ANECDOTES OF ANIMALS
ANECDOTES OF ANIMALS
WITH.PICTVRES.BY PERCY J. BILLINGHVRST.
Amusing Mimic, An 24
Animal Concerts 5
Are Beasts mere Machines? 182
Asking Assistance 166
Ass Castaway, An 184
Bear and Child, The 18
Bear Cubs, The 162
Broken Heart, The 60
Carrier's Dog, A 160
Cat and the Crows, The 30
Catcher Caught, The 154
Charitable Canary, A 148
Child Saved, A 190
Choosing the Least of Two Evils 150
Clever Crow, A 20
Comedy of Elephants, A 64
Crab Fishing 86
Cunning as a Fox 66
Death of Antiochus Revenged, The 78
Deceiving the Fowler 164
Dinner Bell, The 118
Division of Labor 144
Dog and the Goose, The 76
Dog of Montargis, The 84
Dog Sheep-stealer, A 40
Dog Smugglers 168
Dolphin, The 50
Drawing Water 58
Elephant's Revenge, An 104
Elephant Rope Dancing 72
Escape of Jengis Khan 178
Faithful Companion, A 70
Faithful, Though Unloved 68
Faithful unto Death 112
False Alarm, A 188
Filial Duty 38
Fox Chasing 94
Goat, The 92
Going to Market 152
Good Finder, A 52
Grateful Lioness, A 10
Grateful Return, A 138
Heroism of an Irish Hen 32
Honors to the Living and the Dead 108
Horse and Greyhound, The 88
Humane Society, A 172
Just Retaliation 48
Lion and his Keeper 126
Long Lost Found Again 82
Making Sure 16
Mice as Sailors 56
Monkey versus Snake 110
Mother's Affection, A 42
Mother Watching her Young, A 174
Musical Mice 158
Musical Seals 113
Newfoundland Dog, The 6
Noble Perseverance 28
Noble Revenge, A 80
Odd Family, An 49
Old Habits 27
Ostrich Riding 100
Pig Pointer, The 134
Porus Saved by his Elephant 170
Power of Music, The 22
Providential Safe Conduct, A 74
Quarrelsome Apes 186
Rare Honesty 142
Refugee Squirrel, A 176
Remarkable Newsman, A 12
Rights of Hospitality, The 96
Sabinus and his Dog 46
Sharp-witted Bruin 14
Shepherd's Dog, The 34
Shrewd Guesser, A 180
Sly Couple, A 98
Snake Destroyers 156
Sonnini and his Cat 116
Strange Foster Mother, A 114
Strange Mouser, A 44
Strange Playmates 106
Strange Protector, A 124
Strange Rooks 130
Talking Parrot, A 146
Tame Colony, A 161
Tame Hares 132
Tame Seagull, The 122
Usurper Punished, A 128
Watch Dog, The 90
Wise Ourang-Outang 136
Wrens Learning to Sing 140
An abbot, a man of wit, and skilled in the making of new musical instruments, was ordered by Louis XI., king of France, more in jest than earnest, to procure him a concert of swines' voices. The abbot said that the thing could doubtless be done, but it would cost a good deal of money. The king ordered that he should have as much as he required for the purpose. The abbot then contrived as strange a thing as ever was seen. Out of a great number of hogs of various ages, which he got together under a tent, or pavilion, covered with velvet, and before which he had a table of wood painted with a certain number of keys, he made an organical instrument, and as he played upon the keys with little spikes which pricked the hogs, he made them cry in such order and consonance that he highly delighted the king and all his company.
A NEWFOUNDLAND DOG
One of the magistrates in Harbor Grace, in Newfoundland, had an old dog of the regular web-footed species peculiar to that island, who was in the habit of carrying a lantern before his master at night, as steadily as the most attentive servant could do, stopping short when his master made a stop, and going ahead when he was ready to follow.
If his master was away from home, and the command was given "Go fetch thy master," he would at once pick up the lantern, hold it fast between his teeth, and start for the town, which was more than a mile away from the home of his master. He would stop at the door of every house which he knew his master was in the habit of visiting, and laying down his lantern, growl and strike the door making all the noise in his power, until it was opened. If his master was not in the house, he would go on farther in the same way, till he found him. If he had gone with him only once to a house, this was enough to make him take in that house in his rounds.
A magpie belonging to a barber in Rome, could imitate very perfectly almost everything it heard. Some trumpets happened one day to be sounded before the shop, and for a day or two afterward the magpie was quite mute, and seemed sad and melancholy. All who knew it supposed that the sound of the trumpets had so stunned it as to rob it at once of both voice and hearing.
But this was not the case, as very soon appeared. The bird had all this time been studying how to imitate the sound of the trumpets; and when at last master of it, the magpie, to the astonishment of all its friends, suddenly broke its long silence by a perfect imitation of the flourish of trumpets it had heard; repeating with the greatest exactness all the repetitions, stops, and changes. The learning of this lesson, however, so exhausted the magpie's brain that it forgot everything it had known before.
A GRATEFUL LIONESS
A dreadful famine raged at Buenos Ayres, yet the governor, afraid of giving the Indians a habit of spilling Spanish blood, forbade the people, on pain of death, to go into the fields in search of food, and he placed soldiers at all outlets to the country, with orders to fire upon those who should try to disobey him.
However, a woman, called Maldonata, was artful enough to get past the watchful guards, and made her escape. After wandering about the country for a long time, she came upon a cave into which she went. As soon as she was inside, she saw therein a lioness, the sight of which frightened her greatly. She was, however, soon quieted by the caresses of the animal, who in return for a service done for her by the woman, showed every sign of affection and friendliness. She never returned from searching after her own daily food without laying a part of it at the feet of Maldonata, until her cubs were large and strong enough to walk abroad, then she took them out one day and never came back.
Some time after this Maldonata fell into the hands of the Spaniards, and was brought back to Buenos Ayres on the charge of having left the city contrary to orders. The governor, a man of cruelty, condemned the poor woman to a death which none but the most-cruel tyrant could have thought of. He ordered some soldiers to take her out into the country, and leave her tied to a tree, either to die of hunger, or be torn to pieces by the wild beasts. Two days later, he sent the same soldiers to see what had happened to her. To their great surprise, they found her alive and unhurt, though surrounded by lions and tigers, which a lioness at her feet kept at some distance. As soon as the lioness saw the soldiers, she fell back a little, so they were able to unbind Maldonata, who told them the story of this lioness, whom she knew to be the same one she had formerly helped in the cavern. When the soldiers were taking Maldonata away, the lioness fawned upon her, as though unwilling to part from her. The soldiers repeated the story to their commander, who could do no less than pardon the woman who had been so wonderfully protected, or he would have proven himself less humane than the lions themselves.
A REMARKABLE NEWSMAN
One of the carriers of a large newspaper being ill, his son took his place; but, not knowing the subscribers he was to supply, he took for his guide a dog which had usually gone over the route with his father. The animal trotted on ahead of the boy and stopped at every door where the paper was to be left, without making a single mistake, or forgetting anybody.
The captain of a Greenland whaler being anxious to secure a bear, without wounding the skin, made trial of the trick of laying a noose of rope in the snow, and placing a piece of meat within it. A bear, roaming over the ice nearby was soon attracted to the spot by the smell of the dainty morsel. He saw the bait, crept up cautiously, and seized it in his mouth; but his foot at the same time, by a jerk of the rope, became entangled in the noose. He quietly pushed it off with his paw, and walked slowly away. Having eaten the piece he had carried away with him, he returned. The noose, with another piece of meat, having been replaced, he pushed the rope aside, and again walked off with his capture. A third time the noose was laid, but having seen how clever the bear was, the sailors buried the rope beneath the snow, and laid the bait in a deep hole dug in the centre. The bear once more came back, and the sailors thought they were now sure of success. But bruin, much wiser than they expected, after snuffing about the place for a few moments, scraped the snow away with his paws, threw the rope aside once more, and again escaped unhurt with his prize.
During the war between Augustus Caesar and Mark Antony, when all the world stood wondering and uncertain as to which one Fortune would favor, a poor man at Rome, in order to be prepared for making, in either event, a bold move for his own advancement, hit upon the following clever plan. He set himself to the training of two crows with such great care, that at length he had taught them to pronounce with great distinctness, the one a salutation to Caesar, and the other a salutation to Antony.
When Augustus returned the conqueror, the man went out to meet him with the proper crow perched on his fist, and every now and then it kept calling out, "Salve, Caesar, Victor Imperator!" "Hail, Caesar, Conqueror and Imperator!" Augustus, greatly amused and delighted with so novel a greeting, bought the gifted bird of the man for a sum which was so large that it made him rich.
THE BEAR AND THE CHILD
Leopold, Duke of Lorraine, had a bear called Marco, of whose sagacity we have this remarkable story. One cold winter day, a boy, almost frozen with the cold, entered Marco's hut, without thinking of the danger which he ran in thus exposing himself to the mercy of the animal which was in there. Marco, however, instead of doing the child any injury, took him between his paws, and warmed him by pressing him to his breast until the next morning, when he let him go. The boy came back to the hut in the evening, and was received with the same affection. For several days he had no other home, and it added not a little to his joy to see that the bear always saved part of his food for him. A number of days passed in this way without the servants knowing anything of what was going on. At length, when one of them came one day, rather later than usual, to bring the bear his supper, he was greatly surprised to see the huge animal roll his eyes in a furious manner, and act as if he wished him to make as little noise as possible, for fear of awaking the child whom he held clasped to his breast. The animal, though very hungry, did not seem to be the least moved by the sight of the food which was placed before him. The story of this strange incident was soon spread at court, and reached the ears of Leopold; who, with part of his courtiers, was anxious to learn if the tale of Marco's generosity were true. Several of them spent the night near his hut, and saw with astonishment that the bear never stirred as long as his guest showed a desire to sleep. At dawn the child awoke, was very much ashamed to find that he was discovered, and, fearing that he would be punished, begged pardon. The bear, however, caressed him, and tried to get him to eat what had been brought to him the evening before. He did this at the request of the courtiers, who conducted him to the prince. Having learned the whole story, Leopold ordered the little boy to be taken care of, and he would, no doubt, have soon made his fortune, had he not died a short time afterward.
A CLEVER CROW
A carrion crow, seeing on a lawn, a brood of fourteen chickens under the care of a mother-hen, picked up one; but when a young lady opened a window and gave the alarm, the robber dropped his prey. In the course of the day, however, the thief returned, together with thirteen other crows. Then each one seized a chick, and thus the whole brood was carried off at once.
THE POWER OF MUSIC
One Sunday evening, five singers were walking on the banks of a river. After some time, being tired with walking, they sat down on the grass, and began to sing. The field on which they sat was bounded on one side by a wood, out of which, as they were singing, they noticed a hare pass with great swiftness toward the place where they were sitting, and at about twenty yards' distance from them, it stopped. It then seemed greatly delighted with the music, often turning up the side of its head so as to hear more easily. As soon as the singing was over, the hare returned slowly toward the wood. When she had nearly reached the end of the field, the singers began to sing the same piece again. The hare stopped, turned round, and came swiftly back to about the same distance as before, where she seemed to listen with great delight, till they had finished, when she returned again by a slow pace up the field, and entered the wood.
AN AMUSING MIMIC
A priest once brought up an ourang-outang, which became so fond of him that, wherever he went, it always wanted to go with him. Whenever, therefore, he had to perform the service of his church, he was obliged to shut him up in his room. Once, however, the animal got out, and followed the father to the church. Silently mounting the sounding board above the pulpit, he lay perfectly still till the sermon commenced. He then crept to the edge, and looking at the preacher, imitated all his gestures in so amusing a manner that the congregation could not help laughing. The father, surprised and confused by this ill-timed mirth, severely rebuked his audience for their inattention. The reproof failed in its effect; the congregation still laughed, and the preacher in the warmth of his zeal, spoke with still more force and action. The ape mimicked him so exactly that the congregation could no longer restrain itself, but burst out into long and continued laughter. A friend of the preacher at length stepped up to him, and pointed out the cause of this improper conduct; and such was the roguish air of the animal that it was with the utmost difficulty that the preacher himself kept from laughing, while he ordered the servants of the church to take the mischievous ape away.
A famous Scotch lawyer, having cause to visit London, decided to make the journey on horseback rather than by post; for this was before the days of railways. He, therefore, purchased a horse, and on his arrival in London, sold his nag, planning to buy another for the return journey. When he had finished his business, and was ready to set out for home, he went to Smithfield to buy another horse. About dusk, a handsome horse was offered to him at so cheap a rate, that he suspected the animal might not be sound; but as he could not find anything the matter with the horse, he bought it. Next morning he set out on his journey; his horse had excellent paces, and the first few miles, while the road was well frequented, our traveller spent in congratulating himself on his good fortune. On Finchley Common the traveller met a clergyman driving a one-horse chaise. There was nobody within sight, and the horse by his actions plainly showed what had been the business of his former master. Instead of passing the chaise, he laid his breast close up to it, and stopped it, having no doubt that his rider would take advantage of so fair a chance of following his trade. The clergyman, under the same mistake, took out his purse without being asked, and assured the innocent and surprised horseman that it was not necessary to draw his pistol. The traveler drew back his horse with apologies to the gentleman, whom he had unwillingly frightened, and pursued his journey. The horse next made the same suspicious approach to a coach, from the windows of which a blunderbuss was leveled, with threats of death to the rider, who was innocent of all offense in deed or word. In short, after his life had been once or twice endangered by the suspicions to which his horse's conduct gave rise, and his liberty as often threatened by peace officers, who were disposed to seize him as a notorious highwayman, he found himself obliged to part with the animal for a mere trifle, and had to purchase at a dearer rate, a horse of less fine figure and action but of better morals.
Elephants were, of old, employed in India in the launching of ships. It is told of one, that, being directed to force a very large ship into the water, the work proved to much for its strength. Its master, in sarcastic tones bade the keeper take away the lazy beast, and bring another. The poor animal instantly put forth still greater efforts, fractured his skull, and died on the spot.
THE CAT AND THE CROWS
A pair of crows once made their nest in one of the trees that were planted round the garden of a gentleman, who, in his morning walks, was often amused by watching furious combats between the crows and a cat. One morning the battle raged more fiercely than usual, till at last the cat gave way, and took shelter under a hedge, as if to wait a better chance of escaping to the house. The crows continued for a short time to make a threatening noise; but seeing that on the ground they could do nothing more than threaten, one of them lifted a stone from the middle of the garden, and perched with it on a tree planted in the hedge, where she sat, watching the movements of the cat, who, she feared, was after her little ones. As the cat crept along under the hedge, the crow followed her, flying from branch to branch, and from tree to tree; and when at last puss dared to leave her hiding place, the crow, leaving the tree, and hovering over her in the air, let the stone drop from on high on her back.
HEROISM OF AN IRISH HEN
A contest of rather an unusual nature took place in the house of an innkeeper in Ireland. The parties engaged were a hen of the game species and a rat of middle size. The hen, in a walk round a spacious room, accompanied by an only chicken, the last one left of a large brood, was roused to madness by an attack made by a fierce rat on her helpless little one. The frightened cries of her beloved little chick, while it was being dragged away by the rat, awoke all the mother-love in the bosom of the hen. She flew at the corner whence he had taken her child, seized him by the neck, dragged him about the room, put out one of his eyes, and so tired him by repeated attacks of spur and bill, that in the space of twelve minutes, during which time the conflict lasted, she killed the rat, nimbly turned round in triumph to her frightened nestling, and lovingly sheltered it beneath her protecting wings.
THE SHEPHERD'S DOG
James Hogg, the shepherd poet, had a dog named Sirrah, who was for many years his sole companion. He was, the shepherd says, the best dog he ever saw, in spite of his surly manners and unattractive appearance. The first time he saw the dog, a drover was leading him by a rope, and, although hungry and lean, "I thought," Hogg tells us, "I saw a sort of sullen intelligence in his face, so I gave the drover a guinea for him. I believe there was never a guinea so well spent. He was scarcely a year old then, and knew nothing of herding; but as soon as he found out that it was his duty to do so, I can never forget with what eagerness he learned. He would try every way till he found out what I wanted him to do; and when once I made him understand a direction, he never forgot or mistook it again."
About seven hundred lambs, which were at once under Mr. Hogg's care, broke up at midnight, and scampered off in three divisions across the hills, in spite of all that the shepherd and an assistant lad could do to keep them together. "Sirrah," cried the shepherd, in great alarm, "my man, they're awa." The night was so dark that he did not see Sirrah, but the faithful dog had heard his master's words, and without more ado he set off in quest of the flock. The shepherd and his companion spent the whole of the night in scouring the hills, but of neither lambs nor Sirrah could they obtain the slightest trace. "We had nothing for it," says the shepherd, "but to return to our master and tell him that we had lost his whole flock of lambs. On our way home, however, we came suddenly upon a body of lambs at the bottom of a deep ravine, and in front of them was sitting Sirrah, who was looking around for help. We decided that here was at least one of the divisions which Sirrah had managed to collect; but what was our astonishment when we discovered that not one of the whole flock was missing. How he had got all the divisions together in the dark is beyond my comprehension. I never felt so grateful to any creature under the sun as I did to my honest Sirrah that morning."
An innkeeper once sent, as a present to a friend, a dog and cat that had been companions for more than ten months. The carrier took them, tied up in a bag. A short time after the dog and cat set out together, and returned to their old home, a distance of thirteen miles. They jogged along the road side by side, and on one occasion the dog gallantly defended his fellow-traveller from the attack of another dog they met.
A surgeon's mate on board a ship relates that while he was lying awake one evening, he saw a rat come into his berth, and after looking carefully about the place, go away with the greatest care and silence. Soon after it returned, leading by the ear another rat, which it left at a small distance from the hole by which they had entered. A third rat joined this kind conductor; they then foraged about, and picked up all the small scraps of biscuit; these they carried to the second rat, which seemed blind, and staid right on the spot where they had left it, nibbling such food as its faithful friends, whom the story-teller thinks were its children, brought to it from the more remote parts of the room.
A DOG SHEEP-STEALER
A shepherd, who was hung for sheep-stealing, used to commit the robberies by means of his dog. Whenever he wished to steal any sheep, he sent the dog to do the business. He would visit a flock of sheep, looking them over, as if he intended buying some. The dog was always by his side, and to him he gave a signal secretly, whenever he saw any particular sheep he wanted. Sometimes he would pick out ten or twelve from a flock of some hundreds. Dog and man then went away, and from a distance of several miles, the dog would be sent back by himself in the night time. The wise creature picked out the very sheep the man had selected, separated them from the rest of the flock, and drove them before him, often a distance of ten or twelve miles, till he came up with his master, to whom he delivered them up.
A MOTHER'S AFFECTION
While a ship on a voyage of discovery to the North Pole was locked in the ice, one morning the man at the masthead reported that three bears were making their way toward the vessel. They had, no doubt, been attracted by the scent of some blubber of a sea-horse which the crew was burning on the ice at the time. They proved to be a mother bear and her two cubs; but the cubs were nearly as large as their mother. They ran eagerly to the fire, drew out the part of the flesh that remained unburned, and ate it greedily. The crew threw great lumps of the flesh upon the ice, and the old bear carried them away, one by one, laying a lump before each of her cubs, as she brought it, and thus dividing it, keeping only a small share for herself. As she was carrying off the last piece, the sailors shot both the cubs dead and wounded the mother, but not fatally. It would have touched the heart of all but the most unfeeling had they seen the affectionate concern of this poor animal in the dying moments of her young. Though terribly wounded herself, she crawled to the place where they lay, carrying a lump of flesh with her. She tore the lump in pieces, and laid it before them. When she saw that they refused to eat, she laid her paws first upon one, then upon the other, and tried to raise them up, moaning meanwhile most pitifully. Finding she could not stir them, she went off, and when she had gone some distance, looked back and moaned, and called them. As that did not seem to entice them away, she crawled back, and smelling round them, began to lick their wounds. She went off a second time a few paces, looked behind her again, and for some time stood moaning and calling. As the cubs did not rise to follow her, she returned once more, and with signs of inexpressible fondness went round them, caressing them with her paws. Finding at last that they were cold and lifeless, she raised her head toward the ship, and growled a curse upon their murderers, which they returned with a volley of musket balls. She fell between her cubs, and died licking their wounds.
A STRANGE MOUSER
A gentleman once owned a hen that was a fine mouser. She was seen constantly watching close to a corn rick, and the moment a mouse appeared, she seized it in her beak, and carried it to a meadow near by, where she would play with it like a young cat for some time, and then kill it. She has been known to catch four or five mice a day in this manner.
SABINUS AND HIS DOG
After the execution of Sabinus, the Roman general, who was put to death because of his attachment to the family of Germanicus, his body was left lying unburied upon the precipice of the Gemoniae, as a warning to all who should dare to befriend the house of Germanicus. No friend had the courage to go near the body; one only remained true—his faithful dog. For three days the animal continued to watch the body, his mournful howling awakening the sympathy of every heart. Food was brought to him, and he was kindly coaxed to eat it; but on taking the bread, instead of eating it himself, he fondly laid it on his master's mouth and renewed his howling. Days thus passed, but not for a single moment did he leave the body.
The body was at length thrown into the Tiber, and the loving creature, still unwilling that it should perish, leaped into the water after it, and clasping the corpse between its paws, vainly tried to keep it from sinking.
A JUST RETALIATION
A tame elephant kept by a merchant was allowed to go at large. The animal used to walk about the streets in as quiet and familiar a manner as any of the people, and took great pleasure in visiting the shops, especially those which sold herbs and fruit, where he was well received, except by a couple of brutal cobblers, who, without any cause, took offense at the generous creature, and once or twice tried to wound his trunk with their awls. The noble animal, who knew it was beneath him to crush them, did not hesitate to punish them by other means. He filled his large trunk with water, not of the cleanest quality, and advancing to them, as usual, covered them all at once with the very dirty flood. The fools were laughed at, and the punishment applauded.
AN ODD FAMILY
A gentleman travelling through Mecklenburg relates the following curious incident which happened at an inn at which he was staying. After dinner, the landlord placed on the floor a large dish of soup, and then gave a loud whistle. At once there came into the room a mastiff, a fine Angora cat, an old raven, and a remarkably large rat, with a bell about its neck. These four animals went to the dish, and without disturbing one another, fed together. After they had eaten, the dog, cat, and rat lay before the fire, and the raven hopped about the room.
In the reign of Augustus Caesar there was, in the Lucrine lake, a dolphin which formed a most romantic attachment to the son of a poor man. The boy had to go every day from Baiae to Puteoli to school, and such were the friendly terms on which he had got with the dolphin, that he had only to wait by the banks of the lake and cry, "Simo, Simo"—the name he had given to the animal, when, lo! Simo came scudding to the shore, let fall the sharp prickles of his skin, and gently offered his back for the boy to mount upon. The boy, nothing afraid, used to mount at once, and the dolphin, without either rein or spur, would speed across the sea to Puteoli, and after landing the young scholar, wait about the shore till it was time for the boy to go home, when it would again perform the same sort of friendly service. The boy was not ungrateful for such great kindness, and used every day to bring a good store of food for Simo, which the animal would take from his hand in the most tame and kindly manner imaginable. For several years this friendly intercourse was kept up. It was, in fact, only ended by the death of the boy. As the story goes, the dolphin felt so badly when the lad failed to come as usual, that it threw itself on the shore, and died, as was thought, of very grief and sorrow at the loss of its friend.
A GOOD FINDER
One day a tradesman, walking with a friend, offered to wager that if he were to hide a five-shilling piece in the dust, his dog would find it and bring it to him. The wager was accepted, and the piece of money marked and hidden. When the two had gone on some distance, the tradesman called to his dog that he had lost something, and told him to seek it. The dog turned back at once, and his master and his friend went on their way. Meanwhile a traveller, driving a small chaise, saw the piece of money which his horse had kicked from its hiding-place, alighted, took it up and drove to his inn. The dog had just reached the spot in search of the lost piece, when the stranger picked it up. He followed the chaise, went into the inn, and, having scented the coin in the pocket of the traveller, he kept leaping up at him. Supposing him to be some dog that had lost his master, the traveller took these actions as marks of affection, and as the animal was handsome, decided to keep him. He gave him a good supper, and on retiring, took him with him to his room. But no sooner had he pulled off his trousers than they were seized by the dog. The owner, thinking that the dog only wanted to play with them, took them away. The animal began to bark at the door, which the traveller opened, thinking the animal wanted to go out. The dog snatched up the trousers, and away he went, the traveller, with his nightcap on, posting after him. The dog ran full speed to his master's house, followed by the stranger, who accused the dog of robbing him. "Sir," said the master, "my dog is a very faithful creature; and if he ran away with your trousers, it is because you have in them money which does not belong to you." The traveller became still more angry. "Keep calm, sir," answered the other, smiling; "no doubt there is in your purse a five-shilling piece which you picked up in the road, and which I hid, knowing my dog would bring it back. This was the reason for the robbery which he committed upon you." The stranger said he had found such a coin, gave it up to the man, and went on his way. But the clever dog had thus proven himself to be a good finder.
A wild stork was brought by a farmer into his poultry yard, to be the companion of a tame one, which he had long kept there; but the tame stork, disliking a rival, fell upon the poor, wild stranger, and beat him so terribly that he took wing and flew off.
About four months afterwards, however, his injuries having all healed, he returned to the poultry yard, with three other storks, who no sooner alighted than they all together fell upon the tame stork, and killed it.
MICE AS SAILORS
Although there are few who would dispute the cleverness and sagacity of the larger animals, it is doubtful if there are many who credit the mouse with even average intelligence. The following instance may go far to raise our humble friend in the popular estimation; more especially as the story is told by one who really saw the whole performance. In a country where berries are scarce, these little animals were obliged to cross a river to make their forages. In returning with their booty to their homes, they had to recross the stream; in doing which they showed an ingenuity little short of marvelous. The party, which consisted of five, selected a water-lily leaf, on which they placed their berries in a heap in the middle; then, by their united force, they brought it to the water's edge, and after launching it, jumped on it, and placed themselves round the heap, with their heads joined over it, and their backs to the water. In this manner they drifted down the stream until they reached the opposite shore, when they unloaded their cargo, and stored it away for the coming rainy day.
Some years ago, a donkey was employed at Carisbrook Castle, in the Isle of Wight, in drawing water by means of a large wheel from a very deep well, thought to have been sunk by the Romans. When the keeper wanted water, he would say to the donkey, "Tom, my boy, I want water; get into the wheel, my lad." Thomas, thereupon, got in, with a speed and wisdom that would have done credit to a nobler animal. No doubt he knew the exact number of times the wheel had to turn upon its axis to bring up the bucket, because every time he brought it to the surface of the well, he stopped and turned round his honest head to note the moment when his master laid hold of the bucket to draw it toward him, because he had then a nice turn to make either to draw back, or to go ahead a little. It was pleasing to see with what steadiness and regularity the poor animal did his work.
THE BROKEN HEART
During the French Revolution M. des R——, an ancient magistrate and most estimable man, was condemned to die on the charge of conspiracy, and was thrown into prison. M. des R—— had a water spaniel, which had been brought up by him, and was always with him. Shut out of the prison, he returned to his master's house, and found it closed. He then took refuge with a neighbor. Every day at the same hour, the dog left the house, and went straight to the door of the prison, where he whined mournfully. He was refused admittance, but each day he spent an hour before the door, and then went away. His fidelity at last won over the porter, and one day he was allowed to enter. The dog saw his master and clung to him. The jailer could hardly drive him away. He came back the next morning, and every day; once each day he was admitted. He licked the hand of his friend, looked him in the face, again licked his hand, and went away of his own accord.
After the execution, at which the dog was present, he walked by the side of the corpse to its burial place, and after the ceremony laid himself upon the grave. There he passed the first night, the next day, and the next night. The neighbor, in the meantime, unhappy at not seeing him, went in search of his friend, and found him by his master's grave. He caressed him and made him eat a little food. He even coaxed the faithful creature away for a few moments, but he soon returned to his master's grave. Three months passed. The dog came each morning to get his food, and then returned to the grave. Each day he was more sad, more lean, more feeble. He was chained up, but broke his fetters; escaped; returned to the grave, and never left it more. It was in vain that they tried to get him back. They carried him food, but he ate no longer. For hours he was seen digging up with his weakened limbs the earth that separated him from his beloved master. Passion gave him strength, and at last he was near to the body. Then his faithful heart gave way, and he breathed out a last gasp, as if he knew he had found his master.
An elephant, from some motive of revenge, killed his mahout, or driver. The man's wife, who beheld the dreadful scene, took her two children, and threw them at the feet of the angry animal, saying, "Since you have slain my husband, take my life also, and that of my children." The elephant instantly became calm looked at them a moment, and then, as if stung with remorse, took up the eldest boy with his trunk, placed him on his neck, adopted him for his driver, and would never afterwards allow any other person to mount him.
A COMEDY OF ELEPHANTS
In a play exhibited at Rome, in the reign of Tiberius, there were twelve elephant performers, six male and six female, all fixed up in fancy costumes. After they had, at the command of their keeper, danced and performed a thousand curious antics, a most sumptuous feast was served up for their refreshment. The table was covered with all sorts of dainties and golden goblets filled with the most precious wines. Couches covered with purple carpets were placed around for the animals to lie upon, after the manner of the Romans when feasting, and on these couches the elephants laid themselves down. At a given signal they reached out their trunks to the table, and fell to eating and drinking with as much propriety as if they had been so many men and women.
CUNNING AS A FOX
An American gentleman was hunting foxes, accompanied by two bloodhounds. The dogs were soon in scent, and followed a fox nearly two hours, when suddenly they appeared at fault. The gentleman came up with them near a large log lying upon the ground, and was much surprised to find them taking a circuit of a few rods without an object, every trace of the game seeming to have been lost, while they still kept yelping. On looking round about himself, he saw sly Reynard stretched upon the log, as still as if he were dead. The master made several efforts to direct the attention of his dogs toward the fox, but failed. At last he went so near the artful creature that he could see it breathe. Even then no alarm was shown; and the gentleman, seizing a club, aimed a blow at him, which Reynard evaded by a leap from his strange hiding-place, having thus for a time effectually eluded his greedy pursuers.
FAITHFUL THOUGH UNLOVED
A gentleman once owned a mastiff which guarded the house and yard, but had never any particular attention from his master. One night, as his master was retiring to his room, attended by his valet, an Italian, the mastiff silently followed him upstairs, something which he had never been before known to do, and to his master's astonishment, came into his bedroom. He was at once turned out; but the poor animal began scratching violently at the door, and howled loudly for admission. The servant was sent to drive him away; but again he returned, and seemed more anxious than before to be let in. Getting tired of his barking, the gentleman bade the servant open the door, that they might see what it was the animal wanted to do. As soon as he was let in the dog walked to the bed, and crawling under it, laid himself down as if intending to spend the night there. To save farther trouble, this was allowed. About midnight the chamber door opened, and some one was heard stepping carefully across the floor. The gentleman started from his sleep; the dog sprang from his covert, and seizing the unwelcome intruder, fixed him to the spot. All was dark, and the gentleman rang his bell in great fear in order to procure a light. The person who was pinned to the floor by the courageous mastiff was roaring for assistance. It was found to be the valet, who little expected such a reception. He tried to apologize for his intrusion, and to make the reasons which led him to take this step appear plausible; but the importunity of the dog, the time, the place, the manner of the valet, all raised the suspicions of his master, and he determined to refer the investigation of the business to a magistrate. The Italian at length confessed that it was his intention to murder his master and then rob the house. This he would surely have done, had it not been for the great wisdom of the dog and his wonderful friendship for a master who had never treated him with the kindness that he should have done.
A FAITHFUL COMPANION
A gardener, in removing some rubbish one day, found two ground toads of uncommon size, weighing no less than seven pounds. While he was watching them, he was surprised to see that one of them got upon the back of the other, and then both moved slowly over the ground toward a place of retreat. Upon further examination he found that the one on the back of the other had been badly wounded by a blow from his spade, and was thus unable to get back to its home without the help of its friend.
ELEPHANT ROPE DANCING
The ease with which the elephant is taught to perform the most difficult feats forms a remarkable contrast to its huge size and clumsiness. Aristotle tells us that in ancient times elephants were taught by their keepers to throw stones at a mark, to cast up arms in the air, and catch them again on their fall; and to dance, not merely on the earth, but on the rope. The first, according to the historian Suetonius, who exhibited elephant rope dancers, was Galba at Rome. The manner of teaching them to dance on the ground was simple enough (simply music and a very hot floor); but we are not told how they were taught to skip the rope, or whether it was the tight or the slack rope, or how high the rope was. The silence of history on these points is fortunate for the dancers of the present day; since, but for this, their fame might have been utterly eclipsed. Elephants may, in the days of old Rome, have been taught to dance on a rope, but when was an elephant ever known to skip on a rope over the heads of an audience, or to caper amidst a blaze of fire fifty feet aloft in the air? What would Aristotle have thought of his dancing elephants if he had seen some of the elephants who perform to-day?
A PROVIDENTIAL SAFE CONDUCT
A traveller tells a singular anecdote of a lion, which he says was told to him by a very credible person. About the year 1614 or 1615, two Christian slaves at Morocco made their escape, travelling by night, and hiding themselves in the tops of trees during the day, their Arab pursuers often passing them by. One night, while travelling along, they were much astonished and alarmed to see a great lion close by them, walking when they walked and standing still when they did. Thinking this a safe conduct sent to them by Providence, they took courage and travelled in the daytime in company with the lion. The horsemen who had been sent in pursuit came up, and would have seized upon them, but the lion interposed, and they were allowed to pass on. Every day these poor slaves met with some one or other person who wanted to seize them, but the lion was their protector until they reached the sea coast in safety, when he left them.
THE DOG AND THE GOOSE
A goose was once observed to attach itself in the strongest and most affectionate manner to the house dog, but never offered to go into the kennel except in rainy weather. Whenever the dog barked, the goose would cackle, and run at the person she supposed the dog barked at, and try to bite him by the heels. She would sometimes try to feed with the dog, but this the dog, who treated his faithful companion with indifference, would not allow. This bird would not go to roost with the others at night, unless she was driven by main force; and when in the morning they were all turned into the field, she would never stir from the yard gate, but sit there the whole day in sight of the dog. At length orders were given that she should not longer be molested. Being thus left to herself, she ran about the yard with him all night and what is most strange, whenever the dog went out of the yard and ran into the village, the goose always went with him, managing to keep up with him by the help of her wings, and thus running and flying, followed him all over the town. This strange affection of the goose for the dog, which continued till his death, two years after it was first noticed, is supposed to have been due to the fact, that once, in her very young days, he had saved her from a fox.
While the dog was ill, the goose never left him, day or night, not even to feed, and she would surely have starved to death had not a pan of corn been set every day close to the kennel. At this time the goose generally sat in the kennel, and would not allow any one to come near it, except the person who brought the dog's or her own food. The end of this faithful bird was very sad; for when the dog died, she would still keep possession of the kennel. A new house dog was bought, which in size and color so resembled the one lately lost that the poor goose was unhappily deceived, and going into the kennel as usual, the new dog seized her by the throat and killed her.
THE DEATH OF ANTIOCHUS REVENGED
When Antiochus was killed in battle by Centaretrius the Galatian, the victor exultingly leaped on the back of the fallen king's horse; but he had no sooner done so, than the animal, as if sensible that it was bestridden by the slayer of its master, at once showed signs of the greatest fury, and bounding forward to the top of a lofty rock, with a speed which defied every attempt of Centaretrius to disengage himself, leaped with him over the precipice, at the foot of which both were found dashed to pieces. Thus did the noble horse revenge his master's death.
A NOBLE REVENGE
A young man, anxious to get rid of his dog, took it along with him to the river. He hired a boat, and rowing out into the stream, threw the animal in. The poor creature tried to climb up the sides of the boat, but his master, whose wish was to drown him, kept on pushing him back into the water with the oar. In doing this, he fell into the water himself, and would certainly have been drowned, had not the dog, as soon as he saw his master struggling helplessly in the stream, allowed the boat to float away, seized his master's coat, and held him above water till help came, and his life was saved.
LONG LOST FOUND AGAIN
A female elephant belonging to a gentleman in Calcutta broke loose from her keeper, and was lost in the woods. The excuses which the keeper made were not admitted. It was supposed that he had sold the elephant; his wife and family therefore were sold for slaves, and he himself was condemned to work upon the roads.
About twelve years after, this man was ordered into the country to assist in catching wild elephants. The keeper fancied he saw his long-lost elephant in a group that was before them. He was determined to go up to it; nor could the strongest arguments as to the danger of such a risk keep him from his purpose. When he came near the creature, she knew him, and giving him three salutes by waving her trunk in the air, knelt down and received him on her back. She afterwards helped in securing the other elephants, and likewise brought her three young ones. The keeper recovered his reputation; and, as a recompense for his sufferings and bravery, had a certain sum of money settled on him for life.
THE DOG OF MONTARGIS
A Frenchman of family and fortune, travelling alone through a forest, was murdered and buried under a tree. His dog, an English bloodhound, would not leave his master's grave till at length, compelled by hunger, he went to the house of a friend of his master's, and by his mournful howling seemed trying to make him know that something had happened. He repeated his cries, ran to the door, looked back to see if any one followed him, went back to his master's friend, pulled him by the sleeve, and with a great deal of earnestness seemed begging him to follow.
Struck by these actions, the company decided to follow the dog, who led them to a tree where he began scratching the earth and howling. On digging, the body of the unhappy man was found.
Some time after, the dog accidentaly met the murderer, instantly seized him by the throat, and was with the greatest difficulty compelled to loose his hold. As the dog continued to follow and attack the man, though kind and gentle to all others, his actions began to attract notice and comment.
At last the affair reached the king's ear. He sent for the dog, who seemed very gentle till he saw the murderer, when he ran at him fiercely, growling and snapping at him as usual.
The king, struck with the strange behavior of the noble animal, decided to refer the decision to the chance of battle. In other words, he gave orders for a combat between the assassin and the dog. The lists were appointed, and the man was allowed for his weapon a great cudgel.
An empty cask was given to the dog as a place of retreat, to give him a chance to recover his breath. The dog, finding himself at liberty ran round his adversary, avoiding his blows, and threatening him on every side, till his strength was exhausted; then springing forward, he gripped him by the throat, threw him on the ground, and made him confess before the king and the whole court. The assassin was afterward convicted and beheaded.
The following is an instance of the wonderful cunning shown by the Raccoon. It is very fond of crabs, and when in quest of them, will stand by the side of a swamp, and hang its tail over into the water. The crabs, mistaking the tail for food, are sure to lay hold of it; and as soon as the sly beast feels them pinch, he pulls them out with a sudden jerk. He then takes them to a little distance from the water's edge, and in eating them, is careful to get them crossways in his mouth, lest he should suffer from their nippers.
THE HORSE AND GREYHOUND
Various have been the opinions upon the difference of speed between a well-bred greyhound and a racehorse, if opposed to each other. Wishes had been often expressed by the sporting world that some standard could be adopted by which the superiority of speed could be fairly ascertained, when the following incident happened, and afforded some information upon what had before been considered a matter of great uncertainty. In the month of December, 1800 a match was to have been run over Doncaster racecourse for one hundred guineas, but one of the horses being withdrawn, a mare started alone, that by running the ground she might ensure the wager. After having run about a mile in the four, she was joined by a greyhound, which leaped into the course from one side, and entering into the competition, continued to race with the mare for the other three miles, keeping nearly head and head, and affording an excellent treat to the field by the energetic exertions of each. At passing the distance post five to four was bet in favor of the greyhound; when parallel with the stand it was even betting, and any person might have taken his choice from five to ten. The mare, however, had the advantage by a head at the end of the race.
THE WATCH DOG
A thief who had broken into the shop of Cellini, the artist, and was breaking open the caskets in order to get at some jewels, was arrested in his progress by a dog, against whom he found it a difficult matter to defend himself with a sword. The faithful animal ran to the room where the journeymen slept, but as they did not seem to hear him barking, he drew away the bed-clothes, and pulling them alternately by the arms, forcibly woke them; then barking very loud, he showed the way to the thief, and went on before; but the men would not follow him, and at last they locked their door. The dog, having lost all hopes of the assistance of these men, undertook the task alone, and ran downstairs. He could not find the villain in the shop, but instantly rushing into the street came up with him, and tearing off his cloak, would have treated him according to his deserts if the fellow had not called to some tailors in the neighborhood, and begged them to help him. They came to his aid, and drove the poor animal away.
A gentleman who had taken an active part in the rebellion of 1715, after the battle of Preston escaped into the West Highlands, where a lady, a near relative, gave him a hiding-place. A faithful servant conducted him to the mouth of a cave and gave him an abundant store of food. The fugitive crept in at a low opening, dragging his stores along. When he reached a wider and higher place, he found some obstacle before him. He drew his dirk, but unwilling to strike, lest he might take the life of a companion in hiding, he stooped down, and found a goat with her kid stretched on the ground. He soon saw that the animal was in great pain, and feeling her body and limbs, found that her leg was broken. He bound it up with his garter, and offered her a share of the bread beside him; but she put out her tongue, as if to tell him that her mouth was parched with thirst. He gave her water, which she drank readily, and then ate some bread. After midnight he ventured out of the cave. All was still. He plucked an armful of grass and cut some tender twigs, which the goat accepted with signs of great joy and thankfulness. The prisoner took a great deal of comfort in having a living creature in his dungeon, and he caressed and fed her tenderly. The man who was trusted to bring him supplies fell sick; and when another tried to enter the cavern, the goat furiously opposed him, presenting her horns in all directions, till the fugitive, hearing a disturbance, came forward. The new attendant gave the watchword, and so the prisoner knew he was all right. He spoke to the goat, and she obeyed him, and allowed the servant to enter. The gentleman was sure that had a band of soldiers attacked the cavern, his grateful patient would have died in his defense.
During a fox hunt, Reynard, being hard pressed, had to take refuge up the chimney of a hot house. He was followed by one of the hounds, who, passing through a flue nearly fifty feet in length, came out at the top of the chimney, but in some way missed Reynard in its dark recesses. By this time a number of people were collected at the top of the chimney. They let down a terrier, who, holding fast by his brush, soon drove him out.
THE RIGHTS OF HOSPITALITY
A native Moor who went to hunt the lion, having gone far into the forest, happened to meet with two lion's cubs that came to caress him. The hunter stopped with the little animals, and waiting for the coming of the father or mother, took out his breakfast and gave them a part. The lioness arrived unseen by the huntsman, so that he had not time, or perhaps wanted the courage to take his gun. After having for some time looked at the man that was thus feasting her young, the lioness went away, and soon afterward returned, bearing with her a sheep, which she laid at the huntsman's feet.
The Moor, thus become one of the family, took this occasion of making a good meal, skinned the sheep, made a fire, and then roasted a part, giving the entrails to the young. The lion in his turn came also; and, as if respecting the rights of hospitality, he showed no tokens whatever of ferocity. Their guest the next day, having finished his provisions, returned, and resolved never more to kill any of those animals, the noble generosity of which he had so fully proven. He stroked and caressed the cubs at taking leave of them, and the mother and father went with him till he was safely out of the forest.
A SLY COUPLE
A gentleman in the county of Stirling kept a greyhound and a pointer, and being fond of coursing, the pointer was accustomed to find the hares, and the greyhound to catch them. When the season was over, it was found that the dogs were in the habit of going out by themselves, and killing hares for their own amusement. To prevent this, a large iron ring was fastened to the pointer's neck by a leather collar, and allowed to hang down so as to prevent the dog from running or jumping over ditches and dykes. The animals, however, continued to stroll out into the fields together; and one day the gentleman, suspecting that they were up to some sort of mischief, decided to watch them. To his surprise, he found that the moment when they thought no one was looking at them, the greyhound took up the iron ring in his mouth, and carrying it, they set off to the hills, and began to search for hares as usual. They were followed, and it was discovered that whenever the pointer scented the hare, the ring was dropped, and the greyhound stood ready to pounce upon the poor little creature the moment the other drove her from her form, but that he always came back to help his friend after he had caught his prey.
A gentleman tells how, during the time he was living at Podor, a French factory on the banks of the river Niger, there were two ostriches, though young, of gigantic size, which afforded him a very remarkable sight. "They were," he says, "so tame that two little blacks mounted both together on the back of the largest. No sooner did he feel their weight, than he began to run as fast as possible, and carried them several times round the village, as it was impossible to stop him otherwise than by putting something in the path. This sight pleased me so much, that I was anxious to have it repeated, and to try their strength, directed a full-grown negro to mount the smaller and the two boys the larger. This burden did not seem at all too much for their strength. At first they went at a fairly sharp trot, but when they became heated a little, they expanded their wings as though to catch the wind, and moved with such fleetness that they scarcely seemed to touch the ground. Most people have, at one time or another, seen a partridge run; and therefore know that there is no man whatever able to keep up with it; and it is easy to imagine, that if this bird had a longer step, its speed would be much greater. The ostrich moves much like the partridge, with this advantage; and I am satisfied that those I am speaking of, would have distanced the fleetest racehorses that were ever bred in England. It is true they would not hold out as long as a horse; but they would undoubtedly go over a given space in less time. I have often seen this performance, and it gives one an idea of the wonderful strength of an ostrich, and shows of what use it might be, did we but know how to break and manage it as we do a horse."
A fawn that was drinking in a park, was suddenly pounced upon by one of the swans, that pulled the animal into the water, and held it under till it was drowned. This cruel deed was noticed by the other deer in the park, and did not go long unrevenged; for shortly after this the very swan, which had never till this time been molested by the deer, was singled out when on land one day, and furiously attacked by the herd, which closed around the cruel swan, and soon killed it.
AN ELEPHANT'S REVENGE
Persons who have the care of elephants have often noticed that they know very well when any one is making fun of them, and that they very often revenge themselves when they have an opportunity. A painter wished to draw an elephant in the menagerie at Paris, and wanted to get the animal in a ridiculous attitude, which was with his trunk lifted up and his mouth open.
To make the elephant keep this position, an attendant threw fruit and nuts into the open mouth, but sometimes he only pretended to throw them. This made the animal very angry, and as if knowing that the painter rather than his servant was the one to blame, he finally turned to him and dashed a quantity of water from his trunk over the paper on which the painter was sketching his portrait.
A little girl about three years of age was noticed for a number of days going a considerable distance from the house with a piece of bread her mother had given her. This attracted the attention of the mother, who asked the father to follow the child, and find out what she did with the bread. On coming to the child, he found her busy at work feeding several snakes of the species of rattlesnakes called yellow heads. He quickly took her away, went to the house for his gun, and returning, killed two of them at one shot, and another a few days afterward. The child called these snakes as you would call chickens, and when her father told her if she let them come so near her, they would bite her, she replied, "No, they won't bite. They only eat the bread I give them."
HONORS TO THE LIVING AND THE DEAD
The people of Athens, when they had finished the temple, called Hecatompedon, set at liberty the beasts of burden that had been chiefly engaged in that work, allowing them to pasture at large, free from all further service. It is said that one of these animals afterward came of its own accord to work, and putting itself at the head of the laboring cattle, marched before them to the citadel. The people were pleased with this action, and said that the animal should be kept at public expense as long as it lived. Many people have shown particular marks of regard in burying animals which they have cherished and been fond of. The graves of Cimon's mares, with which he thrice conquered at the Olympic games, are still to be seen near his own tomb. Xanthippus, whose dog swam by the side of his galley to Salamis, when the Athenians were forced to abandon their city, afterward buried it with great pomp upon a promontory, which to this day is called the Dog's Grave. In Pliny, we have an amusing account of a superb funeral ceremony, which took place during the reign of Claudius; in which the illustrious departed was no other than a crow, so celebrated for its talents and address, that it was looked upon as a sort of public property. Its death was felt as a national loss; the man who killed it was condemned to expiate the crime with his own life; and nothing less than a public funeral could, as it was thought, do justice to its memory. The remains of the bird were laid on a bier, which was borne by two slaves; musicians went before it, playing mournful airs; and a great crowd of people of all ages and conditions, brought up the rear of the melancholy procession.
MONKEY VERSUS SNAKE
The monkeys in India, knowing by instinct how dangerous snakes are, are most vigilant in their destruction. They seize them by the neck, when asleep, and running to the nearest flat stone, grind down their heads by a strong friction on the surface, often looking at them, and grinning at their progress. When sure that the poisonous fangs are destroyed, they toss the reptiles to their young ones to play with, and seem to be greatly pleased at the death of their enemies.
FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH
A dog, between the breed of a mastiff and a bulldog, belonging to a chimney sweeper, lay, according to his master's orders, on a soot bag, which he had placed, carelessly, almost in the middle of a narrow back street, in a town in the south of England. A loaded cart passing by, the driver told the dog to move out of the way. When he refused to move, he was scolded, then beaten, first gently, and afterward pretty hard with the cart whip. But it was all to no purpose; the dog still lay quietly on the bag. The driver, with an oath, threatened to drive over the dog—he did so, and the faithful animal, in trying to stop the wheel by biting it, was crushed to pieces.
Seals have a very delicate sense of hearing, and are much delighted with music. A gentleman, in his account of a voyage to Spitzenbergen, tells us that the son of the ship's captain who was very fond of playing on the violin, never failed to have a large audience when in the seas frequented by these animals; and he has seen them follow the ship for miles when any person was playing on deck.
A STRANGE FOSTER MOTHER
On an estate in Scotland a terrier had a litter of pups, which were at once taken away from her and drowned. The unfortunate mother was very unhappy, until, a few weeks later, she saw a brood of ducklings, which she seized and carried to her house, where she kept them, following them in and out with the greatest care, and nursing them after her own fashion, with the most affectionate anxiety. When the ducklings, following their natural instinct, went into the water, their foster-mother was terribly alarmed; and as soon as they came back to land, she quickly snatched them up in her mouth, and ran home with them. What is still more strange is, that the same animal, when her litter of pups were taken away the year before, seized two chicks, which she brought up with the same care she now bestowed upon the ducks. When the young cocks began to try their voices, their foster-mother was as much annoyed as she now was by the swimming of the duckings—and never failed to repress their attempts at crowing.
SONNINI AND HIS CAT
M. Sonnini, when in Egypt, had an Angora cat, of which he was extremely fond. It was entirely covered with long white silken hairs, and its tail formed a magnificent plume, which the animal elevated at pleasure over its body. Not one spot, not a single dark shade marred the dazzling whiteness of its coat. Its nose and lips were of a delicate rose color. Two large eyes sparkled in its round head; one was of yellow and the other of fine blue.
This beautiful animal had even more beauty of manners than grace in attitude and movements. However ill any one used her, she never tried to put out her claws from their sheaths. Sensible to kindness, she licked the hand which caressed, and even the one which tormented her. In Sonnini's solitary moments, she kept the most of the time close by his side. She interrupted him often in the midst of his labors or meditations, by little caresses that were very touching, and she usually followed him in his walks. During his absence she sought and called for him all the time. She knew his voice at a distance, and seemed on each fresh meeting with him to feel increased delight.
"This animal," says Sonnini, "was my principal amusement for several years. How plainly was her love for me shown in her face! How many times have her caresses made me forget my troubles and comforted me in the midst of my misfortunes! My beautiful and interesting companion, however, at last died. After several days of suffering, during which I never left her, the light of her eyes, which were constantly fixed on me, went out, and her death rent my heart with sorrow."
THE DINNER BELL
It is customary in large boarding-houses to announce the dinner-hour by sounding a bell. A cat belonging to one of these houses always hastened to the hall on hearing the bell, to get its usual meal; but it happened one day that she was shut up at dinner time in a chamber, and it was in vain for her that the bell had rung. Some hours afterward, having been released from her confinement, she hastened to the hall, but found nothing left for her. The clever cat then went to the bell, and ringing it, tried to call the family to a second dinner, in which she hoped to get her usual share.
A constable once made a complaint before a bench of London magistrates against a horse for stealing hay. The complainant stated that the horse came regularly every night of its own accord, and without any attendant, to the coach stands in St. George's, ate all he wanted, and then galloped away. He defied the whole of the parish officers to catch him; for if they tried to go near him while he was eating, he would throw up his heels and kick at them, or run at them, and if they did not get out of the way, he would bite them. The constable, therefore, thought it best to bring the case to the attention of the magistrates.
"Well, Mr. Constable," said one of the magistrates, "if you should be annoyed again by this animal in the execution of your duty, you may arrest him if you can, and bring him before us to answer your complaints."
THE TAME SEA GULL
Many years ago a gentleman accidentally caught a sea-gull. He cut its wings and put it in his garden. The bird remained there for several years, and being kindly treated, became so tame as to come at call to be fed at the kitchen door. It was known by the name of Willie. This bird became at last so tame that no pains were taken to keep it, and, its wings having grown to full length, it flew away, joined the other gulls on the beach, and came back from time to time, to pay a visit to the house. When its companions left the country at the usual season, Willie went with them, much to the regret of the family. To their great joy, however, it returned next season; and with its usual familiarity came to its old haunt, where it was welcomed and fed liberally. In this way it went and returned for forty years, without missing a year, and kept up its acquaintance in the most cordial manner; for while in the country, it visited them almost daily, answered to its name like any domestic animal, and almost ate out of the hand. One year, however, Willie did not pay his respects to the family for eight or ten days after the general flock of gulls were upon the coast, and great was the concern and sorrow over his loss, as it was thought he must surely be dead; but to the surprise and joy of the family, a servant one morning came running into the breakfast-room in great joy, saying that Willie had returned. Food was soon supplied in abundance, and Willie with his usual frankness ate of it heartily and was as tame as any barn-yard fowl about the house. After a year or two more, however, this grateful bird never came again.
A STRANGE PROTECTOR
A lady had a tame bird which she was in the habit of letting out of its cage every day. One morning as it was picking crumbs of bread off the carpet, her cat, who had always showed before great kindness toward the bird, suddenly seized it, and jumped with it in her mouth upon a table. The lady was alarmed for the fate of her favorite, but on turning about, instantly saw the cause. The door had been left open, and a strange cat had just come into the room! After she had put it out, her own cat came down from her place of safety, and dropped the bird without having done it the least injury.
THE LION AND HIS KEEPER
In a large menagerie there was a lion called Danco, whose cage needed some repairs. His keeper hired a carpenter to do the work, but when the workman came and saw the lion, he started back in terror. The keeper entered the animal's cage, and led him to the upper part of it, while the lower was being fixed. He there amused himself for some time playing with the lion, and being wearied, at last fell asleep. The carpenter, relying fully upon the vigilance of the keeper, went on rapidly with his work, and when he had finished it, he called him to see what was done. The keeper made no answer. Having repeatedly called him in vain, he began to feel alarmed at his situation, and he determined to go to the upper part of the cage, where, looking through the railing, he saw the lion and the keeper sleeping side by side. He immediately uttered a loud cry; the lion, awakened by the noise, started up and stared at the carpenter with an eye of fury, and then, placing his paw on the breast of his keeper, lay down to sleep again. At length the keeper was awakened by some of the attendants, and he did not appear in the least worried by the situation in which he found himself, but shook the lion by the paw, and then gently conducted him to his old cage.
A USURPER PUNISHED
Some years ago a sparrow had early in the spring taken possession of a swallow's old nest, and had laid some eggs in it, when the original builder and owner made her appearance and claimed possession. The sparrow, firmly seated, refused to leave the nest. A smart battle followed, in which the swallow was joined by its mate, and, during the conflict, by several of their comrades. All the efforts of the swallows to drive out the usurper were, however, unsuccessful. Finding themselves completely foiled in this object, they held a council of war to consult as to what they should do, and the plan they agreed upon shows that it was with no ordinary degree of ingenuity that they had solved the question as to what was right and just. Since the sparrow could not be driven out of the nest, the next question with them appears to have been, how she could be otherwise punished for her unlawful occupation of a property belonging to another. The council were of one mind in thinking that nothing short of the death of the intruder could atone for so heinous an offense; and having so decided, they went to work to put their sentence into execution in the following very wonderful manner. Leaving the scene of the contest for a time, they returned with many more friends, each bearing a beak full of building materials; and without any further attempt to beat out the sparrow, they at once set to work to build up the entrance into the nest, and soon had enclosed the sparrow within the clay tenement, thus leaving the poor bird to perish in the stronghold she had so bravely defended.
In a large north of England town a pair of strange rooks, after trying in vain to find a home in a rookery at a little distance from the Exchange, gave up the attempt, and took refuge on the spire of a building; and although constantly bothered by other rooks, they built their nest on the top of the vane, and there reared a brood of young ones, undisturbed by the noise of the people below them. The nest and its inmates were, of course, turned about by every change of the wind. For ten years they continued to build their nest in the same place, soon after which the spire was taken down.
The hare is scarcely a domestic animal; yet we have an account of one that was so tame as to feed from the hand, lie under a chair in the sitting-room, and appear in every way as easy and comfortable as a lapdog. It now and then went out into the garden, but, after hopping about in the fresh air for a while, it always returned to the house. Its usual companions were a greyhound and a spaniel, with whom it spent its evenings, the whole three playing and sleeping together on the same hearth. What makes the circumstance more remarkable is, that the greyhound and spaniel were both so fond of hare-hunting, that they used often to go out coursing together, without anybody with them. They were like the "Sly Couple," of whose devotion to the chase an amusing story is told.
A traveller once brought a young hare to such a degree of frolicsome familiarity, that it would run and jump about his sofa and bed; leap upon and pat him with its fore feet; or while he was reading, it would sometimes knock the book out of his hands, as if to claim, like a fondled child, his exclusive attention.
THE PIG POINTER
A sow, which was a thin, long-legged animal, when young took such a fancy to some pointer puppies that a gamekeeper on a neighboring estate was breaking, that it played, and often came to feed with them. This led the gamekeeper, who had broken many a dog as obstinate as a pig, to think he might also manage to break a pig.
The little animal would often go out with the puppies to some distance from home; and he coaxed it farther by a sort of pudding made of barley meal, which he carried in one of his pockets. The other pocket he filled with stones, which he threw at the pig whenever she misbehaved.
He found the animal tractable, and soon taught her what he wished by this mode of reward and punishment. They were frequently seen out together, when the sow quartered her ground as regularly as any pointer, stood when she came on game (having an excellent nose), and backed other dogs as well as ever a pointer did. When she came on the cold scent of game, she slackened her trot, and gradually dropped her ears and tail; till she was certain, and then fell down on her knees. So staunch was she, that she would frequently remain for five minutes and upwards on her point. As soon as the game rose, she always returned to her master, grunting very loud, for her reward of pudding, if it was not at once given to her.
A WISE OURANG-OUTANG
A well-known traveller tells a story about the ourang-outang in its wild state, which shows that it has both a good memory and some ingenuity.
When the fruits on the mountains are gone, these animals often go down to the seacoast, where they feed upon various kinds of shell-fish, but in particular on a large sort of oyster, which commonly lies open on the shore. "Fearful," he says, "of putting in their paws, lest the oyster should close and crush them, they insert a stone as a wedge within the shell. This prevents it from closing, and they then drag out their prey, and devour it at leisure."
A GRACEFUL RETURN
A favorite house-dog, left to the care of its master's servants, while he was himself away, would have been starved by them if it had not found a friend in the kitchen of a friend of its master's, which in better days it had occasionally visited. On the return of the master it had plenty at home, and had no further need of food; but still it did not forget the place where it had found a friend in need. A few days after, the dog fell in with a duck, which, as he found in no private pond, he no doubt decided was no private property. He snatched up the duck in his teeth, carried it to the kitchen where he had been so generously fed, laid it at the cook's feet, with many polite movements of his tail, and then scampered off with much seeming joy at having given this real proof of his gratitude.
WRENS LEARNING TO SING
A wren built her nest in a box, so placed that a family had a chance to watch the mother bird teaching her young ones the art of singing peculiar to wrens. She fixed herself on one side of the opening in the box, directly before the young birds, and began singing over her whole song very distinctly. One of the little birds then tried to imitate her. After singing through a few notes, its voice broke and it lost the tune. The mother at once began again where the young one had failed, and went very distinctly through the rest of the song. The young bird made a second attempt, beginning where it had stopped before, and kept up the song as long as it was able. If the note was lost again, the mother began anew where it stopped, and finished it. Then the little one resumed the song and finished it.
This done, the mother sang over the whole series of notes a second time with great care, and a second of the young ones tried to follow her. The wren followed the same course with this one as with the first; and so on with the third and all the rest. It sometimes happened that the young bird would lose the tune three or four or more times in the same attempt, and the mother would always begin where they stopped and sing the rest of the song; and when each little bird had sung the whole song through, she repeated the whole strain. Sometimes two of the young birds began together. The mother did just the same as when one sang alone. This practise was repeated day after day, and several times a day.
A mastiff dog, who owed more to the kindness of a neighbor than to his master, was once locked by mistake in the well-stored pantry of his benefactor for a whole day, where there were, within his reach, milk, butter, bread and meat, in abundance. On the return of the servant to the pantry, seeing the dog come out, and knowing the time it had been shut in there, she trembled for fear of the waste which she was sure her carelessness must have brought about; but on close examination, it was found that the honest creature had not tasted of anything, although, on coming out, he fell on a bone that was given him, with all the greediness of hunger.
DIVISION OF LABOR
The Alpine marmots are said to work together in the collection of materials for the building of their homes. Some of them, we are told, cut the herbage, others collect it into heaps; a third set serve as wagons to carry it to their holes; while still others perform all the work of draught horses. The manner of the latter part of the curious process is this. The animal that is to be the wagon, lies down on its back, and stretching out its four legs as wide as it can, allows itself to be loaded with hay; and those that are to be the horses, drag it, thus loaded, by the tail, taking care not to upset the creature. The task of thus serving as a wagon being, evidently, the least desirable part of the business, is taken by every one of the party in turn.
A TALKING PARROT
During the time that Prince Maurice was ruling in Brazil, he heard of an old parrot that was much celebrated for answering like a human being, many of the common questions put to it. It was at a great distance; but so much had been said about it that the prince's curiosity was roused, and he directed it to be sent for.
When the parrot was brought into the room where the prince was sitting, in company with several Dutchmen, it at once cried out in the Brazilian language, "What a company of white men are here!" They asked it, "Who is that man?" (pointing to the prince). The parrot answered, "Some general or other." When the attendants carried it up to him, he asked it, through the aid of an interpreter (for he did not understand its language), "Whence do you come?" The parrot answered, "From Marignan."
The prince asked, "To whom do you belong?" It answered, "To a Portuguese." He asked again, "What do you there?" The parrot answered, "I look after chickens." The prince laughing, exclaimed, "You look after chickens!" The parrot in reply said, "Yes, I do; and I know well how to do it;" clucking at the same time in imitation of the noise made by the hen to call her little chicks together.
The prince afterward said that although the parrot spoke in a language he did not understand, yet he could not be deceived, for he had in the room at the time both a Dutchman who spoke Brazilian, and a Brazilian who spoke Dutch; that he asked them separately and privately, and both agreed exactly in their account of the parrot's conversation.
A CHARITABLE CANARY
A pair of goldfinches who had had the misfortune to be captured with their nest and six young ones, were placed in a double cage, with a pair of canaries, which had a brood of little ones also; there being a partition of wire netting between the cages.
At first the goldfinches seemed careless about their young ones. The father canary, attracted by the cries of the baby goldfinches, forced himself through a flaw in the wire, and began to feed them. This it did regularly, until the goldfinches undertook the work themselves, and rendered the kindness of the canary no longer necessary.
CHOOSING THE LEAST OF TWO EVILS
A french dog was taught by his master to run many different errands, among others to bring him his meals from a restaurant. The dog carried the food in a basket, and one evening, when the dog was returning to his master with his dinner, two other dogs, attracted by the savory smell coming from the basket, made up their minds to attack him. The dog put his basket on the ground and set himself courageously against the first one that advanced against him; but while he was fighting with one, the other ran to the basket, and began to help himself. At length, seeing that there was no chance of beating both dogs, and saving his master's dinner, he threw himself between his two opponents, and without further ceremony, quickly ate up the rest of the food himself, and then returned to his master with the empty basket.
GOING TO MARKET
A butcher and cattle dealer had a dog which he usually took with him when he drove cattle to market at a town some nine miles distant from his home, to be sold. The dog was very clever at managing the cattle.
At last, so sure was the master of the wisdom and faithfulness of his dog, that he made a wager that he would trust him with a certain number of sheep and oxen, and let him drive them to the market all by himself. It was agreed that no person should be within sight or hearing—at least no one who had any control over the dog; nor was anybody to interfere or be within a quarter of a mile.
On the day of the trial, the dog went about his business in the most skilful and knowing manner; and although he had often to drive his charge through the herds that were grazing, yet he never lost one, but conducting them into the very yard to which he was wont to drive them when with his master, he delivered them up to the person appointed to receive them.
What more particularly marked the dog's sagacity was, that, when the path the herd travelled lay through a spot where others were grazing, he would run forward, stop his own drove, and then driving the others from each side of the path, collect his scattered charge and then go on again. He was several times afterward sent thus alone for the amusement of the curious or the convenience of his master, and always did his work in the same adroit and intelligent manner.
THE CATCHER CAUGHT
During a sudden flood in the Rhine, a hare, unable to find a way of escape through the water to higher land, climbed up a tree. One of the boatmen rowing about to assist the unfortunate people, seeing her, rowed up to the tree, and, eager for the game, climbed it, without properly fastening his boat.
The frightened hare, as its pursuer came near, sprang from the tree into the boat, which thus set in motion, floated away, leaving its owner in the tree in dread of being washed away by the current. After several hours' anxiety, he was seen, and taken off by some of his companions.
The Indian ichneumon, a small creature, looking like both the weasel and the mongoose, is of great use to the natives because of its great hatred of snakes, which would otherwise make every footstep of the traveller most dangerous. This little creature, on seeing a snake, no matter how large, will instantly dart on it, and seize it by the throat, if he finds himself in an open place, where he has a chance of running to a certain herb, which he some way knows to be an antidote against the poison of the bite, if he should happen to receive one. A gentleman visiting the island of Ceylon saw the experiment tried in a closed room, where the ichneumon, instead of attacking his enemy, did all in his power to avoid him. On being carried out of the house, however, and put near his antagonist in the field, he at once darted at the snake, and soon killed it. It then suddenly disappeared for a few minutes, and again returned as soon as it had found and eaten the herb it knew was an antidote.
"One rainy winter evening, as I was alone in my room," says an American gentleman, "I took up my flute and began to play. In a few minutes my attention was directed to a mouse that I saw creeping from a hole, and coming toward the chair in which I was sitting. I stopped playing, and it ran quickly back to its hole. I began again shortly afterward, and was much surprised to see it reappear, and take its old position. The actions of the little animal were truly amusing. It lay down on the floor, shut its eyes, and seemed delighted, but the minute I stopped my playing, it instantly disappeared again. This experiment I often repeated with the same result. I also noted that the mouse was differently affected, as the music varied from the slow and sad to the brisk or lively. It finally went away, and all my art could not coax it to return."
A CARRIER'S DOG
A carrier on his way to a market town had to stop at some houses by the roadside, in the way of his business, leaving his cart and horse upon the public road, under the protection of a passenger and a trusty dog. Upon his return he missed one of the women passengers, and likewise a led horse which was owned by a gentleman of the neighborhood. The horse he was taking along, tied to the end of the cart. On inquiry he found out that during his absence, the woman, who had been anxious to try the mettle of the pony, had mounted it, and the animal had set off at full speed. The carrier expressed much anxiety for the safety of the young woman, casting at the same time an expressive look at his dog. Oscar observed his master's eye, and aware of its meaning, instantly set off in pursuit of the pony. Coming up with it soon after, he made a sudden spring, seized the bridle, and held the animal fast. Several people, having seen his actions, and the dangerous situation of the girl, hastened to her aid. Oscar, however, notwithstanding their repeated endeavors, would not let go his hold, and the pony was actually led into the stable with the dog still clinging to it. When the carrier entered the stable, Oscar wagged his tail in token of his satisfaction, and at once gave up the bridle to his master.