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´╗┐Title: Stories of Animal Sagacity
Author: Kingston, William Henry Giles, 1814-1880
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Stories of Animal Sagacity" ***

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Stories of Animal Sagacity, by W.H.G. Kingston.


This is rather a charming book, with amusing illustrations.  There are
numerous tales of how clever various individual animals have been seen
to be, and in most cases a little moral is drawn from the story.

We have Cats, Dogs, Horses, Oxen, Donkeys, Elephants, Wild Animals and

Any of us who have ever had pets can recall how clever they have been on
occasion.  I wish Kingston could see those shots on television of
squirrels who have learnt to get a few free nuts if they perform some
subtle series of tasks, such as jumping from obstacle to obstacle.  I
have only to look out of the window here to see birds building their
nests or guarding their young; in fact I can tell quite enough of what
is going on in the street outside, by taking note of the various birds'
alarm calls.





I have undertaken, my young friends, to give you a number of anecdotes,
which will, I think, prove that animals possess not only instinct, which
guides them in obtaining food, and enables them to enjoy their existence
according to their several natures, but also that many of them are
capable of exercising a kind of reason, which comes into play under
circumstances to which they are not naturally exposed.

Those animals more peculiarly fitted to be the companions of man, and to
assist him in his occupations, appear to possess generally a larger
amount of this power; at all events, we have better opportunities of
noticing it, although, probably, it exists also in a certain degree
among wild animals.

I will commence with some anecdotes of the sagacity shown by animals
with which you are all well acquainted--Cats and Dogs; and if you have
been accustomed to watch the proceedings of your dumb companions you
will be able to say, "Why, that is just like what Tabby once did;" or,
"Our Ponto acted nearly as cleverly as that the other day."


When you see Pussy seated by the fireside, blinking her eyes, and
looking very wise, you may often ask, "I wonder what she can be thinking
about."  Just then, probably, she is thinking about nothing at all; but
if you were to turn her out of doors into the cold, and shut the door in
her face, she would instantly begin to think, "How can I best get in
again?"  And she would run round and round the house, trying to find a
door or window open by which she might re-enter it.

I once heard of a cat which exerted a considerable amount of reason
under these very circumstances.  I am not quite certain of this Pussy's
name, but it may possibly have been Deborah.  The house where Deborah
was born and bred is situated in the country, and there is a door with a
small porch opening on a flower-garden.  Very often when this door was
shut, Deborah, or little Deb, as she may have been called, was left
outside; and on such occasions she used to mew as loudly as she could to
beg for admittance.  Occasionally she was not heard; but instead of
running away, and trying to find some other home, she used--wise little
creature that she was!--patiently to ensconce herself in a corner of the
window-sill, and wait till some person came to the house, who, on
knocking at the door, found immediate attention.  Many a day, no doubt,
little Deb sat there on the window-sill and watched this proceeding,
gazing at the knocker, and wondering what it had to do with getting the
door open.

A month passed away, and little Deb grew from a kitten into a full-sized
cat.  Many a weary hour was passed in her corner.  At length Deb arrived
at the conclusion that if she could manage to make the knocker sound a
rap-a-tap-tap on the door, the noise would summon the servant, and she
would gain admittance as well as the guests who came to the house.

One day Deb had been shut out, when Mary, the maidservant, who was
sitting industriously stitching away, heard a rap-a-tap at the front
door, announcing the arrival, as she supposed, of a visitor.  Putting
down her work, she hurried to the door and lifted the latch; but no one
was there except Deb, who at that moment leaped off the window-sill and
entered the house.  Mary looked along the road, up and down on either
side, thinking that some person must have knocked and gone away; but no
one was in sight.

The following day the same thing happened, but it occurred several times
before any one suspected that Deb could possibly have lifted the
knocker.  At length Mary told her mistress what she suspected, and one
of the family hid in the shrubbery to watch Deb's proceedings.  Deb was
allowed to ran out in the garden, and the door was closed.  After a time
the little creature was seen to climb up on the window-sill, and then to
rear herself on her hind-feet, in an oblique position at the full
stretch of her body, when, steadying herself with one front paw, with
the other she raised the knocker; and Mary, who was on the watch,
instantly ran to the door and let her in.

Miss Deb's knock now became as well-known to the servant as that of any
other member of the family, and, no doubt to her great satisfaction, it
usually met with prompt attention.

Could the celebrated cat of the renowned Marquis of Carrabas have done
more, or better?  Not only must Deb have exercised reason and
reflection, as well as imitation, but a considerable amount of
perseverance; for probably she made many vain attempts before she was
rewarded with success.

Some Scotch ladies told me of a cat they had when young, brought by
their grandfather from Archangel, which, under the same circumstances,
used to reach up to the latch of the front door of a house in the
country, and to rattle away on it till admitted.  I have seen a cat
which the same ladies now possess make a similar attempt.

Does it not occur to you that you may take a useful lesson from little
Pussy, and when you have an object to gain, a task to perform, think
over the matter, and exert yourself to the utmost till you have
accomplished it?


An instance of the sagacity of a cat came under my own notice.  I was
living, a few years ago, in a country place in Dorsetshire, when one day
a small tortoise-shell cat met my children on the road, and followed
them home.  They, of course, petted and stroked her, and showed their
wish to make her their friend.  She was one of the smallest, and yet the
most active of full-grown cats I ever saw.  From the first she gave
evidence of being of a wild and predatory disposition, and made sad
havoc among the rabbits, squirrels, and birds.  I have several times
seen her carry along a rabbit half as big as herself.  Many would
exclaim that for so nefarious a deed she ought to have been shot; but as
she had tasted of my salt, taken refuge under my roof, besides being the
pet of my children, I could not bring myself to order her destruction.

We had, about the time of her arrival, obtained a dog to act as a
watchman over the premises.  She and he were at first on fair terms--a
sort of armed neutrality.  In process of time, however, she became the
mother of a litter of kittens.  With the exception of one, they shared
the fate of other kittens.  When she discovered the loss of her hopeful
family, she wandered about in a melancholy way, evidently searching for
them, till, encountering Carlo, it seemed suddenly to strike her that he
had been the cause of her loss.  With back up, she approached, and
flying at him with the greatest fury, attacked him till blood dropped
from his nose, when, though ten times her size, he fairly turned tail
and fled.  Pussy and Carlo, after this, became friends; at least, they
never interfered with each other.

Pussy, however, to her cost, still continued her hunting expeditions.
The rabbits had committed great depredations in the garden, and the
gardener had procured two rabbit-traps.  One had been set at a
considerable distance from the house, and fixed securely in the ground.
One morning the nurse heard a plaintive mewing at the window of the
day-nursery on the ground-floor.  She opened it, and in crawled poor
Pussy, dragging the heavy iron rabbit-trap, in the teeth of which her
fore-foot was caught.  I was called in, and assisted to release her.
Her paw swelled, and for some time she could not move out of the basket
in which she was placed before the fire.  Though suffering intense pain,
she must have perceived that the only way to release herself was to dig
up the trap, and then drag it, up many steep paths, to the room where
her kindest friends--nurse and the children--were to be found.

Carlo had been caught before in the same trap, and he bit at it, and at
everything around, and severely injured the gardener, who went to
release him.  Thus Pussy, under precisely the same circumstances, showed
by far the greatest amount of sagacity and cool courage.  She, however,
not many weeks after her recovery, came in one day with her foot sadly
lacerated, having again been caught in a trap; so, although she could
reason, she did not appear to have learned wisdom from experience.  This
last misfortune, however, taught her prudence, as she was never again
caught in a trap.

You will agree with me that Pussy was wise in going to her best friends
for help when in distress; and foolish, having once suffered, again to
run into the same danger.

You, my young reader, will be often entrapped, if you lack strength to
resist temptation.  Your kind friends at home will, I am sure, help you
as far as they have the power; but, that they may do so, you must on all
occasions trust them.


I was one day calling in Dorsetshire on a clever, kind old lady, who
showed me a beautiful tabby cat, coiled up before the fire.  "Seventeen
years ago," said she, "that cat's mother had a litter.  They were all
ordered to be drowned with the exception of one.  The servant brought me
one.  It was a tortoise-shell.  `No,' I said; `that will always be
looking dirty.  I will choose another.'  So I put my hand into the
basket, and drew forth this tabby.  The tabby has loved me ever since.
When she came to have a family, she disappeared; but the rain did not,
for it came pouring down through the ceiling: and it was discovered that
Dame Tabby had made a lying-in hospital for herself in the thatched roof
of the house.  The damage she did cost several pounds; so we asked a
friend who had a good cook, fond of cats, to take care of Tabby the next
time she gave signs of having a family, as we knew she would be well
fed.  We sent her in a basket completely covered up; and she was shut
into a room, where she soon exhibited a progeny of young mewlings.  More
than the usual number were allowed to survive, and it was thought that
she would remain quietly where she was.  Not so.  On the first
opportunity she made her escape, and down she came all the length of the
village, and early in the morning I heard her mewing at my bed-room door
to be let in.  When I had stroked her back and spoken kindly to her, off
she went to look after her nurslings.  From that day, every morning she
came regularly to see me, and would not go away till she had been spoken
to and caressed.  Having satisfied herself that I was alive and well,
back she would go.  She never failed to pay me that one visit in the
morning, and never came twice in the day, till she had weaned her
kittens; and that very day she came back, and nothing would induce her
to go away again.  I had not the heart to force her back.  From that day
to this she has always slept at the door of my room."

Surely you will not be less grateful to those who brought you up than
was my old friend's cat to her.  Acts, not mere words, show the
sincerity of our feelings.  Consider how you are acting towards them
each hour and day of your life.  Are you doing your best to act well,
whether at home, at school, or at play?


My friend Mrs F--gave me a very touching anecdote.

A lady she knew, residing in Essex, once had two young daughters.  They
had a pet cat which they had reared from a kitten, and which was their
constant companion.  The sisters, however, were both seized with scarlet
fever, and died.  The cat seemed perfectly to understand what had taken
place, and, refusing to leave the room, seated herself on the bed where
they lay, in most evident sorrow.  When the bodies of the young girls
were placed in their small coffins, she continued to move backwards and
forwards from one to the other, uttering low and melancholy sounds.
Nothing could induce her all the time to take food, and soon after the
interment of her fond playmates she lay down and passed away from life.

This account, given by the mother of the children, makes me quite ready
to believe in the truth of similar anecdotes.

Tender affection is like a beautiful flower: it needs cultivation.  As
cold winds and pelting showers injure the fair blossoms, so passionate
temper, sullen behaviour, or misconduct, will destroy the love which
should exist between brothers and sisters, and those whose lot is cast
together.  Cherish affectionate feelings in your hearts.  Be kind and
gentle to all around, and your friends will love you more even than the
cat I have told you about loved her mistresses.


A lady in France possessed a cat which exhibited great affection for
her.  She accompanied her everywhere, and when she sat down always lay
at her feet.  From no other hands than those of her mistress would she
take food, nor would she allow any one else to fondle her.

The lady kept a number of tame birds; but the cat, though she would
willingly have caught and eaten strange birds, never injured one of

At last the lady fell ill, when nothing could induce the cat to leave
her chamber; and on her death, the attendants had to carry away the poor
animal by force.  The next morning, however, she was found in the room
of death, creeping slowly about, and mewing piteously.  After the
funeral, the faithful cat made her escape from the house, and was at
length discovered stretched out lifeless above the grave of her
mistress, having evidently died of a broken heart.

The instances I have given--and I might give many more--prove the strong
affection of which cats are capable, and show that they are well
deserving of kind treatment.  When we see them catch birds and mice, we
must remember that it is their nature to do so, as in their wild state
they have no other means of obtaining food.


Animals of a very different character often form curious friendships.
What do you think of the cat which of her own accord became the
protector of a pet canary, instead of eating it up?

The cat and the bird belonged to the mother-in-law of Mrs Lee, who has
given us many delightful anecdotes of animals.  The canary was allowed
to fly about the room when the cat was shut out; but one day their
mistress, lifting her head from her work, saw that the cat had by some
means got in; and, to her amazement, there was the canary perched
fearlessly on the back of Pussy, who seemed highly pleased with the
confidence placed in her.  By the silent language with which animals
communicate their ideas to each other, she had been able to make the
canary understand that she would not hurt it.

After this, the two were allowed to be constantly together, to their
mutual satisfaction.  One morning, however, as they were in the bed-room
of their mistress, what was her dismay to see the trustworthy cat, as
she had supposed her, after uttering a feline growl, seize the canary in
her mouth, and leap with her into the bed.  There she stood, her tail
stiffened out, her hair bristling, and her eyes glaring fiercely.  The
fate of the poor canary appeared sealed; but just then the lady caught
sight of a strange cat creeping cautiously through the open doorway.
The intruder was quickly driven away, when faithful Puss deposited her
feathered friend on the bed, in no way injured--she having thus seized
it to save it from the fangs of the stranger.

Confidence begets confidence; but be very sure that the person on whom
you bestow yours is worthy of it.  If not, you will not be as fortunate
as the canary was with its feline friend.

Your truest confidants, in most cases, are your own parents.


I have an instance of a still stranger friendship to mention.  The
servants of a country-house--and I am sure that they were kind people--
had enticed a frog from its hole by giving it food.  As winter drew on,
Froggy every evening made its way to the kitchen hearth before a blazing
fire, which it found much more comfortable than its own dark abode out
in the yard.  Another occupant of the hearth was a favourite old cat,
which at first, I daresay, looked down on the odd little creature with
some contempt, but was too well bred to disturb an invited guest.  At
length, however, the two came to a mutual understanding; the kind heart
of Pussy warming towards poor chilly little Froggy, whom she now invited
to come and nestle under her cozy fur.  From that time forward, as soon
as Froggy came out of its hole, it hopped fearlessly towards the old
cat, who constituted herself its protector, and would allow no one to
disturb it.

Imitate the kind cat, and be kind to the most humble, however odd their
looks.  Sometimes at school and elsewhere you may find some friendless
little fellow.  Prove his protector.  Be not less benevolent than a cat.


That cats expect those to whom they are attached to sympathise with them
in their sorrow, is shown by an affecting story told by Dr Good, the
author of the "Book of Nature."

He had a cat which used to sit at his elbow hour after hour while he was
writing, watching his hand moving over the paper.  At length Pussy had a
kitten to take care of, when she became less constant in her attendance
on her master.  One morning, however, she entered the room, and leaping
on the table, began to rub her furry side against his hand and pen, to
attract his attention.  He, supposing that she wished to be let out,
opened the door; but instead of running forward, she turned round and
looked earnestly at him, as though she had something to communicate.
Being very busy, he shut the door upon her, and resumed his writing.  In
less than an hour, the door having been opened again, he felt her
rubbing against his feet; when, on looking down, he saw that she had
placed close to them the dead body of her kitten, which had been
accidentally killed, and which she had brought evidently that her kind
master might mourn with her at her loss.  She seemed satisfied when she
saw him with the dead kitten in his hand, making inquiries as to how it
had been killed; and when it was buried, believing that her master
shared her sorrow, she gradually took comfort, and resumed her station
at his side.  Observe how, in her sorrow, Pussy went to her best friend
for sympathy.  Your best earthly friends are your parents.  Do not
hesitate to tell them your griefs; and you will realise that it is their
joy and comfort to sympathise with you in all your troubles, little or
great, and to try to relieve them.


Kittens, especially if deprived of their natural protectors, seem to
long for the friendship of other beings, and will often roam about till
they find a person in whom they think they may confide.  Sometimes they
make a curious choice.  A kitten born on the roof of an out-house was by
an accident deprived of its mother and brethren.  It evaded all attempts
to catch it, though food was put within its reach.  Just below where it
lived, a brood of chickens were constantly running about; and at length,
growing weary of solitude, it thought that it would like to have such
lively little playmates.  So down it scrambled, and timidly crept
towards them.  Finding that they were not likely to do it harm, it lay
down among them.  The chickens seemed to know that it was too young to
hurt them.

It now followed them wherever they moved to pick up their food.  In a
short time a perfect understanding was established between the kitten
and the fowls, who appeared especially proud of their new friend.  The
kitten, discovering this, assumed the post of leader, and used to
conduct them about the grounds, amusing itself at their expense.
Sometimes it would catch hold of their feet, as if going to bite them,
when they would peck at it in return.  At others it would hide behind a
bush, and then springing out into their midst, purr and rub itself
against their sides.  One pullet was its especial favourite; it
accompanied her every day to her nest under the boards of an out-house,
and would then lie down outside, as if to watch over her.  When she
returned to the other fowls, it would follow, setting up its tail, and
purring at her.

When other chickens were born, it transferred its interest to them,
taking each fresh brood under its protection--the parent hen appearing
in no way alarmed at having so unusual a nurse for her young ones.

Be as sensible as the little kitten.  Don't stand on your dignity, or
keep upon the roof, in a fit of the sulks; but jump down, and shake such
feelings off with a game of good-natured play.


Similar affection for one of the feathered race was shown by a cat which
was rearing several kittens.

In another part of the loft a pigeon had built her nest; but her eggs
and young having been frequently destroyed by rats, it seemed to occur
to her that she should be in safer quarters near the cat.  Pussy,
pleased with the confidence placed in her, invited the pigeon to remain
near her, and a strong friendship was established between the two.  They
fed out of the same dish; and when Pussy was absent, the pigeon, in
return for the protection afforded her against the rats, constituted
herself the defender of the kittens--and on any person approaching
nearer than she liked, she would fly out and attack them with beak and
wings, in the hope of driving them away from her young charges.
Frequently, too, after this, when neither the kittens nor her own brood
required her care, and the cat went out about the garden or fields, the
pigeon might be seen fluttering close by her, for the sake of her

Help and protect one another in all right things, as did the cat and the
pigeon, whatever your respective ages or stations in life.  The big boy
or girl may be able to assist and protect the little ones, who may
render many a service in return.


Cats exhibit their affectionate nature in a variety of ways.  If
deprived of their kittens, they have a yearning for the care of some
other young creatures, which they will gratify when possible.

A cat had been cruelly deprived of all her kittens.  She was seen going
about mewing disconsolately for her young ones.  Her owner received
about the same time a leveret, which he hoped to tame by feeding it with
a spoon.  One morning, however, the leveret was missing, and as it could
nowhere be discovered, it was supposed to have been carried off and
killed by some strange cat or dog.  A fortnight had elapsed, when, as
the gentleman was seated in his garden, in the dusk of the evening, he
observed his cat, with tail erect, trotting towards him, purring and
calling in the way cats do to their kittens.  Behind her came,
gambolling merrily, and with perfect confidence, a little leveret,--the
very one, it was now seen, which had disappeared.  Pussy, deprived of
her kittens, had carried it off and brought it up instead, bestowing on
it the affection of her maternal heart.

It is your blessed privilege to have hearts to feel the greatest
enjoyment in tender love for others.  See that you keep that love in
constant exercise, or, like others of our best gifts, it may grow dull
by disuse or abuse.  The time may come when, deprived of your parents or
brothers and sisters, you will bitterly mourn the sorrow you have caused
by your evil temper or neglect.


I have a longer story than the last to tell, of a cat which undertook
the nursing of some puppies while she already had some kittens of her
own.  It happened that her mistress possessed a valuable little black
spaniel, which had a litter of five puppies.  As these were too many for
the spaniel to bring up, and the mistress was anxious to have them all
preserved, it was proposed that they should be brought up by hand.  The
cook, to whom the proposal was made, suggested that this would be a
difficult undertaking; but as the cat had lately kittened, some of the
puppies might be given to her to bring up.  Two of the kittens were
accordingly taken away, and the same number of puppies substituted.
What Puss thought of the matter has not transpired, or whether even she
discovered the trick that had been played her; but be that as it may,
she immediately began to bestow the same care on the little changelings
that she had done on her own offspring, and in a fortnight they were as
forward and playful as kittens would have been, gambolling about, and
barking lustily--while the three puppies nursed by their own mother were
whining and rolling about in the most helpless fashion.

Puss had proved a better nurse than the little spaniel.  She gave them
her tail to play with, and kept them always in motion and amused, so
that they ate meat, and were strong enough to be removed and to take
care of themselves, long before their brothers and sisters.

On their being taken away from her, their poor nurse showed her sorrow,
and went prowling about the house, looking for them in every direction.
At length she caught sight of the spaniel and the three remaining
puppies.  Instantly up went her back; her bristles stood erect, and her
eyes glared fiercely at the little dog, which she supposed had carried
off her young charges.

"Ho, ho! you vile thief, who have ventured to rob me of my young ones; I
have found you at last!" she exclaimed--at least, she thought as much,
if she did not say it.  The spaniel barked defiance, answering--"They
are my own puppies; you know they are as unlike as possible to your
little, tiresome, frisky mewlings."

"I tell you I know them to be mine," cried Puss, spitting and hissing;
"I mean to recover my own."  And before the spaniel knew what was going
to happen, Puss sprang forward, seized one of the puppies, and carried
it off to her own bed in another part of the premises.

Not content with this success, as soon as she had safely deposited the
puppy in her home, she returned to the abode of the spaniel.  This time
she simply dashed forward, as if she had made up her mind what to do,
knocked over the spaniel with her paw, seized another puppy in her
mouth, and carrying it off, placed it alongside the first she had
captured.  She was now content.  Two puppies she had lost, two she had
obtained.  Whether or not she thought them the same which had been taken
from her, it is difficult to say.  At all events, she nursed the two
latter with the same tender care as the first.

Copy playful Pussy, when you have charge of little children.  They enjoy
games of romps as much as young puppies do, and will be far happier, and
thrive better, than when compelled to loll about by themselves, while
you sit at your book or work in silent dignity and indifference to their
requirements, however fond you may be of them--as was, I daresay, the
mother spaniel of her pups.


No stronger evidence of the sagacity of the cat is to be found than an
instance narrated to me by my friend, Mrs F--, and for which I can

A lady, Miss P--, who was a governess in her family, had previously held
the same position in that of Lord --, in Ireland.  While there a cat
became very strongly attached to her.  Though allowed to enter the
school-room and dining-room, where she was fed and petted, the animal
never came into the lady's bed-room; nor was she, indeed, accustomed to
go into that part of the house at any time.

One night, however, after retiring to rest, Miss P--was disturbed by the
gentle but incessant mewing of the cat at her bed-room door.  At first
she was not inclined to pay attention to the cat's behaviour, but the
perseverance of the animal, and a peculiarity in the tones of her voice,
at length induced her to open the door.  The cat, on this, bounded
forward, and circled round her rapidly, looking up in her face, mewing
expressively.  Miss P--, thinking that the cat had only taken a fancy to
pay her a visit, refastened the door, intending to let her remain in the
room; but this did not appear to please Pussy at all.  She sprang back
to the door, mewing more loudly than before; then she came again to the
lady, and then went to the door, as if asking her to follow.

"What is it you want?" exclaimed Miss P--.  "Well, go away, if you do
not wish to stay!" and she opened the door; but the cat, instead of
going, recommenced running to and fro between the door and her friend,
continuing to mew as she looked up into her face.

Miss P--'s attention was now attracted by a peculiar noise, as if
proceeding from the outside of one of the windows on the ground-floor.
A few moments more convinced her that some persons were attempting to
force an entrance.

Instantly throwing a shawl around her, she hurried along the passage,
the cat gliding by her side, purring now in evident contentment, to Lord
--'s bed-room door, where her knock was quickly answered, and an
explanation given.

The household was soon aroused; bells were rung, lights flitted about,
servants hurried here and there; and persons watching from the windows
distinctly saw several men making off with all speed, and scrambling
over an adjacent wall.

It was undoubtedly owing to the sagacity of the cat that the mansion was
preserved from midnight robbery, and the inmates probably from some
fearful outrage.  She must have reasoned that the intruders had no
business there; whilst her reason and affection combined induced her to
warn her best friend of the threatened danger.  She may have feared,
also, that any one else in the house would have driven her heedlessly

My dear reader, may we not believe that this reasoning power was given
to the dumb animal for the protection of the family against evil-doers?
I might give you many instances of beneficent purposes being carried out
by equally simple and apparently humble agencies.

Let us, then, learn always to treat dumb animals with kindness and
consideration, since they are so often given to us as companions for our
benefit.  Like the cat, you may by vigilance be of essential service to
others more powerful than yourself.  For the same reason, never despise
the good-will or warnings of even the most humble.


I have heard of another cat, who, had she lived in Lord --'s house when
attacked by robbers, might very speedily have aroused the family.

This cat, however, lived in a nunnery in France.  She had observed that
when a certain bell was rung, all the inmates assembled for their meals,
when she also received her food.

One day she was shut up in a room by herself when she heard the bell
ring.  In vain she attempted to get out; she could not open the door,
the window was too high to reach.  At length, after some hours'
imprisonment, the door was opened.  Off she hurried to the place where
she expected to find her dinner, but none was there.  She was very
hungry, and hunger is said to sharpen the wits.  She knew where the rope
hung which pulled the bell in the belfry.  "Now, when that bell rings I
generally get my supper," she thought, as she ran towards the rope.  It
hung down temptingly within her reach--a good thick rope.  She sprang
upon it.  It gave a pleasant tinkle.  She jerked harder and harder, and
the bell rang louder and louder.  "Now I shall get my supper, though I
have lost my dinner," she thought as she pulled away.

The nuns hearing the bell ring at so unusual an hour, came hurrying into
the belfry, wondering what was the matter, when what was their surprise
to see the cat turned bell-ringer!  They puzzled their heads for some
time, till the lay sister who generally gave the cat her meals
recollected that she had not been present at dinner-time; and thus the
mystery was solved, and Pussy rewarded for her exertions by having her
supper brought to her without delay.

Instead of sitting down and crying when in a difficulty, think, like
sensible Pussy, of the best way to get out of it.  In lieu of wringing
your hands, ring the bell.


The last story reminds me of Mrs F--'s account of the cat and the
knocker.  That same intelligent little cat was also one of the most
affectionate of her race.  Her young mistress used to go to school for a
few hours daily in the neighbouring town.  Pussy would every morning
sally forth with her, and bound along beside her pony as far as the
gate, then going quietly back to the house.  Regularly, however, at the
time the little girl was expected to return, the faithful pet might be
seen watching about the door; and if Missy were delayed longer than
usual, would extend her walk to the gate, there awaiting her approach,
and evincing her delight by joyful gambols as soon as she descried her
coming along the road.  Pussy would then hurry back to the house-door,
that she might give notice of her young mistress's return, and the
moment she alighted would welcome her with happy purrings and caresses.

Endeavour to be as regular in all your ways as my friend's cat.  Never
keep your friends waiting for you, but rather wait for them.  Show your
affection and wish to please in this as in other ways.  Thank Pussy for
the excellent example she has set you.


While speaking of the affection of cats, I must not forget to mention a
notable example of it shown by the favourite cat of a young nobleman in
the days of Queen Elizabeth.

For some political offence he had been shut up in prison, and had long
pined in solitude, when he was startled by hearing a slight noise in the
chimney.  On looking up, great was his surprise and delight to see his
favourite cat bound over the hearth towards him, purring joyfully at the
meeting.  She had probably been shut up for some time before she had
made her escape, and then she must have sought her master, traversing
miles of steep and slippery roofs, along dangerous parapets, and through
forests of chimney-stacks, urged on by the strength of her attachment,
and guided by a mysterious instinct, till she discovered the funnel
which led into his prison chamber.

Certainly it was not by chance she made the discovery, nor was it
exactly reason that conducted her to the spot.  By whatever means she
found it, we must regard the affectionate little creature as the very
"Blondel of cats."

Never spare trouble or exertion to serve a friend, or to please those
you are bound to please.  Remember the prisoner's cat.


Cats often show great courage, especially in defence of their young.

A cat had led her kittens out into the sunshine, and while they were
frisking around her they were espied by a hawk soaring overhead.  Down
pounced the bird of prey and seized one in his talons.  Encumbered by
the weight of the fat little creature, he was unable to rise again
before the mother cat had discovered what had occurred.  With a bound
she fiercely attacked the marauder, and compelled him to drop her kitten
in order to defend himself.  A regular combat now commenced, the hawk
fighting with beak and talons, and rising occasionally on his wings.  It
seemed likely that he would thus gain the victory; still more when he
struck his sharp beak into one of Pussy's eyes, while he tore her ears
into shreds with his talons.  At length, however, she managed what had
been from the first her aim--to break one of her adversary's wings.  She
now sprang on him with renewed fury, and seizing him by the neck,
quickly tore off his head.  This done, regardless of her own sufferings,
she began to lick the bleeding wounds of her kitten, and then, calling
to its brothers and sisters, she carried it back to their secure home.

You will find many hawks with which you must do battle.  The fiercest
and most dangerous are those you must encounter every day.  Huge
dark-winged birds of prey--passionate temper, hatred, discontent,
jealousy;--an ugly list, I will not go on with it.  Fight against them
as bravely as Pussy fought with the hawk which tried to carry off her


That we must attribute to cats the estimable virtue of benevolence, Mrs
F--gives me two anecdotes to prove.

A lady in the south of Ireland having lost a pet cat, and searched for
it in vain, after four days was delighted to hear that it had returned.
Hastening to welcome the truant with a wassail-bowl of warm milk in the
kitchen, she observed another cat skulking with the timidity of an
uninvited guest in an obscure corner.  The pet cat received the caresses
of its mistress with its usual pleasure, but, though it circled round
the bowl of milk with grateful purrings, it declined to drink, going up
to the stranger instead, whom, with varied mewings, "like man's own
speech," it prevailed on to quit the shadowy background and approach the
tempting food.  At length both came up to the bowl, when the thirsty
stranger feasted to its full satisfaction, while the cat of the house
stood by in evident satisfaction watching its guest; and not until it
would take no more could the host be persuaded to wet its whiskers in
the tempting beverage.

Ever think of others before yourself.  Attend first to their wants.  Do
not be outdone in true courtesy by a cat.


Mrs F--vouches for the following account, showing the hospitable
disposition of cats.  It was given to her by a clergyman, who had it
direct from a friend.

A gentleman in Australia had a pet cat to which he daily gave a plate of
viands with his own hands.  The allowance was liberal, and there was
always a remainder; but after some time the gentleman perceived that
another cat came to share the repast.  Finding that this occurred for
several consecutive days, he increased the allowance.  It was then found
to be too much for two; there was again a residue for several days, when
a third cat was brought in to share the feast.  Amused at this
proceeding, the gentleman now began to experiment, and again increased
the daily dole of food.  A fourth guest now appeared; and he continued
adding gradually to the allowance of viands, and found that the number
of feline guests also progressively increased, until about thirty were
assembled; after which no further additions took place, so that he
concluded that all those who lived within _visiting distance_ were
included: indeed, the wonder was that so many could assemble, as the
district he lived in was far from populous.

The stranger cats always decorously departed after dinner was over,
leaving their hospitable entertainer, no doubt, with such grateful
demonstrations as might be dictated by the feline code of etiquette.

Ask yourselves if you are always as anxious as was the Australian cat to
invite your companions to enjoy with you the good things you have given
you by kind friends.  Ah! what an important lesson we may learn from
this anecdote: always to think of others before ourselves.  When young
friends visit you, do you try your utmost to entertain them, thinking of
their comfort before your own?  Such is the lesson taught us by this
cat, which gathered others of her kind to share the bounties provided by
her kind master.


I am sorry to say that cats are not always so amiable as those I have
described, but will occasionally play all sorts of tricks, like some
dishonest boys and girls, to obtain what they want.

An Angora cat, which lived in a large establishment in France, had
discovered that when a certain bell rang the cook always left the
kitchen.  Numerous niceties were scattered about, some on the tables and
dressers, others before the fire.  Pussy crept towards them, and tasted
them; they exactly suited her palate.  When she heard the cook's step
returning, off she ran to a corner and pretended to be sleeping soundly.
How she longed that the bell would ring again!

At last, like another cat I have mentioned, she thought that she would
try to ring it herself, and get cook out of the way; she could resist
her longing for those sweet creams no longer.  Off she crept, jumped up
at the bell-rope, and succeeded in sounding the bell.  Away hurried cook
to answer it.  The coast was now clear, and Pussy revelled in the
delicacies left unguarded--being out of the kitchen, or apparently
asleep in her corner, before cook returned.

This trick continued to answer Pussy's object for some time, the cook
wondering what had become of her tarts and creams, till a watch was
wisely set to discover the thief, when the dishonest though sagacious
cat was seen to pull the bell, and then, when cook went out, to steal
into the kitchen and feast at her leisure.

There is a proverb--which pray condemn as a bad one, because the motive
offered is wrong--that "honesty is the best policy."  Rather say, "Be
honest because it is right."  Pussy, with her manoeuvres to steal the
creams, thought herself very clever, but she was found out.


I must now tell you of another cat which was a sad thief, and showed a
considerable amount of sagacity in obtaining what she wanted.  One day
she found a cream-jug on the breakfast-table, full of cream.  It was
tall, and had a narrow mouth.  She longed for the nice rich contents,
but could not reach the cream even with her tongue; if she upset the
jug, her theft would be discovered.  At last she thought to herself, "I
may put in my paw, though I cannot get in my head, and some of that nice
stuff will stick to it."

She made the experiment, and found it answer.  Licking her paw as often
as she drew it out, she soon emptied the jug, so that when the family
came down they had no cream for breakfast.  A few drops on the
table-cloth, however, showed how it had been stolen--Pussy, like human
beings who commit dishonest actions, not being quite so clever as she
probably thought herself.


Cats often show that they possess some of the vices as well as some of
the virtues of human beings.  The tom-cat is frequently fierce,
treacherous, and vindictive, and at no time can his humour be crossed
with impunity.  Mrs F--mentions several instances of this.

A person she knew in the south of Ireland had severely chastised his cat
for some misdemeanour, when the creature immediately ran off and could
not be found.  Some days afterwards, as this person was going from home,
what should he see in the centre of a narrow path between walls but his
cat, with its back up, its eyeballs glaring, and a wicked expression in
its countenance.  Expecting to frighten off the creature, he slashed at
it with his handkerchief, when it sprang at him with a fierce hiss, and,
seizing his hand in its mouth, held on so tightly that he was unable to
beat it off.  He hastened home, nearly fainting with the agony he
endured, and not till the creature's body was cut from the head could
the mangled hand be extricated.

An Irish gentleman had an only son, quite a little boy, who, being
without playmates, was allowed to have a number of cats sleeping in his
room.  One day the boy beat the father of the family for some offence,
and when he was asleep at night the revengeful beast seized him by the
throat, and might have killed him had not instant help been at hand.
The cat sprang from the window and was no more seen.

If you are always gentle and kind, you will never arouse anger or
revenge.  It may be aroused in the breast of the most harmless-looking
creatures and the most contemptible.  Your motive, however, for acting
gently and lovingly should be, not fear of the consequences of a
contrary behaviour, but that the former is right.



We now come to the noble Dog, indued by the Creator with qualities which
especially fit him to be the companion of man.  Such he is in all parts
of the world; and although wild dogs exist, they appear, like savage
human beings, to have retrograded from a state of civilisation.  The
mongrels and curs, too, have evidently deteriorated, and lost the
characteristic traits of their nobler ancestors.

What staunch fidelity, what affection, what courage, what devotion and
generosity does the dog exhibit!  Judged by the anecdotes I am about to
narrate of him--a few only of the numberless instances recorded of his
wonderful powers of mind--he must, I think, be considered the most
sagacious of all animals, the mighty elephant not excepted.


I will begin with some anecdotes which I am myself able to authenticate.

Foremost must stand the noble Rosswell, who belonged to some connections
of mine.  He was of great size--a giant of the canine race--of a brown
and white colour, one of his parents having seen the light in the frozen
regions of Greenland, among the Esquimaux.

Rosswell, though a great favourite, being too large to be fed in the
house, had his breakfast, consisting of porridge, in a large wooden bowl
with a handle, sent out to him every morning, and placed close to a
circular shrubbery before the house.  Directly it arrived, he would
cautiously put his nose to the bowl, and if, as was generally the case,
the contents were too hot for his taste, he would take it up by the
handle and walk with it round the shrubbery at a dignified pace, putting
it down again at the same spot.  He would then try the porridge once
more, and if it were still too hot he would again take up the bowl and
walk round and round as before, till he was satisfied that the
superabundant caloric had been dissipated, when, putting it down, he
would leisurely partake of his meal.

Everything he did was in the same methodical, civilised fashion.  One of
the ladies of the family had dropped a valuable bracelet during a walk.
In the evening Rosswell entered the house and proceeded straight up to
her with his mouth firmly closed.  "What have you got there?" she asked,
when he at once opened his huge mouth and revealed the missing bracelet.

The same lady was fond of birds, and had several young ones brought to
her from time to time to tame.  Rosswell must have observed this.  One
day he appeared again with his mouth closed, and came up to her.  On
opening his jaws, which he allowed her to do, what was her surprise to
see within them a little bird, perfectly unhurt!  After this he very
frequently brought her birds in his mouth, which he had caught without
in any way injuring them.

He had another strange fancy.  It was to catch hedgehogs; but, instead
of killing them, he invariably brought them into the house and placed
them before the kitchen fire--supposing, apparently, that they enjoyed
its warmth.

With two of the ladies of the family he was a great favourite, and used
to romp with them to his heart's content.  The youngest, however, being
of a timid disposition, could never get over a certain amount of terror
with which his first appearance had inspired her.

At length Rosswell disappeared.  Although inquiries were everywhere made
for him he could not be found.  It was suspected that he had been
stolen, with the connivance of one of the domestics, who owed him a
grudge.  Weeks passed away, and all hope of recovering Rosswell had been
abandoned, when one day he rushed into the house, looking lean and
gaunt, with a broken piece of rope hanging to his neck, showing that he
had been kept "in durance vile," and had only just broken his bonds.
The two elder sisters he greeted with the most exuberant marks of
affection, leaping up and trying to lick their faces; but directly the
youngest appeared he slowly crept forward, lay down at her feet, wagging
his tail, and glancing up at her countenance with an unmistakably gentle

Rosswell, not without provocation, had taken a dislike to a little dog
belonging to Captain --; and at last, having been annoyed beyond
endurance, he gave the small cur a bite which sent it yelping away.
Captain--was passing at the time, and, angry at the treatment his dog
had received, declared that he would shoot Rosswell if it ever happened
again.  Knowing that Captain--would certainly fulfil his threat, the
elder lady, who was of determined character, and instigated by regard
for Rosswell, called the dog to her, and began belabouring him with a
stout stick, pronouncing the name of the little dog all the time.
Rosswell received the castigation with the utmost humility; and from
that day forward avoided the little dog, never retaliating when annoyed,
and hanging down his head when its name was mentioned.

Rosswell had a remarkable liking for sugar-plums, and would at all times
prefer a handful to a piece of meat.  If, however, a pile of them were
placed between his paws, and he was told that they were for baby, he
would not touch them, but watch with wagging tail while the little
fellow picked them up.  He might probably have objected had any one else
attempted to take them away.

Gallant Rosswell!--he fell a victim at length to the wicked hatred of
his old enemy the cook, who mixed poison with his food, which destroyed
his life.

Rosswell's mistresses mourned for him, as I daresay you will; but they
did not seek to punish the wicked woman as she deserved.

What a noble fellow he was, how submissive under castigation, how gentle
when he saw that his boisterous behaviour frightened his youngest
mistress, how obedient to command, how strict in the performance of his
duty!  And what self-restraint did he exercise!  Think of him with
baby's sugar-plums between his paws--not one would he touch.

My reader, let me ask you one question: Are you as firm in resisting
temptation as was gallant Rosswell?  He acted rightly through instinct;
but you have the power to discern between good and evil, aided by the
counsels of your kind friends.  Do not shame the teaching of your
parents by acting in any manner unworthy of yourself.

Tyrol, the Dog which rang the Bell.

I have told you of several cats which rang bells.  Another connection of
mine, living in the Highlands, had a dog called Tyrol.  He had been
taught to do all sorts of things.  Among others, to fetch his master's
slippers at bed-time; and when told that fresh peat was required for the
fire, away he would go to the peat-basket and bring piece after piece,
till a sufficient quantity had been piled up.

He had also learned to pull the bell-rope to summon the servant.  This
he could easily accomplish at his own home, where the rope was
sufficiently long for him to reach; but on one occasion he accompanied
his master on a visit to a friend's house, where he was desired to
exhibit his various accomplishments.  When told to ring the bell, he
made several attempts in vain.  The end of the rope was too high up for
him to reach.  At length, what was the surprise of all present to see
him seize a chair by the leg, and pull it up to the wall, when, jumping
up, he gave the rope a hearty tug, evidently very much to his own

You will generally find that, difficult as a task may seem, if you seek
for the right means you may accomplish it.  Drag the chair up to the
bell-rope which you cannot otherwise reach.


I am sorry that I do not know the name of a certain shepherd's dog, but
which deserves to be recorded in letters of gold.

His master, who had charge of a flock which fed among the Grampian
Hills, set out from home one day accompanied by his little boy, scarcely
more than four years old.  The children of Scottish shepherds begin
learning their future duties at an early age.  The day, bright at first,
passed on, when a thick mist began to rise, shrouding the surrounding
country.  The shepherd, seeing this, hurried onward to collect his
scattered flock, calling his dog to his assistance, and leaving his
little boy at a spot where he believed that he should easily find him
again.  The fog grew thicker and thicker; and so far had the flock
rambled, that some time passed before they could be collected together.

On his return to look for his child, the darkness had increased so much
that he could not discover him.  The anxious father wandered on, calling
on his child--but no answer came; his dog, too, had disappeared.  He had
himself lost his way.  At length the moon rose, when he discovered that
he was not far from his own cottage.  He hastened towards it, hoping
that the child had reached it before him; but the little boy had not
appeared, nor had the dog been seen.  The agony of the parents can be
better imagined than described.  No torches were to be procured, and the
shepherd had to wait till daylight ere he could set out with a companion
or two to assist him in his search.  All day he searched in vain.  On
his return, sick at heart, at nightfall, he heard that his dog had
appeared during the day, received his accustomed meal of a bannock, and
then scampered off at full speed across the moor, being out of sight
before any one could follow him.

All night long the father waited, expecting the dog to return; but the
animal not appearing, he again, as soon as it was daylight, set off on
his search.  During his absence, the dog hurried up to the cottage, as
on the previous day, and went off again immediately he had received his

At last, after this had occurred on two more successive days, the
shepherd resolved to remain at home till his dog should appear, and then
to follow him.

The sagacious animal appearing as before, at once understood his
master's purpose, and instead of scampering off at full speed, kept in
sight as he led the way across the moor.  It was then seen that he held
in his mouth the larger portion of the cake which had been given him.
The dog conducted the shepherd to a cataract which fell roaring and
foaming amid rocks into a ravine far down below.  Descending an almost
perpendicular cliff, the dog entered a cavern, close in front of which
the seething torrent passed.  The shepherd with great difficulty made
his way to it, when, as he reached the entrance, he saw his child,
unhurt, seated on the ground eating the cake brought by the dog, who
stood watching his young charge thus occupied, with a proud
consciousness of the important duty he had undertaken.

The father, embracing his child, carried him up the steep ascent, down
which it appeared he had scrambled in the dark, happily reaching the
cave.  This he had been afraid to quit on account of the torrent; and
here the dog by his scent had traced him, remaining with him night and
day, till, conscious that food was as necessary for the child as for
himself, he had gone home to procure him some of his own allowance.

Thus the faithful animal had, by a wonderful exercise of his reasoning
power, preserved the child's life.


A dear friend gave me, many years ago, a rough, white terrier puppy,
which I called Alp.  I fed him with my own hand from the first, and he
consequently evinced the warmest attachment to me.  No animal could be
more obedient; and he seemed to watch my every look to ascertain what I
wished him to do.

The expression of his countenance showed his intelligence; and whenever
I talked to him he seemed to be making the most strenuous efforts to
reply, twisting about his lips in a fashion which often made me burst
into a fit of laughter, when he would give a curious bark of delight, as
much as to say,--"Ay, I can utter as meaning a sound as that."

I felt very sure that no burglar would venture into the house while he
was on the watch.

I never beat him in his life; but once I pretended to do so, with a
hollow reed which happened to be in the room, on his persisting,
contrary to my orders, in lying down on the rug before the fire whenever
my back was turned.  As I was about to leave the room, I placed the reed
on the rug, and admonished him to be careful.  On my return, some time
afterwards, I found the reed torn up into the most minute shreds.  On
looking round, I saw Alp in the furthest corner of the room, twisting
his mouth, wriggling about, and wagging his tail, while every now and
then he turned furtive glances towards the rug, telling me as plainly as
if he could speak,--"I could not resist the temptation--I did it, I
own--but don't be angry with me.  You see I have now got as far away
from the rug as I could be."  Alp, seeing me laugh, rushed from his
corner to lick my hand.  He ever afterwards, however, avoided the rug.

For his size, he was the best swimmer and diver among dogs I ever saw.
He would, without hesitation, plunge into water six or eight feet deep,
and bring up a stone from the bottom almost as big as his head, or dash
forth from the sea-beach and boldly breast the foaming billows of the

After seeing what Alp did do, and feeling sure of what he could have
done had circumstances called forth his powers, I am ready to believe
the accounts I have heard of the wonderful performances of others of his

A young Newfoundland dog, living in Glasgow a few years ago, acted,
under similar circumstances, very much as Alp did.  As he sometimes
misbehaved himself, a whip was kept near him, which was occasionally
applied to his back.  He naturally took a dislike to this article, and
more than once was found with it in his mouth, moving slyly towards the

Being shut up at night in the house to watch it, he in his rounds
discovered the detested instrument of punishment.  To get rid of it, he
attempted to thrust it under the door.  It stuck fast, however, by the
thick end.  A few nights afterwards he again got hold of the whip, and
persevered till he shoved through the thick end, when some one passing
by carried it off.  On being questioned as to what had become of the
whip, he betrayed his guilt by his looks, and slunk away with his tail
between his legs.


A gentleman who lived near Stirling, possessed a powerful mastiff.  One
evening, as he was going his rounds through the grounds, he observed a
man with a sack on his back suspiciously proceeding towards the orchard.
The dog followed, crouching down while the man filled his sack with
apples.  The dog waited till the thief had thrown the heavy sack over
his shoulders, holding on to the mouth with both hands.  When the man
was thus unable to defend himself, the dog rushed forward and stood in
front of him, barking loudly for assistance, and leaving him the option
of dropping his plunder and fighting for life and liberty, or of being
captured.  Paralysed with fear, he stood still, till the servants coming
from the house made him prisoner.

Be calm and cool in the face of a foe--remonstrate with a wrong-doer--
fly from tempters; but you cannot be too eager and violent in attacking
temptation immediately it presents itself.


A friend told me of another dog, which had been taught habits of
cleanliness that some young gentlemen, accustomed to enter the
drawing-room with dirty shoes, might advantageously imitate.  A shallow
tub of water was placed in the hall, near the front door.  Whenever this
well-behaved dog came into the house, if the roads were muddy from rain,
or dusty from dry weather, he used to run to the tub and wash his feet--
drying them, it is to be presumed, on the door-mat--before venturing
into any of the sitting-rooms to which he had admission.


Having mentioned this cleanly dog, I must next introduce to you a canine
friend, called Master Rough, belonging to my kind next-door neighbours;
and I think you will acknowledge that he surpasses the other in the
propriety of his behaviour.

Master Rough is very small, and his name describes his appearance.  As I
hear his voice, I might suppose him to be somewhat ill-natured, did I
not know that his bark is worse than his bite.  He is only indignant at
being told by his mistress to do something he dislikes; but he does it
notwithstanding, though he has, it must be confessed, a will of his own,
like some young folks.  He does not often soil his dainty feet by going
out into the muddy road; but when he does, on his return he carefully
wipes them on the door-mat.

At meal-times he goes to a cupboard, in which is kept a bowl and napkin
for his especial use.  The napkin he first spreads on the carpet, and
then placing the bowl in the centre, barks to give notice that his table
is ready.  After this, he sits down and waits patiently till his dinner
is put into the bowl, on which he falls to and gobbles it up,--the
table-cloth preventing any of the bits which tumble over from soiling
the carpet.  It has been asserted that he wipes his mouth afterwards in
the napkin; but I suspect that he is merely picking up the bits outside.
I am sorry to say that he forgets to fold up his table-cloth neatly and
to put it away, which he certainly should do; nor can he be persuaded to
wash out his bowl, though he does not object to lick it clean.  People
and dogs, however, have different ways of doing things, and Master Rough
chooses to follow his way, and is perfectly satisfied with himself--like
some young folks, who may not, however, be right for all that.

His principal other accomplishment is to carry up the newspaper, after
it has been read by the gentleman downstairs, to his mistress in the
drawing-room, when he receives a cake as his reward.  He also may be
seen carrying a basket after his mistress, with a biscuit in it, which
he knows will be his in due time; but that if he misbehaves himself by
gobbling it greedily up--as he has sometimes done, I hear--he will have
to carry the basket without the biscuit; so having learned wisdom from
experience, he now patiently waits till it is given to him.

If Master Rough is not so clever as some dogs I have to tell you about,
he does his best in most respects; and I am very sure that no thief
would venture to break into the house in which he keeps watch: so that
he makes himself--what all boys and girls should strive to be--very


Next on my list of canine favourites stands a noble Newfoundland dog
named Byron, which belonged to the father of my friend, Mrs F--.  On
one occasion he accompanied the family to Dawlish, on the coast of
Devonshire.  His kennel was at the back of the house.  Whenever his
master was going out, the servant loosened Byron, who immediately ran
round, never entering the house, and joined him, accompanying him in his

One day, after getting some way from home, his master found that he had
forgotten his walking-stick.  He showed the dog his empty hands, and
pointed towards the house.  Byron, instantly comprehending what was
wanted, set off, and made his way into the house by the front door,
through which he had never before passed.  In the hall was a hatstand
with several walking-sticks in it.  Byron, in his eagerness, seized the
first he could reach, and carried it joyfully to his master.  It was not
the right one, however.  Mr--on this patted him on the head, gave him
back the stick, and again pointed towards the house.  The dog,
apparently considering for a few moments what mistake he could have
made, ran home again, and exchanged the stick for the one his master
usually carried.  After this, he had the walking-stick given him to
carry, an office of which he seemed very proud.

One day while thus employed, following his master with stately gravity,
he was annoyed during the whole time by a little yelping cur jumping up
at his ears.  Byron shook his head, and growled a little from time to
time, but took no further notice, and never offered to lay down the
stick to punish the offender.

On reaching the beach, Mr--threw the stick into the waves for the dog
to bring it out.  Then, to the amusement of a crowd of bystanders,
Byron, seizing his troublesome and pertinacious tormentor by the back of
the neck, plunged with him into the foaming water, where he ducked him
well several times, and then allowed him to find his way out as best he
could; while he himself, mindful of his duty, swam onward in search of
the now somewhat distant walking-stick, which he brought to his master's
feet with his usual calm demeanour.  The little cur never again troubled

Be not less magnanimous than Byron, when troublesome boys try to annoy
you whilst you are performing your duties; but employ gentle words
instead of duckings to silence them.  Drown the yelping curs--bad
thoughts, unamiable tempers, temptations, and such like--which assault
you from within.


I must now tell you a story which many believe, but which others
consider "too good to be true."

A gentleman who owned a fine Newfoundland dog, of which he was very
proud, was one warm summer's evening riding out with a friend, when he
asserted that his dog would find and bring to him any article he might
leave behind him.  Accordingly it was agreed that a shilling should be
marked and placed under a stone, and that after they had proceeded three
or four miles on their road, the dog should be sent back for it.  This
was done--the dog, which was with them, observing them place the coin
under the stone, a somewhat heavy one.  They then rode forward the
distance proposed, when the dog was despatched by his master for the
shilling.  He seemed fully to understand what was required of him; and
the two gentlemen reached home, expecting the dog to follow immediately.
They waited, however, in vain.  The dog did not make his appearance,
and they began to fear that some accident had happened to the animal.

The faithful dog was, however, obedient to his master's orders.  On
reaching the stone he found it too heavy to lift, and while scraping and
working away, barking every now and then in his eagerness, two horsemen
came by.  Observing the dog thus employed, one of them dismounted and
turned over the stone, fancying that some creature had taken refuge
beneath it.  As he did so, his eye fell on the coin, which--not
suspecting that it was the object sought for--he put into his breeches
pocket before the animal could get hold of it.  Still wondering what the
dog wanted, he remounted his steed, and with his companion rode rapidly
on to an inn nearly twenty miles off, where they purposed passing the

The dog, which had caught sight of the shilling as it was transferred to
the stranger's pocket, followed them closely, and watched the
sleeping-room into which they were shown.  He must have observed them
take off their clothes, and seen the man who had taken possession of the
shilling hang his breeches over the back of a chair.  Waiting till the
travellers were wrapped in slumber, he seized the garment in his mouth--
being unable to abstract the shilling--and bounded out of the window,
nor stopped till he reached his home.  His master was awakened early in
the morning by hearing the dog barking and scratching at his door.  He
was greatly surprised to find what he had brought, and more so to
discover not only the marked shilling, but a watch and purse besides.
As he had no wish that his dog should act the thief, or that he himself
should become the receiver of stolen goods, he advertised the articles
which had been carried off; and after some time the owner appeared, when
all that had occurred was explained.

The only way to account for the dog not at first seizing the shilling
is, that grateful for the assistance afforded him in removing the stone,
he supposed that the stranger was about to give him the coin, and that
he only discovered his mistake when it was too late.  His natural
gentleness and generosity may have prevented him from attacking the man
and trying to obtain it by force.

Patiently and perseveringly follow up the line of duty which has been
set you.  When I see a boy studying hard at his lessons, or doing his
duty in any other way, I can say, "Ah, he is searching for the marked
shilling; and I am sure he will find it."


Many species of dogs appear, like the last mentioned, to be especially
indued with the faculty of distinguishing their master's property, and
to possess the desire of restoring it to them when lost.

Mrs F--told me of an instance of this with which she was acquainted.  A
gentleman residing in the county of Cork, finding his out-houses
infested by rats, sent for four small terriers to extirpate them.  He
amused himself with teaching the dogs a variety of canine
accomplishments,--among others, to fetch and carry whatever he sent them

Returning one day from his daily walk, he discovered that a bunch of
keys which he supposed was in his pocket was not there.  Hoping that he
might have left them at home, he made diligent search everywhere, but in
vain.  One of the little terriers had observed his master thus searching
about, and there can be no doubt that, after pondering the matter in his
mind, he came to the conclusion that something was lost.  Be that as it
may, off he set by himself from the house, and after the lapse of some
hours up he came running with eager delight, the lost keys dangling from
his mouth, and jingling loudly as he gambolled about in his happiness.
He then dropped them at his master's feet.

We may be sure that the dog was well caressed, and became from
thenceforward the prime favourite.

That terrier was a little dog, but still he was of much use, not only by
killing rats, which was his regular duty, but by trying to find out what
his master wanted to have done, and doing it.

Little boys and girls may be of still greater use, if they will both
perform their regular duties, and try to find out what there is to be
done, and then, like the terrier, do it.


Mrs F--told me another anecdote, which illustrates the fidelity and
reasoning power so frequently exhibited by the shepherd's dog.

About the year 1827, her father sold some lambs to a butcher in Melrose,
who took them away in his cart.  Their shepherd had a young dog in
training at the time.  Shortly after the sale of the lambs he missed
this dog, and hastened in search of him.

On reaching the chain bridge which is thrown over the river for the use
of foot-passengers, he was told that the dog had been seen standing on
it watching the butcher's cart containing the lambs, which was crossing
the ford beneath.  As soon as it had gained the other bank the dog
followed it to Melrose.  The shepherd pursued the supposed truant till
he reached the town, where in front of the butcher's shop stood the cart
with the lambs still in it, and the dog standing like a constable by it,
threatening every one who approached to unload it.

He had evidently considered that the animals were stolen, and that it
was his duty to keep watch over them.  When, however, his master
appeared, and called him away, he seemed at once to understand that all
was right, and followed him willingly.

Be watchful over whatever is committed to your charge, and be equally
watchful over yourself.


In the backwoods of North America lived a settler and his family, far
away from towns and villages.  The children of such families at an early
age learn to take care of themselves, and fearlessly wander to a
distance from home to gather wild fruits, to fish in the streams, or to
search for maple-trees from which to extract sugar in the autumn.

One evening the rest of the boys and girls had come in from their
various occupations, except the youngest, a little fellow of four or
five years old.  One of his brothers thought he had gone with Silas, and
Silas fancied that he was with James and Mary, but neither of them till
then had missed him.  The whole family, thrown into a state of
consternation, hurried out with torches, for it was now getting dark,
and shouted for him, and searched round and round the clearing far and
wide, but he was nowhere to be found.  I need not describe their
feelings.  The next morning they set forth again, searching still
further.  All day they were so employed, but in vain.  They began to
fear that poor little Marcus had been killed by a rattlesnake, or that a
bear had come and carried him off.

The next night was a sorrowful one for all the family.  Once more they
were preparing to set out, when a tall, copper-coloured Indian, habited
in a dress of skins, was seen coming through the forest, followed by a
magnificent blood-hound.  He approached the settlers and inquired what
was the matter.  They told him, when he desired to see the socks and
shoes last worn by the child.  They were eagerly produced by the mother.
The Indian showed them to his dog, at the same time patting him on the
head.  The animal evidently comprehended what his master required, and
scenting about for a short time, began to bay loudly, then set off,
without turning to the right or to the left, through the forest,
followed by the Indian and the child's father and elder brothers.  He
was soon out of sight, but the Indian knew by the marks on the ground
the way he had taken.

A long, long chase the hound led them, till he was seen bounding back
with animation in his eye and a look which told that he had been
successful in his search.  The father and his sons hurried after the
Indian, who closely followed his dog, and to their joy discovered little
Marcus, pale and exhausted, but unhurt, with the dog standing over him.

He soon recovered, and told them how he had lost his way, and lived upon
berries and other wild fruits till he had sunk down unable to go
further.  His life had undoubtedly been preserved by means of the
sagacious blood-hound.


I have told you of Tyrol, who used to ring the bell; I will now describe
another dog named Dash, who was still more clever.  When any of the
servants of the family had to sit up for their master or mistress, and
fell asleep in their chair, scarcely would they have settled themselves
when the parlour bell would be heard to ring.  They were greatly puzzled
to account for this, and in vain attempted to solve the mystery.

Dash was a black and white spaniel, who was generally considered a
fairly clever dog, but not suspected of possessing any unusual amount of
knowingness.  He never failed, when his master told him to get anything,
to find it and lay it at his feet.  If one glove was missing, and the
other shown to him, he was sure to hunt about till he discovered it.

One morning a person arrived with a letter before breakfast, to be
delivered into the hands of Dash's master.  The man was shown into the
parlour, where he was about to sit down, when his ears were saluted by a
growl, and there was Dash, seated in a chair near the fireplace.  The
dog was within reach of the ring of the bell-pull, and whenever the man
attempted to sit down, Dash put up his paw on the ring and growled
again.  At length the stranger, curious to see what the dog would do if
he persevered, sat down in a chair.  Dash, on this, instead of flying at
the man, as some stupid dogs would have done, pulled the bell-rope, and
a servant coming in on the summons, was greatly astonished when the man
told him that the dog had rung the bell.

Thus the mystery which had long puzzled him and his fellow-servants was
explained.  On comparing notes, they recollected that whenever the bell
sounded, Dash was not to be seen; and there could now be no doubt that
immediately he observed them closing their eyes, he had hastened off to
the parlour, the bell-rope of which he could easily reach, in order to
rouse them to watchfulness.

In corroboration of this account, my friend Mrs F--mentioned the case
of a Newfoundland dog, which was one day accidentally shut up in the
dining-room, when the family were out.  He scratched at the door and
whined loudly for a length of time; but though the servants heard him,
they paid no attention.  At length, as if the thought had suddenly
occurred to him that whenever the bell was rung the door was opened, he
actually rang the bell right heartily.  A servant instantly obeyed the
summons, when out sprang the dog, wagging his tail with delight at the
result of his sagacious experiment, and leaving the man in amazement at
finding no person in the room.


There are many instances of dogs showing attention to their owner's
interests.  Mr Jesse mentions one which exhibits a wonderful power of
reasoning in a dog.

The sheep-dog used to accompany the farm-servants about the farm, but
ran home to be fed at the dinner-hour of his mistress, returning
afterwards to his duty in the fields.  One day, as he was approaching
the house, he met a young woman, whom he had never before seen, leaving
it wearing his mistress's cloak, which had in reality been lent her.
Hungry as he was, he nevertheless turned about and followed closely at
her heels, greatly to her alarm.  Hurrying on, the dog still accompanied
her, till she reached the house in which the brother of the dog's
mistress resided, with whom he was well acquainted.  On seeing the young
woman enter it, the faithful animal turned about, and went quietly back
to the farm.  It was thus evident that, from seeing her go into a house
which he knew, he was satisfied that she was a friend of the family.
Had she gone to a strange place, he would probably have tried to take
the cloak from her.

Follow what you believe to be the right course, like the faithful
sheep-dog; and though the result may not answer your expectations, do
not be disheartened.  Persevere in acting rightly: the reward will come.


Dogs and horses frequently form friendships.  A Newfoundland dog had
attached himself to a mare belonging to his master, and seemed to
consider himself especially the guardian of his less sagacious
companion.  Whenever the groom began to saddle the mare, the dog used to
lie down with his nose between his paws, watching the proceeding.  The
moment the operation was finished, up jumped the dog, seized the reins
in his mouth, and led the mare to her master, following him in his ride.

On returning home, the reins being again given to him, he would lead his
friend back to the stable.  If, on his arrival, the groom happened to be
out of the way, he would bark vehemently till he made his appearance,
and then hand over his charge to him.

You may be young and little, but if you exercise discretion and
judgment, you may assist those much bigger and older than yourself.
Learn from the dog, however, not to give yourself airs in consequence;
you will have simply performed your duty in making yourself useful.


I must give you another anecdote somewhat similar to the last.

A little terrier, and another dog, equally faithful and sagacious, had
attached themselves to their master's horse, which they always
accompanied when it went out.  If the master rode out on it to dinner,
the two dogs used to remain contentedly in the stable with their friend,
till it was required to carry its master home.

One night the gentleman had ordered his horse to be brought, but waited
in vain for its appearance.  At length the groom was summoned, when he
declared that he dared not take the horse out of the stable, as one of
the dogs was on its back, and the other by its side, threatening to
attack every person who came up to the animal.  The owner, observing
that the groom was a stranger, suspected at once that the dogs would not
trust him, and had himself to go round to the stable, when the faithful
animals at once delivered their charge up to him.


Two dogs belonged to the family of Mrs F--.  One, Bob, a black setter,
who was, like most of his species, an excellent swimmer; the other,
Crib, a bull-terrier, who had no love for the water, and thought himself
ill-used whenever he was compelled to take a bath.

Several of the family were walking along the bank of the Tweed,
accompanied by the two dogs, when Bob, as usual, plunged into the water,
but Crib kept close to their heels.  The ladies happened to be in
earnest conversation, and were taking no notice of the dogs, when their
attention was attracted by a second plunge, and Bob was seen, apparently
seized with cramp, floundering in the middle of the river, Crib swimming
eagerly towards him.  Bob sank just as his friend reached him, but Crib
seized him by the nape of the neck in his powerful jaws, and thus swam
with him to shore.

There existed no particular friendship between the dogs; and when Crib's
natural aversion to the water is considered, it must be acknowledged
that he well deserved the Humane Society's Medal for his gallantry.

It is truly a noble deed to save the life of a fellow-creature, though
it but rarely falls to the lot of any one.  But, though you may never
have an opportunity of doing that, you may always find numerous ways of
rendering assistance to those who may, in one form or other, be in want
of it.


A grocer owned a Newfoundland dog, which used frequently to take charge
of the shop.  While thus lying down with his nose between his paws, he
observed one of the porters frequently visiting the till.  He suspected
that the man had no business to go there.  He therefore watched him,
and, following him, observed him hide the money he had taken in the
stable.  The dog, on this, attempted to lead several persons in whom he
had confidence towards the place, by pulling in a peculiar manner at
their clothes.  They took no heed of him, till at length one of the
apprentices going to the stable, the dog followed him and began
scratching at a heap of rubbish in a corner.  The young man's attention
being aroused, he watched the animal, which soon scratched up several
pieces of money.  The apprentice, collecting them, evidently to the
dog's satisfaction, took them to his master, who marked them, and
restored them to the place where they were discovered.

The porter, who for some other cause was suspected, was at length
arrested, when some of the marked coin was found on him.  On being taken
before a magistrate, he confessed his guilt, and was convicted of the


A terrier, which lived at Dunrobin Castle many years ago, had a family
of puppies, which were taken from her and drowned.  How she mourned for
her offspring, and wondered why her owner had been so cruel as to allow
them to be earned away!  Her maternal feelings were as strong as those
of other creatures, and she felt a longing to exercise them.  At length
she caught sight of a brood of young ducklings.  They were young, and
required care just like her own dear little whelps; so, seizing them,
she carried them off one by one to her kennel, and would allow no one to
take them away.  They seemed to understand that they had obtained a very
good nurse, and she watched them with the most affectionate care.  When,
however, they made their way to the water and plunged in, she exhibited
the greatest alarm, believing that they would be drowned, as her own
puppies had been.  No sooner had she reached the shore than she picked
them up in her mouth, and carried them off to her kennel, resolving,
probably, never to allow them to run into the same danger again.

After the ducklings grew up, and were no longer willing to submit to her
canine style of nursing, she again became the mother of another litter.
On this also being destroyed, she seized two cock chickens, which she
reared with the same care that she had done the ducklings.  When,
however, the young cocks began to try their voices, their foster-mother
was as much annoyed as she had been by the ducks going into the water,
and invariably did her best to stop their crowing.

You will never want objects on which to exercise your kind feelings.
"The poor you have always with you."  You must not be disheartened or
dissatisfied if they persist in following a different course from that
which you think they ought to do.  How often, when a baby, have you
cried lustily when your mother or nurse heartily wished you to be
silent; and as you grew older, perversely ran away into danger when they
called after you!  Through life remember that little terrier, and like
her persevere in befriending those in need.


I must tell you one more anecdote of two dogs of a similar character to
one I gave you a few pages back, but in this instance they were
professed enemies.  It happened at Donaghadee, where a pier was in
course of building.

Two dogs--one a Newfoundland, and the other a mastiff--were seen by
several people engaged in a fierce and prolonged battle on the pier.
They were both powerful dogs, and though good-natured when alone, were
much in the habit of thus fighting whenever they met.  At length they
both fell into the sea, and as the pier was long and steep, they had no
means of escape but by swimming a considerable distance.  The cold bath
brought the combat to an end, and each began to make for the land as
best he could.

The Newfoundland dog speedily gained the shore, on which he stood
shaking himself, at the same time watching the motions of his late
antagonist, who, being no swimmer, began to struggle, and was just about
to sink.  On seeing this, in he dashed, took the other gently by the
collar, kept his head above water, and brought him safely to land.

After this they became inseparable friends, and never fought again; and
when the Newfoundland dog met his death by a stone waggon running over
him, the mastiff languished, and evidently mourned for him for a long

Let this incident afford us great encouragement to love our enemies, and
to return good for evil, since we find the feeling implanted in the
breast of a dog to save the life of his antagonist, and to cherish him
afterwards as a friend.

We may never be called on to save the life of a foe; but that would not
be more difficult to our natural disposition than acting kindly and
forgivingly towards those who daily annoy us--who injure us or offer us
petty insults.


You remember the way Byron punished his troublesome little assailant.
Another Newfoundland dog, of a noble and generous disposition, was often
assailed in the same way by noisy curs in the streets.  He generally
passed them with apparent unconcern, till one little brute ventured to
bite him in the back of the leg.  This was a degree of wanton insult
which could not be patiently endured; so turning round, he ran after the
offender, and seized him by the poll.  In this manner he carried him to
the quay, and holding him for some time over the water, at length
dropped him into it.  He did not, however, intend that the culprit
should be drowned.  Waiting till he was not only well ducked, but nearly
sinking, he plunged in and brought him safely to land.

Could you venture to look a Newfoundland dog in the face, and call him a
brute beast, if you feel that you have acted with less generosity than
he exhibited!


Among the strange friendships existing between animals of different
natures, I must mention one formed between a terrier and a bantam.

The little dog was suffering so severely from the distemper, that it was
necessary to confine her to her kennel, which had open bars in front of
it.  A bantam-cock which lived in the yard, walking up and down,
observed the poor little animal, and gazed at her with looks of deep
compassion.  At last he managed to squeeze himself through the bars.
The terrier evidently understood his feelings, and from that day forward
the bantam took up his abode in the dog's prison--like a brave
physician, fearless of catching the complaint of his patient--and seldom
left it, except to pick up his daily food.  When he did so, the dog
became uneasy, whining till her friend returned.

The terrier became worse, and the bantam redoubled his attentions, and,
for the purpose of warming the dog, took his place between her
fore-legs; and then the poor little invalid settled down on the bird,
apparently to enjoy the warmth afforded by his feathers.  Thus, day
after day was passed in the closest bonds of affection, till the terrier
died of the disease from which she had been suffering.  The bantam
appeared inconsolable at the loss of his friend, and it was some time
before he recovered his usual spirits.

Imitate that little bantam.  You will find very many human beings, in
lieu of sick terriers, to nurse.  As willingly as the bird gave up
pleasant amusements, so rouse yourself from sloth for their sakes.


I must give you another instance, still more curious than the former, of
friendship between two animals.

A number of rough boys in Liverpool had stoned a cat, and dragged it
through a pool of water, no one of the many passers-by attempting to
stop them; when a dog coming up was moved with pity and indignation at
the brutal proceedings, which ought to have induced the human beings who
witnessed it to interfere.  Barking furiously, he rushed in among the
boys, and then carried off the ill-used cat in his mouth, bleeding, and
almost senseless, to his kennel at the Talbot Inn, to which he belonged.
He there laid it on the straw, licked it till it was clean, and then
stretched himself on it, as if to impart to it some of his own warmth.
On its beginning to revive, he set out to obtain food for it, when the
people of the inn, noticing his behaviour, gave his patient some warm

Some days passed before the cat recovered, and during the whole time the
dog never remitted in his attentions to it.  The cat, in return,
exhibited the warmest gratitude to the dog, and for many years
afterwards they were seen going about the streets of Liverpool together.

Do you not blush for human nature when you hear of boys exhibiting less
compassion than a dog?  Be watchful that you never have cause to blush
for yourself.


Not only can dogs be taught all sorts of amusing tricks, but they can
play intelligently at games themselves.  Mrs Lee tells us of a
fox-terrier named Fop, who used to hide his eyes, and suffer those
playing with him to conceal themselves before he looked up.  I should
have liked to see jolly Fop at his sports.  If his playfellow hid
himself behind a curtain, Fop would go carefully past that particular
curtain, looking behind the others and the rest of the furniture, and
when he thought he had looked long enough, seize the concealing curtain,
and drag it aside in triumph.

The drollest thing, however, was to see him take his turn at hiding.  He
would get under a chair, and fancy he could not be seen.  Of course,
those at play with him pretended not to know where he was hiding, and it
was most amusing to witness his agitation as they passed.

Once Fop was ill, and had taken some homoeopathic globules, which were
supposed to have cured him.  Afterwards, when anything was the matter
with him, he would stand near the medicine-box, and hold his mouth open
to receive a pill.  He possibly might have had a taste for sugar-plums.

Professor Owen tells us of another dog which was taught by his master to
play at hide-and-seek.  When he heard the words, "Let us have a game,"
he immediately hid his eyes between his paws in the most honourable
manner; and when his owner had placed a sixpence or a piece of cake in
the most improbable place, he started up, and invariably found it.

Young dogs, it may thus be seen, enjoy games of play as much as boys and
girls do, and romping still more so.


Here is another instance of friendship existing between a dog and a

A lady possessed a spaniel named Tom.  After she had had Tom several
years, a red-legged partridge called Bill, brought from France, was
given to her.  She had often seen Tom tease the cats and amuse himself
with barking at birds, and was consequently afraid to place Bill near
him.  One day, however, Bill was brought into the room, and placed on
the ground, a watch being kept on Tom's movements.  Bill appeared in no
way alarmed at his four-footed companion, who, too, seemed not inclined
to molest him.  They looked at each other shyly at first, like two
children when first introduced; but Bill hopping forward, Tom seemed
pleased at the confidence shown in him.

In a short time they became excellent friends.  A saucer of bread and
milk being placed on the ground, they fed out of it together, and
afterwards would retire to a corner to sleep, the partridge nestling
between the dog's legs, and never stirring till his companion awoke.

When the dog accompanied his mistress in a walk, the bird, which could
not be taken, showed much uneasiness till he returned; and one day, when
the partridge happened to be shut up in a room by himself, the dog
searched all over the house, whining mournfully, as if he feared some
accident had happened to his friend.

This curious friendship came to an untimely end.  Tom was stolen; and
from that time Bill refused food, and died on the seventh day, a victim
to grief for the loss of his companion.

My dear young friends, let the story of this strange friendship awaken
in your minds a stronger sense of love and trust, not only towards those
who may be the friends of your youth, but also towards all who may have
the care or oversight of you.  I am afraid there are very many young
persons who would display far less genuine grief at the loss of their
companions than did the partridge at the loss of the spaniel.  Strive,
then, to let your friendship towards them be such, that your grief at
their loss may be genuine.


Dogs often show much regard for each other, as well as for other
animals; but they certainly possess a still greater affection for human

A gentleman having to proceed from the north of England to London by
sea, left his favourite dog behind.  While seated one night in the pit
of Drury Lane Theatre--some time after his arrival in the metropolis--to
his amazement, his favourite sprang upon him, covering him with

The dog, as soon as he found that his master had departed from the
shore, broke his chain, and set out on his long journey to rejoin him.
How he traced him must ever be a marvel.  Perhaps he pursued the line of
coast till he reached London, where it is possible he may have recovered
some trace of his lost friend by scent, at the landing place.  This,
however, is so improbable, that it is more likely he made the discovery
by that incomprehensible power which we call instinct.


A Preston paper gave some time ago an account of a dog which travelled
alone by railway in search of his master.  In this instance the animal
acted much as any human being would have done.

The dog, which was well-known to the railway officials from frequently
travelling with his master, presented himself at one of the stations on
the Fleetwood, Preston, and Longridge line.  After looking round for
some length of time among the passengers and in the carriages, just as
the train was about to start he leaped into one of the compartments of a
carriage, and lay down under a seat.

Arrived at Longridge, he made another survey of the passengers, and
after waiting till the station had been cleared, he went into the
Railway Station Hotel, searched all the places on the ground-floor, then
went and made a tour of inspection over the adjoining grounds; but being
apparently unsuccessful, trotted back to the train, and took his late
position just as it was moving off.  On reaching the station from which
he had first started, he again looked round as before, then took his

It seems that he now proceeded to the General Railway Station at
Preston, and after repeating the looking-round performance, placed
himself under one of the seats in a train which he had singled out of
the many that are constantly popping in and out, and in due time arrived
in Liverpool.  He now visited a few places where he had before been with
his master.  He remained over-night in Liverpool, and visited Preston
early again the following morning.

Still not finding his missing master, he for the fourth time took the
train; on this occasion, however, to Lancaster and Carlisle, at which
latter place, his sagacity, as well as the persevering tact he had
displayed in prosecuting his search, were rewarded by finding his
master.  Their joy at meeting was mutual.

I cannot too often repeat it: let duty be your master.  Be not less
persevering in pursuing it, than were the dogs I have told you about in
seeking their masters.


At an inn in Wimborne in Dorsetshire, near which town I resided, was
kept, some years ago, a magnificent Newfoundland dog called Neptune.
His fame was celebrated far and wide.  Every morning he was accustomed,
as the clock of the minster struck eight, to take in his mouth a basket
containing a certain number of pence, and to carry it across the street
to the shop of a baker, who took out the money, and replaced it by its
value in rolls.  With these Neptune hastened back to the kitchen, and
speedily deposited his trust.

It is remarkable that he never attempted to take the basket, nor even to
approach it, on Sunday mornings, when no rolls were to be obtained.

On one occasion, when returning with the rolls, another dog made an
attack upon the basket, for the purpose of stealing its contents.  On
this the trusty fellow, placing it on the ground, severely punished his
assailant, and then bore off his charge in triumph.

He met his death--with many other dogs in the place--from poison, which
was scattered about the town by a semi-insane person, in revenge for
some fancied insult he had received from the inhabitants.

Like trusty Neptune, deserve the confidence placed in you, by battling
bravely against all temptations to act dishonestly.  Your friends may
never know of your efforts to do so, but your own peace of mind will be
reward enough.


A gentleman residing at Dresden possessed a poodle which he had always
treated kindly, and which was especially fond of him.  He at length,
however, made a present of her to a friend living about nine miles off.
It being supposed that she would probably try to return to her former
master, she was tied up till she became the mother of three young
puppies; and so devoted to them did she appear, that her new owner no
longer feared she would quit him.  He therefore gave her her liberty.

Shortly afterwards, however, she and the three puppies were missing.
Search was made for them in vain.  At length her master's Dresden friend
paid him a visit, and told him that on the preceding evening the poodle
had arrived at his house with one of her puppies in her mouth, and that
another had been found dead on the road.

It appeared that she had started at night, carrying the pups--which were
still too young to walk--one at a time, a certain distance, intending to
go back for the others.  She had hoped thus to transfer them all to her
former much-loved home.  The third puppy was never found.  The one that
died had perished by cold, it being the winter season.


In sagacity, the Newfoundland surpasses dogs of all other breeds.

Two gentlemen, brothers, were out shooting wild-fowl, attended by one of
these noble animals.  Having thrown down their hats on the grass, they
together crept through some reeds to the river-bank, along which they
proceeded some way, after firing at the birds.  Wishing at length for
their hats--one of which was smaller than the other--they sent the dog
back for them.  The animal, believing it was his duty to bring both
together, made several attempts to carry them in his mouth.  Finding
some difficulty in doing this, he placed the smaller hat within the
larger one, and pressed it down with his foot.  He was thus, with ease,
enabled to carry them both at the same time.

Perhaps he had seen old-clothes-men thus carrying hats; but I am
inclined to think that he was guided by seeing that this was the best
way to effect his object.

There are two ways of doing everything--a wrong and a right one.  Like
the Newfoundland dog, try to find out the right way, and do what you
have to do, in that way.


How often has the noble Newfoundland dog been the means of saving the
lives of those perishing in the water!

A heavy gale was blowing, when a vessel was seen driving toward the
coast of Kent.  She struck, and the surf rolled furiously round her.
Eight human beings were observed clinging to the wreck, but no ordinary
boat could be launched to their aid; and in those days, I believe, no
lifeboats existed,--at all events, not as they do now, on all parts of
the coast.  It was feared every moment that the unfortunate seamen would
perish, when a gentleman came down to the beach, accompanied by a
Newfoundland dog.  He saw that, if a line could be stretched between the
wreck and the shore, the people might be saved; but it could only be
carried from the vessel to the shore.  He knew how it must be done.

Putting a short stick in the mouth of the animal, he pointed to the
vessel.  The courageous dog understood his meaning, and springing into
the sea, fought his way through the waves.  In vain, however, he strove
to get up the vessel's side; but he was seen by the crew, who, making
fast a rope to another piece of wood, hove it toward him.  The sagacious
animal understood the object, and seizing the piece of wood, dragged it
through the surf, and delivered it to his master.  A line of
communication was thus formed between the vessel and the shore, and
every man on board was rescued from a watery grave.


Dandie, a Newfoundland dog belonging to Mr McIntyre of Edinburgh,
stands unrivalled for his cleverness and the peculiarity of his habits.
Dandie would bring any article he was sent for by his master, selecting
it from a heap of others of the same description.

One evening, when a party was assembled, one of them dropped a shilling.
After a diligent search, it could nowhere be found.  Mr McIntyre then
called to Dandie, who had been crouching in a corner of the room, and
said to him, "Find the shilling, Dandie, and you shall have a biscuit."
On this Dandie rose, and placed the coin, which he had picked up
unperceived by those present, upon the table.

Dandie, who had many friends, was accustomed to receive a penny from
them every day, which he took to a baker's and exchanged for a loaf of
bread for himself.  It happened that one of them was accosted by Dandie
for his usual present, when he had no money in his pocket.  "I have not
a penny with me to-day, but I have one at home," said the gentleman,
scarcely believing that Dandie understood him.  On returning to his
house, however, he met Dandie at the door, demanding admittance,
evidently come for his penny.  The gentleman, happening to have a bad
penny, gave it him; but the baker refused to give him a loaf for it.
Dandie, receiving it back, returned to the door of the donor, and when a
servant had opened it, laid the false coin at her feet, and walked away
with an indignant air.

Dandie, however, frequently received more money than he required for his
necessities, and took to hoarding it up.  This was discovered by his
master, in consequence of his appearing one Sunday morning with a loaf
in his mouth, when it was not likely he would have received a present.
Suspecting this, Mr McIntyre told a servant to search his room--in
which Dandie slept--for money.  The dog watched her, apparently
unconcerned, till she approached his bed, when, seizing her gown, he
drew her from it.  On her persisting, he growled, and struggled so
violently that his master was obliged to hold him, when the woman
discovered sevenpence-halfpenny.  From that time forward he exhibited a
strong dislike to the woman, and used to hide his money under a heap of
dust at the back of the premises.

People thought Dandie a very clever dog--as he was--but there are many
things far better than cleverness.  It strikes me that he was a very
selfish fellow, and therefore, like selfish boys and girls, unamiable.
He was an arrant beggar too.  I'll say no more about him.  Pray do not
imitate Dandie.


Some years ago, a stranger arrived at the house of a shopkeeper in
Deptford who let lodgings, stating that he had just arrived from the
West Indies, and would take possession of rooms the next day, but would
send his trunk that night.  The trunk was brought late in the evening by
two porters, who were desired, as it was heavy, to carry it to the

As soon as the family had retired to rest, a little spaniel, which
usually slept in the shop, made his way to the door of the chamber where
the chest was deposited, and putting his nose close to it, began to bark
furiously.  The people, thus aroused, opened the door, when the dog flew
towards the trunk, and barked and scratched against it with the greatest
vehemence.  In vain they attempted to draw him away.  A neighbour was
called in, when, on moving the trunk, it was suspected that it must
contain something alive.  They accordingly forced it open, when out came
the new lodger; who had caused himself to be thus brought into the house
for the purpose of robbing it.

If you let lodgings in your heart to strangers, take care that your
little spaniel Conscience keeps wide awake, lest some evening a chest
may be brought in containing a thief who may rob you before you find out
his character.  The thief may be an evil thought, a bad feeling, shut up
in a chest formed of self-indulgence, sloth, vanity, pride.  At the
first alarm, wake up, break open the chest, call in your faithful
neighbour, and hand over the new lodger to justice.


An English gentleman travelling abroad was accompanied by a favourite
poodle.  On one occasion he met an agreeable stranger at an hotel, to
whom, as they were both going the same way, he offered a seat in his
carriage.  No sooner, however, had the stranger entered the vehicle than
the poodle, which had from the first shown a dislike to the man,
manifested even a greater aversion to him than before.

They put up for the night at a small inn in a wild and little frequented
country; and on separating to go to their respective rooms, the poodle
again snarled at the stranger, and was with difficulty restrained from
biting him.

The Englishman was awakened in the middle of the night by a noise in his
room, into which the moonbeams streamed, and there he saw the dog
struggling with his travelling companion.  On being overpowered, the
stranger confessed that he had come for the purpose of stealing the
traveller's money, being aware that he had a considerable sum with him.

You have not the instinct which has been given to some dogs, and which
enables them, for their master's protection, to detect persons
harbouring evil intentions towards them; but when you meet with a boy or
man careless in his conversation, a swearer, or expressing irreligious
or immoral opinions, however courteous and agreeable he may otherwise
be, do not associate with him a moment longer than you can help, or he
will rob you of what is of far more value than a purse of gold.


A dog of the Highland breed, belonging to Lord Arbuthnot, treated a
thief in much the same way as my friend's dog did the robber of his

The servants, going out one morning, found a man lying on the ground, a
short way from the stable, with a number of bridles and other
horse-trappings near him, and the dog holding him by the trousers.
Directly the servants appeared the dog let go his hold, when the man
confessed that the dog had thus held him for five hours.

When a bad thought or desire steals into your heart, or, properly
speaking, rises in it, hold it down, as the dog did the thief, till you
are able to rid yourself of it.


Faithful as dogs are in general, I am sorry to have to record an
instance to the contrary.

A watch-dog, whose special duty was to remain at his post during the
night, found that his collar was sufficiently loose to allow him to
withdraw his head from it whenever he pleased.  He acted as some human
beings do whose right principles do not fit tightly to their necks--
slipping out of them at the very time they ought to keep them on.  The
dog was, however, sagacious enough to know that if he did so during the
day he would be seen by his master, when to a certainty the collar would
be tightened.  But no sooner did night arrive, and the lights began to
disappear from the windows, than he used to slip his head out of his
collar, and roam about the neighbouring fields, sometimes picking up a
hare or rabbit for his supper.

Knowing also that the blood on his mouth would betray him, he would,
after his banquet, go to a stream and wash it off.  This done, he would
return before daybreak to his kennel, and slipping his head into his
collar, lie down in his bed, as though he had remained there on the
watch all the night.

Now I must beg my young readers to remember, should they be tempted to
do what is wrong, that however well-behaved they may contrive to appear
before their friends and acquaintances, in their own mind there will
always be the unpleasant feeling arising from the consciousness of doing
a guilty action.


Dogs have been frequently trained to act roguish parts.

An English officer visiting Paris, was annoyed one day by having a
little poodle run up to him and rub his muddy paws over his boots.  Near
at hand was seated a shoeblack, to whom he went to have his boots
repolished.  Having been annoyed in a similar manner by the same dog,
several times in succession, he watched the animal, when he observed him
dip his paws in the mud on the banks of the Seine, and then go and rub
them on the boots of the best-dressed people passing at the time.

Discovering at length that the dog belonged to the shoeblack, the
gentleman questioned the man, who confessed that he had taught the dog
the trick in order to bring business to himself.  "And will you part
with your clever dog?" asked the gentleman.  The shoeblack consented,
and a price was fixed upon and paid.  The dog accompanied his new master
to London, and was shut up for some time, till it was believed that he
would remain contentedly in the house.  No sooner, however, did he
obtain his liberty, than he decamped; and a fortnight afterwards he was
found with his former master, pursuing his old occupation.

This story shows the difficulty of getting rid of bad habits, and proves
that as dogs have been trained, so will they--as well as children--
continue to act.  The poor poodle, however, knew no better.  He was
faithful to his former master, and thought that he was doing his duty.
But boys and girls do know perfectly well when they are acting rightly
or wrongly, and should strive unceasingly to overcome their bad habits.


A Terrier--deservedly a pet in the family for his gentleness and
amiability--was playing with one of the children, when suddenly he was
heard to utter a snarl, followed by a bark.  The mother rushed to her
child, and believing it to have been bitten, drove off the dog.  No
injury, however, was apparent.  The dog retired to a corner, where he
remained, in an attitude of regret, till the inspection had been
finished.  He then approached the lady, and with a touch of his paw
claimed attention.  It was given, and forthwith he deposited at her feet
a pin.

The story was thus made plain.  The child, finding the pin, had turned
the dog's nose into a pin-cushion.  The snarl rebuked the offence, and
the pin had been taken by the dog, with his mouth, out of the child's
hand.  No sooner did the dog see that this was understood, than he began
to lick the little fellow's hand, as if to assure him of his
forgiveness, and to beg him to make friends again,--which they were ever

I hope that the little boy, through his whole life, was always ready to
profit by the lesson of his dumb companion and to forgive injuries.


Dogs frequently form warm friendships, and help each other in time of

Two dogs belonging to the same owner had become great friends.  Ponto
and Dick, we will call them, though I am not quite certain as to their
names.  Ponto's leg being broken, he was kept a close prisoner.  His
friend Dick, instead of whining out a few commonplace expressions of
sympathy,--"Dear me, I'm so sorry; well, I hope you will soon get
better," and then scampering off to amuse himself with other dogs in the
village, or to run after the cows, or to go out hunting,--came and sat
down by his side, showing him every mark of attention.  Then, after a
time, Dick started up, exclaiming,--"Ponto, I am sure you must be
hungry; it is dull work for you lying there with nothing to do."
Without waiting for Ponto to beg that he would not trouble himself, off
he set, and soon brought back a nice bone with plenty of gristle on it.
"There, old fellow, munch away--it will amuse you," he remarked, putting
his prize down under his friend's nose.

After watching complacently as poor Ponto gnawed away with somewhat
languid jaws, till the bone was scraped almost clean, he again set out
in search of another.  After he had brought in several, he lay down as
before by his friend's side, just playing with one of the bones to keep
him company.  Thus day after day Dick continued to cheer and comfort his
injured friend with unfailing constancy till he completely recovered.

When dogs thus exhibit disinterested kindness and self-sacrifice, how
ought human beings to behave to those suffering from pain or sorrow?
When tempted to run off and amuse yourself, leaving a sick friend at
home, remember these two dogs.  Think of how much suffering there is in
the world, and what room there is for kindness and compassion; and can
you then be hard-hearted, or indifferent to the sufferings of others?


I must tell you of another dog which showed not only affection for a
companion, but a wonderful amount of sense.  He once broke his leg, in
which state he was found by a kind surgeon, who took him home, set his
leg, and after he had recovered allowed him to go away.  The dog did not
forget the treatment he had received, nor the person from whom he had
received it.

Some months afterwards, he found another dog to whom the same accident
had happened.  By the language which dogs employ, he told his friend all
about his own cure, and, assisting him along the road, led him, late at
night, to the surgeon's house.  He there barked loudly at the door.  No
one came, so he barked louder and louder.  At last a window was opened,
and a person looked out, whom he at once recognised; and great was his
joy when the kind surgeon, coming downstairs, opened the door.  Wagging
his tail, he made such signs as he was capable of using, to show what he
wanted.  The surgeon soon saw what had happened to his old patient's
friend, whom he took in and treated in the same skilful way.  His former
patient, satisfied that all was right, then ran off to attend to his
proper duties.

Let us, from this kind dog's behaviour, learn, whenever we receive a
benefit, to endeavour, if possible, to impart it to others, and not to
remain selfishly satisfied with the advantage we ourselves have gained.


The owner of a spaniel was one day called away from his dinner-table,
leaving a dog and a favourite cat in the room.  On his return he found
the spaniel stretched her whole length along the table, by the side of a
leg of mutton, while Puss was skulking in a corner.  He soon saw that,
though the mutton was untouched, the cat had been driven from the table
by the spaniel, in the act of attempting a robbery on the meat, and that
the dog had taken up his post to prevent a repetition of the attempt.

The little animal was thus in the habit of guarding eatables which she
believed were left in her charge; and while she would not touch them
herself, she kept other dogs and cats at a distance.

How much evil might be prevented, if boys and girls would always act the
part of the faithful little spaniel; only, as they have got tongues in
their head, and know how wrong it is to do what is bad, they can
remonstrate lovingly with their companions who may be about to do a
wrong thing--and then, if this fails, do their utmost to prevent them.


Two dogs living in the neighbourhood of Cupar, in Fife, used to fight
desperately whenever they met,--the one belonging to Captain R--, the
other to a farmer.

Captain R--'s dog was accustomed to go on messages, and even to bring
meat and other articles from Cupar in a basket.  One day, while
returning with a supply of mutton, he was attacked by a number of curs
in the town, eager to obtain the tempting prize.  The messenger fought
bravely, but at length, overpowered, was compelled to yield up the
basket, though not before he had secured some of the meat.  With this he
hastened at full speed to the quarters of his enemy, at whose feet he
laid it down, stretching himself beside him till he had eaten it up.  A
few sniffs, a few whispers in the ear, and other dog-like courtesies
were then exchanged, after which they both set out together for Cupar,
where they worried almost every dog in the town, and, returning home,
were ever afterwards on the most friendly terms.

Remember that there are no human beings whose conduct at all times it is
safe to follow.

Revenge is wrong, but let us ever be ready to help and defend those who
are ill-treated and oppressed.


Dogs, like human beings, show that they can criticise the conduct of
those they serve.

A gentleman from London, more accustomed to handle an umbrella than a
gun, went down to the house of a friend in the country to enjoy a day's

"You shall have one of my best pointers," said his friend, "but
recollect, he will stand no nonsense.  If you kill the birds, well and
good; if not, I cannot answer for the consequences."

The would-be sportsman shouldered his gun and marched off.  As he
traversed the fields, the pointer, ranging before him, marked bird after
bird, which were as often missed.  The pointer looked back, evidently
annoyed, and after this frequently ran over game.  At length he made a
dead stop near a low bush, with his nose pointed downwards, his
fore-feet bent, his tail straight and steady.  The gentleman approached
with both barrels cocked.  Again the dog moved steadily forward a few
paces, expressing the anxiety of his mind by moving his tail backwards
and forwards.  At length a brace of partridges slowly rose.  Who could
possibly miss them!  Bang! bang! went both barrels, but the birds
continued their flight unharmed.  The dog now fairly lost patience,
turned round, placed his tail between his legs, gave one sad howl, long
and loud, and set off at full speed homeward, leaving the gentleman to
holloa after him at the top of a gate, and continue the shooting as best
he could by himself.

If you desire to be properly served by those you employ, you must be up
to your business.  I have often heard young people complain that they
can do nothing properly, the servants are so stupid; when they come down
late, that they were not called in time; or, if they have not learned
their lessons, that the room was not ready.  I daresay, when the Cockney
sportsman returned with an empty gamebag, he abused the stupid dog for
running away.


Sir Thomas Dick Lauder had a dog named Bass, brought when a puppy from
the Great Saint Bernard.  His bark was tremendous, and might be
distinguished nearly a mile off.

He was once stolen, when a letter-carrier, well acquainted with him,
heard his bark from the inside of a yard, and insisted on the man who
had him in possession delivering him up.

Terrific as was his bark, he was so good-natured that he would never
fight other dogs; and even allowed a little King Charles spaniel named
Raith to run off with any bone he might have been gnawing, and to
tyrannise over him in a variety of ways.  If attacked by an inferior
enemy, he would throw his immense bulk down upon his antagonist and
nearly smother him, without attempting to bite.

He took a particular fancy for one of the Edinburgh postmen, whose duty
it was, besides delivering letters, to carry a letter-bag from one
receiving-house to another.  This bag he used to give Bass to carry.
The dog accompanied him on his rounds, but invariably parted with him
opposite the gate of the Convent of Saint Margaret, and returned home.

On one occasion the postman, being ill, sent another man in his place.
Bass went up to the stranger, who naturally retired before so
formidable-looking a dog.  Bass followed, showing a determination to
have the post-bag.  The man did all he could to keep possession of it;
but at length Bass, seeing that it was not likely to be given to him,
raised himself on his hind-legs, and putting a great fore-paw on each of
the man's shoulders, laid him flat on his back in the road, then quietly
picking up the bag, proceeded peaceably on his wonted way.  The man
followed, ineffectually attempting to coax the dog to give up the bag.
At the first house at which he arrived, the people comforted him by
telling him that the dog always carried the bag.  Bass walked with the
man to all the houses at which he delivered letters, and along the road,
till he came to the gate of Saint Margaret's, where he dropped the bag
and returned home.

Accounts exist of the services rendered by these noble dogs of Saint
Bernard in saving life among the snowy regions of the Alps.  It is
recounted that one of these dogs preserved twenty-two lives.  He at
length lost his own in an avalanche, when those he was endeavouring to
assist also perished.


Several dogs have been taught to go to the post-office for their
masters' newspapers, or to receive them from the newsman.

A neighbour of mine, who was fond of telling good stories--which he did
not always, perhaps, expect his guests to believe--used to give an
account of the cleverness of one of his dogs.  The dog went regularly
every morning into the neighbouring town for the _Times_, and brought it
back before breakfast.  This was a fact.

On one occasion the dog returned without a paper,--so my neighbour used
to tell the story.  His master sent him back again, when he once more
appeared with no paper in his mouth.  On this the owner ordered his cob,
and rode into the town to inquire of the postmaster why the paper had
not come.  "Sir," answered the postmaster, "your _Times_ did not arrive
this morning; but when I offered the dog the _Morning Post_ he refused
to receive it."


It is wonderful how completely dogs can be trained to the performance of
their duties.

A well-practised pointer was about to leap over a rail, when she
perceived a nest of partridges close to her nose.

Had she moved an inch she would have frightened them away.  There she
stood for more than two hours, with her legs on the upper bar, awaiting
the arrival of the sportsman.  For some time she was not discovered, and
not till he appeared would she quit her post, when, the birds rising,
some of them were shot; but the steady pointer was so stiff when thus
relieved that she could scarcely move.

Here is an example which my young readers should endeavour to follow
when they have a duty, however irksome, to perform.  Remain steadily at
your post; let nothing draw you away.  Do not say, I have stopped at
work long enough, I am sick of it.  When tempted to give up, remember
the steady pointer.


One of the cleverest and most amusing of dogs was Pincher, a rough
Scotch terrier, belonging to Mrs Lee's brother.  [See Mrs Lee's
"Anecdotes of Animals."] The boy had a great fancy to be a doctor.
Having manufactured a variety of surgical instruments out of flint
stones, he pretended to perform with them operations on Pincher, who
would lie perfectly still while his teeth were drawn, his limbs set, his
veins opened, or his wounds bandaged.

The pretended doctor, finally copying the process practised on pigs,
used to cut up his favourite entirely.  The dog was laid on the table,
when he stuck out his legs as stiffly as possible.  Preparations were
first made for cutting off his head; and immediately the flint was
passed across the throat it fell on one side, and remained so completely
without motion that it might have been thought the dog fancied it was
really off.  Each leg in succession was then operated on, and as the
instrument passed round them the dog made them fall, putting them as
close as possible to the body.  When the operation was concluded, the
boy used to exclaim, "Jump up, good dog;" and Pincher, bounding off the
table, would shake himself to life again.


Sirrah, fortunately for his fame, possessed a master in James Hogg, the
Ettrick Shepherd, well able to recount his history.  Hogg bought Sirrah
of a drover for a guinea, observing, notwithstanding his dejected and
forlorn appearance, a sort of sullen intelligence in his countenance.
Though he had never turned a sheep in his life, as soon as he discovered
it was his duty to do so he began with eagerness and anxiety to learn
his evolutions.  He would try every way deliberately till he found out
what his master wanted him to do; and when once he understood a
direction he never forgot it again or mistook it.

Often, when hard pressed in accomplishing a task he was put to, he had
expedients for the moment that bespoke a great share of the reasoning
faculty.  On one occasion about seven hundred lambs which were under
Hogg's care at weaning-time broke up at midnight, and scampered off in
three divisions across the neighbouring hills, in spite of all he and an
assistant could do to keep them together.  The night was so dark that
Sirrah could not be seen, but the faithful animal had heard his master
lament their absence in words which set him at once on the alert, and
without more ado he had silently gone off in quest of the recreant
flock.  In vain Hogg and his assistant spent the whole night in
searching for their lost charge; and they were on their way home to
inform their master of their loss, when they discovered a lot of lambs
at the bottom of a deep ravine, and the indefatigable Sirrah standing in
front of them, looking round for some relief, but still true to his
charge.  Believing that it was one only of the divisions, what was their
astonishment when they discovered the whole flock, and not one lamb
a-wanting!  How he had got all the divisions collected in the dark it is
impossible to say.  The charge was left to him from midnight till the
rising sun, and if all the shepherds in the forest had been there to
assist him they could not have effected it with greater propriety.

Hogg relates many other anecdotes of Sirrah.  On one occasion he brought
back a wild ewe which no one could catch from amid numerous flocks of
sheep.  He showed great indignation when the ewe, being brought home,
was set at liberty among the other sheep of his master.  He had
understood that the animal was to be kept by itself, and that he was to
be the instrument of keeping it so, and he considered himself insulted
by the ewe being allowed to go among other sheep, after he had been
required to make such exertion, and had made it so successfully, to keep
it separate.

A single shepherd and his dog, says Hogg, will accomplish more in
collecting Highland sheep from a farm than twenty shepherds could do
without dogs.  Without the shepherd's dog, the whole of the mountainous
land in Scotland would not be worth sixpence.  It would require more
hands to gather a flock of sheep from the hills into their folds, and
drive them to market, than the profits of the whole flock would be
capable of maintaining.

Here we have an example of a dull, unattractive-looking dog becoming of
the very utmost canine usefulness.  I have known many an apparently dull
boy, by perseveringly endeavouring to learn what he has had to do, and
then steadily pursuing the course marked out for him, rise far above his
quick and so-called clever but careless companions.  I do not say, Work
for the purpose of rising, but, Work because it is right.  Remember
Sirrah.  Learn your duty, and do it, however disagreeable it may seem.


A House-Dog, whose kennel was in a farmyard, used to have his mess of
food brought to him daily in a tin can, and placed before his abode.  No
sooner had the cook disappeared, than the poultry were in the habit of
collecting round and abstracting the contents of the can.  The dog--a
good-natured animal--bore their pilfering for some time without
complaining; but at length, as they carried off more than he considered
fair, he warned them away, by growling and exhibiting his teeth.
Notwithstanding this they again returned to the can, when the dog,
instead of seizing some of his persecutors, lifted the can in his mouth,
and conveyed it within his kennel, where he finished his meal in peace,
while the cocks and hens stood watching without, afraid to enter.

Depend on it, you will often find the means of avoiding annoyances much
after the method pursued by that sensible house-dog, without retaliating
on those who annoy you.  If you cannot otherwise pacify them, remove the
cause of dispute out of sight.


The dog is the companion of the savage, as well as the civilised man, in
all parts of the world.  He accompanies the wretched Fuegan in his
hunts, partaking somewhat of the character of his master; and is the
friend and assistant of the Esquimaux in the Arctic regions.  The
Esquimaux dogs, though hardly treated, show great affection for their
masters, and frequently exhibit much sagacity.

Captain Hall, the Arctic explorer, had a Greenland dog called Barbekark.
One day they were out hunting on the frozen, snow-covered sea, when a
herd of deer appeared in sight.  Chase was given.  One was wounded, but
not killed, and off went the herd as fleet as the wind, now turning in
one direction, now in another, among the ice-hummocks.  The rest of the
dogs followed in their tracks.  Barbekark, however, was seen to strike
away in a direct line over the snow, regardless of the animals'
footsteps.  On and on went Barbekark, straight for a spot which brought
him close upon the deer.  The latter immediately changed their course,
and so did Barbekark, hot in pursuit of them.  At length the hunters,
unable longer to endure the cold, were compelled to return to the ship,
believing that the deer had escaped.

At mid-day Barbekark appeared on board, with blood round his mouth and
over his body.  It was supposed that he had fallen in with the deer, but
not that he could possibly have killed one.  He, however, showed by his
actions that he wished to draw the attention of the crew to the quarter
where he had been chasing.  He kept whining, going first to one, then to
another, now running towards the gangway steps, then back again.  At
last, one of the men having to visit the wreck of a vessel which lay
near, Barbekark followed; but seeing that the man went no further, off
went Barbekark to the north-west by himself.  On this, some of the crew,
convinced that he must have killed a deer, put on their thick coats and
followed him.  They proceeded nearly three miles, when they found
Barbekark and the other Greenland dogs seated upon their haunches round
a deer lying dead before them.  The throat of the poor animal had been
cut with Barbekark's teeth as effectually as by the knife of a white man
or Esquimaux, and a piece of the tongue had been bitten out.

As soon as the sailors appeared, Barbekark jumped from his watchful
position, and ran to meet them with manifestations of delight, looking
up at them, as much as to say: "I have done the best I could; I have
killed the deer, and eaten just one luscious mouthful.  And now I give
up the animal to you, and merely ask for myself and companions, who have
been faithfully guarding the prize, such portion as you yourselves may
disdain."  Several crows were pecking away at the carcass, but Barbekark
and they were always on good terms.  Sometimes, indeed, he allowed them
to rest upon his back; and consequently he did not drive them away.

On another occasion a party of the explorers were out with a sleigh and
dogs, and among them was Barbekark.  They were caught in a fearful gale,
the snow beating in their faces.  Esquimaux dogs are often unmanageable
when an attempt is made to force them in the teeth of a storm; and so it
now proved.  The leader lost his way and confused the rest.  The men as
well as the dogs were becoming blinded.  The leading dog directed the
team towards some islands; but on approaching them it was seen that
Barbekark was struggling to make a different route.  Happily, he was
allowed to have his own way, and in a short time he led the party direct
to the ship.


Captain Hall had another dog, Smile by name, the noblest looking, the
best leader, and seal and bear dog, ever met with.  One day he was out
with dogs and sleigh where the ice was still firm, when suddenly a seal
was noticed ahead.  In an instant the dogs were dashing towards the
prey, drawing the sledge after them at a marvellous rate, led by Smile.
The seal for a moment seemed frightened, and kept on the ice a second or
two too long; for just as he plunged, Smile caught him by the tail and
nippers.  The seal struggled violently, and so did Smile, making the
sledge caper about merrily; but in a moment more the other dogs laid
hold, and aided in dragging the seal out of his hole on to the ice, when
Smile took it in charge.  The prize was secured entirely by the dogs,
indeed, without any aid from the men.




The horse becomes the willing servant of man, and when kindly treated
looks upon him as a friend and protector.

I have an interesting story to tell you of a mare which belonged to
Captain I--, an old settler in New Zealand.  She and her foal had been
placed in a paddock, between which and her master's residence, three or
four miles away, several high fences intervened.  The paddock itself was
surrounded by a still higher fence.

One day, however, as Captain I--was standing with a friend in front of
his house, he was surprised to see the mare come galloping up.
Supposing that the fence of her paddock had been broken down, and that,
pleased at finding herself at liberty, she had leaped the others, he
ordered a servant to take her back.  The mare willingly followed the
man; but in a short time was seen galloping up towards the house in as
great a hurry as before.  The servant, who arrived some time afterwards,
assured his master that he had put the mare safely into the paddock.
Captain I--told him again to take back the animal, and to examine the
fence more thoroughly, still believing that it must have been broken
down in some part or other, though the gate might be secure.

Captain I--and his friend then retired into the house, and were seated
at dinner, when the sound of horse's hoofs reached their ears.  The
friend, who had on this got up to look out of the window, saw that it
was the mare come back for the third time; and observing the remarkable
manner in which she was running up and down, apparently trying even to
get into the house, exclaimed, "What can that mare want?  I am sure that
there is something the matter."  Captain I--on hearing this hurried out
to ascertain the state of the case.  No sooner did the mare see him than
she began to frisk about and exhibit the most lively satisfaction; but
instead of stopping to receive the accustomed caress, off she set again
of her own accord towards the paddock, looking back to ascertain whether
her master was following.  His friend now joined him, and the mare,
finding that they were keeping close behind her, trotted on till the
gate of the paddock was reached, where she waited for them.  On its
being opened, she led them across the field to a deep ditch on the
farther side, when, what was their surprise to find that her colt had
fallen into it, and was struggling on its back with its legs in the air,
utterly unable to extricate itself.  In a few minutes more probably it
would have been dead.  The mare, it was evident, finding that the
servant did not comprehend her wishes, had again and again sought her
master, in whom she had learned from past experience to confide.  Here
was an example of strong maternal affection eliciting a faculty superior
to instinct, which fully merits the name of reason.  The aid of a kind
master will always be sought in time of need.  The conduct of the mare
speaks much in favour of her owner.  It is evident that he treated her
well.  Had such not been the case, it is not at all likely that the
animal would have persisted in coming direct to him in her time of need.
Be ready, then, to fly for succour to those about you whom you may have
found willing to help and serve you.


The memory of horses is most remarkable.  The newsman of a provincial
paper was in the habit of riding his horse once or twice a week to the
houses of fifty or sixty of his customers, the horse invariably stopping
of his own accord at each house as he reached it.

But the memory of the horse was exhibited in a still more curious
manner.  It happened that there were two persons on the route who took
one paper between them, and each claimed the privilege of having it
first on each alternate week.  The horse soon became accustomed to this
regulation, and though the parties lived two miles distant, he stopped
once a fortnight at the door of the half-customer at one place, and once
a fortnight at the door of the half-customer at the other; and never did
he forget this arrangement, which lasted for several years.

If an animal can thus become so regular in his habits, and remember his
duty so well as did this newsman's horse, surely you, my readers,
whether young or old, have no excuse when you forget yours, and neglect
to be at the appointed place at the proper time.


Cart-horses, though heavy-looking animals, are more sagacious that their
more gracefully formed relatives.

A cart-horse had been driven from a farmyard to the neighbouring brook
early one morning during winter to drink.  The water was frozen over,
and the horse stamped away with his fore-feet, but was unable to break
the ice.  Finding this, he waited till a companion came down, when the
two, standing side by side, and causing their hoofs to descend together,
broke through the ice, and were thus enabled to obtain the water they

What one person alone cannot do, two working heartily together may
accomplish.  We shall find no lack of thick ice to break through.  The
thickest, perhaps, is the icy opposition of cold, stubborn hearts to
what is right and good.  Let us beware that our hearts do not freeze,
but take care to keep them warm by exercising them in the service of
love and kindness.


I was once travelling in the interior of Portugal with several
companions.  My horse had never been in that part of the country before.
We left our inn at daybreak, and proceeded through a mountainous
district to visit some beautiful scenery.  On our return evening was
approaching, when I stopped behind my companions to tighten the girths
of my saddle.  Believing that there was only one path to take, I rode
slowly on, but shortly reached a spot where I was in some doubt whether
I should go forward or turn off to the left.  I shouted, but heard no
voice in reply, nor could I see any trace of my friends.  Darkness was
coming rapidly on.  My horse seeming inclined to take the left hand, I
thought it best to let him do so.  In a short time the sky became
overcast, and there was no moon.  The darkness was excessive.  Still my
steed stepped boldly on.  So dense became the obscurity, that I could
not see his ears; nor could I, indeed, distinguish my own hand held out
at arm's-length.  I had no help for it but to place the reins on my
horse's neck and let him go forward.

We had heard of robberies and murders committed; and I knew that there
were steep precipices, down which, had my horse fallen, we should have
been dashed to pieces.  Still the firm way in which he trotted gave me
confidence.  Hour after hour passed by.  The darkness would, at all
events, conceal me from the banditti, if such were in wait--that was one
consolation; but then I could not tell where my horse might be taking
me.  It might be far away from where I hoped to find my companions.

At length I heard a dog bark, and saw a light twinkling far down beneath
me, by which I knew that I was still on the mountain-side.  Thus on my
steady steed proceeded, till I found that he was going along a road, and
I fancied I could distinguish the outlines of trees on either hand.
Suddenly he turned on one side, when my hat was nearly knocked off by
striking against the beam of a trellised porch, covered with vines; and
to my joy I found that he had brought me up to the door of the inn which
we had left in the morning.

My companions, trusting to their human guide, had not arrived, having
taken a longer though safer route.  My steed had followed the direct
path over the mountains which we had pursued in the morning.

Another horse of mine, which always appeared a gentle animal, and which
constantly carried a lady, was, during my absence, ridden by a friend
with spurs.  On my return, I found that he had on several occasions
attacked his rider, when dismounted, with his fore-feet, and had once
carried off the rim of his hat.  From that time forward he would allow
no one to approach him if he saw spurs on his heels; and I was obliged
to blindfold him when mounting and dismounting, as he on several
occasions attacked me as he had done my friend.

My horse had till that time been a willing, quiet animal.  How many
human beings have, by thoughtless, cruel treatment, been turned from
faithful servants into implacable foes.  I must urge my young readers
always to treat those who may be dependent on them with kindness and
gentleness, rather because it is their duty so to do, than from fear of
the consequences of an opposite course.


A horse was shut up in a paddock near Leeds, in a corner of which stood
a pump with a tub beneath it.  The groom, however, often forgot to fill
the tub, the horse having thus no water to drink.  The animal had
observed the way in which water was procured, and one night, when the
tub was empty, was seen to take the pump handle in his mouth, and work
it with his head till he had procured as much water as he required.

What a wise horse he was!  How much wiser than some young ladies and
gentlemen, who, when there is no water in their jugs, or their shoes are
not cleaned, dress without washing rather than take the trouble of
getting it for themselves, or wear dirty shoes rather than take them
down to be cleaned, or clean them for themselves.

My young friends, remember through life that sensible horse.  Take the
pump by the handle, and work away with it till you have brought up the


A small pony, belonging to a gentleman in Warwickshire, was fed in a
park through which a canal passes.  It was a great favourite, having
been long kept in the family, and was ridden by the children.

A little girl--the daughter of the owner of the property--had run out by
herself into the park, and made her way to the banks of the canal.  As
she was playing thoughtlessly near the water, she fell in.  Her cries
attracted the pony, which, galloping forward, plunged into the water,
and lifting her in his mouth, brought her safely to the shore.

However weak or apparently inadequate your means, you may often, if you
employ them to the best of your power, render essential service to your


A remarkable instance of a horse saving human life occurred some years
ago at the Cape of Good Hope.  A storm was raging, when a vessel,
dragging her anchors, was driven on the rocks, and speedily dashed to
pieces.  Many of those on board perished.  The remainder were seen
clinging to the wreck, or holding on to the fragments which were washing
to and fro amid the breakers.  No boat could put off.  When all hope had
gone of saving the unfortunate people, a settler, somewhat advanced in
life, appeared on horseback on the shore.  His horse was a bold and
strong animal, and noted for excelling as a swimmer.  The farmer, moved
with compassion for the unfortunate seamen, resolved to attempt saving
them.  Fixing himself firmly in the saddle, he pushed into the midst of
the breakers.  At first both horse and rider disappeared; but soon they
were soon buffeting the waves, and swimming towards the wreck.  Calling
two of the seamen, he told them to hold on by his boots; then turning
his horse's head, he brought them safely to land.

No less than seven times did he repeat this dangerous exploit, thus
saving fourteen lives.  For the eighth time he plunged in, when,
encountering a formidable wave, the brave man lost his balance, and was
instantly overwhelmed.  The horse swam safely to shore; but his gallant
rider, alas! was no more.

It is sinful uselessly to run even a slight risk of losing life; but
when, on any occasion, need arises for saving the lives of our
fellow-creatures, we should be willing to dare the greatest dangers in
making such an effort.  The fate of the brave farmer must not deter us--
nor should any failure of others--from doing what is only our duty.


Mrs F--mentions several instances of the sagacity of horses.  Some
horses in the county of Limerick, which were pastured in a field, broke
bounds like a band of unruly schoolboys, and scrambling through a gap
which they had made in a fence, found themselves in a narrow lane.
Along the quiet by-road they galloped helter-skelter, at full speed,
snorting and tossing their manes in the full enjoyment of their freedom,
but greatly to the terror of a party of children who were playing in the
lane.  As the horses were seen tearing wildly along, the children
scrambled up the bank into the hedge, and buried themselves in the
bushes, regardless of thorns,--with the exception of one poor little
thing, who, too small to run, fell down on its face, and lay crying
loudly in the middle of the narrow way.

On swept the horses; but when the leader of the troop saw the little
child lying in his path, he suddenly stopped, and so did the others
behind him.  Then stooping his head, he seized the infant's clothes with
his teeth, and carefully lifted it to the side of the road, laying it
gently and quite unhurt on the tender grass.  He and his companions then
resumed their gallop in the lane, unconscious of having performed a
remarkable act.

Learn a lesson from those wild Irish horses.  As you hurry along in the
joyousness of youth, reflect and look before you to see whether there
lies not on your road some one who requires your help.  Believe me, in
your path through life you will find many poor little infants who
require to be lifted up and placed in safety.  Do not be less obedient
to the promptings of duty than were those dumb animals to the reason or
the instinct implanted in their breasts.


A carter in Strathmiglo, Fifeshire, had an old horse, which was as
familiar with his family as a dog could have been.  He used to play with
the children, and when they were running about between his legs he would
never move, for fear of doing them an injury.

On one occasion, when dragging a loaded cart through a narrow lane near
the village, a young child, not one of his owner's family, happened to
be playing on the road, and thoughtlessly ran directly before him, when,
had it not been for his sagacity, it would inevitably have been crushed
by the wheels.  On seeing what had occurred, the good old horse took the
child up by its clothes with his teeth, carried it a few yards, and then
placed it by the wayside,--moving slowly all the while, and looking back
occasionally, as if to satisfy himself that the cart-wheels had passed
clear of it.

In all his duties he was equally steady and precise, and could be
perfectly trusted.

That is just the character you should aim at deserving.  To merit being
perfectly trusted, shows that your talent is employed to the best
advantage--that you are labouring, really and truly, from a conscious
sense of duty.  Only thus will you labour honestly.


Horses have been known to fight for their friends, both human and

A farmer near Edinburgh possessed a hunter which had carried him safely
for many a day over moorland heath as well as beaten roads.  He was one
day returning from the city, where he had attended a jovial meeting,
when, feeling more than usually drowsy, he slipped from his saddle to
the ground, without being awakened by the change of position, and
letting go the bridle as he fell.  His faithful steed, which had the
character of being a vicious horse, instead of galloping home, as might
have been expected, stood by his prostrate master, keeping as strict a
watch over him as a dog could have done.

Some labourers, coming by at daybreak, observed the farmer still
sleeping near a heap of stones by the roadside.  Intending to assist
him, they drew near, when the horse, by his grinning teeth and ready
heels, showed them that it would be wiser to keep at a distance.  He did
not, probably, understand their humane intentions; but not till they had
aroused the farmer, who at length got on his feet, would his equine
guardian allow them to proceed.

Mrs F--mentions another instance of a high-spirited Irish horse, which,
under similar circumstances, used to defend his master.

This man, a dissipated character, often coming home at night tipsy,
would fall to the ground in a helpless state.  Had the horse, while the
man was in this condition, forsaken him, he would have been run over by
any vehicle passing along the road; but the faithful horse was his
vigilant guardian and protector.  If nobody approached, the animal would
stand patiently beside his prostrate master till he came to himself.  He
has been known to stand at his post during the whole of the night.  If
any one came near, he would gallop round him, kicking out his heels; or
rearing and biting, if an attempt were made to touch him.  Thus the man
and animal changed places, the intelligent brute protecting both himself
and his brutalised master.

I have a word to say even on this subject.  Beware lest you take the
first step which may lead you to become like the man I have described.
You cannot expect, like him, to have a sagacious horse to watch over
you.  Yet, at the same time, do not be less faithful to an erring
companion than were those noble steeds to their owners; watch over and
protect him to the utmost.  Learn to be kind to the thankful and to the


Mr Smiles, in his Life of Rennie, tells us of a horse called Jack, who
showed himself to be fully as sensible as the two animals just

Jack's business was to draw the stone trucks along the tramway during
the erection of Waterloo Bridge.  Near at hand was a beer-shop,
frequented by the navvies and carters.  Jack's driver, named Tom, was an
honest fellow, and very kind to Jack, but too fond of spending more time
than he ought to have done in the beer-shop.  Jack, though a restive
animal, got accustomed to Tom's habits, and waited patiently till an
overlooker startled him into activity.  On one occasion, however, the
superintendent being absent, Tom took so long a spell at the ale that
Jack became restive, and the trace fastenings being long enough, the
animal put his head inside the beerhouse door, and seizing the
astonished Tom by the collar with his teeth, dragged him out to his duty
at the truck.  Great in consequence became the fame of Jack amongst the
host of labourers.

Like famous Jack, do not hesitate to remind a friend of his duty, even
though you have to seize him by the collar and drag him away to perform


I have given several instances of friendship existing between horses and

A fine hunter had formed a friendship with a handsome greyhound which
slept in the stable with him, and generally accompanied him when taken
out for exercise.  When the greyhound accompanied his master in his
walks, the horse would look over his shoulder, and neigh in a manner
which plainly said, Let me go also; and when the dog returned, he was
received with an unmistakable neigh of welcome.  He would lick the
horse's nose, and in return the horse would scratch his back with his

On one occasion the groom had, as usual, taken out the horse for
exercise, followed by the greyhound, when a savage dog attacked the
latter and bore him to the ground.  The horse, seeing this, threw back
his ears, and, breaking from the groom, rushed at the strange dog which
was attacking his friend, seized him by the back with his teeth,
speedily making him quit his hold, and shook him till a piece of his
skin gave way.  The offender, getting on his feet, scampered off, glad
to escape from a foe who could punish him so severely.


Monsieur De Lamartine's beautiful story of the Arab chief and his
favourite steed has often been told.  It shall form one of our anecdotes
of horses.

A chief, Abou el Marek, and his marauding tribe, had one night attacked
a caravan.  When returning with their plunder, they were surrounded by
the troops of the Pacha of Acre, who killed several, and bound the rest
with cords.  Abou el Marek, wounded and faint from loss of blood, was
among the latter.  Thus bound, while lying on the ground at night, he
heard the neigh of his favourite steed, picketed at a short distance
off.  Anxious to caress the horse for the last time, he dragged himself
up to him.  "Poor friend," he said, "what will you do among these savage
Turks?  Shut up under the stifling roof of a khan, you will sicken and
die.  No longer will the women and children of the tent bring you
barley, camel's milk, or _dhourra_ in the hollow of their hands.  No
longer will you gallop free as the wind across the desert; no longer
cleave the waters with your breast, and lave your sides in the pure
stream.  If I am to be a slave, at least you shall go free.  Hasten back
to our tent.  Tell my wife that Abou el Marek will return no more!"

With these words, his hands being tied, the old chief undid, by means of
his teeth, the rope which held the courser fast; but the noble animal,
instead of galloping away to the desert, bent his head over his master,
and seeing him helpless on the ground, took his clothes gently between
his teeth, and, lifting him up, set off at full speed towards his
distant home.  Arriving there, he laid his master at the feet of his
wife and children, and dropped down dead with fatigue.

What a brave example of affection, duty, and self-sacrifice!  You may
never be called on to perform the one hundredth part of the task
undertaken willingly by that gallant Arab steed, but how are you
carrying the tiny, light burdens which your every-day duties place on
you?  True heroism consists not so much in the performance of one noble
deed, which may become the poet's theme, but in doing all that we have
to do, and in seeking to do as much as we can of what there is to be
done, to the very best of our power, and in bearing with patience what
we are called on to bear.


The horse has been frequently known to recognise his rider after a long
absence.  He is also especially a sociable animal, and once accustomed
to others of his kind, rarely forgets them.  At the trumpet's sound, the
old war-horse pricks up his ears, snorts, and paws the ground, eager to
join his ancient comrades.

Some years ago the assistant to a surveyor was employed to ride along a
certain line of turnpike road, to see that the contractors were doing
their work properly.  He was mounted on a horse which had belonged to a
field-officer; and, though aged, still possessed much spirit.  It
happened that a troop of yeomanry were out exercising on a neighbouring
common.  No sooner did the old horse espy the line of warriors, and hear
the bugle-call, than, greatly to the dismay of his rider, he leaped the
fence and was speedily at his post in front of the regiment; nor could
the civilian equestrian induce him by any means to quit the ground till
the regiment left it.  As long as they kept the field, the horse
remained in front of the troop; and then insisted on marching at their
head into the town, prancing as well as his old legs would allow him, to
the great amusement of the volunteers, and the no small annoyance of the
clerk, who had thus been compelled to assume a post he would gladly have

Old habits cling to us as pertinaciously as did those of that ancient
war-steed; and often when we flatter ourselves that they have been
overcome, temptation appears, and we yield to them as of yore.  Do you,
my young friends, take heed to adopt only good habits, and adhere to



Degraded as it is supposed they are by nature, and cruelly ill-used as
donkeys too often are in England, they are fully as intelligent as
horses.  They are not only capable of playing all manner of tricks, but
sometimes indulge in a variety, of their own accord.


Mrs F--'s father-in-law had a donkey named Bob, which was kept in a
field with other animals, and grazed quietly with them, but jealously
guarded the entrance against all intruders.  If any strange cows, sheep,
or pigs ventured within his territory, Bob instantly ran at them full
tilt, and hunted them from the premises, kicking out his heels and
biting whenever he had the opportunity.  Indeed, if he but saw them
inclined to come in, he would stand in the gap and defend it bravely.
His vigilance was so great that it was considered unnecessary to have a
herdsman in the place.

Bob was clearly convinced that it was his duty to keep that field
against all intruders.  Dear young reader, when you have the property of
another person to watch over, guard it as effectually as did honest Bob
his master's paddock.


Donkeys sometimes exert their ingenuity to their own advantage, like
some other creatures.

A certain ass had his quarters in a shed, in front of which was a small
yard.  On one side of the yard was a kitchen garden, separated from it
by a wall, in which was a door fastened by two bolts and a latch.  The
owner of the premises one morning, in taking a turn round his garden,
observed the footprints of an ass on the walks and beds.  "Surely some
one must have left the door open at night," thought the master.  He
accordingly took care to see that it was closed.  Again, however, he
found that the ass had visited the garden.

The next night, curious to know how this had happened, he watched from a
window overlooking the yard.  At first he kept a light burning near him.
The ass, however, remained quietly at his stall.  After a time, to
enable him to see the better, he had it removed, when what was his
surprise to see the supposed stupid donkey come out of the shed, go to
the door, and, rearing himself on his hind-legs, unfasten the upper bolt
of the door with his nose.  This done, he next withdrew the lower bolt;
then lifted the latch, and walked into the garden.  He was not long
engaged in his foraging expedition, and soon returned with a bunch of
carrots in his mouth.  Placing them in his shed, he went back and
carefully closed the door, and began at his ease to munch the provender
he had so adroitly got possession of.

The owner, suspecting that people would not believe his story, invited
several of his neighbours to witness the performance of the ass.  Not
till the light, however, had been taken away, would the creature
commence his operations, evidently conscious that he was doing wrong.  A
lock was afterwards put on the door, which completely baffled the
ingenuity of the cunning animal.


The ass has a memory not inferior to that of the horse.  This was
especially noticeable in the case of an ass belonging to a carrier at

The ass and his master were accustomed to stop at a certain
public-house, where the latter obtained a pot of beer, of which he
always allowed the animal a little.  At length the master turned
teetotaller, when his principles forbade him to stop at the
public-house; but the ass, whenever he reached the usual halting-place,
refused to go on, and no beating would induce him to do so till he had
received his usual allowance of beer.  The carrier was therefore obliged
to buy some beer for his beast, though no longer requiring it himself.

Remember what I said before about bad habits.  Though your friends from
weariness may cease to rebuke you, it is no proof that you are cured of
them, or that the habits are not as objectionable as at the first.


Donkeys are capable of great affection for those who treat them well.

An old woman, known to Mrs F--, had a donkey which usually grazed on
the roadside near her cottage, and when he saw any person about to enter
her abode would instantly run to the door and defend it against all
intrusion till the dame herself appeared.  If any one annoyed the old
woman--as the boys around would sometimes do, for the sake of seeing how
the donkey would behave--he would kick out at them fiercely, put them to
the rout, and pursue them for some distance.

When the dame wished to ride, he would proceed with the greatest care
and gentleness; but if any other person attempted to mount him, the ass
very soon convinced them that their will and power were useless in a
contest, and the effort usually ended in the rider being roughly thrown,
and perhaps kicked.


I have heard of a donkey which on one occasion bravely did battle for

He happened to be feeding near a river when a fierce bull-dog attacked
him; but so gallantly did he strike out with his heels, that his
assailant was unable to fix on him.  At length the ass suddenly turned
round and seized the neck of the bull-dog in his teeth.  The dog howled
with pain, and struggled to get free, but the ass had no intention as
yet of letting it go.  Holding it tight, he dragged it struggling into
the water, going in deeper and deeper; then kneeling down where the
depth was sufficient for the purpose, he kept the dog under the surface
till it was drowned.

Whenever you are attacked by a spiritual or moral foe, imitate the brave
ass, and drown it.


I met some time ago with an account of a clever donkey which was
employed in drawing a baker's cart.  He was so well acquainted with the
houses of all his master's customers, that while the baker went into one
to deliver his loaves, the sagacious ass would proceed to the door of
the next, at which, when he could reach the knocker, he gave a
rap-a-tap-tap.  If unable to do so, he would stamp with his feet in a
peculiar way, well-known to the inmates.  He never failed to stop at
their doors, nor was he ever known by mistake to go to the wrong house.

Be as careful to learn your school lessons now, and as exact in business
matters when you grow up, as was the baker's donkey to attend to what he
conceived his duty.


An ass was shipped at Gibraltar on board the _Isis_ frigate, to be sent
to Captain Dundas, then at Malta.  The ship, on her voyage, struck on a
sand-bank off Cape de Gat, when among other things thrown overboard was
the poor ass; it being hoped that, although the sea was running high,
the animal might reach the shore.

A few days afterwards, when the gates of Gibraltar were opened in the
morning, the guard was surprised to see the ass present himself for
admittance.  On being allowed to pass, he went immediately to the stable
of his former master.  Not only had the animal swam safely to shore
through the heavy surf, but, without guide or compass, had found his way
from Cape de Gat to Gibraltar, a distance of more than two hundred
miles, across a mountainous and intricate country, intersected by
streams, and in so short a time that he could not have made one false


An old hawker was in the habit of traversing the country with his ass,
which had served him faithfully for many years.  To help himself along,
he used frequently to catch hold of the animal's tail.

The winter wind was blowing strongly, and snow had long been falling
heavily, when the old hawker found himself suddenly plunged with the ass
into a deep drift.  In vain he struggled to get out, and fully believed
that his last hour had come.  The ass succeeded better, and reached the
road; but after looking about and finding his master missing, he once
more made his way through the drift, and then, placing himself in a
position which enabled the old hawker to catch hold of his tail, the
faithful beast dragged him safely out.

Never despise the help offered by a humble friend.  We are all apt to
over-estimate our own strength and wisdom.


We have no less an authority than Dr Franklin to prove that donkeys
enjoy music.

The mistress of a chateau in France where he visited had an excellent
voice, and every time she began to sing, a donkey belonging to the
establishment invariably came near the window, and listened with the
greatest attention.  One day, during the performance of a piece of music
which apparently pleased it more than any it had previously heard, the
animal, quitting its usual post outside the window, unceremoniously
entered the room, and, to exhibit its satisfaction, began to bray with
all its might.

I need scarcely hint, after you have read this story, that you will act
wisely in keeping your proper place.  You may be esteemed wonderfully
clever in the nursery, or even at school; but when you appear among
strangers at home, or go out visiting, wait till you are invited to
exhibit your talents, or you may be considered as audacious a donkey as
was the musical ass.

I think I have told you anecdotes enough to show that donkeys are not
such stupid creatures as is generally supposed; and I am very sure that,
if they were better treated, their character would rise much in public



We have, I think, sufficient evidence to prove that elephants are more
sagacious, and possessed of greater reasoning power, than any other
animals.  They seem, indeed, to have many of the feelings of human
beings.  In spite of their size, what activity do they exhibit! what
wonderful judgment!  How cautious they are in all their proceedings!
How great is their love of regularity and good order!  So gentle, too,
are many of them, that the youngest infant might be safely entrusted to
their keeping; and yet, if insulted or annoyed by a grown-up person, the
same animal might hurl him to the ground with a blow of his trunk, or
crush him with his ponderous feet.  I will tell you a few of the
numerous stories I have heard about these wonderful creatures.


While the British troops were besieging Bhurtpore in India, the water in
the ponds and tanks in the neighbourhood becoming exhausted, it could
only be obtained from deep and large wells.  In this service elephants
were especially useful.

One day two of these animals,--one of them large and strong, the other
much smaller,--came together to a well.  The smaller elephant carried by
his trunk a bucket, which the larger, not having one, stole from him.
The smaller animal knew that he could not wrest it from the other, but
he eyed him, watching for an opportunity of avenging himself.  The
larger elephant now approached the edge of the well, when the smaller
one, rushing forward with all his might, pushed him fairly into the

Ludicrous as was the scene, the consequences might have been disastrous.
Should the huge animal not be got out, the water would be spoiled; at
all events, his floundering about would make it very muddy.  The
elephant, however, seemed in no way disconcerted, and kept floating at
his ease, enjoying the cool liquid, and exhibiting no wish to come out
of it.  At length a number of fascines used in the siege were brought,
and these being lowered into the well, the elephant was induced by his
driver to place them under his feet.  In this way a pile was raised
sufficiently high to enable him to stand upon it.  But, being unwilling
to leave the water, he after a time would allow no more fascines to be
lowered; and his driver had to caress him, and promise him plenty of
arrack as a reward, to induce him to raise himself out of the water.
Thus incited, the elephant permitted more fascines to be thrown in; and
at length, after some masonry was removed from the margin of the well,
he was able to step out--the whole operation having occupied fourteen

You will probably smile at the conduct of the two huge creatures.  It
was curiously like that of human beings.  A big boy plays a smaller one
a trick--snatches something from him.  The other retaliates.  An uproar
is raised, and often serious inconvenience follows.  These two elephants
behaved just like two ill-tempered boys; and through them a whole army
was doomed to suffer for many hours the pangs of thirst.  Remember the
golden rule, "Do unto others as you would that they should do unto you."


The following anecdote shows the elephant's perception of what is right.

A large elephant was sent a few years ago to assist in piling up timber
at Nagercoil.  The officer who despatched it, suspecting the honesty of
the driver, requested the wife of a missionary, to whose house the
animal was sent, to watch that he received his proper allowance of rice.
After some time the lady, suspecting that her charge was being
defrauded of his rice, intimated her mistrust to the keeper, who,
pretending surprise at having such an imputation made against him,
exclaimed in his native tongue, "Madam, do you think I would rob my
child?"  The elephant, which was standing by, seemed aware of the
subject of the conversation, and kept eyeing the keeper, who had on a
bulky waist-cloth; and no sooner had he uttered these words than the
animal threw his trunk round him, and untying the waist-cloth, a
quantity of rice fell to the ground.


Some years ago a soldier, stationed at Pondicherry, formed a friendship
with an elephant, to whom he used to give a portion of his daily
allowance of liquor.  One day the soldier, getting tipsy, and being
followed by the guard, ran to hide himself behind the elephant, under
whose body he was in a few minutes fast asleep.  The guard approached to
seize the delinquent, but, though the keeper assisted the soldiers, the
elephant would allow no one to come near him, and kept whirling his
trunk about in a way which showed that he was determined to protect his
charge at all costs.

What was the soldier's horror next morning, when, looking up, he found
the huge animal standing over him!  One step of his monstrous feet, and
his life would have been crushed out.  If he did not then and there
resolve to abjure intoxicating liquor for the future, he deserved to be
less fortunate another time.  As he crawled out, the elephant evidently
perceived the terror he was in, and, to reassure him, caressed him
gently with his trunk, and signified that he might go to his quarters.
The animal now seeing his friend in safety, suffered his keeper to
approach and lead him away.

Gratitude prompted the elephant to protect his erring friend.  How sad
to think that human beings are so often less grateful to those from whom
they have received benefits!


When an army marches in India, elephants are employed in carrying
field-pieces, levelling roads, piling up timber, fetching water; all of
which, and many other occupations, they perform with a regularity which
shows that they understand what they are about.  Formerly, indeed, they
were often trained to launch ships, by pushing them off the stocks with
the weight of their huge bodies.

Some troops, on their march, had to cross a steep and rugged hill.  This
could only be done by cutting away portions, and laying trees to fill up
the chasms.  The first elephant, when conducted up to this
roughly-formed road, shook his head, and roared piteously, evidently
convinced that it was insecure.  On some alteration being made he
recommenced his examination, by pressing with his trunk the trees that
had been thrown across.  After this he advanced a fore-leg with great
caution, raising the fore-part of his body so as to throw the weight on
the trunk.  Thus he examined every tree and rock as he proceeded, while
frequently no force could induce him to advance till some alteration he
desired had been made.  On his reaching the top his delight was evident.
He caressed his keepers, and threw the dirt about in a playful manner.

A younger elephant had to follow.  The first watched his ascent with the
most intense interest, making motions all the while as though he was
assisting him, by shouldering him up the declivity.  As the latter
neared the top, a difficult spot had to be passed, when the first,
approaching, extended his trunk to the assistance of his brother in
distress.  The younger, entwining his round it, was thus led up to the
summit in safety.  The first on this evinced his delight by giving a
salute something like the sound of a trumpet.  The two animals then
greeted each other as if they had been long separated, and had just met
after accomplishing a perilous achievement.  They mutually embraced, and
stood face to face for a considerable time, as if whispering
congratulations.  The driver then made them salaam to the general, who
ordered them five rupees each for sweetmeats.  On this they immediately
returned thanks by another salaam.

Can you, after reading this, ever refuse to help any human beings in
distress?  Imitate, too, that sagacious elephant, in never venturing on
unsafe ground.  Look before you leap.


It is seldom that an elephant can be induced to pass over ground he
considers unsafe.  Sometimes, however, a driver obtains such a mastery
over a timid animal, that he compels him to undertake what his better
sense would induce him to decline.

An elephant of this character was owned by a person residing in the
neighbourhood of Gyah.  Between the house and the town was a small
bridge, over which the elephant had frequently passed.  One day,
however, he refused to go over.  He tried it with his trunk, evidently
suspecting that its strength was not sufficient to bear his weight.
Still, the obstinate driver urged him on with the sharp spear with which
elephants are driven.  At length, with cautious steps he began the
passage, still showing an extreme unwillingness to proceed.  As he
approached the centre, loud cracks were heard, when the treacherous
bridge gave way, and both elephant and rider were precipitated into the
stream below; the latter being killed by the fall, and the former, who
had proved himself the most sensible being of the two, being much

Let no force induce you to do what is wrong.  All bad ways are like that
rotten bridge.  When others attempt to goad you on to do evil, tell them
the story of the elephant and the rotten bridge.


Who would expect to see a huge elephant take care of a delicate little
child?  Yet more vigilant and gentle nurses cannot be found than are
some of these animals.

The wife of a mahout, or elephant driver, was frequently in the habit of
giving her baby in charge of an elephant.  The child would begin, as
soon as it was left to itself, to crawl about, getting sometimes under
the elephant's huge legs, at others becoming entangled among the
branches on which he was feeding.  On such occasions the elephant would
gently disengage the child, by lifting it with his trunk or removing the
boughs.  The elephant, it should be said, was himself chained by the leg
to the stump of a tree.  When the child had crawled nearly to the limits
of his range, he would advance his trunk, and lift it back as tenderly
as possible to the spot whence it had started.  Indeed, no nurse could
have attended an infant with more good sense and care than did this
elephant his master's child.


To conclude my anecdotes about elephants, I must tell you two which
show, even more than the other incidents I have mentioned, the wonderful
sense they possess.

An elephant had been severely wounded, and submitting to have his wound
dressed, used, after two or three times, to go alone to the hospital and
extend himself, so that the surgeon could easily reach the injured part.
Though the pain the animal suffered was so severe that he often uttered
the most plaintive groans, he never interrupted the operation, but
exhibited every token of submission to the surgeon, till his cure was

Still more curious is the following:--A young elephant which had
accompanied its mother to the battle-field received a severe wound in
the head.  Nothing could induce it to allow the injury to be attended
to.  At length, by certain signs and words, the keeper explained to the
mother what was wanted.  The sagacious animal immediately seized the
young one with her trunk, and, though it groaned with agony, held it to
the ground, while the surgeon was thus enabled to dress the wound.  Day
after day she continued to act in the same way, till the wound was
perfectly healed.



The virtues of cows are more active than passive.  I may sum them up by
saying that they are very affectionate mothers, and will sometimes, like
horses and dogs, find their way across the country to the spot where
they have been bred.


Mrs F--told me the following anecdote:--Her father had four cows, which
every evening, at milking-time, were driven from the field into their
byre.  On their way they had to pass through the farmyard, when they
would endeavour to snatch as many mouthfuls of hay as they had time to
secure from the hay-stacks.  One especially, who was accustomed to take
the lead of the other cows, was more particularly addicted to this
trick.  She was thus sometimes the last to be driven into the byre.
When, however, she found that her three companions had entered before
her, nothing would induce her to follow them.  She would stand with her
fore-legs just over the threshold, stretch forth her neck, and moo
angrily; but further than this, neither coaxing, blows, nor the barking
of the dog at her heels, would induce her to go.  The contest always
ended in the rest of the cows being driven out; when she would at once
take the lead, and walk quietly into her stall without the least
persuasion.  The dairy-maid called her the Proud Cow.

Another Irish cow has been known to act in a similar manner.

So her pride brought Mistress Cow many a whack on the back.  Depend on
it, if you stand on your dignity, you may often suffer, as she did.


In my younger days, I had a companion who used to catch our tutor's cow
by the tail, and make her drag him at full speed round and round the
field.  One day, when he was quietly walking along the path to church,
the cow espied him, and making chase, very nearly caught him with her
horns as he leaped over the nearest gate.

I will tell you of another cow, which was frequently annoyed by a boy
amusing himself with throwing stones at her.  She had borne his mischief
for some time, when at length, making after him, she hooked the end of
her horns into his clothes, lifted him from the ground, carried him out
of the field, and laid him down in the road.  She then, satisfied with
the gentle punishment she had inflicted, returned calmly to her pasture.


Cows have as much affection for their young as have other animals, and
it is piteous to hear them mooing when deprived of their calves.

A cow had her calf taken from her, and left at Bushy Park, while she was
driven off to Smithfield to be sold.  The following morning, when it was
supposed the cow was in London, she appeared at the gate of the yard in
which her calf was confined.  Influenced by her love for her offspring,
she had broken out of the pen, passed through all the streets of the
suburbs without being stopped by the police, who naturally supposed,
from her quiet demeanour, that the drover must be at her heels; and once
in the country, had quickly traversed the twelve miles which took her to
her former home.  It is probable that she traversed the same road to
Bushy which she had followed when being driven from that place to

In Africa, the Hottentot shepherds employ a species of cow to guard
their flocks of sheep.  They keep the animals together with all the
sagacity of Scotch sheep-dogs, and will attack with the utmost bravery
any enemy attempting to injure them.

What difficulties does true love overcome!  If that poor dull cow could
feel such love for her offspring as to overcome the usual apathy of her
kind, what must be the feelings of a human mother towards her children!
Can you, then, ever carelessly wound yours by your misconduct?


A savage bull was kept in a farmyard constantly chained on account of
its fierceness.  A gentleman who went to stay at the farm was an
especial object of dislike to the animal.  One night, during a
tremendous storm of thunder and lightning, the bull was heard to roar
piteously, evidently alarmed at the strife of the elements.  The
servants were ordered to lead the bull from its open shed into a close
stable, where it would be less exposed; but they were afraid to go.  The
visitor, therefore, compassionating the animal, although it had shown
itself his determined foe, went out into the yard.  Here he found the
bull lying on its back; having, in its struggles to get free, almost
torn the ring through the gristle of its nose.  No sooner did he appear
than the creature rose, and by its fawning actions showed how delighted
it was to obtain the companionship of a human being.  Now quiet as a
lamb, it allowed the stranger to lead it into the stable; and the next
morning, when he went to visit it, it endeavoured to express its
gratitude by rubbing its nose against him.

From that day forward it always treated him as a friend, while it
remained as savage as before towards every one else.

There are times when the most savage hearts can be touched.  Wait for
them, and then apply the soothing balm of gentleness.


Ferocious in aspect as is the long hairy-skinned buffalo--or properly
the bison--of America, and savage when attacked, yet it is capable of
devoted affection towards its own kind.

A party of hunters were riding on the prairies, when two fine
buffalo-bulls were seen proceeding along the opposite side of a stream.
One of the hunters took aim at the nearest buffalo, which was crossing
with his haunches towards him.  The ball broke the animal's right hip,
and he plunged away on three legs, the other hanging useless.  The
hunter, leaping on his horse, put spurs to its flanks, and in three
minutes he and his companions were close on the bull.  To his
astonishment, and the still greater surprise of two older hunters, the
unhurt bull stuck to his comrade's side without flinching.  He fired
another shot, which took effect in the lungs of the first buffalo.  The
second sheered off for a moment, but instantly returned to his friend.
The wounded buffalo became distressed, and slackened his pace.  The
unwounded one not only retarded his, but coming to the rear of his
friend, stood with his head down, offering battle.

Here indeed was devotion!  The sight was, to all three of the hunters, a
sublime one.  They could no more have accepted the challenge of this
brave creature, than they could have smitten Damon at the side of
Pythias.  The wounded buffalo ran on to the border of the next marsh,
and, in attempting to cross, fell headlong down the steep bank.  Not
till that moment, when courage was useless, did his faithful companion
seek his own safety in flight.  The hunters took off their hats, and
gave three parting cheers, as he vanished on the other side of the wood.


The cow-buffaloes are frequently attracted by a ruse of the Indians,
which they call "making a calf."  One of the party covers himself with a
buffalo-skin, and another with the skin of a wolf.  They then creep on
all-fours within sight of the buffaloes, when the pretended wolf jumps
on the back of the pretended calf, which bellows in imitation of the
real one, crying for assistance.

A white man and an Indian were hunting together.  At length a solitary
bull and cow were seen in the distance.  After the Indian personating
the calf had bellowed a short time, the cow ran forward, and attempted
to spring towards the hunters; but the bull, seeming to understand the
trick, tried to stop her by running between them.  The cow now dodged
and got round him, and ran within ten or fifteen yards of them, with the
bull close at her heels, when both men fired, and brought her down.  The
bull instantly stopped short, and bending over her, tried to help her up
with his nose, evincing the most persevering affection for her; nor
could they get rid of him, so as to cut up the cow, without shooting him
also--a cruel reward to the noble animal for his conjugal affection.

This account, which is mentioned by Mr Kane the artist, and that
previously given, show that these animals are capable of great affection
for each other, though in general they leave their wounded comrades to
shift for themselves.


I have to tell you of an instance of the benevolence of an ox.  Oxen may
possess many virtues, but are not in the habit of making a parade of
them.  Sheep are sometimes seized with fits, when they fall on their
back, and are unable of themselves to regain their legs.  While in this
helpless position, they are sometimes attacked by birds of prey, which
tear out their eyes, and otherwise injure them.

An unfortunate sheep had fallen in the way I have described, and was in
vain endeavouring to struggle to its feet, when an ox, grazing near,
observed what had happened.  Going up to it, it carefully turned the
animal over on its side; and when it had regained its feet, walked away,
and went on feeding as before, satisfied that it had done what was

My young friends, try to help those in distress, though there may be as
much difference between you and them as between that ox and the sheep.


I remember meeting with an account of a bull, which fed on the savannahs
of Central America.  He had gored so many cattle, that he was at length
caught with a lasso, and to prevent him doing further mischief, the tips
of his horns were blunted.  Some weeks after, a cow belonging to his
herd was found killed by a jaguar, and from the state of the bull's head
and neck, which were fearfully torn, it was evident that he had fought
bravely for the animals under his care.  It was now seen that it would
have been wiser not to have deprived the defender of the herd of his

To enable him to do battle in future, he was secured, his wounds were
dressed, and his horns made sharp again.  The body of the cow having
been preserved from the birds and beasts of prey during the day, the
gallant bull was turned out again in the evening.  The jaguar, as was
expected, returned at night, when a furious battle took place.  The next
morning the jaguar was found dead, pierced through and through, close by
the cow; while the bull, which stood near, bleeding from many a wound,
was seen to rush, ever and anon, against his now helpless antagonist.


A pig had been stolen by two men, who were driving it at night along an
unfrequented path in the neighbourhood of Rotherham.  As the pig
squeaked loudly, they feared they might be betrayed, and were about to
kill it.  The pig, however, struggled violently, and had already
received a wound, when it managed to escape into a neighbouring field,
squeaking still louder, and with the blood flowing from its wound.  The
robbers, pursuing the pig, found themselves face to face with a large
bull, which had been till now grazing quietly.  Apparently understanding
the state of affairs, and compassionating, it may be presumed, the pig,
he ran fiercely at the men, compelling them to fly for their lives.  It
was only, indeed, by leaping desperately over a hedge, that they escaped
an ugly toss from the horns of the animal.

In vain did they wait, in the hope of recovering the pig.  Piggy, having
found a powerful friend, was too wise to desert him, and kept close to
his heels, till the crowing of the cocks in the neighbouring farms
warned the robbers to make their escape.




The majestic step, the bold look, the grace and strength of the lion,
have obtained for him the title of "king of beasts."  He is greatly
indebted, however, to the imagination of the poet for the noble
qualities which he is supposed to possess.  He is, though capable of
gratitude towards those from whom he has received kindness, often
treacherous and revengeful, and Dr Livingstone considers him an arrant
coward.  The stories, however, which I have to narrate, describe his
better qualities.

Mrs Lee tells us of a lion which was kept in the menagerie at Brussels.
The animal's cell requiring some repairs, the keeper led him to the
upper portion of it, where, after playing with him for some time, they
both fell asleep.  The carpenter, who was employed in the work below,
wishing to ascertain whether it was finished as desired, called the
keeper to inspect what he had done.  Receiving no answer, he climbed up,
when, seeing the keeper and lion thus asleep side by side, he uttered a
cry of horror.  His voice awoke the lion, which, gazing fiercely at him
for a moment, placed his paw on the breast of his keeper, and lay down
to sleep again.

On the other attendants being summoned, they aroused the keeper, who, on
opening his eyes, appeared in no way frightened, but taking the paw of
the lion, shook it, and quietly led him down to the lower part of the


The custom existed till lately on the Continent of having combats
between wild animals and dogs, although they were very different from
the spectacles exhibited in the days of ancient Rome.

It had been arranged that a battle should take place between a lion and
four large bull-dogs.  The lion, released from his den, stood looking
round him in the arena, when the dogs were let loose.  Three of them,
however, turned tail, one alone having the courage to attack him.  The
lion, crouching down as the dog approached, stretched him motionless
with one stroke of his paw; then drawing the animal towards him, almost
concealed him with his huge fore-paws.  It was believed that the dog was
dead.  In a short time, however, it began to move, and was allowed by
the lion to struggle up on to its feet; but when the dog attempted to
run away, the lion, with two bounds, reached it, showing it how
completely it was in his power.

Pity, or it may have been contempt, now seemed to move the heart of the
generous lion.  He stepped back a few paces, and allowed the dog to
escape through the door opened for the purpose, while the spectators
uttered loud shouts of applause.


A remarkably handsome African lion was being sent to the coast, where it
was to be placed on board ship, to be carried to France, when it fell
ill.  Its keepers, supposing that it would not recover, left it to die
on the wild open side of the mountain which they were at the time
crossing.  There it lay, on the point of perishing, when a traveller,
who had been shooting in the interior of the country, happened to pass
that way.  Seeing the condition of the noble-looking animal, he gave it
some new milk from the goats which he had in his camp.  The lion drank
it eagerly, and at once began to revive, showing his gratitude by
licking the hand of the benevolent stranger.  The traveller continued
his kind offices to the poor beast, which, in consequence of his care,
completely recovered.

When the traveller moved on, the lion accompanied his camp, and became
so attached to his benefactor that he followed him about everywhere,
taking food from his hand, and being in every respect as tame as a dog.


On one of her voyages from China, the _Pitt_, East Indiaman, had on
board, among her passengers, a young tiger.  He appeared to be as
harmless and playful as a kitten, and allowed the utmost familiarity
from every one.  He was especially fond of creeping into the sailors'
hammocks; and while he lay stretched on the deck, he would suffer two or
three of them to place their heads on his back, as upon a pillow.  Now
and then, however, he would at dinner-time run off with pieces of their
meat; and though sometimes severely punished for the theft, he bore the
chastisement he received with the patience of a dog.  His chief
companion was a terrier, with whom he would play all sorts of tricks--
tumbling and rolling over the animal in the most amusing manner, without
hurting it.  He would also frequently run out on the bowsprit, and climb
about the rigging with the agility of a cat.

On his arrival in England, he was sent to the menagerie at the Tower.
While there, another terrier was introduced into his den.  Possibly he
may have mistaken it for his old friend, for he immediately became
attached to the dog, and appeared uneasy whenever it was taken away.
Now and then the dangerous experiment was tried of allowing the terrier
to remain while the tiger was fed.  Presuming on their friendship, the
dog occasionally ventured to approach him; but the tiger showed his true
nature on such occasions, by snarling in a way which made the little
animal quickly retreat.

He had been in England two years, when one of the seamen of the _Pitt_
came to the Tower.  The animal at once recognised his old friend, and
appeared so delighted, that the sailor begged to be allowed to go into
the den.  The tiger, on this, rubbed himself against him, licked his
hands, and fawned on him as a eat would have done.  The sailor remained
in the den for a couple of hours or more, during which time the tiger
kept so close to him, that it was evident he would have some difficulty
in getting out again, without the animal making his escape at the same
time.  The den consisted of two compartments.  At last the keeper
contrived to entice the tiger to the inner one, when he closed the
slide, and the seaman was liberated.

Great is the danger of associating with those of bad morals--pleasant
and friendly as they may seem.


The tigress generally takes much less care of her young than does the
lioness of her whelps.  Occasionally, however, she shows the same
maternal affection.

Two young tiger cubs had been found by some villagers, while their
mother had been ranging in quest of prey.  They were put into a stable,
where, during the whole night, they continued to make the greatest
possible noise.  After some days, during which it was evident that their
mother had been searching for them in every direction, she at length
discovered the place where they were confined, and replied to their
cries with tremendous howlings.  The keeper, fearing she would break
into the stable, and probably wreak her vengeance on his head, set the
cubs at liberty.  She at once made her way to them, and before morning
had carried them off to an adjoining jungle.

If that savage tigress could thus risk the loss of her life for the sake
of her cubs, think what must be your mother's love for you.  Do you try
to repay her in some part for all her care and tenderness, by your
affection, by doing all she wishes, and what you know is right, whether
she sees you or not; trying not in any way to vex her, but to please her
in all things?


Even a wolf, savage as that animal is, may, if caught young, and treated
kindly, become tame.

A story is told of a wolf which showed a considerable amount of
affection for its master.  He had brought it up from a puppy, and it
became as tame as the best-trained dog, obeying him in everything.
Having frequently to leave home, and not being able to take the wolf
with him, he sent it to a menagerie, where he knew it would be carefully
looked after.  At first the wolf was very unhappy, and evidently pined
for its absent master.  At length, resigning itself to its fate, it made
friends with its keepers; and recovered its spirits.

Fully eighteen months had passed by, when its old master, returning
home, paid a visit to the menagerie.  Immediately he spoke, the wolf
recognised his voice, and made strenuous efforts to get free.  On being
set at liberty, it sprang forward, and leaped up and caressed him like a
dog.  Its master, however, left it with its keepers, and three years
passed away before he paid another visit to the menagerie.
Notwithstanding this lapse of time, the wolf again recognised him, and
exhibited the same marks of affection.

On its master again going away, the wolf became gloomy and desponding,
and refused its food, so that fears were entertained for its life.  It
recovered its health, however, and though it suffered its keepers to
approach, exhibited the savage disposition of its tribe towards all

The history of this wolf shows you that the fiercest tempers may be
calmed by gentleness.


Arrant thieves as foxes are, with regard to their domestic virtues Mrs
F--assures me that they eminently shine.

Both parents take the greatest interest in rearing and educating their
offspring.  They provide, in their burrow, a comfortable nest, lined
with feathers, for their new-born cubs.  Should either parent perceive
in the neighbourhood of their abode the slightest sign of human
approach, they immediately carry their young to a spot of greater
safety, sometimes many miles away.  They usually set off in the twilight
of a fine evening.  The papa fox having taken a survey all round,
marches first, the young ones march singly, and mamma brings up the
rear.  On reaching a wall or bank, papa always mounts first, and looks
carefully around, rearing himself on his haunches to command a wider
view.  He then utters a short cry, which the young ones, understanding
as "Come along!" instantly obey.  All being safely over, mamma follows,
pausing in her turn on the top of the fence, when she makes a careful
survey, especially rearward.  She then gives a responsive cry, answering
to "All right!" and follows the track of the others.  Thus the party
proceed on their march, repeating the same precautions at each fresh

When peril approaches, the wary old fox instructs his young ones to
escape with turns and doublings on their path, while he himself will
stand still on some brow or knoll, where he can both see and be seen.
Having thus drawn attention to himself, he will take to flight in a
different direction.  Occasionally, while the young family are
disporting themselves near their home, if peril approach, the parents
utter a quick, peculiar cry, commanding the young ones to hurry to
earth; knowing that, in case of pursuit, they have neither strength nor
speed to secure their escape.  They themselves will then take to flight,
and seek some distant place of security.

The instruction they afford their young is varied.  Sometimes the
parents toss bones into the air for the young foxes to catch.  If the
little one fails to seize it before it falls to the ground, the parent
will snap at him in reproof.  If he catches it cleverly, papa growls his
approval, and tosses it up again.  This sport continues for a
considerable time.

As I have said, no other animals so carefully educate their young in the
way they should go, as does the fox.  He is a good husband, an excellent
father, capable of friendship, and a very intelligent member of society;
but all the while, it must be confessed, an incorrigible rogue and

Do not pride yourself on being perfect because you possess some good
qualities.  Consider the many bad ones which counteract them, and strive
to overcome those.


Mrs F--gave me the following account of the ingenious stratagem of a
fox, witnessed by a friend.

He was lying one summer's day under the shelter of some shrubs on the
banks of the Tweed, when his attention was attracted by the cries of
wild-fowl, accompanied by a great deal of fluttering and splashing.  On
looking round, he perceived a large brood of ducks, which had been
disturbed by the drifting of a fir branch among them.  After circling in
the air for a little time, they again settled down on their

Two or three minutes elapsed, when the same event again occurred.  A
branch drifted down with the stream into the midst of the ducks, and
startled them from their repast.  Once more they rose upon the wing,
clamouring loudly, but when the harmless bough had drifted by, settled
themselves down upon the water as before.  This occurred so frequently,
that at last they scarcely troubled themselves to flutter out of the
way, even when about to be touched by the drifting bough.

The gentleman, meantime, marking the regular intervals at which the fir
branches succeeded each other in the same track, looked for a cause, and
perceived, at length, higher up the bank of the stream, a fox, which,
having evidently sent them adrift, was eagerly watching their progress
and the effect they produced.  Satisfied with the result, cunning
Reynard at last selected a larger branch of spruce-fir than usual, and
couching himself down on it, set it adrift as he had done the others.
The birds, now well trained to indifference, scarcely moved till he was
in the midst of them, when, making rapid snaps right and left, he
secured two fine young ducks as his prey, and floated forward
triumphantly on his raft; while the surviving fowls, clamouring in
terror, took to flight, and returned no more to the spot.


A labourer going to his work one morning, caught sight of a fox
stretched out at full length under a bush.  Believing it to be dead, the
man drew it out by the tail, and swung it about to assure himself of the
fact.  Perceiving no symptoms of life, he then threw it over his
shoulder, intending to make a cap of the skin, and ornament his cottage
wall with the brush.  While the fox hung over one shoulder, his mattock
balanced it on the other.  The point of the instrument, as he walked
along, every now and then struck against the ribs of the fox, which, not
so dead as the man supposed, objected to this proceeding, though he did
not mind being carried along with his head downward.  Losing patience,
he gave a sharp snap at that portion of the labourer's body near which
his head hung.  The man, startled by this sudden attack, threw fox and
mattock to the ground, when, turning round, he espied the live animal
making off at full speed.


I cannot help fancying that Irish foxes are even more cunning than their
brethren in other parts of the world, I have heard so many accounts of
their wonderful doings.

Near Buttevant, where some of Mrs F--'s family resided, there happened
to be a hole in the thatch of the fowl-house.  A fox, finding it out,
sprang down through the aperture, and slew and feasted all the night to
his heart's desire.  The intruder, however, had not reflected that he
might be unable to secure his retreat by the way through which he had
entered--_facilis descensus averni_.

To spring upward, especially after a heavy supper, was a laborious
effort; and no doubt the villain had grown sufficiently uneasy in his
mind before the early hour at which the farm-servant opened the door to
liberate the fowls.  When the door was opened, the man beheld the
poacher in the midst of his slaughtered game.  Cudgel in hand, he sprang
in and fastened the door behind him, ready for a duel with Master
Reynard at close quarters.  But well the rascal knew that discretion is
the better part of valour, and that "He who fights and runs away, May
live to fight another day."

So, after being hunted about the house for some time, he seized an
opportunity, when the man stooped to aim a decisive blow at him, to
spring upon his assailant's back, and thence leap through the aperture
in the roof, which he could not otherwise have reached.  Thus he made
his escape.

It would have been amusing to see the countenance or the man, when he
found his fancied victim vanish from his sight like the wizard of a
fairy tale.

Cunning rogues often get trapped, like the fox, when they hope to enjoy
their spoil in security.  Beware, when you have such an one to deal
with, that he does not spring on your back, and leave you to be
answerable for his crime.

To you, my young friend, I would say--You cannot be too cautious in
dealing with what is wrong.  You may fancy yourself able to cope with
it, but it may prove too cunning for you.  Better keep out of its way,
till you have gained strength and wisdom.


The hero of Scotch story escaped from his foes by making his way down
the course of a stream, that no trace of his footsteps might be found.
Equally sagacious was an Irish fox, which, pursued by the hounds, was
seen by a farmer, while he was ploughing a field, to run along in the
furrow directly before him.  While wondering how it was that the sly
creature was pursuing this course, he heard the cry of dogs, and turning
round, saw the whole pack at a dead stand, near the other end of the
field, at the very spot where Reynard had entered the newly-formed
trench.  The fox had evidently taken this ingenious way of eluding
pursuit; and the farmer, admiring the cleverness of the animal, allowed
it to get off without betraying its whereabouts.


Long live Old Ireland!  A countryman was making his way along the bank
of a mountain stream in Galway, when he caught sight of a badger moving
leisurely along a ledge of rock on the opposite bank.  The sound of the
huntsman's horn at the same moment reached his ears, followed by the
well-known cry of a pack of dogs.  As he was looking round, to watch for
their approach, he caught sight of a fox making his way behind the
badger, among the rocks and bushes.  The badger continued his course,
while the fox, after walking for some distance close in his rear, leaped
into the water.  Scarcely had he disappeared, when on came the pack at
full speed, in pursuit.  The fox, however, by this time was far away,
floating down the stream; but the dogs instantly set upon the luckless
badger and tore him to pieces, before they discovered that they had not
got Reynard in their clutches.

Evil-doers seldom scruple to let others suffer, so that they may escape.
Keep altogether out of the places frequented by such.


I have still another story to tell about cunning Reynard.  Daylight had
just broke, when a well-known naturalist, gun in hand, wandering in
search of specimens, observed a large fox making his way along the
skirts of a plantation.  Reynard looked cautiously over the turf-wall
into the neighbouring field, longing evidently to get hold of some of
the hares feeding in it, well aware that he had little chance of
catching one by dint of running.  After examining the different gaps in
the wall, he fixed on one which seemed to be the most frequented, and
laid himself down close to it, in the attitude of a cat watching a
mouse-hole.  He next scraped a small hollow in the ground, to form a
kind of screen.  Now and then he stopped to listen, or take a cautious
peep into the field.  This done, he again laid himself down, and
remained motionless, except when occasionally his eagerness induced him
to reconnoitre the feeding hares.

One by one, as the sun rose, they made their way from the field to the
plantation.  Several passed, but he moved not, except to crouch still
closer to the ground.  At length two came directly towards him.  The
involuntary motion of his ears, though he did not venture to look up,
showed that he was aware of their approach.  Like lightning, as they
were leaping through the gap, Reynard was upon them, and catching one,
killed her immediately.  He was decamping with his booty, when a
rifle-ball put an end to his career.


I must tell you one more story about a fox, and a very interesting
little animal it was, though not less cunning than its relatives in
warmer regions.

Mr Hayes, the Arctic explorer, had a beautiful little snow-white fox,
which was his companion in his cabin when his vessel was frozen up
during the winter.  She had been caught in a trap, but soon became tame,
and used to sit in his lap during meals, with her delicate paws on the
cloth.  A plate and fork were provided for her, though she was unable to
handle the fork herself; and little bits of raw venison, which she
preferred to seasoned food.  When she took the morsels into her mouth,
her eyes sparkled with delight.  She used to wipe her lips, and look up
at her master with a _coquetterie_ perfectly irresistible.  Sometimes
she exhibited much impatience; but a gentle rebuke with a fork on the
tip of the nose was sufficient to restore her patience.

When sufficiently tame, she was allowed to run loose in the cabin; but
she got into the habit of bounding over the shelves, without much regard
for the valuable and perishable articles lying on them.  She soon also
found out the bull's-eye overhead, through the cracks round which she
could sniff the cool air.  Close beneath it she accordingly took up her
abode; and thence she used to crawl down when dinner was on the table,
getting into her master's lap, and looking up longingly and lovingly
into his face, sometimes putting out her little tongue with impatience,
and barking, if the beginning of the repast was too long delayed.

To prevent her climbing, she was secured by a slight chain.  This she
soon managed to break, and once having performed the operation, she did
not fail to attempt it again.  To do this, she would first draw herself
back as far as she could get, and then suddenly dart forward, in the
hope of snapping it by the jerk; and though she was thus sent reeling on
the floor, she would again pick herself up, panting as if her little
heart would break, shake out her disarranged coat, and try once more.
When observed, however, she would sit quietly down, cock her head
cunningly on one side, follow the chain with her eye along its whole
length to its fastening on the floor, walk leisurely to that point,
hesitating a moment, and then make another plunge.  All this time she
would eye her master sharply, and if he moved, she would fall down on
the floor at once, and pretend to be asleep.

She was a very neat and cleanly creature, everlastingly brushing her
clothes, and bathing regularly in a bath of snow provided for her in the
cabin.  This last operation was her great delight.  She would throw up
the white flakes with her diminutive nose, rolling about and burying
herself in them, wipe her face with her soft paws, and then mount to the
side of the tub, looking round her knowingly, and barking the prettiest
bark that ever was heard.  This was her way of enforcing admiration; and
being now satisfied with her performance, she would give a goodly number
of shakes to her sparkling coat, then, happy and refreshed, crawl into
her airy bed in the bull's-eye, and go to sleep.

Mr Hayes does not tell us what became of Birdie.  I am afraid that her
fate was a sad one.


The monarch of the Arctic regions, the monstrous white bear there reigns
supreme.  Savage and ferocious as is his consort, as well as he, she
shows the utmost affection for her young.  I have a sad tale to tell.

The crew of an exploring vessel in the Arctic Seas had killed a walrus,
and set fire to part of the blubber.  The steam of the flesh drew from
afar towards it a she bear and her two cubs.  Putting their noses to the
tempting mess, they began to eat it eagerly.  The seamen, seeing this,
threw other pieces on the ice nearer to the ship.  The bear incautiously
approached, carrying off the pieces, which she bestowed on her cubs,
and, though evidently famished, taking but a small portion herself.  The
thoughtless sailors shot the two cubs, and again firing, wounded the
mother.  Though she herself was barely able to crawl to the spot where
they lay, she carried to them the last lump of blubber, endeavouring to
make them eat it.  Discovering that they were unable to do so, she
endeavoured to raise first one, and then the other; but in vain.  She
now began to retreat; but her motherly feelings overcoming her, though
conscious of the danger she was running, she returned to where they lay,
moaning mournfully.  Several times did she thus behave, when, seemingly
convinced that her young ones were cold and helpless, she cast a
reproachful glance towards the vessel whence the cruel bullets had
proceeded, and uttered a low growl of angry despair which might have
moved the hearts even of the most callous.  A shower of musket bullets,
however, laid her low between her two cubs, and she died licking their

You cry "Shame" on the rough sailors for their cruelty.  Yes, they acted
cruelly, because they were thoughtless of the feelings of the poor bear.
Ask yourself, dear young friend, if you are ever thoughtless of the
feelings of those who merit your tenderest love.  If you are, cry
"Shame" on yourself, and endeavour in future to regard them first of all


The Indian believes the bear to be possessed not only of a wonderful
amount of sagacity, but of feelings akin to those of human beings.
Though most species are savage when irritated, some of them occasionally
exhibit good-humour and kindness.

A story is told of a man in Russia, who, on an expedition in search of
honey, climbed into a high tree.  The trunk was hollow, and he
discovered a large cone within.  He was descending to obtain it, when he
stuck fast.  Unable to extricate himself, and too far from home to make
his voice heard, he remained in that uncomfortable position for two
days, sustaining his life by eating the honey.  He had become silent
from despair, when, looking up, what was his horror to see a huge bear
above him, tempted by the same object which had led him into his
dangerous predicament, and about to descend into the interior of the

Bears--very wisely--when getting into hollows of rocks or trees, go
tail-end first, that they may be in a position to move out again when
necessary.  No sooner, in spite of his dismay, did the tail of the bear
reach him, than the man caught hold of it.  The animal, astonished at
finding some big creature below him, when he only expected to meet with
a family of bees, against whose stings his thick hide was impervious,
quickly scrambled out again, dragging up the man, who probably shouted
right lustily.  Be that as it may, the bear waddled off at a quick rate,
and the honey-seeker made his way homeward, to relate his adventure, and
relieve the anxiety of his family.


The brown bear, which lives in Siberia, may be considered among the most
good-natured of his tribe.  Mr Atkinson, who travelled in that country,
tells us that some peasants--a father and mother--had one day lost two
of their children, between four and six years of age.  It was soon
evident that their young ones had wandered away to a distance from their
home, and as soon as this discovery was made they set off in search of

Having proceeded some way through the wilds, they caught sight in the
distance of a large animal, which, as they got nearer, they discovered
to be a brown bear; and what was their horror to see within its clutches
their lost young ones!  Their sensations of dismay were exchanged for
astonishment, when they saw the children running about, laughing, round
the bear, sometimes taking it by the paws, and sometimes pulling it by
the tail.  The monster, evidently amused with their behaviour, treated
them in the most affectionate manner.  One of the children now produced
some fruit, with which it fed its shaggy playfellow, while the other
climbed up on its back, and sat there, fearlessly urging its strange
steed to move on.  The parents gave way to cries of terror at seeing the
apparent danger to which their offspring were exposed.  The little boy,
however, having slipped off the bear's back, the animal, hearing the
sound of their voices, left the children, and retreated quietly into the


I will now tell you a story of a very different animal--the timid little
hare--which has to depend for safety, not, like the bear, on strength,
but on speed and cunning.

A poor little hare was one day closely pursued by a brace of greyhounds,
when, seeing a gate near, she ran for it.  The bars were too close to
allow the hounds to get through, so they had to leap over the gate.  As
they did so, the hare, perceiving that they would be upon her the next
instant, turned round, and ran again under the gate, where she had just
before passed.  The impetus of the hounds had sent them a considerable
distance, and they had now to wheel about and leap once more over the
upper bar of the gate.  Again she doubled, and returned by the way she
had come; and thus, going backwards and forwards, the dogs followed till
they were fairly tired out, while the little hare, watching her
opportunity, happily made her escape.

You may learn a lesson even from this little hare, never to yield to
difficulties.  Persevere, and you will surmount them at last.


Two hundred years ago there were wolves in Ireland, and it appears that
they were as cunning as the foxes of the present day.

A man, travelling, as was the custom in those times, on horseback, with
a sword by his side, was passing between two towns, some three miles
from each other, when he was attacked by a wolf.  He drove him off with
his sword, but again and again the animal assaulted him.  He had nearly
reached the town to which he was going, when he met a friend who was
unarmed, whom he told of the danger he had encountered; and, as he
believed himself now safe from attack, he gave him the sword for his
defence.  The wolf had been watching this proceeding, evidently intent
on attacking the person who was travelling without a sword.  When he saw
that the first he had attacked was now defenceless, he made after him at
full speed, and overtaking him before he got into the town, leaped upon
him, unarmed as he now was, and deprived him of life.

When striving for an object, continue your efforts and be cautious, as
at the first, till you have gained it.


I have told you of a friendship formed between a tiger and a dog.  I
will now narrate another tale, which speaks well for the good feeling of
both animals.

In India it is the cruel custom, when a wandering dog is found, to throw
it into a tiger's cage for the purpose of getting rid of it.  It
happened that one of these pariah-dogs was thrust into the den of the
savage beast.  The dog, however, instead of giving himself up for lost,
stood on the defensive in the corner of the cage, and whenever the tiger
approached, seized him by the lip or neck, making him roar piteously.
The tiger, savage for want of food, continued to renew the attack, with
the same result; till at length the larger animal began to show a
respect for the courage of the smaller one, and an understanding was
finally arrived at between them.

At last a mess of rice and milk was put into the cage of the tiger, when
he invited the dog to partake of it, and instead of treacherously
springing on him, as some human beings would have done on their foe,
allowed him to feed in quiet.  From that day the animals not only became
reconciled, but a strong attachment sprang up between them.  The dog
used to run in and out of the cage, looking upon it as his home; and
when the tiger died, he long evidently mourned the loss of his friend
and former antagonist.

Observe how that poor outcast dog, by his courage and perseverance,
preserved his life, and indeed gained a victory, in spite of the fierce
assaults of his savage foe.  Will you act less courageously when
attacked by the ridicule, the abuse, or the persuasions of those who may
try to drag you from the path of duty?


The agile inhabitant of the lofty Alps--the graceful chamois--shows the
greatest affection for her young.

A Swiss hunter, while pursuing his dangerous sport, observed a mother
chamois and her two kids on a rock above him.  They were sporting by her
side, leaping here and there around her.  While she watched their
gambols, she was ever on the alert lest an enemy should approach.

The hunter, climbing the rock, drew near, intending, if possible, to
capture one of the kids alive.  No sooner did the mother chamois observe
him, than, dashing at him furiously, she endeavoured to hurl him with
her horns down the cliff.  The hunter, knowing that he might kill her at
any moment, drove her off, fearing to fire, lest the young ones should
take to flight.

He was aware that a deep chasm existed beyond them, by which he believed
the escape of the animals to be cut off.  What was his surprise,
therefore, when he saw the old chamois approach the chasm, and,
stretching out her fore and hind-legs, thus form with her body a bridge
across it!

As soon as she had done this, she called on her young ones, and they
sprang, one at a time, on her back, and reached the other side in
safety!  By a violent effort, she sprang across after them, and soon
conducted her charges beyond the reach of the hunter's bullets.

Trust your mother: she, in most cases, will find means to help you out
of trouble.


I have very little to say in favour of wolves.  They are generally as
cowardly in their adversity as they are savage when at liberty.  I give
you the following story, however, which I believe to be true.

An English sportsman had been hunting during the winter in Hungary.  He
was returning in a sleigh one evening to the village where he was to
remain for the night, the peasant owning the sleigh sitting behind, and
a boy driving.  As they passed the corner of a wood, a wolf was seen to
rush out of it and give chase.  The peasant shouted to the boy, "A wolf,
a wolf!  Drive on, drive on!"  Obeying the order, with whip and shout
the boy urged the horses to full speed.  One glance round showed him the
savage animal close behind.  The wolf was gaining upon them fast.  The
village was scarcely two hundred yards off!  The owner, however, saw
that the wolf would be upon them before they could reach it.
Frantically they shouted, pursuing their impetuous career.

Taking another glance behind him, the peasant saw the fierce, panting
beast about to make his fatal spring.  A thought struck him.  Seizing
the thick sheep-skin which covered the sleigh, he threw it over his
head.  Scarcely had he done so when the wolf sprang upon his back, and
gripped hold of the skin.  In an instant more it would have been torn
from him, when, raising both his hands, he grasped the wolf's head and
neck with all his strength, hugging him with an iron clutch to his
shoulders.  "On--on!" he shouted to the almost paralysed driver.  The
courageous fellow still holding his fierce assailant in a death-gripe,
the sleigh swept into the village.  The inhabitants, hearing the shouts,
rushed forth from their huts, and seeing the perilous condition of their
friends, gave chase with axes in their hands.  No sooner had the boy
slackened the speed of his horses, than the men rushed at the savage
animal, still held captive, and quickly despatched it.  Not without
difficulty, however, could the brave peasant, after the exertion he had
undergone, loosen his arms from the neck of the wolf.


The otter, although not so expert an architect as the beaver, appears to
possess more sagacity.  A fine one, caught in Scotland, became so tame,
that whenever it was alarmed it would spring for protection into the
arms of its master.

It had also been taught to fish for his benefit; and so dexterous was it
at this sport, that it would catch several fine salmon during the day,
in a stream near his house.  It could fish as well in salt water as in
fresh.  Bravely it would buffet the waves of the ocean, and swim off in
chase of cod-fish, of which it would in a short time catch large

When fatigued by its exertions, nothing would induce it to re-enter the
water.  On such occasions it received a part of the produce of the sport
for its own share; and after having satisfied itself, it would fall
asleep, and was generally in that condition carried home, to resume its
labours on another day.

Though you may be very young and small, you may, if you try, help those
much older and bigger than yourself.


I have another story about an otter, which lived in the Zoological
Gardens in London.  The otter-pond, surrounded by a wall, was on one
occasion only half-full of water, when the otter for whose use it was
intended had a pair of young ones.  They, happening to fall into the
water, were unable to climb up its steep sides.  The mother, afraid that
they would be drowned, endeavoured in vain, by stooping over the wall,
to drag them out.  At last she jumped in, and after playing with them
for a short time, was seen to put her head to the ear of one of the
little creatures.  This was to tell her child what she wanted it to do.
Directly after, she sprang out of the pond, while her young one caught
hold of the fur at the root of her tail; and while it clung tightly to
her, she dragged it out, and placed it safely on the dry ground.  She
then again plunged in, and in the same way dragged out her other young

I am very sure that your parents will help you out of any difficulty
into which you may fall; but then you must do as they tell you, thus
following the example of the young otters.


You have often heard of the wonderful way in which beavers in America
construct their habitations and dams.  They seem, however, in these
operations, to be influenced by instinct rather than by reason.  I will
tell you of a beaver which lived in captivity in France.

To supply him with nourishment, all sorts of things--fruits, vegetables,
and small branches of trees--were thrown to him.  His keepers, knowing
that he came from a cold climate, bestowed little care, however, in
keeping him warm.  Winter coming on, one night large flakes of snow were
driven by the wind into a corner of his cage.  The poor beaver, who, in
his own country, forms a remarkably warm house for himself, almost
perished with the cold.  If man would not help him, he must try and help
himself to build a cell which would shelter him from the icy blast.  The
materials at his disposal were the branches of trees given him to gnaw.
These he interwove between the bars of his cage, filling up the
interstices with the carrots and apples which had been thrown in for his
food.  Besides this, he plastered the whole with snow, which froze
during the night; and next morning it was found that he had built a wall
of considerable height, which perfectly answered his purpose.

Make the best of the means at your disposal, as well as of the talents
you possess.


Rats, in their ferocity, partake of the character of the wolf, and in
their cunning, of that of the fox.

A great flood occurred some years ago in the north of England; and as a
number of people were collected on the banks of the Tyne, whose waters
had risen to an unusual height, a swan was seen swimming across the
flood.  On its back was a black spot, visible among its white plumage.
As the swan came nearer, this was found to be a live rat.  No sooner had
the swan, after bravely breasting the foaming torrent, reached the
shore, than the rat leaped off and scampered away.  Probably it had been
carried into the water, and, unable to swim to land, on seeing the swan
had sought refuge on its back, thus escaping a watery grave.

As the swan did, help those incapable of helping themselves, though you
dislike their appearance and character.  They may not have had the
advantages you possess.


An old lady, wealthy and hospitable, lived in a large house, with
several servants to attend on her.  Although no terrific murder or other
dark deed was ever known to have been perpetrated in the house, report
said it was haunted.  Undoubtedly, noises were heard in the lower part
of the mansion.  Night after night unearthly sounds arose after the
domestics had retired to their chambers.  At last the old lady,
determined to resist this invasion of her domestic peace, told her
servants to arm themselves with such weapons as they could obtain, she
herself sitting up with a brace of loaded pistols before her.  This
proceeding had the desired effect.  The ghostly visitants, if such they
were, ceased from their nocturnal revels.  All remained silent till
cock-crow.  Night after night the brave old dame heroically watched, but
no ghosts came.

To celebrate her victory, she invited a number of guests, and determined
to broach a cask of long-hoarded Madeira.  With keys in hand, attended
by the butler, she entered the cellar; the spill was pulled out from the
cask, the cock duly inserted, but no wine came.  The butler tapped; a
hollow sound was the return.  On applying a light, teeth-marks were
visible at the very lowest part of the staves.

By rats alone could such marks have been made.  What a band of thirsty
topers must have been employed in the nefarious burglary!  No doubt it
was the rats, inebriated by such unusual potations, which had caused the
mysterious uproar.  Be that as it may, the lady lost her wine; and the
cask was placed in the museum of Mr Buckland, who tells the tale, and
there it stands to corroborate its truth.

It is said that rats will insert their tails into oil-flasks, and allow
each other in turn to suck off the liquid thus obtained.


Mice, I suspect, are fully as sagacious as rats; perhaps they are more
so.  In their foraging expeditions what cleverness do they exhibit!
When one or two have been caught in a trap, how careful are the rest of
the community not to be tempted by the treacherous bait.

A honey-pot had been left in a closet, from the wall of which some of
the loose plaster had fallen down.  In the morning, the honey being
wanted, the pot was found with a considerable portion abstracted.
Outside of it was a heap of mortar reaching to the edge, forming an
inclined plane, while inside a similar structure had been raised with
the loose plaster.  From the marks on the shelf, it was clearly the work
of a mouse; which had thus, by means of a well-designed structure,
obtained entrance and exit.

If a little mouse, to gain its object, which you deem a wrong one, can
employ so much intelligence, how much more should you exert your
superior faculties to attain a right object.


I have told you of dogs making their way from one end of the country to
the other in search of their masters, and of horses traversing wide
districts to the pastures where they were bred, but you would scarcely
expect to hear of a sheep performing a long journey to return to the
home of her youth.

A ewe, bred in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh, was driven into
Perthshire, a distance of upwards of one hundred miles.  She remained
some time at the place, and there became the mother of a lamb.  She took
a dislike to her new home, and thoughts of her early days stealing upon
her, she came to the resolution of returning to the scenes of her youth.

Calling her lamb, she one night set off southward.  Often she was
compelled to hurry on her young one with impatient bleatings.  She took
the highroad, along which she had been driven.  Reaching Stirling early
in the morning, she discovered that an annual fair was taking place, and
that the town was full of people.  Unwilling to venture among them for
fear of being caught, or losing her lamb, she waited patiently outside
till the evening, lying close by the roadside.  Many people saw her, but
believing her owner was near, did not molest her.  During the early
hours of the morning she got safely through, observed by several people,
and evidently afraid lest the dogs prowling about the town might injure
her young one.

Arriving at length at the toll-bar of Saint Ninians, she was stopped by
the toll-keeper, who supposed her to be a stray sheep.  She escaped him,
however, and several times when the gate was opened endeavoured, with
the lamb at her heels, to make her way through.  He each time drove her
back.  She at length turned round, and appeared to be going the way she
came.  She had, however, not abandoned her intention, for she either
discovered a more circuitous road to the south side of the gate, or made
her way through; for on a Sabbath morning early in June she arrived at
the farm where she had been bred,--having been nine days on her journey.

So delighted was her former owner with this exhibition of affection for
the farm, and with her wonderful memory, that he offered her purchaser
the price he had received; and to the day of her death--when she had
reached the mature age, for a sheep, of seventeen years--she remained a
constant resident on her native farm.


There is another story about a ewe which I should like to tell you, and
which shows the affection she had for her young.

A lamb, frisking about near its mother, contrived to spring into a thick
hedge, in which its coat was so firmly held that it could not escape.
The ewe, after vainly trying to rescue her young one, ran off with
violent bleatings towards a neighbouring field, breaking in her way
through several hedges, to where there was a ram, and communicated to
him the disaster.  He at once returned with her, and by means of his
horns quickly pushed the young creature out of the thorny entanglement
in which it had been entrapped.


On the crumbling walls of the romantic ruins of Caernarvon Castle, some
years ago, two agile goats were seen,--now leaping over a rugged gap,
now climbing some lofty pinnacle, now browsing on the herbage
overhanging the perilous paths.  Presently they approached each other
from opposite ends of one of the narrow intersecting walls.  When they
met, finding that there was no room to pass, they surveyed each other
face to face for some minutes in perfect stillness.  Each had barely
standing ground for his own feet.  However, they tossed their heads with
menacing looks, often making slight feints of butting or pushing
forward; but they took care not to come into actual contact, knowing
well that the slightest force might precipitate one or both from their
perilous position.  Neither could they attempt to walk backward or turn
round on so narrow a spot.  Thus they again stood quite still for above
an hour, occasionally uttering low sounds, but neither of them moving.

At length they appeared to have settled the difficult point as to which
of the two should give way.  The one which appeared the youngest lay
quietly down, while the other walked calmly over him, and pursued his
path contentedly.

Their example might well be followed by human beings in many of the
affairs of life, where a contest must prove destructive to both.  Many a
bloody war might be averted, did nations imitate the example of these
two animals.  Not, however, by bowing the neck to the yoke of a
conqueror, but by amicably settling differences.  How many law-suits
might also be avoided by the same means.

And you, my young friends, understand that there is far more true
magnanimity and courage exhibited in giving way to others than in
battling for doubtful rights and privileges.


If you have ever examined the head of a seal, with its large gentle
eyes, you will readily believe that the animal possesses a certain
amount of intellect, and is capable of very affectionate feelings.

The story I am about to tell you is a very sad one.  Perhaps you will
recollect the seal in the Zoological Gardens, which used to come out of
its pond at the call of the French sailor to whom it belonged, and,
climbing up while he sat on a chair, put its fins round his neck and
give him a kiss.  How it immediately obeyed him when he told it to go
back to the water, and how adroitly it used to catch the fish which he
threw to it.  I remember also hearing of a seal in Shetland which would
return with its prey in its mouth on being summoned by the owner.

But the seal I am going to tell you about belonged to a gentleman in the
west of Ireland, near the sea.  This seal was so tame, and so attached
to its master, that it would follow him about like a dog, and seemed
much pleased whenever allowed to lick his hand.

People in that part of the country are sadly ignorant and superstitious.
Two bad harvests having succeeded each other, the foolish inhabitants
took it into their heads that the disaster was caused by the innocent
seal.  So many were the complaints they made, some people even
threatening the owner, that, fearing the life of his favourite would be
endangered, he was obliged to consent to its being sent away.  Having
been put on board a boat, it was taken to some distance and then thrown
into the sea.  Very shortly afterwards, however, it found its way back
to its beloved master.  Still anxious to preserve the animal's life, he
consented to its being again carried away to a greater distance; but
once more it returned.  This made the ignorant people more certain than
ever that the poor seal was some evil being.

Again it was put on board a boat, the crew of which rowed to a much
greater distance than before, determining that the poor seal should
trouble them no more.  Though following the injunctions of their master
not to kill it, they cruelly put out its eyes, and then threw it
overboard, to perish in the wide ocean, as they believed.  Some time
passed, when one stormy night the gentleman heard above the moaning
sounds of the gale the plaintive cry of his favourite close to his
house.  He went to the door, and, opening it, there lay the body of the
affectionate animal quite dead.  Though deprived of its sight, it had
found its way back to the shore on which its master's house stood, and
exerting all its strength, had crawled up to the door; thus exhibiting
an amount of affection for its human friend such as can scarcely exist
in a greater degree in the breast of any animal.



When we observe the small heads and unmeaning eyes of birds, we do not
expect to find any great amount of intellect among them.  They are,
however, moved by the same passions and feelings as larger animals, and
occasionally exhibit thought and reasoning power.  I suspect, indeed,
could we understand their language, that we should find they can talk to
each other, and express their meaning as well as others of the brute


A goose was seated on her eggs in a quiet corner, not far from a
horse-pond, in a farmyard.  Up and down before her strode a game-cock,
which, watching the calm looks and contented manner of the goose, which
contrasted so greatly with his own fiery disposition, began to get
angry,--just as human beings who are out of sorts sometimes do with
those who appear happy and smiling.  At last, working himself into a
downright passion, he flew at the poor goose, pecked out one of her
eyes, and while she was attempting to defend herself, trampled on and
destroyed several of her eggs.  The gander, which was waddling about on
the other side of the pond, on seeing what was taking place hastened to
the aid of his consort, and attacked the savage cock.  The cock of
course turned upon him, and a desperate battle ensued.  The two
combatants, after a time, drew off from each other, both probably
claiming the victory.

For some days after this, the cock, taught prudence, allowed the goose
to remain in quiet, the gander watching him narrowly.  The latter at
last, trusting to the lesson he had given the cock, wandered away for
provender to a distant part of the yard.  No sooner was he gone than the
cock, which had all the time been waiting for an opportunity, again
assaulted the poor goose.  Her loud cries were fortunately heard by the
gander, which came tearing along with outstretched wings to her
assistance, and seizing the cock by the neck, before the angry bird
could turn his head, he hauled him along to the pond.  In he plunged,
and soon had him in deep water.  "I am more than your master now,"
thought the gander, as he ducked the cock under the surface; "I will
take care you shall never more interfere with my dear goose."  And again
and again, he ducked the cock, keeping his head each time longer under
water, till at last his struggles ceased, and he was drowned.

It is sinful to harbour the slightest feeling of revenge in our hearts;
yet those who attack others unable to defend themselves, either by word
or deed, must expect to receive deserved punishment from the more
powerful friends of their victims.


A Cheshire farmer had a large flock of geese.  As he was passing through
the yard one day, one of the geese quitted its companions and stalked
after him.  Why it did so he could never tell, as he had shown it no
more attention than the rest of the flock.  The following day the goose
behaved in the same way; and at length, wherever he went--to the mill,
the blacksmith's shop, or even through the bustling streets of the
neighbouring town--the goose followed at his heels.  When he went to
church, he was obliged to shut up the goose.

While ploughing his fields, the goose would walk sedately before him,
with firm step, and head and neck erect--frequently turning round and
fixing its eyes upon him.  One furrow completed, and the plough turned,
the goose, without losing step, would adroitly wheel about; and would
thus behave, till it followed its master home.

Even in the house, as he sat by the fire in the evening, it would mount
on his lap, nestle its head in his bosom, and preen his hair with its
beak, as it was wont to do its own feathers.

Even when he went out shooting, the goose followed like a dog, getting
over the fences as well as he could himself.

It is sad to think that gross superstition was the cause of the death of
the faithful bird.  The ignorant farmer afterwards killed it, fancying
that the mysterious affection of the goose boded him some evil.

Take warning from the fate of the poor goose, and do not bestow your
affection on those who seem unworthy of it, however clever or powerful
they may be.


Bishop Stanley, who mentions the story, heard of an aged blind woman who
used to be led every Sunday to church by a gander, which took hold of
her gown with its bill.  When she had seated herself, it retired to
graze in the churchyard till she came out again, and then it would lead
her safely home.

One day the clergyman called at her house, and expressed his surprise to
the daughter that the mother should venture abroad.  She replied: "O
sir, we are not afraid of trusting her out of sight, for the gander is
with her."

When a poor despised goose can thus make itself of so much use, how much
more should you try to become useful.


Mrs F--, who has had much experience with poultry, considers them very
sensible and kind-hearted birds.  The leg of a young duck had been
broken by an accident.  She placed it in splints, and put the bird under
a small crate, on a patch of grass, to prevent its moving about till it
had recovered.  It was one of a large family; and in a short time its
relatives gathered round the prisoner, clamouring their condolence in
every variety of quacking intonation.  They forced their necks under the
crate, evidently trying to raise it, and thus liberate the captive; but
the effort was beyond their strength.  Convinced, at length, of this,
after clamouring a little more they marched away in a body, while the
prisoner quietly sat down and appeared resigned.

A short time afterwards a great deal of quacking was heard, and a
regiment of upwards of forty ducks was seen marching into the yard,
headed by two handsome drakes, known by the names of Robin Hood and
Friar Tuck.  Evidently with a preconceived purpose, they all marched up
to the crate and surrounded it.  Every neck was thrust beneath the
lowest bar of the prison; every effort was made to raise it,--but in
vain.  At length a parley ensued.  Then the noise ceased.  Only the
deep-toned quacking of Robin Hood was heard, when their object became
clear.  All the tribe gathered together on one side of the crate, the
strongest in front; and as many as could reach it thrust their necks
beneath the crate, while the rest pushed them forward from behind.  Thus
they succeeded in overturning the crate, and setting free their
imprisoned friend.  With clamourous rejoicings from the whole troop, the
liberated duck limped off in their midst.

These sensible ducks teach us the important lesson that union is
strength.  Not that they, you will agree with me, showed their wisdom
exactly in liberating their companion, who was placed in confinement for
his benefit.  However, remember through life how much you may effect in
a good cause by sinking all minor differences, and uniting with others
like-minded with yourself.


My children have a black dog and a jackdaw; and though the bird shows a
preference for human companionship, when he cannot obtain that he hops
off to the dog's kennel, on the top of which he sits, talking to his
four-footed friend in his own fashion; and the dog seems well-pleased to
receive his visits.  I fully expect, some day, to have some curious tale
to tell about them.

In the meantime, I will tell you of a raven which had been brought up
with a dog in Cambridgeshire.  They had formed an alliance, offensive
and defensive, and could certainly interchange ideas.  The dog was fond
of hares and rabbits, and the raven had no objection to a piece of game
for his dinner.  Being both at liberty, they used to set out together
into the country to hunt.  The dog would enter a cover and drive out the
hares or rabbits, when the raven, which was watching outside, would
pounce down on the animals as they rushed from the thicket, and hold
them till the dog came to its assistance.  They thus managed to obtain
their desired feast--indeed, they were probably more successful than
many human sportsmen.


In Mrs F--'s poultry-yard, some duck-eggs had been placed under a
Dorking hen.  A few days afterwards, a bantam began to sit on her own
eggs--the nests being close together.  In the accustomed twenty-one days
the bantams were hatched and removed; but after the usual thirty days
required for hatching the duck-eggs had passed, none appeared, and so
the Dorking hen was taken away and the nest destroyed.  Although ten
days had elapsed since the hatching of the bantam's eggs, the Dorking
hen remembered her neighbour's good fortune, and tried to get possession
of her brood--calling the little ones, feeding them, and fighting to
keep them; but the true mother would by no means consent to resign her
rights.  To prevent the interference of the Dorking, she was shut up for
several days; but directly she was liberated, she again flew to the
little chickens and acted as before.

Two Muscovy ducklings having just been hatched under another hen, they
were offered, as a consolation for her disappointment, to the Dorking;
and such was her desire for maternity that she instantly adopted them.
To prevent further trouble, she and her charges were sent to a
neighbouring house.  A fortnight later other ducks were hatched, and as
it seemed a pity to waste the time of the banished hen with two
ducklings only, they were sent for home.  The little Muscovies were
placed with their own brethren, and the hen turned loose among the rest
of the poultry, it being supposed impossible that she would still
recollect the past.  Her memory, however, was more tenacious than any
one fancied.  Once more she hastened to the bantams, and lavished her
care on the tiny things, of whom only three were surviving.  The bantam
mother, on this, appeared satisfied to regard her as a friend.  They
disputed no longer, but jointly and equally lavished their cares and
caresses on the three chicks.

Here is not only a curious example of tenacity of memory, but it is the
only instance of friendship Mrs F--has ever known to exist amongst
gallinaceous fowl.

Do not be jealous of another's success, but try rather to assist and
support a rival, if your services are acceptable.


Audubon, the American naturalist, whose statements we can thoroughly
trust, once possessed a fine male turkey of the wild breed common in the
Western States.  He had reared the bird till it became so tame that it
would follow any one who called it.  He had also a favourite spaniel,
which became thoroughly intimate with the turkey, and the two might
constantly have been seen running side by side.  When the bird was about
two years old, it would fly into the forest, and occasionally remain
away for several days together.

It happened one day, after it had been absent for some time, that as
Audubon was walking through the forest at some distance from his home,
he saw a turkey get up before him, but he did not recognise it as his
own.  Wishing to secure it for the table, he ordered his dog to make
chase.  Off went the spaniel at full speed; but the bird, instead of
flying away, remained quietly on the ground till its pursuer came up.
The dog was then about to seize it, when Audubon saw the former suddenly
stop, and turn her head towards him.  On hastening up, he discovered,
greatly to his surprise, that the turkey was his own.  Recognising the
spaniel, it had not flown away from her, as it would have done from a
strange dog.

Unhappily, the turkey, again leaving home to range through the forest,
was mistaken for a wild one, and accidentally shot.  Audubon recognised
it by a red ribbon being brought him which he had placed round its neck.
Do not forget old friends or former worthy companions, however humble,
but treat them with kindness and consideration.


A Spanish hen, in Mrs F--'s poultry-yard, was sitting on her nest in
the hatching-house, which had a small window, through which a person
might look to see that all was right.  As the hens were usually fed upon
their nests, the ground was strewed with corn, which tempted the rats
and mice.  The hens used frequently to punish the mice by a sharp tap on
the head with their beak, which laid them to rest for ever.

One day Mrs F--was looking through the window, when she saw a
middle-sized rat peering forth from its hole.  The rat scrambled into
the upper range of boxes, where sat the Spanish hen, and then remained
awhile still as a mouse.  The hen evidently saw him, but she sat close,
her head drawn back and kept low on the shoulder, her eyes nearly
closed.  She clearly feigned to be asleep.  The rat, deceived, advanced
a few steps, and then sat on his haunches, looking and listening with
all his might.  Again he moved, again paused, then sprang into one
corner of the nest, grappling an egg with his fore-paws at the same
instant.  The hen had never stirred all the time; but now, suddenly
throwing forward her head, she seized her foe by the nape of the neck;
then, without withdrawing her bill, she pressed down his head repeatedly
with all her force.  She then gave an extra peck or two, half rose,
settled her eggs beneath her again, and seemed happy; and before her lay
a half-grown rat, quite dead.

This was, indeed, calm courage.  Imitate, if you can, this brave hen.
Endeavour to be cool and collected when danger approaches.


Swans show much bravery, especially in defending their young; indeed,
from their size, they are able to do battle with the largest of the
feathered tribe.  They have been known also to attack people who have
ventured nearer their cygnets than they liked.

I remember a lady being attacked by a swan on the banks of a lake, in
the grounds of a relative of mine.  She had to take to flight, and was
met running along the path crying for aid, with the swan, its wings
outstretched, in full chase after her.


Only lately, a person paddling in a canoe near Chelmsford approached a
nest of cygnets, when the parent swan swam out, and seizing the bow of
the canoe, nearly upset it.  The paddler had to back out of the way,
with difficulty escaping the violent assaults of the enraged bird.

One morning, as a family of cygnets were assembled on the banks of one
of the islands in the Zoological Gardens of London, and the parent birds
were swimming about watching their little ones, a carrion-crow, thinking
that the old birds were too far off to interfere with him, pounced down
on one of the cygnets.  The father swan, however, had his eye on the
marauder, and, darting forward, seized him with his bill.  The crow in
vain struggled to get free.  The swan, like the gander I before
mentioned, dragged the felon towards the lake, and plunging him under
water, held him there till his caws sounded no longer.

Be brave and bold in defence of the helpless, especially of those
committed to your charge.


Ravens are supposed to be the most cunning and sagacious of birds.  They
are knowing fellows, at all events.

Some schoolboys in Ireland used frequently to set traps for catching
birds.  A tame raven belonging to their family frequently watched the
proceedings of the young gentlemen, and it occurred to him that he had
as much right to the birds as they had.  When, therefore, they were out
of the way, he would fly down to the trap and lift the lid; but as he
could not hold it up and seize his prey at the same time, the bird
invariably escaped.

Not far off lived another tame raven, with which he was on visiting
acquaintance.  After having vainly attempted on frequent occasions to
get the birds out of the trap by himself, he one day observed another
poor bird caught.  Instead, however, of running the risk of opening the
trap as before, he hastened off to his acquaintance.  The two ravens
then came back to the trap, and while one lifted the lid, the other
seized the poor captive.  They then divided their prize between them.

When you see rogues like these two ravens agree, do you not feel ashamed
when you take so little pains to assist your companions in doing what is
right?  We are placed in this world to help one another.


A large dog was kept chained in a stable-yard, in the roof of one of the
out-buildings of which a raven had his abode.  The dog and bird had
become great friends.  Yet the latter could not help amusing himself at
the expense of his four-footed companion.  Sometimes he would snatch a
piece of food from the dog's pan, often when he did not wish to eat it
himself.  As the dog submitted without complaint at first, the raven
would come again and take another piece away, then bring it back just
within reach, and dangle it over the dog's nose.  As soon as he opened
his mouth to catch it, the raven would dart off again out of his reach.

At other times he would hide a piece just beyond the length of the dog's
chain, and then, with a cunning look, perch upon his head.

Yet, mischievous as he was, the bird would never altogether run away
with the quadruped's food, but would after a while return it, with the
exception of any small bit which he might wish to keep for himself.
These tricks in no way offended the good-natured dog.  He showed a
remarkable instance of his affection, when on one occasion the raven
happened to tumble into a tub of water, just beyond his range.  Seeing
the poor bird struggling, he exerted all his strength, and dragged his
heavy kennel forward till he could put his head over the edge of the
tub, when he took the raven up in his mouth and laid him gently on the
ground to recover.


Ravens vie with our brave Arctic explorers in the wide circuit they make
in their wanderings.

When Captain McClure was frozen up in the ice, during his last
expedition to the North Pole, two ravens settled themselves near his
ship, for the sake of obtaining the scraps of food thrown to them by the
seamen.  A dog belonging to the ship, however, regarding their pickings
as an encroachment on his rights, used, as they drew near, to rush
forward and endeavour to seize them with his mouth; but the ravens were
too cunning to be entrapped in that manner.  No sooner were the
mess-tins cleared out than they would approach, and as he sprang after
them, would fly a few yards off, and there keep a sharp eye on his
movements.  Having enticed him to a distance, they would fly rapidly
towards the ship, with a chuckle of satisfaction; and before the dog
arrived, all the best bits had been secured by his cunning rivals.


Magnificent as the eagle is in appearance, he certainly does not, on the
score of intellect, deserve the rank he holds as king of birds.  Except
that he will fight bravely now and then for his young, I know of no good
quality he possesses.

A countryman in the Highlands, to whose farmyard an eagle had paid
several unwelcome visits, carrying off ducklings and chickens,
determined to have his revenge.  Sallying forth, gun in hand, he climbed
up the rocky side of a neighbouring mountain, when he saw, high above
him, the nest of the eagle.  Shouting loudly, he discovered that neither
of the parents were at home.  Taking off his shoes, he was ascending
towards the nest, when, about halfway up, while he was standing on a
ledge, holding on tightly to a rock, he espied a hen eagle rapidly
approaching, with a supply of food in her beak.  Immediately, and with a
terrible scream, she darted towards the intruder.  Unable to defend
himself, he expected to have his eyes torn out, when he let go, and
slipped to a broader ledge.  Again the eagle pounced upon him; and so
close was she, that even then he could not get a shot at her.  In
desperation, he took off his bonnet and threw it at the bird.  She,
seeing it fall, immediately followed it to the foot of the rock.  This
gave him an opportunity of bringing his gun to bear on her.  The shot
took effect, and she fell dead far below him.


What interesting, confiding little birds are the robin redbreasts of our
own dear England!

It was summer-time.  An old lady lay in bed suffering from her last
illness.  The bed was of large size, with a roof and four posts, the
foot of it being not far from the window.  The lattice, with its diamond
panes, was open from morn till eve; and as the old lady thus lay calm
and composed, and often alone, she observed a pair of robins enter by
the window and fly round the corner of the roof of her bed.  Chirruping
to each other, they seemed to agree that just inside of the bed would be
a nice spot for building their nest.  Away they flew, and soon returned
with straws and little sticks.  Thus they quickly had a cozy little nest
constructed in a secure position, which no bird of prey or marauding cat
was likely to reach.

The lady would on no account allow of their being disturbed, and they
had free ingress and egress.  Here the hen laid her eggs, sitting upon
them, while Cock Robin brought her her daily meals.  The eggs were
hatched, and in this happy abode, greatly to the pleasure of the old
lady, their little family was reared; and before she died, they were
fully fledged, and had flown away.


A Duck and drake lived together, as husband and wife should do, in the
bonds of mutual affection.  The poultry-yard being assailed, the drake
was carried off by thieves.  The poor bereaved duck exhibited evident
signs of grief at her loss.  Retiring into a corner, she sat
disconsolate all day.  No longer did she preen herself, as had been her
wont.  Scarcely could she be induced to waddle to the pond, nor would
she touch the food brought to her.  It was thought, indeed, that she
would die.

While in this unhappy condition, a drake, which by the same marauders
had been deprived of his mate, cast his eyes on her, and began to
consider that she might replace his lost companion.  She, however,
instead of offering him encouragement, repelled his advances with
evident disdain.

Search had been made for the thieves; and though they escaped, their
booty was discovered, most of the birds alive and well, and among them
the affectionate duck's lost husband.  On his return to the farmyard,
the loving couple exhibited the liveliest joy at meeting.  She had a
long story to tell, which the drake listened to with stern attention.
No sooner was it finished than he glanced fiercely round the farmyard,
and then, evidently with fell intentions, made his way towards where the
rival drake was digging worms from the soft mud.  His pace quickened as
he approached his antagonist; then, with a loud quack, he flew at him,
brought him to the ground, pecked out first one eye and then the other,
and otherwise assaulted him so furiously, that his unfortunate foe sank
at length lifeless beneath the blows of his strong bill.

While I describe the bad example set by the drake, I must entreat you
not to harbour even for a moment any angry feelings which may arise at
injuries done you.


From the lofty cliffs at the back of the Isle of Wight, numerous
wild-fowl may be seen whirling in rapid flight through the air, now
rising above the green downs, now descending to the blue surface of the
water.  Towards the west end of that romantic island, in a hollow
between the cliffs, is the village of Calbourne.  Here, some time since,
might have been seen, sailing over the village green, Old Phil, one of
the white-winged birds I have described.  Abandoning the wild freedom of
his brethren, he had associated himself with the human inhabitants of
the place.  His chief friend was a grocer, near whose shop he would
alight on a neighbouring wall, and receive with gratitude the bits of
cheese and other dainties which were offered him.  At certain times of
the year, however, he would take his departure, and generally return
with a wife, whom he used to introduce to his old friends, that she
might partake of their hospitality.  Not, indeed, that she would venture
so close to the grocer's shop, even for the sake of the cheese-parings;
but she used to enter the village, and frequently spent her time at a
pond hard by, while Old Phil went to pay his respects to the purveyor of


It is interesting to rear up animals or birds, and to watch their
progress as they gain strength and sense, and thus remark their various
habits and dispositions.  Almost invariably, when kindly treated, they
return the care spent on them by marks of affection, though some exhibit
it in a much less decree than others.

Crows are considered wise birds; but, while understanding how to take
care of themselves, they are not celebrated for their affectionate
disposition.  Still a crow may become fond of its owner.

A gentleman had reared one from the nest, and it had long dwelt with
him, coming at his call, and feeding from his hand.  At length it
disappeared, and he supposed it to have been killed.  About a year
afterwards, as he was out walking one day, he observed several crows
flying overhead; when what was his surprise to see one of them leave the
flock, fly towards him, and perch on his shoulder!  He at once
recognised his old friend, and spoke to it as he had been in the habit
of doing.  The crow cawed in return, but kept carefully beyond reach of
his hand; showing that, having enjoyed a free existence, it did not
intend to submit again to captivity.  A few more caws were uttered.  Its
companions cawed likewise.  The crow understood their call.  Probably
its mate, and perhaps its young ones, were among them.  Glancing towards
them, and with a farewell caw at its old master, it spread its wings and
joined the flock; nor did it ever again return to its former abode.

You will find it far more easy to give up good habits than to get rid of
bad ones.  Be careful therefore to cherish the good ones.  You can never
have too many of them.


The ostrich, which, with its long strides and small wings, traverses the
sandy deserts of Africa at a rapid rate, lifting its head on the
look-out for danger, is generally spoken of as a stupid bird.
Notwithstanding this character, it displays great affection for its
young, and some sense in other matters.  Sometimes a pair may be seen
with a troop of twelve or more young ones, watching all their movements,
and ready to call them away should a foe appear.  Sometimes the young
are not much larger than Guinea-fowls; and as their parents are aware
that the little birds cannot run so fast as they themselves can, they
endeavour, when an enemy comes near, to draw him away from their
charges.  The female generally undertakes this office, while the cock
bird leads the brood in an opposite direction.  Now the hen ostrich
flies off before the horseman, spreading out or drooping her wings.  Now
she will throw herself on the ground before the foe, as if wounded,
again to rise when he gets too near; and then, wheeling about, she tries
to induce him to follow her.  Thus she will proceed, trying similar
devices, till she fancies that she has led her pursuer to a safe
distance from the brood, when, abandoning her former tactics, she will
dash off across the plain, fleet as the wind.


Two blackbirds had built their nest in the thick bough of a tree which
overhung a high paling.  Here they fancied themselves secure from the
prying eyes of idle boys or marauding cats.  The hen laid her eggs in
her new abode, and in due time several fledgelings were hatched, which
her faithful mate assisted her to rear.  While in the full enjoyment of
their happiness, watching over their helpless young ones, they one day
saw what to them appeared a terrific monster--a large cat--leap to the
top of the paling, and begin cautiously creeping along it.  So narrow
was it, however, that even Grimalkin could not venture to move fast.

The parent blackbirds watched him with beating hearts as he crept on and
on, his savage eyes turned up ever and anon when he stepped towards
their nest, where their young ones were chirping merrily, unconscious of
danger.  In another instant he might make his fatal spring, and seize
them in his cruel jaws.  The heart of the tender mother urged her to
risk her own life for the sake of her offspring.  Downward she flew,
uttering loud screams of anger almost within reach of the marauder, but
the narrowness of the paling prevented him from leaping forward and
seizing her in his claws.  The brave father was not behind his mate in
courage.  He too pitched on the top of the fence directly in front of
Grimalkin.  As the cat crept on he retreated, hoping to draw her past
his nest; but the cruel plunderer's eye was too securely fixed on that.
The cock, seeing this, darted with the courage of despair on the back of
his enemy, and assailed him with such fierce and repeated pecks on the
head, that the cat, losing his balance, fell to the ground, and,
astonished at the unexpected attack, scampered off, resolved, I hope,
never again to molest the heroic blackbirds; while they flew back to the
nest they had so bravely defended.


I have often thought, while writing these stories, of a remark made by
one of my boys, whom, when he was a very little fellow, I took to hear a
sermon to children at the Abbey Church of Malvern.  The vicar gave a
number of interesting anecdotes of children who had assisted poor
people, saved up their money for charitable purposes, made collections
for missionary objects; who had died young, happy to go to a better
world, or had been brought to love Jesus at an early age, and had been
the means of inducing their companions to love him too.

My little boy, who was seated in my lap, listened, with eyes fixed on
the preacher, to every word that was said.  At last one or two accounts
were given which seemed to puzzle him greatly, and, casting an inquiring
glance into my face, he whispered,--"Papa, papa! is 'um all true?"

Now, perhaps some of you, my young friends, as you read the stories I
have given you, will be inclined to ask, as did my little boy, "Is 'um
all true?"  I can reply to you, as I did to him, "Oh yes; I believe so."

They are generally thoroughly well authenticated.  A considerable number
have been narrated to me by friends who witnessed the behaviour of the
animals, while several have come under my own observation.

I trust, therefore, my dear young friends, that the narratives I have
given you may not only prove interesting, but that you will learn from
them to pay due respect to all animals, however mean and insignificant
you have been accustomed to think them.  They think and reason in their
way.  They not only suffer bodily pain, but they have feelings in a
remarkable degree like your own; and you must own that it is cruel to
hurt those feelings by ill-treatment or neglect.

It is pleasant to read an interesting book; it is good to remember what
you read, and better still to gain some useful lessons from it.  This, I
hope, you will do from these stories about animals and the teachings
they afford.  I trust, therefore, that you will derive benefit, as well
as amusement, from this little book; and with earnest wishes that you
may do so, I bid you farewell.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Stories of Animal Sagacity" ***

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