen into the brook, whose steep banks prevented it
from making its escape. Fortunately the water, though up to the little
creature's back, was not sufficient to drown it. I rescued it with much
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
giving vent to her joy and gratitude in most expressive gambols.

"Though differing in many respects from the sheep, the goat bears so
strong a resemblance to that animal, that, now that I am speaking of it,
I may as well tell you a story or two about the goat. It will save my
returning to it afterwards."

"Very well, Uncle Thomas."

"The goat is in every respect more fitted for a life of savage liberty
than the sheep. It is of a more lively disposition, and is possessed of
a greater degree of instinct. It readily attaches itself to man, and
seems sensible of his caresses. It delights in climbing precipices, and
going to the very edge of danger, and it is often seen suspended upon an
eminence overhanging the sea, upon a very little base, and sometimes
even sleeps there in security. Nature has in some measure fitted it for
traversing these declivities with ease; the hoof is hollow underneath,
with sharp edges, so that it walks as securely on the ridge of a house
as on the level ground.

"When once reduced to a state of domestication, the goat seldom resumes
its original wildness. A good many years ago, an English vessel
happening to touch at the island of Bonavista, two negroes came and
offered the sailors as many goats as they chose to take away. Upon the
captain expressing his surprise at this offer, the negroes assured him
that there were but twelve persons on the island, and that the goats had
multiplied in such a manner as even to become a nuisance: they added,
that far from giving any trouble to capture them, they followed the few
inhabitants that were left with a sort of obstinacy, and became even
troublesome by their tameness. The celebrated traveller Dr. Clarke gives
a very curious account of a goat, which was trained to exhibit various
amusing feats of dexterity.

"We met, (says he,) an Arab with a goat which he led about the country
to exhibit, in order to gain a livelihood for itself and its owner. 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 in shape resembling the dice-box belonging to a
backgammon table. In this manner the goat stood, first, on the top of
two; afterwards, 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 four 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 six inches. The most curious part of the performance occurred
afterwards; for the Arab, to convince us of the animal's attention to
the turn of the air, interrupted the _Da Capo_; and, as often as he did
this, the goat tottered, appeared uneasy, and, upon his becoming
suddenly silent, in the middle of his song, it fell to the ground.

[Illustration: THE ARAB AND HIS GOAT--Page 84.]

"Like the sheep, the goat possesses great natural affection for its
young. In its defence it boldly repels the attacks of the most
formidable opponents. I remember a little story which finely illustrates
this instinctive courage.

"A person having missed one of his goats when his flock was taken home
at night, being afraid the wanderer would get among the young trees in
his nursery, two boys, wrapped in their plaids, were ordered to watch
all night. The morning had but faintly dawned, when they set out in
search of her. They at length discovered her on a pointed rock at a
considerable distance, and hastening to the spot perceived her standing
watching her kid with the greatest anxiety, and defending it from a fox.
The enemy turned round and round to lay hold of his prey, but the goat
presented her horns in every direction. The youngest boy was despatched
for assistance to attack the fox, and the eldest, hallooing and throwing
up stones, sought to intimidate it as he climbed to rescue his charge.
The fox seemed well aware that the child could not execute his threats;
he looked at him one instant, and then renewed the assault, till, quite
impatient, he made a sudden effort to seize the kid. The whole three
suddenly disappeared, and were found at the bottom of the precipice.
The goat's horns were darted into the back of the fox; the kid lay
stretched beside her. It is supposed that the fox had fixed his teeth in
the kid, for its neck was lacerated; but that when the faithful mother
inflicted a death wound upon her mortal enemy he probably staggered, and
brought his victims with him over the rock.

"There is another story of the goat, which places its gratitude and
affection in such an interesting light, that I am sure it will delight
you:--

"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 his
dreary abode, was administering comfort to the goat; and he was indeed
thankful to have any living creature beside him. It 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."



CHAPTER V.

     Uncle Thomas relates some Very Remarkable Stories about the Cat;
     points out to the Boys the Connexion subsisting between the
     Domestic Cat and the Lion, Tiger, &c., and tells them some Stories
     about the Gentleness, as well as the Ferocity of these Animals.


"Though far from being so general a favourite as the dog, the domestic
cat has many qualities to recommend it to attention and regard, and some
of the stories which I am going to tell you exhibit instances of
instinctive attachment and gentleness which cannot be surpassed.

"Here is one of attachment, which will match with the best of those of
the dog.

"A cat which had been brought up in a family became extremely attached
to the eldest child, a little boy, who was very fond of playing with
her. She bore with the most exemplary patience any maltreatment which
she received from him--which even good-natured children seldom fail,
occasionally, to give to animals in their sports with them--without ever
making any attempt at resistance. As the cat grew up, however, she daily
quitted her playfellow for a time, from whom she had formerly been
inseparable, in order to follow her natural propensity to catch mice;
but even when engaged in this employment, she did not forget her friend;
for, as soon as she had caught a mouse, she brought it alive to him. If
he showed an inclination to take her prey from her, she anticipated him,
by letting it run, and waited to see whether he was able to catch it. If
he did not, the cat darted at, seized it, and laid it again before him;
and in this manner the sport continued as long as the child showed any
inclination for the amusement.

"At length the boy was attacked by smallpox, and, during the early
stages of his disorder, the cat never quitted his bed-side; but, as his
danger increased, it was found necessary to remove the cat and lock it
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 expectation, she sought for him
with symptoms of great uneasiness and loud lamentation, all over the
house, till she came to the door of the room in which the corpse lay.
Here she lay down in silent melancholy, till she was again locked up. As
soon as the child was interred, 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, quite emaciated. She would not,
however, take any nourishment, and soon ran away again with dismal
cries. At length, compelled by hunger, she made her appearance every day
at dinner-time, but always left the house as soon as she had eaten the
food that was given her. No one knew where she spent the rest of her
time, till she was found one day under the wall of the burying-ground,
close to the grave of her favourite; and so indelible was the attachment
of the cat to her deceased friend, that till his parents removed to
another place, five years afterwards, she never, except in the greatest
severity of winter, passed the night any where else than at the
above-mentioned spot, close to the grave. Ever afterwards she was
treated with the utmost kindness by every person in the family. She
suffered herself to be played with by the younger children, although
without exhibiting a particular partiality for any of them.

"There is another story of the cat's attachment, of a somewhat less
melancholy cast, which I lately saw recorded in a provincial newspaper.

[Illustration: THE AFFECTIONATE CAT--Page 92.]

"A country gentleman of our acquaintance, who is neither a friend to
thieves nor poachers, has at this moment in his household a favourite
cat, whose honesty, he is sorry to say, there is but too much reason
to call in question. The animal, however, is far from being selfish in
her principles; for her acceptable gleanings she regularly shares among
the children of the family in which her lot is cast. It is the habit of
grimalkin to leave the kitchen or parlour, as often as hunger and an
opportunity may occur, and wend her way to a certain pastrycook's shop,
where, the better to conceal her purpose, she endeavours slily to
ingratiate herself into favour with the mistress of the house. As soon
as the shopkeeper's attention becomes engrossed in business, or
otherwise, puss contrives to pilfer a small pie or tart from the shelves
on which they are placed, speedily afterwards making the best of her way
home with her booty. She then carefully delivers her prize to some of
the little ones in the nursery. A division of the stolen property
quickly takes place; and here it is singularly amusing to observe the
cunning animal, not the least conspicuous among the numerous group,
thankfully mumping her share of the illegal traffic. We may add that
the pastrycook is by no means disposed to institute a legal process
against the delinquent, as the children of the gentleman to whom we
allude are honest enough to acknowledge their four-footed playmate's
failings to papa, who willingly compensates any damage the pastrycook
may sustain from the petty depredations of the would-be philanthropic
cat.

"I remember how highly pleased you were with the story which I told you
about the dog discovering the murderers of his master. There is one of a
very similar description of a French cat, which I am sure will equally
interest you.

"In the beginning of the present century a woman was murdered in Paris.
The magistrate who went to investigate the affair was accompanied by a
physician; they found the body lying upon the floor, and a greyhound
watching over it, and howling mournfully. When the gentleman entered the
apartment, it ran to them without barking, and then returned with a
melancholy mien to the body of his murdered mistress. Upon a chest in a
corner of the room sat a cat, motionless, with eyes expressive of
furious indignation, stedfastly fixed upon the body. Many persons now
entered the apartment, but neither the appearance of such a crowd of
strangers, nor the confusion that prevailed in the place, could make her
change her position. In the mean time, some persons were apprehended on
suspicion of being the murderers, and it was resolved to lead them into
the apartment. Before the cat got sight of them, when she only heard
their footsteps approaching, her eyes flashed with increased fury, her
hair stood erect, and so soon as she saw them enter the apartment, she
sprang towards them with expressions of the most violent rage, but did
not venture to attack them, being probably alarmed by the numbers that
followed. Having turned several times towards them with a peculiar
ferocity of aspect, she crept into a corner, with an air indicative of
the deepest melancholy. This behaviour of the cat astonished every one
present. The effect which it produced upon the murderers was such as
almost to amount to an acknowledgment of guilt. Nor did this remain long
doubtful, for a train of accessory circumstances was soon discovered
which proved it to complete conviction.

"I have often warned you against stories of ghosts and hobgoblins, and
shown you on how frail a foundation they generally rest. There is a
story in which a cat was one of the principal actors, which contains the
elements of as marvellous a tale of this description as could be
desired. It happened in the west of Scotland.

"Some years ago, a poor man 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 favourite 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 neighbourhood; 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."

"Poor puss! What a pity it should have been necessary to destroy such a
faithful animal. I wonder no one tried to gain its affections, and thus
charm it from its dreary abode. Uncle Thomas, did you ever hear Dr.
Good's account of a very extraordinary instance of sagacity exemplified
by his cat? I was very much struck with it when I saw it a day or two
ago in his 'Book of Nature.' If you please, I will read it to you."

"Very well, Harry, I shall be glad to hear it; I dare say it is an old
acquaintance of mine. I have been such a diligent searcher after stories
of this description, that I think very few have escaped me."

"A favourite cat, that was accustomed from day to day to take her
station quietly at my elbow, on the writing table, sometimes for hour
after hour, whilst I was engaged in study, became at length less
constant in her attendance, as she had a kitten to take care of. One
morning she placed herself in the same spot, but seemed unquiet, and,
instead of seating herself as usual, continued to rub her furry sides
against my hand and pen, as though resolved to draw my attention, and
make me leave off. As soon as she had accomplished this point, she
leaped down on the carpet, and made towards the door, with a look of
great uneasiness. I opened the door for her, as she seemed to desire,
but, instead of going forward, she turned round, and looked earnestly at
me, as though she wished me to follow her, or had something to
communicate. I did not fully understand her meaning, and, being much
engaged at the time, shut the door upon her, that she might go where she
liked.

"In less than an hour afterwards, however, she had again found an
entrance into the room, and drawn close to me, but, instead of mounting
the table, and rubbing herself against my hand, as before, she was now
under the table, and continued to rub herself against my feet, on moving
which I struck them against a something which seemed to be in their way,
and, on looking down, beheld with equal grief and astonishment the dead
body of her little kitten which I supposed had been alive and in good
health, covered over with cinder dust. I now entered into the entire
train of this afflicted cat's feelings. She had suddenly lost the
nursling she doated on, and was resolved to make me acquainted with
it,--assuredly that I might know her grief, and probably also that I
might inquire into the cause, and, finding me too dull to understand her
expressive motioning that I would follow her to the cinder heap, on
which the dead kitten had been thrown, she took the great labour of
bringing it to me herself, from the area on the basement floor, and up a
whole flight of stairs, and laid it at my feet. I took up the kitten in
my hand, the cat still following me, made inquiry into the cause of its
death, which I found, upon summoning the servants, to have been an
accident, in which no one was much to blame; and the yearning mother
having thus obtained her object, and gotten her master to enter into her
cause, and divide her sorrows with her, gradually took comfort, and
resumed her former station by my side."

"Thank you, Harry, I do not think I ever heard that story before. Here
is one that will match it however, displaying considerable ingenuity in
a cat in the protection of her young.

"A cat belonging to Mr. Stevens, of the Red Lion Hotel, Truro, having
been removed from that town to a barn at some distance, soon afterwards
produced four kittens. Not wishing the stock increased, Mr. Stevens
desired three of them to be drowned, next morning, before opening their
eyes on the world. Puss was deeply affected by this bereavement, and
resolved on moving her remaining offspring to a place of security. When
the person appointed to feed grimalkin went with her breakfast next day,
no traces of her or her kitten were to be found. He called; but all was
silent as the tomb; every corner was searched in vain; no cat was
forthcoming. Here the matter rested for several days, when, at length,
early one morning, puss made her appearance in the court of her master's
house, a melancholy picture of starvation. Having satisfied her hunger,
and loitered about the house during the day, late in the evening she
took her departure, carrying away some meat. For several days she
continued her visits in the same manner, taking care never to leave home
empty-mouthed at night. Her proceedings having excited attention, she
was followed by two men, in one of her nocturnal retreats, and traced to
the top of a wheat stack, at some distance. On obtaining a ladder, her
surviving kitten was found, in a curiously constructed hole, sleek and
plump, but as wild as a young tiger, and would allow no one to touch it.
A few days afterwards, the mother finding, perhaps, that her own daily
journeys were rather fatiguing, or thinking it was time that the object
of her solicitude should be introduced into the world, or, probably,
that the kitten had attained an age when it could protect itself, she
took advantage of a dark and silent night, when cat-worrying dogs and
boys were reposing, to convey it safely to Truro, where tabby and her
kitten found a welcome reception.

"Though from bad education the cat and dog are generally the most
determined enemies, some instances have occurred of the greatest
friendship subsisting between these animals. Here is an instance
recorded by a French author on the Language of Brutes.

"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. Since that
time I have paid particular attention to these animals, and am perfectly
convinced that they communicate to each other whatever seems
interesting."

"Oh! indeed, Uncle Thomas, do you think that animals understand each
other?"

"I have no doubt that they do to a limited extent, Harry, but I cannot
go the whole length of Monsieur Wenzel, who records the story I have
just told you.

"I will now tell you some stories about some of the other animals of the
cat kind, such as the lion, tiger, &c.; and though these animals differ
so much from the domestic cat, they all belong to the same family; the
huge lion, which carries off with ease a buffalo from the herd, or makes
the forest tremble with his hoarse roar is no more than an enormous cat.

"I dare say you have all heard the story of 'Androcles and the Lion,'
which is recorded in that most delightful book, 'Sandford and Merton.'
It is so captivating a tale, that I must repeat it to you as much for my
own gratification as for yours. I will just observe, however, that it is
a fiction, and not a real story, though I can tell you one or two very
similar ones, which occurred in real life."

"There was a certain slave named Androcles, who was so ill treated by
his master that his life became insupportable. Finding no remedy from
what he suffered, he at length said to himself:--'It is better to die
than to continue to live in such hardships and misery as I am obliged to
suffer. I am determined, therefore, to run away from my master; if I am
taken again, I know that I shall be punished with a cruel death, but it
is better to die at once, than to live in misery. If I escape, I must
betake myself to deserts and woods, inhabited only by wild beasts, but
they cannot use me more cruelly than I have been by my fellow-creatures,
therefore I will rather trust myself to them, than continue to be a
miserable slave.

"Having formed this resolution, he took an opportunity of leaving his
master's house, and hid himself in a thick forest, which was some miles
distant from the city. But here the unhappy man found that he had only
escaped from one kind of misery to experience another. He wandered about
all day through a vast and trackless wood, where his flesh was
continually torn by thorns and brambles. He grew hungry, but he could
find no food in this dreary solitude. At length he was ready to die with
fatigue, and lay down in despair in a large cavern.

"The unfortunate man had not been long quiet in the cavern, before he
heard a dreadful noise, which seemed to be the roar of some wild beast,
and terrified him very much. He started up with a design to escape, and
had already reached the mouth of the cave, when he saw coming towards
him a lion of prodigious size, which prevented any possibility of
retreat. He now believed his destruction to be inevitable, but to his
great astonishment the beast advanced towards him with a gentle pace,
without any mark of enmity or rage, and uttered a kind of mournful
voice, as if he demanded the assistance of the man.

"Androcles, who was naturally of a resolute disposition, acquired
courage from this circumstance to examine his monstrous guest, who gave
him sufficient leisure for this purpose. He saw, as the lion approached
him, that he seemed to limp upon one of his legs, and that the foot was
extremely swelled, as if it had been wounded. Acquiring still more
fortitude from the gentle demeanour of the beast, he advanced towards
him, and took hold of the wounded part as a surgeon would examine his
patient. He then perceived that a thorn of uncommon size had penetrated
the ball of the foot, and was the occasion of the swelling and the
lameness which he had observed. Androcles found that the beast, far from
resenting his familiarity, received it with the greatest gentleness, and
seemed to invite him by his blandishments to proceed. He therefore
extracted the thorn, and, pressing the swelling, discharged a
considerable quantity of matter, which had been the cause of so much
pain. As soon as the beast felt himself thus relieved, he began to
testify his joy and gratitude by every expression in his power. He
jumped about like a wanton spaniel, wagged his enormous tail, and licked
the feet and hands of his physician. Nor was he contented with these
demonstrations of kindness. From this moment Androcles became his guest;
nor did the lion ever sally forth in quest of his prey, without bringing
home the produce of his chase, and sharing it with his friend.

[Illustration: ANDROCLES AND THE LION--Page 110.]

"In this savage state of hospitality did the man continue to live
during several months. At length, wandering unguardedly through the
woods, he met with a company of soldiers sent out to apprehend him, and
was by them taken prisoner, and conducted back to his master. The laws
of that country being very severe against slaves, he was tried and found
guilty of having fled from his master, and as a punishment for his
pretended crime, he was sentenced to be torn in pieces by a furious
lion, kept many days without food, to inspire him with additional rage.

"When the destined moment arrived, the unhappy man was exposed, unarmed,
in the middle of a spacious arena, inclosed on every side, round which
many thousand people were assembled to view the mournful spectacle.
Presently a dreadful yell was heard, which struck the spectators with
horror, and a monstrous lion rushed out of a den, which was purposely
set open, with erected mane and flaming eyes, and jaws that gaped like
an open sepulchre. A mournful silence instantly prevailed. All eyes
were turned upon the destined victim, whose destruction seemed
inevitable. But the pity of the multitude was soon converted into
astonishment, when they beheld the lion, instead of destroying its
defenceless enemy, crouch submissively at his feet, fawn upon him as a
faithful dog would do upon his master, and rejoice over him as a mother
that unexpectedly recovers her offspring. The governor of the town, who
was present, then called out with a loud voice, and ordered Androcles to
explain to them this unintelligible mystery, and how a savage of the
fiercest and most unpitying nature should thus in a moment have
forgotten his innate disposition, and be converted into a harmless and
inoffensive animal. Androcles then related to the assembly every
circumstance of his adventures, and concluded by saying, that the very
lion which now stood before them, had been his friend and entertainer in
the woods. All present were astonished and delighted with the story, to
find that even the fiercest beasts are capable of being softened by
gratitude; and, being moved by humanity, they unanimously joined to
entreat for the pardon of the unhappy man, from the governor of the
place. This was immediately granted to him, and he was also presented
with the lion, which had twice saved the life of Androcles."

"Oh, what a delightful story, Uncle Thomas! What a pity it is that it is
not true."

"I can tell you one which is true, John which is hardly, if at all,
inferior in interest:--

"Sir George Davis, who was English consul at Naples about the middle of
the seventeenth century, happening on one ocassion 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 upwards 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
frenzy, 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 know not.' The Grand Duke of Tuscany, on
hearing his story, said it was the very same person who had presented
him with the lion."

"Oh! Uncle Thomas: I should have been terribly afraid to have ventured
into the lion's den!"

"I dare say you would, John, and so should I. But some stories are
recorded of the gentleness of the lion, as almost to justify such acts
of what would otherwise appear fool-hardiness.

"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 towards 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 towards 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 stedfastly. 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.

[Illustration: THE LIONESS AND THE BABOON--Page 117.]

"Another author tells such a graphic story of a lion's entertaining a
hunter, that I must let you hear it also, though I must say that I think
he has rather overstrained it.

"A hunter on one occasion having gone in search of a lion, and having
penetrated a considerable distance into a forest, happened to meet with
two whelps of a lion that came to caress him. The hunter stopped with
the little animals, and waiting for the coming of the sire or the dam,
took out his breakfast, and gave them a part. The lioness arrived,
unperceived by the huntsman, so that he had not time, or perhaps wanted
the courage, to take his gun. After having for some time looked at the
man who was thus feasting her young, the lioness burst away, and soon
after returned, bearing with her a sheep, which she came and laid at the
huntsman's feet. The hunter, thus become one of the family, took
occasion to make a good meal,--skinned the sheep, made a fire, and
roasted a part, giving the entrails to the young. The lion, in his turn,
came also; and, as if respecting the rights of hospitality, showed no
tokens whatever of ferocity. Their guest, the next day, having finished
his provisions, returned home, and came to a resolution never more to
kill any of these animals, the noble generosity of which he had so fully
experienced. He stroked and caressed the whelps at taking leave of them,
and the dam and sire accompanied him till he was safely out of the
forest."

"Well, Uncle Thomas, I cannot believe that. I think the man would have
been too glad to escape, to have staid so long with such unsafe
companions."

"You are quite right, Harry, I cannot expect that you should give credit
to a story which I myself disbelieve. Here is a story about the ferocity
of the lion, which is, however, beyond all, doubt.

"In the year 1816 the horses which were dragging the Exeter mail coach
were attacked in the most furious manner by a lioness, which had escaped
from a travelling menagerie.

"At the moment when the coachman pulled up, to deliver his bags at one
of the stages a few miles from the town of Salisbury, one of the leading
horses was suddenly seized by a ferocious animal. This produced a great
confusion and alarm. Two passengers, who were inside the mail, got out
and ran into the house. The horse kicked and plunged violently; and it
was with difficulty the driver could prevent the coach from being
overturned. It was soon observed by the coachman and guard, by the light
of the lamps, that the animal which had seized the horse was a huge
lioness. A large mastiff dog came up and attacked her fiercely, on which
she quitted the horse and turned upon him. The dog fled, but was pursued
and killed by the lioness, within about forty yards of the place. It
appears that the beast had escaped from a caravan, which was standing on
the road side, and belonged to a menagerie, on its way to Salisbury
fair. An alarm being given, the keepers pursued and hunted the lioness,
carrying the dog in her teeth, into a hovel under a granary, which
served for keeping agricultural implements. About half past eight, they
had secured her effectually, by barricading the place, so as to prevent
her escape. The horse, when first attacked, fought with great spirit;
and if he had been at liberty, would probably have beaten down his
antagonist with his fore feet but in plunging he entangled himself in
the harness. The lioness, it appears, attacked him in front, and
springing at his throat, had fastened the talons of her fore feet on
each side of his gullet, close to the head, while the talons of her hind
feet were forced into the chest. In this situation she hung, while the
blood was seen streaming, as if a vein had been opened by a lancet. The
furious animal missed the throat and jugular vein; but the horse was so
dreadfully torn, that he was not at first expected to survive. The
expressions of agony, in his tears and moans, were most piteous and
affecting. Whether the lioness was afraid of her prey being taken from
her, or from some other cause, she continued a considerable time after
she had entered the hovel, roaring in a dreadful manner, so loud,
indeed, that she was distinctly heard at the distance of half a mile.
She was eventually secured and led back in triumph to her cell."

"It was fortunate that it did not attack the passengers, Uncle Thomas."

"Very much so, indeed; it might have turned out a very serious affair,
Frank."



CHAPTER VI.

     Uncle Thomas tells about the Tiger; its Ferocity and Power; and of
     the Curious Modes which are adopted for its Capture and
     Destruction.--Also about the Puma or American Lion, and introduces
     some Hunting Scenes in North and South America, with other
     Interesting and Entertaining Adventures.


"Long as the stories were, Boys, which I told you last night about the
lion, I have not yet quite done with the animals of the cat kind; there
are still one or two stories about the tiger and the puma or American
lion, which I wish to tell you of, if you do not think we have already
had enough of them."

"Oh, no, Uncle Thomas, pray do continue."

"Very well, I will first tell you about the tiger.

"The tiger, which inhabits the rich jungles of India, nearly equals the
lion in strength, and perhaps excels him in activity and ferocity. A
very affecting instance of his ferocity, by which a fine young man, the
only son of Sir Hector Munro, lost his life, is thus related by one of
the party:

"Yesterday morning, Captain George Downey, Lieutenant Pyefinch, poor Mr.
Munro (of the Honourable East India Company's service), and myself
(Captain Consar), went on shore, on Saugur Island, to shoot deer. We saw
innumerable tracks of tigers and deer; but still we were induced to
pursue our sport; and did so the whole day. About half past three, we
sat down on the edge of the jungle, to eat some cold meat, sent to us
from the ship, and had just commenced our meal, when Mr. Pyefinch and a
black servant told us there was a fine deer within six yards of us.
Captain Downey and I immediately jumped up, to take our guns; mine was
nearest, and I had but just laid hold of it, when I heard a roar like
thunder, and saw an immense royal tiger spring on the unfortunate Munro,
who was sitting down; in a moment his head was in the beast's mouth, and
he rushed into the jungle with him, with as much ease as I could lift a
kitten, tearing him through the thickest bushes and trees, every thing
yielding to his monstrous strength. The agonies of horror, regret, and,
I must say, fear (for there were two tigers), rushed on me at once; the
only effort I could make was to fire at him, though the poor youth was
still in his mouth. I relied partly on Providence, partly on my own aim,
and fired a musket. The tiger staggered, and seemed agitated, which I
took notice of to my companions. Captain Downey then fired two shots,
and I one more. We retired from the jungle, and, a few minutes after,
Mr. Munro came up to us all over blood and fell. We took him on our
backs to the boat, and got every medical assistance for him from the
Valentine Indiaman, which lay at anchor near the Island; but in vain. He
lived twenty-four hours in the utmost torture; his head and skull were
all torn and broken to pieces, and he was also wounded, by the animal's
claws, all over his neck and shoulders; but it was better to take him
away, though irrecoverable, than leave him to be mangled and devoured.
We have just read the funeral service over his body, and committed it to
the deep. Mr. Munro was an amiable and promising youth. I must observe,
there was a large fire blazing close to us, composed of ten or a dozen
whole trees. I made it myself on purpose to keep the tigers off, as I
had always heard it would. There were eight or ten of the natives about
us; many shots had been fired at the place; there was much noise and
laughing at the time; but this ferocious animal disregarded all. The
human mind cannot form an idea of the scene; it turned my very soul
within me. The beast was about four feet and a half high, and nine long.
His head appeared as large as that of an ox; his eyes darting fire, and
his roar, when he first seized his prey, will never be out of my
recollection. We had scarcely pushed our boat from that cursed shore,
when the tigress made her appearance, raging, almost mad, and remained
on the sand, as long as the distance would allow me to see her."

"Oh, dreadful, Uncle Thomas! I declare it makes my hair stand on end!"

"It is a fearful tale, John, and shows you what a scourge such an animal
must be to the inhabitants of the country in which it is found. It
frequents the deserts of Asia, but in some places where civilization has
commenced, it prowls about the villages and commits great havoc among
the herds of the inhabitants, who therefore find it necessary to adopt
various schemes for its destruction; some of these devices are very
curious.

"A large cage of strong bamboos is constructed, and fastened firmly to
the ground, in a place which the tigers frequent. In this a man takes up
his station for the night. He is generally accompanied by a dog or a
goat, which by its extreme agitation is sure to give notice of the
tiger's approach. His weapons consist of two or three strong spears, and
thus provided he wraps himself in his quilt, and very composedly goes to
steep in the full confidence of safety. By and by the tiger makes his
appearance, and after duly reconnoitring all round, begins to rear
against the cage, seeking for some means of entering. The hunter, who
watches his opportunity, thrusts one of his spears into the animal's
body, and seldom fails to destroy it."

"That is a very good plan, Uncle Thomas, and does not seem to be
attended with much danger, if the cage be strong enough."

"No, Boys, it is not very dangerous, but I don't think any of you would
like to trust yourselves so exposed. Here, however, is another mode of
destroying the tiger, which is practised in some parts of India.

"The track of a tiger being ascertained, which though not invariably the
same, may yet be known sufficiently for the purpose, the peasants
collect a quantity of the leaves of the prous, which are like those of
the sycamore, and are common in most underwoods, as they form the
largest portion of most jungles in India. These leaves are smeared with
a species of bird-lime, made by bruising the berries of a tree by no
means scarce. They are then strewed, with the gluten uppermost, near to
the spot to which it is understood the tiger usually retires during
noon-tide heat. If by chance the animal should tread on one of these
smeared leaves his fate is certain. He commences by shaking his paw,
with the view to remove the adhesive incumbrance, but finding no relief
from that expedient, he rubs the nuisance against his jaw with the same
intention, by which means his eyes, ears, &c. become covered with the
same substance. This occasions such uneasiness as causes him to roll
perhaps among many more smeared leaves, till at length he becomes
completely enveloped, and he is deprived of sight, and in this situation
may be compared to a man who has been tarred and feathered. The anxiety
produced by this strange and novel predicament, soon discovers itself in
dreadful howlings, which serve to call the watchful peasants, who in
this disabled state find no difficulty in shooting the object of
detestation."

"That is better still, Uncle Thomas; I think that is the most ingenious
way of catching an animal that I ever heard of."

"I must now tell you something about the puma or American lion, which is
also taken in a very ingenious manner by the natives of South America.
It is generally hunted by means of dogs. When they unkennel a lion or a
tiger, they pursue him till he stops to defend himself. The hunter, who
is mounted on a good steed, follows close behind, and if the dogs seize
upon the animal, the hunter jumps off his horse, and, while the lion is
engaged in contending with the dogs, strikes him on the head, and thus
dispatches him. If, however, the dogs are afraid to attack him, the
hunter uses his lasso, dexterously fixes it round some part of the
animal, and gallops away, dragging it after him. The dogs now rush in
and tear him, when he is soon dispatched.

"When wounded the puma grows furious and irresistible. Here is a story
which shows the fierceness of the animal:--Two hunters having gone in
quest of game to the Catskill mountains, province of New York, each
armed with a gun, and accompanied by a dog, they agreed to go in
contrary directions round the base of the hill, which formed one of the
points of that chain of mountains; and it was settled that, if either
discharged his piece, the other should hasten to the spot whence the
report proceeded as speedily as possible, to join in the pursuit of
whatever game might fall to their lot. They had not been long asunder,
when the one heard the other fire, and, agreeably to promise, hastened
to join his companion. He looked for him in every direction; but to no
purpose. At length, however, he came upon the dog of his friend, dead,
and dreadfully lacerated. Convinced by this, that the animal his comrade
had shot at was ferocious and formidable, he felt much alarm for his
fate, and sought after him with great anxiety. He had not proceeded many
yards from me spot where the dog lay prostrate, when his attention was
arrested by the ferocious growl of some wild animal. On raising his
eyes to the spot whence the sound proceeded, he discovered a large puma
couching on the branch of a tree, and under him the body of his friend.
The animal's eyes glared at him, and he appeared hesitating whether he
should descend, and make an attack on the survivor also, or relinquish
his prey, and decamp. The hunter, aware of the celerity of the puma's
movements, knew that there was no time for reflection, levelled his
piece, and mortally wounded the animal, when it and the body of the man
fell together from the tree. His dog then attacked the wounded puma, but
a single blow from its paw laid it prostrate. In this state of things,
finding his comrade was dead, and knowing it was dangerous to approach
the wounded animal, he went in search of assistance, and on returning to
the spot he found his companion, the puma, and the two dogs, all lying
dead.

"The celebrated naturalist Audubon gives an interesting account of a
hunt which he had after the puma, in one of the back settlements of
North America. In the course of his rambles he arrived at the cabin of a
squatter on the banks of Cold-Water River, and after a hospitable
reception, and an evening spent in relating their adventures in the
chase, it was agreed in the morning to hunt the puma which had of late
been making sad ravages among the squatter's pigs.

"The hunters accordingly made their appearance just as the sun was
emerging from the horizon. They were five in number, and fully equipped
for the chase, being mounted on horses which in some parts of Europe
might appear sorry nags, but which, in strength, speed, and bottom, are
better fitted for pursuing a puma or bear through woods and morasses
than any in that country. A pack of large ugly curs were already engaged
in making acquaintance with those of the squatter. He and myself mounted
his two best horses, whilst his sons were bestriding others of inferior
quality.

"Few words were uttered by the party until we had reached the edge of
the swamp where it was agreed that all should disperse and seek for the
fresh track of the puma, it being previously settled that the discoverer
should blow his horn, and remain on the spot until the rest should join
him. In less than an hour, the sound of the horn was clearly heard, and,
sticking close the squatter, off we went through the thick woods, guided
only by the moon and the repeated call of the distant huntsman. We soon
reached the spot, and in a short time the rest of the party came up. The
best dog was sent forward to attack the animal, and in a few minutes the
whole pack were observed diligently tracking and bearing in their course
for the interior of the swamp. The rifles were immediately put in trim,
and the party followed the dogs at separate distances, within sight of
each other, determined to shoot at no other game than the puma.

"The dogs soon began to mouth, and suddenly quickened their pace. My
companions concluded that the beast was on the ground, and putting our
horses to a gentle gallop, we followed the curs, guided by their voices.
The noise of the dogs increased, when all of a sudden their mode of
barking became altered, and the squatter, urging me to push on, told me
the beast was _treed_, by which he meant that it had got upon some low
branch of a large tree, to rest for a few moments, and that should we
not succeed in shooting him while thus situated we might expect a long
chase of it. As we approached the spot, we all by degrees united into a
body, but on seeing the dogs at the foot of a large tree, separated
again, and galloped off to surround it.

"Each hunter now moved with caution, holding his gun ready, and allowing
the bridle to dangle on the neck of his horse, as it advanced slowly
towards the dogs. A shot from one of the party was heard, on which the
puma was seen to leap to the ground and bound off with such velocity as
to show that he was very unwilling to stand our fire longer. The dogs
set off in pursuit with the utmost eagerness and a deafening cry; the
hunter who had fired came up, and said that his ball had hit the
monster, and had probably broken one of his fore legs near the shoulder,
the only place at which he could aim; a slight trail of blood was
discovered on the ground, but the curs proceeded at such a rate, that we
merely noticed this and put spurs to our horses, which galloped on
towards the centre of the swamp. One bayou (a part of the swamp in which
the water accumulates) was crossed, then another still larger and more
muddy, but the dogs were brushing forward, and as the horses began to
pant at a furious rate, we judged it expedient to leave them and advance
on foot. These determined hunters knew that the animal, being wounded,
would shortly ascend another tree, where in all probability he would
remain for a considerable time, and that it was easy to follow the track
of the dogs. We dismounted, took off the saddles and bridles, set the
bells attached to the horses, necks at liberty to jingle, hoppled the
animals (fastening the bridle to one of their legs so that they could
not stray far), and left them to shift for themselves.

"After marching for a couple of hours, we again heard the dogs. Each of
us pressed forward, elated at the thought of terminating the career of
the puma; some of the dogs were heard whining, although the greater part
barked vehemently. We felt assured that the animal was treed, and that
he would rest for some time to recover from his fatigue. As we came up
to the dogs we discovered the furious animal lying across a large branch
close to the trunk of a cotton-wood tree. His broad breast lay towards
us, his eyes were at one time bent on us, and again on the dogs,
beneath, and around him; one of his fore-legs hung down loosely by his
side, and he lay crouched with his ears lowered close to his head, as if
he thought he might remain undiscovered. Three balls were fired at him
at a given signal, on which he sprung a few feet from the branch, and
tumbled headlong to the ground. Attacked on all sides by the enraged
curs, the infuriated animal fought with desperate valour; but the
squatter advancing in front of the party, and almost in the midst of the
dogs, shot him immediately behind and beneath the left shoulder. He
writhed for a moment in agony, and in another lay dead."

"It must be very exciting employment, hunting the puma, Uncle Thomas."

"And not a little dangerous too, Boys, for you hear how fiercely he
maintains his ground. With all their fierceness, however, the fear of
man is over even this relentless race of animals. Captain Head, who has
written an amusing book called 'Rough Notes of Rapid Rides across the
Pampas,' thus speaks on this subject:

"The fear which all wild animals in America have of man is very
singularly exhibited in the Pampas. I often rode towards the ostriches
and zamas, crouching under the opposite side of my horse's neck; but I
always found that, although they would allow my loose horse to approach
them, they, even when young, ran from me, though little of my figure was
visible; and when I saw them all enjoying themselves in such full
liberty, it was at first not pleasing to observe that one's appearance
was every where a signal to them that they should fly from their enemy.
Yet it is by this fear 'that man hath dominion over the beasts of the
field,' and there is no animal in South America that does not
acknowledge this instinctive feeling. As a singular proof of the above,
and of the difference between the wild beasts of America and of the old
world, I will venture to relate a circumstance which a man sincerely
assured me had happened to him in South America.

"He was trying to shoot some wild ducks, and, in order to approach them
unperceived, he put the corner of his poncho (which is a sort of long
narrow blanket) over his head, and crawling along the ground upon his
hand and knees, the poncho not only covered his body, but trailed along
the ground behind him. As he was thus creeping by a large bush of
reeds, he heard a loud, sudden noise, between a bark and a roar; he felt
something heavy strike his feet, and, instantly jumping up, he saw to
his astonishment, a large puma actually standing on his poncho; and,
perhaps, the animal was equally astonished to find himself in the
immediate presence of so athletic a man. The man told me he was
unwilling to fire, as his gun was loaded with very small shot; and he
therefore remained motionless, the puma standing on his poncho for many
seconds; at last the creature turned his head, and walking very slowly
away about ten yards, stopped, and turned again: the man still
maintained his ground, upon which the puma tacitly acknowledged his
supremacy, and walked off."

"I dare say the man was very glad to be so easily quit of such a
formidable visitor, Uncle Thomas."

[Illustration: THE SURPRISE--Page 140.]

"No doubt of it, Frank. I have one other story to tell you about the
puma, which fortunately exhibits it in a more favourable light than
some of those which I have told you.

"During the government of Don Diego de Mendoza, in Paraguay, a dreadful
famine raged at Buenos Ayres; yet Diego, afraid to give the Indians a
habit of spilling Spanish blood, forbade the inhabitants, on pain of
death, to go into the fields, in search of relief, placing soldiers at
all the outlets to the country, with orders to fire upon those who
should attempt to transgress his orders. A woman, however, called
Maldonata, was artful enough to elude the vigilance of the guards, and
to effect her escape. After wandering about the country for a long time,
she sought shelter in a cavern; but she had scarcely entered it, when
she became dreadfully alarmed, on observing a puma occupying the same
den. She was, however, soon quieted by the animal approaching and
caressing her. The poor brute was very ill, and scarcely able to crawl
towards her. Maldonata soon discovered what was the cause of the
animal's illness, and kindly ministered to it. It soon recovered, and
was all gratitude and attention to its kind benefactress, never
returning from searching after its daily subsistence without laying a
portion of it at the feet of Maldonata.

"Some time after, Maldonata fell into the hands of the Spaniards; and,
being brought back to Buenos Ayres, was conducted before Don Francis
Ruez de Galen, who then commanded there. She was charged with having
left the city contrary to orders. Galen was a man of a cruel and
tyrannical disposition, and condemned the unfortunate woman to a death
which none but the most cruel tyrant could have devised. He ordered some
soldiers to take her into the country, and leave her tied to a tree,
either to perish with hunger, or to be torn to pieces by wild beasts.
Two days after, he sent the same soldiers to see what had been her fate,
when, to their great surprise, they found her alive and unhurt, though
surrounded by pumas and jaguars, while a female puma at her feet kept
them at bay. As soon as the puma saw the soldiers, she retired to some
distance and they unbound Maldonata, who related to them the history of
this puma, whom she knew to be the same she had formerly relieved in the
cavern. On the soldiers taking Maldonata away, the animal approached,
and fawned upon her, as if unwilling to part. The soldiers reported what
they had seen to their commander, who could not but pardon a woman who
had been so singularly protected, without the danger of appearing more
inhuman than pumas themselves.



CHAPTER VII.

     Uncle Thomas tells about the Migrating Instinct of Animals.--Of the
     House Swallow of England; and the Esculent Swallow, whose Nest is
     eaten by the Chinese.--He tells also about the Passenger Pigeon of
     America; of the Myriads which are found in various parts of the
     United States; of the Land-Crab and its Migrations, and of those of
     the Salmon and the Common Herring.


"Uncle Thomas, I heard to-day of a swallow which for many years returned
to the same window, and built its nest in the same corner. Now as I
believe swallows are birds of passage, and leave this country to spend
the winter in warmer climates, I wish you to explain to me how it is
that they can return from such distances to the same spot."

"That is a question, Frank, which I cannot very well answer, but so many
instances of the kind have been observed as to leave no doubt as to the
fact. It has sometimes been known even to penetrate into the house, and
attach its nest to articles of furniture.

"At Camerton Hall, near Bath, a pair of swallows built their nest on the
upper part of the frame of an old picture over the chimney; and, coming
into the room through a broken pane in one of the windows, they
continued to use the same place for their nest for three successive
years, and would probably have continued to do so, but the room having
been put into repair, they could no longer obtain access to it."

"Is it want of food which makes birds migrate, Uncle Thomas?"

"Principally, I should say that it is so, Frank, but in shifting from
one place to another they only fulfil an instinct impressed on them by
their Creator for the preservation of their species. Thus, for instance,
an old swallow might know by experience, that when its food fails here,
it begins to become plentiful elsewhere, but the young bird which had
never been more than a few miles from the place where it was hatched,
can have no such experimental knowledge; yet, when the season arrives,
we find the whole flock ready to set out. I dare say you have all seen
them, Boys, gathering in flocks and resting on the house tops, as if
taking breath before setting out on their long journey."

"Oh, yes, Uncle Thomas, I have often seen them doing so, but I have
heard that they dive to the bottom of lakes and ponds, and remain there
till winter is over."

"Many foolish stories are told of swallows being found in such
situations, Harry, but they are now well known to be fables. There is no
doubt that they migrate in the same way as many other birds. Last autumn
I watched with great pleasure the movements of a flock, which was
evidently preparing for their arduous flight.

"For several evenings they assembled in large numbers on a tree at a
short distance from my house, and, after remaining seated for some time,
one of them, who appeared to be commander-in-chief, kept flying about
in all directions, and at length, with a sharp and loudly repeated call,
he darted up into the air. In an instant the whole congregation were on
the wing, following their leader in a sort of spiral track. In a little
time they had risen so high that I lost sight of them, but after a short
absence they again returned and took up their position on the tree which
they had just left.

"This manoeuvre they continued for some time, till one day they set
off in reality, and I saw no more of them for the winter."

"I read, somewhere, Uncle Thomas, that the Chinese eat swallows' nests.
I cannot understand this, Sir; surely the mud and clay, of which
swallows' nests are composed, would make but an indifferent repast."

"I dare say they would, Frank, if they were made of clay and mud, as the
nests of our swallows are; but such is not the case. Various opinions
are entertained as to the substance of which the nest of the esculent
swallow is made. Sir George Staunton, who accompanied Lord Macartney in
his embassy to China, gives a very interesting account both of the
swallow and of its nest.

"In the Cass," says Sir George, "a small island near Sumatra, we found
two caverns running horizontally into the side of the rock, and in these
were a number of those birds' nests so much prized by the Chinese
epicures. They seemed to be composed of fine filaments, cemented
together by a transparent viscous matter, not unlike what is left by the
foam of the sea upon stones alternately covered by the tide, or those
gelatinous animal substances found floating on every coast. The nests
adhere to each other and to the sides of the cavern, mostly in
horizontal rows, without any break or interruption, and at different
depths from fifty to five hundred feet. The birds that build these nests
are small grey swallows, with bellies of a dirty white. They were flying
about in considerable numbers, but were so small, and their flight was
so quick, that they escaped the shot fired at them. The same sort of
nests are said to be also found in deep caverns at the foot of the
highest mountains in the middle of Java, at a distance from the sea;
from which source it is thought that the birds derive no materials,
either for their food, or the construction of their nests, as it does
not appear probable they should fly in search of either over the
intermediate mountains, which are very high, or against the boisterous
winds prevailing thereabouts. They feed on insects, which they find
hovering over stagnated pools between the mountains, and for the
catching of which their wide opening beaks are particularly adapted.
They prepare their nests from the best remnants of their food. Their
greatest enemy is the kite, who often intercepts them in their passage
to and from the caverns, which are generally surrounded with rocks of
grey limestone or white marble. The colour and value of the nests depend
on the quantity and quality of the insects caught, and perhaps also on
the situation where they are built. Their value is chiefly ascertained
by the uniform fineness and delicacy of their texture; those that are
white and transparent being most esteemed, and fetching often in China
their weight in silver.

"These nests are a considerable object of traffic among the Javanese,
many of whom are employed in it from their infancy. The birds, after
having spent nearly two months in preparing their nests, lay each two
eggs, which are hatched in about fifteen days. When the young birds
become fledged, it is thought the proper time to seize upon their nests,
which is done regularly three times a year, and is effected by means of
ladders of bamboo and reeds, by which the people descend into the
caverns; but when these are very deep, rope-ladders are preferred. This
operation is attended with much danger, and several perish in the
attempt. The inhabitants of the mountains generally employed in this
business begin always by sacrificing a buffalo, which custom is observed
by the Javanese on the eve of every extraordinary enterprise. They also
pronounce some prayers, anoint themselves with sweet-scented oil, and
smoke the entrance of the cavern with gumbenjamin. Near some of the
caverns a tutelar goddess is worshipped, whose priest burns incense, and
lays his projecting hands on every person preparing to descend. A
flambeau is carefully prepared at the same time, with a gum which exudes
from a tree growing in the vicinity, and which is not easily
extinguished by fixed air or subterraneous vapours."

"But how are the nests eaten, Uncle Thomas? Are they prepared in any
way, or are they fit for use as they are taken down?"

"They are always prepared before they are eaten. The finest sort, which
are of a clear colour, and not unlike isinglass, are dissolved in broth,
to which they are said to give an exquisite flavour. After being soaked,
they are sometimes introduced into the body of a fowl and stewed; but I
am not quite versed in all the mysteries of a Chinese kitchen, so you
must be satisfied with these two modes of preparation."

"Thank you, Uncle Thomas."

"I have only one more story to tell you about the swallow, Boys, and
then I must turn to two or three other animals, whose peregrinations
exhibit as strong instances of instinct as it does."

"A swallow's nest, built in the west corner of a window facing the
north, was so much softened by the rain beating against it, that it was
rendered unfit to support the superincumbent load of five pretty full
grown swallows. During a storm the nest fell into the tower corner of
the window, leaving the young brood exposed to all the fury of the
blast. To save the little creatures from an untimely death, the owner of
the house benevolently caused a covering to be thrown over them, till
the severity of the storm was past. No sooner had it subsided, than the
sages of the colony assembled, fluttering round the window, and hovering
over the temporary covering of the fallen nest. As soon as this careful
anxiety was observed, the covering was removed, and the utmost joy
evinced by the group, on finding the young ones alive and unhurt. After
feeding them, the members of this assembled community arranged
themselves into working order. Each division taking its appropriate
station, commenced instantly to work, and before night-fall they had
jointly completed an arched canopy over the young brood in the corner
where they lay, and securely covered them against a succeeding blast.
Calculating the time occupied by them in performing this piece of
architecture, it appeared evident that the young must have perished from
cold and hunger, before any single pair could have executed half the
job."

"How very kind, Uncle Thomas! Had they been reasoning creatures, they
could not have behaved more properly."

"I dare say not, Frank. Such traits overstep the limits of _instinct_,
and almost trespass on that of reason."

"You asked, Frank, if it was want of food which prompted the flight of
migratory animals from one place to another. In some cases it is so,
undoubtedly; as for instance, in that which I am now going to tell you
about, the American passenger pigeon; it is from the work of the great
naturalist, Wilson.

"The migrations of these pigeons appear to be undertaken rather in quest
of food than merely to avoid the cold of the climate; since we find them
lingering in the northern regions around Hudson's Bay so late as
December, and since their appearance is so casual and irregular,
sometimes not visiting certain districts for several years in any
considerable numbers, while at other times they are innumerable. I have
often witnessed these migrations in the Genesee country, often in
Pennsylvania, and also in various parts of Virginia, with amazement; but
all that I have seen of them are mere straggling parties, when compared
with the congregated millions which I have since beheld in the western
forests in the states of Ohio, Kentucky, and the Indiana territory.
These fertile and extensive regions abound with the nutritious beech
nut, which constitutes the chief food of the wild pigeon. In seasons
when these nuts are abundant, corresponding multitudes of pigeons may be
confidently expected. It sometimes happens, that having consumed the
whole produce of the beech trees in an extensive district, they discover
another at the distance of perhaps sixty or eighty miles, to which they
regularly repair every morning, and return as regularly in the course of
the day, or in the evening, to their place of general rendezvous, or, as
it is generally called, the roosting place. These roosting places are
always in the wood, and sometimes occupy a large extent of forest. When
they have frequented one of these places for some time, the appearance
it exhibits is surprising. The ground is covered to the depth of several
inches with their droppings; all the tender grass and underwood
destroyed; the surface strewed with large limbs of trees, broken down
by the weight of the birds clustering one above another, and the trees
themselves, for thousand of acres, killed as completely as if girdled
with an axe. The marks of this desolation remain for many years on the
spot, and numerous places could be pointed out, where for several years
after scarcely a single vegetable made its appearance.

"When these roosts are first discovered, the inhabitants from
considerable distances visit them in the night with guns, clubs, long
poles, pots of sulphur, and various other engines of destruction. In a
few hours they fill many sacks, and load their horses with them. By the
Indians, a pigeon roost or breeding place is considered an important
source of national profit and dependence for the season, and all their
active ingenuity is exercised on the occasion. The breeding place
differs from the former in its greater extent. In the western countries
before mentioned, these are generally in beech woods, and often extend
in nearly a straight line across the country for a great way. Not far
from Shelbyville, in the state of Kentucky, about five years ago, there
was one of these breeding places, which stretched through the woods in
nearly a north and south direction, which was several miles in breadth,
and was said to be upwards of forty miles in extent. In this tract
almost every tree was furnished with nests wherever the branches could
accommodate them. The pigeons made their first appearance there about
the 10th of April, and left it altogether with their young before the
25th of May.

"As soon as the young were fully grown, and before they left the nests,
numerous parties of the inhabitants, from all parts of the adjacent
country, came with waggons, axes, beds, cooking utensils, many of them
accompanied by the greater part of their families, and encamped for
several days in this immense nursery. Several of them informed me that
the noise in the woods was so great as to terrify their horses, and that
it was difficult for one person to hear another speak without bawling
in his ear. The ground was strewed with broken limbs of trees, eggs, and
young squab pigeons which had been precipitated from above, and on which
herds of hogs were fattening; hawks, buzzards, and eagles were sailing
about in great numbers, and seizing the squabs from their nests at
pleasure; while from twenty feet upwards to the tops of the trees, the
view through the woods presented a perpetual tumult of crowding and
fluttering multitudes of pigeons, their wings roaring like thunder,
mingled with the frequent crash of falling timber; for now the axemen
were at work, cutting down those trees which seemed to be most crowded
with nests, and contrived to fell them in such a manner, that in their
descent they might bring down several others, by which means the falling
of one large tree sometimes produced two hundred squabs, little inferior
in size to the old pigeons, and almost one mass of fat. On some single
trees, upwards of one hundred nests were found, each containing one
young only, a circumstance in the history of this bird not generally
known to naturalists. It was dangerous to walk under these fluttering
and flying millions, from the frequent fall of large branches, broken
down by the weight of the multitudes above, and which in their descent
often destroyed numbers of the birds themselves.

"I had left the public road to visit the remains of the breeding place
near Shelbyville, and was traversing the woods with my gun on my way to
Frankfort, when about one o'clock, the pigeons which I had observed
flying the greater part of the morning northerly, began to return in
such immense numbers as I never before had witnessed; coming to an
opening by the side of a creek called the Benson, where I had a more
uninterrupted view, I was astonished at their appearance. They were
flying with great steadiness and rapidity, at a height beyond gun-shot,
and several strata deep, and so close together, that could shot have
reached them, one discharge could not have failed in bringing down
several individuals. From right to left as far as the eye could reach,
the breadth of this vast procession extended, seeming every where
equally crowded. Curious to determine how long this appearance would
continue, I took out my watch to note time, and sat down to observe
them. It was then half-past one; I sat for more than an hour, but
instead of a diminution of this prodigious procession, it seemed rather
to increase both in numbers and rapidity, and anxious to reach Frankfort
before night, I arose and went on. About four o'clock in the afternoon,
I crossed the Kentucky river at the town of Frankfort, at which time the
living torrent above my head seemed as numerous and as extensive as
ever; and long after this, I observed them in large bodies that
continued to pass for six or eight minutes, and these again were
followed by other detached bodies, all moving in the same south-east
direction, till after six in the evening. The great breadth of front
which this mighty multitude preserved would seem to intimate a
corresponding breadth of their breeding place, which, by several
gentlemen who had lately passed through part of it, was stated to me at
several miles. It was said to be in Green County, and that the young
began to fly about the middle of March. On the 17th of April, forty-nine
miles beyond Danville, and not far from Green River, I crossed this same
breeding place, where the nests for more than three miles spotted every
tree; the leaves not being yet out, I had a fair prospect of them, and
was really astonished at their numbers. A few bodies of pigeons lingered
yet in different parts of the woods, the roaring of whose wings was
heard in various quarters around me.

"The vast quantity of food which these multitudes consume is a serious
loss to the other animals, such as bears, pigs, squirrels, which are
dependent on the fruits of the forest. I have taken from the crop of a
single wild pigeon a good handful of the kernels of beech nuts
intermixed with acorns and chesnuts. To form a rough estimate of the
daily consumption of one of these immense flocks, let us first attempt
to calculate the numbers above mentioned, as seen in passing between
Frankfort and the Indian Territory. If we suppose this column to have
been one mile in breadth (and I believe it to have been much more), and
that it moved at the rate of one mile in a minute, four hours, the time
it continued passing, would make its whole length two hundred and forty
miles. Again, supposing that each square yard of this moving body
comprehended three pigeons, the square yards in the whole space,
multiplied by three, would give two thousand two hundred and thirty
millions two hundred and seventy-two thousand pigeons!--an almost
incredible multitude, and yet far below the actual amount. Computing
each of these to consume half a pint of mast (nuts, and other seeds of
trees) daily, the whole quantity, at this rate, would equal seventeen
millions four hundred and twenty-four thousand bushels per day! Heaven
has wisely and graciously given to these birds rapidity of flight, and a
disposition to range over vast uncultivated tracts of the earth;
otherwise they must have perished in the districts where they resided,
or devoured the whole productions of agriculture, as well as those of
the forests.

"The appearance of large detached flocks of these birds in the air, and
the various evolutions they display, are strikingly picturesque and
interesting. In descending the Ohio by myself, I often rested on my oars
to contemplate their aerial manoeuvres. A column of eight or ten miles
in length would appear from Kentucky high in air, steering across to
Indiana. The leaders of this great body would sometimes gradually vary
their course, till it formed a large bend of more than a mile in
diameter, those behind tracing the exact route of their predecessors.
This would continue sometimes long after both extremities were beyond
the reach of sight; so that the whole with its glittering undulations
marked a space on the face of the heavens resembling the windings of a
vast majestic river. When this bend became very great, the birds, as if
sensible of the unnecessarily circuitous route they were taking,
suddenly changed their direction, so that what was in column before
became an immense front, straightening all its indentures until it swept
the heavens in one vast and infinitely extended line. Other lesser
bodies also united with each other as they happened to approach, and
with such ease and elegance of evolution, forming new figures and
varying these as they united or separated, that I was never tired of
contemplating them. Sometimes a hawk would sweep on a particular part of
the column from a great height, when almost as quick as lightning that
part shot downwards out of the common track, but soon rising again,
continued advancing at the same height as before. This inflection was
continued by those behind, who, on arriving at this point, dived down
almost perpendicularly to a great depth, and, rising, followed the exact
path of those that went before.

"Happening to go ashore one charming afternoon to purchase some milk at
a house that stood near the river, and while talking with the people
within doors, I was suddenly struck with astonishment at a loud rushing
roar, succeeded by instant darkness, which for the first moment I took
for a tornado about to overwhelm the house, and every thing around, in
destruction. The people observing my surprise, coolly said, 'It is only
the pigeons,' and on running out, I beheld a flock thirty or forty yards
in width, sweeping along very low between the house and the mountain or
height that formed the second bank of the river. These continued
crossing for more than a quarter of an hour, and at length varied their
bearing, so as to pass over the mountain, behind which they disappeared
before the rear came up."

"That is amazing, Uncle Thomas; two thousand millions of live birds! I
can scarcely form an adequate idea of such a mass of living creatures."

"There is something almost overwhelming in the idea, Frank; and yet in
some parts of the world are to be found flocks of animals hardly less
surprisingly numerous, when we consider how much less they are fitted
for moving about, travelling at stated intervals from the mountains to
the sea coast, and returning again to their old habitations, after
having fulfilled the purposes for which this instinctive feeling was
implanted in them."

"Which animals do you mean, Uncle Thomas?"

"I allude to the land-crab, which is a native of the Bahamas, and also
of most of the other islands between the tropics. They live in clefts of
the rocks, or holes which they dig for themselves among the mountains,
and subsist on vegetables. About the months of April and May, they
descend to the sea coast in a body of millions at a time, for the
purpose of depositing their spawn. They march in a direct line towards
their destination, and seldom turn out of their way, even should they
encounter a wall or a house, but boldly attempt to scale it. If,
however, they arrive at a river, they wind along the course of the
stream, and thus reach the sea.

"In their procession they are as regular as an army under the command of
an experienced general, and are usually divided into three battalions.
The first body consists of the strongest males, which march forward to
clear the route and face the greatest dangers. The main body is composed
of females, which are formed into columns, sometimes extending fifty or
sixty yards in breadth and three miles in depth. Three or four days
after these follows the third division or rear guard, a straggling
undisciplined tribe, consisting both of males and females, but neither
so robust nor so vigorous as the former.

"Though easily drowned, a certain proportion of moisture seems necessary
to the existence of these animals, and the advanced guard is often
obliged to halt from the want of rain. The females, indeed, never leave
the mountains till the rainy season has fairly set in. They march
chiefly during the night, but if it happens to rain during the day,
they always profit by it. When the sun is hot they halt till evening.
They march very slowly, and are sometimes three months in gaining the
shore. When alarmed they run in a confused and disorderly manner,
holding up and clattering their nippers with a threatening attitude, and
if suffered to take hold of the hand they bite severely. If in their
journey any of them should be so maimed as to be unable to proceed, the
others fall upon it and devour it.

"Arrived at the coast, they prepare to cast their spawn. They go to the
edge of the water, and suffer the waves to wash twice or thrice over
their bodies, and then withdraw to seek a lodging upon the land. After a
short time the spawn becomes ready for being deposited, when they again
seek the sea-side, and leave the spawn to be brought to maturity by the
heat of the sun. Much of the spawn, which exactly resembles the roe of a
herring, is devoured by the fishes; that which escapes soon arrives at
maturity, and millions of little crabs are then to be seen slowly
travelling towards the mountains.

"The old ones in the mean time seek to return to their old haunts, but
so feeble are they that they seem scarcely able to crawl along. Some of
them, indeed, are obliged to remain in the level parts of the country
till they recover, making holes in the earth, which they block up with
leaves and dirt. In these they cast their old shells, after which they
soon recover, and become so fat as to be delicious food.

"At the season of their descent from the mountains, the natives of the
islands which they inhabit, eagerly wait for them and destroy them in
thousands. On their descent they are only taken for the roe or spawn,
the flesh being then poor and lean: on their return from the sea-side
they are in greatest repute, being then fat and high flavoured.

"The crab-catchers adopt various modes of securing them, but they are
obliged to be very cautious, for when the animals perceive themselves
attacked, they throw themselves on their back, and snap their claws
about, pinching whatever they lay hold of very severely. The
crab-catchers, however, soon learn to seize them by the hind legs, in
such a manner as that the nippers cannot reach them."

"You said, Uncle Thomas, that the fishes watched the descent of the
crabs, that they might feed on the spawn. Do you think that they are
endowed with reasoning powers, as well as the higher classes of animals,
Uncle Thomas?"

"No doubt of it, Frank. Old Isaac Walton, the most amusing author on
angling who ever wrote, tells many curious stories about fishes, of
their coming to be fed at the sound of a bell, and so forth.

"Many fishes exhibit the migratory instinct quite as distinctly as those
animals which I have just told you about. The salmon leaves the sea, and
seeks its way up the rivers, stemming their most rapid currents, and
scaling highest waterfalls with a pertinacity which can only be the
result of an instinct implanted in them by their Creator."

"And the herring, Uncle Thomas; does not it come every year from the
Polar seas to spawn on our shores? I read a very interesting account of
their progress southwards somewhere lately."

"I can tell you where, Frank; I will show it you, and when you have read
it aloud, I will point out one or two mistakes, which it is as well to
clear your mind of. It is in old Pennant's work; here it is; will you
read it to us, John?"

"With pleasure, Uncle Thomas.

"This mighty army begins to put itself in motion in the spring. They
begin to appear off the Shetland Islands in April and May. This is the
first check this army meets in its march southward. There it is divided
into two parts; one wing of those destined to visit the Scottish coast
takes to the east, the other to the western shores of Great Britain, and
fill every bay and creek with their numbers; others proceed towards
Yarmouth, the great and ancient mart of herrings; they then pass through
the British channel, and after that in a manner disappear. Those which
take to the west, after offering themselves to the Hebrides, where the
great stationary fishery is, proceed towards the north of Ireland, where
they meet with a second interruption and are obliged to make a second
division; the one takes to the western side and is scarcely perceived,
being soon lost in the immensity of the Atlantic, but the other, which
passes into the Irish sea, rejoins, and feeds the inhabitants of most of
the coasts that border on it. The brigades, as we call them, which are
separated from the greater columns, are often capricious in their
motions, and do not show an invariable attachment to their haunts."

"Thank you, John. Now all this sounds very fine, and seems very
systematic. It has but one objection--it is quite untrue. It is in the
first place more than doubtful if the herring frequents the Polar seas
at all; and in the second place, the most distinguished naturalists are
of opinion that it never leaves the neighbourhood of our own shores, but
merely retires to the deep water after it has spawned, and there remains
till the return of another season calls it again to the shores to
undergo a similar operation. So you see, Frank, it does not follow that
an interesting account of an animal's habits is necessarily a true
one."



CHAPTER VIII.

     Uncle Thomas tells about the Baboons, and their Plundering
     Excursions to the Gardens at the Cape of Good Hope, also about Le
     Vaillant's Baboon, Kees, and his Peculiarities; the American
     Monkeys; and relates an amusing Story about a young Monkey deprived
     of its Mother, putting itself under the Fostering Care of a
     Wig-Block.

"Oh, Uncle Thomas, I saw such a strange looking creature to-day. It was
so ugly. It seemed to be a very large monkey, it was as big as a boy."

"I heard of it, Boys, though I did not see it. It was a baboon, and one
of the largest of the species.--It was what is called the dog-faced
baboon."

"Where do such animals come from, Uncle Thomas."

"From Africa, John, and I believe they are not to be found elsewhere.
They are very fierce and mischievous creatures, and are said sometimes
even to attack man, but this I believe to be an exaggeration. Immense
troops of them inhabit the mountains in the neighbourhood of the Cape of
Good Hope, whence they descend in bands to plunder the gardens and
orchards. In these excursions they move on a concerted plan, placing
sentinels on commanding spots to give notice of the approach of an
enemy. On the appearance of danger, the sentinel utters a loud yell,
upon which the whole troop retreats with the utmost precipitation."

"Do they carry the spoil with them when they are thus disturbed, Uncle
Thomas?"

"When disturbed they are said to break in pieces the fruit which they
have gathered, and cram it into their cheek pouches--receptacles with
which nature has furnished them for keeping articles of food till they
are wanted.

"Le Vaillant, a traveller in Africa, had a dog-faced baboon which
accompanied him on his journey, and he found its instinct of great
service to him in various ways. As a sentinel he was better than any of
the dogs. So quick was his sense of danger, that he often gave notice of
the approach of beasts of prey, when every thing else seemed sunk in
security. He was also very useful in guarding the people of the
expedition from danger, from using unwholesome or poisonous fruits. The
animal's name was Kees. Here is the very interesting account which his
master gives of him.

"Whenever we found fruits or roots, with which my Hottentots were
unacquainted, we did not touch them till Kees had tasted them. If he
threw them away, we concluded that they were either of a disagreeable
flavour, or of a pernicious quality, and left them untasted. The ape
possesses a peculiar property, wherein he differs greatly from other
animals, and resembles man,--namely, that he is by nature equally
gluttonous and inquisitive. Without necessity, and without appetite, he
tastes every thing that falls in his way, or that is given to him. But
Kees had a still more valuable quality,--he was an excellent sentinel;
for, whether by day or night, he immediately sprang up on the slightest
appearance of danger. By his cry, and the symptoms of fear which he
exhibited, we were always apprized of the approach of an enemy, even
though the dogs perceived nothing of it. The latter at length learned to
rely upon him with such confidence, that they slept on in perfect
tranquillity. I often took Kees with me when I went a hunting; and when
he saw me preparing for sport, he exhibited the most lively
demonstrations of joy. On the way he would climb into the trees, to look
for gum, of which he was very fond. Sometimes he discovered to me honey,
deposited in the clefts of rocks, or hollow trees. But if he happened to
have met with neither honey nor gum, and his appetite had become sharp
by his running about, I always witnessed a very ludicrous scene. In
those cases, he looked for roots, which he ate with great greediness,
especially a particular kind, which, to his cost, I also found to be
very well tasted and refreshing, and therefore insisted upon sharing
with him. But Kees was no fool. As soon as he found such a root, and I
was not near enough to seize upon my share of it, he devoured it in the
greatest haste, keeping his eyes all the while riveted on me. He
accurately measured the distance I had to pass before I could get to
him; and I was sure of coming too late. Sometimes, however, when he had
made a mistake in his calculation, and I came upon him sooner than he
expected, he endeavoured to hide the root, in which case I compelled
him, by a box on the ear, to give me up my share. But this treatment
caused no malice between us; we remained as good friends as ever. In
order to draw these roots out of the ground, he employed a very
ingenious method, which afforded me much amusement. He laid hold of the
herbage with his teeth, stemmed his fore feet against the ground, and
drew back his head, which gradually pulled out the root. But if this
expedient, for which he employed his whole strength, did not succeed, he
laid hold of the leaves as before, as close to the ground as possible,
and then threw himself heels over head, which gave such a concussion to
the root, that it never failed to come out.

"When Kees happened to tire on the road, he mounted upon the back of one
of my dogs, who was so obliging as to carry him whole hours. One of
them, which was larger and stronger than the rest, hit upon a very
ingenious artifice, to avoid being pressed into this piece of service.
As soon as Kees leaped upon his back he stood still, and let the train
pass, without moving from the spot. Kees still persisted in his
intention, till we were almost out of his sight, when he found himself
at length compelled to dismount, upon which both the baboon and dog
exerted all their speed to overtake us. The latter, however, gave him
the start, and kept a good look-out after him, that he might not serve
him in the same manner again. In fact, Kees enjoyed a certain authority
with all my dogs, for which he perhaps was indebted to the superiority
of his instinct. He could not endure a competitor; if any of the dogs
came too near him when he was eating, he gave them a box on the ear,
which compelled him immediately to retire to a respectful distance.

"Serpents excepted, there were no animals of whom Kees stood in such
great dread as of his own species,--perhaps owing to a consciousness,
that he had lost a portion of his natural capacities. Sometimes he heard
the cry of the other apes among the mountains, and, terrified as he was,
he yet answered them. But if they approached nearer, and he saw any of
them, he fled, with a hideous cry, crept between our legs, and trembled
over his whole body. It was very difficult to compose him, and it
required some time before he recovered from his fright.

"Like all other domestic animals, Kees was addicted to stealing. He
understood admirably well how to loose the strings of a basket, in order
to take victuals out of it, especially milk, of which he was very fond.
My people chastised him for these thefts; but that did not make him
amend his conduct. I myself sometimes whipped him; but then he ran away,
and did not return again to the tent, until it grew dark. Once as I was
about to dine, and had put the beans which I had boiled for myself upon
a plate, I heard the voice of a bird, with which I was not acquainted. I
left my dinner standing, seized my gun, and run out of my tent. After
the space of about a quarter of an hour, I returned, with the bird in my
hand; but to my astonishment, found not a single bean upon the plate.
Kees had stolen them all, and taken himself out of the way. When he had
committed any trespass of this kind, he used always, about the time when
I drank tea, to return quietly, and seat himself in his usual place,
with every appearance of innocence, as if nothing had happened; but this
evening he did not let himself be seen; and on the following day, also,
he was not seen by any of us; and in consequence, I began to grow
seriously uneasy about him, and apprehensive that he might be lost for
ever, but on the third day, one of my people, who had been to fetch
water, informed me that he had seen Kees in the neighbourhood; but that
as soon as the animal espied him, he had concealed himself again. I
immediately went out and beat the whole neighbourhood with my dogs. All
at once, I heard a cry, like that which Kees used to make when I
returned from my shooting, and had not taken him with me. I looked about
and at length espied him, endeavouring to hide himself behind the large
branches of a tree. I now called to him in a friendly tone of voice, and
made motions to him to come down to me. But he would not trust me, and I
was obliged to climb up the tree to fetch him. He did not attempt to
fly, and we returned together to my quarters; here he expected to
receive his punishment; but I did nothing, as it would have been of no
use.

"When exhausted with the heat of the sun, and the fatigues of the day,
with my throat and mouth covered with dust and perspiration, I was ready
to sink gasping to the ground, in tracts destitute of shade, and longed
even for the dirtiest ditch-water; but after seeking long in vain, lost
all hopes of finding any in the parched soil. In such distressing
moments, my faithful Kees never moved from my side. We sometimes got out
of our carriage, and then his sure instinct led him to a plant.
Frequently the stalk was fallen off, and then all his endeavours to pull
it out were in vain. In such cases, he began to scratch in the earth
with his paws; but as that would also have proved ineffectual, I came to
his assistance with my dagger, or my knife, and we honestly divided the
refreshing root with each other.

"An officer, wishing one day to put the fidelity of my baboon, Kees, to
the test, pretended to strike me. At this Kees flew in a violent rage,
and, from that time, he could never endure the sight of the officer. If
he only saw him at a distance, he began to cry and make all kinds of
grimaces, which evidently showed that he wished to revenge the insult
that had been done to me; he ground his teeth, and endeavoured, with
all his might, to fly at his face, but that was out of his power, as he
was chained down. The offender several times endeavoured, in vain, to
conciliate him, by offering him dainties, but he remained long
implacable.

[Illustration: DOG AND BABOON--Page 185.]

"When any eatables had been pilfered at my quarters, the fault was
always laid first upon Kees; and rarely was the accusation unfounded.
For a time the eggs which a hen laid me were constantly stolen away, and
I wished to ascertain whether I had to attribute this loss also to him.
For this purpose, I went one morning to watch him, and waited till the
hen announced by her cackling that she had laid an egg. Kees was sitting
upon my vehicle; but the moment he heard the hen's voice he leapt down,
and was running to fetch the egg. When he saw me he suddenly stopped,
and affected a careless posture, swaying himself backwards upon his hind
legs, and assuming a very innocent look; in short, he employed all his
art to deceive me with respect to his design. His hypocritical
manoeuvres only confirmed my suspicions, and, in order in my turn to
deceive him, I pretended not to attend to him, and turned my back to the
bush where the hen was cackling, upon which he immediately sprang to the
place. I ran after him, and came up to him at the moment when he had
broken the egg, and was swallowing it. Having caught the thief in the
fact, I gave him a good beating upon the spot; but this severe
chastisement did not prevent his soon stealing fresh-laid eggs again. As
I was convinced that I should never be able to break Kees of his natural
vices, and that, unless I chained him up every morning, I should never
get an egg, I endeavoured to accomplish my purpose in another manner: I
trained one of my dogs, as soon as the hen cackled, to run to the nest,
and bring me the egg without breaking it. In a few days the dog had
learned his lesson; but Kees, as soon as he heard the hen cackle, ran
with him to the nest. A contest now took place between them, who should
have the egg; often the dog was foiled, although he was the stronger of
the two. If he gained the victory, he ran joyfully to me with the egg,
and put it into my hand. Kees, nevertheless, followed him, and did not
cease to grumble and make threatening grimaces at him, till he saw me
take the egg,--as if he was comforted for the loss of his booty by his
adversary's not retaining it for himself. If Kees had got hold of the
egg, he endeavoured to run with it to a tree, where, having devoured it,
he threw down the shells upon his adversary, as if to make game of him.
In that case, the dog returned, looking ashamed, from which I could
conjecture the unlucky adventure he had met with.

"Kees was always the first awake in the morning, and when it was the
proper time he awoke the dogs, who were accustomed to his voice, and, in
general, obeyed without hesitation the slightest motions by which he
communicated his orders to them, immediately taking their posts about
the tent and carriage, as he directed them."

"What a delightful companion Kees must have been, Uncle Thomas!"

"He must at least have been an amusing one, Frank, and not an unuseful
one either. There are, however, great variations in this respect among
the monkeys; some of them are most lively creatures, seldom sitting
still for a couple of minutes, while others are retired and gloomy in
their dispositions, and some are most fickle and uncertain. The fair
monkey, though one of the most beautiful of the tribe, is of the latter
description, as the following story will testify:--

"An animal of this class, which from its extreme beauty and gentleness
was allowed to ramble at liberty about a ship, soon became a great
favourite among the crew, and in order to make him perfectly happy, as
they imagined, they procured him a wife. For some weeks he was a devoted
husband, and showed her every attention and respect. He then grew cool,
and became jealous of any kind of civility shown her by the master of
the vessel, and began to use her with much cruelty. His treatment made
her wretched and dull; and she bore the spleen of her husband with that
fortitude which is characteristic of the female sex of the human
species. And pug, like the lords of the creation, was up to deceit, and
practised pretended kindness to his spouse, to effect a diabolical
scheme, which he seemed to premeditate. One morning, when the sea ran
very high, he seduced her aloft, and drew her attention to an object at
some distance from the yard-arm; her attention being fixed, he all of a
sudden applied his paw to her rear, and canted her into the sea, where
she fell a victim to his cruelty. This seemed to afford him high
gratification, for he descended in great spirits."

"Oh, what a wretched creature, Uncle Thomas. I wonder the sailors did
not throw him into the sea also."

"Stay, Frank, you are somewhat too hasty. He deserved certainly to be
punished; but I doubt whether it would have been proper to have put him
to death for his misdeed. All monkeys are not, however, equally cruel;
some of them, indeed, are remarkable for the instinctive kindness which
they evince towards their young. When threatened by danger, they mount
them on their back, or clasp them firmly to their breast, to which the
young creatures secure themselves, by means of their long and powerful
arms, so as to permit of their parent moving about, and springing from
branch to branch, with nearly as much facility as if she were perfectly
free from all incumbrance."

"Oh, I can readily believe that, Uncle Thomas. One day lately, at the
Zoological Gardens, I saw two monkeys clasping a young one between them,
to keep it warm. They seemed so fond of it."

"Yes, Frank, I have also seen them occupied in the same way. I was quite
delighted at such an unexpected exhibition of tenderness.

"Some of the monkeys which are natives of the American continent have
the singular characteristic of prehensile tales; that is, of tails which
they can more about, and lay hold of branches of trees with nearly as
much ease as they can with their hands. The facilities which this
affords them for moving about with celerity among the branches of trees
is astonishing. The firmness of the grasp which it takes of the tree is
no less surprising, for if it makes a single coil round a branch, it is
quite sufficient, not only to support the weight of the animal, but to
enable it to swing in such a manner as to gain a fresh hold with its
feet."

"That is very curious, Uncle Thomas. Is there any other animal which has
this power in the tail."

"Oh, yes, Frank, several of the lizards have the power, as well as some
other animals; the little harvest mouse, for instance; but none of them
are possessed of it in so high a degree as the American monkeys.

"I have now pretty well exhausted my stories about the monkey tribe. I
recollect only one more at present, and it occurred to the same
traveller to whom Kees belonged.

"In one of his excursions he happened to kill a female monkey, which
carried a young one on her back. The little creature, as if insensible
of its mother's death, continued to cling to the dead body till they
reached their evening quarters; and even then it required considerable
force to disengage it. No sooner, however, did the little creature feel
itself alone, than it darted towards a wooden block, on which was placed
the wig of Le Vaillant's father, mistaking it for its dead mother. To
this it clung most pertinaciously by its fore paws; and such was the
force of this deceptive instinct, that it remained in the same position
for about three weeks, all this time evidently mistaking the wig for its
mother. It was fed, from time to time, with goat's milk; and, at length,
emancipated itself voluntarily, by quitting the fostering care of the
peruke. The confidence which it ere long assumed, and the amusing
familiarity of its manners, soon rendered it a favourite. The
unsuspecting naturalist had, however, introduced a wolf in sheep's
clothing into his dwelling: for, one morning, on entering his chamber,
the door of which had been imprudently left open, he beheld his young
favourite making a hearty breakfast on a very noble collection of
insects. In the first transports of his anger, he resolved to strangle
the monkey in his arms: but his rage immediately gave way to pity, when
he perceived that the crime of its voracity had carried the punishment
along with it. In eating the beetles, it had swallowed several of the
pins on which they were transfixed. Its agony, consequently, became
great; and all his efforts were unable to preserve its life."

"Poor creature! How unfortunate, Uncle Thomas. It must, however, have
been a very stupid animal to mistake a wig for its mother."



CHAPTER IX.

     Uncle Thomas concludes Stories about Instinct with several
     Interesting Illustrations of the Affections of Animals,
     particularly of the Instinct of Maternal Affection, in the course
     of which he narrates the Story of the Cat and the Black-Bird; the
     Squirrel's Nest; the Equestrian Friends; and points out the
     Beneficent Care of Providence in implanting in the Breasts of each
     of his Creatures the Instinct which is necessary for its Security
     and Protection.


"Good evening, Uncle Thomas? We were so delighted with the adventures of
Kees, that we wish to know if you have any more such amusing stories to
tell us."

"Oh yes, Boys, plenty such, but it is now time to bring these STORIES
ABOUT INSTINCT to a close. I am therefore going to conclude by narrating
one or two stories about the affections of animals. I wish to impress
your minds with feelings of kindness towards them, and I think that the
best way to do so is to exhibit them to you in their gentleness and
love; to show you that they too partake of the kindlier emotions by
which the heart of man is moved, and that the feelings of maternal
affection, and of friendship, and of fidelity, are as much the
prerogatives of the lower animals as they are of man himself. Perhaps
one of the most amiable lights in which the affections of animals are
exhibited is their love and attachment to their offspring. You have all
seen how regardless of danger a domestic hen, one of the most timid and
defenceless of animals, becomes when she has charge of a brood of
chickens. At other times she is alarmed by the slightest noise--the
sudden rustle of a leaf makes her shrink with fear and apprehension.
Yet, no sooner do her little helpless offspring escape from the shell,
than she becomes armed with a determination of which even birds of prey
stand in awe."

"Oh yes, Uncle Thomas, I have often seen a hen attack a large dog and
drive it away from her chickens."

"It marks the wisdom of the omnipotent and all-wise Creator, Boys, that
he has implanted in the hearts of each of his creatures the particular
instincts which were necessary for their safety and protection. Thus, in
the case I have just spoken of, the instinctive courage with which the
mother is endowed, you will find to be the best security which could
have been devised. In some other birds this instinct exhibits itself in
a different way. If you happen to approach the nest of the lapwing, for
instance, the old birds try every means to attract your attention, and
lure you away from the sacred spot. They will fly close by you, and in
an irregular manner, as if wounded; but no sooner do they find that
their stratagem has been successful, and that you have passed the nest
unobserved, than they at once take a longer flight, and soon leave you
behind."

"How very singular, Uncle Thomas! Does the lapwing defend its young with
as much courage as the hen?"

"I am not aware that it does, Frank, though I think it is not at all
unlikely. As its instinct teaches it to finesse in the way which I have
told you, however, I should not expect to find that it does so with
equal spirit. Even the pigeon, the very emblem of gentleness and love,
boldly pecks at the rude hand which is extended towards its young,
during the earlier stages of their existence. If you come by chance on
the brood of a partridge, the mother flutters along, as if she were so
much wounded that it was impossible to escape, and the young ones squat
themselves close by the earth. When by her cunning wiles she has led you
to a little distance, and you discover that her illness was feigned, you
return to the spot to seek for the young, and you find that they too are
gone: no sooner is your back turned than they run and hide themselves in
some more secret place, where they remain till the well-known call of
the mother again collects them under her wing.

"I lately heard a most interesting story of the boldness of a pair of
blackbirds in defence of their young. A cat was one day observed mounted
on the top of a railing, endeavouring to get at a nest which was near
it, containing a brood of young birds. On the cat's approach the mother
left the nest, and flew to meet it in a state of great alarm, placing
herself almost within its reach, and uttering the most piteous screams
of wildness and despair. Alarmed by his partner's screams, the male bird
soon discovered the cause of her distress, and in a state of equal
trepidation flew to the place, uttering loud screams and outcries,
sometimes settling on the fence just before the cat, which was unable to
make a spring in consequence of the narrowness of its footing. After a
little time, seeing that their distress made no impression on their
assailant, the male bird flew at the cat, settled on its back, and
pecked at its head with so much violence that it fell to the ground,
followed by the blackbird, which at length succeeded in driving it away.
Foiled in this attempt, the cat a short time after again returned to
the charge, and was a second time vanquished, which so intimidated her
that she relinquished all attempts to get at the young birds. For
several days, whenever she made her appearance in the garden, she was
set upon by the blackbirds, and at length became so much afraid of them,
that she scampered to a place of security whenever she saw them
approach."

"That was very bold indeed, Uncle Thomas. Birds seem to be all very much
attached to their young."

"Very much so, Harry; but perhaps not more so than many quadrupeds. Here
is a story of the squirrel's affection, which, though it does not
exhibit an instance of active defence against its enemies, affords one
of endurance equally admirable.

"In cutting down some trees on the estate recently purchased by the
crown at Petersham, for the purpose of being annexed to Richmond park,
the axe was applied to the root of a tall tree, on the top of which was
a squirrel's nest. A rope was fastened to the tree for the purpose of
pulling it down more expeditiously; the workmen cut at the roots; the
rope was pulled; the tree swayed backwards and forwards, and at length
fell. During all these operations a female squirrel never attempted to
desert her new-born young, but remained with them in the nest. When the
tree fell down, she was thrown out and secured unhurt, and was put into
a cage with her young ones. She suckled them for a short time, but
refused to eat. Her maternal affection, however, remained till the last
moment of her life, and she died in the act of affording all the
nourishment in her power to her offspring.

"We are too apt, Boys, to overlook the admirable lessons which such
stories as these inculcate. They should teach us kindness to each
other--kindness, indeed, not only to those of our own species, but
kindness to all created creatures. If the lower animals love each other
so warmly and affectionately, how much more ought man, to whom the
Creator has been so beneficent, to love his fellow creatures. But though
the attachment of animals to their offspring is an admirable mode of its
developement, it is far from being the only one. After all the STORIES
ABOUT DOGS--their love of their master--their fidelity--their
sagacity--which I will relate to you at a future time, it is hardly
necessary for me to bring forward evidence in favour of this position.
Here is an instance of friendship, as it is called, between horses,
which was so strong as to terminate fatally.

"During the Peninsular war, two horses, which had long been associated
together, assisting to drag the same piece of artillery, and standing
together the shock of many battles, became so much attached to each
other as to be inseparable companions. At length one of them was killed.
After the battle in which this took place, the other was picquetted as
usual, and his food brought to him. He refused, however, to eat, and was
constantly turning round his head to look for his companion, sometimes
neighing as if to call her. All the attention which was bestowed upon
him was of no avail; though surrounded by horses he took no notice of
them, but incessantly bewailed his absent friend. He died shortly after,
having refused to taste food from the time his former companion was
killed!

"Such is but one solitary instance. But there are many such scattered up
and down in the ample records of nature, bearing silent but emphatic
testimony to the kindness and beneficence of the Creator. Let them but
be searched for in a proper and gentle spirit, and they are sure to be
found.

                              "Not a tree,
    A plant, a leaf, a blossom, but contains
    A folio volume: we may read, and read,
    And read again, but still find something new--
    Something to please, and something to instruct,
    E'en in the noisome weed."


THE END.



Mary Howitt's Story-Book.

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS.


CONTENTS.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL.
STORY OF LITTLE CRISTAL.
MABEL ON MIDSUMMER-DAY.
THE CHRISTMAS-TREE.
A DREAM.
PICTURE OF THE VIRGIN.
BOY OF THE SOUTHERN ISLE.
BIRDS AND THE GUINEA-PIGS.
CORN-FIELDS.
THE PIGEON-HOUSE.
THE SPIRIT'S QUESTIONINGS.
THIS WORLD AND THE NEXT.
LITTLE CHILDREN.
THE YOUNG TURTLE DOVE OF CARMEL.
THE JOY OF ENGELE.
MARIEN'S PILGRIMAGE.
PAINTER'S LITTLE MODEL.
MAN IN A WILDERNESS.
BLIND BOY AND HIS SISTER.
THE CHRISTMAS DINNER.
OLD CHRISTMAS.
TWO FRIEND'S COUNSEL.
THE CHILDREN.
BEGINNING AND END OF MRS.
MUGGERIDGE'S WEDDING-DINNER.
COMING SPRING.
THE TAX-GATHERER'S VISIT.

[Illustration]

"Mary Howitt's Stories for Children are with many preferred above all
the other works of that charming writer, to true and genial is the
sympathy she shows for the young, and to healthy the tone of her gently
insinuated moral."--Mrs. Kirkland.

C.S. FRANCIS & CO., 252 BROADWAY.



HANS ANDERSEN'S STORY BOOK.


_One thick Volume, with Illustrations, and a Memoir of the Author by
Mary Howitt._

Price 75 cents; extra gilt, $1.


CONTENTS.

MEMOIR OF HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN.
A PICTURE-BOOK WITHOUT PICTURES.
MY BOOTS.
SCENES ON THE DANUBE.
PEGASUS AND POST-HORSES.
EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES.
THE SWINEHERD.
THE REAL PRINCESS.
THE SHOES OF FORTUNE.
THE FIR-TREE.
THE SNOW-QUEEN.
THE LEAP-FROG.
THE ELDER-BUSH.
THE BELL.
THE OLD HOUSE.
THE DROP OF WATER.
THE HAPPY FAMILY.
THE STORY OF A MOTHER.
THE FALSE COLLAR.
THE SHADOW.
THE OLD STREET LAMP.
THE DREAM OF LITTLE TUK.
THE NAUGHTY BOY.
TWO NEIGHBORING FAMILIES.
THE DARNING NEEDLE.
THE LITTLE MATCH-GIRL.
THE RED SHOES.
TO THE YOUNG READERS.

"We have placed Andersen's name at the head of our list, in gratitude
for the delight and amusement his stories for children have afforded us.
When Fairy-land seemed lost to us, or peopled by a new race of
utilitarians, who spoke its language and tried its spells in mere
slavish imitation, without comprehending their use and meaning; a Poet
from the North has made fresh flowers bloom there, and brought it back
again to our hearts and eyes in brighter colors and stronger outlines
than before."--_Christian Remembrancer._


"There is a child-like tenderness and simplicity in his writings--an
elevation and purity of tone--which is the secret of the extreme charm
his celebrated stories have for children. They are as simple and as
touching as the old Bible narratives of Joseph and his Brethren, and the
little lad who died in the corn field. We wonder not at their being the
most popular books of their kind in Europe."--_Mary Howitt._


Published by C.S. FRANCIS & Co., New York.



Transcriber's Note:

The following typographical errors have been maintained in this text:

Original
page
vii  "at the of Good Hope, Calsoaep" should read:
     "at the Cape of Good Hope, also"
23   powererful for powerful
50   , for . in "valuable medicines, Storms"
60   seige for siege
67   "There is one or two" should read "There are..."
96   , for . in "favourite cat, When the"
113  ocassion for occasion
143  Missing close quotes at end of chapter
174  "Where do such animals come from, Uncle Thomas." should end with ?
189  "prehensile tales" for "prehensile tails"
190  "more about" should read "move about"
195  "Good evening, Uncle Thomas?" should end with !
200  developement for development

The following word is spelled inconsistently:

colour / color





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